Tag Archives: removing oxidation

Restoring a Thompson Freehand 529 with Cumberland Stem


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the worktable is a freehand with a plateau rim. It has a contrast black and red stain – red on the high spots of the rustication and black in the nooks and crannies. The rim shows the same pattern or reds and black. The shank has a band on it that is briar with brass on either side of it. The pipe was very dirty on the rim and the inside when my brother picked it up at an estate sale in Idaho. The rim had an overflow of the thick cake that filled the bowl. It had a Cumberland style acrylic saddle stem. The stem was in pretty rough shape with deep tooth marks on both the top and underside near the button and tooth marks on the button itself. There was also a bite through on the top side of the stem – mid stem just ahead of the button. It was not a large hole but it was a hole nonetheless. My brother took the following photos before he cleaned up the pipe for me.From a previous blog I wrote and one that Robert Boughton wrote I remembered that Thompson pipes were made for Thompson Cigar Company. This particular pipe was stamped on the left side of the shank with the words Thompson in script over the shape number 529 and Italy. I know that Thompson Cigar Company had pipes made in Italy, the Netherlands (Big Ben), and Turkey (the Meerschaum). Many of their Italian pipes were made by Savinelli. In checking the shape numbers of Savinelli pipes I did not find a listing for a 529 but there were others around that shape number.The photo Jeff took of the rim top and bowl shows the thick cake in the bowl and the lava overflow on the rim top. The insides of the pipe looked as if they had never been cleaned before. The beauty of the mess was that it probably protected the plateau top from damage.The underside of the bowl shows the rustication pattern on the briar and the cleanness of the exterior of the pipe.The next photo, though a little out of focus shows the stamping on the shank. It is very readable and clear.The Cumberland acrylic stem looks very good with the red and black of the stain on the rusticated bowl. The shank band or twin brass bands separated by a briar insert makes a stunning separator for the shank and the stem.The stem was in rough condition as mentioned above. The top of the stem had a lot of tooth chatter and the button was chewed down. There was a small hole in the middle of the stem just below the button. The underside of the stem also showed a lot of tooth chatter and bite marks.The rim top looked really good once he had removed all the built up tar and lava. The high spots and the valleys in contrasts of red and black.The stem was clean but the topside showed a lot of damage. There were tooth marks and the hole to deal with and the large dent in the top of the button edge on the stem top. The underside had some deep tooth marks and some chatter.I sanded the damaged areas on the top and underside of the stem to prepare for the repairs to the tooth marks and dents. I was able to remove much of the chatter and only left behind the deep marks in the surface of the stem.I coated a pipe cleaner with Vaseline and inserted it in the stem below the hole in the stem surface. The greased pipe cleaner would prevent the super glue repair from sticking to the pipe cleaner or clogging the airway. I filled in the hole and the deep tooth marks on both sides of the stem with clear super glue. I used my drilled block to hold the stem so both sides of the stem would dry without interference from my work surface. While the repair cured I buffed the bowl with a soft cotton buffing pad to bring up a shine. Once the repair had cured I used a needle file on both sides of the stem to bring the repair even with the surface of the stem. I sanded the repaired areas with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth them out and blend them into the surface of the stem. The photos below tell the story. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed it with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I buffed lightly to keep the polish from getting in the grooves of the rustication. I buffed the stem to polish out the remaining scratches. I gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I gave the rusticated bowl several coats of Conservator’s Wax and buffed it with a shoe brush. I buffed the entire pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Diameter of the chamber: ¾ inches. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store soon. If you are interested in adding this one to your collection email me at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.

Cleaning up a Ropp Cherrywood and a Carved Cherrywood Pipe


Blog by Steve Laug

I decided this afternoon to work on a couple of easy pipes – the first is a French Made Ropp Cherrywood and the second is also a Cherrywood but sports that carving of an alligator around the bowl front and sides. The Ropp is stamped on the bottom of the bowl with the typical Ropp circle stamp reading Ropp Cherry arched over Made in France. The “Gator” pipe bears no stamping at all. The Ropp is unsmoked but the stem seems to have marks that make me wonder if it was not a prop in a play or something. I am pretty sure that the stem is not original but a replacement. The “Gator” pipe appears to have been smoked at least once because there is a very faint darkening in the bowl but otherwise it too looks unsmoked. The stem is tiny but it too had some tooth marks on the top and underside near the button. That meant that for both of these I would only need to do the stem work. I took a close up photo of both of the bowls to show the condition. You can see that Ropp is unsmoked (NOS) and that the “Gator” also looks virtually unsmoked.The only thing that looked used on either pipe was the stem. The acrylic yellow stem on the “Gator” pipe had some tooth marks on both sides near the stem. The same was true of the vulcanite stem on the Ropp.I sanded the tooth marks on both stems smooth with 220 grit sandpaper. It did not take too much work to smooth out the tooth marks and chatter. I polished each of the stems 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 sanding pad and after the last pad I rubbed it down and set it aside to dry. I buffed the stems down with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel and gave them both multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed them with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I wiped down the bowls with a light coat of olive oil and gave them a coat of Conservator’s Wax. I hand buffed them both with a shoe brush to raise the shine. The finished pipes are shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipes are: ROPP – Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 5/8 inches, Bowl diameter: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ inches. GATOR – Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 2 inches, Bowl diameter: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ inches. I will be adding both of them to the rebornpipes store shortly. If you are interested they can both be yours for one price. Check out the shop if interested or email me at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a message on Facebook. Thanks for looking. I took some photos of the Gator carving on the one Cherrywood to give you a sense of what it looks like. The first photo shows the head and shoulders on the left side of the bowl. The second photo shows the front of the bowl with the rear legs and body. The last photo shows the tail of the Gator.

