Tag Archives: removing tooth marks

Chacom Churchwarden Resurrected


Blog by Joshua Fairweather

I received an email from Joshua about one of the Gourd Calabashes and a grab bag of pipes for refurbishing that I was selling. We made a deal on the pipes. At the end of his email he included some photos of some of the pipes he had already refurbished. His work looked really good so I invited him to submit a write up of some of his work to rebornpipes. Here is the first of those pieces that he submitted. A warm welcome and a thank you Joshua for your contribution to the blog. – Steve

I came across this pipe at an antique mall in London, Ontario. I almost passed it by had it not been for the vendor who was cleaning his case, he was kind enough to say ‘hi’ and ask what I was looking for. He just so happened to have a few pipes hiding in a glass case in the back of his store.

As you can see from the picture the pipe is heavily oxidized with little to no chatter marks. The bowl has a thick cake and tar on the bowl rim. Overall the bowl was in great condition with a small white mark on the bottom of the bowl (I think it was glue). The wood grain of the bowl also had nice appeal.

The brand of the pipe was marked on the bowl – ‘Chacom coin osseu’.

Now, I want to walk you through how I cleaned and restored this pipe. Step 1
When a pipe has a heavy cake inside the bowl, I like to put it through a salt and alcohol treatment. This method does a great job at cleaning the pipe, softening the hardened cake making it easier to remove from the bowl. It also, freshens up the bowl and gets ride of any ghosting left from prior tobaccos smoked.

I fill the bowl to the brim with larger grained salt. Using the syringe, I add the alcohol to the salt, topping it up to the bowl brim. I usually leave this treatment in the bowl overnight.Step 2
I prefer to use my old trusty friend (pocket knife) to clean the cake from the bowl. It has a more rounded tip and I find it a perfect tool to clean out most pipes without damaging the bowl.Step 3
With the same alcohol I use cotton pads to remove the finish off the pipe. Alcohol also does a great job at removing tar from the bowl rim. If the tar is heavy then a light sanding works better.Step 4
I don’t know what it is about sanding that brings so much satisfaction; I think it is the results you get on the pipe finish; it looks like glass. I use these foam padded Micro-Mesh pads to bring out the best finish on the briar wood. Step 5
Two of my favourite household products that do a fantastic job at cleaning pipe stems are OxiClean and Vim. Soak the stem in an OxiClean bath for about an hour maybe two hours. It will depend on how oxidized the pipe stem is, a heavy oxidized stem, leave in the solution for longer. This stem needed a longer soak.

After the bath I use Vim and a dry clean rag to wipe clean. Vim has a corrosive component that acts like a sand paper to buff the pipe stem back to a clean black colour again.

I will say, if the pipe stem is heavily oxidized it will take more than just Vim to bring out that black finish. I refer back to the Micro-Mesh foam sanding pads, which also do an amazing job at bringing out that preferred finish. I use alcohol and pipe cleaners to remove left behind tar inside the pipe stem. I repeat this process until the pipe cleaners come out clean.Step 6
To bring out the beauty of the natural grains of the wood, I use a variety of products and natural substances to do this. For this pipe I used an extra virgin olive oil.

With the combination of the sanded finish, adding the olive oil turns the pipe a darker colour. Well you can see the finished results for yourself!Conclusion:
Overall, I am pleased with the results. This pipe I will probably put into my private collection, as I do not have a churchwarden styled pipe as of yet.

Hope you have enjoyed my process.

The Easiest Restoration in the Recent Estate Lot – A Savinelli Oscar 701 Lovat


Blog by Steve Laug

This little Savinelli Lovat is by far the easiest pipe I have cleaned up from the recent estate lot pipes that my brother purchased. It is a beautifully rusticated Lovat with an almost sandblast finish over the rustication. It is a oxblood stained pipe with a vulcanite stem. I wonder if it was not the last pipe that the pipeman purchased before his demise. The bowl had a light cake in it and the rim already had some overflow of lava on the top but the bowl had not been smoked to the bottom. The bottom of the bowl was raw briar. It had very few tooth marks and chatter. The stem was lightly oxidized and the finish was in great shape. It is stamped on the smooth portion on the underside of the shank with the words Oscar over Aged Briar on the heel of the bowl. Next to that it was stamped with the Savinelli S in a shield next to the shape number 701 over Italy. My brother took the following photos of the pipe when he brought it home from the sale.

I looked the shape up on the Savinelli Shape Chart and found it there in the right hand column. It is the second pipe circled in red below.

Jeff also took a photo of the rim top and the cake in the bowl. There is a light cake in the bowl and a lava overflow on the top of the rim and the bevel. It was not too thick so it would easily come off the surface. He took two photos of the underside of the shank. The first shows the 701 shape number and the second shows the remainder of the stamping. The contrast stain on the rustication pattern looks very good.The next two photos show the side and bottom of the bowl. The random pattern of the rustication almost looks like a sandblast pattern.On the left side of the saddle portion of the stem there is the characteristic Savinelli Oscar shooting star stamp. It is in excellent condition.The next two photos show the condition of the stem. The tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the stem near the button are not too deep in the surface of the vulcanite. They should be relatively easy to remove.

