Tag Archives: restemming a pipe

Five for the Price of One


Blog by Kenneth Lieblich

Next on the chopping block is a quintet of pipes. Word has been getting around! My barber’s boss approached me recently about restoring his late grandfather’s pipes. Of course, I was only too happy to oblige. The fellow told me that his grandfather did not have fancy pipes, but he just wanted them to look good. Interestingly, he also asked that I not clean the pipes too much – he wanted some of the olfactory memories to remain. When I got my hands on the pipes, I realized what I was up against. These five pipes were really a mess. Quite frankly, if I had these pipes for myself, I would have tossed some on the firewood pile. But my customer wanted these pipes restored as a nice remembrance of his grandfather – and I completely understand and respect that. Since I restored these pipes all together, I thought I would write up their story altogether too – with a tip of my hat to my customer’s late grandfather.

Well, what have we got here? (1) A cherrywood pipe from Missouri Meerschaum, missing its stem; (2) another cherrywood pipe from Missouri Meerschaum; (3) a briar bent pot, marked Château Bruyère 32; (4) a briar egg, marked Savoy 710, missing its stem; and (5) a Brigham Voyageur 126 bent Rhodesian. Missouri Meerschaum is, of course, most famous for being the largest corncob manufacturer in the world – although they do make hardwood pipes too. Herb Wilczak and Tom Colwell’s book, Who Made That Pipe? states that Château Bruyère (as its name suggests) is made in France by an unknown manufacturer. Pipedia tells us that Savoy is a brand of Oppenheimer Pipe/Comoy’s, which was also sold by M. Linkman & Co. Finally, Brigham is the famous Canadian pipe manufacturer. The markings suggest that this Brigham was made after the move of production to Italy.

Problems with these pipes? Wow – where to begin? Both cherrywoods needed new stems. After all, one was cracked beyond repair and the other was missing altogether. They had lava and burns all over, and plenty of cake in the bowl. Besides that, the stummels were just a bit grimy. The Château Bruyère was in really bad condition: tons of lava, cake, and serious burning; cracks galore on the rim; but at least the stem had only minor tooth marks and dents. The Savoy would, of course, also need a new stem, but its stummel was also a disaster: some fills; tons of lava and cake; and (worst of all) an enormous burn gouge on the rim. The Brigham was not too bad (compared with the others), but it still had the usual cake and lava. It also looked like the rim had been used to hammer nails! The stems were first on my list. Fortunately, Steve had a couple of new Missouri Meerschaum stems for me to use on the cherrywood pipes. That was the easiest part of this whole restoration! I also had to sculpt a new stem for the Savoy. Stupidly, I forgot to take photos of this procedure, but, suffice it to say, it was tricky getting the tenon to fit correctly and getting the edges of the new stem to match with the existing stummel. On the two pre-existing stems, I took a BIC lighter and ‘painted’ them with flame in order to lift the tooth marks. This was reasonably successful in raising the dents. Then, I cleaned out the insides of the stems with pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. They were terribly dirty and I went through a large number of pipe cleaners in order to clean them up. Once this process was done, the stems went for an overnight soak in the Before & After Hard Rubber Deoxidizer. The following day, I cleaned all of the de-oxidizing sludge off with alcohol, pipe cleaners, et cetera. The oxidation had migrated to the surface and would be fairly straightforward to remove. I scrubbed vigorously with SoftScrub on cotton pads to remove the leftover oxidation. On the Brigham, the tenon had come loose from the stem and needed to be repaired. I used my cyanoacrylate adhesive to sort that problem out and let it set. I also built up the small dents on the Brigham and Château Bruyère stems with cyanoacrylate adhesive and let them fully cure. I then sanded the repairs down with 220-, 400-, and 600-grit sandpapers to meld the repair seamlessly into the stems. This ensured that they keep their shape and look like they should. I then used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to bring out the lovely black lustre on the stems. I also used Obsidian Pipe Stem Oil in between each pad scrubbing. I should make quick mention of the stem I made for the Savoy. I had a blank and an old, spare stem to potentially use. I ended up using the blank because it fit better. Making a new stem is tricky and messy business, and Steve is far better (and more experienced) than I am at it. Basically, I used some 220-grit sandpaper to remove the excess material from the tenon (to ensure it fit into the stummel’s mortise) and from the tenon-end of the stem (to ensure that this end matches the shape and thickness of the shank). Once the basic shape is achieved, I use progressively finer sandpaper (and then the MicroMesh pads) to make the stem look just as it should. In this end, I was pleased with the results and I wish I had photos to show you of the process!All five stummels were a terrible mess: loaded with cake, filth, and an overall yucky feel. They had obviously been thoroughly smoked and enjoyed. Quite frankly, the grandfather must have smoked them until there was no more draw! Anyway, I first decided to ream out all of the bowls. I used both the PipNet Reamer and the KleenReem to remove most of the built-up cake – but not all. I didn’t take the cake down to bare briar, as my customer wanted some essence of his grandfather left in the bowls. The one exception to this was the Brigham, and I did ream it completely and brought it down to bare briar. My customer wanted only this pipe to be completely cleaned out. On all five, however, I did clean out the insides of the shanks with Q-tips, pipe cleaners, and isopropyl alcohol. There was a lot of nastiness inside the shanks and it took a lot of cotton to get them clean! I then moved on to cleaning the outside of the stummels with Murphy’s Oil Soap on some cotton pads and also used a tooth brush to get into the crevasses of the Brigham and the Château Bruyère. I actually soaked the rims in Murphy’s for a while, just to loosen up the lava. I followed that up by cleaning the insides of the Brigham with some dish soap and tube brushes. A de-ghosting session seemed in order for the Brigham. The de-ghosting consisted of thrusting cotton balls in the bowl and the shank, and saturating them with 99% isopropyl alcohol. I let the stummel sit for 24 hours. This caused the oils, tars and smells to leech out into the cotton. Finally, a relatively clean and fresh-smelling bowl emerged. There was a great deal of damage to the rims of all the stummels – and that also needed to be addressed. In order to remove the lingering bits of lava, fix any nicks, and tidy up the look, I “topped” the pipes – that is to say, I gently and evenly sanded down the rims on a piece of 220-grit sandpaper. This effectively removed the lava and the damage, without altering the look of the pipes. However, some needed more attention than others. The two cherrywood pipes were straightforward enough, but a fair amount of work was needed on the other three. The Château Bruyère, as you will have seen, had fairly horrific damage to the wood of the bowl. There were so many cracks and burns that I was not sure if anything meaningful could be done. I did top the bowl, but stopped before I took too much off. There was no getting around the fact that this pipe was not going to be like new. I was comforted by the fact that this pipe was simply being cleaned up and was not going to be smoked again. I sealed off the cracks with cyanoacrylate adhesive, let them cure, and then sanded them smooth. It made a huge difference.But the Château Bruyère still needed a bit more help: re-staining. In order to create some external beauty to this pipe, I opted for aniline dye. I applied my own mixture of some of Fiebing’s Medium Brown Leather Dye and some Fiebing’s Black Leather Dye. I then applied flame in order to set the colour. Worked like a charm! The pipe looked so much better after this.The Savoy had a large valley running along the rim of the bowl (not to mention some considerable burning). A combination of techniques was used to sort this out. I topped the stummel to start, but then I took a solid wooden sphere, wrapped sandpaper around it, and sanded it thoroughly. This was to achieve on the inner part of the rim the same thing that I achieved by “topping” on sandpaper. I then built up the remaining wound with a mixture of briar dust and cyanoacrylate adhesive. I was quite pleased with the results. Finally, I added a brass ferrule to the end of the shank and glued it in place. It gave the pipe a snazzy look. The Brigham was also tricky, but for a different reason. The Brigham had what I like to call a “broken nose”. The front edge was smashed in and would need to be built up. More than that, the repair would need to be rusticated so as to match the original rustication of the pipe. I am always worried about this sort of work because I dread the possibility of not getting the match right. In this case, I topped the Brigham first, but only slightly – just enough to make it neat and tidy. Then I built up the edge with a mixture of briar dust and cyanoacrylate adhesive. Then, I topped it a second time in order to even out the repair with the rim. Finally, I got out my Dremel and used that to rusticate the pipe’s “nose”. The results were quite good. Now, with the damage repaired on all five pipes, it was time to sand down the stummels. Just like the stems, I used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to sand everything smooth on the three briar pipes (I did not sand the cherrywoods). A light application of Before & After Restoration Balm brought out the best in the stummels’ grain

Then it was off for a trip to the buffer. A dose of White Diamond and a few coats of carnauba wax were just what these pipes needed to shine (literally and figuratively). The polishing was the cherry on top of a long road of recovery for these five pipes. The pipes began in the hands of a man who clearly loved smoking them. His grandson, honouring his grandfather’s memory, wanted them to look good again – but not so new that the essence of his grandfather was lost. It was my job to make sure that his grandfather was still in those pipes. I know that my customer will enjoy looking at those pipes (and remembering) for many years to come. I hope you enjoyed reading the story of these pipes as much I as I did restoring them. If you are interested in more of my work, please follow me here on Steve’s website or email me directly at kenneth@knightsofthepipe.com. Thank you very much for reading and, as always, I welcome and encourage your comments.

