Tag Archives: repairing a cracked shank

Repairing a Trio of His Dad’s Pipes for a fellow here in Vancouver – Part One


Blog by Steve Laug

Last week I received a call from a fellow pipeman, Keith here in Vancouver who had been referred to me by City Cigar, a local pipe and cigar shop in the city. He was a soft spoken gentleman who had a request for me. In January  this year his Dad died and he had three of his Dad’s pipes that he wanted restored in memory of his Dad. He also was a pipe smoker so he fully intended to enjoy them for a long time as he smoked them in his Dad’s honour. I told him to send me some photos of the pipes so I would know what I was dealing with.

I received the email below from Keith that included the photos of the pipes that he wanted me to work on. He even went to the trouble of marking the trouble with each of the pipes that needed work.

Hi Steve,

Glad your call back today, my name is Keith, I got your contact from City Cigar. My dad has three pipes include two Dr Plumb DINKY and one not sure brand. My dad passed this year January and I looking for fix those pipes which had broken and cracked, understand they are not expensive pipes but for me is priceless memory…

…Have a wonderful day!

Best regards

Keith

I called him as soon as I received the photos and talked over what I saw when I looked them over. We struck a deal and he dropped them off to me late on Friday afternoon and I started to work on them a bit over the weekend. All three pipes needed varying degrees of work on them. Two were Dr. Plumb Dinky Bent Billiards and one was a Real Briar Dublin. I decided to work on them in the order of the photos that he sent me.

The first of them is a Dr. Plum Dinky Bent Billiard. It was probably in the roughest shape in many ways. It had a crack on the back right and middle of the exterior of the bowl. Neither were spread and they both had stopped cracking but they were significant. In the first photo below that  Keith sent he noted one of the cracks with the blue arrow. I inserted a second arrow (red) to show the location of the second crack. The second photo below also shows a crack in the shank on the underside as Keith noted with a blue arrow. That photo also clearly shows the crack on the back of the bowl that I have noted with a red arrow. Keith also included a photo of the side view of the pipe and the condition of the stem. The bowl had a thick coat of varnish that would need to be cleaned up before I repaired the cracks. The stem was heavily oxidized, calcified and had tooth marks on both sides just ahead of the button. The Dr. Plumb logo stamp was clear and readable.I took pictures of the pipe when Keith dropped it off before I started my clean up work. He had cleaned the bowl and removed the screen that was visible in the bottom of the bowl in the photos above. It was very clear from the cleaned pipe what needed to be addressed on this first one. The rim top was darkened and had debris in the carved finish.I took a close up photo of the rim to show the condition of the bowl and the rim. You can see the cracks as noted above and shown in the photo below by the arrows. I also took photos of the stem to show the general condition as noted above.I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank – it read Dr. Plumb [over] Dinky and was clear and readable.The next two photos show the cracks (though a bit blurry the cracks are clear). I have circled the three cracked areas that will need to be dealt with and repaired.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe. There is something quite winsome about this tiny pipe.I turned to Pipephil’s site for see what I could find on the brand (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-d8.html). I quote the sidebar below followed by a screen capture of the pertinent section.

Brand created in 1925 by GBD’s Parisian sales manager J.B. Rubinovich. The Dr Plumb production was run by the Ruchon & Verguet and also Ropp factories (Saint-Claude – France). The brand now belongs to the English Cadogan group.I turned to Pipedia and looked up the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Dr._Plumb%27s). I have included the additional information below.

The Dr. Plumb’s brand name is owned by A. Oppenheimer & Co., Limited, owners of Cadogan Investments, Ltd.. J.B. Rubinovich, GBD’s Parisian sales manager, created this brand in 1925. The pipes was produced by the Ruchon & Verguet and also Ropp factories (Saint-Claude, France). In 1962 a Dr. Plumb’s pipe sold for between C$3.95 and C$4.95, or $31.72 in 2015 U.S. dollars, and pipes can still be purchased from this brand for a similar price today.

These pipes have long been advertised as Dr. Plumb’s Perfect Pipe, that name coming from an aluminum tube system designed to keep the smoke cool and dry while at the same time permitting the “cooling chamber” to be cleaned by simply twisting the stem. While Dr. Plumb’s pipes were long made in France and stamped accordingly, they are now British made.

None of the sites included information on the Dinky line. I knew who made the pipe and where it was made but not anything about the tiny little pipes in this estate. Now it was time to work on the pipes. I removed all of the stems and dropped them in a bath of Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer. I put the lid on the box and let them sit for 24 hours.I wiped the bowl down with acetone on a cotton pad to cut the shiny varnish coat. It took a lot of scrubbing and I was able to greatly reduce it but not remove it. With the bowl cleaned up it was time to address the cracks in the bowl and shank. I pressed some briar dust into the cracks on the back of the bowl and filled them in with clear CA glue. I did the same with the crack on the underside of the shank. I repeated the process until the repair was finished. I found the proper sized brass band for the shank end and dribbled some CA around the shank end and pressed the band in place on the shank.I filled in some of the spots that remained on the crack on the back of the bowl and then used a brass bristle brush to score the repairs to match the surrounding rustication. I also worked over the rim top at the same time with the brush. The repairs on the bowl are a little darker than the rest of the bowl but the repairs are solid. It dawned on me at this point that I had not cleaned the shank. I scrubbed it with 99% isopropyl alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. It was quite dirty so I am glad I remembered.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the bowl and shank with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I removed it from the deoxidizer bath and it did not really look much better. I scrubbed it down with Soft Scrub and a cotton pad. I found that the oxidation was significantly softer and came off quite easily.I scrubbed out the airway in the pipe with alcohol and pipe cleaners until it was clean. It was a well used pipe.I still needed to polish the stem with micromesh and buff the pipe but I had to put the stem on and have a look at the pipe. I took some photos so you could see what I see. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. With the bowl and the stem finished I put the tiny GBD Made Dr. Plumb Dinky Bent Billiard back together and buffed it on the wheel using Blue Diamond to give it a shine. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel. 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. It really is a great looking pipe. The dimensions of the pipe are – Length: 4 inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 inch, Chamber diameter: ¾ inch. The weight of this small pipe is .85 ounces /24 grams. This small Dr. Plumb Dinky is a great reminder for Keith of his Dad’s Pipe smoking and one that he can enjoy for a long time. Once I finish the other two pipes I am sure he will be excited to load them with a memorable tobacco and slip back into the memories of his Dad. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

 

 

 

 

Restoring a Peterson’s Dublin (London Made England) 21 Calabash


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen is smooth finished Peterson’s Dublin Calabash pipe that had a bit of a bland looking finish but had some good looking grain around the bowl sides and shank. It came to us in a group of pipes we bought from a fellow in Los Angeles, California, USA. This Calabash was stamped on the left side of the shank and read Peterson’s [arched over] Dublin. It was stamped on the right side and read London Made [over] England. On the left of that next to the stem it is stamped 21. The pipe was in filthy condition when he brought it to the table. The finish was dirty with grime ground into the briar sides and rim. There were black spots on the briar around the bowl and shank. There was a thick cake in the bowl and a light coat of lava on the rim top but the edges of the bowl and top actually looked to be in good condition. The stem was oxidized, calcified and had tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside on and near the button. It had a stamped P on the left side of the saddle. Jeff took photos of the pipe before his cleanup work. They tell the story and give a glimpse of the promise that we see in this pipe. Jeff took photos of the rim top and stem to show the general condition of the pipe. The bowl is thickly caked and the rim top and edges look pretty good under the light lava coat. The photos of the stem show some oxidation and light tooth marks on both sides near the button. Jeff took some photos of the bowl sides and heel to show the amazing grain that was around this bowl. It is a nice looking pipe.     He took photos of the sides of the shank to show the stamping. The stamping is readable in the photos below and is as noted above.    I am including the link to the Pipedia’s article on Peterson pipes. It is a great read in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Peterson).

