Tag Archives: removing oxidation

Rejuvenating a Fancy French Butz Choquin Camargue 1683 Prince


Blog by Dal Stanton

The Butz Choquin Camargue came to me via an antique store in St. Louis, Missouri.  Last December, my son Josiah, who was studying there, and now currently works there, came upon this lot for sale in an antique store.  He did the right thing – he called…, rather, he texted his father in Bulgaria with pictures asking the question, ‘What do you think, Dad?’  We didn’t think too long about the purchase and split the cost for the St. Louis Lot of 26.  Why did we split?  The jumbo French Champion Church Warden in the center of the picture below was to be my Christmas gift from Josiah and so he paid that part of this very nice trove of pipes he found!  Many of the pipes of the St. Louis Lot of 26 are still available in ‘For “Pipe Dreamer” Only!’ online collection.  Pipe men and women can peruse the online ‘Help Me!’ baskets and commission an unrestored vintage pipe.  Of course, this benefits our work here with the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited. One pipe man, Alex, who is from our neighbor to the north, Russia, saw and commissioned the BC as well as a Harvey Rusticated Dublin, which was first in line to be restored (See: Recommissioning a Mysterious Harvey London Paris New York Meerschaum Lined Rusticated Dublin).Next, the Butz Choquin Camargue is on the worktable. I take some additional pictures. Stamped on the left shank flank is the fancy lettering, ‘Butz-Choquin’ [over] ‘Camargue’.  The acrylic shank extension houses an inlaid rondel, with ‘BC’ in silver lettering.  The right side is stamped, ‘St. Claude’(arched) [over] FRANCE [over] 1683, which I assume is the shape number.  I’ve worked on several Butz Choquin pipes which is based in the French pipe center of St. Claude.  Here is a brief overview of the BC history from Pipephil.eu:

The origin of the brand reaches back to 1858 when Jean-Baptiste Choquin in collaboration with his son-in-law Gustave Butz created their first pipe in Metz (France). Since 1951 Butz-Choquin Site officiel Butz Choquin, pipes de Saint-Claude Jura. BC pipe de bruyere luxe is a brand of the Berrod-Regad group (Saint-Claude, France).

Jean Paul Berrod managed the company from 1969 to 2002 when he retired and sold the corporate to Mr Fabien Gichon. Denis Blanc, allready owner of EWA, took over the S.A. Berrod-Regad in 2006.

The BC line, ‘Camargue’ is not an old line as a simple search on the internet turns up several examples of classic pipe shapes with the ‘Camargue’ stamp, but unique to each is the acrylic shank extension and the military mounted stem.  This example is a Dublin shape from Smokingpipes.com:I saw no other examples of what I’m calling a ‘Fancy Prince’ on my worktable – the BC shape number 1683.  The name of the line, ‘Camargue,’ I discovered is a treasured nature reserve on the southern coast of France between Montpellier and Marseille – two beautiful venues which I’ve had the opportunity to visit. A Wiki article was very helpful in describing the area that this BC line is commemorating (Pictures are from the same article):

With an area of over 930 km2 (360 sq mi), the Camargue is western Europe’s largest river delta. It is a vast plain comprising large brine lagoons or étangs, cut off from the sea by sandbars and encircled by reed-covered marshes. These are in turn surrounded by a large cultivated area.

Approximately a third of the Camargue is either lakes or marshland. The central area around the shoreline of the Étang de Vaccarès has been protected as a regional park since 1927, in recognition of its great importance as a haven for wild birds. In 2008, it was incorporated into the larger Parc naturel régional de Camargue.

The Camargue is home to more than 400 species of birds and has been identified as an Important Bird Area (IBA) by BirdLife International.[8] Its brine ponds provide one of the few European habitats for the greater flamingo. The marshes are also a prime habitat for many species of insects, notably (and notoriously) some of the most ferocious mosquitos to be found anywhere in France. Camargue horses (Camarguais) roam the extensive marshlands, along with Camargue cattle (see below).

The native flora of the Camargue have adapted to the saline conditions. Sea lavender and glasswort flourish, along with tamarisks and reeds.

Without doubt, a place my wife would love to visit!With a better understanding of the pipe on my worktable, I take a closer look at the obstacles of restoring this Fancy BC Camargue of St. Claude.  The chamber has some thick carbon cake which needs to be removed for the briar to have a fresh start.  The rim has thick lava flow which also will be addressed.  The Prince stummel surface is dirty from normal wear and the smooth briar surface has small fills that need to be checked out as well as some rough places.  The acrylic shank extension is nice and will shine up very well.  The Fish Tail Military Mount stem shows significant oxidation as well as tooth chatter and bites, especially on the lower bit.

