Tag Archives: restaining a bowl and rim

A Simple Restore – A Rich’s Cigar Store Italian Made Oom Paul


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on my work table is a nice looking Oom Paul sandblast that is stamped Rich’s Cigar Store on the underside of the shank and Italy below that next to the stem shank union. The pipe was in decent shape with some minor nicks on the outer edge of the bowl and some darkening in the bowl. I am not sure whether the bowl was even smoked at all as the darkening could well be a bowl coating. Either way it is either NOS (New Old Stock) or lightly smoked. The stem was lightly oxidized and had some price sticker residue on the underside near the button. The R stamp on the right side of the saddle stem is clean and undamaged. It would be an easy cleanup for Jeff and me when it finally arrived in Vancouver.

I did a bit of quick research and found that Rich’s Cigar Store is a Cigar and Magazine shop in Portland, Oregon. It is located at 820 SW Alder Street – Portland OR and can be reached by phone at 503.228.1700 or 800.669.1527. I looked up the website and scrolled through the various pages on the site (https://www.richscigarstore.com/).As I scrolled through the website I spent time on their history page. I read through the background material to the shop. I enjoyed reading about the company and how it came to be and what it looks like now. They call themselves, “Portland’s Mecca for smokers…”. They have existed for over 100 years. I quote in full from the History section of their website and have included a few photos as well. It is fascinating that the page does not give much history but more of a full blown advertisement for the shop.

“In our store located at 820 S.W. Alder St. in the heart of Downtown Portland, we have expanded our extensive inventory of over 2500 periodicals, 1500 facings of cigars, hundreds of pipes, and over 200 blends of Tobacco on display. Our increased humidor storage areas allow us to keep thousands of boxes of cigars on hand for immediate in-store purchases.

An essential element for pipe smoking is the right tobacco blend. With this in mind we have brought in a master tobacco blender with over 30 years experience. Has your favorite Tobacco become increasingly difficult to find? Then put him in use to create a new blend to suit your needs. He has already created a new blend to fill the void of a popular Balkan blend, and we age all blends so that their full richness and taste come through each time you light up a bowl. Click here to see our extensive custom tobacco blends.

Please call us at 800.699.1527 for further information on availability and prices, or e-mail us at info@richscigarstore.com. Our sales staff is happy to assist with recommendations, product information and alternatives to guide you with your purchases. They are not merely order takers, so please put them to use. This could be the most important service we offer.”

Jeff took some photos of the pipe when it arrived in Idaho before he cleaned it up. It was a beautiful full bent pipe with a nice tactile finish. The seller’s photos were very accurate and the wear on the pipe was visible around the out edge of the bowl. The fit of the stem to the pipe is very well done. It fit snug in the shank and tight against the shank end. The next photo shows the bowl and the inner and outer edge. The outer edge had some worn spots along the edges. The finish was worn but the briar was undamaged. The inner beveled edge is clean and undamaged.The next two photos show the stamping on the smooth underside of the shank. It is deeply stamped and very readable. The third photo shows that stamped R on the left side of the saddle stem is in excellent condition.The stem was lightly oxidized as mentioned above. There was some residue on the underside of the stem near the button. It was the rubberized glue from a price tag. When the tag was peeled from the stem it left behind the residue. I wonder if it was not from the price tag that was put on at Rich’s Cigar Shop in Portland when the pipe was first sold. This would also lend to the theory that the pipe was NOS. I would be able to prove that it was unsmoked more adequately once the pipe arrived in Vancouver and I had a chance to look at it. Jeff cleaned of the dust by a quick scrub with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. He was able to get all of the grime off the sandblast finish – even in the nooks and crannies the dust came off. He rinsed the pipe in running water to remove the soap and dried the pipe off with a soft cloth. He soaked the stem in Oxyclean to raise the oxidation to the surface of the rubber. The bowl was clean inside as was the shank. The pipe was indeed unsmoked. It still had the original bowl coating intact and it was unblemished. I took photos of the pipe before I did the finishing touches on it. It had a great sandblast and the finish was very nice. What had appeared to be wear on the outer edge of the rim must have been dust in the grooves of the finish. When Jeff scrubbed the pipe the marks disappeared and the rim looked very good. Other than the stem oxidation the pipe looked new. The close up photo shows the rim and bowl. I also included photos of the stem to show its condition as well – no tooth chatter or marks. All that was present was light oxidation of the rubber.I put the stem in a bath of Before & After Stem Deoxidizer to soak while I worked on the bowl. I figured it would not take to long as it was not badly oxidized. I also put a second more oxidized stem in at the same time.I turned my attention back to the bowl or stummel to finish it while the stem soaked. I scrubbed the briar with Before & After Restoration Balm to enliven and deep clean the sandblast finish. I worked it into the grain with my finger and a tooth brush. I rubbed it in and then buffed it with a horsehair bristle shoe brush. I put aside the bowl and turned back to the stem. I removed it from the deoxidizer soak and dried it off with a cloth. I rubbed off the remaining oxidation and then cleaned out the airway with alcohol and pipe cleaners. The stem looked really good at this point. It would not take too much work to bring it back to a rich shine. I polished the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-4000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I buffed the stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I brought it back to the table and sanded it with the final three 6000-12000 grit pads. After the final pad I gave it a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem back on the bowl and worked the pipe over on the buffing wheel using Blue Diamond to polish the bowl and shank. I used a gentle touch on the briar when I was buffing it so that the nooks and crannies of the sandblast finish would not be filled in and make more work for me. I buffed the stem with a harder touch to raise the gloss on the rubber. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The oxidation and dust from sitting on a shelf somewhere was gone and the pipe looks like new again – very fitting for a unsmoked, NOS pipe. It is truly a beautiful pipe. The dimensions of the pipe are: Length: 5 inches, Height: 2 inches, Diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inch, Diameter of the chamber: 3/4 inches. I will be adding this one to the rebornpipes store shortly if you are interested in adding this NOS, unsmoked pipe to your collection. It will make a fine addition to the rack. If you are interested email me at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.

