Tag Archives: polishing an acrylic stem

Breathing New Life into a Stanwell Black Diamond Polished Model 185185 Bent Apple


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to me from either a trade I made (pipes for labour) or a find on one of my pipe hunts. I honestly don’t remember where it came from. It has been around for a while waiting to be worked on. It is a black stained pipe that allows the grain to peek through which is unusual for the black dress pipes that I have worked on. It has a Stanwell Silver Crown S and silver band make it one of the Black Diamond Polished line of pipes. The Black Diamond series from Stanwell isn’t completely black. The grain is vaguely visible through the stain. I have worked on this line before and written about it on the blog. Here is the link to that pipe (https://rebornpipes.com/tag/stanwell-black-diamond-pipes-with-a-semi-transparent-black-stain/).

The stamping on this bent Apple is clear and readable. It is stamped on the underside of the shank and reads Stanwell [over] Made in Denmark. To the right side of the shank it is stamped with the shape number 185. The pipe 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 had an overflow of lava on the back side of the rim top. It was hard to know what the rim top and inner edge of the bowl looked like under the grime. The acrylic filter stem dirty and had light tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside and the top surface of the button had a tooth mark. There an inset silver Crowned S on the left side of the taper stem. The pipe had promise but it was very dirty. I took photos of the pipe before I started my cleanup work.   I took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the overflow of lava on the rim top. It is hard to know for sure if there is damage to the inner edge of the bowl because of the thickness of the lava coat. The thin silver band is tarnished and black. I also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the light chatter and tooth marks. I took photos of the stamping on the underside and right side of the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable. There is a silver Crown S logo on the top of the saddle stem.I took the stem off the bowl and took a photo of the parts. It is a nicely shaped pipe. The tenon is a filter tenon. Now it was time to work on the pipe. I have to say it once again that I am really spoiled having Jeff clean up the pipes for me. Having to start with them in this condition adds time. I reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer using the second and third cutting heads. I followed up by scraping the remaining cake with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I finished cleaning up the cake in the bowl with a piece of dowel wrapped in 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the walls of the bowl.    I scrubbed the exterior of the bowl and rim top with a tooth brush and undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the debris from the finish. I rinsed the bowl with warm water to remove the grime and soap and dried it off with a soft towel. I used a small knife to carefully scrape off the lava on the rim top. I scrubbed the surface with cotton pads and saliva to remove the grime that remained.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 a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.     I polished the Sterling Silver shank band with Hagerty’s Silver Polish to clean up the silver and remove the tarnish. I buffed it with a jeweler’s cloth to deepen the shine. Both of these things work to slow down the tarnish process. I took some photos of the band and bowl after the polishing. I cleaned out the mortise and airway in the shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. It took quite a few of them to clean out the chamber. I find that filter pipes are often dirtier than none filter pipes. I scraped the walls of the tenon with a dental spatula to remove the hardened tars there. I clean it out with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol as well. Once finish the pipe smelled far better.    I gave the bowl a coat of Conservator’s Wax and set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. The stem was made for a 9MM filter. I have a box of Vauen Dr. Perl Junior Filters that is perfect for this stem. The filter has a blue end and a white end and I can never remember which way they fit in the tenon. I looked it up on the Vauen site and did a screen capture of the way it sits in the stem. The blue end goes into the stem.The stem was in very good condition and the chatter and tooth marks were light. I polished them out of 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 beautiful Stanwell Black Diamond 185 Bent Apple with an acrylic taper stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The rich blacks of the stains on the bowl allow the grain to poke through. It came alive with the polishing and waxing. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax as I did not want to buff off the stain. I gave 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 Stanwell Black Diamond 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 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. . The weight of the pipe is 67grams/2.36oz. I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store shortly and it will be in the Danish Pipe Makers section of the store. 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!

Rebirthing a Peterson’s of Dublin Shannon 05 Calabash


Blog by Steve Laug

Today is another interesting day for me to work on pipes. It is Boxing Day and the sprained wrist is better than it was yesterday and the wrist brace really helps. I am slowed down a bit by it, but I have not stopped. The next pipe I have chosen is another Peterson’s of Dublin Calabash. It is a great looking pipe. It came to us from an EBay auction in 2017 from Riverton, Utah, USA. The grime was ground into the smooth finish on the bowl sides. The contrast of the brown stains gave the grain a sense of depth. It was stamped on the left side of the shank and read Peterson’s [arched over] of Dublin [over] Shannon. On the right side of the shank it bore the stamp 05 which is the shape number. This pipe must have been another favourite as it had been well smoked. There was a moderate cake in the bowl a light overflow of lava and darkening on the rim top. The edge of the bowl looked very good. The stem was acrylic and had light tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside on and near the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before his cleanup work. They tell the story and give a glimpse of the promise that we see in this pipe.   Jeff took photos of the rim top and stem to show the general condition of the pipe. The bowl is moderately caked and the smooth rim top and edges have a lava overflow obscuring the inner edge. The photos of the acrylic stem show the light tooth marks on the top and underside near the button.   Jeff took a photo of the bowl sides and heel to show the blast that was around this bowl. There were some nicks in the sides but overall it is a nice looking pipe.    He took photos of the stamping on the shank. It is clear and readable and reads as noted above.   From what I could find online on a variety of sites that sell the Shannon line they all seem to agree that it was designed for those who prefer classic shapes free from adornments. The line is among Peterson’s most reserved finishes, defined by a familiar walnut stain and a jet-black acrylic stem. (This perfectly matches the pipe I am working on.)

