Tag Archives: replacing a broken tenon

Replacing a Broken Tenon on a Civic Select 14 Zulu


Blog by Steve Laug

I received a call from a local fellow who had picked up my phone number from a local pipe and cigar shop. He had just returned from a trip and the tenon on his little Civic Zulu had snapped off. As it was his only pipe he wondered if I would be willing to take on the job of repairing it. He had tried to glue it on with epoxy but it had not worked. The pipe was relatively new and half the bowl was not even darkened by smoking. There was raw briar on the bottom half of the bowl. The briar was dirty on the outside from being pocketed in his coat of backpack.  The stem was oxidized and had tooth chatter on both sides at the button. The oxidation is deep in the vulcanite. I told him I would take on the project. I took photos of the pipe before I started working on it.I found a Delrin tenon replacement in my box that would fit well once the diameter was reduced. We talked and he decided to get rid of the stinger to make it a better smoking pipe. The broken angle on the end of the stem would need to be sanded smooth and faced so that the new tenon would fit well. I took some photos of the pipe, stem, broken tenon and new tenon.In preparation for drilling out the stem for the new tenon I used a sharp knife to open and bevel the edges of the airway in the stem. I have found that doing this keeps the drill bit centred and straight in the airway.I used the Dremel and the sanding drum to reduce the diameter of the new tenon. I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the tenon. I worked on it until the diameter was the same as the broken tenon and the fit in the mortise was snug.I started drilling the airway with a bit slightly larger than the diameter of the airway. I slowed the speed on the cordless drill to make sure it moved slowly and straight. I worked my way up to a bit that was the same diameter as the new tenon end, but not too large to compromise the strength of the stem.I removed some of the diameter on the threaded end of the tenon to get a proper fit in the stem. I cleaned up the inside of the newly drilled end of the stem with a needle file to smooth out the walls. When it was smooth I cleaned up the new tenon, applied glue to the end and pressed it into place in the stem.I sanded the tenon with 4000 grit wet/dry sandpaper to clean up the marks and scratches in the tenon. Once the glue had cured I put the stem on the shank of the pipe. As is usual with these repairs the alignment was not perfect but close. I sanded the shank/stem junction smooth to clean up the alignment. I took pictures of the newly fit stem. I cleaned out the mortise and the airway in the shank and stem with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and alcohol. I worked on them until they were clean. Since the pipe was barely smoked it was a pretty simple clean up.I reamed out the debris in the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I wanted the bowl to be clean and smooth.I stained the area where I had sanded the shank with an oak stain pen to blend it into the rest of the shank. It is a bit streaky at this point in the process but that would blend together once I buffed and polished the pipe. I worked Before & After Restoration Balm deep into the briar to clean, enliven and protect it. I worked it into the finish with my fingertips. I worked it into the rim and shank end. I set it aside for a few minutes to let the balm work. I wiped it off and buffed it with a soft cloth to polish it. The briar really began to have a deep shine. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. The grain on the bowl is really beginning to stand out and will only do so more as the pipe is waxed. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit sanding pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I finished polishing the stem with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish both Fine and Extra Fine to remove the last of the scratches. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. With the stem polished I put it back on the pipe and lightly buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond. I buffed the stem with a more aggressive buff of Blue Diamond. I gave the bowl and stem multiple 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 pretty nicely. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I will call the pipeman soon so he can pick up his pipe and begin to enjoy it once more. He called several nights ago and said he had ordered some new tobacco and it had arrived. He was excited to try it out with his repaired pipe. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked this pipe over.

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Replacing a tenon on a 1983 Pipa Croci Bent Dublin


