Tag Archives: polishing a Bakelite base and stem

Life for a WDC Redmanol Dublin with a removable Redmanol Bowl


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table is a WDC Redmanol Dublin with a Redmanol Bowl. It is a pretty pipe with a great shape. It is an interesting piece to me in that the bowl is not briar. It is almost like the Medico Brylon but way before that time. It is a man-made product that has been cast to function as a bowl for a pipe. What is fascinating is that the pipe in its entirety is Redmanol – bowl, base and stem. The pipe is very dirty with a medium cake in the bowl and some darkening and lava around the beveled inner edge of the rim. The bowl was stuck on the base when we received it. The shank is diamond shaped as is the stem. The band on the shank was loose. The band was stamped on the top left with the WDC triangle and on the opposite side it reads 14K Gold Plated. The stem is in good shape with no tooth marks or chatter. The ½ bent saddle stem has two gold dots on the left side of the saddle stem. Jeff took photos of the rim top to show the condition of the bowl, rim top and edges. The cake is quite thick and there are a few spots of grime on the edges and around the cap on the bowl.He took photos around the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition. You can see the grime in the finish and the damage on the heel. It is primarily on the right side but goes across the ridge. He took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank and the band. You can see that it is clear and readable. You can see the 14K stamp on the band and the two dots on the stem side.The next two photos show the condition of the stem. You can see that it is lightly oxidized and has some tooth chatter on the underside. Otherwise the stem is in very good condition.I turned to the article on Pipedia to see if I could find out any information on their Redmanol pipes (https://pipedia.org/wiki/William_Demuth_Company). Unfortunately while it gave a great summary of the history it did not give any information on the Redmanol line.

I turned to Pipephil.eu to see if there was any information about that line and there was nothing on that line there (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-w1.html).

I turned to Wikipedia for an article on Bakelite and Redmanol to remind myself of the connection between the companies (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bakelite).

As the sales figures also show, the Bakelite Company produced “transparent” cast resin (which did not include filler) for a small ongoing market during the 1910s and 1920s.[11]:172–174 Blocks or rods of cast resin, also known as “artificial amber”, were machined and carved to create items such as pipe stems, cigarette holders and jewelry.[11][12] However, the demand for molded plastics led the Bakelite company to concentrate on molding, rather than concentrating on cast solid resins.[11]:172–174…

…The Bakelite Corporation was formed in 1922 after patent litigation favorable to Baekeland, from a merger of three companies: Baekeland’s General Bakelite Company; the Condensite Company, founded by J.W. Aylesworth; and the Redmanol Chemical Products Company, founded by Lawrence V. Redman.[13] Under director of advertising and public relations Allan Brown, who came to Bakelite from Condensite, Bakelite was aggressively marketed as “the material of a thousand uses”.[7]:58–59[14] A filing for a trademark featuring the letter B above the mathematical symbol for infinity was made August 25, 1925, and claimed the mark was in use as of December 1, 1924. A wide variety of uses were listed in their trademark applications.[15]

I also read a brief article on Redmanol on Wikipedia and the link was clear as the companies joined in 1922 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redmanol_Chemical_Products_Company).

Redmanol Chemical Products Company was an early plastics manufacturer formed in 1913. Lawrence V. Redman was its president. In 1922, the Redmanol Company, the Condensite Company of America, and General Bakelite were consolidated into the Bakelite Corporation.[1]

It is definitely a interesting piece of pipe history. Armed with that information and a clearer picture of the original pipe and what it was made out of I turned to work on it. Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet reamer and cake from the walls of the bowl. He cleaned up any remnants of cake with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime from the finish. He was not able to remove the bowl from the base so a thorough cleaning of the base was not possible. He worked on the rim edge lava and darkening with the soap and tooth brush. He scrubbed the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior with Soft Scrub and washed it off with warm water to remove the cleanser. The pipe looked far better. I took photos of the pipe when I received it before I started working on it. I took photos of the bowl and rim top as well as the stem to show how clean they were. You can the roughness on the top edges of the rim. You can also see the twin holes in the bottom of the bowl and see that they are clogged. I was not able to blow air through the shank and bowl. The stem looks clean and the tooth chatter is fairly light. I took photos of the stamping on the shank band. It reads as noted above.    I took a photo of the pipe with the stem removed to show the overall look of stem, tenon and profile of the pipe. I noted that the tenon is metal and is threaded to match the threads in the mortise of the shank. At this point I could not remove the bowl from the base.I decided to start my work on the pipe by dealing with the bowl. I cleaned out the base as best as possible by running alcohol through the holes in the bottom of the bowl and shaking the pipe to try to flush out the grim in the base. You can see from the pipe cleaners that I removed a lot of grime that way. I put a cotton swab in the shank and filled the bowl with alcohol and let it soak for several hours. The bowl is still stuck solid. I think that it was probably glued in place by someone along the course of its life. I decided to finish cleaning out the base as much as possible and leave the bowl and base as is.I polished the bowl and base unit with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I worked over the rim top and edge of the bowl with the pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad to remove the sanding debris.   I rubbed the briar down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the Redmanol/Bakelite with my fingertips. The product works to clean, enliven and preserve the even that material. It is not absorbed by the material but seems to provide a good top coat that preserves the product. I buffed it with a cotton cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe really comes alive with the balm.  I spread some all-purpose glue on the shank end and pressed the gold plated band in place on the shank.I polished the Redmanol/Bakelite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. This beautiful WDC Redmanol Pipe turned out to be great looking pipe. The mix of reds of the Redmanol and the browns of the Redmanol bowl looks very good. The finish on the pipe is in excellent condition and the contrasting colours work well together. 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 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 WDC Redmanol Dublin is quite nice and feels great in the hand. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 4 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. This pipe will be joining other WDC Bakelite and Redmanol pipes in collection. Thanks for your time.

