Tag Archives: polishing acrylic stems

Cleaning up a Television Imported Briar Italian Made Churchwarden


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table was purchased from an antique store on 10/14/17 in Pocatello, Idaho, USA. It is a nice looking Rusticated Billiard Churchwarden with a long straight stem. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads TELEVISION [over] Imported Briar [over] Italy. The stamping is very clear and readable. The rusticated finish had a spotty coat of varnish around the rusticated rim, sides and shank but it was primarily on the high spots with little of it going into the depths of the rough rustication. The bowl had a thin cake and dust and debris in the rustication on the rim top and the rest of the bowl and shank. The stem was acrylic and in decent condition with some ripples in the underside from when it had been heated to bend it. It had some tooth chatter and marks on both sides near the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe when he unpacked it and before he started his clean up work. It is a great looking piece of briar. Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the light cake bowl and the debris in the rustication. He also took photos of the stem to show the wrinkles in the middle of the underside as well as the light tooth marks and chatter on the acrylic stem. He took photos of the bowl and heel to show the condition of the finish. Though the photos show the deep rustication around the bowl sides and heel. It is a rugged, tactile looking pipe with a nickel band on the shank. The stamping is on a smooth portion of the shank. You can also see the spotty finish on the bowl and shank. Jeff took photos of the stamping on the left side of the shank. It read as noted above and was readable. It took two photos to capture the full stamp on the shank. You can also see the crackle in he varnish coat on the shank. Jeff also took photos of the shank band. The photos show that it had an EP in a diamond stamped on it and underneath were some faux hallmarks.I have worked on quite a few Television Pipes over the years – old timers, billiards and at least one Churchwarden pipe. I checked all the usual sites for information and I could find nothing about the brand. I decided to leave the hunt behind and just work on the pipe.

I took some photos of the pipe as I took it out of the box. Here is what I saw. I slid it out of the wrapper around it. I could see that Jeff had cleaned it well. The bowl had been reamed with a PipNet reamer and Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He had scrubbed the exterior with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap. He rinsed it with warm water. He cleaned out the internals with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. The stem was twisted and tweaked to the right as can be seen in the photos of the top and underside of the pipe. The grain on the bowl is quite nice with just a few small fills that are solid and well blended in with the surrounding briar. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. The rim top had cleaned up very well and the rim top and edges looked very good. The stem was in decent condition other than light tooth chatter on both sides at the button. The stem also has some casting marks on the sides and a wrinkle on the underside from when it was heated and bent originally. I was surprised to see that the stem was acrylic rather than vulcanite. It really does shine. I took a photo of the stamping on the smooth panel on the left side of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above.I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to show the proportion of the stem to the bowl. It is a nice looking pipe.I decided to start work on this pipe by addressing the spotty varnish coat on the bowl. It was a bit odd in that it was on the high spots not in the crevices of the rustication as much. I scrubbed it with a brass bristle wire brush and acetone to try and break it down. Once finished it did look better. I would at least be able to stain the valleys and crevices! I stained the bowl with a dauber and a light brown aniline stain. I put the stain on quite heavy to let it get down in the crevices. I flamed it with a lighter to set the stain in the grain and repeated the process until I was happy with the coverage.When the stain dried I buffed the finish with a clean buffing pad and a horsehair shoe brush to raise the shine. I also polished the Electro Plated band with a jewelers cloth to bring out the shine. It is quite nice looking at this point. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the casting marks along both sides of the stem as well as the wrinkle in the stem with 220 grit sandpaper. I also smoothed out the tooth chatter on both sides. It became exceptionally clear that I was working with an acrylic stem. The sanding dust was almost blue looking and plastic feeling dust. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. Once I finished working on the stem, this Television Imported Briar Italy Churchwarden was another beautiful pipe. The rusticated briar around the bowl is clean and really tactile. The rim top and edges are in great condition. The rich brown stains gave the grain a sense of depth with the polishing and waxing. The depth of the rustication really stood out. I put the acrylic stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Television Italian Churchwarden is a beauty and feels great in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 11 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of pipe is 1.38 ounces /40 grams. It is another one that is much more beautiful in person than these photos can capture. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store soon. Look for it in the Italian Pipe Makers section. If you would like to add it to your collection let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

Restoring a Hand Carved Meerschaum Calabash with a 9mm Acrylic Filter Stem


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I chose to work on came from a trip Jeff and his wife took  to Europe in the Fall of 2017. He picked it up in a bazaar in Frankfurt, Germany. It was a nicely carved smooth Calabash with a round brass Altinay logo on the ruby coloured acrylic stem. The finish on the bowl and cap were scratched and worn looking but still had a lot of charm. The bowl and rim top appear to have been quickly cleaned for the sale but there was still a light cake in the bowl and some lava spots on the inner edge and rim top. The meerschaum was beginning to develop a patina on the shank and lightly on the bowl and rim top. The ruby coloured acrylic stem was made for a 9mm filter which is not surprising. It gave a good first impression but had deep tooth marks on the top and underside ahead of the button. He took photos of the rim top and the stem to show the condition. You can see the issues on the rim top and stem as I noted above. There are also some scratches on the rim top itself that I am hoping will polish out and look much better. You can see the tooth damage on the stem surfaces on both sides ahead of the button. The mortise on the shank has been fitted with a nylon tenon that holds 9mm filters. The stem has been drilled out to fit snug over the tenon. Jeff took photos of the side and heel of the bowl. You can see the graceful lines and nicely carved bowl of the pipe. It is a lightweight block meerschaum that is well made. There are a lot of visible scratches around the sides and top. He took a close up photo of the left side of the bowl to show the scratches. He took a photo of the brass Altinay two pipe logo inset on the left side of the taper stem.I turned to Pipephil to see what I could learn about the brand (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-a4.html). There was a sidebar that said that the Altinay Pipe Co Ltd. was founded in 1964 in Eskişehir (Turkey). I did a screen capture of the section on the site and included it below.I then turned to Pipedia to learn a bit more about the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Altinay). I have copied pertinent information on the history of the brand below.

HISTORY OF ALTINAY

Necdet Altınay (1941-2018), who worked in various jobs from a young age to support his family, entered the meerschaum carving sector at the age of 14 and became a meerschaum master at a young age by training from the best masters of the time.

After developing himself in all areas of meerschaum carving such as compositions, sculptural works, famous claw figures until the age of 23, he founded Altınay Pipe Co. in 1964 and started working on purely classical style pipes by noticing the important deficiency in the pipe industry about classical style meerschaum pipes.

He has developed his skills on classical pipes with tactics he received from European pipe masters and has gained an important place in the sector with international fairs he attended regularly.

The importance he attaches to quality and customer satisfaction in his business has made the ALTINAY brand a popular and sought-after brand in meerschaum sector. And soon started exporting worldwide, America, Russia China and especially in Europe through distributors.