Blog by Steve Laug

The local pipe and cigar shop sent a fellow to me the other day with a broken tenon that needed to be replaced. He had dropped it in the snow while shoveling the walks and the tenon had snapped. He pulled the broken tenon out of the shank and tried to reglue the tenon in place with the broken part. Needless to say it did not work. He wanted to have the tenon replaced so he left it with me. The pipe was a nice little Pipa Croci sandblast Dublin. The bowl and rim were both sandblasted and there was a smooth band around the shank and up the underside where it was stamped. It read Pipo Croci over Fatta a Mano (Hand Made) over Mantova, Italia and finally the date – dal 1983. It is a light weight well-made pipe with an acrylic stem. The stem has the insert bar and dot logo on the top side. There were tooth marks on both sides at the button but otherwise the stem was in good condition. He wanted the new tenon and a basic cleanup on the pipe. I found the replacement Delrin tenon and took the following photos. I took a photo of the logo and the stamping on the underside of the shank. I rolled the shank and took a second photo to show the dates stamp.I flattened the broken remnant of tenon on the end of the stem to give it a smooth face. I drilled the airway with a bit a little larger than the airway. I moved through 3 other drill bits until it was large enough for the threaded tenon.I used a Dremel and sanding drum to reduce the diameter of the tenon to fit the mortise of the pipe. While I was at it I roughed up the threads on the tenon to give the glue something to grip.I cleaned up the threads on the tenon and the inside of the drilled out airway and coated the tenon end with black super glue gel. I fit it in the stem and adjusted the stem and tenon for a clean fit against the shank. I set the stem aside to let the glue cure on the new tenon. I scrubbed the briar with Before & After Restoration Balm, working it deep in the grooves and valley of the sandblast. I scrubbed it with a cotton swab to work it into the briar. The balm cleans, protects, restores and enlivens the briar. I buffed it with a horsehair shoe brush and rubbed it to a shine with a cotton cloth. Once the glue cured I put the stem on the pipe and buffed it with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches. I gave the bowl several coats of Conservator’s Wax 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 microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The following photos show the finished pipe. It is ready to go back to its owner who I am sure is looking forward to smoking a bowl in it once more.

A Challenging Makeover for a GBD New Standard 9242 Rhodesian


Blog by Steve Laug

I finished the restoration work on Mark’s uncle’s pipes and a few of his own and sent them back to him in late January of this year. I wrote a blog on each of the restorations. They were a fun batch of pipes to restore for him. He sent me another package a few weeks ago that had just three pipes in it – A GBD Classic Straight Bulldog, a GBD 9242 Rhodesian (one of my holy grail pipes) and a long Churchwarden pipe. Each pipe had a different set of issues that would provide a variety of challenges. The Bulldog was in excellent condition other than the first ½ inch of the stem missing in chunks. The Churchwarden had a broken tenon stuck in the shank. By far the worst of the lot was the 9242 pipe. When I saw it in the bag I was excited. When I took it out of the bag I was saddened at the condition of the pipe. The bowl was dirty and there was some lava and rim darkening on the top. There were a few nicks in the edges of the bowl. The finish was dirty but the grain on the pipe was really nice. If I had stopped my observation at this point I would have been quite happy.

But to stop there would not begin to tell the story of the abuse carried out on this pipe. Someone (I cannot call them other than a hacker) had taken upon themselves to do a stem repair for a broken tenon and in doing so almost destroyed an otherwise nice looking stem. I think that it had a broken tenon so the hacker had pulled out the broken tenon from the shank. He had drilled out the end of the stem – so far so good right. If he had quit then it would have been good. But he did not. He found a piece of steel tubing and drilled out the mortise to fit it – but did so at an angle and hacked up the inside of the mortise. The stem itself was not only drilled but had been opened up even more to accommodate the tube. In fitting it in the stem he had cracked the stem on one side. Fortunately it appeared that it did not go all the way through. He then slopped glue – an amber looking goop, all around the sides of the scored tube and shoved it into the airway on the stem. It was not even close to straight. Then he smeared some of the same glue on top of the crack, wiped it off a bit and called it good. This poor pipe really was in awful condition.