I turned to “The Peterson Pipe” by Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg to get some background on the Peterson’s London Made England line. On page 296-297 it had the following information.

MADE IN over ENGLAND and variations shown below (1936-62) Peterson maintained a factory in England for about a quarter of a century, from the late 1930s to ’62. Corporate transcripts and London business periodicals suggest the London operation on White Lion Street was about to get underway in ’37. Only a handful of London hallmarked Petersons are documented, stamped with date marks of 1936 and 1939, and these have no COM stamp. Their output would be limited by the onset of the Battle of Britain in July 1940, but it seems reasonable to suppose pipes were made in the London factory during WWII, inasmuch as the K&P Staff Register lists twelve employees earning wages there in January ’44. London hallmarked Petersons have been identified with dates of 1949-54. Most London made Petersons in a collector’s inventory were made in these postwar years, from 1949 until the closing of the factory in ’62. This narrow range  of dates is probably the most reliable indicator of years when the stamp and the variations listed below were employed. The presence of one variation or another on a pipe is not by itself a reliable indicator of age.

Made In over England

Made In England forming a circle

Made In England forming an ellipse

Made in England in a line

A “Peterson’s Product” over Made In England

A Peterson’s Product over Made In England

A Peterson Product over Made in England

Made In over Great Britain

Great Britain

London Made over England

London Made

Now I knew a date range for the pipe I was working on – 1949-1962. I have underlined and made the text bold in the above list to show the stamping on the pipe I am working on. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet reamer and cut back the cake back to the bare briar. He cleaned up the walls with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime from the finish. He worked on the rim top lava and the darkened spots with the soap and tooth brush. He scrubbed the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior with Soft Scrub and then soaked it in Before & After Deoxidizer. He washed it off with warm water to remove the Deoxidizer. The pipe looked far better when it arrived. I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show how well it had cleaned up. The rim top had some looked quite good and the inner edge had some darkening and damage. It should clean up really well. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the tooth marks on the surface near the button.     I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. You can see that it is stamped as noted above. It is clear and readable.     I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to have a look at the parts and overall look. I decided to address the spots around the bowl sides first. I was pretty sure I could remove them with micromesh sanding pads. I sanded it with 1500-2400 grit pads and was able to remove and minimize those that remained with the micromesh.    In the process of sanding the shank I found a small hairline crack in the underside of the shank that extended straight up the shank for about ½ inch. I checked out the stability of the crack and it was still quite tight. I decided the best course for this kind of crack was to bind it together with a thin brass band. I topped the band edge off and removed some of it so that it did not interfere with the number stamp on the right side and would still do the job it was intended to do. I drew a red rectangle around the crack in the shank and took two pictures to capture it. There is some darkening around the crack and that was what caught my eye.  I went through my bands and found one that was the proper fit for the shank diameter. It was a bit too deep and covered some of the shape number stamp on the right shank so I used a topping board and 220 grit sandpaper to reduce the depth so that it did not cover the number. Once I had the depth correct I put some all purpose glue on the shank end and pressed the band in place on the shank. I wiped off the excess glue with a damp pad. I finished polishing the briar with the remaining micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the bowl and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process.    I set the bowl aside and “painted” the stem surface with the flame of a “Bic” lighter to lift the tooth marks. I was able to raise most of them I filled in the remaining tooth marks with clear super glue. Once the glue cured I sanded the repairs smooth to blend them into the surface of the surrounding vulcanite.  I touched up the P stamp on the left side of the saddle stem with Rub’n Buff  Antique Gold. I rubbed it on with a tooth pick and worked it into the stamp. I buffed it off with a soft cloth. While the stamping is faint it is still readable.     I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine.    I am excited to finish this London Made English Peterson’s Dublin, Calabash 21. I put the pipe 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 hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with beautiful mixed grain all around it. Added to that the polished black vulcanite stem combined with the bowl and brass band on the shank and made a stunning pipe. This smooth Classic Older Peterson’s Dublin English Made Calabash is great looking and the pipe feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 34grams/1.20oz. It is a beautiful pipe that I will soon be putting on the rebornpipes store in the Irish Pipe Makers section. If you are interested in adding it to your collection send me an email or a message. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.

Previous Repairs Can Wreak Havoc in a Restoration – Dunhill Shell Briar R F/T 1962 Pot


Blog by Steve Laug

This Dunhill came to us in the same lot of pipes as the 1922 Dunhill Bruyere Reading Pipe and the BBB Calabash Reading Pipe that I have already restored and written blogs on. It was a great looking blast on this pipe that caught our attention. The silver band on the shank was definitely an aftermarket addition to repair a cracked shank. It was made out of Sterling Silver so that was not a big deal to us when we purchased the lot. It was a filthy pipe with a thick cake in the bowl and a heavy lava overflow on the rim top. The stem was oxidized, calcified and had deep tooth marks on both sides next to the button. It is hard to see until the close up photos but the shank was seriously crack about 1/8 of an inch ahead of the band on the underside of the shank and from the shank end you could see two large crack at 3 and 9 o’clock. Jeff took photos of the pipe as it stood when we received it.  He took photos of the bowl and rim to give a picture of the depth of the cake and lava on the rim top. You can also see the nicks around the outer edge of the rim. Even the stem was pretty normal fare – tooth marks with a small hole in the underside and heavy wear and tear on the rest of the stem. Everything was pretty common in terms of the restorations that we work on at least we thought so at this point! He took some photos of the sides of the bowl to show the beautiful (and filthy), rugged sandblast around the bowl. It really was a magnificent looking bowl. It took a few photos to try to capture the stamping on the underside of the shank. There are deep scratches in the smooth portion of the shank and heel of the bowl. On the heel it is stamped R F/T. That is followed by Dunhill [over] Shell Briar followed by Made In [over] England with a 2 following the D in England. You can also see the repaired cracked shank in the photos below. The silver band is stamped Sterling Silver on the underside. If we had stopped here a lot of pain could have been avoided! If we just left is dirty and did a cursory clean up and just smoked it we could have avoided a multitude of issues. But that is not the way we work. Jeff attacked the cleanup by trying to take the pipe apart. The stem was stuck in the shank. He tried heat, cold and even pouring alcohol down the shank to try and loosen what we assumed was the grime and grit that held the stem firmly in the shank. Nothing worked. He even heated the band area to try to loosen the stem from the shank but nothing work. Finally after a combination of all of the above he felt what he thought was a bit of give in the stem and gave it a very careful twist…. Here is where all went horribly wrong. Remember that crack in the shank shown in the above photos? That is what gave and the shank came off in his hand! Now what to do. We talked and he was sick with what had happened but there was nothing to be done. And do you know what the worst part was? The stem was still stuck! He went back through all of the methods we all use to loosen a stem and finally it came free! BUT the band had been epoxied on the shank and it was not removable!

It was in this state that the pipe came to me in a bag. Now it was my turn to try to see if I could loosen the band. I took the broken shank and band and filled up a small jar with enough acetone to cover the band and let the piece soak for two days in the bath. I replenished the acetone as it evaporated. The incredible thing for me was that this had absolutely no effect on the band and briar. It was permanently bonded! Time to come up with a new plan of attack.I let the broken shank sit on my desk in pieces for several days – probably about a week while I worked on other pipes. Finally after recently repairing the broken shank on the Butz-Choquin for Randy (https://rebornpipes.com/2021/01/16/a-badly-broken-butz-choquin-pipe-makes-its-way-back-to-me-for-repair-and-restoration/) I had an idea for fixing this one. Give that blog a read if you want to know the difference.