To begin the recommissioning of the BC Camargue, I first clean the stem with a pipe cleaner wetted by isopropyl 95% and then add it to a soak of Before & After Deoxidizer along with other pipes and stems in the queue. After a few hours in the soak, I remove and drain the BC stem of the Deoxidizer fluid and then wipe it down with a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95% to remove the raised oxidation, which is a lot!  I also run another pipe cleaner dipped in alcohol through the airway of the stem to clear it of B&A Deoxidizer.To begin the revitalization of the vulcanite stem, I give it a coat of paraffin oil with a cotton pad and put it aside to absorb.Turning now to the stummel, after putting paper towel down to ease the cleanup, I use the Pipnet Reaming Kit to begin the process of removing carbon cake from the chamber to give the briar a fresh start and to inspect the chamber wall for heating damage. I take a picture of the chamber to mark the start. I use three of the four blade heads in the Pipnet Reaming Kit – this chamber is broader than I expected.  Next, I transition to scraping the chamber using the Savinelli Fitsall tool and find that the lava flow on the rim is flaking off with the tool.  I finish by sanding the chamber with 240 grade paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen to give leverage. After cleaning the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95%, I inspect the chamber and there are no indications of heating problems. It looks great. I move on.Transitioning now to the external surface, I use undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and cotton pads to clean.  After scrubbing with Murphy’s, I transition the stummel to the sink to continue scrubbing the internals using anti-oil dish washing liquid and shank brushes to scrub with warm to hot water.  After scrubbing, the bowl is rinsed thoroughly and returns to the worktable. The internal cleaning continues using cotton buds and pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 95%. A small dental spatula is used to scrape tars and oils off the mortise walls.  Excavating the gunk saves a lot of time by bringing out large amounts at a time.  In time, the buds and pipe cleaners start emerging lighter and the cleaning is done for now.  Later, a kosher salt and alcohol soak will continue the internal cleaning and refreshing.With the internals cleaning completed until later, a closer look at the BC Camargue Prince stummel is next.  The grain of the bowl is very expressive – very nice bird’s eye as well, but there are also some issues.The rim cleaned up well and it sports a sharp internal bevel which needs refreshing.  Darker briar on the aft of the rim remains after the cleaning – the section where the former steward lit his favorite blend.The right side of the bowl is pitted with old fills which have lightened and stand out and have shrunk so that the surface is not smooth.One fill, somewhat larger, is on the face of the bowl – situated very nicely between the converging flows of grain which was probably the reason for the pit in the briar bole.  I’m impressed with the grain – it will spruce up very nicely.The right side of the bowl has some rough, skin marks – probably from a hard surface. The night is growing late, and I would like to do two things before turning out the lights: renew the fills in the briar surface and a kosher salt and alcohol soak.  I begin the first project by using a sharp dental probe carefully to remove the old fill from the pits. What is handy about using ‘real’ dental probes is that they are not just sharp on the ends, but they also have very small spurs that allow a simple twist of the instrument to grab and pull material out of the pits.  I clean the large set of pits on the side of the bowl as well as the one on the front. Using briar dust putty to replace the old fills, I first prepare the working pallet.  I use a plastic disk that came off a cosmetics cream container belonging to my wife.  I put scotch tape down on this surface only to quicken the cleanup after making the putty.After cleaning the pitted areas of the bowl with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol to clean the area, a small pile of briar dust is placed on the taped pallet. Then a small amount of BSI Maxi-Cure Extra Thick CA glue is placed next to the mound of briar dust.Using a toothpick as a mixer and a trowel, briar dust is pulled into the CA glue and is mixed.  As the dust is pulled into the mixture, it starts thickening.  The picture below shows the mixture in the early stages – still too thin, giving me time to take the picture.  If it takes too long to apply the putty it will harden in an instant. Or, if too much briar dust is introduced into the CA glue and thickens too quickly, it will harden immediately.  This has happened to me a few times – when it hardens, the chemical reaction sends up smoke! When the putty begins to reach the viscosity of molasses, the putty is troweled onto the pits with the toothpick.  With the pits being so small and close, I cover all of them with two larger globs which when cured will be sanded down. The front pit is also filled with briar dust putty. After a quick clean up, the putty has had enough time to set up (I’ll let the patches cure through the night) and I am able to handle the stummel with no problems.  Next, I transition to the second project before lights out – a kosher salt and alcohol soak to continue the internal cleaning and refreshing.  A ‘mortise wick’ is fashioned by stretching and twisting a cotton ball. The wick helps to draw the oils out of the internal briar cavity.  Then, using a stiff wire (a piece of wire from a clothes hanger) I guide and push the wick through the mortise close to the draft hole. The bowl is then filled with kosher salt. Kosher salt is used because it doesn’t leave an aftertaste and freshens the internals for the new steward.  The stummel is placed in an egg carton for stability and to situate the stummel so that the top of the bowl and the end of the shank are roughly level.  This allows the alcohol fully to saturate the wick. Then, using a large eyedropper, isopropyl 95% is added to the chamber until alcohol fills and surfaces over the salt.  After a few minutes, the liquid is absorbed, and a little more alcohol is added to top it off.  The stummel is set aside to soak through the night.  Both projects completed – lights out!The next morning, the salt and wick show the signs of soiling as tars and oils are absorbed.  After dumping the expended salt in the waste and wiping the bowl with a paper towel to remove salt crystals, I also blow forcefully through the mortise to clear any remaining crystals. To make sure all is clean, a few cotton buds and pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl 95% are expended to clean up any residual oils.  All looks good.The briar dust patches on the stummel surface have cured and I use a flat needle file to file each down close to the briar surface.  I stay on top of the patches with the file as much as possible to avoid collateral impact on the briar. After filing, 240 sanding paper is employed to bring the patches down to briar level. Following the 240 grade paper, dry sanding with 600 grade paper serves to smooth the patch area out more by removing the scratches of the 240 sanding. Next, the rim.  The rim is darkened from lighting practices but is not damaged.  There are also minuscule nicks on the outer rim edge. I use 240 grade paper to clean up the internal bevel of the rim.Next, the stummel visits the topping board with 240 grade paper on top. The topping will refresh the lines of the rim and help restore a crisp bevel transition.  The topping is for cosmetic purposes but will also help to remove the nicks on the edges.  I invert the stummel and give it a few rotations on the board.  Not much is needed.After the sanding paper is transitioned to 600 grade paper, I give the stummel several more rotations as well as hand sand the bevel.  The results are good.  The lines have been restored and the cross-cut briar grain is coming through nicely.From working on the rim, sanding sponges are used to address the nicks and cuts on the briar surface.  Sponge sanding is not as invasive as regular sanding paper and it will help blend the sanded patch areas.  I start with a coarse sponge, then medium and finish with a light grade sponge.  The sponges are also used on the acrylic shank extension which helps to shine it up quite nicely!After the sanding sponges, to again refresh the lines of the rim, I take the stummel back to the topping board for a few rotations on 600 grade paper.  Nice.After the topping board, a small imperfection on the rim gets my attention.  It is not major but enough for a small detour.To address the problem, I spot drop clear CA glue on the small pit.  It does not take long for the CA glue to set up and I carefully sand the excess patch with 240 grade paper.  Then another trip for the stummel to the topping board with 600 grade paper to finish the repair. On a roll, and anxious to coax the grain out on the BC Prince stummel, the full regimen of micromesh pads is used.  As with the sanding sponges, micromesh pads are used on the acrylic shank extension. Using pads 1500 to 2400, I wet sand followed by dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  I’m liking what I’m seeing. Wow – I love the pop on this bowl with the acrylic extension contrasted.  To improve on what is already a good situation, to bring out the subtle hues of the grain more, Before & After Restoration Balm is applied to the stummel. Placing a small amount on my finger, the Balm is worked into the briar surface.  It starts off with a crème-like texture but then thickens as it is applied to the briar.  I set the stummel aside while the Balm does its thing.  In about 20 minutes, the excess Balm is wiped off and I also buff up the surface.  The pictures show the 20-minute absorbing period and after buffing. With stummel to the side, I now turn to the waiting stem.  The upper bit has a few minor bite marks but the lower is more significant. I first apply the heating method with the use of a Bic lighter.  With the lighter, I paint the bit with flame thus heating and expanding the rubber compound, vulcanite.  The physics involved encourages the rubber to reclaim it’s original disposition or at least lessen the damage.  After painting with the Bic lighter, the upper bit looks good and can be finished with simple sanding, but the lower bit needs additional help.  Before and after pictures show the results. I use Black Medium-Thick CA glue to repair the tooth compressions on the lower bit.  After cleaning the area with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol, I spot drop the CA on the needed area and utilize an accelerator to quicken the curing process. The cured patch has collapsed which is normal.  I believe the fill is sufficiently covered.First, using the flat needle file, excess patch material is removed and the button is freshened.Following the file, I use 240 grade paper on the lower bit repair and expand the sanding to remove residual oxidation and nicks to the entire upper and lower fishtail stem surface. Following the 240 sanding, using 600 grade paper I wet sand the entire stem and follow this using 000 grade steel wool.A close up of the lower bit repair shows the results of the work.  The patch is barely visible if you know its there, but for the most part, it will be invisible.Moving straight on to the micromesh phase, I wet sand using pads 1500 to 2400 and dry sand with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  Between each set of three pads I give the fishtail stem an application of Obsidian Oil to continue the rejuvenation of the vulcanite.  I love the pop of newly sanded vulcanite! On the home stretch – after rejoining stem and stummel and mounting a cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel setting the speed at 40% full power, Blue Diamond compound is applied to the entire pipe. Compound is also applied to the acrylic shank extension and it really pops!After using a felt cloth to wipe off residual compound dust, I change the Dremel’s cotton cloth buffing wheel to one dedicated to applying carnauba wax.  Maintaining the same speed, I apply a few coats of wax to the entire pipe and finish by giving the pipe a rigorous hand buffing to raise the shine.I called this Butz Choquin Camargue a ‘Fancy’ Prince shape and truly he is fancy.  Wow – the grain generally moves in a horizontal fashion around the bowl and tightens as it moves downwardly to the heel.  Large swoops of bird’s eye grain also punctuate the landscape.  Adding to the ‘Fancy’ is the acrylic shank extension with the embedded BC rondel transitioning to the gentle bend of the fishtail stem which splays outwardly.  Alex commissioned this French BC Camargue Fancy Prince of St. Claude and will have the first opportunity to claim him from The Pipe Steward Store benefitting the Daughters of Bulgaria.  Thanks for joining me!

Restoring an Irish Made Peterson’s K&P Dublin 213 Billiard from Bob Kerr’s Estate


Blog by Steve Laug

I am working on another pipe from Bob Kerr’s estate, another one of his Petersons. It is different than the others as it is stamped “A Petersons Product” Made in Ireland. I have restored two of his pipes that were uniquely made Peterson’s pipes made specifically for import into the Canadian market – one was a Kapruf 54 sandblast bent billiard (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/08/09/back-to-bob-kerrs-estate-another-canadian-import-petersons-kapruf-a-54/) and the other was a Kapruf 9BC 56 (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/08/09/back-to-bob-kerrs-estate-linking-petersons-kapruf-9bc-with-the-56-shape-number/). These were interesting that they had a unique numbering system designed for Petersons pipes that were specifically brought to Canada by the Canadian importer, Genin, Trudeau & Co. of Montreal, Quebec. I have included the links on that company below. (https://rebornpipes.com/2016/09/13/petersons-pipes-brochure-from-genin-trudeau-co-montreal-quebec/). I restored an English Made Peterson’s System ‘0’ 1307 bent billiard a  (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/08/17/an-english-made-petersons-system-0-1307-bent-billiard-from-bob-kerrs-estate/) and a Republic Era Peterson’s Flame Grain Bent billiard with a fishtail stem (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/08/16/a-petersons-flame-grain-x220s-bent-billiard-from-bob-kerrs-estate/).

I have been enjoying working on the Peterson’s in the estate. When I took it out of the box of the pipes that Jeff had cleaned up and sent back to me, I could see that it was stamped K&P over Dublin on the left side of the shank and “A Peterson’s Product” Made in Ireland followed by the shape number 213 on the right shank. It has some stunning grain around the bowl and shank under the thick grime. There was a thick cake in the bowl with remnants of tobacco stuck on the walls. There was a fair lava overflow on the rim. The top and edges of the rim are damaged, beat up and very dirty. I think that there was a beautiful pipe underneath all of the grime and buildup of years of use. The band is stamped Sterling Silver with the K&P in chevrons above that. The stem was oxidized and calcified toward the end with some tooth chatter but surprisingly it did not have the deep tooth marks that I have come to expect from Bob’s pipes but the button edges were worn. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work on it. Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the thick, hard cake in the bowl and the lava build up on the top of the rim and the edges of the bowl. The rim top had taken a beating and was chipped and worn down. It looked like Bob or someone had used if for a hammer. The inner and outer edges of the rim also sustained damage.   Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the finish. You can see the beautiful mix of swirled, flame and birdseye grain underneath the dirt and debris of the years. The cross grain on the heel was beautiful.    Jeff took photos of the stamping on both sides of the bowl and shank. The stamping on the left side was readable as you can see from the photos. It read K&P Dublin. The stamp on the right side read A “Peterson’s Product” Made in Ireland followed by the shape number 213. You can see crack in the shank under the band on the right side. The third photo shows the crack clearly. Jeff took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the tooth chatter, scratching and oxidation on the stem surface and wear on the edges of the button. I turned first to Pipephil’s site to reacquaint myself with the brand. Unfortunately there was no information to be found on this specific pipe. I then turned to Pipedia’s article on Peterson pipes to see what I could garner from that information. It is a great read in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Peterson). I have included a bit of the pertinent history here.

The Irish free state came into being in December 1922. The Free State Era was from 1922 through to 1937.  Peterson followed with a stamp of “Irish Free State” in either one or two lines, either parallel or perpendicular to the shanks axis and extremely close to the stem.

