Tag Archives: restaining

Resurrecting a Tired Warrior – a Butz-Choquin Casino 1575 Spigot Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table is a Butz-Choquin Spigot style pipe with a polished nickel ferrule and a polished nickel stem end. The pipe had classic shape and at first glance looked very good. We purchased this from an online auction late in 2020 in Elgin, South Carolina, USA. It had a rich finish somewhere underneath all of the debris, grime and damage to rim edges and sides. There was a thick cake in bowl and lava on the rim top. The rim top was uneven with dips and burns on the top. The front of the bowl had significant burn damage from the rim top down into the surface of the briar on the front. The left side had the same issue and had been worn away over time so that it was canted inward making that part of the bowl thinner on the side. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank Butz-Choquin at an angle [over] Casino and on the right side it was stamped St Claude in an arch over France [over] the shape number 1575. The nickel ferrule and stem end were oxidized and scratched. The stem was oxidized but had deep tooth marks on the top and underside near the button. The deepest marks were on the underside with one that was almost a bite through. The BC logo on the topside was faded and needed to be touched up. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his clean up work. I like to have an idea of how the pipe was smoked before we got it and what the bowl and rim top looked like. Jeff always takes some photos of the bowl and rim from various angles to show what it looked like. This bowl and rim top were in rough condition. The stem was a real mess with deep tooth marks and damage on both sides. He took a photo of the nickel ferrule and stem end to give a picture of their condition when we received the pipe. It definitely needs work. He took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a sense of the grain on the pipe. You can also see the damage around the top front and sides in the photos. Jeff captured the burn damage on the front of the bowl in the next photo and some of the nicks and gouges in the sides of the bowl in the second photo. There is work to do on this one!The next photos show the stamping on the left and right side of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above. Jeff also captured the BC stamp on the topside of the stem. I turned to Pipephil.eu and read through the listing on the brand. It is always a quick reminder to me of the basics of a brand. The Casino line was not listed there. I include the short summary of the history below.

The origin of the brand reaches back to 1858 when Jean-Baptiste Choquin in collaboration with his son-in-law Gustave Butz created their first pipe in Metz (France). Since 1951 Butz-Choquin  is a brand of the Berrod-Regad group (Saint-Claude, France).

Jean Paul Berrod managed the company from 1969 to 2002 when he retired and sold the corporate to Mr Fabien Gichon. Denis Blanc, already owner of EWA, took over the S.A. Berrod-Regad in 2006.

I could not find anything specific in Pipedia about the Casino line, but a simple search on the internet will show many different shapes available in the Casino line from Butz-Choquin.   Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff had done a great cleanup on the pipe. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the bowl exterior with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the grime on the finish of the bowl and the lava from the rim top. He rinsed it under running water. One of the benefits of this scrub is that it also tends to lift some of the scratches and nicks in the surface of the briar. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He cleaned the internals and externals of the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. He soaked the stem in Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water and cleaned out the airway in the stem with alcohol. When I received it the pipe looked very good.  I took a photo of the rim top and stem to show the condition. The rim top and the inner edge of the bowl were in rough shape. The outer edge had a lot of burn damage on the front and the left side. The rim top and inner edge also has significant burn damage and was not flat. The stem was vulcanite and there were some deep tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. The stamping on the pipe is clear and readable as noted above. The BC logo on the stem is deep and needs to be repainted with white (as seen in the photo of the top of the stem above).I started my work on this pipe by dealing with the damage to the outer edge of the bowl and rim top. I topped the bowl first on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I flattened out the rim top and made the top of the rim consistently flat. I removed much of the burn damage to the bowl top. I worked on the damaged areas on the left side and front of the bowl by building them up with briar dust and clear super glue. I built up the left side of the inner edge with super glue and briar dust as well. There the burn damage was shallow but it made the bowl out of round. I topped it once again to smooth out the repair on the rim top. I used a piece of dowel wrapped in sandpaper to sand the inner edge of the rim and smooth out the repair in that area. It worked well.I smoothed out the repairs on the left and front of the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper and blended them into the surrounding briar.I gave the inner edge of the bowl a slight bevel with 220 grit sandpaper to help reshape it and bring it back to round. The rim top and edges looked good at this point in the process.I restained the pipe with a light brown aniline stain. I applied it with a dauber and flamed it with a Bic lighter to set it in the grain. I repeated the process until I was happy with the coverage.Once the stain had dried I wiped the bowl down with 99% isopropyl alcohol to make it a bit more transparent. I find that doing a wipe down at this point evens the finish before I start polishing it with micromesh.I polished the briar with 1200-1500 micromesh sanding pads and wiping it down with damp cloth after each sanding pad. As I worked through the cycle of pads the shine developed with each change of pad. The damage on the rim sides looks better. I left some of the nicks and sandpits as they really are a part of the pipe’s story. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 10 minutes, then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Balm did its magic and the grain stood out on the briar. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I decided to address the tooth marks on the stem. They were ragged, with sharp edges and heat did not lift them at all. I filled them in with clear super glue. I let the repairs cure and once they hardened I flattened and shaped them with a small file. I sanded them with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface of the stem. I started the polishing of the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I touched up the BC stamp on the left side of the stem with white acrylic nail polish. I worked it into the stamp with a tooth pick and then sanded off the excess once it had dried with a 1500 micromesh sanding pad.I polished it 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. The photos below show the polished stem. This Butz-Choquin Casino 1575 Spigot Billiard with a polished nickel ferrule and stem cap on a vulcanite stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. It was a lot of work and I took a decision to leave some of the journey of the pipe in the finish so it is far from flawless but it is a beauty. The rich browns of the stain made the grain come alive with the polishing and waxing. 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 BC Casino 1575 Spigot really is a beauty and fits nicely in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 ¼ 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 1.87oz./53grams. This beauty will be going off to its new trustee in Michigan along with several other nice pipes. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Resurrecting a Beat up Warwick Sandblast Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

We picked up this next pipe back in 2017 from an auction in Rochester, New York, USA. It has been around a long time. Jeff cleaned it up in 2017 and I have had it sitting here since then. I am finally getting around to working on it. It is stamped on the underside of the shank and reads Warwick [over] Made in London England. There is a shape number 1 next to the stem/shank junction. It is a sandblast billiard. The stamping and the shape name and number make me wonder about a connection to Sasieni but I am not certain of that. The bowl was heavily caked and the sandblast on the rim top was almost filled in with the lava overflow. It appeared that there was damage on the rim top as it was no longer flat looking. That would become more clear as it was cleaned up. The sandblast around the bowl and shank was dirty and filled with debris and dust. There was also darkening around the briar from hand oils. The stem was oxidized, calcified and had tooth marks on the top and underside near the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started the clean up work. He took photos of the rim top and stem to give a feel for the overall condition of the pipe before he started. You can see the thick lava coat filling in the rim top but you can also see the unevenness of the top of the bowl and the edges. There is some definite damage under the grime. The stem is oxidized, calcified and has tooth chatter and marks on the top and the underside of the stem near the button. He took some photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to capture the deep and craggy sandblast around the bowl. It really has some beauty to the blast.He captured the stamping on the underside of the shank in the next photo. It is readable though the left side of the stamping is more faint that the rest of the stamping toward the right. It reads as noted above. Now we would need to make a connection to the maker. I turned to Pipephil’s site (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-w1.html) to see what I could learn about the brand. What I found was a pipe stamped Warwick but the font was slightly different. This one was made in Italy and said so. The one I was working on was stamped Made in London England.On the side bar it had a note that I copy as follows: A sub brand of Comoy or Singleton & Cole. Not to be confused with Warwyck. I turned to the section on Comoy’s to see if there was any note for this stamping. There was not. I also turned to the section on the site on Singleton & Cole (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-s7.html). I have included a screen capture of the section that shows a Singleton Warwick that is stamped Made in England. The Warwick stamp is similar but the one on the pipe I am working on is heavier. So the hunt continues.I searched on Google and found a link on a sale site The Collection Hero that linked Warwick to a BBB pipe. https://pipes.collectionhero.com/view_item.php?id=43025&ekeywords=BBB. I have included that photo as well. The sale site says that the pipe is stamped BBB Own Make “Warwick”. It has a deep rugged sandblast but the finish is quite different from the one that I am working on. There also were no photos showing the stamping on the shank so I had nothing to compare my pipe with.

