Tag Archives: polishing horn stems

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


Blog by Steve Laug

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

When I worked on the BBK Hunter I researched the brand. The BBK was a Swiss made brand as the shanks of all the pipes I had cleaned up and restored were stamped that way. Pipedia was my primary reference in that blog. Here is the link: http://pipedia.org/index.php?title=Bru-Bu. I have included the material from the previous blog below.

“Josef Brunner, oldest son of the farmer Konstantin Brunner from the hamlet Nieder-Huggerwald, belonging to the community of Kleinlützel (Canton Solothurn), was sent in 1871 to a pipe turner in Winkel/Alsace for his apprenticeship. As was usual at that time, Brunner wandered as a journeyman after ending the apprenticeship. Eventually, he went to Saint-Claude, France which was then the world’s stronghold of briar pipe manufacturing. There, Brunner was able to increase and deepen his knowledge in the field of industrial pipe making. When he returned home in 1878, he installed a small turner’s workshop in the house of his father. With the energetic support of his two younger brothers, he began to produce tobacco pipes of his own calculation, taking them to the markets in the surrounding area. In 1893, Bernhard Brunner’s wife inherited the mill in Kleinlützel. At this point, the pipe fabrication was transferred to an annex belonging to the mill. Now it was possible to drive the machines by water power – an important relief to the workers and a considerable innovation compared to the previous pedal-driven system.”

“The business developed so well after the turn of the century even when a lack of workers in Kleinlützel occurred. The problem was solved by founding a subsidiary company in the small nearby town Laufen an der Birs in the Canton of Bern. This plant didn’t exist too long. The disastrous economic crisis in the 1920’s and early 1930’s forced the Brunner family to restrict the fabrication of pipes dramatically. In addition the big French pipe factories in Saint-Claude – although suffering from the same circumstances – flooded the Swiss market with pipes at prices that couldn’t be matched by Swiss producers. By 1931 approximately 150 of 180 Brunner employees had been sacked – the rest remained in Kleinlützel, where the cheap electric energy ensured a meager survival.”

“In 1932, Mr. Buhofer joined the Brunner family. The company was named Brunner-Buhofer-Kompagnie, and, shortly thereafter, Bru-Bu. Buhofer had made his fortune in the United States but, homesick, returned to Switzerland to search for a new challenge. Bru-Bu’s fabrication program was expanded with many handcrafted wooden art articles: carved family coats of arms, bread plates, fruit scarves, and – more and more – souvenir articles for the expanding Swiss tourism industry. Pipes remained in the program continuously, but the offerings changed from traditional Swiss pipes to the more standard European shaped pipes. Bru Bu is widely known as BBK.”

The last paragraph of the Pipedia article linked BBK pipes to Former Nielsen. I have two of Former’s pipes so this stood out to me. “At some point in the late 1970’s, Bru-Bu went out of business. Some of the Brunners, as far as known, continued as timber traders. But in 1986 new life filled the old Bru-Bu pipe workshop, when Dr. Horst Wiethüchter and “Former” Nielsen started to produce the high-grade Bentley pipes there.”

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

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


Blog by Dal Stanton

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

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

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

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

Changing things up – a Ropp Grand Luxe 55 Horn Stem Apple


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table is one that Jeff picked up from a friend in St. Leonard, Maryland, USA back in April of 2018 so it has been sitting here for a long time. It is a nice looking apple shaped pipe with a horn stem. The stamping on the left side of the shank read Ropp in an oval with Grand Luxe underneath. On the right side of the shank the shape number 55 is stamped next to the bowl/shank junction. It was a great looking piece of briar with a mix of grain around the bowl and shank. There was a small nick on the left middle of the bowl and grime and grit ground into the finish of the bowl. There was a heavy cake in the bowl  and a heavy overflow of lava on the inwardly beveled rim top. The fit of the stem in the shank was smooth and flawless. There was the silver ROPP metal oval logo inlaid on the left side of the taper. The stem was horn and it had some wear on both sides near the button and on the button surface.  Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl. The smooth rim top showed thick coat of lava that filled in the rim top and hopefully protected the edges from damage. He took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the tooth chatter, scratching and oxidation on the stem surface and wear on the edges of the button. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the finish. You can see the well done shape and he amazing grain around the bowl and shank. Even under the dirt and debris of the years it looked very good.The stamping is clear and readable as noted above. The honey coloured finish even looks good under the grime and the pipe really is a Grand Luxe! I turned first to Pipephil to get a quick review of the brand (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-ropp.html). I always remember Ropp as the maker of the Cherrywood pipes that they are famous for but I forget all of the other beautiful pipes that they made. I quote:

Brand created by Eugène-Léon Ropp (1830 – 1907) and continued throughout 3 generations. “GBA Synergie” run by Bernard Amiel (†2008) bought back Ropp in 1988 and owned it until 1991. The company was taken over by Cuty-Fort Entreprises (Chacom, Vuillard, Jean Lacroix…) in 1994.

I then turned to Pipedia as I remembered that they had some more information on the brand and some interesting old advertising (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Ropp). I quote the information below and include a few flyers advertising the Grand Luxe line of pipes.

Eugène-Léon Ropp (1830 – 1907) had acquired a patent for a cherrywood pipe (wild cherry, lat.: Prunus avium) in 1869. In 1870 he established a workshop to manufacture such pipes in Büssingen (Bussang, Vosges mountains). Around 1893 the business moved into the former mill of Sicard (part of the community of Baume-les-Dames – Département Doubs, Upper Burgundy – from 1895 on).

The pipes were a big success in the export as well. Shortly before 1914 Ropp designated A. Frankau & Co. (BBB) in to be the exclusive distributor in the UK and it’s colonies.

Probably in 1917 a workshop in Saint-Claude in the Rue du Plan du Moulin 8 was acquired to start the fabrication of briar pipes. In 1923 a small building in the environment of Saint-Claude, serving as a workshop for polishing, was added.

Even though cherrywood pipes were the mainstay of Ropp until the company finally closed down in September 1991. The company was taken over by Cuty-Fort Entreprises (Chacom, Jeantet, Vuillard, Jean Lacroix…) in 1994.

With the information I learned in the above articles I had the background on the pipe. My guess is that it is was made either just before or after WWII because of the horn stem instead of rubber. The metal tenon system makes me also think that this is the case as other pipes from the war itself went back to horn tenons. It is a neat old pipe. Now it was time to work on it.

I am really happy to have Jeff’s help on cleaning up the pipes that we pick up along the way. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. The finish looks much better and the rim top was actually very visible and it looked good. Jeff scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub All Purpose Cleaner to remove the majority of the grime. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver it looked very good. I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem surface. The rim top looked very good but there some darkening on the rim top surface toward the back of the bowl. I took close up photos of the stem to show the condition of the surface and button. I was really glad to see that the spots on the button surface and the stem ahead of the button was worn but did not have tooth marks or chatter. I took photos of the stamping on the left side of the shank and the right side near the bowl. You can see that it is stamped as noted above. It is clear and readable.  I took the pipe apart and took a photo of the pipe. It is a good looking pipe and has some great grain on the bowl and shank. Note the stepped down aluminum tenon.I decided to start my restoration work on this one by polishing the top and sides of the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. After each pad I wiped the briar down with a damp cloth.   I 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.     With that done the bowl was finished other than the final buffing. I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I looked at the worn areas on the stem and decided to sand them out with 220 grit sandpaper and start polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I polished the stem 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.   It is fun to come to end of the restoration of the Ropp Grand Luxe 55 Straight Apple. It turned out to be a nice looking straight Apple. The finish came alive with the work I had done on it. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the grain popping through and the polished horn taper stem. It really was beautiful. This older French made Ropp Straight Apple is nice looking and the pipe feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 inch, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 34grams/1.20ounces. It is a beautiful pipe that I will soon put on the rebornpipes store in the French Pipe Makers section. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next pipeman or woman.

Discovering the Vintage of a Paul Viou ‘Feather’ with the Help of Sebastien Beaud of Genod Pipes of St. Claude


Blog by Dal Stanton

When I first laid eyes on this unique ‘Feather’ or ‘Plume’ shaped pipe, I debated adding it to my own personal collection and not posting it in the For “Pipe Dreamers” Only! collection, making it available for pipe men and women to commission.  Well, the Feather did find a place in the ‘Dreamers’ collection and Daniel eventually added the P. Viou Feather to his trove of commissioned pipes totaling 7(!) benefiting the Daughters of Bulgaria.  I acquired the P. Viou Feather from the French eBay auction block in 2018.  This ‘French Lot of 50’, which is what I have affectionately called it, has offered up several treasures – one restoration that became my first publication adding to Pipedia’s wealth of information (See: Discovering the History with the Reclamation of this Petite EPC Majestic Bent Horn Stem Billiard and for Pipedia contribution see: A. Pandevant & Roy Co.).  The picture of the Lot provided by the Parisian seller only created the urge to know what was hidden within the tangle of stems and stummels.  That I could see so many interesting shapes and horn stems supplied the impetus to acquire the Lot.  The P. Viou Feather is mostly hidden in the picture (arrow below left) and it wasn’t until later after the package arrived in Sofia and I gleefully sorted and grouped the pipes that I came to realize the treasure trove of pipes in this Lot.  The Feather grouping is pictured below.Looking more closely at the P. Viou Feather, I take some additional pictures. The nomenclature is worn and thin at points but generally recognizable.  On the left flank is stamped in fancy cursive ‘P’ [underscored] followed by ‘Viou’ which is punctuated with a flared underline.  The COM stamped on the right flank of the Feather stummel reads: St CLAUDE [over] FRANCE.  St. Claude is the pipe center of France and the birthplace of the production of briar pipes.  The horn stem is also stamped, P. VIOU.  This stamp is also thin, but I’m hopeful to refresh it later.     I had the opportunity of restoring another Paul Viou from the French Lot of 50 – a Churchwarden (See: Recommissioning a Vintage French Paul Viou Churchwarden of St. Claude).   There is scant information about the Paul Viou name on the internet that I could find.  Pipedia’s article of Paul Viou is brief:

From Pipes, Artisans and Trademarks, by José Manuel Lopes’

Paul Viou was the brand and name of a French artisan who sold his pipes by correspondence and then he was a pipe supplier for military institutions. He also made sculpted pipes and sometime used horn stems.

The brand is currently sold by Jacques Craen and made by Genod in Saint-Claude, after having also belonged to Paul Guilland and Vuillard. They are stamped P. Viou and made primarily for export.

This information is confirmed by Pipephil.eu with the addition of the date of 2006 when the Paul Viou name transferred to Sebastien Beaud of Genod.As I broaden my online research, I discover that Sebastien Beaud is an interesting story.  He currently is the owner of the Genod house of pipes in St. Claude and is a younger entrepreneur.  In trying to find out further information about Paul Viou, Genod information is prevalent in the research.  The Pipedia article dedicated to Genod of St. Claude is also interesting (See: Genod).  The Genod story began in 1865 when Comoy founded pipe production in St. Claude.  In 1923 the production is taken over by Georges Vincent and in 1939, son in law John Craen joined Vincent.  John Craen’s son, Jacques, joined the business in 1959 and took over the business in 1977 where he expanded the Genod name and opened the shop in St. Claude to visitors to observe the pipe production.

From the same Pipedia article: In 2006 the young pipemaker Sebastien Beaud started his work in Jacky’s factory. As Craen himself he took over the brand Viou to start with. In future he will take over the business in its entire and continue this sympathetic workshop in its traditional way.

In the excerpt above, the Paul Viou line is mentioned as continuing under Genod during the Craen period, then Sebastien Beaud took over the Viou line.  Unfortunately, this article nor the article in Pipedia dedicated to Paul Viou, provide much in the way of specific dating of the Paul Viou branding.

