Tag Archives: Polishing Redmanol stems

Freshening Up A Pair Of WDC Meerschaum Bowl, Bakelite Base And Redmanol Stem Pipes In A Presentation Case Continued…


Blog by Paresh Despande

I had been working on a pair of WDC pipes that came in a beautiful well preserved Presentation case. I have completed researching and refurbishing the first pipe, a straight Bulldog. Though I had worked on both these pipes simultaneously, I have done the write up in two parts.

For detailed information on the brand and other general information about the pipe and material used here, please read PART I of this series.

PART II: – BENT BULLDOG

Initial Visual Inspection

The condition of the pipe points to the fact that this pipe has seen significantly more use than the straight Bulldog. There is a thick cake in the chamber with lava overflow over the rim top surface. The base and shank shows heavy accumulation of tars and crud. The brass rim top cover over the Bakelite base/ shank is also covered in dried oils and tars. The Bakelite shank is dull and covered in completely dried out dirt and grime. The brass shank band at the shank end shows signs of wear but not badly damaged. The Redmanol stem is dull and lackluster with a few tooth indentations on either surface in the bite zone. All said, the condition of the pipe is not bad at all. Detailed Inspection
The three parts of the pipe are as shown below. The condition of the short threaded meerschaum bowl, filthy Bakelite shank and the bent Redmanol stem with threaded tenon all point to heavy use.The Meerschaum bowl has a thick layer of carbon in the chamber. The cake is soft and dry. The single draught hole at the heel of the bowl is partially clogged restricting the aperture opening. There is a thick layer of lava overflow on the rim top surface. There are a couple of spots where the white of the Meerschaum peeks out of the rim top surface but these are just spots from where the dry soft carbon cake had peeled off. The threads at the bottom of the bowl have worn out a bit but still firmly threads in to the Bakelite shank without any give or play. The convex bottom of the bowl is covered in dried ash and crud. There are a few scratches, nicks and dings over the surface but they are all very minor and do not detract from the beauty of the bowl.   The Bakelite base/shank shows heavy accumulation of old dried oils, tars and ash in the trough that houses the Meerschaum bowl. The threads in the base are all intact but covered in oils and grime. The brass rim top ring is covered in grime. Close scrutiny of the shank surface under magnification revealed a crack (indicated in green) along the seam running from the top front of the bowl to about half way to the foot of the Bakelite base. I would first need to clean the internals of the base to ascertain if this crack extends inside. This was an unanticipated damage, but one that would need to be addressed. The mortise is clogged with dried oils and gunk making the draw laborious and constricted. The bent Redmanol stem is dull looking but with a nice cleaning and polishing will add to the visual treat of the completed pipe. The stem airway has darkened considerably due to dried gunk that accumulated along the walls of the airway. There is some minor tooth chatter and couple of deeper tooth indentations on either surface of the stem. The round orifice and the threaded tenon are covered in gunk. Overall, there is not much damage to the stem and should clean up nicely.The Process
In normal course, I would have addressed the shank repairs first. However, since I worked on the pair concurrently, I first reamed the chamber with my smaller fabricated knife followed by sanding the walls with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. This removes cake completely and evens out the chamber wall surfaces. I scraped off the dried oils and tars from the bottom of the bowl and also from in between the threads. A wipe using isopropyl alcohol on a cotton swab ensured that the carbon dust that remained is completely lifted from the wall surface and the ghost smells are eliminated. I was pleased to find smooth and solid chamber walls. With the sharp knife, I gently scraped off the lava overflow from the rim top surface. I would continue further cleaning of the rim top during the refurbishing process. As I working the Meerschaum bowl, out of the blue, a round thin ring come off the bottom of the bowl and my heart sank… Did the bottom of the bowl just break in my hand? I heaved a sigh of relief when I realized that it was nothing more than a spacer that was cut out of a Greeting card. But it was so well cut and matched, that it missed my inspection. Now I am beginning to understand why the bowls were interchanged on the pipes in the first place. The long neck Meerschaum bowl with three draught holes should belong to this bent Bulldog but was switched with the shorter neck bowl with single hole. The crack along the seam must have been opening up as the Meerschaum bowl was threaded in to the base, pushing the bowl further down in to the base. The long neck of the bowl scraped the heel of the base, restricting the air flow. Thus, the short neck bowl from the straight Bulldog was swapped with this long neck and the paper washer was installed to make the seating of the short neck Meerschaum bowl in to the base airtight. With this modification, the bent Bulldog became a better smoker than the straight Bulldog and hence was more extensively used.I wiped the external surface of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil soap on a cotton swab. While cleaning, I was especially deliberate around the threads and over the rim top surface as I wanted to get rid of the entire gunk from those areas. Though the bowl cleaned up well, the rim remains darkened, akin to burning marks. This would need more invasive methods to clean away. The scratches and dings that are now visible will be left as they are for being a part of the journey of this pipe till date. I wiped the bowl with a moist cloth to remove the soap and grime that was left behind. Using folded piece 220 grit sandpaper, I sand the rim top to remove the darkening over the surface. Though not completely eliminated, the rim surface looks now looks much better. I handed over the cup to Abha, my wife, to work her magic in polishing the cup. She polished the rim top surface and rim edges with micromesh pads. She then went on to dry sand the entire stummel with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth to remove the dust that was left behind by the sanding. I had requested her to minimize the scratches but not necessarily remove them. These lacerations and dings must have had a history and I wanted to preserve it. She did a fantastic job of polishing the meerschaum cup to a nice deep shine.  