I was not convinced. So far I have seen the name attached to Comoy’s, Cole & Singleton and now BBB and none of them are conclusive. I still needed to do some more digging.

I did a bit more digging and found the name Warwick attached to Sasieni on a  pipe on smokingpipes.com (https://www.smokingpipes.com/pipes/estate/england/moreinfo.cfm?product_id=89779). It is described as follows:

…An old Sasieni pipe like this on an update. Named after a town, Warwick, this piece is a true part of English charm, stained beautifully, and a lovely example of a Sasieni patent.

I looked up Sasieni seconds on Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/images/e/e4/Sasieni_Seconds.jpg) and found a chart that listed the various names. At the bottom of the alphabetical list is the name Warwick.Now I had all of the options in front of me and I was still no further ahead than when I started. I seemed to be able to link it to either Singleton & Cole or Sasieni. I would probably never know for certain but at least I knew it was an old English made pipe. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe very well as usual. He has detailed his process other places so I will summarize it here. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the bowl and rim top with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. 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 Briarvilles Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe once I received it. The rim top had some damage and darkening on the top. The front right and left sides were almost smooth and the sandblast was gone. The sandblast on the back side was deeper and also had some damage. The inner edge of the bowl was damaged at the front. The stem surface looked good with light tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.   I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. The stamping was faint on the left side of the stamp and the stamping on the right side was more readable as noted above. You can see the shape number 1 near the shank/stem union. I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. The stem is tapered. I started my work on the pipe by cleaning up the sandblast with a brass bristle wire brush. I worked it over the rim top and the blast on the sides and underside of the bowl until I cleaned up the blast. It looked much better once I finished with the brush. The rim top had other issues that I would need to address as well. I took some photos of the rim top to try and capture the damage to the rim top. It is no longer flat and the top from the back is at an angle and the sides have dips and valleys – it is a real mess.I would need to flatten the rim top on a topping board to get things flat again. Then I would need to try to duplicate the sandblast finish on the rim top. I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I started the rustication process with the tool for rustication that I made from a Philips screwdriver. I followed that up with a Dremel and burrs to rusticate the rim top and give it the appearance of a sandblast. I restained it with a Maple and Walnut stain pen to approximate the colour of the bowl.To deal with the darkened areas around the bowl sides and the washed out stain on the rest of the bowl I restained it with a light brown aniline stain. I applied it with a dauber and then flamed it with a lighter to set it in the briar. I repeated the process until I was happy with the coverage.I buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel and worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the sandblast finish my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The product brought the briar to life and gave some dimensionality to the sandblast. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the tooth marks with the flame of a lighter and was able to lift them significantly. I filled in the remaining marks with clear CA glue. Once it cured I used a small file to recut the edge of the button and to flatten out the repairs. I sanded out the repairs with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper and then started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down between pads with Obsidian Oil. I finished polishing using Before & After Stem polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I rubbed the stem down a final time with Obsidian Oil. The Warwick Sandblast 1 Sandblast Billiard is a beautiful pipe with an great looking, rugged sandblast finish. The blast is very nice and the rich brown stain on the briar goes amazingly well with the polished black vulcanite taper stem. The combination works to create a pipe that is a pleasure to look at and is comfortable in  the hand. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Bowl diameter: 1 ¼ inch, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.13 ounces/35 grams. Considering what the pipe looked like when we started, the now resurrected pipe is quite amazing looking. I will be adding it to the British Pipe Makers section of the rebornpipes store shortly. If you are interested in adding it to your collection send me a message on Facebook or an email. Thanks for walking through the process with me. Cheers.

A New Solution to an Old Problem


Blog by Kenneth Lieblich

Welcome to my first meerschaum restoration! In fact, it is not just a meerschaum pipe, but it is also a Peterson pipe. This came out of lot of pipes from eBay some months ago, but it took me a while to get to it – I was a bit daunted. Even though it looked rough to start, it ended up as a very handsome pipe. Please read on… This is a rusticated, African block meerschaum, made on the Isle of Man. The stem has a push-style tenon. Like many of the meerschaum pipes of this era, this one has a factory-stained rim – to give it that sort of ‘broken in’ look. How do I know it is a Peterson? Because it has the distinctive, stylized ‘P’ on the left side of the stem, near the shank. Similar to other pipes that Steve has restored, this one seems likely to have been produced by Laxey Pipes Ltd. on the Isle of Man for Peterson Pipes. Here is the Pipedia article about them (I hasten to add that the various errors below are in the original text and are not mine):

Laxey Pipes Ltd. resided in a historical 19th century four-storey Man stone building at The Quay, Old Laxey, Isle of Man, which thankfully has been preserved.

The company specialised in the production of meerschaum pipes using the Meerschaum mined by the Tanganyika Meerschaum Corporation in the Amboseli basin in Tanganyika (since 1964 part of the United Republic of Tanzania). 

Please note: you may often find names like “Manx Pipes Ltd.”, “Man Pipe Co.” and others more, but there is no indication of another Isle of Man pipe producer other than Laxey Pipe Ltd. at any time! 

Laxey Pipes Ltd. marketed own brands like “Manxpipe”, “Manxman”, “Manxland” e.c. Names like “John Bull”, “White Knight” (unwaxed), “Domino” (black, or lined) indicated some shapes / colours of Laxey’s own series. The stems either showed the astronomical sign for “male” or “man” (circle + arrow), or the crest of the Isle of Man, the 3-legged X in a circle. Manxpipes and Laxey’s other brands were available through pipe retailers in general, but also were sold (mainly) to tourists through their own shop in Laxey. 

Furthermore Laxey Pipes Ltd. manufactured the meer bowls for Peterson, Barling, Nørding and others from the later 1960’s until 2001. Man Pipe e.g. was a brand distibuted by Comoy’s. The bowls usually showed no nomenclature indicating the orderer. “Genuine Block Meerschaum” was engraved frequently. Often, just the stems were different, while bowls were the same.

Supply of meerschaum from East Africa run out (Kenya / Tanzania exhausted, Somalia inaccessible), and thus the last Laxey meers were supplied to trade in May, 2001. Laxey Pipes Ltd. tried to survive continuing with briar pipes – mainly in the Danish style -, but to no success. It closed down business in July, 2002.

