Tag Archives: repairing bite marks

A Beautiful Petite “FCC” Double Footed Cutty Restored To Its Former Glory


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

The next pipe that I chose to work on was a petite slender two legged classic Cutty shaped pipe that is stamped as “FCC”, each letter in a square and all the squares are co-joined to form a rectangle. Apart from the FCC stamp, there is no other stamp on the briar. The shank end has a nickel ferrule (most probably) with a squat diamond bearing letters “A–B” over three cartouches with its engravings completely worn out. Now the reasoning for assuming the ferrule to be nickel plated is firstly that I could not find any silversmith with letter “A B” in a diamond on my usual go to sites as well as searching the net. Secondly, during the course of restoring the pipe, the ferrule came loose revealing a prominent crack to the shank end and this ferrule was a repair band that was put by the previous repairman. Here are the pictures of the stampings. It would be interesting to know the views and opinions on my musings. There was no information about this pipe that was available on the internet. The lack of COM stamp also contributed to the mystery of this pipe. Even “Who Made That Pipe” by Herb Wilczak and Tom Colwell finds no mention of this brand and as stated above the ferrule has faux stampings. The only pointer that this is an old timer comes from the oval stem slot which was seen on early pipes.

In the interest of pipe collector community, I request the readers to share any information that they may have about this brand.

Initial Visual Inspection
The double legged Cutty shaped pipe has beautiful mixed grains around the stummel which is covered in dust. The stummel has a couple of deep scratches and one fill towards the foot. The rim top is covered in lava overflow with some serious damage to the inner rim edge and as a result appears out of round. There is a thick layer of cake in the chamber. The slender vulcanite stem is heavily oxidized with a chunk of vulcanite missing from end of the step tenon. There are issues that need to be addressed, but it still is a beautiful pipe and once it is restored, the elegance and beauty of this pipe shall be worth appreciating. Here are a few pictures of the pipe before I begin working on it. Dimensions Of The Pipe
(a) Overall length of the pipe:          6 inches.

(b) Bowl height:                                  1.4 inches.

(c) Inner diameter of chamber:       0.6 inches.

(d) Outer diameter of chamber:        1.1 inches.

Detailed Inspection…
The chamber has a thick layer of even cake and has a strong sweet smell to it. The rim top surface has darkened due to lava overflow which is not very thick. The inner edge is uneven, but closer inspection makes me believe it to be more so because of uneven cake at the rim edge. The inner edge appears to be charred in 11 o’clock and 6 o’clock direction (encircled in pastel blue). The outer edge has a very shallow ding which is encircled in yellow. The stummel has some interesting grain patterns hidden under the dust that has accumulated over the surface. There is a fill towards the foot of the stummel on the left side and is encircled in green. This fill seems like a crack but it is not. The stummel surface has a few scratches but the two on the right side of the stummel are prominently visible (encircled in yellow). The two legs of the bowl are perfectly flat and angled making the pipe a sitter. The long slender shank has a dark patch (encircled in red) at the bowl shank junction and is likely another fill or a crack. I shall be sure about this only once the surface is thoroughly cleaned. The shank has heavy accumulation of oils, tars and gunk. The sweet smell is pretty strong here too. The long and slender vulcanite stem slightly tapers towards the tenon end giving a very classy look to the pipe. The step tenon has a chunk of vulcanite missing from the end and would need to be rebuilt. The stem has deep seated oxidation that imparts to it a greenish brown hue. The bite zone has minor tooth chatter and the buttons are sans any damage. The oval shape of the slot end and the slot itself is old fashioned and is a pointer to this being an older pipe from the 20s- 30s. Both the tenon end and slot end shows heavy accumulation of gunk and has an awful stink to it. This stem is going to be a bear to clean.The Process…
Since there were other stems that were ready to be put into the stem deoxidizer solution, I decided to clean the internals of this stem first so that it could be put in the solution with other stems. I cleaned the stem airway with a thin shank brush and anti oil soap. The amount of gunk that was cleaned can be judged from the pictures below. It took considerable time and elbow grease to get the stem airway clean. I further cleaned the internals with regular and bristled pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol. Once I was done with the internal cleaning of the stem airway, I sanded the stem surface with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to loosen and remove superficial oxidation from the stem surface. I wiped the stem clean with Murphy’s Oil Soap on a cotton swab. It has been our experience that such sanding yields the best end results after the deoxidizer solution has completed its assigned task.The stem was immersed in the Before and After Deoxidizer solution, a product that has been developed by Mark Hoover. This solution raises the oxidation to the stem surface and helps in easy removal and imparting a nice shine to the stem after polishing. The pipe is indicated with a yellow arrow indicator. The stem was allowed to soak into this solution overnight.The next morning, Abha took the stem out from the solution. She cleaned the stem under running warm water and scrubbed the raised oxidation from the stem surface using a Scotch Brite pad and cleaned the airway with a thin shank brush. She further removed the oxidation by scrubbing the stem with 0000 grade steel wool and applied a little EVO to rehydrate the stem. She ran a couple of pipe cleaners through the stem airway to clean the airway of the deoxidizer solution and water.Staying with stem repairs, I warmed up the bite zone with the flame of a lighter to raise the minor tooth indentations to the surface. The heat helps the vulcanite to expand and regain its original shape. This method may not always completely raise the depressions to the surface, but most of the times, to a great extent. In this case the tooth indentations were raised completely to the surface. I followed up the heating of the stem surface with sanding the bite zone with a piece of 220 grit sandpaper to even out the surface.Next, I decided to address the broken end of the step tenon. I first inserted a pipe cleaner that had been smeared with petroleum jelly (Vaseline) through the tenon end into the stem air way. This helps prevent the CA superglue and charcoal mix from sticking to the pipe cleaner and prevents the mix from running down into the air way and clogging it. I generously applied a mix of CA superglue and activated charcoal over the tenon end to be rebuilt. I applied a thick layer of the mix as this provides sufficient patch material to work with during subsequent filing and shaping to match the repairs with the stem surface. Once I had applied the mix, I set it aside to cure overnight.By next afternoon, the tenon rebuild had cured perfectly and was fit to work on. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper to sand the patch and achieve an even match with the rest of the tenon surface. I shaped the opening of the rebuilt tenon for smooth and even airway surface using a round needle file and topped the tenon face on a piece of 220 girt sand paper to achieve a perfect seating of the step tenon into the mortise.I further sanded the entire stem with 320 followed by 400, 600, 800 and 1000 grit sand paper. This helps to reduce the scratch marks left behind by the more abrasive 220 grit paper and also to remove complete oxidation from the stem surface. I rubbed a small quantity of EVO to rehydrate the stem and set it aside.With the stem set aside, I had a second look at the stummel and decided to start with reaming the chamber. Using size 1 head of the PipNet reamer, I took the cake down to the bare briar. I used my fabricated knife to remove the carbon layer from areas which could not be accessed by the reamer head. Next, with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper pinched between fingers, I sanded the wall surface to a smooth finish and ensured there are no traces of residual carbon anywhere in the chamber. I cleaned the chamber with a cotton swab wetted with alcohol. There are a couple of heat fissures that can be seen over the surface of the wall but they seem to be superficial. It could be just a thin layer of residual cake that has hardened rock solid or could be a heat fissure proper and in that case, I would need to fix it. But first, I would need to soften the cake. I cleaned the mortise using q-tips, pipe cleaners and alcohol. I scrubbed out the dried oils and tars from the walls of the shank using a bent dental tool. It was only once the shank internals were cleaned that I could see the thin crack to the shank. However, the repair band was firmly glued to over the shank end. I shall continue further cleaning of the shank internals when I clean the external surface of the stummel.I decided to give the stummel a salt and alcohol treatment. This would address three issues, firstly the strong sweet ghosting smell secondly, loosen the rock hard carbon layer from the chamber wall and lastly the alcohol may loosen the glue that kept the repair band firmly attached to the shank. I wrapped a little cotton around a pipe cleaner and inserted it through the mortise into the chamber. I packed the space around this pipe cleaner in the shank with cotton balls. Next, I firmly packed the cotton balls in to the chamber about half an inch below the rim and soaked the cotton balls with isopropyl alcohol up to the brim. About half an hour later, the level of alcohol had gone down, having being absorbed by the cotton. I topped it up once again and set it aside overnight. By next morning, the cotton and alcohol had drawn out all the remaining oils and tars from the chamber and mortise, fulfilling its intended task. I removed the cotton balls and ran pipe cleaners through the mortise to clean out all the loosened tars and gunk and further cleaned it with alcohol and q-tips. The chamber now smells clean and fresh. I set the stummel aside to dry out naturally. All the three issues that I wanted to address with this process have been achieved as will be brought out subsequently.With the bowl internals clean, I moved to clean the exterior of the stummel. I used a hard bristled tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil soap to scrub the stummel and rim top. For this stummel cleaning, l used Murphy’s Oil soap as I wanted to preserve the old patina that had developed on the stummel and was not sure how the Briar cleaner product would affect it. After the scrub with oil soap, I washed the stummel under running warm water with anti oil dish washing detergent till the stummel surface was clean and dried it using paper towels and a soft cotton cloth. I simultaneously cleaned the shank internals with the detergent and hard bristled shank brush and set the stummel aside to dry out naturally. This cleaning had now exposed all the fills (encircled in pastel blue), charred rim surface at 11 and 3 o’clock directions (encircled in yellow) and scratches over the stummel surface. As spelled out earlier, during the alcohol bath, alcohol had seeped through the crack in the shank and loosened the glue that held the band over the shank and during the external cleaning the band came out easily revealing the crack that it had covered. It’s a large crack that would need to be addressed.I cleaned the mortise and shank internals with anti oil soap and shank brushes. I also removed all the debris and old glue from within the crack using a thin sharp fabricated tool. I further cleaned the crack using cotton swab and alcohol.With the prep for the crack repair completed, it was time to move on with the task. Under a magnifying glass, I marked the end point of the crack with a marker pen. This is the guide point where I shall drill a counter hole to prevent further spread of the crack in any direction. Using a 1mm drill bit mounted on my hand held rotary tool, I drilled a counter hole at the end of the crack. I also inspected the fills that I had observed after external cleaning of the stummel. The only fill that would need to be refreshed was the one on the left side of the stummel near the foot. With my fabricated sharp knife, I removed the old putty fill and cleaned the pit with alcohol.I filled the pit and the shank crack, counter hole included, with a mix of briar dust and superglue. I sprayed an Accelerator over the fills to hasten the process of curing.Remember the issue of heat fissures I had brought out earlier? Well, after the alcohol bath, I checked the chamber again and it was confirmed that these are not just a result of hardened carbon cake but indeed the briar had charred along these heat lines. Using a sharp and thin knife, I checked all the heat lines and removed the charred briar from the two of these heat fissures (indicated with green line). I needed to address this as it could lead to a burnout at a later date when it is smoked.Once the shank crack and the refreshed fill had completely cured, using a flat head needle file, I sanded the repaired areas to achieve a rough match of the fills with the surrounding surface. I used a round needle file to even out the fill which had seeped inside the shank. I further evened out the fills with a folded piece of 320 grit sand paper. I checked the seating of the repair band over the shank and fine tuned the adjustment and glued it in place once it was perfect. Next I addressed the charring to the rim surface that I had ascertained after the cleaning of the stummel. I topped the rim surface over a piece of 220 grit sandpaper, frequently checking for the progress being made. It was peculiar to note that the charring at 11 and 3 o’clock directions was over both the inner and outer rim edges. I masked these charred marks by creating a bevel over both the edges with a piece of 220 grit sandpaper pinched between fingers. The results were definitely satisfactory. I sanded the entire stummel with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. This addressed many of the scratches and dings from the surface. Those that remained are being accepted as part of the pipe’s journey thus far. I have addressed all the repair issues of the pipe and now handed it over to Abha, my wife, to work her magic in polishing the stummel and stem. To bring a deep shine to the vulcanite stem, Abha went through the complete set of micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. She wiped the stem with moist cloth after each pad and rubbed it down with Extra Virgin Olive oil to rejuvenate the vulcanite. The finished stem is shown below.She wet sanded the entire stummel with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads, wiping frequently with a moist cloth to check the progress. Next, she rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” deep in to the briar with her finger tips and let it rest for a few minutes. The briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful grain patterns displayed in their complete splendor. She further buffed it with a horse hair brush. After Abha handed over the shining stummel, I ran my fingers along the chamber walls and realized with a cringe that I had not addressed the issue of heat fissures. I decided to fill only the heat fissures from where I had removed the charred briar with layer of J B Weld. J B Weld is a two-part epoxy Cold Weld in two tubes; hardener and steel which are mixed in two equal parts (ratio of 1:1) with hardening time of 5-6 minutes and complete curing time of 6-8 hours. I poured the contents of the two tubes and mixed it well. I applied this mix, as evenly as possible, over the heat lines in the chamber wall surface. I worked fast to ensure an even coat before the weld could harden. I set the stummel aside for the application to harden and cure overnight. By the next afternoon, the J B Weld had cured and hardened considerably. With a folded piece of 150 grit sandpaper, I sanded the filled JB Weld from the heat lines till all that remained was a smooth surface with the weld deeply embedded into the heat lines and protecting the briar from further damage. There was only one more issue that needed to be addressed and one that could not be ignored, being a functional issue. After I had lined the walls of the chamber with a thin coat of J. B. Weld, it was necessary to prevent the walls from coming in to direct contact with the burning tobacco. I addressed this issue by mixing activated charcoal and plain yogurt to a thicker consistency, just enough that it would spread easily and thereafter applied it evenly all along the chamber walls after inserting a folded pipe cleaner through the draught hole to keep it open. Once dry and set, this will not only protect the walls but also aid in faster build up of cake.Now onto the home stretch… To complete the restoration, I re-attached the stem with the stummel. I mounted a cotton cloth buffing wheel to my hand held rotary tool, set the speed at about half of the full power and applied Blue Diamond compound to the entire pipe to remove all the minor scratches that remained. I wiped/ buffed the pipe with a soft cotton cloth to clear it of any leftover compound dust. With a cotton buffing wheel earmarked for carnauba wax, I applied several coats of carnauba wax. I worked the complete pipe till the time all the wax was absorbed by the briar. The pipe now boasted of a beautiful and lustrous shine. I vigorously rubbed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine and also clean away any residual wax that had been left behind. I vigorously buffed the nickel ferrule with a jeweler’s cloth and brought it to a nice shine. I was very happy with the way this beauty had turned out. The following pictures speak of the transformation that the pipe has undergone.

