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Reclaiming Paw’s Kaywoodie “500” 04 Long Stem Billiard – A Great-Grandfather’s Legacy


Blog by Dal Stanton

One of the greatest challenges to me AND honors is to receive a request to restore a pipe that is a family’s heirloom.  It’s amazing how when a loved one passes from this life, the things they leave behind become present links to the memories of the past.  Pipes are favorite heirlooms because they hold an enormous sense of the presence of the loved one – the smell, marks left on the pipe, memories of the loved one sitting and reflecting with pipe in hand and a wink of the eye….  This was one of the reasons I took the name, The Pipe Steward, because of this strong sense of passing on something of great value – not just the physical pipe, but the memories and associations welded to that pipe’s presence.   Joe contacted me with a request for some pipes that hold this honor.  Joe and Hannah work in the same organization as my wife and I, but live in Athens, Greece.  I met them for the first time at a conference there last year.  This was Joe’s request:

Hey Dal,
Joe here…, we talked for a while about pipes. I have some old pipes. They were my wife’s Great-Grandfather’s pipes from Winston-Salem, NC.  I’d love for them to be restored, and I’d love for the money to go to a good cause like
the Daughters of Bulgaria program. All of them need an intense deep cleaning, and some have some stem damage. If I sent you some pictures, do you think you could offer a guesstimation of the price? I’d love to give these pipes to my father-in-law in the same condition as his grandfather smoked them.

Many blessings,
Joe

Joe sent some pictures on to me and he settled on one pipe as a starter project – a Kaywoodie “500” Lovat shape – or what I originally identified it as.  Here were a few pictures showing the major issues.Since Joe wanted to gift the pipe to his father-in-law, which belonged to his grandfather – Hannah’s great-grandfather, I asked Joe what he knew about the pipe’s history.  This is what he wrote:

History of the pipe… hmmm. That’s going to be tricky. I will ask and see if anyone can offer more input on the history of Paw’s pipes, but I can’t honestly say much myself.

Ben is my father-in-law. He was raised by a single mom, who worked a lot to raise her 4 boys. So, Ben’s grandparents raised the boys while the mom worked so much. When Ben’s mom passed away a few years ago, we were all cleaning out her home and I noticed a pipe stand in the garage with 5 pipes and a Sir Walter Raleigh bowl cleaner, and someone was asking if that should go in the garage sale. I quickly offered to be a home for it if no one else wanted it, which made Ben happy. He didn’t really have the capacity to decide things that week, he was just glad it was staying in the family and not going to a stranger. 

My ultimate goal is to get these pipes, the stand, and this bowl cleaner in good shape to re-give them back to Ben (maybe for his 60th Birthday next year).  I’ve really just been a pipe steward, myself. I think it will mean a lot to Ben to have an heirloom from his grandfather (who functionally was his father).

Dusty, cobwebby garages often hold the key to finding special heirlooms!  After I wrote Joe describing some of the issues and remedies for Paw’s Kaywoodie “500”, he wrote back with some special instructions to preserve some of the evidences of Paw’s time with his Lovat.  With the heavy erosion to the back of the rim, I had suggested rounding/topping the rim.  Joe’s response:

My initial thoughts are to not round out the rim. I like the flat surface of the rim. As far as the damage on the backside, I know it should be cleaned up, but I wonder if taking 1/10 of an inch off instead of 1/8, if that would yield a proper looking bowl, yet still with the slightest reminder that Paw lit his pipes with a match from the back of the bowl.   It’s just a thought.   I like it when antiques look in their original condition (or close) but I’m also a sucker for the sentimental stuff, so I don’t mind having at least a little bit of the bowl erosion still visible. 

The pipe made it to Bulgaria from Greece via another colleague and another conference in Barcelona that I attended.  With the Kaywoodie “500” now on my worktable I take more pictures to get a better idea of the pipe’s condition. The nomenclature on both sides of the long Lovat stem is clear.  The left flank is stamped KAYWOODIE [over] “500” [over] IMPORTED BRIAR [over] PAT. 2808837.  The right side of the shank is stamped with the Kaywoodie shape number, ‘06’.  The stem holds the classic inlaid Kaywoodie shamrock or clover.  Almost missed and lurking on the lower side of the stem is stamped: “B75” – I’ll need to check this out! Looking first for information about the shape number, ‘06’, Pipedia Kaywoodie Shapes Numbers list is helpful:

04 Large saddle bit billiard, long shank, short bit 1931-1958, 1961-1970

The description is spot on with the saddle stem and long shank.  Calling it a long shank Billiard is essentially the same as a Lovat, in the Canadian family of shapes.  The potential dating brackets are also helpful.  Another Kaywoodie Shapes chart I go to at Kaywoodie Free Forum confirms that this number describes a medium Billiard, long shank, saddle stem but I also see specific shape numbers for Canadians, ‘71’, and such.  So, in deference to the Kaywoodie shape number specifications, I’ll be calling this a Long Shank Billiard and not a Lovat.  Also at Kaywoodie Free Forum, there is a very helpful Kaywoodie Master List that was compiled and I quickly find the Kaywoodie “500” series listed as ‘low end pipes’ with the date range of 1957 to 1967.  The list provided this example of the “500” series of a classic Billiard which matches Paw’s pipe scheme perfectly.  These were not expensive pipes but attractive and well within a working man’s budget.I still have not seen anything regarding the ‘B75’ stamp on the lower side of the saddle stem.  So, as I often do, with all of Steve’s rebornpipes.com experience, I send a note to him with the inquiry.  This response cleared up the mystery:

As for the stamping on the stem I was told by a fellow on the KW forum that they were part numbers to make replacement of a stem easy, I have seen it on quite a few of the KWs I have restored.

So, with that mystery resolved, I look more at the Kaywoodie name.

I’ve worked on several Kaywoodies before this and I am always intrigued by the story and repeat it here to give the broader heritage of Paw’s “500”. The Kaywoodie website, actually the S. M. Frank Co. & Inc. site, is informative:

The history of S. M. Frank & Co. spans nearly a century and half of pipe making, supporting our claim as the “oldest pipe house in America.” S. M. Frank, as it exists today, is a combination of some of the biggest names in pipe making from the early part of the 20th. century. The pipe names Kaywoodie, Yello-Bole, Reiss-Premier, DeMuth, Medico, Heritage and Frank are familiar to generations of pipe smokers.

The article describes how in 1919 the Kaufman Brothers & Bondy Company (KBB) produced the Kaywoodie and Dinwoodie pipe lines.  By 1924 the Dinwoodie line fell by the wayside and the primary name of Kaywoodie was the mainstay pipe line and the company came to be known by that name.  Little is known about the early activities of the KBB Company which started in 1851 by the German born Kaufman brothers.  The company had several locations but was centered in the New York City region throughout its production history.  The expansion of the KKB Company following the gold rush I find fascinating:

produced the Kaywoodie and Dinwoodie pipe lines.  By 1924 the Dinwoodie line fell by the wayside and the primary name of Kaywoodie was the mainstay pipe line and the company came to be known by that name.  Little is known about the early activities of the KBB Company which started in 1851 by the German born Kaufman brothers.  The company had several locations but was centered in the New York City region throughout its production history.  The expansion of the KKB Company following the gold rush I find fascinating:

When one of the men from the New York office got “gold fever”, he carried a large supply of pipes with him to California that he sold along the way. This early “national distribution” did much to build the reputation of KBB. By the late 1800’s, branches of KBB were opened in Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco and St. Louis with family and friends acting as agents. The trademarks, for the inlaid cloverleaf and the cloverleaf with the KBB initials inside, were issued in 1881. 

In 1935, KBB boasted of being the largest pipe making facility in the world with 500 employees and a production of 10,000 pipes per day from their facility in West New York, New Jersey.  In 1955, Kaywoodie was acquired by S. M. Frank & Co. (See Link) and continues to the present with well-known names Yello-BoleReiss-PremierWilliam Demuth CompanyMedico, Heritage (Heritage Pipes Inc.), along with Kaywoodie (Link).

I enjoyed seeing this picture in the 1955 Kaywoodie Catalog from Pipedia with a specific listing of shape 04.  The ‘04’ is the forth pipe down (picture to the left) and this shows that the shape designations for Kaywoodie pipes stay consistent.  This catalog pre-dates by a few years the ’57 to ’67 dating for the “500” series, but the shape again is spot on.  I enjoyed seeing this catalog page because it shows the huge inventory variety that Kaywoodie provided its customers.  The subtle nuances between these long shank, saddle stem Billiards is interesting to me.  The ‘04’ enjoys the distinction of the longest shank compared to the shapes presented.