As Abha was polishing the Meerschaum bowl, I worked on the stem repairs. I first cleaned the stem surface and airway using anti-oil dish cleaning soap and thin shank brush and rinsed it under warm running water to remove the entire gunk from the airway. I also cleaned up the threaded tenon with a tooth brush and soap. To finish the cleaning, I ran a few bristled and regular pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol to remove the residual gunk from the airway and dry it out.   I next sand the bite zone with a 320 grit sandpaper to address the minor tooth chatter on either surface. I filled the deeper tooth indentations with clear CA superglue and set the stem aside for the glue to cure completely.  With the Meerschaum bowl polished by Abha and the stem repairs set aside for the fills to cure, I worked the Bakelite shank. With a fabricated tool, I scraped all the dried oils, tars and ash from the trough of the Bakelite base. I also cleaned the mortise by scraping out the dried gunk using my fabricated tool. As I was working on the shank, the brass cap over the shank rim top came free. I would need to reattach it once I was done with internal and external cleaning of the shank.Next, I cleaned the Bakelite shank with anti oil dish soap and tooth brush. I cleaned the shank internals and the mortise with shank brush and anti oil soap and rinsed it under warm water. The brass cap was scrubbed clean with the soap and Scotch Brite pad. The shank is now clean both from the inside and the outside. With the external and internal surface of the Bakelite shank cleaned up, the crack at the seam is now clearly visible. As I had expected, this crack extends to the inside of the shank also. Both these are encircled in red. I discussed with Steve and he advised that drilling of counter holes to arrest the spread of these cracks should be avoided as the Bakelite could shatter due to the impact of the drill machine. The best way to ensure a robust and lasting repair would be to lay a fine bead of CA superglue along the crack. The glue would seep into the crack and once hardened, would form a strong joint along the seam. I did just that and set the shank aside for the glue to cure.By next day afternoon, the fills had completely hardened. With a flat head needle file, I sand the fills to achieve a rough match with the rest of the shank surface. To further fine tune the match, I sand the fill with a 320 followed by 600 grit sandpapers. I sand the fill inside the Bakelite trough with the sandpapers only as it was not possible to use the needle file. I am quite happy with these repairs at this junction. The Redmanol stem fills too had hardened and I worked the fills with a needle file to match it with the rest of the stem surface. I fine tuned this match further by sanding it with a 320 followed by 600 grit sandpapers. The fills have blended in perfectly with the stem surface. Thereafter, I handed the stem over to Abha to polish it to a high gloss. After the stem was handed over to Abha, I polished the Bakelite base/ shank by wet sanding the surface with 800, 1000, 1500 and 2000 grit sandpapers. The Bakelite is now beginning to take on a nice shine.  Before moving on to final polish using micromesh pads, I decided to reattach the brass cap first. I polished the brass cap with a polishing compound that we get in India here. I rubbed the compound over the rim cap and wiped it using a soft cloth. I applied a small quantity of superglue along the rim top surface and pressed the rim cap over the rim top. I wiped the excess glue with a cotton swab wetted with alcohol.Next I polished the shank by dry sanding with 3200 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. I applied a little Extra Virgin Olive oil to the surface just to enhance the shine. All this while, Abha was quietly busy polishing the stem. She wet sanded the entire stem with 800, 1000, 1500 and 2000 grit sandpapers and followed it up by dry sanding with 3200 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. The stem looks fabulous and I cannot thank Abha enough for the help and support she extends in this hobby of mine. Next I gave a beeswax polish to the meerschaum bowl. The process that I followed for this polish has been explained in Part- I and not being repeated here. The following pictures will give you an idea of the process and also of the end results. It was here that I had swapped the Meerschaum bowls and correctly matched them with their original pipes. While the Meerschaum bowl was soaking in the beeswax, I cleaned the external surface of the Presentation Box with Murphy’s Oil soap and cotton swab. I wiped the surface with a moist cloth to remove any residual soap from the surface. Next I applied some “Before and After” Restoration balm to the surface to rehydrate the wood and polished it with a microfiber cloth. To finish, I re-attach the Redmanol stem with the Bakelite shank. I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and setting the speed at 50% RPM, applied Blue Diamond compound over the shank and the stem surface. I wiped/ buffed the parts with a soft cotton cloth to clear it of any leftover compound dust. I then mounted another cotton cloth wheel on to the polishing machine and applied several coats of carnauba wax over the shank and the stem of the pipe. I finished the restoration by giving the pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. Have a look at the completed pipe below. And here are a couple of pictures of both the pipes in their Presentation Case. Thank you all for joining me on this path as I repaired and restored this fabulous piece of pipe history to its former glory and functionality.

