Tag Archives: restaining a bowl and rim

Restemming & Restoring a Malaga Mixed Finish Pot  


Blog by Steve Laug

This morning I went through my box of stummels (bowls) here and picked out a Pot shaped bowl that had some promise to me. I went through my can of stems and found an oval shaped stem with the casting marks on the sides and button end. The pipe I chose to work on is an interesting Malaga Pot with a mixture of rusticated portions and smooth portions on the bowl and shank sides. I have worked on a lot of Malaga pipes in the past so I am not a stranger to the brand. I have included the link below to a bit of history on the brand that I compiled.

The bowl looked very good. The grain around the sides was quite nice and a mix of flame and birdseye grain. The rim top was rusticated as were some patches on the front, the sides and the bottom of the shank. The inner edge of the bowl showed some wear. There was a hairline crack on the underside of the shank that extended about ¼ inch up the shank. The interior of the bowl was clean and there were not any chips, cracks or checking on the walls. Examining the mortise there was a snapped off tenon in the shank. It was crumbling and would need to be pulled. The finish was washed out and bit and tired but still quite redeemable. The stamping on the pipe was clear and readable. On the topside it read MALAGA and no other stamping was on the shank. I took some photos of the bowl before I started to work on it. I took a photo of the stamping on the topside of the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable. I went through some of stems and found an oval vulcanite stem blank. It was the right diameter and once I turned the tenon it would fit the shank. It has casting marks on the sides and on the button end. I also found a unique sterling silver band that fit the shank. It was shaped like a belt and buckle and would look very good.I have worked on quite a few Malaga pipes and blogged their restorations, so rather than repeat previous blogs, I am including the link to one that gives some of the history of the Malaga brand and the Malaga Pipe Shop in Royal Oak, Michigan in the USA from a catalogue. It gives a sense of the brand and the history in their own words. Follow the link to get a feel for the brand and the pipemaker – https://rebornpipes.com/2013/02/09/george-khoubesser-and-malaga-pipes/.

With that information in hand I turned to work on the bowl. There was a broken off tenon in the shank. I tried to pull it with a screw and then moved on to drill it out. I started with a bit a little larger than the tenon in the airway and worked my way up to the size of the shank. When I removed the bit the pieces of tenon fell out on the table top. With the mortise clean I was ready to move on to the next part of the clean up.I cleaned up the rustication on the rim top with a brass bristle wire brush to remove the debris in the rustication. It cleaned up well. I used a Black Sharpie Pen to restain the rustication on the rim top and the sides of the bowl. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 10 minutes then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The grain really came alive. It looks better than when I began. The crack on the underside of the shank was a mere hairline what was not long or wide so it would be an easy repair with a bit of glue and a band. I painted the shank end with some all-purpose white glue. I spread it with a dental spatula and pressed the band in place on the shank.I polished the Sterling Silver belt band with some silver polish and a jeweler’s cloth. I was able to remove the tarnish and the band looked very good. I took pictures of the banded shank to show the look of it. Notice that the belt buckle is on the top and the A of the Malaga is perfectly framed on the right side by the buckle. With the bowl finished it was time to focus on the stem. I took out the stem and the Pimo tenon turning tool and set up the tool in my cordless drill. I put the guiding pin in the airway on the stem and adjusted the cutting head. I held the stem in place and carefully turned the tool on the tenon. I used a flat file to smooth out the tenon to fit in the shank. I put the stem in shank for a sense of the look of the pipe. The stem fit well and it looked like it belonged. I sanded the castings off the edges of the stem and the button with 220 grit sandpaper before I took the photo.I removed the stem and worked on it next. I smoothed out remnants of the castings and the scratches in the surface of the vulcanite with 220 grit sandpaper. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a cloth and Obsidian Oil. I finished the polishing with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. I put the pipe back together – the bowl with its new stem. This restored Malaga Oil Cured Pot with rusticated panels is a real beauty and I think the Sterling Silver Belt band and the chosen stem works well with it. The grain on the bowl came alive with the buffing. I used Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel on both the bowl and stem. I gave both multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel then buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The Malaga Pot feels great in the hand. It is lightweight and the contrast in the browns of the briar, the Silver band and the polished vulcanite stem with the popping grain on the mixed brown stained bowl is quite amazing. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 1 inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.59 ounces/45 grams. It really is a beauty. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store in the American (US) Pipe Makers section shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Thanks for walking through the restemming and the restoration with me. Cheers.

Restemming & Restoring a Weber Custom Made Bullmoose


Blog by Steve Laug

I think I must be on a bit of a roll with restemming some of the bowls I have collected over the years. I decided to do yet another one that has been here for a very long time. The pipe I chose to work on next is a lovely Bullmoose rusticated stummel with a smooth rim top and twin rings around the cap of the bowl. The bowl looked very good. The rustication while not deep was quite nice and an interesting texture. The rim top was a bit rough with nicks and dings in the rim top and wear on the front edge of the cap. There were also burn marks and darkening on the outer edge of the cap. The interior of the bowl was clean and there were not any chips, cracks or checking on the walls. The finish was dull and bit and tired but still quite redeemable. The stamping on the pipe was clear and readable in smooth panels on the shank. On the left side it read Weber in a circle [over] Custom Made. On the right it read Imported Briar. I took some photos of the bowl before I started to work on it. I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable. (I forgot to take a photo of the Imported Briar stamp on the right side). You can also see some of the chips in the twin rings around the bowl – particularly on the cap edge. I went through some of stems and found this saddle style stem that was close to the right diameter but would need to have a tenon replacement. It has a few tooth marks and chatter near the button but it would clean up well. I took a photo of the bowl and stem together to show what the look would be once I fit the stem.I worked on quite a few Weber pipes in the past but decided to have a look on Pipephil anyway (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-w2.html). I have included a screen capture of the information that was present there.I turned to Pipedia found that it gave significant amount of history and some advertising on the brand as well (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Weber_Pipe_Co.). I quote from the article below:

Carl B. Weber was a German from Bavaria. Aged 21 he emigrated to the USA in 1911. In 1938 he established Weber Briars Inc. in Jersey City, New Jersey. Later renamed in Weber Pipe Co.

The firm grew to be one of the giants of American pipe industry focusing itself in the middle price and quality zone. Trademark: “Weber” in an oval. Beside that Weber – especially in the years after 1950 – was a most important supplier for private label pipes that went to an immense number of pipe shops. Alone in New York, exactly the same pipes were found at Wilke’s, Barclay Rex, Trinity East, Joe Strano’s Northampton Tobacconist in Ridgewood, Queens, Don-Lou in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn… Nearly all pipes for Wilke were unstained and many models, for example the “Wilke Danish Bent”, could hardly deny originating of Weber.

Among other well reputated pipe makers Anthony Passante[1] worked for Weber.

Weber Pipe Co. owned and manufactured Jobey pipes – when mainly sold in the USA by the Tinder Box from 1970’s – 80’s. In addition Jobey / Weber bought Danish freehands from Karl Erik (Ottendahl). These pipes were offered as Jobey Dansk. Ottendahl discontinued exports to the United States in 1987 and in the very same year – obviously only as a ghost brand – Jobey was transferred to Saint-Claude, France to be manufactured by Butz-Choquin.

Carl B. Weber is the author of the famous book “Weber’s Guide to Pipes and Pipe Smoking”.

