Tag Archives: polishing an acrylic stem

Cleaning up a Savinelli Oceano 320KS Author that I Received on a Trade


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I am working on is a beautiful looking Savinelli Oceano 320KS with a swirled blue and white stem and a tightly rusticated bowl. It is stained with an oxblood stain that gives it a red tint in the light. There appears to also be a black stain as an undercoat. The pipe is originally made for the Savinelli Balsa Filter System. The fellow I traded it with said the stem was just too thick for his liking and he was looking to trade it for something he would use. I have included the photos that he sent of the pipe as we talked.The pipe was in great condition. It had a light cake in the bowl which concurred with the fact that he stated he did not smoke it much. The stem was in great condition with some light tooth chatter but nothing serious on either side. He also said that he had the pipe sock it came with and the box as well. He also said he would throw in the balsa filters with the pipe. Over the course of quite a few emails we struck a deal and the pipe came to me. The stamping on the heel was clear and readable as he had mentioned – Savinelli Oceano 320KS.When the pipe arrived in Vancouver I unpacked it and this is what I saw. It came in the original Savinelli Pipe box and included the blue sock, a small booklet in multiple languages on pipe smoking and care and a bag of Balsa Filters. In our discussions I had come to believe the pipe was a filter pipe and unpacking seemed to confirm that for me. Little did I know that once I removed the stem I would see the adapter insert that converted it to a non-filter pipe. The added removable adapter allows the pipe to be smoked with or without a filter.I took photos of the pipe before I started my clean up work on it. You can see the light cake in the bowl and the ash on the walls. The pipe had a strong aromatic aroma to it that I would need to remove before reselling it to the next pipe smoker. The finish was in great condition and the stem was free of tooth marks and only had some light chatter on the surface near the button on both sides. It is stamped on the heel of the bowl and reads Savinelli [over] Oceano followed by the Savinelli S Shield logo and the shape number 320 and a faint KS [over] Italy. I took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the condition. You can see the thickness of the cake in the bowl and general cleanness of the rim top. The stem looks very good other than faint tooth chatter that is hard to capture in the photos.I took a photo of the stamping on the shank and it read as noted above. There is also a Savinelli S Shield logo on the top of the stem.I removed the stem to show the parts of the pipe. In the first photo you can see the adapter in place in the tenon converting it to a standard pipe. The second photo shows the adapter removed and the filter version of the same pipe. It is made for the 6mm filters – Balsa or otherwise.Now it was time to clean up the pipe and try to exorcise the strong and prevalent ghost that was “haunting” the bowl. STEP 1: I reamed the bowl back to briar with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife and then sanded the walls smooth with a piece of dowel wrapped with 220 grit sandpaper.STEP 2: I scoured the inside of the mortise and the airway in the shank and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and 99% isopropyl alcohol. I was a little surprised to not only see the tars and oils coming out of the shank but also some oxblood stain that was present under the “gunk”. The stem cleaned up nicely as well. I removed the adapter and cleaned both it and the airway in the tenon. I took photos of the adapter in place and removed from the cleaned stem. It is a great looking stem.
STEP 3: I stuffed the bowl with cotton bolls and twisted one into a wick and turned it into the shank and filled the bowl with 99% isopropyl alcohol being careful to not splash any on the finish of the bowl and damage it. I set the bowl upright in an old ice cube tray that I use for this purpose and left it over night.In the morning I took a photo of the filthy cotton bolls and wick that had drawn the oils and tars from the bowl and the shank of the pipe. I twisted the wick out of the shank and used a dental pick to remove the cotton bolls from the bowl. I cleaned out the shank with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs to make sure it was clean. Once it had dried the bowl smelled much better though there was still a slight remnant of the ghost. With the bowl clean and smelling sweeter, I decided to rub the bowl down with some Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the rustication with my finger tips and a horse hair shoe brush. The product is spectacular and works to clean, enliven and protect the finish on briar. I let it sit for 10 minutes then buffed it off with a soft cotton cloth. I really like the way a pipe looks after this process and this one is no exception. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I polished out the tooth chatter with micromesh sanding pads. I dry sanded with 1500-12000 and wiped the acrylic down with some Obsidian Oil on a cloth. I know that it does nothing for acrylic but I find that it really picks up the debris left behind by the sanding pads. I finished polishing it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polishes – both Fine and Extra Fine and wiped it down a final time with Obsidian Oil. With the bowl and stem finished I put the Savinelli Oceano 320KS back together and buffed it on the buffer. I gently buffed the briar with Blue Diamond so as not to clog the valleys and crevices of the finish and buffed the stem with a bit heavier touch to raise a shine. The classic Author shape really looks good with the dark reddish brown stain and the swirled blue acrylic stem. It is a beautiful pipe. The dimensions of the pipe are – Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 1 inch. The weight of the pipe is 2.47 ounces/70 grams. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your rack let me know via email or messenger. It will be added to the rebornpipes store shortly in the Italian Pipe Makers section. Thanks for walking through the clean up of this beauty.

