Tag Archives: restaining

Bringing an older 1890s Era Spiral Shank Horn Stem Billiard back to Life.


Blog by Steve Laug

My brother Jeff visited an antique mall in Montana on one of his recent trips and found a lot of older pipes from the 1890s era. There were CPF, WDC and other older brand pipes with amber and horn stems. I wrote about how we used Apple Facetime so that I could be present on the hunt. It was an amazing time “in the shop” for me. The link to the blog on this hunt follows: https://rebornpipes.com/2017/04/26/a-virtual-pipe-hunt-a-new-way-to-experience-the-joy-of-a-pipe-hunt/. The first pipe that I chose to work on from the hunt was the one picture below. My brother took the following pictures of the pipe before he cleaned it up to send to me for finishing. It is a unique and interesting old pipe. The spiral shank continues through the horn stem. The finish on the bowl was worn and tired but the spiral shank and stem were undamaged. There was one deep “worm hole” in the left side of the stem in the bottom of a spiral that would need to be repaired but otherwise it was in pretty decent shape.The photos show the overall condition and look of the pipe. Whoever carved it remains a mystery as there is no stamping on the shank or bottom of the bowl. It is unmarked so it is one of those unknown pipes. The difference is that this is not a homemade pipe it has the marks of a good pipemaker and the drilling is perfect from the stem forward. The bowl was lightly caked and the rim had a tarry overflow on the top. The inside edge of the bowl was in great shape as far as I could see from the photos. The outer edge of the top had been knocked about enough that there was some damage and wear to it. The next two photos show the rim top and bowl. The finish on the outside of the bowl is worn and there are a lot of dents and dings in the surface of the wood. The photos lead me to wonder what kind of wood the pipe is made of because of the way the damaged rim looks. The next photos show the condition of the stem and the drilling in the button. The spiral continues from the shank through the stem seamlessly. The second photo shows the worm hole in the horn stem. It is deep but clean and the areas around it are undamaged. The junction of the stem and the shank is very tight and clean. The transition from wood to horn is smooth to the touch. The last photo shows the orific button on the end of the stem. It is clean, round and centered in the end of the crowned button. This older style button helps me date this pipe as early as I do above. My brother did his usual job reaming and cleaning the pipe. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer and cleaned it with a Savinell Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the internals with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners to remove the grime in the mortise, shank and airway in the stem and shank. He scrubbed the exterior with Murphy’s Oil Soap and was able to remove all of the grime on the bowl sides and rim. The pipe came to me in great condition. I took a close up photo of the rim top and stem to show their condition more closely. The rim top was worn and there were some spots on the edges that had slivered. The rim would need to be topped to smooth things out and remove the damage.The stem photos show the tooth damage on the top and underside at the button and the “worm hole” in the left side near the shank.I wiped down the area around the hole in the left side of the stem with a cotton swab and alcohol and dried it off. I layered in several fills of clear super glue into the hole. As each layer dried I added more glue to the top of the hole repair. I continued until the file was slightly overfilled then sanded the areas smooth.Billiard16While waiting for each layer of glue to dry I worked on the rim top. I topped it lightly with 220 grit sandpaper on a topping board to smooth out the damage to the rim. I took enough of the damage off to leave the rim top smooth to the touch.I wiped down the bowl with acetone on a cotton pad to remove all of the finish that remained on the bowl. I kept wiping it down until no more stain would come off and the bowl was clean. I could see once it was clean of the stain that the wood was not briar. I was dealing with what appeared to be walnut. It was extremely light weight and the grain was very different from what I expected once the stain was gone. I restained the pipe with dark brown aniline stain and flamed it to set the stain deep in the grain of the wood. I repeated the process until the coverage is acceptable.I put the stem back on the shank and hand buffed the stain with a soft cloth to show what the pipe looked like at this point in the process. The first photo and the last show the repair to the hole in the stem. It is smooth once again. I polished the bowl with 1500-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads. Each successive grit made the walnut bowl shine more and made the stain more and more transparent. I polished the horn stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad and when I finished the last pad I gave it a final coat of oil and let it sit and dry. I turned the bone tenon on the stem into the threaded mortise on the shank. I buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to raise a shine. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. In the first photo you can see the repair on the lower portion of the horn stem. It is a slightly darkened spot but it is smooth to the touch. Do any of you recognize the style or work on this old pipe? Can you tell me any information regarding the maker or the era? Do you think I am in the ball park with a late 1890s date? What do you think? Thanks for the help ahead of time and thanks for walking with me through this restoration.

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A Brigham One Dot Dublin with a Back Story


Blog by Steve Laug

This old Brigham was the next pipe I brought to my work table. I got a message from Greg on Facebook saying he had been reading one of my posts about a box of estate pipes I had received and he was interested in adding this one to his rack. The pipe was a Brigham One Dot Dublin with a slight bend in the stem. It was an older one made before the manufacture of the pipes was moved to Italy. It has the standard aluminum tenon and filter mechanism of the Canadian made pipes. The finish is rusticated with the classic Brigham rustication on the bowl, rim top and shank. It has one smooth patch on the underside of the shank that is stamped Brigham in script over Canada. There is no shape number or other stamping on the shank.

