Tag Archives: rejoining a broken shank

Repairing a Broken Shank on a Sandblast Kriswill Golden Clipper 1803 Apple

Blog by Lee Neville

Over the past few months I have been in correspondence with Lee via email. He picked up a couple of pipes for me at a local antique shop in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and sent them to me. We have fired emails back and forth on restoration questions and issues. He also included Charles Lemon of Dad’s Pipes in the conversations and we had a great time. Earlier this week he sent Charles and me an email about a restoration of a pipe that he did using the internal tube to repair a broken shank. He did a great job on the restoration and the description of the work so I asked him if I could post it on rebornpipes. He was glad to have me do so. Thanks Lee for your work and write up welcome to rebornpipes as a contributor! – Steve

Thought I would share my latest pipe rehabilitation effort of a Kriswill Golden Clipper – Model 1803.  This is the sandblast variant of the 03 shape. It showed up in the Winnipeg EBay lot I purchased and was in two pieces – stem (still attached to its snapped off shank) and the bowl itself.  I tried to remove the stem from the snapped off shank – without luck –  stuck tight. The bowl and shank had broken crookedly transversely across the shank – the break measured between 4mm and 8mm from the bowl body. I’m thinking it occurred when someone tried to pry and twist the stem out of the shank while holding on to the bowl.  The tars holding the stem fast held while the shank and bowl parted ways. In all, a stark example why one cannot use the bowl for leverage when trying to removing a reluctant stem from a shank.  Cue Yosemite Sam screaming “Whoa Mule! Whoooooahhh!!!”.There is also a crusty / gummy residue on the broken bowl and shank surfaces indicating a previous failed glue repair. I’m excited and eager to try my hand at a hidden brass tubing reinforcement glued up inside the shank & bowl as part of this repair.

Bowl Rehab
The bowl was packed full of foul smelling crust. The bowl edge is quite ragged – burned and charred in one area, a bit of a gouge just below the rim in another, damage/wear from dottle banging etc. around the periphery. As I could get to the bottom of the bowl from the exterior of the bowl,  I gently used a dental pick to pry manky tars, oils and burgey from the smoke channel. No doubt this build-up led to the welded-on stem and the situation at hand.

I scraped the carbon out of the bowl with a flexible knife blade, then removed the rest of the crust with some twists with a dowel covered with 220 grit sandpaper to work back to briar. I then used 320 / 400 grits over the dowel to finish the bowl interior to smooth. Luckily, there are no cracks, burnouts in this bowl.

I filled the gouge below rim edge at the 11 o’clock position with CA glue and briar dust to build this rim area up – this minimized the following topping effort. I didn’t want to significantly alter the geometry of the bowl.  Minimal is the key word here. Re-topping was followed by polishing the rim up to 4000 grit with micro mesh pads. I re-stained the rim with a stain marker to bring it back into line with the existing stain value.

I finished up the bowl exterior by scrubbing it gently with cotton pads moistened with water, then repeated with pads wetted with alcohol. Looking good.

Re-attaching the shank to the bowl
I soaked the stuck-together shank and stem in isopropyl alcohol overnight.  They easily pulled apart between the jaws of two pairs of padded pliers. Solvents 1 – Evil 0! The shank remnant stunk with old badness. I hit it with brushes and q-tips and was able to clean it out in 15 minutes of vigorous action.  I’ve cleaned dirty shotguns stem to stern quicker than this 25mm length of broken briar shank!

I used a dental pick to remove most of the remnants of dried glue from the shank and the bowl so they’d fit as closely possible when re-glued.  I then used the CA + spray accelerator product from Inoteca to glue the bowl to the shank. Applying a very thin layer of medium viscosity CA glue to both surfaces, I pressed them together, then hit the assembly with the spray accelerator.  Instant activation and hold. I left this overnight to cure, then the following evening removed the squeeze out from the joint with needle files.  This was followed with filling gaps in the glue line with briar dust and CA glue, needle filing and light sanding.

I applied random dabs of stain marker pen (dark oak and mahogany) to colour match the briar dust/CA fills around the glue line, then I blended these re-stained areas into the stummel with a q-tip moistened with alcohol.

Now for the hidden brass tubing reinforcement.  I bought a length of 5/32″ OD brass tube from a local hobby shop as its ID would be close to the stock diameter of the draught hole post repair. I measured approximately 14mm of briar body between the opening of the draught hole in the bowl bottom to the edge of the broken shank still attached to the bowl.  This meant I could use 20mm of tubing to span the break between the bowl body through the shank to the bottom of the stem mortise. The tube reinforcement will span the break area 10mm each way.

