Tag Archives: polishing a horn stem

Discovering the History with the Reclamation of this Petite EPC Majestic Bent Horn Stem Billiard


Blog by Dal Stanton

This is an amazing petite now on my worktable.  I think it qualifies as a ‘pocket pipe’ because it has obviously been used and loved.  I acquired it last year from the French eBay auction block in a Lot of 50 that included some prized pipes which have already passed through my work table and are now serving new stewards.  I cannot find the EPC Majestic in this picture of the French Lot of 50, but what has been characteristic of this Lot is that there are several named pipes that I’ve never heard of before.  My assumption has been that many of these are French made since the Lot came from France.  Many of these pipes also sport very nice horn stems.  This is true also of the EPC Majestic.

Stephen saw the EPC Majestic in the For “Pipe Dreamers” Only! collection on The Pipe Steward website.  I love it when I get return pipe men looking again!  Stephen has already brought home an L. J. Peretti Bent Billiard (LINK) and now he’s commissioned the EPC Majestic as well as a newer acquisition from an antique store in St. Louis, a really nice Aldo Valeni Trio Blasted Billiard – next on my worktable.  I appreciate Stephen, even though he happens to be a cousin on my wife’s side of the family!  He’s a retired Coast Guard man and has grown in his love for and appreciation of pipes.

When he asked about the EPC Majestic, I made sure he understood that he was inquiring about a pipe with diminutive dimensions.  He assured me that this was exactly what he was looking for and I placed him in the queue.

Here are pictures that got Stephen’s attention: The dimensions of the EPC Majestic are: Length: 4 1/8 inches, Height: 1 1/2 inches, Rim width: 1 inch, Chamber width: 5/8 inches, and Chamber depth: 1 3/8 inches.  Sometimes measurements don’t translate as well to people and therefore I questioned Stephen.  For demonstrable purposes to show this very nice looking ‘Pocket Pipe’ in the natural habitat, I take a palm picture – I’m not a big man and this pipe fits fully in my palm!  My wife’s description was, ‘How cute!’The nomenclature is interesting.  On the left shank flank is stamped 3 hearts and in each heart is stamped the letters, E – P – C.  The hearted letters are over ‘MAJESTIC’.  There are no other identifying marks that I can find on the pipe.  My assumption at this point, as I mentioned above, is that this is a French made pipe, but this is only a guess at this point.

As I’ve experienced with other pipes from this Lot, EPC shows up nowhere that I see in my usual first places: Pipedia or Pipephil.eu.  I also look in other groups and threads and I can find nothing.  Expanding the search, I put in ‘EPC Majestic’ in Google and came up with an interesting vein of information – a cigar company.  E.P. Carrillo to be exact based in Miami, Florida.  I read with interest the story of Ernesto Perez-Carrillo who was a well-known cigar manufacturer in Cuba and during the Fidel Castro era was forced to leave Cuba and settle in Miami with his family.  After much struggle, was able to restart a cigar company which is very well-known today among cigar aficionados.  Interestingly, the brand that won the 2018 Cigar of the Year Award rated the #1 cigar of 2018 by Cigar Aficionado was named, ‘Majestic’.  Yet, what does this have to do with a nomenclature on the side of a pipe’s shank?

My mind started coming up with questions – Did this the E.P. Carrillo cigar company put its name on a pipe?  Was the diminutive size of this pipe indicator of a promotional pipe of some sort?  Would a pipe be used to promote cigars?  The questions came even though they made absolutely no sense!  Every pipe man and cigar man would answer, absolutely, not!  My heart agrees 100% but my mind’s questions were not satisfied.  So, as I’ve done many times before with surprising success, I went to the contact tab of the E.P. Carrillo website and sent an email to the info@epcarrillo.com address given.  I have very little expectation that I will receive a response, especially with an email essentially asking if they ever used pipes to promote their cigars….  We’ll see!

Well, during the restoration, I received a very nice note back from Lissette Perez-Carrillo, the daughter of founder, Ernesto (pictured above with father), stating: Hi that’s very nice but we aren’t in the pipe business. Thanks for sharing.   No one is surprised by her response!

I have one more lead that came after I posted pictures in different Pipe smokers Face Book groups and Eduardo responded from Pipe Smokers of America suggesting that the EPC may be related to the Edinburgh Pipe Club.  Feeling like I’m grasping at straws, I find the EPC web site (LINK) and it’s nicely done.  I also find an information email and send off another inquiry.  Does Scotland have a stake in the EPC Majestic?

Then, the breakthrough came.  I had completed the restoration and was doing the final edit of the write-up, when I remembered the link that Eduardo had posted in the FB group, Pipe Smokers of America.  It was a link that I had seen before in my first look in Pipedia, but I missed an important clue.  The link was a simple search result of ‘Majestic’ in Pipedia.   Twenty pictures come up on the page, most of the pictures have pipes with a ‘Majestic’ nomenclature that belonged to other companies that didn’t help me.  But I missed the clue in the very first picture of a very old company symbol.  The 3 hearts with EPC.

The picture gave me the company, but at first glance, the company name given, ‘A. Pandevant & Roy’ offered no correlation to EPC.  Pipedia nor Pipephil.eu had any references for a direct search of Pandevant & Roy.  When I broadened the search on the internet, I hit pay dirt.   The search took me to a Dutch site called, ‘PKN Society for Research of Historical Tobacco Pipes’ (link) which contained many old catalogues dating back to the 1800s when ‘Clay’ was king in the pipe world. Of special interest to me were two catalogues of the ‘A. Pandevant & Roy’ company.  The catalogues were in French, so it took some time to work through the text – Google Translate was employed!

The catalogues were in PDF format and the pages turned easily to scan the product lines of pipes and other paraphernalia for sale.  I first looked through the first catalogue dated 1922 to 1923.  I perused the pages and still was not able to put together the nomenclature – EPC, though I was seeing EPC in several places.  I went back to the front cover of the catalogue and looked again to see if I could piece together EPC.  I think the cover is interesting and has a classic feel, so I included it below.  As I study the cover again, I noticed that there were actually two Pandevants represented – the more prominent was “A.”, but just above “A.”, the less prominent, “E. Pandevant” was present.  I’m theorizing that “A.” is still living and currently (1920s) is running the company with “Roy”.  However, the founder of the company was the father, “E.”, probably now deceased.  The theory sounds good, but not only good, but plausible!

This gives me a credible EP, but what about ‘C’?  Then I see it – ‘Charenton’ near Paris.  I did a quick search of the French district of Charenton and discovered that there are many places in France bearing this name and the ‘Pres Paris’ – near Paris, would be a marker regarding which Charenton was the former base of operations for the A. Pandevant & Roy Co.  The cover also says that “E.P.C.”, “La Savoyarde”, “MAJESTIC”, “La Parisienne” and “E.P.” were registered trademarks of the company.  At the top of the cover, it states that this ‘House was founded in 1884’ – when clay pipes were the predominant medium of pipe smoking.  Curious to see, I used Google Maps to search the address, 29, Avenue du Marché, Charenton (Seine), Paris, and discover that the street and address have passed into history.  The pages in the catalogue were interesting to peruse.  I discover that horn is a predominant stem material displayed in the catalogue, though there are vulcanite varieties, there are just not as many.  Of course, I look for the petite EPC Majestic and I do find pipes very close to the Petite.  Notice on the page included below – the stems are all depicted as horn.  Depicted also is the brass shank cap receiving each of the horn stems.  It would seem the pipe on my table belongs to this era of production of the A Pandevant & Roy Co. I did find these this example below of a petite – the nomenclature isn’t exactly the same with the three hearts, but I wanted to include this just in case the petite on my table has one of these names, ‘My Little Jeannette’ or ‘My Little Mariette’!   I love it.The later catalogue dated 1937-39, gives some additional information.  The first thing I see is that the address has changed – the same street number, 29, but the street was changed to, 29, Avenue Anatole-France Charenton Seine.  This time Google Maps found the address – it is now an apartment complex on a residential street.  With this later catalogue, pipes took more of a backseat to the other paraphernalia – not starting until page 24!  The assortment was less than the former catalogue and few pipes that could possibly resemble the EPC Majestic in my possession.  1939, the date of this catalogue, is the last entry I could find anywhere for the A. Pandevant & Roy Co.  What was happening in 1939 could be a clue to understanding the fate of the A. Pandevant & Roy Co.   From ‘The People in History’:

1939 Germany and the Soviet Union attacked Poland and Britain, France, India, Australia and new Zealand declared war on Germany on September 3rd , the United States decided to remain neutral but did begin rearming for war , which helped end the great depression. The United States also hosted the Worlds Fair in New York early in the year. Also, after speaking to the physicist Albert Einstein president Roosevelt initiated the Americas A-Bomb programme. 

