Tag Archives: repairing a cracked shank

A Strangely Beautiful Preben Holm Hand Made in Denmark Westminster IIS with a cracked shank


Blog by Steve Laug

There is something about this strangely beautiful sandblast long shank Freehand says that is it another Preben Holm pipe. The unique shape that really chases the grain to give a sense of vertical and horizontal grain of the sandblast says Holm to me. The style of the stem is a bit of an oddity to me but it is the same width as the shank so it probably is original. This pipe was purchased on 06/13/22 from an estate in Fort Myers, Florida, USA. It is stamped Hand Made [over] In [over] Denmark [over] Westminster [over] IIS. The shape of the bowl with the angles of the carving are unique and the depth of the sandblast give a sense of fluidity to the pipe. The finish is stained with dark colours – black and brown that make it have a depth to its finish. It was filthy and the plateau rim and shank end was the same. The dust and debris is quite heavy around the sides of the bowl. The plateau rim top has a heavy lava overflow on the top and edges coming from a thick cake in the bowl. There is also a crack in the underside of the shank end that extends straight through the stamping. The oddly shaped turned vulcanite stem was heavily oxidized and calcified with light tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. When I first saw it I was not even sure if it was the right stem but it is growing on me. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started working on it. It really is a beauty. He took close up photos of the uniquely shaped bowl and rim top from different angles to show the condition of the bowl and the plateau rim top. You can see the thick cake in the bowl with the flakes of tobacco stuck to the walls. You can also see the overflow of lava on the rim top and on the inner edge of the bowl. He took photos surface of the vulcanite stem to show the oxidation, calcification and tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button. He took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show a deep and rugged sandblast that really makes the mix of grain stand out through the grime on the shank and the sides of the bowl. The geometric angles of the bowl shape are really quite stunning and interesting.  Jeff took photos of the stamping on the underside of the shank to capture it. It was clear and readable as noted above. You can also see the crack in the underside of the shank that goes through the N in Hand Made and E in Denmark in the stamp.  I turned to Pipedia to see what I could find out about the IIS brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/IIS). The article there was shrouded in mystery and gave several options on the maker. I quote:

Pipes marked with IIS and sometimes IS are reported to be made by Karl Erik, and can be found on many private label pipes, such as the one below, marked “John Crouch” for the Scottish Merchant & Tobacconist out of Alexandria Virginia. Others have reported pipes marked IIS, or perhaps the IS in particular, were seconds made by Preben Holm.

I googled for further information and found a pair of IIS pipes on etsy that were sold with notes by the maker (https://www.etsy.com/listing/504709353/ii-s-hand-made-in-denmark-tobacco-pipes). I found it interesting and quote part of it as follows:

There are some mixed ideas about the II S trademark. Spoke to a few about it and than searched the web. Could have been made by Karl Erik while employed by Preben Holm, or sold in US only pipes or could have been made by Preben Holm. In any case they are a very unique pair. Nice works of art. Here is some info that was shared with me and I will include to help solve any mysteries.

KE’s old grading used numbers ascending from 4 to 1. The entirely hand made one of a kind pieces were stamped “Ekstravagant”. Quite simple.

But then there are the II S stamped pipes! (And furthermore seen so far II SM, I S, I M and I B.) Three fairy tales, often told:

  • II S stands for the initials of a pipe maker who worked for Preben Holm before he changed to KE. (Karl Erik)
  • II S pipes are a second brand of KE. Nonsense comparing the quality of II S and normal KE pipes!
  • II S was used when there was no space for stampings otherwise.

I believe that the pipe was made by Preben Holm during the height of his work on pipes. I wonder if it is possible that they were made in the period before he changed from stamping them with his name and to Ben Wade due to issues with his importer in the US. I am not sure but I think that works well in terms of the data.

When I received it from Jeff this past week it did not look like the same pipe. It was clean and the finish had life. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and got rid of the cake. He cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife so that we could see the walls of the bowl and assess for damage. It was in good condition. He cleaned the internals of the shank and stem with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and alcohol. He scrubbed the exterior with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. He rinsed the pipe under warm water. He dried it off with a cloth and then let it air dry. He removed the Softee Bit and then scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub and soaked it in Briarville’s Stem Deoxidizer. He rinsed it with warm water and dried it off with a soft cloth. It came out looking very good. The finish on the bowl and the rim top cleaned up nicely. I took pictures of the pipe to show how it looked when I unpacked it. I took some photos of the rim top and stem to show the condition of them both when the pipe arrived. Overall it looked good. The oxidation on the stem had come off very well and the tooth marks and scratches in the finish were visible. I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It was clear and readable as noted above. I have drawn a red circle around the crack in the shank to help identify it.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the appearance of the parts. You can see how large the pipe is in the photos.I started my work on this pipe by dealing with the crack in the underside of the shank. It is a tough one in terms of placement and not being able to band it as I normally would. I opened the crack slightly and spread some thin, clear CA glue into the crack in the shank and squeezed the crack together until the glue hardened. I carefully sanded off the repair with 220 grit sandpaper and then polished it with 3200-3600 grit micromesh to blend it in. It looked very good. I reduced the diameter of the tenon to relieve any pressure that it might put on the mortise when inserted. I know that a solid repair would have been the insertion of a tube in the shank – brass/stainless or Delrin. In the future that may need to be done but for now the repair I did actually looks very good and the reduction of the tenon a slight bit reduces the pressure it puts on the shank. Time will tell for sure.

Once the repair cured I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar. To get it into the nooks and crannies I used a shoe brush and worked it deeply into the grooves. The balm works to clean, enliven and preserve the briar. I let it sit for 10 minutes then buffed it off with a soft cloth. It is a beautiful pipe.   The rugged finish on the bowl looks amazing. It is a beautiful pipe. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I decided to square out the rounded edges of the stem sides on the saddle with 220 grit sandpaper. I flattened them out to match the flat sides on the shank. I think it actually worked very well. I sanded out the tooth marks and chatter on the stem surfaces with 220 grit sandpaper and they blended in quite well. I started the polishing of the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I wiped it down with some Obsidian Oil and the stem was looking quite good.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with some Obsidian Oil. I finished hand polishing it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – Fine and Extra Fine. I rubbed it down with another coat of Obsidian Oil and let it dry. The stem really was beginning to look very good.   This is a beautiful Hand Made in Denmark Westminster IIS by Preben Holm with a unique oval shaped black vulcanite stem. I flattened out the curved edges of the oval stem to match the flat sides of the shank. It has a great look and feel. The shape fits well in the hand with the curve of the bowl and shank junction a perfect fit for the thumb around the bowl when held. I polished stem with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the sandblast bowl and plateau on the rim top and shank end multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax. I gave 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 combination of black and brown stains gave the sandblast and plateau depth. The pipe took on life with the buffing. The rich colour of the briar works well with the polished vulcanite stem. Have a look at it with the photos below. The shape, finish and flow of the pipe and stem are very well done. The dimensions are Length: 6 ½ inches, Height: 2 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 1 inch. The weight of the pipe is 53 grams/ 1.87 ounces. This Danish Freehand is a real beauty. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. This one will be staying here for awhile so I can assess the effectiveness of the shank repair. Thanks for your time.