Now to see what else I could learn and verify that information I turned to Pipedia and found a section on the Shannon line (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Peterson). I quote the section in full below.

During the 1970’s Peterson had a large display of pipes in the Shannon Airport Duty Free Shop for passengers. These were on display in a floor cabinet measuring approximately 6 ‘x 3’. Shannon airport outlet sold a considerable amount of pipes during its period of existence, covering all qualities, from the basic entry level Aran series up to the De Luxe Systems. They also stamped some mid range pipes with the mark ‘SHANNON’. This was only for pipes issued and sold from Shannon airport and was not the same as the present day Shannon series.

The last sentence left me with a question about the pipe in hand. Was it part of the Shannon Airport pipes or was it part of the present day Shannon Series? I turned to “The Peterson Pipe” by Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg to get some background on the Shannon line. On page 312 it had the following information.

Shannon (1969-c1987) – First offered as an entry-grade line in walnut or black sandblast. In 1969-c1970, offered through Iwan Ries as Shannon Meerschaum Lined, middle-grade sandblast and higher grade brown sandblast finish, P-lip mouthpiece. From 2005 as polished tan-and-black stain, unmounted, P-lip or fishtail mouthpiece with stamped gold P on vulcanite mouthpiece.

There was also a listing on page 299 for Shannon Airport. It read as follows:

For Shannon Airport (c.d1947-c1983) – Stamp on shank of pipes in several grades, indicated that the pipe was designated to be sold by Duty Free Shops at the Shannon Airport.

It is interesting that most of the info on the Shannon pipe and the Shannon Airport pipe seems to be parallel. It also seems to me that Mark and Gary do not make the distinction very clear on the two. They also note that the pipe had a black vulcanite stem with a gold “P” stamped on it as this one does but the pipe I am working on has an acrylic stem as noted in the opening paragraph of this section.

I wrote to Mark for some clarity about the pipe I had in my hand. Here is his response

Hey Steve,

Merry Christmas to you, too, good sir! The SHANNON AIRPORT stamp refers to an agreement K&P had for duty-free export pipes at the airport, which had to have that stamp to qualify for whatever tax-free status they had. SHANNON, on the other hand, was a distinct line of Classic Range pipes. The SHANNON AIRPORT pipes could be any K&P pipe–System, Classic Range, whatever. The SHANNON was strictly a Classic Range, following the guidelines on p. 312.

Hope that helps, and joy to you in this Christmas Season–

Mark

In a follow up email to Mark with photos he responded as follows:

This shape was introduced in 1984, by the way. The beauty of the grain would indicate an earlier release, as K&P always culled their best bowls right out of the box, saving lesser grain for later on. I know it has at least one fill, or it would have been a De Luxe.

I knew that I was dealing with a Shannon that was part of the Classic Line made between 1984 and 1987. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet reamer and cut back the cake back to the bare briar. He cleaned up the walls with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime from the finish. He worked on the rim top lava and darkening with the soap and tooth brush. He scrubbed the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior with Soft Scrub and washed it off with warm water to remove the debris and soap. The pipe looked very good when it arrived. I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show how well it had cleaned up. The rim top looks very good in the photo with only one small sandpit on the right side of the top mid rim. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the light tooth marks on the surface near the button.   I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. You can see that it is stamped as noted above.     I took the pipe apart and took a photo of the pipe. It is a good looking pipe and has a great grain pattern on the bowl. I polished the bowl and the rim top with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped down the briar between each pad to remove the sanding debris.  I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process.   I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I am excited to finish this Peterson’s of Dublin Shannon 05 Calabash. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished smooth rim top and the sandblast bowl looks like with the black acrylic taper stem. This Classic looking Peterson’s of Dublin Shannon Calabash feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 44grams/1.52oz. It is a beautiful pipe and one that has already been claimed by a good friend. I will be shipping it to him on Tuesday. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.