Freshening Up A Pair Of WDC Meerschaum Bowl, Bakelite Base And Redmanol Stem Pipes In A Presentation Case


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

It’s been a while since I have sent Steve any write ups for posting on rebornpipes and it’s not because I have not been working on any. As a matter of fact, I had completed re-stemming and refurbishing of 4 un-smoked vintage bowls. These were c.1897 BBB OWN MAKE Billiard with long pencil shank that came with its original shop stickers on it, the second was a c.1901 A.D.P (Adolph Posener), the third was a c.1904 Imperial ITC bent billiard and the fourth was c.1911 A.O KEYSTONE (Adolphe Oppenheimer & Co). Unfortunately, I lost the photographs that I had taken of all the pipes during their refurbishing process and as such there was nothing for me to base my write ups on (yeah…I know even Steve has been suggesting that I do the write up simultaneously as I work!!).

Moving ahead, the next project that I selected to lift up my spirits was a pair of WDC Meerschaum bowled Bulldog pipes that came in its beautiful Presentation case. Both pipes appeared to be in a very good condition and should clean up well. Here are a few pictures of the pair and its case as it sat on my work table. This pair of pipes has three different materials used in its manufacture and that is what makes it unique and interesting. The chamber/bowl are made from Meerschaum which threads in to a Bakelite shank that has a brass (?) band at its end and bears its trademark inverted triangle stamped with as “WDC”. The stems are made of Redmanol, a beautiful translucent material that was widely used in the early part of the 20th century. I have worked on a few WDCs earlier and am pretty familiar with the brand’s history. I revisited rebornpipes where I had posted my previous WDC projects. Here is the link to the write up which will give readers a fairly detailed idea about the brand and a rough estimate as to the vintage of the pair of pipes on my work table.

https://rebornpipes.com/2019/04/05/sprucing-up-another-wdc-a-cased-bakelite-briar-dublin/

I visited rebornpipes.com and came across an interesting article on materials used in pipe making (https://rebornpipes.com/2014/08/09/hard-rubber-and-other-early-plastic-used-in-pipes-ronald-j-de-haan/)

It is here that I found the following information on “BAKELITE”:

These qualities made Bakelite the most successful synthetic material in the first half of the 20th century. From 1928 it was also produced as molded resin. Both the pressed and the molded forms were suitable for the pipe making industry. Pipes were made from Bakelite and molded phenol-resin. Complete pipes of Bakelite are very rare because of its lack of heat resistance. Phenol-resin however was frequently used for pipe mouthpieces and cigarette holders because it imitated amber.

Further search on rebornpipes got me to a write up that Steve had done on a Redmanol WDC pipe. Given below is the link to the referenced article.

https://rebornpipes.com/2020/05/26/life-for-a-wdc-redmanol-dublin-with-a-removable-redmanol-bowl/

I quote from the article…..

“I turned to Wikipedia for an article on Bakelite and Redmanol to remind myself of the connection between the companies (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bakelite).