The pipe came to me in a box of pipes that I inherited from a friend in Ontario. He was an old Anglican priest and we had shared a lot about pipes and mutual calling over the 15 years that I knew him. I repaired, restored and sold many pipes for him and have a few of his previous pipes in my current collection. He was a great guy and he is alive in my memory each time I smoke one of his pipes. When the box came I found that there were 70+ pipes in the box and his daughter included a note that said her dad wanted me to restore them pass some of them on to others. This is the first from that lot that I have restored.The finish was very worn and the outer edges of the rim showed wear and damage. The inner edge worn as well but the bowl was still in round. The rim had a thick buildup of tars and oils that filled in the grooves and ridges of the rim top. The rim had some darkening of the finish as well. The stem was oxidized and had a sticky residue left behind by a price sticker. There were no tooth marks on the stem surface on either side next to the button.The stamping on the underside of the shank was clear but slightly worn. It reads Brigham in script at an angle from left to right and block letters, CANADA underneath. Charles Lemon of Dadspipes has written a helpful blog about dating Brigham Pipes by the style of the stamping on the shank. I turned to that blog to look up information on this particular pipe and see if I could identify the time period. Here is the link; https://dadspipes.com/2016/10/03/brigham-pipes-a-closer-look-at-dots-dates-and-markings//. According to that info this pipe comes from the late Canadian Era 1980-2000. The second close up photo below shows the rim and the cake in the bowl. The end of the Brigham system can be seen poking out of the airway in the photo as well.The next photo shows the tenon and system tube. It was incredibly dirty with a lot of tar and oil on the inside. The pipe had been smoked a long time without the filter in place and there was a lot of buildup in the tube and stem. The shank was also very dirty.The next two photos show the condition of the stem. The oxidation pattern and the sticky label gum on the surface are very visible on the stem. The stem is also clear of tooth marks or chatter on the surface near the button.I reamed back the cake with a PipNet reamer and a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife. I used a brass bristle brush to knock off the tarry buildup on the rim top and clean out the crevices and grooves in the rustication.I decided to clean out the interior of the mortise, shank and airway in the shank and stem before going any further with the exterior. I used alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs to scrub out those areas and scrubbed until the pipe was clean. I wiped down the surface of the stem to remove the sticky gum left behind by a label on the top side of the stem.I scrubbed the surface of the briar with Murphy’s Oil Soap, toothbrush and a brass bristle brush to clean out the grooves and cleaning off the dirt, oil and debris on the briar. The bowl and the rim looked significantly better once I had rinsed it off with running water. It was dry and the stain was lightened but it was clean. I decided to work on the stem first so while I did I stuffed the bowl with cotton balls and used an ear syringe to fill the bowl with alcohol. I folded a pipe cleaner and plugged the airway so that the alcohol could draw out the oils in the briar. The second photo shows the cotton after it had been sitting for four hours. When I took the cotton balls out at the 6 hour mark they were exactly as they looked at the 4 hour mark. I was a bit surprised that they were not darker. But then again my old friend smoked primarily Virginias – in fact I don’t think he ever smoked aromatics in the time I knew him.I took out a new maple wood Brigham filter for the system and took a photo of the pipe at this point in the process. I still need to stain the bowl but it was looking better and it smelled and looked clean.I stained the bowl with a dark brown aniline stain and flamed it to set it in the grain. The characteristic blue flame that burns the alcohol out of the stain setting it deep in the grain is a beautiful site to my eyes. I repeated the process several times until the coverage was correct.I wiped the bowl down with alcohol on cotton pads to make a bit more transparent. I wanted the contrast that had originally been on these old Brighams to show through. There was enough dark stain in the deep grooves of the finish to contrast nicely with the new stain coats I gave the pipe. I rubbed the stem down with Brebbia Pipe and Mouthpiece Polish and some Before & After Pipe Stem Polish to remove the oxidation in the vulcanite. It lifted a lot of the oxidation and what was left behind was minor.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad and gave it a final coat of oil after the 12000 grit pad. I set the stem aside to dry. When I finished there still appeared to be a little oxidation at the tenon end of the stem. I was not sure if it was the light from the flash or reality so I took it to the buffer and buffed that area with red Tripoli and repeated the last three micromesh pad grits. I buffed the pipe and stem with Blue Diamond to further polish it. I buffed the stem with carnauba wax and gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and with a microfibre cloth to deepen it. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is a beautiful pipe and even better in person. Thanks for looking.

 