Besides his own brand ALTINAY, he also produced meerschaum pipes for world famous brands such as Dunhill, Peterson, Savinelli, Chacom, Brebbia, Butz Choquin. As it is already for Rattrays and Andreas Bauer now.

After working 3 generations together for several years, before he passed away in 2018, largely transferred his superior skills and vision to his son (Nedim Altınay,1967) and grandson(Said Altınay,1990), whom he worked and trained for many years. Now Nedim and Said are working together to take the company further in His quality and vision…

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual thoroughness. He carefully reamed the pipe with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He cleaned the stem Soft Scrub cleanser and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe 3 years later when I finally got around to working on it. The rim top and inner edge of the rim looked very good with some slight darkening on the rim top and inner edge. The stem surface looked very good with some deep tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. I took a photo of the logo on the left side of the taper stem. The fit of the stem to the shank is snug. The shank also shows some patina developing nicely along its length.I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. The tenon is nylon and is integrated in the shank. The stem is drilled to slide snug on the tenon. The stem is a nice looking ruby red acrylic. I polished the smooth meerschaum with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I worked on the darkening of the rim top at the same time. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth. The longer I polished it the more the patina came to the surface. The pipe became more beautiful with each grit of polishing pad. I took out my Dr. Perl Junior 9mm filters made by Vauen to fit one to the stem of this beauty. It fit in mortise and tenon perfectly and did not inhibit the air flow significantly. Impressive.I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I filled in the deep tooth marks on the stem surface on both sides with clear CA glue. Once the repairs cured I sanded them smooth with 220 grit sandpaper. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads. I dry sanded it with 1500-12000 pads and wiped the bowl down after each pad with a cloth and Obsidian Oil. I finished polished it with Before & After Fine and Extra Fine stem polish. I wiped it down with the cloth and Obsidian Oil one final time and set aside to dry. This Altinay Meerschaum Calabash with a ruby coloured acrylic stem is a beautiful pipe. The polished light weight meerschaum that shines through the polished finish is stunning. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Altinay Meerschaum Calabash fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 55 grams/ 1.94 oz. This Altinay Calabash is a real beauty and the 9mm filter ruby coloured acrylic stem just highlights the beauty. Jeff made a great find when he picked this up in Frankfurt. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Restoring a Paneled Hexagonal Meerschaum Square Shank Dublin Sitter


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table is an interesting meerschaum Paneled Hexagonal Meerschaum Square Shank Dublin Sitter with geometric designs and sun bursts around the bowl sides and shank. The rim top was smooth. There was no marking on the pipe to help identify the maker. It is a nicely made pipe by an anonymous carver. There was a nylon insert in the shank and the tenon was nylon or Delrin and was a push tenon inset in the acrylic stem. The stem is a saddle style acrylic in variegated brown/tan/gold. The finish on the bowl was very dirty and grey looking. The top of the rim had a thick coat of lava on it. There was a thick cake in the bowl that would take some care to remove. The square acrylic saddle stem was dirty and the airway was blackened with tars. There was light chatter and marks on both sides near the button. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started his clean up work. He took close up photos of the bowl to show the thick cake in the bowl and the lava on the rim top. The stem photos show the tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the button. Jeff took some photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the pattern that had been carved around the bowl and shank. The bowl was also filthy and had a grey hue of dirt and grim on the finish. Jeff had cleaned the pipe thoroughly. He had reamed it carefully with a PipNet reamer and cleaned that up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He worked slowly so as not to damage the inner edge of the bowl. He had scrubbed the exterior of the meerschaum with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a soft tooth brush. He was able to remove the grey tinge of the filth on the sides of the bowl and shank. He cleaned out the interior of the shank and airway with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. He cleaned out the acrylic stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners to remove the debris and oils in the airway. The bowl has the look of a tall Panel Hexagonal Dublin. The exterior of the bowl looked very good as did the stem. There was still some dark spots on the rim top on the front left side. I took photos of the pipe when it arrived here. I took some close up photos of the rim top and stem. You can see the marks on the back side of the rim top. The tooth chatter on both sides of the stem were quite light.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the parts of the pipe. It is well proportioned and looked really good.I decided to start my work on the pipe by polishing the bowl with micromesh sanding pads. I worked over the rim top with the pads at the same time. I used micromesh pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad. I was able to remove the dark spots and give the bowl a shine. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth marks on both sides of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I polished the newly shaped acrylic stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with a cloth containing some Obsidian Oil. I know Obsidian Oil does nothing for acrylic but I have found that it removes the small particles left behind by the polishing. I finished polishing the surface with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and buffed it off with a cotton cloth. I gave it a final coat of obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. It is a beautiful looking variegated brown/tan/gold acrylic stem. This Carved Meerschaum Hexagonal Panel Dublin Sitter turned out to be yet another fun pipe to work on and I was excited to see it come back together. The pipe had a light patina on the rim top and around the bowl and shank. I chose not to rewax it because of the shine that on the bowl. I put the stem back on the bowl and lightly buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The rich polished hexagonal meerschaum on the bowl looks really good with the polished variegated brown/yellow/golden acrylic stem. The bowl and stem came together looking quite spectacular. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. I can only tell you that it is another pipe that is much prettier in person than the photos capture. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 53 grams/1.87 ounces. This is truly a great looking Meerschaum. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store in the Ceramic and Meerschaum Pipe Section. If you are interested in the pipe send me an email or a message. Thanks for your time.

Reconditioning and Refinishing a Neerup Denmark Structure 3 Bent Pot


Blog by Steve Laug

The friend who dropped off the Peterson 1994 POY 999 for repair also dropped off this interesting looking Neerup. [I have written about the restoration of the Peterson POY 999 previously (https://rebornpipes.com/2021/08/12/restoring-a-petersons-of-dublin-1994-pipe-of-the-year-in-a-999-shape/)]. I have several Neerup pipes in my collection but none of them had this thick varnish or urethane coat on them. It was a bit odd in that the top did not have a coat and the top outer edge was also devoid of the shiny coat. There are some odd nicks in the sides of the bowl but they only seem to be in the plastic coat rather than the briar. The pipe has a light cake in the bowl. The rim top has some darkening and lava build up that will need to go. The pipe is stamped on the underside of the shank and reads 3 [over] Neerup in script with a gold foil fill [over] Denmark with gold [over] Structure. The shank end has a acrylic band that matches the stem. The stem has a polished nickel band on the stem and the tenon is Delrin. The acrylic stem has tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. I took close up photos of the rim top and bowl as well as the surfaces of the stem to show their condition. You will see what I noted above.I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above. The number 3 is the only portion of the stamping that does not have gold in the stamp.I removed the stem from the bowl to give a sense of the proportion of the pipe. It really is a nice piece of briar that is well shaped. The acrylic shank adornment and the stem match are a feature that has grown on me as I have worked on it.Even though I have several Neerup pipes I have not spent much time learning about them and their maker. I turned to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Neerup) and read about the maker, Peder Jeppesen. I quote the article that he wrote on Pipedia below and have included the photo of him that was there.