Armed with the confirmation about the maker of the pipe it was time to work on the pipe itself. I started my work on it by replacing the tenon on the stem. I flattened the short stubby tenon with a Dremel and sanding drum to make the surface flat. I found the proper replacement tenon in my box of tenons. I used a cordless drill and a series of bit to drill out the airway to receive the new tenon replacement. I lined up the stem and tenon with the shank and then glued the tenon in the stem with clear CA glue. I set the stem aside to let the glue cure.I decided to put a decorative band on the shank of the pipe. It was not necessary but I liked the look of it. I used a dental spatula to spread the glue on the shank end. I pressed the brass band in place on the shank, wiped off the excess glue with a damp cloth and set it aside to dry.Once the glue on the band and the tenon cured I put the stem in place on the shank and took photos of the new look of the Weber. I have always liked Weber Golden Banded pipes so this brass band approximates that look. Still a lot of work to do on the fit of the stem and the clean up of the rim and top of the bowl.I removed the stem and turned my attention to the bowl of the pipe. I started the clean up of the rim by topping it on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I rebuilt the outer edge with a little bit of CA glue and briar dust and then topped it again to smooth it out. I cleaned up the inner edge of the bowl and the cap of the rim with folded 220 grit sandpaper. It took some work but it looked much better when finished.I wiped off the rim cap and smoothed it with some 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I wiped it down with a damp cloth. I stained it with an Oak stain pen to match the rest of the bowl and shank.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down after each pad with a damp cloth. The briar began to take on a rich shine. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my finger tips and a shoe brush to get into the valleys and crevices of the blast finish. The product is amazing and works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let it sit on the briar for 10 or more minutes and then buff it off with a soft cloth. It really makes the briar come alive and look quite rich. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth chatter and the deep scratches on the saddle portion of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a cloth and Obsidian Oil. I finished the polishing with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. I put the pipe together – the bowl with its new stem. This restored and restemmed Weber Custom Made Bullmoose (or Scoop) turned out to be a real beauty. I think the brass band and the chosen stem works well with it. The finish on the bowl came alive with the buffing. I used Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel on both the bowl and stem. I gave both multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel then buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The Weber Custom Made feels great in the hand. It is lightweight and the contrast in the browns of the briar, the gold of the band and the polished vulcanite stem with the popping grain on the mixed brown stained bowl is quite amazing. The dimensions of the pipe are Length:5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.62 ounces/46 grams. It really is a beauty. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store in the American (US) Pipe Makers section shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Thanks for walking through the restemming and the restoration with me. Cheers.

The Prince of Pipes


Blog by Kenneth Lieblich

One of my dearest friends contacted me recently to inquire if I could repair and restore a pipe that belongs to his father. His father told me that the pipe had been given to him by his wife (my friend’s mother) as a graduation gift in 1967. I was only too happy to oblige – not just to help my friend, but to raise this beautiful pipe back to life. The pipe is from The House of Bewlay and is a Prince shape. Just as an aside, the shape was named after Prince Albert, the Prince of Wales, who later became King Edward VII (1841–1910). What a gorgeous pipe! I must admit that the prince is one of my favourite pipe shapes (and possibly my outright favourite). This one is the epitome of elegance in pipe smoking. The pipe’s markings read Bewlay [over] Deluxe [over] London Made. The other side of the pipe read Made in [over] England and the shape number, 258. This corresponds nicely with a Bewlay catalogue from the late 60s, as you can see in the photo below. One additional piece of information that was useful was the date of the gift: 1967. This certainly gives us a good idea of the time period from which this pipe dates. Let us read a bit more about Bewlay from the Pipedia article:

The English brand of Bewlay & Co. Ltd. (formerly Salmon & Gluckstein Ltd.), was in business from the early 20th century until the 1950s. The brand ended up being sold and taken over by Imperial Tobacco Co. The shop chain closed in the 1980s but there seems to be one shop still in business on Carr Lane in the city of Hull. Bewlay pipes were made by prestigious firms. Notably Barling, Charatan, Loewe & Co., Sasieni, Huybrecht, and Orlik. So understandably, the English considered a Bewlay pipe a quality pipe.Anyway, on to the pipe – and what a beauty it was. However, it was not without its issues. The stummel had the following problems: lava on the rim, a notable burn to the rim, plenty of cake in the bowl, strange stain patterns, and – most serious of all – a nasty crack to the shank. Meanwhile, the stem had its own set of problems: the ‘B’ logo was nearly obliterated, some oxidation and calcification, and minor tooth marks and dents. This pipe was not going to be too tough, but I needed to be especially careful to ensure the crack would be repaired perfectly – so it could be used for many years to come. The stem was first on my list. I took a BIC lighter and ‘painted’ the stem with its flame in order to lift the tooth marks. This was reasonably successful in raising the dents. Then, I cleaned out the insides of the stem with pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. It was dirty, but not too bad and I went through a decent number of pipe cleaners in order to clean it up. I also soaked the stinger in lemon-infused isopropyl alcohol. This loosened everything up and I was able to clean it up very nicely. Once this process was done, the stem went for an overnight soak in the Before & After Hard Rubber Deoxidizer. The following day, I cleaned all of the de-oxidizing sludge off with alcohol, pipe cleaners, et cetera. The oxidation had migrated to the surface and would be fairly straightforward to remove. I scrubbed vigorously with SoftScrub to remove the leftover oxidation. Before I moved on to the Micromesh pads, I built up the small dents on the stem with cyanoacrylate adhesive and let them fully cure. I then sanded it down with 220-, 400-, and 600-grit sandpapers to meld the repair seamlessly into the stem. This ensures that it keeps its shape and looks like it should. I then used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to bring out the lovely black lustre on the stem. I also used Obsidian Pipe Stem Oil in between each pad scrubbing.I then took the opportunity to repair the “B” logo on the stem. It had faded – both by loss of paint over time and also by fingers inadvertently smoothing out the “B” over time. So, I added some acrylic paint with a paint brush, let it dry, and buffed it to make it look good. The “B” is back, but, as later photos reveal, a little bit has disappeared into history.

