Tag Archives: restaining a bowl and rim

A British Connection for an Italian Made Trident Walnut 910 Cup and Saucer


Blog by Steve Laug

I am enjoying an evening free to work on a few pipes. The next pipe on the table came from an antique mall on 03/05/21 in Logan, Utah, USA. It is a uniquely shaped Italian made pipe that reminds me of a Lorenzo made pipe. The shape and style are much the same as those pipes. This large pipe has a smooth finish on an Italian take on a classic cup and saucer shape. On the underside of the shank it was stamped Trident [over] Styled in Italy [over] Walnut. That is followed by the shape number 910. The finish is filthy with grime and oil ground into the briar of the bowl and shank sides. The bowl was lightly caked and there was some darkening and light lava on the top and edges of the rim. The shank was triangular and the tapered stem followed that shape. There was no stamping or logo on the stem surface. The stem was oxidized and had tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of and on the surface of the button. Jeff took some photos of the pipe to show its overall condition before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the condition of the bowl and rim top. There is dust and debris stuck to the walls of the bowl clearly visible in the photos. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the oxidation, chatter and tooth marks. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar around the pipe looked like. There is an interesting grain patterns under the grime and thick debris.    Jeff took photos of the stamping on the left and underside of the shank. It clearly reads as noted above. I turned first to Pipephil’s site to get a quick summary of the background of the Trident pipe. (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-t8.html). This is fascinating to me as the pipe I have is stamped with the same Trident stamp but is also stamped Styled in Italy. It also had the same matte finish. I vaguely remember a connection between Comoy’s and Lorenzo pipes in Italy. This pipe really has the look of a Lorenzo. Now to dig a bit more deeply.

I turned to Pipedia to see what else I could learn about the brand and found a brief but fascinating article on the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Lorenzo). I quote a part of the article that gives the link to Comoy’s that I had remembered.

In 1983 Lorenzo Tagliabue came to bitter grief: his little daughter, the only child, died of cancer. He lost all interest in the business and retired still in 1983, leaving no heirs who wished to continue the business. Lorenzo Pipes was licensed for and continued for a shorter period by Comoy’s of London (Cadogan / Oppenheimer Group). Then Lorenzo Pipes almost disappeared and Lorenzo Tagliabue passed away in 1987.

But this wasn’t the end. In 1988 Riccardo Aliverti and his wife Gabriella purchased all rights to the Lorenzo trademark from the Tagliabue family and production of the renown Lorenzo Pipes resumed.

The Aliverti family is involved in pipemaking since Romolo Aliverti, the father of the current owners, joined the Lana Brothers in 1920. He later reached the rank of technical director. No wonder that his son Riccardo showed an interest in pipe making. Riccardo began learning the pipemaking trade in 1954 at the age of fourteen under his father’s watchful eyes and succeeded him as technical director upon his father’s retirement in 1973.

Today the third generation of the Aliverti family is working for the company. Massimo Aliverti, Riccardo’s son, has been with the company as sales director since 1991. He works closely with his father and knows all phases of production. Massimo has established a broad customer base for Lorenzo around the world.

I knew that I was working on a Lorenzo made pipe from the period of time (1983) when Comoy’s (Cadogan) managed the brand for them. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff had reamed the bowl with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He worked over the debris on the rim top and was able to remove it. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He soaked the stem in Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. He scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub and cotton pads to remove remaining oxidation on the stem. He rinsed it with warm water and dried it off. I took photos of the pipe once I received it. Other than the burned area on the rim top and edge it really looked good and the bowl itself was in excellent condition. The rim top and the inner edge look very good. There is a large solid fill on the right side of the rim top near the back of the bowl. The stem had a few tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It was clear and read as noted.   I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. I decided to start my work on this pipe by polishing the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads to remove the scratching and polishing the fills on the bowl sides and rim top.I stained the briar with a light brown aniline stain and flamed it to set it in the grain. I repeated the process until the coverage was acceptable.I wiped off the excess stain with alcohol on a cotton pad to even out the colour. When it was the way I wanted I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to get into the nooks and crannies of the rustication. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I filled in the deep tooth marks on both sides with clear CA glue. Once the repair cured I reshaped the button and flattened the surface of the stem with a small file. I sanded the repairs smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.   This Trident Walnut 910 Italian Design Tea Cup with a taper vulcanite stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Trident Walnut Tea Cup fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 75grams/2.65oz. I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store shortly in the Italian Pipe Makers Section. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

A Fascinating Piece of Italian Pipe History – A Molina 80993 Bent Apple


Blog by Steve Laug

I am enjoying an evening free to work on a few pipes. The next pipe on the table came from an antique auction gallery on 05/22/20 in Mebane, North Carolina, USA. It is a uniquely rusticated Italian made pipe with a smooth rim top and shank end that is capped with a brass ferrule. On the left side of the shank it was stamped Molina [over] the shape number 80993. On the underside of the shank it is stamped Italy. It is a brand I have heard of but know little about so I am glad to learn about it. The pipe is a bent apple that is nicely shape. The finish is filthy with grime and oil ground into the briar of the bowl and shank sides. The bowl was thickly caked and there was an overflow of lava on the top and edges of the rim. The front inner edge and rim top appeared to have burn damage that looked like it had been lit repeatedly with a torch lighter. The stem was a fancy Lucite taper stem that fit snugly in the shank and had brass band that was made to look like three rings. There also appeared to be the remnants of a faint stamp on the left side of the stem. The stem was dirty, calcified and had tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. Jeff took some photos of the pipe to show its overall condition before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the lava and dust ground into the finish of the rim top and edges. There is dust and debris stuck to the walls of the bowl clearly visible in the photos. You can also see the damage on the inner edge of the bowl on the front. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the oxidation, chatter and tooth marks.Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar around the pipe looked like. There is an interesting rustication under the grime and thick debris. Jeff took photos of the stamping on the left and underside of the shank. It clearly reads as noted above.I turned first to Pipephil’s site to get a quick summary of the background of the Molina pipe. (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-m6.html). I have included a screen capture of the pertinent section on the site.In the sidebar it included the following information that I have included below.

Artisan: Giovanni Carollo, a former employee of the Rossi factory. Machine crafted mass production. Pipes mainly aimed for German and US market.

I turned to Pipedia to see what else I could learn about the brand and found a brief but fascinating article on the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Molina_Pipe). I quote it in its entirety below.

Molina pipes has it’s origins in Barasso in Lombardy. It was born from what was left of the old Rossi pipes factory, that started in the early 1900s. Molina’s inheritance from Rossi pipes does not only consist of the factory but also the machinery and methods of production. The name Molina refers to a district where you could find mills powered by water.

I followed the trail there to the Molina Pipe website (https://www.molinapipe.it/). It had a great summary of the history.

Molina still lies in part on the antique Rossi factory, a peculiar but not a casual circumstance. it represents an excellent example of industrial archeology. its working environment is enriched with the modernized charm of the past.

Molina’s inheritance from Rossi pipes does not only consist of the factory but also of ancient machinery and methods of production, antique ”secrets” ,antique recipes and production procedures used over 100 years ago.

The name molina has even a longer history, it is up to today used to refer to a district where you could find mills powered by a rush of water.

I knew that I was working on a Molina pipe from the remnants of the old Rossi pipe factory and that the pipes were made mainly for the US and German market. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff had reamed the bowl with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He worked over the debris on the rim top and was able to remove it. The burned area was very clear once he had cleaned it off. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He soaked the stem in Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. He scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub and cotton pads to remove remaining oxidation on the ferrule and the stem. He rinsed it with warm water and dried it off. I took photos of the pipe once I received it. Other than the burned area on the rim top and edge it really looked good and the bowl itself was in excellent condition. The rim top and the inner edge had serious burn damage all around but the heaviest damage was on the front of the bowl. It really looked to be the victim of repeated assault by a torch lighter. If you have one keep it away from your pipe. The stem had a few tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It was clear and read as noted above. I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. The tenon is Delrin. I decided to start my work on this pipe by addressing the damage to the rim top and inner edge of the bowl. I topped the bowl on a board with 180 grit sandpaper. I chose a lower grit sandpaper because the damage was quite deep. Once I had topped the damaged areas and found solid briar I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to reshape and rework the inner edge of the rim. It took a bit of work but the rim top looked much better. I polished the rim top and edge with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads to remove the scratching and polish the smooth briar.    I restained the rim top and edges with a Walnut stain pen to match the other smooth portions of the bowl and shank.I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to get into the nooks and crannies of the rustication. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.    I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I filled in the deep tooth marks on both sides with clear CA glue. Once the repair cured I sanded them smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.      I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. This beautiful Rusticated Molina 80993 Bent Apple with a taper acrylic stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Molina Bent Apple fits nicely in the hand and the tactile finish feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 57grams/2.01oz. I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store shortly in the Italian Pipe Makers Section. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

What a Mess! A Peterson’s Product Shamrock 15 Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe was an absolute mess and one that obviously had been “ridden hard and put away wet”. There was little room in the bowl for tobacco and the finish and condition was abysmal. I am pretty sure it came from a classic old time pipeman who smoked a pipe until it was no longer usable and then pitched it for a new on. It was definitely a stranger to any cleaning! This one is a smooth Billiard that has a rich coloured finish around the bowl sides and shank. It came to us on 07/24/18 from a sale in Lickingville, Pennsylvania, USA. The finish is almost bland looking it is so dirty it was hard to know what to expect once it was cleaned. It was stamped on the  left side of the shank and read SHAMROCK. It was stamped to the right of the shank and reads “A PETERSON’S PRODUCT” over MADE IN THE REP. [over] OF IRELAND (3 lines) with the shape number 15 next to the bowl. It was filthy when Jeff brought it to the table. There was a very thick cake in the bowl and lava on the rim top and the inner edge of the bowl. The cake was thick and overflowing so much it was hard to know what the edge looked like. The stem was stamped with the letter S on the left side. It was oxidized and had tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside on and near the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before his cleanup work. Jeff took photos of the rim top and stem to show the general condition of the pipe. The bowl is so heavily caked it is impossible to know the condition of the edges under the lava overflow. There was still dottle in the bowl from the last smoke of the pipe. The stem is oxidized and grimy. It has some tooth marks on the top and underside near and on the surface of the button itself. Jeff took photos of the bowl sides and heel to show the grain that was around this bowl. You can see the sandpits and nicks in the briar in the photos below. Even so, it is a nice looking pipe.He took photos of the sides of the shank to show the stamping. The stamping is readable in the photos below and is as noted above. I am including the link to the Pipedia’s article on Peterson pipes. It is a great read in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Peterson).
I turned to “The Peterson Pipe” by Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg to get some background on the Peterson’s Shamrock Pipe. On page 312 it had the following information.