Breathing life into a Superior Real Briar Bulldog


Blog by Steve Laug

This older C.P.F. style bulldog with an ornate rim cap and shank end cap was another pipe that my brother and I found in our pipe hunt in Montana. That hunt yielded a lot of older C.P.F. and WDC pipes from between the late 1890s and the early 1900s. This one is certainly from that time period. The briar is very worn and the finish is gone. The metal rim cap and shank cap or ferrule are brass coloured but blackened with oxidation. The top of the rim is thickly caked with the lava overflow from the heavy cake in the bowl itself. The stem is either Redmanol or Bakelite and has some cracking near the shank/stem junction but nothing that affects the fit of the stem to the shank. There is some tooth chatter and tooth marks near the button on the top and underside of the stem. My brother took the photos that follow before he did his clean up.The pipe has some faint stamping on the left side of the shank. The photo below shows the condition of the stamping. It clearly reads SUPERIOR in a diamond. There seems to be other stamping that is faint underneath SUPERIOR in the diamond but I am unable to read it. On the outside of the diamond there is stamping on either side. It is faint but to the left under the edge of the diamond is faint stamping Real and under the right edge of the diamond it reads Briar. There appears to be something underneath the diamond going across the shank but it is not clear enough for me to be able to read.The next two photos show the pipe from two different angles to give an idea of what the pipe looked like in its entirety. There is some real promise with this old pipe.The rings around the cap on the bowl are in excellent condition. There is some debris lodged in them but there are no chips or cracks in the ring. The finish on the briar is spotty with small remnants of the original finish in place. The grain on the pipe is quite nice underneath the grime. The bowl has a thick cake in it and the lava has flowed over on top of the rim top. The metal rim top is blackened and has a thick cake of lava on it. It is hard to know what the inner edge of the rim will look like at this point because of the cake in the bowl. The carvings/castings in the metal rim cap and the shank end are dirty and have a lot of grime built up in the grooves and crannies. The Bakelite/Redmanol stem had tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the stem from the button forward about an inch. There were some small cracks in the shank end of the stem that would need to be addressed in the repair.Jeff did an amazing job of reaming out the bowl on this one and revealed that the metal cap was folded over and lined the inner edge of the rim thus protecting the rim from damage. He was able to ream the bowl back to bare briar without damaging this inner rim edge. He cleaned out the internals of the pipe with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol until they were clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl and the metal with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap. This removed the grime in the nooks and crannies of the metal work and also cleaned the briar. He was careful around the already damaged stamping so as not to damage it further. When the pipe arrived in Canada it was clean and ready for restoration. I took photos of the pipe before I began my work to show what it looked like cleaned and ready for me. I love working on clean pipes! He was able to get all of the buildup off the rim cap but the surface was pitted and worn from all of the years of grime sitting on the brass. The bowl looked really good and the brass folded over the inside edge was darkened but undamaged.The stem was cleaned of the tars that were on the inside of the airways. The photos show the cracking at the shank end near the band. While the cracks were not rough to touch they were present. There were also many tiny little spidering cracks on the inside of the airway.I polished the metal rim cap and inner edge with micromesh sanding pads, wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads. I was able to remove much of the pitting and scratching on the surface and the blackening of the inner edge of the cap. I dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads to further polish the cap and edge.I laid the bowl aside for the time being and turned my attention to the stem repairs. I cleaned the surface of the stem around the largest and roughest feeling crack with a water dampened cotton pad. I sanded it with 1500 micromesh and wiped it another time to remove the sanding residue. I filled in the cracked surface with clear super glue and let it cure. When it dried I sanded it smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and also sanded the tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the stem at the button.I cleaned out the interior of the stem with pipe cleaners and water to remove more of the debris from the airway.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 rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after sanding with each micromesh sanding pad, gave it a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. I turned back to the bowl to finish my work on it. I wiped the briar down with a cotton pad and alcohol being careful around the faint stamping on the shank. I was hoping that when it was wet it would be more readable. Sadly it was not. The SUPERIOR stamp was all that I could read. The briar has some nice grain. I decided to leave the nicks and scratches alone as they were well earned character marks on this 100+ year old pipe. I really like the look of the raw briar on this one so I decided to rub it down with olive oil to make the grain stand out and give the briar some life. The next photos show the grain on the oiled bowl. It looks really good to my eye. I gave the bowl a coat of Conservator’s Wax to protect the briar and when the wax dried I buffed it with a flannel cloth to give it a shine. I put the stem back on the shank and in doing so remembered that it was slightly overturned. The lines of the shank and the diamond stem did not align. I have found that on these old bone tenon and threaded mortises that they wear down slightly over time. A little trick I use to address the wear is to paint the tenon with a thin coat of clear fingernail polish that I swiped from my daughters years ago. It dries clear and just one thin coat was enough to align the stem perfectly when I screwed it into the mortise.I lightly buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to remove the tiny scratches that remained on the brass and the briar. I gave the briar portion of the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and polished them with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I polished the brass with a jeweler’s cloth and buffed it with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the entire pipe with a microfiber cloth to put on the finishing touches. The pipe is shown in the photos below in all of its beauty. I love the look of these older pipes with all of the bling and the Redmanol/Bakelite stems. They really look elegant and show their era well. Thanks for coming with me on this refurb.