I cut a 20mm length of tubing and roughed up its external surface with needle files to provide additional physical bonding for the epoxy.  Inserting the bowl into my small Dremel bench vise with shank pointing to the sky, I drilled out the shank using a 11/64” bit to the desired depth. This 11/64” hole will allow room for the epoxy to fix the reinforcing length of tubing to the shank wall.

I gently flared one end of the brass tubing using a center punch. This flared end will drop and seat against the stem end of the 11/64” hole drilled in the shank.  I then mixed up a bit of JBWeld, generously smeared the exterior of the tubing with it, then threaded a vaselined pipe cleaner through the tube/glue mess.  The pipe cleaner functions as a guide for the tube to slide into the shank and will prevent epoxy from sealing the draught hole at the end of the tubing through to its opening at the bottom of the bowl.

I pressed everything home with a length of Q-tip stick and was gratified to feel the tubing seat its flared end at the top of the 11/64” hole drilled through the shank mortise.  I pulled the pipe cleaner through the tubing from the bowl end – ensuring any epoxy squeeze-out was cleared from the bottom of the bowl. I used Q-tips to remove any epoxy squeeze-out in the stem tenon area of the shank and left the epoxy to set overnight.

The picture below shows the flared end of the hidden tubing snugly glued below the bottom of the shank mortise in the stummel.Cleaning up the stem
The stem was horribly packed full – poking and prodding with brushes, pipe cleaners and picks, I worked both ends of the stem until it was clear. Then it went into an oxyclean bath to lift the oxidation.  Luckily, the Kriswill stamp was in good shape.  The next day, I removed the lifted oxidation with soft toothbrushes, 400 grit wet n’ dry and then moved quickly through the micro mesh pads through to 12000 grit, it came up bright and shiny.

Finishing the pipe
I slathered on a thick coating of Howards Feed and Wax (beeswax, carnauba and citrus oils) and rubbed it into the stummel to feed the thirsty briar. Gently buffed with a microfibre cloth.  I also treated the bowl to a coating of maple syrup + activated charcoal. I dabbed a bit of Testors white enamel into the stamping on the stem, then wiped the excess away – the Kriswill stamp is now very noticeable.

The stem married up to the stummel with little fuss – It looks good.  It’s a lovely pipe – a small rusticated apple with a delicate shank and stem. It’s a feather-light lovely example of Danish pipe making from the late 1960’s – early 1970s. I’m really looking forward to sparking it up.Again, thank you both (Charles Lemon of Dad’s Pipes Blog and Steve Laug of rebornpipes blog) for your exhaustive documentation around this procedure – I would have been in quite the pickle without your guidance. (I wish you both the very best in your adventures.)

Photos of the finished restoration are shown below. I am happy with the finished pipe and enjoying the fruit of my work.

The pipe dimensions are as follows:
Kriswill Golden Clipper – Model 1803
Bowl Height: 40mm
Bowl opening: 22mm
Max depth of bowl: 35mm
Max Bowl diameter: 38mm
Length of stummel: 65.28 mm
Diameter of shank: 11mm
Length of stem: 89 mm
Over all length of pipe: 155mm

Top View – showing the topping and stain blend.  I did radius the inside of bowl ever so slightly to bring it back into round.Right side of bowl – Detail. Bottom of bowl – showing rustication.Pipe in profile (the near side or right side) – love the proportions of this pipe – gee whiz they made them graceful back in the day!Pipe in profile (the far side or left side).