I’ve searched several forums for answers to questions regarding when the historical Paul Viou began production using this name?  The Paul Viou Feather, or Plume (French translation) appears to have some age.  The horn stem would suggest a dating in the 1940s during the rubber shortages of WW2.  Horn became a ‘go to’ material in place of rubber compound stems.  Yet, a question arises regarding this older dating when I discovered in Genod’s current offerings of pipes on its website an almost identical ‘Plume’ yet, not with a horn stem but an ebonite or vulcanite stem (See: Link). Also missing is the P. Viou nomenclature. Furthermore, more than many pipe manufacturers today, Genod’s quality offerings include many horn stemmed options.  I like this(!) but it brings into question the necessity of an older dating for the P. Viou on my worktable.With the foundational question being, when did the P. Viou name begin?  Was it before or during the Craen era of Genod?  Was the P. Viou stamp on this Feather an indicator of a pre-Genod production?  My experience with tracking down and nailing down French pipe production details has never been easy but always interesting!

Potentially to find answers about the dating of the Paul Viou name, I sent an email via the ‘Contact’ form provided on the Genod website.  I have been surprised in the past to receive responses from ‘Hail Mary’ requests to pipe houses in Europe and America.  We’ll see what happens.

Well, I am continually amazed at ‘names’ in the pipe world being accessible to folks like me!  The next day I received a reply from Sebastien Beaud, currently at the helm of Genod.  I include my original message with the replies that followed:

DAL:   Greetings,  Thank you in advance for your time! I restore vintage pipes and publish the restoration process and research online at www.ThePipeSteward.com. I have restored some Paul Viou pipes and have researched a lot and enjoy the connection of Paul Viou and Genod. However, there is very little information that I can find on the internet regarding Paul Viou, historically. Can you please provide any information about Paul Viou’s origins, when he lived, when the P. Viou name started being placed on pipes? My current restoration is a P. Viou Plume with a horn stem. I see that you still produce these shapes on your website but with Ebionite stems. I’m trying to determine the potential dating of this pipe but cannot find much information about when Paul Viou came onto the pipe scene. Thanks so much for your help in advance if you are able!

———–

Dear Dal,

Congratulations for your work and your website! All I know about Paul Viou is that as a former officer in the French army, he used to advertise his pipes in the army magazines.  So he used to sell a lot to the soldiers during the Algerian war, back in the 50’s / 60’s. He ran the business together with his wife Odette.  Their workshop was located right next to ours, and when they got old, Jacques Craen, started making pipes for them.  At the same time, Jacques Craen created the “Genod” brand to start selling directly to the smokers instead of selling to whole sellers. Genod is a tribute to his grandfather Georges Vincent-Genod (on his mother’s side) with whom he had learned and from whom he inherited the workshop. In the early 90’s, Jacques bought the Paul Viou brand and customers’ addresses file. I myself took over when Jacques retired, and kept Paul Viou’s name for a while, but it is the exact same product as a Genod pipe, so now I stamp all the pipes “Genod”.  I hope this helps.

Best regards,
Sebastien BEAUD
www.maitrepipier.fr
SARL GENOD VIOU
13 Faubourg Marcel – BP 145
39205 SAINT CLAUDE Cedex FRANCE
Tél. (+33) (0)3 84 45 00 47

———

DAL: Sebastien,  Thank you so much for responding to my inquiries! This information needs to be added to Pipedia. If I could ask one follow up question regarding the pipe on my worktable. The nomenclature is the cursive ‘P. Viou’ and COM: St. Claude, France. The horn stem is stamped, ‘P. Viou’. Can you venture a guess as to what period this ‘Plume’ was manufactured with this nomenclature and horn stem?   Before the Jacques Craen period (50/60s?) or when Jacques Craen was making them for Paul Viou (60/70s) or during the Genod period starting in the 70s but still using the ‘P. Viou’ stamp? I hope you can understand this! I’m simply trying to place this pipe in a time period. I’ve attached a few pictures if this is a help.  Again, much thanks.

———

Dear Dal,

I think this pipe has been made by Jacques Craen back in the 80’s (even though it could also be the 90’s or late 70’s).

Best regards,

Sebastien BEAUD

With deep appreciation to Sebastien Beaud for his time and for the information he supplied, I have a much better understanding of the Paul Viou name and a small piece of the man himself.  Valuable information added was regarding Paul Viou, the man.  He was formerly an officer in the French army – a military man but also a pipe man/entrepreneur.  Apparently after his time with the military and residing in St. Claude, he was undoubtedly very much a part of the ‘pipe world’ milieu and at one point added his hand to the pipe making industry.  With his connections in the military, he advertised his pipes in the military magazines of the time and in military institutions.

It is noteworthy that Sebastien pinpoints this activity during the Algerian War.  A quick search on the internet renders a Wikipedia article describing the war that was from 1954 to 1962 that found France engaged in a ‘decolonization’ war with the Algerian National Liberation Front and facing turbulent times at home with a war that garnered international attention.  The war gradually resulted in an independent Algeria – much resembling the turmoil of the Viet Nam conflict of the United States.  Paul Viou had developed his business selling pipes and during this difficult time, with French servicemen abroad, Paul Viou, along with the support of his wife, Odette, provided pipes for the troops via army magazine adds.  The personal relationship between Jacques Craen and Viou family is interesting – their shops were next door to each other and the aging of the senior Viou created a transition from Paul Viou’s actively working in the shop to his work being done by Jacques.  During this transition period, undoubtedly steps were taken to sign over the Viou name to Craen and the Vincent-Genod legacy.  Another transition alluded to by Sebastien’s words – the brand created by Jacques, “Genod”, was a tribute to his grandfather.  The Viou brand joined the Genod brand and again, this legacy was passed on to Sebastien Beaud.  The Viou name is no longer used to mark pipes, but the quality of the Viou pipe was brought under Genod craftsmanship.

One last question I brought to Sebastien was the dating of the P. Viou Feather on my worktable.  His qualified answer is somehow in sync with French pipe dating in general!  Most likely the P. Viou Feather is from the hands of Jacques in the 80s, but the late 70s or the 90s could be possibilities as well!  Much thanks to Sebastien Beaud for his help in this project!

One very interesting piece of information related to horn stems I discovered on the Genod site written by Sebastien Beaud in March of 2020 regarding Genod’s current use of horn stems (See tab: All About Pipes).  More than most pipe houses, Genod continues to fit their pipes with horn stems which I find interesting.  His article was excellent and apropos since a horn stem from the Genod house is now on the worktable!  I include his article which taught me a good bit!

Close up on the horn!

March 16, 2020in All about the pipe by Sébastien Beaud

Most of the pipes fitted to briar pipes are made of ebonite because this material combines flexibility and resistance to wear by the teeth. But other materials are interesting for the production of pipes. There is one that is dear to us, because it is comfortable, beautiful, and presents various shades of colors, it is the horn.

 Which horn for pipe stems?

The horn is made of hairs bonded with keratin, the material from which our nails are made. This hair-armed keratin protects and strengthens the bone that grows on each side of the head of cattle. The horn we use to make the pipe stems is that of the zebu. It can reach 1 meter in length. As we have seen, a horn is hollow because it contains a bone. Therefore, only the end (the tip) is suitable for turning work. A cow’s horn is therefore not long enough to be used in turning.

Zebus also have a brown, white or marbled coat, their horn presents a magnificent variety of shades, ranging from sometimes very dark brown to blond, the association of the two colors being called “marbled”.

 Filming on horn.

The zebu is bred for its meat in Brazil, Argentina and Madagascar. The horns, instead of being lost like the other inedible parts, are exported for use in the manufacture of combs, knife handles, beads, and of course, for turning pipe stems.

Once arrived in the workshops of the Jura, the horns are possibly softened by heating in a bath or steam, in order to straighten them by pressing.  Then comes cutting, turning, shaping, then drilling. Now here is a straight pipe stem.
If necessary, it can be bent in a “form” press dipped in a hot oil bath, and there it is, ready to be adjusted to the heather.

 How to maintain the horn?

An organic material, the horn offers a soft contact, and quickly takes the mark of the teeth. And what a pleasure to combine plants and animals in a beautiful object!  The maintenance of horn pipes is very simple: just avoid exposure to heat sources, and if you want to prevent the shine of the pipe fading over time, you can rub it regularly with a simple cloth, as a polish.  Choose now the pipe with horn stem that suits you, fill it with your favorite mixture, natural or aromatic, and… good tasting!

