Tag Archives: polishing a stem

A Challenging Old BBK Marte-Rosa Reporter with a Cherrywood Shank and Horn Stem


Blog by Steve Laug

We picked up the next pipe from a fellow in Los Angeles, California, USA. This BBK pipe is a lot like a pipe I have worked on before called a Ropp  La Montagnarde Deposee Reporter (https://rebornpipes.com/2016/08/08/a-ropp-la-montagnarde-deposee-298-horn-cherrywood-briar/). The bowl is an interesting piece of briar with a mix of grain around the bowl and shank. The end of the briar shank has a brass shank cap/ferrule that is dented and dirty. The shank extension is cherry wood and is pressure fit into the mortise with a cherry wood tenon. The top of the cherry wood extension has another brass ring on the end of the extension and a threaded cherry wood tenon that the stem screws onto. The stem is horn and is rough condition. There is a large area on the left side of the stem and half of the underside that has been decimated by worms. The top side has a lot of chewing damage. The pipe is stamped on the left side with the words Marte–Rosa (it is hard to read as there is a flaw through the first word). Underneath that is an oval with the letter B.B.K. stamped in it. On the right side of the shank it is stamped Racine de Bruyere at an angle. The pipe is a real mess. There is a thick cake in the bowl and a thick overflow of lava on the rim top. The inner edge of the rim appears to have some damage but we won’t know for sure until it is cleaned. Jeff took photos of the pipe at this point to capture the condition of the briar and parts. Jeff took photos of the bowl, rim top to show the thickness of the cake in the bowl and the lava on the rim top. This pipe was obviously a great smoking pipe and a favourite. I am hoping that the thick lava coat protected things underneath it from damage to the edges and top. Cleaning it would make that clear! The cherry wood insert was damaged as well with scratches in the bark. He took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the damage and worm holes in the horn stem material on the left side of the button. The horn stem was a mess. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the briar. You can see the beautiful shape and the grain on the bowl even through the dirt and debris of many years. The brass bands on the shank end and the cherry extension end. At this point in the process it certainly looks its age.   Jeff took photos of the bands and the damaged cherry wood extension. It is a bark covered piece of cherry. The end that fits in the shank of the briar is made of cherry just like the extension. The tenon end that the stem fits on is threaded to receive the threaded stem. The stamping on the left side of the shank read Marte-Rosa and underneath that it is stamped with an oval with the letters B.B. [over] K. On the right side it was stamped The stamping is hard to read on the left side as it has a fill in the middle of the brand name and is faint underneath. The right side is stamped Racine de Bruyere diagonally on the shank which translates as Root Briar or Briar Root.Through the years I have cleaned up several BBK pipes. One of them was a reporter/hunter pipe like this one (https://rebornpipes.com/2016/08/26/an-old-timer-horn-stem-cherrywood-shank-and-briar-bowl-bbk-bosshardt-luzern/). It had a windcap that is a difference from the current pipe I am working on. I quote from that blog below:

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.”

Jeff cleaned up the pipe and reamed the bowl with a Pipnet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He cleaned out the shank and the airways in the stem, shank extension and the mortise with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. He scrubbed the briar with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and the build up on the rim top. He carefully scrubbed the cherry wood the same way. He cleaned out the airway in the stem with pipe cleaners and alcohol to remove the grime and tars. The horn stem was clean but had on the topside and had a huge worm hole on the left side and left underside of the stem. The brass bands on the shank and the cherry wood were dented and worn but still looked very good. The glue that held them in place on the shank and cherry had given way and they were loose. I took some photos of the pipe when it arrived in Vancouver to show its condition after Jeff had cleaned it. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the condition of the rim top. It had a few nicks in it and the inner edge of the rim had damage and darkening. I took photos of the stem to show the damage to surface on both sides.I 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. The cherry extension has some damage on the sides. There is also a fill that is shrunken on the left side of the shank and in the middle of the stamping. I took photos of the stamping on both sides of the shank. You can see it is readable but damaged.  I cleaned up the inner edge of the rim with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I brought the bowl back to round. I did not take a photo of the rim top but it is visible in the polishing  photos that follow.I glued the band on the shank but the glue did not hold so I removed it. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad to remove the dust. I spread white all-purpose glue on the shank end and pressed the band on the shank. This time I used more than the first time and set it aside to cure. Once it cured I took photos of the pipe with the band on the shank. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the cherry wood shank extension. I filled in the splits in the bark with clear CA glue. Once the repairs had cured I sanded them smooth with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads.I used a dental spatula to spread the white all-purpose glue on the end of the extension and pressed the brass band onto the extension. I set it aside to allow the glue to cure. I took a photo of the band on the shank end and on the cherry wood shank extension. The bands look very good. I rubbed the cherry wood down with some Before & After Restoration Balm to protect, clean and enliven the wood. It worked very well. I let it sit for 15 minutes and buffed it off with a soft cloth. I greased the end of the wooden tenon on the cherry wood shank extension with Vaseline. It made the fit in the shank smooth and snug.I put the extension back in the shank and rubbed the bowl down with some Before & After Restoration Balm to protect, clean and enliven the wood. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips. I set the bowl aside and let it sit for 15 minutes. After it had been sitting I buffed it off with a soft cloth. I set the bowl and shank extension aside and turned my attention to the stem. I greased a pipe cleaner with Vaseline and inserted it in the shank. I wanted to protect the airway when I filled in the damaged area with super glue. I filled in the worm damage with clear super glue. I layered it in with several fills. While it was curing I read Dal Stanton’s blog on mixing in a sprinkling of charcoal powder with the glue to help blend the repair into the horn. I mixed some in and layered more and more glue on top of it. The black of the charcoal did not really blend in well. It migrated together and left a black spot on the top of the stem and a black ring on the underside. In the past I did not use the charcoal and certainly will not do so again. I sprayed the repairs with accelerator to speed the hardening process of the repair. I used a pair of files to flatten out the repairs and to reshape the button on both sides of the stem. Once I had reshaped the button I sanded the stem surface with 220 grit sandpaper and started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the horn stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil between each set of three pads. I polished it with Before & After Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it  a final rubdown with Obsidian Oil to protect it. I gave the threads on the shank end tenon a coat of Vaseline to make it easier to turn the threaded stem onto the end of the shank.With everything finished I put the BBK Marte–Rosa Racine de Bruyere Reporter Pipe back together and buffed it 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 give this old timer a real look of class. The finished pipe is shown in the photos that follow. The repair to the button while not invisible is smooth and solid and should last a long time. It is a beautiful pipe to my eyes. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼  inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 70grams/2.47oz. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store shortly. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.

Salvaging a Sculpted Edelweiss – A Challenging Button Rebuild of a Horn Stem


Blog by Dal Stanton

I remember well when I received this beautifully sculpted ‘Edelweiss’ in 2017.  Kari, a gifted young Bulgarian lady who is a fellow colleague working with the Daughters of Bulgaria in Sofia, Bulgaria, saw the pipe in a second-hand shop on a visit to London while visiting her parents who lived and worked there.  Among colleagues of Daughters of Bulgaria, my pipe restoration exploits benefiting the daughters, is well-known.  Kari purchased the pipe and gifted it to The Pipe Steward for the Daughters on her return to Sofia.  Kari’s support did not end there!  She ALSO commissioned a pipe for herself which also benefited the Daughters.  That pipe was a graceful beauty which joined our fellowship during a break at work (pictured below) in Sofia a few years ago (See: A Lady’s Choice – WDC Milano Swan Neck Billiard).   Kari, along with several other staff and volunteers, are the courageous ones who go where few go to help women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thank you, Kari, not only for the pipe but for all you do!

When I received the pipe from Kari, I found that it had no branding, but the sculpting whispered ‘Edelweiss’ very clearly.  A Wikipedia article gives the Latin name, Leontopodium nivale, and describes the small, delicate flower with noteworthy characteristics – several reminiscent of those working to combat human trafficking and exploitation world-wide:The Edelweiss was put in the For “Pipe Dreamers” Only! collection and eventually, it caught one pipe man’s eyes.  Bob is retired in a small town near Keene, New Hampshire, where my wife and I have some family connections.  Even though Bob described himself as ‘retired’ in our communications, he also has a hand at restoring pipes specializing in what I would describe as ‘truly vintage pipes’ – Viennese coffeehouse pipes, Turkish and Kenyan pipes.  What I found fascinating as well was that Bob collects clays and has found a niche providing reed pipes to Civil War reenactors.  After looking at the pipes he has posted on Estsy (See: GlenwrightPipes), I was doubly impressed that the Edelweiss caught his discerning eye.  Here are a few pictures of the Sculpted Edelweiss with a diamond shank and horn stem: The only marking on the Edelweiss is on the upper left panel of the diamond shank.  ‘Bruyere’ is stamped inside a rhombus trapezoid for those of you who are geometric fans!  Underneath the trapezoid is stamped, EXTRA.  I am guessing that the pipe has French origins – it has that feel and appearance.  It could possibly date from the 1940s, probably a post-WW2 pipe when Europe was going through the shortages with rubber and horn came to the forefront, especially in France. The ‘Bruyere’ spelling lends toward France as well but not exclusively.  These are guesses at this point and probably will remain guesses because the nomenclature is not detailed. Looking at the condition of the pipe itself, the chamber needs reaming with a thick cake buildup.  Reaming will give the briar a fresh start and allow me to inspect the chamber walls.  The rim has lava flow and needs cleaning.  It is a given that the sculpted briar surface needs scrubbing.  The smooth panels of the sculpted briar surface will come out looking good.  The challenging issue with this pipe is the horn stem.  The short, bent horn stem is nice – I like horn stems and the rustic look they offer.  The challenge for this horn stem is that the button is totally obliterated. It looks as though it was chewed off.  If there is a silver lining, it is that there is a remnant of the slot facing remaining.  This will help guide rebuilding the button.