It is obvious from the condition of the Kaywoodie “500” that Paw loved this pipe and this pipe hung in there a long time!  As you would expect, the briar surface has its share of nicks and grime after over half a century of service. The chamber has thick cake that has built up and closes the chamber as you go downward. The rim has seen better days.  What I first thought might be burn damage on the back side of the rim.  I think there’s evidence of that too, as the inner rim lip is burnt and receded, but there’s more.  Because the briar is raw here, it indicates something else about Paw’s habits and rituals of pipe smoking.  It looks as if Paw was a knocker.  With that nice long shank in hand after finishing his bowl, my guess is that he would twist the pipe over and give the bowl a few knocks on whatever hard surface was nearby to loosen and remove the ashes.  The knocker dent is what Joe would like to preserve to some extent as a lasting memory of Paw.  The second picture below is convincing forensically to prove that Paw was a knocker – the angle is perfect! The stem is a mess.  The oxidation is deep.  The tooth chatter and button compressions suggest also that Paw was a chewer!  The upper bit over time took the brunt and over time cracked and the entire top of the button broke off, taking with it some of the flat bit vulcanite real estate.  This area will need rebuilding.The stem shows one more issue that needs addressing: the stem is over-clocked.  It tends to be normal with these pipes as they age, with much wear and use, the metal fittings rubbing, gradually there is a microscopic loss in the metal composition.  The result is more thread room and therefore, when the stem turns to the right and tightens, it’s not in the proper orientation.  This is the case for this Kaywoodie “500” as this picture shows. With an ongoing appreciation for the history of the Kaywoodie name, and of this pipe’s former steward and Joe’s desires to gift the pipe to his father-in-law, Ben, I begin the restoration of Paw’s Kaywoodie “500” with a pipe cleaner dipped in isopropyl 95% and clean the airway of the stem.  I also use a thin shank brush to clean up through the air hole on the metal Kaywoodie tenon.  I then add the stem to a soak of Before & After Deoxidizer to work on the deep oxidation in the vulcanite.  I don’t believe the Deoxidizer will have total success in raising all the oxidation, but this is a good start.  There are other pipes and stems in the commissioning queue that the Kaywoodie joins, all of which have been restored and shipped off to new stewards!After several hours, I fish out the Kaywoodie saddle stem and let it drain.  I then put another pipe cleaner wetted with alcohol through the airway to remove the excess Deoxidizer liquid.Next, wiping the stem surface with cotton pads wetted with alcohol removes much of the raised oxidation.  Much comes off, but the evidence of the residual deep oxidation is easily seen.  I take some close up pictures of the upper and lower bit to show what I’m seeing – I notch down the aperture of the iPhone app I use to allow more light to see the brown/olive green oxidation more clearly. For now, with a cotton pad I apply paraffin oil (a mineral oil) to the stem to begin the process of revitalizing the stem.I now commence the cleaning regimen of the stummel. First, I remove the carbon cake build up by reaming the chamber.  I take a picture of the chamber to mark the start.  I start by using the Pipnet Reaming Kit. After putting paper towel down to minimize cleanup, I start with the smallest blade head and go to work. It takes some time for the blade to break through to the floor of the chamber – the cake is hard and stubborn.  In addition, I use the next 2 larger blade heads of the 4 blades available in the kit.  I then scrape the walls more using the Savinelli Fitsall tool and finish by sanding the chamber with 240 grade sanding paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen to give me reach and leverage.  After wetting a cotton pad with alcohol, I clean the chamber of the carbon dust residue left over.  The pictures show the progress. When I inspect the chamber, the walls look good. There are heating veins in the wood, but no cracks or fissures from heating damage.  I do note two things that give me some concern.In the picture below I mark off the draft hole with 2 yellow marks.  The first issue I see is marked by the arrows. Through decades of reaming and scraping, which I just added to, a curved ridge has formed – you can see the edge of the ridge marked by the arrows.  The briar curves outwardly to the ridge which I show with the curved red line.  The ridge is only on the back side of the chamber, over the draft hole.  I may need to sand this ridge down so that the chamber doesn’t have an abrupt bump to hinder future reaming and cleaning.  The second issue is caused by overzealous reaming.  The floor of the chamber drops underneath the proper amount of space below the draft hole.  A floor cavity has been created by the chamber floor wearing down over time.  The ridge of this floor cavity is marked with the red dashes. Not only does this create a burning dynamic that will always leave excess tobacco beneath the draft hole, but also the danger of a burn through is a concern with the thinning of the floor.  I will continue to think about these new issues as I continue the cleaning process.Next, I work on cleaning the external briar surface by using undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap on a cotton pad and I scrub.  I also use a brass wire brush to clean the thick lava flow over the rim.  I use cool tap water to rinse off the soap.  The Murphy’s Soap does a good job cleaning, but the cleaning reveals the rough shape of the stummel. The finish is very thin with shiny finish patches here and there.  There are also many scratches and pits – too many to count.  I take pictures for an inventory. I need to remove the old finish so that there aren’t the shiny patches and unevenness.  I first try wiping the stummel surface with cotton pads wetted with isopropyl 95%.  The pads take a good deal off as evidenced in the coloration of the cotton pads, but there are still patches with the old finish hanging on.Next, I wet a cotton pad with acetone and again I scrub the surface.  This does the trick.  I move on.I turn now to the stummel internal cleaning.  The effort is made difficult by the Kaywoodie metal shank facing which only provides a very small access point to the mortise through the thread air hole.   I use cotton buds and pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 95% to clean the tars and oil accumulation out of the mortise and airway.  I also reach through the metal hole with a smaller dental spatula to scrape the mortise wall as far as the tool will reach.  But it doesn’t reach far.  To save on my limited supply of pipe cleaners, I utilize shank brushes also wetted with isopropyl 95%.  After some time, I decide to call a halt to this frontal assault which reminds me of the carnage of WWI – carnage but little advance as the lines were kept in check.  The hour is late, and I change gears.I utilize the more passive approach of allowing the stummel to soak through the night with a kosher salt and alcohol soak. First, I stretch and twist a cotton ball to create the ‘wick’ which I stuff down through the mortise into the long shank airway.  The wick will help draw out the tars and oils from the internal briar.  I then set the stummel in an egg crate to stabilize it and fill the bowl with kosher salt which does not leave an aftertaste.  I then fill the bowl until with isopropyl 95%, the purest alcohol I can purchase in Bulgaria, until it surfaces over the salt.  In a few minutes I top off the alcohol after it has absorbed into the internals.  I then turn the lights off and another day ends. The next morning, I’m hoping that the fact that the cotton wick and salt are strongly soiled is indication that the cleaning of the internals has advanced significantly with the kosher salt and isopropyl 95% soak through the night.  I toss the expended salt in the waste and clean the leftover salt from the chamber with a paper towel, also blowing through the mortise to remove crystals.  I follow this with a renewed regimen of pipe cleaners, cotton buds, shank brushes, and scraping with a dental spatula.  Eventually, as I hear the hallelujah course in the recesses of my mind, the cotton buds begin to lighten and finally I declare that the job completed!  The new steward will do well to clean the internals on a regular basis to avoid this in the future! For a change of scenery and to start on the stem repairs, I take a close look at the stem upper and lower.  There remains deep oxidation of the vulcanite stem requiring sanding to bring it out.  It is mainly in the flat part of the saddle stem.  The tooth chatter and button compressions are significant and of course the upper button must be rebuilt using a mixture of CA glue and activated charcoal.  Before working on this, I decide to use the heating method to bring out and minimize the tooth chatter by painting the areas with a Bic lighter.  I do this before rebuilding the button because of the differences in the materials.  Vulcanite will expand with heat – the CA glue/charcoal will not – at least not in the same way.  So, to be on the safe side, I will work on raising and minimizing the tooth chatter and lower button compressions first, before working on the rebuild.  Sanding will be necessary after both.I paint both upper and lower bit with a Bic and sand with 240 grade paper.  The heating did raise the chatter nicely and the sanding erased it.  I also work on the lower button with a flat needle file to refresh the lip and to work on a small compression.  I’m pleased with this first phase of the stem repair.Next, the button repair. The first thing I do is create a wedge that fits in the slot. I use stiffer index card material to do it.  I fold the card stock to form it into a triangle so that it wedges up the slot into the airway.  I trim it a bit with scissors to make a good fit.  I then cover the fashioned wedge with smooth scotch tape to help it not to stick to the patch material. I leave the end of the wedge open – not covered by the tape in order to leave a ‘sleeve’ opening to tighten the fit. I fit the wedge into the slot then slide other folded pieces of the index card through the end of the wedge which expands the wedge to hold it firm but also to form a mold for the formation of the slot. I also put a very thin coating of petroleum jelly on the wedge to help with the non-sticking.With the wedge firmly in place, I open a capsule of activated charcoal on an index card.  I then place a puddle of thick CA glue next to the charcoal and then draw charcoal into the CA glue gradually until the mixture thickens to the consistency of molasses.  I then apply the mixture to the button and build a mound over the cavity. The first application hardens on the index card before I had dolloped enough to area.  I wait a few minutes and mix another batch and finish building the mound over the button rebuild area.  With this completed, I set the stem aside for several hours for the CA glue and activated charcoal rebuild fully to cure.I look again to the stummel and decide that I will continue in the mixing and patching mode.  I mix a small amount of J-B Weld Kwik to rebuild and reinforce the chamber floor.  It will not take much J-B Weld to do this.  I put a pipe cleaner in through the airway to better show the landscape.Again, on an index card, I mix a small amount of the two components of the Weld, the ‘Steel’ and the ‘Hardener’.  The Weld does not set up immediately which is good.  It takes about 4 minutes before it begins to set.  As it’s setting, I will form a rounded chamber floor so that it’s not flat.  I begin by wiping the chamber floor with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol to clean it.  I mix small equal amounts of the J-B Weld and then spoon up a portion of the Weld on the end of a dental spatula and carefully carry it to the floor of the chamber. I hold the dental spatula there allowing the Weld to slide off the spatula to fill the cavity. I then carefully remove the spatula to avoid getting the Weld on the chamber wall.  