With a better understanding of the Paul Viou name and man who originally have his name to the pipes, I take a critical look at the Feather or Plume shape now on the worktable.  The grain on the stocky Feather stummel is attractive.  The briar block was cut allowing very intricate Bird’s Eye grain to emerge on both sides.  Looking at the stummel straight on – at the nose of the ‘torpedo’, the cross grain is visible connecting the sides creating the cross grain perspective.The finish on the briar is dark and in need of cleaning.  The surface shows dents and scrapes on the heel of the stummel as well as on the upper side.  The diminutive size of the Feather allows it to be the perfect ‘pocket pipe’ but in the pocket are keys and change to compete with!  The chamber has light cake buildup and will be removed to allow a fresh start for the briar.  The rim also shows caking which needs removing so that the condition of the rim can be seen more clearly and to rediscover the rim’s grain.  There are nicks and dents around the rise to the rim.  The horn stem is predominantly a dark hue except for near the bit area where it lightens.  The horn is rough but should clean up very nicely.I start the restoration of the P. Viou Feather by addressing the cake in the chamber. Only the smallest blade head is accommodated by the 3/4-inch diameter chamber.  The process of clearing the carbon cake transitions quickly to employing the Savinelli Fitsall Tool to scrape the chamber walls.  The rim is carefully scraped as well with my Winchester pocketknife then the chamber is sanded with 240 grade sanding paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen.  The progress looks good.  With the chamber cleared of the cake buildup, After taking a starting picture, I clean the external briar surface using undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap.  The stummel is scrubbed with a cotton pad as well as utilizing a brass bristled brush to work on the darkened rim. The brass brush will not negatively impact the briar as it scrubs the rim.To further the cleaning the stummel is transitioned to the sink.  Using warm water, shank brushes are employed with anti-oil liquid dish washing soap to clean the internal mortise chamber.  The brass bristled brush is used a bit more on the rim.  Back at the worktable I take another picture to show the cleaning progress.  The cleaning did a great job revealing very nice looking briar. The rim is much improved as well.  With a clean stummel before me, I take a closer look at the dents and pits primarily on the underside of the stummel I observed earlier.  The rough surface is from normal wear placing the Feather stummel down on the table or other harder surfaces.  The pictures show the comparison of ‘before and after’ to see how much progress is made with the repair.The approach I take capitalizes on the fact that wood is a very porous substance – spongelike in its composition.  Using a hot iron (with my wife’s permission!), I place a wetted cloth between a hot iron and the dents and press.  The heat generated by the iron heats the water in the cloth turning it into steam which permeates the briar surface with water.  The hot steamed water is absorbed and softens the wood allowing it to regain all or some of its pre-damaged condition. A comparison after several steaming sessions shows that the main heel damaged has lessened in its severity as the briar has expanded.  The side dent is now almost invisible.  To repair the residual pitting, using a toothpick as a guide, clear CA glue is spot dropped to fill the pits.  I put the stummel aside to allow the CA to cure.Turning now to the horn stem, pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 99% are used to clean the airway.  Along with smooth and bristled pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 99%, shank brushes are used to clean the airway.  A dental probe is used to scrape inside the slot as well as inside the nickel tenon.  Eventually, the pipe cleaners begin to emerge lighter and I move on.Before continuing working on restoring the horn stem surface, I place a piece of painter’s tape over the thin P. Viou stem stamping to protect it. In no way do I desire to contribute to its demise!I approach working on horn stem much like on vulcanite stems.  I take a few more pictures looking at the current condition of the horn material – upper and lower.  I like the solid blackish hue of the horn’s midsection contrasting with the gradual lightening of the bit.The condition of the stem is good except for one small tooth compression on the lower bit.  I fill it with a drop of CA glue and allow it to cure before sanding. The CA patches on the stummel heel have cured.  A flat needle file is used to file the glue mounds down to the briar surface. Transitioning to 240 grade paper, the patches are sanded further followed by 600 grade paper. I’m pleased with the results.  There is almost no visible reminder remaining of the rough area.  The repair blends nicely. The rim continues with darkened, scorched areas.  There are nicks as well on the right side of the rim (top of the picture below).  Using a hard backing behind a piece of 240 sanding paper, the slightly canted bevel is sanded and refreshed.  Following the 240 paper, the same is done with 600 grade paper.  I’m pleased with the refreshed rim.   Next, utilizing the full regimen of micromesh pads, the stummel is sanded.  Before sanding, painters’ tape is used to cover the P. Viou and COM on the sides of the stummel.  Using pads 1500 to 2400 the stummel is wet sanded.  Following this, the stummel is dry sanded with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  The protective tape was removed for the last 3 pads to even out the briar tone.  The beauty of the briar grain emerges through the micromesh process – I’m liking what I see!   Before returning to the stem, I’m looking forward to applying Mark Hoover’s ‘Before and After Restoration Balm’ to the stummel.  I apply some of the Balm to my fingers and rub it into the briar surface.  At first it has a cream-like consistency but as it works into the briar it transforms into a waxy consistency.  After applying the Balm, the stummel is set aside for 20 minutes or so for the Balm to enrich the briar.  After 20 minutes I use a microfiber cloth to wipe off excess Balm and then hand buff the stummel to raise the shine.  I like the way the Restoration Balm enhances the natural hues of the briar.Returning now to the horn stem, the sanding process is much like that of vulcanite stems.  After the CA patch has cured filling a tooth compression, using the flat needle file, the lower bit patch is filed until level with the stem surface.  The file also helps to refresh the lower button lip. Next, I transition to 240 sanding paper and smooth further the lower bit blending the patch more.  Flipping the stem over, the upper bit is sanded to smooth and tighten the horn surface from normal wear.   Next, the entire stem is wet sanded using 600 grade paper.As with vulcanite stems, next I apply 0000 steel wool to the entire stem to smooth and shine further. While using steel wool, I also apply it to the nickel tenon which shines it up very nicely.  Next, with the P. Viou stem stamping still covered with painters’ tape, the stem is the recipient of the full regimen of micromesh pads.  Starting with pads 1500 to 2400, the horn is wet sanded.  Following the wet sanding, I dry sand with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  I remove the tape for the last two pads to sand more closely to blend the area.  Obsidian Oil is applied and worked into the horn between each set of 3 pads.  The horn almost ‘drinks up’ the oil. To get a look at the progress, the stummel and horn stem are reunited.  Two issues surface after I do this. The seating of the stem into the mortise is off.  The next picture shows this with a gap of sunlight on the upper side of the connection point.  To remedy this, I fold a piece of 240 sanding paper and insert it between the lower halves of the stem and stummel and sand in a sawing motion.  This hopefully will even out the high point to bring the two faces back together flush – or as close as possible.   The result is good. There is still some daylight, but I’m satisfied at this point.  Sanding to remedy an unseated stem can be a bit finicky and sometimes ‘less’ is ‘more’ – I don’t want to complicate things!The other issue that emerged was that through the cleaning process the internal mortise cavity expanded somewhat so that the nickel tenon is not as snug as it should be.  The ways to fix this are limited.  If this were a vulcanite stem and tenon, the approach would be to expand the width of the tenon by heating it and forcing expansion by wedging the end of a drill bit in the softened tenon airway.  A nickel tenon, however, does not expand.  The remedy is to paint the external surface of the metal tenon with an acrylic nail polish or with CA glue.  The results are the same.  The hardening of the acrylic creates a hardened layer around the metal tenon, thus expanding its diameter and creating a snugger fit seated into the mortise.  I use a small bottle of acrylic nail polish and apply the acrylic polish with the small brush that comes along with the bottle. After each coating, I wait until the acrylic is cured before applying another layer.  After each cycle, the tenon is carefully fitted into the mortise to determine if another layer is needed.  To help it to dry evenly after each application, I ‘post’ the stem vertically on the end of a chop stick.  After several coats of clear acrylic nail polish, the fit of the stem was much snugger.  Mission accomplished.   Next, I attempt to refresh the P. Viou stem stamping, but am not successful.  The vestiges of the stamping were not deep enough to allow the white acrylic paint to grab the stamp channels.  After several attempts, I settle for what is. Now on the homestretch.  After mounting a cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel, speed set at about 40% full power, I apply Blue Diamond compound to horn stem and stummel.  After completing this, a felt cloth is used to buff the pipe to clear the compound dust before applying the wax.To apply carnauba wax, the cotton cloth wheel is changed to a wheel dedicated to carnauba.  With the speed on the Dremel maintaining 40% power, wax is applied to the entire pipe.  The first coat applies the wax thoroughly over the surfaces.  Following this, the pipe is buffed up using the Dremel to make sure all the wax is dispersed and absorbed.  Finally, the pipe is given a rigorous hand buffing with a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further.I’m pleased with how this product of Jacques Craen in St. Claude has turned out.  With Sebastien Beaud’s generous assistance, we can date this pipe after Jacques received the P. Viou name from the aging Paul Viou and his wife, Odette, who provided pipes to French military servicemen.  This ‘Plume’ is a beautiful example of French pipe making with its subtle intricacies, flow, and lines.  The grain, especially the exceptionally tight Bird’s Eye, is pleasing to behold! The horn stem with its gentle natural bend, has unique coloring.  The glassy shine of finely polished horn is pleasing to the eye and its rustic character will make it a pleasure to enjoy tobacco fellowship.  Last but not least, the unique Plume or Feather diminutive shape allows it to cradle very nicely in the palm.  This is the second of Daniel’s commissioned pipes and he will have the first opportunity to claim the P. Viou Feather from The Pipe Steward Store benefiting the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks for joining me!

Restoring An Early Butz Choquin “A Metz” No. 2


Blog by Paresh

Over the last few years that I have been on eBay, I have had mixed experiences about buying pipes. After a few trial and errors and dealing with various sellers on eBay, I have shortlisted a few sellers who have consistently and flawlessly been delivering pipes to me and over the years a bonding has developed between us. The best part about these sellers is the description of the condition of the pipe that is up for sale/ auction. One such seller is a French gentleman who always has unique French pipes up for sale in his store. The next pipe that got my attention is a beautiful bent billiard with a horn stem that came to me from this seller last year.

The pipe is a large bowled bent billiards with brass shank end band with a dark brown cherry wood (?) shank extension and a horn stem. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank as “BUTZ- CHOQUIN” in an arch over “A” over “METZ” in an inverted arch, all in block capital letters. The bottom of the shank bears the stamp “No 2” at the shank end just below the brass band. The horn saddle stem has the logo “B C” stamped in to the left side of the saddle. The brass band is stamped as “DOUBLE” over “B” followed by four leaf clover followed by letter “L”. The entire stamping on the brass band is within a shield cartouche. An interesting piece of information that I learned is that the Four Leaf Clover is a symbol of GOOD LUCK! Nearly two years ago I had worked on another inherited CHOQUIN A METZ with an Albatross wing bone shank extension and horn stem. The pipe had silver adornments at the shank end and tenon end of the horn stem. Here is the link to the write up;

https://rebornpipes.com/2018/11/17/a-challenging-restoration-of-vintage-era-first-choquin-a-metz/#comments

I had researched the pipe and the brand then and also recollect the overwhelming response to the queries that I had posted on pipe restorers group on FB. The similarity in the stampings was proof enough for me to be convinced that the pipe currently on my work table is from the early 1900s. But I was desirous of trying to narrow down to an exact period.

I searched pipedia.org to see if it contained the details that I sought. The site has very scant information about the brand with lots of pictures, but what is available makes it an interesting read and I quote;

“The pipe, from Metz to Saint-Claude. Jean-Baptiste Choquin of Metz started out as a tobacconist. This enterprise was prosperous; he had several employees. Among those, there was a certain Gustave Butz who was its first workman and who became his son-in-law by marrying Choquin’s daughter Marie in 1858.

In 1858 Jean-Baptiste Choquin created, in collaboration with Gustave Butz, the Choquin pipe. This bent pipe with a flat-bottomed bowl was finished with an albatross-bone mouthpiece, fixed with silver rings. (The above describes the CHOQUIN A METZ pipe I had worked on earlier dating it to 1858)

In 1858, still in Metz, Gustave Butz built an establishment for the manufacture of the Choquin pipe which took the name of Butz-Choquin. In 1951, the Berrod-Regad company bought the trademark, continuing manufacture until 2002. Departing from Metz, the workshop was relocated to Saint-Claude, then also called “the world capital of the briar pipe,” under the Berrod-Regad group. The Berrod-Regad group would go on to completely rebuild the network of representatives until finally entering the export market in 1960 and has since won several prizes, as well as the Gold Cup of French good taste.

In a few years, the brand’s collection increased from ten to seventy series. 135 years after it was founded, the pipe is still well-known not only in France but throughout the world. In 2002, the Berrod family, wishing to preserve manufacture of pipes in Saint-Claude, handed over the company to Fabien Guichon, a native of the area, who will continue to develop the brand during the 21st century.”

From the above reading, this pipe is pre-1951 when Berrod- Regad purchased the trademark and relocated the workshop to Saint- Claude. The stampings of A METZ is the proof pointing towards pre-1951, the birth town of Butz- Choquin pipes. Secondly, the horn stem and cherrywood shank extension narrows down the dating to be pre-1920 since thereafter, vulcanite and other stem materials gained popularity and preference over bone/ horn stem. Thus, I think the pipe dates from somewhere 1910s to 1920.

I have reproduced some snippets of information about Cherry wood for those readers not familiar with this wood (like me of course!)

GENERAL DESCRIPTION
The heartwood of cherry varies from rich red to reddish brown and will darken with age and on exposure to light. In contrast, the sapwood is creamy white. The wood has a straight-grain, a fine, uniform, satiny and smooth texture, and naturally may contain brown pith flecks and small gum pockets.

WORKING PROPERTIES
Cherry is easy to machine, nails and glues well, and when sanded and stained, it produces an excellent, smooth finish. It dries fairly quickly with moderately high shrinkage, but dimensionally is stable after kiln-drying.

PHYSICAL PROPERTIES
Cherry is of medium density with good bending properties, has low stiffness, and medium strength and shock resistance.

AVAILABILITY
Readily available.

MAIN USES
Fine furniture and cabinet making, moulding and millwork, kitchen cabinets, paneling, flooring, doors, boat interiors, musical instruments, turnings, and carvings.