 

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Restoring a Thorburn Clark Rusticated Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

This is another pipe from one of the eBay sellers that I follow and check out their shops regularly. Yet again this favourite seller in England put up a pipe that I really like. I don’t have any idea how many of them I have purchased from him but this one caught my eye. This one is a small rusticated bent billiard that is another featherweight. Its diminutive size and delicate shape are a lot like the Orlik Dugout I bought from him as well. The rusticated finish has a textured and almost sandblast look to it. The contrast of dark and medium brown stains really worked well with the shape of the pipe. The pipe was stamped in a smooth box on the underside of the shank and reads THORBURN CLARK over MANCHESTER with the letter R at the shank end of the smooth portion. The photos below are the seller’s photos. They show the overall condition of the pipe and what it was that caught my eye. I looked up the brand on Pipephil’s site – http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-t5.html. I found out that the brand was carved by a tobacconist in Manchester, England. The owner of the shop used to carve his own pipes. The shop closed in the 1970s. I clipped the pertinent section from the site and included it below. The stamping on the stem of the one I have is the same as the pipe in the second photo below.I did some more digging into the brand to see what I could find out and found a link to a blog about the brand. I quote in part from the blog: https://pipesmokersjournal.wordpress.com/tag/thorburn-clark/

“This is an intriguing pipe, and a little piece of obscure British pipe making history. Thorburn Clark was, from what I can deduce, from my extensive online Sherlocking, Manchester-based tobacconists from the 1920s until the 1980s/90s. Behind their shop was a small pipe workshop, where a tiny workforce of craftsmen toiled to create a range of beautiful handmade pipes, each stamped upon the stem with their distinctive logo of an intertwining T and C.”

Another link brought a bit more information and some confirmation to the puzzle http://pipesmokerunlimited.com/archive/index.php/t-3749.html

“Thorburn Clark was a tobacconist based in Bridge Street, Manchester, a side street off Deansgate for those who know the area. Unlike most outlets of its kind, which shipped in pipes from outside makers and then branded them with the shop name, it seems that they had a small workshop attached to the premises where they crafted their own pipes.”

It was interesting to know that the pipe I had in hand was a pipe shop made pipe that came from Manchester. It was made in the small workshop in the back of the shop. I had learned that there were several carvers that worked there so I would not be able to know who made it. The pipe was obviously carved between the 1920s and the time the shop closed in the 1970s. Judging from the shape of the pipe and stem and the fact that it came with the Orlik made me put its date in the late 20s to early 30s.

I had the seller ship this pipe with the Orlik Dugout. When the pipes arrived I brought them to my worktable. I completed work on the Dugout then turned my attention to this pipe. I took photos of it to show its condition before I began to work on it. The finish looked to be in good repair under the grime and dust that was in the grooves of the rustication. The rim top was covered with lava that had overflowed from the cake in the bowl. The cake was quite thick and the bowl choked with carbon. The packing material from the shipping box was jammed into the bowl. The stem was lightly oxidized and it still bore the TC stamp on the left side. The fit of the stem to the shank was tight and it did not sit against the shank end. That told me that the interior of the shank must be quite dirty with tars and oils. I wonder if both of these pipes came from the same pipeman. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the thickness of the cake in the bowl and overflow of lava on the rim. There were some worn spots on the rim where the finish was damaged. It looked like the inner and outer edges of the bowl were undamaged but I would know for sure once I had reamed it.While the stem was lightly oxidized the only damage to it was on the top and underside edge of the button and some light tooth chatter on both sides. The TC stamp was readable and the stamping was deep enough to be cleaned without damage.I reamed the bowl with the smallest cutting head on the PipNet pipe reamer. I took the cake slowly back to the bare briar. I wanted to see if there was cracking in the inside of the bowl. The cake was thick and hard so it took some steady and careful work to cut the cake back. I touched up the reaming of the bowl with t a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Reaming Knife. I took what remained of the cake back to smooth, bare walls. I used a brass bristle wire brush to loosen the debris from the rim top. It was thick enough that it would take some work to get it off and clean out the grooves of the rustication.I scrubbed the briar with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the dust and grime on the surface of the bowl and the grit that I had loosened on the rim top. I rinsed the bowl under warm water to remove the dust and scrubbed it with the brush under water. The results are shown in the photo below.I used a finer bristle brass brush to work over the grooves on the rim top. This extra step took more of the grime off the surface and left the rim top very clean.I cleaned out the inside of the shank with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and alcohol to remove all of the tars and oils on the inside walls of the mortise. I cleaned out the airways in the shank and in the stem with pipe cleaners and alcohol.I put the stem in a soak of Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer. I left it to soak for several hours while I worked on the bowl.I turned my attention back to the bowl. I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. The product worked to lift the grime and debris out of the grooves of the briar. I rubbed it down and scrubbed it deeper into the grooves of the briar with a shoe brush. I polished the briar with a soft cloth to remove the balm from the briar. I took a photo of the stamping on the shank because it was so clear and with the balm really stood out.I touched up the worn spots on the rim top and edge with a dark brown stain pen. I buffed the rim top with a soft cloth to even out the stain coverage.I rubbed the bowl down with several coats of Conservator’s Wax and buffed it with a shoe brush. The briar began to take on rich warmth. The feel of the bowl in the hand was comfortable and tactile. I think this would be a good smoking pipe. I set the bowl aside and turned back to the stem. I removed it from the soak in the Before & After Deoxidizer and wiped it down. I cleaned out the inside of the airway with alcohol to remove the product from the stem. I polished the stem with a soft cloth to remove all of the deoxidizer and give it a bit of a shine. It had removed much of the light oxidation and left the stamping intact on the stem side. There was still some spots of oxidation that needed to be addressed and the button needed to be reshaped on both sides. The photos below show what it looked like at this point.I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to work on the tooth chatter and to reshape the edge and surface of the button.  I worked over the spots of oxidation with the sandpaper at the same time to remove it from the surface of the hard rubber stem.I polished out the sanding scratches and marks in the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-4000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I buffed the stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I brought it back to the table and sanded it with the final three 6000-12000 grit pads. After the final pad I gave it a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem back on the bowl and worked the pipe over on the buffing wheel using Blue Diamond to polish the bowl and shank. I used a gentle touch on the briar when I was buffing it so that the grooves of the rustication would not be filled in and make more work for me. I buffed the stem with a harder touch to raise the gloss on the rubber. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It looks better than it did in the beginning. It is a beautiful pipe. The dimensions of the pipe are: Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Diameter of the bowl: 1 inch, Diameter of the chamber: 5/8 inches. I will be adding this one to the rebornpipes store shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection. It will make a fine addition to the rack. If you are interested email me at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.