 

 

The Other Half of the Pair – a Wally Frank Sandblast Lovat


Blog by Steve Laug

I purchased this little Lovat from Josh (misterzippo), a reader of the blog earlier this year. He sent me an email and photos some pipes that he thought I might want. As usual when you have incurable PAD there is always something that catches my eye. We fired some emails back and forth about the pipes and it did not take long to make a deal. I bought a Malaga Bulldog with a twist in the carving and a scoop in the top of the bowl that I restored earlier. I bought a pair of sandblast Wally Frank pipes shown in the photo below. Josh sent this photo and it shows the overall condition and appearance of both pipes. As I noted in the restoration of the bent billiard the deep ridges of the sandblast finishes intrigued me. Both pipes were dirty but that is never really a problem. The grooves in the sandblast on both were filled in with grit and grime and almost sticky to touch. The rims were caked with overflow of tars from the bowl and the grooves were filled in to the point that they almost were invisible. The stem on the bent billiard was in good shape with light oxidation and some tooth marks on both sides near the button. The stem on the Lovat was missing a large chunk out of the underside that would need repairing. The tape measure in the photo shows that the billiard is about 5 ½ inches long with a taper stem and the Lovat is 5 inches long with a saddle stem.Josh sent me a photo of the major issue with this pipe. There was a large portion of the stem and button missing on the underside. This issue would make me think through my options on this pipe. Should I repair the stem or should I restem the pipe? If I repaired it I could keep the Wally Frank original filter tenon. If I restemmed it I could get rid of that feature and give the pipe a regular push tenon. I would need to think through that issue as I worked on it.I asked Josh to send the pipes to my brother instead of too me in Canada. Jeff would do the cleanup work on it so it made sense to have it go directly to him. He took the following photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup. As I looked at these photos I was really taken with the way the sandblast had revealed interesting grain patterns in the briar.You can see from the photos the overall condition of the pipe. The briar is dirty but still stunning. There was less cake in this little pipe than there was in the other Wally Frank that I worked on. There was light overflow and lava on the rim top but the inner and outer edge of the bowl was in excellent condition. The finish though dirty was not in bad condition under the grime.The next photos show the grain patterns around the bowl from various angles. The circles, starbursts, ring grain and birdseye make the sandblast finish one that really holds my interest as I turn in my hands. The rim top definitely has less tar and oil build up on the surface. The close up photo of the rim shows light cake in the bowl and the lava that is unevenly disperse across the surface of the bowl.There is a smooth, flat band on the bottom of the shank and the bowl that make pipe a sitter. It is where the pipe is stamped. It reads Wally Frank over Filter. The Wally Frank stamp is not as deep as the Filter stamp but it is still readable. The Wally Frank WF circle logo on the left side of the saddle portion of the stem was very lightly stamped. It is readable but there is no tactile sense of it left on the stem. It will be hard to preserve. The fit of the stem to the shank is very good. The aluminum band that separates the stem from the shank is an integral part of the aluminum tenon that is on the Filter pipes. The tenon is made to hold a paper filter. It is split so that it can be adjusted should it become loose in the shank. The stem shows wear on the topside with tooth marks and chatter on both the stem surface and on the button itself. The underside is where the problem lies. You can see from the photo the large missing portion of the stem from the button forward to the saddle. The third photos shows the surface of the top of the stem. You can see the pitting in the surface and the wear that is on the stem. Will it be a candidate for a repair or should I restem the pipe? Jeff cleaned the pipe once he received it. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet and a Savinelli Fitsall reamer taking the cake back to bare wood. He cleaned out the internals of the airway in the shank, mortise and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove all of the ancient build up. He scrubbed the externals with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to clean out the grooves and crevices of the sandblast finish. He rinsed off the soap with running water and dried off the bowl. He soaked the stem in OxyClean to break up the oxidation on the surface and remove some of the scaling that was present. When the pipe arrived in Vancouver I took photos of the pipe as it was when I first brought it to the work table. Jeff really did a good job on the bowl and rim clean up leaving the grain on the surface very visible. Like the bent billiard that I worked on the blast on the rim is unique. It has swirls and smooth spots as well as some grooves. It is an interesting blast.The OxyClean soak had really brought the oxidation to the surface and made the damaged stem really visible. It looks to me like someone either broke loose a piece of the stem while cleaning the pipe or possible bit through it and then broke it. Before I could work on the repair to the stem I needed to deal with the oxidation. I decided to use the Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer that I have been trying out. I keep the mixture in a flat plastic tray with a cover. I dropped the stem into the mixture and made sure that it was completely covered. I put the lid on the tray and set it aside to soak overnight. I called it a day.

