Tag Archives: polishing acrylic stems

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!

New Life for a Carlo Scotti Castello Natural Vergin KKK 16  Saddle Stem Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

Summer is pretty much over in Vancouver and today was another rainy, cold fall day. It is a day off so I had time to work on a few pipes. My wife and kids are convinced it is an illness but at least it keeps me out of their way! This next pipe on the table is one that I may have a hard time letting go of when I am finished. It is a Castello Natural Vergin and it is a saddle stem billiard two pluses in my book. My brother Jeff picked this pipe up from an antique mall in Utah, USA. It is stamped on the smooth heel of the bowl and the shank bottom and reads Castello [over] Natural Vergin. Next to that is stamped KKK 16. That is followed by 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 saddle stem. On the underside of the stem it is stamped Hand Made [over] Castello [over] 5 It was in pretty filthy looking condition with oils ground into the briar around the bowl side leaving dark patches when he 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 another 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 a deep tooth 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 5 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 Natural Vergin finish. The rusticated rim top looked very good under the thick lava coat. The inside of the bowl itself looked great. The finish had darkened with the cleaning but the dark oily spots on the bowl sides were gone. 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 will take a bit of work to remove the deep tooth marks on both sides and give it a deep shine.    The stamping on the shank looked very good. It is clear and readable as noted above. 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.As usual 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 VERGIN,

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 Natural Vergin KKK 16 I was working on was definitely made for the American Market with the Rhinestone in the stem. It had the natural finish that darkened with cleaning.

Pipedia also gave a link to Mike’s Briar Blues site for help in dating and determining shapes (http://www.briarblues.com/castello.htm).

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…

Now I had more information to work with. The Castello Natural Vergin in my hands was 3K graded. That told me that it is a mid-sized pipe. The number 16 makes it a straight billiard.

The bowl was in such good condition that 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 to clean, enliven and protect the wood. I used a horse hair shoe brush to work it into the crevices and keep from building up in the valleys and crevices of the finish. 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. It is definitely darker than the dirty raw briar look but it is pretty close to the oil finish that was sometimes used. 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. I filled in the tooth marks with black super glue and set it aside to cure. Once it cured I flattened the repairs with a file and sanded them with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.   I continued to polish 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 Natural Vergin KKK 16 Saddle 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 oil treated briar with the polished black acrylic/Lucite is quite stunning. The 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 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This Natural Vergin Billiard will soon be on the rebornpipes store if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me. I always enjoy working on Castello pipes. Cheers. 

Breathing Life into a Caminetto Business 143KS Bent Egg


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on my worktable is a Caminetto Business pipe. Lately I have worked on a few of these and have been impressed by the craftsmanship. The pipe has a rugged rusticated finish and a stepped variegated brown acrylic saddle stem. It had come to us through an auction from Pekin, Illinois, USA. It was a filthy pipe with grime and oils ground into the rusticated finish on the bowl. The pipe had some rustic beauty shining through the dust and debris in the valleys of the rough finish. The rustication covered the rim top, bowl and shank with a smooth panel on each side of the shank. The finish was dull and lifeless and dirty from sitting around. There was a very thick cake in the bowl with lava flowing out of the bowl and over the rim top. The lava had filled in the deeper grooves of the finish on the rim top. The inner edge of the rim appeared to be in good condition under the lava coat other than a nick on the front right edge. The stamping on the left side of the shank read Caminetto in script over BUSINESS. To the left of that toward the bowl was the shape number 143 in a cartouche and to the right of the stamp it read KS. On the right side of the shank it was stamped MADE IN ITALY [over] CUCCIAGO (CANTU). The stepped saddle stem was variegated brown and had the classic Caminetto Mustache on the top of the saddle. The surface was dirty and there was light tooth chatter and marks on both sides near the button. Jeff took the following photos before he started his cleanup work on the pipe.He took close-up photos of the bowl and rim top from various angles to capture the condition of the bowl and rim top edges. You can see the lava overflow and debris in the rustication of the rim top. You can see the cake in the bowl. This was a dirty pipe but it was the finish was in great condition. The stem is also very dirty with tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. He took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the beautiful incredibly deep rustication around the bowl. It is the same kind of rough finish that I really like on Castello Sea Rock pipes. You can see the oil, dust and debris in the finish on both sides of the bowl. Jeff took a photo of the stamping on the shank. It reads as noted above. The stamping is clear and readable. I have worked on several Caminetto in the past so I turned to one of the restorations on the rebornpipes blog and reread the background information on the brand. I am including that info here with this restoration (https://rebornpipes.com/2020/04/19/pretty-tired-and-dirty-messy-restoration-of-a-caminetto-business-tomahawk-182/).