To begin, I focus first on the stem.  Before beginning the repair on the button, I clean the airway.  I’m hopeful that the nickel stinger can be removed to help.  I’m not concerned whether the stinger is threaded or not.  Either way, I’m not able to easily remove it gently using pliers.  To try to loosen it, the nickel tenon is heated with a Bic lighter and that does the job.  I discover that the stinger is threaded.  The stinger goes into a little dish with alcohol to soak to clean.Next, after one pipe cleaner wetted with isopropyl 99%, the airway is cleaned.  Steel wool also removes the staining on the end of the nickel tenon.Next, the button rebuild.  Knowing that the Edelweiss with the button rebuild was coming up in the queue, I have given thought to how to approach this repair.  I am confident that CA glue will provide a good, sturdy rebuild of the button.  The challenge leans more on the cosmetic side of the rebuild – matching as close as possible the translucent, wavy, horn hues.  I know it will be difficult to reproduce the shade patterns in the horn, but I can try to get in the ballpark.  I take some fresh pictures to get a closer look.  In the next two pictures looking down onto the top of the stem and then the lower side, the shades of the horn are clear.  The upper button is totally bisected exposing the airway.  The second picture shows the gnawed condition in progress.  The airway is not yet compromised. The lateral view in the next picture shows the sideline of the diamond shank as it runs down the side of the stem and disappears into the carnage.  The sideline will dictate the width of the button contouring.As I said before, the silver lining is that there remains some of the original slot facing.  The single hole slot will make it easier fashioning the button without having to craft a slot inset which is true for most vulcanite stems. I use an amber medium thickness CA glue to nuance the coloring I want to match the horn.  After covering a piece of paper with clear packing tape to serve as the mixing palette, I put a small dab of the amber glue on the palette to test the color and how it acts when I add to it.  To the amber CA is added just a small amount of activated charcoal and mixed to see how it reacts.  Only a small amount of the charcoal is used because too much and it will turn black.  I want there to be a lighter hue in the mixture with darker hints mingling with the amber.I like the look of the color of the glue – it has potential.  Before mixing more CA, to fashion the button and to protect the airway, a pipe cleaner wrapped with scotch tape and with petroleum jelly dabbed on the tape is inserted in the airway.  This forms the airway channel and protects it from being filled with glue.  The petroleum jelly helps to keep the pipe cleaner from adhering permanently to the CA glue – that would be problematic.Now, to thicken the CA/slight charcoal mixture, I add extra thick CA glue and mix with a toothpick.  Thickening the mixture helps when it is applied to the stem to not be as runny.With the pipe cleaner inserted, I put an initial layer of the CA mixture over the pipe cleaner to form the initial airway channel.  The glue is immediately sprayed with an accelerator which quickly cures the glue and holds the pipe cleaner  in place. Rebuilding the button was a repetitive dance of adding a bit more charcoal, amber CA and extra thick CA and mixing and applying to the button area with the toothpick – wrapping the glue around the toothpick as one wraps pasta around a fork.  After each application of the CA mixture, the button is sprayed with the accelerator.  The following pictures show the progress in gradually adding layers to rebuild the button.After sufficient layers have been laid, as hoped, with a bit of wiggling, the pipe cleaner comes out without problem.  The excess rebuild patch material that has been applied was intended.  From the excess the filing process whittles down the excess to shape the button as needed. The airway formed around the taped pipe cleaner as hoped.  My only concern at this point is that the patch material above the airway is not sufficiently thick as I begin filing.  I’ll be cognizant of this later.  I set the stem aside to allow the button rebuild patch to thoroughly cure.With the stem on the side, I take a closer look at the stummel before starting the cleaning process.  The rim has thick lava flow.  The grime on the bowl also is evident. The clean up of the stummel starts with reaming the chamber using the Pipnet Reaming Kit. The reaming required 3 of the 4 blade heads available.  This is followed with the Savinelli Fitsall Tool to further scrape the chamber removing the carbon buildup.  Finally, the chamber is sanded using 240 sanding paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen.  An inspection of the chamber after the reaming process shows healthy briar.Moving now to the sculpted briar surface, undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap is used on a cotton pad to scrub.  A bristled toothbrush is also used to get into the grooves of the sculpting and a brass bristled brush helps with the lava buildup on the rim surface.  The lava on the rim proved to be stubborn.  The sharp edge of the pocketknife was also used to carefully scrape the surface.   The stummel is next taken to the sink where the cleaning continues with shank brushes.  Using the brushes and anti-oil liquid dishwashing soap, the mortise is cleaned using warm to hot water.  The bristled toothbrush is used again to clean the external surface.  After a thorough rinsing, the bowl is taken back to the worktable.Next, to fine tune the internal cleaning, pipe cleaners and cotton buds wetted with isopropyl 99% scrub the mortise and airway.  From the picture below, the number of buds and pipe cleaners used was quite a bit.  A dental spoon also was useful in scraping the sides of the mortise.  I discovered at the beginning of the cleaning that the mortise has what appears to be cork lining affixed to the sides to keep the metal tenon snug.  During the cleaning process, I cleaned over the cork not wanting to damage it more than it was.  I call a truce on the cleaning for now and will plan to do a kosher salt and alcohol soak through the night to further clean and freshen the internals.After the cleaning of the stummel I look back at the results.  There persist some darkened, scorched areas on the rim and just inside the chamber on the left-hand side – the lighting side.  I will need to do some remedial sanding to clean this. The stummel has cleaned up well.  I’m looking forward to the sanding phase when the grain in the smooth briar sections of the sculpting will emerge.  This will look good.  The finish, what there was of one, seems to be non-existent after the cleaning. I begin to address the issues with the rim by topping the stummel to reestablish fresh lines and to remove the darkened areas. Using 240 paper on the chopping board, the stummel in inverted and rotated on the flat surface.  I expect the progress often not wanting to remove more briar than is necessary.At this point, I am satisfied with the progress even though the burn spot on the left side of the stummel (the bottom in the picture) is still evident.  I will try to address this by cutting a smart bevel on the inner lip of the rim.  I am hopeful this will remove more charring.To complete the topping, the paper is changed to 600 grade paper and the stummel is rotated several more times to smooth the rim surface further.Next, a bevel is cut using 240 paper then 600 paper by pinching the rolled paper with a hard surface backing the paper.  This removes the dark ring nicely and I’m satisfied with the results even though a small dark spot remains.Next, sanding sponges are applied to the sculpted briar surface.  Three sponges are used, first a coarser grade, then medium and finishing with a light grade.  The sponges do a great job cleaning the briar surface. With my workday closing, the internal cleaning is continued using a kosher salt and alcohol soak through the night.  This helps to draw the oils out of the internal briar and freshen the stummel.  First, a cotton ball is stretched and twisted to form a ‘wick’ which is then pushed/guided down the mortise with the help of a stiff wire.  The wick helps to draw the oils out. The bowl is then filled with kosher salt which does not leave an aftertaste.  After putting the stummel in the egg crate for stability, the chamber is filled with isopropyl 99% until it surfaces over the salt.  After a few minutes, the alcohol is absorbed into the salt and a little more alcohol is added to top it off.  The lights are then switched off. The next morning, the soak had continued the cleaning through the night as evidenced by the salt and cotton wick being soiled.  After clearing the salt crystals from the bowl and wiping with a paper towel, I also blow through the mortise just to make sure that the salt was removed.  To make sure the cleaning was successful, a few pipe cleaners and cotton buds wetted with isopropyl 99% reveal that more cleaning is necessary.  After a good bit of work, the buds emerged lighter and I declare the job done! Next, I’m anxious to work on shaping the new button.  The patch rebuild material has cured through the night and I begin by filing the end of the stem to shape the button facing.  I flat needle file begins the process of removing the excess patch material to flatten it.It does not take long filing to discover I have some problems.  I mentioned earlier I was concerned about the thickness of the top bit area.  The reason for my concern was that I did not realize until after the initial CA glue application to establish a solid airway, that the tape-wrapped pipe cleaner, the airway template, had popped up just a little when the attention was on troweling the glue mixture to the rebuild with a toothpick.  The form was set when I quickly sprayed the CA with the accelerator.  The picture below shows the form of the airway pushing too far upward.  The problem with this therefore, results in a cavity where there should be hardened CA glue.  Looking through the slot you can see daylight – the translucent light coming through the hardened CA.  The second picture shows this area looking down on the upper bit.   Undeterred, I believe the best approach is to file down the upper bit as I would normally do – shaping it as it should be. As I file, I expect the cavity will be breached providing the means to add more CA mixture to fill the cavity.  The pipe cleaner with the scotch tape wrap will also again be in place when more CA is added.  On we go!  Using the flat needle file, I work on the upper bit forming the button lip.  A few pictures show the gradual progress.As I file close to being flush with the horn surface, filing is transitioned to sanding with 240 grade sanding paper to shape the button further.  I am surprised when there are no breaches exposing a cavity in the button.I transition to filing the lower button.  Instead of a flat needle file, a squared filed is used.  It doesn’t take long, and 240 grade sandpaper continues the sanding process. Next, the flat needle file is used to shape the button itself.  The general approach is to follow the curvature of the horn stem on the upper and lower button lip.  In addition, the button is filed to taper toward the sides of the stem so that the upper and lower button meet flush with the side of stem.  This results in a uniform edge running down from the diamond shank sides through the stem/button.  Sanding and shaping the button continues with 240 grade paper and is expanded to sand the entire stem to clean small nicks and smooth.  A plastic disk is used to prevent shouldering the edges while sanding.The button is looking good but still in a rough state.  As is often the case when working with CA glue patches, pits appear from air pockets caught in the glue when it solidifies.   I take a few pictures to show the progress. Even though filing and sanding did not open a cavity as I was expecting, there is a gap where there shouldn’t be a gap and there is a small cavity behind the gap where  there shouldn’t be and this concerns me.  The approach that came to mind was again to wrap a pipe cleaner in scotch tape.  After applying petroleum jelly to the tape to reduce the CA glue sticking to it, the pipe cleaner was again placed in the airhole and into the airway.  If I had three hands, I could have taken pictures of the following process, but with the picture below serving as the starting point, it shows the gap created earlier is exposed while filling the accurate airway with the pipe cleaner. A precision spout is then attached to the Black CA glue bottle and reinforced with tape.  With the tip of the precision spout being small, I am able to insert it into the gap hole and ‘inject’ the Black CA glue into the cavity.  This was done very slowly because it was difficult pushing the CA through the small exit and I did not want to blow the spout off with the pressure – therefore the spout is reinforced with tape!  When the glue emerges out of the gap, I spray accelerator on it to solidify in place the excess black CA emerging from the cavity assuring that the slot hole remains firm.  After about 5 minutes, I gave the pipe cleaner a slight twist to see if the petroleum jelly prevented the sticking.  It snapped and moved, but I left it in place as the black CA glue injected in the cavity fully cures.  I put the stem aside again to let the CA glue fully cure. With the stem on the sideline, the sanding process with the stummel is continued following the sponges.  The full regimen of micromesh pads is applied by first wet sanding with pads 1500 to 2400.  Dry sanding follows with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  I enjoyed watching the emergence of the smooth briar grain during the micromesh process.  It’s looking great!