I have referred to the latest use of this product in previous blogs because I am putting it through its paces to see how the product delivers. I was skeptical when I first started using it but I have to admit that with each stem I soak in the product I am becoming less skeptical. I am including information on how to get ahold of the product if you are interested. I purchased the Deoxidizer and some Fine and Extras Fine Pipe Polish from a guy on Facebook named Mark Hoover and he is a member of the group there called The Gentlemen’s Pipe Smoking Society. He has a pen making and restoration site where you can email and order the deoxidizer and the polishes (http://www.lbepen.com/).In the morning I took the pipe out of the bath and dried it off. I was not too worried about the remaining oxidation at this point as I had significant repair to do before I addressed the left over remnants of oxidation. I was pleased to see that the edges of the damaged area were clean and ready for me to work on. The circle WF was gone from the left side of the stem. In preparation for the repair to the stem I cut a triangle of thin cardboard and wrapped it with clear packing tape. I have found that the repair mixture of super glue and charcoal powder will not stick to the packing tape. The triangle preserves the slot and airway in the stem once the patch is applied. I adjusted the fit of the triangle and inserted it into the slot of the stem. I laid out a piece of newsprint and the components of the repair mixture – clear super glue and food grade charcoal powder capsules. I opened two capsules and made a mound on the paper. I used a dental spatula to put a small dip in the top of the mound. I mixed in drops of super glue into the charcoal powder and stirred them together with a dental spatula. I made the repair thick enough that it would hold and give me enough material to reshape both the stem surface and the button. The photos below tell the story. I reshaped the button edges and surface with needle files to blend the repair into the surface of the stem and to make the transition to the button clean and sharp. I filled in some of the expected air bubbles with a coat of clear super glue. I will need to repeat this as I shape and sand the stem.I sanded the repaired area of the stem and button with 180 grit sandpaper to rough shape them.I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to further smooth and shape the repaired stem. The repair is solid at this point. The area that I repaired shows air bubble pits in the surface of the stem and the button.I reshaped the slot in the end of the stem with a needle file to smooth out the repaired surface. I still need to sand it to remove scratches and nicks but it is taking shape. I filled in the air bubble holes with clear super glue and set the stem aside to dry.I sanded the patch with 220 grit sandpaper to blend it in with the surface of the stem and then began to polish it with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad to give life to the vulcanite. It is fun to watch the stem begin to shine with the work of each micromesh pad. The photos below are arranged with the top photo first and the repaired underside of the stem second. The last two photos show the shine in the rubber of the stem. The last one shows that there are still some scratches remaining in the rubber that will need to be shined some more. I polished the stem some more with the last three grits of micromesh sanding pad to remove more of the scratches. When I was happy with it I set it aside and turned my attention to the stummel. Because of the diverse colours that came through on the briar I decided not to stain this pipe. I decided to leave it natural with the existing stain and try to maximize the contrasts in the grain and stain. I rubbed it down with a light coat of olive oil to bring life back into the dry briar. The colours of the stain in the briar began to shine through and the patterns in the grain really stood out with clarity. This was a beautiful piece of wood. I buffed the bowl with a clean buffing pad after the oil had dried into the briar. The key is to not push the briar too hard into the buffing pad. Doing so flattens the sandblast and ruins some of the definition in the grain patterns. The photos below show the contrast in stains that were originally used on the pipe. I put the stem on the stummel and buffed the pipe lightly with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand waxed the bowl with Conservator’s wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and hand buffed it with a shoe brush as well with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is a well-made, beautiful pipe that has a tactile feeling that is really nice in the hand. I think as it heats up during a smoke that sensation will only increase. Thanks for coming with me on this one.