Finally Getting Around to Finishing up this Danet’s 904 Sitter


Blog by Steve Laug

It seems I am finally getting some time to work on the backlog of pipes we have here. We have a large collection of pipes we have picked up over time and cleaned up and set aside to work on. This interesting piece was purchased from an antique store on 10/14/2017 in Pocatello, Idaho, USA and I am finally getting around to it. The pipe is Danish take on a bent Billiard with an extended flat heel that makes the pipe a sitter. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Danets [over] made in Denmark. On the underside near the stem it has the shape number 904 stamped. The briar was dirty with grime ground into the finish. The bowl had a thick cake with an overflow of lava on the beveled rim top. The fancy saddle stem was lightly oxidized and had tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of and on the button surface. There was a cursive D on the left side of the saddle stem. There was also a crack in the shank on the left side that ran about ½ inch up the shank. He took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the condition of both. The bowl has a thick cake that overflows with lava onto the beveled inner edge of the rim. It is hard to know what the rim top and edges look like under the cake and lava. He took photos of the stem as well to show the tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside ahead of the button and on the button surface as well. He took photos of the grain on the heel of the bowl and the shank. The grain was quite nice and followed the flow of the pipe. I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. The stamping was clear and readable on the shank sides. The D stamp on the stem side was also deep and readable. I looked up information on the brand before I started my work on it. I turned first to Pipephil’s site to get a quick overview (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-d2.html). I included a screen capture of the pipe pictured there. Interestingly, it is the same shape as the one that I am working on. The difference is the taper stem on the one in the photo. I also have included information in the sidebar below the picture. The information connects the Danets to Georg Jensen. I quote:Brand imported from Denmark to USA by BRANDT IMPORT. Sometimes stamped DANETS. Probably a label from Georg Jensen as the photo below would attest these stampings.

I followed one of the links in the side bar to the photo below. The link with Georg Jensen and Danets is clearly shown in the photo. With that information, I turned to work on the pipe itself. Jeff had thoroughly cleaned up the pipe. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. The inner edge of the rim and top cleaned up very well. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the stem with Soft Scrub to remove as much of the oxidation as possible. He soaked it in Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and rinsed it with warm water. The vulcanite stem was clean and had light tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. There was a Danets D logo stamped on the left side of the stem. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. It was an amazing looking pipe. I took photos of the rim top and bowl as well as the stem to give a sense of the condition of both. The rim top and edges looked very good. The stem cleaned up well and the tooth marks on the top and underside ahead of the button were very light.      I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. They are readable as noted above. The D on the stem side lost all colour but it is deep and readable.    I took the stem out of the shank and took a photo of the overall look of the pipe. It is a unique looking pipe with the oddly shaped flat bottom on the bowl.I started my work on the pipe by addressing the hairline crack in the left side of the shank. I found a brass band that was a perfect fit on the shank. The depth of the band was too much and when on the shank covered the edges of the stamping on the shape number on the underside.I used a piece of 220 grit sandpaper to sand the underside of the band and reduce the depth. I took half of the depth off and checked the fit regularly to make sure it was thin enough to not cover the stamping on the underside of the shank. Once I had the depth correct I used a tooth pick to put white glue on the cracked shank and inside of the band and pressed it into place on the shank.   I took photos of the freshly fitted band. The glue had cured and you can see the stamping is not affected by the placement of the band.    With the band binding together the crack the tenon was too big for the mortise. I sanded the tenon with 220 grit sandpaper to reduce the diameter of the tenon so that it fit the mortise. I put the stem in the shank and took photos of the new look of the pipe. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the briar down with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust. The briar really took on a rich shine with the polishing.  I rubbed the bowl down with some Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the briar with my finger tips to clean, revive and preserve the wood. It really brings the grain alive once again. I let it sit for 15 minutes then buffed it off with a soft cloth. The grain really pops at this point in the process.   I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I filled in the small tooth marks (almost pin prick marks) next to the button on each side of the stem with clear super glue. Once it cured I sanded them smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.     I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a cloth impregnated with Obsidian Oil. I finished the polishing with some Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. The stem looked very good.  I touched up the white stamp on the “D” on the left side of the stem with white acrylic fingernail polish. I worked it into the depth of the stamp with a tooth pick. Once it dried, I scraped off the excess material and polished the stem.    As always I am excited to finish a pipe that I am working on. I put the Georg Jensen Made Danet 904 Sitter back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond 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 and hand buffed it to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the grain popping around the bowl and shank. The thin brass repair band adds a touch of bling to the pipe. The polished vulcanite saddle stem brought the combination to a beautiful close. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 inch, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 27 grams/.99 ounces. It is a beautiful pipe and one that will be on the rebornpipes store in the Danish Pipe Makers section. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. I want to keep reminding us of the fact that we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next trustee.

Restoring a Previously Repaired Cracked Shank on a Dunhill Shell Briar 40 Lovat


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table is a Dunhill Group 4S Shell Briar Lovat that caught my eye. It has a two digit the shape number that I will define below. I purchased this pipe from a fellow on Facebook. He said that the shank had been snapped at the bowl and had been well repaired. There was a tube in the shank that joined the two parts. He sent me two photos of the pipe to show the overall look and also the repaired cracked shank. I was interested in adding this shape to my own collection so I was anxious to see it and work on it. This Dunhill Lovat is stamped on the heel of the bowl and underside of the shank. On the heel it reads 40 followed by Dunhill over Shell Briar. Next to that it is stamped Made in England6. A circle 4 followed by S is stamped on the right side next to the bowl/shank junction. The numbers and stamping tell me that the pipe is a Shell Briar (S) and the size is a Group 4. The 2 digit shape number makes it an older pipe. The date stamp 6 follows the “D” of England in the Made in England stamp. The finish was very shiny like it had a shellac coat on it and it seemed to be even over the lava on the rim top. The sandblast was deep and rugged looking. The bowl had a moderate cake in the bowl and lava overflowing onto the sandblast rim top. There was some shellac over the grime. The inner and outer edges of the bowl looked good and the bowl was in round. The shank repair is solid and fairly tight against the bowl. It looks good but with a lens there are gaps in the repair to the crack. The stem was quite clean but had tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. The button itself appeared to be in good condition. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. I took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the condition. You can see the cake in the bowl and the lava on the rim top and edges. The lava is thick and seems to have protected the edges and top. The stem was clean but has tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button.I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above. You can also see the repaired crack near the heel of the bowl.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the parts to show the overall look of the pipe. The sandblast is very deep and rugged. Now it was time to begin to work on the stamping on the pipe. Because I had just finished working on a few Shell Briar in the past I used the information that I had dug up on that one. I quote below.

Pipedia had some great information on the Root Briar finish and dates and how the finish was made (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Dunhill#Bruyere). The first quote below give the short version of the finish. I quote from both below.

Shell – A deep craggy sandblast with a black stain finish (usually made using Algerian briar) – the color of the stain used has varied over the years. Although there is some doubt as to them being the first to sandblast pipes, Dunhill’s Shell pipes, and the sandblasting techniques developed to create them are considered one of Dunhill’s greatest and most lasting contributions to the art of pipe making.

The documented history of Dunhill’s inception of the Shell is largely limited to patent applications — there are no catalog pages or advertisements promoting blasted pipes at the time. The preliminary work on the English patent (No. 1484/17) was submitted on October 13, 1917. The patent submission was completed half a year later, on April 12, 1918, followed by the granting of the English patent on October 14, 1918. This was less than a month before the end of The Great War on November 11th.

In 1986 Dunhill released a line of premium Shell finish pipes – “RING GRAIN”. These are high-quality straight grain pipes which are sandblasted. Initially only Ring Grain, but now in two different finishes. In 1995 the “Shilling” was introduced with Cumberland finish – it is an extremely rare series. These pipes exhibit a deeper blast characteristic of that of the 1930’s – mid-1960’s (and the limited ‘deep blast’ pipes of the early 1980s) and show a fine graining pattern. These are considered the best new Dunhills by many enthusiasts today and are very rare. The finish is sometimes described as tasting like vanilla at first, with the taste becoming more normal or good as the pipe breaks in.

With that information clear for me I wanted to identify the shape number and try to pin that down (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Dunhill_Shape_Chart). I turned to the section on the older 2 digit Shape Numbers and read it. I quote it below.

Early Days – 2 digits/letters – The original skus/model numbers from the 1920’s until the early 1970’s stood for very specific shapes and bowls. For example, the codes 31, 34, 59, 111, 113, 117, 196, LB, LBS… were all different types of Billiard shaped pipes and there were about 50(!), such codes for the Billiard shape alone. On top of those are a large variety of other shapes.