Anyway, on to the pipe – and what a mess it was. The stummel had the following problems: a nasty ghost, filth embedded in the rustication, a creepy and unnatural yellow tinge to the meerschaum, lots of lava on the rim, lots of cake in the bowl, and – worst of all – chunks missing from the rim. Meanwhile, the stem had its own set of problems: the ‘P’ logo was nearly obliterated, heavy oxidation and calcification, and tooth marks and dents. In fact, even my wife commented that this pipe might be the proverbial ‘bridge too far’ – but, like the stereotypical, stubborn husband, I was not to be deterred! I decided to start on them stem, as I still was not sure how to resolve the chunks missing from the rim. I broke out the isopropyl alcohol and pipe cleaners, and got to work on the inside of the stem. Predictably, it was pretty dirty and I went through a good number of pipe cleaners in order to clean it up. Then I had to tackle the overwhelming oxidation and calcification – yuck. I took a blade (an old butter knife, actually) and began gently scraping at all that build-up. Obviously, I took it easy, as I did not want to damage the stem’s vulcanite any further. The butter knife worked quite well and I got a good amount loose. I followed that up with some lemon-infused isopropyl alcohol on some cotton rounds to try and scrub the rest away. This worked quite well and I noted some improvement. There were quite a few dents in the stem. Some were obviously tooth marks, but other dents looked like blunt force trauma! Time to break out the BIC lighter to see if it could raise some of these dents. Quite frankly, it did not do much – this repair was going to require some considerable sanding etc. Before that, however, the stem went for an overnight soak in the Before & After Hard Rubber Deoxidizer. The following day, I cleaned all of the de-oxidizing sludge off with alcohol, pipe cleaners, et cetera. The oxidation had migrated to the surface and would be fairly straightforward to remove. I scrubbed vigorously with SoftScrub to remove the leftover oxidation.Before I moved on to the Micromesh pads, I built up the dent damage on the stem with cyanoacrylate adhesive and let it fully cure. It turned out that this was not as straightforward as I had hoped. It took more than one application of adhesive to sort this problem out. I then sanded it down with 220-, 400-, and 600-grit sandpapers to make the stem look normal. I then used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to bring out the lovely black lustre on the stem. I also used Obsidian Pipe Stem Oil in between each pad scrubbing.

The stummel was next, and the usual cleaning procedures were in order for this pipe. I used both the PipNet Reamer and the KleenReem to remove the built-up cake and followed that with 220-grit sandpaper to remove as much as I could. The meerschaum cannot take the usual de-ghosting process of soaking cotton balls in isopropyl alcohol, so sanding was a way to reduce the old ghost in the pipe. I also wanted to ensure there were no hidden flaws in the interior walls of the meerschaum. Fortunately, there were none. Truth be told, I actually also tried to use a bit of ground coffee in the bowl to remove the ghost, but that was not very successful.I then proceeded to clean out the insides of the shank with Q-tips, pipe cleaners, and isopropyl alcohol. There was quite a bit of nastiness inside this stummel – it took a lot of pipe cleaners etc. to sort that out. I then moved on to cleaning the outside of the stummel with Murphy’s Oil Soap and some cotton pads. That worked very well at removing any latent dirt and that weird yellow tinge that I mentioned earlier. I followed that up by quickly cleaning the insides with some dish soap and tube brushes. The meerschaum cannot be left wet for long – it will turn to mush otherwise. Before & After Restoration Balm does not make the same kind of difference on meerschaum as it does on briar, but it still works – so light coating was applied, followed by my horsehair shoe-brush. On to the inevitable repairs: this is where the nightmares begin. Honestly, it was not immediately clear to me how I was going to make the stummel look decent. Sure, I had cleaned it, etc., but what about the obvious chunks missing from the side? I considered sanding it all down, but I feared this would alter the shape of the pipe beyond reason and repair. I figured that, at very least, this pipe needed to be topped. That is to say, the rim had to be inverted and sanded down on a piece of 220-grit sandpaper. By doing this, it would remove some of the lighter damage altogether and would improve the state of the heavier damage. But the old problem remained: how was I going to repair the chunks of missing meerschaum on this pipe?I then realized that the solution was as obvious as the nose on my face: I would take a piece of meerschaum from another pipe and fashion a repair. I grabbed one of my sacrificial meerschaum pipes (a dreadfully ugly horse’s head) and used a pair of end-cutting nippers to break off a couple of pieces. Having done that, I used cyanoacrylate adhesive to fix them in place on the stummel. I was feeling pretty good about this solution, but knew that there was still a long row to hoe. Obviously, I needed to sand down and shape the new pieces of meerschaum, but I also needed to make the rim as rusticated as the rest of the stummel. Enter the Dremel (with accompanying angelic voices). Yes, I first used a sanding drum on the Dremel to remove excess material from the repair (but not too much), then I used a high-speed engraving cutter to rough up the surface of both the rim and the repair. So far, so good. The engraving cutter had worked – to a point – but it had not really resulted in the sort of rustication I was looking for. My solution came from the Dremel again, but only indirectly. Steve reminded me of his trick of using an old Philips-head screwdriver as a rustication device (you can read about that here). Whereas Steve used Dremel grinding stones to make his rustication device, I used a metal cutting disc on the Dremel. As you can see, my screwdriver came out looking quite good and the stummel came out looking even better. I was definitely pleased with the roughened surface of the stummel, but I next needed to address the lack of colour. This, of course, was a direct result of my topping of the rim – it removed the patina. The solution must have come to me in the mid-afternoon: tea. Yes, I used black tea to provide a beautiful stain to the meerschaum that gave it a really good look. I went and added some more Before & After Restoration Balm and, once again, used my horsehair shoe-brush to work it in.Meerschaum does not really do well on a high-speed buffer, so I used a microfibre cloth to achieve the same effect. I did, however, take the stem to the buffer, where I applied White Diamond and some wax to give it that lovely shine.

In the end, what a beauty this pipe is! It is back to its old glory and ready to be enjoyed again by the next owner. I am pleased to announce that this pipe is for sale! If you are interested in acquiring it for your collection, please have a look in the ‘Irish’ pipe section of the store here on Steve’s website. You can also email me directly at kenneth@knightsofthepipe.com. The approximate dimensions of the pipe are as follows: length 154 mm; height 47 mm; bowl diameter 34 mm; chamber diameter 20 mm. The mass of the pipe is 40 grams. Thank you very much for reading and, as always, I welcome and encourage your comments.

