Tag Archives: restemming

Restemming & Restoring a Stanhope Genuine Imported Briar Smooth Bullmoose


Blog by Steve Laug

I continue on a restemming binge with stummels (bowls) that I periodically go through and see if I have a potential stem that would fit. This is the final bowl of the three stummels that took out to restem last week. The first one was the Malaga Second, the second was a Yorkshire Bullmoose. (https://rebornpipes.com/2022/01/20/restemming-restoring-a-malaga-second-long-shank-billiard/; https://rebornpipes.com/2022/01/21/restemming-restoring-a-yorkshire-imported-briar-bullmoose/). This particular bowl is a smooth Bullmoose style pipe. The grain on the bowl was quite nice with a mix of straight and birdseye. The rim top had some darkening but the inner and outer edges were in good condition. The interior of the bowl was clean and there were not any chips, cracks or checking on the walls. The mortise was clean and well drilled with no issues. The finish was clean and the grain stood out against the light background. It is worn and tired looking. The stamping was clear and readable. On the left side it read Stanhope [over] Genuine [over] Imported Briar. I took photos of the bowl before I started to work on it. I took a photo of the stamping on the side of the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and though the Stanhope stamp is faint it is still readable.I went through some of stems and found this nice looking saddle stem blank that would work with the bowl. It had already been turned with a tenon tool so that portion of the work was finished. I would need to reduce the tenon diameter slightly for a snug fit. The stem was significantly larger in diameter than the shank. I decided to see what Pipephil’s site had on the brand (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-s11.html). I found that the pipe was made by LHS (L.H. Stern). I did a screen capture of the particular brand. I have included it below. Now it was time to work on the stem and fit it to the shank of the pipe. The diameter of the tenon was close. I used a flat file that I have here that works well for me to do the fine tuning of the fit. I used it to straighten out the sides of the tenon next to the surface that face the shank. It worked well and fit the shank. I used a Dremel and sanding drum to reduce the diameter of the stem as much as possible before I proceeded. I ran the sanding drum around the diameter of the saddle portion and stem sides to reduce it the also worked it lengthwise to remove more of material. The photos below show the fit at this point. Looking better but still a long ways to go. I continued to reduce the diameter of the stem with a flat file. It was taking quite a bit of time to finish the fit but it was getting there. I think that the stem would look very good once it was properly fit. The fit against the shank was better. There were spots where the stem diameter and the shank diameter did not match were greatly reduced. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the transition even more between the two. I left a slight Danish style flare to the flow of the saddle. I started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I 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 set the stem aside and turned my attention to the bowl. I started by cleaning up the rim top and edges with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I was able to remove the darkening on the rim top and the inner edge of the bowl.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-120000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth. The grain began to stand out and the briar took on a shine. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the smooth briar with my finger tips and a horsehair shoe brush. 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 grain sing.   Now it was time to bent the stem to fit the flow of the pipe. I heated the stem with a heat gun on the low setting until the vulcanite was  pliable. I bent it to proper angle and then set it with cool water. I put the pipe back together – the bowl with its new stem. This smooth finished Stanhope Genuine Imported Briar Bullmoose is a real beauty and the chosen stem works well with it. It is an American made pipe with connections to L.H. Stern. The grain on the bowl is quite beautiful and 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 Stanhope Bullmoose feels great in the hand. It is lightweight and the contrast in the browns of the briar and the polished vulcanite stem is quite amazing. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.69 ounces/48 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 & Restoring a Yorkshire Imported Briar Bullmoose