Ireland was a republic in all but name. Eventually the Irish people voted for a new constitution in 1937 and Ireland then formally became Eire (Ireland in Irish).

The Made in Eire era stamps were from 1938 through till 1941. Peterson now stamped their pipes with “Made in Eire” in a circle format with “Made” and “Eire” in a circle with the “in” located in the centre of the circle. This was used during the years of 1938 – 41. Later they stamped their pipes with “Made in Ireland” in a circle format 1945-1947 and still later with “Made in Ireland” in a block format 1947-1949. The “Made in Ireland” block format came in either one line or two lines. The Republic of Ireland was formed on 17 April 1949.

With that information in hand I knew what I was dealing with in terms of the stamping on the pipe. It is a 1915-1949 Pre Republic Period pipe. With that dating it is one of Bob’s earlier pipes. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

With over 125 pipes to clean from Bob’s estate I am very glad for Jeff’s help cleaning them. He cleaned this filthy pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness that I really appreciate. This one was a real mess and I did not know what to expect when I unwrapped it from his box. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. The finish looks very good with great looking grain around the bowl and shank. Jeff soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour I was amazed it looked so good. I took photos before I started my part of the work. I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show what an amazing job Jeff did in the cleanup of the rim top. I also wanted to show that the damage to the rim top was as extensive as I had originally thought. The rim top was burned and darkened with nicks and notches around the top and inner edge. There was some darkening on the back portion of the rim top and inner edge on the front. The rim top was a nightmare of issues. The outer edge of the bowl was also damaged. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the lack of tooth marks and chatter on the stem surface. You can also see the wear to the button.   One of the things I appreciate about Jeff’s cleanup is that he works to protect and preserve the nomenclature on the shank of the pipes that he works on. The stamping on this one was very faint to start with so I was worried that it would disappear altogether with the cleanup. He was not only able to preserve it but it is clearer than shown in the earlier photos. I took some photos to show the clarity of the stamping. I have noticed that many restorers are not careful to protect the stamping in their cleaning process and often by the end of the restoration the nomenclature is almost destroyed. I would like to encourage all of us to be careful in our work to preserve this as it is a critical piece of pipe restoration!   Since this is another pipe Bob’s estate I am sure that some of you have read at least some of the other restoration work that has been done on the previous pipes. You have also read what I have included about Bob Kerr, the pipeman who held these pipes in trust before I came to work on them (see photo to the left). Also, if you have followed the blog for long you will already know that I like to include background information on the pipeman whose pipes I am restoring. For me, when I am working on an estate I really like to have a sense of the person who held the pipes in trust before I worked on them. It gives me another dimension of the restoration work. I asked Brian if he or his wife would like to write a brief biographical tribute to her father, Bob. His daughter worked on it and I received the following short write up on him and some pictures to go along with the words including one of Bob’s carvings. Once again I thank you Brian and tell your wife thank you as well.

I am delighted to pass on these beloved pipes of my father’s. I hope each user gets many hours of contemplative pleasure as he did. I remember the aroma of tobacco in the rec room, as he put up his feet on his lazy boy. He’d be first at the paper then, no one could touch it before him. Maybe there would be a movie on with an actor smoking a pipe. He would have very definite opinions on whether the performer was a ‘real’ smoker or not, a distinction which I could never see but it would be very clear to him. He worked by day as a sales manager of a paper products company, a job he hated. What he longed for was the life of an artist, so on the weekends and sometimes mid-week evenings he would journey to his workshop and come out with wood sculptures, all of which he declared as crap but every one of them treasured by my sister and myself. Enjoy the pipes, and maybe a little of his creative spirit will enter you!

Now, on to the rest of the restoration of this beautifully grained “A Peterson Product” Made in Ireland 213 Billiard. It was great that I did not need to clean the pipe. I decided to start the process by addressing the damage to rim top and the inner edge. I removed the loose band from the shank before I started. From the extent of damage to the inner edge of the rim and the top of the bowl I decided to begin by filling in the damage in the deep chips on the rim top and edge with super glue. Once it cured I topped the bowl on a topping board using 220 grit sandpaper to remove as much of the damage as possible. I took photos to show the slow process of repairing that damage. The photos show the topping process and the rim top after I had topped it to an acceptable point where the condition of the top and edges was good.  I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the inner edge and give it a light bevel to take care of the damage. I polished it with 400 grit sandpaper.With the top finished I moved on to address the crack in the shank. In my examination I could see that the crack been repaired somewhere along the way. The crack itself had been filled in with glue. I topped up the filling with clear Krazy Glue to insure that the repair did not shift.     I painted the surface of the shank with Weldbond all-purpose glue and made sure that the crack was covered. I pressed the silver band on the shank and aligned the stamping on the band with the stamping on the left side of the shank. I took photos of the rebanded shank. The repair looks really good. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads and I wiped the bowl down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth. The bowl began to take on a finished shine. I stained the rim top and edges with a Cherry and Walnut Stain pen to match the colour of the stain on the bowl. Once it was polished with the Before & After Balm and buffed with a microfiber cloth the stain would blend perfectly.After the stain had cured, I rubbed the bowl and rim down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. I really like watching the Balm do its magic and bring the briar alive.  I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. Once I had finished the polishing I gave it a coat of a new product I am experimenting with from Briarville Pipe Repair. It is called “No Oxy Oil” and it is made to protect the stem from oxidizing. I set it aside to dry.   As usual at this point in the restoration process I am excited to be on the homestretch. I look forward to the final look when it is put back together, polished and waxed. I put the bowl and stem back together. I polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the briar and the vulcanite. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The grain really pops with the wax and polish. The shiny black vulcanite stem is a beautiful contrast to the browns of the bowl. This Peterson’s K&P Dublin 213 Billiard was another fun pipe to work on thanks to Jeff’s cleanup work. The repair to the rim top and edges came out well. The original Sterling Silver Band covers the shank repair well and binds it all together. It really is a quite stunning piece of briar whose shape follows the flow of the briar. The pipe is comfortable pipe to hold in the hand. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This beautiful pipe will be going on the rebornpipes store if you would like to add it to your collection and carry on Bob’s legacy. If not, I have a lot more of Bob’s estate to work on of various brands. Perhaps one of those will catch your attention. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. This is an interesting estate to bring back to life.

A Unique Stanwell 33 Bulldog from Bob Kerr’s Estate


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I chose to work on is another one from Bob Kerr’s estate and is part of his collection of Danish made pipes. It is their uniquely shaped Danish Bulldog. I have worked on the restoration of others in this collection which include a Stanwell Jubilee Shape 118 (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/08/11/another-bob-kerr-estate-a-stanwell-jubilee-1942-1982-shape-118/); a Stanwell de Luxe Shape 812 (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/08/10/back-to-bob-kerrs-estate-changing-up-and-working-on-a-danish-made-stanwell-de-luxe-812-billiard-regd-no-969-48/); a WO Larsen (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/01/13/restoring-pipe-17-from-bob-kerrs-estate-a-w-o-larsen-super-15-bent-stack/); a Danish Sovereign Bulldog variation (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/08/11/another-bob-kerr-estate-a-danish-sovereign-305-bulldog-variant/) and a Danmore Deluxe Volcano (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/08/20/restoring-a-petersons-dunmore-70-bent-apple-sitter-from-bob-kerrs-estate-2/).

To this list of Danish pipes I am adding the next – a unique Stanwell Bulldog shaped pipe. Like the others it is part of Bob’s estate that the family asked me to clean up and move out to others who will carry on the trust that began with Bob. In the collection there were BBBs, Peterson’s, Dunhills, Comoy’s and Barlings as well many others – a total of 125 pipes. This is the largest estate that I have had the opportunity to work on. I created a spread sheet to track the pipes, restoration and sales. This job would take a fair amount of time to clean up. I could not pass up the opportunity to work on these pipes and help the family.

The pipe on the table is a Stanwell Bulldog stained with a rich brown stain with a vulcanite shank extension and a fancy saddle stem. The grain pokes through the dirty finish on the pipe. It was stamped Stanwell Regd. No. 969-48 Handmade in Denmark shape 33 on the left underside of the diamond shank. The finish was dirty like the rest of the pipes in this estate. There was a thick cake in the bowl with remnants of tobacco stuck on the walls. There was an overflow of lava on the rim. The top and edges of the rim were dirty. I could see a beautiful pipe underneath all of the grime and buildup of years of use. The stem was oxidized with tooth chatter on both sides. The Silver Crown S was on the topside of the saddle stem. Surprisingly it also had none of the deep tooth marks that I have come to expect from Bob’s pipes. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work on it. Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the lava build up on the edges of the bowl. It was thick and hard but hopefully it had protected the rim and edges from damage. The edges look pretty good. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the finish. You can see the grain on the sides of the bowl and the heel. There is a lot of dust and grime on the surface of the briar but the grain can be seen through the grime.    Jeff took a photo of the stamping on the left underside of the diamond shank. The stamping was readable as you can see from the photos. It read Stanwell over Regd. No. 969-48. To the left of that it had the shape number 33 and directly underneath it read Handmade in Denmark. The saddle portion of the stem had an inlaid silver Crown “S” on top behind the saddle. Jeff took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the tooth chatter, scratching and oxidation on the stem surface and wear on the edges of the button. I turned first to Pipephil’s site to get a quick idea of the time period of the Regd. No. Stanwell pipes (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-stanwell.html). I quickly found what I was looking for. The pipes stamped this way were made until the late 60s or early 70s then the stamping was discontinued. I have included a screen capture of that information below.I also turned to Pipedia’s article on Stanwell and read some more about the history of the brand. It is a great read in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Stanwell). Once again there was no specific information about the pipe I have in hand. I did find however that the stamping with the Regd. No. 969-48 started after 1948 and continued until the late 60s and early 70s.