Revitalizing a Distinctive L J Peretti of Boston – Large Full Bent Egg


Blog by Dal Stanton

I’ve grown to like L J Peretti pipes and I guess you could say, that I’ve started collecting them.  Why?  My son gave me my first Peretti for Christmas which I restored by splicing the missing part of the stem by cannibalizing another:  A Christmas Gift in need of a stem splice – L J Peretti Squared Shank Billiard.  It turned out to be a great smoker and I like the stout squared shank.It was my research with this pipe that I discovered the mystique of the Boston-based, L. J. Peretti name and its place in Americana pipe history as the second oldest US Tobacconist started in 1870 (Quoted from Lopes in Pipedia).  The L J Peretti Co. continues to serve patrons today in their Boston shop on 2 ½ Park Square by being one of the few places where one can bring his/her pipe and be guided by experienced tobacconists and test several selections before deciding to purchase!  I was also attracted to the Peretti story because Boston is a cool city – my son lived there and I enjoyed my visits.The next Peretti I serendipitously received was from a colleague working in Ukraine – a square shanked Rhodesian.  He brought it to me when we met last winter in Oslo, Norway, to watch a world-class Biathlon event (skiing and shooting).  He wasn’t utilizing him anymore and asked me if I would.  Yes!  It’s a smaller pipe and good for a shorter smoke.  Suddenly, I had two Perettis of Boston!  Both, strong, squared shanks – I liked them.Then I drank the Peretti Kool Aid.  I bought my own Peretti – well, that’s not the whole truth.  I bought 10 pipes of Peretti in a lot for sale on eBay from a seller located in Everett, Massachusetts, just north of Boston.  I guess you could say that I’m now a Peretti collector!  Of the 10 pictured from the eBay seller below, I chose 4 to add to my personal collection – one of the Oom Paul’s (many to choose from!), the Calabash (top left), the Billiard EX (bottom), and the massive Full Bent Egg in the center of the picture. The remaining Peretti cousins will eventually be restored and put up for adoption in The Pipe Steward Store Front to benefit the Daughters of Bulgaria.  I’m pressing to restore and ready the Peretti Full Bent Egg for service because my wife and I will be returning to the US from Bulgaria for a few months and I was hoping to bring this new Peretti along!  Now on my worktable, on the 10th floor of a former Communist block apartment building, I take some pictures of the L J Peretti Full Bent Egg in the condition he arrived from Everett, Mass. The pipe is generally in good shape.  It shows normal wear and usage.  The briar surface is grimy.  The narrow, cylindrical bowl is laden with cake which needs removal.  The stem is heavily oxidized with tooth chatter and some compressions present.  This L J Peretti has enjoyed a lot of use showing that the former steward enjoyed his company.  The nomenclature is situated on the left-side of the shank and simply reads, ‘LJ PERETTI CO’ and is very worn.  I’ll be careful to preserve it.  There are no other markings that I can tell.  I take a magnifying glass to the left side of the full bent saddle stem to see if there might be a Peretti ‘P’ stamp hiding in the oxidation, but I see no sign.  I’m anxious to recommission this newest of my L J Perretti collection – an extra-large Full Bent Egg.  The first step is to put the full bent stem into the OxiClean bath to raise the serious oxidation on the stem.  I leave it in the bath overnight. Then, using the Pipnet Reaming Kit (minus blade #3 which broke during the last restoration), I attack the cake in the chamber.  I use only the smallest two blades, and the cake easily surrenders.  The carbon cake was crusty – like hard toast, and it comes out readily.  I finetune the reaming with the Savinelli Fitsall Reaming Knife which can reach down the long, deep chamber.  To clean the walls further and to reveal fresh briar for a new start, I wrap 240 grade paper around a Sharpie Pen and sand the chamber.  Finally, I wipe out the chamber with a cotton pad and alcohol – ridding the chamber of the carbon dust resulting from the reaming.  The chamber condition looks good.  The pictures show the progress. Next, I clean the external briar surface.  I do this using undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a cotton pad.  I also employ the use of a brass wire brush to work on the tight rim of the Egg shape as well as my thumb nail to scrape the crusted briar and lava.  Grimy was an understatement.  The stummel was dirty and the rim came clean through the process, but revealed some burn damage to the slender, vulnerable rim.  I’ll need to top the rim gently to remove the scorched, ‘charcoaly’ wood.  The cleaning also reveals a beautiful piece of briar – inspecting the surface I find no fills.  The large Egg bowl shows a lot of grain movement – very nice!  My day is ending and I will let the internals of the stummel clean through the night using a kosher salt/alcohol soak.  I’ve never started with the soak before.  I’ve always worked first on the internals with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and isopropyl 95% and then followed with a soak.  I’ll do the soak and see how it does.  I fill the chamber with the kosher salt, that does not leave an aftertaste as does the iodized variety.  Then I fashion a cotton wick by stretching and twisting a cotton ball and then stuffing it down the mortise.  Its purpose is to draw the tars and oils out during the soak.  I then fill the chamber with alcohol using a large eye dropper until it surfaces over the salt.  I wait a few minutes and top off the alcohol once more.   Then I set the stummel in an egg cart and turn off the lights. Morning has arrived and I check out the progress with the salt/alcohol soak.  Both the kosher salt and the cotton wick have darkened indicating the nocturnal stealth activities of cleaning.  I remove the expended salt and wipe the chamber with a paper towel and run long-wired bristled brushes in the bowl and through the mortise to remove salt crystals.  I then use pipe cleaners and cotton swabs dipped in isopropyl 95% to clean up the leftover gunk from the soak.  There were additional oils and tars in the mortise – in the moisture trap underneath the airway drilling, but all clean up quickly and well.  I also scrape the mortise walls with dental probes and a pointed needle file to augment the cleaning.  Internals clean!It’s time to take the stem out of the OxiClean bath and clean it up.  The oxidation has surfaced well during the soak and using 600 grit sanding paper I wet sand the stem to remove the top layer of oxidation and tooth damage to the bit.  I follow with 0000 steel wool to reduce the oxidation further and buff up the vulcanite. I now take a closer look at the bit to see what tooth chatter remains.  Using 240 grit paper I sand the areas where tooth dents remain on the top and bottom bit.  There also remains a dent on the lower button lip. At this point I use the heat method to help minimize the dents that remain.  With a lighter, I pass the flame over the bit area and ‘paint’ the vulcanite surface.  I don’t want to ‘cook’ the vulcanite but warm it sufficiently to expand the rubber.  When this happens, the dents seek their original pre-dental positions.  This works very well and the dent on the lower button lip has all but disappeared.  I return to using 240 grit paper, followed by 600 then steel wool and the damaged bit areas look great.  This time around I will not need to use CA glue to repair the dents.With the stem in hand I turn to cleaning the internal airway.  Using only a few pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol and the stem is good to go!Looking now at the scorched rim, I need to remove the charred briar at the 1 to 2 o’clock position on the rim in the picture below.  The Egg shape bowl sets off the rim as the shape tightens as it moves toward the rim.  It creates a very tight look with the top.  The rim appears originally to have been crowned – a gently rounded rim.  I will aim toward restoring the crowned rim.  First, I top the rim very little – it’s not easy as the shank extends further than the plane of the rim so it will not sit on the topping board.  I must hang the shank over the topping board edge to allow the rim to sit flat.  I then gently rotate the stummel in a limited fashion.  I don’t take much off and then switch to 600 grit paper on the board and rotate the stummel more. Now, using 240 grit paper rolled, I sand the inside of the rim creating a beveling effect and removing the remaining damaged briar.  After beveling and cleaning the internal rim lip, I gently bevel the outer lip of the rim.  This is sharpening and restoring a rounding of the tight rim.  I follow using 600 grit paper which smooth the rim more and enhances the crowned effect I want.  The pictures show the results – I like the look of the rim – it enhances the Egg shape.Looking at this large block of briar, the Bird’s Eye grains are wonderfully portrayed in the first 2 pictures below – large landscapes of grain movement – I like that!  From my original Peretti research I emailed the L J Peretti Tobacconist Shop in Boston with a question about where their pipes were manufactured.   Tom was kind enough to respond, saying that over the years they had used many different sources, but most had been produced by Arlington Briars.  I found this about Arlington in Pipedia:

Arlington Briar Pipes Corporation was founded in 1919 in Brooklyn, New York, and produced the Arlington, Briarlee, Firethorn, Krona and Olde London brands among dozens of others, primarily acting as a subcontractor making pipes to be sold under other brand names. Among others, in the 1950’s, Arlington turned pipes for the famed Wilke Pipe Shop in New York City. The corporation was dissolved by the State of New York as inactive on December 6, 1978. 