Perhaps, one of the tolls of World War II was also the French company in Paris that produced the EPC Majestic now on my table.  My research will stop here and with a greater sense of the history and heritage of this EPC Majestic Petite Horn Stem Billiard before me, I look more closely at the pipe itself, I discover something very interesting that I haven’t seen before and is reminiscent of a Gourd Calabash.  I’m looking more closely at the horn stem and that it was fashioned with what appears to be a horn tenon as well. I don’t know if its threaded or glued in place, but it is solid, and I’m not interested in forcing the tenon to discover if it will be moved! I then look at the shank and wonder if the brass band/shank cap will come off.  I give a little twist of pressure and it comes off easily.  What I see next surprises me.  I see the briar shank ringing something else inserted into to the mortise.  A lining of some sort.  I discover then that it appears to be cork.  Cork seats the horn tenon in the mortise much like cork seats the Meerschaum bowl on a Gourd Calabash. I have never seen this before, but it seems to work quite well.  I will condition the cork with a little petroleum jelly later.  The challenge becomes protecting the cork while I’m cleaning the rest of the stummel internals. I’m not sure that I want the cork saturated with alcohol – I’m not sure that will be the best thing.The bit of the horn stem appears to be chewed some.  On both the upper and lower bit there are bite compressions and chatter.The EPC Majestic bowl has seen better days.  There are four large fills on the heel of the stummel that will need addressing.  The finish on the bowl has seen better days.  There is a ‘water mark’ line running perfectly straight, bisecting the stummel.  It appears that the stummel was half submerged in some liquid for a time – enough time to discolor the stummel. The rim is nicked and has some lava flow needing to be cleaned.  The chamber has light cake but needs freshening.  The general condition of the pipe is banged up and dirty.I begin the clean up of the stummel by reaming the chamber using the Pipnet Reaming kit. I use only the smallest blade head and it is too large to reach to the chamber floor.  I switch to using the Savinelli Fitsall tool to continue the job and it does well scraping and cleaning the chamber walls down to the floor.  I then sand the chamber using 240 grade paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen to give leverage.  This cleans the chamber further of carbon and then I wipe the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95% to remove the carbon dust.  After looking at the cleaned chamber, I detect no problems with heating – fissures, etc.  Moving on!To clean the external briar surface, I use undiluted Murphy’s Oil soap and a cotton pad. I’m anxious to see how or if the stummel cleans up!  It does clean up, but the finish is very thin.  The rim cleans up nicely with the help of a brass wire brush except for one area on the right-hand side from lighting the tobacco.  After scrubbing the stummel, I rinse it with cool tap water careful to keep water out of the internals.  With the stummel wet, I use a sharp dental probe to test the large fills on the heel of the stummel.  As I suspected, they are soft, and I remove them with the probe and clean the holes to make sure all the old fill was gone.  The pictures show the progress. Next, I work on cleaning the internals of the stummel.  Using cotton buds and pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl 95% I go to work.  With the cork lining in the mortise, I reach beyond it as much as possible to clean.  The drilling of the small stummel has the primary larger mortise drilling first, then a more angled airway drilling from the mortise to the draft hole.  A trap of sorts is created and the end of the mortise because of the drilling.  It cleans up well.  With the cork lining I will not be utilizing a kosher salt and alcohol soak, so I press through cleaning with buds and pipe cleaners.  I also use a dental spatula to scrape in the mortise, but things are clean.  Well, I finish the cleaning and toss the evidence before taking a picture!  Oh well, moving on!

Next, I look more closely at the stummel.  I refill the holes now using a briar dust and CA glue putty mixture.  I first wipe the stummel with alcohol to clean the area.  I then put a small amount of briar dust on an index card and mix CA glue with it gradually until it thickens to a molasses-like thickness.  Then I use a tooth pick to trowel the putty to the holes and fill them. After tamping the patches, I set the stummel aside for a time to allow the briar dust putty to cure. With the stummel on the sidelines, I start work on the bent horn stem.  I first clean it with Murphy’s Oil soap and a bristled tooth brush to rid the porous horn surface of grime.  After I scrub it well, I rinse it off with water to rinse the soap.  It looks much better. Then I clean the internal airway with a few pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 95%.  It didn’t take too much effort.There is tooth chatter on the upper and lower bit.  I also see some bite compressions on the lower.  I sand the area with 240 grit paper.After sanding the upper and lower bit with 240 grit paper, there remains 2 small compressions on the bit and one on the button lip.  The lower has major bites that need filling. I purchased an amber CA glue last time I was in the US and this is the first opportunity to use it.  I apply drops to the upper bit in the 3 places and on the lower.  I’m hopeful that the amber CA glue will result in a blended patch.With the stem patches curing, I turn back to the stummel and the briar putty fills have cured.  I file the patches down with a flat needle file close to the briar surface. I’m careful to stay over the patch as I file to avoid scratching the adjoining briar. Then, switching to 240 grade paper, I sand the patches down to the briar surface.I condition the cork lining in the mortise and to do this, I swab some petroleum jelly over it using a cotton bud.  This will moisten the cork keeping it from drying out.  The Amber CA glue used to patch the horn stem has cured and I use a flat needle file and 240 grit sanding paper to work on the patches.  The smaller patches on the upper bit are dispatched easily with 240 grade paper.  On the lower repair, I first use the flat needle file to shape the button and reduce the patch.  I then finish it with 240 grit paper. Next, I wet sand the horn stem using 600 grade paper.Straight away, I then apply micromesh from 1500 to 12000.  I first wet sand using pads 1500 to 2400 and then dry sand with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  I apply a coat of Obsidian Oil after each set of three pads – the horn drinks up the oil and it looks great. I put the stem aside to absorb the oil and dry. Turning again to the stummel, I first use sanding sponges from coarse to light weight to address the scratches and nicks in the stummel surface.  I also sponge sand the rim and it looks good except for a small area of residual scorching on the inner rim lip. To clean the inner rim of the scorching I introduce a light bevel using 240 grit paper rolled tightly.  I pinch the roll between my thumb and the inner lip of the rim and rotate around the rim.  I then do the same with 600 grade paper.  I’m satisfied with the progress.Next, I sand the stummel with the full regimen of micromesh pads, 1500 to 12000.  First, I wet sand with pads 1500 to 2400, then dry sand with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  The grain really emerges during this sanding phase.  I believe the original hue on this EPC Majestic stummel was a darker brown.  I say this because the color of the stummel underneath the brass shank plate/band was darker – it was protected.  A darker hue suits better too, to help blend the briar dust patches on the heal of the stummel.  I elect to go with a Fiebing’s Dark Brown Leather Dye to darken the stummel.  I assemble all the desk top components of my staining process.  I first wipe the bowl down with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol to clean it.  I then fit the shank with a cork to serve as a handle.  I warm the stummel with the hot air gun to expand the briar to help it be more receptive to the dye.  Then, I amply apply the Dark Brown aniline dye using a folded over pipe cleaner.  As I paint a portion of the stummel with the dye I ‘fire’ it, by igniting the dye with a lit candle and it combust the alcohol in the dye and sets the dye pigment.  When the surface is covered, I set the stummel aside to rest through the night. The next morning, I mount a felt buffing wheel to the Dremel, lower the speed to the slowest possible, and ‘unwrap’ the ‘fired’ crust with Tripoli compound.  The grain contrast that begins to bleed out is striking.  After applying the Tripoli compound to the stummel, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel and go over the stummel again with Tripoli after increasing the speed of the Dremel to about 40% full power.  This helps sharpen the grain, removing blotches of dye and reaching into the crook of the shank bend that was difficult to reach with the felt wheel.  After completing the Tripoli compound application, I wipe the stummel with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol to lighten the finish a bit and to blend the newly dyed surface.  I then mount another cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel, maintain the same speed and apply Blue Diamond compound to the horn stem and stummel.The brass shank cap/band is next on my sites. I wash it with warm tap water and soap and rinse it well and dry it.  Then I apply a little of the TarnX liquid to a cotton pad and wipe it on the brass shank cap to clean it.  Afterwards I rinse the shank cap and what a difference! I replace the cap on the shank with a small drop of thick CA glue to hold it solidly in place.  It looks great.Now the home stretch.  With the shank cap cleaned, polished and replaced, I rejoin the horn stem with the petite Bent Billiard stummel and wipe the pipe with a felt cloth to make sure the compound dust is removed before applying wax. I then mount another cotton cloth wheel and apply some coats of carnauba wax to the entire pipe.  I finish by giving the pipe a rigorous rubbing with a microfiber cloth to raise the shine.