With that information in hand I had a sense of the history of this pipe. It had been made after 1948 and before the early 1970s. I could estimate that from the rest of Bob’s pipes this one was probably purchased between the 50s and late 60s and at the very latest the early 70s. I would guess that this pipe fits that time frame. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

With over 125 pipes to clean from Bob’s estate it was taking me forever to clean and restore them by myself. I enlisted Jeff’s help with the cleanup. He cleaned over half of the pipes for me. He cleaned up this pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness that I really appreciate. It was a real mess and I did not know what to expect when I unwrapped it from his box. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. The finish looks very good with good looking grain around the bowl and shank. Jeff soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked very good. I took photos before I started my part of the work. I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show the great job Jeff did on the cleanup of the rim top. The rim top looks good though there is some damage on the front inner edge on the left side. The finish is dull, but still is in great condition. The bowl looked very good. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the light tooth chatter and the remaining oxidation on the stem surface and the vulcanite shank extension.  One of the things I appreciate about Jeff’s cleanup is that he works to protect and preserve the nomenclature on the shank of the pipes that he works on. The stamping on this one was very readable though there are spots that are faint. He preserved the stamping as you can see. I took a photo to show the clarity of the stamping.Since this is another pipe Bob’s estate I am sure that some of you have read at least some of the other restoration work that has been done on the previous pipes. You have also read what I have included about Bob Kerr, the pipeman who held these pipes in trust before I came to work on them (see photo to the left). Also, if you have followed the blog for long you will already know that I like to include background information on the pipeman whose pipes I am restoring. For me, when I am working on an estate I really like to have a sense of the person who held the pipes in trust before I worked on them. It gives me another dimension of the restoration work. I asked Brian if he or his wife would like to write a brief biographical tribute to her father, Bob. His daughter worked on it and I received the following short write up on him and some pictures to go along with the words including one of Bob’s carvings. Once again I thank you Brian and tell your wife thank you as well.

I am delighted to pass on these beloved pipes of my father’s. I hope each user gets many hours of contemplative pleasure as he did. I remember the aroma of tobacco in the rec room, as he put up his feet on his lazy boy. He’d be first at the paper then, no one could touch it before him. Maybe there would be a movie on with an actor smoking a pipe. He would have very definite opinions on whether the performer was a ‘real’ smoker or not, a distinction which I could never see but it would be very clear to him. He worked by day as a sales manager of a paper products company, a job he hated. What he longed for was the life of an artist, so on the weekends and sometimes mid-week evenings he would journey to his workshop and come out with wood sculptures, all of which he declared as crap but every one of them treasured by my sister and myself. Enjoy the pipes, and maybe a little of his creative spirit will enter you!

Now on to the rest of the restoration on this Regd. No. Stanwell Bulldog! I decided to begin the restoration of the bowl by cleaning up the rim damage on the inner edge of the bowl. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the roughness on the front left. The first photo shows the damaged area on the front inner edge of the bowl circled in red. The second and third photos show the cleaned up rim edge. The bowl looks better. I polished the briar and the vulcanite shank extension with micromesh sanding pads to blend in the stain and to polish the briar and remove the scratches in the surface of the bowl, heel and shank. I wet sanded with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped the bowl down between each pad with a damp cloth.     I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.    I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to break up the oxidation. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to remove the scratching. It is starting to look good. I carefully worked on the Crown S stamp. The Silver Crown is coming alive.     I rubbed the stem down with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish. I have a few tins of this laying around so I am trying to use them up. It does a pretty good job polishing the stem.   I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. Once I had finished the polishing I gave it a coat of “No Oxy Oil” developed by Briarville. I am experimenting with this product on the pipes I am restoring.    I am excited to be finishing work on yet another one of Bob’s pipes. This is the part of the restoration part I look forward to when it all comes back together, polished and waxed. I put the bowl and stem back together. I polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the briar and the vulcanite. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The medium brown stained bowl looks really good with the polished black vulcanite. This Stanwell Regd. No Danish Bulldog was another fun pipe to work on thanks to Jeff’s cleanup work. It really has that classic Danish look that catches the eye. The brown stain really makes the pipe look attractive. It is another comfortable pipe to hold in the hand. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½   inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. If you are interested in carrying on Bob’s legacy with this pipe send me a message or an email. I have a lot more to work on of various brands. Perhaps one of those will catch your attention. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. This is an interesting estate to bring back to life.

Recommissioning a Mysterious Harvey London Paris New York Meerschaum Lined Rusticated Dublin


Blog by Dal Stanton

Where I acquired this Harvey rusticated Dublin is not a mystery.  The Bulgarian coastal city of Burgas, on the main walking street near the beach, I found the Dublin in the ‘wild’ along with 4 other pipes I acquired.  One of my favorite things to do is to go ‘pipe picking’ wherever in the world my path takes me.  My wife and I were on the Black Sea Coast for our annual summer R&R and one day, we peeled ourselves away from the beach and strolled the favorite center-city walking street where a second-hand shop of antiques became the venue of this pipe picking expedition.

The pipes were easily found waiting for me in a copper pot.  After it was all done, negotiations were favorable and along with the Harvey Dublin, I brought home with me an Oldo Bruyere Billiard, Butz Choquin Supermate 1596 Panel, Lincoln London Made Real Sandblasted Billiard and a Lindbergh Select 324 Poker.  The BC and Lindbergh Poker have both been recommissioned and have benefited our work here in Bulgaria with the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited. The Oldo and Lincoln are still waiting in the online, ‘For “Pipe Dreamers” ONLY!’ collection for a steward to see them and commission them!Alex, a pipe man from Bulgaria’s neighbor to the north, Russia, saw and commissioned the Harvey along with a fancy French Butz Choquin Camargue 1683 Prince pictured below.On the worktable first is the Harvey.  Here are pictures giving a closer look. Located on the underside of the shank a smooth briar relief holds the nomenclature.  Stamped is, HARVEY [over] LONDON PARIS NEW YORK [over] GARANTIERT BRUYERE [over] MEERSCHAUM-MASSA.  The provenance of this pipe is a mystery.  The nomenclature’s use of language would clearly lean European CONTINENT of origin.  It’s an interesting mixture of languages with the German, GARANTIERT BRUYERE (Genuine Briar) which is not a precise help to mark its COM as Germany as this marking of pipes is used generally in several European countries that produce pipes.  Also interesting is the ‘MASSA’ connected with Meerschaum (German for ‘Sea Foam’), is rendered from Google Translate as ‘Pulp’ having a Swedish designation by Google.  None of these language ‘clues’ is a conclusive indicator of the COM, but what I believe can be concluded is a European origin – but where in Europe?My research showed some potential indicators, but again, nothing conclusive.  A quick look in my treasured copy of Herb Wilczak and Tom Colwell’s ‘Who Made That Pipe?’ had entries that skipped Harvey’s hoped for place of entry – Harvard…Harvic.  The normal first stops for research for me are Pipephil.eu (showing no listing for ‘Harvey’) and Pipedia.  Pipedia dangled clues but nothing gained traction.  First, John Harvey is listed as, “John Redman’s owner and manager, Philip Redman employed a pipe-maker named John Harvey. John was in charge of production at Whitecross Street up into the late 1980s. This could be a brand or line of pipes that he produced.”  John Redman is synonymous with John Redman Ltd. and British Empire Pipe Co. a London based pipe manufacturer with many lines: Other lines include Aristocrat, Buckingham, Buckingham Palace, Canberra, Captain Fortune, Dr John, Golden Square, Redonian, Richmond (not Sasieni), Twin Bore.  Could the possible line of pipes have been produced with John Harvey’s family name on it?  I go back to Pipephil.eu and repeat a search adding ‘John’ to Harvey and the result is the same – nothing.  Possible?  Perhaps.

Pipedia also unearthed an ‘Italian connection’ with the ‘Harvey’ name.  In the extensive article on the History of Italian Caminetto pipes, Harvey is mentioned two times in passing amidst the iterations of Guiseppe Ascorti, Carlo Scotti of Ascorti, started in 1959 and came apart in the 70s and 80s.  Harvey is mentioned as a resource in understanding the various lines of a series called ‘Prestige’.  In the same article, it is stated of the possibility that a ‘Harvey Greif’ stamped his own Caminetto’s as a property claim.  Nothing else is mentioned in this article about the Harvey connection or of a Harvey Greif.

The next clue came from rebornpipes.com and Steve’s work on a couple of Italian marked pipes with the name, ‘Harvey’.  Steve’s research ran down the same dry riverbed as mine.  His restoration of an Italian Harvey, New Life for an Italian Made Harvey Futura Billiard, produced this theory after nothing conclusive was found regarding the Harvey name.  Steve wrote:

I have a theory that the brand was made by Rossi because I knew that the factory made many pipes for various sellers around the world. I have no proof of it of course but it is a good possibility. I have no idea of the connection between Rossi and Harvey pipes, but I sense that there is one.

