Tag Archives: refinishing

A Simple Restoration of an Early Transition Era Barling 2639


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

Having worked on a few difficult projects from my Mumbai Bonanza, involving major stem reconstruction and addressing flaws in the stummel (read refreshing fills!!) taking a lot of time and heartburn and efforts which had left me drained, I decided to work on something simple and relatively quick refurbishing of pipes from my inherited collection.

The Barling pipe on my work table is an exquisite bent billiards with beautiful and very tightly packed bird’s eye grains on either side of the bowl and shank, extending over to more than half of the front of the stummel. Equally tightly packed cross grains are seen on the front left and back of the bowl and also on the upper and bottom surface of the shank. It is stamped on the left side of the shank as “BARLING” in script hand over the numeral “2639” over “LONDON ENGLAND”. There is no other stamping seen on the stummel. The double bore vulcanite saddle stem bears the trademark Barling stamped in cross on the upper surface of the saddle.Even though there are quite a few Barlings in my grandfather’s collection, this beauty is the second of the Barling’s that I shall be restoring. During my reading while working on my first Barling, I had read about this brand, its passage through times and pointers towards their dating. To refresh my memory about the brand, the lines offered by the maker and attempt to date this particular pipe, I visited Pipedia which has a wealth of neatly cataloged heading-wise information on Barling’s pipes. From the stamping seen on this pipe and correlating it with my information, it was immediately apparent that this one is definitely not a Family Era pipe, but a later era pipe. Luckily, on the same page, towards the end, there is a link to 1962 Barling catalog, courtesy Yuriy Novikov. This catalog, on page 7 shows the pipe which is on my work table, here is the link to this catalog: https://pipedia.org/images/d/d9/BARLING_CATALOG_1962.pdf

From the above information, it is conclusive that this piece is a size 2, flat bent billiard from the Transition period/ Corporate era and was made during 1962. The minimalist stamping and the double bore stem indicate that this pipe was intended to be sold in the local markets.

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
This pipe was one of the pipes that Abha, my wife had sent me after she had reamed out complete cake back to the bare briar and cleaned the stummel exterior and rim top surface with Murphy’s oil soap. She had also cleaned out the mortise and the shank using regular and hard bristled pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol. The cleaned up pipe on my work table now, can be seen in the following pictures. It really feels nice to work on a clean pipe; I must admit and cannot help but thank her for doing all the dirty work and saving me time while sharing my hobby. Unfortunately, she did not click any pictures of the condition of the pipe before she worked her magic on them. When I inquired about the condition before she had cleaned it, her one line reply was “no different from his (grandfather’s) other pipes!!!” For those who have been reading my previous write ups would recollect that my grandfather never really believed in cleaning his pipes, he would rather buy new ones when the old pipes chocked up and became unsmokable. From the present condition of the pipe, there are only two issues that I would need to address on the stummel; one is the darkened rim top surface with an uneven inner rim edge and the other is slightly deep gouges on the chamber walls. The vulcanite stem is heavily scratched and shows deep oxidation on the surface. Some heavy tooth chatter is seen on both surfaces of the stem towards the lip with few deep bite marks on the upper and lower surfaces. This issue should not be a major headache to address. The lip edge on both sides is distinct but damaged showing tooth marks. The quality of vulcanite is good.THE PROCESS
I flamed the surface of the stem with a Bic lighter to raise the tooth indentations and scratches on the stem. The heat from the flame of Bic lighter causes the vulcanite to expand and regain its natural shape, reducing the marks. I followed it up by sanding the entire stem surface with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper to reduce the tooth chatter while removing the oxidation from the area to be filled. I wiped the stem surface clean with a cotton pad dipped in alcohol to remove all the dust and dirt from the surface. The tooth marks which were visible after the flaming and sanding were filled with a mix of activated charcoal and clear CA superglue and I set it aside to cure overnight. While the stem fill was set aside for curing, I decided to address the darkened rim top surface and the uneven inner rim edge issue observed on the stummel. I did not resort to topping straight away, but decided to try scrubbing the rim top with Murphy’s oil soap and scotch brite pad. The result of this scrubbing far exceeded my expectations. The rim top is now clean and there are no traces of rim darkening. To address the issue of an uneven inner rim edges, with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper, I created a slight bevel to the inner edge. The rim top and inner edge issues are now pristine. The next step in the process was to bring out the shine and highlight the beautiful grain on the stummel. I had an option of using more abrasive 220 grit sandpaper followed by micromesh pad cycle and loose the patina or straight away go to the micromesh cycle. Using the more abrasive sand paper, minor dents and dings would be further addressed but I would lose out the old sheen which the briar has taken over the years.  I decided on keeping the old sheen and went straight for the micromesh cycle. I wet sand the stummel with 1500 to 2400 grit pads and follow it up by dry sanding with 3200 to 12000 grit pads. The stummel, at this stage, looks absolutely stunning with the grain popping out from every inch. I rub a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to briar and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance. I further buff it with a horse hair shoe brush. Turning my attention to the stem, I first covered the stamping on the stem with whitener using a whitener pen. The filling of charcoal and CA superglue had cured and using a needle file, I sand the filling to match the surface of the stem. For a better blending, I further sanded the entire stem with 220 followed by 400, 600 and 800 grit sandpapers. This helps to reduce the sanding marks left behind by the more abrasive 220 grit paper. To bring a deep shine to the vulcanite stem, I went through the complete set of micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200 to 12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem with alcohol after each pad and rubbed it down with Extra Virgin Olive oil. The internals of the stem was cleaned out using alcohol and pipe cleaners. The finished stem is shown below. To finish, I re-attach the stem with the stummel. I mounted a cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel (actually it is not the brand machine, but a local machine which is similar).  I set the speed at about half of the full power and applied White Diamond compound to the entire pipe. I wiped/ buffed the pipe 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. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The completed pipe looks lovely, fresh and vibrant; the photographs in this case, do not do justice to the appearance of this beautiful little pipe. This beautiful piece of briar, without a single blemish to the stummel, will find a place of pride in my collection. If only it could tell me stories it had witnessed and experiences, trials and tribulations and joyous moments in my grandfather’s life journey!!!! Thank you for having the patience to reach this far while reading the write up. PS: This project was a welcome break from the previous difficult stem reconstruction and stummel restoration projects that had posed a challenging obstacle at every stage in the process. I must thank my wife, Abha, who had done all the dirty work and presented a simple and quick refurbishing project.

 

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Refreshing a Leather Clad Classic Billiard


Blog by Dal Stanton

I acquired this Leather Wrapped Classic Billiard as part of what I call the French Lot of 50.  I landed 50 pipes which included some long-forgotten treasures dating back to before WWII as well as a plethora of pipes mounted with horn stems.  In this French Lot of 50 I discovered French pipe manufacturers that were all but forgotten within the pipe world.  My restoration of the petite EPC Majestic Bent Horn Stem Billiard which earned me my first contribution to the repository of pipe information on Pipedia with the research on the A. Pandevant & Roy Co. of Paris.