Refurbishing Karthik’s Second Selection – A Stacked Lattice Design Meerschaum


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

The second pipe that was selected by Karthik was this Meerschaum pipe that came to me in a lot of 40 pipes that Abha and I had purchased on Etsy in October 2019. The pipes in this lot that came to us were in a very sorry state of condition. All or rather 90% of the pipes had seen very heavy use and almost negligible care. Barring a few, none of the pipes attracted any attention at first glance. However, beneath all the grime and sorry condition that the pipes were in, as my friend Dal Stanton aka The Pipe Steward always says, each had great potential. There was something about this meerschaum pipe that called out to Karthik and it is now on my work table.

In November of 2020, I had restored the third pipe from this lot, a Meerschaum lined Orlik pipe that posed intimidating challenges during the restoration process. However, Dal and Steve helped me save this beautiful pipe. Given below is the link to the write up for those desirous to know; A Second Inning For A Meerschaum Lined Orlik Bent Brandy | rebornpipes

This then, is the fourth pipe from the lot of 40 and is indicated with a yellow arrow while the Meer lined Orlik is indicated in green.There is no stamping anywhere on either the shank or the stem to help with establishing the provenance of this pipe.

Before proceeding with the restoration of the pipes that were selected by Karthik, I had requested him to introduce himself to all the readers of Reborn pipes as a fellow piper and as one interested in pipe restoration. I am sanguine that we shall soon get to know and see his work. I have reproduced his mail here that I had received.

Hi Paresh sir,

Here’s my intro, hope it’s not too long:

Hello world! I’m Karthik, an engineer in India. I picked up pipe smoking last year as a way of staying off cigarettes, but have since fallen in love with the hobby itself. Living in India, I don’t have easy and immediate access to great pipes. So the idea of buying antiques and restoring them piqued my interest and I stumbled upon Reborn Pipes. As I read through post after post, I happened upon one of Paresh’s posts and both his name and his mention of Pune made me fall over myself in my rush to get in touch with him. I immediately emailed Steve, who graciously put me in touch with Paresh. Since then Paresh has been a great guide in my pipe smoking journey. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to start restoring any pipes myself, but I hope to get to that soon. In the meantime, Paresh generously showed me some of his collection and kept me in mind when he found something of interest. I hope to start down the path of restorations in the near future myself, with his guidance. 

 Regards,

Karthik

Definitely Karthik, together we shall learn and progress further.

With the introductions made, I move on to carry out initial inspection of the pipe.

Initial Visual Inspection
As with the other pipes from this lot, this one is also in a beat up condition. There is a thick layer of cake in the chamber with lava overflowing over the rim top surface. The rim top surface itself is badly damaged and is peppered with chips and dings/ dents. The stummel is covered in the grime of overflowing lava, dirt and dust. The perforations of the lattice design are filled with gunk from the lava overflow. A crack on the top surface at the shank end is easily discernible even to the naked eye. The stem airway appears black due to oils and tars but is devoid of any bite marks in the bite zone. Here are a few “Before” pictures of the pipe as it sits on the work table. Detailed Inspection
For me the detailed inspection is a deliberate act of great importance as it helps me understand the issues that needs to be addressed and formulate the sequence of steps in restoration.