The Harvey pipes Steve worked on were clearly marked with the COM as Italy.  The Harvey I’m looking at is nebulous.  There could be an Italian connection but to me it is stretched because of the lack of specific marking as the Italian Harvey’s had consistently.

In my emailing Steve back and forth about the Harvey on my worktable, he made another interesting observation which I believe is probably pointing in the right direction. Steve wrote after my doubt of an Italian ‘Harvey’ connection:

Sure… the Italy was on the underside of the shank at the stem/shank union. I am wondering if there was a Harvey pipe shop or tobacco shop… then it would be a shop stamp… The above pipe looks a lot like a finish done by Sasieni.

Steve’s deep experience working with many pipes has definitely given him a ‘6th sense’ with the styles and characteristics of pipe families.  This ‘6th sense’ helped me to identify an elusive pipe, which was written up with the title: Ria_io Selection Italy Full Bent Billiard.  The pipe was an Italian Lorenzo Rialto – a very nice pipe!

The Sasieni source he theorizes is interesting and while ‘Harvey’ is not mentioned in the considerable list of Sasieni seconds (see: Pipedia’s article) I think it is plausible that the Harvey before me is a ‘shop pipe’ or from a larger retail store of years past when selling pipe smoking materials in a ‘regular’ store was still the norm in the men’s sections.  I discovered one such ‘treasure’ in the restoration of a Robinson (Restoring a Surprising Silver Treasure: a Robinson 8494 Quarter Bent Paneled Tomato).  The Robinson was available in Robinsons & Co, a British owned retail chain based in Malaysia.

When my research was running dry, I posted pictures of the Harvey and its nomenclature on several Facebook groups asking for help.  I secured a picture of another Harvey – London Paris New York, from Dom on the FB group, Tobacco Pipe Restorers.  He had received this pipe as a gift.  So, I knew there was at least a few more of these pipes out there along with a long-expired eBay listing I found.  The eBay listing is interesting in that it is the same shape, but a smooth briar.  Also, in sync is the Meer-lining.But the suggestion of origin that came from Trevor on ‘Pipe Lifestyle’ I think joins the plausible path suggested by Steve and my thoughts of it being a ‘store’ pipe.  Trevor wrote:

Just thinking out loud Dal, but could the Harvey be a reference to the Harvey-Nichols department store in London? I don’t know if they ever expanded to Paris or New York, but it may be a house branded pipe.

I did a quick search of the ‘Harvey-Nichols’ department store and found a Wikipedia link that opened up to information that seemed promising at first – familiar hallmarks to the Robinson story: Founded in London in 1831, and over the years opened in 16 different locations, mainly in UK, but with many stores in the Middle East as well.  My first thought was to email ‘Harvey-Nichols’ to find out if there might be some clues to this pipe, but my hopes were dashed when I read that the company had been purchased and acquired at least 5 times in the recent history recorded.  Finding historical information through that labyrinth was not something I wanted to be doing.  The other factor was that there were no locations of the Harvey Nichols stores mentioned being in either New York or Paris – again, possible but not likely.

I do believe the most plausible theory as to the origins of this pipe is that it is a ‘shop’ or ‘store’ pipe that was produced by a pipe manufacturer and stamped.  The English source of manufacturing is plausible with Steve’s Sasieni connection observation.  My guess is that the pipe is a commemorative of some sort with the ‘London Paris New York’ as the banner.  For what commemoration, will remain shrouded in mystery – at least for now.

Turning now to the pipe itself, the rusticated surface of this classic Dublin shape stands out – it is very tightly crafted and reminds one of a reptilian hide.  Very nicely done.  The stummel surface needs cleaning and the rim is scuffed up and needs attention. Most problematic is the chamber.  The pipe has a Meerschaum-lining – from the Massa or pulp, description, the Meer may not be block but the compound sort – not sure.  Either way, with a Meer-lining the opportunity for damage to the lining increases exponentially with the build up of carbon cake creating pressure.  Meerschaum needs nor wants a protective cake lining as do briars. So, the lesson that this pipe is teaching is, Meerschaum needs to be cleaned off!!  What I do after each use of either a Meer lined or Meerschaum block pipe is to use a bent over pipe cleaner to scrape off the chamber wall.  You want NO carbon build-up on Meerschaum.  I take another closeup below that tells the story. The cake is thick and appears hard, and the lava overflow is crusted over the top of the Meer-lining and on rim surface.The stem has moderate oxidation but almost no tooth chatter or damage at all.  That is welcomed.  For some reason, I only managed one picture of the stem.  The stem came mounted with a sword stinger which I removed and put aside until the end.  I’ll let the future steward decide if he wants to utilize the stinger.  I begin the restoration of the Harvey rusticated Dublin by adding its stem in a soak with other pipe’s in the queue.  I first clean the stem airway using pipe cleaners wetted in isopropyl 95%.  With the airway clean, I then place the stem in a soak of Before & after Deoxidizer.  I leave the stem in the soak for a few hours. After a few hours, I fish the stem out of the soak and wipe off the oxidation and excess fluid using a cotton pad. I also run another pipe cleaner wetted with isopropyl 95% through the airway to clean out the Deoxidizer.  Very little oxidation is raised and removed.To rejuvenate the vulcanite stem, I wipe on paraffin oil and then put the stem aside to absorb the oil.  Now, with my attention focused on the stummel, I gently and patiently remove the carbon cake buildup on the Meerschaum lining.  This process is like a dance because I’m not sure about the Meer lining’s integrity at this point and I don’t want to bring additional burden to the Meerschaum through the removal process.  I start with the Savinelli Fitsall tool to remove carbon by scraping the walls by hand with this custom tool.I take a picture of the upper chamber.  The texture of the partially excavated cake is not easily seen in the picture – but it’s pretty nasty.  But these pictures show the progress. After I’ve removed the thick cake and defined the Meer lining wall, I then, very gently, use the two smallest blade heads of the Pipnet Reaming Kit.  I apply almost no downward torque on the blade heads satisfied to allow the blades simply to scrape additional carbon with its own momentum.Next, I sand the chamber walls starting with a coarse 120 grade and then 240 grade sanding paper – both wrapped around a Sharpie Pen.I’m not concerned that the lower Meerschaum chamber remains darker.  It’s darker but it’s free of carbon.  After sanding, I wipe the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95% to remove the carbon dust.  The picture does not show what I can feel with my finger as I probe.  The Meerschaum lining looks and feels great!  I move on.Turning now to the external surface, I use undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a cotton pad to scrub the rusticated surface.  The rim is exceptionally entombed in a brick hard lava overflow crust.  I also deploy a bristled toothbrush to work on the rough surface and a brass wired brush to work on the rim. I take some ‘action’ shots pictures to show the cleaning process.I very gently employ the edge of my Winchester pocketknife to scrape the top of the Meerschaum lining.  I don’t believe the internal chamber or rim has ever been cleaned before this.  The rim lava is hard and does not give easily.I take the stummel to the sink and rinse the soap off thoroughly.  The cleaning goes well, but on the aft side of the Meerschaum rim, the lava caked on it will not give.  I’ve scraped it with the knife edge, and I’m concerned that I may damage the Meerschaum if I force the issue with scraping.  I don’t believe I’ve seen lava ‘welded’ on so firmly as this.It takes some delicate effort, but using the knife edge, Savinelli Fitsall tool and sanding with 240 grade paper, the hard gunk is removed.  The downside is that the intensive focus on this portion of the rim and Meerschaum resulted in a thinning area in the circumference of the Meer lining.  I’ll address this later.I haven’t forgotten that I have yet to clean the internals of the stummel.  Using cotton buds and pipe cleaners wetted in isopropyl 95%, I go to work.  The gunk seems to be relentless.  I also employ the use of a dental spoon to scrape the mortise wall excavating a good deal of tar and oils.  After a good bit of effort, the buds and pipe cleaners begin emerging lighter and I finally call the internals clean.  I move on. The arrows point out the top of the Meer lining where it thins because of the removal of the hardened lava.  The pictures also show the rough condition of the rim and the rim edge. I take a side picture to show this from another angle.  The second picture also shows the very expressive rusticated surface – nice!    To freshen the rim and to address the worn, rough rim edge, I take the stummel to the topping board.  By taking a little off the top, it will also help to mask and blend the thinning of the Meer rim.  One added benefit of freshening the rim is to create that classy contrast between the rusticated surface and a grained smooth surface.  After placing 240 paper on a chopping board, I give the inverted stummel a few rotations and check the progress.  I return to the board several times and check progress often.  The pictures show the progress of revealing the smooth briar grain beneath. When I come to a point where the topping is universal, I switch to 600 grade paper and give the stummel several more rotations.  In the picture below, the Meerschaum area at 2 o’clock is rough and thin.  The topping helped to bring some balance to the rim, but it will remain thinner in this area.  To smooth the Meerschaum lining around the rim, I again use 600 grade paper and sand.  The Meer sands nicely.  The area continues to have some discoloration, but the blending looks good.Looking now to the stummel surface, I take some pictures showing the thin areas of the finish.  The rusticated surface is a straightforward black finish.  Using a Black dye stick, I darken the entire surface paying special attention to applying dye to the rim edge to sharpen it.  I’m liking what I’m seeing! After putting the stummel aside to allow the dye to rest, I turn now to the stem.  The bit has almost no tooth chatter but there are a few indentations. I take a starting picture of the upper and lower bits.Using 240 sanding paper to address the minor imperfections, I use a plastic disc on the tenon side of the stem to guard against shouldering.I then wet sand with 600 grade paper followed by an application of 000 steel wool.On a roll with the stem, I now apply the full regimen of micromesh pads.  Starting with pads 1500 to 2400, I wet sand.  Following this, I dry sand using pads 3200 to 4000 and pads 6000 to 12000.  Between each set of three pads, I apply Obsidian Oil to the stem to continue the revitalization of the vulcanite.    The rim looks much better.  To darken the rim and to bring out the grain, I use the full regimen of micromesh pads to sand.  I ‘damp’ sand with pads 1500 to 2400 and then dry sand with pads 3200 to 12000.  The pictures show the progress. I also use the later pads, 3200 to 12000 on the smooth briar underside of the stummel.Whether or not the next steward uses the stinger, it will join the chorus as well of getting a new restored look.  Using steel wool, I polish the stinger to bring out the shine.With the smooth briar surfaces on the rim and the underside of the stummel, I apply Before & After Restoration Balm to bring out the natural briar hues.  After applying, I set the stummel aside for a few minutes for the Balm to absorb (pictured below) then I use a micromesh cloth to wipe off the excess Balm and to buff.  As hoped, the honey colored rim surface is a beautiful contrast to the dark, rusticated surface.Now in the home stretch, I mount a cotton buffing wheel to the Dremel and after setting the speed to about 40% full power, I apply Blue Diamond compound only to the smooth briar surfaces and to the stem.  I do not apply compound to the dense, rusticated surface.  The compound would only cake up and I would have to clean it by hand!  Not what I want to be doing.  After applying the compound, using a felt cloth, I follow by buffing off the excess compound on the smooth briar and stem.  This cleans the surface in preparation for application of the wax.After application of Blue Diamond compound, I mount another cotton cloth buffing wheel dedicated to the application of carnauba wax. With the speed remaining at 40%, I apply a few coats to the smooth briar surfaces and to the stem.  I decide to test applying wax to the rustication.  I use almost a ‘dry’ buffing wheel – that is, I apply a very light bit of carnauba.  I increase the speed of the Dremel to about 60% full power.  I do this to increase the RPMs of the wheel, thus increasing the friction and the resulting heat which aids the wax in dissolving in the rougher terrain.  This is successful and I’m able to apply a light wax to the rusticated surface – nice!I complete the restoration by hand buffing the entire pipe with a microfiber cloth to remove excess wax and to raise the shine.