Wow what a mess this Brebbia 931 Rhodesian was – but what a beauty was born out of it


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe came to us off EBay in 2017 from Poughkeepsie, New York, USA so it has been sitting here for a while. Even though the finish was dirty and worn it had some charm showing through the grit and grime of the years. On the left side of the shank it was stamped brebbia and on the right side it was stamped Rhodesian [over] Italy. On the underside of the shank was the shape number 931. The saddle stem also had the Brebbia gold diamond logo on the top of the saddle. The pipe is a long shank, tall Rhodesian. The fancy saddle stem would fit the shape well and matched the broadening of the flair on the shank end! The finish is filthy with grime and oil ground into the briar of the bowl and shank sides. The bowl had an incredibly thick cake. It was hard to know what the inner edge looked like under all of the thick buildup. The cap on the rim with the single line going around the circumference of the bowl was an interesting touch. It was a very thin Rhodesian cap on a broadly flared bowl. The stem was an acrylic saddle stem that was filthy and calcified with 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 a photo of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the lava and dust ground into the rim top. It is one thick cake that has a lot of tobacco debris missed in with it. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the chatter and tooth marks. The stem really was a mess.   Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar around the pipe looked like. He took a photo of the stamping on the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable. I turned to Pipephil’s site (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-brebbia.html) to the section on Brebbia. The first screen capture below gives a brief history of the brand and some photos of the principals of the company. It is fascinating to me that it was founded by Enea Buzzi and Achille Savinelli in 1947. They split and Buzzi kept the factory and created the MPB Brand – Maniffatura Pipe Brebbia. In 1968 it was shortened to Brebbia. There was nothing on the specific pipe but it is a fascinating read.I turned to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Brebbia) and found a bit more information on the brand. There was still no details on the  Rhodesian line. It is well worth a read. Now it was time to work on the 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 worked over the debris on the rim top 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 soaked the stem in Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. He scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub and cotton pads to remove remaining oxidation on the ferrule and 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 and the inner edge of the rim looked very good. I was surprise that there was no damage to the briar. The stem had some small scratches but otherwise looked very good.  I took a photo of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It was clear and read as noted above. I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. The pipe has an acrylic saddle stem. At this point I also noted that the stem had an adapter in the tenon that was removable. The pipe could thus be smoked either as a filter pipe or as a regular pipe.I polished the briar with the full array of micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust. 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. I used a horsehair shoe brush to work it into ring around the rim cap. 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 polished the scratches out of 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.  The Delrin tenon was a bit odd in that it seemed to be peeling a bit. To remove all of the peeling parts would loosen the tenon. This Italian take on a Rhodesian by Brebbia is a real beauty. It is combined with a flared acrylic saddle stem that makes it a great looking pipe. It is a far cry from the pipe that we started with now that it has been restored. I put the stem back on the bowl and 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 Brebbia Rhodesian 931 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 ½ inches, Height: 2 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 53grams/1.87oz. I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store shortly in the Italian Pipe Makers Section. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

 

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!

Refreshing a Zenith Double Walled Ceramic Calabash


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from a group of pipes that we purchased from an antique store in in Montana, USA on one of Jeff’s pipe hunts. It is a double walled ceramic pipe with an acrylic stem. The pipe is stamped on the brass band on the shank and reads ZENITH [over] HOLLAND. Like a meerschaum it has begun to develop a nice patina around the sides of the bowl mid bowl. The finish was dirty and there was gum from price tags on the surface of the stem. The bowl was moderately caked and there was some darkening on the inner edge of the rim. The edges looked to be in excellent condition. The stem was in good condition other than the labels that had been stuck on it and some tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the button. The pipe showed promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took photos of the pipe 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 condition of the rim top and domed edges. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the light chatter and tooth marks. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the porcelain bowl looked like.    He took photos of the stamping on the band. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable. I turned to Pipedia to look up the brand and find out the background on the Zenith brand as I like that background on the pipes I work on (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Zenith). For me the background adds colour to the restoration work. I quote in full the article below.

From Pipes, Artisans and Trademarks, by José Manuel Lopes

Zenith is a porcelain pipe brand whose origins go back to 1749 when half the population of Gouda, around 10 thousand people, were employed in pipe manufacturer.

The brand itself was created at the end of World War I and belongs to Royal Delft. The factory has always been in the same family, and Aart van der Want (eighth generation) has been its head since 1984.

(The following is courtesy, Amsterdam Pipe Shop)

History

The history of the Zenith factory starts in 1749 when Pieter van der Want becomes master pipe maker of the Gouda pipemakers’ guild. He is the first of eight generations of pipe makers in succession from father to son. From the 1950’s the Zenith company is the oldest pipe factory in the world, the firm Chacom in Saint-Claude, founded 1780, is the second oldest.