When the pipe arrived I turned to Pipephil (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-c1.html) to see if he included not only information on this Caminetto Business 182. He gave some interesting information about the brand. It was created in 1986 by Guiseppe Ascorti, Luigi Radice and Gianni Davoli as the distributor. It states that in 1979 the first Caminetto period ended with Luigi Radice leaving the company. Guiseppe Ascorti continued making the pipe with his son Roberto. In 1986 the New Caminetto period began by Roberto Ascorti.I turned to Pipedia for more information on the Caminetto and how to date the pipe I had in hand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/The_History_of_Caminetto_(shapes,_stamping,_articles,_etc.). I quote a pertinent paragraph:

Stampings and dating: First off, dating earlier Caminetto’s is nearly impossible. Nevertheless, there were three phases, some in which were much earlier, of development that occurred in the stamping process of Caminetto. Before that though, every pipe had the stamp of Caminetto in one of two ways: Caminetto in script or Caminetto within quotation marks in block letters (I do not know how it was decided which pipe got which stamp, as I have had EARLY Caminetto’s with both)…

The stampings are shown in the photo to the left. The stamping on this pipe is like #3.

…Now, the question is which stamps are earlier and more likely to have been made by Ascorti and/or Radice. The answer is #1. The differences in #2 and #3 seem to be minute, as Cucciago is simply a suburb of Cantu. Pipes stamped like #1 are the most valuable Caminetto’s as they are the earliest production of the brand, as well as what some would claim the most perfect of Ascorti and Radice’s work. The last tidbit is, of course, debatable…

… There is also another factor in stamping, that is, which series the pipe falls in. The majority of Caminetto’s one sees are those of the “Business” series, which are stamped such with their collective shape (see photo of shapes below). Another stamp that sometimes follows the “Business” one is “KS,” which from what I know means “King-size” (this could be wrong, as there are pipes stamped with KS1, KS2, and KS3).

Now it was time to look at it up close and personal. Jeff had done an amazing job in removing all of the cake and the lava on the rim top. He had reamed the bowl with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He took the cake back to bare briar so we could check the walls for damage. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime on the bowl and rim and was able to remove the lava and dirt. He cleaned out the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol until they came out clean. He cleaned the stem with Soft Scrub to remove the grime on the exterior and cleaned out the airway with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I took photos of the pipe before I started my part of the restoration.  To show how clean the rim top and stem really was I took a close-up photo of the rim and stem. The bowl was clean and cake free. The rim top is very clean with no residual lava in the sandblast finish. The inner edges of the bowl look good and the nicked area on the right front is clean. The variegated brown acrylic saddle stem looks cleaned up nicely. The surface had some light tooth marks but the button edge looked really good.I took the stem off the bowl and took a picture of the pipe to give an idea of the look of the rustication and the stem. It is going to be a pretty pipe.I used a drop of super glue to fill in the chipped edge on the right front inner edge of the bowl. Once the glue repair cured I smoothed out the inner edge of the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper.I roughed up the repaired area on the rim top with a wire brush to knock of the debris from the repair. Once it was clean it matched the edges of the rest of the bowl. I knew that the original Caminetto Business 143KS  pipe had a flumed rim top and runoff down the top ½ inch of the bowl sides. I found a photo of the same pipe online and flumed the bowl on the one I had accordingly. I used a Walnut stain pen to touch up the rim top and give the bowl a slight flume around the top edge. Once I treated the pipe with Before & After Restoration Balm the flumed part would flow better with the surrounding briar.The bowl looked very good so I did not need to do any further work on it. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm to deep clean the finish on the bowl and shank. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I worked it in with my fingers and with a horse hair shoe brush to get it into the nooks and crannies of the deep rustication of the finish on the bowl and shank. I let it sit for about 20 minutes to let it do its magic. I buffed it with a soft cloth. The briar really began to have a rich shine. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration.   The bowl was finished so I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the light tooth marks and chatter with 200 grit sandpaper and started to polish it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I touched up the mustache stamp on the topside of the saddle stem with Rub’n Buff Antique Gold. I rubbed it into the stamp and pressed into it with a toothpick. I buffed it off with a soft cloth and left the gold in the mustache to bring it back into place.   I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth I finished polishing it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and buffed it off with a cotton cloth. This Caminetto Business 143KS Bent Egg is a real beauty and has a lot of life left. I put the bowl and stem back together again and buffed the bowl and the stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I used a soft touch on the rusticated bowl so as not to fill it in with the polishing product. I gave the bowl several coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem several coats of carnauba wax. I carefully buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I finished buffing with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe looks very good. The rustication is very tactile and feels great in the hand. It is comfortable and light weight. The finished Caminetto Business Bent Egg is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This great looking rusticated Caminetto turned out very well. It should be a great pipe. It will be going on the rebornpipes store shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.