There is some mystery surrounding name and origins of this striking Harvey Rusticated Dublin. I do believe the most plausible theory as to the origins of this pipe is that it is a ‘shop’ or ‘store’ pipe – stamped for store distribution my a manufacturer.  The English source of manufacturing is plausible with a possible Sasieni connection.  My guess is that it is a commemorative production of some sort with the ‘London Paris New York’ as the banner.  For what commemoration, will remain shrouded in mystery.  Yet, not shrouded in mystery is the striking, tightly woven black rusticated finish.  The contrasting honey colored smooth briar of the rim, hugging the Meerschaum on the inside and blanketed by the black rusticated texturing on the outside is, well, I can’t take my eyes off this pipe!  Frosting on the cake is the contrast of the smooth underside panel holding the mysteries of the nomenclature – if pipes could only speak our language…!  The Dublin bowl adds a bit of attitude to the ensemble!  A very nice pipe that Alex has commissioned.  As the ‘pipe commissioner’, he will have the first opportunity to acquire the Harvey from The Pipe Steward Store benefiting the Daughters of Bulgaria.  Thanks for joining me!

Working on a GBD Standard 323 Smooth Apple from Bob Kerr’s Estate


Blog by Steve Laug

I am continuing to work through Bob Kerr’s estate. The next pipe on the table is a GBD Standard Apple, smooth bowl and shank a beveled rim top. It is an Standard with a black vulcanite stem. I am continuing to cleanup Bob’s estate for his family and moving them out into the hands of pipemen and women who will carry on the trust that began with Bob and in some pipes was carried on by Bob. In the collection there were a total of 125 pipes along with a box of parts. This is the largest estate that I have had the opportunity to work on. I put together a spread sheet of the pipes and stampings to create an invoice. I was taking on what would take me a fair amount of time to clean up. I could not pass up the opportunity to work on these pipes though. They were just too tempting.

I have been collecting and restoring GBD pipes for as long as I have worked on pipes. This one also has a beautiful mix of grain under the grime on the finish. It is quite beautiful! The pipe is stamped GBD in an oval over Standard on the left side of the shank. On the right side it is stamped London, England and the shape number 323. It had a rich brown stain that does not look too bad. There was a thick cake in the bowl with remnants of tobacco stuck on the walls. There was a lava overflow on the rim. The inner edge of the rim and top are dirty and had a thick lava coat. The edges appear to have a bit of burn damage on the front inner edge and the front outer edge has a bit of wear damage. It was a beautiful pipe that was dirty and tired looking. The stem was oxidized and calcified toward the end. Again, surprisingly did not have the tooth marks that I have come to expect from Bob’s pipes. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work on it. Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the lava build up on the edges of the bowl. It was thick and hard but hopefully it had protected the rim and edges from damage. There appears to be a little damage on the left front inner and outer edges of the bowl. Otherwise it looks pretty good.    Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the finish. You can see the beautiful grain through the debris – both birdseye and cross grain. The finish was very dirty. There is a small putty fill on the lower right side of the bowl.     Jeff took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. The stamping was readable as you can see from the photos. On the left side it read GBD in an oval over Standard. On the right is reads London, England over the shape number 323. On the left side of the saddle stem was an inlaid brass GBD rondel. Jeff took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the tooth chatter, scratching and oxidation on the stem surface and wear on the edges of the button. The edges of the button looked very good with slight wear on the edges.  I already cleaned up and restore another Standard from Bob’s estate and did the research on the brand while working on that one (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/08/10/back-to-bob-kerrs-estate-working-on-a-gbd-standard-9136-bent-billiard/). In that blog I referenced an article on Pipedia. The article gives a lot in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD). I quote the section where I found the reference to the Standard.

I also turned to the reference page on the site for GBD shapes and numbers and could not find any information on that shape number (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD_Shapes/Numbers). There was nothing there with the 323 number though there were other apple shaped pipes in the 335-345 numbers. So once again there is a mystery on this one.

With that information in hand I knew what I was dealing with in terms of the stamping and the age of this pipe. I knew from the information from the section quoted that the Standard originally came out in the 20s. In the late 1930s the New Standard was introduced after the war. So this is another one of Bob’s older pipes – late 1920s to early 30s. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

With over 125 pipes to clean from Bob’s estate I am really appreciating Jeff’s help cleaning them up. Jeff cleaned the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness that I really appreciate. This one was a real mess and I did not know what to expect when I unwrapped it from his box. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. The finish looks very good with good looking grain around the bowl and shank. Jeff soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked good. The stem still sported some deep oxidation but otherwise it was clean. I took photos before I started my part of the work. I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. The rim top looks pretty good. There is some darkening on the top edge and a burn marks on the inner and outer edge. There is also some damage on the outer rim on the rim. The photos show a few small dents on the surface of the stem and the nick out of the top of the button on the topside. You can also see the remaining oxidation on the stem surface.      I am going to keep posting the next paragraph because of the importance of protecting the stamping/nomenclature.

One of the things I appreciate about Jeff’s cleanup is that he works to protect and preserve the nomenclature on the shank of the pipes that he works on. The stamping on this one was very faint to start with so I was worried that it would disappear altogether with the cleanup. He was not only able to preserve it but it is clearer than shown in the earlier photos. I took some photos to show the clarity of the stamping. I have noticed that many restorers are not careful to protect the stamping in their cleaning process and often by the end of the restoration the nomenclature is almost destroyed. I would like to encourage all of us to be careful in our work to preserve this as it is a critical piece of pipe restoration! Since this is another pipe Bob’s estate I am sure that some of you have read at least some of the other restoration work that has been done on the previous pipes. You have also read what I have included about Bob Kerr, the pipeman who held these pipes in trust before I came to work on them (see photo to the left). Also, if you have followed the blog for long you will already know that I like to include background information on the pipeman whose pipes I am restoring. For me, when I am working on an estate I really like to have a sense of the person who held the pipes in trust before I worked on them. It gives me another dimension of the restoration work. I asked Brian if he or his wife would like to write a brief biographical tribute to her father, Bob. His daughter worked on it and I received the following short write up on him and some pictures to go along with the words including one of Bob’s carvings. Once again I thank you Brian and tell your wife thank you as well.

I am delighted to pass on these beloved pipes of my father’s. I hope each user gets many hours of contemplative pleasure as he did. I remember the aroma of tobacco in the rec room, as he put up his feet on his lazy boy. He’d be first at the paper then, no one could touch it before him. Maybe there would be a movie on with an actor smoking a pipe. He would have very definite opinions on whether the performer was a ‘real’ smoker or not, a distinction which I could never see but it would be very clear to him. He worked by day as a sales manager of a paper products company, a job he hated. What he longed for was the life of an artist, so on the weekends and sometimes mid-week evenings he would journey to his workshop and come out with wood sculptures, all of which he declared as crap but every one of them treasured by my sister and myself. Enjoy the pipes, and maybe a little of his creative spirit will enter you!