After having produced clay tobacco pipes for a period of over 150 years, the Gouda factory modernizes its techniques. Pipes were no longer pressed from stiff pipe clay in metal moulds but are shaped in plaster moulds with liquid clay, the so-called slib cast technique. The backed products are covered with a transparent glaze that gives them a smooth, shiny and delicate look. The glaze also makes them less breakable.

Due to the porosity of the ceramic, the slib casted pipes absorb all the moist which attributes Zenith pipes the quality of a cool and dry smoke. In the 1920’s the product is perfected when the so-called “hollow bowl system” is introduced. Between the outside glazed pipe and the inner bowl an open space is created in which the smoke can circulate, where it cools down and the humidity of the smoke is absorbed by the pottery sherd. This invention makes the Zenith pipe to the ultimo dry smoker. Above that, ceramic is the best material to keep the aroma alive, without adding a taste of the pipe itself.

Characteristics

Zenith pipes are produced in a variety of designs and finishes. The ordinary pipe is single walled being mounted with a metal ferrule and a black vulcanite mouthpiece. From the moment of its introduction, circa 1900, millions were sold. After a period of smoking a picture appears on the pipe, that becomes visible when the pipe itself turns brown by the tobacco moist. These so-called mystery pipes were highly fashionable in the 1920’s but are still available with more recent images.

The best known series are the “Old Mokum” pipes. The shapes were designed from the 1970’s onwards by designers like Niels Keus and Dirk van der Want. Credit is that the designs are fully new and different to the common briar pipe. Pipes of the Old Mokum series are mounted with a black rubber plug that holds the vulcanite mouthpiece. The shape named Amsterdam is the larges and gives the best cooling. The smaller version is called Manhattan, having an almost time less look, modern for eternity. Especially younger smokers favour this shape. More traditional are the calabash and a heeled shape known as London.

More luxurious are the shapes from the series “Black Magic”, named after foreign towns like Karachi and Bombay. They are characterized by an own design line having a bulbous bowl and a sportive stem shape. Standard production colour is black, but white and blue varieties are available as well. Next to the round version the series are produced in an octagonal version named facet. Their shape is more subtle, the price however is a bit higher.

The “Gouda classic” is the line more like the traditional briar pipes or the meerschaum pipes. Straight and bent versions are in production with the standard billiard bowl, the Dublin and a bent London. These pipes are mounted with a gilt metal band that underlines their exclusive finish.

The Amsterdam Pipe Shop selection

Amsterdam Pipe Shop is the only shop in Holland that supplies the complete assortment of Zenith. Prices go from 30 to 95 Euro for the standard shapes. Compared to briar pipes these prices are very reasonable while the Zenith pipe offers a unique smoke experience because in no other pipe the taste of the tobacco is so pure as in ceramic. The cooling system is a guarantee for a dry, cool and tasteful smoke. Starting to smoke a Zenith pipe is simple as can be, since the long and annoying period of breaking in a new pipe can be skipped.

Next to the standard white versions Amsterdam Pipe Shop also carries the coloured Zenith pipes. Among them the shapes like Bombay, Karachi, also the Duke, a comfortable bent reading pipe. Above that, also a series of Delft blue versions are available, especially popular among American smokers.