While sanding with micromesh pads, I had more of a focus on the beautiful carving design of the Edelweiss.  Both sides of the bowl display an Edelweiss flower in full bloom, but more subtle is the leafy branch design holding up the flowers from below.  The leafy branch extends from the shank into the bowl’s heel and then flowering upward encompassing the bowl – amazing!  To bring more relief to the sculpted leaf and flower panels I decide to apply Fiebing’s Tan Leather Dye to the stummel.  My thinking is this – the tan will freshen the overall color, but it will not be distinctively different from the lighter briar surface.  The main effect I am looking for will be on the ‘unnoticed’ rough, sculpted cuts, which surround and define the leaves and flowers.  The fresh dye will absorb and should darken the rough briar, I believe, and provide more of a contrast pop for the overall briar canvas.  At least, this is what I think will happen!  As can be seen in the above pictures, there is compacted briar dust lodged in the cut lines and edges.  Using a sharp dental probe, I carefully scrape and blow the debris out of the cracks and cuts. After assembling the materials and tools on the worktable, in preparation for the dye, I first wipe the bowl with alcohol to further clean the surface.  Next, the bowl is warmed with the hot air gun to heat and expand the briar.  I believe this helps the wood to receive the dye. After the stummel was warmed, a pipe cleaner is used to apply Fiebing’s Tan Leather Dye to a portion of the bowl and then it is ‘flamed’.  The aniline dye is combusted with a lit candle and when the alcohol quickly burns off, the pigment is set into the briar.  I debated whether I should fire the dye given that it will be more difficult to remove the resulting crusted surface. I decide that the cuts and crevasses are accessible enough that it should clean up with the rotary tool and buffing wheels.  After thoroughly applying the dye and firing it, the bowl is put aside to rest allowing the dye to settle in.With the stummel resting, the injection of black CA glue into the cavity of the button slot has cured.  With a bit of nervousness, I pull and twist the tape wrapped pipe cleaner which had been covered with petroleum jelly to prevent sticking.  Thankfully, it was dislodged with no problems.To clean the excess black CA glue the flat needle file is used followed by 240 grade sanding paper.  A round pointed needle file is used to fine tune the rounding of the air hole.  It looks great!  I breathe a bit easier.  The draft hole is correctly formed and the rebuild is now solid other than the airway running through it.To smooth the horn stem and button rebuild, 600 grade paper is used to wet sand followed by applying 0000 grade steel wool. The horn is looking great and the coloring of the button could not be much better.  Looking more closely at the button, there remain some pits that need to be filled and smoothed. To address this, thin CA glue is carefully spread over the button to fill the small pits on the button lip and above the airhole.  After the CA is cured in a few hours, again I wet sand with 600 paper and 0000 steel wool, focusing on smoothing the button.  I am pleased with the results of the button rebuild.   Next, the horn stem is sanded with micromesh pads.  Starting with pads 1500 to 2400, the stem is wet sanded.  Following this, pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000 are used to dry sand.  To condition the horn material, Obsidian Oil is applied between each set of three pads.  The horn almost drank the oil, and the pop of this horn stem is great! The newly dyed Edelweiss stummel is next.  It has rested for several hours and the next step is to remove the flamed shell.To do this a felt buffing wheel is mounted to the rotary tool and set to a slower speed – about 25% full power. This reduces the heat generated by the felt and the Tripoli compound, a coarser abrasive compound.  Tripoli is applied to the stummel with the felt wheel and I navigate the wheel to put an edge down into the crevasses as much as possible.  The rotary tool makes it easy to address the different angles of the sculpting contour.  After using the compound, a cotton pad wetted with alcohol is used to wipe down the stummel.  I do this to lighten the dye and to blend the new dye more evenly over the sculpted surface.Next, a cotton cloth buffing wheel is mounted to the rotary tool and the speed is increased to about 40% full power.  I do not apply more compound with this wheel but simply buff through all the crooks and crannies to remove any excess Tripoli compound that may have gotten lodged.  This also continues to buff up the new dyed surface.After reattaching the nickel stinger to the tenon, the stummel and horn stem were reunited.  After changing to another cotton cloth buffing wheel with the speed remaining at 40%, Blue Diamond compound is applied to the entire pipe.  I use a light touch with the compound so not to clog the nooks and crannies with compound dust.  As before, the wheel is navigated over the smooth surfaces as well as in the carved valleys and cuts.Not shown is that I again wipe the stummel one more time with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol to continue to reduce the dye residue.  The final step to reduce dye leaching onto the hand after the pipe is put into service is to emulate the heating of the bowl.  To do this the bowl is warmed with the hot air gun and when hot, the stummel is rubbed with microfiber cloth which removes residue created by the heating.The final step is to apply carnauba wax to the pipe. After changing the buffing wheel again at the same speed, the wax is applied to the entire pipe.  Again, little is more when applying the wax, especially not wanting to muck up the sculpting with excess wax.  After the wax is applied to the horn stem and Edelweiss stummel, the pipe is given a hearty hand buffing with a microfiber cloth to raise the shine and to distribute and remove excess wax.My goodness – I am pleased with the results of the restoration of this Sculpted Edelweiss horn stem that Kari donated to benefit the Daughters of Bulgaria.  What a beauty!  Rebuilding the button to blend well with the horn stem was a challenge, but the mixing of the different CA glue hues had the effect of a wavy translucence that emulated very well the horn coloring.  The sculpting of the edelweiss flowers and leaves is exquisite and coupled with the rustic, earthy horn stem, an eye-catching ensemble is created.  Bob had the vision to see the potential and commissioned the Sculpted Edelweiss Horn Stem and will have the first opportunity to claim it in The Pipe Steward Store benefiting the Daughters of Bulgaria – helping women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks for joining me!

Yet Another Treasure – a 1905 BBB Own Make Giant Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

It seems like just a few weeks ago I was contacted by an older gentleman about purchasing his pipe collection. He sent me the photos and I was amazed at what I saw. He had Dunhill pipes, BBB pipes, Orlik pipes, Barclay Rex Pipes, a couple of Meerschaums and a whole lot of other pipes. All I could say as I looked at the pipes was what a collection it was. We negotiated a deal and I think we both walked away quite happy with the exchange. But I have to tell you there was another pipe caught my interest when I looked at pictures of it. It was a beautiful older BBB Giant Bent Billiard. It was a mess but there was something charming about  it. It is shown in the photo to the left. The smaller pipe in the photo is also a BBB and from having worked on it I know that it is a tiny pipe with small measurements – Length: 4 ¼ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches. This Giant Bent Billiard is huge. It almost double the length at 8+ inches and it is double the height at 3 inches. The silver band on the shank is heavily oxidized/tarnished Sterling Silver. I could not wait to get it in hand and figure out the age of the pipe. From the looks of it I could tell it was older. The stem looked like the older hard rubber stems. I was looking forward to checking that out.