Blog by Steve Laug

I continue on a restemming binge. I have a box of stummels (bowls) here that I periodically go through and see if I have a potential stem that would fit them. This is the second of the three stummels that took out to restem. The first one was the Malaga Second (https://rebornpipes.com/2022/01/20/restemming-restoring-a-malaga-second-long-shank-billiard/). This particular bowl was a bit of a mystery to me. I honestly don’t remember where or when we picked it up but we had reamed and cleaned it before boxing it. It has a mix of smooth and Custom-Bilt style rustication on the bowl and shank. There were some deep groves and valleys around the bowl and rim. The grain on the smooth portions was quite nice worked well with the deep worm trail style rustication and craters. The rim top and edges were in good condition. The interior of the bowl was clean and there were not any chips, cracks or checking on the walls. The mortise was clean and well drilled with no issues. The finish was clean and the fills in the rustication stood out clearly in contrast to the dark stain. The stamping was clear and readable. On the left side it read Yorkshire (in old English Script) [over] Imported Briar. I took photos of the bowl before I started to work on it. I took a photo of the stamping on the side of the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and though the Yorkshire stamp is faint it is still readable. I took some photos of the putty fills around various parts of the bowl and shank. Interestingly they were in the rusticated portions of the bowl – probably by design. They would need to be stained to blend them into the surrounding briar.I went through some of stems and found this nice looking taper stem blank that would work with the bowl. It had already been turned with a tenon tool so that portion of the work was finished. I would need to strip back the casting materials on the button and sides of the stem and reduce the tenon diameter slightly but the diameter of the stem itself was very close to that of the shank.I decided to see what Pipephil’s site had on the brand (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-y.html) and interestingly found two different Yorkshire Brands. The first had a plain stamp on the side of the shank that did not match the one I was working on. The second on had the same Old English Style stamp over Imported Briar. The difference of course was the one in the photo below was an all briar pipe. The one I had was a Custom-Bilt style that would have had a vulcanite stem.I followed the clue on the above screen capture and turned to the section on Barnaby Briars (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-b1.html#barnaby). There I found out that the company was a Smoking Pipe Retailer located at 28 Powell Str., Brooklyn (NY). They must have had the pipes made by someone else but they carried both the Barnaby Briar and the Yorkshire Imported Briar.Now it was time to work on the stem and fit it to the shank of the pipe. The diameter of the tenon was close. I used a flat file that I have here that works well for me to do the fine tuning of the fit. I used it to straighten out the sides of the tenon next to the surface that face the shank. It worked well and looked much better.I cleaned up the file marks with 220 grit sandpaper and the tenon fit well in the mortise. The fit against the shank was clean but there were spots where the stem diameter was slightly larger than the shank diameter. I worked these over with the file to clean up the transition. The photos below show the fit at this point. Looking better but still a long ways to go. The fit against the shank was better. There were spots where the stem diameter and the shank diameter did not match were greatly reduced. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the transition even more between the two. I started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. With the fit against the shank and diameter corrected and the stem sanded with 220 and 400 grit sandpaper it was now time to bent the stem to fit the flow of the pipe. I heated the stem with a heat gun on the low setting until the vulcanite was pliable. I bent it to proper angle and then set it with cool water. 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 set the stem aside and turned my attention to the bowl. I started by touching up the visible fills. I used a Walnut Stain Pen to fill them in to match the other worm trail rustication around the shank and bowl sides. Once it dried the match was perfect. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the smooth briar with my finger tips and a horsehair shoe brush. 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 grain sing. I put the pipe back together – the bowl with its new stem. This restored Partially Rusticated Yorkshire Bullmoose is a real beauty and the chosen stem works well with it. I don’t have a lot of information on the maker other than it is American made. The grain on the smooth portions of the bowl is quite beautiful and the deep worm trails and rugged crevices 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 Yorkshire Bullmoose feels great in the hand. It is lightweight and the contrast in the browns of the briar and the polished vulcanite stem is quite amazing. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 2.19 ounces/63 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 & Restoring a Malaga Second Long Shank Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

I have been on a restemming binge for the last week or so. I have a box of stummels (bowls) here that I periodically go through and see if I have a potential stem that would fit them. Yesterday when I finished the restoration and restem on the Viking Brandy, I went through the box and picked out three bowls and found workable stems for them. All were in different states of need but all had been thoroughly cleaned before I boxed them up. The first of those that I chose to restem and restore is a lovely Malaga Second Long Shank Billiard stummel. If you have followed me for long you will know that I have worked on a lot of Malaga pipes in the past so I am not a stranger to the brand. This particular bowl is actually quite beautiful and for the life of me I have no idea why is stamped a Second.

The bowl looked very good. The grain around the sides was quite nice and a mix of cross grain and birdseye grain. The rim top had light damage to the inner edge and some nicks of flaws in the outer edge. The rim top had been beat about a bit and showed the wear and damage and there was darkening around the top and edges. The interior of the bowl was clean and there was some light checking on the walls. Examining the mortise it was clean and well drilled with no issues. The finish was washed out and bit and tired but still quite redeemable. The stamping on the pipe was clear and readable. On the left side it read MALAGA [over] Second. I took some photos of the bowl before I started to work on it. I took a photo of the stamping on the side of the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable.I went through some of stems and found this shorter taper stem that needed some work on the tenon and diameter at the shank but it was exactly what I wanted. It has a few tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button but it would clean up well. 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/.