On to the stummel, and the usual cleaning procedures were in order for this pipe. I used both the PipNet Reamer and the KleenReem to remove the built-up cake and followed that with 220-grit sandpaper to remove as much as I could. I wanted to take the bowl down to bare briar to ensure there were no hidden flaws in the walls of the bowl. Fortunately, there were none. I then proceeded to clean out the insides of the shank with Q-tips, pipe cleaners, and isopropyl alcohol. There was some nastiness inside this stummel, but fortunately not too much – it only took a handful of pipe cleaners etc. to sort that out. I followed that up by cleaning the insides with some dish soap and tube brushes. I then moved on to cleaning the outside of the stummel with Murphy’s Oil Soap and some cotton pads. That removed any latent dirt. By the way, I deliberately did not de-ghost this pipe – I wanted to leave as much of the original tobacco essence as I could for the owner.As I mentioned earlier, there was some lava and a substantial burn on the rim of the stummel that also needed to be addressed. In order to minimize the impact of both, I “topped” the pipe – that is to say, I gently and evenly sanded down the rim on a piece of 220-grit sandpaper. This effectively removed the lava and most the damage, without altering the look of the pipe. However, I had to stop short of removing it all, otherwise the look of the pipe would have been altered. For the remaining bits of burn, I took some oxalic acid on a Q-tip and rubbed and rubbed and rubbed! The burn site did improve but never fully disappeared. It would be a permanent feature of the pipe going forward. I took solace from the fact that the burn did not affect the integrity of the wood. I then took a solid wooden sphere, wrapped sandpaper around it, and gently sanded the opening of the tobacco chamber. This was to achieve on the inner part of the rim the same thing that I achieved by “topping” on sandpaper. On to the major issue with this pipe: the crack in the shank. Naturally, Steve had the answers to all of this pipe’s problems. He explained that my first step was to ensure that the crack would not continue to creep after I had repaired it. To that end, I took a micro-drill bit, inserted it in my Dremel, and very carefully drilled a hole right through the wall of the shank. This was quite nerve-wracking, but it worked perfectly. I then needed to apply cyanoacrylate adhesive to the crack in order to seal and repair it. First, however, I used a Q-tip and a folded pipe cleaner to coat the inside of the shank with petroleum jelly. This would prevent the adhesive from dripping inside the shank and creating further problems. That done, I carefully applied a bead of adhesive to the tiny hole and the length of the crack. Finally, I clamped it shut and let it sit overnight to cure. This was a great success – obviously, the crack would always be visible, but I was really pleased with how the repair looked.Before moving on to sanding, there were a couple of small nicks on the underside of the stummel that I needed to sort out. I dug out my iron and a damp cloth to try and raise the nicks. The hot and moist steam created can often cause the wood to swell slightly and return to shape. There was some movement – not a lot, but it was better than doing nothing. I filled the remaining divots with cyanoacrylate adhesive. Now, with the crack repaired and the nicks filled, it was time to sand down the stummel. Just like the stem, I used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to sand everything smooth. A light application of Before & After Restoration Balm brought out the best in the stummel’s grain. All of the work I had done to this point had taken its toll on the colour of the wood. Originally, there was a lovely sort of brownish-Burgundy colour on this pipe, and I wanted to restore this as best I could – and I also wanted to ensure that we got rid of that weird mottling. In order to bring back some life to this pipe, I opted for aniline dye. I dragged out some of Fiebing’s Oxblood Leather Dye, but it looked too reddish to me. Instead, I experimented with mixing to see what I could come up with. I made my own concoction of Oxblood and Medium Brown dyes, painted the stummel, and then applied flame in order to set the colour. Furthermore, since it is an alcohol-based dye, I was able to adjust the colour to my liking by applying my own isopropyl alcohol to the colour. Let it sit overnight and it worked like a charm!Then it was off for a trip to the buffer. A dose of White Diamond and a few coats of carnauba wax were just what this pipe needed. Now that the wood was looking all spiffy, I had to circle back and complete the repair on the crack in the shank. It needed a tight-fighting band to ensure that the crack would never open up again. I went to my jar of bands and picked one that looked good. I heated it up and then messed it up! See the photos. I did not apply even pressure as I was attaching the band, so it went mush. Fortunately, I had more bands and I did a much better job of getting the next one on. I glued it in place and let that set. It looked very dapper. I polished up the band with a 12,000-grit MicroMesh pad. I also went back to the buffer with both the stem and stummel, gave them a final application of White Diamond and carnauba wax, and brought out that lovely shine.In the end, what a beauty this pipe is! It is an elegant pipe, from a very fine maker. It obviously meant a great deal to its owner, and I was delighted to bring it back to life. Once the pipe was returned to its owner, he told me that it looked better than when it was new! Although I am not sure I agree with that, I am very pleased that he is very pleased. As I mentioned before, the prince is one of my favourite shapes and it was great fun to work on this one. I hope you enjoyed reading the story of this pipe as much I as I did restoring it. If you are interested in more of my work, please follow me here on Steve’s website or email me directly at kenneth@knightsofthepipe.com. Thank you very much for reading and, as always, I welcome and encourage your comments.

Another Old Timer – a Lightly Smoked but Beat up French Briar Apple


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the worktable is another interesting piece of pipe history that comes from the bag of old unsmoked and lightly smoked pipes that I have been working on intermittently. It is a straight Apple. The bowl is lightly smoked. Like the others in this lot the briar of the bowl is nicked and chipped from being shuffled through the lives and boxes of a lot of people over the years. Some of the chips have broken through the finish and the rim top is also worn and dirty. The stem is made of an ivory coloured material that appears to be made of Bakelite. It has a push tenon from the same material that is part of the stem. Other than some tooth chatter and some staining on the stem surface the stem is in really good shape. A short description would be that it is an French made lightly smoked Apple with a Bakelite stem that is connected to the shank with a integrated push tenon. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads French Briar arched over a pair of crossed leaves. All are stamped in gold. On the right side of the shank it is stamped Made In France in a football shape with “IN” in the middle. The pipe is a bit of a mystery really with the stamping but as you have seen in the previous two C.P.F. pipes it seems that pipes of this time period often bore the French Briar stamp which I am assuming refers to Algerian Briar.

This pipe was probably in the worst condition of any of the older pipes that I have been working on recently. The rim top was dirty and the inner edge was a little chipped. The exterior of the bowl was a mess. The stain was opaque and I could not see any grain through it. There were a lot of nicks chips in the briar of the bowl sides. The odd thing is that the chips were very light coloured. My first thought was that it was briar but the more I looked the more I wondered if they were not putty fills. The gold stamping is clear and readable. The stem is a mottled and spotted butter coloured Bakelite. It had a lot of brown stain spots on the surface that were deep in the material and would not come out. There was tooth chatter on both sides ahead of the button but nothing deep. It has an orific button (round airhole) on the end of the button. I took some photos of the pipe to show the condition when we received it. It was dusty, dirty and had some grime worked into the surface of the briar from being shuffled around a lot since it was made. I took close up photos of the bowl and rim top and the stem to show their condition. You can see the drilling is centered in the bottom of the bowl You can also see the clean briar of the bowl sides. The stem looks odd with the mottled look of the stains on it.I took photos of the stamping on the left and right sides of the shank. You can see that they are somewhat faint on the right side but are still readable.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the parts to give a sense of the beautiful proportions of this nice little pipe. It is going to take some work but I think it will be quite stunning once it is restored. I took a photo of the chipping on the front of the bowl. You can see why I thought that they were briar underneath the top coat of the heavy, dark finish. There were all around the bowl and at the shank/bowl junction on the right side. It really was a bit of a mess in terms of the finish.
To deal with the damage around the bowl and shank I would need to remove the heavy finish. I am always nervous to do so as you never know what you will find with it gone. There was a reason for the thick, dark, opaque finish. But like a fool I proceeded to move ahead and wiped down the bowl and shank with acetone to break up the finish. With the opaque finish gone all of the ugly chips and marks in the finish stood out for what they were. If you look closely at the next four photos you can see all the ugly putty fills in the finish. There were at least 20 or more fills in the briar. Some were loose and chipped and some were tight and undamaged. I had definitely opened up Pandora’s Box with this clean up!! I repaired the chipped and damaged fills with clear CA glue. I was blown away by how many fills there were in this piece of briar. It really was an example of the “art of the fill”! I smoothed out the repairs with 220 grit sandpaper. I followed that with the full regimen of micromesh sanding pads. Of course in my frustration with the fills I forgot to take photos of the polishing cycle with the pads. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads and dry sanded with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad to check and make sure there was progress. By the end the bowl was smooth and ready to stain.Now it was time to see what I could do with stain to blend in those ugly fills and give the bowl the same kind of deep reddish finish that it had before I stripped it off. I have my own process for doing this. I first used a black Sharpie pen to work on the fills in the briar. I usually work across them with various lines to approximate the grain patterns.The next step in the process was to stain the bowl with Fiebing’s Cordovan stain. I applied it with a dauber and flamed it to set the stain in the briar. I repeated the process until the coverage was solid.Once the stain had dried I wiped it off with alcohol on a cotton pad to remove the excess and blend the black and cordovan together. When I finished I stained the bowl with a Mahogany stain pen. I used it like a brush and painted the entirety of the bowl and shank with the pen. I was getting close to the colour I was aiming for – the one that I had removed! To further blend the stains together 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 10 minutes, then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. I repeated the process and let it sit another 10 minutes then buffed it off. The Balm did its magic and my colours worked well. The fills were hidden and the bowl looked good.Almost all of the old timer I have been working on have had brass or nickle bands. I decided to see what a brass band would add to the appearance of this old one. I have a bag of older style brass bands that work well. I heated the band and pressed it onto the shank. I like the looks of it.I polished out the scratches in the surface of the Bakelite with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I was able to remove the tooth chatter on both sides. I also was able to minimize some of the stains on the surface. It was still odd looking. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to cure.I really enjoyed refurbishing this old French Briar Apple because I love the final touches that make it sing. I put the bowl and stem back together to have a look at the whole with the newly fit band on the shank. I carefully buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond on the wheel. I gave it 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. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the lacy shank band and the buttery coloured Bakelite stem. This richly finished Apple is light weight and it is clean and ready load up with a favourite tobacco (if you purchase it and decide to smoke this 100+ year old unsmoked pipe). Have a look at it in the photos below. As noted above, Its measurements are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 inch, Diameter of the chamber: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 24 grams/.85 oz. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store in the French Pipe Makers section if you wish to add it to your collection. 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.

