Tag Archives: pipe refurbishing

Restoring Jennifer’s Dad’s Savinelli Capri 313KS Root Briar Prince


Blog by Steve Laug

I decided to work on another of Jennifer’s Dad’s pipes. For the next pipe from the estate of George Rex Leghorn I have chosen a Savinelli Prince shaped pipe. You may not have read about this estate before, so I will retell the story. I received an email from Jennifer who is a little older than I am about whether I would be interested in her Dad’s pipes. My brother Jeff and I have been picking up a few estates here and there, so I was interested. Here is the catch – she did not want to sell them to me but to give them to me to clean up, restore and resell. The only requirement she had was that we give a portion of the sales of the pipes to a charity serving women and children. We talked about the organization I work for that deals with trafficking and sexual exploitation of women and their children and she decided that would be a great way to carry on the charitable aspect of her Dad’s character. With some great conversation back and forth she sent the pipes to Jeff and he started the cleanup process on them. Once he had finished cleaning them all he sent them to me to do my work on them.

The pipe on the table is stamped on the underside of the bowl and shank on a smooth panel. On the heel of the bowl it is stamped Savinelli Capri over Root Briar. That is followed by The Savinelli “S” shield and Italy and the shape number that looks like 313KS but it hard to read as it is stamped in the rustication. The pipe has a Sea Rock or coral style rustication that I really like. The finish was very dirty, making it hard to see beyond that to the nice grain underneath that. There was a thick cake in the bowl and it had overflowed with lava onto the rim top. It was hard to know at this point the condition of the rim edges. The pipe was a dirty and tired looking old pipe. The stem was badly oxidized and there were George’s usual tooth marks and chatter on both sides just ahead of the button. It had been sitting in boxes for a lot of years and it was time to move ahead with the restoration. Jennifer took photos of the pipes she was sending. I have included the photos of this pipe below. When the box arrived from Jennifer, Jeff opened it and took photos of each pipe before he started his cleanup work on them. This pipe was another real mess but since it bore a coral finish which I like I could see some promise under all of the grime of the years. The shape was a Prince with the normal slightly bent stem. The briar appeared to be in good condition underneath the grime. The pipe really was covered with the grime and oils on the bowl sides from George’s hands. It left the finish looking mottled and dark on the high points. The bowl had a thick cake that had hardened with time. The lava overflow on the rim top filled in the rustication on the rim top. It was very thick but it could very well have protected the edges of the rim from damage. We won’t know what is under it until Jeff had cleaned it off. The stem was oxidized and there were deep tooth marks on both sides just ahead of the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started working on it. I include those below.  Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the lava build up on the rim top and dust and grime on the bowl. It was thick and hard but hopefully it had protected the rim and edges from damage. The lava coat looks horrible but it points to a well-used, favourite smoking pipe. Judging from the condition of George’s pipe I think it can be assumed that he was rarely without a pipe and that he seriously enjoyed smoking them. This was no exception. Jeff took a photo of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the finish – the grime and grit all over the sides and bottom of the bowl. The rustication is deep and dirty but it is interesting. This is a very tactile finish and one that I enjoy. Jeff took two photos of the stamping on the underside of the shank to capture all of it. It is very clear and readable other than the shape number 313KS which is in the rustication itself.    Jeff took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the scratching, oxidation and tooth marks on the stem surface and button. The tooth marks are quite deep on both sides of the stem. Before I get on to cleaning up the pipe I thought I would once again include the tribute that Jennifer wrote to her Dad for the blog. She also sent some photos and an article that her Dad wrote for Jeff and me to be able to get a feel for him. I have included those below. Note in each of them that he is holding a pipe in his left hand. I asked her to also send me an email with a brief tribute to her Dad. Here is her tribute from an email to me.

Steve, I want to thank you again for accepting my dad’s pipes.  They were so much a part of my dad’s life that I could not simply discard them. But as his daughter, I was not about to take up smoking them either. *laughing* I think my dad would like knowing that they will bring pleasure to others.  I know that I do.

I’m not sure what to say about his pipes. I always remember Daddy smoking pipes and cigars.

First a bit about my dad. Though my father, George Rex Leghorn, was American (growing up in Alaska), he managed to join the Canadian Army at the beginning of WWII, but in doing so lost his American citizenship.  He was fortunate to meet a Canadian recruiting officer who told him the alphabet began with “A” and ended with “Zed” not “Zee”, and also told him to say that he was born in a specific town that had all its records destroyed in a fire.  When the US joined the war my dad, and thousands of other Americans who had made the same choice*(see the link below for the article), were given the opportunity to transfer to the US military, and regain their citizenship.

After WWII, my dad, earned his degree at the University of California Berkeley and became a metallurgist. There is even a bit about him on the internet.

He loved taking the family out for a drive, and he smoked his cigars on those trips. (As a child, those were troubling times for my stomach.)

I most remember my father relaxing in his favorite chair with a science fiction book in one hand and a pipe in the other… Sir Walter Raleigh being his favorite tobacco… and the pipes themselves remind me of him in that contented way.  If I interrupted his repose, he’d look up, with a smile on his face, to answer me.

It seemed he smoked his Briarwood pipes the most, though he had others.  At the time, it was only the Briarwood I knew by name because of its distinctive rough shaped bowl.  And it was the Anderson Free Hand Burl Briar, made in Israel, which I chose for his birthday one year, because I thought he might like that particular texture in his hand.

At least two of his pipes, he inherited from his son-in-law, Joe Marino, a retired medical laboratory researcher (my sister Lesley’s late husband)… the long stemmed Jarl (made in Denmark), and the large, white-bowled, Sherlock Holmes style pipe.  I believe Joe had others that went to my dad, but Lesley was only sure about those two.

The Buescher, corncob pipe my older sister Lesley bought for Daddy while on one of her travels around the States.

A note on the spelling of my sister’s name…

My dad met my mother, Regina, during WWII and they married in Omagh, Ireland.  My mother was English and in the military herself.  The English spelling of Lesley is feminine, and Leslie masculine, in the UK… just the opposite of here in the United States.  I guess my mom won out when it came to the spelling of the name…

This pipe was a real mess just like the other ones in the collection. I was curious to see what it would look like when I unpack it. I was surprised at how good it looked. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. The finish on the bowl looked really good when I got it. The rim top looked much better and the inner and outer edges were looking good. Jeff had cleaned the internals and scrubbed the exterior of the stem and soaked them in Before & After Deoxidizer bath to remove the oxidation. The stem looked very good other than the deep tooth marks and chatter in the surface. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked very good. I took several photos of the pipe from the side and then got called away and did not finish taking photos. Here is what I have.   I forgot to take photos of the condition of the rim top and stem and when I came back to work on the pipe I just jumped in to do the restoration. I decided to clean up the darkening and smoothing of the rim top first. I used a brass bristle brush to work over the surface of the briar. When I was finished it looked better.     I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the finish of the bowl and the rim top and shank with my fingertips and a horsehair shoebrush to clean, enliven and protect it. I find that the balm really makes the briar come alive again. The contrasts in the layers of stain and the separate finishes really made the grain stand out. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The bowl really looks good at this point. I set the bowl aside and turned to the stem. I filled in the deep tooth marks with black super glue. I built up the edge of the button at the same time. I set it aside to dry. Once the repairs had cured I used a needle file to re-cut a sharp edge on the button on both sides and to flatten the repaired areas.  I sanded the stem to remove the oxidation that was on the surface and to smooth out the repaired areas. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper and a piece of 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. At this point the stem is looking better and the tooth marks are gone.  I rubbed the stem down with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish and a cotton pad to remove remnants of oxidation and to further blend in the sanding. The stem was showing some promise at this point in the process. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I polished it further with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both fine and extra fine. I finished by wiping it down with Briarville’s No Oxy Oil and buffing it to a shine. Once again I am the part of the restoration that I always look forward to – the moment when all the pieces are put back together. I put the pipe back together and lightly buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond. I buffed the stem with a heavier touch with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the combination of rustication and smooth finishes. The black vulcanite stem stands out as a shiny black contrast to the colours of the bowl. This little Capri Prince must have been a fine smoking pipe judging from the condition it was when we received it from Jennifer. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This is one that will go on the rebornpipes online store shortly. If you want to carry on the pipe trust of George Rex Leghorn let me know. Thank you Jennifer for trusting us with his pipes. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next generation.

