Tag Archives: pipe restemming

Restoring & Restemming a Peterson’s Republic Era System Standard 313 Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table was a bit of a surprise. I was sorting through the bowls that had accumulated over the past 20+ years with Jeff and pitching the worthless ones. You have to understand the drive that made me keep them around this long was still strong but I need to clean up things here so I asked Jeff to walk through the box of around 50-60 bowls and thin them down. As we went through them we came across a smooth Peterson’s System Standard 313 bowl. It had some interesting grain around the bowl but it also had a lot of damage. The right outer edge of the bowl was burned and damaged and the bowl was completely out of round. It had a thick cake and it was a mess. But there was something about it that caught our eye. The pipe is faintly stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Peterson’s [over] System [over] Standard. On the right side it is faintly stamped Made in the Republic of Ireland and underneath that is the shape number 313. The nickel ferrule is stamped K & P [over] Peterson. The nickel ferrule was also heavily discoloured by oils and tars and the glue holding it in place had long since dried and it was loose. The finish had a lot of grime ground into it and it was very dirty.

I remembered that I had a stem that would fit it perfectly that I had found recently. I found it and fit it on the shank and it was perfect. The stem was oxidized, calcified and had tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the P-lip style button. The “P” stamp on the left side of the saddle was undamaged. After putting it all together, the pipe showed promise but it was very dirty. I took these photos before I started my work on it.  I took a photo of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the condition of the rim top and edges. I also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the oxidation, calcification and chatter and tooth marks. He took photos of the stamping on the shank and the nickel ferrule. It reads as noted above and is faint but readable.    I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe as a whole. It showed a lot of promise.I am including the information from Pipedia’s article on Peterson pipes. It is a great read in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Peterson). I have included a bit of the pertinent history here.

1950 – 1989 The Republic Era – From 1950 to the present time, the stamp for this era is “Made in the Republic of Ireland” in a block format generally in three lines but two lines have been used with or without Republic being abbreviated.

I knew that I was dealing with a Republic Era pipe made between 1950-1989. It was a smooth Peterson’s System Standard 313 Bent Billiard with nice grain. The finish was stained with a combination of brown stains. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

To start my work on the pipe I reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and took the cake back to bare briar. I followed that by scraping the wall clear of remaining debris with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife. I finished the bowl by sanding the walls with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel.  The ferrule was loose so I removed it while I worked on cleaning the internals and externals of the pipe.I cleaned out the shank and the sump in the mortise as well as the airway into the bowl and in the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. It came out quite clean and smelled significantly better.I set the stem aside and decided to address the damage on the rim top and edges before I scrubbed the exterior of the pipe. I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper and started reshaping the inner edge of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper.  I scrubbed the pipe with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime on the bowl and shank. I rinsed it off with warm running water and dried it off with a soft towel. The pictures show the grain around the sides of the pipe. With the briar clean I smeared the shank end with all-purpose glue. I aligned the stamping on the ferrule with the left side of the shank and pressed it on to the shank end.    With the ferrule in place and the briar clean it was time to take photos of the pipe. While the rim top still shows damage on the right outer edge and inner edge it is significantly better than it was when I started.     I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth.  I restained the front of the bowl and the rim top with a combination of Walnut and Maple stain pens to blend in the colour of those areas to the rest of the bowl.I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. Earlier in the day I had dropped the stem in a Deoxidizer Bath from Briarville and let it sit most of the day. Once I removed it from the bath it had soaked for about 5-6 hours. I removed it and wiped it down with a paper towel. I worked it over pretty roughly to remove the calcification and oxidation that sat on top of the vulcanite. It came out looking very good.  I sanded out the damage on the shank end of the stem where the previous pipe bowl and ferrule had cut a groove. I also sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I touched up the “P” stamp on the left side of the stem with Paper Mate Liquid Paper. I applied it with the sponge in the bottle and worked it into the stamp with a tooth pick. Once it dried I scraped off the excess with the tooth pick. The stamp looks very good.   I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.    This Peterson’s System Standard 313 Bent Billiard with a vulcanite stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The beautiful grain that shines through the polished finish is stunning. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The grain just popped with the wax and the buffing. It is a beauty! The finished Peterson’s System Standard Billiard 313 fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 45gr/1.55oz. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Restoring and Restemming an Asselta Freehand Egg


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe came to us from an auction in Huntington Station, New York, USA and has been sitting here since mid-2019. I am finally getting to it. Even though the plateau rim top was dirty it had some charm showing through the grit and grime of the years. The grain around the bowl and shank were quite stunning under the grime. The acrylic shank extension was an incredible mixture of brown, orange and blue swirls. On the left side of the shank it was stamped Asselta. The pipe came to us without a stem so I would need to pick through what I have here and find a good option. The pipe is a smooth egg shape bowl with a plateau rim. The finish is filthy with dust and grit ground into the briar of the bowl and shank sides. The bowl had a thick cake and an overflow of lava on the top and inner edge of the rim obscuring the plateau. Jeff took some photos of the pipe to show its overall condition before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the lava and dust ground into the plateau rim top.   Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl and shank and the acrylic swirled shank extension to give a picture of what the briar around the pipe looked like.   He took a photo of the stamping on the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable.    I turned to Pipedia and did a search for Asselta pipes. The search came with a link in the American Pipe Brands (https://pipedia.org/wiki/American_Pipe_Brands_%26_Makers_A_-_B). It appears that the pipe was potentially made in Long Island, New York, USA. Seeing how the pipe came to us from New York it had not traveled far in its life before we purchased it. Now it has traveled from New York to Idaho and then to Vancouver, Canada. Where its journey will end only time will tell.

Now it was time to work on the pipe. Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He worked over the debris on the plateau rim top and was able to remove it. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I took photos of the pipe bowl once I received it. It really looked good.    The plateau rim top was very clean and the bowl was spotless. It was a good looking pipe. The swirled acrylic shank extension was beautiful.   I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. It was clear and read as noted above. I went through my assortment of stems and found one that really worked well with the shank extension and the bowl. It is going to be a great looking pipe. I put the stem in the shank and took photos of the new look of the bowl. I like the overall look that pipe had. Once I cleaned up and polished the stem it would look very good.  I took close up photos of the bowl and plateau rim top and the stem. I was going to need to remove the tooth marks but the stem was going to look very good. The bowl was in such good condition that I started my work on it by rubbing down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips. I used a horsehair shoe brush to work it into plateau top. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.   I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem that I had picked out. I “painted” the surface of the stem with the flame of a lighter to lift the tooth marks. I was able to lift all of them on the top side and all but two on the underside. I filled them in with super glue and set it aside to cure. I used a file to flatten the repair on the stem and reshape the button. Once I had it reshaped and the repair flattened I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the scratching and blending them into the surface. I began the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the scratches out of the acrylic stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.     This smooth finish/plateau rim top Asselta Freehand Egg with a swirled acrylic shank extension is a great looking pipe. It is a pipe made in Long Island, New York but other than that the carver is a mystery to me. The replacement fancy, saddle vulcanite stem works well and goes nicely with the extension and the briar. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Asselta Freehand Egg fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 ¼ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 53grams/1.87oz. I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store shortly in the American Pipe Makers Section. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Restoring a Mixed Finish Soren Hand Carved Pedestal Freehand


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table came to us in a group of pipes that we picked up from an auction in 2018 in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, USA. It has a mixed sandblast and smooth finish that was a bit dull and lifeless. It showed promise under the grit and grime of the years. On the underside of the shank it was clearly stamped Soren [over] Hand Carved [over] Made in Denmark. When I received it from Jeff somehow the bowl and stem had separated and I had the bowl in hand but no idea what stem fit the shank. I tried a variety of stems that I had but not one of them fit well.