Where ever this L J Peretti Full Bent Egg was birthed, the block of briar used was an excellent specimen and it is now showcased in this striking pipe.  I see no fills on this stummel, only minor nicks which is normal for any pipe’s experience.  I use a two grades of light sanding sponges to remove these small imperfections. I continue with the grain’s emergence using micromesh pads.  I begin by wet sanding with pads 1500 to 2400, followed by dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000, then 6000 to 12000.  There is nothing quite like the natural briar shine that emerges during the micromesh process.  The pictures show the transformation. I will stain the bowl keeping it on the lighter side by using Fiebing’s Light Brown Leather Dye and adding alcohol to it.  I use a 2 to 1 ratio of Light Brown to alcohol.  I first clean the stummel with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol.  I mix the ratio of dye/alcohol in a shot glass and insert a cork into the shank to serve as a handle.  I heat the stummel with a hot air gun to expand the briar better to receive the dye.  After warmed, I use a folded pipe cleaner to apply the dye to the bowl.  After fully covered with dye, I fire the aniline dye using a lit candle.  The alcohol burns off setting the pigment in the grain.  I wait a few minutes then repeat the process.  I then put the stummel aside to rest. With the stummel resting, I turn again to the stem and wet sand it using micromesh pads 1500 to 2400, then dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000, then 6000 to 12000.  After each cycle, I apply Obsidian Oil to restore vitality to the vulcanite.  The full bent saddle stem was a chore to hang on to and sand with the tight angles, but the stem looks good and has that new vulcanite pop! It is finally time to unwrap the stained and fired stummel to see what we have underneath!  I enjoy this part of the restoration process primarily to see the grain emerge – this large Egg shaped stummel holds great promise.  I mount a felt buffing wheel onto the Dremel and set the speed at the lowest which is 20% of its power.  I apply the more abrasive Tripoli compound to the stummel to do the unwrapping of the crusted shell.  To reach into the crook between the shank and stummel, I switch to an angled felt buffing wheel to remove the wrapper from the hard to reach place. To lighten the stain and to blend the dye, using a cotton pad wetted with alcohol, I wipe the stummel.  This is an advantage of using aniline dyes for staining.  The alcohol wipe clouds the finish but this is normal.  I follow now by mounting a cotton cloth buffing wheel onto the Dremel and set at 40% speed, I apply the less abrasive Blue Diamond compound to buff-sand the stummel, as well as the full bent saddle stem which I remount. After completing the application of Blue Diamond compound on stem and stummel, to remove compound dust before waxing, I buff the pipe with a felt cloth.  Then, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel and maintain the speed at 40% and apply several coats of carnauba wax to the Egg shape stummel and full bent saddle stem.  The wax protects the surfaces but it also causes the shine and natural gloss of the briar to shine – I don’t know how to describe the natural beauty of briar when it shines through – and this L J Peretti is making a statement!  After completing the application of carnauba wax I give the pipe a rigorous hand buffing and I’m enjoying the view.This L J Peretti Full Bent Egg is a beautiful example of briar grain coming and going.  The size and the feel of the large Egg stummel in my hand fits like a glove.  The tight, cylindrical bowl’s apex with the thin, crowned rim is classy.  I’m happy to add this Peretti to my Peretti collection and I look forward to trying him out with a bowl of my favorite blend, Lane BC.  The pipes I restore and don’t adopt myself, are put in The Pipe Steward Store Front which benefits our work with the Daughters of Bulgaria, women and girls who have been sexually exploited and trafficked.  Thanks for joining me!

There is Life in this Apple Shaped Pencil Shank Jost’s Thames Pipe


Blog by Steve Laug

This little apple shaped Jost’s pipe also came from Josh (misterzippo), a reader of the blog earlier this year. He sent me an email and photos some pipes that he thought I might want. As usual when you have incurable PAD there is always something that catches my eye. We fired some emails back and forth about the pipes and it did not take long to make a deal. I bought a Malaga Bulldog, a pair of Wally Frank Sandblast Filter pipes and this little Jost’s. In the photos that Josh sent were a few photos of the Jost’s pipe. The first one below shows the overall condition and appearance of the pipe. The pipe was dirty but that is never really a problem. The tape measure in the photo shows that the apple is about 6 inches long with a taper stem. The stem was in good shape with light oxidation and some tooth marks on both sides near the button.The bowl had a thick cake with overflow of tars on the rim top. The bowl looked to be slightly out of round but I would know for sure once it was cleaned and reamed. Josh sent some pictures of the stamping on the shank and the grain on the side of the bowl along with the above photos. I was hooked. This one would join the other three in its trip north.Over the past few years I have worked on and restored several Jost’s pipes and have written about the restorations and the brand itself. I reread the blog I had done on a Jost’s Olde English Deluxe/Supreme and read through the history of the brand. I learned once again that Jost’s  Pipe Shop was owned and operated by Mrs. Henry A. Jost. She not only owned and operated the shop but she was a pipesmoker. There was a resident pipe carver employed by Mrs. Jost named Harvey Raspberry. I also reread the blog and was reminded that Jost’s pipes are closely tied to Comoy’s. I did not think this was one of the pipes linked to Comoy’s as it was missing the shape number and the COM stamp that usually shows up on Comoy’s made Jost’s. I read that the sure fire way to tell the difference between a regular Jost’s pipe and a Comoy’s made one was quite simple – if the Jost’s pipe doesn’t have the “Made in England” stamp it is probably made by Harvey Raspberry. There are always exceptions to the rule but 95% of the time, this is accurate.

I went back to the Pipephil website to see if there was a listing there for the Jost’s Thames Pipe. There indeed was one that matched the stamping on the pipe that I am working on. The shape of the one pictured below was different and the one I had in hand did not have the J on the stem. Otherwise the stamp on the shank is identical.

