Tag Archives: restaining a bowl and rim

Fashioning a Churchwarden from a Blasted French Dr. Geo Deposée Bowl


Blog by Dal Stanton

This is the second commissioning project for the pipe man, clam man, Jon, from South Florida.  His first commissioning (see: A Striking Savinelli Fiammata 2 Briar Calabash for a Clam Man Pipe Man) turned out to be a diamond in the rough!  He had commissioned this pipe not from the usual perusal of my online ‘Help Me!’ baskets in the For “Pipe Dreamers” Only! collection, but he had visited us here in Sofia, Bulgaria, along with a team of folks from his church.  During this visit, Jon went through the boxes and baskets of the inventory and found the Savinelli Fiammata and pulled him aside to commission.  During this visit, Jon also saw my personal collection of Churchwardens and offered to give one of them a new home!  In the end, Jon also commissioned a CW project which also benefits the Daughters of Bulgaria, our work here in Bulgaria working among women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  This was also important to Jon, who as a father, had brought his daughter with him to Bulgaria.  My goal in fashioning Churchwardens from bowls that were either orphaned or in their current states had little hope of being put in service again.  I liken it to Santa’s mythical island of misfit toys.  Repurposed bowls mounted on CW stems can rise from ash heap, as it were, to live and serve again.  I sent Jon a picture of different bowls to see which would speak to him as his new Churchwarden.  He had told me he preferred a bent shank – here were the candidates with differing characteristics.Our emailing back and forth between South Florida and Bulgaria to identify the bowl speaking Jon’s name, resulted in the French Blasted Dr. Geo Deposée, the second pipe pictured above.  I acquired the Dr. Geo during one of our summer vacations on a pipe picking expedition to the Bulgarian coastal city of Burgas on the Black Sea.  I found the ‘Burgas Lot of 9’, at a secondhand shop on the main walking street.  The Dr. Geo is at the end of the line of 7 pipes pictured below which were part of the haul – 2 others were added to these that were eventually posted in the For “Pipe Dreamers” Only! collection from which pipe men and women can choose and commission.The Dr. Geo I acquired I called a Prince shape.  I knew nothing about a Dr. Geo line, but what attracted me to the pipe was the blasted bowl – it was tired and dull, but had potential, though the pipe itself was unimpressive and attracted no attention when it had its time in the Dreamers collection.With the bowl now on my worktable to transform into a Churchwarden, I found some information online about the origins of Dr. Geo Deposée.  Pipephil.eu’s panel gave some information confirming that it was of French origins from the Gichard & Cie Company.Pipedia adds some additional information in its list of French made brands.  It lists that Dr. Geo was produced in the 1940s from Guichard & Cie, and later sold by M. Marmet Regge, with Ebonite stems.  Interesting to me is that my guess is that The Dr. Geo I’m looking at was from the later, M. Marment Regge ownership with the specific reference to the use of Ebonite stems.  I have another Dr. Geo in my Dreamers inventory from another Lot I purchased from France, it has a horn stem, which most likely places it in the earlier dating when rubber was in short supply during WW2.  The listing for Marmet in Pipedia, called M. Marmet-Regge, also sold the Dr. Geo brand which were produced in Saint-Claude. The meaning of the French, “Deposée”, attached to Dr. Geo is a bit cryptic, at least to one who is relegated to Google Translate to make sense of the meaning.  The direct primary English translation provided is “deposited” which is a past tense rendering.  Looking at other definitions provided by Google Translate, the possible meaning could be tied to the idea that “Dr. Geo” attests to or is behind the goodness of this pipe brand like Dr. Grabow!  It seemed like I was grasping at straws until I see the ‘info link’ on the Dr. Geo panel provided by the Pipephil.  The link goes to a French site called  ‘Ces pipes pas comme les autres’ (These pipes like no other) to a May 2006 listing selling ‘Two Doctors’ pipes with information about each.  A ‘Dr. Geo’ is described as one of the doctors with the possible clue pointing to a rational for the sub-name of ‘Deposée’:

Many pipe brands have earned the doctoral title. This makes smokers smile during these times of heightened hunting.

During the post-war years this title was more a guarantee of seriousness or of a search for perfection rather than the sign of a healthy practice. We did not allow ourselves to be disturbed by medical considerations. Everyone knew that smoking was not very healthy and took responsibility. But that has changed a lot today with the new globalized MacCarthyism.

José Manuel Lopes (1) counts seventeen brands of pipes that bear the famous title! I would like to introduce you to an 18th: Dr Arthur recognizable by his “A” circled on the pipe. No further information on this doctor there Maybe you thought I was going to present you with a leather-wrapped pipe, stamped with the most famous of these doctors? It would be bad to know me. But fear not: in this section you will not escape the famous Franco-English doctor whom I have already mentioned in the section of Cavalier pipes.

The pipes of Dr Géo – French brand of Gichard & Cie which is no longer produced – do not have an exceptional notoriety but sufficient to be cited here and there.

(1) José Manuel Lopes (President of Pipe Club of Portugal), Pipes, Artisans and Trademarks. Quimera Editores, 2005