Shamrock (c1941-2009) Originally stamped SHAMROCK with no brand name, an inexpensive line first described in George Yale (New York) mail order booklet in 1941, imported by Rogers Import. The line was actively promoted beginning in ’45, aggressively promoted in US by Rogers from early ‘50s when they registered the Shamrock logo with US Patent Office, claiming propriety since ’38. Over the years offered with P-lip or fishtail mouthpiece, with or without nickel band, with or without shamrock logo on the band, with or without S stamped in white or later in gold on mouthpiece. Appearing in 2008 as unstained smooth and rustic, fishtail mouthpiece with gold impressed P on the stem. COMS of MADE IN over IRELAND (C1945-1965), MADE IN IRELAND forming a circle (c1945-1965), “A PETERSON’S PRODUCT” over MADE IN IRELAND (c1945-1965), MADE IN THE over REPUBLIC over OF IRELAND (c1948-1998). Model is always difficult or impossible to date.

Judging from the description above, the pipe I am working on is stamped with the stamp noted in red above. It reads “A Peterson’s Product” over Made in Ireland which narrows the date to between approximately 1948-1998. It is just stamped SHAMROCK with no brand name as an inexpensive a fish tail stem. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

I was utterly surprised when I took this pipe out of the box and compared it to the before photos. Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet reamer and cut back the cake back to the bare briar. He cleaned up the walls with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. Surprisingly the walls looked unscathed from the heavy cake. He scrubbed the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime from the finish. He worked on the rim top lava and darkening with the soap and tooth brush. He scrubbed the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the stem with Soft Scrub and then soaked it in Briarville’s Deoxidizer. He washed it off with warm water to remove the Deoxidizer. The pipe looked far better when it arrived. The cleaned up rim top revealed a very damaged inner edge and top. It was both burned and nicked from what appeared to be a quick ream somewhere in its life with a knife. I took some close up photos of the rim top to show how well it had cleaned up and the damage to the inner edges around the bowl. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the tooth marks on the surface near and on the button itself. I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It reads as noted above. I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to have a look at the parts and overall look.I started my work on this pipe by topping the bowl and reworking the damage to the inner edge. I topped the bowl on a piece of 220 grit sandpaper on a topping board. Once I had it smooth I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to give the inner edge of the bowl a slight bevel to accommodate the burned areas and blend them into the surrounding briar.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad.I interrupted the polishing with the micromesh pads after the 2400 grit pad. I stained the rim top with a Maple, Cherry and Walnut stain pen to blend it into the surrounding briar. Then I continued on my polishing of the briar with 3200-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and “painted” the stem surface with flame of a lighter to lift the tooth marks in the surface. It worked well. I filled in the remaining tooth marks with clear CA glue and set the stem aside to cure. Once it had cured I sanded them smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.From the description I read and quoted above I knew that the stem stamp could well have been gold. I used some Rub’n Buff Antique Gold to fill in the stamp. I worked it into the stamp with a tooth pick. I buffed it off with a soft cloth.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I am excited to finish this Older “A Peterson’s Product” Shamrock 15 Straight Billiard. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with beautiful mixed grain all around it. Added to that the black vulcanite fish tail stem was beautiful. This smooth Classic Shamrock 15 Billiard is great looking and the pipe feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 34grams/1.20oz. It is a beautiful pipe and one will end up on the rebornpipes store in the Irish Pipe makers section. Check there if you want to add it to your collection. Let me know via email or message. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.

Beauty or the Beast?


Blog by Kenneth Lieblich

This is the story of a pipe – possibly damaged beyond reasonable limits – which I really liked and decided (against my better judgement) to revivify. I need to make clear from the outset that this is not a pipe like many you see from Steve, Dal, Paresh, Charles, et al, which begin their restoration as the proverbial sow’s ear and naturally end up as the silk purse. No, this is a pipe that came to me as a damaged ‘beast’ and ended up much improved – but a ‘beast’ it remains. There is damage to the pipe which is, despite my best efforts, a permanent attribute. I leave it to your collective judgement on whether it will ever attain the rank of ‘beauty’.

This pipe came from a lot from Sudbury, Ontario. There were literally no marks of any kind on the stummel, stem, or ferrule. In the absence of a name, Steve and I dubbed it ‘The Sudbury’ and that is the name that stuck. Steve thinks that the Sudbury could be of Italian origin, and I have no reason to question that assessment. So let us pretend that it is an Italian ‘scoop’ pipe that arrived from Northern Ontario. If you have any insight into the pipe’s origin, I would love to hear from you. The photos do not quite convey just how bad this pipe looked when it arrived. The stummel was filthy, scratched, dented, cracked, and burned. The bowl was out-of-round, had lots of lava, cake and burns. The stem was oxidized, calcified, and badly pitted (more about the pitting later). The ferrule was dirty, torn, dented, and cheap-looking – it had obviously been put there to address the cracks in the shank. Where to even begin with this mess?

Well, the start came with removing the sorry-looking ferrule, which, quite frankly, inspired more pathos than confidence. This allowed me to have a good look at the cracks (plural) in the shank. As you can plainly see, the cracks were a mess. I removed what I could of lose debris and glue from these fissures, with the intention of refilling them later.Next was reaming out the bowl. This pipe has quite a wide and curved bowl and it required both the PipNet Reamer and the KleenReem. I took it down to bare briar, as I wanted to ensure there were no hidden flaws in the walls of the bowl. Fortunately, there were none. I then proceeded to clean out the insides of the shank with Q-tips, pipe cleaners, and isopropyl alcohol. This is a pipe that really could have used the services of a retort system, but – alas – I do not have one. If anyone has a spare, please let me know. The fellow on eBay who sells them is out of commission for a while. A quick wipe of the outside revealed that there is really some beautiful wood grain in this pipe.A de-ghosting session seemed in order to rid this pipe of the foul smells of the past. This de-ghosting consisted of thrusting cotton balls in the bowl and the shank, and saturating them with 99% isopropyl alcohol. This caused the oils, tars and smells to leech out into the cotton. Finally, a relatively clean and fresh-smelling bowl emerged.While all of that was going on, I cleaned out the insides of the stem with pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. Then the stem went for an overnight soak in the Before & After Hard Rubber Deoxidizer. I knew the stem was going to require a lot of work, but even I did not know what I was getting myself into. The following day, I cleaned all of the de-oxidizing goop (technical term) off with alcohol, pipe cleaners, et cetera. The oxidation had migrated to the surface and would be fairly straightforward to remove.Back to the stummel – and this required addressing two key issues: the badly out-of-round bowl opening and the cracks in the shank that needed to be re-mended. In order to address the out-of-round issue, I took a solid wooden sphere, wrapped sandpaper around it, and sanded thoroughly – until such time as the bowl was returned to round. This process was not difficult, but it was time consuming. I had to ensure that I was sanding down the correct parts that needed it and that I was not removing too much. In the end, I think I got the balance just right.Meanwhile, I had to figure out what could be done with the very noticeable cracks in the shank. The previous ferrule had done a passable job of hiding them, but that ferrule was a non-starter. It was ugly and trashed. Anyway, an application of briar dust and cyanoacrylate adhesive seemed to be the way to go in addressing the cracks. I also had to concede that, no matter what, the cracks were always going to be a visible part of this pipe from now on. There was just no way around it. I sanded down the repairs and left them for a bit later.There was a small burn on the underside of the stummel that also needed to be addressed. I took some oxalic acid on a Q-tip and rubbed and rubbed. The burn did improve but never fully disappeared. I took solace from the fact that the burn was very superficial and did not affect the integrity of the wood at all.After this, I used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to sand everything smooth. A light application of Before & After Restoration Balm brought out the best in the stummel’s grain.Steve was kind enough to find me a new ferrule that we could bend to correctly fit the oval shank. This was not as easy as it sounds because the shank’s width tapered away from the end. I used a combination of heat, glue and elbow grease to fit it. I then used metal sandpaper to even out the edge. A quick polish with my cloth made it look pretty good.Now on too the stem. Oh boy – this was a struggle. All the usual things were fine. As I mentioned, the deoxidizing went well; the cleaning of the internals went well; the sanding of the stem with the Micromesh pads went well; the buffing and polishing went well; BUT the pitting was very difficult. In the first place, the pits were all filled with filth and/or oxidation and/or debris from the many years of neglect. In order to dislodge this, I soaked the pitted part of the stem overnight in a lemon-infused, isopropyl alcohol solution. This worked surprisingly well. The debris either dissolved or was easy to scrub out.Now, how to fill these properly so as to create a smooth and (hopefully) invisible repair? Steve assured me that he had successfully filled pits in the past with cyanoacrylate adhesive. Perfect – I set about carefully smearing the adhesive all over the pitting. I left it to set and came back later to sand it down. So far, so good, but some of the pits did not fill (no idea how that happened) and others just looked terrible after sanding. I obviously did something wrong. Steve suggested that we used some black cyanoacrylate adhesive. He very kindly did his own smearing of the black adhesive on my stem. We let it set, did all the right things, and it still looked lousy. I even tried using a black Sharpie to see if that would help – it didn’t. Suffice it to say that I went through this process a total of FOUR times before I had to admit defeat. I will say that the stem looks so much better than when I started, but those pits were *ahem* the pits.I applied more Before & After Restoration Balm, then some wax. I polished it by hand with a microfibre cloth and I was pleased with the results! This pipe was clearly a great beauty on the day it was made. Over the years, abuse, neglect, and the ravages of time turned this charming pipe into a beast. I worked harder on this pipe than I have on any other, but I am proud of it and I am adding it to my collection. I look forward to smoking it for many years to come.

The dimensions of the pipe are as follows: length 164 mm; height 42 mm; bowl diameter 149 × 44 mm; chamber diameter 23 mm. The mass of the pipe is 46 grams. Thank you very much for reading and, as always, I welcome and encourage your comments.

Breathing New Life into a German VAUEN 6294 P-Lip Saddle Billiard for a Special Young Lady


Blog by Dal Stanton

Darren has commissioned a number pipes from the For “Pipe Dreamers” Only! collection benefiting the Daughters of Bulgaria – helping women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  I am grateful for this!  The first pipe restored for Darren came out beautifully (See: An Amazing Transformation of a Bruyere Extra Paneled Billiard).  Of all the pipes that Darren has commissioned, the one on the worktable now was the most difficult to choose.  I know this for certain because it took Darren several weeks finally to hear the whisper of a specific pipe for his youngest daughter, Lina.