I have worked on a lot of BBB pipes over the years and never had the opportunity to work on one like this. It would be a great addition to my collection of older BBB pipes. From the photos the pipe appeared to be in good condition from the photo he sent me. He said that the pipe was stamped on the left side of the silver ferrule and read AF & Co followed by the BBB logo in a diamond over three hallmarks. The hallmarks are as follows: an anchor (Birmingham, England), a rampant lion (the symbol for quality of the silver) and the final one is a lower case “f” (the date stamp). I had him ship it to Jeff for cleanup so it would be a while before I held in hand.

When the package arrived at Jeff’s place in Idaho he waited for me and opened the box with me on Facetime to look at the collection of pipes as he removed them from the box. It is an amazing collection and one that I am going to enjoy working on over the months ahead. Jeff took some photos of the BBB Giant/Extra Large Bent Billiard with a Sterling Silver band for me to look at while he worked his magic in cleaning up the pipe. It is a an interesting pipe with a lot of potential and what appears to be some great grain under the grime and debris of the years.  Jeff took photos of the bowl, rim top to show the thickness of the cake in the bowl and the lava on the rim top. I was surprised to see that much cake in a pipe of this size from that time period. I had always thought and had found that the pipes were on the smaller size to accommodate the price of tobacco. That may have been true but this pipe is an exception that was obviously a great smoking pipe and a favourite. I am hoping that the thick lava coat protected things underneath it from damage to the edges and top. Cleaning it would make that clear! He took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the tooth chatter, scratching and oxidation on the stem surface and wear on the edges of the button.  Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the briar. You can see the beautiful shape and the grain on the bowl even through the dirt and debris of many years. At this point in the process it certainly looks its age.  Jeff took the stem off the shank and took photos of the mortise and tenon. It is a well made pipe and it is incredibly dirty!The stamping on the left side of the shank read BBB in a diamond separating OWN MAKE on each side of the diamond. On the right side it was stamped ENGLAND. On the silver band it is stamped on left side and it has the AF&Co (which is the Adolph Frankau & Company logo) with the BBB diamond logo next to it. After Frankau’s death, the BBB gradually became known as Britain’s Best Briars. It is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, English trademark in current use and the first pipe ever to have a registered trade mark. Underneath the AF&Co  and BBB logo it is stamped with three hallmarks – an anchor, a lion and a lower case “f”.  The anchor identifies the city of origin of the silversmith (Birmingham, England), the rampant lion (the symbol for quality of the silver) and the final one is a lower case “f” (the date stamp). The silver is badly oxidized but you can see the hallmarks in the third photo below. The stamping is clear and readable. Since the hallmarks were so clear, I turned to one of the numerous silver hallmark charts on line for the city of Birmingham, England to see what I could find out about the “f” date stamp and pin down and age for the pipe (https://www.silvermakersmarks.co.uk/Dates/Birmingham.html). I clicked on the section that applied to the date stamp on this pipe. The first chart below is the chart from 1773-2024.I am also including screen capture of the enlarged section on the Birmingham dates for the letter F. This chart covers pipes made in 1778-1980. It is accessible by clicking on the F above the chart above on the website and it gives a listing of all silver hallmarks with the letter “F”. I have drawn a red box around the hallmark pattern that matches the one on the BBB Silver band. You can see that it dates the pipe to 1905. That means that this little pipe is roughly 116 years old. The silver work confirms the 1905 date for the pipe.

With the information from the hallmark site I had a clear date for the manufacture of the pipe. It was definitely an old timer and really was another stellar acquisition.

I did some reading in the reproduction of the BBB Catalogue XX that I have here. The catalogue shows a potential match for the pipe on page 28 under the heading FINEST LONDON MADE BRIAR PIPES – Hall-marked silver mounts. There is a special note that the vulcanite mouthpieces in this series are hand-made from the best Para Rubber. That matches what I have come to associate with the kind of stem that is on this pipe.

The pipe looks a lot like one that is described by the catalogue as an EXTRA LARGE 6010 with a vulcanite stem. It is an extra large bent billiard. There is another one on page 32 that is described as Extra Large with a push vulcanite stem. The catalogue number is FP6146.

Now it was time to work on the pipe. Jeff carefully cleaned the pipe from top to stern. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and then cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals of the shank, stem and shank extension with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the tarnish and lava on the rim top. The finish looks much better and has a deep richness in the colour that highlights grain of the briar. The rim top looked good with some darkening on the top and outer edge of the bowl. Jeff soaked the stem in bath of Briarville’s Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. He worked it over with Soft Scrub All Purpose Cleaner to remove any remnants of oxidation. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver I was amazed it looked so good. Here are some photos of what I saw. I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem surface. The inner edge of the rim was darkened and lightly damaged. The silver band was in great condition. I took close up photos of the stem to show the condition of the surface and button. I took a picture of the stamping on the shank. The reflection on the silver did not capture the clarity of the stamping on the band but it was all clear and readable as noted above.I took the pipe apart and took a photo of the pipe with the stem. It is a good looking pipe and very unique.I started my work on the pipe by addressing the darkening on the edges and rim top. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to work over the inner edge to smooth out the damage and to remove the darkening.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. After each pad I wiped the briar down with a damp cloth.  I was able to give a shine to the bowl and remove some of the surface scratches in the process. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the bowl and shank with my fingertips 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. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I polished the silver ferrule with a jewelers cloth to remove any residual tarnish and also to protect it from future tarnish (at least for awhile). With that done the bowl was finished other than the final buffing. It is a beautiful pipe! I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I have found that these older hand-made Para Rubber (vulcanite) mouthpieces tend to have flecks of metal and other debris in the rubber. This mouthpiece is no exception and the top and underside has a lot of flecks in the rubber. No amount of polishing removes them. With the bowl and the stem finished I put the pipe back together and buffed it on the wheel using Blue Diamond to give it a shine. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel and then buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. It really is an amazing piece of briar on such a large pipe. The dimensions of this part of the pipe are – Length: 8 inches, Height: 3 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: 1 inch. The weight of this large pipe is 6.35 ounces /180 grams. This unique find – a 1905 BBB Own Make Extra Large Bent Billiard with a silver band is joining the other pipes in my collection of BBB pipes and will hold a place of honour while it is in my trust. This is another pipe that one day soon I will enjoy a special bowl of tobacco in it and be transported to a slower paced time in history where I can enjoy a respite. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

Restoring a Made in Ireland  Peterson’s Dublin & London 999 Rhodesian


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen is another smooth finished Peterson’s pipe. This one is a smooth 999 Rhodesian that has a rich coloured finish around the bowl sides and shank. It came to us from an auction in Garden City, Missouri, USA. The finish is dark and dirty but there is some great grain around the bowl sides and cap. There is some road rash around the rings on the left side and right front of the bowl. It was stamped on the  left side of the shank and read Peteron’s [over] Dublin & London. It was stamped to the right of the shank and read MADE IN IRELAND in two lines with the shape number 999 next to the bowl. It was filthy when Jeff brought it to the table. There was a thick cake in the bowl and a thick overflow of lava on the rim top and the inner edge of the bowl. It was hard to know what the condition of the rim top and bowl were under that thick lava coat. The “P” stamp on the stem was visible but faint. The stem was oxidized, calcified and had tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside on and near the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before his cleanup work. Jeff took photos of the rim top and stem to show the general condition of the pipe. The bowl is heavily caked and the rim top and edges have some lava overflow. The stem is oxidized and has tooth marks on the top and underside near the button.  Jeff took photos of the bowl sides and heel to show the grain that was around this bowl. It is a nice looking pipe. There is some damage to the twin rings and cap edges on both sides of the bowl. On the left it is the full side and on the right it is toward the front of the bowl. Jeff took a closeup photo of the damage on the sides of the bowl around the cap. It looks like the bowl has been dropped several times on a hard surface.He took photos of the sides of the shank to show the stamping. The stamping is readable in the photos below and is as noted above.  

I am including the link to the 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 turned to “The Peterson Pipe” by Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg to get some background on the Peterson’s Dublin & London Pipe. On page 298 it had the following information.

Dublin & London (c1940-97, 2016-) First mentioned in a 1940 brochure, but probably not widely distributed until ’45, Dublin & London was the highest quality line (aside from the Supreme, introduced in ’53) until about ’86. P-lip or fishtail mouthpiece, polished finish, although sandblast described in ’70 Iwan Ries & Co. catalog. COMs include MADE IN over IRELAND (1940-80) and MADE IN THE over REPUBLIC over OF IRELAND (c1980-97).

