Tag Archives: repairing tooth marks

New Life for a Sandblast Savinelli de Luxe Milano 506 Panel Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

When my brother Jeff saw this pipe he went for it. He picked it up from a fellow in Pocatello, Idaho, USA. This pipe appeared to be in rough shape. The bowl was full and the sandblast was filthy. It had definitely seen better days. However, there was something about the shape that caught Jeff’s eye. The stamping on the underside of the shank reads de Luxe [over] Milano. That is followed by the Savinelli S shield logo and the shape number 506 over Italy. It is faint but readable with a loupe and light. The bowl and shank are sandblasted with a rugged blast and the panel sides all have indents where the blast went deep into the grain. It is an interesting pipe. The stain on the bowl is a medium brown that highlights the sandblast finish. It is a panel billiard with a square shank and a saddle vulcanite stem. The pipe was dirty with a thick cake and tobacco debris in the bowl. There was a heavy overflow of lava on the rim top that made it hard to know if the rim edges were damaged. There were dark areas on each side of the bowl. The grime and dirt had been ground deeply into the sandblast finish. The stem was calcified and heavily oxidized and was a brownish green colour. There was tooth chatter and tooth marks on both sides of the stem near the button and on the button surface itself on both sides. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he did his cleanup.The next photos show the bowl and rim top. You can see the cake in the bowl and the overflow of lava and grime on the top. You can also see the likelihood of damage to the rim edges but also that it is impossible to know what it would look like once it was clean. The photos of the stem show a lot of tooth chatter on both sides of the stems. There are also some tooth marks on the button top and bottom.   The sandblast finish on the bowl, though dirty, showed interesting patterns – straight grains and birdseye. There were also some swirls in the grain. The photos also show some darkening on each side of the bowl and some dark spots. The stamping on the underside of the shank is faint but readable. It reads as noted above. I had a vague memory that there was a great photo of the same pipe in a smooth finish on the Pipephil site (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-savinelli1.html). I turned there and sure enough it was not only a De Luxe it was also a 506 Panel Billiard with a smooth finish. I have included a screen capture of the section from that site below. There was also a link to a series of shape charts for Savinelli Pipes that I have found helpful in the past (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/infos/savinelli-chart.html). I did a screen capture of the section of the chart that included the 506 shape. Now it was time to work on the pipe. Jeff worked his magic in cleaning up this pipe. He reamed it with a PipNet reamer and smoothed the walls of the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim and shank with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to the oils and tars on the bowl, rim and shank. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. The cleaning of the stem raised more oxidation in the vulcanite. The tooth marks and chatter was clean but visible. I took the stem off and put it in a bath of Before & After Stem Deoxidizer and totally forgot to take pictures of the pipe before I started. I took photos of the condition of the rim top and stem before I started working. The rim top looks very good and the bowl is spotless. The rim top is heavily darkened and stained. The stem has light oxidation remaining and some tooth chatter and marks on both sides near and on the button.   I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. The stamping was faint but still readable. It reads as noted above.  The stem has a brass bar on the left side of the saddle.  I started my work on the bowl by dealing with darkening around the bowl sides. I took photos of the darkening. I poked and probed them with a dental pick to check on the integrity of the briar and it was solid. I also worked the areas over with a brass bristle brush and was able to remove some of the darkening. There was no cracking or checking on the inside of the bowl in each of those areas so I was fairly certain I was dealing with darkening caused by the oils of the pipeman or woman’s hands who had previously smoked the pipe. I would need to stain the pipe to deal with the dark areas. I stained the bowl with an aniline Light Brown stain. I was surprised at how dark it came out on the bowl itself. I applied the stain and flamed it with a lighter to set it in the grain. I set it aside while I had dinner to let the stain cure.   After dinner I took the pipe off the cork rest and took photos of the newly stained bowl. You can see the depth of the blast in the photos below.   I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the finish of the bowl, rim top and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I find that the balm really makes the briar come alive again. The contrasts in the layers of stain really made the grain stand out. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The bowl really looks good at this point. I set aside the bowl and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the tooth marks on the surface of the stem and was able to lift them significantly. I filled in the remaining tooth marks on the button surface with clear super glue. I used a file to smooth out and shape the button. I smoothed out the remaining repairs with 220 sandpaper to blend them and started polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.     I scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub All Purpose cleaner to remove the residual oxidation on the stem surface. The product works very well to cut through residual oxidation on vulcanite.  I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I polished it further with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both fine and extra fine.     I really enjoy finishing the work on a pipe because I love bringing it back to life and then administering the final touches that make it sing. I put the Savinelli De Luxe Milano 506 Panel Billiard back together and lightly buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond. I buffed the stem with a heavier touch with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and worked it into the deep sandblast with a horsehair shoe brush. I gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the smooth finish and the black vulcanite saddle stem. This richly finished De Luxe Milano Panel Billiard is light weight and ready for you to load up a tobacco of preference and enjoy smoking it. Have a look at it in the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ¼ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 33grams/1.16oz. This is one that will go on the Italian Pipemakers section of the rebornpipes online store shortly. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next generation.           

Restoring a Beautiful Bari Select nature Old Briar 7963


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from one of Jeff’s pipe hunts in Utah, USA back in 2018. Now I am finally getting a chance to work on it. The pipe is a classic Bari Bent Dublin like pipe. The pipe was a mess which probably accounted for how we ended up purchasing it for a fair price. On the left side of the shank it is stamped with the Bari [over] Select nature [over] Old Briar. On the right side of the shank it is stamped Made In Denmark [over] the shape number 7963. The mix of stains makes the grain just pop even with the grime ground into the finish. It was very dirty with dust and debris in finish. There was a thick cake in the bowl and an overflow of lava on the rim top that is heavier on the back of the bowl. The edges look to be in good condition as far as we can tell until we clean up the pipe. The stem was oxidized, calcified and there were deep tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. The stem had a white Bari stamp on the left side of the fancy saddle. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started working on it. I include those below.

Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the condition of both. It was heavily caked with a lava overflow on the rim top. The inner and outer edges look very good. He took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the oxidation and tooth marks on the stem surface and button.  In person the tooth marks are far deeper than they look in the photos.  Jeff took a photo of the heel and the side of the bowl and shank to show the grain on the pipe. It is a beauty.Jeff took photos to capture the stamping on the sides of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above.   He also took a photo of the Bari stamp on the left side of the stem. I turned to Pipephil’s site (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-b1.html) to see if I could find a listing for the Bari Select nature Old Briar with this four digit number. There was nothing specifically listed for this line of Bari pipes. There was also good info on the brand as a whole and that it was founded by Viggo Nielsen in 1950 and he ran it until 1978 when Age Bogelund managed the production for them. In 1993 it was sold to Helmer Thomsen. I have included a screen capture of the section below.Pipedia gives a great history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Bari) that is well worth reading. There were also photos of the Bari stamping on the Select nature Old Briar line of pipes.

Jeff reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals of the shank and stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. The finish on the bowl looked really good when I got it. The rim top looked very good. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer bath to remove the oxidation. The stem looked better other than the light oxidation that remained and the deep tooth marks and chatter on the surface. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked much better than when he found it. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it.  I took photos of the condition of the rim top and stem before I started working. The rim top looks very good and the bowl is spotless. The stem has light oxidation remaining and some tooth chatter and marks on both sides near the button.   I took a photo of the stamping on the sides of the shank. The stamping was faint but readable. It reads as noted above.   I took the bowl and stem apart and took a photo of the pipe to show the look of the pipe. 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 dust. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the finish of the bowl, rim top and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I find that the balm really makes the briar come alive again. The contrasts in the layers of stain really made the grain stand out. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The bowl really looks good at this point. I set aside the bowl and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the tooth marks on the surface of the stem and was able to lift them significantly. I filled in the remaining spots with super glue. Once the repairs cured I flattened them out with a file to bend them into the surface. I further smoothed them out with 220 sandpaper to blend and started polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I polished it further with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both fine and extra fine.    I touched up the Bari white logo on the stem with Liquid Paper. Once it dried I buffed off the excess with a cotton pad. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil once more. Once again I am the part of the restoration that I always look forward to – the moment when all the pieces are put back together. I put the pipe back together and  buffed the bowl and the stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the smooth finish and the black vulcanite stem. This richly stained Bari Select nature Old Briar 7963 Dublin is light weight and ready for you to load up a tobacco of preference and enjoy breaking it in. Have a look at it in the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 18grams/.63oz. This is one that will go on the Danish Pipemakers section of the rebornpipes online store shortly. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next generation.