Reworking a Damaged French Made GBD Speciale Standard 9465 Liverpool


Blog by Steve Laug

Jeff and I purchased the lovely long shank GBD Liverpool from a fellow in Brazil, Indiana, USA. The grain on the pipe is a nice mix of flame, swirled and birdseye that works well with the brown stains of the briar and the black of the saddle stem. The rim top is crowned with a bevel inward and has some significant damage on the front right outer edge and top. The repeated burning of that area with a lighter flame has left behind a deep dip and burn that will need to be dealt with. It was hard to see with the thick cake in the bowl and the veritable eruption of lava over the top of the rim but it was very present. The finish was quite dirty with grit, grime and oils ground into the surface of the bowl and shank. The shank is stamped on both sides and on the left it reads GBD in an oval [over] Speciale [over] Standard. On the right side it reads France [over] the shape number 9465. The vulcanite stem was lightly oxidized and well dented with tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. The button area was worn as well. There is a GBD brass oval roundel on the left side of the saddle stem. Jeff took photos of the pipe to capture its condition when it arrived at his place. It was going to take some work to bring this one back to life. But both of us thought that it would be worth it. Jeff took photos of the rim top and bowl that show the cake and overflowing lava on the top and edges of the bowl. It is really hard to know what it looks like under all of that. We have learned that it with either be badly damaged or it will have been well protected. Only cleaning it off would reveal which result was on this pipe. You can also see the burn damage on the right front outer edge. The stem had a lot of tooth chatter and marks that are clear in the photos that follow. There is some oxidation and the calcification on the stem surface. He took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show condition of the briar. You can see the dust and debris ground into the bowl. The burn damage on the outer rim edge of the right front is more apparent from the side view in the first photo. The grain is still quite nice. He took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It was faint but was still was clear and readable as noted above. The brass GBD roundel looked good as well. I always like to be able to set the pipe I am working on in its historical setting so I turn to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD) and read through the brand history. Toward the middle of the article I found what I was looking for. I quote below:

The Paris factory moved to Saint-Claude in 1952. Since 1981 the majority of GBD pipes come from the English factory.

The premium lines of GBD offered very good values, and are considered amongst the most affordable high end pipe of the 1960’s and earlier and a rival in quality, design, and price to Dunhill. Smokers’ Haven was the main retail supplier for GBD’s in the US until the early 1980’s.

GBD produced consistently well made pipes, almost entirely of Algerian or Grecian briar. In the late 1960’s to late 1970’s, they introduced the “Collector” and “Unique” lines, made primarily by Horry Jamieson, who had carved for Barling for many years, and was skilled in freehand design. Older GBD pieces are excellent smokers and unique in design. They did an excellent executions of classic pipe shapes, as well as some beautiful freehands in the “Unique” line. [2]

The following list comprises the better grades in descending order:

Pedigree, Pedigree I, Pedigree II, Straight Grain, Prodigy, Bronze Velvet, Virgin, Varichrome, Prestige, Jubilee, New Era, Prehistoric, International, Universe, Speciale Standard, Ebony, Tapestry, New Standard, Granitan, Sauvage, Sierra, Penthouse, Legacy, Concorde.

Since the pipe I was working on was made in France I knew that it was made either in Paris before 1952 or in St. Claude after that date and before 1981 when production moved to England. I also new that I was dealing with one of the better grade pipes with the Speciale Standard stamp.

I then followed the links included to a listing of the shapes and numbers on the GBD pipes (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD_Shapes/Numbers). The pipe I was working on was labeled by GBD as a 9465 which is a Liverpool with a round shank. Now it was time to work on the pipe itself. Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual focus on detail. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet pipe reamer and removed the rest of the cake with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush and was able to remove the thick lava build up on the rim top. 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 Stem Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe once I received it. The rim top cleaned up really well. The rim top, inner and outer edges of the bowl other than the burn damage on the front right were in good condition. The crowned inner edge also has some rim darkening and burn damage on the front right as well. The stem surface looked good with some large and deep tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.  He took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It was faint but readable as noted above.I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole.  Now it was time to do my work on the pipe. I decided to begin by dealing with the damage on the front of the rim top and bowl. I sanded it slightly to give a clear picture of the damage in the photo below. I have marked it in red to help identify the damaged area.Now I had a decision to make on this repair. I could top the bowl and shorten the height of the entire bowl to accommodate the damage on the front of the rim. To me this would look awkward as the dip is quite deep. The other option to me was to build up the dip in the rim top and edge with briar dust and clear CA glue (super glue) to the same height as the rest of the bowl. I decided to build up the bowl top. To begin the process I topped the bowl to give me a flat surface and to remove the other damage to the rim top.I wiped off the burned area with alcohol on a cotton pad to clean off any debris. I layered on the first batch of CA glue and then used a dental spatula to put briar dust on top of the glue. I repeated the process until I had the rim top level. Once the repair cured I topped it once again to make sure that the repaired area matched the rest of the rim top. I used a topping board and 220 grit sandpaper.I took photos of the rim top and bowl front to show the repair. It is dark and still needs a lot of work but it is at least the right height and is smooth. You can also see the slight bevel that was on the inner edge of the rim on the rest of the bowl. I would need to continue that on the repaired area to match.I worked on the inner beveled edge with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to give it a deep bevel. I also sanded the rim top repair to further smooth it out. The repair is starting to look good at this point.  I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding debris and dust.   I restained the rim edge and top with a combination of Maple and Walnut stain pens to blend the colour to the rest of the bowl. The rim top looked darker but it looked much better than when I started the repair.I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.    I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the surface of the stem with the flame of a lighter to lift the tooth marks. It worked very well and many of the marks lifted. I filled in the remaining marks with clear CA glue and let the repairs cure. I used a small file to flatten out the repairs. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to blend the repairs into the stem surface. I started the polishing with 400 grit sandpaper.     I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.  This French Made GBD Speciale Standard 9465 Liverpool is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The rich contrasting brown stained finish around the bowl is quite beautiful and highlights the a finish that works well with the polished vulcanite stem. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished GBD Speciale Standard Liverpool sits nicely on the desk top and in the hand. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¾ of an inch, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inch, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 35 grams/1.23 ounces. I will be putting it on the French Pipe Maker section of the rebornpipes store shortly. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Reworking a French Made Bruyere Garantie Mini-Churchwarden


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the worktable has been here awhile. Jeff picked up the pipe from an online auction in 2019 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA. Jeff cleaned it in 2020 and I am starting work on it now in 2021. It is a mini-churchwarden that had a low profile and a fairly long stem. The finish was rusticated with deep rustication around the bowl and shank. There was a flaw in the briar on the right side toward the top of the bowl. The bowl is stamped on the left side and reads Bruyere [over] Garantie [over] Made in France. The bowl had a thick cake with an overflow of lava on the inwardly beveled thin rim top. The finish was worn and dirty with grime in the grooves of the rustication. It appeared that the shank had originally had a band that had long since disappeared before it came to us. The stem has a lot of damage toward the shank end. There were grooves and scratches all the way around the stem. The button end had some deep tooth marks and grooves from the edge of the button forward about 1 inch. The stem was calcified and oxidized along the length. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he did his work on it. Jeff took photos of the rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the lava overflow on the rim top. You can also see the nicks in the outer edge of the bowl toward the front side. The stem had a lot of tooth chatter and marks that are clear in the photos that follow. There is some oxidation and the calcification on the stem surface. He took photos of the sides of the bowl to show condition of the briar. You can see the dust and debris ground into the bowl. The flaw on the right of the bowl is also visible in the second photo. He also took a photo of the shank end and tenon on the stem to show the condition. In the photo of the shank end you can see where the missing band was. I appeared to be a narrow band that was missing. By the time we had it the band was missing. I would need to replace the band on the shank.He took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. It was clogged with debris that filled in some of the letters. Underneath it was clear and readable as noted above.Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual focus on detail. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet pipe reamer and removed the rest of it with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. 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 Stem Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe once I received it. The rim top cleaned up really well. The rim top, inner and outer edges of the bowl were in good condition. The beveled inner edge also has some rim darkening and burn damage. The stem surface looked good with some large and deep tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.  The stamping on the left side of the shank is clear and readable and reads as noted above. I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole.Now it was time to do my work on the pipe. I decided to replace the band on the shank end first. I chose a band from my collection of bands to fit the shank. I reduced the depth of the band on a topping board and glued it in place on the shank end with all purpose glue. I repaired the deep flaw on the right side of the bowl with clear CA glue and briar dust. I rusticated the repair with a wire brush. I restained the spot on the bowl with a Walnut stain pen and set it aside to dry.I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the darkened inner edge bevel on the bowl. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding debris and dust.   I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the surface of the stem with the flame of a lighter to lift the tooth marks. It worked very well and many of the marks lifted. I filled in the remaining marks with clear CA glue and let the repairs cure. I used a small file to flatten out the repairs. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to blend the repairs into the stem surface. I started the polishing with 400 grit sandpaper.    I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. This French Made Bruyere Garantie Churchwarden is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The sandblasted brown stained finish around the bowl is quite beautiful and highlights the a finish that works well with the brass band and the polished vulcanite stem. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Bruyere Garantie Churchwarden sits nicely on the desk top and in the hand. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 7 inches, Height: 7/8 of an inch, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 inch, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 15 grams/.53 ounces. I will be putting it on the French Pipe Maker section of the rebornpipes store shortly. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