When I wrote Mark to give him my assessment I laid out the issues on this pipe I think he must have laughed. He knew that once I saw it, because it was a shape that is on my hunt list, I would be hooked and have to try to fix it. He as much as said so in his email back to me. Sooo… here we go on that restoration project. The photos show the look of the pipe when it arrived in all of its tattered splendour. Note the beautiful grain on the bowl. It was a beautiful looking piece of briar. Note the stem damage and obvious angle of the stem in the shank. Note the repaired split in the stem. Note the tooth marks on the stem on both the top and underside on and in front of the button. This was a project for certain and I figured I could not really make things worse… but then again who knows. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the general condition of the pipe. You can see the nicks in the briar rim top and on the inner edge. You can also see the fit of the stem to the shank as well as the tooth marks and damage to the stem from the “repair” that had been done to the stem.I took the stem off the bowl to show the metal tubular tenon on the stem end. It looks to me that the drilling out of the stem and the moving the tenon around in the stem caused the damage in the stem surface.I took photos of the end of the stem showing the tenon and the drilled out mortise in the shank. You can see the damage to both. The metal tenon is not totally round and it is heavily scored and damaged. The fit in the stem is crooked so there is no way to align the stem and the shank.I smoothed out the light damage on the rim top with 220 grit sandpaper and then with 1500-4000 grit micromesh sanding pads. I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm to deep clean the briar and the smooth rim. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I hand rubbed it with my fingers and wiped it off with a soft cloth and buffed it with a shoe brush to polish it. 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. I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem. I used a cotton swab to dribble acetone around the stem/tenon joint. I repeated that process for several weeks on a daily basis. I wanted to dissolve the epoxy that held the metal tenon in place in the stem. While it sat I filled in the damaged areas on the stem surface and the deep tooth marks in the top and underside of the stem at the button with black super glue and set the stem aside to dry. Once the glue had cured I sanded the repairs smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and blended them into the surface of the stem. There were still some small spots that needed work but overall it was starting to look better. I dribbled acetone into the area around the metal tenon every morning and evening after work. I was pretty certain that after a matter of time the epoxy would give way and I would be able to remove the tenon. I wiggled it daily with a pair of pliers to loosen it. This afternoon it finally came loose and I was able to remove it from the stem.With the metal tenon removed from the stem I was able to clean out the airway in the stem and the drilled out area of the stem. I used pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to clean out the debris and tobacco oils.The replacement tenon was a little larger than the mortise and needed to be sanded down. I used a Dremel and sanding drum to reduce the diameter of the tenon. I also carefully sanded the face of the stem to smooth out the damage there, Once I had the fit correct in the shank I worked on anchoring it in the drilled out stem. I coated the threaded tenon with some thick gel glue and inserted it in the hole in the stem. I lined things up with a pipe cleaner in the airway and set the stem aside to dry. While the glue on the new tenon cured I cleaned up the inside of the mortise. I hand turned a drill bit that was the same size as the tenon slowly into the mortise to clean up the jagged drilling on the inside of the mortise. I turned it into the mortise to smooth out the misdrilling that had been done to fit the metal tenon. Once I was finished I sanded it lightly and then put the stem in the shank to have a look. The fit was pretty good at this point. Once the tenon had cured I worked on the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each micromesh pad. After I finished with the 12000 grit pad I gave it another coat of oil. I polished the stem down with Before & After Pipe Polish – Fine and Extra Fine. I finished by giving it one more coat of Obsidian Oil and put it aside. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave it several coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise a shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The repair on the right side of the stem is still visible and I will need to work on that a little bit more but the overall look and fit of the stem is far better than when I began on this project. It won’t take too much more work before it is ready to head back to Mark for his smoking pleasure. This is one of those pipes that suffered much at the hands of someone trying to repair something and actually making it worse. I think it is better than it was… thanks for looking.

Repairing a Broken Tenon on a Birks Savinelli “Lollo”