From The Brink Of No Return… A c1916 BBB Own Make Bulldog


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

The journey of this pipe began way back in the year 1916 when it came out of the workshop as a brand new Blumfeld’s Best Briar pipe in the classical Bulldog shape. Thereafter this pipe traveled with a British piper across the seven seas aboard a steamer from England and reached the shores of India. And during its stay here in India, it served its Steward well and when the British left India for good, it was gifted to my grandfather and thence continued to serve him till he quit enjoying his pipe in 1970s. Whether this pipe was gifted or it was purchased as a brand new by my grandfather cannot be ascertained, but given the economics of that era, the former appears to be most likely.

Well, now a 105 years later, this pipe is on my work table, nicely cleaned by Abha way back in 2018. It was in that huge lot of around 50 plus pipes that she had cleaned up and sent me for further restoration when I was away from my family for work. As the pipe sits on my table, I very well know the reason for the delay in working on this pipe.

This classic shaped square shank Bulldog has some beautiful mixed grains that can be made out from under the dull and lackluster stummel surface. It is stamped on the left side of the stummel as “BBB” in a rhombus with “OWN” and “MAKE” on either side of the rhombus. The Sterling silver ferrule at the square shank end is stamped as “BBB” in a rhombus over “AF & Co.” in a rectangle over the three cartouche bearing hallmarks. Starting from the left, the first cartouche bears the stamp of an “Anchor” for  the Birmingham Assay Office followed by the “Lion Passant” certifying the silver quality and the last cartouche bears the Date letter “r”. The vulcanite saddle stem is devoid of any stem logo. The stampings are clear and easily discernible. BBB – Pipedia has detailed information on the origins of the brand and transition to the Cadogan group and would be a good read for those interested. I would like to highlight that, quote “At the beginning, BBB produces two qualities. One, BBB Own Make, became finally BBB Best Make, other pipes being simply estampillées BBB. There are reasons to believe that Own Make in fact were produced in London (Reject pipes cuts year R stamped one them.), whereas the simple BBB were imported, and this, to the paddle of the 20th century. However, if all that is not very clear, it is probable that the lines low-of-range were an import of Saint-Claude un-quote.

Now coming on to the most interesting and satisfying part of the research on this piece of briar and that is establishing the probable date of manufacture of this pipe. I prefer to follow English silver marks: the guide to hallmarks of London sterling silver (silvercollection.it)  while establishing the dates on the basis of the date letter in the hallmarks. The Anchor points to the Birmingham Assaying Office. Thereafter, I followed the link to the dating guide of the Birmingham Assay Office to date this pipe. I have included a hallmark chart for dating the pipe. I have put a red mark around the letter for 1916. It is the same style of “r” and the cartouche that holds the letter stamp, matches the photo as well.

To summarize, this BBB was made in 1916, give or take a year as the ferrules were assayed in bulk and used as required. The stamp of Own Make designates this as the finest quality pipe that was made in London for the local market in a Bulldog shape which was made in limited quantities.

Initial Visual Inspection
As stated at the beginning of the write up, Abha, my wife who helps with the initial cleaning, had worked on this pipe in 2018 and sent it out to me for further restoration along with 50 odd pipes. She had reamed the chamber down to bare briar, cleaned the internal of the shank and stem followed by external cleaning of the stummel using Murphy’s Oil soap. Unfortunately there are no ‘before’ and ‘during the process’ pictures. The initial condition of the pipe can be gauged from the pictures of the pipe as it sits on my work table. Dimensions Of The Pipe
(a) Overall length of the pipe: –          4.5 inches.

(b) Bowl height: –                               1.2 inches.