One Among A Batch of 4 Knute of Denmark Freehand Pipes


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe is a really is one of four Knute Freehand pipes that we picked up in 2019. Because of that we are not sure where exactly this one came from – whether an auction, a sale or an antique store. Jeff cleaned the pipe in 2019 and now I am working on it in 2021. It is stamped on the underside of the shank and reads Knute [over] of Denmark. The exterior of the bowl was filthy with grime on the surface of the briar and there were paint flicks on the briar all the way around. There was a heavy cake in the bowl and an eruption of thick lava on the rim top that filled in most of the plateau on the rim top. Along with that there was dust and debris on both the rim top plateau and the shank end plateau. It was hard to know the condition of the rim top and rim edges because of the grime and thickness of the cake and lava. The cleaning would make it very clear! The fancy turned stem was dirty, oxidized, calcified with light tooth marks and chatter on both sides but nothing like what I was expecting from the condition of the bowl. Jeff took photos of the pipe to give a clear picture of what we were up against with this pipe. He captured the cake in the bowl and the thick eruption of lava on the rim top plateau in all of the grooves and valleys exceptionally well in the next photos. It was very clear that it was someone’s favourite pipe! The stem is oxidized, calcified and shows the tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. Jeff captured some of the beauty of the shape and the grain in the next photo. It is quite stunning. He took photos of the plateau shank end to show how filthy it was too. The grime, dust and grit filled in most of the valleys and grooves of the finish.He took photos of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above. He also took a photo of the Crown K stamp on the top of the stem.I turned to Pipephil’s site (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-k3.html) to confirm what I knew about the brand being made by Karl Erik. It did but did not give a whole lot of other information. I turned then to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Knute). I quote the article in full below.

Knute of Denmark pipes are said to be made by Karl Erik, see his listing herein.

Karl Erik Ottendahl was born in Aalborg in 1942, just a few miles from the very northernmost tip of Denmark. He began his career as a Lithographer as an apprentice in the craft at the age of 16. While working as an apprentice he began hand carving pipes as a hobby and to give as gifts to his more senior colleagues. He began his career making pipes for various labels in Denmark and the United States. Often he would make the higher grade pipes for a well known brand that was known for their midrange or low end pieces such as Wally Frank. While doing this he administered a factory of fifteen craftsmen. During this period he did make of some of his own handmade pipes, but he felt that the responsibility of managing the factory did not give him the freedom he wished he had.

Other brands confirmed to be from Karl Erik are: Champ of Denmark, HTL, Jobey Dansk, Knute, Golden Danish, Lars of Denmark, Larsen & Stigart (Copenhagen pipe shop), Shelburne, Sven Eghold and Wenhall (for Wenhall Pipes, New York), some Ben Wade and pipes marked IS and IIS.

Now it was time to work on the pipe. It is really a beautiful piece. Jeff had done a great cleanup on the pipe. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the bowl exterior with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the grime on the finish of the bowl and the lava from the rim top. He rinsed it under running water. One of the benefits of this scrub is that it also tends to lift some of the scratches and nicks in the surface of the briar. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He cleaned the internals and externals of the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. He soaked the stem in Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water and cleaned out the airway in the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. I took photos of the pipe as I saw it when I put it on the table.  I took photos of the plateau rim top and stem to show the condition. The rim top and inner bevel looked very good. The smooth bevel has some darkening but is clean. The stem was vulcanite and there were light tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. The stamping on the underside of the shank is clear and readable. It reads as noted above. I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the proportions of the bowl and stem.I started my work on it by sanding the smooth inner beveled rim top to remove the darkening on the edge. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean it up. I stained it with a Walnut Stain pen and wiped it down. I filled in the valleys in the plateau with a Black Sharpie Pen. The contrast of the the bevel and the plateau is very nice. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the briar down with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust and debris on the briar. The pipe began to take on a shine. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 10 minutes, then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Balm did its magic and the grain stood out on the briar. I set the bowl aside and turned to the stem. I “painted” the stem surface with the flame of a Bic lighter to lift the tooth marks. I was able to lift them all enough that sanding them would remove what remained. I sanded out the remaining tooth marks and chatter with  200 grit sandpaper and started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.   I touched up the Crown K stamp on the stem top with white acrylic nail polish. Once it cured I scraped it off with my fingernail and then sanded the stem surface with a 1500 grit micromesh sanding pad.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I finished the polishing with Before & After Polishes – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final rub down with Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. This Knute of Denmark Freehand with a fancy turned vulcanite saddle stem is a beautifully grained pipe with a flowing shape that looks great . The rich browns and black on the plateau areas of the bowl makes the grain come alive with the polishing and waxing. 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 Knute of Denmark really is a beauty and fits nicely in the hand and looks very good. 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 wide X 2 ¼ inches long, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 2.68oz./76grams. This pipe will soon be on the Danish Pipe Makers section of the rebornpipes store if you would like to add it to your collection. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Breathing Life into this Savinelli Made Duca Carlo Pot


Blog by Steve Laug

This July long weekend has been a bit of rest and relaxation for me as I have been able to take time in the basement at my work table and deal with pipes that have been piling up in the boxes around the table. I have posted two I have worked on already – both French Made – a Butz-Choquin Optima and a Chatham Volcano. They were interesting pipes because of the shape and style. This one was more of a relaxed restoration because it was a classic shape and did not present too many challenges. Jeff purchased this pipe from an antique mall Logan, Utah, USA. It had an interesting fire-like finish on it that reminded me of molten lava. The bowl was classic Pot shaped. There was a thick cake in bowl and lava on the rim top. There were nicks around the out edge of the rim  on the right side. There were several fills around the bowl sides. The finish was filthy with grit and grime ground into the surface of the briar. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank DUCA CARLO and on the underside across the shank just below the shank/stem union it was stamped ITALY. I remembered that the pipe was a Savinelli made pipe but I could not remember how it was connected. I would need to check the blog. The stem was oxidized and had light tooth marks and chatter on both sides at the stem. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his clean up work. I like to have an idea of how the pipe was smoked before we got it and what the bowl and rim top looked like. Jeff always takes some photos of the bowl and rim from various angles to show what it looked like. He also captured the nicked right outer edge. The stem looked very good under the oxidation. He took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a sense of the grain on the pipe. You can also see the fills on the right side of the bowl. The next two photos show the stamping on the left side and underside of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above.I did a quick scan of the rebornpipes blog and found a link to the Duca Carlo pipe that Dal Stanton had restored (https://thepipesteward.com/2021/05/04/liberating-the-grain-of-a-candy-apple-finish-a-savinelli-duca-carlo-poker-of-italy/). I always appreciate the research that Dal does when he works on pipes because it is what I like doing when I am restoring the pipes on my table. I quote from the portion of the blog that gives the background information on the brand. (Thanks Dal for the leg work on this one!)