My name is Peder Jeppesen (full name Peder Christian Jeppesen) and my pipemaker name is Neerup, which is an old family name. (Neerup is the family name of one of his grandmothers.) I live with my family in Lejre, near one of the oldest city’s in Denmark called Roskilde.

I have made pipes for nearly 25 years; I started at Karl Erik Ottendahl, and continued after this at legendary Erik Nørding, from whom I learned all steps of pipe making and decoration work.

It has always been my dream of the future to make pipes in my own name and design. (The dream came true when Jeppesen could buy some machinery and other equipment from the closed down pipe factory of Georg Jensen.) Now that this is a reality, I would like to introduce my pipes to all pipe smokers.

Pipe production, together with rock music, is to me a kind of therapy, which gives me good inspiration. I also get great ideas and inspiration when I am fishing, running or biking in the beautiful nature around me.

My pipes are produced in briar from Corsica, Greece or at rare times Morocco. The stems are made in black acrylic, sometimes in Cumberland or amber.

When I am designing a model, I concentrate on the proportions between the bowl, shank and mouthpiece. It’s important that the pipe has a perfect balance

The smoke-qualities in a Neerup pipe are given by a deep and well finished tobacco chamber, the perfectly drilled and centered smoke channel, the stem tenon fit to it’s mortise, and a mouthpiece with plenty of air and a pleasant bit.

To meet my costumer’s demands, I use a lot of time to get ideas for decorations that make my pipes interesting and unique. Nearly all the pipes I make have some kind of decoration on the shank, the stem or at the top of the bowl.

The silver-work I use are made in registered 925 sterling silver, and are hand made by a competent silver and jewel smith. I also use different kinds of exotic wood, that I mix with black rings and art amber, but it’s important to me that the decorations are well fitted and make the pipe beautiful and harmonic.

The finish of the pipes is done by concentrated grinding, sanding, buffing and polishing, that keep the pipe and its colors nice and shiny for a long time.

I hope my pipes will have your attention – all comments are welcome.

Today, working as an independent pipemaker, Jeppesen feels obligated to the art of his instructors and tries to develop this further. Truely in the spirit of Karl Erik Ottendahl and Nørding he is one of these few Danish pipemakers, who, despite of high skills and great experience, offer fine pipes, which can be afforded by average wage-earners. Meanwhile his pipes also found acknowledgment in the United States and Japan.

Now that I had a clear idea about the background to the pipe and the pipemaker I turned my attention to the pipe itself. I decided to remove the thick shiny coat. I broke the shine with 1500 grit micromesh. Once I had broken the finish I wiped the bowl down with acetone on a cotton pad. I was careful not to damage the gold stamping on the underside of the shank or the acrylic shank end. I used the acetone to remove the tar and lava on the rim top at the same time. With the shine removed the grain really is quite stunning. I polished the briar further to remove remnants of the shiny finish. I used micromesh sanding pads and dry sanded with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each bad to check and make sure there was progress. By the end the bowl was taking on a natural shine and the grain really stood out. Sometimes I get so focused on what is in front of me that I can forget some steps! Sheesh!! I finished the polishing then looked at the bowl and smelled it. The pipe was quite dirty. I reamed out the thin cake in the bowl as it was quite crumbly. I used a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife and scraped it back to the walls. I cleaned out the mortise and the airway in the shank and stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. It was a dirty pipe. Man I am glad I remembered when I did. It smells much better at this point. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 10 minutes, then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Balm did its magic and the grain stood out on the briar.I polished out the tooth marks and chatter with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. It really is a nice looking piece of acrylic. This Neerup Denmark Structure 3 Bent Pot carved by Peder Jeppesen combines a great looking piece of briar with a swirled mix of brown/cream/ivory acrylic stem to make a beautiful pipe. The removal of the thick shiny coat allows the grain to come alive with the polishing and waxing. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Neerup Structure Bent Pot really is a beauty and fits nicely in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 2.05oz./58grams. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Chasing the Grain – a Beautiful Ben Wade Martinique Freehand by Preben Holm


Blog by Steve Laug

This particular smooth finished Freehand pipe was purchased from an auction in 2020 in Cedar Springs, Michigan, USA. It really is a nice looking pipe that is shaped chasing the grain around the bowl and shank. It is stamped on the underside of the shank and reads Ben Wade [over] Martinique [over] Hand Made [over] Denmark. It is a smooth finished pipe with a plateau finish on the shank end. The pipe had a moderate cake in the bowl and there was a lava overflow on the rim top and inner edge of the bowl. There was grime ground into the finish and dust and debris in the plateau valleys on the shank end. The original stem had the original Ben Wade Crown logo faintly stamped on the top of the blade of the fancy turned acrylic fancy saddle. It had tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. The pipe was dirty but still a beauty. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his work on it. Jeff took photos of the rim top and the stem to show the condition of the pipe when we received it. You can see the cake in the bowl and the lava on the rim top and inner edge of the bowl. It is hard to know what it looks like underneath the build up of lava but there may be a bit of rim damage. We will know after cleaning. The turned acrylic stem and has chatter and a few deep tooth marks on both sides near the button. The airway in the stem is stained with tobacco stains and there is a build up of debris there as well. He took photos of the sides of the bowl and the heel to give an idea of the shape and the condition of the briar around the bowl. It really is a nicely shaped pipe that has the classic look of a Freehand carved by Preben Holm. The next photos Jeff took show the stamping on the underside of the  shank. It is clear and readable as noted above.In a previous blog I had researched the brand quite a bit. I have included it below for information on this pipe (https://rebornpipes.com/2020/12/04/restoring-a-gorgeous-ben-wade-martinique-freehand-sitter/). I quote:

I remembered that the Preben Holm pipes were marketed under the Ben Wade label in the US and imported through Lane Ltd. I turned to Pipedia and read the listing on the brand to refresh my memory and flesh out the knowledge of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Wade). I have included a photo from that site that was taken from a Tinderbox advertisement. I quote the portion of the article that summarizes the Danish period of the history of the brand:

Young Copenhagen master pipemaker Preben Holm had made a meteoric career heading a pipe manufacture employing 45 people at the age of 22! But around the turn of 1970/71 he was in major financial difficulties. His US distributor, Snug Harbour Ltd. in New York City, left him in the lurch. Holm had three unpaid invoices on his desk and another large shipment was ready for the USA, when Snug Harbour’s manager told him on the phone that there was no money at all on the account to pay him.

So the Dane went to New York for an almost desperate search for a new distribution partner. He made contacts with Lane Ltd. and met Herman G. Lane in February 1971. Lane Ltd. had no interest in Holm’s serial pipes produced at that time but so much the more in the hand-carved freehands because the hype for Danish freehands and fancies in the States was still on its way to the climax then. The meeting resulted in an agreement to start a cooperation. Lane insisted to improve the quality considerably and in return he assured to be able to sell essentially larger quantities.