Restoring an older Orlik Dugout Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

There are a few eBay sellers that I follow and check out their shops regularly. One of my favourite sellers in England seems to regularly put up pipes that I really like. I don’t have any idea how many of them I have purchased from him but this one caught my eye. It is a small Orlik that I would have called a featherweight. Its diminutive size and delicate shape with a thin pencil shank and well-formed bowl caught my eye. The sandblast finish was rugged and the contrast of dark and medium brown stains really worked well with the shape of the pipe. The pipe was stamped in a smooth box on the left side of the shank and read ORLIK over DUGOUT. There was no other stamping on the shank but I was familiar with the brand as I have another DUGOUT that I have written about previously. The pipe is definitely older and a good companion to this pipe (https://rebornpipes.com/2015/03/28/a-restored-orlik-dugout-billiard/). The photos below are the seller’s photos. They show the overall condition of the pipe and what it was that caught my eye. When the pipe arrived and I brought it to my worktable I took photos of it to show its condition before I began to work on it. The finish looked to be in good repair under the grime and dust that was in the grooves of the sandblast. The rim top was covered in a lava that had overflowed from the cake in the bowl. The cake was quite thick and there appeared to be something in the bottom of the bowl because I could see many small perforations on the bowl bottom (seen in the third photo below). The stem was in good condition and there was very little oxidation. There were a few nicks and scratches in the vulcanite. The fit of the stem to the shank was tight and it did not sit against the shank end. That told me that the interior of the shank must be quite dirty with tars and oils. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the thick cake in the bowl and the heavy overflow of lava on the rim itself. There appears to be some small cracks on the back right side of the rim but I will not be able to tell for sure until the rim is clean and the bowl is reamed. The perforations at the bottom of the bowl look like a screen. I wonder if there is a screen ball that was placed in the bottom of the bowl in order to deal with moisture during the smoke. Cleaning it will reveal what is there.The stem seemed to have been made out of very high quality vulcanite or hard rubber. It did not show oxidation and the marks and scratches on the surface seemed very minor.I reamed the bowl with the smallest cutting head on the PipNet pipe reamer. I took the cake slowly back to the bare briar. I wanted to see if there was cracking in the inside of the bowl. I was also interested in figuring out what was in the bottom of the bowl. After I reamed the bowl I used a dental pick to pick out the screen ball in the bottom of the bowl. It was dirty and there were some worn areas on the screen. It obviously was not original to the pipe but was added by the pipeman the pipe had belonged to in ages past.With the screen removed I finished reaming the bowl with the PipNet reamer and cleaned up the remaining cake with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Reaming Knife. I took the cake back to smooth, bare walls. I scoured the rim top with a brass bristle brush to clean off the lava buildup. I wanted to get it all off and be able to see the condition of the rim top. I wanted to know if there were indeed some cracks in the rim top that did not show.I scrubbed the briar with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the dust and grime on the surface of the bowl and the grit that I had loosened on the rim top. I rinsed the bowl under warm water to remove the dust and scrubbed it with the brush under water. The results are shown in the photo below.There were indeed some small surface cracks in the rim top that followed the flow of the sandblast. They did not seem to go down the outside of the bowl though it appeared that they may well extend slightly into the interior of the bowl. I dried off the surface of the briar and used some minute drops of clear super glue to fill in the cracks along the rim top and the small, short hairline cracks along the first 1/8 inch of the inside of the bowl.I cleaned out the inside of the shank with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and alcohol to remove all of the tars and oils on the inside walls of the mortise. I cleaned out the airways in the shank and in the stem with pipe cleaners and alcohol.I polished out the scratches and marks in the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-4000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I buffed the stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I brought it back to the table and sanded it with the final three 6000-12000 grit pads. After the final pad I gave it a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem back on the bowl and worked the pipe over on the buffing wheel using Blue Diamond to polish the bowl and shank. I used a gentle touch on the briar when I was buffing it so that the grooves of the sandblast would not be filled in. I buffed the stem with a harder touch to raise the gloss of the rubber. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It looks better than it did in the beginning. It is a beautiful pipe. The dimensions of the pipe are: Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 1/2 inches, Diameter of the bowl: 1 inch, Diameter of the chamber: 5/8 inches. Thanks for looking.

