Tag Archives: Repairing Horn stems

The Final Restoration while in Pune, India – a no name Cavalier

Blog by Steve Laug, Jeff Laug, Paresh, Abha and Pavni Deshpande

The final restoration project with Paresh and his family was this tired and worn Cavalier pipe. When we looked at it together we were all pretty certain that it was never going to amount to much no matter how much we worked on it. We purposely saved this pipe to the end of the visit to use it to pull together all that we had learned over the week together. The only sad part of the restoration was that Dal Stanton had already left to go back to Bulgaria. It was yet another East and West adventure in pipe restoration. As I mentioned in the previous blog on the Preben Holm, my brother Jeff and I had traveled to Pune, India where we met Dal Stanton of Pipe Steward and had an incredible visit with Paresh Deshpande, his wife Abha and his daughters Mudra and Pavni. With that cast of players – from the US, Canada, Bulgaria and India it was a special and memorable week of fellowship and pipe restoration. Each of us (minus Dal) played a role in this restoration. I will try to include the contribution of each in the story as it unfolds.

Lest you might think that all we did was work on pipes, I must remind you you that while staying in Pune we enjoyed the sights of the city, fellowship and great food along with working on pipes together even after Dal left. Paresh and his family did a magnificent job of hosting the event and making us all feel like we were part of his family. The hospitality, the amazing food provided by Abha and the joy and laughter of Mudra and Pavni were all part of making this an unforgettable visit. In the next weeks there will be several blogs written about the pipes that we worked on. Dal is working on a blog about the restoration of a BBB bent billiard that had belonged to Paresh’s grandfather that was a real group effort. Both Paresh and I will also be posting blogs on some of the other pipes that we worked on together including meerschaums and briars. We thoroughly enjoyed the time together while smoking our pipes and sharing beer and scotch to celebrate each restoration and to close each day. We exchanged tips and processes that we used. It was a time of sharing and learning for all of us.

The blog I am writing now was on the restoration of a worn and tired Cavalier that came from Paresh’s Grandfather’s collection. Like the rest of the pipes in his Grandfather’s collection the pipe was very dirty but to me it showed some promise. I had never seen a pipe like this with detachable briar parts, a metal shank and a horn stem. It was an interesting piece that showed an interesting grain under the grime. The stain colour was a contrast of browns and the brass band on the top of the shank was a nice addition. The rim top was almost destroyed. There were cracks and a portion of the top was burned away. The bowl was out of round and had a thick cake. The inner and outer edge of the bowl showed the damage of burning and poor reaming. The exterior of the bowl and shank showed a lot of wear and dirt. There was a metal tube pinched on between the bowl and the upright shank. It was hard to know what the tube was and if it matched the brass band. There was also a bone ball cap on the end of the shank in front of the bowl that was worn but still whole. The horn stem had some tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside and some wear on the button edge but otherwise it should clean up nicely. Paresh, Abha, Pavni and Jeff and I all turned the pipe over in our hands wondering what we were going to do with it. It needed a lot of work and would never be flawless. But we decided to go ahead with the restoration anyway and see what we would get. We took photos of the pipe at this point in the process to show the parts and the condition. I took a photo of the top of the bowl to capture the damage to the rim top and the cracks in the bowl radiating down the sides. I took photos of the shank extension and the horn stem on the end to show its condition as well. The shank extension and stem were in decent condition so that was a blessing to be thankful for at this point in the process. I took photos of the sides of the bowl to show the cracks that surrounded the pipe – both width and depth. We took the pipe apart and took photos of all of the parts. It later became clear that the cap on the bottom of the shank also was removable but at this point it was solidly in place and could not be removed.I started the cleanup process by topping the bowl on this old timer before Paresh and his family arrived at the apartment for the day. I topped it on topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I scrubbed the exterior of bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a cotton pad to remove the grime. I rinsed it off with warm water to remove the soap and grime. About that time Paresh and his family arrived for the day’s work. He and Abha looked the bowl over and Pavni agreed to sand it out on the inside. But before any of that could happen we needed to drill small holes at the end of each crack. Paresh used his magnifying glass and a black permanent marker to put spots on the end of each of the holes. These would guide us as we drilled each of them. It turned out that each crack had several branches radiating from them and would require a lot of drilling. After marking each crack Paresh drilled a small hole in the end of each one. I wiped the holes down with a cotton swab and alcohol to remove the debris. We filled in each of the holes and the cracks with clear super glue and briar dust. We packed the glue into the holes, repeated the glue and added more dust as necessary to build up the repairs. When the repaired areas had dried I used a needle file to smooth out the repair and blend it into the surface of the briar. I sanded the repaired areas with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to further blend them into the surface of the surrounding briar. Overall the patches and repairs were looking pretty good. I was surprised by how good the pipe looked.