The next pipe to catch the eye of someone searching through the ‘Help Me!’ baskets in my For “Pipe Dreamers” Only! collection is a nice looking Leather Wrapped Classic Billiard shape which I’ve targeted with an arrow in the picture of the French Lot of 50.  Tina chose this pipe along with 2 others from the ‘Help Me!’ baskets to commission for special men in her life and to benefit our effort here in Bulgaria, Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited not only here in Bulgaria but throughout Europe.  Tina was visiting us from Birmingham, Alabama, USA, with a group of other ladies.  This Leather Wrapped Billiard was chosen with her son, Matthew, in mind who’ll be graduating from college in May and has plans to utilize his degree in Landscape Design and Turf Management by moving to Big Sky, Montana working at the Moonlight Basin Resort. Tina said that he will be over a team that keeps the golf course in tip-top shape! I’m thinking that this Leather Wrapped Billiard will be a perfect partner for Mathew on the golf course!  A special gift from a proud mother for a special son soon to graduate.  I love it!  Here are pictures of the Leather Wrapped Billiard now on my work table. There is no nomenclature stamped on the pipe or identifying marks on the stem.  As with the most the other pipes that came with the French Lot of 50, there is a very good chance that this Leather Wrap also is French.  The practice of wrapping briar bowls with leather started in France as a creative and economically savvy way to sell sub-par bowls that were part and parcel of France’s austerity measures during WWII.  Pipedia’s article uncovers this bit of pipe history in the article devoted to Longchamp:

In 1948 Jean Cassegrain inherited a small shop near the French Theater on the Boulevard Poissonnière in Paris, called “Au Sultan”. Articles for smokers and fountain pens were offered there. Now, the absolute bulk of the pipes Cassegrain found in the inventory was from war-time production and due to the sharp restrictions on pipe production the French government had enforced in 1940, these pipes were of very poor quality and showed large fills. Strictly speaking, they were not marketable now that the French pipe industry produced pipes of pre-war standards again. In this situation Cassegrain had the probably most enlightened moment in his life: he took some of these pipes to a leather worker who clad bowls and shanks in leather. Only the rims of the bowls and the shanks’ faces remained blank.

E voila – the pipes looked pretty good now and were eye-catching enough to become an instant success in sale. Above all among the thousands of Allied soldiers who populated Paris in those days. The thing worked well, and even unexperieceid pipesters liked the covered pipes very much for they did not transmit the heat to the hand. Very soon Cassegrain had sold the old stock of pipes, and the leather-clad pipes became his only product. He began to place orders with renowned firms like Ropp or Butz-Choquin.

I love stories of innovation like the story of Jean Cassegrain and the creation of the Longchamp name which came from the name of a horse racing park near Paris.  Pipedia concludes the article with this comment:

After 1970 the interest in leather-clad pipes slowly diminished. The Longchamp pipes were offered for the last time in the 1978 catalog though previously placed orders were delivered until 1980.

The splendid success inspired many other renowned producers to offer their own lines RoppButz-ChoquinGubbelsGBD… Maybe Savinelli was the very last producing them for the label of the famous designer Etienne Aigner.

Without identifying markings, it’s not easily determined the origins of the Leather Wrapped Billiard on my worktable.  Yet, the origins of this type of pipe are French and it seems likely that this pipe shares this origin, but a manufacturer remains a mystery.  The pipe itself is in good shape and for this reason I’m calling it a refresher. The chamber barely has any cake build up, but the rim shows some discoloration and is need of a cleaning.  The condition of the leather wrapping the bowl looks great.  The stem has minor oxidation and negligible tooth chatter on the stem.  I do notice that the stem is a bit tight in the mortise.  We’ll see how this snugness progresses during the cleaning.  To begin refreshing the Leather Wrapped Classic Billiard, I use pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl 95% to clean the stem’s airway.  I then add the stem to a soak of Before & After Deoxidizer along with other pipes in the queue.After several hours I fish out the Leather Wrap’s stem and I push another pipe cleaner through the airway wetted with isopropyl 95% to clear the Deoxidizer from the airway.  I then wipe off the oxidation that has surfaced through the soak using cotton pads wet with isopropyl 95%.  The Deoxidizer does a good job and much oxidation is removed.To begin the stem rejuvenation, I apply paraffin oil with a cotton pad and set the stem aside to dry and to absorb the mineral oil.Now, turning to the stummel, I first clean the chamber using the Pipnet Reaming kit I jump to the second smallest and work up to the largest blade head as I ream the chamber followed by using the Savinelli Fitsall tool.  After scraping the chamber walls with the Fitsall tool, I sand the chamber using 240 grade paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen to give leverage and reach as I sand.  Finally, I wipe the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95% to remove the carbon dust.  I inspect the chamber and it looks great – no cracks or heat fissures. Next, I clean the rim using undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a cotton pad.  To work more directly on the lava flow I employ a brass wire brush and scrape the area carefully with a Buck pocket knife. I’m careful to keep the soap and work with the brush on the rim.  I don’t want to damage the leather wrap. I then rinse the rim with cool tap water. The general results of the cleaning are good, but there remains discoloration which I will address later.Now to the internals. Using pipe cleaners and cotton buds wetted with isopropyl 95%, I scrub the internal mortise and airway.  It doesn’t take long, and the buds are emerging lighter.  I’m thankful for a small skirmish!I start cleaning the stem by wet sanding using grade 600 paper and follow using 000 grade steel wool.I move directly to the micromesh regimen by wet sanding with pads 1500 to 2400 and dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and pads 6000 to 12000. After each set of 3 pads I apply Obsidian Oil to condition the vulcanite.  The pop on this stem is nice. With the stem now waiting in the wings, I turn back to the stummel.  To address the residual dark area on the rim, I will give the stummel a very light topping.  I’m hopeful that this will erase the lion’s share of the scorching and refresh the rim.  I take out the chopping board and put 240 grade paper on it.  Keeping the inverted stummel firm and steady, I rotate the rim a few times on the paper. When it seems enough is taken off, I switch the paper to 600 grade paper and smooth out the 240 sanding.  There is just a bit of the darkening remaining after the topping.To dispatch the remainder of the scorched rim briar, I introduce a very mild bevel on the internal rim.  I first use a tightly rolled piece of 120 paper to cut the initial bevel.  I then follow with 240 then 600 grade papers in succession.  In each case, I pinch the tightly rolled piece of sanding paper between my thumb and the internal rim and rotate evenly around the circumference.  The result is exactly what I wanted – the rim is now clean.Next, to bring out the grain on the rim, I wet sand with micromesh pads 1500 to 2400 and follow by dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  I’m anxious to see how the grain is teased out. As you can see in the picture immediately above, the lip of the upper leather encasing is packed with dust after the micromesh sanding.  I take a narrow dental spatula and clean the dust out by gently sliding the spatula under the leather lip.The next step is to reunite the stem and stummel to apply Blue Diamond compound.  As I noticed before, the tenon/mortise fit is too tight – taking too much pressure to seat the tenon.To address this, I sand down the tenon by wrapping it with a piece of 240 sanding paper and rotate the paper evenly around the tenon.  I sand and then test a few times to make sure I’m not taking off too much.  When the fit is appropriately snug and the tenon seats, I then switch to 600 grade paper to smooth the tenon.  Now it fits perfectly with a good snug fit, but not too tight.I now mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel, set at 40% of full power and I apply Blue Diamond compound to the rim and the stem.Next, I’ve been thinking about how to clean and condition the leather wrap encasing the stummel.  I use Weiman Leather Wipes to do the job.  I follow the directions by using the wipe that cleans and applies the preservative and then I buff the leather with a microfiber cloth.  Wow!  It’s looks great.  The leather darkened to a newer looking richness – very nice.  The pictures show before and after. Since my day is closing, I want to further the internal mortise cleaning by giving the bowl a kosher salt and alcohol bath.  I use the highest grade isopropyl 95% available here in Bulgaria.  I first create a ‘wick’ from twisting and stretching a cotton ball.  The wick serves to draw out the remnant of tars and oils.  I use a stiff wire to help push the end of the cotton wick down the mortise.  I then fill the bowl with kosher salt, set it in an egg carton and fill it with isopropyl 95% until it surfaces over the salt.  In a few minutes I top off the alcohol that has absorbed and set it aside and turn out the lights! The next morning, the salt and wick are soiled – the wick not as much which is good if it shows that the mortise is already clean.  I clean the chamber of the salt, wiping it out with paper towel and blowing through the mortise.  To make sure all is clean, I use one cotton bud wetted with alcohol and it demonstrates that the mortise is clean.  Moving on. I rejoin stem and stummel and mount another cotton cloth buffing wheel on the Dremel, maintain 40% speed and apply carnauba wax to the rim and stem.  To further condition the leather wrapping one more time, I apply a very light coat of paraffin oil and then rub it in well.  I follow by buffing the entire pipe with a microfiber cloth to bring out the shine of stem, leather stummel and the briar rim.