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He worked over the debris in the plateau on the rim top and shank end and was able to remove it. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. When I took it out of the box it did not have a stem in the shank. I wrote Jeff and sent him photos of the bowl and asked him if he had photos that showed what the stem looked like. Jeff did a bit of hunting on his hard drive and found the pictures of the pipe with the stem that it had when he started his work. He sent me the following photos of the pipe. The pipe was very dirty with grime and grit ground into the sides of the sandblast and the rim top. The bowl had a thick cake and an overflow of lava on the rim top that obscured the edges of the rim and the plateau finish. To me the stem just did not look like the right one for this kind of freehand pipe. It looked like a replacement stem that was just stuck in the shank. Now I had to see if I could find it in the boxes that he sent. That would be a bit of a treasure hunt. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the lava on the plateau finish of the rim top. There is dust and debris stuck to the walls of the bowl clearly visible in the photos. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem that came with it to show the chatter and tooth marks. Jeff took a photo of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the sandblast on the briar looked like. The pedestal on the heel of the bowl is a unique feature of this pipe.He took photos of the stamping on the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable. I found the stem that was pictured above in the photos in one of the bags of stems that I had put together in the bottom of one of the boxes. I took photos of the stem to give an idea of the appearance. Jeff had done a great job cleaning it. The tenon was very short and stubby and there were casting marks on the side of the stem blade. I put the stem on the bowl and took a photo of the stem that Jeff had sent with the pipe. I have worked on quite a few Soren pipes over the years and turned to one of the blogs that I wrote  on another interesting Soren Freehand Sitter (https://rebornpipes.com/2020/02/26/this-interesting-soren-hand-carved-freehand-turned-out-to-be-more-work-than-expected/). I quote from that blog below.

I looked up the brand on Pipephil (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-s10.html) and found that the brand was carved by Søren Refbjerg Rasmussen. Pipes that he made for the European market were mostly stamped “Refbjerg” while those made for the US market were stamped “Soren”. Thus I knew that one I was working on was imported into the US market.

I decided to set the stem aside and see what I could find in my cans of stems here. I found an interesting turned stem that had a lot of potential. It had some oxidation, calcification and deep tooth marks on the surface. The tenon was a perfect fit in the shank so I would just need to clean it up and repair the tooth marks. Here are some photos of the stem as it looked before I worked on it.   I put the stem on the pipe and took some photos of the look of the “new” stem on the bowl. I think that with some work this was the right stem for the pipe.  I took a close up photo of the bowl and the stem to give an idea of what I had to work with. The bowl was very clean and it would polish up nicely. There was still some darkening in the plateau on the back side of the bowl that would need to be dealt with. The stem photos show the oxidation, calcification and deep tooth marks on both sides near the damaged button surface. It was badly damaged but showed a lot of promise. I removed the stem from the shank and dropped in a bath of Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer to soak while I worked on the bowl. I figured the soak would bring the oxidation to the surface and clean the surface so that I could do the repairs to the stem surface once it was clean.While the stem soaked in the deoxidizer I worked on the bowl. I scrubbed the rim top with a brass bristle brush to remove the darkening and deep grime. Once it was finished it looked much better. I stained it black with a black stain pen. I used the wire brush again to clean up some of the high spots leaving the stain in the grooves. I also lightly sanded the rim top with a 1500 grit micromesh sanding pad to further highlight the high spots. I like the look of the rim at this point though with more polishing and Balm it would come alive. I polished the smooth portions of the bowl sides with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad. With the smooth portion of the briar polished I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips and into the plateau rim top and sandblast with a horsehair shoe brush. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the Balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. While the Balm did its work I worked on the “new stem”. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I removed it from the Deoxidizer bath and rubbed it down with a coarse cloth to dry it out. It had brought oxidation to the surface and made it easier to deal with but it had not removed it. The good news for me was that it had done a great job removing it from the tooth marks. I “painted” the surface of the vulcanite with the flame of a lighter to lift the dents as much as possible. I was able to lift them significantly. I filled in the remaining divots with black super glue. I chose to use black glue this time just in case there were some remaining spots of oxidation in the tooth marks. The black would take care of that. Once the repairs had hardened I scrubbed the remaining oxidation in all of the grooves of the fancy stem with Soft Scrub all purpose cleaner. I was able to get into the grooves with the product and the cotton pads that I used to scrub it. It was beginning to look better.   I cleaned out the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners to remove the tars and the debris that was loosened by the deoxidizer bath.I smoothed out the repairs and recut the button edges with a rasp and a file. The stem was taking shape.  I smoothed out the remaining repair marks and the file marks with 220 grit sandpaper. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.  This beautiful Soren Hand Carved Pedestal Freehand with a fancy, turned vulcanite replacement stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Soren Hand Carved fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 ½ inches, Height: 2 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 72grams/2.54oz. I will be adding it to the rebornpipes online store in the Danish Pipemakers section. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Restemming and Restoring a No Name Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