In this case there was already a band and the break was further down the shank making it a bit more problematic to address. I cut a short piece of Delrin that would extend far enough into the bowl side of the broken shank to provide some stability and into the shank end to tie it together. I decided to leave the mortise the depth it was to add stability to the shank rather than drill it out and extend the tube in further. I would need to drill out the Delrin a bit and reduce the diameter of the tenon to fit inside the tube I the shank. It just might work and was certainly worth a try. I roughened up the Delrin with a sanding drum on the Dremel to provide a rough surface of the glue to bind to in the shank.I fit the Delrin piece in the bowl end of the broken shank to make sure it fit. I then painted the surface of the Delrin with super glue and pressed into the banded shank end. I coated the briar ends with an all purpose glue and joined the pieces together. I clamped them until the glue set. Once it had I filled in the gaps in the crack with clear CA glue and set it aside to cure. I used a corner of 220 sandpaper to carefully smooth out the glue on the crack repair. I was able to make it smooth and not ruin the sandblast! That alone was an accomplishment. The repair obscured the 2 on the date stamp. It is still present but now blurred.

I used a brass bristle wire brush to clean up a bit more of the sandblast on the rim top and then used a combination of Cherry and Mahogany stain pens to restain the rim edges and the repaired area of the shank and blend it into the rest of the bowl. With the repair completed and the briar restained I rubbed the briar down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush. The product works to clean, enliven and preserve the briar. I let it sit for 15 minutes while I worked on the stem. After the time passed I buffed it with a cotton cloth to deepen the shine. The briar really comes alive with the balm.     Now it was time to deal with the fit of the stem in the newly lined shank! I had a couple of options here. I could either drill out the tube and open the shank up a bit more or I could reduce the diameter of the tenon and make it fit that way. Since the shank was already fragile and twice repaired I opted for reducing the diameter of the tenon. I took it down with a Dremel and sanding drum until it was a close fit in the shank. I worked on it with 220 grit sandpaper to get it even closer. Once I had the tenon end in I could see that things were slightly off. So instead of continuing to reduce the diameter of the tenon I used a needle file to even out the inside of the shank and get as close to an equal fit on all sides of the tube. That was more of a job that I make it sound and actually took a fair bit of time.Once I had a good fit to the shank I put the stem and bowl together and took some photos of the pipe at this point in the process. I still needed to work on the fit of the stem to the shank and alignment and gaps but the tenon fit well. I also need to work on repairing the tooth marks. You will see in the last photo of the underside of the stem that I had already started the process.   With the fit of the stem taken care of I worked on the repairs necessary to make it fully functional. I took a bit of excess stem material off the flattened bottom of the stem at the shank to make the fit seamless. I also filled in the tooth marks and pin prick with black super glue and set the stem aside to cure.  Once the repairs cured I smoothed them out with a 1500 grit micromesh sanding pad until they blended in well with the surrounding vulcanite. I used a small flat needle file to clean up the sharp edge of the button but forgot to take photos of that! Once the repair was smoothed out I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping the stem down after each pad with Obsidian Oil. I finished by polishing the stem with Before & After Stem Polish – both fine and extra fine and gave the stem a final wipe down with Obsidian Oil.    I am really happy to be finished with the rescue of this beautifully grained sandblast 1962 Dunhill Shell Briar R Pot. The grain is quite stunning and the blast is rugged. The repair to the broken shank while not a total thing of beauty worked very well and makes the pipe usable once again. The permanently affixed Sterling Silver band is useful reinforcement externally for the tube in the shank. The refit stem came out looking very good. The pipe should be a good smoking pipe and outlast all of us as it moves through the hands of the pipe men and women who take on the trust. The dimensions of this pipe are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.48 ounces/41 grams. Because of the repairs to the pipe I will soon be adding it to the rebornpipes store in the British Pipe Makers section at a price that is significantly lower than it would have been had it not been repaired.   It might be a chance for one of you to add it to your collection for a good price. Thanks for following the work on this pipe in the blog.

 

A Badly Broken Butz-Choquin Pipe makes its way back to me for Repair and Restoration


Blog by Steve Laug

Back in August of 2018 I worked through the pipes in the estate of George Koch and one of them was an interesting Butz-Choquin Simour Pot that had a piece of copper inlaid into the back of the bowl on the left side. The stamping on the left side of the shank read Butz-Choquin and underneath it is a bit more faint but looks to read Simour. On the right side it was stamped St. Claude over France and a shape number 1507 beneath that. I was a great looking pipe when I finished. Here is the link to the blog on the pipe (https://rebornpipes.com/2018/08/16/bringing-a-butz-choquin-simour-1507-back-to-life/). I have included a photo of the pipe when I finished it and when it was sold to a fellow named Randy in North Carolina.Randy loved the pipe and thoroughly enjoyed smoking it. Here is where the story shifts to the journey of the pipe back to Canada.

I received an email from Randy early in December about the pipe he had purchased. It was in need of a repair. I include his email below.

Steve, I bought a pipe from you about a year ago. I think l paid around $60 for it. I dropped it off my deck and broke the shank. Is that something that can normally be fixed and would it be worth it when comparing the original cost vs whatever your repair is. generally speaking? I know you haven’t seen the it, just trying to get a general idea if you think it might be worth the expense.

I had Randy send me some photos of the pipe which due to computer issues on my old computer I know longer have but it was broken at the shank with a nasty break. We talked a bit back and forth by email and after the holidays he put it in the mail to me. I received it on Thursday late in the day and opened the package to see it up close and personal. The pipe was obviously a favourite of Randy’s and had been well smoked. The bowl had a thick cake and I needed to be able to see what was happening where the airway entered the bowl. I reamed it back with a PipNet pipe reamed so I could see it clearly. The shank had a thick build up of tars in the airway that made it hard to know what was happening with the airway from the break to bowl. I cleaned out the airway with a pick, knife and a lot of pipe cleaners and alcohol until was clean.I scrubbed down the externals of the bowl and the cracked shank area with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners to remove the grime so that  I could work on the fit of the shank pieces together. The next photos show the cleaned bowl and shank pieces. It was a large chunk of briar that had broken off. I studied it for a while trying to figure out how I was going to repair it for him. Finally I figured out a plan. I would cut a piece of Delrin tubing and use it on the inside of the shank to provide a base to fuse the two parts together. The next photo shows the piece of Delrin. I needed to shorten the piece but it fit nicely in the shank and the broken piece.I roughed up the surface of the Delrin tube and glued it in the bowl half of the broken shank with black CA glue. I let it cure for a short period until the tube was solidly anchored in the bowl end.Once the tube was solidly in place. I gave the other end of the tube a coat of the black super glue and also coated the ends of the crack with clear super glue. The clear dries faster and that is what I wanted when I pressed the two halves together. I held them together until the glue cured and when it was finished I took the following photos. The depth of the crack for the shank end and the feather like rustications on the shank complicated the work a bit for me. I filled them in with clear CA glue so that the fit of the band would be solid. I filled in the crack with briar dust and clear CA glue until the surface of the crack was even with the surrounding briar on the shank.I sanded the shank repairs smooth with 220 grit sandpaper to prepare it for fitting the nickel band on the shank. My thinking was that the internal Delrin tube would stabilize the shank and the band on the outside would bind it together. Once it was cleaned off I knew I would need to do a bit more filling with briar dust but it was definitely getting there.   I fit the band on the end of the shank. It was snug so I heated the band with a lighter flame and pressed it onto the shank by pushing the shank end down on a piece of padding on my desk top. I pressed into place so that the edge of the band was at the edge of the shank. It was a tight fit and held the pieces of the repair in place from the outside. I sanded the repaired area above the band with a folded piece of sandpaper and then with micromesh sanding pads until it was smooth. I cleaned off the rim top with a pen knife to scrape away the lava build up. I polished it with 1500-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads. I cleaned up the beveled edge and the top until it was smooth. I restained the rim top and the shank repair with a Cherry and Walnut stain pen to match the rest of the pipe.   I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my finger tips to clean, enrich and enliven the briar. I let it sit on the briar for 15 minutes and buffed it off with a soft cotton cloth. I used a piece of 220 grit sandpaper to take some of the vulcanite off of the tenon to refit it to the shank of the pipe. Once a shank has been banded it compresses the diameter of the shank enough that the original tenon was too large to fit in the mortise. I slightly reduced it and the fit was perfect. I put it in place in the shank and took photos of the pipe at this point. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. With the stem done it was time to put the pipe back together. From where it was when it arrived to where it is now is a long hard push and it is definitely a different looking pipe. While it is not flawless it should now give Randy a good smoking pipe that looks very good. The finish and even the band looks really quite good with the rest of the pipe. The finish hides the repair quite a bit and it is solid. I will send it back to Randy later this week. I am looking forward to what he thinks of the restoration. Thanks for walking through this with me.