With the information on the 2 digit stamp not making clear enough the meaning of the number I turned to another link on Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Dunhill_Shapes_List) to a shape list that Eric Boehm put together for Dunhills.

I knew that the pipe shape number locked in a time period between 1920-1970 – a large time span that I needed to narrow down more clearly. I turned to another link on Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Dunhill_Shapes_List) to a shape list that Eric Boehm put together for Dunhills. I copied the four 2 digit numbers on Lovats from the list. The shape 40 was in the list.

Lovats:

37 Lovat, short, thick, saddle 1928 11

38 Lovat, long shank, saddle bit 3 4¾” 1928, 50, 60, 69 11

40 Lovat, long shank, saddle bit 4 5″ 1928, 1950, 1969 11

481 Lovat, long shank, saddle bit 1 5″ 1950, 1969 11

I turned next to dating the pipe. There is a 6 following the D in ENGLAND on the underside of the shank. The 6 is the same size as the D in England. I turned to the dating chart on Pipephil to pin down the date on this pipe (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/dunhill/cledat-en1a.html). I did a screen capture of Part 2 of the Dunhill Dating Key and included it below. I drew a red box around the section dating this pipe.Since the suffix is not raised but is the same size as the D in England I turned to the section with the information highlighted by the red box above. I knew then that the date of the pipe would be 1960 + 6 (suffix) = 1966.

Armed with that information I turned to work on the pipe itself. I started by working on the rim top of the bowl. I used a brass bristle wire brush to knock off the debris and clean out the crevices of the sandblast. It took a bit of work to loosen all the debris and remove the shellac that was covering it. I wanted to remove the shellac coat from the sandblast finish and thus also remove the debris that had been shellacked over on the rim top. I wiped it down with acetone on cotton pads to remove the finish from the surface of the pipe. The bowl looked better and the rim top also was much better. With the externals cleaned up and the lava and the shellac removed it looked much better. I needed to clean out the inside as well. I reamed the pipe with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife and scraped the cake back to bare briar. I sanded the walls smooth with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel. The inside of the bowl looked very good.I cleaned out the internals of the shank, mortise and airway in the stem with isopropyl alcohol (99%) and cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. It was a dirty pipe. With a bit of work it smell sweeter and was noticeably cleaner.I filled in some of the hollow spots in the previous repair with clear super glue. I was aiming to have it more even and filled in with the glue. Once the touch ups to the repair had cured I restained it with a Walnut stain pen to match the surrounding briar.The bowl looked very good at this point so I rubbed it down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl and shank with my fingertips and a horse hair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for about 10-15 minutes and buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the surface of the vulcanite stem with the flame of the lighter. I was able to lift all of the tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the stem. I sanded the surface of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to start the polishing. I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem and gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil to finish it. This Beautiful 1966 Rugged Sandblast Dunhill Shell Briar 40 Lovat is a great looking pipe with the little extra TLC I put in once I received it. The rich Shell Briar Sandblast finish that highlights the swirls of the grain and works well with the polished vulcanite stem. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Dunhill Shell Briar 40 Lovat is a Group 4 size pipe that will be a great smoker. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 33 grams/1.16 ounces. I am going to enjoy smoking this one I added to my own collection. I take a moment to remind myself and each of us that we are trustees of pipes that will outlive us and the lives of many other pipe men and women who carry on the trust of their care and use. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.

Resurrecting And Re-Stemming A Vintage Churchwarden Cutty With Reed Shank


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

The next pipe that I selected to work on is an old, rustic no name Cutty shaped pipe with a long thin Reed shank that ended in a round orifice when I saw it for the first time. Closer examination confirmed that the round orifice was threaded implying that the stem was MIA. This pipe came to us in 2019 while Abha was in Pune and I was away at my place of work, as a part of estate sale by a French gentleman on Etsy which I am yet to chronicle. There are some really good, interesting and collectible pipes in this lot that I am looking forward to work on in coming days.

This no name Cutty shaped pipe has a steep forward cant to the stummel. This forward rake appears more pronounced as the stummel itself tapers upwards towards the rim. The stummel is as delicately and beautifully shaped as a Tulip. Here are a few pictures of the pipe as it sits on my worktable.  The complete lack of stampings of any kind on the pipe means that the provenance of the pipe cannot be ascertained with documented evidence. However, given the shape, construction, condition and the materials used in making this pipe makes me believe that this was a locally made pipe from the early 20th century. I may be wrong in my appreciation (primarily dictated by inert desire/wish for this pipe to be an old timer!) as I am vastly inexperienced as compared to many of the esteemed readers of rebornpipes and would be glad to learn more about such pipes from them.

Having placed my request, I now move on to the initial visual inspection.