 

Something is different about this Heritage Square Shank Apple


Blog by Steve Laug

As I mentioned in the first blog I did on the Heritage threesome – the 45S Antique, earlier this summer I was relaxing and surfing Ebay on my iPad and I came across three listings for Heritage Pipes. All were square shank pipes and all were in decent condition. Two of them had original stems while the third had a stem I was not sure about. Several years ago I had learned about the brand through Andrew Selking who writes for rebornpipes. Since then I have kept an eye out for them. There do not seem to be too many showing up on Ebay but every so often there is one. This time there were three. I contacted my brother with the links and he bid and won the threesome. I have finished the middle and bottom pipe and have written blogs about them (The Heritage Antique – https://rebornpipes.com/2017/10/08/cleaning-up-the-first-of-three-heritage-pipes-45s-dublin/, The Heritage Diplomat – https://rebornpipes.com/2017/10/14/new-life-for-heritage-diplomat-8-panel-billiard/). The last of the threesome is what is on the work table now. It the top pipe in the photos below. When I got to looking carefully at this pipe I immediately saw some differences from the other two Heritage pipes. Though it is stamped Heritage with a similar font on the left side of the shank, it also is stamped Made in USA under that. The stamping is more like the Kaywoodie pipes I have worked on. The right side of the shank is stamped Imported Briar. The finish on this pipe is nowhere near as nice as the other two pipes. The quality is good but not stellar like the others. The stem fit and shape is different from the other two and seems to be a stem blank rather than a custom made stem. It is not a replacement as I first thought but is the original stem. I also cannot find it on the Heritage Brochure that Andrew provided. The overall look and feel of the pipe leads me to think that this pipe was made later than the other ones and is probably a Kaywoodie of lesser quality. Even though that is true I think it has value in that it is a historical piece that may be transitional in nature. I am including the next two photos as they show the condition of the pipe when my brother received it and the stamping on the shank. For your reference if you are interested I am including a summary of the history of the brand that Andrew wrote on a previous blog on rebornpipes. I find that it is helpful and clear. There is not a lot of information on the brand available on-line so anything helps fill the gap. Here is the link: https://rebornpipes.com/2014/12/23/refurbishing-a-heritage-heirloom/.

Heritage pipes were Kaywoodie’s answer to Dunhill. According to one of their brochures, Heritage pipes were made from “briar burls seasoned and cured for up to 8 months,” with only “one briar bowl in over 300 selected to bear the Heritage name.” “Heritage stems are custom fitted with the finest hand finished Para Rubber stems. Mouthpieces are wafer thin and concave.”

The Heritage line began in the early 1960’s, with the trademark issued in 1964. The line was started at the request of Stephen Ogdon, (who worked for Kaywoodie in 1962). Mr. Ogdon had previous experience working for Dunhill, either running the New York store or working for Dunhill North America. Mr. Ogden was made President of Heritage Pipes, Inc., Kaywoodie Tobacco Co.,Inc. and Kaywoodie Products Inc. as well as a Vice President of S.M. Frank & Co. Heritage Pipes were produced from 1964 until 1970 (Source Kaywoodie.myfreeforum.org).

From Andrew’s helpful blog I would put a 1970s date on this one. It may well have been done after the closure of the line. Jeff took photos of the grain around the bowl to give an idea of the quality of the briar. While it was dirty and scratched there was some nice grain on the pipe. The photos show some slight wear on the outer edge of the rim and on the inner edge. The rim top shows some wear and some lava buildup. It is hard to know from these photos how much damage there is to the inner edge of the rim. I will know more once the grime and lava are removed. Time will tell. The next two photos show the stamping on the shank. There are some subtle differences to the Heritage font and the not so subtle differences of the Made in USA and Imported Briar stamp that were not present on the other two pipes of this threesome. The stem did not have the PARA Hard Rubber stamping of the other two and did not bear the Heritage logo on the left side of the saddle. This could either point to a replacement stem (which is possible) or to a later version of the brand that did not include those items. I am not sure which is the case. The stem was good quality rubber and did not show too much oxidation. There was tooth chatter and some tooth marks on both sides of the stem near the button. There was also some wear on the sharp edge of the button on both sides.Jeff worked his magic in cleaning up this pipe. He reamed it with a PipNet reamer and smoothed the walls of the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim and shank with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to the oils and tars on the bowl, rim and shank. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. Once the grime was removed the finish seemed to be coated with a varnish coat. It was peeling around the outer edges of the rim and also there were some damaged spots on the sides of the bowl where the finish was slightly peeling. There was some wear around the edges of the rim top and the inner edge showed some burn damage on the right side. The cleaning of the stem did not raise any oxidation in the vulcanite. The tooth marks were clean but visible. I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work on it. I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem to show the condition of both before I worked on them. The photo of the rim top shows the damage on the inner edge of the right side of the rim and the wear on the outer edge around the bowl. Other than the tooth chatter and tooth marks the stem was in good condition with no oxidation that I would need to worry about. I decided to start on the bowl and address the rim damage. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to slightly bevel the inner edge of the rim and blend in the damaged area with the rest of the bowl. I wanted to bring it back to round as much as possible and remove the damage. The second photo shows the reshaped rim edge. I think the process worked pretty well!I decided to use Mark Hoover’s Before & After Restoration Balm. I have written a review about the product in an earlier blog. I rubbed it into the surface of the briar and scrubbed it with a cotton pad. Mark has said that the product was designed to pull the dirt off of the briar as well as polish it. He added some anti-oxidants to keep the briar from getting damaged from both UV rays and water. It worked very well as you can see from the following photos that show the cleaned briar and the grime on the cotton pad. Remember that this pipe had already been scrubbed with oil soap and rinsed. It appeared to be clean for all intents and purposes but it still had residual grime in the pores of the briar. I blended black Sharpie Marker and a Dark Brown Stain pen to colour the inner edge of the rim and the repaired area on the rim top. The combination matched the colour of the stain on the bowl perfectly.It is at this point a couple of things caught my eye. There were what looked like water spots on the front and the left side of the bowl. I looked closely and they were very odd. Almost like some of the varnish finish had bubbled and been removed. The longer I looked at it the more ugly it looked. What had looked like an easy restore suddenly looked a lot harder. I was going to have to remove the varnish coat and restain the entire pipe. Just a little discouraging when things were moving ahead so well. But, chin up and do the job!