Judging from the description above, the pipe I am working on is stamped with the stamp noted in red above. It reads Made in Ireland which narrows the date to between approximately 1940-1980. It was also one of the highest quality lines available by Peterson when it was made. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet reamer and cut back the cake back to the bare briar. He cleaned up the walls 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 worked on the rim top 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 then soaked it in Briarville’s Deoxidizer. (We are using a new product for us to compare it with the Before & After Deoxidizer.) He washed it off with warm water to remove the deoxidizer. The pipe looked far better when it arrived.   I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show how well it had cleaned up. The rim top had some darkening on the top and damage to the inner edges around the bowl. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the tooth marks on the surface near the button.  I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It reads as noted above.I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to have a look at the parts and overall look.I decided to work on the damage to the inner edge of the bowl first. I used a folded piece of 180 and followed that with 220 grit sandpaper to give the inner edge of the bowl a slight bevel to deal with the damaged areas and blend them into the surrounding briar.  Next I turned to the road rash around the side of the ring and the cap. It had been roughened and pitted. I sanded it smooth with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage and rework the twin rings and edges on both sides of the ring (above & below). I followed that by sanding it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to further smooth out the lines of the twin rings. It is far from perfect but it is looking much better.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad.   I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips 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. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the tooth marks with the flame of a lighter to lift them. I was able to lift most of them. Those that remained I filled I with clear CA glue. Once the glue cured I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the stem surface. I started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.   I touched up the P on the left side of the stem with Paper Make Liquid Paper. I rubbed it on and worked it into the P with a tooth pick. I rubbed it off with a soft cloth. It is quite readable. I set the bowl aside and 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.  I rubbed it down with another coat of Obsidian Oil. I am excited to finish this Peterson’s London & Dublin Made in Ireland 999 Rhodesian. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with beautiful straight and flame grain all around it. Added to that the polished nickle band and the black vulcanite stem was beautiful. This smooth Classic London & Dublin Higher Grade 999 Rhodesian is great looking and the pipe feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 55grams/1.94oz. It is a beautiful pipe and one that is already sold, or as Dal calls it “commissioned”. The gentleman who asked for it has the first right of refusal. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.

Restemming and Transforming a “Hialeah” Pipe From My Inherited Lot


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

After I had completed the Butz- Choquin A Metz No. 2 pipe (Restoring An Early Butz Choquin “A Metz” No. 2 | rebornpipes), I rummaged through the fast dwindling pile of 40 odd pipes that Abha, my wife, had cleaned up for me to complete my part of further repairs and restoration work.

The pipe that I have selected is one from the huge lot of my grandfather’s pipes that I had inherited. This pipe had always caught my fancy on account of the wonderfully thin, tightly packed straight grains that are seen all around the stummel and shank and also due to its peculiar shape, a rather tall bowl (but not a stack!) with a longish shank and an equally long saddle stem. Overall, it definitely looked quirky to say the least, it’s a LOVAT shape on account of the round shank and a saddle bit but not a classic LOVAT since the stem is as long as the shank!! It’s the carver’s take on a classic shape, I guess. However, there was something about the stem that seemed wrong at the first glance. It was for this reason that the pipe always fell out of favor in the lineup of pipes for restoration. Here are a couple of pictures of the pipe that shows the pipe before Abha, my wife, had done the initial cleaning. From the pictures below, it is amply evident that the stem is not aligned straight in reference to the shank, but is skewed more towards the left (evidenced in the second picture).This pipe has some beautiful densely packed thin straight, also referred to as “Angel hair” grains all around the tall bowl and over the long shank surface. The only stampings seen on this pipe are over the left shank surface and is stamped as “HIALEAH” over “ALGERIAN BRIAR”. These stampings are crisp and clear. The long saddle vulcanite stem is devoid of any stampings.I looked for information on this brand on rebornpipes.com. Unfortunately the search yielded no results (a surprise for sure!!). Next I turned to pipedia.org to understand and establish the provenance of the pipe brand. There is not much information that was noted in the article, but was sufficient to give me an idea of the brand and period of operations. Here is the link to the webpage:-

Hialeah – Pipedia  I quote from the article; “From what I’ve found on the web HIALEAH pipes were sold by Whitehall Products Co. (a division of Helme Products) prior to 1975. Whitehall was in Wheeling, West Virginia, and Helme somewhere in New Jersey. All I’ve seen have been made of Algerian Briar and are reported to be great smokers”.

Thus, this pipe definitely dates to pre-1975

Initial Visual Inspection
Abha, in a deviation from her thumb rule of not taking any “BEFORE” pictures, had taken a few pictures of the pipe to highlight the condition of the pipe before she commenced her initial clean up for me.

The chamber had a thick layer of cake with heavy overflow of lava over the rim top surface. The inner rim edge appears to be uneven while the outer rim edge appears sans any damage. The exact condition of the edges will be ascertained once the lava overflow from the rim top surface is removed and the surface is cleaned up. The draught hole is in the dead center and at the bottom of the chamber and this construction should make it a great smoke.The stummel surface was covered in dust and grime of years of usage and subsequent storage. The stummel has developed dark hues of browns and has scratches and dings over the surface, most notably to the heel and front of the stummel. However under all the dust and grime, beautiful tight Angel hair grains are awaiting to be brought to the fore. There are a couple of fills, one to the front of the stummel and another to the shank very close to the stampings. The mortise has traces of old oils and tars, restricting the air flow through the mortise. Whether to refresh the fills or let them be will be decided once the stummel is cleaned and the fills are checked for softness thereafter.  The long vulcanite saddle stem is heavily oxidized with minor tooth chatter in the bite zone. The stem is skewed to the left immediately after the saddle portion of the stem. This flaw makes me believe it to be a shaping issue more than anything and further points to the likelihood of the stem to be handmade. Steve also concurred with my assumptions when we discussed the restoration during one of our video calls. He also pointed out that there was no way to right this wrong other than replacing the stem.Initial Cleaning By Abha…
The initial cleaning on this pipe was done by Abha, my wife (she has cleaned up around 40-50 pipes and these have now reached me for further restoration). She reamed out the complete cake and further smoothed out the chamber walls with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. She further cleaned out the internals of the shank with pipe cleaners and alcohol and cotton buds. She followed the internal cleaning of the shank with external cleaning of the stummel using Murphy’s Oil soap and hard bristled tooth brush and dried it with paper napkins and cotton cloth.

Next she cleaned out the internals of the stem air way and immersed it in “Before and After Deoxidizer” solution along with the stem of other pipes in line for restoration. Once the stem had soaked overnight, she cleaned the stem under running warm water and scrubbed the raised oxidation from the stem surface using Scotch Brite pad. She further removed the oxidation by scrubbing the stem with 0000 grade steel wool and applied a little olive oil to rehydrate the stem.

Once The Pipe Is On My Work Table…
The cleaned up pipes presents a very clear picture of what needs to be done to restore this pipe to a decent and smokable condition. I really cannot thank Abha enough for all the help and support that she extends me in my pursuance of this hobby. I proceed to carry out my appreciation of the work that needs to be done on this pipe to restore it.

As with all the cleaned pipes that Abha packs, there was a note in the zip lock pouch with issues that she had observed in the pipe. The first point was that the chamber has developed heat fissures. The second point was that she was not happy with the shape of the stem and it appeared odd. Also the seating of the stem in to the mortise was very loose. Here are the pictures of the pipe as I had received. The chamber does appear to have developed heat fissures (indicated with red arrows). The rim top surface is darkened all around, more so at the back of the rim surface. The inner rim edge is uneven while the outer edge is slightly charred in 1 o’clock direction and is encircled in yellow. Close scrutiny of the chamber walls made me realize that there is still a very thin layer of cake in the chamber and it is my experience that this gives an appearance of heat fissures! Only after the cake has been completely removed will I be able to confirm presence of heat fissures or otherwise.The stummel is nice and clean but would benefit from polishing to rejuvenate and bring a nice shine over the briar surface. There is a large fill over the left shank surface and very close to the stampings (encircled in yellow). The fill is solid and I wouldn’t take the risk of refreshing it due to its proximity to the stampings. There are a few dings to the front of the bowl (encircled in red) that would need to be addressed. The mortise has no chips or cracks to the shank face/ shank. There are a few minor pockets of old oils and tars that are seen on the walls of the mortise and would require some invasive measures to eliminate completely.Since the stem would be replaced, I shall not dwell in detail about the stem condition, but am including a few pictures of the stem to show its condition as well as give the readers a perspective about the incorrect shape imparted to the stem at the time it was crafted.The Process
The first issue to be addressed in this project was to replace the original poorly crafted stem. Steve and I went through my small stash of spare stems and selected a small bent saddle stem that was stamped on the left as “ROPP” on a steel roundel. This stem would impart a classic Lovat shape to the pipe and vastly improve the aesthetics of the pipe, or so we thought. Here is how the pipe looks with this bent saddle stem. The tenon would need to be sanded down for it to seat in to the mortise and this would be the trickiest part of this stem replacement. I would have to be very careful to sand the tenon evenly and equally from all around, frequently checking for a snug fit in to the mortise. The replacement vulcanite saddle stem is in perfect condition with no damage to the button or in the bite zone, save for some minor oxidation and very light tooth chatter. I would need to first straighten out the stem followed by sanding the tenon for a snug fit in to the mortise. Only once these issues are addressed would I be progressing to removing the “ROPP” stamped steel plate and filling the area left behind by the removal of the steel plate.