Restoring Jennifer’s Dad’s Jobey Asti 245 Pot


Blog by Steve Laug

I decided to change things up a bit and work on another of Jennifer’s Dad’s pipes. For the next pipe from the estate of George Rex Leghorn I have chosen a Pot shaped pipe. You may not have read about this estate before, so I will retell the story. I received an email from Jennifer who is a little older than my 64+ (65 now – sheesh, I forget how old I am) years about whether I would be interested in her Dad’s pipes. My brother Jeff and I have been picking up a few estates here and there, so I was interested. Here is the catch – she did not want to sell them to me but to give them to me to clean up, restore and resell. The only requirement she had was that we give a portion of the sales of the pipes to a charity serving women and children. We talked about the organization I work for that deals with trafficking and sexual exploitation of women and their children and she decided that would be a great way to carry on the charitable aspect of her Dad’s character. With some great conversation back and forth she sent the pipes to Jeff and he started the cleanup process on them. Once he had finished cleaning them all he sent them to me to do my work on them.

The pipe on the table is stamped on the left side of the shank Jobey over Asti. On the right side is the shape number 245. The tapered stem bears an inlaid brass Jobey oval. The pipe has an interesting mixed finish – smooth lower bowl and shank with a band of rustication and a smooth inwardly beveled rim top. The finish was very dirty, making it hard to see beyond that to the nice grain underneath that. There was a thick cake in the bowl and it had overflowed with lava onto the rim top. It was hard to know at this point the condition of the rim edges. The pipe was a dirty and tired looking old pipe. The stem was badly oxidized and there were George’s usual tooth marks and chatter on both sides just ahead of the button. It had been sitting in boxes for a lot of years and it was time to move ahead with the restoration. Jennifer took photos of the pipes she was sending. I have included the photos of this pipe below. When the box arrived from Jennifer, Jeff opened it and took photos of each pipe before he started his cleanup work on them. This pipe was a real mess but showed some promise under all of the grime of the years. The shape was a pot with the mixed finish as noted above and visible in the photo below. The briar appeared to be in good condition underneath the grime. The finish was spotty and seemed to be peeling which indicated to me that there was some sort of varnish or shellac coat on top of the finish. The pipe really was covered with the grime and oils on the bowl sides from George’s hands. The bowl had a thick cake that had hardened with time. The lava overflow on the rim top filled in much of the beveled rim top. It was very thick but it could very well have protected the rim from damage. We won’t know what is under it until Jeff had cleaned it off. The stem was oxidized and there were deep tooth marks on both sides just ahead of the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started working on it. I include those below.  Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the lava build up on the rim top and dust and grime on the bowl. It was thick and hard but hopefully it had protected the rim and edges from damage. The lava coat looks horrible but it points to a well-used, favourite smoking pipe. George must have enjoyed this old timer a lot judging from the condition of the pipe.   Jeff took a photo of the side and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the finish – the grime and grit all over the sides and bottom of the bowl. The rustication around the midbowl is deep and dirty but it is interesting.  The peeling varnish/shellac coat is also visible in the photos. Jeff took a photo of the stamping on the left and right sides of the shank. It is very clear and readable. On the left it reads Jobey Asti and on the right it reads 245. The top of the tapered stem has a brass inlaid Jobey oval logo.Jeff took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the scratching, oxidation and tooth marks on the stem surface and button. The tooth marks are quite deep on both sides of the stem. I turned to Pipephil’s site for a quick review of the brand (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-j3.html). I quote a section of the post on the Jobey brand: These pipes are made in St Claude (France) by Butz-Choquin (Berrod-Regad group) since 1987. Before this date some were manufactured in England and Denmark (Jobey Dansk).

I turned then to Pipedia to gather further information regarding the brand and quote the first part of the article (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Jobey).

English – American – Danish – French… Sadly, solid information about Jobey is scant…

Probably established in England around 1920(?) the brand hiked into the USA later. In the course of time owner, distributor and manufacturer changed repeatedly. As far as is known the following companies have been involved with the brand:

George Yale Pipes & Tobacco, New York (1942)

Norwalk Pipe Co., New York (1949)

Arlington Briar Pipes Corp., Brooklyn (when?)

Hollco International, New York (1969).

Weber Pipe Co., Jersey City, NJ (1970’s)

The Tinder Box, (1970’s – 80’s).

Throughout decades Jobey pipes were mainly sold in the USA, Canada and England but remained almost unknown in continental Europe. The bulk of Jobeys was predominantly made according to classical patterns and mainly in the lower to middle price range. The predominant judgment of the pipe smokers reads: “A well-made pipe for the price.” So there is hardly anything very special or exciting about Jobey pipes although a flyer from ca. 1970 assures: “The briar root Jobey insists upon for its peer of pipes is left untouched to grow, harden and sweeten for 100 years. […] Jobey uses only the heart of this century old briar and only one out of 500 bowls turned measures up to the rigid Jobey specifications.” 99.80% of cull… that makes the layman marveling!

Before I get on to cleaning up the pipe I thought I would once again include the tribute that Jennifer wrote to her Dad for the blog. She also sent some photos and an article that her Dad wrote for Jeff and me to be able to get a feel for him. I have included those below. Note in each of them that he is holding a pipe in his left hand. I asked her to also send me an email with a brief tribute to her Dad. Here is her tribute from an email to me.

Steve, I want to thank you again for accepting my dad’s pipes.  They were so much a part of my dad’s life that I could not simply discard them. But as his daughter, I was not about to take up smoking them either. *laughing* I think my dad would like knowing that they will bring pleasure to others.  I know that I do.

I’m not sure what to say about his pipes. I always remember Daddy smoking pipes and cigars.

First a bit about my dad. Though my father, George Rex Leghorn, was American (growing up in Alaska), he managed to join the Canadian Army at the beginning of WWII, but in doing so lost his American citizenship.  He was fortunate to meet a Canadian recruiting officer who told him the alphabet began with “A” and ended with “Zed” not “Zee”, and also told him to say that he was born in a specific town that had all its records destroyed in a fire.  When the US joined the war my dad, and thousands of other Americans who had made the same choice*(see the link below for the article), were given the opportunity to transfer to the US military, and regain their citizenship.

After WWII, my dad, earned his degree at the University of California Berkeley and became a metallurgist. There is even a bit about him on the internet.

He loved taking the family out for a drive, and he smoked his cigars on those trips. (As a child, those were troubling times for my stomach.)

I most remember my father relaxing in his favorite chair with a science fiction book in one hand and a pipe in the other… Sir Walter Raleigh being his favorite tobacco… and the pipes themselves remind me of him in that contented way.  If I interrupted his repose, he’d look up, with a smile on his face, to answer me.