This morning I received another call from a customer sent to me by the local pipe shop. The fellow had a pipe that needed to be restemmed. He said he would stop by and drop the pipe off for me to work on. Irene and I were out and about so he left it in the mail box. When Irene brought it down to me in the shop the smell was overwhelmingly strong and filled the room with the overly sweet smell of years of aromatic vanilla smelling tobaccos. It was in a plastic bag and once I opened the bag it was even more pungent. The bowl was filled with a thick cake that took over half the diameter of the bowl. There was tobacco debris stuck on the walls of the bowl. The cake was sticky and tacky with the tars and oils. The exterior of the pipe was cake with sticky substances around all the sides and on the rim top. The rim top had been beat up and was in rough condition with a thick buildup of lava on the top. The finish was in rough condition with a lot of nicks and gouges around the sides of the bowl and shank. It was really a mess. The stem was chewed and split in half at the button forward for about an inch up the stem. Once I removed it the inside of the shank was as smelly as the rest of the pipe. I took photos of the pipe before I began my clean up. I took a photo of the rim top to show condition of the bowl. You can see the damage to the top and the inner and outer edge. You can see the thick cake in the bowl and the thick lava coat on the heavily damaged rim top. It is a very dirty pipe. I also took photos of the stem to show its condition. It has tooth marks and cracks on the top and underside of the stem near the button.  You can also see that the stem does not fit tightly against the shank but has gaps on both sides. I took the pipe apart and took photos of the pipe as a whole. It is in rough condition and I think that the stem was a replacement at some point in its life.The pipe stunk so bad and filled the room with the odor to the degree that I decided to clean the bowl before restemming the pipe. I reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer using three of the four cutting heads. I removed the cake back to bare walls so I could check for damage to the inside of the bowl from heat or otherwise. I scraped the remainder of the cake from the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife and scraped the rim top at the same time. I scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with a tooth brush and undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap. I worked to get the thick grime off the outside of the bowl and shank. I rinsed it with running water and rinsed off the soap and grime. I cleaned out the shank and the airway into the bowl with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and isopropyl alcohol to remove the tars and buildup in the shank. I wanted the shank clean before I fit a new stem.I built up the inside edge of the bowl and the damage to the rim top with super glue and briar dust. I layered the mixture on the rim and rebuilt the inner edge. Once I had it built up I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. Once I topped it smooth I stained the rim top with a Maple Stain Pen. I found a stem that was the same diameter as the ruined stem. I turned it on the PIMO tenon turning tool and my hand drill. I took the excess material off the diameter and the length of the stem to get a snug fit in the shank. I took photos of the fit of the stem to the shank. The fit of the stem to the shank end was the same as the previous one.There was a gap on both sides and it sat firm against the top and bottom. I examined the shank end and saw that it had been damaged and was no longer flat. I decided to square it up with a thin brass band as it would give a flat surface for the stem to face against. I glued and pressed it onto the shank end and set it aside to cure.   I used the Dremel and sanding drum to take down the excess diameter of the stem and sanded it smooth with 220 grit sandpaper. Once I had the fit correct I put the stem in place on the pipe and took photos of the fit and look at this point in the process.    I filled in the nicks and chips in the finish with briar dust and clear super glue. Once it had cured I sanded them smooth with 220 grit sandpaper. I wiped the bowl down with isopropyl alcohol to remove the finish and the dust on the briar.  I restained the bowl and shank with a light brown aniline stain. I flamed it with a lighter and repeated the process several times until I had the coverage that I was looking for.Once the stain had cured I took the pipe off the cork and took photos of the stained look of the bowl and shank with the brass band.   I wiped the bowl down with isopropyl alcohol to make the stain more transparent. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down between pads with a damp cloth. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Balm did its magic and the grain stood out.    I sanded out the scratch marks on stem from the Dremel with 220 grit sandpaper. I started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further the stem. The photo below shows the polished stem.  This pipe has come a long way from where it was when I received it to restem. It is not flawless but it looks better. The Vancouver piper who it belongs to has received far more that what he originally wanted – just a new stem. The briar around the bowl is clean and looks better. The rich brown stains gave the grain a sense of depth with the polishing and waxing. The rim top while not perfect is far better. I put the newly fitted vulcanite stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inch, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The pipeman will be picking it up soon and will be reintroduced to this pipe. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.

Fresh Life for a Comoy’s The Everyman London Pipe 126 Smooth Pot


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from an online auction from Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, USA. It is a Comoy’s made The Everyman pipe. It is a nice piece of briar under all of the grime ground into the finish. The pipe is stamped on the left side and reads The [over] Everyman [over] London Pipe. On the right side it reads 126 (shape number) next to the shank. There is also the circular Comoy’s COM stamp Made in London in a circle [over] England. The bowl was moderately caked with a light lava coat on the top of the rim heavier toward the back of the bowl. It was hard to tell how the inner and outer edge of the rim actually looked until the bowl was reamed. The stem was obviously a replacement as it did not have the characteristic 3-bar logo that is usually on the Everyman pipes. The stem had the same deep tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside near the button as the rest of the pipes in this estate. Jeff took photos of it before cleaning to show that even though it was dirty the pipe showed promise.   I took photos of the rim top and the stem to show their condition. Jeff was able to clean out the bowl completely and the rim top. He removed the tars and lava and left behind a clean top that would need some stain touch ups. The stem was oxidized with scratches, tooth chatter and marks on both sides near the button and on the surface edges of the button itself.   Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar around the pipe looked like. There is some stunning grain under the grime.   He took photos of the stamping on the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable. He did not include the stamping on the right side in his photos.Before starting my cleanup work on the pipe I turned my favourite go to sites on background of brands. The first is Pipephil’s site (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-e4.html). There I looked up the Everyman brand and confirmed what I remembered about it being made by Comoy’s. From there I turned to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Comoy%27s). I went directly to the section on Comoys pipes. I found this shape chart. The shape number 296 is shown as a Large Canadian. I have drawn a red rectangle around it in the photo below.

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe once I received it.   The rim top had some scratches and nicks in the briar. The inner edge of the rim looked very good with no damage. The outer edge has some small nicks but also looked good. The stem surface looked very good with a few small tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. The stem was a replacement and I think I have an original stem in my collection of stems that will fit the pipe.   I took a photo of the stamping on the sides of the shank. The left side was stamped The [over] Everyman [over] London Pipe. On the right side was the shape number 126 next to the shank and the Comoy’s COM Stamp Made in London in a circle [over] England. The stamping is clear and readable.   I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. The stem is tapered. I knew I had an original stem for The Everyman London Pipe in my cans of stems so I went through them until I found it. The fit to the shank is almost perfect. There needed to be a little adjustment made for a perfect fit but it was going to work well. I took a couple of photos of it before I tried it on the shank.Here is what the pipe looked like with the “new” original stem.I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the transition between the shank and the stem. It did not take too much to make it smooth and once I was finished it looked original. With the new stem fit on the shank I turned back to cleaning up and polishing the bowl. I polished it with 1500-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth. I rubbed down the briar with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the finish to clean, enliven and protect the new finish. I let the balm sit for 10-15 minutes and then buffed it with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.   I scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub All Purpose Cleanser to remove the remaining oxidation on the vulcanite.I turned my attention to the “new” stem. I sanded it with 1500-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished the stem with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. This Comoy’s Made The Everyman London Pipe 126 Pot came out looking very good. I am glad I remembered that I had an original stem in my can of stems and that it FIT. I put the pipe back together and buffed the bowl and the stem with Blue Diamond polish. I gave the bowl and the stem several coats of carnauba wax and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The smooth finish looks really good in person with great grain around the bowl. It should be a great smoking pipe with a good hand feel. The dimensions are Length: 5 1/2 inches, Height: 1 1/2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/2 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 inches. I will be posting it on the rebornpipes store very soon. It should make a nice addition to your pipe rack if you have been looking for a reasonably priced Comoy’s The Everyman London Pipe. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this estate Comoy’s Made pipe.