Jeff thoroughly cleaned out the internals of the pipe, reaming it with a PipNet reamer and removing all of the cake. He scrubbed the externals with Murphy’s Oil Soap and was able to remove all of the lava on the top of the rim. He rinsed the bowl in water to remove the debris of the cleaning. The stem soaked in Oxyclean to lift the light oxidation that was present. It came to the surface and would be easily remedied. The next four photos show the pipe when it arrived in Vancouver. It really was a delicate looking Lovat that showed real promise.

I had to have a picture of the cleaned up rim top. It was amazing how he had been able to get all of the lava off on the top and the bevel as well.The next two photos show the oxidation that I would have to deal with to get the stem back to its polished black glory.I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to break up the oxidation and remove the tooth chatter and marks.I ran a pipe cleaner with alcohol through the mortise and the airway in the shank and stem. It was very clean so nothing more needed to be done. The mortise was very clean.I hand buffed the bowl with a shoe brush to raise a shine. The next photos show the buffed bowl. It is really a nice looking pipe. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and then rubbing it down with Obsidian Oil. I dry sanded with 3200-4000 grit pads, gave it another coat of oil then buffed it with red Tripoli. I brought it back to the work table and finished polishing with 6000-12000 grit micromesh pads. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I buffed the bowl lightly with Blue Diamond to raise a shine. When buffing a rusticated bowl with Blue Diamond a soft touch is imperative or you will fill in the divots of the rustication with the polishing compound. I buffed the stem with the Blue Diamond as well, being careful around the shooting star logo so as not to damage it. I gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and hand waxed the bowl with Conservator’s Wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and by hand with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outer diameter: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ inches. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It will soon be available on the rebornpipes store. If you wish to add it to your collection you can email me at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a private message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.

Restoring a Second Fiammata – A 127 Saddle Stem Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came from the recent estate sale my brother attended. The pipeman whose pipes were being sold had good taste as can be seen from the pipes I have posted recently from my workbench. This one is no exception. It is a match to the other FIAMMATA that I posted (https://rebornpipes.com/2017/05/20/why-is-it-a-second-a-fiammata-128-billiard/) It has stunning straight grain around the bowl and a few small well-hidden fills on the bowl. There is a large fill on the left side of the shank underneath the stamping. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank with the name FIAMMATA and on the right side it is stamped 127 over Italy and to the left of those stamps is the familiar Savinelli S in a shield. On the underside of the shank it is stamped Savinelli Product. The stem is lightly oxidized and has the now familiar tooth marks as the other pipes in this estate.The shape number, the Italy stamp and the overall look of the pipe told me that it was a Savinelli pipe. The stamp on the underside as well as the S in a shield confirmed that it was indeed a Savinelli product. When I worked on the previous Fiammata 128 pipe I did a bit of research to find out information about it. Pipedia gave me information that I included in the previous post. I am including it here in case you happened to miss the other one. Here is the link to the section of the Pipedia article on Savinelli Sub-brands: https://pipedia.org/wiki/Savinelli#Savinelli_made_sub-brands.2C_seconds_.26_order_productions

On the Sub-brands list you will see the name Fiammata. Next to the name it says that the sub-brand is a “Rejected “Giubileo D’Oro” – Straight Grain”. That matches the look of this pipe as well as the previous one. As before I have included an advertisement on Giubileo D’Oro pipes to see what I could learn about the destiny of this pipe before the flaws were noted and the pipe was rejected. The grain on this second Fiammata has grain on it that is better than the one in the photo below.I have included a copy of the Savinelli Shape Chart once again so that you can see the shape of the pipe in hand. It is stamped 127 and can be seen on the first column of the chart. It is a saddle stem billiard. I circled the shape in red on the chart below.My brother Jeff took some close up photos of the rim and the bowl to show the cake in the bowl and the tarry buildup on the rim top. It looked to be in very good shape under the grime.He took photos of the bowl from various angles to show the quality of grain that covered the sides and bottom of the bowl. He took photos of the stamping on the sides and bottom of the shank. The stamping is in excellent condition and is very readable. In the first photo you can see the large fill under the second M of FIAMMATA on the left side of the shank.The stem also has an IRC stamped on the left side of the saddle portion. IRC is the store stamp of Iwan Ries & Company pipe shop in Chicago, Illinois, USA. I would assume that the store stamp was added when the pipe arrived in Chicago from the Savinelli factory in Italy.The next two photos show the condition of the stem. The stem has the now familiar tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside near the button.My brother did a great job cleaning the pipe and preparing it for me. He reamed and cleaned the mortise and the airways in the shank and stem. He scrubbed them with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until they were clean. He scrubbed the surface with Murphy’s Oil Soap and rinsed it with water. The pipe was clean once it arrived. The next four photos show what the pipe looked like when it arrived in Vancouver. The grain on this bowl is outstanding but the fills are much more obvious than those on the previous Fiammata. I took a close up photo of the bowl and rim to show the condition. The bowl was clean and the lava on the surface was gone. There were some deep nicks on the rim surface that would need to be addressed but it looked really good.Jeff had soaked the stem in Oxyclean for a several hours and the oxidation rose to the surface of the vulcanite. The worn areas on the button and the tooth chatter and marks showed up clearly as well.I sanded the stem and reshaped the button with 220 and 320 grit sandpaper to remove the damage, tooth chatter and tooth marks. I sanded the rest of the stem to remove the oxidation that was on the surface.To remove the rim top damage I lightly topped the bowl on the topping board using 220 grit sandpaper. I removed the damaged part of the rim top and then polished the bowl and rim with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down between pads to remove the sanding dust. I painted the IRC on the left side of the saddle with white acrylic paint and a fine bristle brush. Once the paint dried I would scrape the excess off leaving only the letters filled in.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and rubbing it down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I dry sanded it with 3200-4000 grit pads and rubbed it down with the oil. I buffed the stem vigorously with red Tripoli on the buffing wheel followed by Blue Diamond. I finished polishing it with 6000-12000 grit pads and rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil between each of the grits. I gave it a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I worked on the stem to remove any final oxidation that was showing, particularly around the stamping on the left side of the saddle. I buffed the bowl carefully avoiding the stamping on the shank sides and bottom. I gave the pipe multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ inches. Even with the obvious fills around the bowl and shank this is a beautiful piece of briar. The straight grain is stunning and certainly testimony to the kind of briar that was used on Savinelli Giubileo D’Oro pipes. This is another pipe that will soon be on the rebornpipes store. If you are interested in adding it to your collection you can email me at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a private message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.