Initial Visual Inspection
As noted at the start of this write up, this pipe came with a threaded reed shank end that is now missing the stem that would have come with a threaded tenon to seat in to the shank. Given the retro and vintage look of the pipe, I think the stem would have been a bone/ horn or Amber with a bone tenon. So the first step in this restoration would have to be selecting a suitable bone stem with threaded tenon. The shank end face shows two cracks on opposite sides of the shank (encircled in yellow) which would need to be addressed. The stummel end of the reed is upturned, flared and hollowed with threads to seat the stummel and at the bottom of which is the short foot. The threaded surface is covered in dried oils and gunk causing the draught hole to clog. This would have to be cleaned and opened. The entire length of the shank is covered in dirt and grime giving it a dull and dirty appearance. The chamber has a decent layer of cake that is even from top to the bottom of the bowl. The rim top is covered in overflow of lava and hides any dents or chips on the smooth surface. The rim is significantly dark and thin on one side and is encircled in pastel blue. This makes the chamber out of round and gives a lopsided appearance to the top view of the stummel. The bottom of the stummel is threaded and seats atop the threaded reed shank. The threaded area shows heavy accumulation of oils, ash and gunk all around and even within the threads. Cleaning this area would ensure a flush and snug seating of the bowl over the shank.The briar has taken on a nice dark brown patina over a long period of time and prolonged use which when polished and cleaned, should contrast beautifully with the light hues of the long reed shank. There are a few dents and fills (marked in yellow circle) over the entire stummel surface that is visible through the dirt and grime that covers the surface. Truth be told, the stummel does not boast of complete flamboyant straight or bird’s eye or flame grains over the surface, but a mixed pattern of swirls and flame grains that is attractive enough to hold your attention. Preserving the deep brown aged patina will be the primary concern in this bowl refurbishing. The Process
I started the restoration of this pipe with the removal of the carbon cake from the walls of the chamber. Using my fabricated knife, I carefully removed the cake from the chamber to expose the chamber walls. It was heartening to note that there are no heat related issues in the surface of the walls. I smoothed out the surface by sanding the walls with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. To remove the last traces of residual carbon dust, I wiped the chamber with a cotton swab wetted with 99.9% pure alcohol. I further cleaned the draught hole at the bottom center of the bowl with a pointed dental tool. The hardened cake had greatly reduced the diameter of the draught hole and ran a pipe cleaner dipped in alcohol to clean it further.Next, I cleaned the threaded bottom of the stummel that seats atop the long reed shank with a dental tool. I scraped out the entire dried gunk that had accumulated in the hollow space as well as from in between the threads. I further cleaned the bottom of the stummel with q-tips and alcohol.With the preliminary cleaning of the internals of the stummel completed, I turned to cleaning the internals of the long reed shank. With my fabricated pointed tool and round needle file, the dried oils and tars that had formed a block at the neck of the shank and stummel junction was removed and cleaned. I scraped out all the dried debris from the surface of the shank end with a sharp dental tool. I ran a few long pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol through the airway of the stem till the pipe cleaners emerged white.I cleaned the exteriors of the stummel and the reed shank with Murphy’s Oil soap and a tooth brush. I ensured that all the tars and grime was cleaned from both the surfaces. This cleaning has revealed the exact extent of damage to the rim top surface. The area where the rim has thinned out also shows signs of charring which would need to be addressed. I dried the shank surface with a soft paper towel and ran a fluffy pipe cleaner through the shank airway to dry it out. Now that the stem surface is rid of the dirt and grime, the cracks at the shank end are clearly discernible and so is the surprise revelation of a crack at the base of the threaded portion of the shank (encircled in red).I marked the end points of the shank end cracks and that at the stummel end with marker pen under magnifying glass. I shall drill counter holes at the marked end of each of the crack to prevent the further spread of these cracks. I used a 1 mm drill bit mounted on my hand held rotary tool to drill the counter holes… …and filled these and the cracks with clear CA superglue. I set the reed shank aside for the superglue to cure. The external cleaning had not only exposed an additional crack at the stummel end of the shank, it had also exposed all the fills and dings over the stummel surface. With a thin sharp knife, I gouged out all the old fills from the surface and cleaned the area with isopropyl alcohol in preparation of filling these gouged out surfaces with a mix of briar dust and CA superglue. I use the layering method to fill these pits in the briar. After all the fills were repaired, I set the stummel aside for the fills to harden and cure completely.The shank repairs had cured by the following noon when I got back from work. Using a flat needle file, I evened out the fills to roughly match the rest of the shank surface. I fine tuned the match by sanding the fills with a folded piece of 320 grit sand paper. Did I mention having customized a sterling silver band for providing additional support against the crack’s lateral expansion? I guess not. Here in India, our local Silversmiths are very skilled in turning jewelry and at repairs right in front of their customers at very affordable rates. Steve and Jeff are witnesses to such craftsmanship when they had visited us in India. Long and short of the story is that I got a 1.5 inch long silver band customized for this shank and fixed it over the shank end with superglue. That crack isn’t going any further now.Now that the cracks have been repaired and stabilized, the next goal was to find the right stem to go with the overall profile of the pipe. I selected a couple of suitable bone stems from my stash of spares and asked for Abha’s opinion. She selected a horn stem that was perfectly matched in size and shape with the shank. However, the stem came with its own set of challenges. First, the tenon was broken with half of it sticking inside the stem and secondly, the top section of the stem surface was partially sliced (encircled in blue), but remained firmly attached. Notwithstanding these issues, the stem matched the profile of the pipe to the T and looks amazing. The first issue with the stem that I dealt with was removal of the broken half of the tenon. I mounted a drill bit slightly larger than the tenon opening on to my hand held rotary tool and carefully drilled it inside the tenon. Once the drill bit had a firm grip on the tenon, I turned the motor counter clockwise and dislodged the tenon remnants from the stem revealing a threaded stem end.I would need to identify a threaded bone tenon that would match the shank and stem threads for a perfectly aligned seating. I rummaged through my spare parts box and came up with a bone tenon that was threaded at one end and smooth conical shaped at the other end. The seating of the smooth side of the tenon into the stem was perfect and so was the threaded end into the shank end snug and aligned. The Pipe Gods are especially favoring me it seems. A perfectly matching, period correct horn stem and a perfectly matching bone tenon are nothing short of a miracle.Before fixing the tenon, I cleaned out the stem internals using anti-oil dish washing soap and thin shank brushes. I scrubbed the external surface with soap and Scotch Brite pad. Using paper towels and pipe cleaners, I dried the stem externals and airway respectively. I inserted a petroleum jelly (Vaseline) coated tapered pipe cleaner through the tenon and stem airway and out through the round orifice opening at the slot end. This serves two purposes, firstly, perfect alignment of the tenon and stem airway is ensured and secondly, the petroleum jelly prevents the superglue from seeping into the airway and clogging it shut once the glue has dried. I roughed out the smooth surface of the tenon with a needle file to provide better bonding surface and applied superglue over the smooth surface of the tenon and over the threads in the stem and inserted the tenon into the stem. I wiped the excess glue from the surface and held the two together for the glue to harden a bit and then set it aside for the superglue to harden completely. While the stem was set aside for the glue to cure, I sanded the stummel fills with a flat needle file. To further even out the filled areas and address the minor dents and dings over the stummel surface, I sanded it with a worn out piece of 220 grit sand paper till smooth.Next I addressed the issue of the charred and out of round chamber. I began with topping the rim over a 220 grit sand paper, frequently checking for the progress being made. I stopped once the charred surface was reduced to an acceptable- to- me level and the thickness of the rim top was close to even all round. To get the chamber back to round, I created a bevel over the inner and outer edge with a folded piece of 180 grit sand paper. I am pretty pleased with the progress being made thus far.While I had been working on the stummel, the tenon fix to the stem had set solid. I checked the seating of the tenon in to the shank end and it was snug and perfectly aligned.There was this issue of sliced top surface on the stem which I addressed next. I applied clear CA superglue over and under the sliced surface and set the stem aside to cure. I sprayed an accelerator over the superglue to hasten the process of curing. Once the stem repairs were set, with a needle file, I sanded the fill to achieve a rough match with the stem surface. I further fine tuned the match by sanding the entire stem surface with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I applied a little EVO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) to the reed shank and stem and set it aside to be absorbed into the surface. While the shank and stem were set aside to absorb the EVO, I dry sanded and polished the stummel surface with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. Dry sanding with micromesh pads helps to preserve the patina of the old briar and is a trick I use when restoring all my vintage pipes. I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration” balm which moisturizes and enlivens the briar. I let the stummel absorb the balm for 15- 20 minutes and then gave the stummel a rigorous hand buff with a micromesh cloth. The transformation in the appearance of the stummel is phenomenal and immediate. With the stummel now refurbished and rejuvenated, I turned my attention back to the shank and horn stem. I polished the shank and stem by wet sanding using 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. I rubbed a little “Before and After” balm in to the reed shank and a little EVO in to the stem. All that remained was a polish with Blue Diamond compound and final wax coating using Carnauba Wax. I mounted a cotton buffing wheel earmarked for Blue Diamond compound on to my hand held rotary tool and applied a coat of the compound over the stummel surface to polish out the minor scratches. With a cotton buffing wheel that I use for carnauba wax, I applied a coat of carnauba wax to the stummel and stem and continued to work on it till the complete coat of wax had been polished out. I mounted a clean cotton cloth buffing wheel and gave the entire pipe a once over buff. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine further. The finished pipe is shown below. This pipe shall find its way to my collection based purely on its delicate stunning looks and uniqueness of the shape. P.S. The Pipe God was definitely smiling down upon me as I worked this pipe. Rarely does it happen that the replacement stem is a perfect size match and the new tenon is period correct and fits in the shank like a glove.

The most difficult part of this restoration for me was…can you guess? Please let me know your guess in the comments below and a big thank you for your valuable time in reading the write up.

Praying for you and yours… Be safe and stay safe.

Restemming & Restoring a Malaga Mixed Finish Pot  


Blog by Steve Laug

This morning I went through my box of stummels (bowls) here and picked out a Pot shaped bowl that had some promise to me. I went through my can of stems and found an oval shaped stem with the casting marks on the sides and button end. The pipe I chose to work on is an interesting Malaga Pot with a mixture of rusticated portions and smooth portions on the bowl and shank sides. I have worked on a lot of Malaga pipes in the past so I am not a stranger to the brand. I have included the link below to a bit of history on the brand that I compiled.