Restoring and Restemming a MALAGA Canadian


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table is a “Malaga” pipe that Jeff picked up from an online auction from Alden, Michigan, USA. It is a nice looking Canadian with an oil cured finish and some great looking grain around the bowl and shank. The pipe is stamped on top of the shank and reads MALAGA. The carver did a great job of carving the pipe to capture the grain around the bowl and shank. The bowl had a heavy cake with an overflow of lava on the rim top with heavier overflow on the back side of the rim top. The sides of the bowl and shank are very dirty with grime and oils ground into the finish from prolonged use. The vulcanite stem was heavily oxidized and had tooth dents and chatter on the top and the underside of the stem. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started the cleanup work. Jeff showed me the pipe on Facetime and it was quite a beauty. With some work it will be a real beauty. I looked forward to seeing it in person.    Jeff took a close up photo of the bowl and rim to capture the condition of the pipe before he started the cleanup work. The bowl has a thick cake and the uneven overflow of lava on the rim top is quite thick toward the front. The inside edge of the rim could be damaged but it quite hidden under the lava coat. The stem is deeply oxidized, calcified and dirty and there is tooth chatter and marks on both sides of the stem ahead of the button.  He took a photo of the stamping on the topside of the shank. It read as noted above.Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar looked like. There is some nice grain around the sides. You can also see the damage to the rim edges and the heel of the bowl in the photos below. I am including the link to a blog that I wrote that gives some of the history of the Malaga brand and the Malaga Pipe Shop in Royal Oak, Michigan in the USA. I have written an earlier blog to give a little history of the Malaga Brand and the pipemaker, George Khoubesser. Here is the link – https://rebornpipes.com/tag/malaga-pipes/.That blog also includes links to a catalogue and the history of the pipemaker George Khoubesser. Follow the link to get a feel for the brand and the pipemaker.

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet pipe reamer and removed the rest of it with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. When the pipe arrived and I unpacked it the stem was broken off at the end. There was about a ¼ inch of the stem and the entire button was in the bottom of the bag that the pipe was packed in. I took photos of the pipe once I received it.  The rim top cleaned up really well. The rim top and outer edge of the bowl show some darkening over most of the surface. There is damage to the inner edge of the bowl and bowl is out of round.  The stem surface looked very good with tooth marks and chatter on the top side and the underside near the button.   The stamping on the topside of the shank is clear and readable. It reads as noted above.  I removed the taper stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole.  Now it was time to work on the pipe. I decided to work on it by fitting a new stem on the shank. I went through my can of stems and found an acrylic slight saddle stem that was the perfect length and the tenon fit well. The width of the stem was slightly bigger than the shank. The fit on the upper and lower side was perfect.I sanded the tenon slightly so that fit would be snug in the shank. Once I had removed a little bit of the diameter with 220 grit sandpaper I put it on the shank and took a photo. I started sanding it with 220 grit sandpaper to start reshaping the stem to fit the shank. I took photos of fit of the stem  at this point.I heated the stem with a heat gun to remove the bend in the stem. I heated it until it had softened and then carefully straightened it out.    I continued to sand the excess diameter of the stem to fit it to the shank. I took photos of the stem once I had finished with the Dremel and sanding drum. It is very close to fitting and sanding it with 220 grit sandpaper will clean up the fit. I sanded it with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to fit it to the shank.  I sanded the briar and the stem to get a smooth transition between the stem and the shank. I took some closeup photos of the fit of the stem to the shank after I sanded it with some more 220 grit sandpaper and started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.   I removed stem from the shank and turned my attention to the inner edge of the bowl. I worked on cleaning up the darkening and the damage on the edge and the rim top with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper.  There were two large nicks/chips in the right side of the bowl toward the lower backside of the bowl. I filled them in with clear super glue. Once the glue cured I sanded it smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and blended it into the surrounding briar. I used an Oak Stain Pen to touch up the sanded area of the bowl repair and the work fitting the stem to the shank.    I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with a damp cloth.   I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The grain came alive and the finish looked rich.   I polished the acrylic stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad (Obsidian Oil does not usually work with acrylic but I used it anyway as it gives traction to sanding with the next pad). I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.   This restemmed Malaga Canadian with a acrylic saddle stem turned out to be a real beauty. The carver really maximized the grain with the shape of the pipe. I polished stem and the bowl with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel and the finish just popped and came alive. I gave the bowl 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. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The pipe took on life with the buffing. The rich oil cured colour works well with the polished acrylic stem. The finished pipe has a rich look that is quite catching. Have a look at it with the photos below. The shape, finish and flow of the pipe and stem are very well done. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe was 47g/1.66oz. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store shortly. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Restemming and Restoring a Weber Rusticated Oom Paul


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table came to us from a pipe hunt Jeff and I did in Washington earlier this year. We picked this Weber Imported Briar Bowl sans stem at an Antique Mall along the way of the hunt. The rusticated finish was unique and allowed some nice flame and straight grain to come through in the smooth portions of the bowl. On the right side of the shank it was clearly stamped with the Weber oval logo [over] Imported Briar. The finish is smooth other than the rusticated or carved portion on the left side of the bowl toward the front. The rim top and first ¼ inch of the bowl side below the rim top is smooth as is the shank end. The pipe bowl was filthy with grime and oil ground into the briar of the bowl and shank sides. There was a lot of dust in the carvings on the bowl sides. The bowl had a thick cake and a thick overflow of lava on the rim top.  The rim edges – both outer and inner – looked very good. Jeff took some photos of the bowl to show its overall condition and shape before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the lava on the rim top. He took photos of the stamping on the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable.   I turned to Pipedia to see if I could figure out the stamping on the pipe and found a good article on the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Weber_Pipe_Co.). I quote from that article below.

Carl B. Weber was a German from Bavaria. Aged 21 he emigrated to the USA in 1911. In 1938 he established Weber Briars Inc. in Jersey City, New Jersey. Later renamed in Weber Pipe Co..

The firm grew to be one of the giants of American pipe industry focusing itself in the middle price and quality zone. Trademark: “Weber” in an oval. Beside that Weber – especially in the years after 1950 – was a most important supplier for private label pipes that went to an immense number of pipe shops. Alone in New York, exactly the same pipes were found at Wilke’s, Barclay Rex, Trinity East, Joe Strano’s Northampton Tobacconist in Ridgewood, Queens, Don-Lou in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn… Nearly all pipes for Wilke were unstained and many models, for example the “Wilke Danish Bent”, could hardly deny originating of Weber.