A Fresh Start for a Davidoff Straight Apple


Blog by Steve Laug

One thing about having so many boxes of pipes to work on surrounding my work table is that I can always find one that grabs my attention to work on now! There are two Davidoff pipes in the box and I had passed over them both a few times in the past weeks but this morning I decided that the apple shaped pipe would join the days queue. It is a nice looking Apple shape pipe stamped Davidoff on the left side of the shank. The name is underlined and the D has a flourish both on the stamping and on the logo on the left side of the stem. It was dirty and was another well-loved pipe when we received it. The bowl had a moderate cake and the lava overflow on the back side of the rim edge. It was hard to know the condition of the inner edge of the bowl. The pipe had a walnut stain on the bowl that highlighted some nice grain on the bowl sides under the grime and the finish appeared to be in good condition. A lot would be revealed once Jeff had worked his magic on it. The acrylic stem was in good condition with light tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button and on the button surface itself. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. Jeff tried to capture the condition of the bowl and rim top with the next series of photos. You can see the work that is ahead of us there. The grain around the bowl is quite stunning. Jeff took some great photos showing what is underneath the grime and debris of time and use. He captured the stamping on the left side of the shank and both sides of the half saddle acrylic stem. They are clear and readable. It read Davidoff in script underlined with a Script D on the left side of the stem and Hand Cut on the right side of the stem.The photos of the stem show the stem surface. It is dirty and has light tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button.While I have visited the Davidoff store in several cities I don’t believe I have worked on a pipe from there. I turned to Pipephil to get a quick overview on the brand so I knew a bit about the pipe I was working on (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-d3.html). I have included a screen capture of the pertinent section below. It seems that for awhile anyway the pipes were carved by the Cuty-Fort Group (Chacom, Jeantet, etc.).I turned to Pipedia to fill in more of the gaps and found that the article quotes Jose Manuel Lopes whose book I have on my shelf ( https://pipedia.org/wiki/Davidoff) I quote:

From Pipes, Artisans and Trademarks, by Jose Manuel Lopés’

Davidoff started in 1911 as a family run tobacconist located in Geneva. Henri Davidoff, a Russian emigrant, was the founder. The shop was located in Geneva. His son, Zino Davidoff (1906-1994), concentrated on the tobacco business, starting in 1924, and revolutionized the conservation of quality cheroots throughout Europe.

Davidoff became World famous, and the company was acquired in 1970 by the Oettinger group, and expanded into numerous accessories for men. For Zino, the pursuit of pleasure was a constant, two of his maxims being: “Take pleasure from everything in life, without excess” and “the pipe is a valuable companion, the essence of tranquility and must be smoked with respect”.