The bowl looked very good. The grain around the sides was quite nice and a mix of flame and birdseye grain. The rim top was rusticated as were some patches on the front, the sides and the bottom of the shank. The inner edge of the bowl showed some wear. There was a hairline crack on the underside of the shank that extended about ¼ inch up the shank. The interior of the bowl was clean and there were not any chips, cracks or checking on the walls. Examining the mortise there was a snapped off tenon in the shank. It was crumbling and would need to be pulled. The finish was washed out and bit and tired but still quite redeemable. The stamping on the pipe was clear and readable. On the topside it read MALAGA and no other stamping was on the shank. I took some photos of the bowl before I started to work on it. I took a photo of the stamping on the topside of the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable. I went through some of stems and found an oval vulcanite stem blank. It was the right diameter and once I turned the tenon it would fit the shank. It has casting marks on the sides and on the button end. I also found a unique sterling silver band that fit the shank. It was shaped like a belt and buckle and would look very good.I have worked on quite a few Malaga pipes and blogged their restorations, so rather than repeat previous blogs, I am including the link to one that gives some of the history of the Malaga brand and the Malaga Pipe Shop in Royal Oak, Michigan in the USA from a catalogue. It gives a sense of the brand and the history in their own words. Follow the link to get a feel for the brand and the pipemaker – https://rebornpipes.com/2013/02/09/george-khoubesser-and-malaga-pipes/.

With that information in hand I turned to work on the bowl. There was a broken off tenon in the shank. I tried to pull it with a screw and then moved on to drill it out. I started with a bit a little larger than the tenon in the airway and worked my way up to the size of the shank. When I removed the bit the pieces of tenon fell out on the table top. With the mortise clean I was ready to move on to the next part of the clean up.I cleaned up the rustication on the rim top with a brass bristle wire brush to remove the debris in the rustication. It cleaned up well. I used a Black Sharpie Pen to restain the rustication on the rim top and the sides of the bowl. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 10 minutes then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The grain really came alive. It looks better than when I began. The crack on the underside of the shank was a mere hairline what was not long or wide so it would be an easy repair with a bit of glue and a band. I painted the shank end with some all-purpose white glue. I spread it with a dental spatula and pressed the band in place on the shank.I polished the Sterling Silver belt band with some silver polish and a jeweler’s cloth. I was able to remove the tarnish and the band looked very good. I took pictures of the banded shank to show the look of it. Notice that the belt buckle is on the top and the A of the Malaga is perfectly framed on the right side by the buckle. With the bowl finished it was time to focus on the stem. I took out the stem and the Pimo tenon turning tool and set up the tool in my cordless drill. I put the guiding pin in the airway on the stem and adjusted the cutting head. I held the stem in place and carefully turned the tool on the tenon. I used a flat file to smooth out the tenon to fit in the shank. I put the stem in shank for a sense of the look of the pipe. The stem fit well and it looked like it belonged. I sanded the castings off the edges of the stem and the button with 220 grit sandpaper before I took the photo.I removed the stem and worked on it next. I smoothed out remnants of the castings and the scratches in the surface of the vulcanite with 220 grit sandpaper. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a cloth and Obsidian Oil. I finished the polishing with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. I put the pipe back together – the bowl with its new stem. This restored Malaga Oil Cured Pot with rusticated panels is a real beauty and I think the Sterling Silver Belt band and the chosen stem works well with it. The grain on the bowl came alive with the buffing. I used Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel on both the bowl and stem. I gave both multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel then buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The Malaga Pot feels great in the hand. It is lightweight and the contrast in the browns of the briar, the Silver band and the polished vulcanite stem with the popping grain on the mixed brown stained bowl is quite amazing. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 1 inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.59 ounces/45 grams. It really is a beauty. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store in the American (US) Pipe Makers section shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Thanks for walking through the restemming and the restoration with me. Cheers.

The Prince of Pipes


Blog by Kenneth Lieblich

One of my dearest friends contacted me recently to inquire if I could repair and restore a pipe that belongs to his father. His father told me that the pipe had been given to him by his wife (my friend’s mother) as a graduation gift in 1967. I was only too happy to oblige – not just to help my friend, but to raise this beautiful pipe back to life. The pipe is from The House of Bewlay and is a Prince shape. Just as an aside, the shape was named after Prince Albert, the Prince of Wales, who later became King Edward VII (1841–1910). What a gorgeous pipe! I must admit that the prince is one of my favourite pipe shapes (and possibly my outright favourite). This one is the epitome of elegance in pipe smoking. The pipe’s markings read Bewlay [over] Deluxe [over] London Made. The other side of the pipe read Made in [over] England and the shape number, 258. This corresponds nicely with a Bewlay catalogue from the late 60s, as you can see in the photo below. One additional piece of information that was useful was the date of the gift: 1967. This certainly gives us a good idea of the time period from which this pipe dates. Let us read a bit more about Bewlay from the Pipedia article:

The English brand of Bewlay & Co. Ltd. (formerly Salmon & Gluckstein Ltd.), was in business from the early 20th century until the 1950s. The brand ended up being sold and taken over by Imperial Tobacco Co. The shop chain closed in the 1980s but there seems to be one shop still in business on Carr Lane in the city of Hull. Bewlay pipes were made by prestigious firms. Notably Barling, Charatan, Loewe & Co., Sasieni, Huybrecht, and Orlik. So understandably, the English considered a Bewlay pipe a quality pipe.Anyway, on to the pipe – and what a beauty it was. However, it was not without its issues. The stummel had the following problems: lava on the rim, a notable burn to the rim, plenty of cake in the bowl, strange stain patterns, and – most serious of all – a nasty crack to the shank. Meanwhile, the stem had its own set of problems: the ‘B’ logo was nearly obliterated, some oxidation and calcification, and minor tooth marks and dents. This pipe was not going to be too tough, but I needed to be especially careful to ensure the crack would be repaired perfectly – so it could be used for many years to come. The stem was first on my list. I took a BIC lighter and ‘painted’ the stem with its flame in order to lift the tooth marks. This was reasonably successful in raising the dents. Then, I cleaned out the insides of the stem with pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. It was dirty, but not too bad and I went through a decent number of pipe cleaners in order to clean it up. I also soaked the stinger in lemon-infused isopropyl alcohol. This loosened everything up and I was able to clean it up very nicely. Once this process was done, the stem went for an overnight soak in the Before & After Hard Rubber Deoxidizer. The following day, I cleaned all of the de-oxidizing sludge off with alcohol, pipe cleaners, et cetera. The oxidation had migrated to the surface and would be fairly straightforward to remove. I scrubbed vigorously with SoftScrub to remove the leftover oxidation. Before I moved on to the Micromesh pads, I built up the small dents on the stem with cyanoacrylate adhesive and let them fully cure. I then sanded it down with 220-, 400-, and 600-grit sandpapers to meld the repair seamlessly into the stem. This ensures that it keeps its shape and looks like it should. I then used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to bring out the lovely black lustre on the stem. I also used Obsidian Pipe Stem Oil in between each pad scrubbing.I then took the opportunity to repair the “B” logo on the stem. It had faded – both by loss of paint over time and also by fingers inadvertently smoothing out the “B” over time. So, I added some acrylic paint with a paint brush, let it dry, and buffed it to make it look good. The “B” is back, but, as later photos reveal, a little bit has disappeared into history.