Reviving another Old Timer – a French Made Real Briar Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

With the completion of the three pipes I just restemmed and wrote about I am returning to work on the bag of older NOS/unsmoked and lightly smoked pipes. I chose another old timer from the lot and this time picked another French Made pipe. It is buried in the pile in the photo below but it is clear in the second photo.In the photo of the poured out bag on my desk top I have circled the pipe that is next on the table. This was a lightly smoked Bent Billiard shaped pipe with a smooth finish that was dirty. The rim top had some light lava but there was minimal cake in the bowl. This little Bent Billiard really intrigued me, so it was next. The Bent Billiard was stamped in gold on the left side of the shank and read Real Briar [at an angle over] Made in France. The brass/nickel shank band was oxidized but still in decent condition. The bowl was lightly smoked and dusty but there was no cake. There was light lava on rim top toward the backside. The inner and outer edges looked good. The finish was dirty and the varnish top coat was spotty and peeling. The pipe had a Bakelite or Amberoid stem that was in good condition. There was one chip on the top near the shank joint. There were some light tooth marks and chatter on the stem. The button was orific – a round hole in the button end. The button had some wear and darkening but was in good condition. It has a push tenon that appears to be a synthetic material as well. Here are a few photos of the pipe before I did anything to it. I took photos of the bowl and stem. You can see the condition of the bowl. It is lightly cake and there is slight lava coat on the rim top. The edges look to be in good condition. The drilling is centered in the bottom of the bowl. It is a good sized bowl. The interior walls of the pipe are smooth and do not have drilling marks or checks or chips. The Bakelite/Amberoid stem is in good condition and has a push tenon and an orific button. There is a small chip in the Bakelite stem near the shank band and there are tooth marks on both sides near the button.I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. It reads as noted above. I removed the stem from the shank. You can see the brand new threaded bone tenon in the photo below. The proportions of this pipe are well done. The grain around the bowl is very nice. I knew from work on other older pipes that had the same stamp as this- Real Briar Made in France that there was not any clear cut information on that stamping on any of the usual sites. I also knew that the C.P.F. (Colossus Pipe Factory) that I had worked on bore this same stamp. My guess is that the pipe may have been made by them but I could not be sure.

Now it was time to work on the pipe. I started my work on the pipe by scraping out the light cake in the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I also scrubbed off the lava on the rim top with a damp cotton pad.I wiped down the bowl with 99% Isopropyl alcohol on a cotton pad to remove the peeling varnish coat and grime on the finish of the bowl sides. Wiping it down revealed some great grain around the bowl and shank sides. I polished the briar and the nickel plated band with micromesh sanding pads. I dry sanded with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. The briar began to really come alive. I touched up the stain on the rim top using a Mahogany stain pen and used a Black Sharpie Pen on the fills that became evident on the back of the bowl. I was able to blend the stain and pen into the surrounding briar and it looked very good.I used alcohol and cotton swabs to clean out the shank of any debris that may have gotten in from the reaming of the bowl. It was still quite clean.I rubbed the briar down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the finish with my fingertips. The product works to clean, enliven and protect briar finished. I let it sit for 10 minutes then buffed it off with a cotton cloth. The grain on the bowl really came alive with the buffing. It is really a beautiful pipe.While working on the bowl the band came off the shank. It was loose so while it was off I polished it with a jewelers cloth to remove the oxidation and protect the finish on it. I used a tooth pick to put all purpose glue on the inside of the band and pressed it back in place on the shank.I set the bowl aside and filled in the chip on the top shank end edge and the tooth mark on the top and underside of the stem near the button. I used clear CA glue. Once it cured I polished it with micromesh sanding pads.I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with Obsidian Oil to protect and enliven the stem. I finished the polishing with Before & After Pipe Stem polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry.This another interesting older pipe – Real Briar Made in France Bent Billiard turned out really well and it is a great looking pipe with a great shape to it. Once the varnish coat was removed the grain on the briar and the sheen on the stem really popped when the pipe was buffed with blue diamond on the buffing wheel. The brass/nickel band also took on a sheen. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished French Made Real Briar Bent Billiard is comfortable to hold and is quite distinguished looking. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 inches, Chamber diameter: 5/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 34 grams/1.20 ounces. It is a really beautiful pipe that I will be putting on the rebornpipes store in the French Pipe Makers section if you want to add it to your collection. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. Keep an eye out on the blog as I have several other older pipes that I will be working on.

Restemming & Restoring a “Malaga” Lovat


Blog by Steve Laug

Sometimes the repetitive work on similar pipes and stems gets tiring to me and to alleviate the inevitable boredom I change things up a bit to refresh me. I have a box of stummels (bowls) here that I periodically go through and see if I have a potential stem that would fit them. Yesterday when I finished the old timer on my work I went through the box and picked out three bowls and found workable stems for them. All were in different states of need but all had been thoroughly cleaned before I boxed them up. The first restemmed and restored was a ZETTERVIG Copenhagen Handmade 900 Egg (https://rebornpipes.com/2021/09/04/restemming-restoring-a-zettervig-copenhagen-hand-made-900-egg/). The next one I chose to work on is a lovely Malaga Lovat stummel.  I have worked on a lot of Malaga pipes in the past so I am not a stranger to the brand. I have included the link below to a bit of history on the brand that I compiled.

The bowl looked very good. The grain around the sides was quite nice and a mix of flame and birdseye grain. The rim top had some burn damage on the rear top and inner edge and some darkening all the way around. The bowl was slightly out of round. There was a crack in the underside of the shank that extended about ½ inch up the shank. The interior of the bowl was clean and there were not any chips, cracks or checking on the walls. Examining the mortise it was clean and well drilled with no issues other than the previously noted crack. The finish was washed out and bit and tired but still quite redeemable. The stamping on the pipe was clear and readable. On the left side it read “MALAGA” and on the right side it read IMPORTED BRIAR. I took some photos of the bowl before I started to work on it. I took a photo of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable.I went through some of stems and found this saddle style stem without a tenon. It had been drilled for a tenon but it had never been finished. It was the right diameter and it fit the shank and the look of the pipe very well. It has a few tooth marks and chatter near the button but it would clean up well.I have worked on quite a few Malaga pipes and blogged their restorations, so rather than repeat previous blogs, I am including the link to one that gives some of the history of the Malaga brand and the Malaga Pipe Shop in Royal Oak, Michigan in the USA from a catalogue. It gives a sense of the brand and the history in their own words. Follow the link to get a feel for the brand and the pipemaker – https://rebornpipes.com/2013/02/09/george-khoubesser-and-malaga-pipes/.