Why is it a Second? A Fiammata 128 Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came from the recent estate sale my brother attended. The pipeman whose pipes were being sold had good taste as can be seen from the pipes I have posted recently from my workbench. This one is no exception. It has stunning straight grain around the bowl and a few small well-hidden fills. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank with the name FIAMMATA and on the right side it is stamped 128 over Italy. There are no other markings on the pipe. The stem is lightly oxidized and has the now familiar tooth marks as the other pipes in this estate.The shape number, the Italy stamp and the overall look of the pipe told me that it was a Savinelli pipe but I was not sure. You know how when you are handling a pipe of unknown make you just have a feeling about its origin? That is what happened as I turned this one over in my hands to examine it. I did some digging on Pipedia and found the information to confirm my suspicions about the pipe being a Savinelli made produce. Here is the link to the section of the Pipedia article on Savinelli Sub-brands: https://pipedia.org/wiki/Savinelli#Savinelli_made_sub-brands.2C_seconds_.26_order_productions

On the Sub-brands list you will see the name Fiammata. Next to the name it says that the sub-brand is a “Rejected “Giubileo D’Oro” – Straight Grain”. That matches the look of this pipe. I have to say though that the quality control people were very good on the day this pipe was made as the tiny sandpits and fills that I can see on the bowl were hard to identify as they followed the grain on the pipe so well. I thought it might be interesting to check out the Giubileo D’Oro pipes to see what I could learn about the destiny of this pipe before the flaws were noted and the pipe was rejected. The next photo of an advertisement for the brand gives information that I found extremely helpful when looking at this pipe in terms of shape, colour and finish. The top pipe in the photo is the 128 which is the same shape I am working on at the moment. The grain on my pipe is far better than the one in the photo.I have included a copy of the Savinelli Shape Chart so that you can see the shape of the pipe in hand. It is stamped 128 and can be seen on the first column of the chart. It is a tapered stem billiard. I circled the shape in red on the chart below.Jeff took some close up photos of the rim top to show the condition of the cake in the bowl and the overflow of lava on the top of the rim. From the photos it is hard to know if the inner rim edge is damaged because of the buildup of lava.Jeff took the next series of photos to show the grain on the bottom and both sides of the bowl. It is really quite beautiful grain. Look closely and see if you can see the small fills. The next two photos show the stamping on the shank of the pipe. The first photo is the right side of the shank and the second is the left side.The final two photos that Jeff sent to me show the familiar tooth marks on the top and the underside of the stem at the button.My brother did his usual amazing clean up of the pipe. He reamed the bowl and scrubbed the lava off the rim. He scrubbed the finish with Murphy’s Oil Soap and rinsed it with water. He cleaned out the mortise and the airway in the shank with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. The next four photos show the condition of the pipe when it arrived in Vancouver. Jeff was able to get the lava off the rim and leave the rim looking almost new. The inner beveled edge of the rim is flawless as well. It looks undamaged and there are no burn marks on the bevel or on the rim top. There is slight darkening on the back of the top but it is minimal.He soaked the stem in Oxyclean for a few hours and scrubbed it clean. The oxidation came to the surface and looked speckled in the next two photos. The photos also show the tooth marks and chatter clearly.I sanded the stem with 320 grit sandpaper to remove the surface oxidation and smooth out the tooth chatter and tooth marks.I cleaned the top and bottom edge of the button with alcohol and used black super glue to fill in the deeper spots on both sides of the button. I filled them in and set the stem aside to dry.I sanded the bowl rim and sides with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cotton pad to remove the dust. I dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads and repeated wiping down the bowl with the damp cotton pad. The photos below tell the story of the polishing. Look closely and see if you can see some of the small fills. I sanded the repaired area on the stem with 320 grit sandpaper to remove the excess hardened super glue and blend it into the surface of the button. I ran a pipe cleaner through the shank and the airway in the stem to remove any of the sanding debris from the airways. They came out very clean.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit sanding pads. I wiped down the stem with Obsidian Oil and dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I repeated wiping down the stem with the oil. After sanding it with the 12000 grit pad I wiped it down a final time with Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem on the shank and buffed it with red Tripoli to work out the rest of the oxidation that still remained on the stem near the shank end. It took some careful buffing to work it out but it finally came out. I buffed the stem with Blue Diamond to polish the stem even more. I buffed the entire pipe with the Blue Diamond on the wheel to polish out the minute scratches in the rubber and the briar. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax with the wax buffing pad. I polished it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The shape and condition of the pipe is very nice and the grain stands out much like it would have if the pipe had made the grade for a Giubileo D’Oro pipe. There is a faint stamp of triangles on the side of the stem. The dimensions of the pipe are as follows Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 7/8 inches, Outer bowl diameter: 1 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ inches. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The pipe is a made in such a way that it follows the stunningly grained piece of briar perfectly. The shape of the stem works with the flow of the pipe. The black of the stem and natural finish of the briar work well together. This pipe will soon be available on the rebornpipes store. If you want to add it to your collection email me at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a private message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.