Among others well reputed pipemaker Anthony Passante¹ worked for Weber.

Weber Pipe Co. owned and manufactured Jobey pipes – when mainly sold in the USA by The Tinder Box from 1970’s – 80’s. In addition Jobey / Weber bought Danish freehands from Karl Erik (Ottendahl). These pipes were offered as Jobey Dansk. Ottendahl discontinued exports to the United States in 1987 and in the very same year – obviously only as a ghost brand – Jobey was transferred to Saint-Claude, France to be manufactured by Butz-Choquin.

Carl B. Weber is the author of the famous book “Weber’s Guide to Pipes and Pipe Smoking”.

It was time to work on the pipe. Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I took photos of the pipe bowl once I received it.  I decided to put a brass shank band on the pipe because I really like the look of a thin band between the wood and the bent stem on an Oom Paul. I just sold and English made one that I had done that with and really liked the looks. It is purely cosmetic as there are no cracks. I smoothed out the shank end with 220 grit sandpaper and polished it lightly with a 1500 grit micromesh pad. I pressed the band in place on the shank end and took some photos to show how it looked.   I went through my stem and chose two stems that would work with the pipe. The first one was a saddle stem. I had been drilled for a filter and was quite shiny. I was not sure if it was rubber or if it was plastic. I sanded the tenon down so that it would fit the pipe.I put it on the pipe and took photos. It was slightly smaller in diameter than the band on the shank but it did not look too band. I liked the overall look of the pipe with this stem. I set up my heat gun to bend the stem. I inserted a pipe cleaner in the airway and started heating the stem surface. I checked it regularly and found that the surface of the stem had split the length of the underside on the airway. I pitched the stem and went back to the work table to fit the second stem. This time I would use a rubber cast stem that had a taper rather than a saddle. It was also virtually the same diameter as the shank end with the band. I put it on my PIMO tenon turning tool and took the tenon down to where it almost fit the shanks and sanded it by hand for the snug fit I was looking for. I sanded the casting marks on the sides of the stem with my Dremel and sanding drum to smooth them out. I put the stem on the bowl and took photos. I would need to remove some of the vulcanite on the top of the stem to match the diameter of the shank. I liked the overall look of the new stem.  I used the Dremel and sanding drum to remove the excess vulcanite from the top part of the stem to match the shank.   I put a pipe cleaner in the stem and heated it with the heat gun until the vulcanite was flexible.  I bent it so that the pipe would sit comfortably in the mouth and hang nicely. I removed the new stem and turned my attention to the bowl for a while. I would come back to polishing the stem shortly. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips and into the carvings around the bowl with a horsehair shoe brush. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 10 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.    I set the bowl aside and turned to work on the stem. I sanded the stem surface to remove the scratches, Dremel marks and casting marks and blend them into the surface of the vulcanite with 220 grit sandpaper and started the polishing of the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.   I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.  This Weber Imported Briar Rusticated Oom Paul came out really well with the brass band and the new stem. The briar and vulcanite stem taper make for a great looking pipe now that it has been restored and restemmed. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Weber Oom Paul fits nicely in the hand and hangs well in the mouth. Once it is packed with tobacco and fired up I am sure that it will feel great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Restemming and Rebirthing a L’Artigiana Italian Made Freehand


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe in the queue came to us from a recent pipe hunt that Jeff and his wife did in Utah. It is an interesting Freehand bowl that has a heavy rustication around the bowl and shank and a plateau rim top and shank end. It has a smooth panel on the left side where it is stamped. It reads L’Artigiana [over] Italy. I think that this will be another nice looking piece once it is cleaned up and restemmed. The bowl is thickly caked with an overflow of lava filling in much of the plateau rim top. The rustication around the bowl and shank are very deep and craggy and filled in with a lot of dust and debris. The top and edges of the bowl look good but I would be more certain once I reamed and cleaned it. The exterior of the briar was dirty with grime and dust. Jeff took photos of the pipe before my cleanup work. They tell the story and give a glimpse of the promise that we see in this pipe. He took a photo of the plateau rim top to show the cake in the bowl, the lava on the rim top and the inner edge.  The lava coat on the rim top filled in the plateau top to the point of the valleys being filled in.The next photos show the rustication portions of the bowl. The dust and debris has filled in many of the deepest grooves in the rustication. It is a pretty nice looking pipe under the grime.   He took photos of the stamping on the left side of the shank. It is faint on the left end but is otherwise readable in the photo below and is as noted above. I turned to Pipedia to read about L Artigiana Pipes. There was no specific listing for the brand but under the Makers list it was listed as a sub brand or second connected the brand to Cesare Barontini (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Italian_Pipe_Brands_%26_Makers_K_-_L). Quote:

Cesare Barontini sub-brand / second.

From there I turned to the article that I have read previous on Pipedia about Ceare Barontini (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Barontini,_Cesare).

In 1890 Turildo Barontini opened a factory for the production of briar. In 1925 his son Bruno began to produce the first pipes. Cesare Barontini, son of Bruno, started direction of the factory in 1955, and still runs it together with his daughters Barbara and Silvia.

Sub-brands & Seconds:

Aldo Velani

Cesare

L’artigiana

Stuart

Cortina

See also Barontini, Ilio, Cesare’s cousin.

I love the description as it truly captures the shape and beauty of this freehand pipe. The article above stated that the pipe is handcrafted by artists so that each one is a unique piece. It is cut from the plateau to leave that exposed on the top of the rim and down the shank to the end. It has a thumb hole cut for comfort in holding it while smoking. It is suggested that pipe sold for $60. Now to work on the pipe.

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet pipe reamer and removed the rest of it with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. It looked very good but I forgot to take photos of the bowl when I brought it to the table – one of those days I guess. You will get a feel for it in the photos below.