It seemed he smoked his Briarwood pipes the most, though he had others.  At the time, it was only the Briarwood I knew by name because of its distinctive rough shaped bowl.  And it was the Anderson Free Hand Burl Briar, made in Israel, which I chose for his birthday one year, because I thought he might like that particular texture in his hand.

At least two of his pipes, he inherited from his son-in-law, Joe Marino, a retired medical laboratory researcher (my sister Lesley’s late husband)… the long stemmed Jarl (made in Denmark), and the large, white-bowled, Sherlock Holmes style pipe.  I believe Joe had others that went to my dad, but Lesley was only sure about those two.

The Buescher, corncob pipe my older sister Lesley bought for Daddy while on one of her travels around the States.

A note on the spelling of my sister’s name…

My dad met my mother, Regina, during WWII and they married in Omagh, Ireland.  My mother was English and in the military herself.  The English spelling of Lesley is feminine, and Leslie masculine, in the UK… just the opposite of here in the United States.  I guess my mom won out when it came to the spelling of the name…

This pipe was a real mess just like the other ones in the collection. I was curious to see what it would look like when I unpack it. I was surprised at how good it looked. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. The finish on the bowl looked really good when I got it. The rim top looked much better and the inner and outer edges were looking good. Jeff had cleaned the internals and scrubbed the exterior of the stem and soaked them in Before & After Deoxidizer bath to remove the oxidation. The stem looked very good other than the deep tooth marks and chatter in the surface. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked very good. I took photos of the pipe before I started my part of the restoration. I took photos of the bowl and rim top to show how well it had cleaned up. The edges and top were very clean and in excellent condition. There was some darkening on the inner edge but it was still round. The rim top had some light nicks and dents. The stem had some deep tooth marks just ahead of the button.The stem was held in the shank with the Jobey link connector. I is pressed into the stem and threads into the shank. It makes it easily replaceable and also easy to align.I decided to clean up the darkening on the inner edge of the rim top and the dents and nicks on the top itself. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage and 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to smooth out the sanding. I was happy with the overall look. The finish will show as I polish the pipe with micromesh pad shortly.  I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wetsanding it with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. It looked better after each pad and the top blended into the colour of the rest of the bowl without staining. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the finish of the bowl and the rim top and shank with my fingertips and a horsehair shoebrush to clean, enliven and protect it. I find that the balm really makes the briar come alive again. The contrasts in the layers of stain and the separate finishes really made the grain stand out. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The bowl really looks good at this point.   I set the bowl aside and turned to the stem. I filled in the deep tooth marks with clear super glue. I built up the edge of the button at the same time. I set it aside to dry. Once the repairs had cured I used a needle file to cut a sharp edge on the button on both sides and to flatten the repaired areas. I sanded the stem to remove the oxidation that was on the surface and to smooth out the repaired areas. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper and a piece of 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. At this point the stem is looking better and the tooth marks are gone.  I rubbed the stem down with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish and a cotton pad to remove remnants of oxidation and to further blend in the sanding. The stem was showing some promise at this point in the process. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I polished it further with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both fine and extra fine. I finished by wiping it down with Briarville’s No Oxy Oil and buffing it to a shine. Once again I am the part of the restoration that I always look forward to – the moment when all the pieces are put back together. I put the pipe back together and buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the combination of rustication and smooth finishes. The black vulcanite stem stands out as a shiny black contrast to the colours of the bowl. While this is not one of my favourite finishes as it seems busy to me, it came out looking good. It is a light weight pipe that could be clenched and smoked while doing other things. It must have been a fine smoking pipe judging from the condition it was when we received it from Jennifer. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ¼ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This is one that will go on the rebornpipes online store shortly. If you want to carry on the pipe trust of George Rex Leghorn let me know. Thank you Jennifer for trusting us with his pipes. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next generation.

 

New Life for an Ascorti Peppino 137 Handmade Brandy


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table is an interesting Ascorti that I picked up somewhere along the way in a trade. Jeff and I picked this one up on a pipe hunt in Utah. It is a rusticated bowl and rim with a smooth panel on the underside and a band around the shank end. The pipe is stamped on the smooth panel and reads Ascorti over Peppino on the heel of the bowl followed by the shape number 137 then Hand Made over Italy. Along the bottom of the panel it also is stamped For Tinder Box. The finish was mottled and dirty with some flume around the rim and rim top that darkened it. There was a thick cake in the bowl and some lava overflow in the grooves of the rustication on the rim top. The acrylic oval stem is in good condition with some small tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button edges. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. I took a close up photo of the rim top. It is hard to see the cake in the bowl. The cake was much thicker than it appears in the photo. The top of the bowl looks dirty with lava overflow. The inner edges of the bowl look very good. The stem has some light tooth marks on both sides that do not show up well in the photos. Overall the tooth marks are light and should be able to be sanded smooth. The stem bears an AP logo that I will need to look into in the cleanup and research.I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. The stamping is clear and reads Ascorti over Peppino followed by the shape number 137 and Hand Made Italy. Underneath all of it is stamped For Tinder Box.I was intrigued by the FOR TINDER BOX stamp on the pipe so I did some searching on the internet and came to the Tinder Box site where there was a page on the Peppino line. Here is the link (http://www.tinderboxinternational.com/ascorti_peppino.htm). I am including that article in full below as well as a picture that was included on the site.

Ascorti Peppino Series Pipes

He was very young boy, when Giuseppe Ascorti, “Peppino” to all his friends began his career working as a joiner in a small furniture factory for his father. When he was about 30 years old, his passion for design and his great desire to create, he began to make pipes. In a very short time he became a great master with his revolutionary ideas to create new pipe shapes while still maintaining the classic lines of Italian pipe design. In the 1970’s, a chain of upstart pipe shops named Tinder Box while traveling in Italy, immediately realized his talent, and together collaborated in bringing the Ascorti Pipe to pipe smokers around the world. Peppino taught all his pipe making secrets to his son Roberto, who also had a natural talent as well. Today, after 25 years since Peppino’s disappearance, Roberto Ascorti and Tinder Box has a pleasure to produce a great once in a life time series of smoking pipes to be treasured forever.

Inspired from the original pipe designs, handcrafted in the 1970’s and 1980’s by his father Peppino, Roberto has remade the original designs, with the same hand making process used in those years, the same seasoned and selected briar, and the same care in working that his father was able to do. The pipes are also fitted with the same acrylic mouthpieces that are being specially remade from 30 years ago. Each design will include a certificate that shows the original copy of the old Peppino design drawings. These pipes have a special logo with “A.P.” and stamp with the Peppino name in honor of him and thanking him for the teachings of his passion to his son Roberto.

Roberto now has retired all shapes that were introduced as part of the original set in 2006. These shapes are never to be made again as part of the Peppino Serie. There is still availability but quantities are limited. Contact your local Tinder Box to see what finishes and shapes are available. In 2008…Roberto carved two new shapes from the old shape chart to be part of this marvelous series of pipes. 2009 was a very special year in the history of Ascorti Pipes. Roberto reintroduced and carved one shape for the Peppino Series. This shape is in remembrance of the passing of his father, Peppino in 1984…From the reading I knew that the pipe I was working on was made and released as one of the 2007 shapes. The shape has since been retired. All were carved by Roberto from shapes done by his father Peppino. They were done to honour his memory. All of them were released with the unique AP logo on the top of the stem. Now I had the background information in hand it was time to work on the pipe.