With that information in hand I turned to work on the bowl. I addressed the crack in the shank first. I cleaned it and smoothed it out. I used an awl and pressed a small hole in the shank at the end of the crack. I filled in the crack with clear CA glue and pressed it together until it cured. I pressed a brass band onto the end of the shank to further address the crack. It serves that function and also gives it a bit of bling. With that repaired I turned to deal with the rim top issues. I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out and minimize the damage on the rim top. I used a small wooden ball that Kenneth gave me recently to give the inner edge a bevel to minimize the burn on the inner edge and bring the bowl back to round.I shortened the tenon to fit the shank of the pipe. I used the Dremel and sanding drum to remove the shoulder at the top of the tenon above the threads. I shaped the tenon fit with a small file and sanded it smooth. I glued the threaded end of the tenon with clear CA glue and pressed it into the stem. It cures quickly so it is key to move quickly and set it well as  you only get one chance! I put the stem in shank for a sense of the look of the pipe and then wiped the bowl down with alcohol on a cotton pad to remove the debris from the sanding and that was still in the surface of the briar. I liked what I saw. The grain was really quite nice and the band and new stem worked well with the pipe. I removed the stem and polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down with a damp cloth after each pad. It really began to shine. I stained the rim top and edges with a Maple stain pen to match the rest of the stain around the bowl sides. The rim top and inner edge look very good.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the smooth briar with my finger tips. The product is amazing and works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let it sit on the briar for 10 or more minutes and then buff it off with a soft cloth. It really makes the grain sing. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the stem surface with a Bic lighter flame to raise the tooth marks. I was able to lift all of them to the surface. I smoothed out what remained with 220 grit sandpaper and started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a cloth and Obsidian Oil. I finished the polishing with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. I put the pipe back together – the bowl with its new stem. This restored “Malaga” Imported Briar Oil Cured Lovat is a real beauty and I think the brass band and the chosen stem works well with it. The grain on the bowl came alive with the buffing. I used Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel on both the bowl and stem. I gave both multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel then buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The “Malaga” Lovat feels great in the hand. It is lightweight and the contrast in the browns of the briar, the brass of the band and the polished vulcanite stem with the popping grain on the mixed brown stained bowl is quite amazing. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.34 ounces/38 grams. It really is a beauty. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store in the American (US) Pipe Makers section shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Thanks for walking through the restemming and the restoration with me. Cheers.

Restemming & Restoring a Zettervig Copenhagen Hand Made 900 Egg


Blog by Steve Laug

Sometimes the repetitive work on similar pipes and stems gets tiring to me and to alleviate the inevitable boredom I change things up a bit to refresh me. I have a box of stummels (bowls) here that I periodically go through and see if I have a potential stem that would fit them. This morning when I finished the last old timer I went through the box and picked out three bowls and found workable stems for them. All were in different states of need but all had been thoroughly cleaned before I boxed them up. The first of these was an interesting egg shaped freehand. It is stamped on the underside of the shank and reads ZETTERVIG (double stamped) [over] Copenhagen (also double stamped) [over] Handmade [over] 900. It had some great grain around the bowl and plateau on the rim top and shank end that was interesting.  I have worked on other Zettervig pipes in the past so I am not a stranger to the brand. I have included links to two different pipes that I worked on (https://rebornpipes.com/2013/12/05/a-complete-reworking-of-a-zettervig-freehand/)(https://rebornpipes.com/2018/07/28/restoring-and-restemming-a-zettervig-handmade-351-freehand/).

The bowl looked very good. The grain around the sides was quite nice and a mix of flame and straight grain. The plateau on the rim top and shank end looked good but the rim top was faded and worn. The shank end was black and looked very good. The bowl was clean and there were not any chips, cracks or checking on the walls. Examining the mortise it was clean and well drilled with no issues. The finish was washed out a bit and tired but still quite redeemable. I took some photos of the bowl before I started to work on it. I took a photo of the double stamping on the underside of the shank. It reads as noted above and is surprisingly clear and readable.I went through some of the fancy, turned freehand style stems and found this old timer. It is quite heavily oxidized and has some deep tooth marks but I think it will work with the Zettervig. I put the stem in place and took a photo to have a look at it in situation. What do you think? With the stem chosen I dropped it in a bath of Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer that I have here. It is getting a bit tired but it still works. I let it sit while I worked on the bowl.While the stem soaked in the bath and before I started to work on the bowl I decided that I would look up some information on the Zettervig brand before I started the clean up on the pipe. I looked up information on two of my favourite sites. The first was Pipedia. Here is the link: https://pipedia.org/wiki/Zettervig. I quote in full:

In the 1960’s and into the early 1970’s Ole Zettervig had a shop in Copenhagen, Denmark where he was carving high quality pipes equal to Stanwell, Larsen, Anne Julie, Thurmann, Bang and others. These early pipes were marked “Copenhagen” and are very collectible. He sold his shop at some point in the 70’s and moved to Kolding and continued to produce pipes as a hobby, but the quality of briar and workmanship is said to not equal the early production. The later pipes he now marked as Kobenhaven rather than Copenhagen, and these were sold by Ole at flea markets throughout Europe.

That information told me I was working on an early one of his pipes from the 1960s to early 1970s as it is stamped Copenhagen.

I turned to Pipephil’s site and did a screen capture of the information that was there. There was no addition info but it did show one of the pipes (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-z.html). You can also see the style of the stem and the Z on the top of the stem. The one I have chosen is very different but I think it will still work.With that information in hand I turned to work on the bowl. I used a brass bristle wire brush to clean out the remaining debris and lava in the grooves of the plateau rim top and to remove the dust from the plateau shank end. Once it was clean I used a Black Stain Pen to stain it black as it was originally. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down with a damp cloth after each pad. It really began to shine. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the smooth briar with my finger tips and into the plateau rim top and shank end with a horsehair shoe brush. The product is amazing and works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let it sit on the briar for 10 or more minutes and then buff it off with a soft cloth. It really makes the grain sing. With the bowl finished I turned my attention to the stem. It had been sitting in the bath for several hours. I removed it and ran a pipe cleaner and alcohol through the airway to remove any remaining soak. I wiped the stem down with a paper towel to remove the oxidation that had been loosened. It looked much better than when I put it in the bath.I “painted” the stem surface with a Bic lighter flame to raise the tooth marks. I was able to lift many of them to the surface. What remained I would fill in later. I scrubbed the stem surface with cotton pads and Soft Scrub to remove the remaining oxidation. The stem was really starting to look very good. I cleaned out the ends of the stem and button with a pipe cleaner and alcohol to remove the bits of Soft Scrub that had gotten into the airway. I heated the stem and gave it a slight bend to fit the flow of the pipe better.I filled in the remaining divots and marks in the stem with clear CA glue. Once it had cured used a small file to flatten the repair and sharpen the edge of the button. I sanded it smooth with 220 grit sandpaper to blend it into the stem. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a cloth and Obsidian Oil. I finished the polishing with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. I put the pipe back together – the bowl with its new stem. This restored Zettervig Copenhagen Handmade 900 Egg is a real beauty and I think the chosen stem works well with it. The grain on the bowl came alive with the buffing. I used Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel on both the bowl and stem. I gave both multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel then buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The Zettervig Freehand Egg feels great in the hand. It is lightweight and the contrast in the blacks of the plateau and the polished vulcanite stem with the popping grain on the mixed brown stained bowl is quite amazing. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 2.05 ounces/59 grams. It really is a beauty. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store in the Danish Pipe Makers section shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Thanks for walking through the restemming and the restoration with me. Cheers.