I found a perfect fancy stem for the pipe in my stem can that was a potential candidate for the pipe. The issue with it was that the tenon had broken somewhere in its life. I tend to keep this kind of thing around as I have learned that I seem to always have a use for them. I drilled out the airway with a series of drill bits starting with one slightly larger than the airway in the stem and ending with one that would fit the threaded end of the new tenon. I put a pipe cleaner in the airway and painted the threaded tenon end with black super glue. I threaded the new tenon onto the pipe cleaner and pressed it into the hole in the stem. I set it aside to let the glue cure while I worked on the bowl. Now you will finally see the bowl! I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horse hair shoe brush 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. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. Eventually I would need to soak it in Briarville’s Deoxidizer but I had some work to do first to clean the damages to the stem. I “painted” the tooth marks with the flame of a Bic lighter and was able to raise all of them on the underside and all but one on the top side.  Before I put the stem in the soak I decided to put it in the shank and take pictures of the pipe at this point in the process. I am really pleased with the overall look. Once the vulcanite is polished the stem will look perfect with the pipe. I removed the stem from the pipe and put it in the bath of Briarville’s Pipe Stem Oxidation Remover overnight to let it do its magic. When I took it out of the bath I dried it off with a paper towel and rubbed off the product it had softened the oxidation but did not remove it. Lot of sanding and polishing remained on this one.I sanded the top surface of the stem and filled in the tooth mark along the button with black super glue. Once the glue cured I used a small file to flatten out the repair. I followed that by sanding the entire stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the oxidation remaining on the stem. I started to polish the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I polished the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.     With both parts of this unique L’Artigiana Freehand finished, I polished the bowl and the stem with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl 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. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The mix of grain on the bowl came alive with the buffing. The finish on the briar works well with the polished black vulcanite stem. The finished pipe is a well-proportioned, nicely grained L’Artigiana Freehand. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This interestingly made Freehand will be going onto the rebornpipes store very soon. If you would like to purchase it and carry on the legacy of the previous pipe smoke send a message or an email to me. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me on this Italian Made L’Artigiana pipe. 

I was Gifted an LB Stem for my Dunhill Shell Briar LB F/T Chunky Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

When I restored this Dunhill Shell Briar LB F/T Chunky Billiard I closed the blog asking that if anyone came across a stem for an LB that they would be willing to part with to contact me as I really wanted a Dunhill stem on this pipe (https://rebornpipes.com/2020/07/26/breathing-life-into-a-1968-dunhill-shell-briar-lb-f-t-group-4-billiard/). The pipe is a beautiful sandblasted Billiard with the unique Dunhill Sandblast finish made in 1968 (since that time I am leaning toward a 1958 date for the pipe). It is a great looking pipe that is in almost new condition. The dark finish that is identified as a black stain highlights some great grain around the bowl sides and the heel. It has some great rugged sandblast that Dunhill specialized in making. The finish on the pipe is in excellent condition and the repaired area on the front outer edge of the rim top looks very good. The mix of stains works well to highlight the grain. The polished black replacement vulcanite taper replacement stem adds to the mix. I had drilled and inserted a blue dot on the top of the stem to get by while I hunted for a proper stem. Here are some photos of the pipe once I had finished the restoration of both the bowl and stem. Not too long ago I was on one of the Facebook pipe groups and David Andrew Goostree of Banjo Bob’s Fine Pipes posted a picture of a Dunhill LB with a ruined bowl – vertical cracks all around the bowl that he was willing to part with. I quickly wrote him a note to see what he wanted for it as I had the above LB that needed the stem from his ruined bowl. We exchanged a few messages back and forth and he sent the pipe to me. It arrived in Canada yesterday (Monday) and David had included a small sample of Old Gowrie in the box.  Here are a few pictures that David sent me of the pipe before he sent it.   I took a photo of the new stem next the pipe and replacement stem and then of the two stems side by side. The look and shape is similar. I tried the stem on the shank of the LB bowl that I had and the fit was perfect in the shank. The bowl I have has a flat bottom so I would need to flatten the bottom of the stem to match the shank but other than that the fit was good. I took some photos of the fit to send to David. I had already started the shaping of the underside because I was impatient to see what it would look like. I am including those photos below so you can see the fit in the shank. I used a rasp/flat file to flatten the bottom of the stem to match the flow of the shank. I smoothed out the flattened area with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the file marks in the vulcanite.The stem had some tooth marks in the surface on both sides ahead of the button. I “painted” the surface with the flame of a Bic lighter and the tooth marks lifted. I would easily be able to sand the remnants out with micromesh. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine.     With the stem fitting work finished I put the new stem on the Dunhill LB and gave the bowl several coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem several coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. I took photos of the LB with the stem I received from David and I really like the look of an original Dunhill stem. Have a look! I am looking forward to loading the bowl with some of the Old Gowrie that David sent along and taking it for its initial smoke. Thanks David for the stem and thank you all for reading this update.

Replacing The Military Mount Stem Of a Beautiful “Selected Briar” Billiard


Blog by Paresh

I had been procrastinating restoration work on this pipe for long, primarily for want of spares. This was one of my inherited pipes that had its horn stem completely shot!! I had been waiting for a suitable replacement stem, preferably a horn stem and so when I received my stash of around 40 vulcanite and 20 horn stems (a mix of used and new stems), this pipe moved up the queue for refurbishing.

This pipe has an old world charm about it what with its classic billiard shape and military mount horn stem. The stummel has a mix of Bird’s eye grain on the front, back and at the foot of the stummel with cross grains to the sides of the bowl. The shank has beautiful cross grains that run the entire length of the shank. It appears as if these straight grains emanates from the shank end and move up towards the bowl shank junction. It is stamped on the left side of the shank as “SELECTED” in block with letter S being larger than rest of the letters, over “Briar” in artistic hand. The shank end nickel ferrule is stamped as “EP” in a rhombus over three American faux hallmarks. The stampings are crisp and clear. The lack of COM stamp or brand name makes me believe this pipe to be a BASKET PIPE and the faux American hallmarks points to the probability of this pipe being made for the American market. The stamp “EP” stands for ELECTRO PLATED nickel ferrule as I know.

The horn stem points to the vintage of this pipe as being from prior to 1920s when vulcanite rubber gained prominence as a stem material.

The dating of this pipe as prior to 1920s is my guesstimate based primarily due to fitment of a horn stem. Any concrete and substantiated information on this pipe and its dating will be a huge learning for me and fellow readers of rebornpipes!!

