Tag Archives: restaining

Finishing up a Stanwell de Luxe Regd No. 969-48 Shape 482 for Paresh


Blog by Steve Laug

Not long ago I was speaking with Paresh and Abha on Facetime and they showed me a Stanwell de Luxe 482 that they had been working on. It was cleaned and ready for restoration. Paresh had filled in the multitude of nicks and dents in the briar with super glue and briar dust. He was not happy with the freckled appearance of the briar once he had finished his repairs. The super glue was very runny and had gone all over the bowl leaving darkened patches where ever it ran all around the bowl. Kind of a mess. There were also some fine pin hole nicks in the shank that were around the stamping. He wanted me to pick up where he had left off and finish the pipe for him. The pipe was stamped on the left side of the shank Stanwell over Regd. No. 969-48 over de Luxe. ON the right side it was stamped Fine Briar over the shape number 482. Working on this pipe was truly not a bad deal for me as it was completely cleaned up by Abha and the stem was cleaned and partially finished as well. It would be interesting to see what I could do with it. When the pipe arrived this is what it looked like. I took some close up photos of the rim top and the bowl from various angles to show the freckled appearance that Paresh was speaking about. I carefully wiped the bowl down with acetone on a cotton pad to remove the excess glue that had run and also the stain that remains in the briar without damaging the repairs. The repair spots begin to show clearly. There are still spots on the shank that need to be dealt with. I sanded the surface of the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the repairs and remove the marks from the runny glue. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-4000 grit pads. I wiped it down after each pad with a damp cloth. I also used the tip of a dental pick to fill in the many tiny sandpits in the sides of the shank. Once the glue cured I sanded them smooth with the tip of a sanding stick and folded sandpaper. Once the fills were blended into the surface of the shank I polish the shank portion again with the micromesh sanding pads. I stained the bowl with Fiebing’s Tan Aniline stain. The stain is a brownish red colour and should help to hide the many repairs to the bowl.Once the stain had dried to touch I wiped the bowl down with a cotton pad and alcohol. I wanted the stain to be transparent and allow the grain to shine through but still be opaque enough to hide the repairs that both Paresh and I had done. I rubbed down the briar with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the smooth surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed the bowl with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The following photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. The grain is really starting to stand out. There were still some grooves near the button that needed to be dealt with before I would be happy with the stem. I sanded the grooves out with 220 grit sandpaper until they were smooth.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads to remove the scratches. I wet sanded with 1500-2400 grit sanding pads and dry sanded with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I polished stem and bowl with Blue Diamond to polish out the remaining small scratches. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The rich reds of the tan stain work well to blend in the majority of the fills in the briar. The pin hole nicks in the finish have almost all been repaired and blended in with the stain coat. The grain really stands on the finished bowl and shank. The polished black vulcanite stem works together with the beautiful grain in the briar to give the pipe a rich look. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/4 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 inches. The pipe is ready to head back to Paresh in India once I have finished a few more projects for him. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this beautiful little Stanwell.  There were two larger factory fills in the bowl that were rock hard and not workable. I could not pick them out or get the stain to permeate the putty. They are visible in the next two photos. Ah well they will remain in the finished pipe.

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Whatever it takes to make a pipe usable – A Creative WWII Trench Repair


Blog by Steve Laug

I was on Facetime recently with Paresh and Abha in India, talking about pipe restoration and what they were currently working on together. Paresh showed me some of the pipes that they were working on as well as several that he wanted to send to me to work on. One of them was a pipe that had come to him from a family friend who told him it came from WW2 and had belonged to a German soldier. He was not sure what to do with this one and almost felt that it was not worth working on. A piece with that kind of story attached is always interesting to me and I wanted to see it and also work on restoring it. Paresh brought the metal box that the pipe came to him in and the assortment of pieces that made up the pipe to the table to show me what was there. It had what looked like two stem options with it. The one that looked right was a Perspex stem. He was able to remove the brass shank extension from the bowl while were talking and thought he had broken it. I did not think so but underneath the brass there was a broken shank. The brass had been slipped over the broken shank as an extension. The pieces could all be combined to make a functional pipe. I was excited to get this pipe and work on it. Here are some photos of the pipe box. It bears the initials CK and a raise pipe on the cover. When the box was opened the pipe parts were scattered in the larger compartment. There was a bent wire in the box as well. I have a theory how that was used and will talk about it shortly. It is obvious that the box was made to fit a pipe in the upper compartment and tobacco and lighting material in the lower portion. There is a fabric piece fixed to the lid that keeps the pipe from moving around the box.Paresh kept the box in India and mailed the pipe parts to me to see what I could do with them. It took a long time for the pipe to arrive in Vancouver from India. I would have forgotten about it if Paresh had not sent me WhatsApp messages to see if it had made it here. Finally there was a parcel notice hanging on my door when I came home from work. The postie had written that a package was at the post office and I could pick it up the next day after 1pm. I picked it up the next day after work and brought it home. I carefully unwrapped the plastic sleeve that enclosed the box. I cut the tape that held the box closed. Inside were the pipes that Paresh wanted me to work on. The “War” pipe was in a plastic bag and wrapped in bubble wrap. I carefully took it out of the wrappings and put it on the desk. I took the following photos to show the condition of all the parts before I started the cleanup and restoration.I examined the pieces carefully to see if I could come to any conclusions about the provenance of the pipe as it now stood. The bowl was in rough condition but I thought it could be cleaned up to at least carry on the trust of a pipeman from the past. The brass was very interesting and had been cut off on one end. Each end had a different diameter. One end was the size to fit on the broken shank and the other fit the wooden extension. The wooden extension appeared to be oak or a like hard wood. The inside appeared to have been burned and was darkened on each end. It had a copper ring around the end where the stem went. The ring had been hammered smooth and worked onto the shank end to keep it from splitting when the stem was inserted. The two stems were interesting. The white one looked like a cigarillo holder to me and probably was the first stem to be used on the pipe. It could possibly fit over the wooden extension prior to the addition of the copper ring. That leaves me to assume that the clear stem was a later addition and the ring was added to make sure that it did not split the wood when inserted. All parts were very dirty but I could see how they went together to make a smokeable pipe. We talked about the background of the pipe on Facetime and also on WhatsApp several other times and he told me the story that had been passed on to him by the friend of his family. I wrote to Paresh and asked if he could give me a summary about the pipe – write down some of what he had told me in our conversations. This is what he wrote to me.

This WWII pipe was handed over to me by one of my best buddies who has a family tradition of serving in the Army. This pipe once belonged to his eldest maternal Uncle who had participated in WW II as a Sepoy (an Indian soldier serving under British or other European orders) and later during the war rose to become a Junior Commissioned Officer. He had participated in the Operations in North Africa as part of a British Indian Division. It was during one of the battles at El Agheila during November – December 1941 that he had picked this up this pipe with its case from one of the overrun German trenches as a souvenir and had been with him since…. – Regards, Paresh

That was the information that I was looking for about this pipe. It is one thing to assume that the pipe was a War Memorabilia but another thing to get the history behind it. Thanks Paresh. Now I knew that I was dealing with a German soldier’s pipe and pipe case that had been left behind either when he was killed or when he abandoned German trenches in haste fleeing the British Indian Division. His friend’s uncle had picked up the case from the trench as a souvenir. It had remained in the family in the case in parts since that time.