Now, on to the rest of the restoration on this GBD Standard 323 Tapered stem Billiard. Since Jeff had done such an amazing clean up job on the bowl it was going to be a very easy job for me. There was some darkening and damage on the rim top, the inner and outer edges of the rim that needed to be addressed. I sanded it with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to remove and minimize the damage to the top and the edges. I continued by starting to polish it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I wiped the rim edge down with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust on the briar. The first photo below shows the rim top when I started and the second one below shows it after the work. The finished rim top looked much better than when I started. I was able to minimize the damage on the front inner edge of the rim. It is still damaged but it looks considerably better. Once I clean it and stain it the rim edge will look better. I polished the rim top and sides of the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl and rim down with damp cloth after each sanding pad. The more I polished the rim top the more the rim blended in with the rest of the finish. I would not need to stain it.    I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth and shoe brush to raise the shine. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to break up the oxidation. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to remove the scratching. It is starting to look good.    I have one more tin of Denicare Mouthpiece Polish left from a few that I have picked up over the years. It is a coarse red pasted that serves to help remove oxidation. I polished the stem with that to further smooth out the surface of the vulcanite (and to be honest – to use it up).  I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. Once I had finished the polishing I gave it final coat of oil and set it aside to dry.    I can’t tell you how great it feels to be moving through these 125 pipes – about 39 done so far! It is an overwhelming task that can only be achieved one pipe at a time. So each time I finish one of the pipes from Bob Kerr’s Estate I look forward to what it will look like when it is put back together, polished and waxed. I put the bowl and stem back together. I polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the briar and the vulcanite. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The rich medium brown smooth finish really popped with buffing showing the grain on the pipe. The polished thin black vulcanite taper stem went really well with the colours of the bowl. This old GBD Standard 323 Apple was another fun pipe to work on thanks to Jeff’s cleanup work. It really has the classic GBD Apple shape that is very recognizable. The medium brown stain really makes the pipe look attractive. It is another comfortable pipe to hold in the hand. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. If you are interested in carrying on Bob’s legacy with this pipe send me a message or an email. I have a lot more to work on of various brands. Perhaps one of those will catch your attention. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. This is an interesting estate to bring back to life.

Working on a GBD Original 91327 Smooth Billiard from Bob Kerr’s Estate


Blog by Steve Laug

I am continuing to work through Bob Kerr’s estate. The next pipe on the table is a GBD Original Billiard, smooth bowl and shank a beveled rim top. It is an Original with a black vulcanite stem. I am continuing to cleanup Bob’s estate for his family and moving them out into the hands of pipemen and women who will carry on the trust that began with Bob and in some pipes was carried on by Bob. In the collection there were a total of 125 pipes along with a box of parts. This is the largest estate that I have had the opportunity to work on. I put together a spread sheet of the pipes and stampings to create an invoice. I was taking on what would take me a fair amount of time to clean up. I could not pass up the opportunity to work on these pipes though. They were just too tempting.

I have been collecting and restoring GBD pipes for as long as I have worked on pipes. This one also has a beautiful mix of grain under the grime on the finish. It is quite beautiful! The pipe is stamped GBD in an oval over Original on the left side of the shank. On the right side it is stamped London, England and the shape number 91327. It had a rich brown stain that does not look too bad. There was a thick cake in the bowl with remnants of tobacco stuck on the walls. There was a lava overflow on the rim. The inner edge of the rim and top are dirty and had a thick lava coat. The edges appear to have a bit of burn damage on the front inner edge and the front outer edge has a bit of wear damage. It was a beautiful pipe that was dirty and tired looking. The stem was oxidized and calcified toward the end. There seemed to be a chip or nick in the middle of the button on the top edge. Again, surprisingly did not have the tooth marks that I have come to expect from Bob’s pipes. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work on it. Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the lava build up on the edges of the bowl. It was thick and hard but hopefully it had protected the rim and edges from damage. There appears to be a little damage on the left front inner and outer edges of the bowl. Otherwise it looks pretty good.   Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the finish. You can see the beautiful grain through the debris – both birdseye and cross grain. The finish was very dirty. There is a large putty fill on the right side of the shank near the bowl. Jeff took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. The stamping was readable as you can see from the photos. On the left side it read GBD in an oval over Original.  On the right side it was stamped London, England over the shape number 91327. On the left side of the saddle stem was an inlaid brass GBD rondel.Jeff took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the tooth chatter, scratching and oxidation on the stem surface and wear on the edges of the button. There is a deep nick in the topside of the button.I turned to Pipedia’s article on GBD to see if I could find any information on the Historic line. I have heard of Original pipes but I have never seen one stamped with the five digit shape number like this 91327. The Pipedia article identifies the line as a French made pipe however, this one is stamped London, England thus contradicting the article that specifically says that the pipes were not made in England (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD_Model_Information).

I also turned to the reference page on the site for GBD shapes and numbers and could not find any information on that shape number (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD_Shapes/Numbers). There was nothing there with a five digit number so I checked the listing of the last 3 digits, 327 and did not find one. So once again there is a mystery on this one.

All of my research did not really help pin anything down. The shape number was a dead end and the line description was also a contradiction. I was dealing with a bit of anomaly – a French made saddle Billiard stamped London, England with a saddle stem. In terms of dating the pipe I can only guess that it fits in with the late 50s to late 60s of Bob’s other pipes but I cannot know for sure. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

With over 125 pipes to clean from Bob’s estate I am really appreciating Jeff’s help cleaning them up. Jeff cleaned the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness that I really appreciate. This one was a real mess and I did not know what to expect when I unwrapped it from his box. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. The finish looks very good with good looking grain around the bowl and shank. Jeff soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked good. The stem still sported some deep oxidation but otherwise it was clean. I took photos before I started my part of the work. I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show what an amazing job Jeff did in the cleanup of the rim top. The rim top looks pretty good. There is some darkening on the top edge and a burn marks on the inner and outer edge. There is also some damage on the outer rim on the rim. The photos show a few small dents on the surface of the stem and the nick out of the top of the button on the topside. You can also see the remaining oxidation on the stem surface.     I am going to keep posting the next paragraph because of the importance of protecting the stamping/nomenclature.

One of the things I appreciate about Jeff’s cleanup is that he works to protect and preserve the nomenclature on the shank of the pipes that he works on. The stamping on this one was very faint to start with so I was worried that it would disappear altogether with the cleanup. He was not only able to preserve it but it is clearer than shown in the earlier photos. I took some photos to show the clarity of the stamping. I have noticed that many restorers are not careful to protect the stamping in their cleaning process and often by the end of the restoration the nomenclature is almost destroyed. I would like to encourage all of us to be careful in our work to preserve this as it is a critical piece of pipe restoration! Since this is another pipe Bob’s estate I am sure that some of you have read at least some of the other restoration work that has been done on the previous pipes. You have also read what I have included about Bob Kerr, the pipeman who held these pipes in trust before I came to work on them (see photo to the left). Also, if you have followed the blog for long you will already know that I like to include background information on the pipeman whose pipes I am restoring. For me, when I am working on an estate I really like to have a sense of the person who held the pipes in trust before I worked on them. It gives me another dimension of the restoration work. I asked Brian if he or his wife would like to write a brief biographical tribute to her father, Bob. His daughter worked on it and I received the following short write up on him and some pictures to go along with the words including one of Bob’s carvings. Once again I thank you Brian and tell your wife thank you as well.

I am delighted to pass on these beloved pipes of my father’s. I hope each user gets many hours of contemplative pleasure as he did. I remember the aroma of tobacco in the rec room, as he put up his feet on his lazy boy. He’d be first at the paper then, no one could touch it before him. Maybe there would be a movie on with an actor smoking a pipe. He would have very definite opinions on whether the performer was a ‘real’ smoker or not, a distinction which I could never see but it would be very clear to him. He worked by day as a sales manager of a paper products company, a job he hated. What he longed for was the life of an artist, so on the weekends and sometimes mid-week evenings he would journey to his workshop and come out with wood sculptures, all of which he declared as crap but every one of them treasured by my sister and myself. Enjoy the pipes, and maybe a little of his creative spirit will enter you!