The chamber is heavily caked with copious amounts of lava overflowing the rim top and over the stummel surface. The chamber even has remnants of unburned tobacco. The rim top is of a convex shape and is heavily damaged with numerous dents and chips, probably caused due to knocking against a hard surface, the most severe being in the 12 o’clock direction (encircled in red). This damage has resulted in the chamber being out of round and the rim top, uneven. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber can be ascertained only after the cake has been removed completely; however, no apparent cracks or damage to the stummel surface is seen from the outside. The stummel surface is covered in lava overflow which in turn has attracted a ton of dirt, dust and grime. The stummel surface feels sticky to the touch and appears blotchy due to the patches of grime and dirt. The perforations of the lattice design are filled with gunk from the lava overflow and are damaged / broken in a couple of places (encircled in green). The shank surface too is covered in dirt and grime and is cracked (indicated with red arrows) over the upper surface to boot! Preliminary check with a pipe cleaner revealed that the mortise is ENTIRELY clogged with accumulated oils, tars and remnants of old tobacco. The only silver lining to this stummel is the gorgeous coloration that it has acquired over the years due to heavy smoking but well hidden beneath all the filth over the surface. The following pictures will provide a better visual perspective when compared to words, as to the condition of the stummel. The sordid tale of heavy use and uncared for condition of the stummel and mortise continues with the tapered acrylic variegated stem. The stem airway seems never to have experienced a pipe cleaner passing through it during its entire period of existence to date! It is blocked (can say that with certainty as a pipe cleaner did not pass through even ¼ of an inch from either stem openings) and appears black through the stem surface. The horizontal slot opening and the tenon opening shows heavy accumulation of old dried tars and gunk. The only saving grace is that the bite zone is devoid of any deep tooth indentations and bite marks over the button. Save for some minor superficial scratches, the bite zone is pristine.Overall, this is easily one of the filthiest pipes to be passing over my work table to date, but having said that, this pipe also has great pedigree and stummel coloration to die for, under all that filth.

