Tag Archives: removing oxidation

A Brigham One Dot Dublin with a Back Story


Blog by Steve Laug

This old Brigham was the next pipe I brought to my work table. I got a message from Greg on Facebook saying he had been reading one of my posts about a box of estate pipes I had received and he was interested in adding this one to his rack. The pipe was a Brigham One Dot Dublin with a slight bend in the stem. It was an older one made before the manufacture of the pipes was moved to Italy. It has the standard aluminum tenon and filter mechanism of the Canadian made pipes. The finish is rusticated with the classic Brigham rustication on the bowl, rim top and shank. It has one smooth patch on the underside of the shank that is stamped Brigham in script over Canada. There is no shape number or other stamping on the shank.

The pipe came to me in a box of pipes that I inherited from a friend in Ontario. He was an old Anglican priest and we had shared a lot about pipes and mutual calling over the 15 years that I knew him. I repaired, restored and sold many pipes for him and have a few of his previous pipes in my current collection. He was a great guy and he is alive in my memory each time I smoke one of his pipes. When the box came I found that there were 70+ pipes in the box and his daughter included a note that said her dad wanted me to restore them pass some of them on to others. This is the first from that lot that I have restored.The finish was very worn and the outer edges of the rim showed wear and damage. The inner edge worn as well but the bowl was still in round. The rim had a thick buildup of tars and oils that filled in the grooves and ridges of the rim top. The rim had some darkening of the finish as well. The stem was oxidized and had a sticky residue left behind by a price sticker. There were no tooth marks on the stem surface on either side next to the button.The stamping on the underside of the shank was clear but slightly worn. It reads Brigham in script at an angle from left to right and block letters, CANADA underneath. Charles Lemon of Dadspipes has written a helpful blog about dating Brigham Pipes by the style of the stamping on the shank. I turned to that blog to look up information on this particular pipe and see if I could identify the time period. Here is the link; https://dadspipes.com/2016/10/03/brigham-pipes-a-closer-look-at-dots-dates-and-markings//. According to that info this pipe comes from the late Canadian Era 1980-2000. The second close up photo below shows the rim and the cake in the bowl. The end of the Brigham system can be seen poking out of the airway in the photo as well.The next photo shows the tenon and system tube. It was incredibly dirty with a lot of tar and oil on the inside. The pipe had been smoked a long time without the filter in place and there was a lot of buildup in the tube and stem. The shank was also very dirty.The next two photos show the condition of the stem. The oxidation pattern and the sticky label gum on the surface are very visible on the stem. The stem is also clear of tooth marks or chatter on the surface near the button.I reamed back the cake with a PipNet reamer and a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife. I used a brass bristle brush to knock off the tarry buildup on the rim top and clean out the crevices and grooves in the rustication.I decided to clean out the interior of the mortise, shank and airway in the shank and stem before going any further with the exterior. I used alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs to scrub out those areas and scrubbed until the pipe was clean. I wiped down the surface of the stem to remove the sticky gum left behind by a label on the top side of the stem.I scrubbed the surface of the briar with Murphy’s Oil Soap, toothbrush and a brass bristle brush to clean out the grooves and cleaning off the dirt, oil and debris on the briar. The bowl and the rim looked significantly better once I had rinsed it off with running water. It was dry and the stain was lightened but it was clean. I decided to work on the stem first so while I did I stuffed the bowl with cotton balls and used an ear syringe to fill the bowl with alcohol. I folded a pipe cleaner and plugged the airway so that the alcohol could draw out the oils in the briar. The second photo shows the cotton after it had been sitting for four hours. When I took the cotton balls out at the 6 hour mark they were exactly as they looked at the 4 hour mark. I was a bit surprised that they were not darker. But then again my old friend smoked primarily Virginias – in fact I don’t think he ever smoked aromatics in the time I knew him.I took out a new maple wood Brigham filter for the system and took a photo of the pipe at this point in the process. I still need to stain the bowl but it was looking better and it smelled and looked clean.I stained the bowl with a dark brown aniline stain and flamed it to set it in the grain. The characteristic blue flame that burns the alcohol out of the stain setting it deep in the grain is a beautiful site to my eyes. I repeated the process several times until the coverage was correct.I wiped the bowl down with alcohol on cotton pads to make a bit more transparent. I wanted the contrast that had originally been on these old Brighams to show through. There was enough dark stain in the deep grooves of the finish to contrast nicely with the new stain coats I gave the pipe. I rubbed the stem down with Brebbia Pipe and Mouthpiece Polish and some Before & After Pipe Stem Polish to remove the oxidation in the vulcanite. It lifted a lot of the oxidation and what was left behind was minor.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad and gave it a final coat of oil after the 12000 grit pad. I set the stem aside to dry. When I finished there still appeared to be a little oxidation at the tenon end of the stem. I was not sure if it was the light from the flash or reality so I took it to the buffer and buffed that area with red Tripoli and repeated the last three micromesh pad grits. I buffed the pipe and stem with Blue Diamond to further polish it. I buffed the stem with carnauba wax and gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and with a microfibre cloth to deepen it. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is a beautiful pipe and even better in person. Thanks for looking.