This morning I started by reaming the pipe. It had a thick cake but it was quite soft. I reamed it with a PipNet reamer and worked my way through two of the four cutting heads. I cleaned up the rest of the cake with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I sanded the walls of the bowl with a piece of dowel wrapped in 220 grit sandpaper. I removed the cake from the walls and they are smooth and clean. I scrubbed the bowl and rim with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. I was able to remove much of the grime from the rim top and the grooves and valleys of the sandblast finish. I rinsed it under warm running water to flush away the grime and dust in the soap. The following photos show the cleaned rim and bowl sides. I worked on the remaining debris and darkening on the rim top with a brass bristle wire brush. I was able to remove all of it and leave behind a clean rim top.I scrubbed out the airway in the shank and stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I cleaned out the mortise area so that all of the oils have been removed.I rubbed the bowl and rim down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the rim top and rusticated briar with my fingertips and with a horsehair shoebrush to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed the pipe with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. I really like watching the Balm do its magic and bring the briar alive.  With the bowl done it was time to address the stem. I sanded the stem surface with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper and was able to remove the dents in the surface. I followed that up with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to start polishing out the sanding marks.I rubbed the stem down with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish. I have found it is a great pre-polish for my use as it shows me areas that I need to work on with the micromesh sanding pads. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust. I polished it further with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I buffed it with a soft cloth to raise a shine. I put the bowl and stem back together again and buffed it lightly with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to raise the shine on the briar and the acrylic stem. The buffing also removes minute scratches in the two materials and adds depth to the shine. I gave the stem several coats of carnauba wax and the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing wheel and then by hand with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe was alive now and look great to me. It has a great feel in the hand that is very tactile and should really pop when smoked. The bowl will also develop a deeper colour with smoking. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This rusticated Ascorti Peppino 137 Italian Hand Made Brandy is a beauty should make someone a great pipe. It is one that will be on the rebornpipes store very soon. If you are interested let me know. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.

Restoration of an Irwin’s 2007 London Made Bulldog


Blog by Steve Laug

Even with the COVID-19 warnings rolling in incessantly I am still working on pipes! It keeps my mind busy and focused. There is no reason to not enjoy the time alone at the work table bringing these old-timers back to life. After brief foray restoring pipes from several other estates I am back to Bob Kerr’s estate (his photo is to the left). If you have not “met” the man and would like to read a bit of the history of the pipeman, his daughter has written a great tribute that is worth a read. Because I have included it in over 65 restorations to date I thought that I would leave it out this time. Be sure to check out some of the recent Dunhill restoration blog (https://rebornpipes.com/2020/01/01/restoring-the-last-of-bob-kerrs-dunhills-a-1962-dunhill-bruyere-656-f-t-bent-billiard/).

The next pipe I have chosen from his estate is a classic Bulldog. Irwin’s London England 2007 Bulldog. The stamping on the shank is faint. On the left side of the shank it is stamped Irwin’s over London, England. On the right side of the shank it is stamped 2007 – which I am unclear of whether that was a date or shape number! Irwin’s was a seconds line of GBD. The finish is worn and dirty. Underneath the grime the finish looks to be good. There also did not appear to be any fills in the bowl or shank. There is a thick cake and lava overflow on the rim top.  There is damage on the top and edges of the rim and the bowl is out of round. The stem is oxidized with a faint IR logo on the left. There are tooth marks and chatter near the button, some calcification with damage to the button.  Jeff took photos of the pipe to show its general condition before he did his cleanup work.some photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the bowl and rim top to show their general condition. You can see the thick cake in the bowl with the lava overflowing on to the rim top. The inner edge of the bowl is beveled inward and thickly lava coated. It is not clear if there is damage to the bowl but it does appear to be slightly out of round.Jeff took some photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give an idea of the grain on this particular piece of briar. It is amazing and I cannot wait to see what it looks like once it is polished and waxed. He took photos of the stamping on both sides of the shank to capture it for me. The first photo shows the left side of the shank and the stamping as noted above. The second shows the right side of the shank with the 2007 stamp. The final photo of the set shows the faint LR in a circle stamping on the left side of the diamond taper stem. This pipe has a diamond tapered stem that is heavily oxidizes and has some calcification on the button end. There seems to be some tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside.I turned to Pipephil’s site to get a quick overview of Irwin’s pipes. I remembered that they were a seconds of GBD pipes and this confirmed that (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-i.html). I have included a screen capture of the pertinent section from the site.I clicked on the link on the site to the section on GBD (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-gbd.html). There was a brief history as well as a list of GBD seconds. You will note that the Irwin’s brand is listed there. I turned to Pipedia and reread the history of the brand there. I also turned to the link on the shape numbers to see if I could clear up the question whether 2007 was a date or shape number. (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD_Shapes/Numbers). I found the section listing the 2007 as a straight bulldog with a diamond shank. I did a screen capture of that section and included it below: So now I knew with certainty that I was working on a GBD made Bulldog – straight, diamond stem. The 2007 was the shape number. The one thing I am not clear about is what mad this pipe a second and not a GBD regular. That information would not be forthcoming. I moved forward to work on the pipe itself and see what I had to do with it. It had come back looking far better than I expected. Even the stem looked remarkably good with most of the tooth chatter gone. I was impressed. Jeff had done his normal thorough clean up – reaming, scrubbing, soaking and the result was evident in the pipe when I unpacked it. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. Just look at the grain on this pipe. Stunning! I took some photos of the rim top and stem. The rim top and bowl looked very good. The cake and lava overflow were gone. Jeff had been able to get rid of the darkening and lava and tars. The rim top had nicks and marks and the inner edge of the bowl was damaged and out of round. The close up photos of the stem shows that it is a much cleaner and better looking stem. The light tooth chatter was gone and the stem looked really good.I took some photos of the stamping on the shank sides to show the condition after the cleanup. Often the stamping takes a hit with the cleaning and is lessened in it clarity. Jeff does a great job in leaving the stamping looking very good.I started my restoration work on this pipe by addressing the out of round inner edge of the bowl and the damage to the rim top. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the edge and clean up the bevel. The next series of photos tell the story of the work on the rim. The first photo shows the rim as it was when I started. The second shows the folded sandpaper when I worked it over. I smoothed out the sanding with a 1500 grit micromesh sanding pad (photo 3). The final photo in the series shows the rim top after the work. With the rim in order I started my polishing regimen on the bowl. I used nine worn micromesh sanding pads and dry sanded the bowl with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad. The bowl really shines by the final three pads. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth chatter and blended in the repairs with 220 grit sandpaper and started to polish it with a folded piece of 400 wet dry sandpaper. Once it was finished it was smooth.I used some Denicare Mouthpiece Polish that I have in my kit to start polishing out some of the scratches and remaining oxidation on the stem. I rubbed it in with a cotton pad and my finger tip and buffed it off with a cotton pad.I used some liquid paper to touch up the LR stamp on the left topside of the diamond stem. Once it dried I scraped the excess off with a tooth pick to show the renewed stamp on the stem.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with a cloth containing some Obsidian Oil. I finished polishing it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and buffed it off with a cotton cloth. I gave it a coat of Briarville’s No Oxy Oil to preserve and protect the stem. I don’t know how many times I have said this but I have to say it again with this pipe. I love it when I come to the end of a restoration and all of the parts come together and the pipe looks better than when we started the cleanup process. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I carefully avoided the stamping on the shank sides during the process. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing it with a clean buffing pad on the buffer. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is a great looking British Bulldog made by GBD and sold as second – an Irwin’s 2007 shaped Bulldog. Once again the grain and the way the shape follows the grain is amazing. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. I can only tell you that it is much prettier in person than the photos capture. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This GBD made Irwin’s Bulldog is a great addition to someone’s rack that price will be very reasonable. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. This one will be will be going on the rebornpipes store shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Thanks for your time.