Initial Visual Inspection
This is a three piece Butz- Choquin pipe with a briar stummel, a Cherry wood shank extension and a horn stem. The first thing noticed was the fit of the shank extension in to the stummel (marked with blue arrows) and that of the screw in tenon end of the shank extension in to the stem (marked with red arrows) was not flush and seamless. The stummel shows some nice mixed straight and cross grains all across. The stummel had dirt and grime accumulated over the surface giving it a dull and lifeless look. One fill is visible on the right side in the stummel surface. The pipe, as it sits on my work table, is shown below. Detailed Visual Inspection
As observed earlier, the pipe has three parts, the briar stummel, a tapered Cherry wood shank extension and lastly a horn stem. Each of these three parts will be inspected and addressed separately.The chamber has a thin even layer of cake in the chamber. The chamber walls shows signs of being gouged with some sharp serrated tool that may have been used for reaming. The rim top surface is without any serious damage, save for some minor dents. The inner rim edge has been made uneven by reaming with a knife and appears slightly darkened at the front and rear of the stummel. However, the outer edge has a few very minor dents and dings. The old smells from the tobacco are overwhelming. The gouges to the walls are most probably limited over the surface of the thin layer of cake and should be eliminated once the cake is completely reamed out. The issues of minor dents/ dings over the rim top and darkened inner rim edges will be addressed by topping. Cleaning of the chamber should reduce these old ghosting smells. The stummel surface has a thin coat of lacquer that has peeled off from the surface at a number of places. The stummel, with some beautiful scattered mix of straight and cross grains over the entire surface, has dirt and grime ground in to it over the years. However, these grains are hidden under all the dirt and grime. The stummel has one large fill in the briar on the right side (encircled in pastel blue) and a number of minor scratches all over the surface. Once the stummel surface has been thoroughly cleaned, the beautiful grains over the surface should be easily appreciable. I shall refresh the single fill with a mix of briar dust and superglue. Sanding the surface with a piece of 220 grit sandpaper will address the issue of scratches and also completely eliminate the lacquer coating.   The draught hole opening in to the mortise is drilled above the end wall of the mortise, forming a sump/ well for accumulating the oils and tars, thus providing a dry smoke. This sump is dirty with accumulation of old oils and tars. The draught hole is also clogged making the draw hard and laborious. The cleaning of the sump will necessitate resorting to salt and alcohol treatment. Once this process is completed, the ghosting should be completely eliminated.   The brass shank end band came off easily. The band is completely oxidized from inside as well as outside with signs of corrosion over the inside surface. The band is cracked at one place. There is nothing much I can do about the crack in the band other than stabilize it with superglue. Maybe a weld could be a permanent solution, but neither do I have the expertise nor the equipment to execute such metal repairs. I shall polish the brass band to a nice shine and this will add some nice bling to the overall appearance of the pipe. The tapered Cherry wood shank extension still has the bark intact over the surface. The cherry wood extension is a nice reddish brown colored piece that has taken on darker hues with age (remember the property of a cherry wood that I have mentioned above?). This bark has been chipped in a few places exposing the light colored inner surface. The tenon end of this extension has a prominent groove (marked with yellow arrows) that suggest the presence of a band at the end that had come loose over a period of time and is now lost. The threaded tenon end of this extension has worn off threads (indicated with blue arrows) while the extension that fits in to the shank has cracked surface (marked with pastel blue arrows). The threaded stem end tenon is tapered and shows heavy accumulation dried glue and debris at the base. This, most likely, is the reason for the gap between the horn stem and the shank extension when fitted. The shank end tenon has a inner tube that provides the required rigidity and protection to the tenon. Both ends of the shank extensions are covered in dried oils, tars and gunk. I shall fabricate and fix a brass band over the shank extension at the stem end. Once the brass band is in place and the dried glue and debris from the base of the stem end of the tenon is cleaned, the seating of the stem over the cherry wood shank extension would be flush and seamless (I hope so!!). The issue of worn out threads can be addressed in two ways; firstly coat the tenon with clear nail polish which, while being a temporary solution, has the advantage of being able to take on grooves matching the stem and making for a better fit. The second option is of using CA superglue coating which is a more permanent solution but, I guess, will make for a push- pull type of fit between the shank extension and the horn stem when the glue hardens. I shall decide on the best course of action whence I reach that stage in restoration.  The stem is a beautiful tapered saddle stem that is made from horn. The dark and light fibrous striations contrast beautifully all along the stem surface. The stem is bone dry and dirty. There is a deep tooth indentation on either surface of the stem in the bite zone. The button edges on either surface are slightly worn out with a few bite marks. The oval horizontal slot is completely clogged with accumulated oils and tars. The threaded saddle end too shows accumulated gunk. The insides of the saddle stem are lined with a thick felt lining (indicated with violet arrows) that was put in place to snugly hold the worn out tenon of the shank extension in place. This too could be a contributory factor for the incorrect seating of the stem over the cherry wood shank extension. The major challenge in this project will be to ensure a correctly aligned and flushed seating of all the parts in to each other to improve the aesthetics and functionality of the pipe. The thick felt lining needs to be removed as it is unhygienic and most importantly, it was not supposed to be there in the first place!! The horn stem, once cleaned and polished and hydrated will look stunning to say the least with the contrasting dark and light cretin fibers making for a visual treat.  The Process
I started this project by reaming the chamber, with size 3 head of PipNet reamer. With my fabricated knife, I removed the cake from areas where the reamer head could not reach. I used a 180 grit sand paper, pinched between my thumb and forefinger, to sand the inner walls of the chamber. Once I had reached the bare briar, I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad dipped in isopropyl alcohol. This removed all the residual carbon dust presenting the walls for my inspection. The ghosting is still significant and I think more than the chamber, it the gunk in the sump and mortise that is the main culprit for the old smells. The chamber wall are in pristine condition save for some minor scratches that still remain from the old reaming. The draught hole appears slightly widened and extended forming a small channel to the foot of the chamber, likely caused due to enthusiastic use of pipe cleaner by the previous piper. These issues are superfluous, cosmetic and inconsequential to the overall functionality. The chamber wall and foot are all solid with another century of smoking pleasures left in it.   I followed up the cleaning of the chamber with that of the shank internals. Using my fabricated knife and dental tools, I first scrapped out as much of the accumulated dried crud from the sump and walls of the mortise as was possible. I further cleaned the mortise with q-tips and isopropyl alcohol. Using hard and regular pipe cleaners and alcohol, I cleaned the shank internals and the airway. A number of pipe cleaners later, the shank internals are somewhat clean however, the draw is nice, smooth and even. Traces of old oils and tars can be seen at the end of the mortise and at the base of the sump. The ghosting is still pretty strong and would necessitate using more invasive methods to eliminate these old smells. Before subjecting the stummel to salt and alcohol bath, I decided to clean the external stummel surface to remove the thin coat of lacquer and the dried glue from the shank end. I wiped the surface with pure acetone on a cotton swab. Though the lacquer coat is completely removed, the dried glue did not give way. The ghost smells in the chamber were still quite strong and hence I decided to address this issue. To eliminate the ghost smells from the pipe, I decided to treat it with salt and alcohol. I use a cotton ball which is an at par substitute to the kosher salt as I have realized over the last few years. I draw out a wick from the cotton and along with a folded regular pipe cleaner; insert it into the mortise and through the draught hole into the chamber. Thereafter, I pack the chamber with cotton balls to about quarter of an inch below the rim’s inner edge. I soak the cotton balls with isopropyl alcohol up to the brim. About half an hour later, the level of alcohol goes down, having been absorbed by the cotton. I top it up once again and set it aside overnight. By next morning, the cotton and alcohol has drawn out all the remaining oils and tars from the chamber and mortise, fulfilling its intended task. I removed the cotton balls and scraped out all the loosened tars and gunk from the sump. However, the airway and the draught hole was a different story. For the love of money, I couldn’t get a folded pipe cleaner in through the airway. The moistened gunk was so hard and tightly packed that I also had to use a drill tool from the Kleen Reem reamer tool to dislodge the gunk from within the air way. The chamber now smells clean and fresh. I set the stummel to dry out naturally. With the bowl internals clean, I move to clean the exterior of the stummel. I used a hard bristled tooth brush, Scotch Brite pad and Murphy’s Oil soap to scrub the stummel, horn stem and the cherry wood shank extension. After the scrub with oil soap, I washed the stummel, stem and shank extension under running warm water with anti oil dish washing detergent till the surface was clean and dried it using paper towels and soft cotton cloth. I simultaneously cleaned the internals of the shank, shank extension and stem, with the detergent and hard bristled shank brush and set the all the three parts aside to dry out naturally. The stummel surface has cleaned up nicely with the beautiful grain patterns on full display. Next, I removed the old fills from the stummel surface with a sharp dental tool. I cleaned the gouged out spots with cotton swab and alcohol in preparation for a fresh fill. Using the layering method, I filled the gouged out spots with CA superglue and briar dust. I always ensure that the fill is above the rest of the stummel surface. This helps in subsequent sanding and blending in of the fills with rest of the surrounding surface. I set the stummel aside for the fills to cure.  While the stummel fill was curing, I tackled the issues with the cherry wood shank extension. I begin with cleaning and removing all the dried glue and debris from the base of stem end tenon of the shank extension using dental tools and sharp knife. I scrapped out all the dried glue and pieces of the felt lining from the tenon and wiped it with cotton swabs and alcohol. However, hidden beneath all the dried glue and debris was a crack that ran the entire length of the tenon (indicated with yellow arrows). Close scrutiny of the crack assured me that the crack, though deep, did not extend to the inner wall of the tenon. I shall stabilize the crack first by filling it with thin CA superglue (for deeper spread) and further strengthen it with a coat of medium CA superglue. In fact, I decided to coat the entire tenon with superglue to provide a protective coat over the tenon surface.   I further cleaned the tenon with a Scotch Brite pad and dish washing soap in preparation of coating it with superglue. The stem end tenon cleaned up nicely. Just to be on the safer side, I insert an old pipe cleaner smeared with petroleum jelly in to the tenon. This will prevent clogging of the tenon airway in the event that the superglue percolated inside the airway. I filled the crack with thin CA superglue and once that had cured, I coated the entire tenon with a thin layer of medium CA superglue. I set the shank extension aside for the glue to harden.  Next, I worked on the horn stem and cleaned out all the old felt cloth lining and gunk from the threaded saddle portion of the horn stem. I further cleaned the stem internals and insides of the saddle with pipe cleaners, q- tips and isopropyl alcohol. The threads in the saddle are nice and deep and would help in creating matching threads over the superglue coated tenon in the shank extension.   Continuing with the stem repairs, I filled the deep tooth indentation in the bite zone on the upper stem surface with clear medium CA superglue. Once the fill had hardened sufficiently, I similarly filled the tooth indentation in the lower stem surface. I set the stem aside for the fills to cure. By this time, the superglue coat over the tenon of the shank extension had completely cured and I could continue with working on the shank extension. I decided to attach the missing brass band at the stem end of the shank extension. I rummaged through the various bands that I have and found one that was a near match with the size of the stem end of the shank extension. I tried a rough fit and realized that the band was a tad smaller than the shank extension face and also the band was larger than the groove in the shank extension surface. I addressed these issues by sanding down the shank extension end to match the band size and sanding down the band to a size that would fit the groove. I have had a terrible experience of using a sanding drum on my hand held rotary tool once and since then I have been doing such band modifications by manually sanding it on a piece of 150 grit sand paper. I fixed the modified band to the shank extension using superglue. The aesthetics of the pipe has been transformed completely by this addition and I am very pleased with the appearance of the shank extension at this point. Next, I addressed the issue of the exposed lighter hued surface in the shank extension caused due to chipped bark from the surface. I stained the lighter surface with a Mahogany stain pen followed by a coat with black sharpie pen. I applied the coat alternatively in layers till I achieved a perfect blend with the rest of the shank extension surface.   With the stem repairs being set aside for curing and the shank extension repairs completed, it was time to work on the stummel again. The stummel fill has cured completely at this point in time. With a flat head needle file I sand the fill and achieved a rough match with the rest of the stummel surface. To achieve a perfect blending in of the fill I sand the entire stummel surface with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. The minor scratches that were observed at the bottom surface of the shank were also addressed by this sanding. The fill has blended in nicely and further polishing with micromesh pads should further mask this fill and sanding marks left behind by the abrasive 220 grit sand paper.    However, I am not very happy with the appearance of the rim top surface at this stage of restoration process. The rim top appears darkened all around and suspected charring in 2 o’clock and 9 o’clock directions (encircled in yellow). To address these issues, I topped the rim on a piece of 220 grit sandpaper, checking frequently for the progress being made. Once I was satisfied that the issues have been addressed, I wiped the rim top with a moist cloth to remove the sanding dust. I am happy with the appearance of the rim top after topping. To bring a nice shine and eliminate the scratch marks left behind by the abrasive sandpaper, I wet sand the entire stummel with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads, wiping frequently with a moist cloth to check the progress. I really like the looks of the stummel at this point in restoration. The grains and the clean simple lines of this piece of briar is really appreciable. Next, I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” deep in to the briar and the cherry wood extension with my finger tips and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful grain patterns displayed in their complete splendor. The stains that I had applied to the shank extension have perfectly blended with the rest of the cherry wood surface and look amazing in its rich dark reddish brown color. I further buffed it with a horse hair brush. The contrast of the dark browns of the grains with the natural patina of the rest of the stummel adds an interesting dimension to the appearance of the stummel. With the stummel completed save for the final wax polish, I turned my attention back to the stem which had been set aside for the fills to cure. Using a flat head needle file, I sand the fills to achieve a rough match with the rest of the stem surface and followed it up by sanding the fills with a 220 grit sandpaper to achieve a perfect blend. The stem repairs looked good till the time I clicked pictures of the stem at this point. I was horrified when I saw the pictures as staring back at me on the lower stem surface were air pockets and that is every pipe restorer’s nightmare!! I cleaned out the old fill and applied another coat of CA superglue. Once the glue had cured completely, I repeated the entire process of filing and sanding as described above. However, the end results were the same with air pockets still presenting themselves in all their ugliness. I had repeated the entire process of refill, curing, filing and sanding two more times with the same results!! I have to accept this fact, live with it and move ahead with polishing the stem with micromesh pads.To bring a deep shine to the horn stem, I went through the complete set of micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem with moist cloth after each pad and rubbed it down with Extra Virgin Olive oil to rejuvenate the horn.  I polished the brass band at the shank end with Colgate tooth powder and it really amazes me at the shine it imparts to the metal ring. I reattached the sterling silver band to the shank end using superglue taking care that the band was firmly pressed in place. The crack in the band was also stabilized with the superglue.  To refresh the stem logo, I coat the stem logo with white correction ink and let it dry out completely while I polished the pipe with Blue Diamond. Once the ink had dried out, with a toothpick, I gently removed the excess ink from the surrounding surface.To apply the finishing touches, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and apply a coat of Blue Diamond to the stem to polish out the minor scratches. With a cotton buffing wheel that I use for carnauba wax, I apply a coat of carnauba wax to the stummel and stem and continued to work on it till the complete coat of wax had been polished out. I mount a clean cotton cloth buffing wheel and gave the entire pipe a once over buff. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine further. The finished pipe is shown below. P.S. The coat of superglue that I had applied to the stem end tenon of the shank extension had matching threads cut in to it when I tried to seat the tenon in to the threaded saddle of the stem. However, it’s only at a particular angle that the seating of the horn stem over the shank extension is flush. It does need more tweaking, but as per my mantra “LESS IS MORE”, I shall let it be for now as the attachment of all the pipe parts in to each other is snug and solid. Maybe a few years down the line, I may address the issues of air pockets and the seating of the stem…