Restoring a Beautiful Parker Super Bruyere Cherrywood 287


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table comes from the estate lot that I received from a local pipe shop. It originally belonged to an old customer whose wife brought them back to the shop after his death. I am cleaning them up and selling them for the shop. This one is a beautiful little Parker Cherrywood. It is significantly more petite than the sandblast version that I restored earlier (https://rebornpipes.com/2017/06/17/parker-super-briarbark-cherrywood-809/). The stamping on the left side of the shank reads Parker over Super in a diamond over Bruyere.To the left of that is the shape number 287. On the right side of the shank the stamping reads Made in London over England and the number 4 in a circle denoting the group size.There is no date stamp next to the D in England.When I brought the pipe to the table it was obviously one of the old pipeman’s favourite smokers. The finish was dull and dirty and the stem oxidized with some calcification and buildup around the button area forward and a few minor tooth marks.I took a close up photo of the rim top and bowl to show the lava overflow onto the rim top and the thickness of the cake in the bowl. I find that the cake in these older pipes is like concrete. It is very hard and takes a lot of effort to break it down when reaming the bowl. I also took some photos of the stem to show the condition of the end near the button before my work began. The hard cake in the bowl demanded a bit different reaming strategy. I needed to use multiple pipe reamers to remove it. I started the reaming process with a PipNet reamer using the smallest head and working my way up to the largest one that could take the cake back to bare briar walls. I finished the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife and a KleenReem pipe reamer. I used the drill bit from the end of the KleenReem reamer to clear out the airway between the mortise and the bowl. It was almost clogged with a buildup of tars and oils that had hardened there. The pipe had been smoked to a point where it must have been like sucking on a coffee stirrer and having a thimble of tobacco in the chamber. It was definitely a favourite and obviously a good smoking pipe.With the bowl reamed, I turned my attention to working on the stem. I sanded the stem to remove the calcification around the button and smooth out some of the tooth marks. I also broke up some of the oxidation on the rest of the stem with the 220 grit sandpaper.I “painted” the stem end with a Bic lighter to raise the tooth dents on the surface of the stem. It did not take too much work to raise all but one of them. What remained of the sole dent was a small divot. I wiped down the stem with alcohol and filled in the divot with a drop of black super glue. I set the stem aside so that the glue would cure.I scrubbed the rim top with cotton pads and saliva to remove the tarry buildup there. It took a lot of elbow grease but I was able to remove all of it. There was some burn damage to the front inner rim edge from consistently lighting it in the same place. I remove the damage by blending it into the rest of the rim bevel with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I restained the edge and the rim top to blend in with the rest of the bowl using a medium and a dark brown stain pen. I mixed the stains on the rim surface and rubbed it in with a soft cloth. I gave it a light coat of Conservator’s Wax to further blend in the stain on the rim. The photos below show the rim top after the stain and after the waxing.With the pipe’s externals cleaned and polished I turned my attention to the internals of the mortise and airway in the shank and the stem. I scrubbed them with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners until they were clean.I decided to work on the oxidation on the stem using a combination of the Before & After Stem Deoxidizer and Polish and Brebbia Mouthpiece Polish. I applied the Deoxidizer and Polishes with cotton pads to scrub the surface of the stem. I was able to remove the oxidation without doing any damage to the Parker Diamond stamp on the top of the stem. I buffed the pipe and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel and then gave the entire pipe multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is a beautiful pipe that fits well in the hand. The dimensions of the pipe are; Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ inches. It will soon be available on the rebornpipes store. If you are interested in adding it to your collection email me at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a private message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.

Dent Steaming a 1932 PATENT DUNHILL T197 Billiard with a VERNON STEM


Blog by Henry Ramirez

Saw this mousey looking pipe with a clicker stem on EBay.  Nobody seemed to want it so I took it home to practice my dent steaming.  The stem attaches with a loud click and some research told me it was named after Vernon Dunhill, who was responsible for the fitment’s design.  It was designed  to allow the stem to be separated from the bowl even when the pipe was hot from recent smoking.  It had the earlier square tip tube rather than the later angled tip. The stem had a funky downward cant before the button and it strongly resembled my Kaywoodie Allbriars.  Boy they nailed that briar stain to the oxidized Cumberland stem color! The bowl rim was dented/chipped and the surface scratched. The stem and the button were in fine shape so the usual soak in Oxyclean to remove the smegma followed by a trip to the oven to allow the stem to straighten itself.The metal tube is removable from the keeper which is part of the stem.  I have seen examples of the opposite where the keeper is integral to the shank.  These pipes seem to have been mostly billiard Cumberlands but some exceptions exist.  Both the tube and the keeper were polished with fine brass wool.  I did reface the tube with a carborundum disk.The shank stampings were crisp but there seemed to be personalized script on the bottom long polished off.The dent on the bowl’s rim was the major distracting feature.  I didn’t want to top the bowl and the briar dust/CA mixtures never seemed seamless to me.  So I tried to fatten up the cellulose fibers with hot steam using my hand held steamer.  This worked somewhat and had the advantage of pin pointing the area to be steamed. Not satisfied, I decided to fall back on the hot iron on a wet kitchen towel technique.  This did a better job, I think because it affected a larger area.  The problem then became one of restaining this larger area to match the rest of the pipe.

Restaining the pipe became somewhat of a chase your tail love’s labor, trying light brown, medium brown and the finally dark brown in various concentrations followed by isopropyl alcohol on a gauze sponge scrubbings.

So, I think I’m going to someday re-stain the whole pipe dark brown to try to better match the Cumberland stem while learning to love the residual dent on the rim.  The only home run here was the straightening of the stem to its original straight shape.  Thanks for looking, regards, Henry.

Stem Button TIME SAVER on a 1940’s Dunhill LB


Blog by Henry Ramirez

I was ghosting through Ebay listings looking for a cracked shank to experiment with when this old classic appeared.  The auction was won for a song because in addition to a cracked shank, the year stamping had been buffed off the shank. The usual whole lotta cake and dented stem story.I started with the stem, which was really in great shape.  I have come to love the stumpy profile of the patent LB’s with their constricted contour button.  An Oxyclean bath was followed by an isopropyl alcohol scrubbing with a shank brush and pipe cleaners. I wanted to use heat to raise the bite marks as much as possible to not only decrease my work load but to minimize the inclusion of foreign filler. To this end I also wanted to learn the proper temperature needed to reproduce my results consistently.