I wiped the bowl down with acetone to try to cut through the finish. It did not budge! Oh man, that meant I was dealing with some kind of plasticized coating and it would be a bit more difficult to remove. I sanded the bowl and shank with 220 grit sandpaper to break through the surface of the topcoat. I wiped it down repeatedly with the acetone to see if I was making progress.  It was slow going. I sanded it with a medium and a fine grit sanding sponge and was able to make more progress. I wiped it down again. The photos below show the pipe when I had removed all of the plastic coating. It was odd in that there were two large spots on the front of the bowl and around the rim edges where the finish came off as well as the plastic. The rest of the finish was deeply set in the grain. I have only seen that on pipes where there was some oil in the briar that was not properly removed before staining and finishing. I wiped the bowl down with acetone a final time scrubbing the unstained portions with extra care. I wiped it down with alcohol in those areas and heated the briar to see if I could open the pores before staining. I used a dark brown stain pen to precolour the briar before restaining the entire pipe. I wanted to get deep coverage on the briar. I warmed the briar once again by painting it with the flame of a lighter. I stained the entire bowl with dark brown aniline stain and set it in the grain with a lighter. I repeated the process particularly on the front, sides and rim top until the coverage was even all around the bowl. I set the bowl aside to cure overnight.Work and general busyness kept me from working on the pipe again for several days. When I finally got a moment I wiped the bowl down with alcohol and cotton pads to even out the finish and give it a bit more transparency. I sanded the newly stained bowl and shank with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with an alcohol dampened cotton pad. I buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond to further polish out the scratches and then gave it several coats of Danish Oil with a Cherry Stain to give the bowl a rich finish similar to the one on the Heritage Diplomat that I restored earlier. The pipe is beginning to look really good in my opinion and in many ways is far better than when I started. I buffed the bowl with a soft cotton cloth to polish the Danish Oil. I took the following pictures to show the bowl at this point in the process. I still need to buff it again on the wheel and give it multiple coats of carnauba wax. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth marks and chatter with 220 grit sandpaper. I carefully blended them into the surface of the vulcanite. I also worked over the sharp edges of the button to clean up the marks that were left behind there. The sanding dust left behind on the sandpaper was a rich, dark black which spoke well of the quality of the vulcanite that was used on this stem. To me it also was further proof of the stem being original rather than a later poor quality replacement.The one oddity to the pipe was that the shank was thinner on the right side than the left. The mortise was drilled straight but it was definitely not centered in the shank. Due to that the tenon on was slightly off to the right side of the shank to match. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit pads and wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I dry sanded with 3200-12000 grit pads and again wiped it down with Obsidian Oil. I finished the polishing with the pads and gave it a final coat of the oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem back on the bowl and worked the pipe over on the buffing wheel using Blue Diamond polish to further remove scratches on the bowl and shank. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It looks better than it did in the beginning. I still think it is a transitional piece between the classic higher end Heritage line and the later line that came out when the classic line ended. It is still a beautiful pipe. The finish is good but not nearly as well done as the classics. The dimensions of the pipe are: Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Diameter of the chamber: ¾ inches. Thanks for looking.