Thank you for your valuable time in reading through these penned processes and my thoughts. Always praying for the health and well-being of readers of rebornpipes and their loved ones. Cheers!!  

Breathing Fresh Life into an Inherited Ben Wade “The Gem” from the Year 1900!


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

It’s been a while since I have worked on any of my grandfather’s pipe collection that I have inherited after his demise a few years ago. Amongst the collection, this small quaint Ben Wade was beckoning me for a long time. It is now that I decided to work on it. I had one Ben Wade without a stem, that Steve had taken back to Canada from his visit to India to fashion a stem from his bag of spares. This prompted me to fish out this Ben Wade and work towards its restoration.

This small sized straight Bulldog is typically classic British shape, with a diamond shank and a horn stem with a threaded bone tenon. The shank end is decorated with a sterling silver ferrule with embossed leaves, which is loose and came off easily. On this ferrule are the stamp details which will help in determining the vintage of this pipe. The silver shank ferrule is stamped as “A & Co” over a series of three hallmarks running from the left near the bowl end to the end of the shank on the right.The first hallmark is an “Anchor” in a shield shaped cartouche and identifies the city of Birmingham in England where the silver was crafted. The second hallmark is a passant Lion in a cartouche which signifies that the band is silver and that it was crafted by a British silversmith. The third hallmark is a square cartouche with the small letter “a” in the box which is a date letter that will give the year of the making of the pipe. Steve had recommended a site which he frequents while dating silver hallmarked pipes. Here is the link which helped me identify the city mark as Birmingham and further following the link on Birmingham date letter chart on the same page brought me to a separate page with all the letters along with the period in which they were stamped. I found the letter which matched to the one seen on the pipe in my hand and I can now say with authority that this silver ferrule is from the year of manufacture1900!! Unfortunately, the site did not allow me to copy/ edit and reproduce the relevant charts for including in this write up.

https://www.925-1000.com/british_marks.html

The next stamp which I researched was the “A & Co” stamp over the three hallmarks. I conferred with The-Beard-of-Knowledge on all things pipe, Steve and he suggested that I visit http://www.silvercollection.it and sure enough I got the information that I was looking for. I reproduce the relevant information from the site and also the link for those who may need to refer when researching their pipes.

http://www.silvercollection.it/englishsilvermarksXA.html

A business which is supposed to have been established in 1781 at Mitcham, Surrey, by William Asprey (died 1827).

CHRONOLOGY:
Francis Kennedy, c. 1804-c. 1841
Kennedy & Asprey, c. 1841-1843
Charles Asprey, 1843-c.1872
purchased the business of Charles Edwards, c.1857
Charles Asprey & Son, c.1872-c.1879
Charles Asprey & Sons, c.1879-c.1888
acquired Leuchars & Sons
C.& G.E. Asprey, c.1888-c.1900
Asprey (& Co), c.1900-1909
acquired Houghton & Gunn, 1906
acquired William Payne & Co, 1908
Asprey & Co Ltd, 1909- 1998
Asprey & Garrard, 1998-2002
Asprey & Co Ltd, 2002

The relevant stamping is highlighted in blue. The period/ vintage of the ferrule now perfectly matches and confirmed that it is from the year 1900.

With the year of make of the ferrule established as 1900, I wanted to confirm if this matched with the year of manufacture of the pipe itself. This is essential since the makers did stock up on such silver ferrule before they even made pipes for them. The stampings on the pipe itself should provide some clues to the link with the vintage of the pipe. The pipe is stamped as “B W” in a rectangle over “THE GEM”, all in golden block capital letters. There are no other markings on this pipe, not even COM stamp.I searched pipedia.org for information on this brand and further confirmation on dating this pipe. There are some interesting details on this brand and makes for an interesting read. I have reproduced some snippets of the information from pipedia.org which are relevant to dating this Ben Wade.

The company was founded by Benjamin Wade in 1860 in Leeds, Yorkshire, where it was located for over a century. Ben Wade started as a pipe trader, but yet in the 1860’s he established a workshop to produce briar pipes. The pipes were made in very many standard shapes – always extensively classic and “very British”. Many models tended to be of smaller dimensions. Ben Wade offered a very high standard of craftsmanship and quality without any fills. Thus the pipes were considered to be high grade and a major competitor to other famous English brands.

In the second World War the factory was destroyed by German air raids on Leeds. But the Ben Wade family decided to re-build it immediately after the war and pipe production was re-started soon and successfully linked to the fame from the pre-war years.

Before the second war Ben Wade clustered their offerings into three price points: “Ben Wade” included the higher end pipes (eg the Larnix, Super Grain, Selected Grain, etc), “BW” included the mid-level pipes (eg Statesman, Natural Grain, County, etc), and “BWL” were the least expensive (eg Hurlingham, Adelphi, Tense Grain). Champion was in the last group, and in the 1930s at least retailed for 2/6.

Even though the owner family decided to leave pipe business and sell off the firm. The family went into negotiations with Herman G. Lane, president of Lane Ltd. in New York at about the same time as the Charatan family. Lane Ltd. bought both firms in 1962.

From the above it is confirmed that the Ben Wade that I have inherited is from the family era and from the era before the second war, placing it before 1939. Now, I had read somewhere that it was common for pipe makers not stamp the pipe with the COM stamp in early 1900s and this was confirmed by Steve. Thus, to sum up all the information researched to date this particular piece, it is safe to conclude that this pipe is likely to have been made in the year 1900!! My inheritance indeed has some very nice and very old pipes.