 

A difficult trust: Gift of a Grandfather – A BBB Double Star Made in England


Blog by Dal Stanton

When I study the venerable pipe on my work table, it is not a glamorous display of briar and silver bands.  Some might call it a basket pipe.  The two stars imprinted on the shank were an indication of a working man’s pipe – not high quality, but among those pipes accessible to normal, if not common, people who work, live, love and as is the case with us all, die.  This unremarkable Apple shaped, BBB [diamond over] Double Star, MADE IN ENGLAND [over] 152, is remarkable because of the story it represents.   I enjoy restoring ‘estate’ pipes because they were left to others and these pipes carry with them stories and memories of loved ones who once befriended and valued them.  Greg heard from my son, Josiah, who are college buddies, that Josiah’s old man (my words not theirs!) restored ‘old’ pipes.   This ‘old’ pipe came to Greg from his grandfather through his mother.  Josiah’s email came to me asking what I could do with these pictures from Greg. My understanding is that Greg was a bit reluctant at first to send his pipe off to Bulgaria to be restored, but after Josiah directed him to some of the restorations I’ve done, he felt he could trust me with the heirloom that had come to him.  Knowing that this pipe was from his grandfather I asked that Greg send me information about his grandfather so that I not only could place the pipe better in history, but Greg’s grandfather as well.  This is the letter he sent me:

Hi Mr. Stanton,

Thank you so much for agreeing to restore my grandfather’s pipe. I am sorry for the delay in getting you the below information, but it’s been a crazy couple of weeks.

My mother inherited the pipe from my grandfather when he passed away in 1998. I saw it in the china cabinet one day and asked her if I could have it, since I had taken up pipe smoking. She kindly agreed. She doesn’t really know when my grandfather got the pipe, but she said he must have bought it in Hong Kong.

My grandfather was from Hong Kong, and only emigrated to the United States in the 1980s. He was a malaria inspector for the Hong Kong government for his entire working career. He must have gotten the pipe at the latest in the late 1940s or early 1950s, as my mother remembers him having it when she was a child. He never smoked the pipe when I knew him, but from its condition, I assume it was well used at an earlier period in his life.

Having graduated from the University of Georgia Law School in Athens, Georgia, passed his bars and currently serves as a law clerk to a federal magistrate judge in Augusta, Georgia, AND as a young married man, I can understand why Greg “took up” smoking pipes!  Pipes are wonderful companions for blooming attorneys!  His letter concluded with an agreement to the cost of the restoration would benefit our work with the Daughters of Bulgaria!  Thank you, Greg!

The information Greg received from his mother was invaluable for placing this BBB in time and space.  Pipedia’s article about BBB is helpful.  BBB in the mid-1800s originally stood for “Blumfeld’s Best Briars”, but after the death of Blumfeld, the Adolph Frankau Company took over the company and BBB gradually became “Britain’s Best Briars”.

The “BBB Two Star” rating also is referenced in the same article in a discussion of quality descriptors for BBB pipes:

In the Thirties, the top-of-the-range one becomes “BBB Best Make” with alternatives like “Super Stopping” and “Ultonia Thule”. The BBB Carlton, sold with the detail with 8/6 in 1938, is equipped with a system complicated out of metal, system which equipped the BBB London Dry too. Blue Peter was not estampillées BBB but BBB Ultonia, and the BBB Two Star (* *) become the bottom-of-the-range one. 

When Greg’s pipe arrived in Bulgaria, thanks to a visitor’s willingness to carry it across the Atlantic and European continent, I unwrapped it and put it on my work desk and took these pictures to fill in the gaps. At PipePhil.eu an example of the BBB Two Star marking is pictured along with the stinger/tube style extending into the chamber as Greg’s grandfather’s BBB does ( as seen above).In Pipes Magazine, I found a thread discussing the dating of the BBB Two Star.  One threader’s opinion, ‘jguss’ corroborates Greg’s mother’s recollections:

My guess is that the Two Star line started at the end of WWII; the first mention I’ve found so far is dated 1945, which at least gives a tpq (that is, an approximate dating). I know the line lasted at least into the early sixties.