From the article I followed a lead to the Amsterdam Pipe Shop and picked up the following page that gives a great summary of the history that is edited for the Pipedia article. I have included a screen capture of the entire page below as well as the link (http://www.pijpenkabinet.nl/Smokiana/04-E%20Zenith.html).Now it was time to work on the pipe. Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He scraped the bowl of  the pipe with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to remove the cake that was there.  He scrubbed both the interior and the exterior of the pipe and bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and 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 all purpose cleaner to remove the sticky glue on the topside and the grime on the surface. He 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 looked very good. The glaze on the bowl shown beautifully the inner edges and bowl were very clean. The patina on the bowl looked very good. The stem surface looked very good with some light tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. The stem is an acrylic taper stem. There is a cork gasket in the shank that holds the metal tenon firmly in place against the shank end. This photo shows some of the waves of patina that are developing along the walls of the shank and bowl. It really is a pretty pipe. The bowl was in excellent condition and the glaze on the ceramic sealed it well. I did not need to polish or wax the bowl at all. It really is an effortless cleanup for me in terms of the bowl after Jeff’s cleanup. I polished the acrylic stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads to remove the light tooth chatter and marks near the button. 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 Holland Zenith Double Walled Ceramic Calabash with an amber coloured acrylic taper stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The stamped Zenith Holland stamp on the left side of brass ferrule is clear and readable. The patina that is developing around the bowl that shines through the ceramic glaze is stunning. I buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad which real brings the shine out with the wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Zenith Double Walled Ceramic 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 ¼ inches, Height: 3 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: 1 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 73gr/2.57oz. I will be adding it to the French Pipe Makers section of the rebornpipes store shortly. 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 Birth for a Paul Fischer Meerschaum Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from a group of pipes that we purchased from a fellow in Los Angeles, California, USA. Between us we pick up quite a few pipes for restoration. I try to work them into the restoration queue so that I can keep them moving. This next one is a cased Meerschaum. The case is stamped on the inside and reads Paul Fischer Genuine Block Meerschaum. The stamping on the satin lining was readable and clear. The exterior of the cardboard case was covered in a marbled brown vinyl and in worn condition with just a few nicks around the edges. The meerschaum was dirty but underneath the grime was a nicely developing patina on the smooth bowl. The bowl was caked and filled with tobacco as if it was laid down mid smoke. There was a light overflowing lava coat on the back side of the rimtop. The edges looked to be in good condition. The amber coloured acrylic stem was dirty and had light tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the button. There were also scratches in the surface of the stem. It did not have any identifying stamps. The alignment and fit to the shank is very good. It had promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started the cleanup work. He took a photo of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the condition of the bowl and rim top. You can see the half smoked bowl of tobacco that is left in chamber. You can also see the lava on the rim top. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the nicks, scratching, chatter and tooth marks.  Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the meerschaum looked like around the pipe. The finish is showing some patina developing around the bowl. He unscrewed the stem from the shank to show the inset threaded metal tenon in the shank end.I turned to Pipedia and looked up the information on the site (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Fisher). I quote from there.

From Pipes, Artisans and Trademarks, by José Manuel Lopes’ – Paul Fischer was a well-known Austrian meerschaum pipe artisan who settled in downtown Manhattan, New York, and took American citizenship. Symbol: F. See Ed Burak who worked with Paul for 6 years in the 1960s.

On Smokingpipes.com there was a Paul Fischer meerschaum for sale and Bear Graves did the write up (https://www.smokingpipes.com/pipes/estate/italy/moreinfo.cfm?product_id=52153). I have included it below for the information it gives.

I know that it’s not all that often that we see a carved meerschaum in the American estate section, but there was a time when Turkey had little issue with exporting the material, nor carvers from other countries working with the same. Paul Fischer made meerschaums for Kaywoodie and (if memory serves) Ed Burak did some work for Mr. Fisher, early in his career.

Paresh Deshpande did some work on a Kaywoodie Meerschaum and included some helpful information on dating this pipe (https://rebornpipes.com/tag/kaywoodie-meerschaum-pipes/). I include the pertinent section below.

Kaywoodie Block Meerschaums were made from 1938 to the mid 1960’s. The meerschaum pipe business by Kaywoodie was revitalized when Paul Fischer was hired and emigrated from Austria to run the meerschaum pipe department. Kaywoodie meerschaums were available in earlier years but not as prominently as when Paul Fischer came on board. He left in 1960 to make meerschaums under his own name. We continued to make them for several years after he left until we could no longer import meerschaum from Turkey”. (http://www.brothersofbriar.com/t21079-kaywoodie-block-meerschaum)

Given that information I knew that the pipe was made by Paul Fischer and Austrian immigrant to the US. When he first came he worked for Kaywoodie and then in 1960 left to make pipes under his own name. So I know that the pipe I am working on is at least made after 1960.