Now it was time to work on the stem and fit it to the shank of the pipe. The diameter of the tenon was close. I used the Dremel and sanding drum to bring it close to a fit and then used two files that I have here that work well for me to do the fine tuning of the fit.I used a piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the file marks on the tenon and make sure it was round. It is an interesting stem in that it has a tube in the tenon for making it “unbreakable”. I fit it on the pipe and took photos of the fit at this point. The fit against the shank was perfect. There were spots where the stem diameter and the shank diameter did not match. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the transition between the two so it was smooth.I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the remainder of the stem. I “painted” the stem surface with a Bic lighter flame to raise the tooth marks. I was able to lift some of them to the surface. I filled in what remained with clear CA glue. Once it cured I flattened the repairs and reshaped the button with a small flat file. I then repaired areas 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the rest of the surrounding vulcanite. I finished this part of the process by starting the polishing of 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 set the stem aside and turned my attention to the bowl. I started with the rim top issues. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the inner and the outer edge of the rim. I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out and minimize the damage on the rim top. The top and edges looked much better at this point in the process. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down with a damp cloth after each pad. It really began to shine. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the smooth briar with my finger tips. 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 grain sing. Before I finished the buffing on the pipe I wanted to address the checking on the inside of the bowl. I noticed it while I was taking the photos. Sometimes it is part of the cake and sometimes not. This time I was able to clean out the majority of it with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife and then sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel. There is still some shallow checking on the front of the bowl toward the top and a little on the backside but it is far better and should be good for many years. I cleaned out the bowl, shank and stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners to remove the sanding and scraping debris.I put the pipe back together – the bowl with its new stem. This restored Malaga Second Long Shank Billiard is a real beauty and the chosen stem works well with it. I have no idea why it would be marked a second other than the pits on the rim top. The grain on the bowl is quite beautiful 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 Second Billiard feels great in the hand. It is lightweight and the contrast in the browns of the briar and the polished vulcanite stem is quite amazing. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.98 ounces/56 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 & Restoring a Made in Denmark Viking Brandy


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I chose to work on was another bowl from my box of bowls to restem. This one is a nicely grained mixed finish Brandy. The right side and half of the front of the bowl is sandblast and left side and remainder of the bowl is smooth. It has some amazing looking grain around the bowl and shank. The sandblast is deep on that portion. It is stamped on the underside of the shank and reads MADE IN DENMARK [over] VIKING. The stamping was clear and readable with a lens. I think that the pipe is probably made my Bjarne but I would do some digging and see what I could learn. The bowl 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 looked very good and I was looking forward to seeing the finished Brandy. The shank had a Delrin insert and the mortise was slightly inset for a freehand style stem. The original stem was long gone so I would need to go through my stems and find one that would work for a restemming. It would be a different stemming job because of the inset mortise. I took some photos of the bowl to give a sense of the condition of this nice looking Brandy. There was a smooth panel on the underside of the shank. It is stamped as noted above and is clear and readable with a lens.The next photo shows the rim top and edges. It also shows the condition of the bowl and rim top/edges. It is clean looks quite good. Now it was time to begin my restemming work on this pipe. I went through my can of stems and chose two stems that would give the pipe a completely different look. The first was a thick taper that I had used as a replacement for a Dunhill with a missing stem. It was close to the right diameter but the dot would need to go. The second was a freehand style stem that fit in the inset mortise in the shank. Now I would need to make a decision.

First the bowl with the taper stem:  Second the bowl with the freehand stem:I took a photo of the inset mortise to give a sense of what I was working with restemming this pipe. I decided to put the taper stem in place on the shank for a look. In order to use it required that I place a thin band on the shank end to take care of the rounding of the shank end and facilitate a flush face for the taper stem to sit against. I slipped one in place on the shank and put the stem in place on the shank and took photos. I removed the band and the stem and put the freehand stem on the pipe to have a look at what it would like with this kind of stem. I put it in place and took some photos of it so I could see what I thought. I am personally leaning towards the taper stem. I worked on the fit of the stem to the shank with a file to reduce the diameter of the stem. It took some slow and tedious work to get the stem diameter very close. Once I was finished I liked the way the stem was starting to look. More work to do on it for sure but it is getting there. I was definitely ready to go with the taper stem at this point!I made a decision to go with the thick taper stem as I really like the look of a classic Brandy. I pressed a thin band on the shank end to give me a flat surface for the stem to face against. I like the look of the shank with the band. I continued the shaping of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to bring the diameter of the shank and stem in sync. Once I had it where I wanted it I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished the stem with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and buffed it with a cotton cloth. Once I had finished the polishing I gave it final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. With the stem finished I turned my attention to the bowl. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding debris and dust. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the smooth and the sandblast 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 a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Balm did its magic and the sandblast grain really took on dimension and colour. I am excited to be on the homestretch with this mixed finish (smooth/sandblast) Made in Denmark Viking Brandy with a taper vulcanite stem. This is the part I look forward to when it all comes back together, polished and waxed. I put the bowl, the thin brass band and the new stem together and polished them with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the vulcanite and give a light shine to the bowl. 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 smooth part of the finish and the sandblast finish on the front and right sight looks really good with the band and the new polished black taper vulcanite stem. This Viking Brandy was another fun pipe to work on and came out looking great. It is a comfortable sized 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: 2 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 59 grams/2.08 ounces. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your rack it will be on the rebornpipes store in the Danish Pipemakers Section soon. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.