Restoring a Long Savinelli Extra 804KS Canadian


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from a Goodwill Easter Seal Auction in 2018 from Minnesota. The pipe is an interesting long shanked Savinelli Canadian with sharp edges on the oval shank. The pipe is well shaped and has nice grain around the bowl and shank. The pipe is stamped on the topside of the shank and reads Savinelli [over] Extra. On the underside of the shank it had a Savinelli S shield followed by 804KS [over] Italy. There was a grime and dust in the surface of the briar. The bowl was moderately caked while the top and the beveled inner edge of the rim had a thick coat of lava. The inside edge looks very good but we will know for sure once it is cleaned. The taper vulcanite stem was oxidized, calcified and had tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the button and on the button edge. The pipe showed a lot of promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and tobacco debris as well as the relatively clean inner edge of the rim. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show its overall condition. Jeff took a photo of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar looked like. It truly has some nice grain – birdseye and cross grain around the bowl and shank. The stamping on the top and underside of the shank is clear and readable as noted above.   I turned to Pipephil (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-savinelli2.html) to get a quick view of the Extra Line. I did a screen capture of the site’s information and have included that below. I am also including a screen capture of the Shape and code chart introduction that is link in the above capture.I turned to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Savinelli) for a quick read. The site is worth reading the history of the Savinelli brand and it philosophy of pipemaking. There was a photo of a brochure that included the Extra (https://pipedia.org/wiki/File:Sav_Extra.jpg) that came from Doug Vliatchka.Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet pipe reamer and removed the rest of it 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 soaked the stem in a Before & After Deoxidizer bath and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe before I started my part of the restoration work.   The rim top cleaned up really well. The rim top, inner and outer edge of the bowl is in excellent condition there is darkening on both. The stem surface looked very good with a few tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.   The stamping on the shank top and underside is clear and readable. It is stamped as noted above.   I removed the stem started working on the darkening on the rim top and edges. I worked them over with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. Once it was finished it looked better.   I polished the rim top and bowl with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each sanding pad to remove the debris and dust. 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 15 minutes and buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The grain came alive and the pipe looked great.    I set the bowl aside and turned to work on the stem. I “painted” the stem surface with the flame of a lighter and was able to lift out all but one deep tooth mark on the top surface ahead of the button. Once the repair cured I used 220 grit sandpaper to blend it into the surface of the vulcanite. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.   I scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub All Purpose cleanser to remove the remaining oxidation. I have found that a good scrub with this product removes the oxidation left behind by the other methods. You can see it on the cotton pads underneath the stem.I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.     This Savinelli Extra 804KS Long Canadian is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The smooth finish gives the shape an elegant look. The flow of the bowl, long shank and short stem are well done make for a great looking pipe. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Savinelli Extra 804KS Canadian 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 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 45grams/1.59oz. It is a great looking and light weight pipe. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store shortly. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more pipes to come!

Rejuvenating a Nording Made in Denmark Freehand


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table came to us in 2018 from a fellow in Naples, Florida, USA. It is a classic Freehand with a mixed finish of sandblast and smooth with a plateau on the rim top and shank end. It had a fancy turned vulcanite stem. The rim top is plateau and is stained black. The shape follows the grain of the block of briar very well. It is stamped on the underside of the shank reads NORDING over Made in Denmark near the stem/shank union. There is no other stamping on the pipe. The stem has a faint Nording N on the topside of the stem. The pipe was very dirty with a thick cake in the bowl and some lava overflowing on to the plateau rim top filling in the plateau. It was hard to know what the inner edge of the rim looked like because of the lava and cake. Other than being dirty the finish appeared to be in good condition. The stem was oxidized and had come calcification. There was some tooth chatter and tooth marks on both sides of the stem at the button and on the button surface. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started working on it. He took a photo of the rim top to show the thick cake in the bowl and the overflow of lava. The cake is thick and hard and the lava overflow is in the plateau. The bowl is a real mess but it must have been a great smoking pipe. The stem looked dirty and oxidized. The bite marks and tooth chatter on the stem were very visible. The remaining light oxidation was another issue that would need to be addressed.    The next photos show the sides and heel of the bowl to give a clear picture of the beauty of the grain around the bowl of the pipe. Under the grime there is some great grain peeking through. Jeff took photos of the stamping to capture the clarity of it even under the grime. The stamping is faint but readable. He also included a photo of the turned stem and the remnant of plateau on the shank end.   Before I started my work on the pipe I wanted to learn more about where this pipe fit into the Nording lines so I turned to the first of two sites that I always check to gather information on a brand. I turned first to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/N%C3%B8rding). Nording’s were exclusively freehand shapes. There were quite a few photos and a longer history of the brand. It is well worth reading. I also found a collage of photos of Erik Nording included below. I turned to the second information site – Pipephil’s (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-n2.html) and found a great history of the brand in brief form and many photos of different pipes by Nording.

Armed with the information on the Nording Freehand I turned to address the pipe itself. Jeff cleaned up the pipe for me. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned it up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the exterior with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to clean off the grime off the finish and the heavy overflow of lava on the rim top. The cleaning had removed some of the black stain on the rim top. He cleaned up the internals of the shank, mortise and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove all of the oils and tars in the pipe. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and was able to remove much of the oxidation. When it arrived here in Vancouver it was a clean pipe and I knew what I had to work with. I took photos of it before I started my part of the restoration.   I took photos of the rim top and the stem to show their condition once it arrived in Canada. Jeff was able to clean up the incredibly thick cake and lava overflow that was shown in the rim and bowl photos above. You can see the spots where the black stain had been removed from the plateau top. He was also able to get rid of the grime and grit in the surface of the briar. The inner edge of the bowl was in very good condition and was smooth to the touch. The rest of the rim top and edges looked very good. The stem looked very good and was much cleaner. The faintly stamped N is visible on the stem top. There were tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.  I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It is readable as noted above.I removed the stem from the pipe and took a photo to show the look of the parts.I decided to start the restoration by touching up the grooves and edges of the plateau rim top with a black Sharpie pen. It works really well to get into the grooves and blends with the rest of the blackened rim top.I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm to deep clean the finish on the bowl and shank. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I worked it in with my fingers to get it into the briar. I used a horsehair shoe brush to work it into the plateau top.  After it sat for 15 minutes I wiped it off and buffed it with a soft cloth. The briar really began to have a rich shine. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. It is a beautiful bowl.   I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem at this point in the process. I “painted” the surface of the stem with the flame of a lighter to lift the dents in the vulcanite as much as possible. I filled in the remaining marks with clear super glue. Once the repairs cured I used a file to reshape the button and flatten the repairs. I sanded the repairs with folded pieces of 220 to remove the file marks as well as the remaining oxidation. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.   To take care of the residual oxidation on the turned portions of the stem I scrubbed it with Soft Scrub All-Purpose Cleaner. I have found that it does a great job and is easy to work into hard to reach spots.  I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust. I used the Before & After Pipe Polish to remove the small minute scratches left in the vulcanite even after the micromesh regimen. I finished by wiping the stem down with a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry.   I put the stem back on the Nording Freehand and took it to the buffer. I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish the briar and the vulcanite. Blue Diamond does a great job on the smaller scratches that remain in both. I gave the bowl and the stem several coats of carnauba wax and 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 really nicely with a great contrasting stain look to the briar. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. This Nording Freehand turned out looking very nice. The polished black vulcanite stem looks really good with the browns and blacks standing out in the grain. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 61grams/2.15oz. This is another pipe that I will be putting it on the rebornpipes online store shortly, if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me on this beauty!

Rescuing a Forsaken ‘No Name’ Smooth Meerschaum Billiard


Blog by Dal Stanton

This No Name Smooth Meerschaum Billiard was obviously much loved and used by its former steward, but he is a mess!  I’m glad Daniel chose this needy Meerschaum as one of the 7 pipes he commissioned from the For “Pipe Dreamers” Only! online collection.  The ‘Dreamers’ collection is available for pipe men and women to peruse and choose vintage pipes of varying conditions to be resurrected and adopted.  Some pipes are more needy than others and this No Name Meerschaum qualifies as among the needier!  Yet herein is the challenge for those of us who seek to restore pipes to their former glory and sometimes even better than new: so that they will have another life in service of a new steward.