Restoration of a Made in Ireland Peterson’s Deluxe 69 Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

In the last box of pipes Jeff sent me there was one final pipe that was left to restore. This one is a Peterson’s 69 Bent Billiard. It is stamped on the left side of the shank Peterson’s Deluxe and on the right side it bears the 69 shape number near the bowl shank junction and Made in Ireland. It was a dirty pipe when we received it. There was a thick coat of lava on the rim top and some damage on the inner edge of the rim. The rim top had some nicks and dents in it that were quite deep. There was a thick cake in the bowl that had remnants of tobacco stuck in it. The finish was dirty and there were spots of grime and oils. The stem was oxidized and there were tooth marks on the top and underside ahead of the button. There was tooth chatter on both sides of the stem. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the bowl and rim top to show their general condition. You can see the tars on the inner edge of damaged rim top. The cake in the bowl is quite thick and there is tobacco debris on the walls of the bowl. The finish on the bowl is dull but still very stunning. Jeff took some photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give an idea of the grain on this particular piece of briar. It is amazing and I cannot wait to see what it looks like once it is polished and waxed. He took photos of the stamping on both sides of the shank to capture it for me. The first photo shows the left side of the shank and the stamping as noted above. The second shows the right side of the shank with the Made in Ireland stamp and shape number 69.This pipe has a classic Peterson’s P-lip stem that has some oxidation on the surface of the vulcanite that is quite deep. There seems to be some tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside.He removed the stem from the shank and took photos of the bone chimney screwed into the end of the tenon.I turned to Pipephil’s site to get a quick overview of the Peterson’s Made in Ireland pipes. (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-peterson.html).  I have included a screen capture of the pertinent section from the site. The summary to the right of the photos is always succinct and quite pointed. In this case it says that the Made in Ireland stamp refers to a Pipe of the Pre-Republic era (Before 1949). Notice the Country of Manufacture stamp in two lines and block letters.I turned to Pipedia and reread the history of the Peterson’s brand and focused on the Pre Republic Era (1915-1949). I quote from that article below:

…Around 1916, Peterson began stamping their pipes “Made in Ireland” in what is referred to as a block format…

Prior to 1920 it was rare for a country of origin to be stamped on the pipe, just Peterson’s Dublin on the band. After 1921/22, if it is stamped “MADE IN IRELAND” and the “Made in” is stacked over “Ireland” or “MADE IN EIRE” or several other forms, it was made between 1922 and 1938

Peterson initially graded their mass -produced System pipes, i.e., regular catalogue pipes (in descending order) “Deluxe,” “First Quality,” “0” grade, “2nd grade,” and “3rd grade.”

I moved forward to work on the pipe itself and see what I had to do with it. It had come back looking amazingly clean. Even the stem looked like new, with most of the tooth chatter gone. I was impressed. Jeff had done his normal thorough clean up – reaming, scrubbing, soaking and the result was evident in the pipe when I unpacked it. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. Just look at the grain on this delicate pipe. Stunning! I took some photos of the rim top and stem. The rim top and bowl looked very good. The cake and lava overflow were gone and the inward beveled rim was very clean. Jeff had been able to get rid of the darkening and lava and tars. The rim top had nicks and marks and the inner edge of the bowl was damaged and out of round. The close up photos of the stem shows that it is a much cleaner and better looking stem. The light tooth chatter was gone and the stem looked really good.I took some photos of the stamping on the shank sides to show the condition after the cleanup. Often the stamping takes a hit with the cleaning and is lessened in it clarity. Jeff does a great job in leaving the stamping looking very good.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe at this point. Like other Peterson’s Deluxe pipes that I have worked on this stem had a bone chimney threaded into the tenon to extend into the lower part of the mortise and provides a funnel for drawing the smoke into the mouth of the smoker.I took photos of the bone extension and did some research into the design and purpose. I googled and found the following information:

I turned to the blog Peterson Pipe Notes (http://petersonpipenotes.org/tag/peterson-chimney/). There I came on an article on the chimney. I quote a part of that below and you can read more by going to the site.

I’ve seen a lot of old De Luxe Systems from Peterson, spanning most of the 20th century. I’ve seen a lot fewer Standard Systems. I understand from the book that the Standard Systems never had the bone (later aluminum) chimney. Were those System Standard stems just tapered all the way down? The current version has that little stepped tenon, and for the life of me, I can’t understand what that really achieves. If it’s just about increasing the length of the stem, wouldn’t a natural taper all the way down look better? I’m just wondering if you know when Standard Systems developed that tenon thing.

I then continued to read through the links that were shown. The next one was a discussion on the Pipesmagaizine about the bone tenon extension or chimney. It was a fascinating discussion and I am including pertinent portions here (https://pipesmagazine.com/forums/threads/need-help-bone-extension-on-a-pre-republic-peterson-straight-dublin-120f-delux.68650/).

…The extension was detailed in the patent application in 1894 (US519135A), although it doesn’t detail the material used or the fixture type. I read somewhere (unverified I’m afraid) that the chimney changed from bone to aluminum late 60s but, as with most things ‘Pete’, I don’t think this change happened overnight since I had a 1971 Deluxe with a bone chimney (it may have been scavenged from a different pipe, I guess). As others have said, trying to remove it if it is stuck will almost certainly break it. If you’re desperate, you can put a micro-screwdriver through two of the holes in the side and gently turn, but personally, I wouldn’t risk it…

…The third thing I want to call your attention to is the tenon extension. Traditionally (if not during the Dublin Era), tenons and mouthpieces have been of great importance to Peterson. This one, while molded and not a bone screw-in, features the extended “chimney” so crucial to correct tenon-mortise airflow for the P-Lip mouthpiece. The graduated bore of the P-Lip as well as this extension makes the pipe a “sub-System” (as we call it in the book), which means that it will perform considerably better than a traditional fishtail. This type of molded extension goes all the way back to the original molded-stem Patent mouthpieces, incidentally, and doesn’t seem to have disappeared (alas!) from the Peterson workshop until the 1950s. This may have been due in part to the fashion of implanting stingers, and not merely to brand amnesia, but whatever the reason, it is unfortunate…

…Here’s what the patent app says: (extension 10 is chimney, pocket 5 is sump) the stem and mouth-piece may be made round, oval or of any other desired shape. It will be seen that the tubular extension 10 extending into the pocket 5, not only serves to deflect the nicotine and other obstructions into the said pocket as well as to conduct the saliva into the latter, but that it will also serve effectually to prevent any obnoxious matter from the said pocket to return into the stem, even if the pipe be inverted; the annular space around said flange serving to receive the contents of the pocket in case the pipe should be tilted.