I began the restoration of this pipe by first addressing the suspected heat fissures in the chamber walls. I worked on the stummel by reaming the chamber with a PipNet pipe reamer using the size 3 head. With my fabricated knife, I removed the remaining carbon deposit. 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. I was very pleased to note that the chamber walls are sans any damage.With the bowl internals clean, I move to clean the exterior of the stummel, specially the rim top surface. I used a hard bristled tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil soap to scrub the stummel and rim top. 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 smooth stummel surface has cleaned up nicely with the beautiful Angel hair grain patterns on full display. There are two major fills that are now plainly visible (encircled in green), but they are solid and I shall avoid refreshing them. The darkening and unevenness of the inner rim edge is evident and over reamed in the 1 o’clock direction (encircled in yellow). 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 draw. Now that I had a fair idea of the extent of topping required to the rim surface, I top the rim on a piece of 220 grit sand paper to address the rim surface darkening, dents and dings. I addressed the uneven inner edge by creating a light bevel to inner edge with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and index finger. To further smooth out the scratches left behind by the abrasive 220 girt sand paper, I top the rim surface on a piece of 400 grit sand paper. I am very happy at the way the chamber and rim top surface appears at this point in restoration. Next, I decided to address the dents and dings on the stummel surface, notably to the front of the bowl (encircled in pastel blue). Using a whitener pen, I marked all the major areas with dents and dings as I had decided to leave the minor ones as they were. I heated my fabricated knife over the flame of a candle, placed a wet Turkish hand towel over the marked areas and steamed out the dents by placing the heated knife over the towel. The steam generated by placing a hot knife on the wet towel helps the briar to expand within these dents and dings, making for a smooth and even surface. To further even out the remaining dings, I lightly sand the entire stummel with a folded piece of worn out 180 grit sand paper. The stummel appears much better and smooth at this juncture. With the stummel repairs completed, I turned my attention to the replacement stem. The first thing that needed to be done was to straighten the stem. I cleaned the stem internals first and inserted a regular pipe cleaner through the stem airway. This prevents the airway from collapsing when the stem is heated to straighten it. With a heat gun, I heated the stem at the point where the stem was bent, rotating the stem frequently to ensure even heating. Once the stem was pliable, I straightened the stem with my hands by placing it on the flat table. After the stem had cooled down sufficiently, I held it under cold running water to set the straightened shape. Now that the stem was straightened, the next step was to ensure a snug fit of the tenon in to the mortise. Since the tenon was not too large as compared to the mortise, I got down to the arduous and time consuming task of manually sanding down the tenon with a folded piece of 180 grit sandpaper till I had achieved a perfect seating of the tenon in to the mortise. My previous experience had taught me an invaluable lesson; “SAND ONCE AND CHECK TWICE”!! Here I was extra careful and vigilant while sanding the sides of the tenon and frequently checked the alignment of the stem airway, the shank airway and finally, the draught hole. Excess sanding of any one side of the tenon disturbs this alignment even though the seating may appear to be snug and seamless. I gave a final check to the progress being made and the seating was perfectly snug with all the airways perfectly aligned. I am very happy with the progress up to this point!!Close scrutiny of the seating of the tenon in to the mortise under camera magnification revealed a slight gap at the stem and shank face junction. With a folded piece of 180 grit sandpaper, I sand the base of the tenon until I had achieved a seamless and flushed seating of the stem. Discerning Readers must have noticed a dark line starting from the shank end and extending for about an inch and a half towards the bowl (indicated with green arrows). I too thought (with a cringe) that the shank had cracked in the process, but let me assure you that the shank is not cracked and is in fact a dark strand of straight grain…that was really a big relief!!Once I had achieved a snug fit of the tenon in to the mortise, I checked for the flush seating of the stem face with that of the shank and realized that the stem diameter is larger than that of the shank and the extent of sanding that would be required. This would need to be addressed.   But before I could address this issue, it was necessary that the metal plate bearing the ROPP stamping be removed and the cavity created, be filled out. Once this was done, matching the entire saddle portion with the shank face would be accurate and time saving. Using dental pick and a sharp, thin paper cutter, I removed the steel plate and cleaned the gouged out surface with a cotton pad and isopropyl alcohol. I evened out the surrounding area with a worn out piece of 180 grit sand paper and filled the cavity with a mix of CA superglue and black charcoal powder. I set the fill to cure overnight.The next day, I sand the filled cavity with a piece of 180 grit sand paper till I had achieved a rough match with the surrounding saddle surface of the stem. The filled area would be perfectly matched when I sand the entire saddle portion to match the shank face.Now, to match the stem face with the shank face, I unite the stem and the shank. With a sanding drum mounted on to my hand held rotary tool, I sand the saddle portion of the stem till I had achieved a near perfect matching of the stem face with that of the shank face. I further fine tune the match perfectly by sanding it with a 220 followed by 400 grit sand paper. The match is perfect and the pipe as a whole is now looking very nice with the new stem. It still looks very plain and would need a dash of a little bling to complete the transformation!! Also, there is a need to refill the cavity left behind by the steel plate as I noticed a few ugly air pockets. I refilled it with CA superglue and charcoal powder and set it aside for the fill to cure. To add a little bling to the appearance of the pipe, I decided to attach a brass band at the shank end. I selected a band that was a perfect fit and glued it over the shank end with CA superglue and set it aside to cure.I subjected the stummel to a complete cycle of micromesh polish, dry sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. I paid greater attention to polish the rim top surface and the bevel created on the inner rim edge. I wiped the stummel with a moist cloth after every grit pad to remove the sanding dust left behind by the pads. I am happy with the progress being made till now. Just look at the beautiful grain on this piece of briar!! The briar has taken on a nice deep shine with brown of the stummel and the darker brown stains to the grain contrasting beautifully. I really like the patina that is seen over the stummel surface. However, the rim top surface appears lighter than the rest of the stummel due to the topping. I stained the lighter hued rim top surface with a combination of Dark Brown over Chestnut stain pens. I set the stummel aside for the stain to set. The stain combination has helped in perfect blending of the rim top with the rest of the stummel.Next, I turned my attention back to the stem. I began the process of final fine tuning of matching the stem face with the shank face, shaping the saddle for a sharper match with the shank flow, sanding the refill in the saddle and bringing a nice shine to the stem surface by sanding with 320, 400, 600, 800 and 1000 grit sandpapers. I had attached the stem to the shank during the entire sanding job so that I do not end up shouldering the stem face. The closer I came to the perfect match, the higher grit sand paper I used. A lot of patient and diligent work, I reached the point where I felt “no more sanding… this is the perfect seating and perfect Lovat profile!!”. My mantra “LESS IS MORE” was also playing at the back of my mind. I was very pleased with my efforts of transforming the stem as I had achieved a perfect snug seating of the stem in to the mortise and a perfectly matching shank and stem face!!

To bring a deep shine to the vulcanite stem, I went through the complete set of sand papers and micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. I wiped the stem with moist cloth after each pad. At the end of micromesh cycle, I polished the stem with “Before and After Fine & Extra Fine” paste. The finished stem is shown below.Turning back to the stummel, 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 Angel hair grain patterns displayed in their complete splendor. I further buffed it with a horse hair brush. The contrast of the natural lighter brown patina of the stummel with the dark browns of the grain adds an interesting dimension to the appearance of the stummel. 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. I checked the draw and though it was smooth, it felt a tad bit constricted. I further opened the draw by funneling the tenon end with a thin sanding drum mounted on the hand held rotary tool. The draw is now silky smooth and effortless!! Unfortunately, I missed out on taking pictures of the process, but I am sure the readers have a general idea of what had been done.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 from the stem surface 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. The finished pipe with a new brass band looks amazingly beautiful and is ready for its new innings with me and be enjoyed for a long time.

Restoring a Made in Ireland  Shamrock 493 Squat Bulldog


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen is another smooth finished Peterson’s Bulldog pipe. This one is a smooth straight Bulldog that has a rich coloured finish around the bowl sides and shank. It came to us from a fellow in Los Angeles, California, USA. The finish is dark and dirty but there is some great grain around the bowl sides and cap. There are chips and damaged fills on the underside of the bowl, shank on both sides and on the heel. It was stamped on the  left side of the shank and read SHAMROCK. It was stamped to the right of the shank with COM circle that read MADE IN IRELAND with the shape number 493 next to the bowl. It was filthy when Jeff brought it to the table. There was a thick cake in the bowl and a thick overflow of lava on the rim top and the inner edge of the bowl. It was hard to know what the condition of the rim top and bowl were under that thick lava coat. The nickel band is tarnished and had wear marks on both sides and a small nick on the underside at the stem end. The unstamped stem was lightly oxidized and had tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside on and near the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before his cleanup work. Jeff took photos of the rim top and stem to show the general condition of the pipe. The bowl is heavily caked and the rim top and edges have some lava overflow. The stem is oxidized and has tooth marks on the top and underside near the button. Jeff took photos of the bowl sides and heel to show the grain that was around this bowl. It is a nice looking pipe. The photos show the damage around the bowl and on the twin rings around the bull cap. Jeff took a closeup photos of some of the damaged fills around the bowl. He took photos of the sides of the shank to show the stamping. The stamping is readable in the photos below and is as noted above.   I am including the link to the 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 turned to “The Peterson Pipe” by Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg to get some background on the Peterson’s Shamrock Pipe. On page 312 it had the following information.

Shamrock (c1941-2009) Originally stamped SHAMROCK with no brand name, an inexpensive line first described in George Yale (New York) mail order booklet in 1941, imported by Rogers Import. The line was actively promoted beginning in ’45, aggressively promoted in US by Rogers from early ‘50s when they registered the Shamrock logo with US Patent Office, claiming propriety since ’38. Over the years offered with P-lip or fishtail mouthpiece, with or without nickel band, with or without shamrock logo on the band, with or without S stamped in white or later in gold on mouthpiece. Appearing in 2008 as unstained smooth and rustic, fishtail mouthpiece with gold impressed P on the stem. COMS of MADE IN over IRELAND (C1945-1965), MADE IN IRELAND forming a circle (c1945-1965), “A PETERSON’S PRODUCT” over MADE IN IRELAND (c1945-1965), MADE IN THE over REPUBLIC over OF IRELAND9c1948-1998). Model is always difficult or impossible to date.