Blog by Steve Laug

I received a call from a local pipeman who said he had broken the stem off of his favourite pocket pipe. He had been given my name by a local pipe shop. He stopped by and dropped off a small bag with the parts of his pipe in it. He had dropped the pipe down the stairs and it had bounced down to the bottom in two pieces. He was able to remove the broken tenon but the damage was done. The pipe was stamped Birks and next to that it was stamped “Lollo” over Savinelli over Italy. The pipe was actually in really good shape. The bowl was clean and the briar had some nice grain all around the sides, top and bottom. The rim was clean and there was a very light cake inside. The broken tenon had a stinger in the tenon that he wanted to preserve. The stem was oxidized and showed some tooth chatter on both sides near the button. I told him I would have a look at the pipe and decide whether to replace the tenon or the stem. He was fine either way as long as the pipe was the same when he picked it up. I put the parts of the pipe on my work table and took photos of the pipe before I started working on it. I went through my box of tenons and found one that was the proper size for the mortise. I use threaded replacement tenons on stems like this. I used a Dremel and sanding drum to smooth out the rough edges of the broken tenon left on the stem. I used a sharp knife to bevel the edge of the airway in the end of the stem. Beveling it keeps the drill bit centred when I drill out the airway for the threaded end of the tenon.I chucked a drill bit the same diameter as the threaded end of the replacement tenon.  The photo below shows the tenon on the end of the drill bit. I lined it up before drilling it so that the stem was straight and the airway would not be curved. I drilled the airway to the same depth as the threaded end of the tenon. Once the airway was straight I used tap to cut threads in the airway in the stem so that I could turn the new tenon in place. I put a drop of glue on the threads of the tenon and quickly turned it into the stem until it sat flush against the face of the stem. I pushed the stinger into the tenon end and aligned it so that the slot in it was facing the top of the stem. I checked the alignment on the new tenon and all was straight and ready.The oxidation on the stem really showed up under the bright light of the flash. I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-4000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I buffed the stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I brought it back to the table and sanded it with the final three 6000-12000 grit pads. After the final pad I gave it a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem back on the bowl and gently worked the pipe over on the buffing wheel using Blue Diamond to polish the bowl and shank. I used a gentle touch on the pipe when I was buffing to polish the bowl. I buffed the stem with a harder touch to raise the gloss on the rubber. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It looks better than it did in the beginning. It is the first little Savinelli “Lollo” I have worked on. It is well made and a beautiful piece of briar. The dimensions of the pipe are: Length: 4 inches, Height: 1 1/2 inches, Diameter of the bowl: 1 1/4 inches, Diameter of the bowl: 3/4 inches. I will be calling the pipeman who dropped it off for repair. I think he will enjoy his pipe!