Initial Visual Inspection
This pipe has the classic straight Billiard shape with a medium sized bowl. The stummel boasts of a mix of Bird’s eye grain on the front, back and at the foot of the stummel with cross grains to the side of the bowl. The shank has beautiful straight grains all round. The stummel surface is covered in a lot of dust and dirt. There are a couple of fills in the briar but that does not mean that the quality of the briar is sub standard. The carving, hands feel and appearance of the pipe, even in this condition, screams high quality and excellent craftsmanship. There is a decent layer of cake in the chamber. The stem has been cut short before and is heavily damaged with a through hole on one of the stem surface and few deep bite marks in the bite zone. Here is how the pipe appears as it sits on my work table. Detailed Visual Inspection
The chamber has an even layer of thin cake and appears to have been reamed and never smoked thereafter. The smooth rim top surface is scratched and it seems that the rim top has been scrapped to remove overflowed lava. Both the inner and the outer rim edges are beveled and appear sans damage. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber can be commented upon after the cake has been taken down to the bare briar. The chamber odors are mild. The draught hole is dead center and at the bottom of the chamber and that makes me believe that it should great smoke. The stummel appears solid to the touch all around and hence I do not foresee any serious damage to the walls in the form of burnout/ deep heat fissures/ lines or pits. To address the damage to the rim top, I shall top the surface on 220 grit sand paper. The reaming and subsequent cleaning of the chamber and mortise should completely eliminate the ghost smells from the chamber.The smooth stummel surface has taken on a layer of aged patina, through which one can make out the beautiful mix of Bird’s eye grain on the sides and at the foot of the stummel with cross grains to the front and back of the bowl. The shank displays tightly packed lovely cross grains that run the entire length. There are two fills in the entire stummel (encircled in yellow), one on the right side and another in the shank, adjacent to the stamping and close to the edge of the ferrule. The vintage of the pipe and years of uncared for storage has added layers of grime and dust over the stummel surface giving the briar a lifeless and bone dry look. Thorough cleaning of the stummel surface and rinsing it under warm water should highlight the grain patterns while preserving the patina. I shall refresh the fills with a mix of briar dust and superglue. The fill near the stampings on the shank will need to be worked on very carefully, if I have to preserve the stamping and which I always ensure!! It will be easy job if the ferrule can be separated from the shank end. The mortise shows accumulation of oils, tars and gunk and will need to be cleaned up. However, I have to admit that it is not as clogged as I am used to on my grandfather’s pipes. The horn stem in military mount style is completely shot!! You name an issue that a restorer is likely to come across in a stem, it is present and how!! Though personally I feel that every stem is repairable to an acceptable standard, however, in this case I feel that a stem replacement is in order to improve both the aesthetics as well as functionality of this pipe. Have a look at the pictures below to get an idea of the issues that this stem brought to the table…The Process
The first step in this restoration was to identify a suitable stem that would replace the old and chewed up horn stem. I FaceTimed with Steve and we went through the lot of horn stems that I had received. We shortlisted a straight military mount style specimen of brand new horn stem with a round orifice. It would suit the pipe both functionally and aesthetically. However, it did not have a taper and the slight belly swell that the original horn stem had. We ended the conversation with a few tips that Steve gave to help me work through this project. On a hunch, I got the slightly bent vulcanite stem that I had earmarked for another project, an early 1900s BEN WADE, and checked it out against the stummel. The extreme flare at the slot end, the taper and the size made me reconsider the horn stem that Steve and I had shortlisted. This vulcanite stem had the Castello like military mount stem and it really looked fantastic. I shared the pictures (shown below) of all the three stems, including the original and the vulcanite stem with Steve and promptly received the characteristic response from Steve, “Ohhh! The vulcanite stem looks like it was made for this pipe…I would definitely go with the vulcanite”. Decision made, the slightly bent vulcanite stem would be the one replacing the horn stem. I am definitely being ambitious to achieve Castello like shape to the stem, but there is no harm in trying!! The replacement vulcanite stem too came with its own set of damages. The stem was deeply oxidized with heavy and deep tooth indentations in the bite zone over the upper stem surface. The lower stem surface had a large chunk of vulcanite chewed off from the bite zone, including the button. The button edge on the upper stem surface is also deformed with heavy tooth indentations. The tenon has been unevenly sawed off, definitely an amateurish job, but it would save me some work nevertheless!! The stem would need to be straightened out first. The bite zone and buttons on either surfaces will have to be reconstructed and reshaped. Thereafter, the issue of seating of the stem in to the mortise will have to be dealt with. Before progressing to stem repairs proper, I decided to straighten out the stem first. I inserted a pipe cleaner through the stem prior to heating as the pipe cleaner prevents the collapse of the air way. With my heat gun, I gently heat the stem till it was pliable. I gently pressed the stem against the flat table surface and held it in place till the stem had sufficiently cooled and retained the straightened shape. I further cool it down under running cold water and set the straight shape. This heating also raised the tooth chatter and bite marks to the surface in the bite zone. The stem has been perfectly straightened out and some of the tooth chatter has been raised to the surface. The quality of vulcanite on this stem is top class.Next I inserted a triangulated index card covered in scotch tape in to the slot. The tape prevents the mix of superglue and charcoal from sticking to the index card/ seeping in to the air way and blocking it. I mixed superglue and activated charcoal powder and generously applied it over the bite zone, including over the buttons, on either surfaces of the stem and set it aside to cure. Once the fill has hardened, I shall file and sand the fills to match the surface of the stem and sharpen the button edges on either surface. I have been using CA wood superglue and this glue hardens immediately and allowed me only a few seconds of application whereas the all purpose CA superglue allowed me enough time to get an even spread over the damaged surface.   While the stem fills and repairs were curing, I worked on the stummel by reaming the chamber with size 2 PipNet reamer head. With my fabricated knife, I further scraped the chamber walls to remove the remaining carbon deposits. Once the cake was reamed back to the bare briar, I used a 150 grit sand paper followed by 220 grit sand paper to remove all the traces of remaining cake and also to smooth out the inner walls of the chamber surface. Finally, to remove the residual carbon dust, I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with 99.9% pure isopropyl alcohol. The chamber walls are sans any damage. The outer and inner rim edge is in great shape. The rim top surface itself is peppered with dents/ dings and scratches which will be addressed by topping. The ghost smells are greatly reduced and may be eliminated after the shank/ mortise are thoroughly cleaned. This was followed by cleaning the mortise with cue tips, pipe cleaners and shank brush dipped in isopropyl alcohol. I scraped the walls of the mortise with my dental tool to remove the dried oils and tars. The mortise was pretty clean and it did not take too much effort and pipe cleaners to get it nice and clean.  