Judging from the description above, the pipe I am working on is stamped with the stamp noted in red above. It reads Made in Ireland in a circle which narrows the date to between approximately 1945-1965. It is just stamped SHAMROCK with no brand name as an inexpensive a P-Lip stem. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet reamer and cut back the cake back to the bare briar. He cleaned up the walls 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 worked on the rim top 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 then soaked it in Briarville’s Deoxidizer. He washed it off with warm water to remove the deoxidizer. The pipe looked far better when it arrived. I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show how well it had cleaned up. The rim top looked to be in good condition with some darkening on the inner edges around the bowl. The edges themselves appeared to be in good condition. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the tooth marks on the surface near the button.I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It reads as noted above.I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to have a look at the parts and overall look.I decided to work on the damage to the fills around the bowl and the twin rings around the bull cap. I filled them in with clear CA and briar dust. Once they cured I sanded them with a piece of 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surrounding briar. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips 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. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I sanded out the tooth marks and chatter with 220 grit sandpaper and started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil.I set the bowl aside and 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. I gave it a final rubdown with Obsidian Oil. I am excited to finish this Nickel Banded Older Peterson’s Shamrock 493 Squat Bulldog. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with beautiful straight and flame grain all around it. Added to that the polished nickle band and the black vulcanite stem was beautiful. This smooth Classic Shamrock 493 Bulldog is great looking and the pipe feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 45grams/1.59oz. It is a beautiful pipe and one that is already sold, or as Dal calls it “commissioned”. The gentleman who asked for it has the first right of refusal. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.

 

 

Rebirthing a Republic Era Peterson’s Kapruf 62 Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

Today is rainy, chilly day in Vancouver. I know in comparison to where many of you live it is not cold but to us it is. It is also the kind of day that my old friend Spencer would have been next to my work table begging for a treat and keeping company. I can’t believe that he died almost four months ago now. I miss him a lot on days like today. The next pipe I have chosen is another Peterson’s Billiard. It is a chunky sandblast pipe but it also was a very dirty pipe. It also came to us from Garson, Ontario, Canada. The grime was ground into the light grooves of the sandblast finish on the bowl sides. I love the way the contrast of the brown and black stains gave the shallow blast a sense of depth. The stain is almost tiger striped. It was faintly stamped on the flat underside of the shank and read Peterson’s [over] Kapruf. To the left of that on the heel was the shape number 62. To the right of the Kapruf stamp it read Made in the Republic of Ireland (three lines). This pipe must have been another favourite as it had been well smoked. There was a thick cake in the bowl and an overflow of lava and darkening on the rim top. The inner edge of the bowl was badly damaged with a chunk missing on the front and the right side. The stem was oxidized, calcified and had deep tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside on and near the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before his cleanup work. Jeff took photos of the rim top and stem to show the general condition of the pipe. The bowl is badly damaged and heavily caked. The rim top and edges have a lava overflow does little to obscure the damage to the inner edge. The photos of the stem show that it was oxidized, calcified and has deep tooth marks on the top and underside near the button.   Jeff took a photo of the bowl sides and heel to show the blast that was around this bowl. It is a shallow sandblast but the choice of stain adds depth to the appearance of the bowl. He took photos of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It is clear and readable and reads as noted above.I turned to “The Peterson Pipe” by Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg to get some background on the Kapruf line. On page 306 it had the following information.

Kapruf and “Kapruf” (c.1922-87) Sandblast (hence the name, Kapp-rough) P-lip or fishtail mouthpiece, in catalogs from 1940-87. Early documented specimens stamped IRISH over FREE STATE, no Eire specimens documented. Mid-century specimens may be stamped LONDON MADE [over] ENGLAND or MADE IN ENGLAND forming a circle or MADE IN [over] IRELAND, all dating no later than 1970. Those of recent vintage stamped MADE IN THE[over] REPUBLIC [over]OF IRELAND.

I knew that I was working on a KAPRUF that was made between 1970-1987 as it is stamped MADE IN THE REPUBLIC OF IRELAND as noted above. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet reamer and cut back the cake back to the bare briar. He cleaned up the walls 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 worked on the rim top 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 then soaked it in Before & After Deoxidizer. He washed it off with warm water to remove the deoxidizer. The pipe looked far better when it arrived.    I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show how well it had cleaned up. The rim top photo shows some heavy damage on the right top and inner edge. There is also damage on the front inner edge. The sandblast on the rim top is virtually destroyed. It will take some work to rebuild and refinish it. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the deep tooth marks on the surface near the button.I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. You can see that it is stamped as noted above. It is faint but readable.I took the pipe apart and took a photo of the pipe. It is a good looking pipe and has an interesting shallow sandblast on the bowl.I started my work on the pipe by repairing the damage on the inner edge and rim top. I rebuilt the inner edge and the rim top damage with clear CA glue and briar dust. I put the glue in place and used a dental spatula to apply the briar dust on top of the glue. I layered it on until I was looking far better.  I wrapped a dowel with 220 grit sandpaper (virtually the same diameter as the chamber of the bowl). I inserted it in the bowl and turned it until the edge was round again. I worked on the inner edge itself with a folded piece of sandpaper to give the rim edge a slight bevel. That took care of the damaged edge very well. The photos below tell the story.  With the edge and top cleaned up it was time to try to match the rim top to the sandblast finish on the bowl. I used my Dremel with the two dental burs shown in the photo below. I carefully attempted to make it look like a light blast. When I got it to the point I was happy I stained it with an Oak and a Cherry stain pen. I intermix the streaks of both pens to approximate the colour of the briar on the bowl sides. I touched up some of the spots that showed up in the photo above with a Black Sharpie Pen to further blend it in. 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 the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the stem with the flame of a Bic lighter to lift the dents. I forgot to take photos of the process. However it worked very well and I was able to lift them significantly. What remained I filled in with Black Super Glue and sprayed with an accelerator to keep it from running everywhere. I set the stem aside to cure. Once the repair cured I smooth out the repair and recut the edge of the button with a small file. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to blend the repairs into the rest of the stem. I started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.    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.      I am excited to finish this Peterson’s Kapruf 62 Billiard, Made in Ireland. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished smooth rim top and the sandblast bowl looks like with the black vulcanite taper stem. This Classic looking Peterson’s Kapruf Sandblast Billiard feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ 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 36grams/1.27oz. It is a beautiful pipe and one that is already sold, or as Dal calls it “commissioned”. The gentleman who asked for it has the first right of refusal. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.

Restoring a Made in Ireland  Shamrock 150 Bulldog


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen is another smooth finished Peterson’s Bulldog pipe. This one is a smooth straight Bulldog that has a rich coloured finish around the bowl sides and shank. It came to us from an auction in Selden, New York, USA. The finish is dark and dirty but there is some great grain around the bowl sides and cap. There are fills on the underside of the shank on both sides and on the heel. It was stamped on the  left side of the shank and read SHAMROCK. It was stamped to the right of the shank with COM circle that read MADE IN IRELAND with the shape number 150 next to the bowl. It was filthy when Jeff brought it to the table. There was a thick cake in the bowl and a thick overflow of lava on the rim top and the inner edge of the bowl. It was hard to know what the condition of the rim top and bowl were under that thick lava coat. The nickel band is tarnished and had wear marks on both sides and a small nick on the underside at the stem end. The unstamped stem was lightly oxidized and had tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside on and near the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before his cleanup work. Jeff took photos of the rim top and stem to show the general condition of the pipe. The bowl is heavily caked and the rim top and edges have some lava overflow. The stem is oxidized and has tooth marks on the top and underside near the button.  Jeff took photos of the bowl sides and heel to show the grain that was around this bowl. It is a nice looking pipe. The fills on the underside are shrunken and obvious. Jeff took a closeup photo of the right underside of the shank to capture the fills in the briar. He took photos of the sides of the shank to show the stamping. The stamping is readable in the photos below and is as noted above.   I am including the link to the 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 turned to “The Peterson Pipe” by Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg to get some background on the Peterson’s Shamrock Pipe. On page 312 it had the following information.

Shamrock (c1941-2009) Originally stamped SHAMROCK with no brand name, an inexpensive line first described in George Yale (New York) mail order booklet in 1941, imported by Rogers Import. The line was actively promoted beginning in ’45, aggressively promoted in US by Rogers from early ‘50s when they registered the Shamrock logo with US Patent Office, claiming propriety since ’38. Over the years offered with P-lip or fishtail mouthpiece, with or without nickel band, with or without shamrock logo on the band, with or without S stamped in white or later in gold on mouthpiece. Appearing in 2008 as unstained smooth and rustic, fishtail mouthpiece with gold impressed P on the stem. COMS of MADE IN over IRELAND (C1945-1965), MADE IN IRELAND forming a circle (c1945-1965), “A PETERSON’S PRODUCT” over MADE IN IRELAND (c1945-1965), MADE IN THE over REPUBLIC over OF IRELAND9c1948-1998). Model is always difficult or impossible to date.