 

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Repairing a shattered stem on a Comoy’s Grand Slam Lovat Patent 210


Blog by Steve Laug

I received an email from Pat about a pipe he had that he wanted to know if I would have a look at and see if I could do anything with it. Here is his first email.

Hello Steve, I have a 1930’s Comoy,s grand slam 210 Lovat with the old bar logo on the stem. The stem however is broken in three or four places. I have all the pieces but one. Is it possible to join the pieces back together again and fill the remaining hole from the missing piece? I visit your site often and you truly have done some amazing things. I don’t know if you typically do repairs but if you do would you consider taking on a repair like this. It’s a lovely old Comoy’s and I’d really like to bring it back to its former glory. Can you help? Thanks for your consideration. — Pat

I wrote him back saying that I would like to see photos of the pipe before I committed to trying a repair. He sent the following two photos of the pipe for me to look at. The piece of briar was a typically beautiful specimen of a Comoy’s pipe. It had some excellent grain and the finish was in very good shape for a pipe this old. The stem however, was another issue. It had shattered.The first photo above showed the bowl and stem together. I had been a really nice looking Lovat and with the bar logo on the stem it was indeed an old one. He wanted to see if I could somehow piece the stem back together preserving the old logo. Looking at the photos I was pretty amazed at the condition. It was obvious to me that the stem must have been stuck in the shank and when someone torqued on it to remove it the stem had shattered into pieces. It looked to me that there were some pieces missing but maybe I could do something with it. I had him ship it to me with all of the parts included.It did not take too long to arrive in Canada and when it did, I opened the box with some trepidation. I was expecting the worst and what I found inside was pretty close to what I had expected. There were two broken pieces in a small baggy, the rest of the stem with the stinger in another baggy and the bowl wrapped in bubble wrap. I laid out the pieces to get a feel for what was missing. The two broken pieces fit well together and together they fit well with the saddle portion. The underside of the stem looked pretty good with the parts connected. However the top side was another story – there was a large chunk of vulcanite missing virtually the length of the stem. Now I knew what I was dealing with.

I put the pieces back in the bag and put the bag and bowl back into the box. I laid it aside and took some time to think through the best course of action for putting it back together again. It was a true Humpty Dumpty project and I did not know if all the kings’ men or even this king’s man could put it back together again. I let it sit while I repaired pipes that were in the queue ahead of it.