This is where my imagination took over and tried to figure out how the pipe had come to its current state. I wonder what was in the mind of the pipeman who put the pieces together. So I took what I could see and imagined the following scenario from the parts.

Somewhere along the journey of the soldier CK and his pipe he had broken the shank on what must have been his only pipe. It was broken and either could be thrown away as garbage along the way or perhaps he could rebuild it. The broken shank was the impetus for repairing the pipe and the way it was done was highly creative.

The remnant of the shank was carefully modified with a knife judging from the way the broken shank end was carved. The pipe man had used his knife to create a ledge around the broken part where it connected to the bowl. A brass shell casing was cut and modified to fit on the shelf that had been carved thus repairing and lengthening the shank. The shell casing was pressed onto the carved shank until it was almost flush with the back side of the bowl. A piece of wood – branch or an oak stick was “drilled out” by heating the bent wire in the box until it was red hot and then inserting it repeatedly down the middle of the wood branch until there was an airway burned into the center. You can still see the burn marks on the inside.

The one end of the shank was drilled out and inserted into the small diameter end of the shell casing. The other end, the shank end of the piece of was carved out with a knife to receive a stem. There was a hammered copper ring that had been crafted and pressed onto the stem end of the shank. The box contained two different stems with the pipe. The first was a cigarette or cigarillo holder that could have been fit over the top of the dowel. Not very pretty and not very functional as it did not fit well. The second stem was a Perspex stem that was quite long. It obviously was the one used with the pipe as the airway was very dirty. There was also some internal burning in the stem itself that is odd. I wonder if the soldier who fashioned the pipe did not put a burning wire up the stem to open it as well and damage the internals of the stem.

I probably will never know the story behind the pipe for sure but what I have imagined is certainly a very real possibility. Whatever the story is the pipe is a fascinating piece of WWII memorabilia.

With the imagination satisfied and combined with the story that came with the pipe I examined the pipe parts to see what I was dealing with. It was obvious that the pipe was smoked a lot. It was probably the soldier’s only pipe and it rarely sat unlit by the looks of it. The bowl was thickly caked and damaged the externals were worn. It appeared that the pipe had been dropped a few times as there were deep gouges in the briar on the heel of the pipe. The finish on the briar was worn out and dark but underneath there were remnants of what looked like nice grain. The rim top was damaged and the inner edge of the bowl was rough. The bowl appeared to have been repeatedly reamed with a knife. The airway entering the bottom of the bowl was also worn from the piece of wire in the pipe case. I would clean up the pipe and leave the character intact. Many would have left the pipe as it was but to me the work that the original pipeman did to keep the pipe useable made me want to carry on his legacy and give Paresh a chance to at least smoke it.

I decided to clean up all of the parts individually. I scraped out the brass shell casing with a small pen knife and then scrubbed the inside with cotton swabs and isopropyl alcohol until the inside was as clean as the shiny brass exterior. The first photo shows the cut edge that the wooden extension inserted into. The second photo shows smooth edge that sat on the carved ledge against the bowl and the other edge was the cut edge. I cleaned the wooden extension next, scraping the grit and tars that had built up on the inside. The end that fit toward the bowl had an airway drilled through from the other end. It looked to me that the airway had been burned through with a hot wire. It was darkened from being inserted into the brass and as it had oxidized it had coloured the wood. The end that held the stem was carved to receive the tenon. It had been banded with a copper ring to stabilize the wood. I used a pen knife to scrape the grime out of the extension and then cleaned it with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. I used the topping board and 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the insert end and remove some of the damage to the wood.With the brass and wooden shank extensions cleaned it was time to clean the bowl. I took a photo of the bowl to show the thickness of the cake on the walls and the trough that had been carved in the bottom of the bowl to the airway leaving the bowl. It looks to me that the trough has been gouged out over time by cleaning the pipe with the wire that was in the box. The cake on bowl walls was thick and uneven all the way around. It was also quite crumbly and soft. The pipe smelled musty from the years that it had been sitting since the war. Once it was removed there would be work to be done to smooth out the walls of the bowl. There are spots that appear quite thin and there will need to be at least a bowl coating done to protect the bowl.I carefully removed the cake from the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife, scraping it from the walls. You can see from the photos how crumbly and soft the carbon chunks were. I wrapped some 220 grit sandpaper around a piece of dowel and sanded the walls to remove the remaining cake.I used a dental spatula to rebuild the inside back edge of the bowl rim with clear super glue and briar dust. This was just the first step in the process that would take a lot more work to bring it back to a useable condition.I lightly topped the bowl on a topping board with a piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I did not want to remove much of the briar, just smooth out the damage. The first photo shows the topping and the second the rim after topping.I filled in the divots in the bottom of the bowl and carefully repaired what looked like a crack in the briar with clear super glue and briar dust. Once the repair had cured I sanded the repair smooth with 220 grit sandpaper to blend it into the surface of the briar. I carefully sanded the bowl and rim with micromesh sanding pads. I set the bowl aside and worked on putting the parts of the shank extension back together. I heated the brass shell casing with a Bic lighter to expand it enough to be pressed on to the wooden shank tube. I scrubbed the tube with Before & After Pipe Balm and lightly sanded the extension with 220 grit sandpaper. I polished the brass and copper band with micromesh sanding pads.I cleaned out the inside of the newly reassembled shank with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. I cleaned out both ends of the new shank.I cleaned out the broken shank on the bowl with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol in preparation for gluing on the shank extension. I dried it out and coated the shelf with white all-purpose glue. Once the glue was in place I pressed the shank extension onto the bowl. I wiped away the excess glue. Once the glue had set I took pictures of the pipe at this point in the process. To match the stain remaining on the bowl I used the mislabeled tan aniline stain. It is a reddish-brown almost cordovan coloured. I figured it would match the existing colour very well. I applied the stain with a dauber and flamed it with a lighter to set it in the grain. I repeated the process until the coverage on the bowl was even.I wiped the bowl down with alcohol on a cotton pad to even out the coverage and make the stain more transparent. I wanted the grain to show through the finish. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the inner edge of the rim and the inside of the bowl.I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem at this point in the process. It was truly a mess. There were tars and oils lining the airway making it almost black and there was damage to the interior of the stem material around the airway. I started the cleaning process using liquid cleanser and pipe cleaners to remove some of the tars. I was able to get a lot of the stuff out of the airway.I used a small round needle file to further clean out the airway. I sanded the interior of the airway to smooth out the surface of the drilled area. I ran alcohol dampened pipe cleaners through after the files to clean out the dust. The stem was finally getting clean. I took some close up photos of the stem to show the airway after filing. The photos also show the internal damage to the stem from what looks like fire. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with Obsidian Oil. I rubbed down the briar and the oak shank extension with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the smooth surface of the briar and oak with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed the bowl with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The following photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. The grain is really starting to stand out. I polished stem and bowl with Blue Diamond to polish out the remaining small scratches. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I carefully buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The newly stained finish works well when polished to really highlight the variety of grains and mask the damage around the bowl and shank. The polished Perspex stem works together with the beautiful grain in the briar and the brass and oak shank extension to give the pipe a rich look. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The shape, finish and flow of the pipe and stem demonstrate the creativity of the German soldier CK who left it in the trenches of North Africa. The dimensions are Length: 7 inches, Height: 1 inch, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/4 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 inches. The pipe is ready to head back to Paresh in India once I finish the other ones he sent to me. This pipe has really travelled – from Germany to North Africa to India to Canada and back to India. I wish it could tell its own story. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this interesting piece of memorabilia. 