This Old Italian Canadian showed Promise


Blog by Steve Laug

Jeff picked this heavily rusticated pipe up on one of his recent forays into the antique shops and malls of Montana. It is sea rock like rustication on the bowl and shank with a wire rustication on top of that. The finish was very dirty with a lot of dirt and grime in the deeper grooves of the rustication. There was a random stem stuck in the shank when he picked it up – I think it was just to make it more sellable. The stem is a round saddle stem while the shank is oval. The finish was dirty and there were some nicks in it around the shank end. The bowl had a heavy cake in it with some lava overflow filling in the rustication pattern on the rim top. There appeared to be some burn damage on the back left side of the rim top. The pipe had a smooth portion on the underside of the shank for stamping but the only stamping was at the shank/stem junction where it read ITALY. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his clean up. The rim top can be seen in the next photo. You can see the thick cake and the lava overflow on the top of the rim. It is hard to know if there is damage to the inner edge of the rim but the outer edge was clean and undamaged. It appeared that there was some burn damage on the back left side of the inner rim edge but we would not know until Jeff cleaned the pipe.Jeff took pictures of both sides of the bowl to show the rocky, craggy appearance of the finish on the bowl. It is unusual and interesting at the same time.The next photos show the shank and Italy stamping on the shank end. The stem is obviously the wrong one. You can see the variation of the round saddle portion of the stem and the oval shank. I am not too worried about the stem as it is going in the bin anyway as I will need to fit a new stem on the shank. Jeff worked his magic in cleaning up this pipe as it was a real mess on the rim and deep grit and grime in the grooves of the finish. He reamed it with a PipNet reamer and smoothed the walls of the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim and shank with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to the oils and tars on the bowl, rim and shank. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. Once the grime was removed the finish actually looked quite good condition. I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work on it. I did not bother with the old stem as it would be replaced. I went through my can of stems and found one that had the same diameter all the way around as the shank. The fit against the shank end was almost perfect. I would need to make the edges taper a bit more at the shank. The stem was new and still had castings on the sides and the end of the button. The tenon was a perfect fit in the mortise. I put the stem in the shank and took photos of the restemmed pipe. The pipe looks good with the new stem. There is promise in the appearance at this point. I repaired the chip on the left side of the shank end with clear super glue. I needed to rebuild that edge to remove the damaged area and allow the stem to fit snug against the shank. I used a sharp knife to bevel the edges of the mortise to accommodate the hip at the tenon/stem junction.I used a brass bristle wire brush on the rustication to clean off any remnants of the finish and then wiped the bowl down with acetone on cotton pads to remove the dust. I stained the bowl with a dark brown aniline stain and flamed it to set it in the briar. I repeated the process several times until I was happy with the coverage on the bowl. I set the bowl aside to dry overnight before proceeding with polishing the briar.In the morning I buffed the bowl with a shoe brush to raise a shine on the briar. I took the following photos to show what the pipe looked like at this point in the process. The bowl is looking good with a lot of colour variation due to the roughness of the rustication. I laid aside the finished bowl and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the casting marks and scratches on the stem with 220 grit sandpaper. I opened up the slot in the button with needle files to make it easier to push a pipe cleaner through. After I had removed the casting marks and the scratches on the stem surface it was time to work on it with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit pads and wiped it down after each pad with Obsidian Oil to give the next pad more bite when I sanded. I dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads and again wiped it down with the oil after each pad. After the final pad I wiped it down with a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. Each photo shows it progressively getting a shine. I set aside the stem and picked up the bowl once again. I used the Mark Hoover’s Before & After Restoration Balm on the briar. I rubbed it into the grooves on the bowl sides with my fingers. I wanted it to go deep in the grooves to further test the effectiveness of the product. This would be a good test as it one of the roughest rustications that I have worked on with the product. As I have mentioned in previous blogs Mark had said that the product can be used on briar or stems – whether vulcanite, acrylic or horn. He said it was designed to pull the dirt off of the briar as well as polish it. I figured this deep rustication would certainly put those claims to a test. He said that he had added some anti-oxidants to keep the briar from getting damaged from both UV rays and water. Once I had all the grooves and surfaces of the bowl covered I wiped it down with a clean cotton pad and then buffed it with a shoe brush. It seemed to work very well and I took the following photos to show the results. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to polish the stem and lightly polish the briar. I gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise a shine. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and rubbed it into the rusticated finish. I buffed it with a shoe brush and then with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The variegated finish on the bowl and stem combine to present a beautiful pipe. The pipe really does look good with the new stem. The dimensions of this pipe are Length: 5 1/2 inches, Height: 2 1/8 inches, Bowl diameter: 1 1/2 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 inches. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I will soon be adding it to the rebornpipes store if you are interested in adding to your collection. It is a beauty and will serve someone very well. Email me at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.

 