It is not too difficult to speculate about the provenance of Greg’s pipe.  During WW2, briar became a scarce commodity throughout Europe and pipe manufacturing companies made do with what they could acquire.  Two Star BBBs would be lower end but more than likely during this time, a very close second when rations were short.  Added to this backdrop is the origin of our story in Hong Kong.  Hong Kong, a British holding since 1841 (see LINK), lost control of Hong Kong during WW2 to Japan in 1941 during the Battle of Hong Kong.  Undoubtedly, Greg’s grandfather would have experienced this first hand.  When Japan unconditionally surrendered in 1945, the British regained control of Hong Kong, but to counter Chinese pressures to control Hong Kong, reforms were introduced that broadened and increased the stake of local inhabitants of Hong Kong:

Sir Mark Young, upon his return as Governor in early May 1946, pursued political reform known as the “Young Plan“, believing that, to counter the Chinese government’s determination to recover Hong Kong, it was necessary to give local inhabitants a greater stake in the territory by widening the political franchise to include them.[19] (Link)

During the years following the Second World War, the same article describes unprecedented economic development which resulted in the economic powerhouse that Hong Kong became.  This period would have been while Greg’s grandfather was working as a malaria inspector for the government of Hong Kong and during which he acquired this BBB Two Star.  The smaller Apple shape would have served him well as he performed his inspection duties but given the ‘stem forensics’ pictured above, he probably chewed on it a bit as well while he worked!

With a greater sense of the story that this BBB Two Star tells, from England, to Hong Kong, to America, and now to Bulgaria, I’m anxious to restore this precious family gift from Greg’s grandfather.  At Greg’s request, he’s hoping for a pipe that is as good as new and ready for a new lifetime of service.  Yet, with all restorations, undoubtedly there will be some marks and blemishes remaining – these an ongoing testament to the memory of those who those who went before.

The first order of approach is with the stinger.  When the pipe arrived, the stinger was already separated from the stem.  The stinger extends from the stem through the mortise into the chamber itself through a metal tube air draft hole.  Using a pair of plyers, I wrap a piece of cloth around the end to pull gently to dislodge the stinger from the mortise.  I can see in the mortise that there appears to be a metal sheath that the stinger is lodged in – at least, that is what it appears to be.  The stinger is not budging and I do not want to break the stinger off.  To try to loosen things up, I pour some isopropyl 95% in the chamber to allow it to soak into the draft hole.  Hopefully, in time, this will loosen the stinger. The alcohol soak did not work.  In fact, a few weeks have transpired since writing the words above.  This stinger has given me quite the challenge.  In the back of my mind constantly, is the concern that I not leverage too much pressure pulling on the stinger.  I’m concerned about damaging the shank.  After soaking the internals for some time with alcohol, I pulled with plyers hoping to break the grip.  I also attempt heating the stummel with a heat gun in hope of dislodging the stinger.  I also heat the protruding part of the stinger with a candle, hoping that this would break the bond.  It did not.   I also was concerned about the candle flame close to the briar while trying to heat the stinger.  I craft a tinfoil shield, but this was not successful.  Unfortunately, I singed the end of the shank and had to remove the damage by ‘topping’ the shank end, which leads to a bit of work lining up the stem and shank later.  As you might expect, the protruding end of the stinger did not hold up under the pressure and eventually broke off. After the stinger protrusion broke off, and after a second email to Steve for input, I’m at the point of using a drill bit in another attempt to remove the bonded stinger.  Starting with a very small bit, I hand turn the bit to allow the drill to find the center of the stinger and gradually, remove the stinger introducing the next larger drill bit.  The end of the broken stinger begins at about 1/4-inch-deep into the mortise.  Unfortunately, this method is not working either because the drill bit will not bite into the metal and remain straight.  At the end of the stinger slot that I’m boring into with the drill bit, my efforts are flummoxed by the stinger’s design.  It has a slanted metal airflow deflector that causes the drill bit to veer off mark.  After breaking the end of the drill bit in the slot (ugh!), and digging it out with needle nose pliers, I sit and begin to think I was facing failure.  Nothing was working.  I’m introducing more problems to the restoration as I try unsuccessfully to solve the stuck stinger problem.  I can’t move forward and I’m stuck and begin to compose an apology letter to Greg in my mind.  UNTIL, on a fancy, I insert a small flat head screw driver into the slot at the end of the broken stinger 1/4-inch-deep in the mortise and I twist it gently counter-clockwise, and it snaps.  Suddenly, it was loose and I easily extract the ‘middle’ of Grandpa’s old stinger – I’m sure he was the last one to see this artifact!  I see daylight through the mortise and I’m hoping that it might also be a metaphoric ‘light at the end of the tunnel’!  I’ve not forgotten that the other end of the stinger remains lodged in the draft hole tube at the foot of the chamber.  Thankfully, a larger drill bit was the perfect size and it reaches into the mortise and hand turning the bit, it clears the rest of the stinger shrapnel.  Finally!  Oh my….  I’ll be saving the stinger debris for Greg.  This BBB will continue without difficulty stingerless.  The pictures show the results. In the interest of full disclosure, these words are coming weeks after.  Why the hiatus?  Life’s normal twists and turns, work, some wonderful travel to Crete for an organizational conference, to Athens (not in Georgia) for a consultation on the Eastern Orthodox Church, AND my growing frustration with Greg’s grandfather’s pipe’s restoration as more complications arrived!  I’ll try to catch you up to the present:

With the stinger removed, I was anxious to continue the restoration with a ‘normal’ pattern – the stem goes into the Oxi-Clean bath to deal with the oxidation in the stem.  After some hours, the stem is removed from the bath and I wet sand with 600 grade sanding paper removing the raised oxidation followed by 0000 steel wool. To clean and protect the BBB stamping on the stem, I use a non-abrasive Mr. Clean ‘Magic Eraser’ sponge.  The pictures show the progress.The next step is to re-seat the tenon into the mortise.  After the arduous process of removing the stinger, and after singing the shank end with a candle flame, and after ‘topping’ the shank to remove the damaged briar, the tenon and mortise needed to be re-wedded with the new realities.  The tenon was too large for full insertion into the shank.  Using a combination of reducing the tenon size with sanding paper and steel wool, sanding and filing the throat of the mortise, and using a rounded needle file to cut a new internal mortise openning bevel to accommodate the broader tenon base, I patiently, slowly, methodically worked to re-seat the tenon in the mortise which included working and then testing the new fit – GENTLY!  I suppose the fact that I said to myself, ‘Dal, careful, don’t crack the shank’, at least a 1000 times only made the sinking feeling more intense when I heard the sickening sound during what proved to be my last, ‘gentle testing’ of the tenon inserted into the mortise.  The hairline crack is pictured below that I took only a day ago – I couldn’t bear to take it then, when it happened.  I was sickened and put Greg’s pipe aside.  I needed some time to work through my own sense of failure of the trust given me to restore this family heirloom.  Now, after several weeks, I’ve regrouped and have taken up Greg’s pipe again.  The travels that I described above during this time in some ways felt more like Jonah running from Nineveh not wanting to face the scene of his calling and his sense of failure!  Though, my trip did prove beneficial – I sold some of my finished pipes to colleagues to benefit and raise the awareness of the Daughters of Bulgaria that The Pipe Steward supports.  I’ve included my Nineveh travels below for you who may not be familiar with ‘my world’, the Balkans – Sofia to Crete to Athens and back. Before moving forward, I needed to repair the cracked shank.  With the help of a magnifying glass, I locate the terminus of the crack and mark it by creating an indentation with a sharp dental probe.  The arrow to the left below marks this.  Using the Dremel tool, I mount a 1mm sized bit and drill a hole at that point – but not going through!  This hole acts like a controlled back-fire to stop the progress of a forest fire.  This will not allow the crack to continue creeping.  With the use of a toothpick, I spot-drop Hot Stuff CA Instant Glue in the hole and along the line of the crack which I expanded microscopically by partially inserting the tenon into the mortise.  This allows the CA glue better penetration to seal the crack.  I remove the stem immediately after the application of CA.  With the CA glue still wet, I apply briar dust to/in the hole and along the crack to encourage better blending.  The pictures show the progress. After some hours allowing the CA glue to cure on the shank repair, using a round grinding stone bit mounted on the Dremel, I reestablish an adequate and uniform internal bevel on the end of the shank to accommodate the base of the tenon when it is fully inserted into the mortise.  My theory is this is what caused the crack – lack of a sufficient internal bevel giving room for the slightly enlarged tenon as it merges with the stem proper.  With the Dremel engaged at the slowest setting, I’m careful to apply minimal pressure as I rotate the ball a bit to make sure it’s centered.  It looks good – the pictures show the progress.Due to a lapse of sorts and the intensity of my focus on re-seating the stem again without re-cracking the shank, I failed (or perhaps, had little desire) to take any pictures.  The short of it is, the stem and stummel have been reunited after some difficult times.  Also, not pictured are some of the basic steps: reaming the fire chamber of carbon cake buildup, cleaning the internals of the stummel and stem with cotton swabs and pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 95%, and cleaning the externals of the stummel with Murphy’s Soap.  Again, picking up the trail, pictured below is the micromesh pad process with the stem.  Using pads 1500 to 2400, I wet sand the stem, followed by dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and then 6000 to 12000.  I follow each cycle with an application of Obsidian Oil to revitalize the vulcanite.  The stummel surface shows quite a bit of pitting in the first picture shown again below.  The rim also shows nicks. On the larger pits shown below on the heel of the stummel, I spot-fill with a toothpick using CA glue and shorten the curing time by using an accelerator spray on the fills.  After filing and sanding the fills to the briar surface, using a progression of 3 sanding sponges from coarse, medium to light, I work out most the remaining pitting over the stummel surface.  Using 600 grit paper on the chopping block, I also give a light topping to the rim to remove nicks and create fresh lines for the rim.  Following the topping, I introduce an internal bevel to the rim, first using a coarse 120 paper rolled tightly, then with 240 and 600.  The internal rim bevel to me, always adds a touch of class but also helps create softer lines which enhances this Apples shape.  The pictures show the unhindered progress! I now take micromesh pads 1500 to 2400 and wet sand the stummel followed by dry sanding with micromesh pads 3200 to 4000 and then 6000 to 12000 taking a picture after each set to mark the progress.  I am careful to guard the BBB nomenclature on the shank sides.  As I move through these cycles, I realize that I have been so wrapped up in the technical aspects of this restoration for Greg, that I failed to see the beauty of this diminutive Apple shape.  The grain that emerges from Grandpa’s old timer is truly beautiful. Flame grain and swirls, with a few bird’s eyes accenting the whole – totally eye-catching for a Two Star sub-mark BBB I would say! To see the big picture to help determine the next steps, I reunite stem and stummel and stand back and take a good look.  This BBB Made in England is looking real good – in spite of everything!  I can see by the way the BBB Apple naturally sits on the surface, leaning slightly like a listing ship, but remaining upright, provides some clues regarding the significant pitting on the heel of the stummel – just off center. Greg’s grandfather undoubtedly and conveniently placed his pipe on a table or counter surface, or perhaps on a nearby crate, as he made his rounds as a malaria inspector for the province of Hong Kong.  The original BBB coloring leaned toward the favored darker hues of English pipe makers and client proclivities. I decide not to go that dark, but to stain the stummel using a light brown base with a touch of dark brown to tint it down that track a bit.  This will make for better blending, especially for the darker briar around the nomenclature on the shank.  Using Fiebing’s Light Brown Leather Dye as the base, I add a touch of Fiebing’s Dark Brown.  Using a folded pipe cleaner in the shank as a handle, I begin by warming the stummel with a hot air gun to expand the briar making it more receptive to the dye.  After heated, I apply the dye mixture to the stummel generously aiming for total coverage.  I then fire the wet stummel with a lit candle igniting the aniline dye, burning off the alcohol and setting the pigment in the grain.  After a few minutes, I repeat the process concluding with firing the stummel.  I put the stummel aside to rest for several hours.  The pictures show the staining process – yes, you can see my blue fingers – I’ve started wearing latex gloves when I’m staining. After some hours, I’m looking forward to ‘unwrapping’ the fired stummel to reveal the stained briar beneath.  Using a felt buffing wheel mounted on the Dremel, set at the slowest speed, I use Tripoli compound to remove the initial layer.  Moving in a methodical, rotating pattern, I work my way around the stummel not apply a great deal of down-pressure on the wheel, but allowing the RPMs of the felt wheel and the compound to do the work. After removing the crusted layer with Tripoli, I wipe the surface with a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95%.  I do this not so much to lighten the finish, but to blend and even out the stain over the surface.  Following this, I mount a cotton cloth wheel on the Dremel, increase the speed slightly, and apply Blue Diamond – a slightly less abrasive compound.  After both compounds, I use a clean towel to hand buff the stummel to remove excess compound dust before applying the wax.  Pictures show the progress. Reattaching the stem and stummel, I apply several coats of carnauba wax to both.  Using a cotton cloth wheel, I set the speed of the Dremel to 2 with 5 being the fastest, I apply the carnauba and I like what I see.  With the carnauba wax applied, I mount a clean cotton cloth buffing wheel on the Dremel and again buff the stummel and stem.  Finally, I apply a rigorous hand buff using a micromesh cloth to raise the shine more.