While I was working on the bowl Paresh addressed the issues with the stem. He cleaned the interior with pipe cleaners and alcohol and scraped the buildup on the stem surface with the blade of an exacto knife. He cleaned up the straight edges of the button with a needle file and reshaped the surface of the button at the same time. He followed that by sanding it with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the file marks. He filled in the deep tooth marks on the stem surface and on the button top with clear super glue. When the repair had dried he sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth it out. While Paresh was working on the stem, I finished the repairs and sanding on the bowl. Then I turned my attention to the shank piece. I cleaned it out with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I wiped down the outside of the shank with Murphy’s on cotton pads. I finished this section about the same time that he finished the stem work.I worked on that and simultaneously to Paresh and my work, Jeff was working on the shank portion. He scrubbed the briar and the metal with oil soap. He worked over the metal shank piece with 0000 steel wool and we were all surprised with the copper that was under the oxidation. The shank band was also loose so he cleaned that as well. It was brass. Abha and Jeff went to work on cleaning the inside of the parts of the shank. Many pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol later the interior was pretty clean. They tried to remove the knob at the end of the shank but it did not come loose at all. No matter how much they worked on it the knob was still tightly in place.Paresh decided to give the knob a try. He painted the edges around the know with alcohol and scraped the crud that was built up around the joint between the two parts. He kept at it and then low and behold the knob turned and came off in his hands. What was revealed was a lot more of the crud that Jeff and Abha had been removing. Abha cleaned out the inside of the cap and the threads with cotton swabs and alcohol. Once the inside was cleaned and the threads were cleaned they were able to finish cleaning out the inside of the shank.I put the shank pieces together and glued the clean brass band on the top of the shank. The pipe shank and parts were looking pretty good at this point. There was still a lot of polishing to go but the  Cavalier was going to look very good. We took the pipe apart and began the process of polishing the briar and stem. I worked on the shank and stem. For ease of sanding I put the stem on the shank and  polished the stem and shank with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down with a cloth after each pad. Paresh carefully reamed the bowl with a Castleford Reamer. We worried as he turned the cutting heads that the bowl would split but all remained intact as he cleaned it out. Pavni polished the inside of the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the walls and give them a shine. Paresh polished the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. He wiped it down with a cloth after each set of pads. The photos show the growing shine of  the bowl. I polished the cleaned knob with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. Paresh polished the shank  parts with micromesh sanding pads – wetsanding with  1500-12000 grit pads. The briar began to come alive again. With all the parts polished it was time to take the next step. We rubbed down all of the parts with Before & After Restoration Balm. We buffed it by hand with a microfibre cloth. We put all the polished and “balmed” pieces together on a background and showed what the pipe looked like now.We put the pieces back together and took photos of the pipe at this point. We called it a day and Paresh took the pipe home with him. He wanted to polish it and wax it with his Dremel. He buffed it with White Diamond and gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax. When he brought it back the next morning it was a beauty. We took pictures of the finished pipe to show its beauty. The pipe really looked more alive, with the grain popping through. We decided not to stain it but left it as it stood after using the balm. The polished wax made the grain stand out. What started out as a possibility now became a reality. Paresh could now smoke and enjoy both the history of the pipe and carry on its legacy. The photos below tell the story. Thanks for looking.

Restoring a Unique Alternative Wood C.P.F. Tulip

Blog by Steve Laug

This is yet another unique older C.P.F. pipe find from our Virtual Pipe Hunt in Montana. It is amazing the number of older C.P.F. and other brands we found in that antique shop. Even more amazing is the sheer number of shapes that I have never seen or worked on before. This one is a C.P.F. that is made in two parts – a bowl that is screwed onto a base. The wood is not briar. The bowl is olivewood and the base is cherry. The pipe has the C.P.F. in an oval stamp on the left side of the shank. It is also stamped on the band with the faux hallmarks from that era and the logo. The stem is made of horn. It is a graceful and elegant looking pipe and one that I look forward to working on. My brother took quite a few photos of the pipe before he cleaned it up to show the details of the carving and the wood. I have included them at the beginning of the blog. My guess is that this pipe also comes from the mid-1880s to the early 1890s like the other C.P.F. pipes in the lot.The pipe was in pretty rough shape. The bowl had a thick cake with lava overflowing the rim. The finish was very dirty though appeared to look good underneath the grime. The screw in bowl was stuck in place on the base and we were uncertain that it would even come off. It looked like it originally was a separate piece but the grime and grit had locked it in place. The grooves in the base were filled with grime and the silver band was tarnished. The gold C.P.F. logo on the shank was faint. The horn stem had the usual tooth chatter and marks but other than that was in decent condition. With a little work this would be a beautiful pipe.