I found this a fascinating read. The chimney was an integral part of the airflow of a P-lip system.I started my restoration work on this pipe by addressing the out of round inner edge of the bowl and the damage to the rim top. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the edge and give it a slight bevel and worked over the rough areas on the rim top with the same sandpaper. The finish rim top looked very good. All that remained was to polish it with micromesh.I started my polishing regimen on the bowl. I used nine worn micromesh sanding pads and dry sanded the bowl with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad. The bowl really shines by the final three pads. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth chatter and blended in the repairs with 220 grit sandpaper and started to polish it with a folded piece of 400 wet dry sandpaper. Once it was finished it was smooth.I used some Denicare Mouthpiece Polish that I have in my kit to start polishing out some of the scratches and remaining oxidation on the stem. I rubbed it in with a cotton pad and my finger tip and buffed it off with a cotton pad.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with a cloth containing some Obsidian Oil. I finished polishing it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and buffed it off with a cotton cloth. I gave it a coat of Briarville’s No Oxy Oil to preserve and protect the stem. I don’t know how many times I have said this but I love it when I come to the end of a restoration and all of the parts come together and the pipe looks better than when we started the cleanup process. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I carefully avoided the stamping on the shank sides during the process. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing it with a clean buffing pad on the buffer. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is a real stunning example of an Irish Made Pre-Republic Deluxe 69. Once again the grain and the way the shape follows the grain is amazing. Give the finish pipe a look in the photos below. I can only tell you that it is much prettier in person than the photos capture. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This Made In Ireland Pre-Republic shape 69 Peterson’s Deluxe is a great piece of pipe history that is in exceptional condition. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. This one will be staying in my collection for now while I think about what to do with it. Thanks for your time.

 

Fashioning a Churchwarden from a Blasted French Dr. Geo Deposée Bowl


Blog by Dal Stanton

This is the second commissioning project for the pipe man, clam man, Jon, from South Florida.  His first commissioning (see: A Striking Savinelli Fiammata 2 Briar Calabash for a Clam Man Pipe Man) turned out to be a diamond in the rough!  He had commissioned this pipe not from the usual perusal of my online ‘Help Me!’ baskets in the For “Pipe Dreamers” Only! collection, but he had visited us here in Sofia, Bulgaria, along with a team of folks from his church.  During this visit, Jon went through the boxes and baskets of the inventory and found the Savinelli Fiammata and pulled him aside to commission.  During this visit, Jon also saw my personal collection of Churchwardens and offered to give one of them a new home!  In the end, Jon also commissioned a CW project which also benefits the Daughters of Bulgaria, our work here in Bulgaria working among women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  This was also important to Jon, who as a father, had brought his daughter with him to Bulgaria.  My goal in fashioning Churchwardens from bowls that were either orphaned or in their current states had little hope of being put in service again.  I liken it to Santa’s mythical island of misfit toys.  Repurposed bowls mounted on CW stems can rise from ash heap, as it were, to live and serve again.  I sent Jon a picture of different bowls to see which would speak to him as his new Churchwarden.  He had told me he preferred a bent shank – here were the candidates with differing characteristics.Our emailing back and forth between South Florida and Bulgaria to identify the bowl speaking Jon’s name, resulted in the French Blasted Dr. Geo Deposée, the second pipe pictured above.  I acquired the Dr. Geo during one of our summer vacations on a pipe picking expedition to the Bulgarian coastal city of Burgas on the Black Sea.  I found the ‘Burgas Lot of 9’, at a secondhand shop on the main walking street.  The Dr. Geo is at the end of the line of 7 pipes pictured below which were part of the haul – 2 others were added to these that were eventually posted in the For “Pipe Dreamers” Only! collection from which pipe men and women can choose and commission.The Dr. Geo I acquired I called a Prince shape.  I knew nothing about a Dr. Geo line, but what attracted me to the pipe was the blasted bowl – it was tired and dull, but had potential, though the pipe itself was unimpressive and attracted no attention when it had its time in the Dreamers collection.With the bowl now on my worktable to transform into a Churchwarden, I found some information online about the origins of Dr. Geo Deposée.  Pipephil.eu’s panel gave some information confirming that it was of French origins from the Gichard & Cie Company.Pipedia adds some additional information in its list of French made brands.  It lists that Dr. Geo was produced in the 1940s from Guichard & Cie, and later sold by M. Marmet Regge, with Ebonite stems.  Interesting to me is that my guess is that The Dr. Geo I’m looking at was from the later, M. Marment Regge ownership with the specific reference to the use of Ebonite stems.  I have another Dr. Geo in my Dreamers inventory from another Lot I purchased from France, it has a horn stem, which most likely places it in the earlier dating when rubber was in short supply during WW2.  The listing for Marmet in Pipedia, called M. Marmet-Regge, also sold the Dr. Geo brand which were produced in Saint-Claude. The meaning of the French, “Deposée”, attached to Dr. Geo is a bit cryptic, at least to one who is relegated to Google Translate to make sense of the meaning.  The direct primary English translation provided is “deposited” which is a past tense rendering.  Looking at other definitions provided by Google Translate, the possible meaning could be tied to the idea that “Dr. Geo” attests to or is behind the goodness of this pipe brand like Dr. Grabow!  It seemed like I was grasping at straws until I see the ‘info link’ on the Dr. Geo panel provided by the Pipephil.  The link goes to a French site called  ‘Ces pipes pas comme les autres’ (These pipes like no other) to a May 2006 listing selling ‘Two Doctors’ pipes with information about each.  A ‘Dr. Geo’ is described as one of the doctors with the possible clue pointing to a rational for the sub-name of ‘Deposée’:

Many pipe brands have earned the doctoral title. This makes smokers smile during these times of heightened hunting.

During the post-war years this title was more a guarantee of seriousness or of a search for perfection rather than the sign of a healthy practice. We did not allow ourselves to be disturbed by medical considerations. Everyone knew that smoking was not very healthy and took responsibility. But that has changed a lot today with the new globalized MacCarthyism.

José Manuel Lopes (1) counts seventeen brands of pipes that bear the famous title! I would like to introduce you to an 18th: Dr Arthur recognizable by his “A” circled on the pipe. No further information on this doctor there Maybe you thought I was going to present you with a leather-wrapped pipe, stamped with the most famous of these doctors? It would be bad to know me. But fear not: in this section you will not escape the famous Franco-English doctor whom I have already mentioned in the section of Cavalier pipes.

The pipes of Dr Géo – French brand of Gichard & Cie which is no longer produced – do not have an exceptional notoriety but sufficient to be cited here and there.

(1) José Manuel Lopes (President of Pipe Club of Portugal), Pipes, Artisans and Trademarks. Quimera Editores, 2005