Perhaps, I should have done this before waxing the rim, but to add a starter for a new protective cake and for aesthetic reasons, I coat the chamber walls with a mixture of natural yogurt and activated charcoal.  When cured, the mixture provides a very durable surface providing a buffer for the fresh briar until a natural cake develops.  The new steward just needs to be careful not to scrape the chamber with a metal tool, but simply to rub the chamber with a folded pipe cleaner will be sufficient to clean after use.  I mix the activated charcoal and the natural yogurt until it thickens enough to not run – being too liquid. I then use the pipe nail to spread it on the chamber wall.  I then set the stummel aside for a few hours for the mix to cure. This Leather Wrapped Classic Billiard cleaned up well.  The leather is dark and rich looking and the butterscotch colored rim pops in contrast to the leather.  The fine, delicate grain of the rim is pleasing to the eye as the leather is to the touch.  This is Tina’s third commissioned pipe which she chose for her son who is soon to graduate from college.  She will have the first opportunity to acquire the pipe from The Pipe Steward Store.  This pipe benefits the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks for joining me!

The Restoration of the First of Jennifer’s Dad’s Estate Pipes – A Comoy’s Deluxe 78


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the worktable came from the estate of George Rex Leghorn. I received an email from his daughter Jennifer who is a little older than my 64+ years about whether I would be interested in his estate. My brother Jeff and I have been picking up a few estates here and there, so I was interested. Here is the catch – she did not want to sell them to me but to give them to me to clean up, restore and resell. The only requirement she had was that we give a portion of the sales of the pipes to a charity serving women and children. We talked about the organization I work for that deals with trafficking and sexual exploitation of women and their children and she decided that would be a great way to carry on the charitable aspect of her Dad’s character. With some great conversation back and forth she sent the pipes to Jeff and he started the cleanup process on them. Once he had finished cleaning them all he sent them to me to do my work on them.

The first pipe I chose to work on from the lot was a Comoy’s De Luxe 78 Military Bit Apple. It had some amazing grain on the bowl sides and shank. It had a Sterling Silver ferrule on the shank end that was oxidized and blackened. It had a badly oxidized stem with tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside near the button. There was a thick cake in the bowl and it was dirty and tired looking. It had been sitting in boxes for a lot of years and it was time to move ahead with the restoration. Jennifer took photos of the pipes she was sending. I have included the three she included from this pipe. When the box arrived from Jennifer Jeff opened it and took photos of each pipe before he started his cleanup work on them. This Comoy’s was a real beauty underneath the grime, tarnish and oxidation on the bowl and stem. The finish looked intact under the grime. The bowl had a thick cake that had hardened with time. The lava overflow on the rim could very well have protected the rim from damage. We won’t know what is under it until Jeff had cleaned it off. The silver work was tarnished but still looked classy on this old timer. The ferrule was undamaged with no dents of dings that are often found on these pipes. The stem was worn looking with a lot of deep oxidation and some tooth chatter and bite marks on both sides at the button. The overall look of the pipe made me think seriously about adding it to my own collection. Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the lava build up on the edges of the bowl. It was thick and hard but hopefully it had protected the rim and edges from damage.The grain around the bowl sides and heel was quite beautiful. Lots of cross grain and birdseye that would clean up very nicely. It was a beautiful pipe.Jeff took photos of the stamping on both sides of the shank. The left side was stamped Comoy’s De Luxe and the right side had the Comoy’s COM stamp and shape number. The COM stamp is a circle with Made and London arching around “in” in the centre. Underneath it read England. The shape number is 78. I am not overly familiar with this line of Comoy’s and will need to do some work to get an idea of both age and value in the hierarchy of the lines.He also took photos of the stamping on the ferrule and the three circle inlay of the C on the left side of the stem. The ferrule read HC in a box over STERLING LONDON. There were no hallmarks on the silver so I could not use those to help date the pipe. The C inlay looked very good and did not show damage to any of the three circles. Jeff did not take photos of the stem at this point. It is so easy to miss some photos in the processing of pipes.Jennifer consented to write a short tribute to her Dad for the blog. She is also sending along some photos and an article that her Dad wrote for Jeff and me to be able to get a feel for him. When it arrives I will post the photo with the other blogs on his pipes and will add it to this one as well. In the meantime I asked her to also send me an email with a brief tribute that I can use until then. Here is her email to me.

Steve, I want to thank you again for accepting my dad’s pipes.  They were so much a part of my dad’s life that I could not simply discard them. But as his daughter, I was not about to take up smoking them either. *laughing* I think my dad would like knowing that they will bring pleasure to others.  I know that I do.

I’m not sure what to say about his pipes.   I always remember Daddy smoking pipes and cigars.