I repeat this again by bringing a spoon of Weld and allowing it to fill the cavity as it runs off the spatula. I take a picture of the Weld filling the cavity in the chamber floor and decide that I would let it set as it is which will result in a flat floor.  I will use a grinding ball on the Dremel later to round it out for a more natural bowl.  I set the stummel aside allowing the J-B Weld to cure fully.The stem button rebuild has set up and cured.  As hoped, the wedge easily is removed revealing the rough form of a slot to be shaped.Using a flat needle file, I file and shape by bringing the build overhang of the wedge flush with the button face.After filing so that the button face is flush, I’m able to see the basic form of the slot.  The left side of the slot is closed more than the right side as you can see in the picture above.  I use a rounded sharp needle file to file the tighter end.  I’m patient.  I file gently and methodically.I come to a place where the button slot looks balanced.  I can fine tune it later.Next, again using the flat needle file, I file the top of the button down to form the upper contours.  I have the advantage of having the original ends of the button on both sides that were not broken off.  These provide me with the angles of trajectory the upper button lip took.  I try to file down to be consistent with this to form the button.The button is looking good, but I’m concerned that I did not put enough CA glue/charcoal mixture at the side.  In the picture below you can see the unfiled repair material jutting on the right side.  I’m concerned that this may leave a gap when I start filing the inner edge of the button.  To be on the safe side, I apply a drop of Black CA glue on this gap to make sure that I have a uniform platform to file out and shape the button.  I put the stem aside to allow the patch to cure.When CA patch cures, I quickly file off the excess patch material and continue with the lateral filing to form the internal button edge.After completing the filing, I switch to sanding the newly formed button with 240 grade paper and continue to smooth.  I also sand the upper and lower bit to remove residual oxidation.While sanding the new button, an air pocket is uncovered which is visible on the lower side of the button.To fill this very small air pocket, I paint the button with regular CA glue.  I apply a small drop on a toothpick and spot drop it and this spread the CA over the area.I spray the CA glue patch with an accelerator which quickly cures the glue.  I then sand it with 240 grade paper.The stem is still rough from the 240 sanding and filing.  I switch to 600 grade paper and wet sand the entire stem and follow this with applying 000 grade steel wool.  Wow!  I am pleased with the button rebuild.  It looks great and blends well.   I put the stem aside for now.Again, focusing attention on the stummel and the chamber repair.  The J-B Weld is fully cured filling the cavity at the chamber floor. With gravity forming the orientation of the Weld, the floor is now flat.  For a more natural bowl curvature, I initially use a round grinding ball mounted on the Dremel.  Using the round ball, I grind out the flat surface of the J-B Weld.  As I rotate the ball moving it in circles, I check often with my thumb to measure the progress.When the floor feels good, I mount a small sanding drum on the Dremel and reach in to the lower chamber above the new floor where I had earlier detected a distinct ridge from overzealous reaming.  I use the sanding drum to smooth these out.  I do the same as with the grinding ball, I sand and then feel with my thumb.  Progress is made.After the sanding drum, I switch to sanding with 240 grade paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen to help me reach and give me leverage.  I further smooth the lower chamber.  A ridge is still detected, but it is much less distinct.  I like the progress and the entire chamber looks and feels much better. The new floor is now at a more appropriate orientation to the draft hole that is seen in the picture below.With the internal chamber repair complete, I turn to the external surface.  The first thing I look at is the rim repair.  Joe wants the pipe in a pristine condition as much as possible.  Yet, he asked to preserve in some degree the rim knocking damage at the back of the rim as an ongoing remembrance of Paw. With this motif in view, the restored rim will provide a strong contrast of new and old, but not forgetting what the ‘old’ represents.  To begin the rim preservation and restoration, I take the chopping board and place 240 grade paper on it.  Keeping the forward rim surface in contact with the board, I top the forward part of the inverted bowl.The picture below first shows the beginning progression and then after further rotations, the second picture shows the full extent of topping with 240 grade paper.  I leave the area on the back side of the rim and it looks good.I then switch the paper on the board to 600 grade paper and turn the inverted stummel several more rotations to smooth out the 240 scratches.After the topping, I examine the rim edges.  The external rim edge still shows many cuts and nicks.  The internal edge is darkened. To freshen the rim edges and to address the residual blemishes I lightly run a rolled piece of 240 grade paper around the external and internal circumferences (minus Paw’s patch).  I follow the 240 grade with 600 grade.  This doesn’t introduce a bevel as much as clean the edges and soften the flat rim presentation.  I think it looks good.Next, I take another inventory of the stummel’s briar surface.  It has many nicks, scratches and some bruising on all sides of the stummel. I decide to clean the surface by utilizing sanding sponges.  Sanding sponges do a great job addressing the minor issues of normal wear and tear that accumulates on the briar surface.  The soft sponge texture also helps clean and freshen the nooks and corners.  To protect the already thin Kaywoodie “500” nomenclature and shape number, I cover them with masking tape to protect their integrity during the sanding phase.I first use a coarse sanding sponge followed by medium and light grade sponges.  The results are good, but I decided that whatever remains on the surface that is not removed through the sanding belong to Paw 😊.Next, I take the Kaywoodie to the sink to wet sand with micromesh pads 1500 to 2400 grade pads.  I follow wet sanding by dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000. I take a different angle picture with each set of 3 pads. For the last 6 pads I remove the protective masking tape which reveals the contrast of the finish as it was and as it is now. I will add a stain to the stummel which will mask the difference between the dark nomenclature residue of the former hue and the rest of the stummel.  To reduce this contrast, I try rubbing the darkened areas with a cotton pad wetted with acetone.  This works somewhat, but there’s still a contrast, but toned down some.The cotton pad in the picture above gives a good indication of the reddish hue of the original stain which is consistent with other examples that I’ve found on line of the “500” series.  Pipephil’s information on the Kaywoodie “500” provides a few pictured examples.  Here is one that shows the color used for this line of Kaywoodie pipes.  I’ll aim to match it.  My approach will be to first stain the stummel using a dark brown stain.  I’ll then apply an overcoat of Fiebing’s Oxblood over this.  I start with the dark brown first to darken the grain which is evident in the pictures below.I assemble my desktop staining station and fit the stummel with bent pipe cleaners through the mortise to serve as a handle.  I have Fiebing’s Dark Brown Leather Dye in a shot glass with another bent over pipe cleaner ready to serve as an applicator.  I wipe the stummel with a cotton cloth wetted with isopropyl 95% to clean it. I then warm the stummel with a hot air gun to heat the briar to expand the grain making it more receptive to the dye.  I then use the pipe cleaner to apply the Dark Brown dye to the stummel and as I paint different sections of the stummel, I flame the dye by igniting it with a lit candle.  As an aniline dye, the alcohol combusts, and it flames out leaving the dye pigment set in the grain.  After I apply the dye thoroughly, I set it aside for a few hours to rest before the next step of the process. After a few hours, I mount the Dremel with a felt cloth buffing wheel, speed set at the lowest possible to avoid too much heat.  I then apply Tripoli compound to the stummel to remove the fired shell on the stummel.  It takes some time to methodically move through the process of ‘plowing’ the crust then following with Tripoli. With my wife’s assistance, a picture of this is shown. When completed, I change the felt buffing wheel to a cotton cloth buffing wheel and again apply Tripoli compound to the entire stummel.  This time it is much faster and the felt wheel allows me to reach into the elbow of the shank and bowl which was not possible with the harder felt wheel.  After I complete the cotton cloth wheel cycle of Tripoli, I then buff the stummel with a felt cloth to remove the compound dust.The first phase results in the darkened grains.  The grain is beautiful – the next pictures show the side of the bowl with beautifully swirled bird’s eye.The first phase results in the darkened grains.  The grain is beautiful – the next pictures show the side of the bowl with beautifully swirled bird’s eye.I repeat the same process for the next phase of applying Fiebing’s Oxblood Leather Dye over the dark brown stained stummel – warming the stummel, applying and flaming the aniline Oxblood dye. I put the newly stained stummel aside to rest overnight.Before I rest, I turn again to the Kaywoodie saddle stem waiting in the wings.  I apply the entire regimen of 9 micromesh pads beginning with wet sanding using pads 1500 to 2400 followed by dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  Between each set of three pads I apply a coat of Obsidian Oil to enrich the vulcanite.  This stem has come a long way and is looking great. Next, after a few days of a business-related trip, I return to Sofia and to the stummel that had been dyed first with a dark brown undercoat then with an Oxblood overcoat.  I remove the Fiebing’s Oxblood Leather Dye fire crusted shell using a cotton cloth buffing wheel on the Dremel applying Tripoli compound.  When completed, I use a cotton pad wetted with alcohol to lightly wipe the stummel to blend the dyed surface.  I then change to another cotton cloth buffing wheel on the Dremel, remaining at 40% of full power and apply Blue Diamond to both stummel and stem.  Following this, I wipe the surface of the stummel and stem with a felt rag to remove the compound dust.Before moving to applying carnauba wax, I reunite the stem and stummel and address a few smaller projects.  First, I noted before that the stem was overclocked by a few degrees.  This happens through time.  To realign the stem to the correct orientation, I heat the metal stinger until the heat loosens the grip of the metal stinger and while it is hot, I rejoin the stem and turn it clockwise.  When it tightens it puts the necessary torque on the heated stinger which loosens it and allows me to continue the clockwise turn.  I turn it a full 360 degrees bringing it back around into proper orientation. This works well.  I move on.Next, I do a quick job of polishing the metal shank facing using a piece of 000 steel wool.  It did a great job.On last project before applying the wax.  I rebuilt the chamber floor using J-B Weld. Now I apply a mixture of natural yogurt and activated charcoal to form a thickened mixture to apply to the chamber floor and wall to create a cake starter.  After inserting a pipe cleaner in the airway to block the mixture, I then put a small about of Bulgarian natural yogurt in a dish and add activated charcoal and mix it.  I continue to add charcoal and mix until it thickens and will not run. I then apply it to the chamber floor and wall using a dental spatula to apply and spread.  It works well and I put the stummel aside for a time for the coating to cure. In the home stretch, I mount another cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel, maintaining the same speed, and apply carnauba wax to the stem and stummel.  After applying a few coats, I then give the pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth.  This raises the shine even more.