Restemming & Restoring a French Made GBD Sauvage 1345 Poker/Pot


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I chose to work on was another bowl from my box of bowls to restem. It is a different looking bowl that combines both a Pot and a Poker shape. It has a inward beveled rim, flat bottom and worm trails curled around the bowl sides. When I examined the shank it had a small hairline crack on the right side that would need to be repaired but otherwise it was solid. It was unique enough I wanted to work on it. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and has a GBD oval logo next to the bowl/shank union followed by Sauvage. On the right side of the shank it is stamped FRANCE [over] the shape number 1345. The stamping was clear and readable with a lens. The bowl 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 looked very good and I was looking forward to seeing the finished pipe. The stem was long gone so this would be a restemming job. I took some photos of the bowl to give a sense of the condition of bowl. The stamping was on both sides of the shank and it is clear and readable as noted above. I have also drawn a red rectangle around the area where the crack in the shank is located in the photo below.The next photo shows the rounded rim top and edges. It also shows the condition of the bowl and rim top/edges. It is clean and looks quite good. There is some burn damage on the inner edge of the bowl and on the beveled rim top at the front and the back of the bowl.Now it was time to begin my restemming work on this pipe. I went through my can of stems and chose a stem that would work. I would need to remove some the diameter of the tenon and the saddle portion to fit the thin almost pencil shank of the pipe. I used a flat file to remove the small amount of excess on the tenon. It was a close fit but I did not want to make the crack in the shank worse by a tenon that was not correct.When I had finished shaping the tenon I sanded it with a piece of 220 grit sandpaper and inserted it in the shank. It was looking pretty good. I would need to trim back some of the diameter of the saddle portion but I liked it! I generally use a Dremel and sanding drum to reduce the diameter of the stem. I do this with the stem in place on the shank so that I do not overdo it. It is a touchy exercise and one slip and I could easily damage the shank and make more work for myself. I move carefully and take it back as close as I can at this point. Once I band the shank I will need to do some more work on it but it is starting to look right. With the fit close enough it was time to band the shank. I generally do the final adjustments on the stem diameter after I have fit the band in place. I picked a band out that would fit when heated. I took a photo of the crack in the shank to show what I was working with. I sanded the shank end and gave it a slight bevel to facilitate pressing the band in place. Once it was ready I put the band on the shank. It was tight so I heated it with a lighter and when it had expanded I pressed it against the pad on my desk and pushed it all the way onto the shank. It covered the “e” on Sauvage slightly but the length of the crack defined what I needed to band it. I used some 220 grit sandpaper to once again take a little bit off the diameter of the tenon and the band compresses the crack and the diameter of the mortise changes. When I was finished I put the stem in the shank and took photos of the newly banded shank. It was going to look good once I finished shaping the stem diameter but it is very close at this point. What do you think of the new look? I finished adjusting the fit of stem diameter with 220 grit sandpaper and everything was aligned. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper and the stem was looking very good at this point. Now I needed to deal with the tooth marks and chatter on the end of the stem. I “painted” them with the flame of a lighter to lift them as much as possible. I filled in the ones that remained with clear super glue. Once the glue cured I flattened out the repairs with a small flat file. I followed that by sanding the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished the stem with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and buffed it with a cotton cloth. Once I had finished the polishing I gave it final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. With the stem finished (other than to buff the pipe at the end)I set it aside and I turned my attention to the bowl. I used a wooden ball that Kenneth gave me with a piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the bevel. I finished with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to further minimize the burn damage. I touched up the stain with an Oak Stain pen to match the surrounding briar of the bowl. It looked much better at this point. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding debris left behind. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the smooth and worm trails on the bowl and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Balm did its magic and the grain really took on dimension and colour. I am excited to be on the homestretch with this petite French Made GBD Sauvage 1345 Poker/Pot. This is the part I look forward to when it all comes back together, polished and waxed. I put the bowl and the new stem together and polished the stem and bowl with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the vulcanite and give a light shine to the bowl. 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 worm trail carving on the bowl actually looks okay with the rest of the smooth finish. The banded shank and new polished black saddle vulcanite stem works well with this little sitter. This GBD Sauvage Poker/Pot was another fun pipe to work on and came out looking great. It is a comfortable sized 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 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 33 grams/1.16 ounces. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your rack it will be on the rebornpipes store in the French Pipemakers Section soon. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.