Reuniting a Yello-Bole stem with its original Pipe and Restoring the Pipe


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table is a Carburetor KBB Yello-Bole Zulu. Jeff picked it up on an online auction from New Braunfels, Texas, USA in April of 2016. It has been sitting here since then. You may wonder why once you see the photos below as it is a nice looking pipe. It is stamped on the left side of the shank with KBB in a cloverleaf followed by Carburetor [over]Yello-Bole [over] US. Pat. 2,082,106 [over] Cured with Real Honey. The stamping starts in the middle of the top of the shank and rolls down the side. On the right side it is stamped with the shape number 4501. On the underside it is stamped Reg. U.S. Pat. Off. [over] 343,331. I will have to look up both of the patents and see what I am working with. The finish on the pipe was peeling and flaking off in spots. There was a metal contraption that forms the carburetor on these pipe in the bottom of the bowl and on the heel. The bowl still had the yellow bowl coating. It appeared to have been smoked just a few time so the coating was pretty in tact. There was a light lava coat on the rim top, heavier at the back of the bowl. The inner bevel and outer edge looked very good. The stem was lightly oxidized and had tooth marks on both sides. There was a large chunk out of the underside of the stem at the button. Jeff took these photos of the pipe before he did his work.He took photos of the rim top and the stem surfaces to give a clear idea of what needed to be done with this pipe. The description above is clearly shown in the photos. He took photos of the heel of the bowl to give a clear idea of the carburetor system but also of the beautiful grain on this pipe. It really is a nice piece of briar. Jeff was able to capture the stamping on the shank very well. They are clear and readable. The only photo missing is that of the shape number on the right side of the shank. You can also see the Yellow O on the stem top.Now comes the moment of truth! Somehow (neither Jeff nor I have any memory of this) the tenon had snapped off in the shank and the stem and bowl were separated. Generally when this happens on Jeff’s end he bags the bowl and stem in a sandwich bag to keep them together. But in this case that was not done. It could have broken in transit between Idaho and Canada or I could easily have snapped it when I tried to remove the stem. I too would have bagged the parts together but somehow the two were separated. The bowl went into my box of bowls for restemming and the broken stem went into the can of stems. Seemingly never to meet again.

I took the bowl out of the box about a month ago to restem. It had a broken tenon in the shank. So I popped it in the freezer for a little while then pulled the tenon out with a screw. I was surprised to see that it had the stinger apparatus that was in these Yello-Bole pipes still in the broken tenon and it was undamaged. Jeff had done a thorough cleanup on this one so it was in great shape. I took some photos of the bowl before I started looking for a stem for the pipe. I went through my can of stems and found oval shaped stem with a snapped tenon. It was even a Yello-Bole stem so that was a bonus. Or so I thought. I still did not put it together that this was the original stem. I took the broken tenon and stinger and lined it up with the stem. It was a perfect match! Now I knew that it was the original stem and I would be able to unite the parts again. Remember at this point I had not seen Jeff’s before photos that are above showing what the pipe looked like when he bought it. All of this was a bit of a fluke! Once I saw those photos all doubt was removed but I still had no idea how they got separated. I decided to look up the patents on the US Patent site and see what I could find about about them and the date they were filed (https://patft.uspto.gov/netahtml/PTO/srchnum.htm). I searched first for the US. Pat. 2,082,106 that was stamped on the top and left side of the shank. I assumed it referred to the Patent for the Carburetor but I was not certain. I found a drawing and description of the carburetor system of a patent filed by R. Hirsch on April 21, 1936 and granted on June 1, 1937. I have included those pages below. Now I had an idea of a starting date for the age of this old pipe. On the underside of the shank it was stamped with a different Patent No. It read as follows: Reg. U.S. Pat. Off. 343,331 and I had no idea what this patent referred to so I ran it through the same site’s search and found a Paten filed by A. Muller-Jacobs of New York for a coloured varnish finish. The pipe I was working on had a peeling varnish finish so that also fit well with the pipe. The patent itself was granted on June 8, 1886. I have included that document below for your purview.From there I wanted to see if I could set the date with more accuracy. I looked up a blog I had written on a Yello-Bole with a Double Carburetor to see what I had found when I had researched for that pipe (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/08/09/restoring-a-kbb-yello-bole-double-carburetor-bulldog/). I quote that blog in part below.

I Googled the brand and line to see what I could find out. Here is what I found.

The first link to me to the Kaywoodie Group and a thread on dating this particular pipe. There was a helpful exchange between lifeon2 and Bosun about a pipe that is stamped in a similar manner to the one that I have. Here is a link to the full conversation: https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/kaywoodie/dating-yello-bole-pipes-t86.html

lifeon2 writes: OK so there isn’t a lot of dating information for Yello-Bole pipes but here is what I have learned so far.

  1. If it has the KBB stamped in the clover leaf it was made 1955 or earlier as they stopped the stamping after being acquired by S.M. Frank.
  2. From 1933-1936 they were stamped Honey Cured Briar.
  3. Post 1936 pipes were stamped “Cured with Real Honey”
  4. Pipes stems stamped with the propeller logo they were made in the 30s or 40s no propellers were used after the 40s.
  5. Yello Bole also used a 4 digit code stamped on the pipe in the 30s.
  6. If the pipe had the Yello Bole circle stamped on the shank it was made in the 30s this stopped after 1939.
  7. If the pipe was stamped BRUYERE rather than briar it was made in the 30s.

(Information gathered from Pipedia – https://pipedia.org/wiki/Yello-Bole)

Bosun replies: the one I have is stamped on the left side of shank:

  1. Double Carburetor
  2. yello-bole
  3. u.s.pat.off
  4. with KBB to the left of the above

underside of shank has Cured with Real Honey

right side of shank has 4907

on top of stem is the white circle

lifeon2 replies: According to the list  I have it looks like you have a late 30s model, sweet

I also turned to a blog by Andrew Selkirk on rebornpipes that also added a degree of certainty to the date of manufacture of this pipe (https://rebornpipes.com/2015/05/03/1934-35-yello-bole-carburetor/).

I can say with a fair degree of certainty that this pipe is from 1934 or 35. The carburetor patent was granted in 1935, this pipe is stamped “Pat Applied For.” Interestingly enough, it also has a patent number on the bottom of the shank. Additionally, the four digit number was used by Kaywoodie until 1936. The first two numbers indicate the finish and the second two numbers indicate the shape.

With that information in hand I knew what I was dealing with in terms of age of this pipe. I knew from the information from Pipedia that the KBB in a clover leaf stamp meant that the pipe was made before 1955. The Cured with Real Honey stamp placed the pipe as 1936 or after. The four digit shape code was used until 1936. The shape code on this one was 4982 thus it is another argument for 1936. The patent was given to KBB in 1935 so the stamped “Reg. US Pat. Off also places the pipe after 1935.

The information that I have gathered helps me to know with a high degree of certainty that this Carburetor pipe was made in 1936. The four digit shape number and the patent information that I have included helped identify that with certainty. I also learned that the first two numbers indicate the finish and the second two numbers indicate the shape.