God made fathers, I believe, with a special place in their hearts for daughters.  This coupled with the fact that Lina’s 18th birthday was on the horizon and in addition to this was Darren’s desire to continue a guarded family tradition where Dad gifts a pipe to each of his children at their 18th birthday.  A gifted pipe contributes to part of a rite of passage into adulthood.  Of course, when Darren shared this information with me in one communication, my response was to ask more questions about the tradition and about Lina – her personality, aspirations, etc., so that the pipe and its write up would in some small way reflect what was important to Darren and celebrate Lina’s life and her 18th birthday.

Darren’s response about his youngest daughter’s pipe was tentative.  He wrote:  As for my daughter’s pipe, I’m uncertain. For her siblings, I found appropriate p-lip Peterson pipes, making it easier for them to try different tobaccos alongside dad, and then discussing flavors. Unlike my other two, Madeleine (but she prefers Lina) said she has no interest in smoking the pipe (she knows) she’ll receive. Her birthday is August 1, but the timing is less important than the day it is given.  

Darren went on to write that Lina was unique, not only because she is the extrovert of the family, but that she has also grown to be a stronger person because of a hair loss condition she was diagnosed with at age four, alopecia totalis.  Later he sent a short essay Lina had written for a college application where she described the challenges she encountered with this condition and how she responded.  I repeat some excerpts of what Lina wrote – an amazing story:

Everyone experiences obstacles in their life.  We may not have control over when or what these hurdles will be, but we do get to choose how we respond to them. Alopecia Universalis became part of my story when I was four years old, and my mom noticed a patch of hair missing on the top of my head. Alopecia is an autoimmune disease that puts my immune system in hyper-drive and causes it “fight” against my hair, thinking it is unhealthy, like a virus or bacteria that it needs to attack. Imagine waking up and seeing gobs of hair on your pillow in the morning. Take that further and think of how scared you’d be to see clumps of hair falling off your head while you applied shampoo in the shower. I was young, and I did not understand what was happening to me. I had no idea how my friends would react to it, and I hated it when people stared at me, thought I was a boy, or assumed I was losing my hair because of cancer….

My parents worked hard to help me figure out how I wanted to handle my hair loss, what made me most comfortable; I tried wigs, hats, and bandanas, but nothing seemed to be the right fit for me. As an active young child, and eventually a student-athlete, wigs were way too hot and impractical. I would often just rip them off whenever I began to overheat, causing people who did not know I had Alopecia to startle a bit. Eventually, I realized that I did not want to wear anything extra and that none of those things made me feel more normal….

God gave me this disease because He knew I could handle it. He has given me the strength to know and believe that He made me in His image, and I am perfect in His eyes. It is not always easy, but I am bald; I have accepted it, and I have chosen to rock it! Even though it seemed impossible at the beginning, I can now be someone people look up to because I am strong and happy. I want to be an inspiration to others. At first, it was so weird, but now it is normal to me, just another character trait.  It has been so long since I had hair that for my family and friends, it [Strength? No hair? What?] is just … me. 

Through this disease, I have learned that I do not have to allow an obstacle to stop me, I can overcome them, and I can turn them into something useful. I will not let Alopecia stop me from doing anything. I have learned to think of it as something that makes me unique rather than an inconvenience. I like being different. I think it is pretty cool that I walk around bald every day; nothing can stop me.

With my request to include Lina’s story in this write up, Darren sent Lina’s photo.  The photo beautifully portrays the bold extroversion Darren described about his unique daughter, but more foundational were Lina’s words revealing the unyielding trust in God that buttressed that boldness – a special young lady.

My response to Darren was to propose one of the pipes that he had already commissioned as possibly matching Lina’s personality. Here is some of what I said:

…Your daughter is gold too 😊.  To have grown up with the hair condition and to overcome it with what appears, great style and grace, is in itself a beautiful thing….  Her apparent extroverted ‘in your face’ spunk and attitude, to me fits well with the reputation of Lorenzo.  Lorenzo, among not only Italian pipes, has the reputation of being on the ‘edge’ in design… There is no doubt, the Lorenzo walks with a bit of swagger…. I look forward to hearing from you.

Since I wanted to work on Lina’s pipe next, I was hopeful of a quick response from Darren regarding his thoughts about the Lorenzo.  Finally, some days later, after he again searched the ‘Dreamers’ collection 😊, another pipe finally whispered Lina’s name to dad.  Darren wrote that the German made VAUEN would be a good fit because, like the Petersons he had given to his other 2 children, the VAUEN sported a P-lip stem.

I found the VAUEN in August of 2017 when my wife and I were enjoying holiday on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast in the city of Burgas.  I found it at a favorite second-hand/antique store on the main walking street.  The VAUEN is pictured with an Altinay Meerschaum Teardrop Lattice which has already found a new home with a happy steward.

Here are a few pictures of Lina’s VAUEN that dad commissioned for her 18th birthday:The nomenclature is clear and crisp.  Stamped on the left flank of the shank is ‘VAUEN’.  Stamped on the underside of the shank is 6294, the shape number VAUEN has assigned to this hefty Billiard.This is my first opportunity working on a pipe marked with VAUEN. Pipedia’s article about VAUEN included a link that went directly to VAUEN’s English language website from which Pipedia’s information seems to have come in part. I was interested to see that VAUEN is a long-time name in pipe production based in Nuremberg, Germany. My first impression of the website revealing German quality and precision was, ‘Wow!’ The current pipes displayed are sharp and modern – an attractive blending of modernistic and classical tradition. I clipped these pipes as a sampling of pipes currently available and reflecting the style of today’s VAUEN. Looking through the site I did not find anything like Lina’s VAUEN, and I saw no P-lips. This clues me in that models with P-lip stems are perhaps a thing of the VAUEN past – but how far back did P-lips cease to be part of the VAUEN presentation? I found no answer for this.One other observation looking at VAUEN’s offerings – they have produced and have available an exceptional line of pipes called, AUENLAND. Google Translate helped me to crack the translation which brought on a smile, ‘Shire’. The Shire line is described with bowls made of briar, stems of beechwood and with an acrylic mouthpiece. Here are a few ‘Shire’ pipes which one would find hobbits, wizards, dwarfs, and kings in waiting, smoking across Middle Earth.Amazingly, Pipephil.eu (See: The Lord of the Rings) devotes an entire stand-alone article describing how VAUEN has perfected the ‘selling of a dream’ as a market strategy. Producing the ‘Shire’ line of pipes with each pipe named after a character, allows a would-be purchaser to identify with a favorite character and acquire THAT pipe. Who would not want Aragorn’s pipe? 😊 And of course, these ‘Lord of the Ring’ pipes, numbering about 16 different styles with characters attached as names, come in a packaging which helps convince one of the reasonableness of the purchase – I am moving in that direction! Resisting the urge to covet more, I turn to the question of the history of the VAUEN name? I look to the History section of the VAUEN website and again, I am impressed with the presentation. Whenever I work on a pipe, and especially when a pipe name is new to me, I enjoy looking at its history to appreciate the pipe more fully now on my worktable. From VAUEN’s website:

Quality and a wealth of ideas have a long tradition at VAUEN. 160 years of VAUEN: that means 160 years of skilled workmanship and modern technology and 160 years of experience in fulfilling the individual wishes of today’s pipe lovers, and those of tomorrow.

In Nuremberg in 1848, Karl Ellenberger and his partner Carl August Ziener turned an idea into reality: Germany’s first pipe manufacturer produced tobacco pipes for connoisseurs around the world using a selection of the best wood. In an amalgamation with the Gebhard Ott pipe factory, which was founded in 1866 in Nuremberg, the Vereinigten Pfeifenfabriken Nuremberg (United Pipe Factories Nuremberg, or VPFN) was born in 1901.  Under the management of Ernst Eckert, a descendent of the founding Ott family, a company was born whose products and services would shape the tobacco and smoking culture in Europe and overseas for the next 160 years and counting.

The question about the name, VAUEN, not being a name of a person and why it is capitalized throughout is explained:

In his search for a name that would be easily remembered by all pipe lovers, Ernst Eckert’s son, Adolf Eckert, coined a new name for the company in 1909: VAUEN – a composition of the first letters V (pronounced vow) of Vereinigte Pfeifenfabriken and N (pronounced en) of Nuremberg. A brand for the future was born.

Another interesting piece of information regarding the development of VAUEN pipes is the dot on the stem marking its pipes:

In 1911, Adolf Eckert began to mark pipes with extraordinary quality with a white dot on the mouthpiece. Today, the “white dot” is an internationally renowned trademark that guarantees carefully selected materials, attractive grains, and elaborate workmanship. VAUEN pipes made for export are marked with a grey dot.

What the VAUEN website does not reveal but is revealed in the Pipedia article is the legal entanglement with Dunhill VAUEN’s marking of the stem produced:

In the 1920s, VAUEN had taken out a trademark on a white dot on the mouthpiece for Germany and Austria, at the same time that Dunhill had done the same for the international market. The companies ended up in court with the result that Dunhill may use the white dot internationally, whereas VAUEN may use it only in Germany and Austria and has to use a differently-coloured dot for all other markets. They have used light blue and grey dots internationally since then. The white or coloured dot denotes the higher quality pipes of VAUEN; the lower-end pipes are only marked by the VAUEN imprint on the stem.

This information about the different dot colors used by VAUEN is of interest because in my initial inspection of the VAUEN on the worktable, I did not know about the dot nor did I see a dot.  The pictures taken do not show a dot and since the stem is now soaking in the oxidation remover since I started the process of the restoration before the writing and research, this is something I will be looking for when the stem is finished soaking!  From the picture, there is certainly no white dot – perhaps a more subdued blue or grey is dot hiding?  Nor do I see ‘VAUEN’ imprinted on the stem denoting a ‘lower end’ pipe.The history on the VAUEN website concludes describing the current leadership structure safeguarding the legacy of the 170-year-old family run business – quite an achievement:

Also in 2018 Julia Eckert, the youngest daughter from Alexander Eckert, joins the business and therefore represents the 6th generation of the family. She takes over the Strategic Marketing department and is from now on responsible for the establishment and extension for all the marketing activities (on- and offline). In 2020 Alexander Eckert hands over the entire management to his successor Martin Ramsauer and retires from the active management after 38 years. He will remain loyal as a partner of the family business and ‘sparring partner’ in general. In this way, it is ensured that pipe history will continue to be written successfully at VAUEN and our passion for enjoyment will be shared with pipe lovers all over the world.