A Straightforward Restemming & Restoration of a Jobey Shellmoor 250 Apple


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I chose to work on was another bowl from my box to restem. This one is a nice sandblast apple. It has a deep and rugged blast around the bowl and shank. When I examined the shank it was threaded which was interesting. Once I saw the stamping that became clear. It is stamped on the underside of the shank and reads Jobey [over] Shellmoor. To the left of that stamp is a shape number 250. Underneath the Shellmoor stamp is another series of numbers – PAT. 3537462. The stamping was clear and readable with a lens. I want to see what I can find out about the Patent number. I don’t recall working on one of those before. The bowl 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 looked very good and I was looking forward to seeing the finished Apple. The stem was long gone so this would be a restemming job. It would be a different stemming job because of the Jobey Link System so it would be kind of fun. I took some photos of the bowl to give a since of the condition of this nice little Apple. I took some photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. The stamping is clear and readable as noted above. There was a smooth panel on the underside of the shank. It is stamped as noted above and is clear and readable with a lens.The next photo shows the rounded rim top and edges. It also shows the condition of the bowl and rim top/edges. It is clean looks quite good. I will give it a quick go over with a brass brush but otherwise it looks good.Before I started to work on the pipe I wanted to understand the patent information so I turned to the US Patent search site and entered the numbers. I was able to find both a description of the invention and a diagram that was submitted with the Patent application. Here is the link to the site and a screen capture of the information found there. https://pdfpiw.uspto.gov/.piw?docid=03537462&SectionNum=1&IDKey=6F776849C285&HomeUrl=http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1%2526Sect2=HITOFF%2526d=PALL%2526p=1%2526u=%25252Fnetahtml%25252FPTO%25252Fsrchnum.htm%2526r=1%2526f=G%2526l=50%2526s1=3537462.PN.%2526OS=PN/3537462%2526RS=PN/3537462Now it was time to begin my restemming work on this pipe. I went through my can of tenons and found a Jobey Link that screwed into the shank perfectly. I chose a stem from the can of stems I have here that would the shank well. I would need to remove the standard tenon and drill the stem to receive the end of the tenon. I used a hacksaw to cut off the normal tenon on the stem. That part was very simple but then things went quickly sour. I put a piece of tape on the drill bit to start drilling out the saddle to receive the Link. I started with a small bit and started drilling. The tape move and the bit suddenly came out of the top part of the blade of the stem. Yikes what a mess.Sooo…needless to say the ruined stem went into the waste bin and I had to start over. I chose a new blank from the bag Jeff sent me as the fit was the closest one I had in terms of matching the sides of the shank. I cut off the tenon with the hacksaw. This time I measured the depth of the saddle and the length of the tenon and drilled to match it – very carefully in multiple stages. I checked and rechecked as I did not want to do the work a third time. I used a series of drill bits from one that was slightly larger than the airway and ended with a ¼ inch bit that was the size of the Link.I smoothed out the face of the stem on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I wanted the surface smooth so it would sit well against the shank when the Link was inserted.With the face smoothed out I pushed the snug fitting Jobey Link into the hole in the face of the stem. It fit well against the shank end so that was a plus. Everything lined up so I took some photos of the restem at this point. The casting remnants on the sides of the stem needed to be removed and they were quite rough and messy. I used a flat file (rasp) to flatten out the castings on the saddle and blade sides of the stem as well as the area around the slot in the button. I used my Dremel and a sanding drum to do the rough work on the stem. I worked on it carefully to remove more of the casting marks and to reduce the bottom side of the saddle to match the size of the shank.The only way I know how to do this is with the new stem in place in the shank and then carefully move the sanding drum up and around the stem surface to get a close/rough fit. It was getting much closer but there was a lot more work to do hand shaping it with sandpaper and files.With the majority of the heavy work done it was time to work over the stem with 220 grit sandpaper and get everything aligned. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper and the stem was looking very good at this point.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 the stem with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and buffed it with a cotton cloth. Once I had finished the polishing I gave it final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. With the stem finished (other than to buff the pipe at the end) I turned my attention to the bowl. I used a brass bristle wire brush to clean up the debris still in the sandblast rim top of the bowl. It looked better when I finished.   I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the sandblast 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 a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Balm did its magic and the sandblast grain really took on dimension and colour. I am excited to be on the homestretch with beautiful sandblast PAT. 3537462  Jobey Shellmoor 250 Apple. This is the part I look forward to when it all comes back together, polished and waxed. I put the bowl and the new stem together and polished the stem and bowl with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the vulcanite and give a light shine to the bowl. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax 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 rugged sandblast finish looks really good with the new polished black square saddle vulcanite stem. This Sandblast Jobey Shellmoor Apple was another fun pipe to work on and came out looking great. It is a comfortable sized pipe to hold in the hand. The finished pipe is shown 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 38 grams/1.38 ounces. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your rack it will be on the rebornpipes store in the American Pipemakers Section soon. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.