(c) Inner diameter of chamber: –         0.8 inches

(d) Outer diameter of chamber: –        1.2 inches

Detailed Inspection
The rim top surface is where the maximum damage is on this pipe. The rim edges have been subjected to a heavy knocking all around but moreover in the 6 and 7 o’clock direction (encircled in green). A small crack is seen extending over the rim surface down towards the twin rings in 12 o’clock direction and is indicated with red arrows. This crack extends inside the chamber and the same is encircled in red. The rim has thinned out considerably towards the front between 12 and 1 o’clock direction (encircled in yellow). There is a chunk of briar that is missing from 3 o’clock direction either due to knocking against a hard edge or could be due to charring or combination of both. This damaged portion of the rim is encircled in pastel blue. The chamber walls show webbing of heat lines/ fissures. These repairs to the rim surface damage will be the most challenging part of the resurrection of this pipe.  The stummel surface is dull and lackluster with dirty brownish yellow hues to the briar surface. A few very minor scratches and dings can be seen over the stummel surface. The front and aft of the stummel surface in the crown is darkened. I would need to check if the charring is deep grained or just superficial. The gap between the twin rings separating the crown from the rest of the stummel is uneven, but thankfully, it is unbroken. The beauty and quality of this old pipe lies in the perfectly proportioned shape and the fact that there is not a single fill over the entire briar surface of the stummel. The shank and mortise are nicely cleaned up by Abha. The diamond shaped vulcanite saddle stem is deeply oxidized. The tenon is missing a portion of the surface and would need to be rebuilt. The bite zone has tooth indentations on either surface. The buttons on either surface is worn down and has deep bite marks at the corner. Abha had already cleaned the stem internals and thus, I can proceed with stem repairs and restoration.The Process…
I started the restoration of this old timer by immersing the stem in to the deoxidizer solution from Mark Hoover. Before dunking the stem in to the solution, I ran a couple of pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol through the previously cleaned airway to remove the dust that may have accumulated over the last three years. I scrubbed the stem surface with a piece of 220 grit sandpaper to loosen up the oxidation from the surface and further cleaned it with Murphy’s Oil soap on a cotton swab. Once the surface was cleaned, I dunked the stem in to the deoxidizer solution along with the other pipe stems that are in queue for restoration and indicated with a green arrow. The stem is allowed to soak in the solution overnight giving ample time for the solution to pull much of the oxidation to the surface.The next morning, Abha removed the stems (stem indicated with pastel green arrow is the one being worked on) that had been soaking in the deoxidizer solution overnight. She cleaned the stem and the stem airway under running warm water and scrubbed the raised oxidation from the stem surface using a Scotch Brite pad and the airway with a thin shank brush. She further removed the oxidation by scrubbing the stem with 0000 grade steel wool and applied a little EVO to rehydrate the stem. This now gives a clearer picture of the extent of damage as can be seen in the pictures below. The lower bite zone including the button edges on either surface have deep tooth indentations and will need to be reconstructed. The tenon end would also need to be rebuilt. Fortunately, there are no traces of deep seated residual oxidation visible over the surface. I heated the bite zone of the stem with the flame of a lighter to raise the tooth indentations to the surface by causing the vulcanite to expand. This did raise the bite marks to an extent; however, I would still need to rebuild the buttons and fill the bite marks in the bite zone.To begin repairs to the stem, I first inserted a pipe cleaner that had been smeared with petroleum jelly (Vaseline) through the tenon end in to the stem air way. This helps prevent the CA superglue and charcoal mix from sticking to the pipe cleaner and prevents the mix from running down in to the air way and clogging it. I generously applied a mix of CA superglue and activated charcoal over the stem areas to be rebuilt. I apply a thick layer of the mix as this provides sufficient patch material to work with during subsequent filing and shaping to match the repairs with the stem surface. Once I had applied the mix, I set it aside to cure overnight.With the stem repairs set aside to cure, I turned my attention to the stummel repairs. The summary of major issues identified during the detailed inspection is given below:-

(a) Crack to the front of stummel that extends to the inside of the chamber.

(b) The large trough to the rim surface and thinning of the rim on the right side of the stummel.

(c) Heat lines/ fissures over the walls of the chamber.

With a flat head needle file, I removed the charred briar from the rim surface till I reached solid briar wood. This now gives a clearer idea as to the exact extent of damage and the repairs required.  I decided to address the crack to the stummel surface first. I marked the end point of the crack with a sharpie pen under magnification. This helps to identify the end point later with naked eye and also provides start point for the drill bit to bite in. With a 1 mm drill bit mounted on to my hand held rotary machine, I drilled a counter hole at the end of the crack, taking care not to go too deep and end up drilling a through-hole. I had to mark and drill a second counter hole as I later realized that the crack extended slightly below the first one that I had drilled. I ran the sharp dental tool along the crack to remove the dirt and debris that may have been lodged in the crack. This crack and counter holes would get filled with briar dust and CA superglue when I would reconstruct the trough in the rim surface and so I did not proceed to fill the same at this stage. Next, I got around to addressing the rim top damage. The extent of the dip or trough caused due to banging against a hard surface and or charring of the rim edge was deep and would necessitate heavy topping off of the rim surface, and I for one, absolutely wish to avoid any loss of briar. Also topping to the extent that was required to eliminate the deep trough would completely alter the original shape and symmetry of this pipe.  So, I planned on first filling up the deep trough on the rim edge using briar dust and superglue to roughly match the surrounding intact rim surface and some more and then topping it to achieve a smooth even surface. Theoretically, this sounds logical.

I resorted to the layering method again; first I layered superglue along the damaged surfaces of the rim followed by sprinkling of briar dust, another layer of superglue followed by a final layer of briar dust. This final layer of briar dust reduces the probability of air pockets (or so I thought). In the second picture, you can see that the layering has not been done to the level of the rim surface but above the surrounding intact rim surface as I would be sanding the rim subsequently. Using the same technique, I rebuilt the inner surface to increase the thickness of the rim that was thinned out. I set the stummel aside to cure.  The stem repairs had hardened considerably over the past 18 odd hours. I used a flat head needle file to sand the patch and achieve a rough match with the rest of the stem surface. I further evened out the patch with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. Similarly, I shaped the rebuilt tenon for perfect seating into the mortise. For a better blending, I further sanded the entire stem with 320 followed by 400, 600, 800 and 1000 grit sand paper. This helps to reduce the scratch marks left behind by the more abrasive 220 grit paper. I rubbed a small quantity of EVO to rehydrate the stem and set it aside. With the stem set aside, I turned my attention back to the stummel and rim repairs where the fills/ repairs had hardened completely. To speed up the removal of excess mix of briar dust and superglue from the repaired areas, I mounted a sanding drum over my hand held rotary tool and carefully sanded down the excess patch material. I further shaped and matched the repaired area with the rest of the stummel by sanding with a 180 grit sand paper. At this point, I noticed a large number of air pockets in the repaired areas and can be identified in the form of light colored pockets in the surface.And so here I was, filling the air pockets with a mix of briar dust and superglue and praying that these pockets are completely filled. Once I was done, I set the stummel aside for the mix to harden.While I was working on the stummel repairs, Abha, my wife was quietly giving finishing touches to the stem. She went through the entire set of micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 through to 12000 grit pads. She applied a little quantity of EVO and set the stem aside for final polish with polishing compounds.By next afternoon, the repairs to the rim had completely hardened. I set about sanding the repaired surface with a sanding drum mounted on to my rotary tool to match the rest of the surface. With a folded piece of 180 grit sand paper, I fine tuned the match further. At this stage, even though the air pockets have reduced to an extent, but not eliminated. I further realized that the rim top is still thin on the right side and needs to be built up further. To get the rim thickness to match the rest of the rim surface, I coated that portion of the inner wall that needed to be built up with a mix of briar dust and superglue. One has to be careful to coat only the required areas as it would mean extra effort and time wasted to remove the unwanted coat at a later stage. I set the stummel aside for the mix to cure.As I was busy with the rim repairs, Abha had polished the stem and had placed it on my work table. She polished the stem with micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. When she was through with the micromesh cycle, she deeply rubbed a small quantity of EVO in to the stem surface to rehydrate it and set it aside for me to give a final polish with blue diamond and carnauba wax. The finished stem looks a nice shining black. It was after I clicked pictures that I noticed that air pockets can be seen in the repairs to the bite zone. Is it the superglue that is at fault or is it me doing something wrong? Well, I shall live with it for now as these air pockets are not easy to discern with naked eye and maybe later someday I shall redo the stem repairs.Once the repairs to the rim had cured, I used a sanding drum mounted on to my rotary tool to smooth and even out the fills. I fine tuned the matching of the repairs with the surrounding surface by sanding with a piece of 180 grit sand paper. Now to even out the rim top surface…To even out the rim top surface, I topped the rim surface on a piece of 220 grit sandpaper till I had achieved an even a rim surface as was achievable while maintaining the shape and proportions of the stummel. A few light spots are seen where the glue did not mix with the briar dust forming an air pocket which got exposed during the sanding process.I addressed the issue of these air pockets by spot filling them with superglue using a toothpick. To speed things up, I used an accelerator to hasten the curing of the superglue. Once the glue had hardened, I evened out the fills by sanding with a 220 grit sand paper to a smooth finish. Unfortunately, I lost the pictures of this stage somewhere during transferring of data from mobile phone to my laptop.

With the rim repairs completed, I sanded the entire stummel progressively using 320, 600 and 800 grit sand papers. This not only addressed the minor scratches and dings over the surface, but also evened out any high spots left behind during the rim repairs. Satisfied with the progress made, I handed over the stummel to Abha for her to weave her magic with the micromesh pads. She polished the stummel, going through the entire set of 9 micromesh pads. To further blend the repairs with the surrounding surface, I stained the repaired area with a dark brown stain pen and set the stummel aside overnight for the stain to set. Once the stain was set, I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm”, a product developed by Mark Hoover that helps to rejuvenate and protect the briar. The transformation is almost immediate and the results are outstanding. The repairs, though visible on closer inspection, have blended in beautifully. Save for the final wax polish, the cosmetic aspect of this pipe has been taken care of and with great results! Now to address the functional aspects…

While carrying out the detailed inspection, I had observed and noted heat lines along the inner walls of the chamber. These heat lines are places from where burnouts usually happen if not addressed. Added to this was the rebuilt rim surface using briar dust and superglue. To isolate the heat lines and the rebuilt rim top surface from coming in direct contact with smoldering tobaccos, I decided to give a thin coat of JB Weld to the inner chamber walls and once the weld had hardened, a coat of activated charcoal and yogurt which is organic, neutral tasting and completely safe for humans would be applied over the JB Weld layer. This coat also aids in a faster build up of the cake.