The listing shows a picture of each Doctor cited with dimensions and a pricing.  I find interesting the dismissive gesture for the listing for the Dr. Geo: “…no longer produced – do not have an exceptional notoriety but sufficient to be cited here and there”.  My hope is to change the demeanor of the Dr. Geo Blasted Prince bowl on my worktable transforming him into a Churchwarden. Churchwardens as a classic pipe shape are unique among pipes.  Bill Burney’s description of Churchwardens on his great Pipedia shapes page, describes why they are unique among pipes:Working on my Man Cave 10th floor balcony, I take a few more pictures to get a closer look at the Doctor Geo Prince bowl, which is essentially an Apple shape without the Prince stem – hmmm, an exception to the CW stem principle? The blasted finish is nice – the smooth 3-D picture of the bowl’s grain structure is nice. The finish on the stummel appears to be a very dark brown.  There are minuscule red flecks visible through the cloudiness of the old finish.  At this point, my thinking is to refresh the finish seeking to apply the ‘Dunhill’ finish that I learned from fellow-restorer and rebornpipes contributor, Paresh.  First, after applying all the paces in cleaning the stummel, I’ll assess the condition of the stummel and how to proceed.  Following this, fashioning the CW stem will come.  To start, the Dr. Geo chamber is moderately caked. To address this, I employ the Pipnet Reaming Kit using only the smallest of the 4 blade heads available in the kit.  I follow by scraping the chamber walls with the Savinelli Fitsall Tool and complete the carbon cake removal by sanding the chamber walls with 240 grade paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen. After wiping the chamber with a cotton pad to remove the carbon dust, an inspection reveals a healthy chamber.Transitioning to cleaning the exterior surface, using undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap, I go to work using a cotton pad and a bristled toothbrush. The brass bristled brush also works on the rim.Next, I take the bowl to the kitchen sink to continue the cleaning with shank brushes and anti-oil liquid dishwashing soap to clean the internal mortise and airway.  After giving the bowl a thorough rinsing with warm water, I transfer it back to the worktable.Through the cleaning, the finish has started to come off.  This is an indicator that a fresh start is needed. The finish is old and unstable.I decide to remove the old finish to get to the fresh briar beneath.  Isopropyl 95% is the first agent I try scrubbing the blasted finish with a cotton pad.  It is not effective.Transition next to using acetone is much more effect.  The cotton pad is evidence of the old stain which appears black and purple.  I decide to put the entire stummel into an acetone soak to fully remove the finish.  I leave it in the soak for a few hours. After a couple hours the jar containing the stummel soaking in acetone is clouded with leeched finish.  After taking the stummel out, I use a cotton pad to continue rubbing the finish off as well as employing a little steel wool. The light spots that appeared first are areas that were filled, at least partially, with wood putty which have weakened due to the cleaning.  I use a sharp dental probe to test the fills and they are solid. With the rough texture of the blasted surface, these areas will not be visible after applying new dye to the stummel. Before doing more work on the stummel, I switch the focus to fashioning the CW stem.  The first thing I do is to bring out the electronic caliper and measure the diameter of the mortise which gives me the target size of the tenon that needs to be shaped. This measurement is 7.81mm.  I add about 40mm to this to form my ‘fat target’ – the size I’ll cut the tenon and then follow by sanding to form a customized fit to the mortise.  The fat target is about 8.20mm. Next, with the drill bit provided by the PIMO Tenon Turning Tool, I predrill the airway to accommodate the guide pin of the TTT. Next, after mounting the PIMO tool on the hand drill, I do a test cut on the raw tenon of the precast CW stem and measure it – 8.01mm on the button. Whoops – that is 20mm less than I was aiming for as the ‘fat target’ but I decide to cut the tenon at this size and then sand.  This gives less margin of error, but I’m not too concerned. Keeping the same adjustment of the PIMO tool, I continue the test cutting to form a I have made several Churchwardens and one of the mistakes I have learned is to cut the tenon all the way through the precast uneven molding to create a true stem facing.  Not to do this will leave what appears to be shouldering over the edge of the stem facing.  The picture below shows a sharp 45-degree angle which is the goal.Next, using 240 sanding paper, I sand the newly cut tenon to bring it closer to the target mortise size – 7.81mm.  The rough end of the precast tenon is flattened and smoothed using the flat needle file.After a short time of sanding and fitting, the tenon seats into the mortise.Looking closer, there is a small gapping on the right side which I can close during the fine-tuning sanding.What is also the case is that there is a small overhang of the shank over the seated stem.  This will need to be sanded so that the transition between stummel and stem is smooth.I use masking tape to protect the nomenclature as well as to give a sanding boundary around the shank.I start the sanding on the shank/stem transition.  What is helpful shown in the picture below is that it shows what the ‘low-spot’ is in the pre-cast stem in the darker area passed over by the sanding indicating where sanding continues to be needed. As often is the case with the pre-cast CW stems I purchase, the shank facing along the casting seam has a dimple.  This is a pain because these dimples simply mean more sanding required at those points.Progression with the dimple – I don’t want to take off more than needed.  Note, the darkened area has disappeared on the stem indicating that the sanding paper is making seamless contact between shank and stem.With the shank/stem transition sanding completed, I move to sanding the entire pre-cast CW stem.  To start, I use a coarse 120 grade paper to do the initial sanding.  The casting seams along both sides of the stem need to be erased.  The following picture again shows the differences in the surface of the pre-cast stem.  The pre-cast stem has ripples – unevenness, even though it is new.  The dark stretch below shows a ‘valley’ in the rippling that means I sand more there to bring the edges of the valley flush with the valley floor.  The following pictures show the progression in the 120 sanding.With the CW stem smoothed after the 120 grade sanding, I switch to fine-tuning the button.  As with the stem, the button is rough. The bit needs filing to flatten it and to bring more definition to the button edges.  The slot facing on these CW stems is curved and the upper button extends out a bit more than the lower. This helps in identifying the up/down orientation of the stem.  The pictures show the progression with upper and lower bit.  Upper first:Lower :After the main filing is completed, 240 grade paper is employed to fine-tune the bit and button as well as to sand the entire stem after the 120 sanding.  Upper and lower first: Next, to continue the smoothing, 600 grade paper is used to wet sand the entire stem.  This is followed by applying 000 grade steel wool.A closeup of the button area shows the nice progression!Next, the full regimen of 9 micromesh pads is applied from 1500 to 12000. Between each set of 3 pads, Obsidian Oil is applied to condition and protect the vulcanite from future oxidation.  I only show one orbital view and a couple closeups of the finished process focusing on the upper and lower bit. With the CW stem’s sanding completed, its time to bend the stem.  The general principle I follow in stem bending is that the mouthpiece at the end of the stem, should be generally on the same horizontal plane as the rim.  It’s helpful for me to draw templates to visualize the finished stem.Where the original stem template starts with and estimation of where the bend should take place.I use the hot air gun to focus the heat on the lower side of the stem first – the thicker part.  I want it to become supple before heating the upper, thinner area of the stem which heats faster and wants to be the first place the bend begins.  I want the bend to start in the thicker part of the stem then followed by the thinner.As the stem warms over the hot air gun, I gently coax the bend as the stem softens.  After bending to a point that looks good, I bring the stem to the template holding it there for some minutes for the orientation to take hold.  I then take the stem to the kitchen sink and run cool water over it to solidify the bend.  The first try works well.  I like the look and feel of the pipe in my hand.With the stem sanding and bending completed, focus is again transitioned to the Dr. Geo blasted bowl.  Before moving to the staining process, the stummel needs some preparatory work.  One of the things I really like about working with a combination of blasted and smooth briar surfaces is the contrast that this produces.  I love to see both presentations of the grain – the smooth 2-D viewpoint as well as the rough, blasted 3-D viewpoint of the grain.  This bowl provides an opportunity for the striking contrasting. The rim is angled in a beveled slope from the external rim’s edge downward toward the chamber to the internal rim’s edge.  This rim, I believe, will look great after it is sanded to bring out the smooth briar contrast.The other sanding will bring out smooth grain over the nomenclature panel on the left shank flank as well as the newly sanded area transitioning to the stem.  To begin, 240 grade paper is used on these smooth briar patches followed by dry sanding with 600 grade paper. The full regimen of 9 micromesh pads, from 1500 to 12000, is applied to the smooth briar patches next.I’m loving what I’m seeing!  That grain contrast is great.  In the second picture, the rough area from the old fill is still visible and looks shaky, but it should disappear as it blends with the surrounding briar after the staining process.The staining process is next.  I assemble my desktop staining module with all the component parts.  I recently used the method I learned from my fellow restorer from India, Paresh, of creating the rich Dunhill look.  With this bowl being originally darker, I thought that this approach would be good.  It starts with an undercoat of Fiebing’s Dark Brown Leather Dye that is followed with the washing with red dye. After wiping the bowl with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol to clean it, I warm it with the hot air gun to open the briar helping it to be more receptive to the dye which is applied using a folded over pipe cleaner.  Using the pipe cleaner, I paint sections of the bowl with the Dark Brown Dye and then immediately ‘flame’ it with a lit candle.  This combusts the aniline dye burning away the alcohol leaving the dye pigment embedded in the briar.  After applying the dye, the stummel is set aside for several hours – through the night, for the dye to ‘rest’ and settle in.  This helps the dye to take hold in the briar.The next morning, it’s time to ‘unwrap’ the flamed stummel.  To do this, a felt cloth buffing pad is mounted onto the Dremel set at the slowest speed, and Tripoli compound is applied to help remove the crusted shell exposing the dyed briar beneath.After the Tripoli compound removes the flamed crust, I wipe the bowl to rid it of the compound dust.  When this is completed, I apply a wash of red overcoat to the briar surface and lightly wipe it with a cotton cloth.  I apply and wipe until I’m satisfied with the hue.  I like what I see.  The rich red tones give a depth to the blasted finish.Next, since it’s easier to handle the stem and stummel separately, after mounting a cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel set at about 40% full power, Blue Diamond compound is applied to the long Churchwarden stem and Dr. Geo bowl.  One more step to guard against dye leeching.  Often, bowls that have been newly stained, dye will come off on the steward’s hand the first times the bowl is heated up and put into service. To emulate this, I heat the bowl with the hot air gun and then wipe it with a cotton cloth to pick up leeched dye.  Hopefully, this will keep the bowl from leeching later!I complete the fashioning of the Dr. Geo Churchwarden by giving the reunited stem and bowl a vigorous hand buffing bringing out the shine.  I’m very pleased with the results of the ‘Dunhill’ approach to finishing the bowl that I learned from Paresh.  The Dr. Geo Prince bowl serves well mounted on a long, flowing Churchwarden stem. The contrasting with the smooth and blasted briar surfaces also work very nicely. This was Jon’s second commissioned pipe and he will have the first opportunity to claim this French Dr. Geo Churchwarden from The Pipe Steward Store benefitting the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks for joining me!