Resurrecting A Dreary No Name Briar Calabash Shaped Pipe


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

While surfing eBay for estate pipes, I came across this one ‘no name’ pipe with a horn stem and beautiful flowing calabash shape. The beautiful curvy shape apart, the pipe had some really hideous (IMHO) rustication on the stummel surface, a semblance of widely spaced scales with thin vertical lines. The perfect shape and spacing of the scales over the stummel surface points to machined and not hand crafted rustications. Notwithstanding the rustications on the stummel, I fell in love with the pipe and had already chalked out a plan for its transformation even before I had won the auction. As I had expected, there was only a couple of other bids and the pipe soon made its way to me. A month and a half later, the pipe had reached me and now it is on my work table.

As mentioned by the seller, the stummel and the stem are devoid of any stampings and there is absolutely no clue for me to establish the provenance of this beautiful pipe. However, the threaded bone tenon, horn stem and round orifice are indicative of this pipe being from the period 1900s to 1950s. It would be interesting if further light could be shed on this pipe as regards its origin, vintage etc by the esteemed readers of rebornpipes.

Initial Visual Inspection
The first thing one can notice is the lovely shape of the pipe and the second is its ultra light weight. The chamber has been neatly reamed and the rim top surface is devoid of any lava overflow. There is severe charring to the inner edge in 12 o’clock direction. There are a couple of minor tooth indentations in the bite zone of the otherwise pristine stem. The stem is overturned to the right and not in alignment with the shank/ stummel. The stummel is dirty, dull and lifeless to look at. Overall, it is in decent condition as can be seen from the pictures below. Dimensions Of The Pipe
(a) Overall length of the pipe: –          5 3/4 inches.

(b) Bowl height: –                               1.5 inches.

(c) Inner diameter of chamber: –         0.7 inches

(d) Outer diameter of chamber: –        1.3 inches

Once The Pipe Is On My Work Table……
It appears that an attempt has been made to refurbish this pipe, but for reasons best known to the previous restorer, it was abandoned. Save for a little dust and soot, the chamber is nicely reamed back to the bare briar. The chamber walls, though not very thick, are without any heat fissures or pits and that’s a big relief. The rim top surface is peppered with numerous minor hairline scratches. The inner rim edge shows severe charring at 12 o’clock direction (encircled in yellow) and it extends over more than half way towards the outer edge. There is a smooth band of briar wood below and adjoining the outer rim edge. There are no ghost smells in the chamber. Addressing the charred inner rim edge is going to be tricky as the topping required would be extensive to the extent that the profile of the stummel and pipe as a whole, would be considerably altered. I would top the rim surface well within the limits of the smooth briar band below the outer rim edge and up to the point where I reach solid, albeit darkened briar. I would, thereafter polish it and attempt to blend the darkened areas by a applying a dark stain to the rest of the rim top surface. The stummel surface is without any damage. There is dust and dirt embedded in to the rusticated nooks and crannies giving the briar an old and lifeless look. The patterned scaled rustications also do not help in the overall appearance of the stummel. The mortise is threaded into which seat the threaded bone tenon of the stem and appears to be clean. I plan on complete rustication of the stummel and thereafter contrast staining with black and brown stains. The only issue I need to keep in mind is that the walls of the stummel are not very thick and thus I need to be cautious least I end up gouging too deep into the chamber wall. The tapered horn stem is clean with no major issues. The upper stem surface has a couple of minor bite marks at the base of the button and also over the button edge. The lower surface has some minor tooth indentations in the bite zone. The button edges on both the surfaces need to be sharpened. The round orifice and the tenon end are clean.The seating of the stem in to the mortise is overturned to the right by a huge margin and is very loose. This would need something more permanent than the clear nail polish coat application. The following pictures will give the readers a correct perspective of the issue.The Process
The process of transforming this pipe began with cleaning the chamber that had been reamed and cleaned before it reached me. With my fabricated knife, I completely removed the dust and little residual carbon from the walls of the chamber. I further cleaned the walls with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper to completely remove the carbon from the walls and wiped the chamber with a cotton pad and alcohol. The charred surface at the inner rim edge was also gently scraped with the knife and sandpaper to remove the burnt briar till I reached solid briar underneath. Next, I cleaned the mortise and shank with regular and bristled pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol. At first I just could not get the pipe cleaner to pass through the mortise and out through the draught hole. I then inserted the pipe cleaner through the draught hole and with some efforts; it came out through the mortise dislodging some dried gunk from the air way as it came out. Other than the stuck dried gunk, the mortise was clean and just a couple of pipe cleaners were put to use. I was particularly deliberate in cleaning the threads in the mortise in preparation of further repairs to improve the seating of the threaded tenon, the process for which will be covered subsequently.After I was done with the internal cleaning of the stummel, I cleaned the external surface. I generously applied Murphy’s oil soap with a hard bristled tooth brush and scrubbed the stummel and rim top with the soap. I washed the stummel under running warm water with anti oil dish washing detergent and brass wired brush till the stummel surface was clean and dried it using paper towels and soft cotton cloth. The rim top surface was deliberately cleaned with a Scotch Brite pad to further remove the charred wood from the rim edge. I simultaneously cleaned the shank internals with the detergent and hard bristled shank brush. The stummel surface has cleaned up nicely with the scaly and thin lined rustication plainly visible. Truth be told, the stummel now appear more dull and unattractive to my eyes! Once the internals and the external surface of the stummel had been cleaned, I progress to rusticating the stummel. To rusticate, I firmly held the stummel in my left hand and using my right hand began gouging out the briar with my fabricated rusticating tool. The technique is to firmly press the pointed four prongs of the modified Philips screwdriver into the surface, rotate and gouge out the removed chunk of briar. I worked diligently till I was satisfied with the rustications and the appearance of the stummel. I was careful to avoid gouging too deep as the walls are not very thick and I feared that deep rustications will lead to further thinning of the walls and subsequent burn out. As I reviewed the rusticated stummel, the rustication is prominent while the thickness of the wall is not compromised at all. I am very pleased with the progress thus far. I cleaned the stummel surface with a brass wired wheel brush mounted on a handheld rotary tool. While cleaning the surface of all the debris, this rotating brass brush wheel also creates subtle patterns of its own and this adds an additional dimension to the appearance of the stummel. I sanded down the jagged high points in the rustication to a smooth and even surface using a worn out piece of 150 grit sand paper without compromising on the tactile feel to the hand.Next I decided to work on the damage to the rim top and inner rim edge. I topped the rim on a piece of 220 grit sand paper, checking frequently till I was satisfied that the darkened surface is addressed to an acceptable extent without compromising on the stummel profile and the rim top surface is nice, smooth and even. The darkened rim is still evident but the briar in this area is nice and solid and so I shall leave it be. All this while that I was working on the stummel, Abha quietly worked on the stem. She cleaned the stem internals with regular and bristled pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol. It didn’t take many pipe cleaners to get the stem air way clean.Next she sanded the stem surface with a 320 grit paper. This addressed the minor tooth indentations and bite marks on either surface in the bite zone. She progressively moved to polishing the stem through 400, 600, 800 and 1000 grit sand paper. She finished the stem refurbishing by wet sanding the stem with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. She rubbed a little Extra Virgin Olive oil into the stem surface to hydrate it and set it aside to be absorbed into the bone. Next I polished the rim top and the high spots in the rustication using micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl with a moist cloth after each pad to clean the surface. I am happy with the appearance of the stummel at this point in the restoration. The stummel is now ready for a fresh coat of stain.I wanted to highlight the difference between the rusticated and the smooth stummel surface. I decided to stain the rusticated surface with a black dye which would contrast beautifully with the browns of the rim top and the raised knobs of the rustications. I heated the rusticated portion of the stummel surface with my heat gun to open up the pores on the stummel so that the stain is well absorbed. I used Fiebing’s Black Leather dye and liberally applied it over the heated surface, flaming it with a lighter as I went ahead to different self designated zones on the surface. This helps in the setting of the stain in the grain of the briar. I ensured that every inch of the rusticated surface is coated with the dye. I immediately followed it by wiping the raised portions of the rustication with cotton pad and alcohol to lighten the knobs. Once polished, these will contrast with the black of the rest of the stummel surface. I set the stummel aside overnight for the dye to set into the briar surface.  The following day, I again wiped the stummel with a cotton swab and alcohol to remove any excess stain and followed it up by sanding the raised rustication with a folded piece of 320 grit sand paper. This was followed up by careful dry sanding of the entire stummel, especially the raised rustications with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. This lightens and highlights the high spots in the rustications. Next, I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to the briar with my finger tips, working it deep into the rustications and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance over the smooth surface with the beautiful rusticated patterns on full display. I further buffed it with a horse hair shoe brush. The only issue that remains unaddressed at this stage is the issue of loose and overturned seating of the stem into the mortise. I had the option of using the clear nail polish to tighten the seating but that would have been a temporary solution as the threaded bone tenon was way too loose fitting in to the mortise and no amount of smoking would have tightened the mortise to the required extent and hence was dropped. I decided on using CA superglue for the purpose. I applied a coat of superglue over the threads of both the mortise and tenon and let it set for a few seconds.  Thereafter, I threaded the tenon in to the mortise till the stem was perfectly aligned and again held it in place for a few seconds for the superglue to take the shape of the threads. I repeated the process once over and achieved a perfectly aligned and snug seating of the stem in to mortise. It was at this juncture that a new issue came to the fore as I was taking pictures of the stem and shank junction under magnification. The green arrows tell the story!Closer inspection revealed that the cause of this gap was the uneven shank end and the tenon was not flush with the stem face (which by the way is also not perfectly shaped). The gap was more on the lower surface than the upper. To address these issues, I firstly topped the shank face on a piece of 220 grit sandpaper till it was even. I was extremely careful while topping so that there was minimum loss of briar as the tenon was already slightly long and I had no desire to increase this gap any further. Secondly, I bridged the gap between the shank face and stem by using a brass band. This also added a nice touch of bling to the entire pipe. I like the way the pipe has shaped up. To complete the restoration, I first mounted a cotton cloth buffing wheel that is dedicated for use with Blue Diamond, onto my hand held rotary tool.  I set the speed at about half of the full power and polished the stem. The Blue Diamond compound helps to erase the minor scratches that are left behind even after micromesh polishing cycle and followed it by applying several coats of carnauba wax with a cotton cloth buffing wheel dedicated to Carnauba Wax. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine further. The finished pipe looks amazingly beautiful and has undergone quite a transformation. With its perfectly balanced weight, a nice full bent shape and light weight, this is a perfect pipe for clenching while working. This is one pipe that will I feel will not disappoint either aesthetically or functionally. In case this beauty calls out to you, please let me know and we shall work out a mutually beneficial deal. I wish to thank our esteemed readers for sparing their valuable time to read through and any input or advice is always welcome. And how can I not thank Abha, my wife for her patient efforts in imparting glass like finish to the stem and rim top surface!