One additional observation about the VAUEN website that was remarkably interesting were video links showing much of the current manufacturing processes of a modern-day pipe factory. Even though they are in German, the videos are fascinating and worth the watch – Pipe manufactory (VAUEN.com).

The question regarding the VAUEN P-lip stem seems at this point to be a possible aging marker for Lina’s VAUEN.  I did not look at every listing on the VAUEN website, but I did not see any pipes listed with a P-lip stem.  Pipephil.eu has a listing for VAUEN pipes and some examples of pipes.  There is also a link describing the VAUEN P-lip with other pipe maker P-lip styles (See: Peterson’s P-Lip and its variants).  The VAUEN pictured is part of the Dr. Perl line which bears no resemblance to Lina’s pipe.

I have found nothing in the research giving a specific identification of the line or dating of the VAUEN on the worktable.  Even so, it indeed resembles the VAUEN ‘style’ with the sharp acrylic stem/shank divider or ring.  The condition of the pipe looks generally to be solid.  The chamber has moderately thick cake and the lava overflow crusting the rim needs attention.  The bowl is grimy dulling and obscuring the grain beneath.  The P-lip saddle stem has deep oxidation and calcification on the bit.  With a greater appreciation for this German made VAUEN Billiard, the restoration begins with the stem.

As I mentioned earlier, the work on the stem started earlier.  Before putting it into a soak to address the oxidation, many pipe cleaners and cotton buds were used to first clean the airway and the filter cavity.  I believe all VAUEN pipes are designed to be fitted with a filter of which VAUEN is also a producer.  The 9mm filter compartment is a prime collector of crud and a small dental spoon was also employed to excavate.  It takes fierce battling finally to call the airway and filter cavity clean. Next, the stem was put into a soak of Briarville’s Pipe Stem Oxidation Remover. I left the stem in the soak for a full 24 hours to leverage as much effort to the oxidation removal as possible. I am curious to see if a dot will surface which will be able to indicate the market area this VAUEN was headed toward when new.The stem has been soaking for 24 hours and when I fish it out the raised oxidation is pronounced. I first use a cotton pad wetted with alcohol to wipe off the raised oxidation.  After the cotton pad, I also apply 0000 grade steel wool to see if I can remove more oxidation.  The results seem good regarding the removal of a goodly portion of the oxidation.  Another mystery emerges – thoroughly inspecting the top of the saddle looking for a grey or blue dot comes up empty.  Perhaps there are exceptions to the VAUEN pipes receiving the dot?  I see no other markings on the stem.To condition the vulcanite stem, paraffin oil is then applied to the stem.The process also reveals that the stem ring or extender is not acrylic as I earlier thought. It is most definitely a wooden ring of some sort. It darkened through the process but as it dries and later sanded, it should spruce up nicely giving a nice contrasting transition from stummel to stem.Putting the stem aside for the time, I look more closely at the VAUEN stummel.  The stummel is huge with a chamber width of 1 inch and depth of 1 7/8 inches.  First, a fresh picture is taken to show the starting point.To clear the carbon cake in the chamber, all 4 of the Pipnet Reaming Tool blade heads are used.  The Kleen Reem Pipe Tool was also used to help break up the cake.  Following this, the Savinelli Fitsall Tool continues by scraping the chamber walls and then to finish, the chamber is sanded with 240 sanding paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen. An inspection of the chamber walls shows small heating veins but no problems with significance.Next, a few pictures show the crusting lava flow on the rim and the grime spots on the briar surface.To start the external surface cleaning, undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap is used with a cotton pad to scrub.  The rim is a bear, and the brass wire brush is used along with the pocketknife to carefully scrape the carbon.  The stummel is then transferred to the sink to continue the cleaning.  Using shank brushes with hot water, anti-oil liquid dishwashing soap is used to scrub the internal mortise.  Once the stummel is rinsed thoroughly, it comes back to the table.Next, to continue the cleaning of the internals, cotton buds and pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 99% are used to scrub.  The effort includes a small dental spoon digging and scraping into the mortise walls.  After a good amount of time, and with the hour getting close to quitting time, I decide to transition.To continue the cleaning through the night a kosher salt and alcohol soak will be used. This method helps to draw out the tars and oils from the internal briar. First, a cotton ball is pulled and stretched to act as a ‘wick’ to draw out the oils and tars. With the aid of a stiff wire, the wick is guided down the mortise into the airway.The bowl is then filled with kosher salt which leaves no aftertaste and set in an egg carton for stability and to angle the stummel so that the rim and mortise opening are roughly level.  Isopropyl 99% then fills the bowl with a large eye dropper until it surfaces over the salt. After a few minutes, the alcohol is topped off and the lights go off.The next morning, the soiled salt and cotton wick indicate the cleaning processes going on through the night.  After tossing the salt into the waste, the chamber is wiped with a paper towel and blowing through the mortise helps to clear any residual salt crystals. To continue the internal cleaning, I return to cotton buds and pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 99% for the last push which lasts much longer than hoped.  With many buds and pipe cleaners expended on the second day of cleaning the internals, I use the small dental spoon again to scrape the walls.  Drill bits are also used to excavate crud.  With a bit the same size of the airway, after mounting it on a power drill, it is hand turned (NOT powered up!) to move the drill down the airway. When the metal bit surfaces through the draft hole, I continue to hand turn the drill the same way and back it out of the airway.The dark area on the end of the drill shows the crud pulled out.  I repeat this process a few times and I use a larger bit as well that only excavated at the back of the mortise where the airway begins.  I discover that the VAUEN drilling for the filter included a ridge at the start of the internal airway that was tapered wider than the deeper airway so it wasn’t being addressed by the narrower drill bit.Well, the buds and cleaners finally began to emerge lighter. I call it done and move on.With the formal cleaning completed, I turn my attention to addressing the issues. The rim is in rough shape from the heavy lava flow and indications of charring. The darkened area on the shank side of the rim shows the place where the former steward drew the flame over the rim in lighting. The inner edge of the rim also reveals the round of the chamber being a bit compromised. A few pictures of the bowl and shank edge show a few small dark spots which I believe are old fill patches.  They seem solid but are raised – detectable by the touch.To address these issues I begin at the top of the stummel and work downward. I begin by topping the stummel to clean the rim. I place 240 sanding paper on the chopping board to serve as my desktop topping board. I take a starting picture to mark the beginning.With the stummel inverted, the stummel is rotated over the paper several times. Care is given to keep the stummel level and not to tilt it in any one direction.The following pictures show the progression after several rotations and then stopping to check the progress. I do not want to take off more briar than is necessary, but enough of the damaged rim needs to be removed to address the burn damage.At this point I stop the process on the 240 paper. I believe enough briar has been removed. The remaining darkened and damaged briar on the inner rim edge should be removed with introducing a bevel on the inner rim edge.Several quick rotations are applied on 600 grade paper to smooth the rim further.Next, using a hard surface as a backing against the sandpaper, a bevel is cut using 240 then 600 grade papers. The Sharpie Pen wrapped with 240 grade paper is also used to help sand and shape the inner chamber wall to fashion the chamber restoring the round.There continues an imbalance in the width of the rim going around the circumference, but there is nothing I can do about that. It looks much improved now.Now, moving downwardly, the raised fill spots are sanded with 240 paper and inspected. They still look solid.To protect the VAUEN nomenclature and shape number during sanding, painter’s tape works well.Next, I rejoin the stem with the stummel. I do this to protect the wooden stem connector ring from shouldering now that I know that it is wood. With the stem and stummel joined, the sanding moves over the junctions without shouldering.  Using 240 paper the saddle of the stem is sanded.The sanding is then expanded to the entire P-lip stem using 240 sanding paper. With the stem and stummel remaining joined, sanding sponges are applied to the stummel to clean it and remove imperfections in the briar.  Four sponges are used starting with the coarsest and moving to the fine grades.Next, continuing with the stummel alone, the full regimen of 9 micromesh pads is applied to the stummel.  The fine sanding starts by wet sanding with pads 1500 to 2400.  This is followed with pads 3200 to 4000 and pads 6000 to 12000.  The painter’s tape is removed after the first set of 3. I am pleased with how the grain has emerged through the micromesh sanding. To mask the dark fills and the darker areas around the stampings, and to bring out the grain with more contrast, I apply dye to the stummel. I decide to apply Fiebing’s Tan Leather Dye leveraging more toward subtle contrasting in the grain. After assembling the components necessary on the work desk, the stummel is warmed with a hot air gun to expand the briar. This helps the grain to be more receptive to the dye pigment. Next, using a folded pipe cleaner, the dye is applied in swatches over the stummel surface. With each application of dye, the wet aniline dye is ‘flamed’ using a lit candle. This combusts the alcohol in the dye and leaves the pigment behind in the briar. After the dye has been applied over the stummel, the stummel is set aside for several hours for the dye to ‘rest’ and settle into the grain.While the stummel is resting, I turn my attention to the stem. After sanding with 240 paper earlier, next is wet sanding using 600 grade paper. Following the 600 paper, 0000 grade steel wool is applied to the entire stem.Following the steel wool, the finer sanding begins with micromesh pads. Starting with wet sanding with pad 1500 to 2400 and then dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000. Between each set of 3 pads, Obsidian Oil is applied to condition the stem and guard against oxidation. Wow! I love the pop that develops through the process. The P-lip with the wood stem ring is looking good.
The newly dyed stummel has been resting for several hours and it is time for one of my favorite parts of restoration. I have applied a Tan hue which I believe will emulate the original VAUEN motif – a lighter and subtler contrasting with the grains. We will see! The rotary tool is mounted with a new felt buffing wheel and the speed is set a bit slower than normal – about 35% full power. I slow it down because using the coarser Tripoli compound and the abrasive felt buffing wheel provide a lot of friction and heating. I do not want to scorch the briar. The unwrapping process begins as the felt wheel clears the crusted shell from the flamed dye. The felt wheel is purged often during the process to clean and soften the felt. The picture below shows the gradual process of removing the excess dye to reveal the contrasted grains. I enjoy watching the grain emerge. After completing the heavy lifting with the felt wheel, not shown is the change to the cotton cloth wheel and another round of applying Tripoli with the speed of the rotary tool increased to about 50% full power. This helps to continue sharpening the grain and removing excess dye.Following the Tripoli, to blend the new dye and to remove the flamed dye excess debris, the stummel is wiped with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol.After reuniting the stem and stummel, another cotton cloth wheel is mounted, and the rotary tool’s speed is set to about 40% full power. The finer and less abrasive Blue Diamond compound is applied to the entire pipe. I decided to order a new Blue Diamond brick – it is becoming a bit tricky loading product onto the wheel!After the application of the Blue Diamond, the pipe is buffed with a felt cloth to remove the compound debris before applying the wax. The compound can cake up on the surface and needs a little help to be cleared. Well, I guess I forgot to take a picture of transitioning next to another cotton cloth buffing wheel mounted on the rotary tool to apply carnauba wax to the pipe. After application of the wax, the pipe is given a rigorous hand buffing to remove excess wax and to raise the shine.
Earlier, after inspecting the chamber after the cake had been cleared, I observed that there were minor heating veins in the chamber wall. This is not a problem, but I decided to provide the chamber a coating of activated charcoal and yogurt to provide a starter for the development of a cake to protect the briar. The width of a healthy cake layer should be maintained at about the width of a dime. Applying the charcoal/yogurt mixture also provides a nice cosmetic upgrade in consideration of the pipe’s destiny as a gift for Lina. The yogurt is regular, non-flavored with whole milk – my wife’s yogurt 😊. A small amount of yogurt is placed in a plastic container. Charcoal powder is then added to the yogurt and mixed with the pipe nail tool. Charcoal is added gradually until it is thick enough not to drip off the tool – it hangs together. You do not want a runny mixture in the chamber.A pipe cleaner is inserted through the draft hole to block any of the mixture from clogging the airway.Next, I use the pipe nail carefully to trowel the mixture into the chamber, starting at the floor, and spreading the mixture over the chamber surface. When I get to the top, I can easily remove any stray mixture on the rim and leave a smart, dapper line at the foot of the bevel. It looks good. The stummel is left in an upright position to allow the cake starter to cure through the night. One word to the new steward – do not scrape the chamber with a metal tool after putting it into service for the first several times. Instead, using a folded pipe cleaner ‘brush’ the chamber to clear excess ash.The next morning, the pipe is given another rigorous hand buffing with a microfiber cloth. The quality and craftsmanship of this German made VAUEN 6294 P-lip Saddle Billiard is remarkable. I am pleased with the amazing resurrection of the grain presentation. Expressive and lively lateral grain flank the sides of the bowl which result in the expected showcase of bird’s eye grain swirls on the fore and aft briar canvas. The stylish ring of wood, very characteristic of the ‘VAUEN’ style, provides an attractive transition from the colossal, handful of a bowl to the classic P-lip Saddle stem. Since Darren commissioned this pipe as a special gift for a special daughter, he has the first opportunity to claim the VAUEN from The Pipe Steward Store benefiting the Daughters of Bulgaria – helping women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited. Thanks for joining me! So that we don’t forget how far we have come:

Restoring the 23rd Pipe from the Mumbai Bonanza – a Herter’s Angler’s Pipe #147


Blog By Paresh Deshpande

The next pipe that I had selected to work on was dictated by my desire to work on something that would be a simple and an easy project. I went through the box of pipes for restoration and selected a beautiful lightweight straight billiards that came to us in a lot which I prefer to call as my Mumbai Bonanza!

I was fortunate enough to have heeded the advice of my dear friend and mentor, Steve, and struck a deal with a junk collector from Mumbai. He did not know what he was selling and I did not know what I was buying as we reside in different cities!! The argument that Mr. Steve presented was that if not anything, I shall at least have some spare parts and this was logical. I struck a deal and here are pictures of the pipes that I received in this lot.       This lot contains some very nice collectible pipes, a few well known brands and some mediocre brands. Overall, with seven Dunhill pipes, a Preben Holm #1 FH, a couple of “Made in England” Pete System pipes, a couple of  Charatan’s Belvedere, Custom-Bilt, Stanwell and other assorted pipes, I would say that I had struck a decent haul!! This is indeed my “Mumbai Bonanza”.

This 23rd pipe that I decided to work on from this find is a medium sized straight billiard and is indicated in green color arrow. It has a very solid feel in the hand with a very light weight to it making it ideal to clench all day long. The pipe exudes top notch quality of briar, very high quality of craftsmanship and construction with perfect proportions and classic design! It is stamped on the left of the shank as “HERTER’S” over “ANGLERS PIPE” in block capital letters. The right side of the shank bears the COM stamp “MADE IN” over “ENGLAND” followed by the shape code # 147 towards the stummel end. The stem is stamped as “HERTER’S” in block letters. All the stampings are crisp and easily readable. Since I had never heard of, let alone worked on a Herter’s pipe, I was keen to know more about this brand and if possible, establish approximate date/period for this pipe. I first turned to rebornpipes.com, as Steve has chronicled and researched many of the pipe houses and brands over the years working on pipe repairs and restoration. But unfortunately, this time around, there was no information available on this brand. Next, I turned to pipedia.org for information and there is very scant information available about the brand. The info that I gathered is reproduced below:-

Herter’s – Pipedia

Apparently this outdoor outfitting company had pipes made for them? If you have any additional information please add it here, or send it to sethile.pipes@gmail.com and we will add it for you.

Well, that’s all the info that was available about the brand, other than a few pictures of the pipes and stampings that were available, thanks to Dough Valitchka.

Next I turned to pipephil.eu and the only additional information I learned was I quote “Private label of the same name outdoor equipment stores (fishermen, hunters, forest rangers…). A unique model: Herter’s pipes are all of the same shape.”

I have included a screenshot of the relevant part including pictures of the pipe and stampings seen on the pipe. I disagree with the comment “Herter’s pipes are all of the same shape” as there are different shapes available as I found out later during my research.

He-Hh — Pipes : Logos & Markings (pipephil.eu)Still not satisfied with the information gained so far, I did a random search for Herter’s on the web and Google Baba provided me with enough material to learn about Herter’s. The first thing I learned was that Herter’s was a Outdoor Goods Business that was started by George Leonard Herter. The first site I visited was Wikipedia and have reproduced the particulars of George Herter. Here is the link and relevant information that I have reproduced:-

George Leonard Herter – Wikipedia

George Leonard Herter (24 May 1911 – 5 July 1994) of Waseca, Minnesota was the founder of the Herter’s outdoor goods business and an author. His best known books are the Bull Cook and Authentic Historical Recipes and Practices series (published in three volumes), which have a cult following today.[1]

In 1937 Herter took his father’s dry goods store and turned it into a mail order outdoor goods business, selling hunting and fishing items through a catalog. He later opened retail outlet stores, which pioneered the style of outdoor goods stores now operated by Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops. The company went bankrupt in 1981.[1]

He is best known for his books, which were self-published and sold through his stores. The New York Times describes the Bull Cook series as his “magnum opus“, “a wild mix of recipes, unsourced claims and unhinged philosophy that went through at least 15 editions between 1960 and 1970.”[1]

How to Get Out of the Rat Race and Live On $10 a Month, despite its title, is an encyclopedic 656-page collection of outdoor and survival skills.

The Bull Cook series and How to Get Out of the Rat Race are credited as co-written by George Leonard Herter and his wife, Berthe E. Herter.

There is a very insightful and informative article in Star Tribune on Herter’s catalog that I came across and here is the link to that article. It is titled, “Herter’s catalog is long gone, but not forgotten”.

Herter’s catalog is long gone, but not forgotten – StarTribune.com

Before there was an Internet or a Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shop or Gander Mountain, there was Herter’s — the first outdoors gear juggernaut. Say the word “Herter’s’’ and a legion of mostly men, now middle-aged or older, in Minnesota and nationwide nod their collective heads in fond recollection. Herter’s mail-order catalogs were legendary, hundreds of pages jammed with hunting, fishing, camping and other outdoor gear that could be delivered to your doorstep. Those catalogs included lengthy descriptions, instructions and bold, often audacious claims — entertaining readers while also enticing them to buy. Herter’s was the Sears, Roebuck of the outdoor industry and was perhaps best known for its waterfowl products. Launched and headquartered in Waseca, Minn., the company was the inspiration for today’s huge mail-order and big-box outdoor retailers. And at the center of it all was George Herter, an eccentric and reclusive entrepreneur, a marketing genius who made brazen, bombastic claims to boost sales of his products. Though he died more than 20 years ago, he remains an enigma — and one of the most interesting characters in Minnesota history.

“He was an icon in Minnesota, and had a lot to do with influencing waterfowling, not only in Minnesota but throughout the United States,’’ said Doug Lodermeier, 60, of Edina, a waterfowl historian and collector who gave a presentation on Herter’s legacy Saturday at the annual Minnesota Waterfowl Association’s waterfowl symposium in Bloomington.

“It’s easy to dismiss him as a crackpot and goofball, but the reality is he was a genius,’’ Lodermeier said. “He was way ahead of his time.’’

Herter labeled most of his products “world famous” or “model perfect,” and he claimed many were endorsed by the North Star Guides Association — which didn’t exist.

Said Lodermeier: “As a kid I couldn’t wait for the Herter’s catalog to come because me and my friends just rolled on the ground reading his claims and outlandish stories. We loved it — and we bought his stuff.’’

Herter reportedly wrote all of the copy in his catalogs, instruction manuals and pamphlets and also was a prolific author — among his books: “How to Get Out of the Rat Race and Live on $10 a Month.” In a cookbook he wrote, “The Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ, was very fond of spinach.’’

Quirkiness aside, Herter built an outdoors empire, starting around 1935 in Waseca. It began as a catalog business that focused on fly-tying, but it grew to include virtually every outdoor product imaginable — and some unimaginable. Eventually Herter opened stores in Waseca, Glenwood, Mitchell, S.D., Beaver Dam, Wis., Iowa City and Iowa Falls, Iowa, and Olympia, Wash.

But after decades of success, a “perfect storm’’ led to Herter’s demise, Lodermeier said: The overexpansion of those retail stores at a time when oil prices were skyrocketing, the Gun Control Act of 1968, which prevented firearms from being bought and sold via the mail, and federal bans on the importation of some feather species Herter’s used for fly tying.

Herter’s went bankrupt in 1977, and the though the man has become mostly forgotten, his name lives on. Cabela’s now owns the brand, and customers can order an assortment of Herter’s gear and ammunition.

George Herter saw combat in Europe during World War II, earned a Purple Heart and may have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. Reclusive even at the height of his success, Herter apparently didn’t give interviews, and few photographs of him exist. The man who left an indelible mark on the outdoors industry is relatively unknown.

He died in 1994 in Minneapolis at age 83, leaving behind no autobiographies or interviews.

“I don’t want to be known and rarely tell people my right name. I never allow anyone to take my picture,’’ he wrote in one book.

With a fair idea of the enigmatic man behind Herter’s, my quest to know about Anglers Pipe and it’s place in the Outdoor Goods business, pushed me to further research. I came across a blog by Dean Smith, an Angler and collector of fishing collectible. Here is the link to the blog and certain excerpts from his researched blog.