Restoring a Savinelli Made Estella 614 Full Bent


Blog by Steve Laug

I have always liked the rocky rusticated finish on the Savinelli Made Estella pipes. I have worked on many of them over the years and by and large they seem to have been a well-loved, good smoking and almost indestructible pipe. The finish is a rustication that almost looks like a “blastication” (rustication then sandblasted). It is knobby and very tactile. It feels good in the hand. I have worked on panels, billiards and bulldogs but never a full bent. This one was in good shape. The finish was dirty but was undamaged. The inner edge of the rim was clean and the outer edge had some wear from knocking it out against hard surfaces. There was a light cake in the bowl and the rustication on the rim top was covered with a thick coat of lava. The Lucite stem had tooth marks on the top and the underside of the stem at the button. There was a dark tar stain in the airway in the stem.  The button was in great shape. Jeff took the next series of photos to show the condition of the pipe before he cleaned it. The next photo shows the rim top and you can see the tar buildup in the rustication of the rim. It is almost smooth there is so much tar.The next photo shows the stamping on the underside of the bowl and shank. It reads Estella followed by the shape number 614 over Italy. Often there is a Savinelli Shield logo but it is not on this pipe. There is also an E stamped on the left side of the staggered saddle stem. The next two photos show the tooth marks on the top and underside of the stem at the button. There was one deep mark on each side of the stem at the button.Jeff did an amazing job cleaning up the light issues on this pipe. He reamed it with a PipNet reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim and shank with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the dust of the years. He removed the lava coat on the rim surface so that it was clean. He was able to clean up the outer edges of the rim so that the damage was removed and matched the rest of the rustication. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. Once the dust was removed it was clear that the finish underneath was in stellar condition. The random style of the rustication and the high spots gave it a very rough feel that was like rock. Very well carved. I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work on it. The rim looked really good. The grooves and carved surface was very clean and the lava that had filled in all of them was gone. The bowl was clean as well.The stem cleaned up well. The majority of the tar stains in the airway came out with the scrubbing with alcohol. What was left was probably not going anywhere. The tooth marks on both sides were dents that were not too deep and could be sanded out.I stained the rim top and the outer and inner edges of the bowl with a dark brown stain pen to blend it in with the colour of the rest of the pipe. There was ring of smooth briar at the end of the shank where the stem sat against it.In my ongoing experiment with Mark Hoover’s new product that he calls Before & After Restoration Balm I used it on the blastication of the bowl and shank. Mark is the creator of the Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and Polishes.  He says that the product can be used on briar or stems – whether vulcanite, acrylic or horn. He said it was designed to pull the dirt off of the briar as well as polish it. He added some anti-oxidants to keep the briar from getting damaged from both UV rays and water. I chose to use it on this pipe because of the roughness of the rusticated finish on this bowl. I rubbed it into the finish on the bowl and shank with my fingers and worked it into the finish with a shoe brush to see if it pulled out the dirt. It seemed to work very well and I took the following photos to show the results. I will continue using it for a while and see how it works in a variety of settings before I give an opinion of the product. I used a sharp knife to bevel the airway in the tenon. Funneling the airway at that point adds to the smooth flow of air to the button.I sanded the tooth marks on the stem with 220 grit sandpaper until they disappeared into the surface of the stem. When I finished sanding the stem it was smooth and there were not any damaged areas on the stem at the button.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with Obsidian Oil to give the next pad more bite when I sanded. I dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads and again wiped it down with the oil after each pad. After the final pad I wiped it down with a damp cloth and set it aside while I finished the bowl. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to polish the briar. I used a soft touch on the rusticated areas as I did not want to flatten them or fill in the grooves with polishing compound. I gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and I gave the rusticated bowl several coats of Conservator’s Wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise a shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The rough rusticated finish with its dark brown and medium brown highlights works well with the golden swirled Lucite stem. The pipe looks fresh and new. The dimensions of this pipe are Length: 5 1/2 inches, Height: 2 inches, Bowl diameter: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 inches. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is one that will be going on the rebornpipes store shortly. It will make a nice addition to someone’s pipe rack. If you are interested email me at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.

 

Rode Hard & Put Away Wet – MLC Redmanol French Briar Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

This older MLC bent billiard is a turn of the 20th century pipe. According to Pipedia, (https://pipedia.org/wiki/M._Linkman_%26_Co) the initials stand for M. Linkman Company which was thought to mean Mary Linkman Company. They were a Chicago based company that produced both briars and meerschaums. The company was named for the mother of the same Linkman who branded pipes under that same name and then eventually became the Dr. Grabow pipe manufacturer with which we are familiar. Pipephil’s site gave a little more information at this link (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-l4.html). M. Linkman and Co. was established by Louis B. Linkman and August Fisher in 1898. The company closed down in the 1950s and the Dr Grabow branch was sold to Henry Leonard and Thomas Inc. There was also a note that early Linkman’s pipes were stamped MLC in an oval.

If you have followed this blog for a while you have come to know that I love really old pipes and this one fits into that category of pipes. It is stamped MLC in an oval over Redmanol over French Briar on the left side of the shank. There are no other stampings on the pipe. The band is brass and is etched with a pattern of vines and flower around the entire band. The band was a mess on the shank end. It was bent and dented and no longer round. It was loose on the shank and would need to be straightened out before it was reglued. It is a small bent billiard and definitely sporting the wrong stem. It should have had a Redmanol stem to go with the stamping on the shank of the bowl.

I have written a bit more about the MLC brand on several early blogs (https://rebornpipes.com/2016/11/12/an-interesting-the-nuvo-mlc-italian-briar-hidden-in-a-wdc-case/ https://rebornpipes.com/2017/08/17/restoring-a-sad-old-mlc-bent-billiard/).