Holm went back home to work on new samples with all-new designs and altered finishes for Lane. Both, Lane and Holm, agreed that it would be unwise to sell the pipes under Preben Holm’s name as long as Snug Harbour had a considerable stock of Preben Holm pipes and might sell them pipes at very low prices just to bring in some money.

So on Mr. Lane’s proposal it was determined to use the name Ben Wade belonging to Lane Ltd. Lane spent considerable amounts of money for advertising the new brand in the big magazines– the centerpiece being whole-page ads showing a very exclusive Seven Day’s Set.

The cooperation with Lane Ltd. proved to be an eminent business success for both partners. Within a very short time Ben Wade Handmade Denmark sold in much larger quantities and at higher prices than they had ever dreamed of. And the hype these freehands and fancy pipes caused went on unbroken long after Herman G. Lane deceased. Preben Holm – obviously much more brilliant in pipe making than in pipe business – was in major troubles again in 1986 and had to sack most of his staff. The Ben Wade production was significantly lowered but continued until his untimely death in June of 1989.

Up to now Preben Holm made Ben Wade pipes are cult and highly sought for on the estate markets.

With that information my initial thoughts were confirmed. This pipe was a Preben Holm made Freehand distributed in the US by Lane Ltd under the name Ben Wade. The freehand rage occurred in the late 70s and the pipes were made until Preben’s death in 1989. My guess would be that this pipe was made sometime during that time period and potentially in the late 70s.

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe following his normal cleaning process. In short form he reamed the pipe with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He worked over the lava on the rim top and the debris in the plateau shank end and was able to remove it. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub and cotton pads to remove the debris and oils on the stem. He rinsed it with warm water and dried it off. I took photos of the pipe once I received it.  It really looked good. I took close up photos of the stem and the rim top to show both how clean they were and what needed to be addresses with both. The rim top and bowl look good. There was some darkening and damage on the back and right inner edge of the rim that would need attention. The stem looked better and the faint Ben Wade Crown logo was visible on the topside. The tooth marks and chatter were still present. I would need to remove those to bring the stem back.I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. You can see from the photo that it is readable. It is clearer on the top half of the stamp than the lower but it is still readable. I removed the stem from the bowl and took a photo of the parts to give a sense of the beauty of the pipe.I began my work on the damage on the inner edge of the bowl at the back. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to shape and bevel the damaged area to match the rest of the bevel around the inner edge. I used a Maple Stain Pen to touch up the inner edge and blend it to the rim top.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads -1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each sanding pad to remove the dust. The briar began to take on a deep shine. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my finger tips and a horse hair shoe brush to get into the crevices of the plateau. The product is incredible and the way it brings the grain to the fore is unique. It works to clean, protect and invigorate the wood. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded the tooth marks and chatter smooth with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface of the briar. I started the polishing of the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it 1500-12000 pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each pad to remove the dust and polishing debris. I polished it with Before After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I touched up the stamp on the top of the stem with Rub’n Buff Antique Gold. I rubbed it into the stamp with a tooth pick and buffed it off with a cloth. It looked much better.I am really happy with the way that this Preben Holm made Ben Wade Martinique Danish Made Freehand turned out. It really is a beautiful looking pipe with a great shape and smooth finished bowl and rim and the remnant of plateau on the shank end. The fancy original acrylic saddle stem is really nice. The smokey Topaz colour of the stem works well with the briar. The briar really came alive with the buffing. The rich brown stains of the finish gave the pipe a sense of depth with the polishing and waxing. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Ben Wade Martinique really is a beauty and feels great in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 ¼ inches, Height: 2 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 inches long x 2 ¼ inches wide, Chamber diameter: 1 inch. The weight of the pipe is 52 grams/1.83 oz. The pipe will be going on the rebornpipes store soon. It will be in the section on Danish Pipe Makers if you would like to add it to your collection. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. It was a fun one to work on!

Recommissioning Another Barontini Aldo Velani Trio of Italy – A Classic Billiard


Blog by Dal Stanton

The Aldo Velani Trio Classic Billiard now on the worktable represents the 6th of 7 pipes Daniel commissioned from the For “Pipe Dreamers” Only! collection.  It also represents the second Aldo Velani Trio Daniel included in his trove of 7.  I acquired 4 Aldo Velani Trios in 2018 in what I have called the St. Louis Lot of 26 that my son, Josiah, found in an antique shop. The original 4 Velanis are pictured below.The  Bent Apple and Rusticated Volcano have already found homes with new stewards. The Pot on the bottom is waiting for the Billiard to be completed to join Daniel’s commissioned pipes all which benefit the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.   This is a classy line up of pipes!  Looking at their current restored states:   With the Classic Billiard next, some pictures provide a closer look.  The nomenclature on the left shank side is cursive script, ‘Aldo Velani’ [over] ‘TRIO’.  On the shank underside, the COM, ‘ITALY’ is followed by the shape number ‘52’.  As I noted with the Pot, when I first looked at the logo it was difficult to figure out but found in Pipedia’s Aldo Velani article, an example and details of the stamping on an original Aldo Velani box (courtesy of Doug Valitchka).  The stamp depicts a pipe as the front leg of the ‘A’ for Aldo and the back leg of the ‘A’ forms the front riser of the ‘V’ of Velani.  Again, I repeat the previous research here:  The article cited from Pipedia provides helpful information understanding the provenance of the Aldo Velani Trio line:

Most Aldo Velani pipes are made in Livorno, Italy, for the USA market by Cesare Barontini. They were previously imported by Lane Limited. Lane spokesman Frank Blews once described Velani’s stylish, intrinsically Italian designs as “Billiards with more ball, bulldogs with more jaw.” The name “Aldo Velani” is actually fictional.

Another Barontini 2nd is named “Cesare”.

I learn two interesting things from this information.  First, Aldo Velani is a faux name that does not describe an Italian pipe house but a specific line of pipes.  Secondly, the Aldo Velani is made by the Casare Barontini name based in Livorno, Italy.   Further information is available cross referencing to Casare Barontini in Pipedia:

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

Sub-brands & Seconds: Aldo Velani. Cesare, L’artigiana, Stuart, Cortina

Additional information is found in Pipephil’s site.  Aldo Velani line was produced primarily for export.  The stem stamping on the Aldo Velani line had different variations provided by Pipephil:Looking now to the condition of the Aldo Velani Trio Billiard, much like his Apple and Pot brothers, the chamber has a thick cake which needs cleaning.  The lava crusted on the rim too, is thick.  This will need cleaning.  The stummel with the ruby/burgundy is soiled and generally in good shape.  I’m hopeful of keeping the hues consistent between the Pot and Billiard now on the table.  The clear acrylic stem, like the Aldo Velani Trio Apple, is soiled and has some tooth chatter.  There is one tooth compression on the lower bit which was the same on the other Aldo Velani Trio pipes – forensics pointing to a sole steward passing these pipes on.  The clear acrylic always gives a pause to ask the question about whether it is the earlier acrylic known as Perspex, on older GBD pipes.  This stem is not Perspex and therefore alcohol may be used to clean without concerns of the material crazing.  The airway does have a burgundy coloring, so after cleaning, it should still be burgundy but more translucent. I take a picture of the starting point of the clear acrylic stem. To start the airway’s cleaning process, I put the entire stem into a soak of lemon juice to help soften the oils in the airway.  As a natural acidic cleaning agent, I use lemon juice when working on Perspex stems.  I decide to experiment to see how it works on the Aldo Velani stem.  I assure you; the stem is in the lemon juice!While the stem is soaking in the juice, I begin the cleaning process of the chamber and rim.  I’m hopeful that there will be no heating issues with this Aldo Velani Billiard as was the case with his brother, the Pot.  The rim is capped with a thick lava flow crust.  The cake in the chamber is thick and I take a picture to show the starting point.To begin the reaming of the chamber, starting with the smallest of 4 blade heads provided by the Pipnet Reaming Kit, I use 2 blade heads.  Next, I transition to scraping the chamber wall using the Savinelli Fitsall tool and finish by sanding the chamber with 240 grade sanding paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen.   After wiping the chamber with a cotton pad to remove carbon dust residue, an inspection of the chamber reveals healthy briar ready to go again. Looking to the rim, using the edge of my Winchester pocketknife, I carefully scrape the crusted carbon.  I avoid gouging the briar by pulling the edge over the surface rather than pushing the blade.  Next, using undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and starting with a cotton pad, the ruby/burgundy external surface is scrubbed.  I also employ a brass wire brush to work on the rim.  After scrubbing the bowl and rim, I take the stummel to the sink and continue the cleaning using warm water to rinse the Murphy’s Soap.  Using shank brushes, I then work on the internal mortise chamber with anti-oil liquid dishwashing soap.  This helps to break down the tars and oils which have built up through use.  After a thorough rinsing, the stummel is transitioned back to the worktable.  After the cleaning, the rim shows some bald spots where raw briar is exposed.  I’ll need to address these, but the challenge will be to match and blend the stummel ruby/burgundy and the rim contour so that it doesn’t draw attention.I also find a small fill needing attention in the crook of the bowl and shank.  It is not too noticeable.The cleaning continues with the internals using cotton buds and pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl 99%.  After some effort, the cleaners and buds emerge lighter.  The job is done, and I move on.I continue with the stummel and take another look at the rim.  I had to do some work on rim of the Aldo Velani Trio Pot that I just completed.  I saved the dye mixture I used to color the rim and I’ll use that dye mixture on the Billiard’s rim.  The hue will be consistent between the two restorations of the same colored pipes.  I take another picture of the Billiard’s rim, which is not in bad of shape as was the Pot’s, but the finish on the rim is thin at places and uneven. First, I apply the 1500 grade micromesh pad to clean the rim.This is followed by applying the full battery of micromesh pads to smooth the rim surface.As I mentioned above, I saved the dye mixture that I used to restore the Aldo Velani Pot, in my last restoration project.  After testing and some experimentation, I used a mixture with the base of Fiebing’s Oxblood Leather Dye with a few drops of Fiebing’s Black Leather Dye to deepen the hue.  It worked well on the Pot so I’m hopeful the Billiard will be just as happy! I apply several applications of the dye mixture with a cotton bud until the rim seems to be fully colored.I take another look at the fill I found earlier at the crook of the shank/bowl union.  While I have the dye on the worktable, I apply some of the mixture on the fill to see if it would help camouflage the area. Unfortunately, it didn’t.  Next, a red Sharpie Pen is used to attempt to blend the fill in.  After touching up the fill, the Sharpie has helped somewhat but the fill is still somewhat visible.  The reality of the challenge of this seemingly small repair is that to remove fully it would require refinishing the entire stummel.  Yet, desiring to preserve the original ruby/burgundy finish so that it matches the Aldo Velani Pot also in Daniel’s Trove of 7 commissioned pipes, creates the necessity of leaving small imperfections in the original finish.  If I attempt a spot repair by sanding and then refinishing, I’m afraid the result would be to draw even more attention to it!  I’ll be satisfied at this point with the Sharpie repair.Putting the stummel aside and turning now to the clear acrylic stem, the stem has been waiting in a lemon juice soak.  Using lemon juice allowed the natural acidic hopefully to help clean the airway of staining.  The original stem airway has a burgundy coloring.  I fish the stem out of the lemon juice.  The airway continues to be darkened.  We’ll see if the lemon soak had any benefit.Using bristled and smooth pipe cleaners, I use isopropyl 99% to clean the airway.  Using smaller diameter shank brushes also helped to clear the staining from the airway.  As I work, I can see the cloudiness dissipate and more of a translucent airway emerges.  It looks much better now, and I move on!Looking now more closely at the upper and lower bit, there is tooth chatter on both and the lower also has a small tooth compression.  Using 240 sanding paper, the tooth chatter and tooth compression are easily sanded and dispatched.    After inspecting the entire stem, I can find no scratching in the acrylic stem other than the bit sanding to repair the tooth chatter. With most of the stem in pristine condition, there is no need to sand the entire stem.  I will focus the sanding with 600 grade paper on the bit and then apply 0000 grade steel wool to the entire stem.  Therefore, using 600 grade paper the bit area is wet sanded.  Following this I apply 0000 steel wool to entire stem.Transitioning now to micromesh pads, the stem is wet sanded with pads 1500 to 2400 followed by dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  Even though it really doesn’t protect the acrylic stem from oxidation, I like applying Obsidian Oil to condition it.  The stem looks great. To shine the gold nickel shank ring, I use Tarn-X Tarnish Remover which gives the metal a new spark of life. I apply some of the Tarn-X to a cotton pad and rub it into the ring, making sure I get it into the crevasse between the two ring risers.  I also am careful to keep the cleaner off the briar which would probably leech the dye.  After applying the Tarnish Remover, I wipe/rinse the fluid off with a cotton pad wet with water.  I then buff up the ring with a cotton cloth.  It looks great – the bling factor is increased with the ring!Next, after reuniting stem and stummel, a cotton buffing wheel is mounted on the Dremel and the speed is set to about 40% full power.  I then apply Blue Diamond to the pipe avoiding the ring – this would create a black gunk that could stain the briar surface.  After applying the Blue Diamond over the entire pipe, the pipe is given a buffing with a felt cloth to remove the residual compound dust before applying the wax.The unique Aldo Velani stem stamping needs refreshing to augment the classy look of this Billiard.Using European Gold Rub ‘n Buff metallic paint, I use a pointed cotton bud to paint over the stem stamping. Once thoroughly covered, I wait only a few moments because the paint sets up very quickly.  I then use the side of the pointed cotton bud to scrape excess paint.  I then flip the bud to the clean end and wipe/buff up the remaining excess to sharpen the stamping.  The results are nice – it looks great!Next, another cotton cloth buffing wheel is mounted onto the Dremel.  Remaining at the same speed, carnauba wax is applied to the stem and stummel.  After applying the carnauba, the pipe is given a rigorous hand buffing to remove excess wax and to raise the shine.I’m pleased with the results of this second of the Aldo Velani Trio pipes that Daniel commissioned.  The ruby-burgundy finish initially draws one’s attention and then the clear, glass-like acrylic stem.  Finishing the ensemble is the golden double-bumped shank ring joining stem and stummel to present this classic Billiard after-dinner pipe.  Both Aldo Velani brothers that Daniel commissioned, this Billiard and the Pot, will provide great fellowship with one’s favorite blend and adult beverage.  Daniel has the first opportunity to claim the Aldo Velani Trio Billiard in The Pipe Steward Store which benefits the Daughters of Bulgaria.  Thank you for joining me!