I acquired this No Name Smooth Meerschaum in 2018 when my son, who was then studying in St. Louis for his master’s degree, came upon a lot of 26 pipes in an antique shop.  Josiah proposed that he contribute to part of the purchase price with the condition that I would choose one pipe among the 26 as a Christmas gift from him – an offer I could not refuse!  I chose the huge French made Champion Churchwarden in the center.  It was a good Christmas for me! The No Name Meer is on the bottom of the picture below – a pipe that pipe man Daniel chose, a Green Bay, Wisconsin, resident, that required a lot of dreaming on his part!Taking a closer look now at the No Name Meer, I take more pictures to show its condition. Now, looking even more closely at the chamber shows a thick cake which Meerschaum pipes do not need!  In fact, no carbon cake buildup is better.  In briar pipes the rule of thumb is a cake the width of a US dime is good to maintain to help protect the briar from premature burn deterioration.  Meerschaum is a mined material that does not deteriorate from the heating of the chamber.  A thick cake could result in cracking the Meerschaum as the carbon expands with its heating.  A quick review of the qualities of Meerschaum come from the Altinok Pipes’ website:

The noble Meerschaum is unique among pipes. Its mysterious properties make it a perfect smoke and, at the same time, a work of art; a pipe highly prized by the Connoisseur and beginning smoker alike. Meerschaum is a German word meaning sea foam. The geologist knows the light, porous Meerschaum as hydrous magnesium silicate. The pipe smoker knows it as the perfect material for providing a cool, dry, flavorful smoke. The mineral itself is the fossilized shells of tiny sea creatures that fell to the ocean floor over 50 million years ago, there to be covered and compressed over the ages by layer upon layer of silt. Profound movements in the earth’s crust raised the creamy white stone of Meerschaum above sea level. Their men eventually discovered it and created an incomparable pipe from it. The first record of Meerschaum as a pipe dates from around 1723.

The rim is also severely caked with lava.  The smooth Billiard stummel surface shows many scratches and cuts amid the dirt also caked over much of the surface.  These closer pictures survey the stummel’s condition. During the stummel survey, I see a small crack in the Meerschaum’s right side of the shank.  Looking at the shank facing, the crack line continues to the acrylic push tenon insert.  It doesn’t appear that this crack is creeping and might pose a problem of integrity to the shank.  This observation is based upon the push tenon insert prohibiting any expansion of the mortise.  The crack most likely happened with a hit on the stem or a drop – only guesses.  One thing is for certain, this crack certainly has not kept the pipe from rugged use!  After cleaning the area, it may be helpful to place a small line of CA glue to seal the hair line crack and to reinforce to be on the safe side of things.The acrylic stem has seen better days too!  It needs a thorough cleaning inside and out.  The acrylic stem is rough and faded.  The bit has been chewed up. To begin the restoration of the No Name Meer Billiard, I begin with clearing the cake in the chamber.  I do not use the Pipnet Reaming Kit blade heads as is the norm with briar pipes.  This could create more surface torque than is good and crack the Meerschaum.  Instead, a slower and less invasive approach is to begin with carefully scraping the chamber with the Savinelli Fitsall Tool and Winchester pocketknife.  With these tools in hand, the caked rim is also carefully scraped.  I repeatedly use ‘carefully’ describing the approach to cleaning the Meerschaum.  As a stone-like substance it can crack and gouge if I’m too aggressive.  Patience is good.  From the scraping, I transition to sanding the chamber using a Sharpie Pen wrapped with 240 grade paper.  I like the progress. Continuing the cleaning process now on the external Meer surface, I use undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap on a cotton pad and scrub the stummel and rim.  I take a couple ‘starting’ pictures to mark the progress.  I’m looking forward to what the Murphy’s Soap can do for this ‘No Name’! After scrubbing with the cotton pad and Murphy’s, instead of rinsing the soap off in the sink, I use a wet cotton cloth to wipe the stummel and remove the soap.  I don’t want to saturate the Meer with water in the sink.  The pictures may not show it as clearly as I can see it, but the difference after the cleaning is remarkable.  Not only is the dirt and soil removed, but now the residual hue is identifiable as patina.  There is a gentle darkening of the Meerschaum and some identifiable ‘hot spots’ of the coveted patina.  As the Meerschaum pipe is smoked, the Meer absorbs the oils of the tobacco and smoke and this gradually darkens the stummel with a honey-like hue.  The value of Meerschaum pipes increases with this patina.  Before moving to cleaning the internals of the stummel, I address the darkened scorching of the rim.  The scraping improved the rim’s appearance appreciable, yet it still needs to be cleaned up further.  To do this I use medium and light sanding sponges to top the stummel.  Using sanding sponges gently is not as intrusive as sanding paper. A closeup of the rim not only show the staining but also small chipping on the rim’s edge. After inverting the stummel on the sponges, starting with the medium grade sponge, the stummel is rotated over the sponges.  The results are good.  The rim still shows some patina but is cleaned up considerably.     The pictures above and below show two distinctive and distracting (to me!) residual dark spots in the chamber just below the rim.  I use the Sharpie Pen wrapped with 240 grade paper carefully to sand the spots to remove them.  The potential problem with this pinpointed sanding is to create in the rim a wobble in the circle of the inner rim lip.  This I want to avoid as well.The result is good!Next, I use the light grade sanding sponge and lightly sand the stummel to clean and smooth it somewhat.  Again, the sanding sponge is gentle on the surface. To polish and smooth the surface, next I apply to the stummel surface the last 4 micromesh pads, 4000 to 12000.  It is not my purpose to sand out all the nicks and marks that have left imperfections in the Meerschaum.  I want to guard the aged patina that this No Name Meer has earned.  I’ve read on groups and forums that often restoration of Meerschaum pipes is too aggressive, and the goal is somewhat different than briar pipes.  With briars, a restoration seeks to return the pipe to its original pristine unsmoked state.  However, with Meerschaums that have aged, the value is to preserve the current good state of that aging process – preserving the hues and patina.  Aggressive sanding would remove all imperfections but also return the Meerschaum to a pure white state – the color that Meerschaums generally have in the store (there are exceptions to this!).  Before moving on to the stem, I clean the internals of the stummel using cotton buds and pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl 99%.  A small dental spoon is used to reach into the mortise, beyond the push tenon insert, to scrape the walls.  Shank brushes also were used to complete the task.Now to the stem.  Using pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl 99% I go do work on the internals of the stem.  The tenon is also cleaned up using cotton pads and alcohol.  I use a long dental probe to scrape and clean around the internals of the tenon as well.  My assumption is that the stem is acrylic, but it feels almost like plastic in some ways.  It doesn’t appear to be a high-grade acrylic, but it does clean up in time and I move on!   I mentioned earlier that this pipe was well loved by his former steward.  Well loved. but poorly maintained!  With the stem clean, I take another look at the condition of the bit. The bit has been chewed excessively with tooth compressions littering the landscape on the upper and lower bit.  The former steward obviously used this pipe to contemplate much or comfortably clinching while his hands were free actively engaged in other activities on the workbench or table.     An attempt to only sand out this damage would leave the acrylic dangerously thin so I decide to build up the bit area using clear CA glue which will be transparent and able to allow the stem color to come through.  The bit is thoroughly cleaned using a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 99%.  I want the bit as clean as possible because I don’t want to encase a dirty stem!  Discoloration will show through the patch.  To build up the compressed and chewed bit I apply a few layers of CA glue.  I use an accelerator after the application of each layer to build up the patch material.  The accelerator causes the glue to cure very quickly keeping it in place.  I also apply a few layers of CA to the button lip – upper and lower, which have also sustained some chewing damage.  After applying the CA glue, with the hour late, the lights are switched off and the stem will await tomorrow’s efforts!   The next morning, I have a few hours in the earlier morning to work on the No Name Meerschaum and to do some activities on the ‘to do’ list with my wife!  Still getting settled here in Golden, Colorado, had me hanging pictures in the foyer as one of the items on the list!  Also, grandchildren will be coming over this morning while their super mom goes to the local Costco to stock up on the necessities.  The CA patch has cured through the night.  With the bit CA patch ready for filing, I begin the shaping using a flat needle file. I initially file along the button to reestablish and refresh the lip.  I’ll leave the button lips for sanding later.  After the lip has been scored and defined, filing continues to bring the patch down to the acrylic stem’s surface.  The process is the same for the upper and lower bit.And lower:Next, I use the flat needle file to flatten and define the slot facing.  Then, using a sharp, rounded needle file, the slot itself is cleaned up and sharpened.  I like how it’s looking!With the main filing completed, the process transitions to 240 sanding paper.  The focus is on continuing to smooth and shape the bit and button patch area, but the sanding is expanded to the entire stem to clean the roughness and cuts.  I utilize a plastic disc on the tenon side to guard the crisp edge from shouldering.   Transitioning next to 600 grade sanding paper, the entire stem is again sanded followed by applying 0000 grade steel wool. The transformation of the stem has been remarkable.     On a roll, the stem is next the recipient of the full regimen of micromesh pads.  Starting with pads 1500 to 2400, the stem is wet sanded.  Then, with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000, the stem is dry sanded.  Between each set of 3 pads, Obsidian Oil is applied to help rejuvenate the acrylic stem. As I was sanding, I asked my wife what kind of material she thought this stem was?  Her response was that it was acrylic, but that it had a different feel to it than other acrylic materials.  I had asked her because I noticed as I was moving through the micromesh pads, normally I would expect the acrylic to shine more during the micromesh progression.  This stem did, but only little. Instead of glossing up, it deepened it color and remains a more of a matte finish. I asked her next what color she would say it was?  Her response after rattling off a few colors and then shaking them off – ‘no’, she settled on a dark mottled ivory.  That sounds good to me!    After completing the micromesh cycles, the stem and stummel were reunited to get a look at the progress to this point.  I’m liking very much what I’m seeing.     Before moving forward, the question of the small crack on the right side of the shank is in view.  Because the crack is not a new one and it doesn’t appear to have any pressure on it so that it would progress, it wouldn’t appear to be an impediment to the integrity of the shank. Yet, I decide to be on the safe side to apply a small amount of clear, thin, CA glue to the crack line.  In the picture below, the scratch to the left of the crack is not a crack, but a deeper scratch.  At first glance one is left with the impression that it is a triangular fissure that would inevitably break.  I’ve inserted arrows to identify the crack. To shore up the crack, the thin CA glue applied fills the fissure and when cured, should provide additional reinforcement.  I put the stummel aside to allow the CA glue to cure.After the CA glue cures, using a 240 grade piece of sanding paper tightly rolled, I surgically sanded the thin mound of patch material running down the crack line.  I want to keep the abrasion of sanding off the Meerschaum surface surrounding the patch.  When the mound is removed, I follow by wet sanding with grade 600 paper to further smooth and blend.Call me a perfectionist and it would not be false.  After finishing sanding the shank crack patch, I did a quick survey of the surface of the Meerschaum Billiard stummel and I wasn’t satisfied that the surface was as clean as it should be.  I decide to run the stummel through the full micromesh regimen by dry sanding with pads 1500 to 12000.  I’m satisfied now. Next, I apply beeswax to the Meerschaum stummel.  Beeswax has been used to polish and protect Meerschaum for a millennium.  The beeswax on my table came with me from Bulgaria and it is a darker hue.  The Meer seems to respond well to it.  I keep the wax in a mason jar that is impervious to heat.  I use a hot air gun to heat and melt the beeswax in the jar.  I then use a real, horsehair paint brush to apply the melted wax to the stummel surface after the stummel is also warmed with the hot air gun.  I’ve learned the hard way not to use a synthetic brush because it will melt.  When the wax has melted, I paint the stummel.  I direct the hot air gun on the stummel while I’m doing this to help keep the wax thin during application.The beeswax congeals quickly and I allow it to cool.After cooled, the edge of a former clothespin is used to scrape the excess wax off the stummel surface.  This helps to remove the hardened wax before using a cloth rag.Next, using a microfiber cloth I continue to wipe and rub the stummel to remove the excess congealed wax.  This takes some time because the beeswax is firm and isn’t easily wiped off.  When the excess is finally removed gradually in the progression, it’s nice to see the beeswax shine on the clean Meerschaum emerge!   The beeswax is absorbed into the microscopic, porous surface of the Meerschaum.Next, with the stummel now waiting for the stem, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel to the rotary tool and set it at about 40% full power and I begin to apply Blue Diamond to the stem alone.  The effort did not last long. As I started applying the Blue Diamond compound with the rotary tool, I notice almost immediately that the surface of the stem rippled from the heat generated by both the high spin of the buffing wheel and the compound.  I stop immediately.  I discovered that the material composition of the stem does not tolerate the speed and the friction. I decide to forgo application of Blue Diamond and try my hand at applying carnauba wax to the stem.  I set the speed slightly slower and move the wheel more rapidly over the surface of the stem as I apply the carnauba wax.  It works well and I had no further difficulties.After some thought, I decide on one additional project for the No Name Meerschaum Billiard.  Earlier I started thinking about adding a band to the pipe to not only give added support for the shank crack repair, but in addition, give this No Name a bit of classy bling.  I went through my assortment of brass bands and ferrules and found a perfect candidate.  I found a perfect brass ring that wraps the facing edge and fit just over the end of the shank.  To complete the mounting of the ring fully over the shank facing, I heat it with a hair dryer which softens the metal allowing it to expand.    After the ring is heated enough, I firmly direct the shank downward pressing the ring more firmly in place over the end of the shank facing.  It works perfectly.I like the look of the brass ring – it adds a bit of class to a very deserving No Name that has come a long way, endured a lot and ready to serve again! The stem and stummel are reunited and the restoration is finished with a rigorous hand buffing with a microfiber cloth.  I’ve enjoyed seeing this battered pipe come back to life.  As I said at the beginning – the fact that it had been used into almost oblivion proves that he’s a good smoker as a classic Meerschaum.  Now he’s ready for a second life.  This No Name Meerschaum Billiard is Daniel’s third pipe of seven that he has commissioned and he will have the first opportunity to claim the Meerschaum in The Pipe Store benefiting the Daughters of Bulgaria – women who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks for joining me!