In the blog on the Olde English I had found a blog that did a great write up on Jost’s Pipe Shop in St. Louis, Missouri and gave some definitive information on the brand and grades of the pipes. Click on the word link to access that site. It includes well written history of the brand and also some interesting details about shop blends of tobacco.

In the blog the author included a list of the different Jost’s pipes that were offered. I have included the section of the blog on the pipes. It covers a lot of information regarding the source of the pipes and the levels/grades of pipes. I quote that section in total. (I have drawn a box around the pipe that I am working on.)

Many different levels of pipes were offered by Jost’s Pipe Shop.  From a 1950s catalog I have the following available:

Jost Old English De Luxe: $85.00 – These were typically of the highest… Grain is stunning and the briar is flawless.  These are the grade you should look out for as they are great smokers.

Jost Old English Supreme: (no pricing available) The majority of the Old English version pipes you see are marked Supreme.  These are stained in a darker color and are presumably from the same Algerian aged Briar as the De Luxe brothers.  These are also of the highest quality available.

Jost Virgin Briar Supreme: $35.00 Don’t see too many marked as Virgin Briar Supreme but you will often find “Supreme” Jost pipes on the second hand market (see above).  Excellent quality briar and displays the lighter toned finish of the De Luxe above.  Grain is not as flashy or desirable as the De Luxe model.

Jost Sandblast Briars: $25.00 These are a great value.  The shop made sand-blasted pipes are usually quite large and snapped up very quickly by collectors.  The Comoy’s versions (with J shape #s) are of excellent quality and typically rather small compared to the shop-made variety.

Dukes Briars: $15.00 These come up very rarely.  The two I’ve seen in recent years are rather small in size.  Smooth finish with light / honey stain color.  Not sure what the story is behind these.

Putting together the information I had gleaned from the various sources, I concluded that the pipe I had was four grades down the list and that it was carved by Harvey Raspberry. I also could see that I had something of a rare Thames Pipe in that it was smooth and did not have any noticeable fills in the briar. When it arrived in Idaho, my brother took some photos of the pipe before he cleaned it. Jeff took some close up photos of the rim top and bowl to show the thickness of the cake and the buildup on the rim. It was a thickly cake pipe and I am sure glad that he is the one who is going to ream and clean it. The next two photos show the sides of the bowl and the kind of grain that was hidden under the dirt and grime of the finish. I was pretty certain that this particular pipe had never been stained but that it had a simple oil finish.The stamping was very clean on the shank. The left side read Jost’s over Thames in an arch over Pipe. The right side read Imported Briar.The stem looked badly oxidized and there was a lot of flaking calcification on the top and underside. There were some bite marks visible on the underside but once it was clean I would know how deep they were.My brother cleaned the pipe with his usual thoroughness – reamed the bowl and cleaned out the internals. He scrubbed the exterior with Murphy’s Oil Soap. He soaked the stem in OxyClean to deal with the oxidation and bring it to the surface. When it arrived in Vancouver it was in clean shape and ready to be restored. I took some photos of the before I started to work on it to show how its condition. The pipe looked really good. The finish was clean and other than one dark spot on the front of the bowl it was flawless. The spot looked like a burn mark but it did not appear to go deep in the surface of the briar. The rim was clean but the inner edge was out of round. There was some damage on the back side of the bowl were it had a gouge out of the edge.I took the stem off and worked on the inner edge of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I was able to remove much of the damage around the inner edge and minimize the badly damaged area. I used some clear super glue and briar dust to fill in the damaged area. I mixed briar dust putty and applied it to the edge with a dental spatula. I used a folded piece of sandpaper to bevel the inner edge and blend it in with the rest of the rim. The pictures below tell the story. The stem was oxidized evenly and had tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside near the button and on edges of the button. I soaked the it in a tray of Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and let it do its work overnight. At that point I decided to call it a night and check back on things in the morning.When I took the stem out of the bath in the morning and wiped it down it was pretty clean. The photos below show the mild oxidation in the vulcanite and the tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside of the stem.I “painted” the tooth marks on the stem with the flame of a Bic lighter and was able to raise them significantly. Many of the ones on the topside disappeared and what was left a light sanding would remove. The ones on the underside were a little deeper but they too were raised enough that I could sand them smooth.I sanded the surface of the stem to smooth out the remaining dents with 220 grit sandpaper. It did not take too much sanding to remove all of them. The stem surface was ready to be polished.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 after the 12000 grit pad I set it aside to dry. I polished the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a light coat of olive oil after the 2400 grit pad. I dry sanded with 3200-12000 grit pads. After each grit of micromesh I wiped the bowl down with a damp cotton pad. The photos tell the story of the progressive shine in the briar. I put the stem back on the pipe and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. Blue Diamond polish takes out the minute scratches in the vulcanite and the briar and leaves behind a great shine. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax to protect it. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The dimensions of this pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 7/8inches, Bowl diameter: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 inches. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is a beautiful pipe. I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store shortly so if you are interested in adding it to your collection, send me an email to slaug@uniserve.com or send me a message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.