Restoring a Gorgeous Ben Wade Martinique Freehand Sitter


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table came to us in a group of pipes that we picked up from a fellow in Los Angeles, California, USA. Even though the finish was a bit dull and lifeless it showed promise under the grit and grime of the years. On the underside of the shank it was clearly stamped Ben Wade in script [over] Martinique [over] Hand Made [over] In [over] Denmark. The finish is filthy with grime and oil ground into the smooth briar of the bowl and shank sides. The bowl had a moderate cake that overflowed in lava on the plateau rim top filling in some of the grooves and valleys of the finish. The same was true of the plateau on the shank end. It had a lot of dust and debris in the grooves. The acrylic stem was dirty but the Ben Wade Crown logo was in good condition. The pipe had some tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. Jeff took some photos of the pipe to show its overall condition before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the lava on the plateau finish of the rim top. There is dust and debris stuck to the walls of the bowl clearly visible in the photos. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the chatter and tooth marks. Otherwise the stem is quite clean.     Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar around the pipe looked like. There are a lot of angles on this pipe and there is some stunning grain under the grime.    He took photos of the stamping on the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable. I remembered that the Preben Holm pipes were marketed under the Ben Wade label in the US and imported through Lane Ltd. I turned to Pipedia and read the listing on the brand to refresh my memory and flesh out the knowledge of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Wade). I have included a photo from that site that was taken from a Tinderbox advertisement.

I quote the portion of the article that summarizes the Danish period of the history of the brand:

Young Copenhagen master pipemaker Preben Holm had made a meteoric career heading a pipe manufacture employing 45 people at the age of 22! But around the turn of 1970/71 he was in major financial difficulties. His US distributor, Snug Harbour Ltd. in New York City, left him in the lurch. Holm had three unpaid invoices on his desk and another large shipment was ready for the USA, when Snug Harbour’s manager told him on the phone that there was no money at all on the account to pay him.

So the Dane went to New York for an almost desperate search for a new distribution partner. He made contacts with Lane Ltd. and met Herman G. Lane in February 1971. Lane Ltd. had no interest in Holm’s serial pipes produced at that time but so much the more in the hand-carved freehands because the hype for Danish freehands and fancies in the States was still on its way to the climax then. The meeting resulted in an agreement to start a cooperation. Lane insisted to improve the quality considerably and in return he assured to be able to sell essentially larger quantities.

Holm went back home to work on new samples with all-new designs and altered finishes for Lane. Both, Lane and Holm, agreed that it would be unwise to sell the pipes under Preben Holm’s name as long as Snug Harbour had a considerable stock of Preben Holm pipes and might sell them pipes at very low prices just to bring in some money.

So on Mr. Lane’s proposal it was determined to use the name Ben Wade belonging to Lane Ltd. Lane spent considerable amounts of money for advertising the new brand in the big magazines– the centerpiece being whole-page ads showing a very exclusive Seven Day’s Set.

The cooperation with Lane Ltd. proved to be an eminent business success for both partners. Within a very short time Ben Wade Handmade Denmark sold in much larger quantities and at higher prices than they had ever dreamed of. And the hype these freehands and fancy pipes caused went on unbroken long after Herman G. Lane deceased. Preben Holm – obviously much more brilliant in pipe making than in pipe business – was in major troubles again in 1986 and had to sack most of his staff. The Ben Wade production was significantly lowered but continued until his untimely death in June of 1989.

Up to now Preben Holm made Ben Wade pipes are cult and highly sought for on the estate markets.

With that information my initial thoughts were confirmed. This pipe was a Preben Holm made Freehand distributed in the US by Lane Ltd under the name Ben Wade. The freehand rage occurred in the late 70s and the pipes were made until Preben’s death in 1989. My guess would be that this pipe was made sometime during that time period and potentially in the late 70s.

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He worked over the debris in the plateau on the rim top and shank end and was able to remove it. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub and cotton pads to remove the debris and oils on the stem. He rinsed it with warm water and dried it off. I took photos of the pipe once I received it.  It really looked good. The rim top had some darkening on the back of the bowl. The inner edge of the rim looked very good with slight darkening. The stem surface looked very good with a few small tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.    I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It read clearly as noted above. I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. The stem is turned fancy acrylic. I polished the bowl and the smooth portions on the rim top with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with a damp cloth.  I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips and into the plateau rim top with a horsehair shoe brush. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.   I set the bowl aside and turned to work on the stem. I sanded out the tooth marks from the surface of the acrylic with 220 grit sandpaper and started the polishing of the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.   I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.  This beautiful Ben Wade Martinique Freehand Sitter with a fancy, turned acrylic stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Martinique Freehand fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 inches, Chamber diameter: 1 inch. The weight of the pipe is 71grams/2.50oz.If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Restoring an English Made Hadley Park 213 Lovat


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from one of Jeff’s pipe hunts a few years ago and to be honest we don’t remember where we got it. This morning as I was going through my box of what I have to work on this one caught my eye. It is a nicely grained small Lovat with an acrylic stem that is almost butterscotch coloured. The stem reminds me of butterscotch candies that I used to have as a kid. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Hadley Park. On the right side it is stamped Made in London England and to the left of that, near the stem is the shape number 213. The finish had a lot of grime ground into the smooth finish on the bowl and some darkening around the sides of the bowl. The bowl was heavily caked and there was a lava coat and darkening on the rim top and inner edge. The edges looked okay but we would know more after the cleanup. There were a few fills that had shrunken around the sides of the bowl. The stem was dirty and had tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the button. There were not markings or a logo on the saddle stem. The pipe showed promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took a photo of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the condition of the rim top and edges. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the chatter and tooth marks.    Jeff took a photo of the side and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar around the pipe looked like. There is some great grain under the grime.     He took photos of the stamping on the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable.   I could not find any information on the brand. I thought the shape number might point the way but it did not give the clues I was hoping. The Made in London England stamp is similar to those used by a variety of English pipemakers so that is not definitive either. So I am left not knowing who made the pipe. Now it was time to work on this pipe.