Well, this petite EPC Majestic Bent Horn Stem Billiard had a mysterious origin that is now much clearer.  I have not heard from the Edinburgh Pipe Club regarding my inquiry – I hope they don’t think me a loon!  The Miami-based Cigar company, E.P. Carrillo does not own this pipe.  It was manufactured by the A. Pandevant & Roy Co., at 29, Avenue du Marché, Charenton (Seine), Paris.  My guess is that this pipe is dated in the 1920s because of the preponderance of similarities to the pipes in the 1922-23 catalogue.  I believe the latest dating, if my theory holds, would be with the commencement with World War II and the eventual Nazi occupation of Paris and France.

Yet, all told, this small pocket pipe is a superbly fashioned pipe.  It’s so small one might think it is toy-like.  It IS small, but it’s the real deal – a seriously fashioned pipe.  The grain color with the dark brown dye is beautiful – the heel patches are forgotten in the dark grain swirls.  The blend of the briar, brass band and horn stem are a striking ensemble that I believe my cousin Steve will be pleased to bring home to Alabama.  He commissioned the pipe from the For “Pipe Dreamers” Only! collection and this pipe truly fits into the dreamer category.  Not only is it a beautiful pipe but the research reveals that it is a collectible as well.  Since Stephen commissioned it, he will have the first opportunity to acquire it from The Pipe Steward Store.  This pipe benefits our work here in Bulgaria working with the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks for joining me!  First, before and after palm shots!

 

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Cleaning up another CPF – this time it is a square shank Bulldog Setter


Blog by Steve Laug

If you have been reading rebornpipes for long, you will have figured out that I really like older C.P.F. pipes (Colossal Pipe Factory). I have quite a few of them in my collection and really like them. The history is an intriguing and enjoyable part of the brand for me. The artisanship and design of these pipes captures my appreciation and admiration. The shapes are always unique; even in the same line the shapes vary from pipe to pipe. The creativity and inventiveness of the smoking delivery systems of their pipes are always a pleasure to study. The variations of Bakelite bases and stems with briar bowls, briar bowls with Bakelite stems, briar bowls with horn and with vulcanite stems. The names the company gave their pipes always has me wondering where they came from. Sometimes they seem to be humorous like the Siamese conjoined stem pipe I just finished and sometimes descriptive like this one – the square shank, horn stem Setter. The pipe came from Jeff in a box he shipped to me just before he left for his European adventure. The box arrived last evening. I was like a kid on Christmas morning. No matter how many boxes he sends my reaction is always the same. There were two C.P.F. pipes that immediately caught my attention. Jeff had shown me these two on FaceTime before he left so I was awaiting their arrival. When he was cleaning them both he somehow switched the stems in a hurry and in the process broke the tenon off the wrong stem in the shank of this pipe. Both pipes had a bone tenon so it is easy to understand what happened. He had put both pipes in individual bags in the box. When I saw this one, I decided it was the next one I wanted to work on.The pipe is a bulldog with a square shank and square tapered horn stem. It has twin rings around the top of the bowl. The shank had a gold coloured ferrule on it with the end turned over to cover the exposed end of the shank. On the left side of the ferrule, it was stamped with the C.P.F. oval logo. There was no other stamping on the metal ferrule. The bowl had a thick cake that lightly overflowed like lava over the top of the rim. The inner edge of the rim shows a lot of damage from what looks like reaming with a knife. The outer edge showed some nicks on the right side and a few on the left front. Jeff took some photos from different angles showing the condition of the bowl. It was a beauty. The grain was quite nice and the twin rings around the rim were in excellent condition with no chips. On the top of the shank there was faint gold lettering reading Setter in a Germanic script that I have come to expect on C.P.F. pipes from this era of the late 1890s to early 1900s. The finish was worn and dirty as expected on a pipe of this age. The two photos that follow that are different views of the shank and the ferrule. The ferrule appeared to have slipped off during its life and there was a dark space just in front of it showing its original position on the shank. The diameter of the stem was larger than the diameter of the shank so it looked a little awkward making me wonder if it was not a replacement horn stem. If not it was poorly fitted and would need to be properly fitted to the shank. There were issues with the stem that might lessen with reshaping but they were present and can be seen in the photos below. These included deep nicks on the edges of the square stem – a chip at the right corner near the shank, a nick on the right side about a ½ inch from the shank end, and another on the left side that looked like a wormhole.The threads in the shank were evidently worn and someone had wrapped the bone tenon in scotch tape to facilitate a tight fit. I have seen this done often so it is not a surprise but it also makes me wonder if the stem is not a replacement. I won’t know until I check out the threads in the mortise when it arrives.The button showed some wear and tear and there was light tooth chatter on both sides of the stem. Fortunately it appeared that there were no deep tooth marks present.Jeff did a lot of cleaning and scrubbing on the pipe before he sent it to me. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He cleaned up the rim and the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and removed the grime and debris of the years. He had cleaned out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. The bone tenon on the stem was in good condition. The stem damage was clearly visible and the nicks and marks stood out in clarity. I drilled out the broken tenon in the shank of the pipe so that I could put it back together and check out the fit of the stem to the shank. Over the years I have developed my own method of drilling out a broken, threaded tenon. It may be different from the one that you use but it works for me. I followed that procedure on this pipe. I set up a cordless drill on my worktable and put a drill bit a little larger than the airway in the broken tenon. I slowly twisted the stummel onto the drill bit. I wanted it to grab onto the tenon and allow me to either twist it free or break it enough that I can remove it without damaging the threads in the mortis. I repeated this several times until the broken tenon came out on the bit. I blew the dust out of the shank. The pipe was now ready for me to work on.I checked out the threads in the mortise and they were slightly worn but not too severely damaged. They would easily be renewed for a better fit. I screwed the stem on the shank and took the following photos of the pipe before I started my work. These photos are kind of a benchmark for me to compare the finished pipe with the original shown in the photos. Note the fact that the stem is larger in diameter than the shank as noted above. It is the right shape but it sits above and below the top of the ferrule on the shank. The fit on the sides of the shank is perfect. That kind of fit makes me think that perhaps this was a replacement stem. The shape was correct but the fit was off. I have worked on enough C.P.F. pipes to know that they do not send them out of the factory with this kind of sloppy fit. Jeff had managed to clean up the rim quite well. The bowl was clean and the inner edge damage was clear.The next photos show the nicks and worm hole in the stem. These would need to be repaired. The side view photos show the fit of the stem against the shank. You can see from the photo that the top of the stem is significantly higher than the top of the ferrule and shank. I decided to address the nicks and worm hole first. I was not sure how much of the repair would be left once I reshaped the stem but I figured I might as well start with smoothing those out before I started shaping. I sanded the stem to smooth out the tooth chatter and the edges of the damaged areas first. I wanted to see if I had any filling to do around the button before I repaired the damaged areas. Fortunately there were no deep marks at the button. I filled the nicks and hole in with amber super glue. The photos below show the stem repairs from different angles. Note that the damage was on the top and side mid stem on the left and toward the front on the right. Once the glue dried I used a needle file to smooth out the repairs and blend them into the surface of the stem. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to further blend them in. I used the Dremel and sanding drum to reduce the height of the stem on the top and bottom at the shank as well as adjust the width on both sides. Once I had it close I sanded it more with the 220 grit sandpaper. I painted the thread on the bone tenon with clear fingernail polish and let it dry. Once it was dry I screwed it into the shank and it was a snug fit. You can see in the photos below that the fit to the shank in terms of height and width is getting much closer. I sanded the stem until I was happy with the transition between the stem sides and the ferrule. I wanted it to be smooth. It took a lot of sanding to get it to the place where I was happy with the flow. I was happy to see that the sanding removed much of the repaired areas from the stem. The right side repairs are virtually invisible and on the left side it was quite small. Once it was there I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanded with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I polished the stem with Fine and Extra Fine Before & After Pipe Polish to further remove the scratches. I buffed the stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I set the stem aside and turned my attention to the damaged rim and edges of the bowl. I lightly topped the bowl to remove the damage on the surface and the outer edges of the rim. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to reshape the inner edge of the rim and bring it back close to round. I wiped down the surface of the bowl with alcohol on cotton pads and then put a drop of clear super glue in the damaged spot on the right side edge of the rim and bowl. When the glue dried I sanded it smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and polished it with 1500-4000 grit micromesh sanding pads. I used a dark brown stain pen to blend the repaired area on the side of the rim cap and the top of the rim into the existing colour of the pipe. It did not take much work to get a good match. I tried to add Rub’n Buff European Gold to the stamping on the shank top but the stamping was not deep enough to hold the repairs. I buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to polish the briar and the stem. I gave the entire pipe multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. I am quite happy with the finished pipe. It looks far better than it did when I started the restoration. The fit of the stem to the shank and the overall look of the bowl is better. The small burn mark on the right side of the rim top is a beauty mark of the past life of the pipe. The rim and bowl look very good. The finished pipe is shown in the photos that follow. Thanks for looking and enduring my obsession with these older C.P.F. pipes.