Praying for the safety and well being of you and yours…stay home, stay safe and get your vaccines please.

It is about time to Breath Life into a new Frankenpipe


Blog by Steve Laug

I have not created a Frankenpipe for a long time. I call them Frankenpipes with a tip of the hat to Mary Shelley’s grand creation Frankenstein. These remind me of her story what with the gathering of parts, “stitching” them together and breathing life into them. It is a thoroughly creative process I enjoy and I suppose there is always the possibility of crafting of a monster. Over the years I have crafted quite a few of these pipes and they tend to stay in my collection. You can search on the blog and see the variety of Frankenpipes that have come together. I find them incredibly enjoyable because they are very different from a restoration. Truly it is looking at a bunch of parts and imagining combining them into something that reflects the parts but as a whole it very different from any of them.

This afternoon I had an urge to make a Frankenpipe so after work I went through my parts. I found some parts that with some imagination could make an interesting looking pipe – at least in my mind’s eye. The parts for this Frankenpipe have all been around for a long time. The bowl is one I have had in a box here that had a snapped tenon in the shank. The stem had disappeared a long time ago and I did not have a stem for it that interested me. It is a large magnum sized “Malaga” bowl. It is far from a perfect piece of briar with a bald spot on the front left of the bowl. The rim top has burn marks and the bowl is out of round – thicker on the front side of the bowl than either side of the back of the bowl. The inner edge had a burned in “bevel” on the back right. The finish was worn and tired with black streaks over the bald spot on the left front of the bowl. It needed some serious TLC to bring life to it. Jeff had done his thorough clean up on the bowl so it was ready to work on. Here is what I saw with the bowl! As I stared at the bowl I thought that a band might look interesting on it. Don’t ask me why because as yet I had not chosen a stem for the bowl. I just thought a band would work. I went through my box of bands and nothing turned my crank or caught my eye. Then I remembered a bag of parts that I have from the mid to late 1800s. In that bag were several unique and original bands. There was one that caught my eye and I really thought it had promise. I took it out of the bag and found that it was in excellent condition and was probably never used. Here are some pictures of the decorative brass band.At that point I had an aha moment. I remembered an odd stem that I had in my collection of stems that just might be the thing that I was looking for on this Frankenpipe. It was unique and one that Jeff had picked up and save for me. I had never found a use for it but now I thought I might have. The two knuckle bamboo shank and acrylic stem is a single that has bend bonded together. The stem is thus a unit with the bamboo and the Delrin tenon on the other end is also integrated. It is drilled for a filter so I found a repair tenon that I could craft into an adapter to convert the tenon to a regular pipe sans filter. It would be removable if needed. Here is what it looked like with and without the tenon adapter. (The adapter would need to be shortened but you get the idea.)All of the parts have been here for quite a while. All of them give silent testimony to my crazy propensity to collect parts!! And all of them would finally come together to form a new Frankenpipe that was more than the sum of its parts. Read along as I walk through my process.