As the sales figures also show, the Bakelite Company produced “transparent” cast resin (which did not include filler) “artificial amber”, were machined and carved to create items such as pipe stems, cigarette holders and jewelry.[11][12] However, the demand for molded plastics led the Bakelite company to concentrate on molding, rather than concentrating on cast solid resins.[11]:172–174…

…The Bakelite Corporation was formed in 1922 after patent litigation favorable to Baekeland, from a merger of three companies: Baekeland’s General Bakelite Company; the Condensite Company, founded by J.W. Aylesworth; and the Redmanol Chemical Products Company, founded by Lawrence V. Redman.[13] Under director of advertising and public relations Allan Brown, who came to Bakelite from Condensite, Bakelite was aggressively marketed as “the material of a thousand uses”.[7]:58–59[14] A filing for a trademark featuring the letter B above the mathematical symbol for infinity was made August 25, 1925, and claimed the mark was in use as of December 1, 1924. A wide variety of uses were listed in their trademark applications.[15]

I also read a brief article on Redmanol on Wikipedia and the link was clear as the companies joined in 1922 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redmanol_Chemical_Products_Company).

Redmanol Chemical Products Company was an early plastics manufacturer formed in 1913. Lawrence V. Redman was its president. In 1922, the Redmanol Company, the Condensite Company of America, and General Bakelite were consolidated into the Bakelite Corporation.[1]” ….unquote.

From the above gleaned information, it is safe to conclude that the pipe now on my worktable is of 1920s and early 1930s vintage.

Though I had simultaneously worked on this pair, I have divided the write up in two parts where I have dealt with each pipe separately. In PART I, I shall deal with the straight Bulldog of the pair and in PART II, I shall describe the process on the bent Bulldog.