A Small C.P.F. French Briar Horn captured my attention


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I chose to work on from the lot of pipes my brother and I picked up on our virtual pipe hunt in Montana is another C.P.F. French Briar. This one is a classic horn shape with a chubby shank and a horn stem. It is delicate in terms of size (4 inches long and 1 ½ inches tall) but chunky feeling at the same time. Like the other banded pipes in this lot the band on the shank is loose and has turned so that the faux hall marks are on the other side. The finish is very dirty and the rim is damaged around the inner and outer edges. The horn stem is worn and there is tooth chatter on the top and underside of the stem near the button. The stem is overturned in the shank. The photos below show what it looked like before my brother did his clean up on it. If you would like to read about some of the others I have restored I have written about them in individual blogs. They include a CPF horn stem bulldog, a CPF French Briar bent billiard, a CPF Remington French Briar military mount billiard and a CPF French Briar Rhodesian. Just a reminder – CPF stands for Colossus Pipe Factory. The brand was made in the late 1880s and 1890s.Jeff took the above photos as well as the photos that follow to show the condition of the pipe before he cleaned it up. This sad little Horn comes from the same era as the other pipes in this find – the late 1880s – early 1890s. The finish was worn dirty but the grain underneath showed promise. There one large sandpit on the bottom left side of the bowl toward the front. The rim of the bowl and top edge of the pipe were in rough shape. The outer edge had been beat up pretty good by someone knocking their pipe out against something hard (if you are tempted to knock out your pipe on a railing or a garden rock please think twice before you do so). The inner edge of the rim appeared to be out of round and carved up by the same person who had used a knife to ream the others in this lot. There was a thick, crumbling cake buildup in the bowl and the lava from the bowl overflowed onto the damaged top of the rim. The band on the shank end was oxidized and the stamping on it was almost illegible. The horn stem had tooth marks on the top and underside near the button. Jeff took close up photos of the rim top to show how bad it looked before he started the cleanup. The thick cake and lava overflow on the rim filled in a lot of the damage. The full extent of the damage would be revealed once the cake was removed and the lava was cleaned.The next photos show the condition of the bowl sides and the flaking finish. The damage on the rim edge also can be seen in the pictures. The third picture shows the sandpit on the bottom left side of the bowl. You can also see the potential in the lovely grain that is peeking through the grime and flakes of old finish peeling off. The stamping on the left side of the shank is readable – it has the C.P.F. logo in an oval with the words French Briar above and below the oval. The stamping on Briar is fainter than the rest of the stamping. The silver band on the shank has the faux hallmark stamps that I have come to associate with C.P.F. pipes. The horn stem had some great looking striations and colour underneath the wear and tear. There was some tooth chatter and bite marks on both the top and underside at the button. I am very spoiled due to the excellent cleanup work that my brother Jeff does on these old pipes before I ever get them here in Vancouver. He has a pattern to his work and it rarely varies. Jeff thoroughly cleaned the pipe reaming the bowl with a PipNet reamer and tidying up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the grime and grit on the bowl. He scrubbed the rim top with a tooth brush and the oil soap. He scrubbed the band and stem at the same time to clean it. I took photos of the pipe to show the condition it was in when it arrived in Vancouver. I took a close up photo of the rim top and the sandpit on the lower left side. You can see the damage along the inner and out edges of the rim and the size and location of the sandpit in the photos. The general condition of the briar is rough though the grain patterns are promising.The horn stem is dry and lacklustre but it seems to be solid. There was no delamination happening along the sides or length of the stem and the tooth marks and chatter at the button were relatively minor. This horn stem was in the best condition of all of the horn stems I have worked on in this lot from Montana. The stem was overturned to the right due to wear on the mortise and the threaded bone tenon.I repaired the sandpit with a few drops of super glue and let it dry. Once the glue had dried I sanded the repair with 220 grit sandpaper to blend it into the surface of the briar.I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage and minimize the damage to inside and outside edges of the rim. I did not have to take off too much so I checked as I worked over the rim. Once I had the rim smooth I stopped sanding and wiped the bowl down with alcohol on cotton pads to clean off the dust from the surface. I filled in the nicks around the outer edges of the bowl with clear super glue. I carefully over filled the spots around the rim so that I could sand it smooth and leave a smooth flow to the rim. I sprayed the repairs with an accelerator so that I could sand it sooner. The next photos show the repair process and the end results.I gently topped the rim again on the topping board to smooth out the repairs on the rim top and sanded the outer edge of the bowl and inner edge of the bowl with 180 and 220 grit sandpaper. I was able to remove the excess repair material and smooth out the rim edges on both the inside and outside. The overall look was far better than when I started the restoration and it was minimally intrusive.I polished the band with a 1500 grit micromesh sanding pad to remove the tarnish and corrosion (I would use the other grits of micromesh pads later in the process to polish the band). Underneath the film and corrosion the band was gold in tint just like the other C.P.F. pipes that I have been restoring. I coated the shank end with white all-purpose glue and pressed the band in place. I aligned the faux hallmarks with the stamping on the shank. I wiped down the glue that squeezed out around the edge of the band before it dried so that it would not hamper staining the shank end when I was ready.I carefully heated the bone tenon with a Bic lighter, moving the flame constantly and not letting it get to hot. My purpose was to loosen the tenon and turn the stem straight once again. I repeated it several times and was able to get quite a bit of turn on the stem but not enough. I backed it off and let the glue in the stem harden again. I would need to come up with another method to address the worn threads in the mortise and on the tenon.I set the stem aside for a bit and turned my attention to polishing the briar in anticipation of staining it. I went through the full range of micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cotton pad between pads. The pictures show the way the polishing brings the grain out on the bowl. I needed to stain it to blend the repairs into the rest of the bowl surface. The trick would be to stain it with light enough colour to highlight the grain and not mute it. I mixed 1 part of dark brown aniline stain with about 3 parts of isopropyl alcohol to make a medium brown wash for the bowl. I stirred it to get a good mix. I heated the briar and applied the mixture to the bowl. I flamed it and repeated the process until I was happy with the coverage on the bowl.Once the stain dried I wiped it down with alcohol and cotton pads to remove the excess and make it more transparent. I still found that the colour was too dark so I decided to polish it with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded with 1500-2400 grit pads and wiped it down with alcohol on cotton pads to remove the finish I had sanded free. I touched up the shallow gold stamping with Rub’n Buff European Gold using a cotton swab. I rubbed of the excess with a cotton pad. I finished polishing the bowl by dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with alcohol after each pad to clean it. The pictures tell the story of the process and the end. With the bowl finished it was time to work on the stem. I sanded the tooth marks out and smoothed the flow of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper. I polished it with micromesh sanding pads – wetsanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. After the last pad I gave it a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. I painted the tenon with clear fingernail polish to build up the threads. I layered it on until the threads sat well in the mortise. I put the stem on the shank and it lined properly. I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to polish out the scratches in those surfaces. I buffed the brass coloured band with Blue Diamond as well. I gave the pipe multiple coats of carnauba wax to protect the aged briar and the horn. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is a beautiful piece of pipe history and I only wish it could tell its story so I could know a bit of its travels. Until such a time that pipes can talk I am left to my own imagination. Thanks for walking with me through the process of the restoration.