New Life for a Barling’s Make Ye Olde Wood 1488 T.V.F. Canadian


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us in a group of pipe that we purchased from a fellow in Los Angeles, Californa, USA.  The pipe is smooth, nicely grained Canadian shaped pipe with an oval shank and taper stem. The pipe is stamped on top left side of the shank and reads Barling’s [arched over] Make [over] Ye Olde Wood [over] the shape number 1488. That is followed by T.V.F. near the shank. On the right topside of the shank it is stamped Made In [over] England. In the center of the top of the shank is a large upper case R. There was a lot of grime and dust ground into the smooth finish. The bowl was thickly caked with a thick lava coat flowing onto the rim top and the inner edge of the rim. The inside and outside edges looked to be in good condition but we would know more once Jeff had cleaned it. The stem was oxidized, calcified and had tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the button. The stem was stamped on the topside with the Barling Cross. The stamping was readable but damaged. It had promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work.   He took photos of the rim top, bowl and stem to give a clear picture of the condition of the pipe. The thickness of the cake and tobacco debris as well as the lava on the rim top and inner edge is visible. The photos of the stem show the oxidation, calcification and the chatter and tooth marks on the top and underside.  He took some photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a clear picture of the condition of the pipe and the grain that was shining through the grime. He took photos of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above.  I turned to Pipephil’s site (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-barling.html) to see if I could find a listing that had the same or similar stamping on the pipe. The stamping is similar to the one I am working on other than the shape number. The pipe that I am working on has the shape number 1488 on the shank. Barling’s [Arched], Make, Ye Olde Wood, T.V.F. and on the right side Made in England. Pipedia gives a great history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Barling) that is well worth reading.

I worked through the different eras of the Barling pipes. I found a section on redefining the eras and quote from that section as followed:

Family Era 1912 – 1962: Pipes made by the Barling family while it either owned or managed B. Barling & Sons.

Corporate Era 1962 – the Present: Pipes made after the family left off managing the company, beginning with the revised product grades and revised nomenclature that were introduced in the 1962 Dealers’ Catalog.

The Family Era pipes are highly sought after by collectors and have excellent smoking and aesthetic qualities. These pipes are famous for the “old wood” from which they were made. I’m including the 1962 “Barling’s Make” pipes in this category because, initially, they were made while the Family still ran the business. Montague Barling was still President, and Williamson-Barling was still General Manager.

These 1962 pipes were made by the same craftsman from the same materials, as the earlier product. Some of them are stamped with both the old and new model numbers.

…The “BARLING’S MAKE” has the word “BARLING’S” arched over the word “MAKE” in capital block letters. Barling used this block letter logo until late 1962.

… Ye Olde Wood Stamp: Sometime around 1913, the “Ye Olde Wood” stamp made its appearance on selected pipes. An example exists stamped on a 1913 date hallmarked pipe.

This logo will continue to be used in the decades to come. Initially it was used to designate a higher grade than the average, much as the “Special” grade would after the Second World War. Price lists show the “Ye Olde Wood” pipes as a separate grade from the basic BARLING’S MAKE pipe. Eventually, “Ye Olde Wood” came to represent the company to the world. The use of “YE OLD WOOD” as a stamp prior to 1940 was haphazard, at best, although the company used the slogan in advertising materials from the early teens onward. (Gage)

Crossed Barling Stem Logo: It is not known when the crossed Barling stem logo first appeared, but an example exists on a pipe with a 1923 date hallmark. And several of the mid 1920’s pipes added in this update also feature the crossed Barling stem logo.

Size Stampings:  Up to 1926 and possibly beyond, Barling used specific, completely unrelated, model numbers to designate the various sizes of a specific shape. They produced pipes in three sizes, small, medium, and large.

Barling’s published price lists show that they continued to offer pipes in only three sizes, small, medium, and large until 1941. That’s it, small, medium, and large. So when someone claims that they have a 1930’s EL, EXEL, or other size, they are mistaken.

In 1941 the published range of sizes expanded. Going from the smallest to the largest, they are SS, S, S-M, L, EL, EXEL, and EXEXEL. There is no “G” for giant. Giant pipes, or magnums, which are oversized standard billiards, were not stamped “G” but are commonly identified by collectors as such because they are obviously large relative to even EXEXEL pipes, and carried no size stampings (Gage).

