Tag Archives: recolouring stamped logos on the stem

Cleaning up a Strange Mixed Finish Nording Bent Billiard

Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table is one that Jeff picked up from an auction in Bridgton, Maine, USA in November of 2018 for so it has been sitting here for a long time. It is a very different looking bent Billiard with a faux horn shank ring. The stem is a fancy saddle that looks very good. The stamping on the underside of the shank read Nording [over] Made in Denmark. It was sandblasted on the lower half of the bowl and the entire shank. There is a smooth band around the top half of the bowl on the front and both sides. But it is not totally smooth as it appears that the sandblast was sanded in that area. It is unique for sure and oddly attractive. There was a lot of 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 sandblast rim top. The fit of the stem in the shank was smooth and flawless. The faux horn shank ring was quite stunning. On the left side of the saddle the “N” logo had been stamped. It was clear and readable but did not have the white colour in it. The stem was vulcanite and it was oxidized, calcified and had some wear on both sides near the button.  Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl. The sandblast 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, oxidation and calcification 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 the interesting grain pattern under the sandblast. 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-n2.html). The pipe was carved by Erik Nording. Nording is a prolific carver who continues to make pipes and sell them globally. The  screen capture below shows a Nording with stamping like the one I am working on.I then turned to Pipedia to have a look at the history of the Nording brand and see if there were any pipes like the one in hand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/N%C3%B8rding). The history was worth a read, though there were no photos of the pipe that I had.

With the information I learned in the above articles I had the background on the 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. There were also remnants of varnish or shellac on the exterior of the bowl (more on the right than front and left side).  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 and the sandblast on the finish was worn but clean. I took close up photos of the stem to show the condition of the surface and button. The stem was very clean with tooth chatter on both sides near the button. I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank 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. I decided to start my restoration work on this one by working to remove the varnish coat. I rubbed the bowl down with acetone on cotton pads to remove the finish. It did not work very well. So I sanded the finish lightly with 1500 grit micromesh sanding pads to break the shiny top coat on the briar. I then wiped it down again with acetone and was happy with the results. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush 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 touched up the N stamp with Rub’n Buff Antique Gold. I rubbed it onto the surface and into the N with a toothpick. I buffed it off with a soft cloth and the look is very good.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 Nording Mixed Finish Danish Bent Billiard. It turned out to be a nice looking pipe. 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 polished shank ring and black vulcanite saddle stem. It really was beautiful. This Nording made Bent Billiard 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: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 inch, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 52grams/1.83ounces. It is a beautiful pipe that I will soon put on the rebornpipes store in the Danish 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.


New Life for a Big Ben Select Bent Billiard

Blog by Steve Laug

I was gifted six pipes that were in need for refurbishment be a friend on Smokers Forums. The first one that caught my fancy was this nice sandblasted Big Ben Bent Billiard. It had a silver band and a nice looking blast. The finish was rough but shape is classic. The bowl was dirty and the shank and stem were filled with tars and grime. The bowl is stamped on the underside of the shank – Big Ben Select under a B in a circle. The outside of the stem was oxidized but the B logo was still deeply stamped. There was also a slight tooth mark on the underside of the stem near the button. The button was very tight and small – so much so that a thin pipe cleaner was work to get through the slot. The rim edges were worn and rough but as it was a blast this would not be a problem to clean up. Over the stain coat was also a shiny varnish or lacquer coat that I always find to be a pain to remove and deal with in a pipe that is worn like this one. It was just the challenge I wanted to have a go at this weekend. The next series of three photos show the pipe as it appeared when I opened the box and took it out for the first time.


I decided to begin by reaming the bowl so I removed the stem so that I could hold the bowl solidly and used my T handle Pipnet reamer. The next series of three photos show the reamer and the pipe bowl as I worked on it. Once I was finished I dropped it my alcohol bath to soak. The fourth photo below shows the bath after I had dropped the pipe bowl in the soak. The alcohol appears dirty but it is darkened from earlier stains that I have removed. I have filtered the alcohol several times over the past months to remove sediment and particulates that were in the mix. The alcohol works exceptionally well and I have found that the darkened stain in it adds a nice aged patina to the briar. The fifth photo shows the stem ready to go into the OxyClean bath. I dropped it in the bath and it immediately darkened the wash. I took it out and took a photo to show the before soaking look of the stem.