The Process
I decided to clean the stem first as I knew that it would take eons and tons of elbow grease to get the stem airway spotlessly clean. The first step towards achieving this goal was to get the screw- in tenon separated from the rest of the stem. I soaked the tenon end in isopropyl alcohol for a few minutes and once the dried oils and gunk had loosened, using nose pliers I unscrewed the threaded tenon from the stem. The now- gooey dirty, filthy mess that stared back from the tenon and stem made my stomach churn… I knew that we were in for some a haul on this stem. Here is what the stem and tenon looked like once they were separated.I launched a determined assault on the stem with a thin shank brush and anti-oil dish washing soap with the aim of cleaning the stem airway. Believe you me, the initial efforts in getting the shank brush out through the other end was beyond difficult. It took me the rest of the evening to get the shank brush moving through the airway with reduced resistance, a total of 6-7 hours. The next morning Abha, my wife, took over the cleaning of the stem from where I had left after she was done with her daily morning chores. Where, for a change, I had missed out on taking pictures for my last evening’s efforts, Abha did take a picture to show the gunk that was being cleaned from the stem airway. To further clean the threads at the tenon end of the stem, she placed a cotton ball soaked in lime juice for about 5 hours.While the tenon end of the stem was soaking in lime juice, I decided to clean up the stummel. I first removed the unburned tobacco and followed it by reaming the chamber with smallest head of the PipNet pipe reamer. I was extremely gentle and careful while using the reamer head since the centrifugal force generated by the rotation of the head inside the chamber may break the meerschaum, if the pressure applied is in excess or uneven. I followed it by scraping the walls of the chamber and the heel with my sharp fabricated knife to remove the residual cake. To smooth out the walls and completely rid the chamber of old cake, I sanded the chamber walls with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. It was heartening to note that the chamber walls were in pristine condition. I ran a sharp knife over the rim top surface with just about enough force to remove the lava overflow. It seems that I would have to top the rim surface to make it smooth and even, sacrificing the stummel profile to an extent. By the time I was through with the cleaning of the chamber, the stem had been soaking in the lime juice for about 6 hours since early afternoon and it was my turn to work on cleaning the stem. So I was back at the sink with a shank brush and anti oil dish washing soap as weapons of choice against the stubborn adversary in the form of a filthy stem. A few hours later, as if by magic, the foam turned white and I declared myself a winner! I ran a few pipe cleaners, both hard bristled and regular, to further clean and dry the airway and also clean the threaded end of the stem.I handed over the stem to Abha to clean the horizontal slot and for further sanding and polishing of the stem. Very painstakingly, with a dental tool she cleaned out the entire gunk from the slot end of the stem. It’s been two days that we had been battling the filthy stem and still the minor scratches in the bite zone and sanding/ polishing remains to be addressed!! Not to mention the threaded tenon!While Abha was cleaning the slot end of the stem, I next cleaned the tenon that was equally clogged up. The application of shank brush, anti- oil dish soap and tons of elbow grease spread over three hours cleaned out the tenon airway.Once I was through with the internal cleaning of the tenon, I cleaned the dried oils and tars from the exterior surface of the tenon with a Scotch Brite pad and anti- oil dish washing soap. I was very diligent while cleaning the exterior of the tenon and made sure that all the oils and gunk from the threads of the tenon were thoroughly cleaned. This will ensure smooth seating of the tenon threads into the stem and make its removal and subsequent cleaning a breeze. This piece of information and hint on cleaning is for you Karthik!With the tenon all cleaned up, it was time to clean the mortise and shank internals. Given the state that the stem internals and tenon were in, I had no doubts in my mind as to the condition that the shank internals would be like. And I was not disappointed to say the least. Using hard bristled and regular cleaners dipped in alcohol, I opened up the shank airway. Once the gunk had loosened a bit due to the alcohol, I scraped out the entire gunk with my fabricated curved tool. A few pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol passed through the shank again and I was satisfied with the cleaning job. The colored heap of pipe cleaners and the mound of gunk scraped out from the walls of the shank are proof enough of the filth that was in the shank.Now on to cleaning the exterior of the stummel surface! I wiped the exterior of the stummel with Murphy’s Oil soap on a cotton pad. For the most stubborn and deep seated gunk, I used a tooth brush with a dab of the oil soap. I used a soft wired brass wired brush to clean the rim top surface. I wiped the stummel surface with a soft moist cotton cloth to rid the stummel of the residual soap and cleaned out each and every perforation of the lattice design on the surface with my sharp and pointed dental tools. It was time consuming and laborious, but an essential part of cleaning the stummel surface. I was tempted a number of times to take the stummel to the sink and give it a thorough rinse under running water, but the fear of the meerschaum (not sure if it was solid block meerschaum or pressed meer) disintegrating in my hands prevented me from doing so. The stummel color is now amply evident and shows huge promise and potential. Micromesh pad polishing cycle and a dab of beeswax will further enhance the appearance of the stummel. While I was battling with cleaning the shank internals and exterior of the stummel, in her corner Abha was unobtrusively and quietly working on sanding and polishing the stem. She sanded the stem surface with 400, 600, 800 and 1000 grit sand papers to eliminate the scratches from the surface of the stem. Progressive use of finer grit sand papers helps in reducing the scratch marks left behind by the coarser grit sand papers. She finished the polishing cycle by going through the entire set of micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 through to 12000 grit pads. The polished stem looks amazing and should add a dash of sparkle to the entire pipe once the stummel is put through its paces of polishing and waxing. Continuing my battle with the stummel, I topped the rim over a piece of 220 grit sand paper by slowly rotating the rim over the sand paper to address the badly damaged and deformed rim top surface. Though the profile of the stummel was altered to an extent, it was a necessary evil that was inescapable to get the chamber in round and even. Even though the rim top is now clean and even, considerable darkening of the inner rim edge in 6 o’clock direction and to the outer edge in 11 o’clock direction (enclosed in yellow) is prominently visible and would need to be addressed. Also the rim top is thick towards the shank end as compared to the thickness of the rim at the front.To address both the above mentioned issues with the rim top, I created a nice bevel over both the inner and outer rim edges with a piece of 220 grit sand paper pinched between my fingers. I am pretty happy with the appearance of the entire stummel and the rim top in particular at this point.The only other issue that remained to be addressed before progressing to the polishing of the stummel was that of the deep crack at the shank end. I filled the crack with thick CA superglue and pressed the shank ends closer for a tight and seamless fit with my rubberized pliers. I held the shank end together (for a good 30 minutes!!) till the glue had hardened sufficiently and set it aside to cure overnight. The next afternoon, using a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper, I sanded away the excess glue to match the shank surface. The repairs are now solid and will be further strengthened by adding a brass ring over the shank end to prevent it from expanding and cracking open again at a later date.With stummel repairs all completed, I handed over the stummel to Abha for her to work her magic in polishing the stummel. She dry sanded the entire stummel with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads preparing it for the beeswax polish.Before I moved ahead with treating the stummel to a beeswax polish, I attached a tight fitting brass ring over the shank end. This brass ring would provide additional structural rigidity to the shank end and prevent the opening of the seams of the crack on the shank end during its subsequent use.During the course of my journey through the wonderful world of pipe restorations, I have restored a few Meerschaums and each had turned out to be a beautiful pipe. However, none was ever treated to a polish using beeswax, not for any other reason but only because I did not and could not get any beeswax here in India. Recently, while surfing Amazon India, I came across slab of pure organic beeswax and promptly purchased it in sufficient quantity to last me for a very long time. To cut the ramblings short, before proceeding with the polishing of the stummel, I read through a number of blogs on Reborn pipes, The Pipe Steward and also the write ups posted by Charles Lemon of Dads Pipes to understand the nuances of the process of applying beeswax over meerschaum pipes. Once I had chalked out the process I would be following within the constraints faced, I proceeded with applying wax over the stummel of one of my personal meer pipes as a test piece.