Putting Humpty Dumpty Back Together Again

Blog by Steve Laug

I was contacted by Mike, reader of rebornpipes about fixing two of his pipes. It was probably over a month ago when he emailed me. The first one was a gift from a friend and when he tried to take of the stem the shank broke away from the bowl. This sounds awful but it is not as bad as it sounds. He sent me photos of the pipe so I could have a look at it. It is made out of pear wood I believe and is a Chinese made pipe (at least it appears to be). He packed it up with another pipe, an old Custombilt that needed a new stem and mailed them to me. When it came the pipe was in a bag – it looked much liked the first series of photos below. It looked like Mike had been loading a bowl for a smoke when it broke. The shank and bowl were held together by an inner tube that appears to be plastic but even that is not overly clear at this point. Whatever it was it was brittle and broke neatly apart. The brass washer that was used for decoration was loose, having been held in place by the joint. The pipe was very dirty on the outside and the inside and needed some work. I would soon find out why it was not cleaned.The stem was tight in the shank and was hard to remove. Mike had said that the pipe was a filter pipe but I am not certain of that. Certainly the tube looked like it could hold a paper filter but the inside of the tube had been stepped down several times. There was a thick cake in the bowl and an overflow of lava on the rim top and some darkening around the edges and top.I took a photo of the end of the shank to give a bit of an idea of what that portion looked like. It was a tube within a tube with something stuffed in between the two tubes.I scraped out the load of tobacco in the bowl to begin my cleaning process. I reamed the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife and took the cake back to bare wood. I wanted to be able to see what was going on under the cake. Everything looked good once I had removed the cake.I cleaned out the internals of the pipe and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. Cleaning out the airway into the bowl proved to be a difficult proposition. It was hard to work a pipe cleaner through and blowing air through it seemed really constricted. I worked on it quite a while and was able to work the pipe cleaner through. It seemed like there was some kind of fitting in the bottom where the airway entered the bowl that dissipated the smoke. It felt like some kind of nipple with multiple air holes. Cleaning the shank was simpler but even there I ran into several step downs along the inside of the shank piece.I took a photo looking down into the airway and you can see the broken tube that held the shank to the bowl just inside the shank walls. Deeper down the shank is another tube that appears to be aluminum. Inside that tube at the bottom is a centered hole that descends into the bowl and to the nipple with multiple air holes at the bottom where it enters the bowl bottom.I cleaned the end of the short shank entering the bowl and flattened the broken tube that held the shank and bowl together on both. It was ragged and crooked. I cleaned up the brass washer that acted as an ornamental space with 1500-2400 micromesh sanding pads. I used all-purpose glue and reset the washer in place on the bowl end of things.I had a piece of steel tubing that was the right size to insert in both the shank and the bowl end of the broken tube. I roughed it up with a file to give the glue something to anchor too on the smooth steel. I mixed a batch of JB Weld to bind the metal tube in the shank first. I packed the mixture in around the broken tube and the outside of the wooden shank with a dental spatula and set it aside to dry.  I joined the family for dinner and afterwards the glue was cured enough to connect the bowl end. I applied another coat of the JB Weld mixture to the tube and to the edge of the two sides that would be pressed together. I aligned the two parts and held it tightly until the glue had set enough for it to be stable when I laid it down. I set it aside to let the glue harden. After a short time I took photos of the newly joined bowl and shank. I set the bowl aside for the evening to let the glue cure overnight and turned to work on the stem. I cleaned the inside with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. Once more I was in for a surprise. There was a brass grate inside the airway at the place the saddle portion is on the outside of the stem. It was very dirty but the cotton swabs and alcohol cleaned the grate. I was able to work the pipe cleaner through each section of the grate until the grate and stem was very clean. The tenon was wide open like it was made for a paper filter. A 9mm filter would work well in this tenon. My only issue is that with all of the brass pieces in the airway in the bowl, shank and stem the filter would further constrict the flow of the smoke through the airway into the mouth of the smoker. I don’t think it is worth smoking with a filter.I sanded out the tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside of the stem next to the button to remove the damage in those areas. I used 220 grit sandpaper and was able to smooth out all of the damage. The stem is not vulcanite but seems to be a soft plastic that is similar to the tube that runs through the entire shank and that broke at the joint of the bowl and shank. I polished it with 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper to polish out the scratches in the soft plastic. I continued to polish the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped down the stem after each pad with Obsidian Oil. After the final 12000 grit pad I gave it a final wipe with Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. The oil is not absorbed like it is with the vulcanite but it did clean up the remaining dust and grime from the polishing. I set the stem aside and wiped the bowl down with alcohol. I cleaned up the excess glue that has squeezed out at the bowl shank joint. I removed all of the oils, grime and dirt that were ground into the pear wood. I worked on the rim top with alcohol and micromesh sanding pads until the wood was clean. With the wood clean I polished it with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth between each pad. When I finished with the 12000 grit pad I wiped it down a final time and hand buffed it with a soft cloth. I waxed the bowl and shank with multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax. I buffed the stem with carnauba wax. I buffed bowl and stem with a clean buffing wheel to raise a shine in the pear wood. The photos below show the finished pipe. It is actually quite unique in terms of shape and design the multiple brass grates in the bowl, shank and stem constrict the air flow but the draw is ok. It definitely should be smoked without a filter. Once I finish the second of Mike’s pipes they will wing their way back to New York where I am sure he is waiting to fire them up and enjoy them once again. Thanks for looking.