Restoring a Wreck of a C.P.F. Rectangular Shank Bent Egg


Blog by Steve Laug

This poor old C.P.F. rectangular shank bent egg was in rough shape when it arrived in Vancouver. Not only was the tenon broken but the stem was in pretty damaged. There were tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside of the stem. The sides of the rectangular saddle portion of the stem were very damaged with deep casting marks and gouges. I think the stem is made of Bakelite but it was really a mess. Add to that the condition of the bowl – three cracks running down the front right side from the rim down and across the bowl, a cracked shank, no band, a scratched and damaged finish and you have a clear picture of the condition of the tired old pipe. There was a day when I would have retired this one and moved on to a different pipe but today it is a challenge worth taking and seeing what I can do with it. Jeff took various photos of the pipe to show what it looked like when he picked it up.The rim top was a mess. There was an overflow of lava that had hardened on the rim top. There was an average cake in the bowl that would need to go in order to repair the damaged areas. The inner edge of the rim was probably damaged though it was hard to tell at this point. There were to cracks on the right side of the rim toward the front of the bowl. I have included two photos to show the cracks in the same area from the rim down and across the bowl on the top right side. I have used red arrows to point them out in both photos.The crack in the shank is very obvious in the photo below. It was quite deep and had begun to separate. You can also see the damage to the stem at the stem/shank junction. But even with all of the damage there was still some charm to the briar. The grain was interesting – a combination of birdseye and cross grain all around the bowl. The flat bottom portion had nice cross grain that would stand out once the pipe was restained. The threads in the mortise were in excellent condition. The U-shaped divot at the bottom of the mortise shows how the airway was drilled into the bowl. The threads on the tenon looked good at this point. The next photos show the extensive damage to the sides of the saddle stem. It was rough. It almost looked as if someone had tried to pry it free from the shank rather than unscrewing it. There were some deep tooth marks and a lot of chatter on both sides of the stem in front of the button. Once again when the pipe arrived in Vancouver, I could see that Jeff had done his magic in cleaning and scrubbing it. He had reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He cleaned up the rim and the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the grime and debris on the briar itself. He had exercised care around the gold stamping on the left side of the shank. He had cleaned out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. The stem damage was clearly visible and the gouges on the sides of the saddle stem stood out in clarity. There were some deep tooth marks on both sides of the stem at the button. When I brought the pipe to my work table I took some photos of it as I opened the case. It really was a beautiful old pipe. I took a photo of the rim top and bowl to show the issues there. The bowl was very clean. The rim top photo shows the cracks very clearly and the scars on the inside edge of the rim. The right side photo also shows the cracks.The stem has some beauty still, but the deep tooth marks would need a lot of work to bring them back to a smooth condition.This is where some of the issues show up. The tenon had broken when Jeff was cleaning it up. Fortunately it had not broken off in the shank or the stem so it was a clean repair. I would need to fit a new threaded tenon in the shank and stem. The gouges and nicks in the sides of the saddle are very clear in the next photos.Since the stem was such a mess and would take time to work on I started with it. I sanded the sides and top of the stem and filled in the damaged areas with amber super glue. In the next photos you can see the extent of the damage from the size of the glue repairs. I set the stem aside to dry and went for lunch with my wife and daughters. When I returned the repairs would have cured and I could continue. When I returned I used a needle file to smooth out the repaired areas and flatten out the sides of the saddle. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to further blend in the repaired areas. I fit a new threaded tenon in the stem and set it in place. I sanded the stem more, to smooth things out. In the first photo below there looks like a crack runs along the middle of right side of the saddle. It was not a crack but a flaw in the stem material. There was still a lot of sanding to do before the stem was acceptable. I sanded the stem surfaces until they were smooth and the repairs were unnoticeable. It took quite a bit of sanding to achieve this. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad to give traction to the next pad and also bring a little life to the Bakelite stem. With the work on the stem complete I set it aside and turned my attention to the issues with the bowl and shank. I decided to address the cracked shank first. I would need to fit a band on the shank. I did not have any brass bands so a nickel one would have to suffice. I used a needle file to work on the shank end to get it ready for the band. I started with the file and finished with the Dremel and sanding drum. Making a band that would fit took some work. I only had round bands so I needed to shape one that would work. I used a small nail hammer and the square edges of the needle file to make the round band rectangular. It was tedious but the finished band is shown in the photo below. I pressed it onto the shank of the pipe. It was still too large and if pressed all the way onto the shank would look awkward. I used the Dremel and sanding drum to cut the height of the band in half. It takes time and care to slowly grind the metal away. I used the topping board to smooth out the sharp edges of the band. I used an all-purpose glue to repair the crack and to anchor the band on the shank. I pressed the band in place on the shank. I took photos of the banded shank to remind myself of what it looked like at this point in the process. I still needed to polish the metal but it was looking better. The bowl still had remnants of the old varnish coat in the angles and on the shank bottom. I wiped it down with acetone on a cotton pad to remove the rest of the finish in preparation for the repairs that I needed to do on the cracks. I topped the bowl to remove the damaged areas on the rim top and to clean up the inner edge damage.I marked the ends of the cracks with a black Sharpie pen and drill the spots with a microdrill bit on my Dremel. I put these pin holes at the end of each crack to stop it from spreading further. I filled in the drill holes with clear super glue and smeared the glue over the cracks themselves. When the repairs dried I sanded them smooth with 220 grit sandpaper to blend into the surface of the briar. I also sanded the inner edge of the rim to minimize the damage there. With the repairs completed it was time to stain the bowl and blend them into the rest of the briar. For me the staining process on this pipe would be done in several steps. I stained the bowl with a dark brown aniline stain, flamed it and repeated the process to ensure an even coverage over the bowl. I wiped the bowl down with alcohol on cotton pads to make the stain more transparent. I sanded the bowl down with 1500-4000 grit micromesh sanding pads to make the grain more transparent and polish it in preparation for the next contrast coat of stain. I wiped it down with alcohol once more and then gave it a coat of Danish Oil Cherry stain for the top coat. I really like the way it brings out the reds in the grain of the briar. I touched up the gold stamping with Rub’n Buff European Gold. I rubbed it on and off leaving it in the light C.P.F. oval logo. It is faint in some places but it is readable. I gave the bowl several coats of Conservator’s Wax and buffed it with a microfiber cloth. The photos below show the renewed stamping and the waxed finish on the bowl. I used the Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to clean up the remnant of the cake on the wall that is shown in the above photos. I buffed the pipe bowl and stem independently with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to polish them both. I worked over the briar around the bowl with the Blue Diamond. I carefully gave the briar several coats of carnauba wax and then Conservator’s Wax in the hard to reach spots. I buffed the waxed briar with a clean buffing pad to a raise a shine. I gently buffed the stem with Blue Diamond so as not to melt it or cause damage. I gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed bowl and stem with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. I put the stem in the shank and hand buffed it once more. I am quite happy with the finished pipe. It is a beautiful piece of briar and the stem picked up a nice shine that brought it back to life. The damage on the stem is almost invisible now and the amberlike Bakelite looks translucent. The repairs to the cracks in the briar on the side of the bowl and the shank have disappeared into the contrast stain. The nickel band works alright with the finished look of the pipe and takes care of the shank damage. The finished pipe is shown in the photos that follow. Thanks for putting up with my passion for these old C.P.F. pipes from another time. Thanks for looking.