Several weeks went by, at least it seemed that way to me and I did not look at the pipe again. I knew it was there but I was not ready to commit to a repair. Today, Saturday arrived and I finished the repairs that were ahead of it. I decided that today was the day. I unpacked the pieces and put them together again to have a look. The tenon/saddle end had a clean break away from the rest of the pieces. The airway inside was oval shaped as was the airway in the button and in the gap between the pieces. Whatever I used to repair this one would have to take that into account. I would need to give an adequate interior base for the rebuild of the stem. If I could glue the pieces together and then insert a tube of some sort I could then rebuild the gap of the missing pieces of vulcanite. It seemed like the plan would work. The first step was to glue to two parts of the button end together. I cleaned the surface with alcohol and ran a bead of clear super glue along the edges of each piece. I put them together and ran a bead of glue along the surface of the crack on the underside of the stem.I took some photos of the bowl and rest of the broken stem just to give an idea of the beauty of the pipe and the magnitude of the issue at hand. The bowl and the finish on the pipe were in excellent condition. It really did not need any work. I don’t know if Pat cleaned the briar or not but it was looking really good. To encourage myself a bit I took some photos of the bowl. The grain is beautiful and the stamping is very sharp and clear. It is stamped on the left side of the shank Comoy’s over Grand Slam over Patent. On the right side it is stamped British over Patent No. over 40574.I flattened the first two inches of the inner tube to make it oval. The trick was not to collapse the tube but merely change its shape from round to oval. It worked really well. I slid the oval tube into the repaired pieces of stem. I aligned it so that it was centred looking at it from the slot in the button. I took photos of the tube in place from the top and the bottom sides.It was now time to proceed. I prepared my charcoal powder and black super glue putty mixture on a folded piece of paper. Because the super glue cures slowly I stir the two components together until I get a thick paste. I double checked the alignment of the tube in the stem end and then applied the mixture to both sides of the stem with a dental spatula. I pressed it into the area on the top side where the stem pieces were missing first then applied a thick coat over the top of the repaired area. The photos below show the progress and the filled repair once I had smoothed it out with the spatula. The flattened tube is anchored solidly in place and the area around it is filled in with the putty. The putty is purposely thick so I have a good base to work with once it dries. I will need to flatten it out and reshape the edges of the button. So far I was happy with the progress of the repair. Once the repair had dried it was time to work on shortening the tube to fit into the other half of the stem. I cut it off with a hacksaw until the length such that when I slid the two parts together it would allow them to match.I applied super glue to the edges of both pieces of the stem and slid the two parts together. I filled in the low spots on the connection with clear super glue to begin with and set the stem aside to cure some more.When the repair had cured I sanded the patch with 180 grit sandpaper to smooth out the surface and begin to blend it into the rest of the stem. I wanted the two parts of the stem to flow together naturally. I continued to sand it with 220 grit sandpaper to further smooth out the surface. In the process air bubbles showed up in the repair surface. This is a normal occurrence and would need to be patched further once I finished this stage of sanding. I also lightly sanded the tenon as the fit in the shank was too tight and I was pretty certain that the stem had shattered because of that. I used black super glue to fill in the air bubbles and pits in the surface of the stem and set the stem aside to cure overnight. In the morning I would sand out those repairs and continue to shape the stem.In the morning the repaired had cured well and the stem was solid. It was a unit once more. The touch up repairs to the air bubbles had also cured so I began the long process of sanding the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth things out. The next two photos show the beginning of the progress. The stem is starting to look pretty good. Still a lot more sanding to do before it is finished but I like what I see so far.In talking to Patrick he wanted to have the stinger apparatus removed and cleaned up so that he could put it back in place should he want it but he wanted the more open draught of the stem without the stinger. These older style Comoy’s stingers were usually threaded and screwed into the tenon of the stem. In all of the ones that I have cleaned up the stingers were locked in place by the lacquer like tobacco juices that had dried and caused it to be frozen in place.