It was a privilege to restore Paw’s old Kaywoodie “500” Long Stem Billiard.  I’m pleased with the stem button rebuild and catching the thinning chamber floor.  I think the final stained hue captures well the historic Kaywoodie “500” theme that ranges from 1957 to 1967 – truly a vintage pipe.  Best of all are the remnants of Paw’s stewardship of the Kaywoodie.  Leaving the rim with latent evidences of Paw’s thumping and lighting, as he went through his own unique ritual with his Kaywoodie in hand, reflecting on life and family with his favorite blend stoked and ready to go.  Joe’s desire to safeguard this heritage and restore this pipe for his father-in-law, benefits the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks, Joe!  And thanks for joining me (ThePipeSteward)!

 

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Restoring a New Brand for me – A Tabago Danish Handmade Pickaxe


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table came to Jeff and me from a fellow in Michigan who picks up pipes he thinks we would be interested in and sells them to us. This one is a sandblast pickaxe shaped pipe that reminds me a lot of different Stanwell shapes that I have worked on. It has a definite Danish flair to it. As I look at it I have to admit that I have no idea about the brand or where it came from other than Denmark but I am sure I will figure it out when I do a bit of research on the brand. The pipe is stamped on a smooth panel on the left side of the shank and reads Tabago over Handmade in Denmark. It has a really nice sandblast finish around the bowl but the finish is very dirty and dusty. The rim top is covered in a thick coat of lava that almost fills in the grooves of the blast. The bowl has a thick cake and a lot of tobacco debris stuck in the cake. It is hard to know if the inner edge of the rim is in good condition because of the lava and cake. The outer edge looks very good. The stem is lightly oxidized but it has straightened out over time. There are tooth marks on both sides near the thin button. There are also nicks and marks on the top and underside near the middle of the stem. The saddle portion looks good. There is a triangle logo on the top of the saddle. Jeff took the following photos before he started his clean up. Jeff took a photo of the rim top and bowl to show the condition of the pipe. It must be an amazing smoker with a thick cake and buildup of lava like that. It was definitely someone’s favourite pipe!He took photos of the heel and the sides of the bowl to give a clear picture of the remarkable sandblast finish on the pipe.The next two photos try to capture the stamping on the shank and the logo on the stem. The stamping on the shank curves around the shank a bit so it is hard to capture all of it. The first photo shows the last line of the stamp. Above that are two more lines curved on the shank – Tabago over Handmade in… The second photo captures the gold triangle logo.The last two before photos show the condition of the stem. You can see the tooth marks on both sides of the stem near the button. You can also see the light oxidation on the stem. It is dirty but very repairable.I decided to do some research on the brand before I did my part on the restoration work. This is the first Tabago pipe I have worked on so I wanted to find out about the brand. I turned to the pipephil site on logos and stamping to get an overview on the brand. The site always gives a quick synopsis of a brand if it included in the list (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-t2.html). I have included a screen capture of the section on the site about the brand. From there I learned that there were two carvers that used the brand name. The first was a Norwegian carver named Bard Hansen who created from his shop in Norway and did not include a logo on his pipes. The second one was a former Stanwell employee who stamped his pipes Tabago Handmade in Denmark. He carved for a short period in the 1970s and his pipes always had a triangle logo on the stem. I had found the first clue to this pipe’s origin. I now knew it was carved by a “former Stanwell employee” (no name is given) and it was carved in the 1970s. That was progress. I turned then to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Tabago) to see if they included more information about the brand. Fortunately they did. They confirmed that the brand name had been used two times – once by Bard Hansen and once by the Stanwell employee. I quote the text in full below:

The name Tabago has been used twice:

1 Torben Hetler, a former Stanwell employee who first produced the Torben Dansk line of pipes, is credited with also producing a line of Tabago pipes stamped “Handmade in Denmark” in the early 1970’s. These pipes were sold next to other manufacturers brands (Danmore, Torben Dansk e.a.) in the 1972 cataloge of Dan Pipe (originally named “Danske Pibe”), a pipe and tobacco mailing enterprise established by Heiko Behrens. Among other lines Tabago produced a pipe stamped “Cap Belton” and another stamped “Gigant”. Little is known about Tabago pipes, which were produced for only a few years, but Dan Pipe even today refers to the Tabago and Torben Dansk lines as connected (Torben Dansk/Tabago) so at least this much is known.