The listing shows a picture of each Doctor cited with dimensions and a pricing.  I find interesting the dismissive gesture for the listing for the Dr. Geo: “…no longer produced – do not have an exceptional notoriety but sufficient to be cited here and there”.  My hope is to change the demeanor of the Dr. Geo Blasted Prince bowl on my worktable transforming him into a Churchwarden. Churchwardens as a classic pipe shape are unique among pipes.  Bill Burney’s description of Churchwardens on his great Pipedia shapes page, describes why they are unique among pipes:Working on my Man Cave 10th floor balcony, I take a few more pictures to get a closer look at the Doctor Geo Prince bowl, which is essentially an Apple shape without the Prince stem – hmmm, an exception to the CW stem principle? The blasted finish is nice – the smooth 3-D picture of the bowl’s grain structure is nice. The finish on the stummel appears to be a very dark brown.  There are minuscule red flecks visible through the cloudiness of the old finish.  At this point, my thinking is to refresh the finish seeking to apply the ‘Dunhill’ finish that I learned from fellow-restorer and rebornpipes contributor, Paresh.  First, after applying all the paces in cleaning the stummel, I’ll assess the condition of the stummel and how to proceed.  Following this, fashioning the CW stem will come.  To start, the Dr. Geo chamber is moderately caked. To address this, I employ the Pipnet Reaming Kit using only the smallest of the 4 blade heads available in the kit.  I follow by scraping the chamber walls with the Savinelli Fitsall Tool and complete the carbon cake removal by sanding the chamber walls with 240 grade paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen. After wiping the chamber with a cotton pad to remove the carbon dust, an inspection reveals a healthy chamber.Transitioning to cleaning the exterior surface, using undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap, I go to work using a cotton pad and a bristled toothbrush. The brass bristled brush also works on the rim.Next, I take the bowl to the kitchen sink to continue the cleaning with shank brushes and anti-oil liquid dishwashing soap to clean the internal mortise and airway.  After giving the bowl a thorough rinsing with warm water, I transfer it back to the worktable.Through the cleaning, the finish has started to come off.  This is an indicator that a fresh start is needed. The finish is old and unstable.I decide to remove the old finish to get to the fresh briar beneath.  Isopropyl 95% is the first agent I try scrubbing the blasted finish with a cotton pad.  It is not effective.Transition next to using acetone is much more effect.  The cotton pad is evidence of the old stain which appears black and purple.  I decide to put the entire stummel into an acetone soak to fully remove the finish.  I leave it in the soak for a few hours. After a couple hours the jar containing the stummel soaking in acetone is clouded with leeched finish.  After taking the stummel out, I use a cotton pad to continue rubbing the finish off as well as employing a little steel wool. The light spots that appeared first are areas that were filled, at least partially, with wood putty which have weakened due to the cleaning.  I use a sharp dental probe to test the fills and they are solid. With the rough texture of the blasted surface, these areas will not be visible after applying new dye to the stummel. Before doing more work on the stummel, I switch the focus to fashioning the CW stem.  The first thing I do is to bring out the electronic caliper and measure the diameter of the mortise which gives me the target size of the tenon that needs to be shaped. This measurement is 7.81mm.  I add about 40mm to this to form my ‘fat target’ – the size I’ll cut the tenon and then follow by sanding to form a customized fit to the mortise.  The fat target is about 8.20mm. Next, with the drill bit provided by the PIMO Tenon Turning Tool, I predrill the airway to accommodate the guide pin of the TTT. Next, after mounting the PIMO tool on the hand drill, I do a test cut on the raw tenon of the precast CW stem and measure it – 8.01mm on the button. Whoops – that is 20mm less than I was aiming for as the ‘fat target’ but I decide to cut the tenon at this size and then sand.  This gives less margin of error, but I’m not too concerned. Keeping the same adjustment of the PIMO tool, I continue the test cutting to form a I have made several Churchwardens and one of the mistakes I have learned is to cut the tenon all the way through the precast uneven molding to create a true stem facing.  Not to do this will leave what appears to be shouldering over the edge of the stem facing.  The picture below shows a sharp 45-degree angle which is the goal.Next, using 240 sanding paper, I sand the newly cut tenon to bring it closer to the target mortise size – 7.81mm.  The rough end of the precast tenon is flattened and smoothed using the flat needle file.After a short time of sanding and fitting, the tenon seats into the mortise.Looking closer, there is a small gapping on the right side which I can close during the fine-tuning sanding.What is also the case is that there is a small overhang of the shank over the seated stem.  This will need to be sanded so that the transition between stummel and stem is smooth.I use masking tape to protect the nomenclature as well as to give a sanding boundary around the shank.I start the sanding on the shank/stem transition.  What is helpful shown in the picture below is that it shows what the ‘low-spot’ is in the pre-cast stem in the darker area passed over by the sanding indicating where sanding continues to be needed. As often is the case with the pre-cast CW stems I purchase, the shank facing along the casting seam has a dimple.  This is a pain because these dimples simply mean more sanding required at those points.Progression with the dimple – I don’t want to take off more than needed.  Note, the darkened area has disappeared on the stem indicating that the sanding paper is making seamless contact between shank and stem.With the shank/stem transition sanding completed, I move to sanding the entire pre-cast CW stem.  To start, I use a coarse 120 grade paper to do the initial sanding.  The casting seams along both sides of the stem need to be erased.  The following picture again shows the differences in the surface of the pre-cast stem.  The pre-cast stem has ripples – unevenness, even though it is new.  The dark stretch below shows a ‘valley’ in the rippling that means I sand more there to bring the edges of the valley flush with the valley floor.  The following pictures show the progression in the 120 sanding.With the CW stem smoothed after the 120 grade sanding, I switch to fine-tuning the button.  As with the stem, the button is rough. The bit needs filing to flatten it and to bring more definition to the button edges.  The slot facing on these CW stems is curved and the upper button extends out a bit more than the lower. This helps in identifying the up/down orientation of the stem.  The pictures show the progression with upper and lower bit.  Upper first:Lower :After the main filing is completed, 240 grade paper is employed to fine-tune the bit and button as well as to sand the entire stem after the 120 sanding.  Upper and lower first: Next, to continue the smoothing, 600 grade paper is used to wet sand the entire stem.  This is followed by applying 000 grade steel wool.A closeup of the button area shows the nice progression!Next, the full regimen of 9 micromesh pads is applied from 1500 to 12000. Between each set of 3 pads, Obsidian Oil is applied to condition and protect the vulcanite from future oxidation.  I only show one orbital view and a couple closeups of the finished process focusing on the upper and lower bit. With the CW stem’s sanding completed, its time to bend the stem.  The general principle I follow in stem bending is that the mouthpiece at the end of the stem, should be generally on the same horizontal plane as the rim.  It’s helpful for me to draw templates to visualize the finished stem.Where the original stem template starts with and estimation of where the bend should take place.I use the hot air gun to focus the heat on the lower side of the stem first – the thicker part.  I want it to become supple before heating the upper, thinner area of the stem which heats faster and wants to be the first place the bend begins.  I want the bend to start in the thicker part of the stem then followed by the thinner.As the stem warms over the hot air gun, I gently coax the bend as the stem softens.  After bending to a point that looks good, I bring the stem to the template holding it there for some minutes for the orientation to take hold.  I then take the stem to the kitchen sink and run cool water over it to solidify the bend.  The first try works well.  I like the look and feel of the pipe in my hand.With the stem sanding and bending completed, focus is again transitioned to the Dr. Geo blasted bowl.  Before moving to the staining process, the stummel needs some preparatory work.  One of the things I really like about working with a combination of blasted and smooth briar surfaces is the contrast that this produces.  I love to see both presentations of the grain – the smooth 2-D viewpoint as well as the rough, blasted 3-D viewpoint of the grain.  This bowl provides an opportunity for the striking contrasting. The rim is angled in a beveled slope from the external rim’s edge downward toward the chamber to the internal rim’s edge.  This rim, I believe, will look great after it is sanded to bring out the smooth briar contrast.The other sanding will bring out smooth grain over the nomenclature panel on the left shank flank as well as the newly sanded area transitioning to the stem.  To begin, 240 grade paper is used on these smooth briar patches followed by dry sanding with 600 grade paper. The full regimen of 9 micromesh pads, from 1500 to 12000, is applied to the smooth briar patches next.I’m loving what I’m seeing!  That grain contrast is great.  In the second picture, the rough area from the old fill is still visible and looks shaky, but it should disappear as it blends with the surrounding briar after the staining process.The staining process is next.  I assemble my desktop staining module with all the component parts.  I recently used the method I learned from my fellow restorer from India, Paresh, of creating the rich Dunhill look.  With this bowl being originally darker, I thought that this approach would be good.  It starts with an undercoat of Fiebing’s Dark Brown Leather Dye that is followed with the washing with red dye. After wiping the bowl with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol to clean it, I warm it with the hot air gun to open the briar helping it to be more receptive to the dye which is applied using a folded over pipe cleaner.  Using the pipe cleaner, I paint sections of the bowl with the Dark Brown Dye and then immediately ‘flame’ it with a lit candle.  This combusts the aniline dye burning away the alcohol leaving the dye pigment embedded in the briar.  After applying the dye, the stummel is set aside for several hours – through the night, for the dye to ‘rest’ and settle in.  This helps the dye to take hold in the briar.The next morning, it’s time to ‘unwrap’ the flamed stummel.  To do this, a felt cloth buffing pad is mounted onto the Dremel set at the slowest speed, and Tripoli compound is applied to help remove the crusted shell exposing the dyed briar beneath.After the Tripoli compound removes the flamed crust, I wipe the bowl to rid it of the compound dust.  When this is completed, I apply a wash of red overcoat to the briar surface and lightly wipe it with a cotton cloth.  I apply and wipe until I’m satisfied with the hue.  I like what I see.  The rich red tones give a depth to the blasted finish.Next, since it’s easier to handle the stem and stummel separately, after mounting a cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel set at about 40% full power, Blue Diamond compound is applied to the long Churchwarden stem and Dr. Geo bowl.  One more step to guard against dye leeching.  Often, bowls that have been newly stained, dye will come off on the steward’s hand the first times the bowl is heated up and put into service. To emulate this, I heat the bowl with the hot air gun and then wipe it with a cotton cloth to pick up leeched dye.  Hopefully, this will keep the bowl from leeching later!I complete the fashioning of the Dr. Geo Churchwarden by giving the reunited stem and bowl a vigorous hand buffing bringing out the shine.  I’m very pleased with the results of the ‘Dunhill’ approach to finishing the bowl that I learned from Paresh.  The Dr. Geo Prince bowl serves well mounted on a long, flowing Churchwarden stem. The contrasting with the smooth and blasted briar surfaces also work very nicely. This was Jon’s second commissioned pipe and he will have the first opportunity to claim this French Dr. Geo Churchwarden from The Pipe Steward Store benefitting the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks for joining me!