I rubbed the tenon end down with a cotton swab and alcohol and let it soak into the tenon itself. I wanted to soften the tars and oils there and the alcohol would do that without damaging the rest of my repair. Once it had soaked for a while I dried off the area to make sure there was no residual alcohol and heated the stinger repeatedly with the flame of a Bic lighter. Heat would further loosen the lacquers on the threads so that I could unscrew it without damaging the tenon. I used the flat sides of the diamond on the stinger as anchor spots for a pair of needle nose pliers and unscrewed it from the tenon. It was threaded on the end and sat at the bottom of the tenon.The tenon was slightly enlarged and would not seat easily in the mortise. I wonder if this may not have been part of the reason the stem had shattered. Even before I heated the stinger the fit in the mortise had been tight and it would not sit snug against the shank. I cleaned out the inside of the mortise and shank with cotton swabs, alcohol and pipe cleaners to remove any residue that lined the walls. I wanted to be sure that the fit was not hampered by the shank itself. In examining the tenon I could see that the it was slightly thicker at the tenon/saddle junction. I used a needle file to smooth out the thickness and sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper.The fit of the tenon now was snug and the stem could be easily removed and put in place without being tight. I sanded the stem with 220, 320 and 400 wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each pad and gave it a final coat after the 12000 grit pad. The photos show some white flecks on the top surface of the stem. These needed to be sanded out and polished. I gave the stem multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and hand buffed the stem and pipe with a shoe brush to polish it. I buffed it with a microfibre cloth to raise and deepen a shine on the briar and the vulcanite. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I am sending the original stinger back with the finished pipe to Patrick. He has the option of using it or not as he chooses. The finished stem looks better than the three parts and missing chunks that arrived. It should work for him but I am wondering about the fragileness of the old vulcanite. We shall see. Care will need to be exercised when smoking this pipe and taking it apart for cleaning. The briar is absolutely beautiful and the age and patina of the pipe is stunning. I will send it back soon Patrick. Can’t wait to hear what you think.

Restoring a Beautiful Parker Super Bruyere Cherrywood 287


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table comes from the estate lot that I received from a local pipe shop. It originally belonged to an old customer whose wife brought them back to the shop after his death. I am cleaning them up and selling them for the shop. This one is a beautiful little Parker Cherrywood. It is significantly more petite than the sandblast version that I restored earlier (https://rebornpipes.com/2017/06/17/parker-super-briarbark-cherrywood-809/). The stamping on the left side of the shank reads Parker over Super in a diamond over Bruyere.To the left of that is the shape number 287. On the right side of the shank the stamping reads Made in London over England and the number 4 in a circle denoting the group size.There is no date stamp next to the D in England.When I brought the pipe to the table it was obviously one of the old pipeman’s favourite smokers. The finish was dull and dirty and the stem oxidized with some calcification and buildup around the button area forward and a few minor tooth marks.I took a close up photo of the rim top and bowl to show the lava overflow onto the rim top and the thickness of the cake in the bowl. I find that the cake in these older pipes is like concrete. It is very hard and takes a lot of effort to break it down when reaming the bowl. I also took some photos of the stem to show the condition of the end near the button before my work began. The hard cake in the bowl demanded a bit different reaming strategy. I needed to use multiple pipe reamers to remove it. I started the reaming process with a PipNet reamer using the smallest head and working my way up to the largest one that could take the cake back to bare briar walls. I finished the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife and a KleenReem pipe reamer. I used the drill bit from the end of the KleenReem reamer to clear out the airway between the mortise and the bowl. It was almost clogged with a buildup of tars and oils that had hardened there. The pipe had been smoked to a point where it must have been like sucking on a coffee stirrer and having a thimble of tobacco in the chamber. It was definitely a favourite and obviously a good smoking pipe.With the bowl reamed, I turned my attention to working on the stem. I sanded the stem to remove the calcification around the button and smooth out some of the tooth marks. I also broke up some of the oxidation on the rest of the stem with the 220 grit sandpaper.I “painted” the stem end with a Bic lighter to raise the tooth dents on the surface of the stem. It did not take too much work to raise all but one of them. What remained of the sole dent was a small divot. I wiped down the stem with alcohol and filled in the divot with a drop of black super glue. I set the stem aside so that the glue would cure.I scrubbed the rim top with cotton pads and saliva to remove the tarry buildup there. It took a lot of elbow grease but I was able to remove all of it. There was some burn damage to the front inner rim edge from consistently lighting it in the same place. I remove the damage by blending it into the rest of the rim bevel with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I restained the edge and the rim top to blend in with the rest of the bowl using a medium and a dark brown stain pen. I mixed the stains on the rim surface and rubbed it in with a soft cloth. I gave it a light coat of Conservator’s Wax to further blend in the stain on the rim. The photos below show the rim top after the stain and after the waxing.With the pipe’s externals cleaned and polished I turned my attention to the internals of the mortise and airway in the shank and the stem. I scrubbed them with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners until they were clean.I decided to work on the oxidation on the stem using a combination of the Before & After Stem Deoxidizer and Polish and Brebbia Mouthpiece Polish. I applied the Deoxidizer and Polishes with cotton pads to scrub the surface of the stem. I was able to remove the oxidation without doing any damage to the Parker Diamond stamp on the top of the stem. I buffed the pipe and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel and then gave the entire pipe multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is a beautiful pipe that fits well in the hand. The dimensions of the pipe are; Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ inches. It will soon be available on the rebornpipes store. If you are interested in adding it to your collection email me at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a private message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.