Now, on to the rest of the restoration on this GBD Original 91327 Saddle Stem Billiard. Since Jeff had done such an amazing clean up job on the bowl it was going to be a very easy job for me. There was some darkening and damage on the rim top, the inner and outer edges of the rim that needed to be addressed. I sanded it with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to remove and minimize the damage to the top and the edges. I continued by starting to polish it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I wiped the rim edge down with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust on the briar. The first photo below shows the rim top when I started and the second one below shows it after the work. The finished rim top looked much better than when I started. I was able to minimize the damage on the front inner edge of the rim. It is still damaged but it looks considerably better. Once I clean it and stain it the rim edge will look better.  Some how the fill that was obvious in the first photos that Jeff took seem to have expanded and filled in and with the polishing and sanding it disappeared. I can see it but it was not worth repairing or replacing. I polished the rim top and sides of the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl and rim down with damp cloth after each sanding pad. The more I polished the rim top the more the rim blended in with the rest of the finish. I would not need to stain it.   I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth and shoe brush to raise the shine. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I filled in the divot on the top of the button on the top side and built up the edge on the underside with clear Krazy Glue.I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to break up the oxidation. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to remove the scratching. It is starting to look good.    I have one more tin of Denicare Mouthpiece Polish left from a few that I have picked up over the years. It is a coarse red pasted that serves to help remove oxidation. I polished the stem with that to further smooth out the surface of the vulcanite (and to be honest – to use it up).    I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. Once I had finished the polishing I rubbed it down with “No Oxy Oil”, a product I am trying out from Briarville Pipe Repair. So far it is an impressive product that is very similar to Obsidian Oil. I will continue to experiment with it.  I can’t begin to tell you how great it feels to be moving through these 125 pipes – about 38 done so far! It is an overwhelming task that can only be achieved one pipe at a time. So each time I finish one of the pipes from Bob Kerr’s Estate I look forward to what it will look like when it is put back together, polished and waxed. I put the bowl and stem back together. I polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the briar and the vulcanite. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The rich medium brown smooth finish really popped with buffing showing the grain on the pipe. The polished thin black vulcanite saddle stem went really well with the colours of the bowl. This old GBD Original 91327 Billiard was another fun pipe to work on thanks to Jeff’s cleanup work. It really has the classic GBD Billiard shape that is very recognizable. The medium brown stain really makes the pipe look attractive. It is another comfortable pipe to hold in the hand. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. If you are interested in carrying on Bob’s legacy with this pipe send me a message or an email. I have a lot more to work on of various brands. Perhaps one of those will catch your attention. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. This is an interesting estate to bring back to life.

Restoring a Stanwell Made in Denmark Black Diamond 29 Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I chose to work on is another one from Bob Kerr’s estate and is part of his collection of Danish made pipes. I have worked on the restoration of others in this collection which include a Stanwell Jubilee Shape 118 (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/08/11/another-bob-kerr-estate-a-stanwell-jubilee-1942-1982-shape-118/); a Stanwell de Luxe Shape 812 (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/08/10/back-to-bob-kerrs-estate-changing-up-and-working-on-a-danish-made-stanwell-de-luxe-812-billiard-regd-no-969-48/); a WO Larsen (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/01/13/restoring-pipe-17-from-bob-kerrs-estate-a-w-o-larsen-super-15-bent-stack/); a Danish Sovereign Bulldog variation (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/08/11/another-bob-kerr-estate-a-danish-sovereign-305-bulldog-variant/) and a Danmore Deluxe Volcano (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/08/20/restoring-a-petersons-dunmore-70-bent-apple-sitter-from-bob-kerrs-estate-2/).

To this list of Danish pipes I am adding the next – a Stanwell Black Diamond 29 BIlliard shaped pipe. Like the others it is part of Bob’s estate that the family asked me to clean up and move out to others who will carry on the trust that began with Bob. In the collection there were BBBs, Peterson’s, Dunhills, Comoy’s and Barlings as well many others – a total of 125 pipes. This is the largest estate that I have had the opportunity to work on. I created a spread sheet to track the pipes, restoration and sales. This job would take a fair amount of time to clean up. I could not pass up the opportunity to work on these pipes and help the family.

The next pipe on the table is a Stanwell Black Diamond 29 Billiard – stained with a semi-transparent black stain and has a tapered stem and a Sterling Silver band on the shank. The semi-transparent stain allows the grain to poke through the colour and be visible. It was stamped Stanwell on the left side of the shank. It is stamped Made in Denmark on the underside of the shank. There was a shape number 26 stamped on the right side of the shank. The Sterling Silver band is stamped .925 on the right side. The finish was dirty like the rest of the pipes in this estate. There was a thick cake in the bowl with remnants of tobacco stuck on the walls. There was an overflow of lava on the rim. The top and edges of the rim were dirty. I could see a beautiful pipe underneath all of the grime and buildup of years of use. The stem was oxidized with tooth chatter on both sides. There was a Crown S on the left side of the taper stem. Surprisingly it had none of the deep tooth marks that I have come to expect from Bob’s pipes. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work on it. Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the lava build up on the edges of the bowl. It was thick and hard but hopefully it had protected the rim and edges from damage. The edges look pretty good.   Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the finish. You can see the grain on the sides of the bowl and the heel. There is a lot of dust and grime on the surface of the briar but the grain can be seen through the semi-transparent black stain.   Jeff took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. The stamping was readable as you can see from the photos. It read Stanwell on the left side. On the underside it reads Made in Denmark. There is a shape number 29 on the right side of the shank. The silver band had a .925 stamp on the right side and the tapered stem had a Crown S on the left side. The white paint in the crown was missing but the stamping was clear.Jeff took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the tooth chatter, scratching and oxidation on the stem surface and wear on the edges of the button.     I turned first to Pipephil’s site to get a quick idea of the Svendborg brand and the carver who made the pipes (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-stanwell.html). There was nothing specific to the Black Stanwell pipes.

I also turned to Pipedia’s article on Stanwell and read some more about the history of the brand. It is a great read in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Stanwell). Once again there was no specific information about the Black Stanwell line.

With that information in hand I had no clearer idea of the age and line of the Black Stanwell. The opaque stain made it very interesting and I wanted to find out more but there was nothing more I could find on the brand. I could estimate that from the rest of Bob’s pipes this one was probably purchased between the 50s and late 60s early 70s. I would guess that this pipe fits that time frame. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

With over 125 pipes to clean from Bob’s estate it was taking me forever to clean and restore them by myself. I enlisted Jeff’s help with the cleanup. He cleaned over half of the pipes for me. He cleaned up this pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness that I really appreciate. It was a real mess and I did not know what to expect when I unwrapped it from his box. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. The finish looks very good with good looking grain around the bowl and shank. Jeff soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked very good. I took photos before I started my part of the work. I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show what an amazing job Jeff did in the cleanup of the rim top. The rim top looks very good. The finish is dull, but still is in great condition. The bowl looked very good. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the light tooth marks, chatter and the remaining oxidation on the stem surface.   One of the things I appreciate about Jeff’s cleanup is that he works to protect and preserve the nomenclature on the shank of the pipes that he works on. The stamping on this one was very readable. He preserved the stamping as you can see. I took photos to show the clarity of the stamping. You can also see the condition of the Crown S on the left side of the tapered stem.Since this is another pipe Bob’s estate I am sure that some of you have read at least some of the other restoration work that has been done on the previous pipes. You have also read what I have included about Bob Kerr, the pipeman who held these pipes in trust before I came to work on them (see photo to the left). Also, if you have followed the blog for long you will already know that I like to include background information on the pipeman whose pipes I am restoring. For me, when I am working on an estate I really like to have a sense of the person who held the pipes in trust before I worked on them. It gives me another dimension of the restoration work. I asked Brian if he or his wife would like to write a brief biographical tribute to her father, Bob. His daughter worked on it and I received the following short write up on him and some pictures to go along with the words including one of Bob’s carvings. Once again I thank you Brian and tell your wife thank you as well.

I am delighted to pass on these beloved pipes of my father’s. I hope each user gets many hours of contemplative pleasure as he did. I remember the aroma of tobacco in the rec room, as he put up his feet on his lazy boy. He’d be first at the paper then, no one could touch it before him. Maybe there would be a movie on with an actor smoking a pipe. He would have very definite opinions on whether the performer was a ‘real’ smoker or not, a distinction which I could never see but it would be very clear to him. He worked by day as a sales manager of a paper products company, a job he hated. What he longed for was the life of an artist, so on the weekends and sometimes mid-week evenings he would journey to his workshop and come out with wood sculptures, all of which he declared as crap but every one of them treasured by my sister and myself. Enjoy the pipes, and maybe a little of his creative spirit will enter you!

Now on to the rest of the restoration on this interesting Black Diamond 29 Billiard! I decided to begin the restoration of the bowl by polishing the briar with micromesh sanding pads to blend in the stain and to polish the briar and remove the scratches in the surface of the bowl, heel and shank. I wet sanded with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped the bowl down between each pad with a damp cloth.    I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the surface of the stem with the flame from a Bic lighter to lift the dents and tooth marks on both side. I was able to lift them all so that I could do the rest of the stem work with sandpaper.  I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to break up the oxidation. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to remove the scratching. It is starting to look good. I carefully worked my way around the Crown S stamp.    I rubbed the stem down with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish. I have a few tins of this laying around so I am trying to use them up. It does a pretty good job polishing the stem.     I used some Papermate Liquid Paper to touch up the Crown S stamping on the left side of the stem. Once the product had dried I scraped off the excess leaving the stamping looking white and refreshed.     I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. Once I had finished the polishing I gave it a coat of “No Oxy Oil” developed by Briarville. I am experimenting with this product on the pipes I am restoring.    Once again I am excited to be working on another one of Bob’s pipes. This is the part of the restoration part I look forward to when it all comes back together, polished and waxed. I put the bowl and stem back together. I polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the briar and the vulcanite. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The straight and flame grain under the semi-transparent black stain look really good with the polished black vulcanite. This Stanwell Black Diamond 29 Billiard was another fun pipe to work on thanks to Jeff’s cleanup work. It really has that classic Danish look that catches the eye. The combination of stains really makes the pipe look attractive. It is another comfortable pipe to hold in the hand. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. If you are interested in carrying on Bob’s legacy with this pipe send me a message or an email. I have a lot more to work on of various brands. Perhaps one of those will catch your attention. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. This is an interesting estate to bring back to life.