First a bit about my dad. Though my father, George Rex Leghorn, was American (growing up in Alaska), he managed to join the Canadian Army at the beginning of WWII, but in doing so lost his American citizenship.  He was fortunate to meet a Canadian recruiting officer who told him the alphabet began with “A” and ended with “Zed” not “Zee”, and also told him to say that he was born in a specific town that had all its records destroyed in a fire.  When the US joined the war my dad, and thousands of other Americans who had made the same choice*(see the link below for the article), were given the opportunity to transfer to the US military, and regain their citizenship.

After WWII, my dad, earned his degree at the University of California Berkeley and became a metallurgist. There is even a bit about him on the internet.

He loved taking the family out for a drive, and he smoked his cigars on those trips. (As a child, those were troubling times for my stomach.)

I most remember my father relaxing in his favorite chair with a science fiction book in one hand and a pipe in the other… Sir Walter Raleigh being his favorite tobacco… and the pipes themselves remind me of him in that contented way.  If I interrupted his repose, he’d look up, with a smile on his face, to answer me.

It seemed he smoked his Briarwood pipes the most, though he had others.  At the time, it was only the Briarwood I knew by name because of its distinctive rough shaped bowl.  And it was the Anderson Free Hand Burl Briar, made in Israel, which I chose for his birthday one year, because I thought he might like that particular texture in his hand.

At least two of his pipes, he inherited from his son-in-law, Joe Marino, a retired medical laboratory researcher (my sister Lesley’s late husband)… the long stemmed Jarl (made in Denmark), and the large, white-bowled, Sherlock Holmes style pipe.  I believe Joe had others that went to my dad, but Lesley was only sure about those two.

The Buescher, corncob pipe my older sister Lesley bought for Daddy while on one of her travels around the States.

A note on the spelling of my sister’s name…

My dad met my mother, Regina, during WWII and they married in Omagh, Ireland.  My mother was English and in the military herself.  The English spelling of Lesley is feminine, and Leslie masculine, in the UK… just the opposite of here in the United States.  I guess my mom won out when it came to the spelling of the name.

I’ll send you photos of my dad soon, along with his WWII experience story.

Jennifer

*https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2013/10/22/the_americans_who_died_for_canada_in_wwii.html

I turned to my usual sources for information about the De Luxe line of Comoy’s and found nothing on the pipephil website. On the Pipedia site there was nothing clearly written identifying the brand but there was a page from a Comoy’s Catalogue advertising Specialty pipes from Comoy’s that included the De Luxe (https://pipedia.org/wiki/File:Comoy-Specialty.jpg). I have included a screen capture of the page for you to have a look.It describes the De Luxe as being available in 14 Army styles in walnut and sandblast finishes. These fine pipes have their beauty enhanced by heavy gauge sterling silver bands hand fitted by silversmiths. It is also available in Blue Riband and London Pride on special order. So it seems that it is a specialty item and a beautiful one at that. Does anyone know anything else about the line?

Jeff cleaned the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness that I really appreciate. He 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 briar and the lava on the rim top. He was able to get most of the oxidation off of the silver ferrule as well. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked very good. I took photos before I started my part of the work. I took some close up photos of the rim top and stem surface. I wanted to show what an amazing job Jeff did in the cleanup of the rim top and the great condition it was in under the thick lava coat. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the tooth marks and chatter in front of the button on both sides.I also took some photos of the stamping on the pipe – both sides of the shank and the Sterling ferrule. You can see the three part C in the stem as well. The ferrule is loose and will need to be glued in place again. You can see in the third photo below that it is on the top of the shank instead of aligned on the left side with the stamping on the briar.I decided to repair the tooth marks on the top and underside of the stem so it could be drying while I worked on the bowl. I cleaned the tooth marks with a cotton swab and alcohol and dried it off. I filled in the deep divots with black super glue and set the stem aside so the repairs could cure.I turned my attention to the bowl. I painted some white all-purpose glue on the shank end and carefully pressed the ferrule onto the end of the shank. I turned it on the shank to align the HC Sterling London stamp on the ferrule with the Comoy’s stamp on the briar shank. I let the glue dry on the ferrule and once it had set I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth. The grain really began to stand out. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I find that the balm really makes the briar come alive again. The grain shines through and really stands out. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The pipe really looks good at this point. I am very happy with the results. I used some silver polish to remove the remaining oxidation on the Sterling Silver ferrule. I rubbed it in with a cotton pad and polished it once it had dried. It took some time to polish out the scratches in the silver and give it a shine. I followed that up by polishing the ferrule with a jeweler’s polishing cloth. The photos show the shine.I set the bowl aside at this point and turned back to address the cured repairs on the stem surface. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to blend the repairs into the surface of the rubber and also to remove the oxidation that remained after Jeff’s cleanup. I polished it with 400 grit sandpaper to smooth out some of the scratching that was left behind by the earlier sanding.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine polishes. I wiped it down with a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem back on the bowl and polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I carefully worked around the Sterling Silver ferrule so I would not damage it. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The grain on this briar is absolutely beautiful and the shine on it makes the grain really shine. The pipe polished up really well. The wax and the contrasting stain on the bowl made the grain just pop on the briar. The polished black vulcanite seemed to truly come alive with the buffing. Comoy’s really captured this shape in a way that no one else has in my opinion. The pipe is perfect in my hand and when it warms with smoking I think it will be about perfect. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 1/2 inches, Height: 1 3/4 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/4 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This is one that will remain in my collection. Once I figure out the value of the pipe I will make a donation on behalf of Jennifer’s Dad to the organization that I work for. It is a pipe like no other Comoy’s that I have seen before. I want to carry on the pipe trust of George Leghorn. Thank you Jennifer for trusting us with his pipes. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners, we are pipemen hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next pipeman or woman.