Restoring an older Wally Frank Sandblast Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

In the late spring I received and email from Josh (misterzippo), a reader of the blog that he had some pipes that he thought I might be interested in. He sent me photos of the pipes so I could have a look at them. A few caught my eye so it did not take long to make a deal. The first of them that I liked was the Malaga Bulldog with a twist in the carving and a scoop in the top of the bowl that I restored earlier. The next two pipes that caught my eye were a pair of sandblast Wally Frank pipes shown in the photo below. Josh sent this photo and it shows the overall condition and appearance of both pipes. The shapes and the deep ridges of the sandblast finishes intrigued me. The pipes were dirty but had good bones. The grooves in the sandblast on both were filled in with grit and grime and almost sticky to touch. The rims were caked with overflow of tars from the bowl and the grooves were filled in to the point that they almost were invisible. The stem on the bent billiard was in good shape with light oxidation and some tooth marks on both sides near the button. The stem on the Lovat was missing a large chunk out of the underside that would need repairing. The tape measure in the photo shows that the billiard is about 5 ½ inches long with a taper stem and the Lovat is 5 inches long with a saddle stem.I chose to work on the bent billiard first as it was in relatively good shape. The Lovat would take more work and will be dealt with on the weekend. I took some more time to evaluate the condition of the little bent billiard. It was very dirty and the cake and lava overflow were thick. The finish was worn around the outside edge of the bowl while it looked like the thick cake had protected the inner edge. The rim top covering also protected it from damage to the flat portion. The shank was in good shape, the deep sandblast on the bowl sides was stunning, and the tactile feel of it would be very good when the bowl heated during smoking. The stem was stamped with the WF in a circle logo that was on all of the pipes. The stem was a good quality vulcanite and the oxidation on the surface was minimal. The stem had tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside near the button and there was wear to the surface of the button as well. My brother took the next photos of the pipe before he started his clean up work. The slightly different angles of the first two photos really show the depth and contours of the sandblast finish on the left side of the bowl. The next two photos give a contrasting view of the two sides of the bowl and the difference in grain pattern on both. It is a really interesting looking pipe.The top of the rim is very dirty and the thick coat of lava will need to be removed to assess the inner and outer edges completely.The shank is stamped on the right side with the faint words Wally Frank over Filter. The circle WF stamp on the left side of the stem is very readable at this point. The aluminum band that separates the shank and the stem is an integral part of the stem. The tenon on the stem is aluminum and looks comparable to those found on Medico pipes. It was designed for a disposable paper filter.The tooth marks on the button and the chatter on the surface of the stem are very visible. They do not appear to be too deep in the surface of the rubber so I am hoping that will be easy to deal with.I quickly Googled Wally Frank, Ltd. online to refresh my knowledge of the history of the brand. I found information in multiple spots from Pipedia, to PipePhil, and in several of the books that I have on my desk. I confirmed that the company was one of America’s oldest and most respected names in pipes and tobaccos, beginning in the early 1930’s. Wally Frank operated a chain of tobacco stores in New York City (the flagship store was in Lexington Avenue) and had a vast catalog business for pipes and pipe tobaccos. Their numerous private-label pipes were made by many makers, including Charatan, Sasieni, Weber, and many others. Wally Frank, Ltd. also owned the Pioneer brand of meerschaum pipes, made from both Turkish and African meerschaum. In addition to importing pipes, they had many pipes made with the Wally Frank name and also employed pipemakers like Peter Stokkebye, Svend Bang, and Ed Burak (who later became the owner of Connoisseur). As a result, each Wally Frank pipe must be individually evaluated on its own merit. They also ran “The Pipe of the Month Club” where each member received a new pipe in the mail once a month.

Being reminded that various companies and individuals made Wally Frank pipes was helpful. As I turn the pipe over in my hands, I wonder if this pipe and the Lovat were made by Weber because of the similarity to the sandblast on the Weber Blackthorn. Or maybe there were made by S.M. Frank because of the split metal tenon that looks like the one on S.M. Frank made Medico filter pipes. I don’t know if I will ever be certain but they are an interesting pair of pipes that are well worth the effort of restoration.

I can’t begin to tell you how nice it to have the pipes I work on reamed, cleaned and ready for the refurbishing process that follows that. My brother does a seriously great job preparing the majority of the pipes I work on. In fact, on a recent trip to visit him I took along a box of pipes for him to process for me. I know I am spoiled but it is great to have him willing and able to help me with this part of the process. He cleaned up this pipe with his usual methodical thoroughness. He generally uses a PipNet and a Savinelli Fitsall reamer to ream the pipes he works on. He reamed the bowl clean with the two reamers. He scrubbed internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs leaving the airways in the shank, mortise and stem very clean. He scrubbed the externals with Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the grime and the old waxes on the bowl and rim. He soaked the stem in OxyClean to bring the oxidation to the surface of the vulcanite. When the pipe arrives in Vancouver it is ready for me to do my part. I brought the pipe to the work table and took the following photos. The rim top looked very good after the cleanup. Both the inner and outer edges of the rim were undamaged. The finish was spotty on the flat surface and around the edges.The soak in OxyClean did not bring much oxidation to the surface. The little that was there before was now on the surface. The tooth marks and chatter were clearly visible now and needed work.I decided to start with the stem and bring it back to a shine. I sanded the tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper and was able to remove all of them. I reshaped the button with the sandpaper at the same time and removed the damage on the button surfaces.The stem was loose in the shank so I inserted a thin blade I the slot in the tenon and wiggled it to expand the tenon slightly. It did not take too much expansion for the stem to fit snug in the shank.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 sanding pad. After the 12000 grit pad I gave it a final rubdown with the oil and set it aside to dry. I touched up the logo stamp on the left side of the stem with acrylic white paint applied with a small brush. I put the paint on the logo and let it dry then wiped and rubbed the excess paint off.I buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to polish the last of the minute scratches on the vulcanite and lightly buffed the briar. I gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad. The stem really shone after the buffing. I hand waxed the bowl with Conservator’s Wax and buffed the bowl with a shoe brush to raise the shine. The contrast in browns on the briar and the black stem really give the pipe a classic look. I hand buffed the entirety with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The aluminum tenon is cleaned and polished. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Bowl diameter: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ inches. The pipe is ready for the next steward to carry on the trust. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store soon. If you are interested in adding it to your collection send me an email to slaug@uniserve.com or a message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.