On to the stummel, and the usual cleaning procedures were in order for this pipe. I used both the PipNet Reamer and the KleenReem to remove the built-up cake and followed that with 220-grit sandpaper to remove as much as I could. I wanted to take the bowl down to bare briar to ensure there were no hidden flaws in the walls of the bowl. Fortunately, there were none. I then proceeded to clean out the insides of the shank with Q-tips, pipe cleaners, and isopropyl alcohol. There was some nastiness inside this stummel, but fortunately not too much – it only took a handful of pipe cleaners etc. to sort that out. I followed that up by cleaning the insides with some dish soap and tube brushes. I then moved on to cleaning the outside of the stummel with Murphy’s Oil Soap and some cotton pads. That removed any latent dirt. By the way, I deliberately did not de-ghost this pipe – I wanted to leave as much of the original tobacco essence as I could for the owner.As I mentioned earlier, there was some lava and a substantial burn on the rim of the stummel that also needed to be addressed. In order to minimize the impact of both, I “topped” the pipe – that is to say, I gently and evenly sanded down the rim on a piece of 220-grit sandpaper. This effectively removed the lava and most the damage, without altering the look of the pipe. However, I had to stop short of removing it all, otherwise the look of the pipe would have been altered. For the remaining bits of burn, I took some oxalic acid on a Q-tip and rubbed and rubbed and rubbed! The burn site did improve but never fully disappeared. It would be a permanent feature of the pipe going forward. I took solace from the fact that the burn did not affect the integrity of the wood. I then took a solid wooden sphere, wrapped sandpaper around it, and gently sanded the opening of the tobacco chamber. This was to achieve on the inner part of the rim the same thing that I achieved by “topping” on sandpaper. On to the major issue with this pipe: the crack in the shank. Naturally, Steve had the answers to all of this pipe’s problems. He explained that my first step was to ensure that the crack would not continue to creep after I had repaired it. To that end, I took a micro-drill bit, inserted it in my Dremel, and very carefully drilled a hole right through the wall of the shank. This was quite nerve-wracking, but it worked perfectly. I then needed to apply cyanoacrylate adhesive to the crack in order to seal and repair it. First, however, I used a Q-tip and a folded pipe cleaner to coat the inside of the shank with petroleum jelly. This would prevent the adhesive from dripping inside the shank and creating further problems. That done, I carefully applied a bead of adhesive to the tiny hole and the length of the crack. Finally, I clamped it shut and let it sit overnight to cure. This was a great success – obviously, the crack would always be visible, but I was really pleased with how the repair looked.Before moving on to sanding, there were a couple of small nicks on the underside of the stummel that I needed to sort out. I dug out my iron and a damp cloth to try and raise the nicks. The hot and moist steam created can often cause the wood to swell slightly and return to shape. There was some movement – not a lot, but it was better than doing nothing. I filled the remaining divots with cyanoacrylate adhesive. Now, with the crack repaired and the nicks filled, it was time to sand down the stummel. Just like the stem, I used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to sand everything smooth. A light application of Before & After Restoration Balm brought out the best in the stummel’s grain. All of the work I had done to this point had taken its toll on the colour of the wood. Originally, there was a lovely sort of brownish-Burgundy colour on this pipe, and I wanted to restore this as best I could – and I also wanted to ensure that we got rid of that weird mottling. In order to bring back some life to this pipe, I opted for aniline dye. I dragged out some of Fiebing’s Oxblood Leather Dye, but it looked too reddish to me. Instead, I experimented with mixing to see what I could come up with. I made my own concoction of Oxblood and Medium Brown dyes, painted the stummel, and then applied flame in order to set the colour. Furthermore, since it is an alcohol-based dye, I was able to adjust the colour to my liking by applying my own isopropyl alcohol to the colour. Let it sit overnight and it worked like a charm!Then it was off for a trip to the buffer. A dose of White Diamond and a few coats of carnauba wax were just what this pipe needed. Now that the wood was looking all spiffy, I had to circle back and complete the repair on the crack in the shank. It needed a tight-fighting band to ensure that the crack would never open up again. I went to my jar of bands and picked one that looked good. I heated it up and then messed it up! See the photos. I did not apply even pressure as I was attaching the band, so it went mush. Fortunately, I had more bands and I did a much better job of getting the next one on. I glued it in place and let that set. It looked very dapper. I polished up the band with a 12,000-grit MicroMesh pad. I also went back to the buffer with both the stem and stummel, gave them a final application of White Diamond and carnauba wax, and brought out that lovely shine.In the end, what a beauty this pipe is! It is an elegant pipe, from a very fine maker. It obviously meant a great deal to its owner, and I was delighted to bring it back to life. Once the pipe was returned to its owner, he told me that it looked better than when it was new! Although I am not sure I agree with that, I am very pleased that he is very pleased. As I mentioned before, the prince is one of my favourite shapes and it was great fun to work on this one. I hope you enjoyed reading the story of this pipe as much I as I did restoring it. If you are interested in more of my work, please follow me here on Steve’s website or email me directly at kenneth@knightsofthepipe.com. Thank you very much for reading and, as always, I welcome and encourage your comments.

Restemming & Restoring a “Malaga” Lovat


Blog by Steve Laug

Sometimes the repetitive work on similar pipes and stems gets tiring to me and to alleviate the inevitable boredom I change things up a bit to refresh me. I have a box of stummels (bowls) here that I periodically go through and see if I have a potential stem that would fit them. Yesterday when I finished the old timer on my work I went through the box and picked out three bowls and found workable stems for them. All were in different states of need but all had been thoroughly cleaned before I boxed them up. The first restemmed and restored was a ZETTERVIG Copenhagen Handmade 900 Egg (https://rebornpipes.com/2021/09/04/restemming-restoring-a-zettervig-copenhagen-hand-made-900-egg/). The next one I chose to work on is a lovely Malaga Lovat stummel.  I have worked on a lot of Malaga pipes in the past so I am not a stranger to the brand. I have included the link below to a bit of history on the brand that I compiled.

The bowl looked very good. The grain around the sides was quite nice and a mix of flame and birdseye grain. The rim top had some burn damage on the rear top and inner edge and some darkening all the way around. The bowl was slightly out of round. There was a crack in the underside of the shank that extended about ½ inch up the shank. The interior of the bowl was clean and there were not any chips, cracks or checking on the walls. Examining the mortise it was clean and well drilled with no issues other than the previously noted crack. The finish was washed out and bit and tired but still quite redeemable. The stamping on the pipe was clear and readable. On the left side it read “MALAGA” and on the right side it read IMPORTED BRIAR. I took some photos of the bowl before I started to work on it. I took a photo of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable.I went through some of stems and found this saddle style stem without a tenon. It had been drilled for a tenon but it had never been finished. It was the right diameter and it fit the shank and the look of the pipe very well. It has a few tooth marks and chatter near the button but it would clean up well.I have worked on quite a few Malaga pipes and blogged their restorations, so rather than repeat previous blogs, I am including the link to one that gives some of the history of the Malaga brand and the Malaga Pipe Shop in Royal Oak, Michigan in the USA from a catalogue. It gives a sense of the brand and the history in their own words. Follow the link to get a feel for the brand and the pipemaker – https://rebornpipes.com/2013/02/09/george-khoubesser-and-malaga-pipes/.

With that information in hand I turned to work on the bowl. I addressed the crack in the shank first. I cleaned it and smoothed it out. I used an awl and pressed a small hole in the shank at the end of the crack. I filled in the crack with clear CA glue and pressed it together until it cured. I pressed a brass band onto the end of the shank to further address the crack. It serves that function and also gives it a bit of bling. With that repaired I turned to deal with the rim top issues. I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out and minimize the damage on the rim top. I used a small wooden ball that Kenneth gave me recently to give the inner edge a bevel to minimize the burn on the inner edge and bring the bowl back to round.I shortened the tenon to fit the shank of the pipe. I used the Dremel and sanding drum to remove the shoulder at the top of the tenon above the threads. I shaped the tenon fit with a small file and sanded it smooth. I glued the threaded end of the tenon with clear CA glue and pressed it into the stem. It cures quickly so it is key to move quickly and set it well as  you only get one chance! I put the stem in shank for a sense of the look of the pipe and then wiped the bowl down with alcohol on a cotton pad to remove the debris from the sanding and that was still in the surface of the briar. I liked what I saw. The grain was really quite nice and the band and new stem worked well with the pipe. I removed the stem and polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down with a damp cloth after each pad. It really began to shine. I stained the rim top and edges with a Maple stain pen to match the rest of the stain around the bowl sides. The rim top and inner edge look very good.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the smooth briar with my finger tips. The product is amazing and works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let it sit on the briar for 10 or more minutes and then buff it off with a soft cloth. It really makes the grain sing. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the stem surface with a Bic lighter flame to raise the tooth marks. I was able to lift all of them to the surface. I smoothed out what remained with 220 grit sandpaper and started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a cloth and Obsidian Oil. I finished the polishing with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. I put the pipe back together – the bowl with its new stem. This restored “Malaga” Imported Briar Oil Cured Lovat is a real beauty and I think the brass band and the chosen stem works well with it. The grain on the bowl came alive with the buffing. I used Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel on both the bowl and stem. I gave both multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel then buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The “Malaga” Lovat feels great in the hand. It is lightweight and the contrast in the browns of the briar, the brass of the band and the polished vulcanite stem with the popping grain on the mixed brown stained bowl is quite amazing. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.34 ounces/38 grams. It really is a beauty. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store in the American (US) Pipe Makers section shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Thanks for walking through the restemming and the restoration with me. Cheers.