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe once I received it. The rim top and inner edge of the rim showed some damage. The inner edge of the bowl was roughened and showed some darkening. The rim top also showed some damage. The stem surface looked good with some remaining oxidation and tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.    I took a photo of the stamping on the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above. I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. The stem is a short acrylic saddle.   I decided to start my work on the pipe by cleaning up the damaged inner edge of the bowl. I reworked the edge with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. Once I finished the rim and edge looked much better.    I moved next to repairing the damaged fills on the front left of the bowl. I filled them in with clear super glue and briar dust. Once it cured I sanded them smooth and blended them into the surrounding briar.   With the repaired fills being lighter than the surrounding briar I decided to restain the bowl with a light brown aniline stain. I applied the stain and flamed it with a lighter to set it in the grain. I repeated the process until I was happy with the coverage on the bowl. Once the stain had cured I removed it from the cork and took photos of the new look before I buffed or polished it at all.  I buffed the bowl with red Tripoli and then wiped it down with a cotton pad and isopropyl alcohol to make the stain a bit more transparent and show the grain around the bowl sides. I polished it with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with a damp cloth.      I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.  I set the bowl aside and turned to work on the stem. I sanded out the tooth chatter and marks with 220 grit sandpaper and started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I polished the acrylic stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.    This Hadley Park 213 Lovat with an orange/butterscotch acrylic stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. There is some great grain around the bowl and shank. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Hadley Park Lovat is petite but fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 34gr/1.23oz. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Breathing Life into a Carlo Scotti Castello Sea Rock Briar SC16 Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

It is a rainy fall day in Vancouver and one that just invites me to stay home and cozy. It is a great day to work on pipes. This next pipe on the table came to us in a group of pipes that we purchased at the end of 2019 from a fellow in Los Angeles, California, USA.  It is a Castello Sea Rock Briar and it is a Billiard shape to – both pluses in my book. It is stamped on the smooth heel of the bowl and the shank bottom and reads Castello [over] Sea Rock Briar followed by SC 16. That is followed by Reg. No. 66171 No. Next to that is stamped Made in Cantu [over] Italy followed by an oval containing the name Carlo Scotti next to the stem shank union. The Castello “diamond” inset is on the left side of the tapered stem letting me know this was a pipe made for US import. On the underside of the stem it is stamped Hand Made [over] Castello [over] 3. It was pretty dirty with dust and grime when we got it but still showed promise. He took the following photos of the pipe before he worked his magic on them. The pipe must have been a terrific smoker because the bowl was heavily caked with lava flowing over the rim top. In its condition it was going to take some work to clean out that bowl and be able to see what the rim looked like underneath the layer of lava. The acrylic/Lucite stem was in good condition. It was dirty and had light tooth chatter and marks in the top and underside of the stem just ahead of the button. The rest of the bowl looked dirty but the photos give an idea of what Jeff saw before his cleanup revealed the condition of the pipe. The next photos try to capture the stamping on the flat panel on the underside of the shank. It read as I have noted above. The stem also bears a Hand Made Castello 3 stamp on the underside.    Jeff cleaned the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness – reaming the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaning up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the internals of the bowl, shank and stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior with Murphy’s Oil Soap to clean off the dust and grime on the rusticated Sea Rock finish. The rusticated rim top looked very good under the thick lava coat. The inside of the bowl itself looked great. The stem was in great shape other than the tooth marks on both sides. I took photos of the pipe when it arrived here.   I took some close up photos of the rim top, bowl and stem to show what they looked like after Jeff’s cleanup. It is a startling difference. The rim top looks very good. The stem also looks very good.     I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank and the stem. It is clear and readable as noted above. I also have included a photo of the “diamond” inset on the left side of the saddle stem.  I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe to show the proportions of the bowl/shank and the stem length.I cannot seem to retain the details on Castello pipes in my head for long for some reason. The stamping on them – Castello and the Reg. No. and the Carlo Scotti stamp left me with some questions that I need to answer before I began to work on the pipe. I turned first to the Pipephil site (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-castello.html) because of the general quick summary of information I get there. I quote:

Castello PIPA CASTELLO di Carlo Scotti & C. was founded in 1947 by Carlo Scotti († 1988). Franco Coppo (AKA “Kino”) who married Carlo Scotti’s daughter Savina, manages (2012) the corporate since 1985.

The site also gave a good summary of the grading and sizes of the pipes. I quote that in full.

Sizes (ascending):

1K to 4K, G (Giant) and GG (Extra large)

Rusticated grading: SEA ROCK, OLD SEA ROCK, NATURAL VIRGIN,

Sandblasted grading: ANTIQUARI, OLD ANTIQUARI

Smooth grading (ascending): TRADEMARK, CASTELLO, COLLECTION

Other stampings: Great Line (Non-standard or freestyle) Fiammata (Straight grain)

Production (2012): ~4000 pipes / year

I also found a note on the page that the Rhinestone logo was originally on pipes for the US market. It is occasionally used now.

I turned then to Pipedia for more information on the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Castello). The majority of the information was what was already quoted above in abbreviated form. However there was a link to an article by Bob Hamlin that gave some interesting bits of information that I found helpful (http://www.pipes.org/BURST/FORMATTED/196.016.html). I quote in part from that article.

SEA ROCK [Carved Black or dark brown]:  This is the lowest grade of the Castello line and is the most common in the USA.  Sea Rocks are produced by taking a smooth bowl that has not been “final finished” and surface carving the finish with tools. This “carved” finish is then evened out using a steel wire brush, stained and then waxed. The Natural Vergin carved finish is left unstained and unwaxed as a rule, although we have seen waxed and partially waxed “Vergins”.

All carved Castello pipes are graded by the number of K’s that are stamped on each piece and are K-graded by SIZE.  1K is the smallest and fairly rare, 2K is small to medium, with 3K or 4K being the most common and ranges from medium to medium large. Large pieces are stamped “G” for giant and extra large pieces are stamped “GG” for double giant.  In addition to the number of K’s on a carved Sea Rock piece the shape number is almost always added.  As a rule a Sea Rock Castello is stained Black, although recently there have been quite a few coming in stained deep brown and still stamped “Sea Rock”.  American Logo’d Sea Rocks are all priced the same to the consumer, although most are 2 or 3 K’ed models.  G/GG models are charged at a higher price on American pieces and are basically the same as their European counterparts.

The Castello Sea Rock briar I was working on did not have the K stamping. It definitely was made for the American Market with the Rhinestone in the stem. It had the dark brown finish. The shape number still needed to be determined.

Pipedia also gave a link to Mike’s Briar Blues site for help in dating and determining shapes (http://www.briarblues.com/castello.htm). I quote a piece on the Reg. No. that I found helpful.