Tabago’s logo is an outlined equilateral triangle on the stem. Often the pipes sport very tall bowls, fitting with the Dan pipes of that era, and some were marked with shape numbers.

2 Tabago is the more recent brand of Bård Hansen, Norway’s sole contemporary pipemaker. He learned his craft for a while at G. Larsen’s pipe factory Lillehammer in Lillehammer and is working now from his workshop situated at Bryggen in the centre of Bergen.

Now I knew what I was dealing with. The pipe was made by Torben Hetler (the former Stanwell employee of pipephil’s site). They were made in Denmark by a carver who first made the Torben Dansk line of pipes. The pipe I had in hand was made in the early 1970s and the brand was included in a 1972 Dan Pipe Catalogue. Tabago also produced the Cap Belton and the Gigant pipes. Dan Pipe links the Tabago and Torben Dansk lines. I did a few more searches based on the name Torben Hetler and the Torben Dansk pipe lines but there was little information to add to the above summaries.

Armed with that information I turned to the bowl that Jeff had prepared for me. He had reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He was able to remove lava build up on the rim top and you could see the great condition of the bowl top and edges of the rim. There was still some darkening to the rim top toward the back of the bowl. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the condition of the bowl and rim after Jeff had cleaned up the grime and lava. Both the inner edge and the outer edge of the rim look good. The stem photos show that the oxidation is gone. The light tooth chatter is hard to see but I should be able to sand it out quite easily. The tooth marks on the top and underside will take a little more work to remove.I also took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank showing how the stamping was laid out. I too was unable to capture the entire stamp around the curve.I decided to take care of the tooth marks and the bend in the stem first. I decided to do it with a candle instead of my heat gun. I am in the process of getting ready for a trip so I did not want to take the gun out and set it up. I went with the candle as the heat source. It works well but you just have to be careful not to burn the vulcanite. I painted the tooth marks on both sides of the stem with the flame and was able to raise them quite a bit. The ones on the top side disappeared and the ones on the underside were significantly shallower. I put a pipe cleaner in the airway and held the stem over the votive candle to soften the vulcanite. Once it was soft I bent the stem over a small jar to give it the curve I wanted so that it was level with the rim top when held in the mouth.I have really come to appreciate many of Mark Hoover’s Before & After Products. One of my favourites is his Restoration Balm. I worked some of the Balm into the sandblast finish of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I further worked it in with a horsehair shoe brush to make sure all the crevices of the blast received the benefit of the balm. Once I was happy with the coverage of the balm I let it sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Restoration Balm really makes the pipe take on a rich glow. I gave the sandblast finish several coats of Conservator’s Wax and buffed it off with a clean cotton buffing pad. The next photos show the bowl at this point in the process. I set the finished bowl aside and turned to address the issues with the stem. I used a folded piece of 240 grit sandpaper to blend the tooth marks and chatter into the surface of the stem. Once the surface was smooth I sanded out the scratch marks and started the polishing of the stem with a folded piece of 400 grit sandpaper. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and gave it a final coat and set it aside to dry. I put the stem and bowl back together and buffed the stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl several more coats of Conservator’s Wax and buffed the stem with multiple coats of Carnauba Wax. I buffed the bowl and stem with a clean buffing pad until there was a rich shine then hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. This Tabago Pickaxe sports a classic Danish shape that combines elements that I have seen in Kriswill and Stanwell pipe. The rich contrasting brown stains makes the grain stand out through the sandblast finish. It is a proportionally well carved pipe. The polished black vulcanite stem had a rich glow. The finished pipe is a beautiful pickaxe that feels good in the hand and the mouth. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 1/2 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 7/16 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. Since I am traveling for a bit for the next three weeks this one will go on the store once I return. If you are interested let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as it was a pleasure to work on.

Yet another from the Bertrams collection – a Dark Coloured Bertram 60 Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

Rather than repeat myself and give the blog readers grief with the repetition please refer to the previous blog posts on the Bertrams to learn about how we got this collection. Just know that we have a collection of Bertrams and a smattering of other brands that when they were unwrapped filled three boxes. The photo below is included to show the size of the collection we had purchased. To be honest it was a bit overwhelming to see all of the collection in boxes. We were looking at a lot of work to bring these back to life.I cannot tell you how glad I am that Jeff is working through the clean up on this lot as they are really quite dirty and there are so many! It would be a more daunting task than it already is if I had to clean and restore all of them. I am leaving it to him to choose which pipes to work on. He has chosen some interesting shaped ones to restore. Here is how we are working out the transfer from him to me. As he finishes a batch of them he boxes them up and sends them to me. I have received two boxes so far. From the first box he sent, I chose another one of the Bertrams to be the next pipe that I would work on. This pipe was another very dirty one! The smooth finish was grimy and dusty but some interesting grain shone through showing me that this was a beautiful pipe. There were a few rough fills on the right and left backside of the bowl. It was a large thick shank Billiard shaped pipe with a tapered stem. There was a thick cake in the bowl and heavy lava overflowing on to the rim top. It was hard to know the condition of the edges due to the cake and lava. The stem showed some light oxidation and some chatter on the top and some tooth marks on the underside. The photos below tell the story and give a glimpse of the pipe. Jeff took close-up photos of the bowl and rim to capture the condition of the pipe when it arrived. The rim top had a thick coat of lava and the bowl had a thick cake.Jeff took pictures of he bowl sides and the heel to show the marvelous grain on the bowl. It really is quite stunning and very dirty!Jeff took a closeup photo of the spot shown in the photo above. The putty was chipped and grime had filled into the cracks.Jeff took 2 photos to capture the stamping on the left and underside of the shank. The first photo shows stamping on the left side which read Bertram over Washington, D.C. The stamping on this pipe is clear and readable. The second photo shows the grade number stamping on the underside toward the heel of the bowl. It read number 60 which shows the quality of the pipe. The next two photos show the stem surface. They show the oxidation and the chatter on both sides near the button. The tooth marks are visible on the underside next to the button. There is also some wear on the underside button edge. If you have read the previous five blogs I have posted on the Bertram pipes that I have cleaned up so far you can skip the next bit. But if you have not, then I include the link to Bertram history and information. I would recommend that if you don’t know much about them do some research on them. I include a link to the write up on Pipedia (http://pipedia.org/wiki/Bertram). Bertram pipes were based out of Washington DC. They were popular among famous politicians and celebrities of the time. They made many products for them from FDR’s cigarette holders to Joseph Stalin’s favorite pipe. They were considered some of the best America had to offer till they finally closed their doors in the 70s. They graded their pipes by 10s, the higher the grade the better. Above 60s are uncommon and 80-90s are quite rare. I’ve never heard of or seen a 100 grade. I have several blogs that I have written on rebornpipes that give some history and background to Bertram pipes. (https://rebornpipes.com/2015/06/16/an-easy-restoration-of-a-bertram-grade-60-217-poker/).

I have included the following link to give a bit of historical information on the pipe company. It is a well written article that gives a glimpse of the heart of the company. http://www.streetsofwashington.com/2012/01/bertrams-pipe-shop-on-14th-street.html#

I am also including this photo of the shop in Washington D.C. and a post card of the shop. From this information I have learned that the shape and grade Bertram I have in front of me now was made before the closure of the shop in the 1970s. This Bertram Billiard with a darker finish is one of the more usual shapes in terms of the Bertram pipes I have worked on. With a grade 60 stamp it is just above the mid-range mark.