Life for a Knute of Denmark Freehand


Blog by Steve Laug

Once again I chose to work on another interesting pipe from the Michigan lot – a really nice Knute of Denmark freehand with great grain. The finish on the bowl is smooth around the sides and shank with a patch of rustication on the heel. The rim is plateau and the shank end has a horn extension. It is another totally unique pipe and different from any of the other pipes in the collection. The stamping on the pipe is on the underside of the shank just below the stem/shank extension junction. It reads Knute of Denmark and the stamping is coloured white. Knute of Denmark was a brand carved by Karl Erik and also used by Ben Wade. The stem is fancy turned vulcanite and has some damage around the button area on both sides. This is another nice looking piece much like the rest of those in this 21 pipe Michigan pipe lot. The Knute I am working on now is on cloth at the bottom of the rack. It is the second pipe on the left and I put a red box around it to make it easy to identify.Jeff took some photos of the pipe when he received them to show the general condition of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. Like the rest of the pipes from the Michigan collection this pipe was dirty and well used. There was a thick cake in the bowl and lava overflowing onto the rim top. It was hard to know if the edges of the bowl were damaged or not because of the cake and lava. The flow of the pipe into the long horn shank extension is well done. The horn shank extension has a small split on the right side that extends from the end about ½ inch up the horn following the striations in the horn. The vulcanite stem is oxidized and has some calcification at the button. There are deep tooth marks on both sides of the stem at the button edge and some wear on the button edge itself. There appears to be a small crack or chip on the bottom right side of the button but it is hard to tell. There are also scratches in the vulcanite where it looks like someone scraped off some of the calcification. The photos below tell the story and give a glimpse of the large freehand. Jeff took a close up photo of the bowl and rim to capture the condition of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. The rim top had some thick lava overflow and some darkening. The thick lava on the rim top made it hard to know what the inner and outer edges of the bowl looked like. There is also a general accumulation of dust in the finish on the rest of the bowl and shank.He also took photo of the right and underside of the bowl and shank to show the interesting grain on the bowl and the rustication on the heel. The finish is very dirty but this is another beautiful pipe.Jeff took a photo to capture the stamping on the underside of the shank. The photo shows stamping as noted above. The stamping on this pipe is clear and readable.The next 3 photos show the stem surface. They show the tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. You can see the chipped areas on the button surface. The stem is dirty, oxidized and has a yellow cast to it. Jeff reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the plateau rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He was able to remove the lava build up on the rim top and you could see the great condition of the bowl top and edges of the rim. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. I took close up photos of the rim top to show the condition of the plateau and the condition of the stem. The rim top had a washed out appearance and you could see the black stain deep in the crevices of the plateau. It would need to be darkened to be true to the original. The inner edge and the outer edge of the rim look really good. The stem photos show the tooth marks and the damage to the button surface on both sides.With this pipe there were a lot of little issues that needed attention before I could really start polishing and enlivening the bowl and shank. I decided to start with the split in the horn shank extension. It was at the spot where the horn changed from dark brown to a cream colour. I have drawn a box around it in the photo below. In examining the split I could see that it was starting to delaminate at that point. This is one of the draw backs with using horn. As it dries out it can start to split like this one had. I cleaned out the split with a cotton swab and clean water to remove the debris. Fortunately the split was neither deep nor wide so it would be a pretty straight forward repair. I filled in the gap with clear super glue to bind and stabilize the horn stem. Once the repair had cured I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper and 400 grit sandpaper to smooth it out. Polishing it later when I polished the briar would take care of all of the scratches.The second issue I decided to address was the washed out looking rim top. I used a black Sharpie pen to darken in the rest of the plateau. I worked it into the crevices but did not worry about covering all of the plateau. I was good with the spots as they would give some variation once I polished and buffed the rim.With those repairs done I polished the bowl and shank with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped down the bowl and shank with a damp cloth after each pad to remove the dust. The grain really began to pop and the horn took on a beautiful shine. The photos tell the story. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the plateau and the smooth finish of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I also worked the balm into the horn shank extension. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The pipe really looks good at this point. The horn and plateau look like they must have when the pipe was first sold. I am very happy with the results. With the bowl finished I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I cleaned out the tooth marks on both sides of the stem with a cotton swab and alcohol. I filled in the tooth marks and rebuilt the button edges with black super glue. I set the stem aside to let the repairs cure. Once the repairs had cured I used a needle file to flatten out the repaired areas and redefine the edge of the button. I filed it until the patches were smooth with the surface of the stem. I used a folded piece of 240 grit sandpaper to blend the repairs into the surface of the stem. Once the surface was smooth I sanded out the scratch marks and started the polishing of the stem with a folded piece of 400 grit sandpaper. I wiped the stem down with a damp cloth and took the following photos.In the spirit of Dal Stanton, I thought I would add a photo of my study and work table with me polishing the stem and enjoying a bowl of Virginia in a Tinsky Coral finished Rhodesian/Ball shaped pipe and enjoyed it while tackling the stem. As I am relegated to the basement for my work area I have no mountain scenery photos to add! I tip my hat to Dal’s balcony view!I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad and gave it a final coat and set it aside to dry. I put the stem back on the bowl and polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The contrasting stain on the bowl made the grain just pipe on the briar. The polished horn and black vulcanite seemed to truly come alive with the buffing. The finished pipe is a beautiful freehand that has some resemblance to Ben Wade pipes but also the unique look of a Karl Erik. It is large and feels great in the hand. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 7 inches, Height: 2 1/2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/4 inches, Chamber diameter: 1 inch. I will be putting this one on the rebornpipes store sometime in the days ahead. It may well be the kind of freehand you have been looking for. Let me know if you are interested. Thanks for walking through the restoration of this with me it was a pleasure to work on.

Breathing Life into a Chacom Paris Dress Black 43 Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

I finished the restoration of one of the pipes that Jeff and I picked up from a fellow in Pennsylvania, a Chacom Paris straight Brandy. I wrote about that restoration on the blog at this link: (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/03/22/breathing-life-into-a-chacom-paris-861-quarter-bent-brandy/). I had a second Chacom Paris in my restoration bin that needed some work. It had come to us from a fellow in New York who periodically picks up pipes for Jeff and me. It was a dress bent billiard with a shiny black painted coat around the bowl and shank. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank Chacom over Paris and there is Chacom CC logo stamped in the left side of the tapered, vulcanite stem. On the underside of the shank next to the ferrule on the shank was the shape number 43. It was very dirty with a thin cake in the bowl and a light layer of lava overflowing on to the rim top. From the photos it appeared that the inner and outer edges were in good condition. Other than a few small nicks in the black paint and a dirty finish it appeared to be in good condition. The stem and the shank end had a decorative metal ferrule that was supposed to meet once the stem was in place. On this pipe the stem sat well in the shank and there was no gap between the stem and shank. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took a photo of the rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the light overflow of lava. The cake was thin and the lava overflow is a thicker toward the back of the beveled rim. The bowl and the rim actually looked very good. The next photo shows the right side of the bowl and shank to give a clear picture of the condition of the dress finish on the pipe. It was in very good condition. Jeff took photos of the stamping on the left side of the shank and the shape number 43 on the underside of the shank near the ferrule to capture the clarity of it even under the grime. He also included some photos of the CC logo on the left side of the stem and the FRANCE stamp on the underside. The vulcanite stem was in okay condition other than some tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the button.Just a reminder from the previous blog on the Chacom Paris pipes:

The brand Chacom turned up (1934) after fusion of Chapuis-Comoy with La Bruyère. Yves Grenard (†2012), second cousin of Pierre Comoy headed the company from 1971. He was responsible for Chapuis Comoy’s recovering its independence from Comoy. His son Antoine Grenard took over the direction of the company in 2007. Chacom is a brand of Cuty-Fort Entreprises (Jeantet, Vuillard, Jean Lacroix, Ropp …) (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-chacom.html).