Restemming and Breathing New Life into a Flumed Genuine Block Meerschaum Author


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I chose to work on was another bowl from my box to restem. This one is an interesting looking meerschaum with a rugged rustication on the bowl and shank. It has a flumed black rim top with the colour going down a short distance on the bowl sides. It is stamped on the underside of the shank and reads Genuine Block [over] Meerschaum. Arched around the end at the shank stem it is stamped GT. Britain. The stamping was faint but readable and to me it looks like an African Meerschaum pipe made by Manx pipes on the Isle of Man. 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 was tired looking but showed a lot of promise. The stem was long gone so this would be a restemming job. I took some photos of the bowl to give a since of the condition of this nice little Author. I took some photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. The stamping is clear and readable as noted above. There was a smooth panel on the underside of the shank. It is stamped/carved Genuine Block Meerschaum. It is faint but still readable.The next photo shows the flumed rim top and edges. It also shows the condition of the bowl and rim top/edges. It is clean but there is still a bit of lava on the rim top that will need to be addressed.Jeff had picked up some great unused stems of all sorts and sizes. In the bag I received from him yesterday was the kind of stem I had been looking for for this pipe. It is an oval saddle stem whose thickness is correct but the width will need to be adjusted. The tenon will need to be turned to fit the shank and will also need to be shortened for a proper depth. Now it was time to work on the pipe itself. I started with fitting the stem to the shank. I used the PIMO Tenon Turning Tool to reduce the diameter of the tenon and smooth out the face of the stem. I drilled the airway to hold the guiding pin and adjusted the cutting head for the first and then the second turn that removed the excess diameter of the tenon. I always love the swirls of vulcanite that peel off while the turner does its work. I cleaned up the casting remnants on the face of the stem with a file for a proper fit against the shank. I constantly checked the fit in the shank while I worked on it. I shortened the length of the tenon a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. When it was finished I fit it in the shank and took photos of the pipe and its new stem. I still had a lot of work to do but there was progress. Now it was time to adjust the width by reshaping the sides of the new stem. I would also need to do some adjustments to the fit against the shank face. I took some photos of the top and underside to show the excess material on the stem that would need to be removed.I used my Dremel and a sanding drum to do the rough work on the stem. I worked on it carefully to remove as much excess as I could from the sides and reshape the look of the stem to match the stem. The only way I know how to do this is with the new stem in place in the shank and then carefully move the sanding drum up and around the stem surface to get a close/rough fit. It was getting much closer but there was a lot more work to do hand shaping it with sandpaper and files. I decided to enjoy a bowl of Friedman & Pease Fool’s Cap in a Nachwalter I cleaned and restored a while ago. I find that slowly puffing a bowl relieves some of the tedium of shaping and sanding a newly fit stem to get all the angles just right.I took photos of the pipe after I had fit the stem to the shank. The look and fit of the stem looked like it was original. I was pleased with the look and read to move on to polishing it. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. With the shaping and polishing finished on the straight stem it was time to bend the stem to match the angles of the shank. I used a heat gun to soften the vulcanite and then gave it a slight downward bend. I left the stem in the shank and touched up the polishing of the stem with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and buffed it with a cotton cloth. Once I had finished the polishing I gave it final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. With the stem finished (all but the final buff) I turned my attention to the bowl. I used a brass bristle wire brush to clean up the debris still in the rusticated, flumed rim top of the bowl. It looked better when I finished.  I scrubbed the rusticated surface of the bowl and rim with a tooth brush and undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap. I rinsed the bowl off with warm water to remove the debris and clean the brush. The finish looked much better. I used a black stain pen to touch up the flumed rim top and edges. I applied it carefully around outer edge of the bowl as well following the pattern of the previous flume.I am excited to be on the homestretch with interesting British Made Flumed Rusticated Meerschaum Author. This is the part I look forward to when it all comes back together, polished and waxed. I put the bowl and the new stem together and polished the stem and bowl with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the vulcanite and give a light shine to the bowl. I gave 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 rugged rusticated finish looks really good with the deep nooks and crannied of the rustication and the porous spots showing the “grain” in the meerschaum. The restored bowl goes really well with the new polished black saddle vulcanite stem. This Rusticated Flumed Author was another fun pipe to work on and came out looking great. It is a comfortable sized pipe to hold in the hand. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 51 grams/1.80 ounces. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your rack it will be on the rebornpipes store in the Ceramic and Meerschaum Pipe Section soon. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.