Repairing a Cracked Shank on a Salstrom & Skinner Handmade Acorn


Blog by Steve Laug

Early in December I received and email from a reader of the blog about one of his first pipes. Here is what he wrote to me:

I have got a custom made briar tobacco pipe that split at the shank when I removed the pipe stem. It’s a hair line crack. Was looking to get an estimate of a repair. Was reading one of your repair articles of putting a brass ring to reinforce shank and stem connection. This is something I would like possibly have done. And what is the lead time for such a repair?… Thanks,  Jake

The story behind this being his first pipe caught my attention. I forgot to ask him what the brand was. He sent me some photos of the crack in the shank but I changed out my computer and do not have access to those photos any longer. I figured that it would be a straightforward repair so I answered him and he shipped the pipe to me. This afternoon while I was working the package arrived from Jake. I opened it after work and took some photos of the pipe. I wrote Jake an email to let him know that the pipe had arrived and asked him about the maker and the brand. He wrote me back and I am including that below.

Hi Steve! I was actually going to contact you today to see if it did, but that’s good. Glad it finally made it to you. I bought that pipe back in 2015 from an Etsy retailer that went by the name of Salstrom & Skinner. I believe they are out of Oregon. They aren’t in business anymore from what I can tell, their online Etsy shop is no longer up. And yes, that is the stem that came with the pipe. –Jake

I thanked Jake and sent him my assessment of the pipe and what needed to be done to make a repair work on the pipe. I broke my assessment down to cover the bowl and shank issues and then the stem issues. Both contributed to the crack on the underside of the shank. I include a summary of the email that I sent to him below.

The damaged shank…

  1. I cleaned out the shank to check the crack and it goes all the way through.. Fortunately it is not too long maybe 1/4-1/2 inch into the shank.
  2. The shank was quite thin walled so I decided to glue it and then band it. I would open the crack and fill it with clear CA glue and clamp it shut until the glue dried.
  3. I would fit a thin brass band on the shank end and customize the fit. Once the fit was correct I would need to press it on the shank glue it in place. That would take care of the shank damage.

The stem issues…

  1. The stem is really a mess. The tenon was quite large and poorly cut. It still had the castings on it and the Made in Italy castings. These made the fit in the shank very tight and also I believe caused the crack originally as the shank is quite thin.
  2. I would need to smooth out damage on the tenon and remove the castings.
  3. I also would funnel the entry of the airway in the end of the tenon to make the draw better.
  4. The saddle portion of the stem was very rough and not round. There were file marks and cuts all around it and it did not fit against the shank well. The diameter of the stem and the shank did not match. I would need to round the saddle and removed the cuts and the file marks.

I took photos of the rim top and stem to show the general condition of the pipe. The bowl looked to be in good condition. There was some darkening and lava build up on the top back of the rim. I also took photos of the stem to show the cut marks and fill marks on the surface of the saddle.    I took some photos of the rough looking finish on the stem, its fit to the shank and the crack in underside of the shank.I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to have a look at the parts and overall look. I am still amazed by the thickness of the tenon. I took a photo of the castings on the tenon and on the airway entering the tenon end. It made the castings very clear.    I started my work on the pipe by addressing the crack in the shank. I put the stem on the shank and opened it up. I filled in the crack with clear super glue (CA). I removed the stem and clamped the repaired shank together until the glue cured.  Once the glue had cured and the crack was bound together I fit a brass band on the shank end. After I had fit the band to the shank I removed it and coated the shank end and inside of the band with all-purpose glue. I pressed it onto the end of the shank. I set it aside and let the glue cure.   I took photos of the band on the shank from the various angles to show what it looked like. It is a pretty addition. I set aside the repaired bowl and turned my attention to the stem. I used the blade of pen knife to funnel the airway in the tenon.I smoothed out the castings on the tenon with 220 grit sandpaper. I also smoothed out the file marks on the saddle portion of the stem and worked to make it round again.I put the repaired and newly shaped stem on the shank of the bowl and took photos of the look of the pipe. I still needed to polish it but the stem looked much better. It was time to polish the stem now. I polished it with 1500-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I finished polishing it with Before & After Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil to protect the stem surface from oxidizing. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process.    I am excited to finish this Salstrom & Skinner Handmade Acorn. It was a rustic pipe with a lot of flaws in craftsmanship of the briar and the stem but it is looking much better. The band on the shank and the reworked stem give the pipe a sense of newly formed class and character. I put the pipe 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 hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the polished brass band and the black vulcanite stem was beautiful. This smooth Handmade Acorn is good looking and the pipe feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 48grams/1.69oz. It is a nice looking pipe and one that I will be sending back to Jake in the next few days. I look forward to hearing what he thinks of his “resurrected first pipe”. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.

Repairing a Cracked Shank in a Corso Silver Hook Freehand


Blog by Steve Laug

Not long ago I sold a pipe to a fellow in Quebec, Canada named Peter which led to several phone conversations. One of those conversations involved a pipe that was one of his favourites. It was a Corso Freehand and it had developed a crack in the underside of the shank that wept tobacco juices as he smoked it. The long and short of the conversation was that he would send the pipe to me to see what I thought could be done with it.

The pipe arrived in Vancouver yesterday. It is definitely an interesting pipe made by a maker that I had not heard of before. It is stamped on the underside of the shank CP Trout and has an oval that is stamped Handmade in Italy. The pipe had some amazing grain and an oval stummel with a normal round bowl in the center of the plateau top. The shank end was banded with an oval silver ferrule like cap that matched the shape of the stummel. The angle of the drilling followed the angle of the front of the bowl. The pipe was obviously a favourite as it was well smoked. The stem was black acrylic with a silver fish hook on the top side near the saddle. The tenon was drilled for a 9mm filter as was the shank of the pipe. Here is what the pipe looked like when it arrived. If you like beautifully grained freehand pipes you will understand how this one had captured its owner.  Out of habit I took photos of the rim top and stem to show the condition but in this case to show the design of the pipe.Getting past the external aesthetics of the pipe I removed the stem and examined it thoroughly to see the extent of the crack on both the inside and outside of the shank. Externally, the crack in the shank runs from the shank end coming out under the edge of the ferrule and extending almost ¾ of an inch straight up the shank toward the bowl. I ran through the “Handmade” part of the stamp and literally ended at the H. It was a messy crack in that it had spread open and had darkened from the tobacco juice that had seeped out of the crack and filled in along the silver band on the shank end. I put a dot on the underside of the shank to identify the end of crack. At that point on the shank it stopped and under a bright light, with a lens I could see that it ended. You can also see the faint oval stamp that the crack crosses in the photo below.The silver band/ferrule had been inset on the shank end and from what I could see had been glued with an epoxy. It had seeped out a bit along the edge of the band. Removing the silver band and leaving it useable would be next to impossible.