Using a heat gun, I took my time and warmed up the vulcanite until my nose told me it was getting close to burning.  If that happens the surface becomes a porous charred stinky mess!  I quickly used a laser temperature gun to obtain a surface reading of 275 degrees F.  Amazing how quickly the surface cooled off once the heat was removed.I was not impressed by the amount of rebound and it looked like filling and filing was in my future.

Having nothing to lose, I pressed my wife’s oven into service, knowing that I could set the temperature substantially higher than previous attempts without fear of ruination. I set the oven temperature at 265 degrees F to have a 10 degree safety zone and watched as the whole stem “stretched out”.  This was more like it! The dents were now depressions that needed the light to shine just so to be seen.  Little CA and polishing was needed.

I should mention that these values are for older Dunhill vulcanite only.  The composition of vulcanite has changed over the years, according to some posts I’ve read, and I’ve noticed it in the depth of polish ability.Now it was the time to clean and evaluate the briar. While I ream the mortise and bowl I am wishing that I had Steve’s magical Savinelli Pipe knife. Boy, those things are rarer than hen’s teeth and this old cake is super hard. That is followed by total immersion in an isopropyl bath with various scrub brushes stripping the briar. I couldn’t save the original finish because the shank crack needed to be clean and open as much as possible for the bonding. One of the perks of the alcohol bath is that after the bowl dries out, if there is any residual cake stuck to the chamber walls, it shrivels up and is easily removed.The shank crack was now very evident but the year stamping was not.Getting back to the stem, I wanted to know if the alcohol retort was worth the hassle.  I had been as meticulous as possible with the pipe cleaners and cold alcohol.  The color of the used alcohol in the distillation flask tells the story, close but no banana! I could now address the cracked shank.  I had previously repaired such a problem using a micro-screw and bonded dental composite resin.  I was concerned that threading the screw into old dry briar could start micro-fractures and crazing.

This time I elected to drill a channel spanning the crack and passively bond a post fabricated from longitudinal glass fibers encompassed in a strong composite resin matrix.  This would also provide some flex in the repair to accommodate the dimensional changes that briar goes through because of temperature changes during smoking.

At this time I also drilled a post hole at the end of the crack to prevent further spidering.  Because the crack was significantly wide I made sure to introduce my resin with a size 06 endodontic file.  I had planned to use a C clamp to close the gap but I chickened out when finger pressure did nothing.  Not sure how to make briar temporarily more flexible….

After filling the post hole and cementing the fiber post with dual cure composite resin, I trimmed off the post and blacked out the white resin with black CA.

Before beginning to start the staining process I wanted to open the pores of the cellulose to not only gain greater absorption of the dye but also improve the briar’s capacity to absorb tars for a sweeter smoke.  I had noticed such a phenomenon with the Missouri Meerschaum corn cob pipes.

I found that this particular wheel had already been invented by the folks who refinish wooden decks.  I tracked down some relatively non-toxic materials which did the job and whose run off wouldn’t hurt plants.

Sodium percarbonate does the cleaning and oxalic acid removes the smear layer, thus opening up the wood’s pores.  Looking around online for a source I realized that I already had both chemicals in the laundry room!  Oxyclean is the percarbonate and states on the container that it’s great for wood decks, siding and lawn furniture.  Bar Keeper’s Friend has oxalic acid as its active ingredient and states on the container that it works on teak wood.Indeed after scrubbing with both and rinsing with water, I noticed that the chamber’s surface looked and felt less dense.Now it was time to stain the briar with Oxblood diluted 50% with isopropyl alcohol in two coats, both flamed with the micro-torch.I was lucky that the original black stain in the depths of the blast remained.An overlay stain of light brown was applied in 2 coats.After a rub down with an old t-shirt to remove any xs dye, I applied 2 coats of Halcyon wax.  A quick buff on the lathe and then a hand strapping with a shoe bristle brush brought the shine up.  I want to mention that my wife gifted me her silver brush which is narrow and has long soft bristles which easily accesses the crotch of the pipe without fear of collision. This has proved most useful on bent pipes.Another very helpful tip came from a pipe maker’s blog about dead-faced files to add crispness to the button area.  They are the dead faced nut seating file by Stewart MacDonald, a luthier’s supply house and the pillar files which have the dead side on the edge from OttoFrei, a clock makers source.Well I’m now satisfied with the pipe but not finished. They say we abandon these projects because we reach a point where better becomes an enemy of good. Boy that was fun and I hope to share more adventures with these fabulous old pipes!  Regards, Henry

 

Fanfare for the Everyman Pretender


Blog by Robert M. Boughton

Member, International Society of Codgers
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Photos © the Author except as noted

From their inception, Kapp & Peterson’s goal was to make a good smoking pipe that the ordinary, common working man could afford and we believe they have, very admirably, lived up to this.
— From A Peterson Dating Guide: A Rule of Thumb, by Mike Leverette

INTRODUCTION

The restoration this blog recounts has nothing to do with Peterson’s pipes.  Still, the litany of near fabled proportions in pipe lore, that Charles Peterson and the Brothers Kapp, Friedrich and Heinrich, experienced a mutual epiphany of good will toward all, even the less fortunate commoners, still rings forth in perfect, ever-flowing three-part harmony.  The more probable truth, after all – that the good men of K&P had a capital brainstorm in the form of a simple but revolutionary merchandising notion to market early designs of Peterson’s System pipes starting sometime in the last quarter of the 19th century – lacks a certain universal, perpetual attraction, as it were.