More stunning grain – Cleaning up a Second Comoy’s Specimen Straight Grain


Blog by Steve Laug

In the last box of pipes Jeff sent me there were three pipes that I left to the end to give my attention too. These were all Comoy’s pipes. The first is the one on the table now – a Comoy’s Blue Riband Prince 228C with stunning grain. The second and third were both Comoy’s Specimen Straight Grain Dublins – the second was a 35 and the third was a little larger, a 36. All of these pipes were drop dead gorgeous.  I have them all on the desk top now looking them over and I am quite honestly stunned by their beauty.The final one of those stunning pipes I chose to work on is the pipe at the bottom of the two photos above. It is 36 Specimen Straight Grain. Comoy’s Specimen Straight Grain pipes are really a special grade of pipe. This is another beautiful piece of pipe maker craftsmanship and in my mind have Comoy’s has never been surpassed. It is stamped on the left side of the shank Comoy’s Specimen Straight Grain and on the right side it bears the 36 shape number near the bowl shank junction and the circular COM stamp that reads Made In London in a circle over England. The “In” is in the centre of the circle. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work.He took photos of the bowl and rim top to show their general condition. You can see the tars on the inner edge of the beveled top. The cake in the bowl is quite thick and there is tobacco debris on the walls of the bowl. The finish on the bowl is dull but still very stunning. Jeff took some photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give an idea of the grain on this particular piece of briar. It is amazing and I cannot wait to see what it looks like once it is polished and waxed. He took photos of the stamping on both sides of the shank to capture it for me. The first photo shows the left side of the shank and the stamping as noted above it shows the inset three part C inlaid on the side of the stem. The second shows the right side of the shank with the COM stamp and shape number. This pipe also has a slender stem but it is straight and has a great fishtail blade. Once again the surface of the top and underside of the stem is oxidized and dirty but it is quite free of tooth marks and only has a minimum of chatter. I turned to Pipephil’s site to get a quick overview of the Comoy’s Specimen Straight Grain line (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-comoy.html). I have included a screen capture of the pertinent section from the site. The summary to the right of the photos is always succinct and quite pointed. In this case it quotes the Comoy’s 1965 catalogue in saying the Specimen Straight Grain grade: “The rarest and finest of all Comoy pipes.”I turned to Pipedia and reread the history of the Comoy’s brand and focused on the Specimen Straight Grain. Here is the link to the article by the late Derek Green. It is worth a read. (https://pipedia.org/wiki/A_History_Of_Comoy%27s_and_A_Guide_Toward_Dating_the_Pipes). I quote from that article below:

Specimen Straight Grain. I am not sure when this grade was first produced, but it probably appeared just before the Second World War. This certainly was the top grade from its introduction. It is described in my 1965 catalogue as “The rarest and finest of all Comoy pipes. It is so unusual to find a completely perfect straight grain that shapes and quantities are strictly limited.” It was priced at $50 in 1943 and 1965. Jacques Cole recalls that, in the 1950s, there was a very large bent that was reckoned to be about the “perfect” Straight Grain. It was not for sale but used as an exhibition piece and valued then at £500.

I moved forward to work on the pipe itself and see what I had to do with it. It had come back looking amazingly clean. Even the stem looked like new, with most of the tooth chatter gone. I was impressed. Jeff had done his normal thorough clean up – reaming, scrubbing, soaking and the result was evident in the pipe when I unpacked it. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. Just look at the grain on this delicate pipe. Stunning! I took some photos of the rim top and stem. The rim top and bowl looked very good. The cake and lava overflow were gone and the inward beveled rim was very clean. Jeff had been able to get rid of the darkening, lava and tars and left behind a smooth rim top. Even the slight nick on the outside right edge of the rim top looked better. The close up photos of the stem shows that it is a much cleaner and better looking stem. The light tooth chatter was gone and the stem looked really good.I took some photos of the stamping on the shank sides to show the condition after the cleanup. Often the stamping takes a hit with the cleaning and is lessened in it clarity. Jeff does a great job in leaving the stamping looking very good.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe at this point. Like other Comoy’s I have worked on this stem had a metal tube in the tenon to strengthen it in what is often a weak point on a pipe.Since the pipe was also in such great condition at this point I started my polishing regimen. I used nine worn micromesh sanding pads and dry sanded the bowl with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad. The bowl really shines by the final three pads. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. Because the stem was in such great condition I moved direct to polishing it with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with a cloth containing some Obsidian Oil. I finished polishing it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and buffed it off with a cotton cloth. I gave it a coat of Briarville’s No Oxy Oil to preserve and protect the stem. I don’t know how many times I have said this but I love it when I come to the end of a restoration and all of the parts come together and the pipe looks better than when we started the cleanup process. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I carefully avoided the stamping on the shank sides during the process. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing it with a clean buffing pad on the buffer. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is a real stunning example of Comoy’s Dublin shape. Once again the grain and the way the shape follows the grain is amazing. Give the finish pipe a look in the photos below. I can only tell you that it is much prettier in person than the photos capture. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This English made Comoy’s Specimen Straight Grain Dublin 36 pipe is the pipe of the amazing threesome I have been working on today. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. This one will be staying in my collection for now while I think about what to do with it. Thanks for your time.