This Greenwich House Antique Imported Briar Crowned Pot Turned into a Nightmare


Blog by Steve Laug

Sometimes when I start working on a pipe there is can be a sense of gloom or expectant trouble. That was the case with this one. I thought it would be a straightforward clean up and restoration. Little did I know what lay ahead for me in this restoration. Time would tell and I would share it here with you my readers. It started as usual. I recognized the brand on this pipe but could not remember any of the details. Jeff picked this pipe up from an antique store in Ogden, Utah, USA back in 2019. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Greenwich House [arched over] Antique and on the right side Imported [over] Briar. It was the Greenwich House tag that grabbed my attention. You know how sometimes a name just sits on the edge of your memory beyond your reach but you still know it? That is what this name did to me. The finish is quite dirty with a cake in the bowl and lava overflow on the rim top. The worm trails on the sides and base reminded me of a Custom-Bilt but a bit more smooth. The crowned rim top was more elegant. The saddle style stem was old vulcanite and other than deep tooth marks it was quite clean, Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started. He took close up photos of the rim top, bowl and stem to give a better picture of what he was seeing as he prepared to clean it up. You can see the cake in the bowl and the lava on the rim top. The inner edge appears to be burned and damaged but it was hard to tell for sure. The stem had some deep tooth marks on both sides just ahead of the button and some light calcification at the sharp edge.Jeff took his characteristics photos of the bowl sides and heel to give a clear picture of the grain around the bowl and the style of the worm trails carved into the sides and heel. It is a nice piece of briar.The stamping was readable though a little faint on the left side of the shank. It read Greenwich House arched over Antique on the left. On the right side it was very clear and read Imported [over] Briar.I turned first to my blog on a previous restoration of a Greenwich House pipe. I had worked on one that was stamped Thoro-Kleen, a metal pipe (https://rebornpipes.com/2016/02/24/a-piece-of-art-deco-greenwich-house-thoro-kleen/). I read through that blog and have included a pertinent piece of information on the brand below.

According to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Thoro-Kleen) the Greenwich House Thoro-Kleen was a metal pipe system from the same family as the Roybrooke, Comet, and Original Gridiron pipes, and parts from all are believed to be interchangeable. The pipes were sold by the Greenwich House Corporation, located in 1947 at 939-M 8th Avenue, N.Y. 19, N.Y…

From that I knew it was an American Made pipe that had been carved for or by a company known as Greenwich House Corporation in New York City.

I turned to the listing of American Brands on Pipedia to see if there was a listing for the Greenwich House itself (https://pipedia.org/wiki/American_Pipe_Brands_%26_Makers_G_-_H). I found that there was not an article but the list of makers identified the brand and said that The Antique was made of Aged Algerian Briar. One more piece fell in place. The pipe I was working on was stamped Antique so I now knew the source of the Imported Briar.

But I still wanted a bit more information so I did a Google search and was taken to pipes made by Greenwich House on smokingpipes.com and other sites. Worthpoint, an auction site had several and also had one stamped Antique (https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/vintage-greenwich-house-carved-1992675965). I have included the description from the sale item below as it is quite descriptive of the pipe in my hands.

Vintage Greenwich House Carved Antique Aged Algerian Tobacco Pipe. Good condition. Measures about 6.25″ long.