If you would like to read a bit of history on the brand you can have a look at a blog I wrote concerning C.P.F. or the Colossus Pipe Company https://rebornpipes.com/2013/04/14/some-reflection-on-the-historical-background-on-cpf-pipes/.The next series of photos show the condition of the bowl before cleaning. It was very dirty and there appeared to be cracks in the backside of the bowl. I would not be certain until it was cleaned and I had it in hand. The next photos show some of the detail on the base of the pipe. It is an interesting piece of carving. I have never seen one like it in either the old C.P.F. catalogues or in my online research regarding the brand. The bottom of the base shows the grain on this portion. Notice how well the carver centered the grain pattern on the base. It is a beautiful piece of wood. I am guessing cherry but I am not certain. You can see from the unique vertical grain on the bowl portion of the pipe that it is not briar. My thoughts are that it is olivewood but I could be wrong. Note also the buildup of grime around where the bowl sits on the base.The C.P.F. oval logo can be seen on the left side of the shank and also on the silver band. You can see from the photo that the band appears to be loose. Later photos reveal that it was indeed loose and could be slipped on and off the pipe.The next two photos show the shank with the band sitting under it and the threaded bone tenon on the horn stem. It is really dirty looking in the shank and mortise.The stem was probably in the best condition of the entire pipe. The graceful curve of the horn was undamaged. The striations were not separating and the variation in colour was stunning. The overall condition was really good. There was some light tooth chatter and marks near the button on each side but otherwise it was clean. The button was not chewed and the orific airhole in the centre of the button looked good. Jeff cleaned up the pipe – reaming the bowl with a PipNet reamer and cleaning up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Reamer. He took the cake back to bare wood. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap and rinsed the soap and grime off the pipe. He removed the band and scrubbed under that as well with the soap. He cleaned out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. He cleaned the horn stem with some oil soap as well. I took these pictures when the pipe arrived in Vancouver. It was in better shape than when we picked it up. Jeff had not been able to unscrew the bowl from the base as it was stuck with the goop that had covered the bowl and base. The rim top still had some darkening and spotty damage to the surface. Jeff and I were talking last evening on FaceTime and I decided that I would tackle the restoration on this old timer next. While we were chatting I held the base in one hand and wiggled the bowl with the other. After a few moments I was able to turn it from the base. What was underneath was absolutely gross. It looked like someone had packed the base with some kind of coarse material to act as a filter to trap any moisture that came from the combustion of the tobacco above. I also noticed that the bowl bottom had three airholes and one was entirely plugged and could not be seen from the inside of the bowl. The bowl had some dark staining and build up on the bottom of the bowl. I put the junk back in the bowl and set the pipe aside for the night.In the morning I took the pipe apart again to clean out the bowl base. I used a dental pick and a spatula to clear out the debris and hard build up in the base. I scraped out the threads on the bowl and the base to remove the debris. I scraped out the rounded base bottom to also remove the debris. I twisted the tip of a dental pick through the clogged third hole in the bottom of the bowl. I worked it from both the inside and the outside of the bowl until I had cleaned out the blockage. Once again the bowl had three holes that worked.I scrubbed the base and the bottom of the bowl with alcohol and cotton swabs. I scrubbed until it was absolutely clean. I scraped out the ledges on the inside of the base to remove the buildup that was there as well.I painted the shank end with Weldbond white glue so that I could put the band back in place. The band had a split on the right side that would need to be worked on as well. I put the band on the glue and held it in place until the glue had dried. I sanded the split in the band with 220 grit sandpaper and filled it in with clear super glue. There were also cracks in the bottom of the base just below the threads that matched the grooves carved on the outside of the shank. Once the glue dried I sanded the inside of the base smooth. With the repairs done to the base I turned to what had appeared to be cracks in the bowl sides and base. I sanded the stained and dirty base and the part of the bowl that had been seated in the base behind the leaves. I used clear super glue to fill in the small cracks on the bowl sides and bottom. They were very tight and did not move when I worked them with a dental pick. When the glue dried I sanded the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper until they were smooth and blended in well with the surface of the olivewood. I lightly topped the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper on a topping board until all of the damaged areas were removed and the rim top was smooth once again. I polished the olivewood with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each of the micromesh sanding pads with a damp cotton pad to remove the sanding dust. The photos below show the progress of the polishing. I sanded the stem to remove the tooth chatter on the top and underside near the button. There was one deep tooth mark on the underside that I could not remove by sanding. I filled it in with clear super glue and let it dry. Once it had cured I sanded it smooth with 220 grit sandpaper to blend it into the rest of the stem surface. It was smooth but a bit lighter in colour than the surrounding area. Thankfully it was on the underside.When the stem was turned on to the shank it was slightly underclocked and there was no give in the stem to get the alignment correct. I carefully heated the bone tenon without burning it to soften the glue that held it in place. While it was still warm I was able to screw it in and align the stem properly.Now that things were aligned it was time to polish the stem. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each of the micromesh sanding pads with Obsidian Oil to remove the sanding dust and give it more life. The photos below show the progress of the polishing. I love polishing horn stems because as you work them over they seem to take on a life of their own with a deep and resilient sheen. I took the pipe apart and buffed the parts. I buffed the bowl and the bottom and sides with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I buffed the stem with Blue Diamond as well to polish out the tiny scratches that were left behind by the micromesh. I gave the parts multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed them with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed all of the parts with a microfiber cloth and put the pipe back together. I hand buffed it once again to finish the restoration. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is a remarkable example of pipe making at the end of the 19th Century. The wood and the shape work well with the beautifully striated and gracefully bent horn stem. The silver band with the hallmarks and C.P.F. logo is a nice transition between the stem and the cherry wood base. Thanks for walking with me through this restoration.