This BBB Double Star Apple has come a long way from England to Hong Kong to the US to Bulgaria, and now it’s ready to return to its new steward.  This restoration was a bit bumpy, but then, so is life.  I’m glad to help give this pipe a new lifetime and I hope Greg not only enjoys it, but that it provides a special connection with his past.  I’m sure Grandpa would be proud.  Thanks for joining me!

Bringing a Stanwell Jubilee Sixten Ivarrson Design 10M back to life


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe in the lot that my brother brought back from the recent estate sale was a beautiful little Stanwell Acorn with a vulcanite shank extension. The pipe had some nice birdseye on the left side of the bowl and shank and a mix of grain around the rest of the bowl. The point at the bottom of the bowl has a ring of grain with a centre at the bottom and turning around the bowl up the front and back of the underside of the shank. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank Stanwell over Regd. No. (an illegible number) over Jubilee. On the right side it is stamped 10M which is the shape number. The shape is a design by Sixten Ivarrson that was done for Stanwell. It has a military mount stem. The Stanwell Crown S in on the shank extension rather than on the stem. The photos that follow are one that Jeff took of the pipe before he cleaned up to send to me.Jeff took close up photos of the rim and the bowl to show the condition. There was a light cake in the bowl with an overflow of lava on the crowned rim top. The next two photos show the grain on the sides of the bowl. The third photo shows the ring at the bottom of the bowl radiating up the bowl sides. It is a beautifully grain piece of briar that the shape fits very well. The next two photos show the stamping on the sides of the shank. The left side shows the Stanwell stamp clearly as well as the Jubilee stamp. It also shows the Crown S on the shank extension. There is a Regd. No. that is very faint and unreadable.The stem had the now familiar tooth chatter and marks the top and underside near the stem. The dents/marks on the underside were worse than those on the top side.My brother cleaned up the pipe as he usually does before he sends it to me. He did an amazing job cleaning up the interior and the exterior. When the pipe arrived in Vancouver it was absolutely clean on the inside. He had cleaned out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until it was spotless. He had scrubbed exterior with Murphy’s Oil Soap and removed all of the grime on the bowl sides and the lava build up on the rim. I took the next four photos to show what the pipe looked like when it arrived here. The finish looked really good. The shank extension and stem were lightly oxidized. I took a close up photo of the rim to show how well it cleaned up. There was some darkening on the rim top. The grain really stood out well on the crowned rim. The inner edge of the rim was in excellent condition.I took some photos of the stem top and underside to show the oxidation and the tooth chatter and marks on the surface near the button.I sanded the shank extension with micromesh sanding pads to remove the oxidation. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanded with 3200-12000 grit pads. I buffed the shank extension and the bowl with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to polish the vulcanite. I use an acrylic paint to fill in the Crown S on the left side of the shank extension. Once the paint dried I buffed it off with Blue Diamond to remove the excess paint and leave some in the stamped impression in the vulcanite. There is still some oxidation in the vulcanite of the extension that needed to be polished out but the buffing would take care of that. The photos tell the story.I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the oxidation on the surface. I followed that by sanding with 320 grit sandpaper to remove the scratches. I polished the stem with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil. I dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads and gave it a rub down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I buffed it with Blue Diamond between the 2400 and 3200 grit pads and between the 4000 and the 6000 grit pads. I gave it a final buff after the 12000 grit pad and gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set the stem aside to dry. I put the stem back in the shank extension and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I buffed it until the remaining scratches and oxidation were gone. The grain really began to stand out as I buffed the pipe. I gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax to protect the briar and the vulcanite. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is a beautifully grained pipe that is laid out well with the piece of briar. The dimensions are Length: 5 ¼ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside bowl diameter: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ inches. It is a pipe that I would normally hang on to for my own collection but I have a similar one already so I am going to put it on the rebornpipes store. It is available to anyone who wants to add it to their collection, their pipe rack. Just let me know if you are interested. Email me at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a private message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.