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
In the month of January this year, I had restored a Loewe Kenton from my inherited pipes that was nicely reamed with no overflowing lava over the rim top (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/01/17/restoring-a-classic-british-billiard-loewe-co-pipe/) and now this is the second pipe which is without a layer of cake in the chamber. However, the rim top surface is darkened and covered with lava overflow. I searched through the remaining large carton of inherited pipe for another pipe which is sans cake, but did not find any. Coming back to the pipe on my work table, the rim inner edge is mighty uneven, most probably a result of using a knife blade and shows signs of darkening due to charring. However, the outer edge is without any damage. The walls of the chamber are in excellent condition with no signs of heat fissures/ lines, but slightly uneven. A little magical touch from Pavni, my daughter who specializes in making the chamber smooth should address this issue. The stummel surface has developed a nice patina over 119 years of its existence and I have no intentions of destroying it during the restoration. Therefore, the few dents and dings that are visible shall stay and be a part of the pipes history through the years. Maybe, micromesh polishing will address a few of these dents and scratches. I wouldn’t say that this pipe has beautiful grains all round because it does not!! But yes, there is a smattering of some straight grains in the cap of the stummel and few on the shank while rest of the stummel has just some swirls of grains here and there. Even though the stummel is covered in dust, dirt and grime from years of uncared for storage, through it all the pipe still has a feel of quality maybe because of the shape or the proportions, I am not able to pin point exact reasons, but the pipe shouts vintage and quality!! The double ring separating the cap from the rest of the stummel is filled with dirt and dust, but is intact with no chipping or unevenness, which is surprising. At this stage of my initial inspection, in order to see the condition of the shank end and mortise, I tried to separate the bone stem from the shank end. The stem would not budge. I had no desire of applying more force for the fear of breaking the bone tenon inside the mortise and this would have really complicated the restoration for me as well as the originality of the pipe would have been compromised. I wanted neither and so in went the entire pipe in to freezer for a chill. A few hours later, I took the pipe out from the freezer and slightly heated the shank end. Once satisfied, I gingerly turned the stem with success. A little coaxing and finally the stem and shank were separated. Whew! What a relief. However, when I tried to reattach the two, there was a slight gap between the stem and the shank end and indicated with red arrows. I am sure that with the cleaning of the shank/ mortise of the entire gunk, the fit should improve. After the stem was separated from the shank end, the sterling silver ferrule too fell out easily. I will have to fix it with superglue. A closer examination of the mortise confirmed that it is clogged with accumulation of oils, tars and gunk of yesteryear. The threads too are covered in the gunk and most probably the cause of the incorrect seating of the stem in the mortise.The horn stem itself appears dull and lifeless and has tooth chatter on both the surfaces of the stem. The slot is perfectly round and correct for the time period of the pipe and shows accumulation of dried tars and dirt. The button edges, however, are sharp and sans any damage with a little dirt embedded at the bottom of the edges. I could make out one crack emanating from the right bottom edge of the diamond saddle and extending to more than half the length of the saddle panel. This crack is shown by a yellow arrow. The dark and light hues taken on by the stem over the years should polish out nicely and will add an additional touch of class to this classy pipe. THE PROCESS
Pavni, my youngest daughter loves to help me in pipe restoration in her free time and her forte is getting the walls of the chamber as smooth as a baby’s bottom. With a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper she completely evened out the wall surface. Once she was through with her sanding regime, I cleaned out the internals of the shank and the mortise with a few hard and regular pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol. I also cleaned out the threads in the shank end with cotton buds and alcohol. With a sharp knife, I gently scraped away the lava overflow from the rim top surface. I followed it up by cleaning the external surface of the stummel with hard bristled tooth brush and Murphy’s oil soap. I rinsed it under running tap water and dried it with paper towels and a soft cotton cloth. I diligently scrubbed the rim top surface with a scotch-brite pad and Murphy’s oil soap to remove the remaining lava overflow. With this step on this particular project, I achieved two results; firstly, the gold lettered stamping on the shank was consigned to past tense and secondly, a couple of fills were revealed (marked in yellow arrows) at the front of the bowl and in the bottom left panel of the diamond shank. Thankfully, there is no charring over the inner and outer edge or the rim surface. I removed the old and loosened fills from the front of the bowl and one on the shank that was closer to the bowl. The old fill at the shank end; I let it be as it would be covered with superglue while attaching the silver ferrule. Next, I decided to address the issue of darkened rim top surface and uneven inner edge by topping the rim on a piece of 220 grit sand paper. The progress being made was frequently checked as I had no desire to lose any briar estate than absolutely necessary. Once satisfied with the result, I wiped the rim top surface with a moist cloth. The darkened rim top has been addressed completely, however, the inner rim edge is still uneven (though greatly reduced) with slight charred edges. I address these issues by simply running a piece of 220 grit sand paper along the inner rim edge without creating a bevel, but a nice rounded even surface.Next issue to be addressed was the fills. As mentioned above, I had cleaned out the old and loose fills using my sharp dental tool. I filled these with a mix of superglue and briar dust using the layering technique. Using a toothpick, I first spot fill superglue in to the surface of the intended fill and press briar dust over it. I repeat this process, if need be, till the fill is slightly above the rest of the surface. Once all the fills are covered, I set the stummel aside to cure. Once the fills are sufficiently hardened, which is quite rapid, I sand it with a flat head needle file to achieve a rough match with the rest of the stummel surface. I follow it up by sanding with a piece of 220, 600 and 800 grit sand papers to a perfect match. Discerning readers must have noted that I did not sand the entire stummel surface. This was because, as I had decided earlier that I would maintain the aged patina that the briar had taken on over the 119 years.At this stage, I decided that I would tackle the stem repairs as addressing the crack observed on the diamond saddle would require curing time and while the stem repair is curing, I could get back to the stummel, saving on time. I began by first cleaning the bone tenon and the stem surface with a cotton swab and alcohol to remove all the dirt and gunk from the surface. I was contemplating whether or not to drill a counter hole to prevent the crack from progressing further and after weighing the cons, I decided not to do so. The probability of the stem chipping or the crack developing further was reason enough for me to avoid this drilling. I filled this crack with plain superglue and set it aside to cure. The CA superglue would seep and spread inside and stabilize the crack. During his visit, while discussing various aspects of pipe restorations, Steve had made a passing comment that in his experience the best way to preserve the patina on a briar if you need to sand it is to dry sand the stummel with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. I followed his advice and went ahead and dry sanded the entire stummel surface with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. The results are amazing. The stummel has now a deep and rich dark brown coloration and this will further deepen once I go through the polishing and wax application regimen. Most of the readers would have noticed that the double ring separating the cap from the rest of the stummel shows accumulation of briar dust and grime. Also the fills are darker than the rest of the stummel surface. I have noticed it too and will clean the rings at the end as the polish and wax would also be accumulating in these gaps subsequently. The issue of the fills was addressed by staining the fills and surrounding surface with a dark brown stain pen. I set the stummel aside overnight for the stain to set. The blend is near perfect and should blend further after application of balm and carnauba wax polish.The superglue applied over the crack was by now well cured and had seeped in to the crack as well. I sand the entire stem and the fill in particular, with a worn piece of 220 grit sand paper. This helped to address the tooth chatter seen in the bite zone as well as blend the fill with the rest of the stem surface. I followed it up with dry sanding the stem with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. I wiped the stem with a moist cloth after every three pads to remove the resulting bone dust. To finish, I applied a liberal coat of Extra Virgin Olive oil and set it aside to be absorbed by the porous bone. I am very pleased with the way the contrasting dark browns and lighter grains in the bone are now highlighted. Once polished further, this will further add a touch of class to an already chic looking Bulldog!! I applied petroleum jelly over the bone tenon and tried the fit of it in to the mortise after temporarily attaching the silver ferrule over the shank end. The alignment and seating of the two was spot on. I separated all the parts again and continued further. While the stem was being hydrated with olive oil, I went back to work the stummel. The stain had set well by this time. I applied a little “Before and After Restoration” balm with my fingers and rubbed it deep in to the stummel surface. This balm rejuvenates the briar and the transformation in the appearance of the stummel is almost immediate. The fills are now so well blended in to the briar that it is difficult to spot them. The only part that needs TLC is the sterling silver ferrule. I polish the ferrule with a very soft powder specifically available locally, and widely used by jewelers, for polishing of silver. I align the ferrule stampings with the stummel stamping on the shank and fix it over the shank with a little superglue. The contrast that this shiny ferrule provides against the dark brown of the stummel looks fantastic.Next, I ran a thin and sharp knife through the double cap ring and cleaned it. To finish, I re-attach the stem with the stummel and mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my rotary tool. I set the speed at about half of the full power and applied several coats of carnauba wax over the stummel and the stem of the pipe. I finished the restoration by giving the pipe a rigorous hand buff using a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine further. The completed pipe, with dark brown hues of the stummel contrasting with silver ferrule and the shiny dark browns and lighter grains in the bone stem makes for a visual treat. The pipe looks lovely, fresh and vibrant; the photographs speak for themselves. Thank you for your valuable time. P.S. This was the last pipe that I had restored during my leave from my work. The following write ups are now on pipes that I have already restored after returning to my work place. I shall sorely miss the help that Pavni, my 10 year youngest daughter and Abha, wifey dear, extend in my work. There are about 40 odd pipes that I have carried with me and which have been cleaned by Abha. So the next couple of months are going to be interesting. Keep following rebornpipes.com for some nice, unique and interesting pipes from here in India in the near future.

Oh, missed out on one aspect!! I tried to repaint the shank stamp with a gold glitter pen towards the end, but it would just not stay. Any suggestion would definitely help me mark this oldie as well as for future.

 

Recommissioning a Classic Pocket Pipe:  A Fun Sport Horn Stem Sculpted Stubby Paneled Tomato


Blog by Dal Stanton

I’m calling this Sport Horn Stem “fun” because it’s a whimsical pipe.  As a ‘stubby’ he looks like he wanted to grow larger but didn’t.  He’s diminutive in stature and really qualifies as a ‘Pocket Pipe’ because he will be comfy in a pocket waiting for his steward to pack his bowl and spend some time together.  The dimensions are: Length: 4 1/4 inches, Height: 1 1/8 inches, Rim width: 1 inch, Chamber width: 11/16 inches, Chamber depth: 1 1/8 inches.  His paneled bowl has also been shaped with a sculpting that appears to be leaves, vines and a basket on his heel.  When you put this pipe’s characteristics together, whimsical comes to my mind.  He came to me as a part of the French Lot of 50 that I acquired from France’s eBay auction block.  This French Lot of 50 has been an amazing collection of pipes many of which are now with new stewards after they commissioned them from For “Pipe Dreamers” Only! online collection and many of which bearing names that are unknown to me.  This lot was also characterized by several pipes sporting horn stems – pointing in many cases to earlier French origins.  Here’s a picture of the Lot and the Sport is bowl down on the lower right.Peter was among those who trolled through the virtual ‘Help Me!’ baskets in Pipe Dreamers Only! and reached out to me about commissioning the Sport which benefits the Daughters of Bulgaria – our work here in Bulgaria helping women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Now on my worktable, here are more pictures of the Sport. The left side of the shank holds the slanted, cursive, ’Sport’ framed in a sculpted panel.  On the right side of the shank, is the French rendering of ‘BRUYERE’ [over] ‘DELUXE’.  As I’ve done several times before with this Lot, I’m assuming that the Sport is of French origin – the horn stem helps in this conviction as horn was a common stem material for pipe manufacturing in the earlier part of the 1900s. As I was half expecting, I found very little at my normal first stops at Pipedia and Pipephil.  ‘Sportsman’ is a popular name I saw in Pipephil but nothing with the simple, ‘Sport’.  Pipedia dangled some possibilities.

Pipedia listed in the Savinelli article (LINK) the Savinelli made sub-brands, seconds & order productions and had this listing: “Sport – About 1960’s – Chubby shape with very short stem or mouthpiece”.  Interesting, but the Sport just doesn’t have the Savinelli Italian feel with the horn stem and sculpting.  Pipedia provided two more leads – one of French origin and the other English.  Again, Pipedia only contributes in the English listing section and not with an article: “Sport: Brand of J. Cohen & Son. Also a Salvatella series, and a model by Chacom.”  I looked up the link given for Salvatella because I hadn’t heard of this name.  The short paragraph was interesting:

Salvatella was a pipe company founded in 1883 by Enric Moulines Giralt in Catalonia, Spain, long the center both of briar production and pipemaking in Spain. Giralt started the company after training with French pipemakers, and primarily dedicated himself to the development of briar. It was not until Giralt’s nephew, the third to take over the company, that Salvatella began producing pipes as well as briar. While at their height the company produced as many as 150,000 pipes per year and exported pipes worldwide, the factory closed in 2001.

Interesting, but nothing that helps me move forward.  The listing for ‘Sport’ in the Pipedia French manufacturers list was even less demonstrable: “Bristol Sport” followed by: “???”  Each piece of information is like a thread in the wind.  Nothing to get ahold of or to tie to!

In a last ditch effort to find something, I recalled the restoration of another petite French beauty that came from this French Lot of 50 that I had already researched and restored (See: Discovering the History with the Reclamation of this Petite EPC Majestic Bent Horn Stem Billiard).  The EPC Majestic I discovered dated in the 1920s and was produced by now defunct, A. Pandevant & Roy Co. near Paris.  The research of the EPC Majestic led me to old catalogs that helped me put the pieces of the mystery of its origins together.  The similarities between the Sport and the EPC Majestic gave me the idea that maybe the name ‘Sport’ might show up in the old catalog.  With a certain amount of hope I poured through the Catalogue only to find nothing.  One last thread in the wind of little use: Also, in the same French Lot of 50 was another pipe marked with “Sport” on its shank.  An attractive Bullmoose which is still in the For “Pipe Dreamers” Only! online collection waiting to be adopted!  A quick comparison of the markings leaves little hope that they are related….While I cannot corroborate this, I believe that the Sport before me is of French origin and that the horn stem gives it some vintage – how much, I cannot say.  Even so, it is an attractive and interesting pipe even though his origins will remain shrouded in mystery for now.