Cosmetic Repairs and Restoration of a Jobey Dansk 3 Freehand


Blog by Steve Laug

My brother Jeff picked up this interesting looking freehand pipe on one of his adventures pipe hunting. It had really nice grain and plateau on the top of the rim and on the end of the shank. There were rusticated spots on the right side of the bowl and shank as well as the heel of the bowl. There was something familiar about the style of carving that reminded me of other Danish Freehand pipes I have worked on. I seemed to remember that Jobey Dansk pipes were carved by Karl Erik. The finish on this pipe was dirty with dust and lava on the plateau top. The bowl was lined with a thick cake. There was thick dust in the rustication around the bowl and shank as well as the plateau on the shank end. The smooth finish was also dirty and dull looking. There was a crack on the left side of the bowl that did not go through to the bowl. It was a cosmetic crack. In looking at the photos you can also see a small cosmetic crack on the back of the bowl on the right side. The stem is a turned fancy turned acrylic stem. The fit of the stem to the shank was snug. There were tooth marks on both sides of the stem at the button and on the smooth parts of the button on both sides. Otherwise it was a very clean stem. Jeff took of the pipe to show the overall condition of the bowl and stem. He took close up photos of the bowl and rim top from different angles to show the condition of the plateau finish. You can see the lava and build up on the rim top and the lava flowing over the inner edge of the bowl onto the plateau. It is hard to know if there is damage or if the lava protected it. The bowl has a thick cake that lining the walls and overflowing into lava. He took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the lay of the grain and the rustication around the pipe. It is a nice piece of briar. The top of the bowl is craggy and rugged looking. Unique! The shank end is also a unique mix of plateau and smooth. You will also see the cosmetic cracks in the photos. I will highlight those and include closer looks at the two of them. I took some closer photos of the  the cracks in the bowl. The first shows the one on the left side of the bowl and the second is of the right rear side of the bowl. Neither were deep or went through to the inside of the rim or bowl.Jeff took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank to capture it. It was clear and read Jobey Dansk at the top followed by a large number 3.. Under that it read Handmade in Denmark.The next two photos show the surface of the top and underside of the acrylic stem. You can see the tooth marks and damage both on the button surface and on the blade itself. The third photo shows flow of the stem as a whole. I wanted to look at who had carved the Jobey Dansk line to confirm some suspicions I had about it. I had a feeling that the pipes were carved by a Danish carver known as Karl Erik. I looked up the Jobey listing on Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Jobey) and found the following information. I quote a portion of the article that is pertinent as follows.

English – American – Danish – French… Information about the brand Jobey are only to be found in form of smithereens…

Probably established in England around 1920(?) the brand hiked into the USA later. In the course of time owner, distributor and manufacturer changed repeatedly. As far as known:
George Yale Pipes & Tobacco, New York (1942)
Norwalk Pipe Co., New York (1949)
Arlington Briar Pipes Corp., Brooklyn (when?)
Hollco International, New York (1969).
Weber Pipe Co., Jersey City, NJ (1970’s)
The Tinder Box, (1970’s – 80’s).

 Throughout decades Jobey pipes were mainly sold in the USA, Canada and England but remained almost unknown in continental Europe. The bulk of Jobeys was predominantly made according to classical patterns and mainly in the lower to middle price range. The predominant judgment of the pipe smokers reads: “A well-made pipe for the price.” So there is hardly anything very special or exciting about Jobey pipes although a flyer from ca. 1970 assures: “The briar root Jobey insists upon for its peer of pipes is left untouched to grow, harden and sweeten for 100 years. […]Jobey uses only the heart of this century old briar and only one out of 500 bowls turned measures up to the rigid Jobey specifications.” 99.80% of cull… that makes the layman marveling!