With the PoA ready, I mixed the two part epoxy. J B Weld is a two-part epoxy Cold Weld in two tubes; hardener and steel which are mixed in two equal parts (ratio of 1:1) with hardening time of 5-6 minutes and complete curing time of 6-8 hours. I poured the contents of the two tubes and mixed it well. I inserted a petroleum jelly coated regular pipe cleaner through the draught hole to prevent it from getting blocked due to the J B Weld mix. I applied this mix, as evenly as possible, over the entire chamber wall surface and worked fast to ensure an even coat over the chamber walls before the weld could harden. I set the stummel aside for the application to harden and cure overnight. The J B Weld coat had hardened considerably by next day evening when I got around to working on the pipe. I mounted a sanding drum on to my hand held rotary tool and after setting the speed to half of the full RPM, I sanded the excess coat from the chamber walls. To further fine tune and keep the coat to a minimum thickness, I further sanded with a 150 grit sand paper till I had a coat thickness that was just sufficient to protect the briar underneath. Here is how the chamber appeared at this stage. After I had protected the repaired portion of the rim and the walls of the chamber with a coat of J B Weld, it was necessary to prevent this coat from coming into contact with the burning tobacco. I addressed this by mixing activated charcoal and plain yogurt to a thicker consistency, just enough that it would spread easily and applied it evenly all along the chamber walls after inserting a folded pipe cleaner through the draught hole to keep it open. Once dry and set, this will not only protect the walls but also aid in faster build up of cake.To complete the restoration, I mounted a cotton cloth buffing wheel onto my hand held rotary tool and polished the stummel and stem with Blue Diamond compound. This compound helps to remove the minor scratch marks that remain from the sanding. I mounted another cotton buffing wheel that I have earmarked for carnauba wax and applied several coats of the wax. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The finished pipe looks amazingly beautiful and is ready to join my collection of other BBB pipes that I have inherited. I only wish it could share with me its story of the past years while I enjoy smoking my favorite Virginia blend in it or maybe an English blend or maybe just keep admiring it.

Another Of My Inherited BBB Restored…And What A Mess It Was


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

The next pipe that had moved up the queue of pipes for restoration is also a BBB, but from a newer era as compared to the c.1916 pipe that I had just restored. The aim of selecting this pipe was to show the general condition of the pipes that I had inherited. All or most of them were very well loved and thus extensively smoked without any signs of ever having being cleaned and maintained. The philosophy was simple, select one favorite pipe, smoke the pipe till it fouls up then chuck it, buy a new pipe and repeat the process… It was an era when Barling family still owned the brand and Loewe pipes were still made in the Haymarket area! Ah….. That bygone era of beautiful and superb quality English pipes.

This is a beautiful well grained bent billiards with a nice hand feel, is perfectly proportioned and the quality just oozes out of every inch of the pipe. The sterling silver ferrule at the shank end bears the stamp of “BBB” enclosed in trademark rhombus over “STERLING” over “SILVER”. The stamping on the right side is greatly faded and only “MAKE” is visible under magnification and bright lights. The left side of the shank bears the slightly worn out shape code “304”. The high quality vulcanite stem has the trademark metal rhombus stamped “BBB”. I have worked on quite a few BBB pipes in the past and read a ton of material from various sources on BBB and to save time of our esteemed readers, I shall not reproduce the article but have provided a link for the most reliable and concise information on pipedia.org, https://pipedia.org/wiki/BBB

What were of interest to me, however, were the BBB catalogs that Doug Valitchka has contributed on pipedia.org. I reproduce a picture of the Sterling Silver line of pipes from BBB that gives out a brief introduction to the line and also the cost of the Sterling Silver line of pipes prevalent at that time. This and the subsequent link that I shall be providing, is a strongly recommended read for all those interested in old flyers and promotional endeavors from BBB.Pipedia.org also has a link to a PDF copy of 1960 brochure which is a very strong recommendation either for referencing or as a general read (https://pipedia.org/images/e/e8/BBB_1960.pdf). The pipe currently on my table has a shape number 304 which has been described in the brochure as a Bent Billiard.

Thus from the above, this pipe must have been with my grandfather from somewhere since late 1950s or very early 1960s making it 60 year old, give or take a few.

Initial Visual Inspection
The chamber has a thick layer of cake, so thick that I am unable to see the heel of the chamber. There is a heavy overflow of lava over the rim surface. The stummel appears dull and lackluster from all the heavy use and overflowing oils and tars which has attracted a ton of dust and grime from years of storage. However beneath all the dirt and grime some beautiful bird’s eye and cross grain over the stummel awaits revelation. There are a few dents, dings and chipped surface in the stummel. The sterling Silver band has turned black due to oxidation. The vulcanite stem is heavily oxidized with deep tooth chatter/ bite marks and calcification in the bite zone. The airway is clogged with dried oils and crud. Shown below is the pipe as it presents itself on my worktable. Dimensions Of The Pipe
(a) Overall length of the pipe:          5.2 inches.

(b) Bowl height:                                  1.7 inches.

(c) Inner diameter of chamber:        0.8 inches.

(d) Outer diameter of chamber:      1.2 inches.