Now I knew a bit about the pipe I was working on. The Barling’s Make stamp gave me an end date of 1962. The fact that there is no size stamp on the pipe puts the end date for it at 1941 when the sizes expanded and the pipes were stamped with the size as noted above. So the odds were very good that the pipe I was working on was pre-1941.

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet pipe reamer and removed the rest of it 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 soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe once I received it. The rim top cleaned up really well. The rim top has some darkening and inner edge shows some damage and is slightly out of round with rough nicks. The stem surface looked good with tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.   The stamping on the right and left topside of the shank is clear and readable and reads as noted above.  (Note the upper case R stamped on the top of the shank on the second photo above.)  I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. It would clean up and be a gorgeous pipe.I started working on the pipe by cleaning up the damaged inner edge of the rim with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper.  I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet 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 15 minutes 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 “painted” the tooth marks in the vulcanite with the flame of a Bic lighter. I was able to lift almost all of them. The ones on the underside disappeared except for one next to the button edge. The ones on the top side lifted considerably. I filled in the remaining marks with clear super glue and set the stem aside to let the repairs cure. Once the repairs cured I sanded them out with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surrounding vulcanite. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. The photo below shows the polished stem. I touched up the Barling Cross logo on the stem with white paint and Liquid Paper and neither worked. I cleaned the stem off and used some Antique Gold Rub’n Buff. I rubbed it onto the stem top and worked it into the stamping. I buffed it off with a cotton pad. The product brought the stamping that remained to clear readability. I keep trying to find Rub’n Buff White but it seems to be out of stock everywhere.  This beautifully grained Barling’s Make Ye Olde Wood 1488 T.V.F. Canadian is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The briar is clean and really came alive. The rich brown coloured stain 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 Barling’s Make Ye Olde Wood 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: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: 5/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 35grams/1.12oz.Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Discovering the Vintage of a Paul Viou ‘Feather’ with the Help of Sebastien Beaud of Genod Pipes of St. Claude


Blog by Dal Stanton

When I first laid eyes on this unique ‘Feather’ or ‘Plume’ shaped pipe, I debated adding it to my own personal collection and not posting it in the For “Pipe Dreamers” Only! collection, making it available for pipe men and women to commission.  Well, the Feather did find a place in the ‘Dreamers’ collection and Daniel eventually added the P. Viou Feather to his trove of commissioned pipes totaling 7(!) benefiting the Daughters of Bulgaria.  I acquired the P. Viou Feather from the French eBay auction block in 2018.  This ‘French Lot of 50’, which is what I have affectionately called it, has offered up several treasures – one restoration that became my first publication adding to Pipedia’s wealth of information (See: Discovering the History with the Reclamation of this Petite EPC Majestic Bent Horn Stem Billiard and for Pipedia contribution see: A. Pandevant & Roy Co.).  The picture of the Lot provided by the Parisian seller only created the urge to know what was hidden within the tangle of stems and stummels.  That I could see so many interesting shapes and horn stems supplied the impetus to acquire the Lot.  The P. Viou Feather is mostly hidden in the picture (arrow below left) and it wasn’t until later after the package arrived in Sofia and I gleefully sorted and grouped the pipes that I came to realize the treasure trove of pipes in this Lot.  The Feather grouping is pictured below.Looking more closely at the P. Viou Feather, I take some additional pictures. The nomenclature is worn and thin at points but generally recognizable.  On the left flank is stamped in fancy cursive ‘P’ [underscored] followed by ‘Viou’ which is punctuated with a flared underline.  The COM stamped on the right flank of the Feather stummel reads: St CLAUDE [over] FRANCE.  St. Claude is the pipe center of France and the birthplace of the production of briar pipes.  The horn stem is also stamped, P. VIOU.  This stamp is also thin, but I’m hopeful to refresh it later.     I had the opportunity of restoring another Paul Viou from the French Lot of 50 – a Churchwarden (See: Recommissioning a Vintage French Paul Viou Churchwarden of St. Claude).   There is scant information about the Paul Viou name on the internet that I could find.  Pipedia’s article of Paul Viou is brief:

From Pipes, Artisans and Trademarks, by José Manuel Lopes’

Paul Viou was the brand and name of a French artisan who sold his pipes by correspondence and then he was a pipe supplier for military institutions. He also made sculpted pipes and sometime used horn stems.

The brand is currently sold by Jacques Craen and made by Genod in Saint-Claude, after having also belonged to Paul Guilland and Vuillard. They are stamped P. Viou and made primarily for export.

This information is confirmed by Pipephil.eu with the addition of the date of 2006 when the Paul Viou name transferred to Sebastien Beaud of Genod.As I broaden my online research, I discover that Sebastien Beaud is an interesting story.  He currently is the owner of the Genod house of pipes in St. Claude and is a younger entrepreneur.  In trying to find out further information about Paul Viou, Genod information is prevalent in the research.  The Pipedia article dedicated to Genod of St. Claude is also interesting (See: Genod).  The Genod story began in 1865 when Comoy founded pipe production in St. Claude.  In 1923 the production is taken over by Georges Vincent and in 1939, son in law John Craen joined Vincent.  John Craen’s son, Jacques, joined the business in 1959 and took over the business in 1977 where he expanded the Genod name and opened the shop in St. Claude to visitors to observe the pipe production.

From the same Pipedia article: In 2006 the young pipemaker Sebastien Beaud started his work in Jacky’s factory. As Craen himself he took over the brand Viou to start with. In future he will take over the business in its entire and continue this sympathetic workshop in its traditional way.

In the excerpt above, the Paul Viou line is mentioned as continuing under Genod during the Craen period, then Sebastien Beaud took over the Viou line.  Unfortunately, this article nor the article in Pipedia dedicated to Paul Viou, provide much in the way of specific dating of the Paul Viou branding.

I’ve searched several forums for answers to questions regarding when the historical Paul Viou began production using this name?  The Paul Viou Feather, or Plume (French translation) appears to have some age.  The horn stem would suggest a dating in the 1940s during the rubber shortages of WW2.  Horn became a ‘go to’ material in place of rubber compound stems.  Yet, a question arises regarding this older dating when I discovered in Genod’s current offerings of pipes on its website an almost identical ‘Plume’ yet, not with a horn stem but an ebonite or vulcanite stem (See: Link). Also missing is the P. Viou nomenclature. Furthermore, more than many pipe manufacturers today, Genod’s quality offerings include many horn stemmed options.  I like this(!) but it brings into question the necessity of an older dating for the P. Viou on my worktable.With the foundational question being, when did the P. Viou name begin?  Was it before or during the Craen era of Genod?  Was the P. Viou stamp on this Feather an indicator of a pre-Genod production?  My experience with tracking down and nailing down French pipe production details has never been easy but always interesting!

Potentially to find answers about the dating of the Paul Viou name, I sent an email via the ‘Contact’ form provided on the Genod website.  I have been surprised in the past to receive responses from ‘Hail Mary’ requests to pipe houses in Europe and America.  We’ll see what happens.

Well, I am continually amazed at ‘names’ in the pipe world being accessible to folks like me!  The next day I received a reply from Sebastien Beaud, currently at the helm of Genod.  I include my original message with the replies that followed:

DAL:   Greetings,  Thank you in advance for your time! I restore vintage pipes and publish the restoration process and research online at www.ThePipeSteward.com. I have restored some Paul Viou pipes and have researched a lot and enjoy the connection of Paul Viou and Genod. However, there is very little information that I can find on the internet regarding Paul Viou, historically. Can you please provide any information about Paul Viou’s origins, when he lived, when the P. Viou name started being placed on pipes? My current restoration is a P. Viou Plume with a horn stem. I see that you still produce these shapes on your website but with Ebionite stems. I’m trying to determine the potential dating of this pipe but cannot find much information about when Paul Viou came onto the pipe scene. Thanks so much for your help in advance if you are able!

———–

Dear Dal,

Congratulations for your work and your website! All I know about Paul Viou is that as a former officer in the French army, he used to advertise his pipes in the army magazines.  So he used to sell a lot to the soldiers during the Algerian war, back in the 50’s / 60’s. He ran the business together with his wife Odette.  Their workshop was located right next to ours, and when they got old, Jacques Craen, started making pipes for them.  At the same time, Jacques Craen created the “Genod” brand to start selling directly to the smokers instead of selling to whole sellers. Genod is a tribute to his grandfather Georges Vincent-Genod (on his mother’s side) with whom he had learned and from whom he inherited the workshop. In the early 90’s, Jacques bought the Paul Viou brand and customers’ addresses file. I myself took over when Jacques retired, and kept Paul Viou’s name for a while, but it is the exact same product as a Genod pipe, so now I stamp all the pipes “Genod”.  I hope this helps.