Another Piece Pipe History – a Lovely CPF French Briar Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I brought to the work table was a little bent CPF French Briar billiard. The photos below shows what it looked like before my brother did his clean up on it. It is another one from the lot of pipes my brother and I picked up on our virtual pipe hunt in Montana. I have written about several of the other CPF finds with the latest being a nice little CPF horn stem bulldog. Just a reminder – CPF stands for Colossus Pipe Factory. The brand was made in the late 1880s and 1890s. This little bent billiard comes from the same era as the other pipes in this find. It was very worn and looked to be in rough condition. The finish was non-existent and there were a lot of nicks, scratches and grime on the surface all around the bowl. There was a thick, crumbling cake buildup in the bowl and it overflowed on to the top of the rim. It looked like the inner edge of the bowl was damaged from reaming with a knife but I could not be certain until the cake was gone. The gold band on the shank was so badly oxidized that it was impossible to see what was under the grime and sticky debris on it. The horn stem had tooth marks on the top and underside near the button and looked like it was delaminating along the edges and the bend on the underside. The horn was very dry. Jeff took some close up photos of the bowl and rim from the top. You can see the crumbling condition of the cake in the bowl and the thick overflow on the rim top. It was really hard to see the condition of the inner edge of the bowl.The grain underneath all of the grim on the sides of the bowl was really quite stunning, even through the debris, grime and buildup. The birdseye and cross grain stain out really well even through the dirty surface. The oxidation on the band was also heavy and very rough. It is hard to know what is underneath the corrosion.The stamping on the left side of the shank has the standard C.P.F. logo in an oval with French arched over the oval and Briar arched underneath. The stamping on the C.P.F. is fainter than the stamping on French Briar. The second photo shows the junction between the band and the horn stem. The horn looks rough and grainy.The next four photos show the stem from various angles. The first and second photos show what looks like delaminating on the left side near the button. The third and fourth photos show tooth marks on the top and underside of the stem at the button. The tooth marks on the top are deep. Jeff thoroughly cleaned the pipe. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer and cleaned it up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the grime and grit on the bowl. He scrubbed the tenon with a tooth brush and removed the tars and oils. I took photos of the pipe to show the condition it was in when it arrived in Vancouver. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the condition it was in after my brother had cleaned it up. It is amazing to me that he was able to remove the thick buildup on the rim top and the crumbling cake in the bowl and leave no debris behind. It was better than I had expected. The rough spots would be easy to sand out and smooth the ridges and bring it back to round. It appeared that the pipe had never been smoked to the bottom of the bowl as the bottom of the bowl is raw briar.The next two photos show the condition of both sides of the stem after the cleanup. Note the roughness on the underside of the stem and the tooth marks/chatter on both to top and the bottom near the button.You can see the oxidation on the band in the photos above. It is not clear what colour it is. The sticky grime was cleaned off but the oxidation would need to go. I sanded the band with 1500-2400 grit micromesh pads to remove all of the sticky substance and the oxidation on the surface. It came off really easily with some polishing. I glued the band in place on the shank with white glue and let it dry.I smoothed out the damage on the inner edge of the rim with 220 grit sandpaper and gave it a light bevel to minimize the damage. I stained the beveled edge on the bowl with a black Sharpie pen to blend it in with the inside walls of the bowl. I wet sanded the bowl and rim with 1500-2400 grit micromesh pads and dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads.  I wiped it down with a damp cotton pad to remove the sanding grit. I polished the band while I worked on the bowl with the same grits of micromesh pads. The following photos showed the polishing on the briar. I touched up the gold leaf on the CPF French Briar logo with European Gold Rub’n Buff. I applied it with a cotton swab and wiped down the excess gold. The light of the flash showed more of the gold buff that needed to come off.I stained the bowl with a 50/50 mix of dark brown aniline stain and isopropyl alcohol. I applied the stain and flamed it with a lighter. I repeated the process until I felt the coverage was even. Once it dried I took some photos of the stained bowl. It is too dark to my liking but the coverage was even. I wiped the bowl down with alcohol on cotton pads to make it more transparent and let the grain show through. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads to further remove the stain and make the grain show through. The process of unveiling the grain is shown in the photos that follow.With the bowl finished I worked on the stem. I used some small drops of super glue to fill in the tooth marks on the stem surface and the button. Once the repairs had dried I sanded them smooth to blend them into the surface of the stem. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with Obsidian Oil on a cotton cloth. I gave it a final coat after the last pad and set it aside to dry. I buffed the stem and bowl with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel to polish it. I gave the stem and bowl multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the waxed bowl and stem with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos that follow. The old timer looks really good and should have long years of life in it. I look forward to enjoying this pocket sized pipe. Thanks for walking with me through the process of the restoration.