I left the bowl in the alcohol bath overnight and then this morning took it out and scrubbed it with a soft bristle tooth brush. I also picked out the paint that seemed to be in the grooves of the blast with my dental pick. I decided to also scrub the bowl with a brass bristle tire brush to get the paint flecks out of the briar. The next series of twelve photos shows the process I have described above. The first three photos show the bowl wet from the bath and the tooth brush off to the side that I use to scrub the sandblast. I rinsed the bowl off with alcohol from the bath and then dried it with a cotton cloth. The next two photos show the bowl with the brass tire brush. Once the surface had dried I scrubbed with the tire brush to remove the grime from the grooves in the briar. The final seven photos show the bowl as I wiped it down with acetone on a cotton pad to remove the remaining finish and top coat of varnish or lacquer. I wanted the briar very clean before I restained it.


After getting the outside of the bowl cleaned and ready to stain I worked on the inside of the bowl and the shank. The shank was interesting in that it had two stepped down portions. First there was the mortise area where the tenon rested. This was followed by an area that further stepped down to receive the inner tube style stinger in the end of the tenon. Finally there was the area of the airway into the bowl bottom. The step down drilling of the shank made this an interesting airway to clean out. I used isopropyl alcohol and some Everclear to scrub out each step down successively. I began with the mortise area that held the tenon. To clean this I used qtips or cotton swabs dipped in alcohol. I scrubbed that area until the swabs came out clean. I then proceeded to clean the next stepped down area where the inner tube sat. I used cotton swabs on this as well and pressed them against the opening and twisted them into that part of the airway. Again I used the alcohol and kept working on it until the swabs were clean. The final part of the airway I used a shank brush and alcohol followed by fluffy pipe cleaners until that area was also clean. The next series of three photos show the process and the dirty cotton swabs at the top of the photos.


After cleaning out the shank and wiping down the inside of the bowl I cleaned the stem. This was more of a pain than normal due to the constriction of the button and slot. A thin pipe cleaner would not fit into the stem from the button end. So I had to slowly move it into the stem from the inner tube end. I also was able to flatten the pipe clean and work it into the stem. It got most of the gunk out of the stem. The next two photos show the pipe after this cleaning. The stem button would need to be opened in order to give it a more thorough cleaning.


The next series of nine photos show the restaining of the pipe. I used a dark brown aniline stain that I have thinned down 2:1 with isopropyl alcohol. It does a good job of coverage on the briar but also allows some depth the staining. I like the look and effect of it on sandblasted briar. I applied the stain with a dauber and then flamed it with a lit match. I reapplied and reflamed the pipe several times to get a good solid coverage of stain.


Once the stain was flamed and dry I took it to my buffer and buffed it with Tripoli and White Diamond to remove some of the high spots and give it a shine. The first three photos below show the polished and buffed pipe. It was still a bit dark to my liking so I took it back to my work table and wiped it down with some isopropyl alcohol on a cotton pad to remove some of the top stain and give me a bit brighter and lighter finish. The next three photos show the bowl after it had been wiped down with the alcohol. It was exactly the colour I was aiming for so I set it aside to work on the stem.


I decided to open up the slot in the button to make it easier to clean the stem. The first photo below shows the slot before I started working on it. It was very tight and hard to get a pipe cleaner down the stem. I used several different needle files to open the slot. I took material off the top and bottom of the slot with the needle files and also cut the slot into more of a Y shape as I worked on it. The next four photos show the progress of the opening of the slot with the files. The final photo of the four shows the set of files that I use for the work. I took the photo with the stem on top of the package to give a bit of an idea of the size of the files. I finished the slot with a folded piece of sandpaper and worked it until it was smooth. I then recleaned the stem with pipe cleaners and alcohol until they came out clean.


After reworking the slot in the button I worked on removing the oxidation from the stem. I sanded the stem with 320 grit sandpaper to remove the tooth marks from the underside of the stem and also remove the softened oxidation. I also used a fine grit sanding sponge to remove scratches and marks to the stem. The two photos below show the stem after I had wet sanded the stem with 1500 and 1800 grit micromesh pads. I then used some Maguiar’s Scratch X2.0 polish and scrubbed the stem with a cotton pad. In the photos below the pad is in the lower part of the photos. I progressively sanded the stem with the remaining grits of micromesh – 2400-12,000 grit. I dry sanded with these until the stem shone. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil and rubbed it in and then reworked the logo on the stem. I used some liquid paper in a correcting pen. I applied it heavily to the stamped area and then rubbed it off and sanded it with 4000 grit micromesh sanding pads to remove the excess. I repeated the process until I had good coverage on the stamping. The third and fourth pictures below show the refinished stamping on the stem. I finished working on the stem by giving it another coat of Obsidian Oil followed by multiple coats of carnauba wax.


I used a jeweler’s cloth to polish the silver band and then took the pipe to my buffer and gave the bowl a buff with White Diamond. I took it back to the work table and gave it a coat of Halcyon II wax and hand buffed it with a shoe brush. The final series of four photos show the finished pipe.