Restoring and Repairing a Cracked Shank on a John Surrey Ltd Super Panel Lovat


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table is one that we picked up back in 2018 and have no clear record of where and when we picked it up. The shape is what attracted us to the pipe. It is a unique shape with the panels on the bowl and the short Lovat style shank with a saddle stem. The finish was dirty with grime ground into the finish around the bowl sides. There were also some cracks in right side mid shank and on the lower part as well. The cracks were in the middle of some fills on that side of the bowl. There was a thick cake in the bowl and lava overflow on the top of the rim. There was also tobacco debris in the bowl. The stem was lightly oxidized and there were tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads SUPER. On the right side it reads IMPORTED BRIAR. On the underside it is stamped John Surrey Ltd. The stamping is all clear and readable. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and well as the nicks, lava and darkening on the rim top. The inner and outer edges of the bowl were in great condition. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the light oxidation and the chatter and tooth marks.  Jeff took a photo the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of the beautiful grain around the bowl and shank. He also took a photo of the fills and damage to the right and underside of the shank – there were fills that had fallen out and there was a crack that needed attention.The stamping on the sides of the shank is clear and readable and read as noted above. Jeff did not take a photo of the John Surrey Ltd. stamp on the underside of the shank. I turned to Pipephil’s site and looked for information on the John Surrey Ltd pipe company (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-j3.html). I found that the company, John Surrey, Ltd. was originally located at 509 Fifth Avenue New York City, New York in the USA. I also did a screen capture of the section on the brand. Interestingly the Super line is not included in the list but all of the other pipes in the section are stamped with the same style stamping as the one I am working on. The closest one is the John Surrey Ltd. Imported Briar Super Deluxe. It is possible that the Deluxe stamp is worn off on this one but it is not clear.I turned to Pipedia in the US pipe makers section to see if I could find some more information on the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/John_Surrey_Ltd.). I found a short summary which I include below regarding the brand.

John Surrey Ltd. made John Surrey pipes. They were based at 509 Fifth Ave, New York. And in 1948 the company put a pipe on the market which sold very successfully: the Slugger Baseball Pipe (shank and stem like a baseball bat, and bowl similar to a baseball).

That was the extent of the information so it was not time to work on the pipe. Jeff had cleaned up the pipe following his usual procedures. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with 99% isopropyl alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe once I received it. The crowned rim top cleaned up really well. The rim top had a lot of nicks and deep gouges in it but the inner and outer edge of the bowl appeared to be in good condition. The stem surface looked very good and the tooth marks chatter on the stem on both sides near the button could probably be sanded out. The stamping on the sides of the shank is readable and reads as noted above.  I removed the stem and took two photos of the pipe to give a sense of the shape and the grain on the bowl and shank. It was a unique shape and would be a beautiful pipe when I was finished. I took a series of photos of the cracks on the shank and flaws where the putty fills had fallen out.I decided to start my work on the pipe by dealing with the damage on the shank end. I filled in the crack and the damaged fills with briar dust and clear CA glue. I found a thin brass band in my band collection that was a perfect fit on the shank so once the repair had cured and I sanded it down I fitted a band. I put a thin bead of glue around the shank end and pressed the band in place. It bound the repaired areas together and it gave the shank a touch of bling. I took some photos of the banded shank to give a picture of what I was seeing! I dealt with the damage to the rim top by topping it on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. Like so many other things in this process I also would need to redo the crowned rim top once I was finished.I wiped the bowl down with acetone on a cotton pad to remove the heavy stain around parts of the bowl sides. I wanted really be able to see the grain on the bowl. I also used this in preparation for reworking the bowl crown.I used a flat file to take down the outer edge and bevel it to bring the crowned rim back to the top of the bowl. I sanded the outer filed edge and the inner edge to give a slight inward bevel with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the file marks and fine tune the shape of the rim.I polished the newly shaped rim top and edges along with the rest of the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. It was beginning to look good to my eyes. I forgot to take a photo of the underside at this point. I paused the polishing to stain the rim top and edges of the bowl with an Oak Stain Pen. I wanted to see if I could blend it into the bowl sides. I also touched up the light spots on the bowl sides at the same time. Once I finished that I buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel and returned to finish the polishing with 6000-12000 grit micromesh pads. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for ten minutes then buffed the bowl with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” both sides of the stem with the flame of a lighter to lift the tooth marks. It did a great job and left only one deep mark on the underside and some lighter tooth marks on the topside along the button. I filled them in with clear CA glue and once it cured I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the repairs. I started polishing it with 400 grit sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.This John Surrey Ltd. Super Imported Briar Panel Lovat is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The combination of various brown stains around the bowl is quite beautiful and highlights grain very well. The finish works well with the thin brass band on the shank end and the polished vulcanite saddle stem. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished John Surrey Ltd. Super Panel Lovat sits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 4 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ inch. The weight of the pipe is 38 grams/1.34 ounces. I will be putting it on the American (US) Pipemakers section of the rebornpipes store shortly. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Restoring and Repairing a Cracked Shank & Broken Tenon on a Portland oval shank 60 Egg


Blog by Steve Laug

I am still doing some repairs for a local pipe shop and this one came from a referral from them. I have fixed several pipes for this particular pipeman in Vancouver including banding, restoring and fitting a new stem. He stopped by last weekend and dropped off a pipe to be reamed and cleaned and also this relatively new pipe that he had dropped. It is an interesting looking pipe with mix of nice grain around the bowl sides. It was stamped on the underside of the shank and read Portland [over] Bruyere Garantie followed by the shape number 60 near the shank/stem junction. He had only smoked it a couple of times before he dropped it. The stem snapped off leaving the tenon in the shank. When I looked it over there were also cracks on the top of the shank that happened at the same time. The stem was dirtier than the bowl but overall it was in good condition. I took some photos of the pipe before I started working on it. I took photos of the rim top and the stem surfaces to chronicle the condition. The rim had some darkening from his lighter toward the right front of the bowl and on the back side. There was not any cake in the bowl as it was still quite new. The stem was just dirty with light tooth marks on both sides near the button. The tenon had snapped off very close to the stem so it would be a simple process to add a new tenon.I took a photo of the stamping on the shank underside. It is clear and readable.I took a photo of the parallel cracks on the top of the shank. These were hairline but they were present and though you cannot see it they go to the end of the shank.I began my work on this pipe by pulling the broken tenon. I always use a coarse threaded screw and gently turn it into the airway in the broken tenon. I carefully wiggle it free. If it is tight a short 10 minutes in the freezer takes care of that. I went through my box of tenons and found a threaded one that was close to the diameter of the older broken tenon. It would need to be shaped but it would work.Before working on the stem I decided to put the band on the shank and repair the crack and protect it from going further. They are very fine cracks and I decided not to drill it as the hole would be bigger than the cracks. A tight fitting band would pull it together. I reduced the depth of the band with a topping board to make it thin and give a daintier look than the big clunky band. It is a thin brass band and it is pressure fit in place on the shank. I heated the band with a lighter and pressed it onto the shank. I like the look of the banded shank in the photos below.With the band fitted it was time to work on the tenon and the stem. I used my Dremel and sanding drum to make the tenon smaller in diameter to match the shank. I worked on it until the fit in the shank was snug but not tight.With that finished it was time to drill out the stem. I used the Dremel and sanding drum to flatten out the broken tenon end on the face of the stem. I started drilling with a bit slightly larger than the airway and finished with a bit that would allow the threaded tenon to fit the stem.I do not tap the drilled hole in the stem. Rather I flatten out the threads slightly as they provided the grip for the glue when I insert the tenon in the stem. I coated the threaded tenon end with black superglue which dries more slowly than the regular glue and allows me to make adjustments in the fit. I checked the fit in the shank and was pleased with it. I set the stem aside so the glue could cure.I turned my attention to polishing the bowl. I polished it with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the briar down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. The pipe really began to take on a shine as I worked through the pads. I rubbed the briar down with some Before & After Restoration Balm. It works to protect, clean and enliven the briar. I rub it in with my finger tips and let it sit for 10 minutes. I buff it off with a cotton cloth to remove the excess and give the bowl a shine. I polished the stem and new tenon with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I dry sanded with the pads and wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I finished the polishing with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final rubdown with Obsidian Oil.I put the stem back on the bowl and polished the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to give it a shine. I gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. I took some photos of the pipe before calling the pipeman to pick up his pipe. I am pleased with the look of the Portland Bruyere Garantie 60 Egg and the fit of the repair band and the stem to the shank. I think it will meet his expectations when he picks it up later today. Thanks for walking through the repair with me in this blog. Cheers.