Revamping a Bavarian Folk Wine Pipe Made in Italy

Guest Blog by Robert M. Boughton
Member, North American Society of Pipe Collectors
Photos © the Author

“Voters in the southern German state of Bavaria [April 7, 2010] voted for Germany’s strongest smoking ban, meaning lighting up in bars, restaurants and beer tents at Munich’s famous Oktoberfest will be ‘verboten.’”
― David Levitz, journalist, Agence France-Presse

Who would have dreamed that those crazy, fun-loving Bavarians who have been hosting the annual Oktoberfest since October 12, 1810, the day Crown Prince Ludwig (later King Ludwig I) married Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen; the culinary health scoffers who gave to the world such artery-hardening treats as Weisswurst, Schweinshaxe, schnitzel and spaetzle, and for snacks and dessert, laugen pretzels, apfelstrudel, Baverische crème and zvetchgenkuchen – would ban smoking in all public buildings just months before the bicentennial of the world’s biggest excuse to get betrunken?

Bavarians are even so fond of beer and schnapps that they have a great little saying: Saufen bis zum Verlust der Muttersprache, or drink until you forget your mother tongue. And if you’ve ever seen many German tourists, how many of them didn’t look like triple bypass candidates? Of course, everyone knows smoking kills more people than drinking and/or diet-related maladies…right?

One 31-year-old Garden Grove, California woman who lost her job and started a blog, and has written a book but is still searching for a publisher, has a particularly active gift of gab. She blogged, “Bavaria’s cuisine is a monster truck. It crumples the delicate-by-comparison culinary offerings of Spain, Italy, and France like tiny little Fiats and Peugots in its path… It is rich and doughy and filling and is the only thing on the planet that can soak up German beer. Every other fare will simply hide in the corner of your stomach, petrified at the sheer awesomeness of the brew that resides in there with it, and it will never get digested.” Perhaps the most succinct line from this particular blog is, “Germans do it with bigger sausages.” [http://www.everywhereist.com/7-badass-bavarian-foods-you-must-try/] I, for one, can’t wait until the book comes out.

If the world is going mad as far as singling out tobacco as the great evil, then Bavaria may now be the capitol for the insanity. Maybe all that ice bockbier and apfelstrudel have saturated their bodies and have nowhere left to go but the brains.

At any rate, there remains for those of us who still appreciate the virtues of pipes and their tobaccos the glorious contributions of German craftsmanship in general and Bavarian in particular.Rob1 And more along the lines of the subject of this blog:Rob2

Rob3 When I emailed Steve a few photos of my new acquisition from eBay, for less than $11, I was happy as usual to receive a response but, I must admit, a little disheartened to hear of the 20 hours he spent restoring the 1810 Meerschaum Bowl masterpiece above. Then I considered the facts that his folk pipe was part meerschaum, and of course suspected he had, as his masterful skills and (if I may be so bold) somewhat obsessive creative bent allow, more than just restored it. He had in fact, of course, re-worked parts of it, as I learned when I read with pleasure his July 7 account. I mentioned the conjecture that Steve is a born pipe maker to my mentor, Chuck Richards, who with not an inkling of surprise to me that Steve has made a few pipes in his time. I therefore hereby suggest a blog by our host on these endeavors, which I am certain I am not alone in my curiosity to hear about and see.

Alas, as shall be seen, my Bavarian Three-Piece Folk Wine Pipe – not counting the screw-in bit – pales in comparison, although it did present problems I had not before encountered. Starting with the bit, the eBay photos revealed one gash that appeared to be so deep that it must have pierced the air hole. As Lady Luck provided, however, such was not the case. On the other hand, there turned out to be three bad divots in the bit, not counting the severe wounds just below the lip, top and bottom, from grinding teeth. Then there were the countless scratches on every piece; the well-caked chamber; scorching of what I believe is the ornate but aluminum wind cap; a serious cleft in the alternative wood shank, the variety of which I have not yet determined, and a hole in the bottom piece, where the wine is placed, too deep for any fix other than wood putty.

All of these complications, I knew, would be nothing compared to the task of cleaning and sanitizing a pipe with a form that defied retorting. Noting this anticipated cleaning conundrum with a quip, “That’s entirely rhetorical,” in fact, was the reason for Steve’s second reply to my email where he mentioned the time he spent on his folk pipe.

By the way, I owe a final nod to Steve, as well as the owner of my local tobacconist who confirmed his assessment, for identifying my Bavarian folk pipe (which turns out to be a no-name Italian version) as being designed to add wine.

RESTORATION Rob4 This, as it happens, is how I decided to approach the restoration: piece by piece.Rob5





Rob10 Without thinking – you might say a bit compulsively on my own part – I already cleaned and polished the wind cap before snapping the last shot above.Rob11


Rob13 Other than the almost unconscious cleaning and shining of the wind cap, inside and out, with Everclear-soaked cotton cloths, super fine steel wool and mostly 500-grit paper except for a few tough spots requiring 320, I saw no reason not to dive in with the bit. After all, filling the crevasses – and I can only imagine the drunken stumbling about that caused them – would take several days of layering with black Super Glue and drying time in between. The remainder of the restore was finished in a day and a half of intense work. I gave the bit a good soak in an OxiClean solution to start and cleaned out the mess inside with about six bristly cleaners dipped in Everclear before they came out clean.Rob14


Rob16 With that process begun and the pipe disassembled, I returned to the main tobacco chamber (remember, this three-parter has a second chamber at the bottom for wine) and used my Senior Reamer to take out most of the fairly even though excess cake. After that I swabbed it out with some alcohol-soaked cotton gun cleaner squares and finished the removal of char and smoothing with 200-, 320- and 500-grit paper.Rob17 The yellowing of the cap’s inside area is the fault of my photography, not lack of attention. I know nothing of body work on cars, which is the kind of detail work the metal rim requires, and despite my restoration of this pipe for my own enjoyment, any tips on eliminating dings in metal, preferably without removing the entire rim piece, will be appreciated. Since the pipe is staying in my own collection, after all, I have a long time to work out that part.