Best regards,
Sebastien BEAUD
www.maitrepipier.fr
SARL GENOD VIOU
13 Faubourg Marcel – BP 145
39205 SAINT CLAUDE Cedex FRANCE
Tél. (+33) (0)3 84 45 00 47

———

DAL: Sebastien,  Thank you so much for responding to my inquiries! This information needs to be added to Pipedia. If I could ask one follow up question regarding the pipe on my worktable. The nomenclature is the cursive ‘P. Viou’ and COM: St. Claude, France. The horn stem is stamped, ‘P. Viou’. Can you venture a guess as to what period this ‘Plume’ was manufactured with this nomenclature and horn stem?   Before the Jacques Craen period (50/60s?) or when Jacques Craen was making them for Paul Viou (60/70s) or during the Genod period starting in the 70s but still using the ‘P. Viou’ stamp? I hope you can understand this! I’m simply trying to place this pipe in a time period. I’ve attached a few pictures if this is a help.  Again, much thanks.

———

Dear Dal,

I think this pipe has been made by Jacques Craen back in the 80’s (even though it could also be the 90’s or late 70’s).

Best regards,

Sebastien BEAUD

With deep appreciation to Sebastien Beaud for his time and for the information he supplied, I have a much better understanding of the Paul Viou name and a small piece of the man himself.  Valuable information added was regarding Paul Viou, the man.  He was formerly an officer in the French army – a military man but also a pipe man/entrepreneur.  Apparently after his time with the military and residing in St. Claude, he was undoubtedly very much a part of the ‘pipe world’ milieu and at one point added his hand to the pipe making industry.  With his connections in the military, he advertised his pipes in the military magazines of the time and in military institutions.

It is noteworthy that Sebastien pinpoints this activity during the Algerian War.  A quick search on the internet renders a Wikipedia article describing the war that was from 1954 to 1962 that found France engaged in a ‘decolonization’ war with the Algerian National Liberation Front and facing turbulent times at home with a war that garnered international attention.  The war gradually resulted in an independent Algeria – much resembling the turmoil of the Viet Nam conflict of the United States.  Paul Viou had developed his business selling pipes and during this difficult time, with French servicemen abroad, Paul Viou, along with the support of his wife, Odette, provided pipes for the troops via army magazine adds.  The personal relationship between Jacques Craen and Viou family is interesting – their shops were next door to each other and the aging of the senior Viou created a transition from Paul Viou’s actively working in the shop to his work being done by Jacques.  During this transition period, undoubtedly steps were taken to sign over the Viou name to Craen and the Vincent-Genod legacy.  Another transition alluded to by Sebastien’s words – the brand created by Jacques, “Genod”, was a tribute to his grandfather.  The Viou brand joined the Genod brand and again, this legacy was passed on to Sebastien Beaud.  The Viou name is no longer used to mark pipes, but the quality of the Viou pipe was brought under Genod craftsmanship.

One last question I brought to Sebastien was the dating of the P. Viou Feather on my worktable.  His qualified answer is somehow in sync with French pipe dating in general!  Most likely the P. Viou Feather is from the hands of Jacques in the 80s, but the late 70s or the 90s could be possibilities as well!  Much thanks to Sebastien Beaud for his help in this project!

One very interesting piece of information related to horn stems I discovered on the Genod site written by Sebastien Beaud in March of 2020 regarding Genod’s current use of horn stems (See tab: All About Pipes).  More than most pipe houses, Genod continues to fit their pipes with horn stems which I find interesting.  His article was excellent and apropos since a horn stem from the Genod house is now on the worktable!  I include his article which taught me a good bit!

Close up on the horn!

March 16, 2020in All about the pipe by Sébastien Beaud

Most of the pipes fitted to briar pipes are made of ebonite because this material combines flexibility and resistance to wear by the teeth. But other materials are interesting for the production of pipes. There is one that is dear to us, because it is comfortable, beautiful, and presents various shades of colors, it is the horn.

 Which horn for pipe stems?

The horn is made of hairs bonded with keratin, the material from which our nails are made. This hair-armed keratin protects and strengthens the bone that grows on each side of the head of cattle. The horn we use to make the pipe stems is that of the zebu. It can reach 1 meter in length. As we have seen, a horn is hollow because it contains a bone. Therefore, only the end (the tip) is suitable for turning work. A cow’s horn is therefore not long enough to be used in turning.

Zebus also have a brown, white or marbled coat, their horn presents a magnificent variety of shades, ranging from sometimes very dark brown to blond, the association of the two colors being called “marbled”.

 Filming on horn.

The zebu is bred for its meat in Brazil, Argentina and Madagascar. The horns, instead of being lost like the other inedible parts, are exported for use in the manufacture of combs, knife handles, beads, and of course, for turning pipe stems.

Once arrived in the workshops of the Jura, the horns are possibly softened by heating in a bath or steam, in order to straighten them by pressing.  Then comes cutting, turning, shaping, then drilling. Now here is a straight pipe stem.
If necessary, it can be bent in a “form” press dipped in a hot oil bath, and there it is, ready to be adjusted to the heather.

 How to maintain the horn?

An organic material, the horn offers a soft contact, and quickly takes the mark of the teeth. And what a pleasure to combine plants and animals in a beautiful object!  The maintenance of horn pipes is very simple: just avoid exposure to heat sources, and if you want to prevent the shine of the pipe fading over time, you can rub it regularly with a simple cloth, as a polish.  Choose now the pipe with horn stem that suits you, fill it with your favorite mixture, natural or aromatic, and… good tasting!