Looking at the pipe’s condition, it is in very good shape.  The chamber has a light cake build-up but the lava flow over the rim has some grit to it.  The sculpted surface needs cleaning and polishing.  The horn stem is beautiful and shows almost no bit wear.  It will shine up very nicely.  I start the recommissioning of this Sport Horn Stem Sculpted Paneled Tomato by starting with the stummel.  Using the Pipnet Reaming Kit I use only the first, smallest of the blade heads to ream the 11/16-inch-wide chamber.  I follow this by employing the Savinelli Fitsall Tool to scrape the chamber walls and clean out around the draft hole.  Finally, I sand the chamber using 240 grade paper wrapped around the Sharpie Pen and finish by wiping the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol to clean away the carbon dust.  With the chamber cleaned, I give it a quick inspection, and all looks good – no problems with overheating, cracks or fissures. Next, using undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a cotton pad, I scrub the external sculpted briar surface.  I also use a bristled toothbrush to get into the crevasses of the sculpting as well as a brass wire brush to work on the rim.  After scrubbing the surface, I take the stummel to the sink and using warm water I clean the internals using shank brushes and anti-oil dish soap.  While I’m at it, I use the brass brush on the nickel shank facing.After rinsing, and inspecting the now clean stummel, I discover 2 things.  First, there is a huge fill on the left shank near the ‘Sport’ nomenclature.  I’m not sure how I missed it before, so I look at a ‘before’ picture and discover that the fill had been part of the sculpting in a very effective way.  The fill was almost fully masked because it was blended with the contours.  Now, I’ll have to work on doing the same!  The second thing I discovered is that the mortise has a cork layer which grips the metal tenon.  Thankfully, I discover this before digging in the mortise to clean it!  As I inspect the mortise, I also see what appears to be a metal tubing beyond the cork down to the draft hole.  I use a sharp dental probe to test it and it does feel like metal or a hard lining of some sort.  The presence of the cork could possibly add more weight to this Sport having some vintage to it.  Cork was often used on older pipes to grip the tenon – the EPC Majestic included. Just to make sure, I remount the horn stem to see if the grip was still good – it was.  I’ll treat the cork later with some petroleum jelly to hydrate it.  Wow – I can’t believe I missed that fill!!I continue cleaning the internals by using isopropyl 95% and cotton buds reaching over the cork as much as possible. I also scrape the sides of the mortise, beyond the cork to help excavate tars and oils.  After a lot of cotton buds and pipe cleaners, the buds begin to emerge lighter and cleaner and I’m able to move on!The huge fill on the left shank side needs to be addressed.  The fill is solid but eroded so that it falls beneath the surface level of the briar.  I first dig out the old fill material using a sharp dental probe. My, the hole is deep!  After removing the fill, I clean the area with a cotton pad and alcohol. I then mix thick CA glue with briar dust to form a putty to refill the hole. Before mixing the CA glue and briar dust, I put scotch tape down on a plastic disk that serves as a mixing pallet.  The tape helps to facilitate cleaning – I simply peel the tape up afterwards.  I place a small pile of briar dust on the disk and put some thick CA glue in a small puddle next to the dust.  Using a toothpick, I gradually pull some briar dust into the edge of the thick CA glue and mix it as I go.  When it gets to a thickness that it doesn’t run too much, I dollop some into the crevasse with the toothpick and knead the putty down into the recesses using the toothpick.  When the hole is filled and a bit higher than the surface, I put the stummel aside to cure.  Since the putty is so thick – the hole so large, I’ll let the curing go through the night.  I put the stummel aside and turn to the horn stem.I start by cleaning the airway with pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl 95%.  After one attempt with the pipe cleaner I discover that the airway is closed.  Looking at the button, I can see that the slot is totally plugged with gunk.  I use a dental probe with a hook point to excavate the gunk out of the slot.  Eventually, I’m able to work a thin shank brush wetted with isopropyl 95% through the airway.  After several pipe cleaners and assistance from shank brushes, the airway started cleaning up and I move on.To clean the external surface of the horn stem I take it to the sink with a bristled toothbrush and scrub the stem with warm water and dish soap.  First, I take a pair of pictures to mark the start.After the scrubbing, the horn composition starts to show its subtle shadows.  Very nice.After cleaning the nickel tenon with soap and water and clearing the gunk buildup on the stem facing, I use 000 steel wool to clean the tenon further bringing out the shine.With the stem now clean, I study the horn stem.  It’s a beautiful piece of horn and the only thing I can do is simply spruce it up.  In the past, I benefited greatly by Steve’s essay on horn stem repair working on my first horn stem, A First Horn Stem on a Throw Away Pipe.  The key thing in repairing horn is to fill the gaps to keep the horn from drying and splintering as horn is very porous.  This stem needs no repairs, but looking closely, I do see normal minuscule porous texture.  The tighter or smoother the horn surface is, helps to guard against the decay of the horn.  I take a few closeups to show this.I treat the horn stem like a vulcanite stem but with greater gentleness.  I run the stem through the micromesh regimen, and I will apply compounds afterward.  I wet sand with micromesh pads 1500 to 2400 and follow by dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  After each set of three pads, I apply Obsidian Oil to the horn and the horn drinks it up! I’m pleased with the results – even more gloss!  My day comes to an end. The next day, the briar dust putty fill has fully cured, and I go to work on it using a flat needle file to bring the fill mound down to briar level.I then use a piece of 240 grade sanding paper to smooth it further and to begin giving some shape to the patch to blend it.When the sandpaper did what it could do, I used a pointed needle file to sculpt through the patch to blend the patch with the surrounding area.  The good news is that the area is rough and busy which helps in blending the patch.With a combination of filing and sanding, I like the results.  The briar putty patch is darker than the surrounding area but I’m hopeful that the surrounding briar will also darken through the micromesh sanding/polishing process and with the application afterwards of Before & After Restoration Balm.After the external briar cleaning, the rim is looking good but still has some minor discoloration from charring on the internal rim edge and well as some roughness on the rim.  I gently sand the rim and the internal edge with a piece of 240 grade paper to dispatch the issues.  The rim looks good. Next, I apply the full regimen of nine micromesh pads starting with wet sanding using pads 1500 to 2400.  After this, wet sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000 finishes the process.  Wow, it is amazing how this process brings out the grain! From the picture above, the sculpting lines are lighter, and the hue is uneven with the darkening hue of the surrounding smooth briar.  The micromesh has helped with the blending of the briar dust putty patch, but it’s still noticeable.  Applying Before & After Restoration Balm will address both these issues and I’m looking forward to seeing the results.  I put some Balm on my fingers and work the Balm well into the sculpting and briar.  It starts with a cream-like consistency and then thickens to feel more like wax.  I place the stummel aside for 30 minutes for the Balm to be absorbed (pictured) and then I wipe off the excess Balm with a clean cloth then I buff the stummel to bring out the grain.  The briar looks great!As I noted before, the presence of the cork in the shank to grip the tenon possibly helps place this pipe in an older vintage.  To treat the cork, I use petroleum jelly to condition the cork.  I apply a light coat with a cotton bud and work it in.  This will hydrate the cork and hopefully add much time to the cork’s continued life.With the horn stem and Sport sculpted stummel reunited, I apply Blue Diamond compound.  After mounting a cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel, and setting the speed to 40% full power, the compound does the job of applying the fine abrasive to the briar surface removing fine imperfections and distinguishing further the sculpted crevasses.  After applying Blue Diamond to the stummel and stem, I change to another cotton cloth buffing wheel dedicated to applying Blue Diamond on nickel.  I give the nickel shank cap a quick buffing with the compound to raise the shine.  I use a different buffing wheel for each different kind of application. While polishing the cap, I’m careful not to run the wheel over the briar as the nickel will stain the wood with the black resulting from the polishing the nickel.Following the compound, I change cotton buffing wheels to a wheel dedicated to wax, maintain speed at 40% and apply carnauba wax to both horn stem and stummel.  Afterwards, the restoration is completed with a rigorous hand buffing to remove excess wax as well as to raise the shine.I cannot place with certainty the exact vintage of this Sport Bruyere Deluxe, but it has characteristics of an older pipe.  I believe it to have a French COM and the horn stem seated with cork, is a distinctive part of this ensemble.  The sculpted bowl is attractive, and the stubby, pocket-sized ease translates into a very fun pipe put back into service for a new steward.  Since Peter commissioned the Sport from the For “Pipe Dreamers” Only! online collection, he will have the first opportunity to acquire it from The Pipe Steward Store which benefits the Daughters of Bulgaria – our work here in Bulgaria helping women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks for joining me!

Repairing, Renewing and Rejuvenating a Removable Bowl C.P.F. Pullman Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

I decided to go back to the older pipes that my brother and I picked up on our virtual pipe hunt in Montana. This old timer was a briar base with a removable bowl pipe. It had a brass separator between the bowl and the base. It had a brass band on the shank and horn stem. It is stamped Pullman in a Germanic Script over C.P.F. in an oval on the left side of the shank. This one is a classic bent billiard shaped pipe but the removable bowl on the briar base is unique. I have had other C.P.F. pipes that had a Bakelite base with a briar bowl but never one with a briar base. It is delicate in terms of size (5 inches long and 1 7/8 inches tall) and feels light weight in hand. Like the other banded pipes in this lot the band on the shank is loose and the same faux hall marks over the C.P.F. oval logo. The finish is very dirty and the rim is damaged around the inner and outer edges of the bowl. The threads on the bowl bottom and the base were worn and the bowl no longer stayed in place. The horn stem is worn and there is tooth chatter on the top and underside of the stem near the button. The stem is underturned in the shank. The photos below show what it looked like before my brother did his clean up on it. If you would like to read about some of the other C.P.F. pipes I have restored I have written about them in individual blogs. They include a C.P.F. French Briar Horn, C.P.F. horn stem bulldog, a C.P.F. French Briar bent billiard, a C.P.F. Remington French Briar military mount billiard and a C.P.F. French Briar Rhodesian. Just a reminder – C.P.F. stands for Colossus Pipe Factory. The pipe was made during the same time period as the other pipes of this brand that I have been working on – the late 1880s and 1890s.Jeff took some close up photos base and the bowl sides and bottom. It shows the crack in the base and the cracked and damaged brass separator plate between the bowl and base. The bowl has a lot of deep nicks and scratches in the outer rim edge and the base has some deep nicks around the crack. The bowl had a thick cake that had run over the top of the rim and formed a thick cake on the rim top. It was rock hard and very thick.The next photos show the faux hallmarks on the ferrule and the C.P.F. oval on the left side of the metal. It was oxidized and worn. The stamping on the shank read Pullman over the C.P.F. oval and both were filled in with gold leaf.Once the bowl was removed from the base you can see the cord that is wrapped around the threads on the bottom of the bowl. The brass separator plate was split and was missing a piece of the folded over portion of the plate. There was a thick cake of tars and oils on the bottom of the bowl and in the base. The threads were worn in the base as well. The ferrule was loose and came off when the stem was removed. The bone tenon was threaded into the shank and was not removable. The stem was underturned and with the grime and build up in the shank as well as the stem it would not align. I had a hunch that the loose ferrule also contributed to that. The dried glue did not allow the ferrule to sit snug and against the end of the shank. The horn stem was in good shape other than the tooth chatter and marks on both the top and underside at the button. When we looked at this pipe during our pipe hunt I wondered if it would even hold together once Jeff had cleaned the briar. The cracked spacer looked delicate as well. I was really curious what it would look like when it arrived in Vancouver. Jeff did his usual regimen of cleaning but proceeded carefully through each step. He reamed bowl with a PipNet Reamer and took the cake back to bare briar. He cleaned up the little remnants of cake with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the inside of the base and the threads on the bottom of the bowl. He removed all of the cord that had been used to attach the bowl to the base. He cleaned out the internals of the pipe – the airways in the shank, mortise and stem using alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl and base with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove all of the thick grime. He scrubbed the overflow of lava on the rim top and edges with the soap and tooth brush. He rinsed the pieces under tap water and dried them off with a towel. He scrubbed the exterior of the horn stem with the oil soap and tooth brush as well as it works well with horn.