Now, I should at least attempt mitigation of the foregoing critique I ’am sure will be perceived by some as an unwarranted attack on one of the last bastions of master pipe craftsmanship, as some readers may misinterpret the kind of remarks I’m prone to make after I’ve spent a good deal of time thinking a matter through.  No kind of disrespect on my part for Peterson of Dublin could be farther from the truth.  One fellow on the Smokers Forums UK who had never met me other than a few cursory cyber comments back and forth once made me the butt of a snarky but harmless jab after I posted a brief description of my restoration of a nice though common System Pipe that I decided to offer for sale given the number of finer samples in my collection.  So far, I’ve bought about 33 Petes I kept, not counting those I passed on to others with the gleam of love in their eyes I know so well.  As I recall the unhappy SF member’s words in typed reply, they were: “Wonders never cease!  I didn’t think I’d live to see the day you would say you could have enough Petersons!”  The member in question warmed up quite a bit after I began flooding his posts with compliments, and they were even genuine.

The real mystery of this blog is the single mark of nomenclature on the entire pipe, even counting the original black Vulcanite/Ebonite bit of the style called “fancy,” but which proved to be broken beyond my time and patience if not ability to repair.  Even the relative ease of the kind of work needed by the likes of Steve to mend a gap in the upper lip of the mouthpiece as gaping as that shown below requires, as our host notes in the blog cited under Sources, much practice.  Also – and this is an important factor, not an excuse – I intend to sell the pipe, not keep it for the shop, and at times have different standards for the two choices.See the date and time stamps?  I worked on the infernal bit from then until a couple of weeks ago before settling on the better part of valor.  As can be seen from the stummel, the pipe is called, with somewhat disingenuous simplicity and similarity to the well-known The Everyman London Pipe by Comoy’s of London (with all of that and more stamping packed onto even the sandblasted versions of the latter).  From the beginning, when I acquired the bedraggled waif in an estate lot at least two years ago and sat on it until late September last year, I had one of those uneasy feelings in my stomach at the mere idea of committing myself in print to the conclusion that it was in fact somehow part of the Comoy’s brood.

Before I snapped my habitual first seven shots of the pipe as it presented in O.R.  with more worthy candidates ahead of it in triage, I began my online search that only further clogged the veritable obstruction in my intestines.  Having made some genuinely heroic efforts on real Everyman and Guildhall London Pipes in my limited time learning this wonderful tradecraft, in the combined senses of the words as well as the more clandestine meaning of the singular, I knew just what to expect from Pipephil and Pipedia but visited both once again anyway.  Variations on this theme continued off and on during the interim period until a few days ago when I took the

Google approach of “I’m feeling lucky” and again entered the terms “Everyman Pipes.”  I swear I typed the same simplest of many search terms I had tried for two years, but this time, in one of those inexplicable flashes of serendipity, the top listing was for P&K Everyman Pipes at JR Cigar!

Growing breathless, I clicked on the link and saw, more or less, my pipe in two other shapes but with the same distinctive fancy bits and rugged vertical striations around the bowls, and both were straight.  One was a billiard, the other a pot, and both, marked down $10, were still, to me, listed at an outrageous $31.95.  Despite all that, I was quite pleased with myself to read the blurb at the top of the page:

“A true example of eye-catching yet economical handcrafted tobacco pipes, the P&K Everyman selection by the famed Comoy’s of London promises a premium pipe-smoking experience at prices that can’t be beat.”

 I scanned further down the search result page, spotting a listing for the same pipe brand at Santa Clara Cigar, possessed of a remarkable resemblance to JR but with the Comoy’s blurb, ahem, omitted.  Nevertheless, at the fourth of five shapes down, there was my pipe, the P&K Straight Rustic #9, a Dublin.  Better later than never, the idea of looking up P&K Everyman pipe images occurred to me and at the top I saw the following, being the perfect factory image of my pipe.

OK, then.  As supremely pleased with myself as I was at this morsel of intel, even if some faiths that consider pride a sin could be right, I am not now nor have I ever been a member of the Nitwit Party, whose followers believe everything they read on the Internet or hear on TV is the truth.  There are many reasons for my worldview, not the least of which being my years as a newspaper journalist and photographer, as opposed to a photojournalist.  I sold my first news article when I was 15, and when I was 17 became credentialed by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office as an official police and justice beat reporter for a community paper.  My publisher, editor and I tried the year before, and although there was no real age clause at the time (1978), the powers-that-were in the L.A.S.O. were too – well – pig-headed to relent until I gave everyone in the issuing bureau a major headache re-applying on the first of every month.