From that information, my suspicions were confirmed. The pipe that I was working on was carved by Karl Erik Ottendahl. There were some similarities to the Karl Erik pipes that I have worked on in the past. The dating of the pipe line in the 70s fits well with the pipe I have in hand. I took some photos of the pipe before I started my part of the restoration. I took some photos of the rim top and stem to show the condition of them both when it arrived. Overall it looked good. There is some darkening and damage to the inner edge of the bowl. The stem had some deep tooth marks ahead of the button and on the button surface on both sides.I took some photos of the cracks on the side and back of the bowl. I circled them in red so they are easily identifiable in the photos below. Keep in mind that neither of them are deep or go through into the bowl. They do not show up on the rim to either. This leads me to believe they are cosmetic.To begin my part of the restoration work I decided to clean out some more of the grooves in the plateau with a brass bristle wire brush. Once I had it cleaned out sanded the high spots with 220 grit sandpaper to differentiate the plateau from the valleys. With that finished I decided to address the cracks in the bowl. I put a microdrill bit in my Dremel and drilled small holes at the end of each of the cracks to stop them from spreading. The photos below show the pin holes. I have circled them so they are visible.I cleaned out the smalls cracks with a dental pick and probed to see how deep they both were. Fortunately they were both very shallow. The one on the back of the bowl was a hairline crack. I dribbled clear super glue (CA) in the crack and in the pinholes I had drilled then pressed briar dust into the holes and the cracks.Once the repairs had hardened (it takes about 5 minutes) I used a needle file to flatten out the repaired areas on the briar. I followed up on the filed areas with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I polished the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the briar down after each pad with a damp cloth. The bowl is starting to look very good. With the polishing finished I used a Black stain pen to fill in the crevices of the plateau top and give some contrast to the smooth high spots. I like this look as it give the pipe a sense of dimensionality. I also stained the repaired areas with a Cherry stain pen to blend them into the surrounding briar. The colour was a good match to the rest of the bowl and really did a good job of blending the repairs. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and into the plateau rim top and shank end with a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. The stem was very clean so I filled in the tooth marks and built up the button with clear super glue and set it aside to cure. Once it had cured I flattened out the repairs and sharpened the edge of the button with a needle file. I sanded out the tooth chatter and blended in the repairs with 220 grit sandpaper and started to polish it with a folded piece of 400 wet dry sandpaper. Once it was finished it was smooth.I used some Denicare Mouthpiece Polish that I have in my kit to start polishing out some of the scratches and remaining oxidation on the stem. I rubbed it in with a cotton pad and my finger tip and buffed it off with a cotton pad.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with some Obsidian Oil. I finished polishing it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and buffed it off with a cotton cloth. This is a beautiful Jobey Dansk Hand Made by Karl Erik with a fancy, turned, black acrylic stem. It has a great look and feel. The repairs to the bowl came out really well. If you look you can see them but they blend in well with the grain around the bowl. The shape fits well in the hand with the curve of the bowl and shank junction a perfect fit for the thumb around the bowl when held. I polished stem and the bowl with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the plateau on the rim top and shank end multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The rich combination of browns and black in the smooth finishes and the plateau areas took on life with the buffing. The rich colour of the briar works well with the polished acrylic stem. I like the grain and finished look of this Jobey Dansk pipe. Have a look at it with the photos below. The shape, finish and flow of the pipe and stem are very well done. The dimensions are Length: 6 ½ inches, Height: 2 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾  wide x 2 ¼ inches long, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This Danish Freehand is a real beauty. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. This one will be going on the rebornpipes store in the Danish Pipe Making Companies section shortly if you would like to add it to your collection. Thanks for your time.

Breathing Life into a Danish Hand Made Ben Wade Golden Walnut


Blog by Steve Laug

There is some almost electric about handling and working on a pipe designed and carved by Preben Holm. I can’t describe adequately the feeling I have when I turn the bowl and stem over in my hands even before I start working on the pipe. There is an energy that flows through the way he carved and shaped the pipes of his making. This second Ben Wade pipe was no exception. When Jeff showed me the photos of several of the Ben Wade pipes by Preben Holm that he had picked up I was excited to be able to work on them. This one has twists and turns in the carving and valleys carved into the sides of the bowl. It is very unique. The combination of dark and medium stains highlights grain that runs like flames across both sides of the bowl culminating at the flat heel of the bowl. The rim top is plateau but also cut across it are also valleys coming up from the sides of the bowl. The shank end combines smooth and plateau for a unique look.

This is another well-loved pipe as you can see from the thick cake in the bowl and the lava on the rim top. It is hard to know the condition of the inner edge of the bowl due to the lava on the edges. The outside of the bowl and plateau portions are dirty and dusty but the grain pops through. The vulcanite stem still had the BW Cross and Crown logo on the top sides just past the fancy turnings. The stem as a whole was oxidized, dirty and dusty with deep tooth marks on the button surface and lighter ones on the blade just ahead of the button on both sides. Jeff took these photos before he started his part of the restoration. He took close up photos of the bowl and rim top from different angles to show the condition of both the smooth and plateau finish. It is truly a uniquely carved rim top maximizing the plateau and the smooth parts flowing up from the bowl sides.You can see the lava and build up on the rim top and the lava flowing over the inner edge of the bowl onto the plateau. It is hard to know if there is damage or if the lava protected it. The bowl has a thick cake that lining the walls and overflowing into lava. He took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the lay of the grain around the pipe. It is a beautiful piece of briar. The top of the bowl is craggy and rugged looking. Unique! The shank end is also a unique mix of plateau and smooth. Jeff took several photos of the stamping on the underside of the shank to capture all of the stamping. It was clear and read Ben Wade in script at the top. Under that it read Golden Walnut. Under that was stamped Hand Made in Denmark.The next two photos show the surface of the top and underside of the vulcanite stem. You can see the tooth marks and damage both on the button surface and on the blade itself. The third photo shows the unique Cross and Crown BW logo on the stem top near the turnings.I am including the background history that I included on the previous blog. It includes the idea that the Preben Holm pipes were marketed under the Ben Wade label in the US and imported through Lane Ltd. I turned to Pipedia and read the listing on the brand to refresh my memory and flesh out the knowledge of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Wade). I have included a photo from that site that was taken from a Tinderbox advertisement.

Ben Wade Ad in a Tinder Box catalog, courtesy Doug Valitchka

I quote the portion of the article that summarizes the history of the brand.

Young Copenhagen master pipemaker Preben Holm had made a meteoric career heading a pipe manufacture employing 45 people at the age of 22! But around the turn of 1970/71 he was in major financial difficulties. His US distributor, Snug Harbour Ltd. in New York City, left him in the lurch. Holm had three unpaid invoices on his desk and another large shipment was ready for the USA, when Snug Harbour’s manager told him on the phone that there was no money at all on the account to pay him.

So the Dane went to New York for an almost desperate search for a new distribution partner. He made contacts with Lane Ltd. and met Herman G. Lane in February 1971. Lane Ltd. had no interest in Holm’s serial pipes produced at that time but so much the more in the hand-carved freehands because the hype for Danish freehands and fancies in the States was still on its way to the climax then. The meeting resulted in an agreement to start a cooperation. Lane insisted to improve the quality considerably and in return he assured to be able to sell essentially larger quantities.