Restoring a Unique Horn Stem W.E. Hooker System Pipe


Blog by Steve Laug

Another one of the pipes found on the Virtual Pipe Hunt in Montana was this interesting old piece. It is an oddity and I was sure when we found it that it was another example of the eternal hunt for the dry, perfect smoke. I joking call it a camel pipe for the humps it has from a side view. This old timer is stamped on the left side of the shank with the words W.E. Hooker and on the right side of the shank it is stamped Patented over May 17, 1910. The pipe was in pretty rough shape at first glance with wear and tear to the finish and the rim caked with lava flowing over to the top. The inner edge of the bowl was out of round and there was some damage to the surface. There were some small sandpits on the right side of the bowl and on the top of the shank. The vulcanite cap in the middle of the shank perplexed me a bit so I was curious what we would find beneath the cap. The stem was horn and it had a lot of tooth damage to the top and underside at the button as well as some significant damage to the button itself and the edges around it. It looked as if someone had taken a knife to it and done some whittling on the horn. It had originally had what looked like a faux P-lip as the airway left the button on the end rather than the top. It was going to be a fun one to clean up.My brother Jeff took quite a few photos of the bow from various angles to give an idea of the overall condition of the pipe.The function of the cap on the top of the shank intrigued me and the overall airflow of the pipe was a mystery. When I put a pipe cleaner in the shank it came out in the sump under the cap. There were two other holes in the sump – one at the top front that connected to the airway as it entered the bowl and one at the top back that went back into the shank and the stem. When I pushed a pipe cleaner through the stem it stopped at the bottom of the sump under the cap. Now I really wanted to know how this worked. I Googled W.E. Hooker tobacco smoking pipe and came up with a patent number 958,398. The inventor was a William E. Hooker of Buffalo, New York. He filed the patent October 13, 1909 and it was patented on May 17, 1910 (just like the stamping on the right side of the shank). I have copied that information below. Note the airflow in the diagram accompanying the patent, I have inserted red arrows how it flowed through the pipe.

I have included the complete text of the patent below. It explains the letters A-H in the above diagram.

W.E. HOOKER- TOBACCO SMOKING PIPE.

APPLICATION FILED OCT. 13, 1909.

Patented May 17, 1910.

PHOTOLITHOGRAPHER: WILLIAM  E. HOOKER, OF BUFFALO, NEW YORK.

TOBACCO-SMOKING- PIPE.

 

Specification of Letters Patent.

Application filed October 13, 1909. Serial No. 522,496.

To all whom it may concern:

Be it known that I, WILLIAM E. HOOKER, a citizen of the United States, residing at the city of Buffalo, in the county of Erie and State of New York, have invented a new and useful Tobacco-Smoking Pipe, of which the following is a specification.

My invention relates to certain improvements in a tobacco smoking pipe and I do hereby declare the following to be a full, clear, and exact description of my invention such as will enable others skilled in the art to which it appertains to make and use the same, reference being had to the accompanying drawings and to figures and letters of reference marked thereon, which form a part of this specification.

The objects of my improvements are: First: To provide a chamber or receptacle wherein can be collected all the moisture, nicotine and other foul secretions usually present in a tobacco smoking pipe and prevent the said moisture, nicotine and foul secretions from reaching the mouth of the smoker by means of the aforesaid chamber or receptacle and smoke channels, thereby insuring a clean and sanitary smoke. Second: By means of this chamber or receptacle and smoke channels and drainage channels, to prevent all moisture or saliva that might collect in the pipe stem from flowing into the pipe bowl. Third: To provide ample and easy facilities and means for cleaning the pipe. I attain these results by the position and location in which the nicotine receptacle or chamber and the smoke and drainage channels, are constructed or drilled in the pipe bowl, as illustrated in the accompanying drawings and which forms a part of this specification.

The accompanying drawing is a central vertical longitudinal section of my pipe embodying my invention.

A is an ordinary pipe bowl. B is a chamber or receptacle, for the purpose of collecting nicotine, moisture and other foul secretions, situated between the pipe bowl A and the pipe stem H, in a vertical position and parallel with the pipe bowl A, with an opening at the top. I prefer to have said chamber or receptacle in a vertical position as indicated and parallel with the pipe bowl, to insure the best results with my invention, although it is not absolutely essential that the chamber or receptacle aforesaid, should be nearer to the pipe bowl than to the pipe stem, but the vertical position and location of the chamber or receptacle is essential and necessary. This chamber or receptacle in the position or location described, serves as a collector of all moisture, nicotine and foul secretions which might flow through channels D and E and also has for its purpose the conveying of smoke from channel D to channel E. The opening at top of the aforesaid chamber permits of the easy cleaning of the nicotine and moisture chamber B, and the smoke channels D and E.

C is the well or socket, into which the mouth-piece or stem H fits and also serves as a smoke conductor from channel E, to stem H and as a conductor of any moisture or nicotine which might collect in said well, to the bottom of chamber or receptacle B, through channel F.

D is a smoke channel leading from the bottom of pipe bowl A to the top of chamber or receptacle B and serves as a smoke passage to convey the smoke from the bottom of pipe bowl A to the top of chamber B, thence across said chamber B into and through smoke channel E into the well C and thence to the mouth of the smoker through stem H.

E is a smoke channel leading from the top of chamber B into well or socket C and terminating midway between the end of well or socket C and where the pipe stem or mouth piece H enters said well or socket, and is a conductor of smoke from top of chamber B to the well.

F is a drainage channel to convey saliva, moisture, nicotine and foul secretions which might form in the well or socket C, from said well to the bottom of chamber or receptacle B. By the particular position and location of this drainage channel F, any moisture, saliva, nicotine or secretions, which might form and collect in said well or socket C, pass through this drainage channel and into the bottom of the chamber or receptacle B, and a free and unobstructed draft is thus obtained.

G is a cap which can be removed and it screws into the top of chamber B, to close opening of said chamber and can be easily removed for the purpose of cleaning chamber B and smoke channels D and E.

H is a pipe-stem or mouth piece.

I am aware that prior to my invention, Patented May 17, 1910. tobacco smoking pipes have been made with nicotine chambers or receptacles. I therefore do not claim the invention of a nicotine receptacle; but having thus fully described my invention, I claim: In a tobacco smoking pipe, a moisture or nicotine receptacle, situated or located between the pipe bowl and pipe stem

 or mouth piece, in a vertical position and parallel with the pipe bowl, having an opening at the top of said moisture or nicotine receptacle or chamber, with two smoke channels entering said receptacle or chamber at the top and a drainage channel entering said receptacle or chamber at the bottom as substantially set forth herein and for the purposes specified. In testimony whereof, I have hereunto subscribed my name in the presence of two witnesses, this 11th day of October, 1909. WILLIAM E. HOOKER. Witnesses: Himmler BOWEN, CHAUNCY W. ABBOTT.

Now, I had it in the words of the inventor himself – he designed a different kind of sump vertically in line between the bowl and the stem. That made his invention different from the sump in a Peterson System pipe designed to accomplish the same thing. This is truly a complicated piece of tobaciana.