I try, no joke, not to pester Steve with questions to which I can find or – OMG! – figure out on my own using the brain that was between my ears at birth and, operating best on the right side of it, form a working plan to press on.  One of my best qualities is the willingness to admit at once when I am wrong, which in fact is a very good thing because I have had much more experience with that than, say, repairing bits with outlandish holes gnawed through them by people with Intermittent Explosive Disorder or tardive dyskinesia.  And no, I’m not making fun of people with disabilities, in particular schizophrenics, who seem to have been drawn to me all of my life, other than most of those in my family for some reason.  It’s sort of Cole Seer’s dramatic need in The Sixth Sense, having to be like a shrink to dead people. At any rate, Steve is one of the busiest, most productive persons I know, traveling the world almost non-stop, it seems at times,  doing good works while never letting on that his constant other full-time “job” writing and publishing mostly his own pipe restoration adventures and posting those of other contributors online.  All of this last part is by way of a drum roll of sorts.

You see, had I not called and left a brief message on Steve’s phone before emailing him more than the full details, as par for the course, I never would have received back the following concise words of wisdom as to the possibilities of who really made the Everyman Rustic Dublin on which I’m so very close now to describing all of the work I did!  Yes, I am!  Steve’s reply, in pertinent part, read:

I got your message when I got home late last evening and then read the email this morning.  I have not heard of the P&K brand and Everyman pipe does not at all look English to me. I am wondering if it could  possibly be from one of two original makers.

1. Alpha pipes Israel made for the cigar shop – the finish, style of the bowl and the stem make it look very much like many Alpha Israel pipes ) pre-Grabow ownership.

2. Lorenzo pipes Italy as they made many basket pipes for different shops.

That is as much as I would hazard to guess.

If I’ve ever needed Steve’s direction in research for a restore, this was it!  There is no way I would have reached those conclusions with such apparent ease and speed, in fact not ever, no how, no way, because I just don’t have his experience.  I mean, if there were a way I could get him to donate me a spare kidney or maybe his spleen so I could, like, grow all of his knowledge, why, I’d lie down on the table and do it in a heartbeat.  For now I guess I just need to get busy buying up and devouring and going back to again and again all of the great reference books out there, such as Who Made That Pipe?  The bottom line here is that Steve’s tip came back so fast my head spun like Linda Blair’s in The Exorcist, not to overdo the whole movie thing.

All I had to do was figure out how to look up the Lorenzo and Alpha possibilities, which I knew I could manage, and I did a few minutes after reading Steve’s email.  The funniest place the Lorenzo idea led me was to some images of my own restoration of a gigantic Spitfire by Lorenzo Mille I restored and blogged just before Hallowe’en 2014.  The money card turned out to be with the pre-DrG Alphas made in Israel.  I found the following oddly familiar-appearing Burl Briar Freehand Pipes on eBay, complete with the same fancy bits curved just so.

Case closed.

RESTORATION

The bit aside, the only real problem with the pipe, and it was a real problem to be sure, was the rim.  Char and even the worst blistering from a close call with full-blown combustion, which so far I’ve had the opportunity to witness only with homemade corncobs, have often occasioned rise to heated anger but never cold feet.  (I – tender my apologies for all three puns.)  My mother for many years rose in the nursing world and enriched my vocabulary with terms the likes of crispy critter, with all of their brio, and sometimes spread cat cadavers across the dining room table, both extenders in place, on a single large thermo scientific wrap-around cover.  Thus I looked at the “easy” heat damage and the acute and problematic jagged rim edge and unequal width of the bowl’s peak with a logical, methodical approach that began to form.

I expect to blog my restores with the methods fresh in my mind.  There are even some of the jobs I hold special from the past few years that I’m sure I’ll never forget a single detail.  Not to suggest this was common or insignificant, but after nine months I can’t remember the specifics of how I accomplished the result of the first shot below.  The chamber had to be reamed, and when I do that I always follow up with 150-, 220- and 320-grit paper, so that’s a given.  I’m guessing I started with micro mesh on the rim just for the sake of trying and found it ineffective.  Then I would have turned to sandpaper and chosen 220 with the same rationale as the micro mesh but opted for 180 with the usual progression up to 400 before starting in on micro mesh and stopping when I realized I would have to solve the other obvious problems with more drastic steps.  Here are the results I just described, and after the drastic measure of a file.Healing the wounds of a procedure I consider radical enough that I have only used it less than the number of fingers I have on a hand (or, rather, considering the thumb is not technically a finger, the same number), in fact is not all that difficult in most cases, and seeing the result of the steps is always a great pleasure.  I used 180-, 220-, 320- and 400-grit paper, and then 1500-12000 micromesh on the rim.Then, I began the rest of the outer stummel.  Starting with super fine “0000” steel wool to lighten the color of the wood and easily get between the grooves, I switched to the full micro mesh.It was time for the retort.  As always, I was glad I did it, because this little stummel was filthy!  I have done as many as six retorts on a single pipe, and this one “only” needed three, all of them clearer.  I had no bit to connect to the shank and therefore had to stretch the rubber connector over the opening.  I show only the first round below.  I also followed the final retort with three cleaners dipped in alcohol alternated with three dry, all of which came out clean.Applying alcohol-based leather stain and flaming it is always fun, and I used Fiebings Medium Brown on all but the rim to leave a definite two-tone.  When it cooled, I wiped away the char and a little extra darkness with 8000 micro mesh. I hand-rubbed a sparing amount of Halcyon II Wax into the wood and crevices of the rusticated pipe for which it is made, not to be frugal but because a little goes a long way.  In most cases, I let it dry or set or whatever as much as it can, in general 20 minutes or so but sometimes a considerable time longer, and wiped the excess off with a soft cotton rag while rubbing more into the pores of the wood.  Other times, I let the setting process go on for a considerable time longer, but not often.  I was then almost finished with the long project and was more than prepared to accomplish the final main task,  filled with joy to tackle (thinking of football) the key part of the  experience: fitting one of two fancy Lucite stems, an orange and a yellow, that arrived in the mail – eight months after I finished the stummel.  In case anyone wondered at my persnickety comments regarding the amount of time I spent on a certain bit of work trying to repair a part of the original Everyman that I will now leave unnamed, in my own way, that’s why.