Detailed Inspection
Apparently this chamber has never ever seen a pipe reamer nor has ever experienced the luxury of having a cake of the thickness of a dime. There is a thick layer of cake in the chamber which restricts reaching to the bottom of the chamber. The cake is very hard and dry and it was with some difficulty that I could pry out a couple of chips of cake from the rim surface with my knife. This is going to be one bugger to clean, I say. The thick lava overflow over the rim top surface obscures the condition of the rim surface and will be ascertained only after the crud is removed. Ditto as regards the condition of the chamber wall. I shall deliberate in detail on these issues once the cake has been rid of. The ghost smells are very strong, in fact so strong that the entire room reeked of the smell of rancid tobacco. The stummel is covered in overflowing carbon, oils and ash. Add to this grime, the many years of dust and dirt due to uncared for storage ground into the surface and you have a filthy, dull and dirty looking briar. There are some tightly packed Bird’s eye grains peeking from either sides of the stummel while beautiful cross grains adorn the fore and aft of the bowl. There are a few scratches, dents and dings over the stummel surface (enclosed in pastel blue), nothing severe that would need to be filled. However, to the front of the bowl just below and along the outer edge of the rim, there are a couple of spots that are missing briar (green circle). I may have to rebuild it using briar dust and superglue. The mortise is chock-a-block with old oils, tars and gunk to the extent that I couldn’t see the light in the chamber. The Sterling Silver ferrule is deeply oxidized but without any damage. Cleaning this pipe will be a long haul. The vulcanite stem is deeply oxidized but thankfully without any major damage. There are few tooth indentations and tooth chatter on either surfaces of the stem along with calcification in the bite zone. The button edges on either side have been chewed and would benefit from a rebuild/ reshaping. The step tenon opening is completely clogged and remnants of oils and tars and gunk can be easily observed on the sides and on the inside of the opening. The horizontal slot face is brutally oxidized and filled with gunk. The smells emanating from the stem are quite strong and repulsive. The brass logo is crisp and intact and would benefit from a nice polish.The Process…
Since there were other stems that were ready to be put into the stem deoxidizer solution, I decided to clean the internals of this stem first so that it could be put in the solution with other stems. I cleaned the stem airway with a thin shank brush and anti oil soap. The amount of gunk that was cleaned can be judged from the pictures below. It took considerable time and elbow grease to get the stem airway clean. In spite of my best efforts, I could not get the brush to completely pass through the stem. Closer inspection of the slot end confirmed my worst fears and I could see that the slot was blocked with the crud from the stem airway. I used a sharp dental tool to pry out the block and further cleaned the internals with regular and bristled pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol.This internal cleaning was followed by sanding the stem external surface with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to loosen up and remove superficial oxidation. It has been our experience that such sanding yields the best end results after the deoxidizer solution has completed its assigned task. Before dunking the stem in the deoxidizer solution, it was cleaned up with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a cotton swab.The stem was immersed in the Before and After Deoxidizer solution, a product that has been developed by Mark Hoover. This solution raises the oxidation to the stem surface and helps in easy removal and imparting a nice shine to the stem after polishing. The pipe is indicated with an orange arrow indicator. The stem is allowed to soak into this solution overnight.The next morning, Abha took the stem out from the solution. She cleaned the stem under running warm water and scrubbed the raised oxidation from the stem surface using a Scotch Brite pad and cleaned the airway with a thin shank brush. She further removed the oxidation by scrubbing the stem with 0000 grade steel wool and applied a little EVO to rehydrate the stem. She ran a couple of pipe cleaners through the stem airway to clean the airway of the deoxidizer solution and water. There is a need to further sand the stem to completely remove the oxidation.Continuing with the stem repairs, to address the deeper tooth indentations/ bite marks, I warmed up the bite zone with the flame of a lighter. The heat helps to expand the vulcanite and retain its original shape. This method may not always completely raise the depressions to the surface, but most of the times, to a great extent. In this case the tooth indentations were raised to a great extent, but the damage to the button edge would require a rebuild. I followed up the heating of the stem surface with sanding the bite zone with a worn out piece of 180 grit sandpaper to even out the surface. Next I rebuilt the button edge with a mix of activated charcoal and superglue. I applied it over the buttons on either sides of the stem and set it aside for the mix to cure.Now it was time for me to work on the stummel. I did this by first reaming the chamber with size 1 followed by size 2 PipNet reamer head. I further scraped the chamber walls with my fabricated knife to remove the remaining carbon deposits where the reamer head could not reach. I scraped out the lava overflow from the rim top surface. Once the cake was reamed back to the bare briar, I used a 150 grit sand paper followed by 220 grit sand paper to remove all the traces of remaining cake and also to smooth out the inner walls of the chamber surface. Finally, to remove the residual carbon dust, I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with 99.9% pure isopropyl alcohol. The huge pile of carbon dust that was reamed out is an indication enough to the amount of carbon that had accumulated in the chamber.With the chamber and rim top surface free of all the cake and overflowing oils and tars, I took a closer look at the chamber and rim top surface. The rim top has a number of dents and is undulated, probably a result of striking against a hard surface to remove dottle. Also a result of these strikes is that the outer rim edge is chipped and damaged on the left side between 9 and 12 o’clock direction (encircled in pastel blue). The inner rim appears to have had a bevel and there seem to be signs of charring on the right side (encircled in yellow). There are webbings of thin superficial heat lines along the wall of the chamber (indicated by green arrows); however these are to be expected in a pipe that has been so heavily smoked. These heat lines are very minor and superficial and do not detract from the smoke worthiness of this pipe for the next 60 years.During the handling of the stummel, the Sterling silver band came off allowing me to check for damage underneath the band. Thankfully other than being filthy, there was none. I cleaned the mortise with hard bristled pipe cleaners and alcohol. Using a fabricated tool, I scraped the dried accumulated gunk from the mortise to the extent possible. The mortise would be further cleaned during the stummel cleaning. With the internal cleaning done, it was time for the external cleaning of the stummel surface. I used a hard bristled tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap, to scrub the stummel and rim top. The hardened and stubborn cake was dislodged from the rim surface and shank end using Scotch Brite pad and with a brass wired brush. I washed the stummel under running warm water with anti oil dish washing detergent till the stummel surface was clean and dried it using paper towels and soft cotton cloth. I simultaneously cleaned the shank internals with the detergent and hard bristled shank brush and set the stummel aside to dry out naturally. It is pertinent to mention here that even after all this cleaning of the chamber and shank internals, the ghost smells are still very invasive. This would require adoption of more invasive methods to get rid of these old smells.Since the stummel and stem were drying and curing respectively, I completed one of the mundane but equally important tasks of polishing the Sterling silver band. I used a local product that is available in India only to polish the band. The liquid polish was applied to the band and wiped it out after a few seconds. The polish completely removed the oxidation and gave a nice shine to the band.To address the rim top damage, I topped the rim top on 220 grit sandpaper till the surface was nice and even. I hate losing any briar and restrict it to the barest minimum that is required. The damage to the outer rim edge, though greatly eliminated, can still be seen to the front side (encircled in green). This would need to be reconstructed subsequently. The charring to the inner rim edge is still visible (encircled in orange). These issues could be completely addressed by the process of topping but the extent of topping that would be required to do so would alter the bowl height and also the entire pipe profile. I decided subject the stummel to an alcohol bath to address the strong smells from the stummel before moving ahead with repairs to the inner and outer rim edges. I used cotton balls which is an at par substitute to Kosher salt as I have realized over the years. I drew out a wick from the cotton and along with a folded regular pipe cleaner; inserted it into the mortise and through the draught hole into the chamber. Thereafter, I packed the chamber with cotton balls to about quarter of an inch below the inner rim edge and soaked the cotton balls with isopropyl alcohol up to the brim. About half an hour later, the level of alcohol had gone down, having being absorbed by the cotton. I topped it up once again and set it aside overnight. By next morning, the cotton and alcohol had drawn out all the remaining oils and tars from the chamber and mortise, fulfilling its intended task. I removed the cotton balls and ran pipe cleaners through the mortise to clean out all the loosened tars and gunk and further cleaned it with alcohol and q-tips. The chamber now smells clean and fresh. I set the stummel aside to dry out naturally. While the stummel was soaking in the alcohol bath, I had a look at the stem repairs and found the repairs completely cured. With a flat head needle file, I sanded these fills to achieve a rough match with the stem surface. I further fine tuned the match by sanding the repairs with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and forefinger. I followed it up by sanding the entire stem surface using 320, 400, 600, 800, 1000, 1500 and finally with a piece of 2000 grit sand paper. This serves to reduce the sanding marks of the more abrasive sand papers. I also sharpened the button edges while sanding. I wiped the stem with a cotton swab and alcohol to remove all the oxidation and sanding dust from the surface. I applied a little Extra Virgin Olive oil over the stem and set it aside to be absorbed by the vulcanite. Returning back to the stummel repairs, with a folded piece of worn out 180 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and forefinger, I carefully gave a rough bevel to the inner rim edge and addressed the issue of charred inner rim edge. I filled up the chipped areas on the outer rim edge with a mix of superglue and briar dust and set the stummel aside for the fills to cure and harden.Once the mix had hardened, with a flat head needle file I sanded the fills to achieve a rough match with the rest of the rim edge. I further blended in the fills with a folded piece of 180 grit sand paper. I also sharpened the rough bevel to the inner edge that I had cut earlier. The rim top surface and the edges look much better at this stage of restoration. I further sanded the entire stummel with a piece of 220 grit sand paper to address the minor scratches and dings that would otherwise show after micromesh polishing cycle. I followed it by wet sanding the stummel with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads, wiping frequently with a moist cloth to check the progress. I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” deep into the briar with my finger tips and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful grain patterns displayed in their complete splendor. I further buffed it with a horse hair brush and gave a vigorous buff with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The beauty of this piece of briar is marred ever so slightly by a small pit on the left side of the bowl at the shank and bowl junction. Other than this, the briar only has only bird’s eyes and cross grains to boast. No wonder then that it was sold as a mid level line, below VIRGIN and above THORNEYCROFT.

To put the finishing touches, I mounted a cotton cloth buffing wheel onto my hand held rotary tool and polished the stummel and stem with Blue Diamond compound. This compound helps to remove the minor scratch marks that remain from the sanding. Next, I mounted another cotton buffing wheel that I have earmarked for carnauba wax and applied several coats of the wax. 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 raise the shine further. The finished pipe with the aged patina to the briar looks amazingly beautiful and is now ready for its long second innings with me.

Restemming & Restoring a Malaga Second Long Shank Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

I have been on a restemming binge for the last week or so. 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 restoration and restem on the Viking Brandy, 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 of those that I chose to restem and restore is a lovely Malaga Second Long Shank Billiard stummel. If you have followed me for long you will know that I have worked on a lot of Malaga pipes in the past so I am not a stranger to the brand. This particular bowl is actually quite beautiful and for the life of me I have no idea why is stamped a Second.

The bowl looked very good. The grain around the sides was quite nice and a mix of cross grain and birdseye grain. The rim top had light damage to the inner edge and some nicks of flaws in the outer edge. The rim top had been beat about a bit and showed the wear and damage and there was darkening around the top and edges. The interior of the bowl was clean and there was some light checking on the walls. Examining the mortise it was clean and well drilled with no issues. 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 [over] Second. I took some photos of the bowl before I started to work on it. I took a photo of the stamping on the side of the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable.I went through some of stems and found this shorter taper stem that needed some work on the tenon and diameter at the shank but it was exactly what I wanted. It has a few tooth marks and chatter on both sides 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/.

Now it was time to work on the stem and fit it to the shank of the pipe. The diameter of the tenon was close. I used the Dremel and sanding drum to bring it close to a fit and then used two files that I have here that work well for me to do the fine tuning of the fit.I used a piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the file marks on the tenon and make sure it was round. It is an interesting stem in that it has a tube in the tenon for making it “unbreakable”. I fit it on the pipe and took photos of the fit at this point. The fit against the shank was perfect. There were spots where the stem diameter and the shank diameter did not match. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the transition between the two so it was smooth.I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the remainder of the stem. I “painted” the stem surface with a Bic lighter flame to raise the tooth marks. I was able to lift some of them to the surface. I filled in what remained with clear CA glue. Once it cured I flattened the repairs and reshaped the button with a small flat file. I then repaired areas 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the rest of the surrounding vulcanite. I finished this part of the process by starting the polishing of 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 set the stem aside and turned my attention to the bowl. I started with the rim top issues. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the inner and the outer edge of the rim. I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out and minimize the damage on the rim top. The top and edges looked much better at this point in the process. I 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 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. Before I finished the buffing on the pipe I wanted to address the checking on the inside of the bowl. I noticed it while I was taking the photos. Sometimes it is part of the cake and sometimes not. This time I was able to clean out the majority of it with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife and then sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel. There is still some shallow checking on the front of the bowl toward the top and a little on the backside but it is far better and should be good for many years. I cleaned out the bowl, shank and stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners to remove the sanding and scraping debris.I put the pipe back together – the bowl with its new stem. This restored Malaga Second Long Shank Billiard is a real beauty and the chosen stem works well with it. I have no idea why it would be marked a second other than the pits on the rim top. The grain on the bowl is quite beautiful 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 Second Billiard feels great in the hand. It is lightweight and the contrast in the browns of the briar and the polished vulcanite stem is quite amazing. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.98 ounces/56 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.