Now it was time to work on the pipe. I removed the peeling varnish with some fingernail polish remover (acetone). It came of nicely and left behind a nice looking piece of briar. With that finished I set the bowl aside and turned to deal with the hardest part of this work. I needed to replace the broken tenon in the stem and I needed to repair the chip out of the underside at the button. Both would require time for the repair to cure. I decided to do the tenon replacement first. I unscrewed the stinger from the broken tenon and chose a new tenon for the replacement. I used a threaded tenon. I used a Dremel and sanding drum to remove the shoulder on the new tenon and reduce the diameter to match the broken tenon. I screwed the tenon in the new tenon and the fit was perfect. Now it was time to drill out the stem.I smoothed out the broken edge with a Dremel and sanding drum. I drilled out the airway using increasingly larger drill bits to open up the airway the depth of the threaded portion of the tenon.I reduced the diameter of the threaded portion of the tenon with the Dremel and sanding drum until the fit in the drilled out stem was snug. I coated the tenon with black super glue and put the parts together to check on the fit and look of the new tenon. I set it aside to cure while I took a break and enjoy a coffee.After coffee it was cured and I put the stem on the shank to have a look at the fit! The fit was really good and the parts looked like they belonged together. Now it was time to work on the next part of the stem repair. I took the stem off the bowl and unscrewed the tenon. I scrubbed the oxidation on the stem with Soft Scrub to get a clean surface to do the repair.I greased a folded pipe cleaner with Vaseline Petroleum Jelly so that it the repair would not stick to it. I inserted it in the slot and spread it out under the chipped area.I mixed a batch of Black super glue and activated charcoal powder to make a paste. I filled in the deep tooth mark on the top side of the stem and the button edge. I turned the stem over and layered in the fill on the chipped area. I sprayed the repairs with an accelerator to harden the super glue and give it a hard shell so that I could remove the pipe cleaner. I purposely overfill this kind of repair so that I have room to work on the shaping of the button and the stem surface. Once it was hardened to touch I pulled the folded pipe cleaner free and set the stem aside for the repair to cure. Tomorrow I will work on shaping the repaired area into a proper button.I set the stem aside to cure further and turned my attention to polishing the bowl – I dry sanded it with 1500-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth to check the progress and remove the sanding debris. It was looking very good. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for about 10-15 minutes and buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The grain came alive. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to reshaping the stem. I used files to do the initial shaping and remove the excess repair material. I sanded out the file marks and shaped the button with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface of the vulcanite. I started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. This nicely grained Yello-Bole 4501 Zulu turned out to be a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. (The yellow in the bowl is a bowl coating not a Meerschaum lining).The grain around the bowl and shank is quite beautiful and works well with both the shape and the polished and repaired vulcanite taper stem. With the tenon replaced and the stem rebuilt on the button end it looked very good. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Yello-Bole Zulu is another pipe that fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 25g/.88oz.  I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store shortly. You can find it in the American (US) Pipe Makers Section. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Restemming and Breathing New Life into a WW2 Monterey Specimen Grain Bowl


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I chose to work on was another bowl from my box to restem. This one has some great grain around the sides and shank. It is stamped Monterey [over] Specimen Grain on the on the left side of the shank. On the right side it is stamped Mission Briar. It had been cleaned and reamed somewhere along the way by either Jeff or me. I honestly don’t remember when or where we got this bowl. It had a hairline crack on the right side of the shank that ran mid shank for about ½ an inch. The stem was long gone so this would be a restemming job. I would need to band the shank as well. The rim top was darkened and the inner edge of the bowl was out of round. I knew from working on Monterey/Mission Briar pipes in the past that I was dealing with a WW2 years pipe that was made in California using Manzanita in place of hard to find briar. I also remembered a connection to Kaywoodie but the details were not clear to me. I took some photos of the bowl to give a since of the condition of this nice little billiard. I took some photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. The stamping is clear and readable as noted above.The next two photos show some of the issues that I have to deal with on this pipe. The first one shows the hairline crack in the shank. I have circled it in red. The second one shows the out of round bowl.I took a stem out of my can of stems that had the right tenon size and length. The diameter of the stem was slightly larger than the shank but it would fit with some adjustments.I put the stem on the shank and took a photo of the look of the pipe. You can see that I need to adjust the diameter of the stem to match the shank.To gather some more information on the Monterey brand I turned first to Pipephil to get some more information on the brand (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-m6.html). I did a screen capture of the information on the site and included it below. I also included information in the side bar below the screen capture.“Mission Briar” is the common denomination for wood from Manzanita burl (Fam: Ericaceae), a shrub growing in California (USA). During WWII, when Briar was rare, it was used by Reiss-Premier Pipe Co and KB&B (Monterey line).

From that information I knew that the pipe was made between 1941-1946 during the time period of World War II. It was made out of Manzanita burl from California. It was also made by KB&B as it was a Monterey Line Mission Briar pipe.

There was also a picture of two different boxed pipes. The first box is for a Specimen Grain the same as the one that I am working on. The second box is for a Forty Niner. On the inside of the box is a description of the Mission Briar. It reads as follows:

Mission Briar is manufactured from Manzanita Burl grown on the sunny slopes of California’s Pacific Coast, and is proudly offered on its own merits.

“Manzanita Burl and tree heath (Imported Briar) are related to each other botanically belonging to the Ericaceae, or heath family.” – U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The intricately woven texture and grain of this hardy burl supplies a quality pipe of beauty, strength and sweetness, a pipe you can you can cherish and enjoy smoking.

Kaufman Bros. & Bondy, Inc., 630 Fifth Avenue, New York City.From there I turned to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Mission_Briar) to see what else I could learn from there. The article there was taken from Jose Mauel Lopes. I quote it in full below.

From Pipes, Artisans and Trademarks, by José Manuel Lopes

Mission Briar was a brand created during WW II, which disappeared soon afterwards. In 1941, due to the difficulty of importing brair, Kaufmann Bros. & Bondy, through Kaywoodie, and the Reiss-Premier Co., started making pipes out of Manzanita burls, known as “mission briar”.

The Pacific Briarwood Company, a Kaufmann Bros. & Bondy subsidiary, owned plantations of the bush in the Santa Cruz mountains in California. As the quality of the wood was not as good as briar, the project was abandoned soon after the war.

Monterey pipes were made using Mission briar by Kaywoodie.

I learned from that it was a short-lived creation by KB&B through Kaywoodie. They created the Pacific Briarwood Company as a subsidiary to make pipes from the bush in the Santa Cruz mountains in California. It last until shortly after the war ended. Monterey pipes were made by Kaywoodie!

Now it was time to work on the pipe itself. I started with fitting the stem to the shank. I removed a lot of the diameter on the stem with my Dremel and a sanding drum. Once I had the fit close I set the stem aside and turned to deal with the issues on the bowl and shank.  I went through my bands and found a thin brass band that fit the shank perfectly. I heated it and pressed in place on the shank. It fit perfectly and I like the look of it. I took photos of the pipe with the newly fit band on the shank. It looked really good. I sanded the inner edge of the bowl with a folded piece of sandpaper. I then used a wooden ball that Kenneth had given me and a piece of 220 grit sandpaper to give a slight bevel to the inner edge of the bowl.I wiped the bowl down with isopropyl alcohol on a cotton pad to remove the shiny spots on the briar and make the stain a bit more transparent to reveal the grain on the wood. It looked really good. I dry sanded the briar with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl surface down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad to remove the sanding dust. Once I finished the exterior of the briar was clean and the grain really stood out.  I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for 10 minutes then buffed the pipe with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. Mark Hoover’s Balm is a product that I have come to appreciate and one I use on every pipe I have been working on. I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. Once I had finished the polishing I gave it final coat of oil and set it aside to dry.    I am excited to be on the homestretch with beautiful Mission Briar Monterey Specimen Grain Billiard. This is the part I look forward to when it all comes back together, polished and waxed. I put the bowl and stem back together. I polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the briar and the vulcanite. 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 beautifully grained finish looks really good with the interesting grain patterns standing out on the shape. The grain, the thin brass band and the polished black vulcanite went really well together. This Monterey Specimen Grain Billiard was another fun pipe to work on and came out looking amazingly graceful. It is a small billiard but it is a comfortable pipe to hold in the hand. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 27 grams/.95 ounces. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your rack it will be on the rebornpipes store in the American Pipe Makers Section soon. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.