Firstly, I assembled the equipment and materials that would be needed during the process viz heat gun, paper towels, q-tips and a Katori, a steel container graciously lent by Abha from the kitchen and of course, beeswax. I stuffed the chamber with paper towels and the mortise with a folded pipe cleaner to prevent inadvertent seepage of the melted beeswax into either. Next, I melted a sufficient quantity of beeswax in the katori using my heat gun and thereafter heated the stummel. Using the q- tip, I completely coated the stummel with the wax and continued the application till the surface was saturated and set the stummel aside. Having gained sufficient confidence, I applied the wax to Karthik’s meerschaum pipe and another of my expensive meerschaum pipes setting the three pipes aside for the stummel to absorb the wax. I reheated the stummel with the heat gun a few minutes later and let the excess wax either be absorbed or drip off from the stummel surface. The deep golden brown coloration that the meerschaum has taken is a visual treat, especially on the two older meerschaums. The lattice design pipe has taken on a beautiful color that is to die for, it’s really a beautiful pipe and Karthik has chosen well.I rubbed of the excess wax with a soft cotton cloth and brought a deep shine to the surface with a microfiber cloth. The deep dark chocolaty golden brown coloration to the stummel contrasts splendidly with the shining variegated colorful stem and makes for a better visual treat in person than what is seen in the pictures below. I hope Karthik likes it as much as I did and that he enjoys this pipe for years to come. P.S. – This was the last of the three pipes that Karthik had selected; a Pete System pipe which I had posted earlier, this stack Meerschaum pipe and the third was a chubby Comoy’s Monaco Rhodesian pipe that I had restored a couple of years earlier. These will soon be in the hands of this connoisseur of beautiful pipes and would love to see him smoke them filled with his favorite tobacco.

And yes, I take this opportunity to thank Karthik for seeing the beauty that lay hidden beneath all the dirt and selecting this pipe which otherwise would have been lying around at the bottom of the pile of pipes for restoration. Here is a picture of the three pipes that are on their way to Bangalore…Sincere gratitude to all the readers who have shared this part of my journey in to the world of pipe restoration…Cheers!!

 

This Castello Sea Rock Briar KKKK 65 Ticks All of My Boxes


Blog by Steve Laug

It is another hot day in Vancouver with just some afternoon meetings. After a long week I decided to take bit of time this morning for myself. It is hot enough that I went to the cool of the basement to work on pipes. The next pipe on the table is another one that came to us from the auction in Gonzales, Louisiana, USA. The first one, a Castello Sea Rock Briar KKK16 Billiard, I cleaned up and wrote a blog about yesterday (https://rebornpipes.com/2021/06/24/i-really-love-these-castello-sea-rock-briar-pipes-a-sea-rock-briar-kkk16/). This next one is a Castello Sea Rock Briar and it is what Castello calls a Bent Billiard shape though to me it is like a bent egg. It is a pipe that I like so well that I am cleaning it up for myself. It is stamped on the smooth shank bottom and reads Castello [over] Sea Rock Briar followed by KKKK65. 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 letting me know this was a pipe made for US import. On the underside of the stem it is stamped Hand Made [over] Castello with no number. The bowl had a heavy cake and there was thick lava overflow on back top side and inner edge. It was hard to know if there was burn damage on the smooth rim top because of the lava but after cleaning it we would know for sure. The rusticated finish was pretty dirty with dust and grime when we got it but still showed promise. The acrylic stem had deep tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. The edges of the button were also marked. Jeff 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 so heavily caked with the thick 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 other than the deep tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the stem just ahead of the button and on the button surface itself. 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 stamp on the underside. Jeff cleaned the pipe with his usual regime that many who read this probably have memorized. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned 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 smooth rim top looked very good under the thick lava coat. The inside of the bowl itself looked great. He scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub cleanser to remove the grime and grit. The stem was in great shape other than the tooth marks on both sides. It really is a beautiful looking rusticated pipe. 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 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 Carlo Scotti stamp were things that I wanted to makes sure I understand before I began to work on the pipe. I turned to Pipephil’s site to get a quick summary (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-castello.html). 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 had the 4Ks of a Medium Large sized pipe. It definitely was made for the American Market with the Rhinestone in the stem. It had the black/dark brown finish. The 4K stamp told me that it came out in the late 1960s onward and was a mid-large sized pipe from that time period. The number 65 makes it a Bent Billiard.