Restemming & Restoring a French Made GBD Sauvage 1345 Poker/Pot


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I chose to work on was another bowl from my box of bowls to restem. It is a different looking bowl that combines both a Pot and a Poker shape. It has a inward beveled rim, flat bottom and worm trails curled around the bowl sides. When I examined the shank it had a small hairline crack on the right side that would need to be repaired but otherwise it was solid. It was unique enough I wanted to work on it. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and has a GBD oval logo next to the bowl/shank union followed by Sauvage. On the right side of the shank it is stamped FRANCE [over] the shape number 1345. The stamping was clear and readable with a lens. The bowl had been cleaned and reamed somewhere along the way by either Jeff or me. I honestly don’t remember when or where we got this bowl. It looked very good and I was looking forward to seeing the finished pipe. The stem was long gone so this would be a restemming job. I took some photos of the bowl to give a sense of the condition of bowl. The stamping was on both sides of the shank and it is clear and readable as noted above. I have also drawn a red rectangle around the area where the crack in the shank is located in the photo below.The next photo shows the rounded rim top and edges. It also shows the condition of the bowl and rim top/edges. It is clean and looks quite good. There is some burn damage on the inner edge of the bowl and on the beveled rim top at the front and the back of the bowl.Now it was time to begin my restemming work on this pipe. I went through my can of stems and chose a stem that would work. I would need to remove some the diameter of the tenon and the saddle portion to fit the thin almost pencil shank of the pipe. I used a flat file to remove the small amount of excess on the tenon. It was a close fit but I did not want to make the crack in the shank worse by a tenon that was not correct.When I had finished shaping the tenon I sanded it with a piece of 220 grit sandpaper and inserted it in the shank. It was looking pretty good. I would need to trim back some of the diameter of the saddle portion but I liked it! I generally use a Dremel and sanding drum to reduce the diameter of the stem. I do this with the stem in place on the shank so that I do not overdo it. It is a touchy exercise and one slip and I could easily damage the shank and make more work for myself. I move carefully and take it back as close as I can at this point. Once I band the shank I will need to do some more work on it but it is starting to look right. With the fit close enough it was time to band the shank. I generally do the final adjustments on the stem diameter after I have fit the band in place. I picked a band out that would fit when heated. I took a photo of the crack in the shank to show what I was working with. I sanded the shank end and gave it a slight bevel to facilitate pressing the band in place. Once it was ready I put the band on the shank. It was tight so I heated it with a lighter and when it had expanded I pressed it against the pad on my desk and pushed it all the way onto the shank. It covered the “e” on Sauvage slightly but the length of the crack defined what I needed to band it. I used some 220 grit sandpaper to once again take a little bit off the diameter of the tenon and the band compresses the crack and the diameter of the mortise changes. When I was finished I put the stem in the shank and took photos of the newly banded shank. It was going to look good once I finished shaping the stem diameter but it is very close at this point. What do you think of the new look? I finished adjusting the fit of stem diameter with 220 grit sandpaper and everything was aligned. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper and the stem was looking very good at this point. Now I needed to deal with the tooth marks and chatter on the end of the stem. I “painted” them with the flame of a lighter to lift them as much as possible. I filled in the ones that remained with clear super glue. Once the glue cured I flattened out the repairs with a small flat file. I followed that by sanding the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished the stem with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and buffed it with a cotton cloth. Once I had finished the polishing I gave it final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. With the stem finished (other than to buff the pipe at the end)I set it aside and I turned my attention to the bowl. I used a wooden ball that Kenneth gave me with a piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the bevel. I finished with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to further minimize the burn damage. I touched up the stain with an Oak Stain pen to match the surrounding briar of the bowl. It looked much better at this point. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding debris left behind. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the smooth and worm trails on the bowl 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 really took on dimension and colour. I am excited to be on the homestretch with this petite French Made GBD Sauvage 1345 Poker/Pot. This is the part I look forward to when it all comes back together, polished and waxed. I put the bowl and the new stem together and polished the stem and bowl with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the vulcanite and give a light shine to the bowl. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The worm trail carving on the bowl actually looks okay with the rest of the smooth finish. The banded shank and new polished black saddle vulcanite stem works well with this little sitter. This GBD Sauvage Poker/Pot was another fun pipe to work on and came out looking great. It is a comfortable sized pipe to hold in the hand. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 33 grams/1.16 ounces. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your rack it will be on the rebornpipes store in the French Pipemakers Section soon. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.

Restoring and Reshaping a stem on a beautiful “Malaga” Imported Briar 3 Cutty


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I chose to work on from my box of pipes to be restored is a lovely “Malaga” Cutty with a poorly fit stem. We bought the pipe off eBay back in January, 2017 from Gilroy, California, USA. 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. On the heel of the bowl it was stamped with the number 3. It was an interesting looking Cutty shaped pipe. The grain around the sides was quite nice and a mix of cross grain and birdseye grain. There was a thick cake in the bowl and a thick lava coat on the rim top. The inner edge of the bowl was so caked it was hard to know what the edge looked like underneath. The stem was oxidized, calcified and had a lot of deep tooth mark and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. It was a bit of a mess. Jeff took some photos of the bowl before he started to work on it. Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the lava coat on the top and on the inner beveled edge of the bowl. I am hoping that it protected the edge from damage. He also took photos of the stem to show the deep tooth marks and chatter on the oxidized stem. He took photos of the bowl and heel to show the condition of the finish. Though the finish is dirty and grimy you can see some nice grain showing on the bowl sides. Jeff took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank and the heel of the bowl. It read as noted above and was readable. I have worked on a lot of Malaga pipes in the past so I am not a stranger to the brand. I have 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/.

I took some photos of the pipe as I took it out of the box. Here is what I saw. I could see that Jeff had cleaned it well. The bowl had been reamed with a PipNet reamer and Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He had scrubbed the exterior with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap. He rinsed it with warm water. He cleaned out the internals with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. The stem was twisted and tweaked to the right as can be seen in the photos of the top and underside of the pipe. The grain on the bowl is quite nice with just a few small fills that are solid and well blended in with the surrounding briar. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. The rim top had cleaned up very well and you can see the damage to the inner edge of the bowl at the back as well as some darkening on the rim top and outer edges. The stem cleaned up well but the tooth damage is quite deep and messy. I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank and heel of the bowl. The stamping is clear and readable as noted above.I took the stem off the shank and took a photo of the pipe. I really like the look of the Cutty shape and the grain on the bowl. It is a beauty. The stem will look good once it has gone through some surgery on the diameter and the shank and the chomping on the button end.I started my work on the pipe by cleaning up the damaged inner edge and top of the rim with a folded piece of 220 sandpaper. Once it was finished it definitely is an improvement.I polished the bowl and rim top with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped down the bowl after each sanding pad. 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 set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I decided to address the fit of the stem to the shank. They were significantly different in diameter. I wanted to address that first while at the same time dealing with the deep tooth marks. I took photos of the fit of the stem to the shank. I think you can see the variation in diameter in the photos. The stem is bigger on the top an don the right side. If I turn it over it is the reverse but the fit is better against the shank face in the way it is in the photos below.I sanded the shank end of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to reduce diameter to a close fit. I got I close then decided to deal with the tooth marks on the stem surface so that I could sand the entire stem to shape and it to the shank. I “painted” the tooth marked area with the flame of a lighter and was able to lift many of them significantly. Those that remained I filled in with clear CA glue and set aside to cure. Once the repair had cured I used a small file to flatten it out and to redefine the button area and edges. It looked much better. I followed that by sanding the repaired area with 220 grit sandpaper to further blend in the repairs to the surrounding vulcanite. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. With that work down on the button end I could go back to fine tuning the stem to shank fit.I went back to fitting the stem to the shank with 220 grit sandpaper and after some more adjustments the fit works well with the shank and I am pleased with the smooth transition to the shank.I polished it with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads (somehow the photo of the 1500-2400 grit pads was inadvertently lost). 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. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. Once I finished refitting and repairing the stem, this “Malaga” Imported Briar 3 Cutty was another beautiful pipe. The briar around the bowl is clean and really came alive. The rim top looks much better than when I began. The rich brown stains gave the grain a sense of depth with the polishing and waxing. The grain really popped. I put the vulcanite 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. 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 “Malaga” Cutty 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: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of pipe is 1.34 ounces /38 grams. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store soon. Look for it in the American Pipe Makers section. If you would like to add it to your collection let me know. This is another pipe that has the possibility of transporting the pipe man or woman back to a slower paced time in history where you can enjoy a respite. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

This Greenwich House Antique Imported Briar Crowned Pot Turned into a Nightmare


Blog by Steve Laug

Sometimes when I start working on a pipe there is can be a sense of gloom or expectant trouble. That was the case with this one. I thought it would be a straightforward clean up and restoration. Little did I know what lay ahead for me in this restoration. Time would tell and I would share it here with you my readers. It started as usual. I recognized the brand on this pipe but could not remember any of the details. Jeff picked this pipe up from an antique store in Ogden, Utah, USA back in 2019. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Greenwich House [arched over] Antique and on the right side Imported [over] Briar. It was the Greenwich House tag that grabbed my attention. You know how sometimes a name just sits on the edge of your memory beyond your reach but you still know it? That is what this name did to me. The finish is quite dirty with a cake in the bowl and lava overflow on the rim top. The worm trails on the sides and base reminded me of a Custom-Bilt but a bit more smooth. The crowned rim top was more elegant. The saddle style stem was old vulcanite and other than deep tooth marks it was quite clean, Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started. He took close up photos of the rim top, bowl and stem to give a better picture of what he was seeing as he prepared to clean it up. You can see the cake in the bowl and the lava on the rim top. The inner edge appears to be burned and damaged but it was hard to tell for sure. The stem had some deep tooth marks on both sides just ahead of the button and some light calcification at the sharp edge.Jeff took his characteristics photos of the bowl sides and heel to give a clear picture of the grain around the bowl and the style of the worm trails carved into the sides and heel. It is a nice piece of briar.The stamping was readable though a little faint on the left side of the shank. It read Greenwich House arched over Antique on the left. On the right side it was very clear and read Imported [over] Briar.I turned first to my blog on a previous restoration of a Greenwich House pipe. I had worked on one that was stamped Thoro-Kleen, a metal pipe (https://rebornpipes.com/2016/02/24/a-piece-of-art-deco-greenwich-house-thoro-kleen/). I read through that blog and have included a pertinent piece of information on the brand below.