This Ugly Duckling turned out to be a Beauty!


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I chose to work on has been sitting in a box for several years now. It was in a sandwich bag to keep the parts together. It was a huge bowl, a veritable war club with a relatively slender stem and to be honest it never really grabbed me. I passed over it repeatedly when I went through the box of pipes that I have to complete. That changed a few days ago when I opened the box and the pipe just stood out. Strange how that works! I wrote Jeff and asked for pictures of the pipe before he cleaned it. The bowl was stamped on the top of the shank and read Colossus. Below that on the left side it read City Deluxe [over] London Made. On the right side of the shank it read Made in England. The stem has the silver star insert on the left and on the right it is stamped Hand Cut. Jeff sent these photos and told me that he purchased it (plastic bag with dirty bowl and broken tenon) from an antique mall in Ogden, Utah, USA on 04/28/19. The pre-cleanup photos show what a mess this pipe was when he found it. But don’t miss the amazing grain under the grime. The finish was a mess with scratches and grime ground into the smooth briar. The bowl had a thick cake and a fair share of cobwebs inhabiting the depths. The rim top had a thick coat of lava so it was hard to know what the inner edge looked like. The stem was covered with calcification and oxidation and the tenon was cleanly snapped off and stuck in the shank. There was light tooth chatter and marks on the surface of the stem near the button but even that was hard to see with the debris on the stem. The bag had preserved all the debris in the bowl and the stem and it was very visible. Jeff took some photos of the bowl sides and heel – it is a really nice piece of briar. The next photos show the cake and cobwebs in the bowl. What a mess! You can also see the stem with the broken tenon in the second photo.He took close up photos of the broken tenon and stem to show the clean break and the condition of them both! He took photos of both sides of the stem ahead of the button to show the general condition. It is hard to tell if there is tooth damage or marks due to the calcification and debris on the stem.The stamping on the shank is readable and reads as noted above.The City Deluxe is a GBD Second’s line that was released to expand the brands reach into the European market (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-c5.html). I have included a screen capture from Pipephil to show his information. The pipe I am working on is stamped like the first and second one in the photo below.I turned then to Pipedia’s article on GBD pipes (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD). The history of GBD pipes is very well spelled out in multiple articles on Pipedia. I would encourage you to give them a read as they are well written and very readable. It is truly a grand old brand spanning France and England. I have included the section on the section of the article on the City Deluxe brand and have highlighted it in red for ease of reference.

The solid demand for GBD pipes also encouraged the management to introduce a number of sub brands designed to win new buyers. We can list such sub brands as follows:

  • The City de Luxe (1921) had an inserted star on the stem as trademark and were marketed in England and in France. These pipes were the bestseller of the 5½ Shilling class in the 1930s in Great Britain.
  • Reserved for the French market remained the even more favorable GBD brand Marcee, a derivative of Marechal Ruchon & Co. Ltd. that was offered until the 2nd World War and for another one or two years afterwards.
  • The Camelia – made in London as a 2½ Shilling line – was only around for a few years.
  • Important to mention is also the Riseagle—completely produced in Paris before the wartime for England’s smokers who wanted “a cheap but dependable British made pipe”… one of the most successful 1 Shilling pipes until 1939! The introduction of the luxury impact on the excise tax for pipes after the war put an end to this cheap brand.

I then turned to Pipedia’s article on GBD’s various models to seek further information on the Colossus stamp (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD_Model_Information).

The second stamping on the top of the shank was Colossus. I knew that this stamp was used on larger or what GBD called “plus sized pipes”. I read through the above link and found the information below.

Plus Sized Pipes

In addition to the pipe line and shape information stamped on the pipe GBD also had codes for plus sized pipes. These codes in ascending order of size were…

  • Conquest
  • Collector
  • Colossus

From this I know that the pipe is a larger, plus sized pipe that was at the top of the plus sizes – a Colossus. The City Deluxe was started in 1921 and had an inserted star on the stem as trademark and were marketed in England and in France. These pipes were the bestseller of the 5½ Shilling class in the 1930s in Great Britain.

Armed with that information I turned my attention to working on the pipe itself. Jeff had done an amazing job cleaning up the bowl and the stem. He had reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed that with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe knife to scrape away the remaining debris. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl and stem with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and calcification. He scrubbed out the internals of the bowl, shank and stem with 99% Isopropyl Alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until it was very clean. He scrubbed the stem surface with Soft Scrub and then put it in a bath of Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer to deal with the oxidation. He rinsed it with warm water and dried it off. I took photos of the parts when I received them. It looks amazingly clean. I took a photo of the rim top to show the darkening and damage to the inner edge of the bowl. It was a little rough but should clean up well. I also took photos of the stem to show the surface of the stem and how well it had cleaned up. I also wanted to show the light tooth marks on the stem surface.I put the stem against the shank and took some photos to have some idea of how the pipe must have looked before it broke. It is an interesting looking war club of a pipe!With that I put the bowl in the freezer for ten minutes to loosen the stuck tenon. When I took it out of the freezer I used a dry wall screw to thread into the airway on the broken tenon and wiggled it free of the shank.With the broken tenon pulled it was time to make a new tenon for the stem. I started out by going through my can of tenons and finding one that would work. It is a threaded tenon that is shown on the left in the photo below (A). I took off the lip at the threads and reduced the diameter with a Dremel and sanding drum as shown in the photo below (B). It was the same diameter as the broken original shown below (C).I drilled out the airway in the stem to accommodate the new tenon. I started with a bit slightly larger than the airway and worked up to the one shown below. It was the same diameter as the threaded tenon end.I sanded the threads to reduce the diameter of the threaded portion of the tenon. I coated it with some black superglue and inserted it in the stem. I set it aside to let the glue cure. I would still need to fine tune the fit in the mortise but it was looking good.While the tenon repair cured I turned my attention to the bowl. I started by addressing the damage on the inner edge of the rim. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to give a slight bevel to the edge and remove the darkening. I smoothed the edge further with a piece of sandpaper wrapped around a dowel. The rim came out looking much better.I dry sanded the briar with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl surface down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad to remove the sanding dust. Once I finished the exterior of the briar was clean and the grain really stood out. I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for 10 minutes then buffed the pipe with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. Mark Hoover’s Balm is a product that I have come to appreciate and one I use on every pipe I have been working on. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. The tenon had set in the stem so I sanded the tenon smooth with 220 grit sandpaper. I still need to polish it a bit but it is looking pretty good at this point.I fit the stem on the shank and took some photos of the pipe. I liked the looks of it but it felt like it was missing something to me.I went through some silver bands that Jeff and I had purchased and there was one that was perfect for the diameter of the shank. It was a little deep for my liking so I worked on the depth of the band on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I took it down until the depth was half of what it was when I started. I removed the stem and worked on fitting the band. I heated the band with my lighter and then pressed it in place on the shank end and it was perfect. It did not cover any of the stamping and added the missing touch for me. I took some photos of the bowl with the band and I liked the look.I set the bowl aside once again and worked on the stem. The tooth chatter was very light so I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. Once I had finished the polishing I gave it final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem back on the bowl and took a picture of the pipe next to a Dunhill Shell Briar Group 4 Billiard. You can see that it is mammoth in comparison to a rather large Dunhill.I am excited to be on the homestretch with beautiful GBD Made Colossus City Deluxe Large Apple. This is the part I look forward to when it all comes back together, polished and waxed. I put the bowl and stem back together. I polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the briar and the vulcanite. 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 beautifully grained finish looks really good with the interesting grain patterns standing out on the shape. I have to say Jeff called this one correctly. It is probably a pipe I would have left in the shop in the sandwich bag he found it in. But he saw promise and he was right! The grain, the silver band and the polished black vulcanite went really well together. This Colossus City Deluxe was another fun pipe to work on and though it was ugly to begin with it came out looking amazingly graceful. It is a large pipe but it is a comfortable pipe to hold in the hand. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 7 inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: 1 inch. The weight of the pipe is 83 grams/ 2.89 ounces. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your rack it will be on the rebornpipes store in the American Pipe Makers Section soon. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.