Holm went back home to work on new samples with all-new designs and altered finishes for Lane. Both, Lane and Holm, agreed that it would be unwise to sell the pipes under Preben Holm’s name as long as Snug Harbour had a considerable stock of Preben Holm pipes and might sell them pipes at very low prices just to bring in some money.

So on Mr. Lane’s proposal it was determined to use the name Ben Wade belonging to Lane Ltd. Lane spent considerable amounts of money for advertising the new brand in the big magazines– the centerpiece being whole-page ads showing a very exclusive Seven Day’s Set.

The cooperation with Lane Ltd. proved to be an eminent business success for both partners. Within a very short time Ben Wade Handmade Denmark sold in much larger quantities and at higher prices than they had ever dreamed of. And the hype these freehands and fancy pipes caused went on unbroken long after Herman G. Lane deceased. Preben Holm – obviously much more brilliant in pipe making than in pipe business – was in major troubles again in 1986 and had to sack most of his staff. The Ben Wade production was significantly lowered but continued until his untimely death in June of 1989.

Up to now Preben Holm made Ben Wade pipes are cult and highly sought for on the estate markets.

With that information my initial thoughts were confirmed. This pipe was another Preben Holm made Freehand distributed in the US by Lane Ltd under the name Ben Wade. The freehand rage occurred in the late 70s and the pipes were made until Preben’s death in 1989. My guess would be that this pipe was made sometime during that time period and potentially in the late 70s.

Armed with that information I moved forward to work on the pipe itself and see what I had to do with it. It had come back amazingly clean. Jeff had done his normal thorough clean up – reaming, scrubbing, soaking and the result was evident in the pipe when I unpacked it. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. I took some photos of the rim top and stem to show the condition of them both when it arrived. It looked good. There is some darkening and damage to the inner edge of the bowl. The stem had some deep tooth marks ahead of the button and on the button surface on both sides.To begin my part of the restoration work I decided to clean out some more of the grooves in the plateau with a brass bristle wire brush. Once I had it cleaned out I restained the plateau top with black stain. It is amazing how good the plateau looks once it is cleaned and stained.I polished the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the briar down after each pad with a damp cloth. The bowl is starting to look very good. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and into the plateau rim top and shank end with a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. The stem was very clean so I filled in the tooth marks with clear super glue and set it aside to cure. Once it had cured I flattened out the repairs and sharpened the edge of the button with a needle file. I sanded out the tooth chatter with 220 grit sandpaper and started to polish it with a folded piece of 400 wet dry sandpaper. Once it was finished it began to shine.I used some Denicare Mouthpiece Polish that I have in my kit to start polishing out some of the scratches and remaining oxidation on the stem. I rubbed it in with a cotton pad and my finger tip and buffed it off with a cotton pad.I touched up the stamping on the stem top with Rub’n Buff Antique Gold. It looked like it had previously been stamped with gold so I filled in the stamping once again and buffed the product off the stem.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with some Obsidian Oil. I finished polishing it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and buffed it off with a cotton cloth. I wiped it down with Briarville’s No Oxy Oil to protect the stem and slow down the oxidation. This is a beautiful Preben Holm made Ben Wade Golden Walnut with a fancy, turned, black vulcanite stem. It has a great look and feel. The shape fits well in the hand with the curve of the bowl and shank junction a perfect fit for the thumb around the bowl when held. I polished stem and the bowl with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the plateau on the rim top and shank end multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The rich combination of browns and black in the smooth finishes and the plateau areas took on life with the buffing. The rich colour of the briar works well with the polished vulcanite stem. I like the grain and finished look of this Preben Holm Ben Wade Golden Walnut pipe. Have a look at it with the photos below. The shape, finish and flow of the pipe and stem are very well done. The dimensions are Length: 6 ½ inches, Height: 2 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 wide x 2 ¼ inches long, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. This Danish Freehand is a real beauty. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. This one will be going on the rebornpipes store shortly if you would like to add it to your collection. Thanks for your time.

 

Breathing Life into a Ben Wade Danish Made Ambassador Deluxe


Blog by Steve Laug

There is some almost electric about handling and working on a pipe designed and carved by Preben Holm. I can’t describe adequately the feeling I have when I turn the bowl and stem over in my hands even before I start working on the pipe. There is an energy that flows through the way he carved and shaped the pipes of his making. This pipe was no exception. When Jeff showed me the photos of several of the Ben Wade pipes by Preben Holm that he had picked up I was excited to be able to work on them. This one has grain that runs diagonally across both sides of the bowl culminating at a point at the heel of the bowl. The rim top combines smooth and plateau and the shank end explodes from the grain running into it with a tight plateau finish. The pipe was well loved as you can see from the thick cake in the bowl and the lava on the rim top. The inner edge of the bowl is burned, blackened and worn. The outside of the bowl and plateau portions are dirty and dusty but the grain pops through. There was a deep nick on the left side toward the bottom that would need to be dealt with in the restoration. The acrylic stem was dirty and dusty with deep tooth marks on the button surface and lighter ones on the blade just ahead of the button on both sides. Jeff took these photos before he started his part of the restoration. He took close up photos of the bowl and rim top from different angles to show the condition of both the smooth and plateau finish. You can see the lava and build up on the rim top and the lava flowing over the inner edge of the bowl. It is hard to know if there is damage or if the lava protected it. The bowl has a thick cake that lining the walls and overflowing into lava. The plateau surface is duty and also has some lava overflow in the valleys and crannies of the surface. He took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the diagonal lay of the grain around the pipe. It is a beautiful piece of briar.Jeff took two photos of the deep gouge toward the bottom of the bowl on the left side. You can see the rough edges of the gouge in the photos. Steaming it would not raise the grain around that deep nick. It would need to be filled in and repaired. Jeff took several photos of the stamping on the underside of the shank to capture all of the stamping. It was clear and read Ben Wade in script at the top. Under that it read Ambassador Deluxe. Under that was stamped Hand Made in Denmark.The next two photos show the surface of the top and underside of the acrylic stem. You can see the tooth marks and damage both on the button surface and on the blade itself. The third photo shows the fancy turnings on the rest of the stem and give a sense of its flow.I remembered a bit of history on the brand that included the thought that the Preben Holm pipes were marketed under the Ben Wade label in the US and imported through Lane Ltd. I turned to Pipedia and read the listing on the brand to refresh my memory and flesh out the knowledge of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Wade). I have included a photo from that site that was taken from a Tinderbox advertisement.

Ben Wade Ad in a Tinder Box catalog, courtesy Doug Valitchka 

I quote the portion of the article that summarizes the history of the brand.