Kathy’s Dad’s Pipes – Restoring a Barontini De Luxe Brandy


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table is also from George Koch’s estate. It is a Barontini De Luxe Brandy shaped pipe with a quarter bend. The pipe was one of many that came to my brother and me in several shipments of pipes from George’s daughter Kathy. When Jeff got each box the pipes were well wrapped and packed. Jeff unwrapped them and took the following photo to give an idea of the volume of the pipes that we purchased. The Barontini came in mixed in a box of pipes much like the one below.In each of the previous blogs that I have written on the restoration of George’s pipes I have told his story. To me it is important to keep the story attached to the pipes that came from his collection. Each pipe I work on I remind myself of the man and in the work give a remembrance to the pipeman who owned these pipes. Having held a large number of his pipes in my hand and having a pretty good feel for the shapes, colour and stems that he liked, I can almost imagine George picking out each pipe in his collection at the Malaga shop in Michigan. I am including Kathy’s brief bio of her father and a photo of her Dad enjoying his “Malagas”. Here is George’s bio written by his daughter.

Dad was born in 1926 and lived almost all his life in Springfield, Illinois. He was the youngest son of German immigrants and started grade school knowing no English. His father was a coal miner who died when Dad was about seven and his sixteen year old brother quit school to go to work to support the family. There was not much money, but that doesn’t ruin a good childhood, and dad had a good one, working many odd jobs, as a newspaper carrier, at a dairy, and at the newspaper printing press among others.

He learned to fly even before he got his automobile driver’s license and carried his love of flying with him through life, recertifying his license in retirement and getting his instrumental license in his seventies and flying until he was grounded by the FAA in his early eighties due to their strict health requirements. (He was never happy with them about that.) He was in the Army Air Corps during World War II, trained to be a bomber, but the war ended before he was sent overseas. He ended service with them as a photographer and then earned his engineering degree from University of Illinois. He worked for Allis Chalmers manufacturing in Springfield until the early sixties, when he took a job at Massey Ferguson in Detroit, Michigan.

We lived in Livonia, and that’s where his love for Malaga pipes began. After a few years he returned to Allis Chalmers and we moved back to Springfield. I remember that when we went back to Michigan to visit friends, Dad had to go to the Malaga store and acquire a few new pipes. Many a year I wrote to Malaga and they picked out a pipe for me to purchase that I could give Dad for a Christmas or birthday present. He was always pleased. His favorites were the straight stemmed medium sized bowl pipes, but he liked them all. 

He had some other pipes, but the Malagas were his favorites. I remember him smoking them sitting in his easy chair after work, with feet up on the ledge by the fire burning in the fireplace.  Growing up it was my job to clean them and he liked the inner bowl and stem coated with Watkins vanilla, leaving a little of that liquid in the bowl to soak in when I put them back on the rack. Dad quit smoking later in life and so they’ve sat on the racks for many years unattended, a part of his area by his easy chair and fireplace. Dad passed when he was 89 years old and it finally is time for the pipes to move on. I’m very happy they are being restored by you and your brother and hope they find homes who enjoy them as much as Dad did. Thank-you for your care and interest. — Kathy, the oldest daughter

Each blog I have posted I thank Kathy for providing this beautiful tribute to her Dad. Jeff and I appreciate your trust in allowing us to clean and restore these pipes. We are also trusting that those of you who are reading this might carry on the legacy of her Dad’s pipes as they will be added to the rebornpipes store once they are finished.

The next the pipe is a nicely shaped Barontini Brandy with an acrylic stem. It has beautiful grain all around the bowl – straight, flame and birdseye that is highlighted by the rich reddish brown stain. The top of the bowl is had some burn marks and some damage. The stamping on the top side of the shank read Barontini over De Luxe. On the underside it has the shape number 702 and Italy at the shank/stem junction. The gold and brown, swirled, pearlized Lucite stem had light tooth dents and chatter on the top and the underside of the stem. The interior of the pipe was caked and had cobwebs. Jeff took these photos before he started the cleanup work on the pipe. Jeff took a close up photo of the bowl and rim to show the condition of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. The rim top had some light lava overflow and some darkening. There appeared to be some rim damage on the inner edge toward the front of the bowl. You can see the wear on the rim top, the cake and remnants of tobacco in the bowl. It also looks like there are some cobwebs in the bowl. The pipe is dirty but in good condition.  He also took photos of the sides and bottom of the bowl and shank from the side to show the grain on this pipe. The finish is very dirty but this is a beautiful pipe. Jeff took some photos to capture the stamping on the top and underside of the shank. The first photo shows the top side of the shank with the stamping Barontini De Luxe and the second shows the shape number 702 on the underside. The third photo shows the ITALY stamping on the underside near the stem. There is also a B stamped on the acrylic stem.The next two photos show the stem surface. There are tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. There is also some wear on the sharp edge of the button.I looked up some information on the brand on the Pipephil website to get a quick overview of the history (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-b2.html). I did a screen capture of the listing for the brand. The fascinating thing that I learned in this quick overview was the connection to the entire Barontini family and to other companies like Aldo Velani. It is interesting to see the breadth of the brand in the following screen capture. The  pipe I am working on it stamped like the third photo down – the Classica and the B on the stem is identical to that pipe’s stamping.Pipedia gives further history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Barontini,_Ilio) under the listing for Ilio Barontini. I quote that article in full as it has the connection to the De Luxe pipe that I am working on.

Cesare Barontini, who was in charge of the Barontini company since 1955, helped his cousin Ilio Barontini to establish a pipe production of his own.

Ilio started to produce machine-made series pipes of the lower to the middle price categories. Fatly 80% of the pipes went to foreign countries, the bulk being produced for various private label brands. Some of the own lines like “de Luxe”, “Etna” or “Vesuvio” gained a certain popularity. Citation: “Next to excellent craftsmanship Ilio Barontini pipes offer a wood quality, that is almost unrivalled in this price category!”.

The pipes being around still there were some unconfirmed utterances that Ilio Barontini brand has been absorbed by Cesare Barontini or even Savinelli. Who knows?

Now I had some idea of the maker of this Barontini. It appears to be one of the machine made Barontinis in the De Luxe line. Fueled by that information it was time to get working on the pipe itself and see what I had to do with it.