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He carefully cleaned out the unsmoked and smoked tobacco and 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 the Murphy’s Oil Soap and rinsed it under running water. I took photos of the pipe once I received it. It looked pretty good.  The bowl and rim top cleaned up really well with the lava coat removed from the back rim top. The edges looked very good and there was slight darkening on the back top side. The stem surface had some light tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.      I took the stem off the pipe and took a photo of the pipe as a whole. You can get a clear picture of the pipe from the photo below.  I polished the bowl and shank with 1500-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads and wiping it down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust and debris.   Even though this was a meerschaum pipe I have learned that Before & After Restoration Balm works really well on it as well. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the meerschaum. I let the balm sit for 10 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.     It was time to wax the meerschaum now. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with a coat of Clapham’s Beeswax Polish. I heated the meerschaum and worked it into the surface of the bowl, shank and rim. I let the wax sit for a little while and then buffed with a clean buffing wheel to raise the shine and bring a shine to meerschaum. It is a nice looking pipe.  I polished the amber 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 smooth Block Meerschaum Bent Billiard, carved by Paul Fischer with an amber coloured acrylic taper stem is a great looking pipe. I gave 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 Paul Fischer Meerschaum Bent Billiard 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 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 48gr/1.66oz. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store shortly in the Meerschaum Pipes – CALABASHES, SMOOTH & FIGURALS. 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 Canadian Made Paradis Porte St. Louis Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table was purchased from an online auction from Romney, West Virginia, USA. It was an interesting looking golden brown bent billiard with a variegated orange/brown acrylic stem. The smooth finish on the bowl was very dirty and worn. The pipe was filthy and there was significant rim top and edge damage. The bowl had a thick cake that overflowed as lava on the rim top. It is hard to know what the inner edge of the rim looked like under the lava coat. The outer edge of the rim had some chips around the edges. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Paradis [over] Porte St. Louis on the left side of the shank. On the right side it is stamped with the number 76 which is either the shape number of the year the pipe was made. The name Porte St. Louis refers to a historic gate in Old Quebec that is part of the city’s extensive fortification system.  The stem was dirty and there were light tooth marks and chatter on the stem near the button on both sides. There was Paradis cursive P logo on the left side of the acrylic taper stem. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he worked on it.Jeff took close up photos of the bowl and rim to capture the condition of the pipe before he started the cleanup work. The bowl had a thick cake and a thick overflow of lava on the rim top. It was hard to know what the inner edge looked like but the outer edge was a mess. Looking at the outside of the bowl from the top down it is not round and is thinner toward the back. The inside of the bowl is still quite round. The stem is lightly oxidized, calcified and dirty and there is tooth chatter and marks on both sides of the stem ahead of the button.   Jeff took a photo of the side and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar looked like. There is some nice grain on the piece of briar. The stamping on the sides of the shank read as noted above. The photos show that they are very readable. The P logo on the left side of the stem is in good condition.    I turned first to Pipephil’s site for a quick summary (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-p1.html). I have included a screen capture of the information on the site.The Paradis brand was made by the Paradis brothers in Quebec but did not remember much more than that so I turned to Pipedia for more information (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Paradis_Pipes) and learned the following:

Paradis Pipes is the Canadian brand of the brothers Gilles and Fernand Paradis. In 1922 the Paradis family moved to the USA, when Lucien Paradis (1906-1979) was 16 years old. It was at this age that he started as an apprentice at his uncle’s pipe factory, Joseph B. Desjardins, maker of (JD) pipes, in Fall River, MA. Joseph Desjardins was issued two patents during this period, one for a new machine for making pipe stems and another for a new design of pipe reamer. The company employed 60 workers at one stage.

In 1930, due to the Great Depressions, Lucien lost his job and returned to Quebec to work in the agricultural machine industry. In his spare time, he made pipes, selling them door to door. Three years later the rest of the family joined him and Lucien founded a pipe factory with two of his brothers. The company eventually employed 18 workers and in the 60s produced over 50 thousand pipes a year, under brands like JBL, Dr. Thomas, Fernand Gignac, S.C. Pipes, New London Golfer, and Jo Thomassin.

Paradis was founded in 1978, at the Salon of Quebec Artisans’ and is available in tobacconists all over the country today. The brand produces 8000 pipes a year (400 “handmade”), with Greek briar (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Paradis_Pipes).

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet pipe reamer and removed the rest of it 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 acrylic stem Soft Scrub cleanser and rinsed it off with warm water. When the pipe arrived and I unpacked it the stem was broken off at the end. There was about a ¼ inch of the stem and the entire button was in the bottom of the bag that the pipe was packed in. I took photos of the pipe once I received it.  The rim top cleaned up really well. The rim top and outer edge of the bowl show damage from being knocked against a hard surface. There is some darkening on the beveled inner edge of the bowl and bowl is slightly out of round.  The stem surface looked very good with tooth marks and chatter on the top side and the underside near the button.The stamping on the sides of the shank is clear and readable. It reads as noted above.   I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole.  I started my work on the pipe by cleaning up the inner edge of the bowl and the rim top with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. Once I had it cleaned up the rim top damage was minimized. I sanded the outer edge of the bowl with the sandpaper to smooth out the damage.  I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping the briar down with a damp cloth after each pad. The briar began to take on a rich glow.  I rubbed the briar down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the briar with my fingertips into the briar. The product works to clean, enliven and preserve the briar. I let it sit for 10-15 minutes while I worked on the stem. After the time passed I buffed it with a cotton cloth to deepen the shine.    I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth marks with 220 grit sandpaper and 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.    This Paradis Porte St Louis Bent Billiard is a great looking pipe. The smooth finish and brown stain around the bowl sides and shank make the grain just pop. The finish on the pipe looks great and the brown stains work well to give some contrast to the polished variegated orange/brown acrylic taper stem. The pipe is really quite eye-catching. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel, carefully avoiding the stamping on the shank. 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. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Paradis Bent Billiard is quite nice and feels great in the hand. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. I can only tell you that like the other pipes I am working 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. The weight of the pipe was 38g/1.34oz. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another interesting pipe. This Canadian Made Bent Billiard will be added to the Canadian Pipe Makers section of the rebornpipes store soon. If you want to add it to your collection send me an email or a message! Thanks for your time.