I then turned to the internals of the shank/mortise area. I expected to see the crack clearly on the bottom of the mortise but surprisingly it was not visible. I used a flashlight and probe to explore the mortise looking for the crack. The mortise had been drilled for a 9mm filter as I noted above. Because of that it was very dirty. I cleaned it out with a cotton swab and still did not find the crack. However, the light revealed something even more strange! It appeared that the pipe maker or a possible repair person had filled in the damaged area of the mortise with wood putty. The putty extended into the shank about a ½ of an inch. It ended abruptly with a sharp edge. Using the probe I found the crack under that edge. It matched the largest portion of the crack in the photo above. What was obviously happening was that the liquids from smoking the pipe were pooling at that point (the lowest point in the mortise) and seeping out the crack.

I had figured out what was going on with the crack in the shank, both internally and externally. Now I needed to communicate the issues with Peter and letter him know what I had found in my examination of his pipe. I wrote him the following assessment.

Examining your pipe this is what I see

  1. The pipe maker/ repair person filled in the inside of the shank with what appears to be some wood putty. It was used to build up the lower inside of the shank. The good news is that the crack is bound together on the inside by that.
  2. The pipe maker also permanently set the band in place as well to bind things together so that it cannot be removed. The good news also is that it will keep the crack from opening wider.

Now what I need to do

  1. I need to drill a pilot hole at the end of the crack which actually goes through the oval Hand Made in Italy stamp. It extends all the way to the “H” in Hand Made.
  2. I will fill in the crack with super glue and briar dust which should harden and keep it from weeping out as you smoke it.
  3. I will sand that repair smooth and then stain the repair to match the rest of the pipe.

After I sent that I continued to examine the inside of the shank with the light and the probe to make sure I was seeing the issues there correctly. Once I was convinced I was correct I sent an addendum about the putty and the issue on the inside of the shank.

  1. I will smooth out the transition from the putty to the briar and use some food grade super glue to fill in the area of the pit that is collecting the moisture. I will sand that area smooth. It should not be an issue for your smoking of the pipe as it cures completely inert.

I ended my email to him with a quick question about the pipe maker and the pipe. I wanted to know if he had purchased it directly from the pipe maker or if he purchased it as a used pipe. Peter’s response was helpful. It gave me the information I wanted on the brand and muddied the waters in terms of who had made the putty fill in the shank. It could well have been a repair made long after it had left the pipe maker’s shop.

It’s an estate pipe .The pipe maker is Paolo Corso and this model is called Trout. I didn’t notice the crack at first and when I did I guess it was too late. It’s a gorgeous pipe and smokes well. Paolo Corso is a fisherman and he uses Tuscany briar he has a Bass and Trout line under his brand “Silver Hook”.

Before I started my work on the pipe I wanted to learn about the maker and see some of his other pipes. I checked on Pipedia and Pipephil and the Corso Brand as well as the Silver Hook Brand did not show up in either place. Usually I follow that search up with a quick Google search for the name of the maker and the brand. Once I got past all of the extraneous bits of information I came across a link to the website of the brand (https://handmadepipes.it/silverhook.html).

The website gave a great idea of the philosophy of the pipe maker and a sense of his craftsmanship. After reading the site I am more certain than ever that the putty in the shank and the “cemented” ferrule were the work of an aftermarket repair person rather than the pipe maker cutting corners. I have included some information from the website below for your reading pleasure and introduction.

ABOUT SILVERHOOK PIPES

The Silver Hook pipes are exclusively hand made, produced in limited numbers, using first choice Tuscany briar, selected one by one, with a minimum aging of 5/6 years.

Customers who already smoke my pipes say they are as sweet as biscuits and have a particularly dry smoke.

The holes in the wood are made so that the brush passes easily through the stem, the shank, up to the chamber, so as to be able to clean the pipe perfectly.

The stems are made of Vulcanite, the hook is in silver and is inserted on the hot stem.

Mine are pipes for fishermen, but not only. I have personally designed the shapes for my pipes to be comfortable in the mouth, whether you are on the river for a day of trout fishing, or sitting comfortably in your favourite chair.

Now it was time to work on the pipe. I started by cleaning out the shank ahead of the large putty fill on the bottom of the shank on the inside. There were a lot of tars and oils built up there so I cleaned it with alcohol, cotton swab and pipe cleaners. Once it was clean I used a tooth pick to fill in the large gap just ahead of the putty with super glue. I gave the patch a smooth angle and filled in the large pit that was there. I squeezed the crack together while it cured and saw that the glue came out on the outside of the crack. Once it had cured the crack was tighter and had sealed.  I used a small file to smooth out the repair and the putty fill. With the internal repair finished I turned my attention to the exterior crack. Using a lens I located the end of the crack and marked it with a Sharpie pen. I used a micro drill bit in the Dremel to drill a pilot hole at the end of the crack forming an end to the crack.I filled in the pilot hole and the crack with clear super glue. I followed the crack to the band and spread the glue across the surface. I carefully sanded the repair smooth and blended it into the surrounding briar.  I stained the repaired area with a Maple stain pen to match the surrounding briar. I buffed it out with Blue Diamond to further blend it. I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips. The product works 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.  This interesting Corso Silver Hook Trout Freehand with an acrylic stem is a great looking pipe. The beautiful grain that shines through the polished finish is stunning. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. 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 grain just popped with the wax and the buffing. It is a beauty! The finished Corso Silver Hook Trout fits nicely in the hand and feels great. The cracked shank is repaired and less visible and certainly less problematic. Give the pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 7 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 ½ inches long x 1 ¾ inches wide, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 59gr/2.08oz. This one will head back to Quebec by the weekend. I am hoping Peter gets many more years of pleasure from it. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.

Repairing a broken shank on a Savinelli Liquirizia 920KS Dublin


Blog by Steve Laug

On Tuesday this week I received the following email from a fellow here in Vancouver regarding repairing a couple of pipes for him. He wrote as follows:

Hi Steve… You were recommended to me by our good friends at City Cigar (Vancouver).  I have 2 pipes I’d love to have rescued – if possible!  Please let me know if you could be of service.  I’ve attached a few photos.

One is a Peterson 2018 Pipe of the Year, Smooth Fishtail.  Pipe is great – except there is an unsolvable (for myself) blockage in the stem.  I think the filter is damaged.

The other is an unfortunate Savinelli; the actual wood is broken, right at the connection between pipe body and stem.

Let me know your thoughts!  I’d love to regain these to a workable state if possible; they are lovely pipes.