Jeff had 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 rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. The rim was thoroughly cleaned and the damaged areas were obvious. Without the grime the finish looked really good. The Lucite stem would need to be worked on but I really like the profile it cast. I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work on it.   I took close up photos of the bowl and rim top as well as the stem. You can see the condition of the rim top and bowl in the first photo. Jeff was able to remove all of the tar and oils but you can now see the damaged areas on the surface clearly. There are damaged spots on the front inner edge and the back inner edge. There are also some deep dents and nicks in the flat surface of the rim. The acrylic/Lucite stem had tooth chatter and some light tooth marks on the top and underside of the stem just ahead of the button. There was one deeper tooth mark on the underside near the button.I decided to address the damage to the rim top first. I topped the bowl on a topping board using 220 grit sandpaper. I removed the damaged surface of the rim and made it smooth once again.I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the inner edge of the rim. The rim top is looking far better at this point.I polished the rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the rim off after each sanding pad to remove the dust. The rim really shone once it was polished. Once it was polished the rim was ready to be stained. I started by using stain pens. I used a Maple stain pen to match the colour of the bowl. It was the closest I could get to matching the bowl. Once it cured it was streaked and not quite a match. The first photo below shows the rim after the stain pen.I carefully wiped the rim down with some isopropyl alcohol to smooth out the stain. Once it was smooth I restained it with some Fiebing’s aniline stain. I used a tan coloured stain and flamed it once I had stained the rim. I repeated staining and flaming until the coverage on the rim matched the bowl sides. The second photo below shows the look of the rim after this staining. I rubbed down the briar with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the smooth surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little wall and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The following photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. The rim matches well but still needs to be polished and buffed to raise a shine on it. There were some tooth marks and chatter on the top and more chatter and a deeper tooth mark on the underside of the acrylic stem at the button. I cleaned off the surface of the stem with alcohol and filled in the deep tooth mark with clear super glue. Once it cured, I sanded both sides smooth with 220 grit sandpaper to blend the tooth chatter and the repair into the surface of the stem. It did not take too much sanding to remove the marks and smooth out the stem surface. When it was sanded it was smooth and the marks were gone. I polished the acrylic stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit sanding pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth. I the polished stem and bowl with Blue Diamond to polish out the remaining small scratches and raise the shine. I gave the bowl and the stem several coats of carnauba wax and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. This turned out to be a beautiful pipe in terms of shape and finish. This is the thirteenth pipe that I am restoring from Kathy’s Dad’s collection. I am looking forward once again to hearing what Kathy thinks once she sees the finished pipe on the blog. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this Barontini Brandy from George’s estate. More will follow in a variety of brands, shapes and sizes. I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store shortly so if you are interested in adding it to your collection and carrying on the trust from her father send me an email or a message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.

Renewing a Prince of Wales Hand Made Oom Paul


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table is the second of a pair of Oom Paul pipes that my brother Jeff picked up in from a guy in Texas. I wrote a blog about the cleanup of that one already. It is the pipe shown on the left side in the photo below. It was a Siena Artistica Oom Paul. The link to the previous blog is: (https://rebornpipes.com/2018/09/04/finally-a-simple-restoration-a-siena-artistica-oom-paul/). The second pipe is shown on the right side of the photo above. It is also a full bent Oom Paul but it has a smooth finish. The finish was in rough condition and was a Cordovan colour. There were a lot of nicks and damaged fills on the sides of the pipe. It has some great grain that shows through the grime on the bowl sides. Once it is cleaned and repaired that grain should show through nicely. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank Prince of Wales over Hand Made. There is no other stamping on the shank or bowl. The rim top was dirty and there were nicks and dents in the crowned surface. Fortunately there was no damage on the inner and outer edges of the bowl. The bowl had a light cake in it that would be easy to deal with. The stem was acrylic and variegated red. It had some tooth chatter and scratching on both sides near the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup up work. He took a closeup photo of the rim top showing that it was quite clean. The crowned surface was nicked and scratched. The edges of the bowl look very good. There is a light cake in the bowl. The stem was in good condition. There was some tooth chatter and scratches on the top and underside near the button.He took several photos of the finish to show the largest damaged fill on the right side of the bowl. The first photo gives an overview of the right side of the bowl and shank. You can see the wear and tear on the finish and the nicks and scratches. There is also a damaged fill mid bowl. The second photo shows the damaged fill clearly.The next photo shows the stamping on the shank and on the Scottish flag logo on the left side of the stem.I turned to the two websites that I regularly check for background on pipe brands. The first was Pipedia. I found the brand listed and the short description on the wiki that linked the brand to GBD pipes. It stated that it is a GBD sub-brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Prince_Of_Wales). It also included a link to the second site that I check, Pipephil. There it said that the brand was made in England. It bears the Scottish flag (X-shaped cross representing the cross of the Christian martyr Saint Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland) as logo. I did a screen capture of the stamping on the shank and stem that was included on the site. I include that below (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-p5.html). The stamping on shank read Prince of Wales over Hand Made like the screen capture above. It is very readable and clean. Jeff had scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil soap and removed the dust and grime that had accumulated there. The finish was damaged but was worn and needed some repairs once it had been scrubbed. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet Pipe reamer and cleaned up the remnants of cake with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He cleaned the interior of the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. The pipe came to me clean and ready to do the restoration. I took some photos of the pipe to show the condition at this point in the process. I took a photo of the rim top and to show the condition of the surface of the rim. There is some darkening on the inner edge of the bowl and a lot of nicks and surface damage. I also took close up photos of the stem to show its condition. There is some light tooth chatter and tooth marks on both sides near the button but otherwise it is in good condition.I took some photos of the bowl sides to show the dents, nicks and faulty fills that would need to be addressed in the restoration. I repaired the damaged areas on the bowl sides with clear super glue to smooth out the damage. Once they cured I would sand them smooth to blend them into the bowl. Because there were so many damaged areas it would require restaining the bowl.It did not take too long for the repairs to cure. I sanded the repaired areas smooth with 220 grit sandpaper. I took photos of the bowl after the sanding to show the spotted, leprous look of the bowl after sanding. To further blend the repairs into the bowl surface I would need to stain it again. In preparation for restaining I wiped the bowl down with isopropyl alcohol to remove much of the previous stain. I restained the pipe with my Fiebing’s Tan stain – remember it is mislabeled and is actually a cordovan stain. I applied it and flamed it with a lighter to set it in the briar. I repeated the stain/flame process until the coverage around the bowl was even.I let the stain set over night and in the morning wiped the bowl down with isopropyl on cotton pads to unveil the newly stained pipe. The pipe looked better. The fills were visible if you looked for them but they looked far better than when I had started. I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm to deep clean the briar bowl and the rim top as well as the briar shank. I also have found that it really helps to blend a restain on briar. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I hand rubbed it with my fingers, working it into the exterior of the pipe. After it had been sitting for a little while, I buffed it with a soft cloth to polish it. The pipe really began to have a rich shine. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to sand out the tooth chatter and marks on both sides of the stem just ahead of the button. They were not deep so it did not take too much to remove them.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust on the vulcanite. When I finished polishing and wiping it down I set it aside to dry. I polished stem and bowl with Blue Diamond to polish out the remaining small scratches. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The dark undercoat and the cordovan combine to give the briar depth and a rich look. The polished variegated red and burgundy acrylic stem work together with the stained briar to give the pipe a rich look. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. This is a beautiful smooth finish Oom Paul made by GBD. The pipe has already found a new home. The shape, finish and flow of the pipe and stem are very well done. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 3/4 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/4 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 inches. This one will join the rusticated Oom Paul and soon be on its way to the southern US. Its new trustee is looking forward to firing up both of these pipes. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this unique Oom Paul. 