PART I:- STRAIGHT BULLDOG

Initial Visual Inspection
The straight bulldog pipe is in great condition given its 90 odd year age. It appears to have been well smoked given the decent layer of cake in the chamber. The rim top is clean without any lava overflow. The meerschaum bowl has a few superficial scratches from being used. The Bakelite diamond base and shank is dull in appearance, but intact. The translucent Redmanol stem is slightly oxidized and appears dull and lackluster. There is a deep tooth indentation over the upper surface and a chipped surface near the round orifice. The pictures below give a fair idea of the condition of the pipe in its present state. Detailed Inspection
The pipe consists of three parts, a Meerschaum bowl, Bakelite base and shank and the Redmanol straight stem with a round orifice. These three parts come together as an instrument of smoking by means of threads at the bowl and stem ends.The meerschaum bowl is in very good condition with just a few scratches over the sides. The chamber has a thick layer of dried and crumbling cake. The rim top is in pristine condition and does not have any overflow of carbon deposits. The thread on the cup is slightly worn only at a small section and the attaches securely with the Bakelite shank. The bottom of the meerschaum cup has three draught holes and shows a couple of dents/ dings. The draw on the pipe was not very smooth and open. Close observation of the depth of the meerschaum cup made me realize that it touched the heel of the Bakelite base and constricted the air flow. I shall deal with this issue subsequently. The Bakelite base is clean with no traces of old oils and tars in the trough that houses the meerschaum cup. The brass rim cap at the top of the Bakelite base is firmly fixed and is nicely clean and shining. The mortise shows some traces of gunk but should clean up nicely. There are a couple of minute chipped spots over the right side of the diamond shank edge (encircled in yellow). The brass band at the shank end shows some signs of brassing and should polish up to nice shine. The brass rim cap and the shank band coupled with the translucent Redmanol stem add a nice bling to the appearance of the pipes. The diamond Redmanol stem has a rounded orifice which also points to its vintage. It has a rich translucent red color and the light really plays through. I cannot wait to see the stem clean up. Minor tooth chatter is seen on the upper and lower surface. The pointed corner edge of the lip on the left is broken (encircled in green) and will either have to be reconstructed or filed away to a straight profile. The stem airway has darkened due to accumulation of saliva, oils and tars and would need to be thoroughly cleaned. The screw-in tenon is of the same Redmanol material and is covered with dried oils and tars.   The Process
I started this project by reaming the chamber with my smaller fabricated knife and scraped out all the carbon from chamber. I used a 220 grit sand paper, pinched between my thumb and forefinger, to sand the inner walls of the chamber of the pipe. Once I had reached the bare walls, I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad dipped in isopropyl alcohol. This removed all the residual carbon dust and also rid the chamber of all ghost smells. The walls of the chamber are nice and solid with no signs of cracks.I cleaned the external surface of the Meerschaum cup with Murphy’s Oil soap and cotton swabs. I also cleaned the threads at the foot of the cup with tooth brush and oil soap. I wiped the bowl surface with a moist cloth to remove the soap and grime that remained on the surface. The stummel surface cleaned up nicely. The scratches and dents and dings over the stummel surface are now clearly visible.Once I was done with cleaning the external surface of the meerschaum cup, I handed over the cup to Abha, my wife, to work her magic in polishing the cup. She polished the rim top surface and rim edges with micromesh pads. She then went on to dry sand the entire stummel with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth to remove the dust that was left behind by the sanding. I had requested her to minimize the scratches but not necessarily remove them. These lacerations and dings must have had a history and I wanted to preserve it. She did a fantastic job of polishing the meerschaum cup to a nice deep shine.While Abha was busy with polishing the meerschaum bowl, I addressed the stem repairs. I first cleaned the stem surface and the stem airway using anti-oil dish cleaning soap and thin shank brush and rinsed it under warm running water to remove the entire gunk from the airway. I also cleaned up the threaded tenon with a tooth brush and soap. To finish the cleaning, I ran a few bristled and regular pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol to remove the residual gunk from the airway and dry it out.To address the minor tooth chatter on both upper and lower surfaces, I sand the bite zone with a folded piece of 320 grit sandpaper. However, there was one tooth indentation in the bite zone and the chipped corner of the lip still remained an eyesore. I spot filled these with clear CA superglue and set the stem aside for the glue to cure. I cleaned the mortise by scraping out the dried gunk using my fabricated tool. Next, I cleaned the Bakelite shank with anti oil dish soap and tooth brush. I cleaned the shank internals and mortise with shank brush and anti oil soap and rinsed it under warm water. The shank is now clean both from the inside and the outside. Once the stem fills had cured, I sand the fills with a flat head needle file to roughly match the fill with the rest of the stem surface. I further fine tune the match by sanding the bite zone with 320 grit sandpaper followed by 600 grit sandpaper.  Following the sanding with a piece of 600 grit sandpaper, I began the process of polishing by wet sanding the entire stem with 800, 1000, 1500 and 2000 grit sandpapers. I completed the polishing of the stem by dry sanding the stem with 3200 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. The translucent red of the Redmanol stem just shines through.   With the Meerschaum bowl and the Redmanol stem polished, I turned my attention to the Bakelite shank. I polished the shank by wet sanding with 1500 to 2400 followed by dry sanding with 3200 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. Next I gave a beeswax polish to the meerschaum bowl. I assembled the equipment and materials that would be needed during the process viz heat gun, paper towels, q-tips and a Katori, a steel container graciously lent by Abha from the kitchen and of course, beeswax. I stuffed the chamber with cork to prevent inadvertent seepage of the melted beeswax into either. Next, I melted a sufficient quantity of beeswax in the katori using my heat gun and thereafter heated the stummel. Using the a folded pipe cleaner, I completely coated the stummel with the wax and continued the application till the surface was saturated and set the stummel aside to absorb the wax. I reheated the stummel with the heat gun about 20 minutes later and let the excess wax either be absorbed or drip off from the stummel surface. I rubbed off the excess wax with a soft cotton cloth and brought a deep shine to the surface with a microfiber cloth. To finish, I re-attach the Redmanol stem with the Bakelite shank. I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and setting the speed at 50% RPM, applied Blue Diamond compound over the shank and the stem surface. I wiped/ buffed the parts with a soft cotton cloth to clear it of any leftover compound dust. I then mounted another cotton cloth wheel on to the polishing machine and applied several coats of carnauba wax over the shank and the stem of the pipe. I finished the restoration by giving the pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. Have a look at the completed pipe below. P.S. – Readers must have noticed that the meerschaum bowl has been changed from three holed one to one hole. Well, if you recollect I had made a mention of draw on this pipe being constricted. It turns out that the meerschaum bowl on this pipe was a long neck one and the one on the bent bulldog had a shorter neck. The Bakelite base of the straight pipe is shallow as compared to the bent bulldog and accommodated the short neck meerschaum bowl better than the long neck bowl. Once the switch was made, the draw on both the pipes was open, full and smooth as silk.

Now, why the bowls were switched in the first place? The answer to this intriguing question will be given in the next part…

Thank you all for being with me as I walk the path of learning nuances of pipe restoration.