According to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Thoro-Kleen) the Greenwich House Thoro-Kleen was a metal pipe system from the same family as the Roybrooke, Comet, and Original Gridiron pipes, and parts from all are believed to be interchangeable. The pipes were sold by the Greenwich House Corporation, located in 1947 at 939-M 8th Avenue, N.Y. 19, N.Y…

From that I knew it was an American Made pipe that had been carved for or by a company known as Greenwich House Corporation in New York City.

I turned to the listing of American Brands on Pipedia to see if there was a listing for the Greenwich House itself (https://pipedia.org/wiki/American_Pipe_Brands_%26_Makers_G_-_H). I found that there was not an article but the list of makers identified the brand and said that The Antique was made of Aged Algerian Briar. One more piece fell in place. The pipe I was working on was stamped Antique so I now knew the source of the Imported Briar.

But I still wanted a bit more information so I did a Google search and was taken to pipes made by Greenwich House on smokingpipes.com and other sites. Worthpoint, an auction site had several and also had one stamped Antique (https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/vintage-greenwich-house-carved-1992675965). I have included the description from the sale item below as it is quite descriptive of the pipe in my hands.

Vintage Greenwich House Carved Antique Aged Algerian Tobacco Pipe. Good condition. Measures about 6.25″ long.

It is similarly stamped as mine and also similarly sized. Now it was time to work on the pipe itself. Jeff had cleaned up this nicely grained Pot with his usual pattern. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and then cleaned up the inside of the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl and shank with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime on the rim top and bowl. He cleaned the internals of the shank and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol until the airways were clean and the pipe smelled fresh. The pipe looked much better once the bowl and stem were clean. He scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub to remove the oxidation and then let it soak in Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer. He rinsed it with warm water when he took out of the soak. Before I started my part of the work I took photos of the pipe. I took close up photos of the bowl and the rim top to show the condition. The photo clearly shows the burn damage to the inner edge and the rim top at the back of the bowl. You can also see the roughening of the rest of the inner edge and rim top. It was going to take some work to bring it back. I also took photos of both sides of the stem to give a sense of the condition of both sides at the button. There is deep tooth marking and damage on both sides ahead of the button. I took a photo of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It was readable but was more faint on the left than the right side. It read as noted above.I removed the stem from the shank and saw to my chagrin a stinger. I fiddled with it a bit to see if it was pressure fit or screwed into the tenon. There was no give to it. (This portends what is ahead, keep reading.) I set the stem down with the bowl and took a photo to give a general look at the proportions of this pipe.I started work on this one by using a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the inner edge of the bowl and the rim top at the back. I was able to clean and reshape the bowl by slowly working through the process. So far the restoration was going well.I polished the bowl and rim top with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped down the bowl after each sanding pad. 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 horse hair shoe brush 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.   So far so good! I filled in the deep gouges on the top and underside of the stem and set it aside for the repairs to cure.After the repairs cured things took a horrible turn! If you have read this blog for long you know how much I dislike metal stingers. I find that they indeed condense moisture and fill the shank with horrendous muck. Soooo… I decided I would try to remove this one and give the stem a thorough cleaning. I have found that most stingers are either threaded and screwed into the tenon or are pressure fit. Either way a little heat loosens the glue or gunk that hold it tight and it is easily removed.

Well… the heat did absolutely nothing with this one. It did not twist or wiggle free. It was solid with or without heat… or cold for that matter. I was frustrated at this point and tried to pull it with pliers and the “wicked” thing snapped off! Now that usually does not matter either. I can easily drill it out with a small bit.

Again not so!! The remaining tube went well beyond the saddle on the stem. I drilled and drilled then filed the edges to smooth it out. At this point I should have just left it. But I DID NOT DO THAT. NO! I tried to pull out the remnant of the tube with a small file. And then a chunk of the tenon cracked off. You can see the offending tube in the tenon stubbornly laughing at me. Arggh… This was becoming much more of a  problem. Each step I took to remedy it made it actually worse. Now I would need to cut off the remaining tenon and the drill the stem and make a new tenon for it. OH MY! THIS IS NOT WHAT I WANT TO DO!!

I got out my hacksaw and carefully cut all the way around the broken tenon. I purposely did not cut the tube as I wanted to see how far into the stem it actually went. I pulled it out with a pair of pliers and took a photo of the length of the offending tube once it was free of the airway. You might laugh at this point and I invite that. This was a lot of work to go to just to clean out the airway in the stem. But now I could replace the tenon. I went through my tenons and had one that was a close fit to the shank of the pipe. I would need to drill out the stem to take the threaded replacement tenon but I was hoping that this part would proceed without more things going awry. I started drilling with my cordless drill and a bit slightly larger than the airway in the stem. I continued going through various bits up to ¼ inch which was the size I would need to receive the threaded tenon end with some modifications. You will notice the repairs to the deep tooth marks still have not been smoothed out.I modified the threaded tenon with a Dremel and sanding drum. I removed the should on the middle of the tenon and reduced the diameter of the threaded portion so that I could glue it in place in the stem. I cleaned up the edge between the thicker portion and the threaded portion with a flat rasp to make the fit smooth when inserted in the stem. I inserted it in the stem and took a photo.Before gluing the tenon I the stem I put all the parts together to make sure that everything lines up correctly. It looks good so I take photos to show it at this point in the process. With the alignment correct I coated the threaded end of the tenon with black super glue and pushed the tenon in place in the stem. I set the stem aside to let the glue cure and went and had a cup of coffee with Irene. I needed to lick my wounds a bit on this whole mess!After coffee I went back to the stem to clean up the repairs on the top and underside of the stem. I flattened out the repairs with a flat file to begin to blend them into the surface. I followed that up with 220 grit sandpaper to further blend it in. I started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry 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. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. While I liked the look of the new stem on the shank it felt like it was missing something to me. I really wanted to give it a special touch that would set it apart and make the look spectacular. I went through my band collection and found a perfect 14K Gold band that would do just what I wanted. I took down the end of the shank to enable a snug fit. I heated the band with a lighter and pressed it onto the shank end. I finally finished this nightmarish restoration of a pipe that should have been quite simple. The Greenwich House Antique Import Briar Crowned Pot with a vulcanite saddle stem is a great looking pipe now that everything came together. The briar around the bowl is clean and really came alive. The rim top looks much better than when I began. The rich brown stains gave the grain a sense of depth with the polishing and waxing. The grain  on the smooth portions really popped and the worm trails carving look good as well. I put the vulcanite 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 Greenwich House Antique Pot 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 ¾ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of pipe is 2.29 ounces/65 grams. It is much more beautiful in person than these photos can capture. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store soon. Look for it in the American Pipe Makers section. If you would like to add it to your collection let me know. This is another pipe that has the possibility of transporting the pipe man or woman back to a slower paced time in history where you can enjoy a respite. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

Life for a Beautifully Grained Royal Saxon Canadian


Blog by Steve Laug

This pipe was bought from an online auction on 04/04/19 in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, USA. It is a nicely grained Canadian with a Sterling Silver shank band and a vulcanite taper stem. The bowl had a thick cake in the bowl and burn damage all around the inner edge of the bowl. There is also a burn mark on the outer edge on the front top and left edge of the bowl. There are some nicks in the left side toward the front of the bowl. The finish is very dirty with a lot of debris and grime ground into all the way around. The Sterling Silver band is oxidized and tarnished. The stamping on the pipe is on the top of the shank and reads Royal Saxon. There is no other stamping on the briar. The band is stamped Sterling Silver on the top side. There does not appear to be any cracks in the shank so it is solely for cosmetic purposes. The stem is oxidized and has tooth marks on the top and underside ahead of the button. Jeff took some photo of the pipe before he started his work on it. Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the burn damage on the top and on the beveled inner edge of the bowl. He also took photos of the stem to show the tooth marks and chatter on the oxidized stem. He took photos of the bowl and heel to show the condition of the finish. You can see the small chip/nick on the front middle of the bowl on left side. It is solid but it is visible at this point.Jeff took photos of the stamping on the top of the shank and the silver band. They read as noted above and were in excellent condition. I checked on both Pipephil’s site and Pipedia for information on the Royal Saxon brand and neither site had any information. I checked on Who Made That Pipe and again found no information. So I Googled Royal Saxon Smoking Pipes and found information on Worthpoint and on Smokingpipes.com that said the pipe was an Italian Made pipe. They showed a variety of shapes – smooth, rusticated and blasted that all were stamped exactly like the one I am working on. Thus I know that the pipe is an Italian Made pipe but I have no idea who made it.