Young Copenhagen master pipemaker Preben Holm had made a meteoric career heading a pipe manufacture employing 45 people at the age of 22! But around the turn of 1970/71 he was in major financial difficulties. His US distributor, Snug Harbour Ltd. in New York City, left him in the lurch. Holm had three unpaid invoices on his desk and another large shipment was ready for the USA, when Snug Harbour’s manager told him on the phone that there was no money at all on the account to pay him.

So the Dane went to New York for an almost desperate search for a new distribution partner. He made contacts with Lane Ltd. and met Herman G. Lane in February 1971. Lane Ltd. had no interest in Holm’s serial pipes produced at that time but so much the more in the hand-carved freehands because the hype for Danish freehands and fancies in the States was still on its way to the climax then. The meeting resulted in an agreement to start a cooperation. Lane insisted to improve the quality considerably and in return he assured to be able to sell essentially larger quantities.

Holm went back home to work on new samples with all-new designs and altered finishes for Lane. Both, Lane and Holm, agreed that it would be unwise to sell the pipes under Preben Holm’s name as long as Snug Harbour had a considerable stock of Preben Holm pipes and might sell them pipes at very low prices just to bring in some money.

So on Mr. Lane’s proposal it was determined to use the name Ben Wade belonging to Lane Ltd. Lane spent considerable amounts of money for advertising the new brand in the big magazines– the centerpiece being whole-page ads showing a very exclusive Seven Day’s Set.

The cooperation with Lane Ltd. proved to be an eminent business success for both partners. Within a very short time Ben Wade Handmade Denmark sold in much larger quantities and at higher prices than they had ever dreamed of. And the hype these freehands and fancy pipes caused went on unbroken long after Herman G. Lane deceased. Preben Holm – obviously much more brilliant in pipe making than in pipe business – was in major troubles again in 1986 and had to sack most of his staff. The Ben Wade production was significantly lowered but continued until his untimely death in June of 1989.

Up to now Preben Holm made Ben Wade pipes are cult and highly sought for on the estate markets.

With that information my initial thoughts were confirmed. This pipe was a Preben Holm made Freehand distributed in the US by Lane Ltd under the name Ben Wade. The freehand rage occurred in the late 70s and the pipes were made until Preben’s death in 1989. My guess would be that this pipe was made sometime during that time period and potentially in the late 70s.

Armed with that information I moved forward to work on the pipe itself and see what I had to do with it. It had come back amazingly clean. Jeff had done his normal thorough clean up – reaming, scrubbing, soaking and the result was evident in the pipe when I unpacked it. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. I took some photos of the rim top and stem to show the condition of them both when it arrived. It looked good. There is some darkening and damage to the inner edge of the bowl. The stem had some deep tooth marks ahead of the button and on the button surface on both sides.To begin my part of the restoration work I decided to repair the large chip/nick in the lower left side of the bowl. It was clean so I wiped it lightly and filled it in with briar dust and super glue.Once the repair cured I sanded it smooth with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to blend it into the surrounding briar. I used a black Sharpie pen to stain the repaired area. I blended it into the surface of the surrounding briar with a Walnut stain pen. The photo shows the repair blended into the briar. I polished the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the briar down after each pad with a damp cloth. The bowl is starting to look very good. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and into the plateau rim top and shank end with a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. The stem was very clean so I filled in the tooth marks with clear super glue and set it aside to cure. Once it had cured I flattened out the repairs and sharpened the edge of the button with a needle file. I sanded out the tooth chatter with 220 grit sandpaper and started to polish it with a folded piece of 400 wet dry sandpaper. Once it was finished it began to shine.I used some Denicare Mouthpiece Polish that I have in my kit to start polishing out some of the scratches and remaining oxidation on the stem. I rubbed it in with a cotton pad and my finger tip and buffed it off with a cotton pad.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with some Obsidian Oil. I finished polishing it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and buffed it off with a cotton cloth. This is a beautiful Preben Holm made Ben Wade Ambassador Deluxe with a fancy, turned, black acrylic/Lucite stem. It has a great look and feel. The shape fits well in the hand with the curve of the bowl and shank junction a perfect fit for the thumb around the bowl when held. I polished stem and the bowl with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the plateau on the rim top and shank ende multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The rich combination of browns and black in the smooth finishes took on life with the buffing. The rich colour of the briar works well with the polished acrylic stem. I like the grain and finished look of this Preben Holm Ben Wade Ambassador Deluxe pipe. Have a look at it with the photos below. The shape, finish and flow of the pipe and stem are very well done. The dimensions are Length: 6 ¼ inches, Height: 2 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ wide x 2 ¼ inches long, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. This Danish Freehand is a real beauty. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. This one will be going on the rebornpipes store shortly if you would like to add it to your collection. Thanks for your time.