Restoring an interesting old Bakelite Cavalier


Blog by Steve Laug

One of the sellers I follow on eBay often has unique older pipes that catch my eye. I can’t remember how long I have been following him but it has been quite a while now and I have purchased many pipes from him. When this old style cavalier came up for sale on his page it caught my eye and I wanted to add it to the collection. There were no distinguishing marks on the stem or shank. It was identified as a no name Cavalier. The bowl appeared to be briar though I was not certain of that. The base unit was one integral piece from the tip of the cavalier end to the end of the preformed button. The bowl looked like it had been smoked as there was a cake in it that had run over like lava on the rim top. It had a small nick in the side of the bowl that can be seen in the first photo below. The stem looked to be oxidized but I was not sure what the material was – it could have been vulcanite or even Bakelite. I would know more when it arrived in Vancouver from England.The second photo shows the delicate look of the bowl and the base. There is something simple and flowing about the pipe. It is that look that caused me to bid on the pipe. It just flowed nicely from the button to the end of the base.While I waited for it to arrive I did a bit of research on the web. I checked my favourite site for metal and non-metal pipes that have either threaded or push fit bowls. I was not sure what I was dealing with on the above pipe because there were no photos of it with the bowl removed. My guess was that it was a push fit bowl. I did find a similar looking pipe on the Smoking Metal website. The link is http://www.smokingmetal.co.uk/pipe.php?page=325 and the pipe bears the stamp L.M.B. in a rectangular banner on the left side of the shank. The bowl looks identical to the one that I picked up and the base had a very similar shape. I would be able to tell more about it when it arrived.When the pipe arrived I was in Europe for work so it sat for three weeks. When I got home I opened it to see what I was dealing with. I took some photos of the pipe before I started to work on it to show what it looked like when I began. I was not sure what the stem and base was made of – I was leaning toward Bakelite rather than vulcanite but the cleanup would verify. I took a close up photo of the bowl and the rim. The bowl had an uneven, thick cake that all but clogged the air hole in the bottom of the bowl. The rim had a lava overflow that covered the flat surface.The stem and base were oxidized. It had the brown tint of oxidation. I still wondered if the stem was vulcanite or if it was Bakelite. I dropped it in a container of Before & After Deoxidizer to let it soak.When I took it out of the Deoxidizer the oxidation was gone and the underlying colour of the stem and base unit was a rich dark brown. It turned out to be Bakelite not vulcanite. It would clean up nicely and be a beauty. I cleaned out the airway and the inside of the base of the pipe with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the build up inside. It took a bit of work before I could remove all of the grime. I reamed the bowl and scraped the tars off the rim top with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. It took a bit of work to scrape away all of the buildup and the lava overflow. I used a bristle brush to clean out the airway in the bottom of the bowl and remove the clogged hole. I wiped the bowl down with an alcohol dampened cotton pad to remove the grime on the bowl. The wood underneath did not appear to be briar. I am thinking that it is maple or some other hardwood with a tight grain pattern. I sanded the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. When I finished polishing it with the micromesh sanding pads I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. The Balm brought the briar to life. The rich colour and the grain on the alternate wood came to life. With the bowl finished I turned the attention to the Bakelite base and stem. I polished it with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. The photos below show the process. I pressed the bowl back on the base and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to polish the stem and the bowl. I gave the base and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise a shine. I gave the bowl multiple coats of wax and buffed it until the bowl shown. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finish on the bowl and dark brown Bakelite stem combine to present a beautiful pipe. The dimensions of this pipe are Length: 8 inches, Height: 2 inches, Bowl diameter: 1 1/4 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 inches. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. Thanks for looking.