Dressing up a Dinner Pipe 1/4: The Trident Experiment


Blog by Robert M. Boughton

Copyright © Reborn Pipes and the Author except as cited
https://www.facebook.com/roadrunnerpipes/

“Ah,” she cried, “you look so cool.” 
— Daisy to Gatsby in The Great Gatsby (1925), Ch. 7, by F. Scott Fitzgerald

INTRODUCTION
The whole unlikely adventure started when one of my two housemates, Mike, who rents a room from the owner as I do, somehow got it in his head that he wanted me to make the perfectly nice Trident full bent billiard I sold him for next to nothing into a dress pipe.  As Mike is a complete novice when it comes to pipes, I didn’t even want to guess how he heard of the term many far more experienced smokers don’t know.  The Trident is fashioned in the classic style of a Peterson system pipe.

Trident original before

Trident original after

Gaboon ebony *

Dress pipes have also been called by other appropriate adjectives including dinner, evening and cocktail, and now are more often referred to as ebony.  That may be the worst name for this style, which renders the pipe with a jet black and shiny finish, as it refers to one of the rarest and most expensive (and now almost extinct) hardwoods from the tree of the same name.  Ebony heartwood tends toward dark black, but the extreme density – 3,080 lbf compared to 2,090 for briar on the Janka Scale – eats up cutting equipment like hors-d’oeuvres at a redneck bachelor party.  For that and other reasons, it is a poor choice for pipes.  But one thing is certain: a black dress pipe does look so cool.

Assuring Mike that I would look into the process and necessary supplies, soon afterward I told him I had a tentative list, and it wouldn’t be expensive. That’s when he dropped the indefensible bombshell on me about how he had thrown the Trident away because “it didn’t work out” and bought a corncob. Then he said he didn’t think I was serious about dressing up the Trident. Is that not the perfect example of waffling or am I missing something? By an amazing stroke of luck, the trash collectors had not come, and at my rather frantic suggestion Mike retrieved the pipe from the garbage. Here’s what it looked like after maybe a month of use by him.The velocity of the Trident’s trip from being restored to like-new condition to worse than when I first received it has to be some kind of record.  Needless to say, given the garbage incident and the horrendous wear and tear in such a short time, I was reluctant to turn it into a high maintenance item.  When Mike said I could have it, that ended that dilemma.  He later regretted the decision – but there’s the only preview of Part 2 of this series I’ll give here.

HISTORY AND THEORY OF THE DRESS PIPE
Dating a pipe, even to an approximation as close as a decade, can be impossible.  Determining the origins of names for some shapes, such as the Oom Paul, might be easier but is still murky.  [Stephanus Johannes Paulus Kruger, president of the South African Republic, the Transvaal, and a fierce military leader against the British in the Second Boer War (1899-1902), is said to have chain-smoked a pipe of an uncommon shape.  His nickname among the Afrikaans inhabitants was Oom, for uncle, Paul – hence, the Oom Paul, although the name is debated, as is most everything pipe-related.]  Of course, coming up with a theory for the beginning of a special style of pipe, such as the dress as a finishing method, is by the nature of the guesswork involved much easier.

Dunhill 61032 Dress 1983 courtesy Paronelli Pipe

The basic premise of a dress pipe (or in the alternative again, evening, cocktail or ebony) is something that stands out and dazzles from across a room, and further, one that should only be used on special occasions because of its appearance and greater susceptibility to damage.  Andrew Wike wrote a thoughtful 2014 essay, in the Pipe Line section of Smokingpipes.com, titled “Dressed for the Occasion.”  In a space that could have amounted to no more than a single page from a word processor, Mr. Wike employs elegant concision pondering the important question of which one of his pipes he should take to a friend’s wedding – and he even provides illustrations, descriptions and the basic qualities of a handful he recommends for such formal situations.

Starting his personal debate process with a smooth, jet-black Dunhill billiard derived from the collection Mr. Wike writes started the term “dress pipe” (and similar to the one shown here), he notes the classic elegance of Dunhill’s line, including the traditional sterling silver band, and compares the beautiful work to a tuxedo.

Mr. Wike moves on to Castello’s wonderful Perla Nera line and observes that these pipes vary from having no band or various ferules, as well as this Perla Nera Horn with a silver bamboo band below.Then Mr. Wike asks the perfect question, one that had been nagging me: “Who says your dress pipes have to be smooth finished?”  One excellent illustration is an unusual sandblasted Peterson Cara that SmokingPipes.com calls a bell style Dublin/Calabash hybrid.Skipping to the end of Mr. Wike’s list, I have to include his stunning example of a Tsuge dress pipe gone wild, the Urushi Sakura with its hand-painted floral design on the otherwise shimmering lacquer-coated black bowl, a black bamboo extension and brass fittings.Here’s my theory.  While the actual date of introduction of the black dress pipe is elusive, the likelihood of that flashy style of finish being conceived at all before the 20th century, much less as fashionable, is hard to imagine.

What better period of time and place for such a style than the Roaring ’20s in the U.S.?  Although I have not yet found an example from quite that far back, I can’t help the mental image that pops to mind of some of the wealthy revelers of that era, as recorded in The Great Gatsby and summed up with the simple quote opening this blog, trailing wisps of smoke from just such elegant, shiny black pipes with the ballroom lights in West Egg glinting off them.

Dunhill made its formal introduction of the Evening Dress Pipe in 1973, as shown below.

Dunhill Evening Dress Pipe courtesy Pipedia

Nomenclature left side

Nomenclature right side

However, several examples of Dunhill pipes associated with the word cocktail trace to the 1930s.  As well as the traditional black model shown below, green and red versions of Dunhill’s Lady’s Cocktail Pipe were made in 1934.

Dunhill Lady’s Cocktail Pipe, courtesy Pipephil

The following magazine ad from March of the same year is a hoot.  I couldn’t help letting out a healthy guffaw that startled one of my other housemates, the owner, when I took in the cloying sexism of a bygone era – in particular the idea of protecting the fingers of our precious little homemakers from being yellowed.

Courtesy Pipephil, from Modern Mechanix

If I didn’t know of too many occasions when Dunhill took credit for methods of making pipes that had already been used by different brands, I might have no doubt this was the first dress pipe.  But 1934 is too close to the 1920s for my comfort.  For now, it remains the earliest I can trace.

PREP WORK
Go ahead and chalk it up to coincidence, if you like, but at the very next monthly meeting of my pipe club after I set my mind to dressing up my abused but still savable Trident, I tuned into an interesting conversation next to me.  Don Gillmore, a respected artisan whose business is known as Don Warren Pipes (dwpipes) in Albuquerque, was talking to another restorer about the use of shellac on many of his pipes.  I was shocked for several reasons, chief of which was that I’ve seen quite a few examples of Don’s masterful creations over the years and never had a clue that shellac might have been involved.  I also knew that shellac, like varnish and certain other finishes, can, in excess at any rate, affect a pipe’s ability to breathe and lead to damages.  Until that moment, I had only associated it with awful, cheap Chinese pipe abominations, with the one exception being dress pipes for which I deemed the substance a necessary evil.  Unable to join the conversation, I resolved to email Don for more information on the subject, in particular how I might go about dressing a pipe in black.