Dent Steaming a 1932 PATENT DUNHILL T197 Billiard with a VERNON STEM


Blog by Henry Ramirez

Saw this mousey looking pipe with a clicker stem on EBay.  Nobody seemed to want it so I took it home to practice my dent steaming.  The stem attaches with a loud click and some research told me it was named after Vernon Dunhill, who was responsible for the fitment’s design.  It was designed  to allow the stem to be separated from the bowl even when the pipe was hot from recent smoking.  It had the earlier square tip tube rather than the later angled tip. The stem had a funky downward cant before the button and it strongly resembled my Kaywoodie Allbriars.  Boy they nailed that briar stain to the oxidized Cumberland stem color! The bowl rim was dented/chipped and the surface scratched. The stem and the button were in fine shape so the usual soak in Oxyclean to remove the smegma followed by a trip to the oven to allow the stem to straighten itself.The metal tube is removable from the keeper which is part of the stem.  I have seen examples of the opposite where the keeper is integral to the shank.  These pipes seem to have been mostly billiard Cumberlands but some exceptions exist.  Both the tube and the keeper were polished with fine brass wool.  I did reface the tube with a carborundum disk.The shank stampings were crisp but there seemed to be personalized script on the bottom long polished off.The dent on the bowl’s rim was the major distracting feature.  I didn’t want to top the bowl and the briar dust/CA mixtures never seemed seamless to me.  So I tried to fatten up the cellulose fibers with hot steam using my hand held steamer.  This worked somewhat and had the advantage of pin pointing the area to be steamed. Not satisfied, I decided to fall back on the hot iron on a wet kitchen towel technique.  This did a better job, I think because it affected a larger area.  The problem then became one of restaining this larger area to match the rest of the pipe.

Restaining the pipe became somewhat of a chase your tail love’s labor, trying light brown, medium brown and the finally dark brown in various concentrations followed by isopropyl alcohol on a gauze sponge scrubbings.

So, I think I’m going to someday re-stain the whole pipe dark brown to try to better match the Cumberland stem while learning to love the residual dent on the rim.  The only home run here was the straightening of the stem to its original straight shape.  Thanks for looking, regards, Henry.