Reclaiming a Uniquely Shaped Cased Bent Opera Meerschaum with a Redmanol Stem


 Blog by Steve Laug

This afternoon I finished a nice little meerschaum apple with a gold rim cap and gold band on the shank and a Ruby Bakelite/Redmanol stem (https://rebornpipes.com/2021/12/25/next-on-the-table-is-a-blinged-out-meerschaum-bent-apple-with-a-ruby-bakelite-stem/). I posted it on the blog and it sold almost before it was on the store. I was contacted by another friend for the same pipe and had to tell him that it sold. I did however have another interesting one in the box that he might be interested in seeing. The pipe was also a meerschaum with rectangular shank, rolled gold band on the shank and a Red Bakelite stem. We purchased of Ebay from Queensbury, New York, USA. This pipe was heavily smoked and needed a lot of work but showed promise. The leather cover on the case was in was worn but still in decent condition. There was some wear on the edges of the case but the hinges and lock worked very well.Don’t you want to know what is inside of this case? Do you want to compare it with the other meerschaum I wrote about? Well… I will get there. Jeff opened the case to show us what the pipe looked like inside. The lining of the case was worn and had a faded green colour to it. There was not identifying stamp on the lid. The rolled band was ornate and filigreed. It really was a beautiful looking older pipe. Jeff took a photo of the pipe in the case. It look like it had been smoked hard and often. The case was filled with chunks of tobacco and ash and the rim top was covered with thick lava. The meerschaum however was really beginning to take on some nice patina – particularly on the shank. Have a look at this beauty!He removed it from the case and really it is the first look of the profile of this interestingly shaped old timer. I would almost call it an Opera pipe but it is a bit big for that. It is however longer and thinner than a standard bowl. Otherwise it is a squashed bent Dublin. It is really filthy but look at the patina on the shank and the rolled gold band on the shank. It is really quite lovely. The second photo below shows the top view of the pipe. You can see the cake in the bowl and the lava on the rim top but do not miss the shape of the bowl. It is a unique one for sure. Jeff took some close up photos of the rim top to show the lava build up and the very thick cake in the bowl. It really made me wonder what the inner edge of the bowl looked like. You can also see some of the scratches on the side of the bowl. It is a mess but… The stem is very nice and actually surprisingly unchewed. There are light tooth marks and chatter on the stem surfaces but nothing deep and the shape is also quite unique. The rolled gold band on the shank is also very ornate.He took some photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a sense of the wear and tear on the pipe. You can see it has been a hard worn and greatly used pipe. It must have been a terrific smoker and someone’s favourite go to pipe. I really like the look of the patina on the shank. The mottled reds and browns are very nice. Jeff had cleaned it thoroughly. He had reamed it carefully with a PipNet reamer and cleaned that up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He worked slowly so as not to damage the inner edge of the bowl. It was a mess. He had scrubbed the exterior of the meerschaum with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a soft tooth brush. He cleaned out the interior of the shank and airway with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. He carefully cleaned out the Bakelite stem with clean water and pipe cleaners to remove the debris and oils in the airway and the threads of the bone tenon. I took photos of the pipe when it arrived here. The first two photos show case after he had cleaned it in the process. The third photo shows the pipe in the fitted case The overall look of the pipe after cleaning shows the tiredness and worn look of the bowl sides. The stem on the other hand is quite remarkably unscathed and the bone tenon almost looks new. The pipe is a beauty in the rough and definitely needs some TLC. I took a close up photo of the bowl and rim top to show the condition of the cleaned bowl and rim. You can see the clean bowl and the many scratches and darkening on the back edge and top of the rim. I also took some photos of the stem to show how it looked. It was remarkably clean. Even the tooth chatter and marks were very minor.I unscrewed the stem from the shank to see an almost new looking threaded bone tenon on the stem. Amazingly it was free of damage and had not been over or under-turned in the shank.I decided to start my work on this pipe by addressing the damage to the inner edge of the rim and the rim top. I used a folded piece 220 grit sandpaper to work over both. I was able to remove most of the damage on the inner edge and a fair bit on the rim top with the sandpaper. It definitely is an improvement.I polished the briar and the shank with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I worked on the rim top and make it even better looking. I figured that once I heated it to rewax they would look significantly different (Time will tell). I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth. The meerschaum began to shine and the scratches were less intrusive. The photos tell the story!   Now it was time to wax the meerschaum bowl. I melted a block of beeswax and dipped the pipe I in the mix and painted the wax with a cotton swab into the hard to reach spots on the shank corners. I heavily coated the bowl with the liquid wax. I let the wax harden dry then I used the cork as a handle while I heated it with a heat gun. As the wax melted I wiped it off with a paper towel. I let the excess drip back into the container. The bowl began to really take on some patina even though the scratches also stood out more. Those scratches were part of the story of the pipe’s journey. I buffed it with a soft cloth and took pictures of the pipe at this point in the process of the restoration. The wax did its magic and the patina was rich and deep. Even the scratches looked better to me! The pipe is well traveled and the scratches help tell the story. I set the bowl aside and turned to deal with the stem. I polished the Bakelite stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with a cloth containing some Obsidian Oil. I finished polishing it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and buffed it off with a cotton cloth. I gave it a final coat of obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. It is a beautiful looking ruby coloured stem. This beautiful no name Bent Opera shaped Meerschaum with a Bakelite stem was another fun pipe to work on and I really was looking forward to seeing it come back together again. With the grime and debris gone from the finish it was a beauty and after the waxing with Beeswax the patina was quite nice. The rolled gold filigreed band on the shank is an added bonus. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel.  I buffing it with a clean buffing pad on the buffer to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The rich polished meerschaum on the bowl looks really good with the polished ruby Bakelite stem. It is very well done. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. I can only tell you that it is much prettier in person than the photos capture. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches x 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 39 grams/1.38oz. This is truly a great looking Meerschaum. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. This beauty has already been spoken for and is reserved for the next pipeman. I hope to send it out in the mail tomorrow. Thanks for your time.