Pipedia gives a great historical overview of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Chacom). I have not included that here but if you are interested click on the link and you can read about the company from its inception to its current status.

I turned to address the pipe itself. Jeff had already cleaned up the pipe before sending it to me. He had reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned it up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the exterior with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to clean the finish and the lava on the rim top. He cleaned up the internals of the shank, mortise and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove all of the oils and tars in the pipe. When it arrived here in Vancouver it was a clean pipe and I knew what I had to work with. I took photos of it before I started my part of the restoration. I took photos of the rim top and the stem to show their condition. Jeff was able to clean up the cake and the lava overflow that was shown in the rim and bowl in the earlier photos. There was some damage to the rim top at the back of the bowl. The stem had some tooth chatter and tooth marks on the surface of both sides.I removed the stem and set it aside to address the issues with the rim top. I polished it with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the rim down with a damp cloth after each pad. I was able to polish out much of the damage. The finish on the rest of the bowl was in good condition. The rim top was worn and there was some paint missing along the inner and outer edges. I decided to rub the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm to deep clean the finish. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. After it sat for a little while I wiped it off and buffed it with a soft cloth. The pipe had a rich shine. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. It is a beautiful bowl. I used a black Sharpie pen to touch up the damaged areas around the rim top. I touched up both the inner and outer edges of the bowl.I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem at this point in the  process. The stem had tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside. I sanded the surfaces with 220 grit sandpaper and was able to remove the majority of the damage. I filled in the one remaining tooth mark on the top side with clear super glue and set the stem aside to allow the repairs to cure.After the repair had cured I blended it into the surface of the vulcanite with a folded piece of 220 and when finished started polishing the stem with 400 grit sandpaper. The repaired area looked good at this point in the process. There was a faint light spot in the repair that I could not sand out but it blended in very well.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust. I polished Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final hand buff with a microfiber cloth. I put the stem back on the pipe and the pipe to the buffer. I carefully worked the stem over with Blue Diamond to polish out the remaining small scratches. I was careful not to buff the bowl and damage the painted surface. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem several coats of carnauba wax and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up really well and the rim top looked good. I was happy with the look of the finished pipe. The photos below show what the pipe looks like after the restoration. The Black Dress Chacom Paris with the metal fitments another very elegant looking pipe. The polished black vulcanite stem looks really good with the browns of the briar. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/4 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 of an inch. This is another pipe that I will be putting it on the rebornpipes online store shortly, if you are interested in adding it to your collection. The shape of the pipe and the bent stem give this pipe a great feel in the hand and the mouth. This one should be another great smoker. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me on another beauty!

A Gift for a US Coast Guard Man – A Carved Bearded Sailor, ‘Ole Crusty’


Blog by Dal Stanton

Tina commissioned the restoration of 3 pipes and one Churchwarden project by repurposing a bowl.  Her purpose was to benefit the Daughters of Bulgaria while at the same time purchasing great vintage pipes that would be gifted to special men in her life.  The first of these pipes, the Lindbergh Select Poker, which came out beautifully, is for Tina’s brother who served as a naval aviator and flew on P3 airplanes flying over different bodies of water to do reconnaissance missions and who has many stories of his adventures.  I’m now looking at the Carved Bearded Sailor – my first try at restoring a sculpted face.  There are no identifying marks on the pipe, and I’ve searched closely with a magnifying glass.  I acquired the Carved Bearded Sailor from a Lot I snagged on French eBay, so my assumption is that this pipe has a French origin – it’s a good guess!  When Tina saw this pipe, she immediately took it in hand and said she knew who would receive this pipe – her older brother who started in the Army but later spent 25 years in the US Coast Guard as a helicopter pilot involved in such activities as law enforcement (boarding and inspecting ships) and search and rescue – aiding vessels in trouble on the high seas regardless of the flags they flew.  Here are the pictures I took of the Carved Bearded Sailor commissioned for the ‘Coastie’ on my work table: I love the old crusty look of the sailor’s face encased in this carving.  What I like most of all is that it is a nice carving, but the thick varnish makes it look like a tourist trinket pipe to me.  It is apparent that the steward who had this pipe smoked him well!  The moderate cake buildup in the chamber and the signs of lava and grime on the ‘cap’ – we don’t have a rim with this guy, we have a cap! – point to a pipe that was used and not put on a shelf to collect dust.  He’s got some history, but I can’t say how much and I’m guessing that his COM is France.  The only thing I’m not excited about with this crusty sailor pipe is the varnished finish – I’m not a fan of a heavy varnish, candy apple gloss finishes.  The challenge would be, if I were to remove the varnish as part of the restoration, and dive into polishing and buffing the nooks and crannies of the carving, it might prove to be a daunting task.  Another factor would be to maintain the roughness that gives it a rustic uniqueness.  The carving is not a porcelain doll smoothness – its crusty like the sailor depicted!  I want to clean up the carving but not lose the rustic, roughness that is to me, what makes it special.  The stem has some oxidation and tooth chatter but not much of an issue.