With a better understanding of the Paul Viou name and man who originally have his name to the pipes, I take a critical look at the Feather or Plume shape now on the worktable.  The grain on the stocky Feather stummel is attractive.  The briar block was cut allowing very intricate Bird’s Eye grain to emerge on both sides.  Looking at the stummel straight on – at the nose of the ‘torpedo’, the cross grain is visible connecting the sides creating the cross grain perspective.The finish on the briar is dark and in need of cleaning.  The surface shows dents and scrapes on the heel of the stummel as well as on the upper side.  The diminutive size of the Feather allows it to be the perfect ‘pocket pipe’ but in the pocket are keys and change to compete with!  The chamber has light cake buildup and will be removed to allow a fresh start for the briar.  The rim also shows caking which needs removing so that the condition of the rim can be seen more clearly and to rediscover the rim’s grain.  There are nicks and dents around the rise to the rim.  The horn stem is predominantly a dark hue except for near the bit area where it lightens.  The horn is rough but should clean up very nicely.I start the restoration of the P. Viou Feather by addressing the cake in the chamber. Only the smallest blade head is accommodated by the 3/4-inch diameter chamber.  The process of clearing the carbon cake transitions quickly to employing the Savinelli Fitsall Tool to scrape the chamber walls.  The rim is carefully scraped as well with my Winchester pocketknife then the chamber is sanded with 240 grade sanding paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen.  The progress looks good.  With the chamber cleared of the cake buildup, After taking a starting picture, I clean the external briar surface using undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap.  The stummel is scrubbed with a cotton pad as well as utilizing a brass bristled brush to work on the darkened rim. The brass brush will not negatively impact the briar as it scrubs the rim.To further the cleaning the stummel is transitioned to the sink.  Using warm water, shank brushes are employed with anti-oil liquid dish washing soap to clean the internal mortise chamber.  The brass bristled brush is used a bit more on the rim.  Back at the worktable I take another picture to show the cleaning progress.  The cleaning did a great job revealing very nice looking briar. The rim is much improved as well.  With a clean stummel before me, I take a closer look at the dents and pits primarily on the underside of the stummel I observed earlier.  The rough surface is from normal wear placing the Feather stummel down on the table or other harder surfaces.  The pictures show the comparison of ‘before and after’ to see how much progress is made with the repair.The approach I take capitalizes on the fact that wood is a very porous substance – spongelike in its composition.  Using a hot iron (with my wife’s permission!), I place a wetted cloth between a hot iron and the dents and press.  The heat generated by the iron heats the water in the cloth turning it into steam which permeates the briar surface with water.  The hot steamed water is absorbed and softens the wood allowing it to regain all or some of its pre-damaged condition. A comparison after several steaming sessions shows that the main heel damaged has lessened in its severity as the briar has expanded.  The side dent is now almost invisible.  To repair the residual pitting, using a toothpick as a guide, clear CA glue is spot dropped to fill the pits.  I put the stummel aside to allow the CA to cure.Turning now to the horn stem, pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 99% are used to clean the airway.  Along with smooth and bristled pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 99%, shank brushes are used to clean the airway.  A dental probe is used to scrape inside the slot as well as inside the nickel tenon.  Eventually, the pipe cleaners begin to emerge lighter and I move on.Before continuing working on restoring the horn stem surface, I place a piece of painter’s tape over the thin P. Viou stem stamping to protect it. In no way do I desire to contribute to its demise!I approach working on horn stem much like on vulcanite stems.  I take a few more pictures looking at the current condition of the horn material – upper and lower.  I like the solid blackish hue of the horn’s midsection contrasting with the gradual lightening of the bit.The condition of the stem is good except for one small tooth compression on the lower bit.  I fill it with a drop of CA glue and allow it to cure before sanding. The CA patches on the stummel heel have cured.  A flat needle file is used to file the glue mounds down to the briar surface. Transitioning to 240 grade paper, the patches are sanded further followed by 600 grade paper. I’m pleased with the results.  There is almost no visible reminder remaining of the rough area.  The repair blends nicely. The rim continues with darkened, scorched areas.  There are nicks as well on the right side of the rim (top of the picture below).  Using a hard backing behind a piece of 240 sanding paper, the slightly canted bevel is sanded and refreshed.  Following the 240 paper, the same is done with 600 grade paper.  I’m pleased with the refreshed rim.   Next, utilizing the full regimen of micromesh pads, the stummel is sanded.  Before sanding, painters’ tape is used to cover the P. Viou and COM on the sides of the stummel.  Using pads 1500 to 2400 the stummel is wet sanded.  Following this, the stummel is dry sanded with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  The protective tape was removed for the last 3 pads to even out the briar tone.  The beauty of the briar grain emerges through the micromesh process – I’m liking what I see!   Before returning to the stem, I’m looking forward to applying Mark Hoover’s ‘Before and After Restoration Balm’ to the stummel.  I apply some of the Balm to my fingers and rub it into the briar surface.  At first it has a cream-like consistency but as it works into the briar it transforms into a waxy consistency.  After applying the Balm, the stummel is set aside for 20 minutes or so for the Balm to enrich the briar.  After 20 minutes I use a microfiber cloth to wipe off excess Balm and then hand buff the stummel to raise the shine.  I like the way the Restoration Balm enhances the natural hues of the briar.Returning now to the horn stem, the sanding process is much like that of vulcanite stems.  After the CA patch has cured filling a tooth compression, using the flat needle file, the lower bit patch is filed until level with the stem surface.  The file also helps to refresh the lower button lip. Next, I transition to 240 sanding paper and smooth further the lower bit blending the patch more.  Flipping the stem over, the upper bit is sanded to smooth and tighten the horn surface from normal wear.   Next, the entire stem is wet sanded using 600 grade paper.As with vulcanite stems, next I apply 0000 steel wool to the entire stem to smooth and shine further. While using steel wool, I also apply it to the nickel tenon which shines it up very nicely.  Next, with the P. Viou stem stamping still covered with painters’ tape, the stem is the recipient of the full regimen of micromesh pads.  Starting with pads 1500 to 2400, the horn is wet sanded.  Following the wet sanding, I dry sand with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  I remove the tape for the last two pads to sand more closely to blend the area.  Obsidian Oil is applied and worked into the horn between each set of 3 pads.  The horn almost ‘drinks up’ the oil. To get a look at the progress, the stummel and horn stem are reunited.  Two issues surface after I do this. The seating of the stem into the mortise is off.  The next picture shows this with a gap of sunlight on the upper side of the connection point.  To remedy this, I fold a piece of 240 sanding paper and insert it between the lower halves of the stem and stummel and sand in a sawing motion.  This hopefully will even out the high point to bring the two faces back together flush – or as close as possible.   The result is good. There is still some daylight, but I’m satisfied at this point.  Sanding to remedy an unseated stem can be a bit finicky and sometimes ‘less’ is ‘more’ – I don’t want to complicate things!The other issue that emerged was that through the cleaning process the internal mortise cavity expanded somewhat so that the nickel tenon is not as snug as it should be.  The ways to fix this are limited.  If this were a vulcanite stem and tenon, the approach would be to expand the width of the tenon by heating it and forcing expansion by wedging the end of a drill bit in the softened tenon airway.  A nickel tenon, however, does not expand.  The remedy is to paint the external surface of the metal tenon with an acrylic nail polish or with CA glue.  The results are the same.  The hardening of the acrylic creates a hardened layer around the metal tenon, thus expanding its diameter and creating a snugger fit seated into the mortise.  I use a small bottle of acrylic nail polish and apply the acrylic polish with the small brush that comes along with the bottle. After each coating, I wait until the acrylic is cured before applying another layer.  After each cycle, the tenon is carefully fitted into the mortise to determine if another layer is needed.  To help it to dry evenly after each application, I ‘post’ the stem vertically on the end of a chop stick.  After several coats of clear acrylic nail polish, the fit of the stem was much snugger.  Mission accomplished.   Next, I attempt to refresh the P. Viou stem stamping, but am not successful.  The vestiges of the stamping were not deep enough to allow the white acrylic paint to grab the stamp channels.  After several attempts, I settle for what is. Now on the homestretch.  After mounting a cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel, speed set at about 40% full power, I apply Blue Diamond compound to horn stem and stummel.  After completing this, a felt cloth is used to buff the pipe to clear the compound dust before applying the wax.To apply carnauba wax, the cotton cloth wheel is changed to a wheel dedicated to carnauba.  With the speed on the Dremel maintaining 40% power, wax is applied to the entire pipe.  The first coat applies the wax thoroughly over the surfaces.  Following this, the pipe is buffed up using the Dremel to make sure all the wax is dispersed and absorbed.  Finally, the pipe is given a rigorous hand buffing with a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further.I’m pleased with how this product of Jacques Craen in St. Claude has turned out.  With Sebastien Beaud’s generous assistance, we can date this pipe after Jacques received the P. Viou name from the aging Paul Viou and his wife, Odette, who provided pipes to French military servicemen.  This ‘Plume’ is a beautiful example of French pipe making with its subtle intricacies, flow, and lines.  The grain, especially the exceptionally tight Bird’s Eye, is pleasing to behold! The horn stem with its gentle natural bend, has unique coloring.  The glassy shine of finely polished horn is pleasing to the eye and its rustic character will make it a pleasure to enjoy tobacco fellowship.  Last but not least, the unique Plume or Feather diminutive shape allows it to cradle very nicely in the palm.  This is the second of Daniel’s commissioned pipes and he will have the first opportunity to claim the P. Viou Feather from The Pipe Steward Store benefiting the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks for joining me!

Restoring a Sabatini Extra Quarter Bent Dublin


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen is one that neither Jeff nor I remember picking up. It could have come to us through a trade for work on a pipe or it could have come from one of an earlier pipe hunts that either Jeff or I did. Either way, the long and short of it is that we have no idea how this one came into our hands. It is a Sabatini in a shape I would call a ¼ bent Dublin. It had a smooth finish on the bowl and a slightly scooped rim top with a variegated Lucite stem. Under grime on the finish it appears that pipe may have had a light brown or tan stain to highlight the grain around the bowl. There were small sand pit fills around the bowl on the front, back and underside. It was stamped on the left side of the shank. The stamping was readable. It read Sabatini [over] Extra. Next to the shank/stem junction on the underside it was stamped Italy. There was also a stylized upper case S on the left side of the saddle stem. It was in decent condition when I brought it to the table. The finish was dirty with grime ground into the briar sides and rim. There was a moderate cake in the bowl and light damage to the rim top and the inner edge of the bowl. The stem was dirty but otherwise in good condition. There were tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside on and near the button and on the button surface itself. I took photos of the pipe before my cleanup work. They tell the story and give a glimpse of the promise that I see in this pipe.  I took a photo of the rim top to show the interior the bowl and the rim top and inner edge. It is moderately caked with some damage to the rim top and edges and some darkening on the back top of the rim. The Lucite stem is in decent condition with tooth marks on the top and underside near the button.   I took a photo of the left side of the shank to show the stamping. The stamping is readable in the photos below and is as noted above. The stem has a stylize upper case S on the left side. I took the stem off the bowl and took a picture of the parts of the pipe to give a sense of size.I turned to Pipephil’s site to see if I could find out any information on the brand (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-s2.html). There was little there to go on however it appears that the Italian crafted pipes were distributed by the US distributor Wenhall Pipes LTD. I did a screen capture of the information that was there.I checked on Pipedia and came up empty handed on the Sabatini brand but then turned to the article on Wenhall Pipes Ltd (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Wenhall). I found that Wenhall Pipes Ltd. was a distribution company out of New York City and distributed some well-known pipes. I quote the article below

Wenhall (USA)

By the end of the 1970’s Wenhall approached Michael Kabik and Glen Hedelson, at that time operating from a farm house in Glen Rock, Maryland to create a line of freehands called Wenhall. The situation was favorable, because Kabik & Hedelson had ended their cooperation with Mel Baker of Tobak Ltd. to produce the famed Sven-Lar freehands shortly before.