I did a bit of digging on Savinelli seconds but no Royal Saxon was listed as made by them. I also checked with Lorenzo as they made a lot of seconds lines and there was no listing for the Royal Saxon so I was at a dead end. Oh well – now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff had cleaned up this nicely grained Royal Saxon with his usual pattern. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and then cleaned up the inside of the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl and shank with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime on the rim top and bowl. He cleaned the internals of the shank and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol until the airways were clean and the pipe smelled fresh. The pipe looked much better once the bowl and stem were clean. He scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub to remove the oxidation and then let it soak in Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer. He rinsed it with warm water when he took out of the soak. Before I started my part of the work I took photos of the pipe. I took close up photos of the bowl and the rim top to show the condition. The photo clearly shows the burn damage to the inner and outer edge of the bowl at the front. You can also see the roughening of the rest of the inner edge and rim top. It was going to take some work to bring it back. I also took photos of both sides of the stem to give a sense of the condition of both sides at the button. There is tooth marking and damage on the top of the button on both sides as well as ahead of the button. The silver band is shown in the photos and is clearly tarnished.I took a photo of the stamping on the shank and silver band. It was readable but had some faint spots. What was interesting to me is that in the first photo there is also a stamp that shows up on the top side of the stem that I had not seen before. It is almost like a Old English “C” but I am not sure.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the proportions of the whole.The first photo below shows the condition on the rim top, outer and inner edge before I started reworking it. I took a photo of the wooden ball that Kenneth gave me that I use in beveling a rim edge. I started work on this one by topping the bowl to take care of the deep burn marks on the top at the front of the bowl. I then reshaped the top and the bowl edges with a piece of sandpaper on a wooden ball. The ball and sandpaper helped clean up the beveled edge and blended in the burn and cuts in the briar as well as bring the bowl back into round. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to further shape the bowl. Once I had it smoothed out and shaped I gave it an initial coat of stain with an Oak Stain Pen to match the stain colour around the bowl and shank. Lots of polishing yet to do but it is looking better. The burn mark on the top could not be totally removed without changing the profile of the pipe so I minimized it and it is significantly better. It will just be a permanent part of the pipe’s story.I polished the bowl and rim top with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped down the bowl after each sanding pad. 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 Sterling Silver band with a jewelers cloth to remove the tarnish and protect it from further tarnish. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I wanted to see if I could use some acrylic white fingernail polish to bring back the stamp to readability on the top of the stem. I applied the acrylic and let it cure. I scraped it away and it was a little readable but not clear enough.I “painted” the stem with the flame of a lighter to try and lift the tooth marks on the stem and button surface. While it did some lifting there were some deeper ones that remained. I filled them in with clear CA glue and set it aside to cure. Once it cured I flattened them out with a small file and recut the button edge. I sanded them 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 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. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. This nicely grained Royal Saxon Canadian with a Sterling Silver Band and a vulcanite taper stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The briar around the bowl is clean and really came alive. The rim top looks much better than when I began. The rich brown stains gave the grain a sense of depth with the polishing and waxing. The grain really popped. I put the vulcanite 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 Royal Saxon Canadian 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: 6 inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of pipe is 1.13 ounces /32 grams. It is much more beautiful in person than these photos can capture. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store soon. Look for it in the Italian Pipe Makers section. If you would like to add it to your collection let me know. This is another pipe that has the possibility of transporting the pipe man or woman back to a slower paced time in history where you can enjoy a respite. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

Breathing Life into a Classic Older Meerschaum Bulldog with a Golden Bakelite Stem


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I chose to work on is a meerschaum Bulldog that Jeff picked up from an antique back in October, 2017 from Bozeman, Montana, USA. It was a classic straight Bulldog with a golden Bakelite taper stem. The finish on the bowl and rim cap were scratched and worn looking but still had a lot of charm. The twin rings separating the bowl from the rim cap are in good condition. There is some damage/chips in the rings and nicks in the bowl. There was a thick cake in the bowl and heavy lava overflow on top the rim. The meerschaum was very dirty and under the grim it seemed to be developing a patina on the shank and lightly on the bowl and rim top. The golden Bakelite stem was threaded to be turned onto the metal tenon that was firmly anchored in the shank of the pipe. The stem had deep tooth marks on the top and underside ahead of the button. I loved the shape but it was in rough condition and needed a lot of work. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his work on it. He took photos of the rim top and the stem to show the condition. You can see the issues on the rim top and stem as I noted above. There are also some scratches on the rim top itself that I am hoping will polish out and look much better. You can see the tooth damage on the stem surfaces on both sides ahead of the button. Jeff took photos of the side and heel of the bowl. You can see the classic lines and nicely carved bowl of the pipe. It is a great looking Bulldog carved from block meerschaum and is well made. There are a lot of scratches and nicks in the meerschaum around the sides, top and shank of the pipe. There was no stamping on the shank or pipe that identified the maker. It was clearly a no name pipe but it was quite nice. Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual thoroughness. He carefully reamed the pipe 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. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He cleaned the stem Soft Scrub cleanser and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe 3 years later when I finally got around to working on it. The rim top and inner edge of the rim were in rough condition. The rim top was chipped and nicked. There was darkening on the top and both the inner and outer edges of the bowl along with some dark chips in the surface of the meerschaum.The stem surface looked very good with some tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. I removed the stem and took several photos of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. The tenon is anchored in the shank and is threaded metal. The golden Bakelite diamond shaped taper stem is also threaded and screws onto the tenon.I worked on the rim top and inner edge of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage and as many of the pits and nicks as possible. It looked much better at this point in the process.I polished the smooth meerschaum with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I worked on the darkening of the rim top at the same time. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth. The longer I polished it the more the patina came to the surface. The pipe became more beautiful with each grit of polishing pad. While I was not able to remove all of the scratching around the rim top and bowl I was able to minimize them a bit. The remainder are a part of the story of the pipe’s journey and will remain. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I filled in the deep tooth marks on the stem surface on both sides with clear CA glue. Once the repairs cured I sanded them smooth with 220 grit sandpaper. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads. I dry sanded it with 1500-12000 pads and wiped the bowl down after each pad with a cloth and Obsidian Oil. I finished polished it with Before & After Fine and Extra Fine stem polish. I wiped it down with the cloth and Obsidian Oil one final time and set aside to dry. This Classic No Name Meerschaum Straight Bulldog with a golden Bakelite stem really is a beautiful pipe. The polished meerschaum has a stunning shape. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Meerschaum Bulldog is another pipe that fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 59 grams/ 2.08 oz. This Meerschaum Bulldog is a real beauty and the rich amber coloured Bakelite stem just highlights the beauty. Jeff made another great find when he picked this up in Bozeman. I will be putting on the rebornpipes store in the Ceramic and Meerschaum Pipe Section. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Restoring a Hand Carved Meerschaum Dublin with a 9mm Acrylic Filter Stem


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I chose to work on is the second meerschaum that came from a trip Jeff and his wife took  to Europe in the Fall of 2017. He also picked it up in a bazaar in Frankfurt, Germany. It was a nicely carved smooth Dublin with a black acrylic stem. The finish on the bowl and rim top were scratched and worn looking but still had a lot of charm. Like the other one this bowl and rim top appear to have been quickly cleaned for the sale but there was still a light cake in the bowl and some lava spots on the inner edge and rim top. The meerschaum was beginning to develop a patina on the shank and lightly on the bowl and rim top. There was a silver shank band that was tarnished but gave the pipe a bit of bling. The black acrylic stem had a wide open tenon that was made for a 9mm filter which is not surprising. It gave a good first impression but had deep tooth marks on the top and underside ahead of the button. He took photos of the rim top and the stem to show the condition. You can see the issues on the rim top and stem as I noted above. There are also some scratches on the rim top itself that I am hoping will polish out and look much better. You can see the tooth damage on the stem surfaces on both sides ahead of the button. The mortise on the stem has been fitted with a nylon tenon that holds 9mm filters. The shank has been lined with nylon/Delrin and the tenon fits snug in the shank. Jeff took photos of the side and heel of the bowl. You can see the graceful lines and nicely carved bowl of the pipe. It is a lightweight block meerschaum that is well made. There are a lot of light scratches around the sides and top. He took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the silver fitted ferrule. It is stamped 925 which is the silver mark for the piece.There was no stamping on the shank or pipe that identified the maker. It was clearly a no name pipe but it was quite nice. Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual thoroughness. He carefully reamed the pipe 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. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He cleaned the stem Soft Scrub cleanser and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe 3 years later when I finally got around to working on it. The rim top and inner edge of the rim looked very good with some slight darkening on the rim top and inner edge. The stem surface looked very good with some deep tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.     I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. The tenon is Delrin and is integrated in the stem. It is drilled to hold a 9mm filter and fits snug in the shank. The stem is a nice looking black saddle acrylic.I polished the smooth meerschaum with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I worked on the darkening of the rim top at the same time. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth. The longer I polished it the more the patina came to the surface. The pipe became more beautiful with each grit of polishing pad. I took out my Dr. Perl Junior 9mm filters made by Vauen to fit one to the stem of this beauty. It fit in mortise and tenon perfectly and did not inhibit the air flow significantly just like the Altinay I just finished.I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I filled in the deep tooth marks on the stem surface on both sides with clear CA glue. Once the repairs cured I sanded them smooth with 220 grit sandpaper. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads. I dry sanded it with 1500-12000 pads and wiped the bowl down after each pad with a cloth and Obsidian Oil. I finished polished it with Before & After Fine and Extra Fine stem polish. I wiped it down with the cloth and Obsidian Oil one final time and set aside to dry. This No Name Meerschaum Dublin with a black acrylic stem is a beautiful pipe. The polished light weight meerschaum that shines through the polished finish is stunning. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished No Name Meerschaum Dublin is another pipe that fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 ½ inches, Height: 2 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 57 grams/ 1.98 oz. This Meerschaum Dublin is a real beauty and the 9mm filter black acrylic stem just highlights the beauty. Jeff made another great find when he picked this up in Frankfurt. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!