Thanks kindly and best regards, Zak

He included pictures of both pipe for me. I decided to tackle the Savinelli first. Here are the photos that Zak included with his email. As you can see the shank is snapped with a clean break about ½ inch up the shank. Zak fortunately had the pieces of the broken pipe and delivered them to me. The break had not damaged the stamping on the pipe. It read on the left side Savinelli [over] Liquirizia. On the right side it had the Savinelli Shield S logo followed by the shape number 920KS [over] Italy. On the underside of the shank it is stamped Hand Made. The pipe had a beautiful acrylic stem with a white band on the end. The tenon was Delrin and had been drilled out for a Savinelli 6mm filter or a Balsa filter. The bowl had a moderate cake and some lava on the rim top. The stem and shank had tar and oils. I cleaned out the shank and the areas of the break and glued the broken piece back in place on the shank using clear CA (super glue). The photos below show the glued shank piece.  When I repair this kind of break in a shank gluing and clamping it is not sufficient to hold. As the stem is put back in place the break will happen again due to the pressure from the tenon on the walls. I have learned that a simple band will bind it together and add strength. I have some brass bands that I picked up online that are quite thin but have and end cap that works really well to bind it all together and strengthen the joint. I went through the bag of bands I have and found the one that fit the best.I sanded the repaired area smooth with 220 grit sandpaper to blend the repair into the surface of the briar. Once the repair was smooth heated the band with a lighter and pressed it onto the shank end against my topping board to press it in place. The band added stability to the repair.I filled in a few spots with clear CA glue and resanded them with 220 grit sandpaper. Once the repairs cured I wiped the bowl down with acetone to remove the spotty varnish coat that was on the rest of the bowl. I touched up the repaired areas with a Cherry stain pen to blend it in and prepare it for a further stain coat a little later.I reamed out the uneven cake in the bowl with a PipNet reamer and cut it back to bare briar so I could inspect the interior walls. I cleaned up the remnants of the cake with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. The walls of the bowl looked very good with no heat damage or fissures.I put a cork in the bowl and stained it with a dark brown stain. I flamed the stain to set in the briar and then repeated the process until I was happy with the coverage on the bowl. It did a great job blending the repaired area into the briar.   I set the bowl aside so the stain coat would cure overnight. Here is what it looked like in the morning when I brought it to the table.   I wiped the bowl down with isopropyl alcohol to make the finish more transparent. I began to see the grain stand out.  I continued to wipe it down until I had the variation in colour I was looking for. The grain really stood out now and the brass band was a great contrast.   I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping the bowl down between each pad with a damp cloth. The contrasting colours really came alive.  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 a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Balm did its magic and the grain stood out.    I polished the acrylic stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. The photo below shows the polished stem.  This nicely grained Savinelli Liquirizia 920KS Bent Dublin with a thin brass repair band and a swirled acrylic stem is a great looking pipe. The briar around the bowl is clean and really came alive. The rich brown stains gave the grain a sense of depth with the polishing and waxing. The grain really popped. The brass band binds the cracked shank repair and gives it a bit of bling. I put the acrylic 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. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Savinelli Liquirizia Bent Dublin is a beauty and feels great in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inch, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 44grams/1.55oz. The pipe will be going back to Zak as soon as finish the second one. He will soon, so he can enjoy it again. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.

A Tale of the Rebirth of 3 Pipes – Pipe #2 – a Comoy’s Tradition 3591 Panel Prince


Blog by Steve Laug

By default this nice little Prince moved to the third slot while waiting for the stem repair to cure. It is now finished and it is a really nice looking pipe. Give the blog a read.

Last week I received an email from a fellow named Stanley who had gotten my info from the local Pipe and Cigar shop. He wrote that he had a trio of Comoy’s pipes that needed to be worked on. Two of them were Grand Slam Pipes and one was a Tradition. We connected via email and he said he would drop them off this week for me to work on. I am including part of his email so you have a sense of what I would be working on. I am also including the two photos that he attached to the email for me to see.

Hey Steve,

I had recently the chance to talk to a very kind and excellent gentleman over at City Cigar, I unfortunately was never able to get his name. However I mentioned I was looking for some replacement stems and he gave me your info…

…The pipes in question are attached in photos, I’ve never done any sort of pipe restoration in my life but I have attempted to take the cake down with a pocket knife. If you’d do it, would you be able to do a ream/clean on the three, as well as deal with the stems?

If possible, I’d prefer to save the original stems by repairing them, but it seems to me that most people remedy this problem with a replacement stem. Whatever you think is best I will go with.

If you think that I’d be better off without the stinger insert in the shape 64, then would you be able to remove it? I’m afraid I’d break the stem if I tried haha.

The 484b also seems to have a crack starting near the “Comoy’s Grand Slam” part of the shank, where it meets the stem. Is it possible to deal with this?

That is all! Please let me know what you think!

Thanks!  Stanley Last night Stanley stopped by and dropped off the three pipes. I took photos of pipes as there were when I opened the bag they were in. All three pipes were very dirty but the reaming had been started as noted in his email. The stems all had bite throughs on the underside. The bottom pipe in the photo below is a Grand Slam Pipe shape 64 Billiard. The stem has a 3 part C on the left side. The middle pipe is a Tradition 3591 Prince with 8 flattened panels on the bowl near the top. The stem also has a bite through and a missing divot. It also has a 3 part C on the left side. The top pipe in the photo is also Grand Slam Pipe 484B with a replacement stem that also has a bite through. The shank is also cracked on the left side.The last pipe left to work on in this threesome is the Tradition 3591 Panel Prince. It is a beautifully grained Comoy’s Prince that really is a pipe of Pipe Smoking History. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads COMOY’S [over] Tradition. On the right side it has the shape number 3591 (the stamp is faint) next to the bowl/shank junction and that is followed by a Comoy’s COM stamp is worn away. The finish had a lot of grime ground into the smooth finish on the bowl and some darkening around the sides of the bowl. The bowl had been scraped but there was still a moderately heavy cake. There was an overflow of thick lava on the top of the rim and on the inner bevel of the bowl. It was hard to know what the rim top and inner edge of the bowl looked like under the grime. The stem was lightly oxidized and there was a large bite through on the underside. There was a three part inlaid C on the left of the taper stem. The pipe had promise but it was very dirty. I took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work.   I took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the overflow of lava on the rim top. It is hard to know if there is damage to the inner edge of the bowl because of the lava coat. I also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the condition of the stem surface and the bite through on the underside.   I took photos of the stamping on both sides and underside of the shank. They read as noted above. I also included a photo of the 3 part C logo on the left side of the taper stem. I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. It is a well shaped billiard. Once the stem was off you can see the step down tenon that was on these older Comoy’s pipes.I looked on Pipephil’s site for information on the Comoy’s Tradition and found the following information I have included a screen capture (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-comoy.html). It has the three part C which dated it to 1946 and following. The stamping is the same as the one I am working on.I turned to the article on Pipedia about dating Comoy’s pipes but the style of the stamping (https://pipedia.org/index.php?title=Comoy%27s_Dating_Guide#1917_to_the_end_of_the_1930.27s_.28at_least_1938.29). I have include the section in the screen capture below that date this pipe to the 1950s.

Now the Comoy’s stamp can be found in three variants in the 1950s

  1. A simple block-letter style without serifs but with the C larger than the other letters and the apostrophe before the “S”.
  2. A return to the slightly more fancy block letters with serifs and the apostrophe. (It seems that some grades carried different stamps, or at least that the stamping changed in different years for some grades.)
  3. A simple block-letter style without serifs and without the apostrophe and with the “C” the same size as the rest of the letters. This stamp was probably not used very long.
  4. A simple block-letter style without serifs but with the apostrophe before the “S” and with the “C” the same size as the rest of the letters.

Inlaid “C”

C” was first inlaid in the side of the mouthpiece around 1919. This was a complex inlay needing three drillings. First, a round white inlay was inserted, then the centre of the white was drilled out, and a smaller round black inlay was inserted. Finally, another drilling was made to remove the open part of the “C,” and an even smaller black inlay was inserted. This inlaid “C,” known as the “three-piece C,” was continued until the Cadogan era in the 1980s. However, the “C” in the 1920s and early 30s is much thinner and more delicate than the one post-WW II.