With the bowl internals clean, I move to clean the exterior of the stummel. I used a hard bristled tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil soap to scrub the stummel and rim top. For this stummel cleaning, l I used Murphy’s Oil soap as I wanted to preserve the old patina that had developed on the stummel and was not sure how the Briar cleaner product would affect it. After the scrub with oil soap, I washed the stummel under running warm water with anti oil dish washing detergent till the stummel surface was clean and dried it using paper towels and soft cotton cloth. I simultaneously cleaned the shank internals with the detergent and hard bristled shank brush and set the stummel aside to dry out naturally. The stummel surface has cleaned up nicely with the beautiful grain patterns on full display. The ghost smells are completely eliminated and the pipe now smells fresh, odorless and clean. The shank air way is nice and open. I am sure that the pipe will turn out to be a fantastic smoker with a full wide and open drew. I also noticed that the shank has a distinct taper towards the walls of the mortise. I prefer to have my tenon as close to the walls of the mortise as possible to ensure minimum gap between the air openings and the taper on this pipe means that the military mount stem tenon end will have to be shaped so. Next I addressed the issues of the two fills in the stummel surface. With a sharp dental tool, I gouged out the fill to the right side and one at edge of the ferrule on the left side of the shank. I covered the stampings on the left side of the shank with a scotch tape to prevent the briar dust and superglue glue mix from spreading over and ruining the stampings. Using the layering method, I filled these gouges with a mix of briar dust and CA superglue till the mound of the mix was slightly above the rest of the stummel surface. This helps in a better blending of the fill with the rest of the stummel surface while sanding and reduces the scratches caused by the use of a needle file as you have a correct perspective of the sanding that is required. I set the stummel aside for the fills to cure. While the stummel fills were set aside to cure, the next afternoon, I worked on the stem fills which had cured completely. With a flat head needle file, I worked on the filling till I had achieved a rough match with the surrounding surface and had sufficiently sharpened the button edges. I further sand the fills with a piece of 180 grit sand paper to achieve a better match. I used a slot file to even out the horizontal slot edges and widen it a bit. The reconstructed button over the lower surface needed to be refilled to make the button and the slot end face even. I spread the mix of charcoal and superglue over the button edge and slot end face on either sides again and set the stem aside for the refill to cure. With further stem repairs being on hold, I turned back to the stummel repairs. Using a flat head needle file, I sand the fill till I had achieved a rough match with the surrounding stummel surface. I sand the entire stummel with a piece of 220 grit sand paper to further blend in the fills with the stummel surface. I topped the rim top surface on a piece of 220 grit sand paper, checking frequently for the progress being made as I hate to loose briar estate any more than absolutely necessary. The scratches over the rim top have now been completely addressed. The inner rim edge bevel appeared to be slightly uneven at the front and at the back end of the rim top (encircled in blue) and I decided to freshen and even out the bevel. With a folded piece of a 220 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and forefinger, I create a slight bevel on the inner edge of the rim top surface. I am careful so as not to alter the profile of the stummel by excessive topping or creation of the bevel. I am pretty pleased with the appearance of the rim top and edges at this stage. The following pictures show the progress being made and improvements to the inner and outer rim edges. With the stummel repairs almost complete, save for the micromesh and wax polish, I worked the stem. The fill had cured and with a flat head needle file I sand the fills and reshape the buttons. I further sand the fill and buttons with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. I am pretty happy with the way the stem repairs have shaped up and also the buttons now have a nice crisp edge to them.   I followed up the repairs to the bite zone by addressing the issues at the tenon end of the stem. I sand the tenon end over a piece of 180 grit sandpaper to a smooth and even face.  I marked the approximate length of the mortise over the stem from the tenon end with permanent marker. This would give me a reference point from where I would need to turn the tenon. I mounted a 150 grit sanding drum on to my hand held rotary tool and sand the tenon end. While sanding the tenon end, I always had the profile of the Castello stem at the back of my mind. I checked for the seating of the stem in to the mortise frequently and stopped once I had an approximate seating. I fine tuned the seating by further sanding of the tenon end with a piece of 220 grit sandpaper. When I checked the seating, I realized with a cringe that there is a substantial vertical gap (indicated with yellow arrows) between the stem and the shank end on either surface while the sides are a perfect fit. Another FaceTime consultation with Steve and we both reached a conclusion that there was no option but to rebuild the upper and lower stem surface afresh to cover the gap between the stem and shank end since other shortlisted stems would not do justice to the pipe’s complete appearance. So what followed was a tedious, laborious and time consuming process of filling with a mix of activated charcoal & superglue, curing, sanding, checking the seating and repeating the process till I achieved a snug fit of the stem in to the mortise. I have explained the entire process in just two lines, but in reality it took me 4 complete days to achieve the desired results. The pictures below will give the readers an idea of the process that was involved. At this stage of restoration, I had achieved a rough seating of the stem in to the  mortise and discerning Readers would have noticed minor gaps between the stem and shank end. I too had observed this gap but am not perturbed by this as this issue will be addressed when I fine tune the seating by sanding with higher grit sandpapers. Also, if the issue persists, I can always resort to rebuilding and readjusting as necessary.    Thereafter, again began the process of fine tuning the seating of the stem in to the mortise by sanding with 320, 600, 800 and 1000 grit sandpapers. The technique that I used is very simple; sand one side, check the seating and if the seating is not snug, sand the relevant side and continue to do so till I achieved a snug airtight fit. The closer I came to the perfect fit, the higher grit sand paper I used. A lot of patient and diligent work of 7 hours, I reached the point where I felt “no more sanding… this is the perfect seating!!”. My mantra “LESS IS MORE” was also playing at the back of my mind. I had simultaneously sanded the entire stem surface through all the above mentioned grit sand papers. I was very pleased with my efforts as I had achieved a perfect snug seating of the stem in to the mortise while being able to maintain the semblance of a Castello like stem!!To bring a deep shine to the vulcanite stem, I went through the complete set of micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit sandpapers. I wiped the stem with moist cloth after each pad and rubbed it down with Extra Virgin Olive oil to rejuvenate the vulcanite. At the end of micromesh cycle, I polished the stem with “Before and After Fine & Extra Fine” paste. The finished stem is shown below.  For the readers to get a perspective of the stem transformation I am including the pictures below of the stem before the modifications to fit the shank were started. The gentle and seamless flare to the stem at the tenon end on both surfaces looks cool, akin to a Whale back!To check and verify the correctness of the alignment of the stem airway, the tenon opening, shank/ mortise airway and finally through the draught hole, I did the PIPE CLEANER test.  The pipe cleaner passed through cleanly and without any obstruction from the slot end right through the draught hole.With the stem repairs, transformations and micromesh polishing complete, I turned my attention back to the stummel which was yet to be polished with the micromesh grit pads. I wet sand the entire stummel with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads, wiping frequently with a moist cloth to check the progress. I really like the looks of the stummel at this point in restoration. The grain and the clean lines of this piece of briar is really appreciable. The few scratches that were noticed over the stummel surface too have been addressed at this stage. Next, I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” deep in to the briar with my finger tips and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful grain patterns displayed in their complete splendor. I further buffed it with a horse hair brush. The contrast of the dark browns of the Bird’s eye and cross grains with the natural patina of the rest of the stummel adds an interesting dimension to the appearance of the stummel. I have now reached the homestretch in this restoration project. To complete the restoration, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and polished the stummel and stem with Blue Diamond compound. This compound helps to remove the minor scratch marks that remain from the sanding.    I mounted another cotton buffing wheel that I have earmarked for carnauba wax and applied several coats of the wax. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. With a jeweler’s cloth, I cleaned the nickel ferrule to a nice deep shine. The finished pipe looks amazingly beautiful and is ready to join my collection. I only wish it could share with me its life story of the past years while I enjoy smoking my favorite Virginia blend in it or maybe an English blend or maybe just keep admiring it!! Big thank you to all the readers who have joined me on this path by reading this write up as I restored and completed this project.