Restoring and Restemming a MALAGA Canadian


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table is a “Malaga” pipe that Jeff picked up from an online auction from Alden, Michigan, USA. It is a nice looking Canadian with an oil cured finish and some great looking grain around the bowl and shank. The pipe is stamped on top of the shank and reads MALAGA. The carver did a great job of carving the pipe to capture the grain around the bowl and shank. The bowl had a heavy cake with an overflow of lava on the rim top with heavier overflow on the back side of the rim top. The sides of the bowl and shank are very dirty with grime and oils ground into the finish from prolonged use. The vulcanite stem was heavily oxidized and had tooth dents and chatter on the top and the underside of the stem. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started the cleanup work. Jeff showed me the pipe on Facetime and it was quite a beauty. With some work it will be a real beauty. I looked forward to seeing it in person.    Jeff took a close up photo of the bowl and rim to capture the condition of the pipe before he started the cleanup work. The bowl has a thick cake and the uneven overflow of lava on the rim top is quite thick toward the front. The inside edge of the rim could be damaged but it quite hidden under the lava coat. The stem is deeply oxidized, calcified and dirty and there is tooth chatter and marks on both sides of the stem ahead of the button.  He took a photo of the stamping on the topside of the shank. It read as noted above.Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar looked like. There is some nice grain around the sides. You can also see the damage to the rim edges and the heel of the bowl in the photos below. I am including the link to a blog that I wrote that gives some of the history of the Malaga brand and the Malaga Pipe Shop in Royal Oak, Michigan in the USA. I have written an earlier blog to give a little history of the Malaga Brand and the pipemaker, George Khoubesser. Here is the link – https://rebornpipes.com/tag/malaga-pipes/.That blog also includes links to a catalogue and the history of the pipemaker George Khoubesser. Follow the link to get a feel for the brand and the pipemaker.

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet pipe reamer and removed the rest of it 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. When the pipe arrived and I unpacked it the stem was broken off at the end. There was about a ¼ inch of the stem and the entire button was in the bottom of the bag that the pipe was packed in. I took photos of the pipe once I received it.  The rim top cleaned up really well. The rim top and outer edge of the bowl show some darkening over most of the surface. There is damage to the inner edge of the bowl and bowl is out of round.  The stem surface looked very good with tooth marks and chatter on the top side and the underside near the button.   The stamping on the topside of the shank is clear and readable. It reads as noted above.  I removed the taper stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole.  Now it was time to work on the pipe. I decided to work on it by fitting a new stem on the shank. I went through my can of stems and found an acrylic slight saddle stem that was the perfect length and the tenon fit well. The width of the stem was slightly bigger than the shank. The fit on the upper and lower side was perfect.I sanded the tenon slightly so that fit would be snug in the shank. Once I had removed a little bit of the diameter with 220 grit sandpaper I put it on the shank and took a photo. I started sanding it with 220 grit sandpaper to start reshaping the stem to fit the shank. I took photos of fit of the stem  at this point.I heated the stem with a heat gun to remove the bend in the stem. I heated it until it had softened and then carefully straightened it out.    I continued to sand the excess diameter of the stem to fit it to the shank. I took photos of the stem once I had finished with the Dremel and sanding drum. It is very close to fitting and sanding it with 220 grit sandpaper will clean up the fit. I sanded it with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to fit it to the shank.  I sanded the briar and the stem to get a smooth transition between the stem and the shank. I took some closeup photos of the fit of the stem to the shank after I sanded it with some more 220 grit sandpaper and started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.   I removed stem from the shank and turned my attention to the inner edge of the bowl. I worked on cleaning up the darkening and the damage on the edge and the rim top with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper.  There were two large nicks/chips in the right side of the bowl toward the lower backside of the bowl. I filled them in with clear super glue. Once the glue cured I sanded it smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and blended it into the surrounding briar. I used an Oak Stain Pen to touch up the sanded area of the bowl repair and the work fitting the stem to the shank.    I polished the briar 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 a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The grain came alive and the finish looked rich.   I polished the acrylic stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad (Obsidian Oil does not usually work with acrylic but I used it anyway as it gives traction to sanding with the next pad). I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.   This restemmed Malaga Canadian with a acrylic saddle stem turned out to be a real beauty. The carver really maximized the grain with the shape of the pipe. I polished stem and the bowl with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel and the finish just popped and came alive. I gave the bowl 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 pipe took on life with the buffing. The rich oil cured colour works well with the polished acrylic stem. The finished pipe has a rich look that is quite catching. Have a look at it with the photos below. The shape, finish and flow of the pipe and stem are very well done. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe was 47g/1.66oz. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store shortly. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Restoring a Mauro Series II Bent 517 System Style Pipe