Whenever I work on a pipe, I’m always interested to know something of the pipe.  My first stop at Pipedia reveals that the Duca Carlo is a second of Savinelli, the well-known Italian pipe manufacturer.Savinelli’s history as an Italian pipe maker goes back to 1876 – a rich history and tradition which can be read in Pipedia’s Savinelli article.  The Duca Carlo is listed in the main Savinelli article within an extensive listing of “Savinelli made sub-brands, seconds & order productions”.  The Duca (Duke) Carlo is listed with the Duca di Milano and Duca di Paolo giving the impression that Savinelli produced these as special lines commemorating these historical figures.  With a quick internet search brings me to a Wikipedia article.  Duca Carlo reveals an interesting story of a child that died of smallpox at age 3 (See: Carlo, Duke of Calabria):

Carlo of Naples and Sicily (ItalianCarlo Tito Francesco Giuseppe; 4 January 1775 – 17 December 1778) was Duke of Calabria as heir to Naples and Sicily. Born at the Caserta Palace near Naples, he was known as the Duke of Calabria at birth as the heir apparent to his father’s throne. His mother was a daughter of Empress Maria Theresa and thus sister of Marie Antoinette.

A member of the House of Bourbon, he was a prince of Naples and Sicily by birth. He was the hereditary prince of Naples. His birth allowed his mother to have a place in the Council of State, pursuant to his parents’ marriage contract.

Carlo died of smallpox[1] aged 3. Six of his younger siblings would die of smallpox also: Princess Maria Anna (in 1780), Prince Giuseppe (in 1783), Prince Gennaro (in 1789), Prince Carlo Gennaro (also in 1789), Princess Maria Clotilde (in 1792) and Princess Maria Enricheta (also in 1792).  He was buried at the Church of Santa Chiara in Naples.

The only other reference to the Duca series in the Savinelli Pipedia article comes from a photo that does not mention a name, but the stem stamping is clearly from the Duca series of pipes listed.  No dating on the picture can be seen.The Savinelli Duca line is confirmed by my next stop. Pipephil (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-d9.html) gives two examples of Savinelli Ducas – a Duca Carlo and Duca Eraldo.  Consistent between each example is the crown stem stamping.Armed with the information that I had gleaned from Dal’s blog, I turned my attention to the pipe itself. Jeff had done a great cleanup on the pipe. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the bowl exterior with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the grime on the finish of the bowl and the lava from the rim top. He rinsed it under running water. One of the benefits of this scrub is that it also tends to lift some of the scratches and nicks in the surface of the briar. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He cleaned the internals and externals of the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. He soaked the stem in Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water and cleaned out the airway in the stem with alcohol. When I received it the pipe looked very good. I took a photo of the rim top and stem to show the condition. The rim top and the inner edge of the bowl were in good condition. There were some nicks on the right outer edge of the bowl but otherwise it looked good. The stem was vulcanite and there were some tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. The stem is made for a 6mm filter or a Savinelli Balsa Filter System.The stamping on the pipe is clear and readable as noted above. There are the remnants of the crown stamp on the left side of the saddle stem.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. I started my work on this pipe by addressing the nicks along the edges. I filled them in with a clear CA glue and set them aside to cure. Once cured I blended them into the surrounding briar with a 1500 grit micromesh sanding pad. I touched up the rim top with a Walnut stain pen to blend it into the surrounding briar. I would probably need to do a bit more work on it but I liked what I saw. I sanded the bowl with micromesh sanding pads, dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads and wiping it down with damp cloth after each sanding pad. As I worked through the cycle of pads the shine developed with each change of pad. The pipe looks very good. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 10 minutes, then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Balm did its magic and the grain stood out on the briar. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I polished it 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. The photos below show the polished stem. I fit the stem with a Savineli 6mm Balsa System filter. The fit was perfect and the draw seems remarkably open. This Savinelli Made Duca Carlo Italian Pot with a vulcanite saddle stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The rich browns and blacks of the contrasting stains came alive with the polishing and waxing. 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 Duca Carlo Pot is a beauty and fits nicely in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.31oz./37grams. This beauty will be going on the rebornpipes store in the Italian Pipe Makers section. Let me know if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

New Life for an Yves St. Claude Domino 10 Canadian


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from an online auction in 2020 from Meridian, Idaho, USA. It is a unique looking smooth Canadian unlike any pipe that I have seen or worked on in the past. The left side of the pipe was a dress black and the right side being medium brown stained briar. The stem is also tan on the left side and black on the right side. It had a mix of nice grain around the right side of the bowl and shank. The finish was a bit rough in that the bowl had nicks in the left side and there was a large crack on the top left of the shank that had spread open. There was grime on the surface of the briar. This pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Yves St. Claude [over] Domino in gold stamping. On the underside of shank it has the shape number 10 and just ahead of the stem/shank union it was stamped with a Made in France circular COM stamp. The bowl had a thick cake and a thick coat of lava had overflowed onto the rim top. It was a dirty pipe. There was a stylized YSC stamped on the top left side of the stem. There were some tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the stem near the button. There was a bite through next to the button on the underside of the stem. The button surface itself was misshapen. Jeff took photos of the pipe before his cleanup. He took photos of the rim top to show the condition of the top and edges of the bowl. It is a beautiful lightly smoked pipe with a carbonized bowl coating. The stem had light tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. He took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the grain around the bowl and the condition of the pipe. It is a very unique looking pipe. He took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above. He also took photos of the YSC stamp on the left top side of the taper stem. The next photos show that large wide open crack in the shank on the top side (primarily in the black half of the shank). There was a lot of tar and oil seepage in that area as can be seen in the next two photos. I turned first to a blog I had written on the restoration of previous YSC pipe that I received (https://rebornpipes.com/2020/04/23/next-on-the-table-an-yves-st-claude-marbre-75-bulldog/). I quote what I learned about the brand in that blog below.

In the previous blog that I cited above I had found several references to Yves Grenard, trained in Comoy’s England factory, purchasing the Chacom plant in St. Claude. He managed the factory and it passed on to his son afterward. I am pretty certain that this Yves St. Claude pipes was made by Chacom in France with the stamping bearing Yves name.

I turned back to Pipephil’s site to have a look at what was listed there and did a screen capture of the section (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-y.html).I turned to Pipedia and in the listing of French Brands and Maker I found a connection of the brand to Chapuis-Comoy and that the YSC brand was made primarily for Tinder Box (https://pipedia.org/wiki/French_Pipe_Brands_%26_Makers_U_-_Z). I followed that up by turning to the Chapuis-Comoy article from Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Chapuis-Comoy).