Repairing a Burned Rim Edge and Chewed Stem on an English Ben Wade 76 Canadian


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on my table is nice sandblast thick shank Canadian. It is stamped on the underside of the shank with the Ben Wade over Made in London England. It also has the shape number 76 just ahead of the Ben Wade stamping. It has a nice sandblast finish that is in good shape under the dirt and even the rim top looks good. The inner edge of the rim is darkened but the bowl is in good shape. There was burn damage on the left outer edge and darkening on the inner edge of the bowl. There is a thick cake in the bowl and light lava build up on the rim top and inner edge. The taper vulcanite stem was oxidized and had some deep tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. Jeff took these photos before he cleaned the pipe.He took photos of the rim top from various angles to give a clear picture of the condition of the bowl and rim. It is dirty but there is a light lava coat on the top and the rim edges have some darkening and buildup. There is also a deep burn mark on the left out edge toward the rear of the bowl. Jeff also took a closer photo of the burned area on the outer edge of the rim. It is visible in the photo below.The sandblast finish around the sides and heel of the bowl is quite interesting and reveals some different underlying grain. The stamping on the underside of the shank is very readable as can be seen in the next photo.The next two photos show the deep tooth marks on the surface of the stem. They are actually quite high up the stem from the button. This pipeman had been a bit of a chomper. There is some wear on the edge of the button as well. The stem shows a great profile. I moved forward to work on the pipe itself and see what I had to do with it. It had come back amazingly clean. Jeff had done his normal thorough clean up – reaming, scrubbing, soaking and the result was evident in the pipe when I unpacked it. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. I took some photos of the rim top to show the condition of the edges and the bowl. It looked very good. There is some darkening to the inner edge of the bowl. The second photo shows the damage from the burn on the left side of the rim top and side of the bowl. The stem had some deep tooth marks ahead of the button on both sides. The bowl was going to be straightforward to work on so I started with it. The burned spot on the left side of the bowl edge needed to be addressed. Since the bowl was clean I wiped off the damaged spot with alcohol on a cotton pad. I dried it of with a cloth. I then filled it in with layers of super glue and briar dust – repeating the process until the surface of the rim top and the side of the bowl were even. When the repair had cured I sanded it with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to blend it into the surrounding briar. I used a brass bristle brush to roughen up the surface of the rim top and side of the bowl. I worked it over to achieve a similar pattern to the surround sandblast. I stained the repaired area with a Mahogany stain pen and blended it into the surrounding stained briar. I am pretty happy with the match. At this point in the process the bowl definitely looks better.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the briar with my fingertips. I let the balm sit on the briar for 10 minutes the buffed it off with a soft cloth. The balm enlivens, enriches and protects the briar while giving it a deep glow. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. The stem was very clean so I filled in the tooth marks with clear super glue and set it aside to cure. Once it had cured I flattened out the repairs and sharpened the edge of the button with a needle file. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to blend in the repairs with the rest of the stem surface.  I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I polished the stem with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish. It is a gritty red paste (similar in grit to red Tripoli) that I rub on with my finger tips and work it into the surface of the stem and button and buff it off with a cotton pad. It gives me a bit of a head start on the polishing work.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I buffed the stem with a soft cloth to raise the shine. I wiped the stem down with Briarville’s No Oxy Oil to preserve and protect the stem surface. Ahhhh…once again I am at my favourite part of a restoration – finishing up a pipe! This Ben Wade English made Canadian 76 came out really well considering the issues with the burned area on the side of the bowl and rim when I started. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I polished the bowl with multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem with multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad and with a hand buff with a microfibre cloth. The mix of colours and the buffing made the sandblast stand out when it was waxed. The mixed grain is quite stunning. Thick oval shank and taper stem stands out in great contrast to the briar. It is a nice looking pipe. Have a look at the photos below of the finished pipe. Its dimensions are Length: 6 ¼ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside Diameter of the Bowl: 1 3/8 inches, Diameter of the Chamber: ¾ of an inch. The long shank Canadian feels great in the hand. This one will be going on the rebornpipes store later today. You can add it to your collection and carry on the trust. Let me know if you are interested in adding it. Thanks for your time.  

More work than I expected – an Astleys 109 Jermyn Street London Scoop


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table is a bit of a strange one to me. It is almost an egg shape on its side with a stem that should have been bent a bit more to fit the angles of the pipe. It has an oval shank and an oval saddle stem. It is stamped on the underside of the shank and reads Astleys over 109 Jermyn St over London. There is no other shape numbers on the pipe. The finish is smooth and has some great grain around the sides, top and bottom of the bowl and shank. It was quite dirty and the rim top had an overflow of lava on the beveled inner rim top. The bowl was thickly caked and the inner edge of the rim had some darkening. The saddle stem was vulcanite and had tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. The stem was oxidized and had some calcification on the end. Jeff took some photos of the pipe to show the general condition of the pipe before he started his clean up. He took some photos of the rim top and bowl from various angles to give me a clear picture of the condition of the rim top and bowl. You can see the cake in the bowl and the darkening around the inner edge of the rim. Jeff took some photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the finish on the pipe. The photos show the beautiful grain around the bowl. Under the oils and grime it was a nice looking bowl. I think it will be a really nice looking pipe once it is restored. He took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. On the shank it was stamped Astley’s over 109 Jermyn St over London. As noted there was not a shape number.The next two photos show the top and underside of the stem. It is dirty and has calcification on both sides at the button. There is also some tooth chatter and some light tooth marks. The third photo shows the condition of the slot while the final photo shows the curve of the full stem. Jeff once again did an amazing job cleaning the pipe. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and got rid of the cake. He cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife so that we could see the walls of the bowl and assess for damage. He cleaned the internals of the shank and stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and alcohol. He scrubbed the exterior with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. He rinsed the pipe under warm water. He dried it off with a cloth and then let it air dry. The stem was scrubbed with Soft Scrub and it came out looking very good. The finish on the bowl and the rim top cleaned up nicely. I took pictures of the pipe to show how it looked when I unpacked it. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show how clean it was. There was some damage and darkening on the inner edge of the rim. It was slightly out of round from the damage. You can also see the crack on the top of the shank (Jeff had mentioned this to me in our conversations today). I have circled it in red in the photo below. The stem looked good just some light tooth chatter and several deeper tooth marks near the button.I decided to address the hairline crack in the top of the shank. It was not a deep crack and it did not go all the way around the shank. It was only on the top of the shank. You can see the totality of it in the first photo below. I used a microdrill bit on my Dremel to drill a small hole at each end of the crack to stop it from spreading further. I located the end of the crack with lens and marked it. I drilled a hole at each end (photos 2 and 3). The fourth photo shows both ends of the crack with the pilot holes. I wiped down the surface of the crack. I cleaned it out with a dental pick to open it slightly. I filled in the crack and the pilot holes with clear super glue. I used a dental spatula to spread briar dust over the pilot holes and the crack.Once the repair had cured I sanded the surface of the shank around and over the crack with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper and smoothed the repair out and blended it into the surface of the surrounding briar. I was able to blend it in fairly well. While it is still visible in the photo below it is solid and repaired.When I examined the end of the shank, the angled drilling of the airway into the bowl left a thin area at the bottom of the mortise opening. I put a few drops of super glue in the airway and put some briar dust on top of the glue to build up the mortise in that area. Once it was cured I sanded it smooth with a small sanding stick.I decided to address the damage to the inner edge of the rim. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the rim edge and give it a bevel to minimize the damage to the edge.. I was able to remove the damage and bring the bowl back into round.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping down the briar after each sanding pad with a damp cloth. The briar began to shine. I touched up the stain around the sanded area of the repair with a Cherry stain pen and blended the repair into the surrounding briar. The result looks very good.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the briar with my fingertips. The product is a great addition to the restoration work. It enlivens, enriches and protects the briar while giving it a deep glow. I appreciate Mark Hoover’s work in developing this product. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the tooth marks with the flame of a Bic lighter to try and raise them a bit. Remember vulcanite has “memory” and if the marks are not sharp edge the heat well raise them. In this case while they came up some there was still significant damage.I filled in the remaining tooth marks with clear CA glue and set the stem aside to dry.Once the repairs cured I used a needle file to flatten them out and recut the sharp edge of the button.I sanded the surface of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to further blend in the repairs. I started the polishing process with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I polished the stem with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish from a tin of it I have in the drawer here. It is a gritty red paste that I rub on with my finger tips and work it into the surface of the stem and button and buff it off with a cotton pad. It gives me a bit of a head start on the polishing work.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I buffed the stem with a soft cloth to raise the shine. I wiped the stem down with Briarville’s No Oxy Oil to preserve and protect the stem surface. As always I am excited to finish a pipe that I am working on. I put the Astley’s pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad and hand buffed it to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like along with the polished vulcanite stem. This is nice looking pipe and I am sure that it will be comfortable in hand when smoking as it is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. It is another beautiful pipe and one that will be on the rebornpipes store soon. You can find it in the section of Pipes by English Pipe Makers. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.