 

Replacing a Broken Tenon & Restoring an Old Italian Bulldog


Blog by Steve Laug

I am just about finished cleaning up and restoring the pipes my brother and I picked up on our Virtual Pipe Hunt in Montana. The next pipe that I brought to my work table was from that hunt. I think I may have two or three left two work on but this is one that I have picked up and put back several times since they arrived in Vancouver. As I mentioned in my last blog I have written several blogs about that hunt as it was one of those once it a life time finds. It contained a lot of late 1890s and early 1900 era pipes. These included C.P.F., W.D.C. and some no name pipes from the same era. Again if you are interested in reading about any of the restorations, a quick search on the blog for “Virtual Pipe Hunt” will give you the links to a blog about the hunt and to other pipes that were included. This particular little Bulldog shaped pipe had something about it that caught my eye. It combined some interesting grain (birdseye, swirled and cross grain) on the bowl and a diamond shaped taper stem with an orific button. The finish was worn and the stem was glued onto the shank. At this point in the process the stem would not move as the glue held it tightly in place. The top of the shank was stamped ITALIAN BRIAR in block print and no other stamping on the pipe on either side. The stem had a red dot on the left top side of the diamond. There were tooth marks and the stem was really dirty with an overflow of glue that was on both sides. My brother took photos of the pipe before he started the cleanup process.The next two photos show the pipe from the top side and the underside of the pipe. The topside shows the wear and tear to the finish. There were a lot of scratches and nicks in the briar and a cake in the bowl with lava overflow on the rim top. The underside of the bowl showed the nicks and scratches that went down both sides and the bottom of the bowl and shank. He took some photos of the rim top and bowl. Both photos show the thick cake in the bowl and a thick lava coat on the rim top. It is hard to know if there was any damage to the inner edge of the bowl or on the top surface of the rim.The close up of the underside of the bowl and shank shows the glue buildup in the gap between the shank and the stem.The stem looked like it was in rough shape. There were some peeling flakes on the surface of the stem. They could either be glue or damage to the stem.I was really surprised that my brother was able to get the stem off the shank. It turned out that the broken tenon was glued in the shank and a piece of inner tube was glued into the broken tenon. About an inch of the tube extended beyond the shank and the stem fit on the tube. The glue was painted onto the end of the shank and the end of the stem and the two parts were held together until the glue set. Jeff used some acetone to eat through the glue in the gap between the stem and the shank and was able to pry the pieces apart.The next photos show the damaged stem. It looked like the repair had also included painting the surface of the stem with glue. The glue had bubbled, cracked and peeled leaving behind a messy chipped finish. The orific button on the rounded stem end was in good shape. It appeared that the glue mixture had protected the stem from a lot of tooth marks and chatter. Jeff did his usual thorough cleanup of the pipe. I am coming to expect nothing less when he sends me pipes that have gone through his cleaning process. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer, scraped the bowl and the rim top with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to clear off the lava build up. He cleaned out the internals in the airway in the shank as much as possible with the broken glued in tenon in the way. He used alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He cleaned out the airway in the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the briar and the stem with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove all of the grime on the briar and the hardened, chipped glue on the finish of the stem. He rinsed the parts under running water and dried it with a soft cloth. He soaked the stem in OxyClean to clean off the glue on the surface. When the pipe arrived in Vancouver it looked different than it did when we picked it up in Montana. I forgot to take photos of the pipe before I started on it because I was excited to pull the broken tenon from the shank. You can see the clean bowl and stem in the photos.