Flake shellac courtesy Wikipedia

First, I looked up shellac online.  I was surprised to learn that it is natural and converts to flake form from a resin secreted by the female lac bug on trees in India and Thailand.   Really, I’m not a bad raconteur, but I don’t have the gift of gab needed to spin that good of a yarn!  The finish has been in use for millennia and in various forms with artwork and wood finishing in general and furniture in particular for centuries, but not until the 1800s did it become preferred to oils and waxes for woods.

The following is a condensed version of the ensuing email exchange between Don and me.  Rather than the usual lacquer that seems to be the most common final coat used by the big pipe brands, Don repeated that he uses a thin coat of orange flake shellac on some of his pipes.  I asked if black shellac might be as good or better, and his answer was a firm but polite no.  He assured me the orange shellac would be clear by the time I reached that point.

To reveal how clueless I was at the outset of my decision to try dressing up a pipe, I read numerous online references to the need for black aniline dye and even consulted the definition of aniline, which in every standard English dictionary published omits the most pertinent aspect.  Only after at least an hour of obsessive searching did I find a mind-numbing technical treatise on the subject that mentioned, somewhere in the blur of multiple-digit chemistry terms, the simple word alcohol.  Realizing my default leather stain was in fact an aniline dye, I was both relieved by the discovery and angered by the waste of time to which I was subjected.  Even when I posted a thread on an online smokers’ forum asking for help, everyone replied that black aniline dye was what I wanted!  But a few deep breaths later, I was back to my usual self again.

Don provided links to the site where he buys his orange flake shellac, a chart that shows the various mixtures of the flakes (aka buttons) with, ideally, 190-proof denatured alcohol dependent upon the desired thickness, and even detailed instructions for applying the shellac once it is rendered to pure liquid form.  All of this information can be found at obvious links in my sources, but you know I’ll describe the whole process soon enough.

LIQUEFYING FLAKE SHELLAC FOR IDIOTS
The Pound Cut Chart says it all – in fact, maybe more than you need to know for use with pipes – but the order is a bit whacked.  The main issue I have with it is how simple the process is compared to the way it’s described.  I had to consult Don for more than a few clarifications, which he was happy and gracious to supply.  That’s why I’m going to lay it out in this EZ synopsis.

To be sure, the official instructions are spot-on about three points: 190-proof denatured alcohol as the ideal agent for liquefication, the need to crush the flakes to as fine a degree as possible and the mix of alcohol and ground flake for the thickness and amount desired as shown in the chart.  Whatever size mix is made should last three months (its effective shelf life), and Behlen Behkol Solvent is specifically mentioned, although I used Everclear.  For my first batch of liquid shellac, I did not crush the flakes quite as small as they should have been.  It worked out but took longer to dissolve.  Here’s how to do it.

    1. From the Pound Cut Chart, decide how much liquid shellac you want and the thickness. Unless you’re going to use it all the time, a little goes a long way. Don recommended one cup of shellac at the one-pound cut (minimum thickness).  His reasoning was that it’s easier to apply a second coat if needed than to remove one.  Note: I ended up needing to do two coats, so I later made more at the two-pound cut.
    2. Crush the flakes, again, as fine as possible. I suspect a mortar and pestle would be perfect, but this is Albuquerque where such things other than very small types proved impossible to locate except online. Instead, I improvised with a chopping block and the flat bottom of a ceramic plate.  Getting the hang of that method wasn’t easy because the ornery flakes liked to shoot all over the place until I used mind over matter to develop my own style.  I highly recommend investing in a mortar and pestle!  If you’re thinking you might try grinding the flakes in a blender, remember they’re derived from resin and think again.
    3. Use a glass or plastic – not metal – container larger than the liquid amount you want.  For purposes of this first installment for which I used the one-pound cut, I poured one ounce (eight fluid ounces) of Everclear into a large glass baking pan and then slowly stirred in one ounce of flake with a rubber batter mixer.  The official instructions suggest a little every 15-30 minutes and stirring or shaking, as the container allows, as well as “occasional agitation.”  I added more flakes at 15-minute intervals but found frequent scraping of the flakes was vital to fight the constant sticking to the bottom of the glass pan.
    4. The photo above shows the mix about an hour and a half after I finished stirring in the last of the flakes and continued frequent scraping and stirring.  As you might notice, my flakes weren’t as fine as they should have been, and some bits are still at the bottom.  Then again, maybe that’s just what happens.
    5. Strain the shellac into a glass or plastic container that has a lid in order to remove any sediment or organic particles.  The official instructions give various methods and even combinations, but for the love of all that’s holy, it isn’t rocket science!  True, cheesecloth, a thin white cotton cloth or a paint strainer would have been just grand if I had any of them on-hand and going whole hog by “straining through a paint strainer first then through T-shirt or multiple layers of cheese-cloth” might have left me ecstatic.  But I used a few pieces of paper towels, and despite losing a little of the finished shellac to soaking all the way into the paper, I was overjoyed with the nice clear result.  I still have way more of it left than I can possibly use before it expires.

RESTORATION
I’ll state for the record that the most egregious sign of the Trident’s abuse is the ghostly remnant of the name on the left shank shown up-close above.  Due to the necessary smoothing of the entire stummel, even the least abrasive measure obliterated it.

If ever an alcohol strip were called for, this was it.  I immersed the stummel in Everclear and let it sit for a couple of hours.  One positive result was the complete cleaning of the carbon and gunk buildup.