New Life for a Lorenzo Lara Smooth (For Tinderbox) Unique 113


Blog by Steve Laug

As I looked through the box of pipes that my brother had picked up from the estate sale he went to recently I was looking for the next pipe to bring to my work table. I picked through a variety of apple shapes, bent billiards, Lovats and authors but none of them grabbed my attention. I wanted to work on something a little different. I picked up this interesting take on a poker – with a little bit of a Dublin look to it. I wrote my brother a message and asked about the before pictures. He sent them and wrote back that this pipe his favourite from the lot. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank The Tinder Box in an arc over a script text Lara with the curl of the L underlining the entire word and swirling up along the letter a. The right side of the stem is stamped Italy over 113 (shape number) and next to that it reads Styled By Lorenzo. My brother took the following photos to show the condition of the pipe when he brought it home from the estate sale. I have worked on a lot of Lorenzo pipes over the years and have always found them to be large and bulky. None of them did anything for me so I generally passed them on as either gifts or sold them on the store. This one however looked different from the others I have seen. Tinder Box seems to have ordered a line of pipes from Lorenzo to bear their store stamp. As I looked through photos on the web I found that the Lorenzo Lara pipes made for Tinder Box all had the same unique stem shape. I saved some of the photos below to show the variety of shapes that bear this unique stem shape. Jeff also took some close up photos to show the condition of the bowl and the rim top before he cleaned them up. There was a thick cake in the bowl that had overflowed on to the top of the rim and around the beveled inner edge of the bowl.The grain on the bowl sides was beautiful – a combination of swirls and birdseye that was captivating to look at. The finish was very clean on the rest of the bowl in comparison to the rim top.The stamping on the shank side was very readable and sharp on the left side and less so on the right. The next two photos show the stamping.The stem was in decent shape but had the by now familiar tooth chatter and marks on both sides near the button and on the button edge itself. They were a little deeper on the underside than the top but still very repairable. There was also some light oxidation on the vulcanite.My brother did a thorough cleaning of the pipe inside and out. He reamed the bowl and scrubbed out the mortise and airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the rim top with Murphy’s Oil Soap and rinsed it with water. The finish really was in great shape and the soap took the rim build up off and left the pipe remarkably clean. When I received it and brought it to the worktable I took the next four photos to show what it looked like after cleaning. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the amazing job that Jeff did in cleaning off the lava. The rim looked pristine and the inner edge bevel of the bowl was flawless. The rim top was beautiful and it had the same glossy look as the rest of the bowl.I took some photos of the stem to show the tooth marks. They came out more clearly after cleaning. The oxidation came to the surface and the tooth marks on the top and underside near the button are very visible in the photos.I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the tooth marks and chatter and also to break up the oxidation on the stem surface.I sanded the stem with 320 grit sandpaper to minimize the scratches left behind by the 220 grit sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit sanding pads and rubbing it down with Obsidian Oil. I dry sanded the stem with 3200-12000 grit sanding pads and giving a coat of Obsidian Oil between each pad. I gave it a final coat of oil after the 12000 grit pad. The following photos tell the story. The bowl was in such great shape that I only needed to polish it and wax it. I put the stem back in place on the pipe and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I find that Blue Diamond does a great job in polishing out the minute scratches in vulcanite and briar. I gave the pipe multiple coats of carnauba wax to protect it and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. A lot of people leave out this buff. To me it is critical to get a good shine on the pipe to use a clean pad. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos that follow. The shape and the grain on the bowl make it a unique and attractive pipe. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outer bowl diameter: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ inches. This pipe is available if you hear it calling your name. I will be posting it on the rebornpipes store shortly. You can email me at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a private message on Facebook if you want to add it to your rack. Thanks for looking.