French factory, in St. Claude. It began with Francois Comoy who, in 1825, was making pipes in boxwood and other types, as well as in clay, for the armies of Napoleon. In 1856, the Comoy factory was the first to produce briar bowls at St. Claude. In 1870, Francois’s grandson, Henri Comoy (1850-1924) was taken prisoner in Switzerland whilst serving in the French army during the Franco-Prussian war, where he found his cousins, the Chapuis. This meeting produced the idea of an association, which only became a reality in 1922, with the creation of Chapuis-Comoy. After Henri’s death, his sons Paul and Adrien, took over the company with the support of their cousins, Emile and Louis Chapuis Sr., and in 1928 they created the Chacom brand.

In 1932, due to the economic crisis at Saint-Claude, the factory merged with La Bruyère, adopting that name, and becoming one of the biggest pipe companies in the world, with 450 workers. Louis Chapuis Jr., joined the company in 1938 and Pierre Comoy in 1947. The name Chapuis-Comoy returned in 1957 (125 workers), due to the success of the Chacom brand in France. In 1971, the London factory (see Comoy’s) became independent, and Yves Grenard, second cousin to Pierre, took over Saint-Claude, and is still running it. Between 1987 and 2001, the factory, which employed over 40 people, joined the Cuty-Fort Enterprises SA holding and, in 1994, included the Ropp brand it its catalog.

Reminded about the Chacom connection for the YSC brand it was now time to turn to the pipe itself and do my part of the work. As usual Jeff had done a thorough cleanup on the pipe. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He was also able to get rid of the tarry build up on the outside and inside of the cracked shank. He rinsed it under running water. One of the benefits of this scrub is that it also tends to lift some of the scratches and nicks in the surface of the briar. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He cleaned the internals and externals of the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. He soaked the stem in Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water and cleaned out the airway in the stem with alcohol. Other than the small nicks and the cracked shank the pipe looked good.   I took a photo of the rim top and stem to show the condition. The rim top and the inner edge of the bowl were in good condition. The divided colour on it made it a difficult rim to top or change so I would have to look at other options. The stem could be acrylic but I am uncertain. The heavy tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button and on the button edges as well as the bite through will make the cleanup and repair of the stem problematic and complicated. The stamping on the left side and underside of the shank is clear and readable as noted above. The COM stamp is damaged from the poorly done repairs to the cracked shank.     I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. It is a unique looking Canadian and I am looking forward to seeing what I can do with it.I started working on the pipe by addressing the cracked shank. Unfortunately the tars and oils had stained the natural briar shank with dark spots on the top and underside where the colours came together. I squeezed the crack together and heated a thin brass band with the flame of a lighter and pressed in place on the shank end. The fit was very tight and it pulled the crack together tightly. I filled in the crack with clear CA glue and briar dust to build it up and make it even with the rest of the shank.    I put the stem on the shank to see what the pipe would look like with the addition of the band. I have to say that I really like the dressy look of the pipe with the band!  I used a black stain pen to touch up the damaged areas on both top and underside of the shank to help blend in the repair. It looks much better in the photos below even though there is still along ways to go.   To remove the shiny varnish coat on the smooth briar side of the bowl and shank I sanded it with micromesh sanding pads, dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads and wiping it down with damp cloth after each sanding pad. I decided to leave the dress black side alone preferring to leave the small nicks on the bowl surface rather than trying to match them to the black of the bowl finish.   I touched up the gold stamping with Rub’n Buff Antique Gold. I rubbed it on to the stamp on the briar with my finger tip and worked it in to the stamp with a tooth pick. I buffed it off with a soft cloth. The stamp is readable and clear.    I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Balm did its magic and the grain stood out on the natural finished part and the dress black portion look shiny and nice.  I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem. I greased a pipe cleaner with Vaseline and inserted it in the stem below the bit through. Once I had it situated I had a decision to make. The bite through was centered on the underside of the stem surface evenly split between tan and black. I decided to do the repair with clear CA glue hoping that it would pick up the colour of the underlying material. In the best case scenarios it works very well. In this case it went a bit crazy. The repairs cured over both areas in a milky white colour! Fortunately I overfilled the repairs so I was hoping that once I filled them and sanded them the repair would at least be less noticeable.   While the repair hardened I used a black Sharpie Pen to restain the YSC stamp on the top of the taper stem. It was in the tan area so I was hesitant but did it anyway. Once I had it in place I sanded the stem surface with 1500 grit micromesh to remove the excess stain and it cam out really well.I used a small file to reshape the button, cut the sharp edge and flatten out the repairs. It worked amazingly well. The topside was perfect and the bit through was far better than I expected. I sanded the repaired areas with 220 grit sandpaper blend them into the surrounding surface of the stem and started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.  I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. The photo below shows the polished stem. You can see that the top repair came out very well. The repair on the underside is better than it was when I started but you can clearly see the repair.     This nice smooth finished Yves St. Claude Domino 10 Canadian with a black and tan taper stem even with the visible repairs and banded shank still is a great looking pipe. The rich medium brown finish on the right half of the pipe and the dress black finish on the left half works well with the split black and tan stem. The briar is clean and really came alive. The rich natural finish gave the grain on the right side a sense of depth with the polishing and waxing. The painted dress black left side also looks good. The repairs on the stem are solid yet visible on the underside due to the dual colour of the stem (I have yet to figure out a tan colour fill). 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. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished YSC Domino Canadian is a beauty and feels great in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch.The weight of the pipe is 1.69 ounces/48 grams. This pipe will soon be on the French Pipe Makers section of the rebornpipes store if you are interested in adding it to your rack. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Restoring a Butz-Choquin C’est bon 1689 Apple with an amber acrylic stem