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from a pipe hunt that Jeff and his wife recently did in Utah, USA. The pipe is an interesting pipe that looks like an Italian take on a Peterson’s System pipe. The pipe is well shaped and has nice grain around the bowl. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Mauro [over] Series II. On the right side it reads Italy along the ferrule edge and the shape number 517. There was a lot of grime ground into the smooth and finish on the briar. The bowl was heavily caked with a light overflow of lava on the top and inner edge of the rim. The inside edges looks like it may have burn damage on the front right. The variegated brown/gold/yellow acrylic stem had tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the button and on the button edge. There was a circle on the topside of the saddle stem that had a brass outer ring and an inner white acrylic insert. The stem did not seat all the way in the shank and would need to be addressed. It had promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took some photos of the pipe 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 tobacco debris as well as the lava on the inner edge of the rim. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the chatter and tooth marks.   Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar looked like. It truly has some nice grain – birdseye and cross grain around the bowl and shank. The nickel ferrule is oxidized and dull.   The stamping on the shank sides is clear and readable and read as noted above. I turned to Pipephil (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-m4.html) to get a quick view of the brand once again. The site definitively links the brand to Mauro Armellini. The screen capture I included below shows a brief history of the brand. There was a link on the section to a page comparing the Peterson P-lip with its Armellini variant (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/infos/p-lip-en.html). I included the section on the pipe stem below as a screen capture. It is fascinating to compare the stem to the many Peterson’s System pipes that I have worked on.I turned to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Armellini) for a quick read. The site referred me automatically from the Italian Makers list to Mauro Armellini. The write up is very well done and gives a great amount of history. It is worth a read.

What I learned from the research is that the Mauro pipe was Mauro Armellini’s second line and in many ways was his take on a Peterson’s System pipe.

Armed with that information I turned to work on the pipe itself.  Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet pipe reamer and removed the rest of it 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 cleanser and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe before I started my part of the restoration work. The rim top cleaned up really well. The rim top and inner edge of the bowl show some damage. The stem surface looked very good with a few tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.     The stamping on the shank sides is clear and readable. It is stamped as noted above.  I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. The saddle stem is nice and the photo gives a sense of what the pipe looks like. The fit of the stem in the shank was impeded by the thickness of the tenon on the stem. I used a piece of folded 220 grit sandpaper to reduce the diameter of the tenon. I polished the tenon with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I put the stem in the shank and took photos of the fit in the shank. Now that the stem fit I turned my attention to the damage on the inner edge of the rim. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to give the inner edge a slight bevel to minimize the burn damage.  I polished the briar and the nickel ferrule with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl 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 about 10-15 minutes and buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The grain came alive and the fills while visible look better than when I began.   I set the bowl aside and turned to work on the stem. I sanded out the tooth chatter and marks on both sides with 220 grit sandpaper. I started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.   I polished the acrylic 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.    This Mauro Series II 517 Bent System Style Billiard is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The shape is a lot like a Peterson’s System pipe with the nickel ferrule and the P-lip style acrylic stem. 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 Mauro Series II pipe 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 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store shortly. 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 a Large Preben Holm Regal 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.   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 turned Pipephil’s section on Preben Holm pipes and found the brand listed there with and an example of the stamping on the underside of the shank and the stem. The stamping matches the one that I am working on (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-p5.html). It is like the stamping and logo that is shown in the second pipe below.I turned to the article on Preben Holm pipes on Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Holm,_Preben). The article is worth a read in the detailed history of the brand written by Preben Holm himself. Give it a read. I quote the introductory portion of the article that summarizes the Danish period of the history of the brand:

Preben Holm (1947 – 1989) has set some marks in pipe history. Just before his 16th birthday in 1963 he sold pipes to the legendary Pipe-Dan shop and at the age of only 22 he headed 45 employees. He was among the first Danish artisans who made “Danish pipe design” famous in the USA in the 1960’s. More than that he was one of the very first carvers who exceeded this moderate Danish design which based on the classical shapes. “Chasing the grain” they turned out wild and dramatic fancy pipes. Combining smooth with blasted surfaces, showing big areas of the original bark at the top of the bowl and at the end of the stem, these pipes were quite shocking to many elder and more conservative pipesmokers.

With that information my initial thoughts were confirmed. This pipe was a Preben Holm made Freehand distributed in the US by Lane Ltd. 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 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 and shank end 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 filled in the deep tooth marks on both sides of the stem with clear super glue. Once the repairs cured I sanded the repairs to blend them into 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 Preben Holm Regal Hand Made 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 Preben Holm Regal 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 ¾ 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!