Stem Button TIME SAVER on a 1940’s Dunhill LB


Blog by Henry Ramirez

I was ghosting through Ebay listings looking for a cracked shank to experiment with when this old classic appeared.  The auction was won for a song because in addition to a cracked shank, the year stamping had been buffed off the shank. The usual whole lotta cake and dented stem story.I started with the stem, which was really in great shape.  I have come to love the stumpy profile of the patent LB’s with their constricted contour button.  An Oxyclean bath was followed by an isopropyl alcohol scrubbing with a shank brush and pipe cleaners. I wanted to use heat to raise the bite marks as much as possible to not only decrease my work load but to minimize the inclusion of foreign filler. To this end I also wanted to learn the proper temperature needed to reproduce my results consistently.

Using a heat gun, I took my time and warmed up the vulcanite until my nose told me it was getting close to burning.  If that happens the surface becomes a porous charred stinky mess!  I quickly used a laser temperature gun to obtain a surface reading of 275 degrees F.  Amazing how quickly the surface cooled off once the heat was removed.I was not impressed by the amount of rebound and it looked like filling and filing was in my future.

Having nothing to lose, I pressed my wife’s oven into service, knowing that I could set the temperature substantially higher than previous attempts without fear of ruination. I set the oven temperature at 265 degrees F to have a 10 degree safety zone and watched as the whole stem “stretched out”.  This was more like it! The dents were now depressions that needed the light to shine just so to be seen.  Little CA and polishing was needed.

I should mention that these values are for older Dunhill vulcanite only.  The composition of vulcanite has changed over the years, according to some posts I’ve read, and I’ve noticed it in the depth of polish ability.Now it was the time to clean and evaluate the briar. While I ream the mortise and bowl I am wishing that I had Steve’s magical Savinelli Pipe knife. Boy, those things are rarer than hen’s teeth and this old cake is super hard. That is followed by total immersion in an isopropyl bath with various scrub brushes stripping the briar. I couldn’t save the original finish because the shank crack needed to be clean and open as much as possible for the bonding. One of the perks of the alcohol bath is that after the bowl dries out, if there is any residual cake stuck to the chamber walls, it shrivels up and is easily removed.The shank crack was now very evident but the year stamping was not.Getting back to the stem, I wanted to know if the alcohol retort was worth the hassle.  I had been as meticulous as possible with the pipe cleaners and cold alcohol.  The color of the used alcohol in the distillation flask tells the story, close but no banana! I could now address the cracked shank.  I had previously repaired such a problem using a micro-screw and bonded dental composite resin.  I was concerned that threading the screw into old dry briar could start micro-fractures and crazing.

This time I elected to drill a channel spanning the crack and passively bond a post fabricated from longitudinal glass fibers encompassed in a strong composite resin matrix.  This would also provide some flex in the repair to accommodate the dimensional changes that briar goes through because of temperature changes during smoking.

At this time I also drilled a post hole at the end of the crack to prevent further spidering.  Because the crack was significantly wide I made sure to introduce my resin with a size 06 endodontic file.  I had planned to use a C clamp to close the gap but I chickened out when finger pressure did nothing.  Not sure how to make briar temporarily more flexible….

After filling the post hole and cementing the fiber post with dual cure composite resin, I trimmed off the post and blacked out the white resin with black CA.

Before beginning to start the staining process I wanted to open the pores of the cellulose to not only gain greater absorption of the dye but also improve the briar’s capacity to absorb tars for a sweeter smoke.  I had noticed such a phenomenon with the Missouri Meerschaum corn cob pipes.

I found that this particular wheel had already been invented by the folks who refinish wooden decks.  I tracked down some relatively non-toxic materials which did the job and whose run off wouldn’t hurt plants.