Upon Wenhall’s offer the partners got a bank loan and set up a studio of 2000 square feet in a fairly new industrial park in Bel Air, Maryland and took on the name Vajra Briar Works. Wenhall initially wanted 500 pipes a week! But Kabik & Hedelson doubted that they could move that much product and told them they would produce 250 pipes per week. Happily, some of the old crew from Sven-Lar joined them at Vajra Briar Works, and thus they rather quickly met the production demands.

Furthermore during this time, Wenhall requested to create a line of pipes consisting of 12 different shapes. The line was called The Presidential and, while they repeated the same 12 shapes for this series, each one was freehand cut. Although they came up with interesting designs, mainly developed by Hedelson, especially Kabik was never really happy with the line or the concept, but, by this time, they had nine people on full-time payroll.

The stint with Wenhall lasted a couple of years, at which time they asked them to join Wenhall in a move to Miami, Florida. But by this time Kabik and Hedelson felt very uncomfortable with the owners of Wenhall and decided that they’d rather close the shop than make the move. Time proved that decision very wise, as Wenhall folded shortly after the move. All the same they had to close Vajra, but scaled down to the two of them and moved the operation to the farm house Glen was currently living in…

The next lines of the article are the ones that got my attention. When I first saw the pipe in the repair box I immediately thought it reminded me of a Barontini and sure enough there is a possible link noted below.

Wenhall also distributed pipes from Italy. By unconfirmed information Gigi and Cesare Barontini were mentioned as suppliers.

Armed with that information I decided to begin my work on the pipe by addressing the damage to the rim top and edges. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean off the rim top and the inner edge of bowl. It took some time but I was able to bring it back to a pretty clean condition.  I reamed the pipe with a PipNet reamer and cut back the cake back to the bare briar. I cleaned up the walls with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I sanded the walls as a final touch with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a dowel. The interior walls of the pipe looked free of burn or heat damage. To me that is always a relief.  I scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with a tooth brush and undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap. I find that the soap cuts the grime and grease on the briar and leaves the surface clean and easier to work with. I rinsed it off with warm water and dried it with a cotton towel.  I filled in all of the putty filled flaws around the bowl with briar dust and clear super glue. Once it cured I sanded them smooth with 220 grit sandpaper.  I cleaned out the shank and airway in the shank and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. I was surprised that I also was removing some brown stain from the end of the shank.I polished the bowl and rim top with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. After each pad I wiped the briar down with a damp cloth. This served a dual purpose of both removing the sanding debris and the dust that had accumulated in the rustication patterns around the bowl and shank.   I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. It looks quite nice at this point.   With that done the bowl was finished other than the final buffing. I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I filled in the tooth marks and rebuilt the button with clear super glue and set it aside to cure. Once the repairs cured I used a piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean them up and blend them into the surface of the acrylic. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I used some Rub’n Buff Antique Gold to touch up the S logo on the stem. I rubbed it on and pressed the product into the stamp. I rubbed it off with a cotton pad.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine.   I am excited to finish this Sabatini Extra Bent Dublin. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the grain popping through on the bowls sides and rim top. Added to that the polished variegated orange Lucite stem was beautiful. This smooth finished Dublin turned out to be a nice looking pipe that feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 ½ inches, Height: 2 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 67grams/2.36oz. It is a beautiful pipe and one that will be on the rebornpipes store in the Italian Pipe Makers section soon. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next pipeman or woman. 

 

Restoring an LHS Purex Preferred 28 Chunky Pot


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from an antique store on the Oregon Coast, USA. This morning as I was going through my box of what I have to work on this is the second one that caught my eye. Not surprising it is another amber/butterscotch coloured Redmanol stem. It is a nicely grained small Chunky Pot. Once again the stem reminds me of butterscotch candies that I used to have as a kid. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and has the LHS Diamond followed by a large P that is the lead letter for Purex and for Preferred. On the right side it is stamped Imported arched over Briar. There is also a shape number 28 on the underside of the shank next to the aluminum fitment.The finish had a lot of grime ground into the bowl and some darkening around the sides. The bowl was lightly caked and there was a light lava coat on the rim top and inner edge. The edges looked okay but we would know more after the cleanup. The silver coloured band on the shank and matching one on the stem were both oxidized. They were the fitments for the screw in stinger/tenon. The stem was dirty and had tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the button. There were not markings or a logo on the saddle stem. The pipe showed promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work.      He took a photo of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the condition of the rim top and edges. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the chatter and tooth marks.   Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar around the pipe looked like. There is some great grain under the grime.      He took photos of the stamping on the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable.   I turned to Pipephil’s site to see if the Purex Preferred line was shown there. It was not listed though there were other Purex pipes listed. I have included a screen capture of the summary of the history of the brand from the site below (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-lhs.html).I turned to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/LHS). There was no listing for the Purex Preferred that I was working on but the article is very well done. Thanks to Dave Gossett for the information and the pictures of his collection. Give the article a read.

Now it was time to work on this interesting old pipe with the Redmanol man made amber stem.

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub liquid cleanser to remove the grime on the surface and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe once I received it.   The rim top looked very good  and inner edge of the rim showed some light damage. The stem surface looked good with some remaining oxidation on the aluminum parts and tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.     I took a photo of the stamping on the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above.     I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. The stem is a compact Redmanol saddle. I decided to start my work on the pipe by cleaning up the damaged inner edge of the bowl. I reworked the edge with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. Once I finished the rim and edge looked much better. I moved next to polishing the aluminum fitments on the shank and on the stem. I polished both with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to remove the scratches and marks on both. They took on a nice silver glow. I polished it with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with a damp cloth. 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 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.  I set the bowl aside and turned to work on the stem. I filled in the deep tooth marks on the surface of the Redmanol with clear super glue. I let the repairs cure.        I polished the repairs on the Redmanol stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.     This LHS (LH Stern) Purex Preferred Chunky Pot with an amber coloured Redmanol stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. There is some great grain around the bowl and shank. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished LHS Purex Pot is chunky and 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: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 61gr/2.19oz. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Restoring a Peterson’s Republic Era System Standard 312 Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from an online auction from Front Royal, Virginia, USA. It is a smooth Peterson’s System pipe with a saddle vulcanite stem. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Peterson’s [over] System [over] Standard. On the right side it is stamped Made in the Republic of Ireland and underneath that is the shape number 312. The nickel ferrule is stamped K & P Peterson with three hallmarks underneath. The finish had a lot of grime ground into it and it was very dirty. The bowl was moderately caked and there was a light lava coat on the flat rim top and the inner edge of the rim. The inner edge had some nicks and damage and the rim top had a lot of scratches that looked like the rim top had been scraped with a knife. The stem was oxidized, calcified and had tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the P-lip style button. It also had a bite through on the underside of the stem just ahead of the button. The pipe showed promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work.   He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the condition of the rim top and edges. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the oxidation, calcification and chatter and tooth marks. The photo of the underside of the stem you can see the bite through that is present.  Jeff took a photo of the side and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar around the pipe looked like.     He took photos of the stamping on the shank and the nickel ferrule. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable.   I am including the information from Pipedia’s article on Peterson pipes. It is a great read in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Peterson). I have included a bit of the pertinent history here.

1950 – 1989 The Republic Era – From 1950 to the present time, the stamp for this era is “Made in the Republic of Ireland” in a block format generally in three lines but two lines have been used with or without Republic being abbreviated.

I knew that I was dealing with a Republic Era pipe made between 1950-1989. It was a smooth Peterson’s System Standard 312 Billiard with nice grain. The finish was stained with a combination of brown stains. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe once I received it. The rim top and inner edge of the rim looked very good with a bit of damage on the inner edge and on the rim surface. The stem surface looked very good with some tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.  The bite through on the underside of the stem is not huge but it is very present.  I took a photo of the stamping on the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above.    I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. The stem is a typical Peterson’s System stem.I started my work on the pipe by working over the rim top and the inner edge of the bowl to clean up the damage. Once finished the rim top and edge looked much better.  I repaired the deep gouges on the left side of the bowl by filling them in with clear super glue. Once it cured I sanded it smooth to blend it into the surrounding briar.I polished the briar with micomesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth. I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. I set the bowl aside and turned to work on the stem. I coated a pipe cleaner with Vaseline and inserted it in the airway in the stem. I filled in the bite through with black Loctite 380 CA Glue. I set it aside to let the repair cure then smooth it out with a file and rasp. I smoothed out the file marks with 220 grit sandpaper and started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.   I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.    This Peterson’s System Standard 312 Bent Billiard with a vulcanite stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The beautiful grain that shines through the polished finish is stunning. As the pipe is smoked the patina should develop and look even better. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Peterson’s System Standard 312 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 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 50gr/1.76oz. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!