When the pipe arrived I was excited to have a look at it. Here is what I saw once it arrived. It was clean and everything was loose – the separator plate, the bowl and the ferrule all moved freely. The cracks and the sandpits in the base were visible and the nicks and damage to the outer edge of the bowl were also very visible. I took photos of the pieces before I began to work on the pipe. The horn stem looked really good and the striations that run the length of the stem will polish up well giving the stem a unique appearance. The variations in horn stems are part of the allure to me and keep me looking for them.The next photo shows the missing piece of the separator plate and the damage to the rim top and the outer edge of the bowl.I put the pieces together enough to take a picture of what the pipe would look like as a whole. Nothing was permanent in these photos as just picking the pipe up would cause a jumble of parts on the work table. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the condition of the edge of the bowl. Interestingly the photo does not show the damage to the outer edge. It does show the nicks and scratches on the inner edge of the bowl and some of the nicks in the rim top.The next series of photos show the process of the repairs of the sandpits and the nicks on the base. I also scratched out the crack with a dental pick and filled it in with super glue while I did the same with the sandpits. Once I had sanded the repaired areas on both sides of the base I reglued the brass plate on the top with the cracked and damaged portion facing the back side toward the bend in the shank. It would not show as much once the bowl was in place. Once the repairs had been done on the base I used clear fingernail polish to build up the threads in both the base and on the bottom of the bowl. It took several coats to build it up enough to give them enough material to connect.I removed the ferrule from the shank and cleaned the dried glue on the shank and inside the ferrule with acetone on a cotton swab. I sanded the area under the band with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the surface so that the ferrule would seat correctly on the shank. I painted the shank end with a folded pipe cleaner and all-purpose glue. I aligned the faux hallmarks and the C.P.F. oval with the stamping on the side of the shank and pressed the ferrule in place on the shank. I screwed the stem on the shank to check if things aligned now and everything was perfect. The repair to the ferrule had taken care of the underturned stem.I set the base aside to let the glue harden. I turned my attention to the bowl itself. I cleaned off the damaged outer edge of the rim with acetone on a cotton pad. I circled the damaged area in the photo below for ease of reference. I filled the damaged area in with clear super glue and let it dry. Once the glue had cured I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to blend it into the surrounding briar.I topped the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper on a hard board to remove the damage to the rim top, inner and outer edge from the top view. It did not take too much to get things smooth again. I polished the bowl sides and top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. The bowl began to show some very nice grain patterns as the polishing made them stand out. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cotton pad after each micromesh sanding pad and hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth before moving on to the next step of the refurb. I polished the brass separator plate between the bowl and base and the ferrule with micromesh sanding pads and wiped them down with a jeweler’s cloth to bring out a smooth shine.I polished the briar base with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the base down with a damp cotton pad after each micromesh pad. With the work on the bowl and base finished I set them aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth marks on the surface of the stem on both sides at the button with 220 grit sandpaper. I polished the horn with micromesh sanding pads – we wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem with Obsidian Oil after each micromesh pad and after the final rubdown I set it aside to dry. I polished each part of the pipe separately with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave each part multiple coats of carnauba wax to protect the briar and the horn and help the brass from oxidizing. With all the parts cleaned and polished it was time to put the pipe back together again. I thread the bowl onto the base and screwed the stem onto the shank. I aligned everything and carefully hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. For a pipe over 125 years old it looks pretty good. It is cleaned and ready for its first smoke post restoration. It should work well and should last a lot longer than this old refurbisher will. It will pass on into the hands of another pipeman who enjoys the unique qualities of old briar and horn stems. Thanks for looking.

 

 

 

 

Another interesting piece of pipe history Manhattan Canted Dublin with a Horn Stem


Blog by Steve Laug

I have worked on at least two other pipes that I wrote about that bore the Manhattan stamp on the shank in the past few years. One of them was a cased, bent Bakelite Bulldog with a Lockrite Stem. It had a Bakelite Manhattan stamp on the left side of the shank. When I wrote that blog I could find no information on the brand. The second one was a cased Manhattan Bakelite Billiard. The shank and the case on this one both had the same identifying information. The inside cover of the case read Manhattan over French Briar over Bakelite. The shank read Manhattan De Luxe stamped on the left side. In researching the blog on that pipe, I found that a company in the US called the Manhattan Pipe Company made the pipe. There was no other information that I could find at that time.

We found the next Manhattan on the virtual pipe hunt that my brother and I did in Montana. It was an older pipe than the others I had worked on. It also had a horn stem. I would call it a canted Dublin shape (others may differ on that). It is a very lightweight pipe and was in fair condition. The finish was worn and peeling but the briar had very interesting straight/flame grain that flowed on an angle on both sides of the bowl and horizontally along the shank. The back and front of the bowl had a mix of birdseye and flame grain. I have included the photos that Jeff took of the pipe before he worked his magic on it. I thought it would be interesting to see if there was any new information online regarding the brand. Of course, I checked on the Pipes, Logos and Stampings – PipePhil’s site. There was a listing for Manhattan pipes but there was not any new information and what was there was inconclusive. I turned to Pipedia to see if there was a new article. I was surprised to find that there was one, I do not know if it was new or not, but I do not recall seeing it before. The article was called The Manhattan Briar Pipe Company. It is an interesting read so I have included the article in its entirety as well as the advertisement from 1913 that showed a Manhattan pipe. The interesting thing for me is that the pipe is the same shape and style as the one I have in hand. The difference of course is that mine does not have a silver band and there is a horn stem rather than a vulcanite stem.

1913 Manhattan Advertisement

The Manhattan Briar Pipe Co. was organized in October, 1902 by the American Tobacco Company, under an agreement with the owners of the Brunswick Briar Pipe Company, as a New York corporation. Its initial address was 111 5th Avenue, New York City, and the value of its stock in 1902 was $350,000.00. American Tobacco Company had itself been founded in 1890 by J. B. Duke through a merger between a number of U.S. tobacco companies, and was one of the original twelve members of the Dow Jones Industrial Average in 1896. It was commonly called the “Tobacco Trust”.

The majority of the stock in Manhattan Briar Pipe Company was immediately acquired by the American Tobacco Company after the company was organized, but the prior owners retained a controlling minority interest for some years. In October, 1906, however, the American Tobacco Company acquired the remaining shares of stock, and from that point on Manhattan Briar was the pipe making branch of American Tobacco. By 1911, however, American Tobacco had been dissolved in anti-trust litigation, and Manhattan Briar Pipe Co. became a separate concern.

Manhattan Briar Pipe Co. had started operations in 1905 in Jersey City, New Jersey, having taken on a lease for a ten year period in 1905, and maintained a factory at Marion, New Jersey, where the pipes were made. By 1913, former American Tobacco pipe department chair John Glossinger was the president of Manhattan Briar Pipe Company, and began a significant advertising push for high grade pipes, using the slogan “Don’t spoil good tobacco by using a poor pipe”. It appears from cases having appeared on the estate market that Manhattan also sold meerschaum pipes, most likely rebranded articles originally made by European craftsmen.

After the expiration of the Jersey City lease the Manhattan Briar Pipe Company maintained offices and a factory at 415-425 Greenpoint Avenue, Brooklyn, New York beginning in 1915, evidently under the direction of W. C. Bastian, who had been granted a patent for a chambered pipe stem otherwise seemingly identical to a Peterson P-Lip in 1910. An employee of the company, one J. Gianninoto, was granted a patent for a device meant to permit the emptying of a cuspidor without the mess in early 1918, and the company continues to be listed in local directories through 1921. In 1922 Manhattan Briar was purchased by S.M. Frank and merged into that company. https://pipedia.org/wiki/Manhattan_Briar_Pipe_Co.

Further digging led me to a link on the S.M. Frank Co. & Inc. history page. Reading through the history of the company I found that S.M. Frank not only purchased the Manhattan Briar Pipe Company but also purchased WDC or William DeMuth & Company – two of the older brands that I enjoy working on. Here is the relevant section from the link: In the year 1900 Sam Frank Sr. started his own business, selling pipes and other tobacco items. His original office was located at 20 W. 17th Street, NYC. He was also closely associated with the sales staff of Wm. DeMuth & Co., selling their line of pipes. It was at this time that Mr. Frank first met Ferdinand Feuerbach and formed what would be a lifelong friendship. Mr. Feuerbach started working for the DeMuth Company in 1897 and by 1903 had become the production manager. In 1919, when Mr. Frank needed an experienced pipe man to run his pipe factory, located at 168 Southern Blvd., in the Bronx, he persuaded his old friend Ferdinand to join him. Mr. Feuerbach is credited with developing DeMuth’s popular Royal DeMuth and Hesson Guard Milano pipelines. In 1922, when S. M. Frank purchased the Manhattan Briar Pipe Co. the company incorporated.  http://www.smfrankcoinc.com/home/?page_id=2

That link led me to me to some further information including an advertisement and a shape chart on Chris Keene’s Pipe Pages http://pipepages.com/mbpc2.htm. I have included them here with acknowledgement to Chris Keene. I always enjoy reading the old copy of these advertisements as they take me back to place where the pipe was an acceptable part of the life. Of course, this influx of information makes me wonder what I was looking for the last time I did a search for this brand. It seems some days you put in the right search parameters and hit the jackpot and other days the wrong ones leave you with nothing. I now knew more about the brand than I ever imagined when I began the hunt. I am pretty sure that my pipe was made in the era between 1900-1910. It is roughly from the same time period as the C.P.F. pipes that were in that lot.The bowl had a thick cake that had flowed out of the bowl and on the rim top. The inner edge of the rim appeared to be damaged but I would know more once I had it in hand. The next series of photos show the bowl from a variety of angles to show the condition of the finish and the grain around the bowl sides and bottom. The pipe was stamped on the left side of the shank MANHATTAN and there was no other stamping on the pipe.The horn stem was in decent condition with tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the button. There was also a small hole that was on the underside of the stem – it did not go all the way through the stem into the airway but it was present. The bone tenon was in good condition and the alignment of the stem to the shank was perfect.My brother Jeff has established his own process of thoroughly cleaning the pipes that he works on for me. This one was no exception, it was cleaned thoroughly. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer and tidied it up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol and cleaned the exterior of the threaded bone tenon with a cotton swab and alcohol. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the grime and grit on the bowl. He scrubbed the rim top with a tooth brush and the oil soap and was able to clean off the lava overflow. I took photos of the pipe to show the condition it was in when it arrived in Vancouver. The grain really was quite stunning. While the MANHATTAN stamp is legible on the left side of the shank it is quite faint. I took a close up photo of the bowl and rim top after my brother had clean it up. The rim top was in good condition, the bowl was clean but the inner edge of the bowl showed a lot of damage and looked like the same knife that had been used to ream the other pipes in this lot had done its work here as well.His clean up on the horn stem had revealed that the small hole I had noted on the photos above was indeed present and was a small separation between the fibres of the horn. Fortunately this is a simple repair but the repair always shows.Since the stem was clean, the repair was simple. I filled in the tooth dent on the top side of the stem near the button with clear super glue. I sprayed the repair with accelerator so that I could repair the split on the other side. I filled that split in with the same clear super glue, sprayed it with accelerator and took the following photos.I sanded the repaired areas with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the excess and blend it into the surface of the horn. I worked over the entire stem at the same time to smooth it out and remove some of the nicks and marks on the surface of the horn.Since I was already working on it, I decided to continue and polish the stem before moving on to the bowl. I polished it with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad to give more life to the horn. I gave it a final coat of oil after the last pad and set it aside to dry. The repair on the top of the stem disappeared into the horn while the larger split on the backside was smooth but more visible. I set the stem aside for its final polish on the buffing wheel once I finished the work on the bowl. I began by polishing the rim of the bowl with a 1500 grit micromesh pad. My purpose was to see if I could remove some of the darkening or if I would need to top the bowl. I was happy to see that the pad cleaned it up and no topping was necessary. I used a folded piece of 180 and 220 grit sandpaper to work over the inner edge of the rim and smooth out the rough spots. It did not take too much sanding to even things out and bring the bowl back into round. The next three photos show the process of the rim repair. I decided not to stain this pipe because the briar was so nice in its original form. I chose instead to polish the rim and bowl with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit sanding pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad to remove the sanding dust. The briar really began to shine as each successive grit of sanding pad was used. With the bowl finished, I put the pipe back together and took it to the buffing wheel. I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond, being careful not to damage the already faint stamping on the left side of the shank. I gave the pipe multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise a shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine and give depth to the finish. The completed pipe is shown in the photos below. I love the way the rich striations of the stem play against the red of the buffed and polished briar. This is a beautiful pipe. Thanks for walking with me through the process.

 

Restoring a Unique Alternative Wood C.P.F. Tulip


Blog by Steve Laug

This is yet another unique older C.P.F. pipe find from our Virtual Pipe Hunt in Montana. It is amazing the number of older C.P.F. and other brands we found in that antique shop. Even more amazing is the sheer number of shapes that I have never seen or worked on before. This one is a C.P.F. that is made in two parts – a bowl that is screwed onto a base. The wood is not briar. The bowl is olivewood and the base is cherry. The pipe has the C.P.F. in an oval stamp on the left side of the shank. It is also stamped on the band with the faux hallmarks from that era and the logo. The stem is made of horn. It is a graceful and elegant looking pipe and one that I look forward to working on. My brother took quite a few photos of the pipe before he cleaned it up to show the details of the carving and the wood. I have included them at the beginning of the blog. My guess is that this pipe also comes from the mid-1880s to the early 1890s like the other C.P.F. pipes in the lot.