I begin the restoration of the Carved Bearded Sailor by wetting a pipe cleaner with isopropyl 95% and cleaning the airway of the stem.  I then place the stem in a soak of Before & After Deoxidizer with other pipes in The Pipe Steward queue.After several hours, I take the Sailor’s stem out and let the Before & After Deoxidizer drain off the stem.  I then run another pipe cleaner wetted with alcohol through the stem’s airway to clean it of the Deoxidizer.  I also wipe off the raised oxidation with a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95%.  The Deoxidizer does a good job.I then apply paraffin oil to the stem to begin revitalizing the vulcanite.I haven’t yet decided how exactly I will approach the restoration of the stummel, but I decide to simply clean it the normal way first and see how things look.  The chamber is small, only 5/8 inches wide, and this is too small for the Pipnet Reaming heads.  So, I employ the Savinelli Fitsall tool to scrape the chamber walls in close quarters. As I scrape the chamber walls I find that there’s a good bit of cake build-up in the chamber.  After a while, I notice that there appears to be no draft hole at the bottom of the chamber.  Hmmm, not sure about this!  I try to push a pipe cleaner through the airway via the mortise and it is a no go.  I take a sharp dental probe and dig a bit at the floor of the chamber and a bit of cake crumbles revealing a hole, not where I was looking for it, but more toward the bottom.  I keep digging and another hole appears – forward of the other.  With the help of a stiff wire, I’m able to punch through the blockage allowing me to insert a pipe cleaner.  I take a picture to show what I’m seeing.  At first, I thought that what I was seeing was a cavity underneath what appears now to be a bridge of carbon cake between the two holes.  I continue to dig with the dental probe, and it appears that what I’m looking at is metal.  It appears to be a metal insert with two holes allowing air to pass through.  Interesting – I’ve never seen this before.  I’m not able to see anything through the mortise that looks like metal.I continue the cleanup of the chamber by sanding the chamber with 240 grade paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen.  I then wipe the chamber with a cotton cloth wetted with alcohol to clean the carbon dust. It seems that it is a 2-holed metal insert – like an internal stinger, which pushes my thinking more toward a French invention, but still only guessing.  Other than the interesting two-holed insert, the chamber appears to be in good shape with no heating problems.Next, to clean the external surface of the carving, I use undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and scrub with a cotton pad and bristled tooth brush to get into the curves, nooks and crannies of the carving, I use as well a bristled brass wire brush to work on the lava and discoloration on the cap. I then rinse the stummel with cool tap water.  The surface of the carving cleans up nicely as well as the rim/cap. Next, the internal cleaning.  Using pipe cleaners and cotton buds wetted with isopropyl 95%, I go to work. The design of the internal metal insert is interesting.  The airflow is pulled downwardly to the two holes that are on the floor of the chamber, not where the draft hole is normally located. I scrape the sides of the mortise with a dental spatula to excavate tars and oils.  I also employ a drill bit to reach into the chamber created by the metal insert below the chamber floor.  I hand turn the drill bit which pulls the crud out.  The internals are pretty nasty overall.  Eventually, buds begin to surface cleaner until I’m satisfied that the internals are clean.  I arrive at a decision point.  The question is, do I keep the thick varnish finish and work with it or do I remove it and figure out a different approach to the external surface – natural briar or dye?  In principle, I don’t like the shiny finish that varnish produces.  Why? You’re not looking at the shine of the briar, but the shine produced by the varnish.  I can understand, with a carving like this, it’s an easier and quicker way to produce a ‘finished’ shine, but to me it’s mediocre. The other problem is that when the finish is thicker, it can chip and leave portals to the raw wood which will obviously be a different hue and texture – mess.  I see evidence of this as I scan the carved surface.  In the end, my dislike of mediocrity when restoring pipes took over and I decide to renew finish on the Sailor so that hopefully, it doesn’t lose its quaint roughness but cleans and sharpens it so that the carving is enhanced not stifled!  So my plan is ratified taking some last pictures of the candy apple finish! To start over, I put the stummel in an acetone soak to remove all the old finish from the craggy and carved surface.  I leave it in the soak overnight.  Time to turn out the lights.The next day, I fish ‘Old Crusty’ out of the acetone soak.  The finish is partially removed but most is loosened.  I use 000 steel wool in combination with the brass wire brush to remove the residual varnish from the stummel surface. Parts of the old finish I scrape off with my thumb nail and it’s like congealed meat fat.  I use a dental probe as well to dig into the crevices to remove dirt and gummed up varnish.  Finally, most of the removal is completed – all that I can see of the old varnish is removed.  I take a picture to show the progress to this point.Next, I continue cleaning and clearing the surface by focusing the steel wool on areas of smooth briar to sand and buff up.  I aim for the flat surfaces to tease out the grain – which I find are many!  The obvious smooth surface is the cap and bill, but there are also the eyebrows, the nose and nose bridge, the cheek tops, the mustache, the top of the beard, the cheeks…  As I buff with the 000 steel wool on these surfaces, the carved face begins to emerge as a more distinct image.  I reach into all the major crevasses as well.  I’m please with the results of this stage.  I take pictures at the conclusion of the steel wool buffing sanding and shaping. After using the steel wool, I sand with the micromesh pads.  I start by wet sanding with pads 1500 to 2400 then dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.   With each phase, I take a picture offering a different perspective of the face that emerges through the micromesh process.  I watch amazed! Before switching to the stem, I come to another decision point.  I had been thinking that I would apply a dye – probably a light Fiebing’s Saddle Tan hue to bring out more pop. After completing the micromesh pad process, the briar of this stummel needs no help with ‘pop’!  I decide to stay with the natural grain that has emerged and to deepen it, I apply Before & After Restoration Balm to the carved stummel.  I’m anxious to see how the Balm acts on the carved surface – how it will enhance the carved face.  I put some Balm on my fingers and work it into the briar.  It takes some effort and the help of a cotton bud and a toothpick to push the Balm into the crevasses of the sculpting.  After applying the Balm throughout and working it in thoroughly, after about 20 minutes, I use a cotton pad to start wiping off the excess Balm and again, reaching into the crevasses to remove Balm.  The Balm eventually dissolves and is absorbed.  I finish by buffing the stummel with a microfiber cloth.  Wow!  The Balm did a great job deepening the tone of the briar.  I’m already loving the profound difference between the buffed sheen and texture of natural briar and the candy apple varnish finish that I started with.Letting Ole Crusty rest awhile, I now turn to the stem.  The stem is generally in good shape – negligible tooth impact is found on the bit.  The button has one compression that will be easily addressed with sanding.  The only thing I notice that is not what I like is that the entire stem has a very rough texture to it.  The Before & After Deoxidizer did a great job removing the oxidation, but the resulting texture needs addressing.I use 240 grade paper to sand out the minor bit and button issues.  I also sand the entire stem to remove the roughness.  To avoid shouldering the stem shank facing, I use a plastic disk on the end to butt up against as I sand.I follow the 240 grade by wet sanding the entire stem with 600 grade paper and then using 0000 steel wool.I move straight away to sanding with micromesh pads by wet sanding with pads 1500 to 2400, followed by dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  After each set of three pads I apply Obsidian Oil to rejuvenate the vulcanite. Now, on the homestretch.  I reunite stem and stummel and mount the Dremel with a cotton cloth buffing wheel and I apply Blue Diamond compound to stem and stummel.  In order not to load the crevasses with compound which would be a pure nightmare to clean out, I keep the buffing wheel on the high briar points where there is smoother briar.  What I discover though, after starting the Blue Diamond application, is that the troughs of the carving are wide enough that I leave behind no compound as I work the wheel in these areas.  I think that using a Dremel with it’s miniature buffing wheels, gives me an edge in situations like these.  After finishing application of the compound, I transition to applying carnauba wax in the same way.  I mount another cotton cloth wheel to the Dremel, maintain a speed of about 40% full power and apply the wax over stem and carved stummel. After application of the wax, I give the pipe a rigorous hand-buffing with a microfiber cloth to raise the intricate shine and to make sure there’s no wax caked up in the crevasses.