Resurrecting And Re-Stemming A Vintage Churchwarden Cutty With Reed Shank


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

The next pipe that I selected to work on is an old, rustic no name Cutty shaped pipe with a long thin Reed shank that ended in a round orifice when I saw it for the first time. Closer examination confirmed that the round orifice was threaded implying that the stem was MIA. This pipe came to us in 2019 while Abha was in Pune and I was away at my place of work, as a part of estate sale by a French gentleman on Etsy which I am yet to chronicle. There are some really good, interesting and collectible pipes in this lot that I am looking forward to work on in coming days.

This no name Cutty shaped pipe has a steep forward cant to the stummel. This forward rake appears more pronounced as the stummel itself tapers upwards towards the rim. The stummel is as delicately and beautifully shaped as a Tulip. Here are a few pictures of the pipe as it sits on my worktable.  The complete lack of stampings of any kind on the pipe means that the provenance of the pipe cannot be ascertained with documented evidence. However, given the shape, construction, condition and the materials used in making this pipe makes me believe that this was a locally made pipe from the early 20th century. I may be wrong in my appreciation (primarily dictated by inert desire/wish for this pipe to be an old timer!) as I am vastly inexperienced as compared to many of the esteemed readers of rebornpipes and would be glad to learn more about such pipes from them.

Having placed my request, I now move on to the initial visual inspection.

Initial Visual Inspection
As noted at the start of this write up, this pipe came with a threaded reed shank end that is now missing the stem that would have come with a threaded tenon to seat in to the shank. Given the retro and vintage look of the pipe, I think the stem would have been a bone/ horn or Amber with a bone tenon. So the first step in this restoration would have to be selecting a suitable bone stem with threaded tenon. The shank end face shows two cracks on opposite sides of the shank (encircled in yellow) which would need to be addressed. The stummel end of the reed is upturned, flared and hollowed with threads to seat the stummel and at the bottom of which is the short foot. The threaded surface is covered in dried oils and gunk causing the draught hole to clog. This would have to be cleaned and opened. The entire length of the shank is covered in dirt and grime giving it a dull and dirty appearance. The chamber has a decent layer of cake that is even from top to the bottom of the bowl. The rim top is covered in overflow of lava and hides any dents or chips on the smooth surface. The rim is significantly dark and thin on one side and is encircled in pastel blue. This makes the chamber out of round and gives a lopsided appearance to the top view of the stummel. The bottom of the stummel is threaded and seats atop the threaded reed shank. The threaded area shows heavy accumulation of oils, ash and gunk all around and even within the threads. Cleaning this area would ensure a flush and snug seating of the bowl over the shank.The briar has taken on a nice dark brown patina over a long period of time and prolonged use which when polished and cleaned, should contrast beautifully with the light hues of the long reed shank. There are a few dents and fills (marked in yellow circle) over the entire stummel surface that is visible through the dirt and grime that covers the surface. Truth be told, the stummel does not boast of complete flamboyant straight or bird’s eye or flame grains over the surface, but a mixed pattern of swirls and flame grains that is attractive enough to hold your attention. Preserving the deep brown aged patina will be the primary concern in this bowl refurbishing. The Process
I started the restoration of this pipe with the removal of the carbon cake from the walls of the chamber. Using my fabricated knife, I carefully removed the cake from the chamber to expose the chamber walls. It was heartening to note that there are no heat related issues in the surface of the walls. I smoothed out the surface by sanding the walls with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. To remove the last traces of residual carbon dust, I wiped the chamber with a cotton swab wetted with 99.9% pure alcohol. I further cleaned the draught hole at the bottom center of the bowl with a pointed dental tool. The hardened cake had greatly reduced the diameter of the draught hole and ran a pipe cleaner dipped in alcohol to clean it further.Next, I cleaned the threaded bottom of the stummel that seats atop the long reed shank with a dental tool. I scraped out the entire dried gunk that had accumulated in the hollow space as well as from in between the threads. I further cleaned the bottom of the stummel with q-tips and alcohol.With the preliminary cleaning of the internals of the stummel completed, I turned to cleaning the internals of the long reed shank. With my fabricated pointed tool and round needle file, the dried oils and tars that had formed a block at the neck of the shank and stummel junction was removed and cleaned. I scraped out all the dried debris from the surface of the shank end with a sharp dental tool. I ran a few long pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol through the airway of the stem till the pipe cleaners emerged white.I cleaned the exteriors of the stummel and the reed shank with Murphy’s Oil soap and a tooth brush. I ensured that all the tars and grime was cleaned from both the surfaces. This cleaning has revealed the exact extent of damage to the rim top surface. The area where the rim has thinned out also shows signs of charring which would need to be addressed. I dried the shank surface with a soft paper towel and ran a fluffy pipe cleaner through the shank airway to dry it out. Now that the stem surface is rid of the dirt and grime, the cracks at the shank end are clearly discernible and so is the surprise revelation of a crack at the base of the threaded portion of the shank (encircled in red).I marked the end points of the shank end cracks and that at the stummel end with marker pen under magnifying glass. I shall drill counter holes at the marked end of each of the crack to prevent the further spread of these cracks. I used a 1 mm drill bit mounted on my hand held rotary tool to drill the counter holes… …and filled these and the cracks with clear CA superglue. I set the reed shank aside for the superglue to cure. The external cleaning had not only exposed an additional crack at the stummel end of the shank, it had also exposed all the fills and dings over the stummel surface. With a thin sharp knife, I gouged out all the old fills from the surface and cleaned the area with isopropyl alcohol in preparation of filling these gouged out surfaces with a mix of briar dust and CA superglue. I use the layering method to fill these pits in the briar. After all the fills were repaired, I set the stummel aside for the fills to harden and cure completely.The shank repairs had cured by the following noon when I got back from work. Using a flat needle file, I evened out the fills to roughly match the rest of the shank surface. I fine tuned the match by sanding the fills with a folded piece of 320 grit sand paper. Did I mention having customized a sterling silver band for providing additional support against the crack’s lateral expansion? I guess not. Here in India, our local Silversmiths are very skilled in turning jewelry and at repairs right in front of their customers at very affordable rates. Steve and Jeff are witnesses to such craftsmanship when they had visited us in India. Long and short of the story is that I got a 1.5 inch long silver band customized for this shank and fixed it over the shank end with superglue. That crack isn’t going any further now.Now that the cracks have been repaired and stabilized, the next goal was to find the right stem to go with the overall profile of the pipe. I selected a couple of suitable bone stems from my stash of spares and asked for Abha’s opinion. She selected a horn stem that was perfectly matched in size and shape with the shank. However, the stem came with its own set of challenges. First, the tenon was broken with half of it sticking inside the stem and secondly, the top section of the stem surface was partially sliced (encircled in blue), but remained firmly attached. Notwithstanding these issues, the stem matched the profile of the pipe to the T and looks amazing. The first issue with the stem that I dealt with was removal of the broken half of the tenon. I mounted a drill bit slightly larger than the tenon opening on to my hand held rotary tool and carefully drilled it inside the tenon. Once the drill bit had a firm grip on the tenon, I turned the motor counter clockwise and dislodged the tenon remnants from the stem revealing a threaded stem end.I would need to identify a threaded bone tenon that would match the shank and stem threads for a perfectly aligned seating. I rummaged through my spare parts box and came up with a bone tenon that was threaded at one end and smooth conical shaped at the other end. The seating of the smooth side of the tenon into the stem was perfect and so was the threaded end into the shank end snug and aligned. The Pipe Gods are especially favoring me it seems. A perfectly matching, period correct horn stem and a perfectly matching bone tenon are nothing short of a miracle.Before fixing the tenon, I cleaned out the stem internals using anti-oil dish washing soap and thin shank brushes. I scrubbed the external surface with soap and Scotch Brite pad. Using paper towels and pipe cleaners, I dried the stem externals and airway respectively. I inserted a petroleum jelly (Vaseline) coated tapered pipe cleaner through the tenon and stem airway and out through the round orifice opening at the slot end. This serves two purposes, firstly, perfect alignment of the tenon and stem airway is ensured and secondly, the petroleum jelly prevents the superglue from seeping into the airway and clogging it shut once the glue has dried. I roughed out the smooth surface of the tenon with a needle file to provide better bonding surface and applied superglue over the smooth surface of the tenon and over the threads in the stem and inserted the tenon into the stem. I wiped the excess glue from the surface and held the two together for the glue to harden a bit and then set it aside for the superglue to harden completely. While the stem was set aside for the glue to cure, I sanded the stummel fills with a flat needle file. To further even out the filled areas and address the minor dents and dings over the stummel surface, I sanded it with a worn out piece of 220 grit sand paper till smooth.Next I addressed the issue of the charred and out of round chamber. I began with topping the rim over a 220 grit sand paper, frequently checking for the progress being made. I stopped once the charred surface was reduced to an acceptable- to- me level and the thickness of the rim top was close to even all round. To get the chamber back to round, I created a bevel over the inner and outer edge with a folded piece of 180 grit sand paper. I am pretty pleased with the progress being made thus far.While I had been working on the stummel, the tenon fix to the stem had set solid. I checked the seating of the tenon in to the shank end and it was snug and perfectly aligned.There was this issue of sliced top surface on the stem which I addressed next. I applied clear CA superglue over and under the sliced surface and set the stem aside to cure. I sprayed an accelerator over the superglue to hasten the process of curing. Once the stem repairs were set, with a needle file, I sanded the fill to achieve a rough match with the stem surface. I further fine tuned the match by sanding the entire stem surface with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I applied a little EVO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) to the reed shank and stem and set it aside to be absorbed into the surface. While the shank and stem were set aside to absorb the EVO, I dry sanded and polished the stummel surface with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. Dry sanding with micromesh pads helps to preserve the patina of the old briar and is a trick I use when restoring all my vintage pipes. I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration” balm which moisturizes and enlivens the briar. I let the stummel absorb the balm for 15- 20 minutes and then gave the stummel a rigorous hand buff with a micromesh cloth. The transformation in the appearance of the stummel is phenomenal and immediate. With the stummel now refurbished and rejuvenated, I turned my attention back to the shank and horn stem. I polished the shank and stem by wet sanding using 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. I rubbed a little “Before and After” balm in to the reed shank and a little EVO in to the stem. All that remained was a polish with Blue Diamond compound and final wax coating using Carnauba Wax. I mounted a cotton buffing wheel earmarked for Blue Diamond compound on to my hand held rotary tool and applied a coat of the compound over the stummel surface to polish out the minor scratches. With a cotton buffing wheel that I use for carnauba wax, I applied a coat of carnauba wax to the stummel and stem and continued to work on it till the complete coat of wax had been polished out. I mounted a clean cotton cloth buffing wheel and gave the entire pipe a once over buff. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine further. The finished pipe is shown below. This pipe shall find its way to my collection based purely on its delicate stunning looks and uniqueness of the shape. P.S. The Pipe God was definitely smiling down upon me as I worked this pipe. Rarely does it happen that the replacement stem is a perfect size match and the new tenon is period correct and fits in the shank like a glove.