Next on the table is a Blinged Out Meerschaum Bent Apple with a Ruby Bakelite Stem


Blog by Steve Laug

We finished up around the tree and our Christmas Breakfast so now there is a quiet time before we eat again. I decided that a snowy Christmas day in Vancouver demanded the right pipe to be worked on so I think I chose appropriately. We bought the pipe I chose at an auction from a fellow in Los Angeles, California, USA. Though it is not shiny white and new looking it is a meerschaum ball/apple/ornament with a gold rim cap and shank band that are quite blinged out and beautiful. The bowl had a thick cake and there was a light lava overflow on the rim. The gold coloured rim cap looked good underneath the lava and oils. The exterior of the bowl and shank was smooth and starting to develop some colouring on the shank and sides. The finish had a lot of scratches and some dark spots on the bottom side of the diamond shank near the band. The pipe did not have any stamping on the shank or band. The rim cap had some nicks and dents in it but they did not detract from the beauty of the pipe. The shank band was also scratched but not dented. The Bakelite (Redmanol) stem was in excellent condition with light tooth marks on the surface in front of the button. I expected the stem was screwed onto the shank but that would be revealed soon enough. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. Jeff captured the condition of the bowl and rim top with the next series of photos. You can see the work that is ahead of us in the photos. The cake is very thick and heavy. The rim looked like it might have some damage on the top and inner edge of the cap. The photos of the stem show the shape and the top and underside of the stem. It is dirty and there is some gummed stickiness on the underside where there must have been a price sticker. The tooth marks and chatter was very light on both sides. Jeff took some great photos of the sides of the bowl and heel showing what is underneath the developing patina and the scratches in the surface of the meerschaum. It will be interesting to see what happens as the pipe is cleaned and restored. He removed the stem from the shank. You can see the threaded tenon end in the shank of the pipe and the wide open airway in the stem. It looks to me that there is a push tenon in the shank and the threading was for anchoring it in the stem. I took it out of the box of pipes and looked it over. It was amazingly clean. Jeff carefully reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the meerschaum and the lava and oils on the rim top. The bowl looked very good. He scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub to remove the grime and rinsed it off with warm water. It came out looking far better. Now it was time for me to do my work on the pipe. I took photos before I started my part of the work. I took some photos of the rim top and stem. The rim top is clean but you can see some of the dents in the gold cap. I am afraid that they will remain a permanent part of the pipe’s story. The bowl itself looks very clean. The close up photos of the stem shows that is it very clean and the tooth marks are visible.The way the stem lined up with the shank made me wonder about the tenon system that was used. From Jeff’s photos it looked like the threaded portion sticking out of the shank was part of a push tenon system. If that was true then I truly believe that someone had replace the original bone tenon on what I think is actually an older pipe with a new push tenon system. The stem has an orific opening on the end and it is definitely made of Bakelite. I unscrewed the stem from the shank and then pulled the tenon free from the shank end. It was indeed a push tenon. I took a photo of the bowl and stem to give a sense of the proportion of the pipe. It is a classic looking apple for sure.I polished the briar and the shank with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I worked on the two dark spots on the underside of the shank and was able to determine they were not burn marks but rather spots that had taken on a dark patina.I figured that once I heated it to rewax they would look significantly different (Time will tell). I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth. The meerschaum began to shine and the scratches were less intrusive. The photos tell the story!   Now it was time to wax the meerschaum bowl. I melted a block of beeswax and dipped the pipe I in the mix and painted the wax with a brush into the hard to reach spots on the shank corners. I heavily coated the bowl with the liquid wax. I let the wax harden dry then I put a cork in the bowl to provide a handle while I heated it with a heat gun. As the wax melted I wiped it off with a paper towel. I let the excess drip back into the container. The bowl began to really take on some patina and the dark spots changed in colour. I buffed it with a soft cloth and took pictures of the pipe at this point in the process of the restoration. The wax did its magic and the patina was rich and deep. Even the scratches looked better to me! I set the bowl aside and turned to deal with the stem. I polished the Bakelite stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with a cloth containing some Obsidian Oil. I finished polishing it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and buffed it off with a cotton cloth. I gave it a final coat of obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. It is a beautiful looking ruby coloured stem. This beautiful no name Bent Apple shaped Meerschaum with a Bakelite stem was another fun pipe to work on and I really was looking forward to seeing it come back together again. With the grime and debris gone from the finish it was a beauty and after the waxing with Beeswax the patina was quite nice. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel.  I buffing it with a clean buffing pad on the buffer to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The rich polished meerschaum on the bowl looks really good with the polished ruby Bakelite stem. It is very well done. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. I can only tell you that it is much prettier in person than the photos capture. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 4 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 35grams/1.23oz. This is truly a great looking blinged out Meerschaum Bent Apple. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. I will be adding it to rebornpipes store in the Ceramic and Meerschaum Pipes section if are interested in adding it to you collection. Let me know by email or message. Thanks for your time.