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table – a Butz-Choquin Apple with a smooth finish purchased from Mandy Valsinger about a year ago when she was closing her husband’s estate. It came to us from Australia. The shape of the bowl is an apple with an acrylic stem. The pipe was in overall good condition but was very tired and dirty. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Butz-Choquin at an angle [over] C’est bon. On the right side of the shank it is stamped St. Claude France [over] the number 1689. The finish was dull and lifeless and a little dirty from sitting around. There was a thick cake in the bowl and an overflow of lava on the rim top toward the back. There were scratches around the sides of the bowl where it appeared that the pipe had been dropped. The amber acrylic stem had a deep tooth marks on both sides with a bit through on the underside ahead of the button. The BC logo inset in black acrylic and set on the left side of the taper stem. Jeff took the following photos before he started his cleanup work on the pipe. Jeff took close-up photos of the bowl and rim top from various angles to capture the condition of the bowl and rim top edges. You can see the cake in the bowl and the lava on the inner of the rim and the top at the back of the bowl. The photos of the stem show the general condition of the stem. He took the stem out of the shank and revealed a Delrin tenon with a lot of tars and oils on on the end of the tenon.He took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show condition of the briar. You can see the swirls of grain in the smooth bowl – both birdseye and cross grain around the sides and shank. There are scratches on the right side of the bowl. The stamping is very clear on both sides of the pipe. The third photo shows the BC inlay on the left side of the taper stem.I turned to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Butz-Choquin) and found a great read of the history of the brand. I did find a shape chart however, that had the 1689 shape. I have included that below.Now it was time to look at it up close and personal. Jeff had great job in cleaning up this BC C’est bon Apple. He had reamed the bowl with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He took the cake back to bare briar so we could check the walls for damage and also see the condition of the inner edge of the rim. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime on the bowl and rim and was able to remove much of the grime and dirt. He cleaned out the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol until they came out clean. The rim top looked much better. The bowl looked very good. He cleaned the stem with Soft Scrub to remove the grime on the interior and the exterior and rinsed it off with warm water to remove the product. He cleaned out the airway with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I took some photos of the pipe as I saw it. To show how clean the rim top and stem really was I took a close-up photo of the rim and stem. The bowl was clean and cake free. The rim top is quite clean the inner and outer edges were darkened. The surface and the button edge of the stem had tooth marks and chatter on the top near the button on both sides. What I thought was a hole all the way through the stem on the underside turned out not to be that deep.I took some photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe from the left side to give a clear picture of the beauty of this particular pipe.I turned to Pipephil (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-butzchoquin.html) and found the C’est bon pipe shown below. I did a screen capture of the of the listing and have included it below.I started working on the pipe by dealing with the damage and darkening to the rim top and inner edge of the bowl. I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage.I used to some clear CA glue to fill in the deep scratches on the right side of the bowl. Once the repairs cured I sanded them smooth with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I started polishing the areas of the repair with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I stained the sanded area with a Maple Stain pen. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth to remove the dust and debris. The began to take on a deep shine. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the bowl with my finger tips. The product is incredible and the way it brings the grain to the fore is unique. It works to clean, protect and invigorate the wood. I greased a pipe cleaner with Vaseline and inserted it in the button. I did not see the hole going through the stem but I put a pipe cleaner in just in case there was. I then built up the tooth marks and chatter on both sides with clear CA glue. I used a small file to reshape the button edge on both side and smooth out the repairs. I then sanded the repaired areas with 220 grit sandpaper until they were smooth and blended it into the surrounding acrylic. I started the polishing with a 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it 1500-12000 pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth to remove the dust and polishing debris. I polished it with Before  After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I am really happy with the way that this Butz-Choquin C’est bon Apple with an Amber Acrylic Stem turned out. It really is a great looking pipe with character. The rich brown stains gave the grain a sense of depth with the polishing and waxing. The grain really popped. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch. I gave the bowl and the acrylic stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Butz-Choquin C’est bon Apple really is a beauty and feels great in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 44 grams/1.55 oz. The pipe will be going on the rebornpipes store soon. It will be in the section on French Pipe Makers if you would like to add it to your collection.Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. It was a fun one to work on!

The Italian Swan


Blog by Kenneth Lieblich

I have seen a great many pipes now, but this Brebbia is among the most filthy that I have ever worked on. This pipe came from Sudbury, Ontario – in the same lot of dirty pipes as the one that Steve and I dubbed ‘The Sudbury’. You may recall that I wrote about that pipe last time and you can read about it here. It was obvious from the start that this was a great pipe that just needed some attention and TLC – an ugly duckling, if you will. And just like the Hans Christian Andersen story, this pipe clearly spent a long time in misery and disdain before its true beauty was revealed. This pipe is a Golden Brebbia Natural 8006. It is a slightly bent billiard with an oval shank and stem. The Brebbia pipe company is named after the locality of Bosco Grosso di Brebbia in Lombardy, Italy. The company was founded by Enea Buzzi and Achille Savinelli in 1947, but they parted ways in 1953. Mr Savinelli went on to form his eponymous company, while Mr Buzzi kept the factory and created Maniffatura Pipe Brebbia. His family still run it today.

The stem of this pipe was badly oxidized and thoroughly chewed. In fact, the button had been chewed to the point that there was hardly any left – it would have to be rebuilt. The stummel was covered in grime. Perhaps hand oils or other stuff mixed with dirt over the years to leave the muck you can see in the photos. Furthermore, there were scratches in the wood, gouges in the rim, and an ugly putty fill that needed to be addressed. Well, the usual cleaning procedures were in order for this pipe. I used both the PipNet Reamer and the KleenReem to take 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. There was a lot of nastiness inside this stummel and – boy-oh-boy – it took a lot of cotton to get this thing clean! I then moved on to cleaning the outside of the stummel with Murphy’s Oil Soap and some cotton pads. What a difference that made! A light application of Before & After Restoration Balm brought out the best in the stummel’s grain. There is some beautiful wood under the grime! 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. I let the stummel sit for 24 hours. This caused the oils, tars and smells to leech out into the cotton. Finally, a relatively clean and fresh-smelling bowl emerged.

While the de-ghosting was going on, I moved on to the stem. I took a BIC lighter and ‘painted’ the stem with its flame in order to remove the tooth marks. This was moderately successful in raising the dents. Then, I cleaned out the insides of the stem with pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. Once this process was done, the stem went for an overnight soak in the Before & After Hard Rubber Deoxidizer. The following day, I cleaned all of the de-oxidizing sludge off with alcohol, pipe cleaners, et cetera. The oxidation had migrated to the surface and would be fairly straightforward to remove. Before I moved on to the Micromesh pads, I built up the squashed button on the stem with cyanoacrylate adhesive and let it fully cure. I used my miniature files to do a proper cutting of the new button –this ensures that it keeps its shape and looks like it should. I then sanded it down with 220-, 400-, and 600-grit sandpapers to meld seamlessly into the stem. I did the same to the remaining tooth marks. I then used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to bring out the lovely black lustre on the stem. I also used Obsidian Pipe Stem Oil in between each pad scrubbing. Back to the stummel – the banged up rim needed some serious attention. In order to minimize the impact of the damaged, I “topped” the pipe – that is to say, I gently and evenly sanded down the rim on a piece of 220-grit sandpaper. This successfully eliminated the damage, without altering the look of the pipe. Then I took a solid wooden sphere, wrapped sandpaper around it, and sanded thoroughly. This was to achieve on the inner part of the rim the same thing that I achieved by “topping” on sandpaper. Furthermore, there was an ugly blotch of pink putty in a fill on the shank. What made this more complicated was that part of the fill went into the markings. Naturally, I intended to remove the pink putty, but if I removed it all, I would also remove part of the word “natural” on the shank. I had to decide which was worse (or better): a bit of putty with the marking intact or no putty with a wrecked marking. I opted for the former. I left a bit of putty, added some colour from my furniture markers, and filled in the remaining hole with cyanoacrylate adhesive. Neither option was perfect, but I think I made the right choice. After this, I used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to remove the frustrating scratches in the wood and make everything smooth. All of the work I had done to this point had taken its toll on the colour of the wood. In order to bring back some life to this pipe, I opted for aniline dye. I applied some of Fiebing’s Medium Brown Leather Dye and then applied flame in order to set the colour. Worked like a charm! Since it is an alcohol-based dye, I was able to adjust the colour to my liking by applying my own isopropyl alcohol to the colour. I applied more Before & After Restoration Balm, then took it to the buffer. A dose of White Diamond and a few coats of carnauba wax were just what this pipe needed. This Brebbia was in need of a reminder of its Italian beauty. The pipe began its journey looking though it had been dropped down the mines. Now, it can show its true self – a real beauty from Italy. Not an Ugly Duckling, but an Italian Swan. In fact, it turned out so well that this pipe has already sold! I know that the new owner will enjoy smoking it for many years to come. Thank you very much for reading and, as always, I welcome and encourage your comments.