Tackle Treasures: vintage fishing tackle collectibles

About Tackle Treasures…
When most folks think about fishing collectibles they likely conjure up images of fine bamboo rods, early reels, wooden lures with glass eyes, hand carved ice-fishing decoys or perhaps leather trimmed split willow creels. Not me …I like all of the other stuff best …gizmos, bottles, boxes, tins, medals, pins, knives, fly tying vises, advertising items and all sorts of paraphernalia with a fishing theme. Poke around the site for bit …I’m sure you’ll see the attraction after a tour.

Tobacciana | Tackle Treasures

In the old days smoking and outdoor activities seemed to go hand-in-hand …thereby the vast proliferation of smoking products with angling themes. In fact, smoking was so popular that some tackle manufacturers offered smoking products and accessories. For example, both Hardy and Herter’s made “Anglers Pipes”. Now, I am not the least bit certain what distinguishes a normal pipe from an Anglers pipe …but it did give me something else to collect and that’s all that matters. Hardy also made an “Anglers Pipe Reamer” …which begs the question, would it only work on “Anglers Pipes?”

Herter’s Anglers Pipe and Hardy Brothers Pipe Reamer

I Certainly Didn’t Set Out To Collect Herter’s Anglers Pipes …But Now I Have Three …All Different (Annotations are by the owner of the blog, Mr. Dean Smith)

Thus from the above, it is now understood that the pipe on my work table was retailed by Herter’s Outdoor Goods, a mail order venture, that was started by George Leonard Herter in 1935 and which declared bankruptcy in 1977. Herter’s supplied smoking products and accessories, including pipes that were made specifically for the firm by one of the many British pipe makers.

Now that I have a fair idea of the shop from where this pipe was sold and having established the provenance, I moved ahead with the inspection and further restoration of the pipe.

Initial Visual Inspection
This lot had some highly collectible and sought after pipes. That pipes such as this one, an unknown entity amidst all the Preben Holms, Stanwells, Dunhills and Charatan’s in this lot, can make its presence felt is testimony to its quality briar, construction and the legacy of being part of American pipe history and e-commerce.

The pipe has a medium sized bowl with a straight vulcanite stem. The chamber has a thick layer of cake with lava overflow over the rim top surface. There are a few dents/dings over the rim top with the inner and outer rim edges in decent condition. The stummel surface is covered in dirt, dust and grime which hides the beautiful mixed grains of bird’s eye and cross grains. The stummel is dull and lifeless. The mortise appears to be clogged as the draw is hard and constricted. The vulcanite stem has light tooth chatter on either surface in the bite zone and is heavily oxidized. The button edges are slightly worn down with minor bite marks and would benefit from sharpening of the edges. The pipe has a very light weight which makes it ideal for outdoor activity or when you need your hands to be free. The pipe as it sits on my work table is shown below. Detailed Inspection…
The pipe came to us in a very well smoked state and a thick layer of cake buildup is observed in the chamber. The rim top surface is covered in the thick overflow of lava in 6 ‘O’ clock direction and several dents and dings to the rim top surface can be seen, probably caused due to the tapping it must have received at the hands of the previous owner to remove the dottle. This will need to be addressed. The inner and outer rim edges are in decent condition. The draught hole is perfectly at the bottom center and should be a great smoke. The old smells should reduce once the chamber and shank internals are cleaned up.The smooth stummel surface has beautiful grain patterns with a mix of bird’s eye, cross grains and nice swirls. The stummel surface has dulled a bit and appears lifeless due to accumulation of grime, dust and dirt. The mortise and the draught hole are clogged with accumulation of oils and tars making the draw laborious. The fact that there is not a single fill in the stummel surface and it’s light weight points to a very high quality of well cured briar. The straight vulcanite stem has a slight flair out towards the slot end and is deeply oxidized with light tooth chatter on either surface in the bite zone. The insides of the slot and tenon show heavy accumulation of oils and tars. The button edges have worn out a tad bit and also have minute bite marks. The buttons could benefit from sharpening of the edges. The ‘HERTER’S’ logo needs to be refreshed.The Process
I started the restoration of this pipe by first cleaning the internals of the stem with bristled pipe cleaners and 99.9% pure isopropyl alcohol. I scraped out the dried oils and tars from the tenon end and the slot end with my fabricated knife. I followed it up by sanding the entire stem with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper to remove the surface oxidation. It has been our (Abha, my wife and me) experience that sanding a stem before dunking it in to the deoxidizer solution helps in bringing the deep seated oxidation to the surface which in turn make further cleaning a breeze with fantastic results.  I dropped the stem in to “Before and After Deoxidizer” solution developed by my friend Mark Hoover. The solution helps to draw out heavy oxidation to the surface, making it’s further removal a breeze, while the minor oxidation is eliminated to a very great extent. The initial sanding helps to draw out the complete oxidation as the sanding opens up the stem surface that has been initially covered with oxidation. I usually dunk stems of 5- 6 pipes that are in-line for restoration and this pipe is marked with a green arrow. I generally allow the stems to soak in this solution overnight to do its work.While the stem was soaking in the deoxidizer solution, I worked on the stummel by first reaming the chamber with size 1, 2 and 3 Castleford reamer heads. I further scraped the chamber walls with my fabricated knife to remove the remaining carbon deposits. Once the cake was reamed back to the bare briar, I used a 150 grit sand paper followed by 220 grit sand paper to remove all the traces of the remaining cake and also to smooth out the inner walls of the chamber surface. Finally, to remove the residual carbon dust, I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with 99.9% pure isopropyl alcohol. I gently scraped the rim top surface to remove the lava overflow. The chamber walls are sans any damage. The dents and dings over the rim top are now amply evident. This would need to be addressed.This was followed by cleaning the mortise with cue tips, pipe cleaners and a shank brush dipped in isopropyl alcohol. I scraped the walls of the mortise with my fabricated knife to remove the dried oils and tars. The heap of gunk scraped out from the mortise walls tells the sordid saga of the condition of the shank internals. Well, the shank internals are clean and will be further cleaned once the stummel exterior is cleaned using oil soap and shank brushes.The next morning, Abha removed the stems that had been soaking in the deoxidizer solution overnight. She cleaned the stem and the stem airway under running warm water and scrubbed the raised oxidation from the stem surface using Magic Eraser followed by a Scotch Brite pad and the airway with a thin shank brush. She further removed the oxidation by scrubbing the stem with 0000 grade steel wool and applied a little EVO to rehydrate the stem.Staying with the stem refurbishment, with a flat head needle file I sharpened the button edges. I further sanded the entire stem with 220 followed by 400, 600 and 800 grit sand paper. This helps to reduce the scratch marks left behind by the more abrasive 220 grit paper. To bring a deep shine to the vulcanite stem, I went through the complete set of micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 2000 grit sandpapers and dry sanding with 3200 to 12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem with moist cloth after each pad and rubbed it down with Extra Virgin Olive oil to rejuvenate the vulcanite. I am not able to find the pictures that I had taken of the micromesh polishing and the completed stem and apologize for not including the same.With the stem refurbishment completed and the bowl internals clean, I moved on to clean the exterior of the stummel. I generously applied “Briar Cleaner”, a product that has been developed by my friend Mark Hoover, to the external surface of the bowl and the smooth rim top surface. It works similar to Murphy’s oil soap and needs to be applied to the stummel surface and set aside for 5-10 minutes. The product pulls out all the dirt and grime to the surface making further cleaning easy. I am quite happy with this product. I used a hard bristled tooth brush to scrub the stummel and rim top with the solution. After the scrub with Briar Cleaner solution, I washed the stummel under running warm water with anti oil dish washing detergent till the stummel surface was clean and dried it using paper towels and a soft cotton cloth. I deliberately cleaned the smooth rim top with a hard bristled toothbrush and set the stummel aside to dry out naturally. I simultaneously cleaned the shank internals with detergent and a hard bristled shank brush. The stummel surface has cleaned up nicely with beautiful bird’s eye and cross grain patterns on full display. With the stem fill set aside to cure, I started with cleaning of the stummel surface. With a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper, I sanded the entire stummel surface. This not only removes the stubborn dirt and grime that remains on the stummel but also evens out the minor dents and dings from the surface. I followed it up with sanding using a piece of 0000 grade steel wool. This helps reduce the sanding marks left behind by the coarser grit sand paper. These sanding marks will be completely eliminated once I am through with micromesh and Blue Diamond polish. Now that I had a fair idea of the extent of topping required to the rim surface, I topped the rim on a piece of 220 grit sand paper to even out the rim surface dents and dings. To further smooth out the scratches left behind by the abrasive 220 grit sand paper, I topped the rim surface on a piece of 400 grit sand paper. The rim top was now a shade lighter than the rest of the stummel surface and would require to be stained dark brown. Since I had packed my stuff for the impending transfer, I was without my stain pens. I remembered an old trick that Steve had taught me to darken the rim top using readily available shoe polish and so I used Dark Tan Cherry shoe polish over the rim top surface and set it out in the sun for the surface to absorb the polish. A dark spot is seen over the rim top in 11 o’clock direction and being natural to the briar I decided to let it be. I subjected the stummel to a complete cycle of micromesh polish, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads and paid greater attention to polish the rim top surface. I wiped the stummel with a moist cloth after every grit pad to remove the sanding dust left behind by the pads. This also helps in monitoring the progress being made and provides an opportunity to take early corrective action, if required. Next, I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” into the briar with my finger tips and worked it deep into the surface and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works it’s magic and the briar now had a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful grain patterns on full display. The contrast of the dark browns of the grain with the light hues of the rest of the stummel added an interesting dimension to the appearance of the stummel. I further buffed it with a horse hair brush to further deepen the shine. To complete the restoration, I mounted a cotton cloth buffing wheel onto my hand held rotary tool and applied a coat of Blue Diamond to the stummel and the stem in order to polish out the minor scratches. With a cotton buffing wheel that I use for carnauba wax, I applied a coat of carnauba wax and continued to work on it till the complete coat of wax had been polished out. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The finished pipe with a natural finish to the briar looks amazingly beautiful. The pipe feels really light in the hand and has such a perfect balance in the mouth if you like to smoke your pipe clenched. I really appreciate your valuable time spent in walking the distance with me on this restoration.

Breathing Life into a Badly Damaged Hardcastle Cased Meerschaum Egg


Blog by Steve Laug

I have finished restoring all two pipes from the collection of pipes that we purchased from the older gentleman. He sent me the photos and I was amazed at what I saw. You have seen many of the pipes that he had. These included Dunhill, BBB, Orlik, Barclay Rex, a cased Ben Wade, an H. Simmons all briar, Hardcastles and some Meerschaums. There were also some assorted others that I will get to in the days ahead. It was a great collection.