Sodium percarbonate does the cleaning and oxalic acid removes the smear layer, thus opening up the wood’s pores.  Looking around online for a source I realized that I already had both chemicals in the laundry room!  Oxyclean is the percarbonate and states on the container that it’s great for wood decks, siding and lawn furniture.  Bar Keeper’s Friend has oxalic acid as its active ingredient and states on the container that it works on teak wood.Indeed after scrubbing with both and rinsing with water, I noticed that the chamber’s surface looked and felt less dense.Now it was time to stain the briar with Oxblood diluted 50% with isopropyl alcohol in two coats, both flamed with the micro-torch.I was lucky that the original black stain in the depths of the blast remained.An overlay stain of light brown was applied in 2 coats.After a rub down with an old t-shirt to remove any xs dye, I applied 2 coats of Halcyon wax.  A quick buff on the lathe and then a hand strapping with a shoe bristle brush brought the shine up.  I want to mention that my wife gifted me her silver brush which is narrow and has long soft bristles which easily accesses the crotch of the pipe without fear of collision. This has proved most useful on bent pipes.Another very helpful tip came from a pipe maker’s blog about dead-faced files to add crispness to the button area.  They are the dead faced nut seating file by Stewart MacDonald, a luthier’s supply house and the pillar files which have the dead side on the edge from OttoFrei, a clock makers source.Well I’m now satisfied with the pipe but not finished. They say we abandon these projects because we reach a point where better becomes an enemy of good. Boy that was fun and I hope to share more adventures with these fabulous old pipes!  Regards, Henry

 

Parker Super Briarbark Cherrywood 809


Blog by Steve Laug

The grain on this Parker is absolutely stunning. The sandblast follows the cross grain around the bowl with a deep, craggy blast. The shape is a classic poker or Cherrywood. It is stamped on underside of the shank with the brand name Parker over Super in a Diamond over Briarbark over Made in London England. Next to the shank/stem union it’s stamped with the shape no. 809 and a circled 4 designating the bowl size. There is a Diamond P on top of the stem. The finish is in decent shape with a medium to dark brown stain. When I received the pipe it had a thick cake in the bowl and the lava had overflowed onto the rim filling in the grooves of the sandblast. It is hard to tell if there was rim damage as it is so caked and encrusted on the rim. The stem had calcification from a softee bit on the first inch from the button forward. There were deep tooth marks on top & bottom side of the stem near the button. The following four pictures show the general condition of the pipe when I brought it to my work table. The next photo shows the rim top and the thickness of the cake. The cake was very hard and it would take some serious work to remove it from the bowl. It also looked to me like there was rim edge and bowl damage on the front left side. Once I had reamed it I would know for sure. (Just a side note – this is where I really appreciate my brother’s clean up work. I really like working on pre-cleaned pipes.)The cake was very hard. I have found that on some of these older pipes the tobacco must have been significantly different as the cake is like concrete whereas on the newer tobaccos it is never this hard. Could it be just the fact that the pipe has been sitting for a long time? I reamed it with the PipNet reamer starting with the smallest cutting head and working my way up to the third head. I used the Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to work on the cake as well. It took a lot of time to get the pipe cleaned out. I probably spent over 45 minutes just reaming this bowl. The second photo below shows the bowl at the end of the 45 minutes of work. Still work to do on it as you can see the remnants of the cake on the walls. I used the Savinelli Fitsall to clean it up further.I picked at the lava on the rim with a dental pick to loosen the rock hard buildup and a brass bristle brush to clean off the debris once I had it loosened. The photo below shows the cleaned out bowl and the cleaned rim. Notice the damage to the front left inner edge of the rim.With the bowl cleaned and reamed I turned my attention to the internals. I scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. It took some coaxing with the swabs and cleaners to finally get the internals free of buildup and debris.The stem had a thick calcified buildup on the first inch from the button forward on both sides. This too was rock hard. I sanded the calcification off the surface of the vulcanite. Doing so revealed the tooth dents on the surface of the both sides of the stem near the button.I “painted” the stem with a Bic lighter flame to raise the tooth dents as much as possible. While they came up significantly some of the edges were sharp and the dents would rise no more. I wiped the stem down with some alcohol to clean out the dents and filled them in with black super glue. I set the stem aside so that the repairs would cure and headed off to work.When I returned in the evening the patches had cured. I sanded the repairs with 220 grit sandpaper and sharpened the 90 degree angle of the button with needle files. I sanded the stem surface some more to remove the oxidation.I decided to take a bit of time and work on the bowl so I set the stem aside for a while. I touched up the worn spots on the rim and on the shank end with a dark brown stain pen. The colour was a perfect match to the rest of the bowl and it blended in very well. I waxed the briar with Conservator’s Wax. It is a soft rub on past that work well with sandblast and rusticated finishes. I buff it with a shoe brush and I am able to polish even the deep grooves in the grain so that no wax sits in those and hardens, dulling the finish. I lightly buffed the bowl with a soft microfibre cloth to raise the shine. The photos below show the bowl at this point in the process. I decided to polish the stem using a different method than my normal routine. I sanded it with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads to remove the scratching in the vulcanite. I use a product that I have used before called Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer to work over the remaining oxidation. I repeated the process until the vulcanite was clean. I polished it with the Before & After Pipe Polish in both Fine and Extra Fine grits. I rubbed the stem down with a soft cotton pad to remove the polishing compound and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I rubbed it down with a coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry.I used an artist’s fine bristle brush and white acrylic paint to fill in the Parker Diamond P stamp on the stem. I wiped it down afterwards and lightly buffed it with Blue Diamond to remove the excess paint.I buffed the pipe and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel – with a light touch on the bowl. The finish shows up beautifully, the sandblasted ring grain standing out front. It is one of those rugged blasts that are a tactile wonder as it heats up during a smoke. I gave the bowl another coat of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba followed by a buff with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the bowl with a shoe brush and then with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 1/2 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 inches. The contrast of the dark brown and a medium brown that shines through give the finish a rich patina. The bowl has been cleaned and the entire pipe is ready to smoke. The stem is in great shape. The tooth marks have been removed though there is slight scratching on the vulcanite. It is a beautiful pipe, just a little big for my liking or I would hang on to it. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store soon. If you are interested in adding it to your collection email me at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.