Repairing and adding a touch of antiquity to a Chacom Meridien Diamond Shank 811 Dublin


Blog by Steve Laug

I was scanning through Facebook Marketplace and came across a collection of four pipes that were being sold near where I live in Vancouver. I messaged the individual and it turned out it was an animal rescue/hospital thrift shop. They were selling the four pipes and the rack with all proceeds going to their charity. My second daughter and I made the drive over to visit and have a look at the pipes. I have included the photo from the advertisement to show the pipes and their condition. The label on the sale was inaccurate but I could see what at least three of the pipes were and I was interested. After I parked in front of the shop and I went in and the clerk brought out the pipes and rack so I could have a look. In the order they are in the rack from left to right the pipes were as follows: A GBD Tapestry 1970 Shape (Banker), a Brigham 228 two dot sitter in a shape I had not seen before, a Chacom Meridien 811 Dublin with a diamond shank, and a Kriswill Saga140. The Brigham and the Chacom both had cracks. The Brigham had a hairline crack in the bowl and Chacom had a cracked shank. I paid the price we agreed on for the pipes and headed home.

I wrote Charles Lemon of Dad’s Pipes who is the go to guy for all things Brigham and asked him about the pipe. He said it was a shape he did not have and did not have on his shape chart. I thought about it overnight and sent it off to him on Monday morning. I look forward to his blog on this pipe as it is a really Danish looking Brigham.

That left me with three pipes to work on. Since the Chacom had the crack it was the hardest of the three to deal with so I chose that one. I really like the shape of the pipe and the way that the diamond shank flows in to the crowned Dublin bowl. The pipe was a bit of a mess. The bowl had not only a thick cake in it but also about a ¼ bowl of old tobacco that was unsmoked. The cake in the bowl had erupted onto the crowned rim top and left it a mess. The edges were covered so it was hard to know what was underneath the lava. The shank was cracked on the top right side of the diamond at the end. The briar was filthy with ground in grit and grime. The stamping on the pipe was minimal. On the left side it read Chacom [over] Meridien. On the underside of the shank near the stem/shank joint it had the shape number 811. On the right side there are very faint stamping that appears to read Made in France or possibly St. Claude France. The stem had the Chacom CC metal oval inset on the left side of the saddle. There was a lot of oxidation, calcification and tooth marks on chatter on both side. It was worn but repairable. I took photos of the pipe as it was when I brought it home.  I took some close up shots of the bowl and rim top along with the stem to show the condition of both. The photo of the rim top also shows the crack on the shank on the back top right side at the shank end. I have circled it in red to make it clear. The photos of the stem show its condition. You can see the oxidation, calcification and tooth marking in the photos below.I took photos of the stamping on the shank sides and have included them below. They read as noted above. Some of the stamping is very faint but readable with a lens. You can also see that the stem is stamped FRANCE on the right underside near the shank.I took a photo of the pipe with the stem removed to give a sense of the beauty of the shape. It is a nice looking pipe.I turned to Pipephil’s site for a quick overview of the brand (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-chacom.html). I have included that below. The Meridien Line is not included on the site.

The brand Chacom Chacom, créateur et distributeur de pipes turned up (1934) after fusion of Chapuis-Comoy with La Bruyère. Yves Grenard (†2012), second cousin of Pierre Comoy headed the company from 1971. He was responsible for Chapuis Comoy’s recovering its independance from Comoy. His son Antoine Grenard took over the direction of the company in 2007. Chacom is a brand of Cuty-Fort Entreprises (Jeantet, Vuillard, Jean Lacroix, Ropp …).

Pipedia has a great history write up on the Chacom brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Chacom). It gives a simple and concise timeline for the history. Once again there was nothing on either the line of the shape 811. Worth the read however. With that out of the way it was time to work on the pipe.

I began my work on the pipe by reaming out the cake. I started the process with a PipNet piper reamer to remove the thickest part of the cake. I cleaned up the cake with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to remove the rest of the cake. I took it back to bare briar then sanded the bowl with piece of dowel wrapped with 220 grit sandpaper. Once it was finished the bowl was clean. With cake removed on the inside, I scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime ground into the briar and to remove the buildup of lava on the rim top and edges. It really was a nice looking piece of briar. I worked over the inner edge of the rim top with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I worked to remove the darkening on the edge and to smooth out the edge. It came out looking quite good.I took a photo of the crack on the top right side of the diamond shank. I filled in the crack with some clear super glue and pressed the parts together until the glue cured and the crack was joined.I cleaned out the mortise, the airway into the bowl and the airway in the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. It was very dirty with tars and oils and took a lot of swabs and pipe cleaners.I dropped the stem into a soak of Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and set it aside for the night. While it soaked I worked on banding the cracked shank.I went through my collection of bands and found a really interesting one from the late 1800s. It is brass band with carved vines and floral patterns. I really like the look of the shank with the old band on it. I used a topping board and sandpaper to reduce the depth of the band. I wanted to thin it down enough so that when pressed into place on the shank it would leave as much of the stamping clear as possible. I pressed it on the shank. You can see that it cut off the right leg of M in Chacom. Otherwise it looks really good. I glued it in place on the shank and took photos of the banded pipe. I really like the look of the pipe with the antique band. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each pad to remove the debris. The bowl began to take on a deep shine. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the finish my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The product brought the briar to life and gave some depth to the finish. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I took it out of the Briarville Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I rubbed it down with a coarse cloth. While it removed a lot of the grit and oxidation it left a bunch behind. I scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub to remove the softened oxidation on the stem surface. I have found that it works wonders. I used a small file to clean up the edges of the button  and smooth out some of the tooth marks. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the file marks. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it further with Before & After Fine and Extra Fine Stem Polishes. I wiped it down a final time with Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I really like the addition of the gold coloured fancy band from the late 1800s to this Chacom Meridien 811 Diamond Shank Dublin. I put the stem on the shank and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the stem and bowl multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it to deepen the shine. The grain on the briar came alive with the buffing and the gold of the band was a great contrast between the briar and the polished vulcanite stem. The dimensions of the pipe are – Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside Diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Diameter of the Chamber: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.02 ounces/29 grams. It is really a great looking pipe. The new repaired shank and golden coloured cast band really work well together. I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store in the French Pipe Makers section shortly. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me. Cheers.