When I began this project, I had no idea what I would be able to do to improve the presentation of the carved sailor’s face.  I wanted to retain the rustic, rough feel but bring out more of the grain and contours of the face carving.  This is my first restoration of a carved figure and I’m very pleased with the huge difference in the quality of the carved presentation by uncovering it or freeing it from the thick candy apple glaze that entrapped it.  The minute appearances of briar grain have been teased out and now highlight the various facial components of the carving in a satisfying and attractive way.  In my view, the restoration took the Carved Bearded Sailor from a trinket-like feel to an expression of artistic beauty and creativity.  I started calling the bearded sailor, ‘Ole Crusty’, during the process of getting to know him better and helping him come out!  I think the name fits the image of the old bearded sailor who was weathered by life, that the carver was seeking to capture and bring to life in this pipe.  Tina commissioned this pipe for her brother, a Coast Guard man, and I trust that she and he will like ‘Ole Crusty’ as well I do!  Tina commissioned this pipe from the For “Pipe Dreamers” Only! collection and will have the first opportunity to acquire ‘Ole Crusty’ from The Pipe Steward Store.  This pipe benefits the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks for joining me!  I begin with a Before & After of Ole Crusty:

An Antique Store Find – A Peterson’s “Sports” 5 Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

I am back at it after a slow start this morning – long week, late nights combined for a sleep in this morning. The first pipe on the table is from a pipe hunt that Jeff did in Montana. It came from an antique shop where we have often found some good pipes. It is a small Peterson’s bent billiard with a normal Peterson’s P-lip stem. This has some stunning birdseye and flame grain around the bowl and shank. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank Peterson’s over “SPORTS” and on the right side Made in the Republic of Ireland and the shape number 5. It was another really dirty pipe like most of the ones we are finding. The finish was very dirty with a thick cake in the bowl and a layer of lava overflowing on to the rim top. It was hard to know what the condition of the rim top or what the inner edge of the rim looked like because of the lava and cake. The outer edge of the rim had some nicks and dents in it that are visible in the photos of the rim top. Other than being dirty the finish also appeared to look very good. The stem was lightly oxidized with light tooth chatter and marks. The P stamp on the left side of the stem was faded. The P-lip was in ok condition. Jeff took some photos of the pipe to show the condition it was in before he started working on it. He took photos of the rim top to show the thick cake in the bowl and the overflow of lava. The cake is thick and hard and the lava overflow is heavy on the rim. There is old tobacco debris stuck in the cake. The bowl and the rim are a real mess. I used to think it was carelessness that let a pipe get this way but the longer I work on pipes the more I realize that this must have been someone’s favourite pipe. I wish it could speak and tell us its story.He took a photo of the right side and heel of the bowl to show some of the grain and the condition of the pipe. The patina on the pipe is really quite beautiful and I hope to preserve that in the clean up and restoration.Jeff took photos of the stamping on both sides of the shank to capture the clarity of it even under the grime. It is clear and legible. You can also see the P stamp on the left side of the stem.The vulcanite stem was heavily oxidized (as is often the case with Peterson’s) and there was tooth wear on the top edge of the p-lip button. The stem also had a lot of chatter both sides and some calcification around the p-lip and the first inch of the stem.I remembered reading a blog on the “Sports” line on Mark Irwin’s Blog so I turned there and did a quick search (http://www.petersonpipenotes.org/tag/peterson-sports-pipe). I found it and read through it again. It refers to a new line called the Sportsman, but there is a section on the blog that refers to the line that I have in hand. I quote from that portion of the article below.

K&P has shown an interest in pocket pipes almost since their founding. The 1905 catalog features a number of them, including outdoor pipes like the R.I.C. (which stands for Royal Irish Constabulary, the name of the official Irish police force back in the day), and indoor “opera” pipes like the Oval and the Pat. The oval-bowled pipes were meant to fit neatly inside one’s tail coat for smoking entr’act.

Since then there’s been the SPORTS line, introduced in 1947 but not well known in the States until the early 1970s. These pipes used full-size Classic Lines bowls but cut down the shanks to accommodate small P-Lips (except on the original 5 Bulldog, which just used a stubby full-sized stem. There was a renewed interest in the Sports line in the first decade of this century, emanating from Italy, where they’ve been a constant seller over the years, and some of them have made their way onto the U.S. market.

The pipe I have in hand comes from those early days as is noted by the stamping and the shape of the P on the stem. I now know that it was made post 1947. The Made in the Republic of Ireland stamping on the right side of the shank gave me a clue for more potential help in narrowing the date. I turned to Pipedia’s Peterson’s Dating Guide  to see if I could narrow the date further (https://pipedia.org/wiki/A_Peterson_Dating_Guide;_A_Rule_of_Thumb). Sadly it widened the field rather than narrowing it down. I quote the pertinent part of the article below.

The Republic Era is from 1949 until the present. The Republic of Ireland was formed on 17 April 1949. From 1949 to present the stamp for this era is “Made in the Republic of Ireland” in a block format generally in three lines but two lines have been used with or without Republic being abbreviated.

That is as close as I can get on the date. It thus was made somewhere between 1949 and the 1970s. My brother found it in a Montana antique shop so it had made it to the American Market.

When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver I was amazed at how good it looked. Jeff had already done the usual cleanup of the pipe before sending it to me. He had reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned it up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the exterior with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to clean off the grime off the finish and the heavy overflow of lava on the rim top. He cleaned up the internals of the shank, mortise and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove all of the oils and tars in the pipe. I took photos of it before I started my part of the restoration. I took photos of the rim top and the stem to show their condition. Jeff was able to clean up the thick cake and lava overflow that was shown in the rim and bowl in the earlier photos. He was also able to get rid of the grime and grit in the surface of the briar. The rim top looked a lot better than when he started. The inner edge showed some damage and was a little out of round. There were some nicks on the outer edge but overall it should clean up very well. I decided to address the issue with the inner edge of the rim first. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the damage. It cleaned up pretty well.Once I finished with the work on the rim edge, I polished the surface with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the rim down with a damp cloth after each pad. I was able to polish out the scratches without damaging the finish on the bowl or the rim. The finish looked very good once I was done polishing it. I decided to leave the small spots on the bowl sides as they were a testament of the pipe’s journey’s and I did not want to risk damaging the patina. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm to deep clean the finish on the bowl and shank. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. After it sat for a little while I wiped it off and buffed it with a soft cloth. The briar really began to have a rich shine. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. It is a beautiful bowl. I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem at this point in the  process. I sanded the tooth chatter and marks on the button and the stem with 220 grit sandpaper and 400 grit sandpaper.I polished the stem with 1500 grit micromesh and cleaned up the stamping on the side. I used a white out correction pen to put some white back in the stamped P. I buffed it out with a folded pipe cleaner and then cleaned it up with a 1500 grit micromesh pad.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with Obsidian Oil to remove the sanding dust. I polished Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final hand buff with some Obsidian Oil and laid it aside to dry. I put the stem back on the pipe and the pipe to the buffer. I worked it over with Blue Diamond to polish out the remaining small scratches in the briar and the vulcanite. I gave the bowl and the stem several coats of carnauba wax and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. I love the way that the buffer brings a shine to the pipe. I was happy with the look of this old Pete “Sports” pocket pipe. The photos below show what the pipe looks like after the restoration. The polished black vulcanite stem looks really good with the contrasting browns of the briar. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 4 1/2 inches, Height: 1 3/4 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: 5/8 of an inch. Still considering what I want to do with this old timer. I have not seen one like it before so it may hang around for a bit. This one should be a great smoker. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me on yet one more beauty!