The next pipe I have chosen is a worn and damaged cased Hardscastle’s Meerschaum Egg. It had a flume around the top and down the outer edges of the bowl. It is the bottom pipe of the three meerschaum pipes in the photo above. There was a thick cake in the bowl and the rim top and edges were buried under a thick coat of lava. It was filthy both inside and out. The edges of the bowl on the top and down the sides was chipped and damaged leaving large gouges out of the sides of the bowl. The shape probably caught my eye because it is quite lovely even under the grime and wear. I think that the Hardcastle’s name made me want to try to redeem this old pipe. I have never worked on a meer like this one with this kind of damage. The stem is vulcanite and was in far better shape than the bowl. It had tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. This was another well loved pipe that obviously been a good smoker!

Jeff took some photos of the Hardcastle’s Case and Meerschaum egg with the lovely patina  before he worked his magic in cleaning up the pipe. It is a an interesting pipe with a lot of potential and what appears to be some great grain under the grime and debris of the years. The first three photos show the case, the pipe in the case and the stamp/logo decal on the inside of the lid that read Hardcastle’s Made In London.         Jeff took the pipe out of the case and took photos of it to show the damage to the bowl sides.Jeff took photos of the bowl, rim top to show the thickness of the cake in the bowl and the thick lava on the rim top. The rim top and inner edge are thickly covered with lava and there are large chips in the meerschaum on the rim top and on the outer edges and sides of the bowl. It really is a mess and it will be a challenge. He took photos of the top and underside of the vulcanite military bit stem showing the tooth marks and chatter on both sides. Jeff also took some photos of the Sterling Silver ferrule on the shank end to show the oxidation and condition.Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the bowl and damages around the top edges. You can see the beautiful shape of the bowl and some interesting patterns in the meerschaum even through the damage, dirt and debris of many years. This Cased Hardcastle Meerschaum Egg is an interesting looking pipe. Because the old gentleman that we bought the pipes from intimated that he purchased his pipes at the Manhattan Barclay-Rex store I would imagine that he may have purchased this one from them as well. I was unable to pin down any information regarding the date this pipe so it was time to move on and work on the pipe.

Jeff carefully cleaned the pipe so as not to damage it further. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and then cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals of the shank, stem and shank extension with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He carefully scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the exterior of the bowl and rim top and lava on the rim top. The finish looks much better and has a deep richness in the colour that highlights the patina in the meerschaum. The damaged edges and rim top looked rough and will need some special attention. He soaked the stem in Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and after a soak of several hours rinsed it off. He scrubbed the vulcanite military bit with Soft Scrub to remove the residual oxidation. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver I was amazed that it looked so good. Here are some photos of what I saw. I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem surface. The top and inner and outer edge of the rim showed some darkening/heavy tars and damage. The stem had tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.I took some photos of the cleaned damaged areas around the rim top and sides to show how they looked when I received it. I would need to figure out a way to address this in my restoration. I needed time to think through the options. I set the pipe aside for a few days to ruminate on the process I would use.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the parts of the pipe. After thinking through my options I decided to try to fill in the chipped and damaged areas with a mixture of Plaster of  Paris. It dries hard so once it was applied I set it aside to let the repairs harden and cure. I was not sure if it would work but I thought it was worth a try. I mixed the mud and filled in the chipped areas with a dental spatula. I apologize for the mess I made in the mixing process but it really was a pain to manage it. I let it sit for 48 hours to cure. Once the repairs cured I sanded it lightly with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth it out and blend it in. While I worked on it chunks of plaster fell out. The repair had not bonded to the meerschaum so I had to come up with a different plan. I topped the bowl and collected the sanding dust. I filled in the chipped areas with clear CA glue and sanding dust from the topping. Once it cured I sanded the repairs smooth and blended them in around the top edges of the bowl all around the top.Once I have the edges smoothed out and the rim top also smoothed out I decided to stain the rim top and the flumed area around the top outer edges of the bowl with a combination of Black and Walnut stains. It did a great job masking the repaired areas. I still needed to sand the flume to make it less uniform. I polished the smooth rim top with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding debris. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the bowl and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry 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 gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. It looks significantly better and is smooth but the repairs show! With the bowl and the stem finished I put the beautiful Hardcastle’s Straight Egg with a military bit back together and buffed it lightly on the wheel using Blue Diamond to give it a shine. I gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel. I buffed the pipe with a horsehair shoe brush to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The smooth and rusticated finish is a great looking. The dimensions of the pipe are – Length: 5 ¼ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inch, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of this large pipe is 1.09 ounces /31 grams. This Hardcastle’s Straight Egg is another great find from this collection. It is much more beautiful in person than these photos can capture. I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store soon. If you want to add it to your collection it will make a fine smoking addition. This is another pipe that has the possibility of transporting the pipe man or woman back to a slower paced time in history where you can enjoy a respite. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

Breathing Life into a 1950 Dunhill Shell Briar R Pot


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table is the second one that came to me from a friend up the British Columbia Coast. It is the second of two Dunhill pipes that he found in a shop along the coast. It is a Shell Briar Pot that is worn and has a lot of damage to the rim top. It is the pipe in the front of the photo below. You can see the damage to the rim top and how the rim top is damaged at the back and the front of the rim top and the outer edge of the bowl. The photo was sent to me by Chris. When the pipe arrived I took photos of what it looked like. Chris had done some preliminary cleaning of the pipe before he sent it to me and it look quite clean. It is stamped on a smooth panel on the underside of the shank. On the heel of the bowl it is stamped with the shape number R followed by Dunhill [over] Shell Briar followed by Made in England with a superscript underlined 0. That is followed by 4 in a circle followed by S for Shell. Interpreting that stamp follows: The R is the shape for a straight stem Pot. The Dunhill Shell Briar is the finish which is corroborated the S in the circle. The underlined 0 following the D of England dates the pipe. The stamping is clear and readable. The age of the pipe and the oils in the sandblast finish has given the pipe a rich medium brown finish. There is also some interesting grain shows through the blast finish. There was still a thin cake in the bowl and a light overflow of lava on the rim top. The rim top had a lot of damage and wear on the top and outer edges.  The top was no longer flat. The vulcanite stem was lightly oxidized and had tooth marks and chatter ahead of the button. I took photos of the pipe to show what it looked like before I started working on it. I took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the thickness of the cake and the damages. The rim top and edges are a mess with lots of damage caused by beating it against a hard surface. The photos of the stem show the light oxidation and tooth marks and chatter on the surface on both sides. The stamping on the underside of the shank is shown in the photo below. It looks very good and readable. It reads as noted and explained above.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe parts to show what I was working with. It has potential to be a great looking pipe.  I turned to Pipedia’s section on Dunhill Shell Briar Pipes to get a bit of background on the Dunhill finishes (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Dunhill#Root_Briar). I quote:

Shell

A deep craggy sandblast with a black stain finish (usually made using Algerian briar) – the color of the stain used has varied over the years. Although there is some doubt as to them being the first to sandblast pipes, Dunhill’s Shell pipes, and the sandblasting techniques developed to create them are considered one of Dunhill’s greatest and most lasting contributions to the art of pipe making.

The documented history of Dunhill’s inception of the Shell is largely limited to patent applications — there are no catalog pages or advertisements promoting blasted pipes at the time. The preliminary work on the English patent (No. 1484/17) was submitted on October 13, 1917. The patent submission was completed half a year later, on April 12, 1918, followed by the granting of the English patent on October 14, 1918. This was less than a month before the end of The Great War on November 11th.

In 1986 Dunhill released a line of premium Shell finish pipes – “RING GRAIN”. These are high-quality straight grain pipes which are sandblasted. Initially only Ring Grain, but now in two different finishes. In 1995 the “Shilling” was introduced with Cumberland finish – it is an extremely rare series. These pipes exhibit a deeper blast characteristic of that of the 1930’s – mid-1960’s (and the limited ‘deep blast’ pipes of the early 1980s) and show a fine graining pattern. These are considered the best new Dunhills by many enthusiasts today and are very rare. The finish is sometimes described as tasting like vanilla at first, with the taste becoming more normal or good as the pipe breaks in.

I have also included a chart from the site from Dunhill spelling out the Standard Pipe Finishes and giving short information and a timeline.

I turned to Pipephil to establish a date for a Dunhill with the stamping that was on this pipe. The date stamp 0  (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/dunhill/cledat-en1b.html) I have marked the box below with a red box around the part of the date key that is applicable. The pipe dates to 1950.I decided to start the restoration on this one by working on the damaged rim top. I started the process by topping the bowl on a topping board and a piece of 240 grit sandpaper. My main concern was to flatten the top and remove some of the gouges and damages. I then built up the damaged areas on the front and back outer edges of the bowl with briar dust and CA glue. I wanted to raise the profile of the edge in those areas. I would rusticate them so I was not overly concerned with what it looked like at this point. I used various burrs on the Dremel to approximated the sandblast finish on the rim top and bring it back to reflect the sandblast and nooks and crannies on the sides of the bowl and shank. I stained the newly shaped rim top with an Oak and a Maple stain pen to match the colour of the bowl. I was pretty happy with the newly stained rim. It look a lot better than when I started and worked with the finish.I figured I should clean up the bowl after that work. I reamed it with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and took back the remaining cake to briar so I could check out the condition of the bowl walls. I cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I cleaned out the mortise and the airway in the shank and stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I also cleaned out the inner tube at the same time. With the repair completed I rubbed the briar down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to work it into the nooks and crannies of the sandblast finish. The product works to clean, enliven and preserve the briar. I let it sit for 15 minutes while I worked on the stem. After the time passed I buffed it with a cotton cloth to deepen the shine. The briar really comes alive with the balm. I cleaned out the tooth marks with alcohol and filled them in with black super glue. I set the stem aside to allow the glue to cure. Once it cured I recut the edge of the button with a file and then sanded the repairs with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth them out and blend them into the rest of the stem surface. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I polished the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. This Dunhill Shell Briar R Pot is a beautiful sandblast that came out looking very good. The Shell Briar finish has a great rugged sandblast that Dunhill specialized in making. The finish on the pipe is in excellent condition. The oils off the smoker’s hands and the tan stain on the bowl works well to highlight the grain. The polished black vulcanite taper stem adds to the mix. With the dust gone from the finish and the bowl it was a beauty and is eye-catching. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel being careful to not buff the stamping. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing it with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Shell Briar R Pot is quite nice and feels great in the hand. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. I can only tell you that like the other pipes I am working that it is much prettier in person than the photos capture. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¼ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 36grams/1.27oz. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next generation.