I put a drill bit in the chuck of my cordless drill and turned the bowl as the bit went into the airway on the broken tenon. I used one that was slightly larger than the airway and worked my way up to the one in the second photo. Some of the tenon crumbled away and the remainder stuck on the drill bit. I pulled it out of the shank and that part of the process was complete. The shank was clear. I used a Dremel and sanding drum to smooth out the broken edges of the tenon on the end of the stem. I smoothed it out until the broken tenon was smooth against the end of the stem. I put a drill bit in the chuck of my cordless drill and turned the stem onto the bit to open the airway for the new threaded Delrin tenon. I increased the size of the bit until it was the same size as the threaded tenon end. I cleaned up the newly drilled airway with a dental burr on the Dremel.I took the stem back to the work table and took pictures of the process of inserting the new tenon in the stem. The photos show the progress. I turned the tenon into the stem and put glue on the final few threads and use a pair of pliers to turn it into the stem until it was seated against the flush end. I put the stem in the shank and took some photos. The alignment is always a little off when the stem is first inserted. In this case the fit against the shank was perfect. The sides on the old stem and shank were just a little bit off. The left and top side aligned almost perfectly but the right and underside of the stem need some minor adjustments to fit properly. I sanded the stem/shank connection with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the transition and make it smooth to touch. I wiped the bowl down with acetone on a cotton pad to remove the remaining finish from the bowl. When I was finished I took photos of the fit and it was looking really good. I topped the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper on a topping board. I topped it until the surface was smooth and the damaged areas were removed. I used a folded piece of sandpaper to smooth out the inner edge of the bowl.I sanded the stem surface to remove the scratches and damage to the flat sides of the diamond and also the flat angle to the button. I wiped the stem down with alcohol on a cotton pad and removed the debris left behind by the sanding. I filled in the tooth marks with clear super glue and when the glue dried I sanded the repairs smooth with 220 grit sandpaper. I put some clear super glue on the tenon to build it up so that the fit in the shank would not be too loose. When the glue dried I sanded the surface of the tenon until it was smooth. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad and after the final pad I gave it a final coat of oil. I set it aside to let it dry. I scraped out the inside of the mortise with a pen knife to remove the glue build up on the walls. I cleaned up the bevel with the blade of the knife at the same time to make sure that it did not interfere with the fit of the stem against the shank. I cleaned out the airway and mortise with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the debris that remained once I pulled the old tenon. It took a few pipe cleaners and swabs but it did not take too long to clean it up. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit sanding pads.  I worked around the stamping so I would not damage it in the process. I decided to stain the bowl with a medium brown stain pen rather than my regular aniline stain. I covered the sanded rim top, bowl sides and the shank with the stain. I continued to polish the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each pad with a damp cotton pad. The briar began to really shine as I worked through the micromesh sanding pads. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed it with a carnauba wax buffing pad. I gave the stem and bowl multiple coats of wax. I buffed the completed pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfibre cloth to deepen the polish. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It turned out to be a pretty pipe. The black vulcanite stem with the red dot works well with the reddish colour of the briar. The grain stands out well with the colours of the stain. I like the look of finished pipe a lot. This one will probably stay in my own collection. Thanks for following along with me on this refurbishing journey.

Just a few minor details – a Broken Tenon and a Cracked Shank on a Hardcastle Special Selection 7 Bulldog