My brother took close up photos of various angles showing the grain of the pipe, the structure and the pipe taken apart. These give a clear picture of what we would have to deal with in the restoration process. The rim top photo shows the cake in the bowl and the overflow of lava on to the rim top. You can also see the damage to the inner edge of the bowl at the back of the pipe.The next series of photos show the hard rubber cap on top of the entrance to the sump on the shank. It is threaded and can be removed by unscrewing it from the briar shank. The horn stem was held onto the shank by a threaded bone tenon that screwed into the threaded mortise in the briar. Both threaded portions were in excellent condition. The second photo below shows the view of the pipe with the three openings showing from the shank to the bowl.The stamping on both sides of the were faint but readable. As mentioned above the left side read W.E. Hooker and the right side read Patented over May 17,1910. I was dealing with an old pipe.The horn stem had tooth chatter and tooth marks as well as some nicks from a knife that had been used to try and reshape the stem. The next photos tell the story. Jeff did a pretty thorough job cleaning this old timer up. The finish was really rough and dirty and the cake in the bowl foretold a very dirty interior. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer and took the cake back to briar. He cleaned the interior of the bowl with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He worked through the various channels and airways in the shank and the stem until they were clean. I took the photos below to show the condition of the pipe when it arrived in Vancouver, clean and ready for me to work on. I took a close up photo of the bowl with the sump cap on and off. Note the nicks out of the inside edge of the bowl leaving it out of round.I took some photos of the stem to show the cleanness of the horn and the damage to the various parts – sides near the button, the button surface and the stem next to the button on the top and underside.I worked on the inner edge of the bowl to smooth out the damaged areas and even out the rim top. I wanted to work as much as possible to bring the bowl back into round. Once I had sanded the edge I mixed some putty of clear super glue and briar dust to build up the back edge of the rim. Fortunately the damage did not go deep into the bowl but was concentrated at the top.I sanded the repaired area with 180 and 220 grit sandpaper and took the following photo. I still needed to do more sanding but the rim top is taking shape.I wiped down the bowl and rim with cotton pads and alcohol to remove the sanding debris and any remaining finish on the bowl. I did that in preparation for repairing the filled areas on the right side of the bowl and the top of the shank. I put drops of clear super glue in the fills and sandpit areas on the bottom of the bowl and right side. Once they had dried I put some in the sandpits on the top of the shank near the stem shank junction. I sanded the repairs smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and blended them into the surface of the surrounding briar. I wet sanded the areas with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads. I used the needle file to reshape the stem edges and button and smooth out the damage that had been caused by the knife. I smoothed out the flow of the P-lip style button and recut the ledge on the underside of the stem.I cleaned the airways in of the pipe and stem with pipe cleaners and alcohol. I cleaned out the sump area with cotton swabs and alcohol. There was still some sludge in the bottom of the sump that came out with coaxing. I cleaned out the mortise as well for good measure.I continued to reshape the stem some more with 220 grit sandpaper. I really wanted to have it smooth to touch and closer in appearance to what it must have looked like when it left the factory. When I was done with the sanding the shape was looking much better.I touched up the repaired areas of the bowl and rim with a dark brown aniline stain pen. The colour matched perfectly with the existing stain. I wiped the bowl down with a light coat of olive oil and took the following photos to show where things stood at this point in the process. With the bowl finished I went to work polishing the stem with micromesh sanding pads – I wet sanded with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanded with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. It is always amazing to me to see the horn begin to develop a deep glow and shine. I polished the hard rubber sump cap with the micromesh once I finished the stem. I buffed the pipe and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to remove any minute scratches that remained in the stem and the briar. I gave the pipe multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise a shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine on the briar and horn. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I am really having a bit of a dilemma with these old pipes – in all of my time refurbishing and restoring old pipe I have never seen pipes like these… I am so tempted to hang on to the lot of the old C.P.F. pipes and the rest that come from that era as I probably will never see them again… ah well definitely a first world problem. Time will tell. Thanks for coming with me on this interesting old restoration. It was a fun one to work on.

Recorking and Refurbishing a Ceramic German Wine Pipe


Blog by Steve Laug

This is the second old German style hunters pipe that I was asked to refurbish for a fellow who dropped them by. I wrote about the first restoration – Swiss Walnut Hunters Pipe Marked Lucerne at this link: https://rebornpipes.com/2017/06/03/restoring-and-repairing-a-walnut-lucerne-hunters-pipe/. This one was ceramic and German. It was a pretty pipe. The ceramic bowl was in great shape – dirty inside but undamaged. The silver rim cap and wind cap were tarnished but not damaged. The cherry wood shank extension was in good shape but the end had shrunk and would not stay in place in the base reservoir. There was no cork in the base to keep the bowl in place. In essence the pipe was three unconnected parts held together by a piece of string. The horn stem was worn and had tooth damage.

The scene on the front of the pipe is a hunt scene. It shows two men and a dog poised in the sunlight on the edge of a dark forest. The painting on the ceramic shows the fear on the faces of the hunters and in the hesitancy of the dog at the edge. These old scenes tell a story and leave a lot of room for the pipe man to fill in the details of the story.

When the pipe arrived the bowl and the cherry wood shank were in the wrong portion of the base unit. The rubber portion and horn sections were oxidized and worn. The ceramic was dirty on the surface of the finish, though the painting on the base and the bowl were in excellent condition. The strings that held the parts together were tangled and dirty. I took photos of the pipe before I did any work on it. I photographed it from front, back and side angles to give a clear picture of how the pipe looked when I received it.I took the part apart and photographed all of the parts. The base of the cherry wood shank had been tapered and carved to give it a better fit in the base. It was still too big for the portion that it had been shoved into. The base itself had a deer painted on the surface of the ceramic. From the perspective of the deer the forest was not dark but beautiful and pastoral. The base unit is what makes up the filtering portion of the hunter or wine pipe. A small portion of wine was poured into the bulb at the bottom of the pipe and it acted as a filter for the smoke that was drawn through the airway on the bottom of the bowl and up the shank and into the mouthpiece. Generally these are very dirty with dried debris composed of dried wine and tobacco juices. This base was no exception. I scraped out the bulb with a sharp pen knife and remove the majority of the tars and build up. The photo below shows the results of that work.I filled the bulb with isopropyl alcohol and placed it upright in an old ice-cube tray to soak overnight. I hoped to soften the remaining material in the bulb and finish cleaning it in the morning. The next morning I scrubbed out the remaining grime with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and more alcohol. When I finished it was clean but stained. The inside of these bulbs is raw ceramic so it discolours easily.While the base soaked in the tray and before I called it a night I decided to prep a wine cork that I had here to use in the bowl side of the base once it was cleaned. I cut off the top portion of the cork and shortened the length to match the depth of the base. I shaped that portion of the cork with a Dremel and sanding drum. I drilled out the centre of the cork with a burr on the Dremel to the size of the bowl end that fit there. The photos below show the progress in the shaping of the cork.When I had finished cleaning out the base the next morning I tried the freshly cut cork in the end where the bowl sat. I sanded off more of the excess until it fit snuggly in the ceramic.I cut off the excess length of the cork and pressed it into place. I cleaned up the drilled opening in the cork with a burr on the Dremel. I shaped it until the opening in the cork was even. I inserted the end of the bowl in the cork and took two photos. While I worked on the stem I found that I was able to take the stem apart a bit more. I cleaned out the inside of the shank parts with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. When I worked on the cherry wood part I was surprised. I cleaned a ridge of tar out of the inside of the cherry and a filter fell out. It was a fascinating piece of work. There was a roll of parchment style paper with a cap on each end and pin through the middle. Each end cap was slotted so that the air could be drawn through the inside of the shank. I was quite surprised to find a double filter system on this pipe – the wine cup on the bottom of the base and the filter in the shank. I scrubbed the paper filter with a cotton swab and alcohol and sanded the brass end caps.I cut a slice of cork and glued it to the end of the cherry wood with clear super glue. I let it dry and then used a Dremel and sanding drum to smooth out the cork and reduce the diameter around the carved end of the cherry wood shank.I cleaned out the cherry wood with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. I took a photo of the parts showing the filter. I polished the horn and rubber end caps on the cherry and the fabric tube. I rubbed them down with Obsidian Oil to raise a shine.I polished the horn and rubber portions of the shank with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads.I put the filter in the shank and screwed the two parts together. The pipe was beginning to look very good.Now it was time to work on the tooth marks on the top and underside of the stem. I filled the tooth marks in with clear super glue and set the stem aside to dry.I sanded the repair smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and polished the horn stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I buffed the horn stem on the buffing wheel to raise the shine and hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth. I polished the silver cap and rim cap with a jeweler’s polishing cloth and wiped down the painted scene on the porcelain. I hand buffed the entire pipe with a microfibre cloth. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is a solid pipe now and it will smoke very well for its owner once he picks it up. I can’t wait to hear what he thinks of his pipes once he has them in hand. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

An Old Timer Horn Stem, Cherrywood Shank and Briar Bowl BBK Bosshardt Luzern


Blog by Steve Laug

This old pipe came to me from my brother. He picks up some interesting pipes in his hunts and eBay purchases and this is a unique one. The bowl is a really nice piece of briar with some amazing grain – a mix of flame and birdseye on the bowl. The rim cap and bowl cap are brass coloured. The hinge on the back of the rim connects the rim cap and the bowl cap. There is a curved spring piece of brass on the front that fits over a ridge on the front of the rim. The end of the briar shank has a brass shank cap/ferrule. It was tarnished to almost copper coloured brass. The shank extension is cherry wood and is pressure fit into the mortise. The top of the cherry wood extension has a brass ring that is pressure fit on the end of the extension. The stem is horn. The end of the cherry wood has a threaded end that the horn stem screws onto. The stem had some tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside of the stem next to the button. The shank of the pipe is stamped on the left side with the words Bruyere over Garantee. On the right side of the shank it is stamped BBK in an oval over Bosshardt over Luzern.BBK1Through the years I have cleaned up several BBK pipes. The last one was a rusticated hunter pipe with a windcap. Prior to that, I restored a square shanked panel billiard. I have written about both them on rebornpipes at the following links: https://rebornpipes.com/2012/09/21/refurb-on-a-bbk-panel-billiard-swiss-made/, https://rebornpipes.com/2014/08/31/restoring-an-old-bbk-hunter-pipe/.