I went with the golden bit to the right.  As a point of interest, the popular online site where I bought a total of three bits in one order listed these two as gold, but the system is a touch odd, to me at least, and also the viewing system for the product you in fact get wasn’t working that day for all items, including the yellow bit.  But I can use it, and it was inexpensive!  Having none of the finer and more expensive equipment for tenon cutting, I hand-sanded the shank insert end down to where it had a nice, tentative fit for the time being.  That task took another day.  Making use /of another of Steve’s blogs, on bending stems, I chose the oven method because it had worked so well on several occasions in the past with Vulcanite.  BTW, I doubt the Lucite was the problem.  I always take a look in the mirror before pointing a finger lest I see three others pointed right back at me.  I say, go figure!  After that mishap, I switched to the boiling water method that worked better but I’m sure was spoiled by already having baked the bit. I repeated the boiling method and achieved the desired bend.  Halcyon II was is meant to be used in place of regular buffing wheel waxes and compounds, but I wanted a slightly brighter finish, and so I ended with spins of Red Tripoli and carnauba.

CONCLUSION

Even regardless of its look, and by that I mean nothing rude, the likelihood of this pipe being of British make – lacking any indication of such origin, whether the city or country of manufacture, a line name, or the often top secret coded markings of which our friends across the Pond are so fond – is so paltry as to end any further debate lacking official admissible documentary evidence.  WikiLeaks might suffice, in particular if the disseminator were to flee his country or be arrested or renditioned or still more conclusively, become the subject of cover page stories of the world’s tabloid toilet wipes.  On the other hand, and here I am not being facetious, if my already stated conclusion that the simple but honorable Everyman is a blast from the past of the pre-Dr. Grabow Alpha days of Israel, made by the Shalom Pipe Factory, and I am in fact wrong, I would as always appreciate input from any authorities or scholars among us.

SOURCES

https://www.jrcigars.com/brand/pipes-accessories/p-k-everyman-pipes

https://www.santaclaracigars.com/brand/pipes-accessories/p-k-everyman-pipes

https://rebornpipes.com/2015/07/18/bringing-new-life-to-a-gift-pipe-a-gasparini-mgm-elegante-brandy/comment-page-1/#comment-21243

https://pipedia.org/wiki/Stanwell_Shape_Numbers_and_Designers

http://www.ebay.com/itm/ALPHA-Burl-Briar-Freehand-Estate-Tobacco-Pipe-Made-In-Israel/332252221412?_trksid=p2047675.c100011.m1850&_trkparms=aid%3D222007%26algo%3DSIC.MBE%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D41376%26meid%3D0c2217f15e5f4850ad0061cb84cc5850%26pid%3D100011%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D12%26sd%3D121269666970

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Shalom-Select-Imported-Tobacco-Pipe-Vintage-smoking/322513288986?_trksid=p2047675.c100011.m1850&_trkparms=aid%3D222007%26algo%3DSIC.MBE%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D41376%26meid%3D0c2217f15e5f4850ad0061cb84cc5850%26pid%3D100011%26rk%3D5%26rkt%3D12%26sd%3D121269666970\

https://rebornpipes.com/2012/07/15/bending-vulcanite-stems/

 

Sasieni Fantail Wire Rusticated Patent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

My brother Jeff found this old Sasieni on one of his gallivants to the Oregon Coast. He stopped by an antique shop and picked up a few nice ones. This wire rusticated Sasieni billiard with a Sterling Silver band is unique to my eyes. I have not cleaned one up before or repaired one for someone else. It has a Fantail or Fish Tail stem that is unique. It is stamped on the underside of the shank and the stamping is faint but readable. In bright light I can read that at the bowl end it is stamped England in an arch. Flowing from the arched England it reads Sasieni in the newer script over FANTAIL over Pat. D-170067. The last stamping is the shape number 55. I am pretty certain that this is a Family Era pipe made somewhere between 1946 – 1979. The change of “Sasieni” script without the fish-tail initiated by Alfred Sasieni occurred after second world war. This puts the date of the pipe between 1946 and 1979 – a large spread.The Sterling Silver band looks like it could have been original with the pipe when it left the factory but I am not certain. Sasieni is a brand that I am not as familiar with so I do not know all of the ins and outs of the shapes and finishes.