The most difficult part of this restoration for me was…can you guess? Please let me know your guess in the comments below and a big thank you for your valuable time in reading the write up.

Praying for you and yours… Be safe and stay safe.

Restemming & Restoring a Comoy’s Christmas 1987 Shape 42 Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

This morning I went through my box of stummels (bowls) again and picked out a Bent Billiard bowl that had some promise. I went through my can of stems and found a taper stem that needed some work but was a good fit. The pipe I chose to work on is an interesting Comoy’s Bent Billiard with a mixture grain around the sides. The rim top was had some darkening and some roughness on the front outer edge of the bowl. The inner edge of the bowl looked good. The interior of the bowl was clean without chips, cracks or checking on the walls. The finish was dirty and tired but still quite redeemable. The stamping on the pipe was clear and readable. On the left side it read COMOY’s [over] Christmas [over] 1987. On the right side it had the normal circular Comoy’s COM stamp Made in London in a circle [over] England below that was the shape number 42. I took some photos of the bowl before I started to work on it. I took a photo of the stamping on the left and right sides of the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable.I went through some of stems and found a taper vulcanite stem that had been used previously. It had some calcification and oxidation on the surface and had tooth marks on both sides near the button.The tenon would need to be shortened slightly but I put it on the shank and took some photos of what it looked like at this point.I started my work on the bowl by dealing with the damage to the rim top and outer edge of the bowl. I lightly topped the rim on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I worked over the inner beveled edge of the rim with a folded piece of sandpaper to remove some of the darkening. It was definitely an improvement. I polished the rim top and the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth between each pad. The bowl began to take on a shine as I went through the various pads. I stained the top of the bowl with a Cherry stain pen to blend in better with the rest of the bowl colour. It will definitely blend well once the pipe is buffed and polished.I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 10 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The grain really came alive. It looks better than when I began. With the bowl finished it was time to focus on the stem. I took out the stem and worked on the fit in the tenon. I shortened the length with a Dremel and sanding drum and it fit very well. I used a heat gun to soften the vulcanite enough to give it the proper bend.While I was bending the stem I also heated the bite marks in the stem. I was able to lift many of the tooth mark. I filled in the remaining tooth marks on the button surface and just ahead of it on the underside with clear super glue and set the stems aside to let the repairs cure.    Once the repairs cured I smoothed them out with a small file and started blending them into the surface of the stem. I sanded the repairs with 220 grit sandpaper to further blend it into the stem surface. I started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I don’t know if this ever happens to you but I was so busy fitting and shaping the stem that I forgot to clean out the inside!! I paused now to do that. I scrubbed out the airway with 99% isopropyl alcohol and pipe cleaners. It was really dirty! Not any more.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a cloth and Obsidian Oil. I finished the polishing with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. I put the pipe back together – the bowl with its new stem. This restemmed and restored Comoy’s Christmas 1987 Shape 42 Bent Billiard is a real beauty and I think that the chosen stem works well with it. The grain on the bowl came alive with the buffing. I used Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel on both the bowl and stem. I gave both multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel then buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The Comoy’s Bent Billiard feels great in the hand. It is lightweight and the contrast in the browns of the briar, the Silver band and the polished vulcanite stem with the popping grain on the mixed brown stained bowl is quite amazing. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.41 ounces/40 grams. It really is a beauty. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store in the  British Pipe Makers section shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Thanks for walking through the restemming and the restoration with me. Cheers.  

Restemming & Restoring a Malaga Mixed Finish Pot  


Blog by Steve Laug

This morning I went through my box of stummels (bowls) here and picked out a Pot shaped bowl that had some promise to me. I went through my can of stems and found an oval shaped stem with the casting marks on the sides and button end. The pipe I chose to work on is an interesting Malaga Pot with a mixture of rusticated portions and smooth portions on the bowl and shank sides. I have worked on a lot of Malaga pipes in the past so I am not a stranger to the brand. I have included the link below to a bit of history on the brand that I compiled.

The bowl looked very good. The grain around the sides was quite nice and a mix of flame and birdseye grain. The rim top was rusticated as were some patches on the front, the sides and the bottom of the shank. The inner edge of the bowl showed some wear. There was a hairline crack on the underside of the shank that extended about ¼ inch up the shank. The interior of the bowl was clean and there were not any chips, cracks or checking on the walls. Examining the mortise there was a snapped off tenon in the shank. It was crumbling and would need to be pulled. The finish was washed out and bit and tired but still quite redeemable. The stamping on the pipe was clear and readable. On the topside it read MALAGA and no other stamping was on the shank. I took some photos of the bowl before I started to work on it. I took a photo of the stamping on the topside of the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable. I went through some of stems and found an oval vulcanite stem blank. It was the right diameter and once I turned the tenon it would fit the shank. It has casting marks on the sides and on the button end. I also found a unique sterling silver band that fit the shank. It was shaped like a belt and buckle and would look very good.I have worked on quite a few Malaga pipes and blogged their restorations, so rather than repeat previous blogs, I am including the link to one that gives some of the history of the Malaga brand and the Malaga Pipe Shop in Royal Oak, Michigan in the USA from a catalogue. It gives a sense of the brand and the history in their own words. Follow the link to get a feel for the brand and the pipemaker – https://rebornpipes.com/2013/02/09/george-khoubesser-and-malaga-pipes/.