I began the work by addressing the issues with the bowl. I tried to pull the broken tenon with a screw. It was stuck so I put the bowl in the freezer for a little while. After about 10 minutes I tried again and was successful pulling the tenon out of the shank.With that finished I need to address the shank of the pipe to fit the conical ferrule/band that I had chosen. In the next photos you can see that I have chosen to shape the shank end to match the flow of the band. I did this with a Dremel and sanding drum and smooth it out with files and sandpaper. I was careful to leave the original Malaga stamp intact. I was not as concerned with the Imported Briar stamp on the right side of the shank. Progress is being made.I did a bit more shaping on the shank end. The decorative band now fit it quite well. I put the parts side by side and took some photos of the parts of the pipe. I took photos from various angles and sides. Can you begin to see what I am seeing with this pipe? I think it is going to work. Do you? Now back to work on the bowl! I decided to deal with the rim top damage by topping the bowl. It was in rough shape so I used 150 grit sandpaper on a topping board and remove the damaged parts of the rim top. It looked better. I worked over the inner edge of the rim with a folded piece of 150 sandpaper to give it all a bevel to match the burn damage at the back of the bowl. At this point I wanted to try the fit of the band on the shank. I heated it slightly with a lighter and pressed in place. I like what I am seeing. I removed the band once it cooled and went to work some more on the bowl. It needed to be polished and stained before I set the band in place but I wanted to have a look. Didn’t you? I wiped the bowl and shank down with acetone on a cotton pad to try to remove the dark patches and the remnants of the stain. All of this was in preparation for the future staining of the bowl. I polished the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads to prepare it for staining. I wiped it down with a damp cloth to remove the debris after each pad. I stained the polished bowl with Fiebings Light Brown aniline stain. I applied the stain, flamed it and repeated the process until I was happy with the coverage. I set it aside to dry.Once the stain dried I wiped the bowl down with alcohol to make the stain more transparent. I buffed the pipe on the buffer with both Red Tripoli and Blue Diamond to further reduce the heaviness of the colour. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my finger tips. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let it sit on the briar for 10 minutes then buffed it off with a soft cloth. With the bowl finished and the stain cured it was time to press the band in place. I gave it a thin layer of white all purpose glue on the inside of the band and pressed it onto the shank end. It looks quite fetching to me. I set it aside to let the glue cure but I like it! I set the bowl aside and worked on the tenon adapter and the stem surface. I used the Dremel and sanding drum to shorten the adapter until the fit in the tenon allowed the shank to fit snug against the shank end.With the internals finished it was time to work on the tooth marks and chatter on the surface of the acrylic stem. I sanded them smooth with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I started polishing the stem surface with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I dry sanded the stem with the pads and wiped it down with a damp cloth after each pad. I finished the polishing with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final buff with a cloth and Obsidian Oil. I put the parts of the Frankenpipe together and took the pipe to the buffer. I buffed it with Blue Diamond and really like the way the brass and bamboo polished up. They looked great after buffing. The bowl and stem also shone but I expected that really. The combination of the darker stain on the bowl, the antique brass band, the 2 knuckle bamboo with developing patina and the black acrylic stem came together even better than expected. I gave the pipe several coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe really shone with rich hues. The dimensions of this Frankenpipe are Length: 5 ½ inches from the front of the bowl to tip of the stem, Height: 2 inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 69 grams/ 2.47 ounces. It really surprised me as it looks to be a much bigger pipe than it is. I would say it is Dunhill Group 5 pipe at least in terms of bowl size. It really is a beautiful pipe in person and it will be staying with me along with the other Frankenpipes I have crafted. I am looking forward to enjoying a bowl shortly. It was a fun pipe to work on. I hope you enjoyed the process as you read about it. Thank you for taking time to read about it. As Paresh says – Stay safe/Stay healthy.

New Life for a Butz-Choquin Regate 1282 Zulu


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table is one that came to us from Australia. It went to Jeff first then was shipped to me. It is a well traveled pipe that was purchased in 2020 from the estate of a fellow pipeman in Australia, shipped to the US and then to Canada. The shape is very nice, with the forward canted bowl and the quarter bent stem. It is a great shape with a taper vulcanite stem. The finish was dirty with grime ground into the finish around the bowl sides. There was a thick cake in the bowl and lava overflow on the top of the rim – heavier on the backside of the rim top but nonetheless on the entire rim top. There was some burn damage on the right front inner beveled edge of the bowl. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Butz-Choquin at an angle [over] Regate. On the right side it reads St. Claude – France [over] the shape number 1282. The stem was lightly oxidized and there were tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. The taper stem also has a BC stamped on the left side. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started the clean up work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and well as the nicks, lava and darkening on the rim top. The inner edges showed some burn damage on the inner bevel of the bowl. The outer edges of the bowl appeared to be in great condition. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the light oxidation and the chatter and tooth marks. Jeff took a photo the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of the beautiful grain around the bowl and shank. There were also shiny spots of varnish around the bowl and shank sides. The stamping on the sides of the shank is clear and readable and read as noted above. There is also BC stamp on the left side of the stem. I turned to Pipephil’s site and looked for information on the Butz – Choquin Regate I was working on (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-butzchoquin.html). As always there was a good, brief description of the history of the brand.

I turned to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Butz-Choquin) to see what I could find on the brand that the Regate line there. I found a catalogue page from Doug Valitchka on the Regate that listed the pipe line and a description (https://pipedia.org/wiki/File:BC10.jpg). I have captured that image below. The description under the Regate heading reads –

Regate (and the description below is in both French and English)

Les veines classique qui rallie les suffrages de la plupart des fumeurs

A great classic which meets with the approval of the majority of smokers.

I have also included another picture from Doug Valitchka that shows the shape of the pipe that I am working on (https://pipedia.org/wiki/File:BC06.jpg). It is the second shape that is shown on the page – Shape 1282. The shape is called a Genoises. Now it was time to work on the pipe. Jeff had cleaned up the pipe following his usual procedures. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with 99% isopropyl alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. 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. But the cleaning revealed some serious burn damage on the rim top and front inner edge toward the right side. The stem surface looked good and the light tooth marks and chatter would be easy to address. The stamping on the sides of the shank is readable and reads as noted above.I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the shape and the grain on the bowl and shank. It was a great looking shape and would be a beautiful pipe when I was finished. I decided to start my work on the pipe by wiping the bowl down with acetone on a cotton pad to remove the heavy stain around parts of the bowl sides. I wanted really be able to see the grain on the bowl. I dealt with the damage to the rim top by topping it on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I cleaned up the beveled inner edge of the rim with 220 grit sandpaper to remove as much of the burn damage as possible. I polished the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad.  It was beginning to look good to my eyes. I stained the inner edge and rim top with an Oak Stain Pen to match the rest of the surrounding bowl. It helps to blend in the burned area some more. The rim top and edges definitely look better than when I started.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 ten minutes then buffed the bowl with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” both sides of the stem with the flame of a lighter to lift the tooth marks. It did a great job and left only one deep mark on the underside and some lighter tooth marks on the topside along the button. I filled them in with clear CA glue and once it cured I used a small file to sharpen the edge of the button and smooth out the repair. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the repairs. I started polishing it with 400 grit sandpaper.  I used some white acrylic fingernail polish to touch up the BC stamp on the left side of the stem. I painted it on with the brush and once it dried scraped it off and sanded it with a 1500 grit micromesh sanding pad.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. This Butz-Choquin Regate 1282 Zulu is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The combination of various brown stains around the bowl is quite beautiful and highlights grain very well. The finish works well with the polished curved vulcanite taper stem. 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 Butz-Choquin Regate Zulu sits 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: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ inch. The weight of the pipe is 35 grams/1.23 ounces. I will be putting it on the French Pipemakers section of 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 to come!