That article gave me some helpful information regarding the pipe that I was working on. I knew that the stamping and logos identified the pipe as having been made in following WW2 and from what I can see from the above information it is a 1950s era pipe.

I reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer using the 2nd and 3rd cutting head to remove the remaining cake back to briar. I followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the remnants of cake. I sanded the walls of the bowl with a piece of 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel. I scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I 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. I rinsed it under running water and dried it off with a soft cloth.      I was able to remove some of the lava build up on the rim top and finished by scraping it with the Fitsall knife and then a piece of 220 grit sandpaper.  I cleaned up the bevel with the sandpaper at the same time. I polished the bowl and the rim top, sides and shank with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with a damp cloth. I carefully avoided the stamping on the shank so as not to damage the stamping.   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 a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.    I set aside the bowl and turned my attention to the stem repairs. I cut a piece of cardboard for a pallet, put aside two charcoal capsules, and set out the spatula and the Loctite 380 black CA glue. I greased a pipe cleaner with Vaseline and inserted it in the stem. I filled in the hole in the stem with a mixture of charcoal powder and Loctite. I used the spatula to fill in the bite throughs on all of the stems. I sprayed the repair with an accelerator to set the glue and removed the pipe cleaners from the stems.        I filled in the deep tooth marks on the top side of the stem with black super glue and set the stems aside to let the repairs cure. I took a photo of the three pipes at this point to give a feel for where things stood. I smoothed out the repairs with a needle file and started blending them into the surface of the stem. I sanded the remaining repairs with 220 grit sandpaper to further blend it into the stem surface. I started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.   I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.     This 50s era Comoy’s Tradition 3591 Panel Prince with a vulcanite taper stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. I did a lot of work on the bowl and repaired the bite through on the stem. The rich browns and blacks of the contrasting stains came alive with the polishing and waxing. 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 Comoy’s thin shank Panel Prince is a beauty and fits nicely in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 1/8 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. He will be stopping by to pick them up soon. I am looking forward to what Stanley thinks of his repaired pipe. He had said the threesome were his favourite pipes. This is the second of  the three but the last one I finished. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

A Tale of the Rebirth of 3 Pipes – Pipe #3 – a Comoy’s Grand Slam Pipe 484B Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

While this is the third and last of the trio I ended up finishing it second. The little panel prince has some added challenges that I was not expecting so it will actually be finished last even though I started on it second. Ah well the surprises of pipe restoring are part of fun.

Last week I received an email from a fellow named Stanley who had gotten my info from the local Pipe and Cigar shop. He wrote that he had a trio of Comoy’s pipes that needed to be worked on. Two of them were Grand Slam Pipes and one was a Tradition. We connected via email and he said he would drop them off this week for me to work on. I am including part of his email so you have a sense of what I would be working on. I am also including the two photos that he attached to the email for me to see.

Hey Steve,

I had recently the chance to talk to a very kind and excellent gentleman over at City Cigar; I unfortunately was never able to get his name. However I mentioned I was looking for some replacement stems and he gave me your info…

…The pipes in question are attached in photos, I’ve never done any sort of pipe restoration in my life but I have attempted to take the cake down with a pocket knife. If you’d do it, would you be able to do a ream/clean on the three, as well as deal with the stems?

If possible, I’d prefer to save the original stems by repairing them, but it seems to me that most people remedy this problem with a replacement stem. Whatever you think is best I will go with.

If you think that I’d be better off without the stinger insert in the shape 64, then would you be able to remove it? I’m afraid I’d break the stem if I tried haha.

The 484b also seems to have a crack starting near the “Comoy’s Grand Slam” part of the shank, where it meets the stem. Is it possible to deal with this?

That is all! Please let me know what you think!

Thanks!  Stanley Last night Stanley stopped by and dropped off the three pipes. I took photos of pipes as there were when I opened the bag they were in. All three pipes were very dirty but the reaming had been started as noted in his email. The stems all had bite throughs on the underside. The bottom pipe in the photo below is a Grand Slam Pipe shape 64 Billiard. The stem has a 3 part C on the left side. The middle pipe is a Tradition 3591 Prince with 8 flattened panels on the bowl near the top. The stem also has a bite through and a missing divot. It also has a 3 part C on the left side. The top pipe in the photo is also Grand Slam Pipe 484B with a replacement stem that also has a bite through. The shank is also cracked on the left side.I decided to finish the last pipe of the trio while I waited for some stem repairs to cure on the second pipe – the Tradition Prince. I had left the pipe in the worst condition to work on last. It was another Grand Slam Pipe shape 484B or maybe 4846 as it is hard to read. It was in rough condition. The finish has a lot of dirt and dark grime ground into the briar but it appears to have some nice grain underneath all of that. I hope to be able to set that free with cleaning. It was probably a Comoy’s Billiard but somewhere along the way it had been given a replacement stem that turned it into a saddle billiard. The stamping is faint but with a light and lens reads COMOY’S [over] Grand Slam [over] Pipe. On the right side it has the shape number 484B(?6) next to the bowl/shank junction and that is followed by a very faint Comoy’s COM stamp that reads Made in London in a circle [over] England. There was a crack in the shank about an inch long on the left side extending into the Grand Slam Stamp. It is a hairline but is a definite issue. It appears that when it was restemmed the shank cracked. The pipe is dirty so it is not readily apparent. The bowl had been scraped but there was still a moderately heavy cake. There was an overflow of thick lava on the top of the rim and on the inner bevel of the bowl. The top and outer edge had been hammered and had a lot of damage. The replacement saddle stem was pitted and rough. There was a large bite through on the underside. This was the pipe I was the most worried about when I assessed the damage. I took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work.    I took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the overflow of lava on the rim top. You can see the thick lava and the damage to the inner and outer edge of the bowl. I also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the condition of the stem surface and the bite through on the underside.    I took photos of the stamping on both sides of the shank. They are faint but read as noted above. I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. It is a well shaped billiard. Once the stem was off I noted that tenon had a thick coating of wax as did the shank which made me wonder if that had cause the crack.I looked on Pipephil’s site for information on the Comoy’s Grand Slam Pipe and found the following information I have included a screen capture (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-comoy.html). The one I am working on is like the second one in the screen capture below. It has has a replacement saddle stem so there is no C on left side. The stamping on the shank is the same as the one I am working on.I turned to the article on Pipedia about dating Comoy’s pipes but the style of the stamping (https://pipedia.org/index.php?title=Comoy%27s_Dating_Guide#1917_to_the_end_of_the_1930.27s_.28at_least_1938.29). I have include the section in the screen capture below that date this pipe to the 1950s.

Now the Comoy’s stamp can be found in three variants in the 1950s

  1. A simple block-letter style without serifs but with the C larger than the other letters and the apostrophe before the “S”.
  2. A return to the slightly more fancy block letters with serifs and the apostrophe. (It seems that some grades carried different stamps, or at least that the stamping changed in different years for some grades.)
  3. A simple block-letter style without serifs and without the apostrophe and with the “C” the same size as the rest of the letters. This stamp was probably not used very long.
  4. A simple block-letter style without serifs but with the apostrophe before the “S” and with the “C” the same size as the rest of the letters.

Made in London England

Appears in two versions. This is again stamped in a circle with “MADE” at the top, “IN” in the middle, and “LONDON” at the bottom, with “ENGLAND” in a straight line beneath. It can be assumed that this stamp was first used in the export drive in the early 1950s. On a Bulldog Sandblast from the early 50s the Comoy name no. 2 above was used together with “MADE IN LONDON” over “ENGLAND”. There are no known examples of pre-WW II Comoy’s stamped in this way. The second version is the same as above but in a “rugby ball ” shape. This shape is verified on Comoy´s “Extraordinaire” pipes.