When I worked on the BBK Hunter I researched the brand. The BBK was a Swiss made brand as the shanks of all the pipes I had cleaned up and restored were stamped that way. Pipedia was my primary reference in that blog. Here is the link: http://pipedia.org/index.php?title=Bru-Bu. I have included the material from the previous blog below.

“Josef Brunner, oldest son of the farmer Konstantin Brunner from the hamlet Nieder-Huggerwald, belonging to the community of Kleinlützel (Canton Solothurn), was sent in 1871 to a pipe turner in Winkel/Alsace for his apprenticeship. As was usual at that time, Brunner wandered as a journeyman after ending the apprenticeship. Eventually, he went to Saint-Claude, France which was then the world’s stronghold of briar pipe manufacturing. There, Brunner was able to increase and deepen his knowledge in the field of industrial pipe making. When he returned home in 1878, he installed a small turner’s workshop in the house of his father. With the energetic support of his two younger brothers, he began to produce tobacco pipes of his own calculation, taking them to the markets in the surrounding area. In 1893, Bernhard Brunner’s wife inherited the mill in Kleinlützel. At this point, the pipe fabrication was transferred to an annex belonging to the mill. Now it was possible to drive the machines by water power – an important relief to the workers and a considerable innovation compared to the previous pedal-driven system.”

“The business developed so well after the turn of the century even when a lack of workers in Kleinlützel occurred. The problem was solved by founding a subsidiary company in the small nearby town Laufen an der Birs in the Canton of Bern. This plant didn’t exist too long. The disastrous economic crisis in the 1920’s and early 1930’s forced the Brunner family to restrict the fabrication of pipes dramatically. In addition the big French pipe factories in Saint-Claude – although suffering from the same circumstances – flooded the Swiss market with pipes at prices that couldn’t be matched by Swiss producers. By 1931 approximately 150 of 180 Brunner employees had been sacked – the rest remained in Kleinlützel, where the cheap electric energy ensured a meager survival.”

“In 1932, Mr. Buhofer joined the Brunner family. The company was named Brunner-Buhofer-Kompagnie, and, shortly thereafter, Bru-Bu. Buhofer had made his fortune in the United States but, homesick, returned to Switzerland to search for a new challenge. Bru-Bu’s fabrication program was expanded with many handcrafted wooden art articles: carved family coats of arms, bread plates, fruit scarves, and – more and more – souvenir articles for the expanding Swiss tourism industry. Pipes remained in the program continuously, but the offerings changed from traditional Swiss pipes to the more standard European shaped pipes. Bru Bu is widely known as BBK.”

The last paragraph of the Pipedia article linked BBK pipes to Former Nielsen. I have two of Former’s pipes so this stood out to me. “At some point in the late 1970’s, Bru-Bu went out of business. Some of the Brunners, as far as known, continued as timber traders. But in 1986 new life filled the old Bru-Bu pipe workshop, when Dr. Horst Wiethüchter and “Former” Nielsen started to produce the high-grade Bentley pipes there.”

My brother cleaned up the pipe and reamed the bowl. He scrubbed out the wind cap and the brass rim cap. He cleaned out the shank and the airways in the stem, shank extension and the mortise. It turned out that the cherry wood extension was loose fitting in the shank. The wood had worn enough that it was no longer snug. The horn stem was clean but had tooth chatter and a deep tooth mark on the underside of the stem near the button. The brass rim cap was dented and worn but the wind cap still fit tightly against it. The next set of four pictures show the condition of the pipe after he had cleaned it up. BBK2 BBK3I took the pipe apart to show the various components of the pipe. The cherry wood extension in the centre of the photo has a tapered end that fits into the shank and a threaded end that the stem screws onto.BBK4I took a close up photo of the rim cap and the inside of the wind cap. You can see from the photo that the rim is badly dented and quite dirty. The inside of the wind cap is pitted and has some rust. The edge of the rim on the front had lifted slightly from the inner edge of the bowl and was dented on the front. The ridge on the edge was still there and held the front spring on the wind cap in place.BBK5I took some photos of the stem to show the tooth chatter and worn surface of the stem near the button on both the top and the bottom near the button. There was also some deeper tooth marks on the underside of the stem.BBK6I used a small ballpein hammer to flatten the rim cap to the briar rim underneath. I worked on it to minimize some to the dents and dings in the brass rim.BBK7I cleaned out the remaining debris in the bowl with a Savinelli Pipe Knife. My tapping the hammer on the rim knocked some pieces of cake free so the knife cleaned up what remained. I used a brass bristle wire brush to clean out the inside of the wind cap. I was able to remove some of the rust on the inside with the brush.BBK8I scrubbed the shank with alcohol and cotton swabs to remove any of the dust from my quick ream clean up. It was amazingly clean. I also ran pipe cleaners and alcohol through the shank extension and the stem.BBK9I sanded the tooth chatter and the tooth marks on the horn stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove them and blend them into the material. I also wanted to smooth out the roughness of the stem at those points.BBK10The cherry wood shank extension was dirty so I wiped off the exterior with an alcohol dampened cotton pad. I noticed that the end of the pressure fit tenon had a horn end cap to seal the end of the wooden tenon. I believe that addition preserved the tenon from shrinkage and splintering. The threaded tenon on the other end of the extension fit snug into the end of the horn stem.BBK11I polished the wind cap, rim cap and the shank cap with 1500-4000 grit micromesh sanding pads. I took some photos the pipe after the polishing was completed. It is a beautiful piece of briar.BBK12 BBK14 BBK13I polished the horn stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil between each set of three pads. I gave it a final rubdown of oil after sanding it with the 12000 grit pad and set it aside to dry.BBK15 BBK16 BBK17I stained the bowl with a Danish Oil and Cherry stain mixture.BBK18 BBK19After it sat for about 20 minutes I rubbed it down with a soft cloth to polish it. After the hand rubbing the grain stood out more clearly. The red stain and the brass caps really looked great together.BBK20 BBK21I gave the wooden friction fit tenon several coats of clear fingernail polish, being careful to keep it off of the horn cap on the end. That did the trick and the extension sat snug in the mortise.BBK23 BBK24I gave the bowl, shank and stem a thick coat of Conservator’s Wax and let it dry. I hand buffed it and gave it a second coat of the wax.BBK25I buffed the pipe by hand with a microfibre cloth and polished the metal with a jeweler’s cloth. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I love the way the grain just pops on this old pipe. The cherry wood shank extension adds not only length but also a touch of rustic to the pipe, though this particular piece of cherry wood has bark that is quite smooth. The dark striations of the horn stem also go well with the wood. The brass bands at the stem and the shank as well as the rim cap and wind cap give this old timer a real look of class. The finished pipe is shown in the photos that follow. It is a beautiful pipe to my eyes. Thanks for looking.BBK26 BBK27 BBK28 BBK29 BBK30 BBK31 BBK32 BBK33 BBK34