 

 

1967 DUNHILL 197 SHELL BRIAR Clean-up


Blog by Henry Ramirez

When surfing Ebay I noticed a very well smoked Shell billiard whose stem had lost its White Dot. It looked like it could be cleaned up to present an elegant addition to my collection. I anxiously awaited its arrival and immediately dunked the stem in an Oxyclean bath for a nite.

The next morning I pulled it out of the bath and wiped off the smegma for my first real look at the stem. The divots reminded me of a deflated balloon. Just what I was hoping for! Off to the buffer I went to buff off the sulfur discoloration with a wet rag wheel and pumice. Knowing what I know now, I should have popped this baby in the oven to raise the dents but instead I got to cleaning the stem’s airway and tenon. I bonded some shade A2 dental composite in the hole for the White Spot and was dismayed that it refracted the surrounding black vulcanite. Note to self, next time place a layer of opaque before the bulk fill. Luckily, when researching the earlier White Spots I came across examples of dots so dark they were black. I had made a silicone impression of a new pipe’s stem and used that as a mold to create a refurbishment of the button. What a mess! Next time I’ll mix the charcoal in with the composite resin rather than CA. I ended up recreating the button the way Steve has posted here on Reborn Pipes. OK, so now it’s the bowl’s turn. My armamentarium and procedure is pretty routine for cake and gunk removal. The rim’s blast was scorched but luckily, the rest of the pipe’s blast was vestigial. This was an opportunity to try out emulating a blast through rustication. Plus, since the pipe was stained rather darkly, it would help hide a myriad of sins. When polishing the chamber I noticed some alligatoring of the briar. Today I would probably schmeer some JB Weld into the cracks but what I did was a coating of Structural Sour Cream and charcoal. I played around with the button’s internals, polished with the usual green, red and white compounds (thanks Tim West), threw on some wax and called it a day! Thanks for looking, regards, Henry