 

A New Brand for me – an A. Curtz  7 Chunky Egg


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table is a large egg shaped pipe with a thick shank. It has a short tapered stem. It is stamped on the underside of the shank and reads A. Curtz 7. I had heard about the name in connection with Jeanie’s Smoke Shop in Salt Lake City but I had never worked on one of the pipes. The finish is smooth and has some great grain around the sides, top and bottom of the bowl and shank. It was quite dirty but still had a charm about it. The bowl was caked and there was a light lava coat on the inner edge of the thin rim. The stem was vulcanite and was a tapered. It was lightly oxidized and there were light tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the stem. There was an interesting 2 circle logo on the topside of the taper that looked like a large white circle with an offset red circle inside of it. Jeff took some photos of the pipe to show the general condition of the pipe before he started his clean up.He took some photos of the rim top and bowl from various angles to give me a clear picture of the condition of the rim top and bowl. You can see the cake in the bowl and the darkening and lava coat. It is hard to tell if there was any damage to the edge at this point. Jeff took some photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the finish on the pipe. The photos show mixed grain on the sides, heel and rim of the pipe. Under the oils and grime it was a nice looking bowl. It is a large pipe with a shape that follows the grain. He took some photos of the stamping on the underside of the shank. The stamping was readable and uneven in quality. My guess at this point is that the “7” is a grade stamp but I will do some digging into that. He also took a photo of the inset dual circle logo on the stem top.The next two photos show the top and underside of the stem. It is dirty and has calcification on both sides at the button. There is also some tooth chatter and some light tooth marks. The third photo shows the condition of the slot while the final photo shows the curve of the full stem.To learn a bit more about the brand I turned to Pipephil to see what I could find out (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-c8.html). It turns out the pipe was made by an artisan named Arley Curtz who was from Utah. I did a screen capture of the information on the Pipephil site and include it below.I then turned to Pipedia to find out some more dedtail (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Curtz). The information was brief but helpful. I have included that article below.

Arley G. Curtz retired the director of the Bountiful Davis Art Center (Bountiful, Utah) and is now a pipe repairman and pipe maker. He was formerly the pipe repairman at Jeanie’s Smoke Shop, and has been making pipes ever since.

He makes about 70 pipes a year using Greek and Italian briar. His pipes are available at Edward’s Pipe & Tobacco Shop in Denver, CO, at the Tinderbox in Salt Lake City, on the web at The Pipe and Pint, and at Curtz Handmade Pipes and Pipe Repair in Salt Lake City, Utah.

I did a bit more searching to learn more about the repairman/pipe maker. I came across a 2018 article on a site called Utahstories (https://utahstories.com/2018/05/arley-curtz-pipe-making-and-memory-collecting/). The article included a photo of Arley Curtz that I have inserted below. I am also including a short section of the article that makes me want to meet this gentleman.

For Arley Curtz, a pipe is more than just a way to smoke tobacco. It summons up a time when pipe smoking was both acceptable and part of a gentler civility in our culture.

Curtz is a pipe maker and collector of smoking pipes. He has over 300, ranging from simple corn cobs to handmade antiques. Each one has a story. As the smoke from a pipe curls upwards, it allows Curtz a time to pause and reflect. “A pipe,” he says, “is a keeper of memories.”

Just as a pipe cannot be smoked in haste, a handmade pipe requires patience to craft. Curtz forms his pipes from briarwood, which grows in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea.

I only wish I had found this earlier before I met my brother in Salt Lake City and visited Jeanie’s Smoke Shop. I would have certainly made a point to visit Arley at his own shop and gotten to meet him. Until my next trip to Idaho to visit my Dad and brother I will leave this on my wish list. Now to get on with working on his pipe.

Jeff did his usual thorough job cleaning the pipe which I really appreciate because of the freedom it gives me in dealing with pipes. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and got rid of the cake. He cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife so that we could see the walls of the bowl and assess for damage. He cleaned the internals of the shank and stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and alcohol. He scrubbed the exterior with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. He rinsed the pipe under warm water. He dried it off with a cloth and then let it air dry. The stem was scrubbed with Soft Scrub and had a soak in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation. One it was rinsed off, it came out looking very good. The finish on the bowl and the rim top cleaned up nicely. I took pictures of the pipe to show how it looked when I unpacked it. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show how clean it was. There was some damage and darkening on the inner edge of the rim on the front of the bowl. The stem looked good just some light tooth chatter and marks near the button. Overall the pipe is a beautiful looking piece.I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It read as noted above. It is very clear and readable.I decided to address the damage to the inner edge of the rim. In looking it over closely I could see damages at the front right and left. There some burned areas at those points that were deeper than the darkening. The damage was right on the top edge of the rim. I decided to lightly top it on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage or at least minimize it. I followed up on that with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I worked over the top and edges to smooth out the rim edge and give it the original shape. I forgot to take a photo of the rim top at this point but it will become clear in the photos of the work with micromesh pads that follow.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping down the briar after each sanding pad with a damp cloth. The briar began to shine. I restained the polished rim top with a Maple stain pen to blend it into the surround briar. I am really happy with the match and the reshaped rim top and edges.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the briar with my finger tips and a horsehair shoe brush. The product is a great addition to the restoration work. It enlivens, enriches and protects the briar while giving it a deep glow. It is a product I use on every pipe I restore. I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem. I sanded out the light tooth marks and chatter with 220 grit sandpaper and polished the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I polished the stem with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish from a tin of it I have in the drawer here. It is a gritty red paste that I rub on with my finger tips and work it into the surface of the stem and button and buff it off with a cotton pad. It gives me a bit of a head start on the polishing work.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I buffed the stem with a soft cloth to raise the shine. I gave it a final wipe down with Briarville’s No Oxy Oil to protect the stem from UV and slow down future oxidation.  I don’t know what it is about finishing a restoration but I have to tell you that it is my favourite part of the process. It is the moment when everything that I have been working on comes together. I can compare it to where I started and there is always the satisfaction that it does indeed look better than when Jeff and I picked it up. As always I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad and hand buffed it to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like along with the polished chunky vulcanite stem. This Arley Curtz pipe is a great looking pipe and I am sure that it will be comfortable in hand when smoking as it is light and well balanced for a pipe of this size. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. It is another beautiful pipe and one that will be on the rebornpipes store soon. You can find it in the section of Pipes by American Pipe Makers. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.