I turned my attention to the outer bowl, first scrubbing out the draught hole with bristly cleaners soaked in alcohol – quite a few, in fact. Then I used 320-grit paper to remove both the old finish and the scratches, starting with the rough, un-sanded opening of the draught hole showing before and after below.Rob18


Rob20 From 1500-4000 micromesh, I prepped the bowl for buffing. I liked the natural, lighter shade of the briar and chose not to re-stain it, proceeding straight to the buffer wheels. I used white Tripoli, White Diamond and carnauba.Rob21

Rob22 The shank was what I expected would take most of the work, and I was right. I sanded the wood with 200 and 320 paper, deciding the cleft in the unknown wood gave it a certain character. Besides, it wasn’t going anywhere without the kind of serious reshaping Steve is into.Rob23 I sanded it again with 500-grit paper and micro-meshed all the way.Rob24 The ferrule was dull and scratched.Rob25 I used micromesh on it and then Lincoln black boot stain, which I flamed, let cool and wiped clean with 4000 micromesh.Rob26 Finally, I used Lincoln brown stain on the shank’s wood and used 4000 micromesh to take off the ash.Rob27 I buffed it with white Tripoli, White Diamond and carnauba, and used red and white Tripoli on the ferrule.Rob28 Onto the final stage – the bottom chamber where the wine is added. Here it is after sanding with 320-grit paper.Rob29



Rob32 By the time I cleaned it out with bristly cleaners and Everclear, when added to those used for the other parts, I had a pile about as high as Steve’s from his meerschaum bowl folk pipe, only much grimier except for the last that came out clean.

Now take a closer look at the right side, first with the small hole that could neither be sanded away nor ignored, then filled with a dab of wood putty. I let it sit and harden until the next day, when I colored the putty with an indelible brown marker and squeezed a drop of Super Glue over the mark.Rob33

Rob34 Late that night, I sanded off the roughness of the dried Super Glue and smoothed the whole piece with micromesh. And here is the finished, waxed result, without re-staining.Rob35 At last, I was ready to assemble the separately restored parts and wipe it all down with a soft cotton rag.Rob36






Rob42 The only nomenclature, just under the bottom ring in the last photo, reads Imported Briar over Made in Italy.

This restoration involved two firsts for me: filling a hole with wood putty, as basic as that is, and more significantly, the importance of considering each independent part of the whole. Never before had I encountered a pipe with more than a bit connected to a shank that in turn attached to the bowl. The simple addition of a second chamber for wine with two openings – one for the shank and the other for the regular tobacco chamber – forced me to approach the project from an angle that was novel to me. The ultimate restoration was a unique pleasure for me, and I am happy to report that the finished folk pipe smokes quite well, even without wine. I look forward to seeing how it works with Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider.

Now I have just a few final words on the Bavarian tobacco ban. It seems they tried the same thing in 2008, but the result was a scoff law that the authorities didn’t even try to enforce. Let’s hope that all of the pipe smokers in the southern German state of Bavaria unite to overcome the 61% of voters who decided to deny them the right to run their own lives.

An Old Horn Stem, Bone Tenon Apple Restored

Blog by Steve Laug

When I saw this old-timer on EBay I decided it had my name on it. The combination of shape and stem material are something that I love. It looked to be in pretty fair shape, just a bit of darkening at the rim, some nicks in the briar which is to be expected in a pipe this age. The stem looked all right – a few tooth marks on the surface but the horn material did not appear to have any splintering or cracks. The threaded tenon looked like it was a bone tenon and it too appeared to be in good shape. I put in my bid and was the only bidder. I have included the photos that the seller included in the sale. The pipe is delicate – a mere 4 inches.

The seller did not include any information on the stamping on the pipe. I wrote and they responded that it was not readable but that there was an oval on the left side of the shank. When it arrived I took it to my work table and did a cursory clean up and tried to read the stamping on the shank. I could see that the oval had remnants of gold in the marks. Under a bright light and using a jeweler’s loupe I could see that there was a letter visible on the right side of the oval that was readable – “N”. I wetted the stamping and looked more closely and could see what appeared to be the long straight leg of another letter on the left of the oval. It could easily have been a “K”, “R” or an “L”. On closer examination it seems to have a base on the bottom of the left leg. That would make it an “L”. So armed with that I did some digging in “Who Made That Pipe” and found several possibilities. The most likely was “LMN” and through continued observation of the logo I think that is what it is stamped. For me, a good part of the enjoyment of the hobby of refurbishing is the pipe mysteries that come along with the pipes I work on. So this pipe was going to be fun to work on and to research.
I used the information in WMTP to research more into the maker of the pipe (at least according to the book). The pipe seems to have been made by a company called Jacobs, Hart & Co. England. I searched the various online directories of business in London at the time and found the following information on the hallmark site. It simply says that in 1889 in London there was a tobacco merchant named Joshua Michael Jacobs. I found his hallmark which interestingly is an oval as well with the JMJ letters stamped on the silver. I also found that members of the Jacobs family were gold and silver smiths as well as involved in the tobacco industry.