Restoring an LHS Purex Preferred 28 Chunky Pot


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from an antique store on the Oregon Coast, USA. This morning as I was going through my box of what I have to work on this is the second one that caught my eye. Not surprising it is another amber/butterscotch coloured Redmanol stem. It is a nicely grained small Chunky Pot. Once again the stem reminds me of butterscotch candies that I used to have as a kid. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and has the LHS Diamond followed by a large P that is the lead letter for Purex and for Preferred. On the right side it is stamped Imported arched over Briar. There is also a shape number 28 on the underside of the shank next to the aluminum fitment.The finish had a lot of grime ground into the bowl and some darkening around the sides. The bowl was lightly caked and there was a light lava coat on the rim top and inner edge. The edges looked okay but we would know more after the cleanup. The silver coloured band on the shank and matching one on the stem were both oxidized. They were the fitments for the screw in stinger/tenon. The stem was dirty and had tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the button. There were not markings or a logo on the saddle stem. The pipe showed promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work.      He took a photo of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the condition of the rim top and edges. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the chatter and tooth marks.   Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar around the pipe looked like. There is some great grain under the grime.      He took photos of the stamping on the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable.   I turned to Pipephil’s site to see if the Purex Preferred line was shown there. It was not listed though there were other Purex pipes listed. I have included a screen capture of the summary of the history of the brand from the site below (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-lhs.html).I turned to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/LHS). There was no listing for the Purex Preferred that I was working on but the article is very well done. Thanks to Dave Gossett for the information and the pictures of his collection. Give the article a read.

Now it was time to work on this interesting old pipe with the Redmanol man made amber stem.

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub liquid cleanser to remove the grime on the surface and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe once I received it.   The rim top looked very good  and inner edge of the rim showed some light damage. The stem surface looked good with some remaining oxidation on the aluminum parts and tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.     I took a photo of the stamping on the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above.     I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. The stem is a compact Redmanol saddle. I decided to start my work on the pipe by cleaning up the damaged inner edge of the bowl. I reworked the edge with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. Once I finished the rim and edge looked much better. I moved next to polishing the aluminum fitments on the shank and on the stem. I polished both with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to remove the scratches and marks on both. They took on a nice silver glow. I polished it with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with a damp cloth. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.  I set the bowl aside and turned to work on the stem. I filled in the deep tooth marks on the surface of the Redmanol with clear super glue. I let the repairs cure.        I polished the repairs on the Redmanol stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.     This LHS (LH Stern) Purex Preferred Chunky Pot with an amber coloured Redmanol stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. There is some great grain around the bowl and shank. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished LHS Purex Pot is chunky and fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 61gr/2.19oz. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!