Judging from the description above, the pipe I am working on is stamped with the stamp noted in red above. It reads Made in Ireland in a circle which narrows the date to between approximately 1945-1965. It is just stamped SHAMROCK with no brand name as an inexpensive a P-Lip stem. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet reamer and cut back the cake back to the bare briar. He cleaned up the walls 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 worked on the rim top 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 then soaked it in Before & After Deoxidizer. He washed it off with warm water to remove the deoxidizer. The pipe looked far better when it arrived. I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show how well it had cleaned up. The rim top looked to be in good condition with some darkening on the top and damage to the inner edges around the bowl. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the tooth marks on the surface near the button.  I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It reads as noted above.I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to have a look at the parts and overall look.I decided to work on the damage to the inner edge of the bowl first. I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the rim top. I then used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to give the inner edge of the bowl a slight bevel to deal with the damaged areas and blend them into the surrounding briar.   Next I turned to address the shrunken fills around the underside of the shank. I filled them in with clear super glue. Once the glue cured I sanded the repairs smooth with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surrounding briar. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I stained each of the repaired areas with a Black and a Cherry Stain Pen to blend them into the surrounding briar and make them less intrusive.  While not perfect it looks better than it did.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips 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. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and 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.    I am excited to finish this Nickel Banded Older Peterson’s Shamrock 150 Straight Bulldog. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with beautiful straight and flame grain all around it. Added to that the polished nickle band and the black vulcanite stem was beautiful. This smooth Classic Shamrock 150 Bulldog is great looking and the pipe feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ 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 40grams/1.41oz. It is a beautiful pipe and one that is already sold, or as Dal calls it “commissioned”. The gentleman who asked for it has the first right of refusal. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.

A Peterson’s Product – a Made in Ireland  Shamrock 5 Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen is another smooth finished Peterson’s Billiard pipe. This one is a smooth Billiard that has a rich coloured finish around the bowl sides and shank. It came to us in early in 2020 from fellow in Los Angeles, California, USA. The finish is almost bland looking it is so dirty. I can see fills around the bowl but don’t know what to expect. It was stamped on the  left side of the shank and read SHAMROCK. It was stamped to the right of the shank and reads “A PETERSON’S [over] PRODUCT” over MADE IN IRELAND (3 lines) with the shape number 5 next to the bowl. It was filthy when Jeff brought it to the table. There was a cake in the bowl and lava on the rim top and the inner edge of the bowl. The rim top was covered but the inner edge appeared to have some damage. The unstamped stem was oxidized and had tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside on and near the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before his cleanup work. Jeff took photos of the rim top and stem to show the general condition of the pipe. The bowl is heavily caked and the rim top and edges have some lava overflow. The stem is oxidized and has tooth marks on the top and underside near the button.  Jeff took photos of the bowl sides and heel to show the grain that was around this bowl. It is a nice looking pipe. He took photos of the sides of the shank to show the stamping. The stamping is readable in the photos below and is as noted above.   I am including the link to the 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 turned to “The Peterson Pipe” by Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg to get some background on the Peterson’s Shamrock Pipe. On page 312 it had the following information.

Shamrock (c1941-2009) Originally stamped SHAMROCK with no brand name, an inexpensive line first described in George Yale (New York) mail order booklet in 1941, imported by Rogers Import. The line was actively promoted beginning in ’45, aggressively promoted in US by Rogers from early ‘50s when they registered the Shamrock logo with US Patent Office, claiming propriety since ’38. Over the years offered with P-lip or fishtail mouthpiece, with or without nickel band, with or without shamrock logo on the band, with or without S stamped in white or later in gold on mouthpiece. Appearing in 2008 as unstained smooth and rustic, fishtail mouthpiece with gold impressed P on the stem. COMS of MADE IN over IRELAND (C1945-1965), MADE IN IRELAND forming a circle (c1945-1965), “A PETERSON’S PRODUCT” over MADE IN IRELAND (c1945-1965), MADE IN THE over REPUBLIC over OF IRELAND9c1948-1998). Model is always difficult or impossible to date.

Judging from the description above, the pipe I am working on is stamped with the stamp noted in red above. It reads “A Peterson’s Product” over Made in Ireland which narrows the date to between approximately 1945-1965. It is just stamped SHAMROCK with no brand name as an inexpensive a P-Lip stem. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet reamer and cut back the cake back to the bare briar. He cleaned up the walls 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 worked on the rim top 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 then soaked it in Before & After Deoxidizer. He washed it off with warm water to remove the deoxidizer. The pipe looked far better when it arrived. I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show how well it had cleaned up. The rim top looked to be in good condition with some darkening on the inner edges around the bowl. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the tooth marks on the surface near the button.  I took photos of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It reads as noted above.I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to have a look at the parts and overall look.I decided to address the shrunken fills around the sides of the bowl first. I filled them in with clear super glue to even them out. Once they cured I sanded them smooth to blend them into the surrounding briar. They are smooth and look better to me even though they are black. Next I reworked the damage to the inner edge of the bowl. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to give the inner edge of the bowl a slight bevel to accommodate the burned areas and blend them into the surrounding briar.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I stained each of the repaired areas with an Oak Stain Pen to blend them into the surrounding briar and make them less intrusive. It works for the majority of them other than the one on the right and the front. But even then it looks better than it did. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips 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. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process.   I set the bowl aside and 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.    I am excited to finish this Nickel Banded Older Peterson’s Shamrock 5 Straight Billiard. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with beautiful flame grain all around it. Added to that the polished Sterling Silver band and the black vulcanite stem was beautiful. This smooth Classic Shamrock 5 Billiard is great looking and the pipe feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ 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 38grams/1.34oz. It is a beautiful pipe and one that is already sold, or as Dal calls it “commissioned”. The gentleman who asked for it has the first right of refusal. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.

Switching Back to Peterson’s Pipes – a Republic Era “Kildare” 6 Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen is smooth finished Peterson’s Billiard pipe. This one is a smooth Billiard that has a rich coloured finish around the bowl sides and shank. It came to us early in 2020 from the estate of a pipeman in Australia. The contrast of the brown stains makes the grain really pop. It was stamped on the  left side of the shank and read Peterson’s [over] “Kildare”. It was stamped to the right of the shank and reads Made in the Republic of Ireland (3 lines) with the shape number 6 next to the bowl. It was filthy when Jeff brought it to the table. The finish was dirty with grime ground into the finish around the sides and rim. There was a cake in the bowl and lava on the rim top and the inner edge of the bowl. The rim top was covered but the inner edge appeared to have some damage. The stem was oxidized, calcified and had tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside on and near the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before his cleanup work. They tell the story and give a glimpse of the promise that we see in this pipe.Jeff took photos of the rim top and stem to show the general condition of the pipe. The bowl is heavily caked and the rim top and edges have some lava overflow. The stem is oxidized, calcified and has tooth marks on the top and underside near the button.  Jeff took photos of the bowl sides and heel to show the grain that was around this bowl. It is a nice looking pipe. He took photos of the sides of the shank to show the stamping. The stamping is readable in the photos below and is as noted above.   I am including the link to the 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 turned to “The Peterson Pipe” by Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg to get some background on the Peterson’s System Line. On page 314 it had the following information.

Kildare (1965-) First issue of line with matte-finish in Classic Range shapes, P-Lip and fishtail mouthpiece. Second issue C.1979 as Kildare Patch, with rusticated patches on pipe surface. Third issue 2010, matte-brown, P-Lip or fishtail mouthpiece, no band. Fourth issue 2011-, burgundy sandblast finish, nickel army mount, fishtail mouthpiece, exclusive to Smokingpipes.com.

Judging from the description above I believe that I am working on a First Issue of the line in the time period of 1965-1979. It is a late Republic Era Classic Shaped pipe with a matte-finish and a P-Lip stem. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet reamer and cut back the cake back to the bare briar. He cleaned up the walls 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 worked on the rim top 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 then soaked it in Before & After Deoxidizer. He washed it off with warm water to remove the deoxidizer. The pipe looked far better when it arrived. I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show how well it had cleaned up. The rim top looked to be in good condition with some darkening on the inner edges around the bowl. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the tooth marks on the surface near the button.  I took photos of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It is faint but reads as noted above.I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to have a look at the parts and overall look.I decided to address the damage to the back edge of the bowl and the rim top first. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to give the inner edge of the bowl a slight bevel to accommodate the burned areas and blend them into the surrounding briar. I also worked over the darkening on the rim top with the sandpaper.  I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips 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. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the stem and button surface with the flame of a lighter to lift the tooth marks. It worked amazingly well and I was able to lift them completely or significantly. I sanded what remained with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface of the vulcanite. I started polishing the stem by wet sanding it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.  I touched up the stamped “P” on the top of the stem with white Liquid Paper. I pressed it into the stamping with a tooth pick and buffed it off with a soft cloth. It looks much better that when I started. 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.     I am excited to finish this Peterson’s “Kildare” 6 Straight Billiard. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with beautiful flame grain all around it. Added to that the polished Sterling Silver band and the black vulcanite stem was beautiful. This smooth Classic Peterson’s “Kildare” 6 Billiard is great looking and the pipe feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 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 36grams/1.23oz. It is a beautiful pipe and one that is already sold, or as Dal calls it “commissioned”. The gentleman who asked for it has the first right of refusal. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.