1947 – Carlo Scotti begins the company.  In the beginning (1947 – 1949, maybe 1950) the pipes were stamped Mi Reserva (my reserve ).  Later the Reg No was added.  This Reg No has nothing to do with shape numbers, but is merely the Castello company trademark

Shape numbers. Shape numbers are all 2 digits. A 2 in front indicates a “fancy” interpretation, a 3 in front means that the carving is somehow unique. I don’t know when the change was made, but currently, a π symbol is used instead of the 3xx. I’ve only seen this on Sea Rocks, but that doesn’t mean anything…

Pre K grading.  Late 1950’s to mid-1960’s the pipe carried stamps which indicated sizes. These were as follows; SA, SB, SC, and SS.  SA being the smallest and SS the largest.

Now I had more information to work with. The Castello Sea Rock in my hands was pre K graded. That told me that it came out in the late 1950s to mid-1960s. The SC stamp makes it a mid-sized pipe from that time period. The number 16 makes it a straight shank billiard.

I started the minimal work I had on the bowl by using a black Sharpie Pen to darken the light spots on the rim top. My purpose was to blend the rim top into the rest of the stain on the bowl and shank. It worked very well.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the rusticated Sea Rock finish on the bowl and the rim top. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the wood. Once the bowl was covered with the balm I let it sit for about 20 minutes and buffed it off with a soft cotton cloth and the shoe brush. I polished it with a microfiber cloth. I took photos of the pipe at this point in the process to show what the bowl looked like at this point. I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem. It was in great shape so I polished the stem with 1500-12000 grit pads. I dry sanded it with the pads and wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I finished polishing the stem with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine polishes. I wiped the stem down with a damp cotton pad afterwards and buffed it with a soft microfiber cloth.   I put the bowl and stem back together on this beautiful Castello Sea Rock Briar 16SC Billiard. I polished the stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the Lucite. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The contrast of the blacks and dark browns of the briar with the polished black acrylic/Lucite is quite stunning. The dark and coral like rustication around the bowl and shank is quite remarkable and gives the pipe an incredible tactile presence that only improve as it heated from a smoke. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The pipe weighs 39grams/1.38oz.Thanks for walking through the restoration with me. I always enjoy working on Castello pipes. Cheers. 

Restoring a Large Ben Wade Martinique Freehand Sitter


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table came to us from a recent pipe hunt Jeff and his wife Sherry did in Utah. They picked this beauty up at an Antique Mall along the way of the hunt. Even though the finish was dull and lifeless it showed promise under the grit and grime of the years. On the underside of the shank it was clearly stamped Ben Wade in script [over] Martinique [over] Hand Made [over] In [over] Denmark. The finish is filthy with grime and oil ground into the smooth briar of the bowl and shank sides. There were flecks of white paint on the sides as well. The bowl had a thick cake that overflowed in lava on the plateau rim top filling in the grooves and valleys of the finish. The acrylic stem was dirty and had some tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. Jeff took some photos of the pipe to show its overall condition before he started his cleanup work.He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the lava on the plateau finish of the rim top. There is dust and debris stuck to the walls of the bowl clearly visible in the photos. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the chatter and tooth marks. Otherwise the stem is quite clean. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar around the pipe looked like. There is some stunning grain under the grime.    He took photos of the stamping on the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable. I remembered a bit of history on the brand that thought that the Preben Holm pipes were marketed under the Ben Wade label in the US and imported through Lane Ltd. I turned to Pipedia and read the listing on the brand to refresh my memory and flesh out the knowledge of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Wade). I have included a photo from that site that was taken from a Tinderbox advertisement.

Ben Wade Ad in a Tinder Box catalog, courtesy Doug Valitchka

I quote the portion of the article that summarizes the Danish period of the history of the brand:

Young Copenhagen master pipemaker Preben Holm had made a meteoric career heading a pipe manufacture employing 45 people at the age of 22! But around the turn of 1970/71 he was in major financial difficulties. His US distributor, Snug Harbour Ltd. in New York City, left him in the lurch. Holm had three unpaid invoices on his desk and another large shipment was ready for the USA, when Snug Harbour’s manager told him on the phone that there was no money at all on the account to pay him.

So the Dane went to New York for an almost desperate search for a new distribution partner. He made contacts with Lane Ltd. and met Herman G. Lane in February 1971. Lane Ltd. had no interest in Holm’s serial pipes produced at that time but so much the more in the hand-carved freehands because the hype for Danish freehands and fancies in the States was still on its way to the climax then. The meeting resulted in an agreement to start a cooperation. Lane insisted to improve the quality considerably and in return he assured to be able to sell essentially larger quantities.

Holm went back home to work on new samples with all-new designs and altered finishes for Lane. Both, Lane and Holm, agreed that it would be unwise to sell the pipes under Preben Holm’s name as long as Snug Harbour had a considerable stock of Preben Holm pipes and might sell them pipes at very low prices just to bring in some money.

So on Mr. Lane’s proposal it was determined to use the name Ben Wade belonging to Lane Ltd. Lane spent considerable amounts of money for advertising the new brand in the big magazines– the centerpiece being whole-page ads showing a very exclusive Seven Day’s Set.

The cooperation with Lane Ltd. proved to be an eminent business success for both partners. Within a very short time Ben Wade Handmade Denmark sold in much larger quantities and at higher prices than they had ever dreamed of. And the hype these freehands and fancy pipes caused went on unbroken long after Herman G. Lane deceased. Preben Holm – obviously much more brilliant in pipe making than in pipe business – was in major troubles again in 1986 and had to sack most of his staff. The Ben Wade production was significantly lowered but continued until his untimely death in June of 1989.

Up to now Preben Holm made Ben Wade pipes are cult and highly sought for on the estate markets.

With that information my initial thoughts were confirmed. This pipe was a Preben Holm made Freehand distributed in the US by Lane Ltd under the name Ben Wade. The freehand rage occurred in the late 70s and the pipes were made until Preben’s death in 1989. My guess would be that this pipe was made sometime during that time period and potentially in the late 70s.

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub and cotton pads to remove the debris and oils on the stem. He rinsed it with warm water and dried it off. I took photos of the pipe once I received it.   The rim top had some darkening on the back of the bowl. The beveled inner edge of the rim looked very good with some darkening. The stem surface looked very good with a few small tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.    I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It read clearly as noted above.  I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. The stem is turned fancy acrylic. I started my work on the pipe by cleaning up the darkening on the inner bevel of the plateau rim top with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I was able to remove the darkening and I like the looks of the rim top.  I touched up the black stain in the valleys of the plateau on the rim top and shank end with a Black stain pen. I would use the micromesh pads to knock off any of the black on the high spots when I polished it.    I polished the bowl and the rim top, sides and shank with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with a damp cloth.   I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips and into the plateau rim top with a horsehair shoe brush. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 10 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.   I set the bowl aside and turned to work on the stem. I sanded out the tooth marks from the surface of the acrylic with 220 grit sandpaper and started the polishing of the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.   I polished the acrylic stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.      This Ben Wade Martinique Freehand Sitter with a fancy, turned acrylic stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Martinique Freehand fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 inches, Chamber diameter: 1 inch. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!