At this point the trail went cold and I could find nothing else regarding the firm in the records. I knew that the family was involved in the industry but I could not find any information on the pipe brand itself. The only connection at this point was the listing in WMTP.

I searched the web for information on the second name in the company – Hart, and found that the name was held by an Australian who was a tobacco merchant as well. I have no idea about the migration from England to Australia but the link is certainly possible. I have included some information from the records I read through on the Hart family to show at least the tobacco connection.

The first document I found was a birth announcement for an Alfred David Hart. The birth announcement reads in part: “Born at Franklin Cottage, West-terrace, Adelaide. Birth certificate held – Father, general merchant, Franklin St., Adelaide, number Vol 3, pg 140 Adelaide.”

Further information found in the Biographical Register of Australia shows that he is included. Quoting in part: “Partner Feldheim, (I), Jacobs (qv) & Co (later Jacobs Hart & Co) tobacco merchants (emphasis is mine), managing director at William Cameron Bros & Co, tobacco manufacturers 1895; director of British Australian Tobacco Co from inception, chairman to 1925; dir Foster’s Beer Co: left estate of at least Pounds 183,252. The references given are: British Australian (Lond) 5 Apr 1928 cover p ii, 14 June 1928 p 21; Brisb Courier 12 Apr 1928 p 6; Argus 18 Feb1928 p 31; Vic LA PP 1894 2 no 37, p 417, Vic LA, V & P 1895 6 1 no D4 p 52, 62, 1895/6 2 no 3 p 8 ? 34.” http://metastudies.net/genealogy/PS04/PS04_230.HTM

The last bit of information on this partner in the company I found was his obituary. It too links him to the tobacco company that is associated with this pipe.

Hart, Alfred David (1851–1928)
Mr. Alfred David Hart, who died on Thursday night at his residence in St. Kilda road, in his 78th year, was one of the founders of the modern tobacco trade in Australia. Mr. Hart was born in Adelaide in November, 1850, and he came to Melbourne in youth. His long association with the tobacco trade began at that time. For some years he was with Feldheim Jacobs and Co., and afterwards the firm became Jacobs Hart and Co., with establishments in Melbourne and Adelaide. At a later time Mr. Hart retired from the firm and became chairman and manager of Cameron Brothers and Co. Pty. Ltd. When the tobacco companies of Australia amalgamated he became chairman of directors in Melbourne of the British Australian Tobacco Company Pty. Ltd. From that position he retired in 1925, though he still held large interests. At one period Mr. Hart was chairman of directors of the Foster Brewing Company, and to the time of his death he was one of the directors of the Swan Brewery Company and chairman of directors of the United Insurance Company Ltd. Mr. Hart had many other business interests. He was the proprietor of Elizabeth House, the large building at the corner of Elizabeth and little Collins streets.

Apple5 That is the extent of that information as well. Once again there is no written link to the information noted in WMTP. I did some more research on the LMN brand and came across several pipes with that stamping for sale on various sites. Once of those was found on Worthpoint. It is pictured below. I have also included the link to the site. http://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/vintage-lmn-hallmarked-bent-chimney-169605160 I did find that LMN was registered as a trademark in Australia and belonged to WD & HO Wills Australia LTD. Here is the trademark information:


With that I decided to put my research to rest for a while and went to work on the pipe. The next photo gives a clear picture of the size of the pipe. I have it resting next to my iPhone 4 for comparison sake.
The next four photos show the pipe as it was when I started the refurbishing. The bowl itself was in good shape. There were nicks and marks all around the bowl. On the bowl front there was an area where a fill had fallen out and left a deep hole in the briar. The bowl interior was fairly clean with a light cake and some remnants of tobacco left in the bowl. The inner edge of the rim had two areas that were burned. The burned area extended to the top of the rim in those two spots. The stem was quite clean. There was no evidence of the horn delaminating which was good news. Next to the button on both sides of the stem there were troughs left behind from tooth marks. There was tooth chatter over the surface, both top and bottom a 1/3 of the way up the short stem. The bone tenon was in excellent shape with no damage or broken threads. There was some staining on the end but other than that it was flawless.



Because I love the finished look of horn I worked on the horn stem first. I sanded the surface of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the tooth chatter and the deep troughs around the edges of the button. As I worked on them I realized that the horn material was thin in those spots. I roughened the surface and built it up with clear super glue. My goal was to level out the troughs and give a clean flow to the taper of the stem to the button. This took several applications of super glue. After each application dried I sanded it with 200 grit sandpaper and a medium grit sanding sponge to make sure that the surface was level before adding a new layer.

When the troughs were filled and level I screwed the stem back into the bowl and took some photos to check out the taper of the stem to the button. I wanted to make sure that the taper was smooth and the flow correct. I find that taking a photo gives me some distance from the pipe and I can examine it more critically than in real life at this point. I would need to work on the button area but the taper was correct.