With that information in hand I turned to work on the bowl. There was a broken off tenon in the shank. I tried to pull it with a screw and then moved on to drill it out. I started with a bit a little larger than the tenon in the airway and worked my way up to the size of the shank. When I removed the bit the pieces of tenon fell out on the table top. With the mortise clean I was ready to move on to the next part of the clean up.I cleaned up the rustication on the rim top with a brass bristle wire brush to remove the debris in the rustication. It cleaned up well. I used a Black Sharpie Pen to restain the rustication on the rim top and the sides of the bowl. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 10 minutes then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The grain really came alive. It looks better than when I began. The crack on the underside of the shank was a mere hairline what was not long or wide so it would be an easy repair with a bit of glue and a band. I painted the shank end with some all-purpose white glue. I spread it with a dental spatula and pressed the band in place on the shank.I polished the Sterling Silver belt band with some silver polish and a jeweler’s cloth. I was able to remove the tarnish and the band looked very good. I took pictures of the banded shank to show the look of it. Notice that the belt buckle is on the top and the A of the Malaga is perfectly framed on the right side by the buckle. With the bowl finished it was time to focus on the stem. I took out the stem and the Pimo tenon turning tool and set up the tool in my cordless drill. I put the guiding pin in the airway on the stem and adjusted the cutting head. I held the stem in place and carefully turned the tool on the tenon. I used a flat file to smooth out the tenon to fit in the shank. I put the stem in shank for a sense of the look of the pipe. The stem fit well and it looked like it belonged. I sanded the castings off the edges of the stem and the button with 220 grit sandpaper before I took the photo.I removed the stem and worked on it next. I smoothed out remnants of the castings and the scratches in the surface of the vulcanite with 220 grit sandpaper. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a cloth and Obsidian Oil. I finished the polishing with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. I put the pipe back together – the bowl with its new stem. This restored Malaga Oil Cured Pot with rusticated panels is a real beauty and I think the Sterling Silver Belt band and the chosen stem works well with it. The grain on the bowl came alive with the buffing. I used Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel on both the bowl and stem. I gave both multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel then buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The Malaga Pot feels great in the hand. It is lightweight and the contrast in the browns of the briar, the Silver band and the polished vulcanite stem with the popping grain on the mixed brown stained bowl is quite amazing. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 1 inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.59 ounces/45 grams. It really is a beauty. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store in the American (US) Pipe Makers section shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Thanks for walking through the restemming and the restoration with me. Cheers.

Restemming a Drummond Imported Briar Squashed Tomato


 Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table is bowl that needed to be restemmed. It has a finish that is reminiscent of Custom-Bilt fame but this one is not one of those. It is a squashed tomato shaped bowl with a smooth rim top and rusticated bowl bottom and shank. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Drummond in script [over] Imported Briar. There was some darkening on the shank end where there had been a band that covered the edge of the final d in Drummond. The band was gone. The bowl had been cleaned with the thoroughness that usually is a sign that Jeff has worked on it. It had been reamed and cleaned. The inside of the bowl and shank looked and smelled clean. The inside edges looked to be in good condition. The briar was dry and lifeless looking and it was without a stem. I took some photos of the bowl before I worked on the new stem for it. It is a very interesting looking old pipe. I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. It reads as noted above and faint but very readable. I went through my can of stems and found an interesting hard rubber stem with an inset tenon that would fit the shank with a little bit of work. It was a little larger in diameter than the shank so I would need to reduce that. There were some interesting marks on the top and underside ahead of the button that looked like it had been repaired somewhere along the way. It was pretty clean otherwise. I also found a thin brass band that would fit nicely on the shank end and replace the one that had been there previously. I could find nothing listed on either Pipedia or Pipephil’s site on the Drummond Brand. I did a quick search of the name and came across quite a few photos of tins of tobacco and pouches of tobacco made by Liggett & Myers. It is labeled as Antique Pipe Chewing Tobacco Tin that is called The Genuine Drummond Natural Leaf Thick. Have a look at the photos I have included below (https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/antique-pipe-chewing-tobacco-tin-253303793).

Antique Pipe Chewing Tobacco Tin Genuine Drummond Natural Leaf Liggett & MyersI am pretty certain that the pipe was a Tobacco Company Coupon pipe possibly that was earned by tobacco coupons. I cannot prove that but that appears to be what is happening with this mystery brand. Now on to working on the pipe.

Now to work on the pipe itself. I pressed the band in place on the shank and put the stem on the shank to get a feel for the look. I took some photos to show the general look. You can see that the stem is slightly larger in diameter than the shank and will need to be reduced. Even so I really like the slight bend in the stem and the look of the pipe as it stands with the stem.  I started my work on the bowl and permanently pressed the brass band on the shank end against my desk top. It was a tight fit and though it is only cosmetic gave the shank a nice touch of bling. I polished the smooth portions of the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with a damp cloth. I used the final three grits on the rusticated portion as well. It really began to take on a rich shine. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 10 minutes then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The grain and the rustication patterns came alive. It looks better than when I began. I set the bowl aside and turned to work on the stem. The fit of the tenon in the shank was loose so I heated an ice pick and inserted it in the tenon to expand the diameter slightly. It did not take much and the fit was perfect! The next photos are slightly out of order. Before I pressed the band in place on the shank I used the Dremel and sanding drum to take down the diameter of the stem to get a clean fit on the shank. I removed as much of the excess as possible with the sanding drum and would finish the fit with sand paper afterwards. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the fit to the shank and band as well as smooth out the repairs near the button that stood out on the stem in the photos above. I started the polishing of the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.  I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry.  This Drummond Imported Briar Squashed Tomato is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored and restemmed. The mix of rusticated and smooth finishes around the bowl is quite beautiful and highlights the grain and works well with the polished taper stem. The stem looks very good but the repaired areas ahead of the button on each side are solid but visible. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Drummond Squashed Tomato fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 inches, Chamber diameter: 1 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.66 oz./47 gr. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store shortly. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.

Renewing a tired older 1945 Dunhill Shell 111/1 Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

This is another of those pipes that has been laying around here for a very long time. It was in a small bag with a very dirty and calcified stem that I had assumed belonged to it. It was loose in the shank but the length and the diameter was correct. The bowl was very clean and had all the marks of having been cleaned up by Jeff. However, the stem really throws me as it has not been cleaned, sanitized or anything. It is a general mess. It reminds me a lot of some of the older estate Dunhill pipes that I have restored over the years. It really makes me wonder if somewhere along the way either Jeff or I threw in the Dunhill stem because it fit! I am pretty certain it is not the correct one but it will work. I don’t know if I will ever truly know where and when we received it. The stem was in very rough shape. The calcification on the stem surface was thick and hard. I had to use a knife to scrape the heavy thickness off. I forgot to take photos of the stem before I scraped it but the next photos give a fair idea of what I was dealing with. There was a bite through on the underside of the stem next to the button and some deep tooth marks on both sides. The tenon had a thick shiny coat that would need to be sanded down and smoothed out.I took a photo of the stamping on the shank underside. The stamping on the pipe is 111/1 (smaller text) on the heel of the bowl with an upside down 125 above it and toward the shank. That is followed by Dunhill Shell [over] Patent No. 41754/34. Following the Dunhill Shell stamp is Made in England on one line with a superscript underlined 5. From what I can find I would date it to 1945. I spell out my process in the text that follows.I turned first to Pipephil’s site because it has a great set of charts for dating Dunhill pipes that is kind of a flow chart. I find it incredibly helpful. I turned first to the section on Dunhill pipes to see if I could find similar stamping on the pipes he shows. I have included the following photos below (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/dunhill/patent3.html#a1). The stamping is very similar on the first one from 1943 while the patent number on the second one (1950) is the same as mine. I turned then to the dating flow chart on the site (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/dunhill/cledat-en1b.html). I have included Page 2 of the dating key below. I have circled the pertinent section in red in the photo below.Armed with that information I knew I was working on a 1945 Dunhill Shell 111 Billiard. I was uncertain about the stem being the original but it fit well and with some repairs it would serve to make the bowl smokable. Now it was time to work on the pipe itself.