Jeff reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He was able to remove lava build up on the rim top and you could see the great condition of the bowl top and edges of the rim. There was still some darkening to the rim top toward the back of the bowl. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the condition of the bowl and rim after Jeff had cleaned up the grime and lava but the rim top had some light damage, some pits and darkening on the backside of the rim. Both the inner edge and the outer edge of the rim look good. The stem photos show that the oxidation is gone. The light tooth chatter is hard to see but I should be able to sand it out quite easily. The tooth marks on the underside will take a little more work to remove. I also took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank showing how the stamping was laid out.I sanded the top of the rim and the rough areas around the fills on the back of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage and the darkening. I polished the top with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to remove the scratches. The photo shows how the rim looked at this point. I repaired the fills on the back of the bowl with clear super glue. Once the repairs cured I used a needle file to flatten them and then blended them into the briar surface with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I polished the bowl and rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad to remove the sanding debris. After the final sanding pad I hand buffed it with a cotton cloth to raise a shine. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into finish 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. The Restoration Balm really makes the grain stands out beautifully. I used a folded piece of 240 grit sandpaper to blend the tooth marks and chatter into the surface of the stem. Once the surface was smooth I sanded out the scratch marks and started the polishing of the stem with a folded piece of 400 grit sandpaper. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wetsanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and gave it a final coat and set it aside to dry. I put the stem and bowl back together and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I polished the briar and the minute scratches still in the vulcanite of the stem until there was a rich shine. This Bertram is another one that has a classic Billiard shape but a bit darker finish that really highlights some amazing grain on a proportionally well carved pipe. Once I buffed the pipe the briar came alive and the mixture of grain – straight, flame and birdseye – popped with polishing. The black vulcanite stem had a rich glow. The finished pipe is a beautiful grained Billiard. Like the other Bertrams I have worked on this one fits well in the hand and sits right in the mouth. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. Since I am traveling for a bit for the next three weeks this one will go on the store once I return. If you are interested let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as it was a pleasure to work on.

Yet another from the Bertrams collection – a Natural Bertram 60 Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

Rather than repeat myself and give the blog readers grief with the repetition please refer to the previous blog posts on the Bertrams to learn about how we got this collection. Just know that we have a collection of Bertrams and a smattering of other brands, that when they were unwrapped, filled three boxes. The photo below is included to show the size of the collection we had purchased. To be honest it was a bit overwhelming to see all of the collection in boxes. We were looking at a lot of work to bring these back to life.I cannot tell you how glad I am that Jeff is working through the clean up on this lot as they are really quite dirty and there are so many! It would be a more daunting task than it already is if I had to clean and restore all of them. I am leaving it to him to choose which pipes to work on. He has chosen some interesting shaped ones to restore. Here is how we are working out the transfer from him to me. As he finishes a batch of them he boxes them up and sends them to me. I have received two boxes so far. From the first box he sent, I chose another one of the Bertrams to be the next pipe that I would work on. This pipe was another very dirty one! The smooth finish was grimy and dusty but some interesting grain shone through showing me that this was a beautiful pipe. It was a large thick shank Billiard shaped pipe with a tapered stem. There was a thick cake in the bowl and heavy lava overflowing on to the rim top. It was hard to know the condition of the edges due to the cake and lava. The stem showed some light oxidation and some chatter on the top and some tooth marks on the underside. The photos below tell the story and give a glimpse of the pipe. Jeff took a close-up photo of the bowl and rim to capture the condition of the pipe when it arrived. The rim top had a thick coat of lava on the back side and darkening around the edges. The bowl had a thick cake.Jeff took pictures of he bowl sides and the heel to show the marvelous grain on the bowl. It really is quite stunning and has a natural finish. It is dirty though!Jeff took 2 photos to capture the stamping on the left and underside of the shank. The first photo shows stamping on the left side which read Bertram over Washington, D.C. The stamping on this pipe is clear and readable. The second photo shows the grade number stamping on the underside toward the heel of the bowl. It read number 60 which shows the quality of the pipe. The next two photos show the stem surface. They show the oxidation and the chatter on both sides near the button. The tooth marks are visible on the underside next to the button. There is also some wear on the underside button edge. If you have read the previous five blogs I have posted on the Bertram pipes that I have cleaned up so far you can skip the next bit. But if you have not, then I include the link to Bertram history and information. I would recommend that if you don’t know much about them do some research on them. I include a link to the write up on Pipedia (http://pipedia.org/wiki/Bertram). Bertram pipes were based out of Washington DC. They were popular among famous politicians and celebrities of the time. They made many products for them from FDR’s cigarette holders to Joseph Stalin’s favorite pipe. They were considered some of the best America had to offer till they finally closed their doors in the 70s. They graded their pipes by 10s, the higher the grade the better. Above 60s are uncommon and 80-90s are quite rare. I’ve never heard of or seen a 100 grade. I have several blogs that I have written on rebornpipes that give some history and background to Bertram pipes. (https://rebornpipes.com/2015/06/16/an-easy-restoration-of-a-bertram-grade-60-217-poker/).

I have included the following link to give a bit of historical information on the pipe company. It is a well written article that gives a glimpse of the heart of the company. http://www.streetsofwashington.com/2012/01/bertrams-pipe-shop-on-14th-street.html#

I am also including this photo of the shop in Washington D.C. and a post card of the shop. From this information I have learned that the shape and grade Bertram I have in front of me now was made before the closure of the shop in the 1970s. This Bertram Billiard with a natural/lighter finish is one of the more usual shapes in terms of the Bertram pipes I have worked on. With a grade 60 stamp it is just above the mid-range mark.

Jeff reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He was able to remove lava build up on the rim top and you could see the great condition of the bowl top and edges of the rim. There was still some darkening to the rim top toward the back of the bowl. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the condition of the bowl and rim after Jeff had cleaned up the grime and lava but the rim top had some light damage and darkening on the backside of the rim. Both the inner edge and the outer edge of the rim look good. The stem photos show that the oxidation is gone. The light tooth chatter is hard to see but I should be able to sand it out quite easily. The tooth marks on the underside will take a little more work to remove.I also took a photo of the stamping on the left side and the underside of the shank showing how the stamping was laid out. I sanded the top of the rim with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage and the darkening. I polished the top with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to remove the scratches. The photo shows how the rim looked at this point.I polished the bowl and rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad to remove the sanding debris. After the final sanding pad I hand buffed it with a cotton cloth to raise a shine. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into finish 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. The Restoration Balm really makes the grain stands out beautifully. I used a folded piece of 240 grit sandpaper to blend the tooth marks and chatter into the surface of the stem. Once the surface was smooth I sanded out the scratch marks and started the polishing of the stem with a folded piece of 400 grit sandpaper. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wetsanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and gave it a final coat and set it aside to dry. I put the stem and bowl back together and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I polished the briar and the minute scratches still in the vulcanite of the stem until there was a rich shine. This Bertram has a classic Billiard shape and the natural finish really highlights some amazing grain on a proportionally well carved pipe. Once I buffed the pipe the briar came alive and the mixture of grain – straight, flame and birdseye – popped with polishing. The black vulcanite stem had a rich glow. The finished pipe is a beautiful grained Billiard. Like the other Bertrams I have worked on this one fits well in the hand and sits right in the mouth. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. Since I am traveling for a bit for the next three weeks this one will go on the store once I return. If you are interested let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as it was a pleasure to work on.

Time to work on another old timer – a Surbrug Best Make ¾ Bent Capped Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

I have been cleaning up a lot of American made pipes between the Malaga’s for Alex and the Bertrams that Jeff and I picked up. I was in the mood for something a little different this time around. You know variety is the spice of life and all that… So today I went through my box and picked an interesting pipe that came from an auctioneer in Los Angeles, California with the older Barling’s Make S-M Take Apart Pipe. That was an old timer and this one is also an old one. From the silver band and the band around the rim top I will be able to date it. But I knew looking at it that was older. The pipe was very dirty but had a look of class to it. There was a sterling silver band on the shank and one around the rim top with a hinged wind cap. The briar is very dirty and the silver has a lot of dings and dents around the rim. The bowl had a thick cake and the wind cap was black. Looking down the shank it was filled with tars and oils. The left side of the shank was stamped Surbrug over Best Make and the right side was stamped England. The hallmarks on the band were an O, a rampant lion and a crownless lion’s head. On the cap around the rim top the hallmarks were P, a rampant lion and a crownless lion’s head. On both the makers’ marks were the same – AD over JD. The stem had some bite marks on the top side near the button. It was lightly oxidized and the bend on the stem had almost straightened out. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup.The next series of photos show the band around the rim top and the wind cap. The briar is quite beautiful and the silver, though oxidized is quite pretty. He also included some close up photos. The last photo in the series shows the thickness of the cake in the bowl. It was quite thick. He took a photo of the left side of the bowl and the underside. It shows the dirt and grime in the briar as well as the nicks and dents in the wood.He took photos of the stamping on the left and right side of the shank as well as the hallmarks on the silver band and rim top. The stamping and the hallmarks are as noted above The last two photos show the stem surface. It is both oxidized and has some tooth damage to the surface of the button on both sides.I had forgotten that Al Jones (Upshallfan) had restored a Surbrug pipe and done a blog on it for rebornpipes. When I googled the brand one of the first links that came up was the one to Al’s blog on rebornpipes (https://rebornpipes.com/2015/03/24/surbrugs-special-restoration/).There was a great section on the brand written by Jon Guss and linking it to a New York City Tobacco Shop that Al quoted. I quote from that in full now.