I gave the bowl a light reaming with a PipNet reamer. I decided address the deeper nicks and crevices on the bowl with briar dust and superglue. Before doing that I wiped down the bowl with acetone on a cotton pad to remove the finish and clean the bowl.
I packed briar dust into the nicks and holes in the briar and then added drops of super glue followed by more briar dust. I always over fill the patches as it is easier to sand the patches than to continue to fill them as they shrink. The next two photos show the patches.

I sanded the patches with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the thicker portion of the repairs and then followed up with a medium and a fine grit sanding sponge. The repairs are smooth and match the surrounding briar. They are dark spots but I have found that I don’t mind those as much as putty fills. I also have found that they can be blended into the briar more easily when stained with a dark brown or black aniline stain. They are still present but do not stand out.

To remove the burned areas on the inner edge and top of the rim I topped the bowl using a topping board and 220 grit sandpaper. I move the bowl across the sandpaper in a clockwise circular pattern – more out of habit than anything else though I find that it minimizes the scratches left behind and is easier to smooth out with later sanding.

I took the top of the rim down until the burn marks were minimized and the top of the bowl was smooth to the touch. I sanded the bowl top with a fine grit sanding sponge to remove scratches. I did not go on to sand with higher grit paper as I would be sanding after I stained the bowl. I wiped the bowl down with isopropyl alcohol and then applied and flamed the dark brown aniline stain. I repeated the process until I had good coverage on the bowl and rim. The stain was very dark and hid the grain. It was also very opaque and not what I wanted as the final stain on the bowl. I wiped the bowl down with isopropyl alcohol to remove much of the stain. Doing this removes the surface coat but leaves the stain deep in the grain of the briar.


I buffed the bowl with White Diamond on the wheel to further remove some of the stain and smooth out the surface of the briar. I avoided the area of the stamping so as not to further damage the already faint stamping. I then folded a piece of sandpaper and worked on the inner edge of the rim to remove the damage and work the bowl back into round afterwards. I have included the photos below to give an idea of what the stain looked like at this point as well as the way the repairs were hidden by the stain. There is some great grain on this old pipe.



I sanded the bowl and stem with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanded with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil to preserve the horn and renew it.


I buffed the bowl and stem lightly with White Diamond and then gave the pipe multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it lightly with a soft flannel buff and then hand buffed the area around the stamping. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The horn has a rich shine to it now and the briar looks very good. The contrast between the rich brown stain and the striations of colour in the horn stem give the pipe a distinctive look. There are still some battle scars that add character to the pipe in my opinion. Overall the pipe looks almost new. It is cleaned and ready for a smoke.




An Interesting Challenge – Restoring a Horn Stemmed Austrian Silver Capped Briar Sitter

Blog by Steve Laug

This is the second pipe that was given to me by Chuck Richards. It was a real challenge and it was actually an enjoyable restoration project. This particular pipe is stamped Algerian Briar over Austria on the left side of the shank and on the right side of the bowl below the cap it is stamped EL in an oval. It is actually a nice piece of briar. It is capped by a silver rim cap that goes down the bowl a 1/2 inch. It is rounded over the edges of the rim and flattens in towards the inner rim leaving a briar edge of 1/8 inch. It is topped by a silver wind cap that is hinged a little off centre toward the right side from the back of the bowl. The front of the cap has a folded ornate flap stamped with curls and swirls on the surface. This flap acts as a catch for the lid on the outer lip of the bowl. The cap has a small ball-shaped handle on the top that is for decoration. The cap also has two half circle opening for air. The bowl was heavily caked with a crumbly and soft cake. The stem was horn and was nicely carved. It had also been repaired at least once in its life. At the junction of the smaller part of the stem to the saddle there had been a repair done. It looked at first as if it was copper wire that was used to band the horn which seemed to have splintered and been repaired. Upon closer examination I am almost certain it is a small copper band that was set into the horn stem to secure the break. It is solid. The upper portion of the stem had also splintered and not been repaired. The round end of the button had been worn down on the top and bottom edges to where it was almost squared off. The splinter on the bottom of the stem was loose. The horn was also covered with a shiny lacquer like substance that hid the beauty of the horn. I wonder if it was part of the original repair. The next series of three photos show the pipe as it appeared when I took it out of the shipping box and bubble wrap. I was really interested in seeing what I could do with this one – a worthy challenge that would be enjoyable to work on.


I took it to my work table and removed the stem. I examined the shank and the bowl as well as the stem. I have noted above what I saw in my examination. The interior of the shank was in good shape, there was little wear on the inside from the insertion of the horn stem. The drilling was similar to a Peterson in that it had a sump area with the airway drilled above that. It allowed for condensation of the tobacco juices to settle into that well. It was full and dark and the stain of the juices had migrated up the stem and stained the bottom edge. You can also see the repairs that had been made to the stem in the three photos below. The bowl cap was tarnished and the brass shank cap was also tarnished. The stamping is also clearly visible in the photos. At this point I sat and examined the stem to make a decision whether to seek and revive it or to replace it with a newer Peterson style fish tail stem. After some time examining it I decided to see what I could do with the existing stem and left the other stem idea in reserve should I need to do that.