Davidoff’s first pipes date from 1974 and were commissioned by various companies, notably Butz-Choquin and the Cuty Fort Group. The brand offers 14 classic shapes, in three finishes and with acrylic stems.

It appears the pipes are now made in Italy, as the website states the following about their pipes:

Creation of the Davidoff Pipe entails a meticulous, detailed process performed by only the most skilled Italian pipemakers. This dedication is why the Davidoff Pipe upholds a standard of quality and design found in no other pipe in the world. Made of the finest and carefully selected briar, each Davidoff Pipe features a flawless, hand-finished bowl and perfectly fitted, hand-cut acrylic stem. The Davidoff Pipe is available in three beautiful designs and finishes — sandblasted black, red brilliant and natural light brown.

With that information in hand I knew what I was dealing with either a French made or an Italian made pipe. I have been working on a lot of each lately and the pipe in hand had the feel of a French made Chacom pipe rather than an Italian. I would work with that assumption. I had no idea of the age of the pipe but it was time to work on the pipe itself.

Jeff cleaned the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness that I really appreciate. This one was a real mess and I did not know what to expect when I unwrapped it from his box. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals 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 lava on the rim top. The finish looks very good with good looking grain around the bowl and shank. Jeff soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked very good. I took photos before I started my part of the work. I took some photos of the rim top and stem. The crowned rim top looks very good. There is no damage on the inner edge of the bowl. The close up photos of the stem shows that is it very clean.I took photos of the stamping on the stem and shank of the pipe. It is clear and readable.I took the stem off the shank and took a picture of the pipe. It really is a nice looking pipe with great lines.I started my part of the restoration work on the pipe by polishing the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth. The grain really began to stand out and the finish took on a shine by the last sanding pad. The photos tell the story! I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for about ten 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 laid the bowl aside and turned to deal with the stem. The tooth marks and chatter on the stem were not deep. 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 a cloth containing some Obsidian Oil. I finished polishing it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and buffed it off with a cotton cloth. The pipe came together quite well. The finish on the pipe is in excellent condition and the contrasting stains work well with the black acrylic stem. With the grime and debris gone from the finish and the bowl it was a beauty and the grain just pops at this point. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I carefully avoided the stamping on the shank and stem during the process. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing it with a clean buffing pad on the buffer. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Davidoff pipe is quite beautiful and is a lovely apple shaped pipe. The finish on the bowl combines various stains to give it depth. It is very well done. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. I can only tell you that it is much prettier in person than the photos capture. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. I really like this Apple shaped pipe and it really does remind me of a Chacom pipe. This is a great looking pipe in great condition. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store soon. If you want to add it to your collection send me an email or a message! Thanks for your time.

This Ascorti 01 Business Hand Made Must Be a Great Smoking Pipe


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table is an interesting Ascorti Business Bent Bulldog. I had passed over this one a few times in the past weeks but this morning I decided it would join the days queue. It is a great looking and obviously well-loved pipe from the previous pipeman. It was a really filthy and had some damage on the rim top and edges when we received it. The bowl had a thick cake and the lava overflow on the rim made it impossible to see in the inner edge of the bowl. The outer edge had damage and burns on the right side of the rim cap. The bowl was rusticated in the typical Ascorti Business rustication but the camp and shank were smooth. The finish had a lot of dust and debris in the deep pockets of the finish and some stains as well on the surface. The twin rings around base of the cap were also filled in with debris and dust. The smooth portions had some nice grain on them under the grime and the finish appeared to be in good condition. A lot would be revealed once Jeff had worked his magic on it. The stem was very dirty and had heavy tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button. The button surface appeared to be unharmed. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. Jeff tried to capture the condition of the bowl and rim top with the next series of photos. You can see the work that is ahead of us in the photos. It was obviously a well-loved and oft enjoyed pipe! Jeff took some great photos of the sides of the bowl and heel showing what is underneath the grime and debris of time and use. He captured the stamping on the sides of the shank and the left side of the tapered stem. They are clear and readable. The left side reads Ascorti over Business. On the right side it reads Hand Made over Italy. On the underside of the shank it is stamped 01 next to the shank/stem junction. The last photo below shows the Ascorti logo “A” on the left side of the saddle stem. The photos of the stem show the thick grime on the stem surface as well as the tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. It was probably one of the filthiest stems I have seen in a very long time. I have worked on a few Ascorti Business pipes in the recent months – two straight billiards so I turned to a blog on one of them to refresh the background information before I started my part of the work (https://rebornpipes.com/2020/03/18/repairing-banding-and-restoring-a-damaged-hand-made-ascorti-business-billiard/). I quote from that blog:

Before I started my part of the repair and restoration I wanted to have a clear picture of what the stem logo looked like on the Ascorti Business pipe. I turned to Pipephil as he often has some photos that give me the information that I am looking for (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-a8.html). Sure enough he had a photo showing the rough stamped A on the stem. It is white and it is rough which is exactly how this one looks. Hopefully in the restoration process I can get it back a bit. I did a screen capture of the picture on the site and include it below.With that information in hand I knew what I was dealing with in terms of the stamping and the age of this pipe. I knew from the information from the section above that the pipe came out after 1980 when the company started. I could not get the date more focused so it was time to work on the pipe.

I was seriously wondering how this beast would clean up as it was such a mess. I was not sure Jeff would be able to get all of the grime out of the rustication and the rings. It really was in bad shape. But I should not have even worried about it. Jeff cleaned the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. When I took it out of the box I was amazed at how good it looked it really looked like a different pipe. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals 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 lava on the rim top. The finish looks far better than I expected and the rim top/cap damage was less than I thought it would be. Jeff scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub to remove the grime and it came out looking far better. There was definitely tooth damage to address but nothing otherwise. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked very good. I took photos before I started my part of the work. I took some photos of the rim top and stem. The inner edge shows some damage on the back right side and on the outer edge and top on the right side. The close up photos of the stem shows that is it very clean but you can see the tooth chatter and marks in the acrylic.I took photos of the stamping because they also cleaned up very well.I took the stem off the shank and took a picture of the pipe. It really is a nice looking pipe with great lines.The major issue with this pipe was the burn damage on the rim top and the inner and outer edges of the bowl. I started my restoration work on the pipe by addressing that damage. I topped the bowl to remove the burn damage on the top of the cap and to try and minimize the damage to the inner edge. I then used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the inner edge and bring the bowl back to round. I gave the inner edge of the rim a slight bevel to further mask the damage. The rim top looks much better and will polish out pretty well with the micromesh. I polished the smooth briar of the rim cap and the shank with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth. The grain really began to stand out and the finish took on a shine by the last sanding pad. The photos tell the story! I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the smooth and rusticated briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for about twenty 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 laid the bowl aside and turned to deal with the stem. I sanded the tooth marks and chatter on the stem with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface of the stem and started polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.   I polished the stem with some Denicare Mouthpiece polish – a red gritty paste that feels a lot like the texture of red Tripoli. It works well to polish out some of the scratches. I find that it does a great job preparing the stem for polishing with micromesh sanding pads.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 a cloth containing some Obsidian Oil. I finished polishing it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and buffed it off with a cotton cloth. This Ascorti Business Bulldog was a pipe I was looking forward to seeing what it looked like when I put it back together. The change in condition and appearance of the pipe was remarkable. With the grime and debris gone from the finish and the bowl it was a beauty and the grain and rustication just pop at this point. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I carefully avoided the stamping on the shank and stem during the process. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing it with a clean buffing pad on the buffer. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is quite beautiful and is a lovely bent Bulldog shaped pipe. The variegated finish on the bowl combines various stains to give it depth. It is very well done. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. I can only tell you that it is much prettier in person than the photos capture. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. I really like the way that Ascorti combines the rusticated finish with the smooth shank and rim cap. This is a great looking pipe in great condition. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store soon. If you want to add it to your collection send me an email or a message! Thanks for your time.