That article gave me some helpful information regarding the pipe that I was working on. I knew that the stamping and logos identified the pipe as having been made in following WW2 and from what I can see from the above information it is a 1950s era pipe.

I reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer using the 2nd and 3rd cutting head to remove the remaining cake back to briar. I followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the remnants of cake. I sanded the walls of the bowl with a piece of 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel. I scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners.   I 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. I rinsed it under running water and dried it off with a soft cloth. I was topped the bowl on a piece of 220 grit sandpaper and a topping board to smooth out the damage on the surface of the rim and reduce the damage on the edges. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the beveled inner edge of the rim. With the general cleanup finished I decided to address the cracked shank. I have circled the area of the crack in red in the photo below. I removed the stem and spread the crack slightly and used a tooth pick to put super glue in the crack. I pressure fit a thin band on the end of the shank to bind it together. The band allowed the glue to cure and the crack virtually disappeared. The band is thin enough not do obscure the stamping on the shank sides.I polished the bowl and the rim top, sides and shank with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with a damp cloth. I carefully avoided the stamping on the shank so as not to damage the stamping. 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 a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.      I set aside the bowl and turned my attention to the stem repairs. I cut a piece of cardboard for a pallet, put aside two charcoal capsules, and set out the spatula and the Loctite 380 black CA glue. I greased a pipe cleaner with Vaseline and inserted it in the stem. I filled in the hole in the stem with a mixture of charcoal powder and Loctite. I used the spatula to fill in the bite throughs on all of the stems. I sprayed the repair with an accelerator to set the glue and removed the pipe cleaners from the stems.     I filled in the deep tooth marks on the top side of the stem with black super glue and set the stems aside to let the repairs cure. I took a photo of the three pipes at this point to give a feel for where things stood. I smoothed out the repairs with a needle file and started blending them into the surface of the stem. I sanded the remaining repairs with 220 grit sandpaper to further blend it into the stem surface. I started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.     I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. This 50s era Comoy’s Grand Slam Pipe 484B Billiard with a replacement vulcanite saddle stem turned out to be a nice looking pipe now that it has been restored. I did a lot of work on the bowl and repaired the bite through on the stem. The rich browns and blacks of the contrasting stains came alive with the polishing and waxing. The thin brass shank band adds a touch of class to the pipe. 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 Comoy’s Billiard is a beauty and fits nicely in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. I am looking forward to what Stanley thinks of his repaired pipe. He had said the threesome were his favourite pipes. While this was the last of  the threesome it pushed ahead of number 2 in the queue so there is one more to come! Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

New Life for a Prince Amled Danish Hand Made 15 Stack


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the worktable is a Danish Hand Made Stack. It has that classic tall bowled look that I have come to appreciate in these handmade pipes. It has some nice mixed grain around the bowl and shank that was dirty but visible. Jeff and I picked this pipe up an antique store on the Oregon Coast. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Prince Amled [over] Danish Hand Made. On the underside of the shank at the stem/shank junction it is stamped with the shape number 15. The left side of the saddle stem also has faintly stamped crown stamped into the vulcanite. The pipe is dirty with a thick cake in the bowl and a lava overflow and dusty in the rustication of the rim top. The inner edge of the rim is rough with damage to the beveled edge on the back side. The outside rim is missing a large chunk of briar on the back edge. There was an inch long crack on the lower right side of the shank from the shank end forward. The finish was dusty with grime ground into the finish around the sides of the bowl. The black vulcanite saddle stem is oxidized, calcified and has tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside near the button. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took a photo of the bowl and rim top to show their general condition. You can see the thick lava on the rim top and the thick cake in the bowl. The damage on the rear inner edge of the bowl and the rear outside edge of the rim is very visible. The stem is oxidized, calcified and has tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button and on the button surface.   Jeff took some photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give an idea of the grain around the bowl. I cannot wait to see what it looks like once it is cleaned and polished.      He took a photo of the stamping on the stem but the stamping on the shank was faint and only readable through a lens. With the light and magnification the stamping was readable. There was also a stamp on the underside of the shank that read 15. You can also see the crack in the shank on the right side visible in the second photo.    Before I started to work on the pipe I wanted to learn about the brand. I remembered finding some information on Pipephil when I had worked on an earlier Prince Amled restoration. I turned to Pipephils site to read over the information on the Danish Hand Made Prince Amled brand (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-p5.html). I did a screen capture of what was on the site and I have included that below. It was another of those pipes with little information included.I turned to Pipedia see if there was any further information to help me with hunt for this pipe manufacturer (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Prince_Amled). The listing for that pipe company had some great photos but also an appeal for information on the brand. It looks like I had as much information as I could find online.

Now I had a pretty good idea of how the pipe was stamped and made. With that information I moved forward to work on the pipe itself and see what I had to do with it. Jeff had done an amazing job in removing all of the cake and the lava on the rim top. He had reamed the bowl with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He took the cake back to bare briar so we could check the walls for damage. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime on the bowl and rim and was able to remove the lava and dirt. He cleaned out the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol until they came out clean. He cleaned the stem with Soft Scrub to remove the grime on the exterior and cleaned out the airway with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed if off and recleaned the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. I took photos of the pipe before I started my part of the restoration. I took some photos of the rim top and stem. You can see damage to the rim top and back outer edge of the bowl. The lava on the rim top cleaned up very well but the inner beveled edge. The close up photos of the stem shows that there are light tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside of the stem near the button. I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank to show the condition. It is faint but it was readable. I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe at this point. You can clearly see the condition, size and shape of the pipe.I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the inner edge of the bowl and the beveled rim top. I filled in the chipped area on the outer edge of the back side of the bowl. Once the repair had cured I smoothed out the repair with the sandpaper. I took a photo of the finished rim repair.  With the rim repair finished it was time to repair the cracked shank. I traced it back to the terminal end of the crack and drilled a small pilot hole to keep the crack from spreading. I filled in the crack and the pilot hole with clear super glue. (I circled the pilot hole and the crack in the shank with a red circle in the photos below). I but a small bead of glue around the shank end and pressed a thin brass band onto the end of the shank to press the crack back together.  Once the glue cured I polished it and the rest of the bowl with micromesh sanding pads. I sanded the outside of the briar with micromesh sanding pads to polish the finish. I wet sanded with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads and wiped it down with a damp pad after each pad.  The bowl was in excellent condition as was the finish of the bowl after Jeff’s cleanup. I started my cleanup by working some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for about ten minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process.   I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth marks and chatter on the stem surface with 220 grit sandpaper and started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.   I used some Rub’n Buff Antique Gold to touch up what remained of the stamp on the saddle stem. The crown came out clearly even though some of the edges were damaged. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with a cloth containing some Obsidian Oil. I finished polishing it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and buffed it off with a cotton cloth.    This Prince Amled Danish Hand Made Stack is a nice looking pipe. The finish looks very good and the thin brass band on the shank is also a great addition and gives the pipe a touch of class. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe lightly with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I carefully avoided the stamping on the shank sides during the process. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad on the buffer. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is an excellent example of a Hand Made Danish pipe. The grain follows the shape very well. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. I can only tell you that it is much prettier in person than the photos capture. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 inch, Chamber diameter: 5/8 of an inch. This interesting Prince Amled Danish Stack is a great looking pipe in excellent condition. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this beautiful Danish Hand Made pipe. I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store soon. If you want to add it to your collection send me an email or a message! Thanks for your time.