Jeff took the photos that follow before started the cleanup. You can see from the photos the condition of the pipe. The bowl exterior was absolutely filthy. It is the first time I have seen the lava that usually is on the rim flow over the top and down the sides of the bowl. The lava on the outside edge of the bowl and the thick cake in the bowl made it hard to know what the condition of the rim edges. The incorrect stem and the condition of the pipe told me that it was someone’s favourite smoker and when the old stem broke or wore out a convenient replacement was stuck in the shank and it continued to be smoked. The next photos of the bowl, rim and the flow of lava down the outside of the bowl shows how filthy this pipe was before Jeff started his clean up. The bowl is scratched and nicked but even that damage is hard to assess given the condition of the pipe. If you look closely you can see the MLC oval on the next photo of the shank. Below that it reads Redmanol over  French Briar. You can see the tars that have built up on the shank and pushed the band toward the end of the shank. It really was a dirty pipe. The photo of the bottom of the bowl and shank show more of the worn condition of the briar.The next three photos show the condition of the end of the band. It was in rough shape. As the band was pushed off the shank end because of the tars the end that extended beyond the briar of the shank was bent and damaged.The last photo Jeff took showed the condition of the stem. I was not particularly concerned with the stem as I was planning on replacing it with a fitted stem. If I used it in the future I would clean it up.I reread the blogs on the MLC pipes that I had restored previously to refresh the information. Now I was ready to see what I could do with this old pipe. It is really nice working on clean pipes. I have done enough repairs recently that have required me to ream and clean them that I have a greater appreciation for how nice it is to have this done for me. Thanks Jeff for your work and the way it makes my part a bit easier. He worked his usual magic in cleaning up this messy pipe. I really wondered what would lie beneath all of the grime and tars. Jeff reamed it with a PipNet reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He spent quite a bit of time scrubbing the exterior of the bowl, rim cap and shank with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the build up. He rinsed it under running water. It took a lot of scrubbing to get it free of the tars but it worked well. He dried it off with a soft cloth. Once the grime was removed it was clear that the finish underneath was in rough shape. The briar was quite nice with a mix of straight and birdseye grain around the bowl and shank. I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work on it. Jeff had done a miracle in removing the thick cake, cleaning the lava on the rim and sides of the bowl. The inner edge was in pretty  decent shape as was the outer one. I was happy to see the condition. There was however a darkening on the rim top and all around the bowl coming down the sides about ¼ inch. At first I thought that it might have been left behind by a rim cap of some sort but there were no small nail holes in the briar on the sides of the bowl. I think that actually it is what is left behind by the greasy hands of the pipe man and the lava that had flowed down the bowl sides.He was also able to remove much of the grime around the band on the shank and leave the stamping undamaged.I removed the stem and carefully slid the band off the shank. I wanted to clean up the end of the shank with alcohol and sandpaper. I also want to smooth out the back edges of the band and see if I could make it smooth and useable once again. I heated the end of an awl/ice pick and pressed it against the damaged areas of the band. The brass was quite thin so it was really quite workable. I was able to remove all of the damaged areas but one that was a compressed area on the bottom side. It would be hidden on the underside of the shank once it was glued back in place.I scrubbed the shank end and the dark area with acetone to remove more of the grime that was on the surface of the briar. I was able to reduce quite a bit of the buildup around the top of the bowl and the rim top with this method. I sanded the end of the shank to smooth it out. I used a dental spatula to spread the all-purpose glue around the shank. I pressed the band back on the shank with the small damaged spot on the underside.I took a photo of the end of the shank to show that the band fit tight on the shank and was even with the shank end. You can see the damaged area on the underside of the shank on the right side of the photo.I looked through my can of stems because I remembered having a bent Redmanol stem that I had picked up somewhere along the way. Sure enough it was there. It was slightly larger in diameter than the shank of the pipe so it would need to be sanded to fit nicely on the shank. It also had a push stem on it that would need to be removed and replaced with a normal tenon. Both of those were relatively easy jobs. I was anxious to get moving on the stem so of course I forgot to take photos of the stem with the meerschaum push tenon. It was loose so I unscrewed it from the stem. I had a small threaded Delrin tenon with the threads that were close to the same and threaded it into the airway on the stem. It worked well so I unscrewed it and glued it in place in the stem. The photos below show the new tenon on the stem.The tenon fit well in the mortise. The fit against end of the shank was nice. I sanded it to remove the excess material and reduce the diameter of the stem to match the shank using 220 grit sandpaper. In the photos below it is getting close to a nice fit. What you can’t see in the photos is that the nice, rich, red colour of the Redmanol lightened with sanding to shades of blood orange. I could not start over so I decided to keep sanding until the fit was correct. At first I did not like the effect on the Redmanol and I was disappointed by the colour shift. Looking at the stem from the drilled airway before I put the tenon in place and the flat end of the stem it appeared that the red was solid all the way through the material so when the oranges and yellows started to show up I was a bit frustrated. Now as I look at it I have to say it is growing on me. It reminds of the Popsicles that we used to by when I was a kid. I stopped sanding the bowl and put the stem on the shank to get a couple of photos so I could look at it on the screen and get the effect. It is almost like flame… kind of a nice variation. It is interesting to see the fine red line between the band and the stem – the flat end still is an even red. I don’t quite understand it but I am resolved to live with it. I am going to stain the bowl so that should also add to the variations of colour on this old pipe.I decided to try to bleach out the darkening on the rim top and first ¼ inch of the bowl all the way around. I wiped it down with bleach on a cotton pad and left it on the dark area to do its work. It worked better on the left side than the right.I stained the bowl with a dark brown aniline stain to try to blend in the dark rim stains. I applied the stain, flamed it and repeated the process. Once it dried I wiped the bowl down with alcohol on cotton pads to make it more transparent and let the grain shine through.  In the process some of the nicks in the briar showed up more clearly. I decided not to fill them in but to leave them as war wounds on this old timer. They tell a story that I wish the pipe could tell us. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads. I started polishing with 3200-4000 grit pads and wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth. I continued to polish with 6000-12000 grit pads and wiped it down after each pad. I hand buffed it with a soft cloth. The dark ring around the top of the bowl is still visible but less than before. The rim looks good. To further blend the darkened top portion of the bowl with the rest of the pipe I gave the bowl a contrast coat of Danish Oil Cherry Stain. I applied it by hand and rubbed it off and repeated the process to get a good smooth coat.I wiped the stain coat off and hand buffed the pipe lightly. The photos below show what the pipe is looking like at this point in the process. The right side still shows darker than the left at top edge of the bowl. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. After the final 12000 grit pad I gave it a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to polish the briar. I gave the pipe multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise a shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The newly variegated Redmanol stem did not too bad with the old pipe. It shines like polished horn and the flow of the colours worked with the colours on the bowl. The way the colours shifted on the parts worked well together to present a beautiful pipe. The dark rim edge almost looks like the way meerschaum pipes were flumed with a dark edge. The pipe looks fresh and new. Later I will need to give it a bowl coating to protect the bowl inside as there are spidering cracks all around the briar. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. Thanks for looking.