To clarify one point, the plethora of pits and other blemishes apparent in the above shots were not from fills that came out with the soak.  They were inflicted by Mike.  To remove them, I started with a double 150- and 180-sided sanding pad and 150-grit paper for the pernicious dings.  As a heads-up, it was a mistake.  Of course, that was then, and this is now. I could have saved considerable time and trouble with the subsequent sanding progression, but as I like to say, shoulda-coulda-woulda.  Now, for the beginning of what turned out to be a long, arduous smoothing process, starting with 220-, 320-, 400- and 600-grits followed by super fine “0000” steel wool, that even with the later fine-tuning was never altogether successful. The result so far is no doubt a great improvement from where it started and looks pretty good, but you know what they say about looks.  This project was the beginning of a learning process, after all, if I may be permitted a lame excuse.  Anyway, I followed up with a full micro mesh from 1500-12000.  The shine was beautiful, but there are still some small scratches, and that is not good with any restoration but in particular when dressing a pipe in black. Thanks to someone I had added as a Friend on Facebook’s Gentlemen’s Pipe Smoking Society forums just because he knew a couple hundred other people I do, I have a baggie of old bands, ferules and whatnot.  In the mix, I found a cool Peterson-style endcap I decided was more appropriate than the thin band on the pipe.  The third pic below is a tentative view of how it would look when I removed the old-worn-to-copper nickel band.  The biggest benefit of the endcap was that the stem, which was loose at first with the band, was able to stay in place well. The actual task of prying off that old band proved difficult, but as I’ve noted before, I’m tenacious.  I was quite aware of the dangers of damage including cracking the shank and with great and very slow care, I succeeded with a tiny pen knife.  I attacked the band somewhat like removing a flat tire, where my dad taught me to loosen the lug nuts a little at a time but not in order.  In plainer words, I went at one side of the band, then the opposite, and then the other two, before gently working the tip of the blade in between the four corners.  Again, I did this with no rush, and so it took about an hour before the narrow rim popped off.I cleared away the muck where the band had been with 220-, 320- and 600-grit paper, steel wool and all nine micro mesh pads, but the end cap still didn’t fit. A small piece of 150-grit paper and patient work to be sure I didn’t overdo it did the trick.  The open end of the shank was just narrow enough to place the end cap over it and push down slightly with a cotton cloth set on a table to make it snug.  Removing it again, I micro meshed after 320-grit paper. The big moment of staining and flaming the stummel had arrived, and I admit I was nervous.  The wood needs to be, for all intents and purposes, as smooth as a pipe maker would have it at this point of creation, and I am no pipe maker.  Restorations in general do not need to be as exacting.  Don had indicated 1000-grit paper is advisable, but I only had 600 and micro mesh.This was how it looked after hand-buffing without shellac.  As far as I’m concerned, the above results were unacceptable to proceed with the full dressing, but I figured I might as well get the chamber cleaning and smoothing out of the way with 150-, 320- and 400-grit papers.And then, for me, it was like the line from the traditional nursery rhyme: “Poor old Michael Finnegan, begin again.”  Back into an Everclear soak went the stummel, but this time only long enough to take the stain off to a point where I could smooth it more with 600-grit paper and micro mesh and try the stain again.  I’m missing the pics of the micro mesh work, but the next photos show the marked improvement. Once again, I stained and flamed it.Even before hand buffing with a special cloth for wood, the single shot above shows it was ready to shellac.  I used the small, soft brush for that part, taking care to move the brush in slow, even strokes from top to bottom around the stummel, including the shank.  I did the rim as closely as possible without overlapping to the sides.  After letting it dry for about six hours, I decided to repeat the shellac process and dry it again.  The shellac step, needless to say, was impossible to photograph

Now, for the stem, which was easy.  All I did was two full micro meshes, first with wet pads and then dry. I also buffed with red and white rouge and carnauba.  The endcap was snug as I mentioned before, but I added a couple dabs of Super Glue for good measure after a little polishing.

One more comment before the finished pipe pics.  Don had told me to “lightly buff” with the machine using white rouge between applications of shellac, but my electric buffer is a one-speed – fast – and I had severe doubts I could pull it off without removing patches of the shellac and stain.  In some of the installments of this series that follow, I gave it a shot, and with practice learned to hold the wood such that it almost didn’t even come in contact with the wheel buffer. CONCLUSION
The flaws can be seen in the photos above but allowing it was my first try at dressing a pipe, I was happy.  Besides, I was keeping the Trident for myself, and I’m glad I did because it’s a great little smoker.

SOURCES
* Gaboon ebony photo courtesy Wood Database below
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ebony
http://www.wood-database.com/gaboon-ebony/
http://oompaul.com/musings/2014/5/29/the-odyssey-of-the-oom-paul-a-hungarian-really-by-ben-rapaport
https://www.smokingpipes.com/smokingpipesblog/single.cfm/post/dressed-for-the-occasion
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shellac#History
http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/dunhill/others1.html#41
http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/dunhill/others2.html
http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/infos/dunhill-lady2.html
https://pipedia.org/wiki/Dunhill#Dress
https://www.alpascia.com/moments/en/detail/57/dunhill-pipes
https://www.shellac.net/Shellac_ordering_list.html
https://www.shellac.net/PoundCutChart.html
https://www.woodworkingshop.com/product/b6502816/
https://www.walmart.com/ip/Home-Basics-Mortar-and-Pestle-Bamboo/36699397
https://www.dwpipes.com/html/briar_pipes.html

New Life for a Chacom Prestige Chubby Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table was one that my brother Jeff picked up somewhere along his travels through antique shops or online auctions. This one is a nice looking chubby billiard with a classic look and shape. It has some great birdseye grain around the sides of the bowl and shank and some cross grain off-center on the front, on the back and on the top and underside of the shank. It has a smooth natural finish to the bowl that highlights the grain. It is stamped on the left side of the shank Chacom over Prestige. There is no other stamping on the shank or bowl. The finish was dull and a little dirty but otherwise very good. The rim top was chipped and dented with a little damage to the inner edge of the bowl. The bowl had a light cake in it that would be easy to deal with.There was one fill on the left side of the bowl toward the bottom. The stem was vulcanite and had some tooth chatter and scratching on both sides near the button. The stem had a silver double Diamond inlay on the left side. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup up work. Jeff took a photo of the rim top and bowl. You can see that the cake is quite thin. The rim is slightly beveled inward and there are some nicks in the edge. The rim top has dents and nicks in it that are quite deep. The outer edge of the bowl looks good.Jeff took close up photos of the stamping on the left side of the shank. You can see that it is sharp and readable. The first photo shows the stamping and the double diamond logo on the stem. The second photo gives a closer look at the stamping on the shank.Jeff had scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil soap and removed the dust and grime that had accumulated there. The finish looked very good once it had been scrubbed. He lightly reamed the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He cleaned the interior of the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. The pipe came to me clean and ready to do the restoration. I took some photos of the pipe to show the condition at this point in the process. I took some photos of the rim top and sides of the bowl to show the damage to the surface of the rim. The dark area on the inner edge at the bottom of the photo (left side of the bowl) is a nick and it has been lightly charred. There is also some darkening on the back edge of the bowl and some nicks and dents that need to be removed. I also took close up photos of the stem to show its condition. There is some light tooth chatter and tooth marks on both sides near the button but otherwise it is in good condition.I took some photos of the grain around the bowl. In the first photo you can see the only fill toward the bottom of the left side of the bowl. The grain on the pipe is quite stunning. I have worked on quite a few Chacom pipes over the years so I know most of the history or at least know where to turn to refresh my knowledge of the brand. Chacom tobacco pipes are made by the famous Chapuis-Comoy Company. The Chacom brand, a combination of the first three letters of each of the family names. It is the signature brand out of dozens produced by the nearly 200 year-old pipe-making family. Chacom tobacco pipes where the number one pipes in France, Belgium and The United States after World War II. The history of excellence in french pipe construction continues today ( https://www.tobaccopipes.com/chacom-history/). A good timeline on the brand can be found on Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Chacom).