I decided to work on the stem first and try to remove and repair the tooth marks on both sides of the acrylic stem. Since acrylic does not have “memory” like vulcanite I did not try painting the stem surface. I sanded down the chatter in preparation for repairing the tooth marks. I filled in the tooth marks with clear CA glue. Once the repairs cured I used a small file to flatten them out and recut the sharp edge of the button. To blend in the repairs I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper and started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. 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 set the stem aside and turned my attention to the bowl. I polished the smooth rim top with micromesh sanding pads -1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the rim top down with a damp cloth between each sanding pad. The rim top began to really shine. 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 put the bowl and stem back together on this beautiful Castello Sea Rock Briar KKKK 65 Bent 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, coral like rustication around the bowl and shank is quite remarkable and gives the pipe an incredible tactile presence that only improves as it heated from a smoke. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 2 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The pipe weighs 67grams/2.36oz. This is a beauty that will be staying with me as it ticks off all the boxes of a Castello that I have been watching out for. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me. I always enjoy working on Castello pipes. Cheers.

I really love these Castello Sea Rock Briar pipes – a Sea Rock Briar KKK16


Blog by Steve Laug

It has been a long hot day in Vancouver with lots of meetings and work all day. It is hot enough that once I quit for the day I decided to go to the cool of the basement and work on pipes. The next pipe on the table came to us from an auction in Gonzales, Louisiana, 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 KKK16. 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 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] 5. The bowl had a moderated cake in it and there was lava overflow back top side and inner edge. It was hard to know if there was burn damage on the smooth rim top because of the lava but after cleaning it we would know for sure. The rusticated finish was pretty dirty with dust and grime when we got it but still showed promise. The acrylic stem had deep tooth marks, scratching and chatter on both sides near the button. The edges of the button were also marked. Jeff 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 moderately 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 other than the 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 5 stamp on the underside.   Jeff cleaned the pipe with his usual regime that many who read this probably have memorized. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned 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 smooth 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. It really is a beautiful looking rusticated pipe. 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 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 Carlo Scotti stamp were things that I wanted to makes sure I understand before I began to work on the pipe. I turned to Pipephil’s site to get a quick summary (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-castello.html). 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 had the 3K’s of a Medium sized pipe. 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 section on the shape numbers.

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 Sea Rock in my hands 3K graded. That told me that it came out in the late 1960s onward. The 3K stamp makes it a mid-sized pipe from that time period. The number 16 makes it a straight shank billiard.

I decided to work on the stem first and try to remove and repair the tooth marks on both sides of the acrylic stem. Since acrylic does not have “memory” like vulcanite I did not try painting the stem surface. I sanded down the chatter in preparation for repairing the tooth marks. I filled in the tooth marks with clear CA glue. Once the repairs cured I used a small file to flatten them out and recut the sharp edge of the button. To blend in the repairs I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper and started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.   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 set the stem aside and turned my attention to the bowl. I polished the smooth rim top with micromesh sanding pads -1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the rim top down with a damp cloth between each sanding pad. The rim top began to really shine. 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 put the bowl and stem back together on this beautiful Castello Sea Rock Briar KKK16 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 ¾ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The pipe weighs 53grams/1.87oz. This is a beauty that will be going on the Italian Pipe Makers section of the rebornpipes online store. Let me know if you want it. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me. I always enjoy working on Castello pipes. Cheers.

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!

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!