I only knew that Surbrug’s was a New York City tobacco shop and I’ve seen their shop pipes pop up occasionally.  Jon (Guss) sent me this about the shop:

John R Surbrug, born in Switzerland of a Swiss father and Ohio mother, had a small tobacco shop in New York City. After his death in the 1880s, his young son John Willard Surbrug (born in NYC in 1859) took over the store. Incorporating the business in 1895, John W. expanded into the cigarette market and prospered greatly. After buying a cigarette competitor name Khedivial, Surbrug’s business in turn was acquired by the Tobacco Products Company (TBC) in 1912. TBC was what we would now call a roll-up play, created by George and William Butler as a vehicle to compete with the American Tobacco Company. Surbrug’s business was acquired for stock, which meant John was left with an active role in the combined business. The later part of his career (and his son’s career), though interesting, is irrelevant here; what matters is that the Surbrug Company, while primarily engaged in the manufacture and sale of cigarettes, continued to be true to its roots offering well known tobacco blends and pipes. In regard to the former, the company was especially famous for its Golden Sceptre, Best Make, and Arcadia Mixture tobaccos. In regard to the latter, it appears that Surbrug was not a manufacturer, but rather a reseller of pipes that were stamped with their name by a variety of third party suppliers. Some at least of these were major players in the world famous London pipe industry. Surviving early hallmarked examples make it clear that BBB/Frankau, Barling, and Delacour Brothers were three of Surbrug’s vendors.

Al also included an old advertisement for one of Surbrug’s famed tobacco blends. I have included it below to give a feel for the Pipe Shop and also because it gives the address of the shop. I love these old adverts as they give a great view of the time period the brand came out.To help get closer to a maker and a date I worked on the hallmarks on the band and rim cap. The hallmarks on the band were an O, a rampant lion and a crownless lion’s head. Those marks told me that the silver band was made in 1909 (O) in London (crownless lion or leopard head) and the rampant lion told me it was .925 Sterling Silver. On the cap around the rim top the hallmarks Those marks told me that the silver cap was made in 1910 (P) in London (crownless lion or leopard head) and the rampant lion told me it was .925 Sterling Silver. On both the band and the cap the makers’ marks were the same – AD over JD. (I am including the picture of the hallmarks that I included above). I have also included a chart to help date the band and cap. I have put a red box around the two dates. Note that the cartouche (box surrounding the letter) is the same on the band and cap as the one shown in the chart (https://www.925-1000.com/dlc_london.html).Now that I had the date I needed to identify the Maker Marks on both pieces of silver. From Al’s quote above I was given another clue about the manufacture of the pipe. It seems that Surbrug was not a manufacturer, but rather a reseller of pipes. They also seemed to have these pipes stamped with their name by a variety of third party suppliers. I quote the section of the above blog as it gave me a starting spot.

Some at least of these were major players in the world famous London pipe industry. Surviving early hallmarked examples make it clear that BBB/Frankau, Barling, and Delacour Brothers were three of Surbrug’s vendors.

I wonder if perhaps the AD and JD marks could be Delacour Brothers as noted in the above quote. They are certainly the only D in the list of third party suppliers. I decided to check on the pipephil website to see if I could find any information on the Delacour brand to help narrow down the identification of the initials on the bands (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-d4.html). Sure enough the pipe was a Delacour the band in the photo on the site is the same as the one I am working on. It has the AD over JD stamp and identifies the makers as Delacour Brothers – Auguste and Joseph. The pipe was also a lidded pipe like mine. A further interesting link was found there that made the connection to a late 19th century Alix Delacour who owned a subsidiary company in London. I am including the screen capture below.I followed the links that were given on that site to further information on extra pages on the site (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/infos/delacourusine-en.html). The first is to a picture of the letterhead of the Delacour Company in Saint Claude, France. The letterhead shows a wood cut of the factory. There was also a photo of the factory itself that shows a similar view to the letterhead illustration. Now I knew I was working on a pipe made by Delacour for the Surbrug pipe shop in New York City and that it was made around 1909/10. I had a good sense of the Delacour Brothers and the London connection for this pipe. With the history and background of the brand in mind it was time to go to work on my part of the restoration but first a review of Jeff’s cleanup of the pipe. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He was able to remove lava build up on the rim top and you could see the great condition of the bowl top and edges of the rim. There was still some darkening to the rim top toward the back of the bowl. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. I took a close up photo of the silver rim top to show the condition of the bowl and rim after Jeff had cleaned up the grime and lava from the bowl and the silver. The cap and the rim top looked very good and had been polished. There was some scratching and dents in the silver. The stem photos show that the oxidation is gone. The light tooth chatter is hard to see but I should be able to sand it out quite easily. There were some tooth marks on the top and underside of the button edge.I also took a photo of the stamping on the left side and the underside of the shank showing how the stamping was laid out. I also took photos of the hallmark on both the band on the shank end and the rim cap and top. I polished the bowl and shank with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad to remove the sanding debris. After the final sanding pad I hand buffed it with a cotton cloth to raise a shine. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into finish 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. The Restoration Balm really makes the grain stands out beautifully. I set the bowl aside and filled in the deep tooth marks on the topside of the button with clear super glue and set the stem aside to let the repair cure. Once it had cured I used a needle file to flatten it into the surface of the stem. I used a folded piece of 240 grit sandpaper to reshape the button surface on both sides of the stem. Once the surface was smooth I sanded out the scratch marks and started the polishing of the stem with a folded piece of 400 grit sandpaper. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil. (I neglected to take photos of the process of sanding the file marks and smoothing out the repair. I apologize.)I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil and set it aside. I stopped the polishing process at this point to put a proper bend in the stem. I put a pipe cleaner in the stem and heated it with a heat gun until the vulcanite was supple. Once it was supple and flexible I bent it over a round jar to get the bend to match the flow of the top of the bowl. I took some photos of the newly bent stem to show what it looked like now that it was finished. I put the stem back on the pipe and took photos of the new look. I like what I see. I need to finish polishing the stem and then do the final buffing. I finished polishing the stem with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and gave it a final coat and set it aside to dry.  I put the stem and bowl back together and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I polished the briar and the minute scratches still in the vulcanite of the stem until there was a rich shine. I polished the silver with a jeweler’s cloth to protect it and give it a shine. This old 1909/1910 Surbrug made by Delacour Brothers has a classic bent billiard with a twist – a sterling silver band on the shank and a sterling silver rim and wind cap. It is a beautifully carved pipe. Once I buffed the pipe the briar came alive and the mixture of grain – cross, swirled and birdseye – popped with polishing. The black vulcanite stem had a rich glow. The finished pipe is a beautiful grained bent billiard shaped pipe. This old pipe with a new bend in the stem fits well in the hand and sits right in the mouth. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This old timer is one that is staying in my own collection and fits the niche of my old pipe collection well. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as it was a pleasure to work on.