Since the bowl was very clean I decided to rub it down with some Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the sandblast finish with my fingertips and a horse hair shoe brush to get it into the crevices. I let the product sit for 10 minutes before buffing it off with a soft cloth. The product works to clean, enliven and protect briar and I have found that it certainly does a great job of that on the pipes I work on. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I scraped off the rest of the calcification on the stem with a pen knife and lightly sanded it to clean it up. I “painted” the stem surface with the flame of a Bic lighter to lift the tooth marks and the area around the bite through on the underside. There was still work to do but it was getting there. Notice the tenon still needs attention as there is some build up on it as well. I cleaned off the surface of the stem with alcohol and a cotton swab and then greased a folded pipe cleaner with Vaseline in preparation for the stem repair. I slide a greased pipe cleaner into the slot below the bite through and fill it in with black super glue. I built up the damage on the topside of the stem at the same time. I spread the glue with a dental pick to make sure the bite through was well covered. I sprayed the repair with an accelerator to harden the repair more quickly. Once it had hardened to touch I removed the pipe cleaner. Once the repair had cured overnight I used a small file to reshape the button edges on both sides and flatten the stem surface. The repair worked very well. I sanded the repaired areas with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper and started the polishing process with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I also worked on the tenon to smooth out the previous work that had been done. It is looking better.At this point I decided to put the stem on the bowl and take some photos of it to get a sense of what the pipe looked like. I have included those below. There was still a lot of work to do on the stem. But the general shape and condition were looking much better. I spent quite a bit of time working on the shape of the stem with a 1500 grit micromesh sanding pad to smooth out the transition between the shank and the stem. I also worked on the button edge and the part of the stem just ahead of the button (some call it the bite zone, but honestly that name pains me given the number of chewed up stems I have worked on). I continued to polish the stem with the rest of the micromesh pads (2400-12000 grit pads). I rubbed the stem down after each pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished the stem with Before & After Pipe Stem polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and let it dry. Though the stem I have with the pipe is probably not the correct one for this 1945 Dunhill Shell 111 Billiard it will work and make the pipe usuable. It is far from perfect as far as stems go but it will work while I am on the lookout for the correct one. The stem cleaned up well and the finished pipe looks very good. The rugged looking sandblast and the polished black vulcanite stem work very well together to give the pipe a slender profile that is quite pleasing. The sandblast finish on the bowl came alive with the buffing. I used Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel on both the bowl and stem. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel then buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The Dunhill Shell 111 Billiard feels great in the hand. It is lightweight and the contrast in the stains on the briar and the polished vulcanite stem with the rugged sandblast bowl is quite amazing. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.06 ounces/30 grams. It really is a beauty. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me. If any of you happen to have a Dunhill narrow stem or fishtail that you would be willing to part with let me know! Thanks!

Restemming & Restoring a Weber Custom Made Bullmoose


Blog by Steve Laug

I think I must be on a bit of a roll with restemming some of the bowls I have collected over the years. I decided to do yet another one that has been here for a very long time. The pipe I chose to work on next is a lovely Bullmoose rusticated stummel with a smooth rim top and twin rings around the cap of the bowl. The bowl looked very good. The rustication while not deep was quite nice and an interesting texture. The rim top was a bit rough with nicks and dings in the rim top and wear on the front edge of the cap. There were also burn marks and darkening on the outer edge of the cap. The interior of the bowl was clean and there were not any chips, cracks or checking on the walls. The finish was dull and bit and tired but still quite redeemable. The stamping on the pipe was clear and readable in smooth panels on the shank. On the left side it read Weber in a circle [over] Custom Made. On the right it read Imported Briar. I took some photos of the bowl before I started to work on it. I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable. (I forgot to take a photo of the Imported Briar stamp on the right side). You can also see some of the chips in the twin rings around the bowl – particularly on the cap edge. I went through some of stems and found this saddle style stem that was close to the right diameter but would need to have a tenon replacement. It has a few tooth marks and chatter near the button but it would clean up well. I took a photo of the bowl and stem together to show what the look would be once I fit the stem.I worked on quite a few Weber pipes in the past but decided to have a look on Pipephil anyway (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-w2.html). I have included a screen capture of the information that was present there.I turned to Pipedia found that it gave significant amount of history and some advertising on the brand as well (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Weber_Pipe_Co.). I quote from the article below:

Carl B. Weber was a German from Bavaria. Aged 21 he emigrated to the USA in 1911. In 1938 he established Weber Briars Inc. in Jersey City, New Jersey. Later renamed in Weber Pipe Co.

The firm grew to be one of the giants of American pipe industry focusing itself in the middle price and quality zone. Trademark: “Weber” in an oval. Beside that Weber – especially in the years after 1950 – was a most important supplier for private label pipes that went to an immense number of pipe shops. Alone in New York, exactly the same pipes were found at Wilke’s, Barclay Rex, Trinity East, Joe Strano’s Northampton Tobacconist in Ridgewood, Queens, Don-Lou in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn… Nearly all pipes for Wilke were unstained and many models, for example the “Wilke Danish Bent”, could hardly deny originating of Weber.

Among other well reputated pipe makers Anthony Passante[1] worked for Weber.

Weber Pipe Co. owned and manufactured Jobey pipes – when mainly sold in the USA by the Tinder Box from 1970’s – 80’s. In addition Jobey / Weber bought Danish freehands from Karl Erik (Ottendahl). These pipes were offered as Jobey Dansk. Ottendahl discontinued exports to the United States in 1987 and in the very same year – obviously only as a ghost brand – Jobey was transferred to Saint-Claude, France to be manufactured by Butz-Choquin.

Carl B. Weber is the author of the famous book “Weber’s Guide to Pipes and Pipe Smoking”.

Armed with the confirmation about the maker of the pipe it was time to work on the pipe itself. I started my work on it by replacing the tenon on the stem. I flattened the short stubby tenon with a Dremel and sanding drum to make the surface flat. I found the proper replacement tenon in my box of tenons. I used a cordless drill and a series of bit to drill out the airway to receive the new tenon replacement. I lined up the stem and tenon with the shank and then glued the tenon in the stem with clear CA glue. I set the stem aside to let the glue cure.I decided to put a decorative band on the shank of the pipe. It was not necessary but I liked the look of it. I used a dental spatula to spread the glue on the shank end. I pressed the brass band in place on the shank, wiped off the excess glue with a damp cloth and set it aside to dry.Once the glue on the band and the tenon cured I put the stem in place on the shank and took photos of the new look of the Weber. I have always liked Weber Golden Banded pipes so this brass band approximates that look. Still a lot of work to do on the fit of the stem and the clean up of the rim and top of the bowl.I removed the stem and turned my attention to the bowl of the pipe. I started the clean up of the rim by topping it on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I rebuilt the outer edge with a little bit of CA glue and briar dust and then topped it again to smooth it out. I cleaned up the inner edge of the bowl and the cap of the rim with folded 220 grit sandpaper. It took some work but it looked much better when finished.I wiped off the rim cap and smoothed it with some 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I wiped it down with a damp cloth. I stained it with an Oak stain pen to match the rest of the bowl and shank.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down after each pad with a damp cloth. The briar began to take on a rich shine. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my finger tips and a shoe brush to get into the valleys and crevices of the blast finish. The product is amazing and works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let it sit on the briar for 10 or more minutes and then buff it off with a soft cloth. It really makes the briar come alive and look quite rich. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth chatter and the deep scratches on the saddle portion of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a cloth and Obsidian Oil. I finished the polishing with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. I put the pipe together – the bowl with its new stem. This restored and restemmed Weber Custom Made Bullmoose (or Scoop) turned out to be a real beauty. I think the brass band and the chosen stem works well with it. The finish on the bowl came alive with the buffing. I used Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel on both the bowl and stem. I gave both multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel then buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The Weber Custom Made feels great in the hand. It is lightweight and the contrast in the browns of the briar, the gold of the band and the polished vulcanite stem with the popping grain on the mixed brown stained bowl is quite amazing. The dimensions of the pipe are Length:5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.62 ounces/46 grams. It really is a beauty. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store in the American (US) Pipe Makers section shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Thanks for walking through the restemming and the restoration with me. Cheers.