I remembered that Al Jones had worked on a Sasieni pipe with a similar finish and stamping. His was a Moorgate Pot. Here is the link: https://rebornpipes.com/2015/02/28/sasieni-moorgate-rustic-restored/ I quote a section of Al’s blog regarding this pipe, “This Sasieni “Moorgate” shape in Rustic finish is the second pipe from the shop in Albany and part of the General Electric executives estate. The nomenclature shows that the pipe is from the “Family Era” and made between 1946 and 1979. The “Rustic” finish is a hand carved, rusticated finish done completely by hand. This work must have been painstakingly slow with the carving following the briar grain lines.”

I have included a photo of the stamping on the underside of the Moorgate shank from Al’s blog post as it is very close to the stamping on the one I am working on. Mine is not stamped Four Dot Rustic over “Moorgate” but rather FANTAIL where the Rustic stamp is and where Moorgate is mine has a Patent number. The finish on Al’s was more horizontal than the one I am working on. The striations run vertically on the bowl sides but the shank is the same style. I have included the photos of the bottom of the shank on the one I am working on below. I also included a screen capture of the pertinent section of PipePhil’s Logos and Stamping website and included the link should you want to look at on the site. http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-sasieni2.html From what I can see through the oxidation on the stem there may well be a letter “F” on the left side of the stem. Jeff included photos of the pipe from a variety of angles to show the condition of the bowl, rim and finish on the pipe. It was worn and tired. Fortunately there were no chips or cracks in the briar and other than just being dirty and worn it was in good shape. Jeff sent along a photo of the cake in the bowl and the lava that had flowed over the top of the rim. The outer edges of the rim looked pretty decent with no wear or tear from tapping it out against hard objects. The cake in the bowl was hard and quite this. The lava on the top filled in most of the grooves in the rustication on the back half of the bowl.The Sterling Silver band was heavily tarnished but it appeared to be sound underneath the tarnish. It had an arched Sterling Silver stamped into the topside of the band.The stem had deep tooth marks and the button was worn away from use. There were no bite throughs or cracks in the stem. The middle portion on both sides of the stem near the button was in the worst condition with the edges being quite clean. The stem was oxidized. The photos below show the tooth marks and chatter on the stem surfaces.Jeff reamed the bowl with the PipNet reamer and took out all of the cake. It was then clear that the inner edge was also undamaged. He scrubbed out the inside of the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until it was spotless. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl and the lava on the rim with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap and was able to remove all of the grim and build up in the grooves of the finish. The stain lightened considerably with the cleaning but it would not be hard to restain it to match the colour of the original. I took the next photos to show the condition of the pipe when it arrived in Vancouver. The cleanup on the rim was stellar in my opinion. The grime and lava are gone and the grooves of the rustication are clean and visible.I took photos of both sides of the stem to document the oxidation and the tooth marks located on the top and underside.I sanded the tooth chatter out of the vulcanite and cleaned up the area with a cotton swab and alcohol. I used black super glue to fill in the tooth dents that were too large to raise by applying heat to the stem. I set the stem aside while the glue dried. After the photo I used a little more glue to build up the area around the sharp edge of the button. Once it is dried I will recut that area with a needle file.I cleaned and polished the tarnished Sterling Silver band with a jeweler’s cloth. The tarnish came off quite easily and I buffed it with the cloth to make it shine.I restained the bowl with a dark brown aniline stain cut by 50% with isopropyl alcohol. I applied it and flamed it with a lighter. I repeated the process until the coverage was good on the briar. Once it was dry I wiped down the bowl with cotton pads and alcohol to lighten it even more and bring it closer to the finish that had originally been on the bowl. I buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel carefully avoiding the stamping on the underside of the shank. It was light enough already and I did not want to damage it further. I hand buffed the area with a microfibre cloth. The bowl was looking very good at this point. I took the following photos to show where what the pipe looked like at this point. I decided to clean up a bit of extra cake that clung to the bowl walls toward the bottom of the bowl with the Savinelli Fitsall Reamer. It did not take too much to knock off the small remnants of cake toward the bottom of the bowl.Once the repair had cured I used a needle file to recut the sharp edge of the button. I also used the file on the flat surface of the repairs to blend them into the rest of the stem. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the oxidation and blend in the repairs with the surface of the stem. I sanded it so as to remove the oxidation but not change the profile of the stem. I examined the left side of the stem for the “F” stamp and all that was present was a very faint mark. If you did not know it was supposed to be there you would not see it. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and rubbing it down with Obsidian Oil. I dry sanded it with 3200-4000 grit pads. I buffed it with red Tripoli and gave it another coat of oil. I dry sanded it with 6000-12000 grit pads and rubbed it down between each pad with a coat of oil. I set aside the stem to let the oil dry. I put the stem back in place in the shank and buffed the bowl and stem lightly with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and the bowl several coats of Conservator’s Wax. I buffed the pipe and stem with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the bowl with a shoe brush and then with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 inches. The contrast of the dark brown and a medium brown that shines through give the finish a rich patina. The bowl has been cleaned and the entire pipe is ready to smoke. The stem is in great shape. The tooth marks have been removed though there is slight scratching on the vulcanite. It is a beautiful pipe, just a little big for my liking or I would hang on to it. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store soon. If you are interested in adding it to your collection email me at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.