The 8th of a collection of Bertrams – a Bertram 55 Lovat


Blog by Steve Laug

If you have been reading the blogs on the restoration of the Bertram pipe lot that Jeff and I purchased you already know the story of the find. If you have not you can read more about it on the earlier blogs in this series. Just for a quick reminder I will include the photo that Jeff took the collection when it arrived in Idaho. He unwrapped each of the 200+ pipes and filled the three boxes that they were mailed in to show the size of the collection we had purchased. To be honest it was a bit overwhelming to see all of the collection in boxes. We were looking at a lot of work to bring these back to life.I am sure glad that Jeff is working through the clean up on this lot as they are really quite dirty and there are so many! I am leaving it to him to choose which pipes to work on. So far he is choosing the higher grade pipes and the more interesting shaped ones. As he finishes a batch of them he boxes them up and sends them to me. From the first box he sent, I chose another one of the Bertrams to be the eighth pipe that I would work on. As with the rest of the collection this one was dirty! The smooth finish was grimy and dusty but some interesting grain shone through showing me that this was a beautiful pipe. It was a Lovat shaped pipe with a short saddle stem. There was a thick cake in the bowl and heavy lava overflowing on to the rim top. It was hard to know the condition of the edges due to the cake and lava. The stem showed some light oxidation and some chatter on the top and some deep tooth marks on the underside. The photos below tell the story and give a glimpse of the pipe. Jeff took a close-up photo of the bowl and rim to capture the condition of the pipe when it arrived. The rim top had a thick coat of lava and the bowl had a thick cake.Jeff took 2 photos to capture the stamping on the left and underside of the shank. The first photo shows stamping on the left side which read Bertram over Washington, D.C. The stamping on this pipe is clear and readable. The second photo shows the grade number stamping on the underside at the shank stem junction. It read number 55 which shows the quality of the pipe.The next two photos show the stem surface. They show the oxidation and the chatter on both sides near the button. The deep tooth marks are visible on the underside next to the button. There is also some wear on the underside button edge.If you have read the previous five blogs I have posted on the Bertram pipes that I have cleaned up so far you can skip the next bit. But if you have not, then I include the link to Bertram history and information. I would recommend that if you don’t know much about them do some research on them. I include a link to the write up on Pipedia (http://pipedia.org/wiki/Bertram). Bertram pipes were based out of Washington DC. They were popular among famous politicians and celebrities of the time. They made many products for them from FDR’s cigarette holders to Joseph Stalin’s favorite pipe. They were considered some of the best America had to offer till they finally closed their doors in the 70s. They graded their pipes by 10s, the higher the grade the better. Above 60s are uncommon and 80-90s are quite rare. I’ve never heard of or seen a 100 grade. I have several blogs that I have written on rebornpipes that give some history and background to Bertram pipes. (https://rebornpipes.com/2015/06/16/an-easy-restoration-of-a-bertram-grade-60-217-poker/).

I have included the following link to give a bit of historical information on the pipe company. It is a well written article that gives a glimpse of the heart of the company. http://www.streetsofwashington.com/2012/01/bertrams-pipe-shop-on-14th-street.html#

I am also including this photo of the shop in Washington D.C. and a post card of the shop. From this information I have learned that the shape and grade Bertram I have in front of me now was made before the closure of the shop in the 1970s. This Bertram Lovat is one of the more usual shapes in terms of the Bertram pipes I have worked on. With a grade 55 stamp it is just above the mid-range mark.

Jeff reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He was able to remove lava build up on the rim top and you could see the great condition of the bowl top and edges of the rim. There was still some darkening to the rim top toward the back of the bowl. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the condition of the bowl and rim after Jeff had cleaned up the grime and lava but the rim top had some light damage and darkening all the way around. Both the inner edge and the outer edge of the rim look good. The stem photos show that the oxidation is gone. The light tooth chatter is hard to see but I should be able to sand it out quite easily. The tooth marks on the underside will take a little more work to remove.I also took a photo of the stamping on the left side and the underside of the shank showing how the stamping was laid out.I sanded the top of the rim with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage and the darkening. I polished the top with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to remove the scratches. The photo shows how the rim looked at this point.I polished the bowl and rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad to remove the sanding debris. After the final sanding pad I hand buffed it with a cotton cloth to raise a shine. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into finish 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. The Restoration Balm really makes the grain stands out beautifully. I set the bowl aside and filled in the deep tooth marks with clear super glue and set the stem aside to let the repair cure. Once it had cured I used a needle file to flatten it into the surface of the stem.I used a folded piece of 240 grit sandpaper to address the tooth chatter and blend the repair into the surface of the stem. Once the surface was smooth I sanded out the scratch marks and started the polishing of the stem with a folded piece of 400 grit sandpaper. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and gave it a final coat and set it aside to dry. I put the stem and bowl back together and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I polished the briar and the minute scratches still in the vulcanite of the stem until there was a rich shine. This Bertram has a classic Lovat shape and some amazing grain on a proportionally well carved pipe. Once I buffed the pipe the briar came alive and the mixture of grain – cross, swirled and birdseye – popped with polishing. The black vulcanite stem had a rich glow. The finished pipe is a beautiful grained Lovat shaped pipe. Like the other Bertrams I have worked on this one fits well in the hand and sits right in the mouth. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 1/4 inches, Height: 1 3/4 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/4 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. Since I am traveling for a bit for the next three weeks this one will go on the store once I return. If you are interested let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as it was a pleasure to work on.

 

Restoring an Unusual Barling’s Make S-M Poker


Blog by Steve Laug

Jeff picked up this unusual poker from an auctioneer in Los Angeles, California. He picked it up and also an old Surbrug Best Make bent billiard. This one turns out to be a Barling’s Make Poker. It is unusual in that the shank is not attached to the bowl. It is a friction fit shank that is removable. The tapered vulcanite stem is long and makes the look of the pipe unique and is also removable. The pipe breaks down into three parts. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank with Barling’s arched over Make and the right side is stamped S-M near the bowl shank union. The stamping is light but readable with a light and lens. The S-M stamp may refer to the size of the pipe. Early Barlings had a size stamp of S, S-M, M, L which would make the S-M a small medium which fits the size of this petite pipe. The bowl had a thick cake lining the walls and some light lava on the rim top. The inner edge of the bowl appears to be slightly damaged I will know more once it is reamed and cleaned. The outer edge looks good and the top of the rim has some nicks and dings in it. The finish on the bowl and shank is very dirty. The removable shank end is also blackened and will need to be cleaned up. The stem is oxidized and has some light tooth chatter but otherwise no tooth marks. Jeff took some photos of the pipe when it arrived to give a clear picture of its condition. Jeff took 2 close-up photos of the bowl and rim at different exposures to capture the condition of the pipe when it arrived. The rim top had some light lava and some darkening on the back rim top. The bowl had a cake that was quite thick and tobacco debris stuck to the walls.He also took a photo of the right and underside of the bowl to show the shape and the grain on the bowl and heel. The finish is very dirty but this grain is quite stunning.He took the shank off the bowl to show the nature of the connection. Note that the shank had not been glued in place in the bowl. The second photo shows the stamping on the left side of the shank. It is clear but faint.The next two photos show the stem surface. They show the oxidation and the chatter on both sides near the button. There is also some wear on the button edges. Jeff reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He was able to remove light lava build up on the back of the rim top and you could see the great condition of the bowl top and edges of the rim. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the condition of the bowl and rim after Jeff had cleaned and reamed the bowl. The rim top had some deep nicks toward the rear left and there was some damage to the inner edge. The outer edge of the rim had some damage as well with some nicks and dings. The stem photos show that the oxidation is stubbornly present even after the soak in Before & After Deoxidizer. There are not any tooth marks and the stem surface is in good condition.I took the pipe apart and took pictures of it from various angles to give a clear picture of the uniqueness of this old Barling’s Make. To start the restoration work on this one I decided to gently top the bowl to deal with the damage to the rim top and edges. I used a piece of 220 grit sandpaper on a hard board and worked the rim on it in a circular motion until I had removed the damage.There were still some shiny spots on the sides of the bowl that looked like the remnants of a spray lacquer finish. I wiped the bowl and shank down with isopropyl alcohol and spot wiped the shiny spots with acetone. I was able to remove all of the spots and the finish looked better.I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the inner edge of the rim. When I finished the rough spots were smoothed out and the rim had a very slight bevel.I polished the bowl and rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each pad to remove the dust. To finish, I hand buffed it with a cotton cloth to raise a shine. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar bowl and the shank piece 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.The following photos show the bowl and shank at this point in the restoration process. The bowl, rim top and shank look very good with rich grain patterns. With the bowl finished I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded the stem surface with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the oxidation on the surface of the button. I am happy with the stem surface once that was done. I started the polishing of the surface with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with a damp cloth after each pad. I further polished it with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I wiped it down with a coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. Once I have all the parts of a given pipe finished I follow the same finishing routine. I polished the bowl, shank and the stem with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. 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 rich Barling stained finish shone through and the grain came alive with the buffing. The brown stains on the briar work well with the polished black vulcanite stem. The finished pipe is a beautifully laid out poker that is proportionally well made. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 1/2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: 5/8 of an inch. I think I will hang on to this one as it is a Barling’s Make style that I have never seen before and probably will never see again. It was an interesting pipe to work on and I love the finished product. Thanks for reading.