Breathing Life into a Dunhill Tanshell 253 Group 4 Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table came to me from a friend up the British Columbia Coast. It is the first of two Dunhill pipes that he found in a shop along the coast. It is a Tanshell Briar Billiard that is worn and has a lot of damage to the rim top. It is the pipe at the back of the photo below. The second one is a Dunhill Shell Briar. The photo was sent to me by Chris. The second photo shows the damage to the rim top and edges. It was worn and damaged. The sandblast finish was destroyed and a chewed up top and edge was left behind.When the pipe arrived I took photos of what it looked like. Chris had done some preliminary cleaning of the pipe before he sent it to me and it look quite good. It is stamped on a smooth panel on the underside of the shank. On the heel of the bowl it is stamped with the shape number 253 followed by Dunhill [over] Tanshell followed by Made in England. That is followed by 4 in a circle followed by T for Tanshell. Interpreting that stamp follows: The 253 is the shape for a straight stem Billiard. The Dunhill Tanshell is the finish which is corroborated the T at the end of the stamping. There is no date stamp following the D of England to date the pipe. The stamping is clear and readable. The age of the pipe and the oils in the sandblast finish has given the pipe a rich medium brown finish. There is also some interesting grain shows through the blast finish. There was still a thin cake in the bowl and a light overflow of lava on the rim top. The rim top had a lot of damage and wear on the top, the inner and outer edges. The vulcanite stem was lightly oxidized and had tooth chatter ahead of the button.  I took photos of the pipe to show what it looked like before I started working on it. I took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the thickness of the cake and the lava overflow. The rim top and edges are a mess with lots of damage caused by beating it against a hard surface. The photos of the stem show the light oxidation and tooth marks and chatter on the surface on both sides. The stamping on the underside of the shank is shown in the photo below. It looks very good and readable. It reads as noted and explained above. I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe parts to show what I was working with. It is a nice looking pipe.  I turned to Pipedia’s section on Dunhill Tanshell Pipes to get a bit of background on the Dunhill finishes (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Dunhill#Root_Briar). I quote:

Tanshell

The first lot was distributed in 1952 (usually made using Sardinian briar). The prototype was called “Root Shell “, produced in 1951. The Tanshell is a light tan sandblast. Sardinian briar was used for this sandblast. There is a distinct contrast in the sandblasts using Sardinian as opposed to Algerian briar. The Sardinian is much denser and much harder. The resulting pattern, when blasted, is far more even and regular both in terms of the surface texture and the finish.

The Tanshell was Dunhill’s fourth finish and its first major post-war line addition. Introduced in 1951/1952 the Tanshell was a naturally stained sandblasted pipe made exclusively from Sardinian briar through the 1960s. The Tanshell apparently was not simply a light stained Shell but rather was also the product of “certain processes [unrevealed] not previously employed.” Initially, it appears that the pipe was to be named the Root Shell and a stamp to that effect was ordered and received by Dunhill in May 1951. Ultimately, however, the name Tanshell was settled upon but the stamp for the Tanshell name was not received by Dunhill until the beginning of December. Thus while the Tanshell was in production in 1951 it appears that most if not all Tanshells made in that year did not enter into retail distribution until 1952 and were given a 1952 date code. Loring, J. C., The Dunhill Briar Pipe, The Patent Years and After (self-published, Chicago, 1998).

I have also included a chart from the site from Dunhill spelling out the Standard Pipe Finishes and giving short information and a timeline.I decided to start the restoration on this one by working on the damage to the inner edge of the rim. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to give the inner edge of the rim a slight bevel to bring it back into round.  While the finished rim edge is not perfect it is far better. To deal with the damaged rim top I gently topped it on a topping board and a piece of 240 grit sandpaper. My main concern was to flatten the top and remove some of the gouges and damages.I used various burrs on the Dremel to approximate the sandblast finish on the rim top and bring it back to reflect the sandblast and nooks and crannies on the sides of the bowl and shank. I stained the newly shaped rim top with an Oak and a Maple stain pen to match the colour of the bowl. I was pretty happy with the newly stained rim. It look a lot better than when I started and worked with the finish.I figured I should clean up the bowl after that work. I reamed it with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and took back the remaining cake to briar so I could check out the condition of the bowl walls. I cleaned out the mortise and the airway in the shank and stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I also cleaned out the inner tube at the same time. With the repair completed I rubbed the briar down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to work it into the nooks and crannies of the sandblast finish. The product works to clean, enliven and preserve the briar. I let it sit for 15 minutes while I worked on the stem. After the time passed I buffed it with a cotton cloth to deepen the shine. The briar really comes alive with the balm. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I polished the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.  This Dunhill Tanshell 253 Billiard is a beautiful sandblast that came out looking very good. The Tanshell finish has a great rugged sandblast that Dunhill specialized in making. The finish on the pipe is in excellent condition. The oils off the smoker’s hands and the tan stain on the bowl works well to highlight the grain. The polished black vulcanite taper stem adds to the mix. With the dust gone from the finish and the bowl it was a beauty and is eye-catching. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel being careful to not buff the stamping. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing it with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished 253 Tanshell Billiard is quite nice and feels great in the hand. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. I can only tell you that like the other pipes I am working that it is much prettier in person than the photos capture. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 36grams/1.27oz. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next generation.

Resurrecting a Briar WDC Campaign Pipe


Blog by Steve Laug

I have finished restoring quite a few of the pipes in this collection that we purchased from the older gentleman. He sent me the photos and I was amazed at what I saw. You have seen many of the pipes that he had. These included Dunhill, BBB, Orlik, Barclay Rex, a cased Ben Wade, an H. Simmons all briar, Hardcastles and some Meerschaums. There were also some assorted others that I will get to in the days ahead. It was a great collection.

The next pipe I have chosen is a worn and damaged WDC Campaign Pipe with a calabash style bowl. I have drawn a red box around the pipe in the photo above. There was a thick cake in the bowl and the rim top of the cup. The inside of the calabash style base was also very dirty. The rim top and edges were buried under a thick coat of lava. There was a large chip of briar out of the back of the rim top cup. It was filthy both inside and out. The shape caught my eye because it is quite lovely even under the grime and wear. The stem is hard rubber with flecks of metal in the rubber. It had tooth marks and chatter on both surfaces of the stem ahead of the button. This was another well loved pipe that obviously been a good smoker!

Jeff took some photos of the WDC Campaign Calabash before he worked his magic in cleaning up the pipe. It is a an interesting pipe with a lot of potential and what appears to be some great grain under the grime and debris of the years. Jeff took photos of the bowl, rim top to show the thickness of the cake in the bowl and the thick lava on the rim top of the cup. The rim top was thickly covered and there was a large chunk of briar missing on the back of the cap. He took photos of the top and underside of the hard rubber stem showing the tooth marks and chatter on both sides. Jeff also took some photos of the threaded bowl removed from the calabash base. You can see the small crack in the base of the cup. You can also see the dirty condition of both the inside of the base and the bottom of the cup.He also took photos of the base of the cup to show the cracks in the bottom of the bowl. He also took a photo of the chip in the top of the cap. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the briar. You can see the beautiful shape of the bowl and some interesting grain even through the dirt and debris of many years. I turned to Pipedia to have a look at the article on the William Demuth Company and see if there was any information on the Campaign (https://pipedia.org/wiki/William_Demuth_Company). There a great article on the history of the brand. There was also a picture of a countertop display for the pipes and also a picture of the stamping on the side of the bowl. I am including them both below. This all briar pipe with a removable bowl is made by the American Company, William Demuth Co. It is a nicely grained older pipe that has a very interesting look to it. Because the old gentleman that we bought the pipes from intimated that he purchased his pipes at the Manhattan Barclay-Rex store I would imagine that he may have purchased this one from them as well. I was unable to pin down any information regarding the date this pipe but I am assuming it is as old as the other pipes in the collection.

Jeff carefully took the pipe apart and cleaned it. He cleaned the calabash base and reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and then cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals of the shank, stem and shank extension with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and lava on the rim top. The finish looks much better and has a deep richness in the colour of the briar. The edges of the cup had a huge chip out of the back edge. He scrubbed the hard rubber stem with Soft Scrub to remove the grime and soaked it in Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver I was amazed that it looked so good. Here are some photos of what I saw. I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem surface. The top of the rim showed some darkening/heavy tars and there was heavy damage at the back of the bowl and edge. The stem had tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the bowl. It was stamped with a WDC logo triangle and under that was clearly stamped CAMPAIGN. The stamping was clear and readable.I removed the bowl from the base, the stem from the shank and took a photo of the parts of the pipe. I started my work on the pipe by addressing the damage on the back top of the bowl. I cut a chip of briar out of an old broken bowl that I have here. I used a Dremel to reduce the size of the briar chip. I glued it in place in the chipped area with clear CA glue. I filled in the crevices around the repaired chunk of briar with briar dust and clear CA to clean up the transitions between the bowl rim top and the repair. I used a Dremel and sanding drum to thin down and shape the rim cap. I also shaped the edge of the repair with the Dremel. I carefully removed more of the edge and the thickness of the repair with the sanding drum and Dremel. It was starting to look very good. I sanded the rim cap top with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth it out and blend it into the surface. I restained the rim top with a mixture of Mahogany and Walnut Stain pens to blend it into the rest of the bowl.I polished the rim top of the cup and the entire briar base with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding debris. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the cup, bowl and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the old stem. The hard rubber had flecks of metal throughout the surface which told me it was a war years pipe or one made slightly after the war. I sanded it smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry 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 gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. You can see the flecks of metal polished as well as the rubber stem! With the cup, bowl and the stem finished I buffed WDC Campaign “Calabash” base and stem with Blue Diamond to give it a shine. I avoided doing that to the rim cap/cup so as not to risk damaging it. I buffed it by hand. I gave the base and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel. I buffed the pipe with a horsehair shoe brush to raise the shine. I gave the cup multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax. I hand buffed pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. I polished the nickel band with a jeweler’s cloth. The smooth finish on the bowl is a great looking. The dimensions of the pipe are – Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of this large pipe is 1.55 ounces /44 grams. This Older WDC Campaign Pipe is another great find from this collection. It is much more beautiful in person than these photos can capture. I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store soon. If you want to add it to your collection it will make a fine smoking addition. This is another pipe that has the possibility of transporting the pipe man or woman back to a slower paced time in history where you can enjoy a respite. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.