I started my restoration of the pipe by addressing the damage to the rim top. I topped the rim on a topping board using 220 grit sandpaper. I checked the progress repeatedly as I only wanted to remove the damage and not too much of the briar. The second photo shows the rim top with the damaged areas removed and the rim looking very good.I used an Oak stain pen to match the colour on the bowl. I took the photo below to show the quality of the match.I addressed the dented fill on the lower left side of the bowl next. I filled it in with a drop of clear super glue and set it aside to dry. When the glue dried I sanded it flat with a corner of 220 grit sandpaper and blended it into the briar with a 1500 grit micromesh sanding pad. I touched up the stain with an Oak stain pen. The colour was slightly off but once I buffed and polished the bowl it would blend in well.I polished the briar with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads to smooth the finish and blend in the restained portions of the bowl. Once I had that finished with the 2400 grit pad I checked the rim top and edges and was not happy with the dark spot on the inner edge of the right side. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to bevel the edge a bit more to take care of that. I resanded the top with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads.I finished polishing the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. The briar is shining and the repairs have all but disappeared. In some of the photos I notice a bit of carbon on the walls of the bowl so I wrapped a piece of dowel with some 220 grit sandpaper and sanded the walls of the bowl smooth.I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm to deep clean the briar bowl and the rim top as well as the briar shank. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I hand rubbed it with my fingers, working it into the exterior of the pipe. After it had been sitting for a little while, I buffed it with a soft cloth to polish it. The pipe really began to have a rich shine. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to sand out the tooth chatter and marks on both sides of the stem just ahead of the button. They were not deep so it did not take tooth much to remove them.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a Obsidian Oil to remove the sanding dust on the vulcanite. I finished the polishing process with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. When I finished polishing and wiping it down I set it aside to dry. I polished stem and bowl with Blue Diamond to polish out the remaining small scratches. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The contrasting light brown stain on the smooth briar with the polished, black vulcanite stem worked together to give the pipe a unique look. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. This is a beautiful Chacom Prestige chubby billiard that needs a new home. The shape, finish and flow of the pipe and stem are very well done. The dimensions are Length: 5 3/4 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/2 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 inches. This one will be added to the rebornpipes store soon. If you are interested in adding it to your collection send me an email to slaug@uniserve.com or send me a message on Facebook. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this beautiful billiard.

Restoring a Beautiful Sandblast Fellini of Italy Sitter


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table was one that my brother Jeff picked up from a seller in Texas. We have picked up quite a few pipes from him. It was in a box with the freehand pipes that I have been working my way through. Even though it is not properly a freehand I had put it in the box – go figure. It is more of a Billiard shape with a flat bottom making it a sitter. It has a slight bend in the shank and stem and the pipe is balanced to stand on its own. It has a sandblast finish to the bowl that reveals some swirling grain patterns. It is stamped on the left side of the shank in a smooth panel with the word FELLINI. It is also stamped at the stem shank junction ITALY. The pipe was very dirty when it arrived from the seller. There was dirt and grime in sandblast finish on the bowl. There was a thick cake in the bowl and an overflow of lava on the rim top. The inner and out edges of the bowl appeared to be undamaged under the grime. There were a few sand pits/fill areas that needed attention and the finish was spotty – dark and medium brown randomly around the bowl and shank. The stem was a striated tan and cream acrylic and has some tooth chatter on both sides near the button. The tenon had come loose from the stem and was stuck in the shank. Because of that the fit of the stem to the shank was off.  Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup up work. Jeff took photos of the rim top and bowl. You can see the thick coat of lava and grime on the rim and the thick cake in the bowl. This was a dirty pipe. There is even the fuzz of dust all around the bowl from sitting unused for a long time.The next photos show the finish on the bowl from various angles. Though it is dirty it is an interesting looking sandblast. He took a close up photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. You can see that it is sharp and readable. You can see the gap between the stem and shank end in the photo.The stem was actually in great condition. The tooth chatter was light and there were no deep tooth marks in the surface of the acrylic.Jeff had scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil soap and removed the dust and grime that had accumulated there. The finish looked very good once it had been scrubbed. He lightly reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer and cleaned it up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He cleaned the interior of the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. The pipe came to me clean and ready to do the restoration. I took some photos of the pipe to show the condition at this point in the process. I took some photos of the rim top and sides of the bowl where there were sandpits or fills that needed attention. I have circled the damaged areas in red in the second and third photo below. Both of them will need to be repaired and restained. There is some darkening to the surface of the rim and some spottiness to the finish that a restain will take care of. I also took close up photos of the stem to show its condition. It was in good condition other than the loose tenon in the stem. I took the stem off the shank and you can see the tenon stuck in the shank. It has obviously been this way for a while as there is staining from tobacco on the end that sits in the stem. I used a pair of pliers to wiggle the tenon free from the shank so I could reglue it in the stem later.Once again I turned to the internet to see if I could find out any information on the brand. There was a lot of information on the Italian Film Director Frederico Fellini but very little other than pipes for sale on eBay that bore the name. Pipedia did not even mention the brand so that was unhelpful. I turned to the Pipephil site and found a listing for the brand. I have included a screen capture from that site (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-f1.html). You can see from the screen capture that even that information was very slim. Ah well, it will remain a mystery that hopefully one of you reading this can unravel for us.I started my restoration of the pipe armed with the little bit of information that I could find on the brand. I decided to reglue the tenon in the stem.  I used a needle file to roughen the surface of the Delrin/nylon tenon. I wanted to make it rough enough for the glue to have something to bite on when I glued. I coated the roughened end of the tenon with clear superglue gel and pressed it into the drilled hole in the stem. I wiped away the excess glue on the face of the stem. With that done I set the stem aside to let the glue cure.I turned to repairing the damaged fills or sandpits on the bowl sides (front and rear). I put a drop of clear super glue in the pit and filled it in with briar dust using a dental spatula. When the repair had dried (fairly quickly as it is warm here) I used a brass bristle wire brush to remove the excess repair. I find that the brush follows the pattern of the sandblast. I touched up the repaired fills with an Oak stain pen. I used it to stain the area around the new fill and deep in the crevices of the fill. I intended staining the pipe again in full but this would allow me to at least do a bit of the cosmetic work before the full stain. (Before I did that I put the stem on the shank to check the fit – it was flawless!)You might notice in the above photos that the briar has a definite red tint to it and the light oak stain had turned a red/brown colour. I decided to go with that and highlight the colour of the briar. I have a bottle of Fiebing’s Tan Stain that really is a light Cordovan colour so I used that to stain the briar. I heated the briar and applied the stain with a dauber. I flamed it with a lighter to set it in the wood and repeated the process.I wiped the bowl down with isopropyl alcohol on cotton pads to make the stain more transparent. I took photos of the bowl to show it. I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm to deep clean the briar bowl and the rim top as well as the briar shank. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I hand rubbed it with my fingers, working it into the exterior of the pipe. I worked it into the blast with a horsehair shoe brush. After it had been sitting for a little while I buffed it with a soft cloth to polish it. The pipe really began to have a rich shine. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. It dawned on me that Jeff may not have been able to get the shank cleaned with the tenon stuck in the mortise so I went back and quickly cleaned the mortise and the airway in the shank and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. I was right he had not been able to get to the debris behind the stuck tenon.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust on the acrylic. When I finished polishing and wiping it down I set it aside to dry. I polished stem and bowl with Blue Diamond to polish out the remaining small scratches. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The contrasting brown stain on the sandblast and the polished, variegated swirls and striations of the acrylic stem worked together to give the pipe a unique look. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. This is one of those interesting Italian Made pipes about which little information can be found. The shape, finish and flow of the pipe and stem are very well done. The dimensions are Length: 5 1/2 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 inches. This one will be added to the rebornpipes store soon. If you are interested in adding it to your collection send me an email to slaug@uniserve.com or send me a message on Facebook. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this nice little Italian Made sitter.