Blog by Steve Laug

Not too long ago I received an email from a reader of rebornpipes regarding a pipe he was restoring. It was a beautiful little Hardcastle Bulldog that is stamped on the left underside Hardcastle over Special Selection over the number 7. He had finished cleaning and restoring it and it was looking good. He had done a thorough job, as I would see later in this post. He went on to tell me about how he had repeated my misadventure when buffing the pipe. Not long ago I posted about having finished a pipe and having the buffer snatch it from my hands and fling it against the floor. I snapped the tenon off a pipe I had finished while doing the final buffing. He wrote that he had done the same thing exactly. He wanted to know if I would be willing to put a new tenon on the stem. He noted a hairline crack at the shank/bowl junction and wondered if I would be willing to deal with that at the same time. We wrote back and forth and he sent me the following photos. The first one shows the cleaned up pipe ready for buffing.The next photo he sent shows the crack at the top of the shank on both topsides of the diamond. It stopped on both sides before it got to the edge of the diamond.The third photo shows the stem with the snapped tenon. He did a far better job snapping it off than I had done on mine. My broken tenon was jagged and needed to be sanded smooth before I could replace the tenon.He sent the pipe to me Vancouver for me to work on. It is funny in that it took a longer time to arrive from Idaho than pipes I have received from the east coast. But when it arrived I took photos of it. I have a container of threaded tenons here that I use for replacement tenons on pipes. I like the way they grip in the drilled out stem. Once they are anchored in place with glue on the threads, there is little chance that they will come out. I went through my tenons and found one that would fit the mortise with a little adjustment – the fit was tight and it was a little long for the shank.I set up my cordless drill and chose a bit that was close to the size of the airway in the stem. I have learned to work my way gradually through bits until I get to the size of the threaded portion of the new tenon. Doing it this way keeps the stem material from chipping or breaking away with the pressure of the drill bit. I turn the stem onto the stationary drill by hand so that I can control the depth of the bit. I mark the bit with scotch tape ahead of time to measure the depth of the drilled out airway that I need to have when I am finished.Once I had the airway opened enough to take the threaded end I used a tap to cut threads on inside of the newly opened airway. I turned the tenon in place on the stem to check the fit against the face of the stem.I checked the fit against the end of the mortise and found that the tenon was too long. I used a Dremel and sanding drum to bring it down to the correct length and cleaned up the end of the tenon with the topping board.I glued the new tenon in place in the stem with medium viscosity black superglue. It allows me time to adjust and align it so that it fits the mortise well and leaves no gaps.I set the stem aside overnight to allow the glue to cure. In the morning, I fine-tuned the fit so that it sat well in the shank. I chamfered/beveled the airway in the end of the new tenon to maximize the airflow into the stem.I put the stem in place in the shank and took photos of the newly repaired stem. This little Hardcastle Bulldog is a really beauty and extremely lightweight. The Cumberland stem looks good with the briar and gives the pipe an elegant appearance. I polished the stem and the tenon with micromesh sanding pads to remove any remaining scratches. I set the stem aside and turned my attention to the crack on the shank/bowl junction. I examined the crack with a bright light and a lens to make sure I could see the ends of the crack on both sides of the shank. It was a tight hairline crack so I just needed to stop it from spreading further. I drilled the end of the crack on both sides of the top of the shank using my Dremel and a microdrill bit. I slow the Dremel down to a speed of 10 so that I can carefully put the holes at the crack ends without it either going too deep in the shank or bouncing across the surface of the shank. It did not take too long to drill the holes.I took it back to the work table and took photos showing the two drill holes. The plan now was to use a dental pick to see if I could open the crack at all. I wanted to be able to put superglue into the crack to seal the two sides. It did not budge so I scratched it with the pick to provide a rough surface for the glue to adhere.I ran a bead of clear super glue the length of the crack from drill hole to drill hole. I put a drop of glue into each drill hole to fill them in. Since they are so tiny, I don’t bother with briar dust. I used the end of the dental pick to push the glue deep into the drill hole and refilled it to a bubble.Once the glue hardened I sanded it smooth to match the surface of the shank using 220 and 320 grit sandpaper folded to fit the angle of the junction. I sanded the area until the repair was smooth with the surface of the shank. I wanted the transition to be seamless. I took a close up photo of the repair on both sides of the shank to show what I had to deal with in terms of blending it into the finish of the bowl and shank.I sanded the repair with micromesh sanding pads to remove the scratches left behind by the sand paper. I worked through 1500-4000 grit pads to polish the shank. I polished the gold band with the higher grades of micromesh as well to give them a richer gleam. The repairs were slightly lighter in colour than the rest of the shank and the bowl so they would need to be restained. I restained the repaired area with a medium brown stain pen to blend it into the colour of the bowl and shank. I buffed the stained areas by hand with a microfibre cloth.I wrote to the pipeman who owned it and told him I had finished the repair to the shank and the stem and was touching up the stain. He wrote back to say that I had carte blanche to finish the pipe in any stain I saw fit. That was the go ahead I needed. I wanted to highlight the red hues in the briar that stood out in the bright light. I also knew that a red stain would allow me to blend in the repaired areas on the shank/bowl junction better. So I chose to stain the pipe with Danish Oil with Cherry stain. I am really happy with how the red of the stain works to highlight the grain. It also goes really well with the Cumberland stem and its red striations.I warmed the briar and applied the stain with a cotton pad. The nature of Danish Oil stain is that it highlights grain and breathes life into the wood. I let it sit for 10 minutes and hand buffed it off the bowl and shank. I took the next four photos of the finished bowl once I had hand buffed it. I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel to polish out any remaining scratches in the finish of the briar or the Cumberland. I gave them multiple coats of carnauba wax to protect the finish and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise a shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. I hand buffed the gold band on the shank with a jeweler’ cloth to polish and shine it. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I really like the finished look of the pipe. It is a beautiful and well executed Bulldog and it should serve its owner well. I plan on letting him know that if it does not fit his collection it will always have a home here. Thanks for looking.