The first of the next two photos shows the bottom of the bowl and give a clear idea of the nice piece of briar that I was dealing with. The second photo shows the inside of the bowl and the wind cap. The cake and build up of lava like tar on the lid is prominent.

I decided to begin with cleaning the bowl. I used a PipNet reamer set with different sized cutting blades. I used the first two heads on this bowl. The first one, the smallest opened up the cake and cut off the broken edges. I followed that up with the second cutting head and took the cake back to the briar so that I could give it a thorough cleaning. The next four photos show the reaming process. I also cleaned out the sump and the airway in the shank with folded pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and Everclear. Once that was done I also scraped out the inside of the cap with the head of the cutting blades on the PipNet set.



I took a break from the work on the cap and bowl to work on the stem. I cleaned of the surface with a damp cloth and then used superglue to fill the openings in the surface of the stem left from the previous repaired splits. I also used it to repair the splintered part on the bottom of the stem. Once the glue was dry I used 240 grit sandpaper to sand off the excess glue and also the clear coat of varnish or lacquer on the stem. I tried to put a pipe cleaner through the stem and was not successful. I blew through it and found that it was open but that the draw was tight. I would work on that later. The main purpose at the moment was to see what was underneath the clear coat. The next photos show the grain pattern on the horn stem underneath the clear coat. That gave me hope to see if I could restore that unique pattern in the horn stem and bring it back to life. The entire stem from tip to the bottom of the tenon was all horn so it would have a unique look if I was able to restore it. Several of the photos below are out of focus, I apologize for that, however they help to see the pattern and colours of the horn stem. You can also see the repairs on the side of the stem toward the button and the copper band around the lower part of the stem.




I worked on the inside of the cap and the rim with 0000 steel wool to remove the build up and tars. I worked on that until the surface of the inside shined and the rim was clean. I then polished the silver with a silver cloth to bring back some of the shine to the bling. The next three photos show that process. (You might have the impression from the photos that I bounced back and forth between the stem and the bowl in this refurbishing. While it appears that way in the photos it actually happened over the period of several days and hours. Each time I set the pipe aside to go and do something else I would come back and pick up at whatever point struck my fancy at the moment.)


The next time I came back to work on the pipe I decided to open up the stem and improve the draw. I was able to ascertain that the tenon end of the stem was much more constricted than the button end. I could easily fit a pipe cleaner in the button and down about half way but was unable to do the same from the tenon end. Even the thinnest pipe cleaner would not go through from the tenon end. I measured the length of the tenon portion of the stem and then used a small drill bit to drill the depth of the larger portion of the tenon. I did this with a cordless drill and proceeded slowly. I was careful to keep the drill bit at the same angle as the airway as I did not want to make the problem worse by slanting the airway or overdrilling the stem. The next two photos show the drilling. The third photo below shows the newly opened end of the stem. The draw was now quite open and the airway clear for a pipe cleaner to easily pass all the way through the stem.


I redefined the button area using needle files. The top edge and the bottom edge next to the button were not sharp and distinct. As the top and the bottom of the button had been flattened, it was almost parallel with the stem. I used the needle files to sharpen the edge and to round the button surface as well. The next two photos show the process and picture the results. Note also that the stem is shaping up nicely with the various sandpaper and the colours and definition of the horn are coming out beautifully.

The next series of four photos shows the progress of sanding the stem with 240, 320 grit sandpaper and a fine grit sanding sponge. The thick, shiny coat that hid the horn is pretty well gone at this point. The sanding has also smoothed out the shape of the stem and removed the overfills of the previous repair. The stem is beginning to take shape and the grain of the horn is visible. I think that the repair will work well and when I am done I will have a stem that will work quite well.



I continued to sand the stem with micromesh sanding pads from 1500-12,000 grit. I wet sanded with the 1500, 1800 and the 2400 grit pads. My goal was to remove the scratches in the horn and begin to bring out the natural shine of the material. The next series of four photos show the effects after sanding with the 1500 grit pads. The next four that follow show the finished stem after sanding with all of the micromesh pads. Once it was finished I coated it with Obsidian Oil to add some life to the horn stem. I have found that it soaks into the horn material and builds some luster over time. You can now see the variations in colour, almost striations in the horn stem. This pearlescence is what I love about the old horn stems and what made me want to try to redeem this old-timer.







I took the stem to my buffer and carefully buffed it with White Diamond. I was careful to have a light touch on the wheel as I did not want to damage the horn. The material is sensitive to pressure on the wheel so care must be exercised when buffing it. I gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax and hand buffed with a shoe brush and a soft cotton cloth. The next four photos show the rejuvenated stem ready to be put back on the pipe.



I reinserted the stem in the pipe, polished the entirety with another coat of carnauba and buffed it by hand to give it a shine. The next five photos show the finished pipe. This old-timer is ready to be loaded with a bowl of aged tobacco, fitting to the age of the pipe and given its reintroduction to its original purpose. This restoration was a pleasure to do and one that gave me a sense of accomplishment in bringing back the old horn stem. The variations in colour and the striations in the horn really give life to this old pipe. The copper repair in the stem actually adds a flair of uniqueness and mystery to the pipe – it makes me wonder who did it and where it was done. Thanks for the challenge Chuck.