It is similarly stamped as mine and also similarly sized. Now it was time to work on the pipe itself. Jeff had cleaned up this nicely grained Pot with his usual pattern. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and then cleaned up the inside of the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl and shank with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime on the rim top and bowl. He cleaned the internals of the shank and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol until the airways were clean and the pipe smelled fresh. The pipe looked much better once the bowl and stem were clean. He scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub to remove the oxidation and then let it soak in Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer. He rinsed it with warm water when he took out of the soak. Before I started my part of the work I took photos of the pipe. I took close up photos of the bowl and the rim top to show the condition. The photo clearly shows the burn damage to the inner edge and the rim top at the back of the bowl. You can also see the roughening of the rest of the inner edge and rim top. It was going to take some work to bring it back. I also took photos of both sides of the stem to give a sense of the condition of both sides at the button. There is deep tooth marking and damage on both sides ahead of the button. I took a photo of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It was readable but was more faint on the left than the right side. It read as noted above.I removed the stem from the shank and saw to my chagrin a stinger. I fiddled with it a bit to see if it was pressure fit or screwed into the tenon. There was no give to it. (This portends what is ahead, keep reading.) I set the stem down with the bowl and took a photo to give a general look at the proportions of this pipe.I started work on this one by using a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the inner edge of the bowl and the rim top at the back. I was able to clean and reshape the bowl by slowly working through the process. So far the restoration was going well.I polished the bowl and rim top with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped down the bowl after each sanding pad. 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 horse hair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Balm did its magic and the grain stood out.   So far so good! I filled in the deep gouges on the top and underside of the stem and set it aside for the repairs to cure.After the repairs cured things took a horrible turn! If you have read this blog for long you know how much I dislike metal stingers. I find that they indeed condense moisture and fill the shank with horrendous muck. Soooo… I decided I would try to remove this one and give the stem a thorough cleaning. I have found that most stingers are either threaded and screwed into the tenon or are pressure fit. Either way a little heat loosens the glue or gunk that hold it tight and it is easily removed.

Well… the heat did absolutely nothing with this one. It did not twist or wiggle free. It was solid with or without heat… or cold for that matter. I was frustrated at this point and tried to pull it with pliers and the “wicked” thing snapped off! Now that usually does not matter either. I can easily drill it out with a small bit.

Again not so!! The remaining tube went well beyond the saddle on the stem. I drilled and drilled then filed the edges to smooth it out. At this point I should have just left it. But I DID NOT DO THAT. NO! I tried to pull out the remnant of the tube with a small file. And then a chunk of the tenon cracked off. You can see the offending tube in the tenon stubbornly laughing at me. Arggh… This was becoming much more of a  problem. Each step I took to remedy it made it actually worse. Now I would need to cut off the remaining tenon and the drill the stem and make a new tenon for it. OH MY! THIS IS NOT WHAT I WANT TO DO!!

I got out my hacksaw and carefully cut all the way around the broken tenon. I purposely did not cut the tube as I wanted to see how far into the stem it actually went. I pulled it out with a pair of pliers and took a photo of the length of the offending tube once it was free of the airway. You might laugh at this point and I invite that. This was a lot of work to go to just to clean out the airway in the stem. But now I could replace the tenon. I went through my tenons and had one that was a close fit to the shank of the pipe. I would need to drill out the stem to take the threaded replacement tenon but I was hoping that this part would proceed without more things going awry. I started drilling with my cordless drill and a bit slightly larger than the airway in the stem. I continued going through various bits up to ¼ inch which was the size I would need to receive the threaded tenon end with some modifications. You will notice the repairs to the deep tooth marks still have not been smoothed out.I modified the threaded tenon with a Dremel and sanding drum. I removed the should on the middle of the tenon and reduced the diameter of the threaded portion so that I could glue it in place in the stem. I cleaned up the edge between the thicker portion and the threaded portion with a flat rasp to make the fit smooth when inserted in the stem. I inserted it in the stem and took a photo.Before gluing the tenon I the stem I put all the parts together to make sure that everything lines up correctly. It looks good so I take photos to show it at this point in the process. With the alignment correct I coated the threaded end of the tenon with black super glue and pushed the tenon in place in the stem. I set the stem aside to let the glue cure and went and had a cup of coffee with Irene. I needed to lick my wounds a bit on this whole mess!After coffee I went back to the stem to clean up the repairs on the top and underside of the stem. I flattened out the repairs with a flat file to begin to blend them into the surface. I followed that up with 220 grit sandpaper to further blend it in. I started polishing it 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. While I liked the look of the new stem on the shank it felt like it was missing something to me. I really wanted to give it a special touch that would set it apart and make the look spectacular. I went through my band collection and found a perfect 14K Gold band that would do just what I wanted. I took down the end of the shank to enable a snug fit. I heated the band with a lighter and pressed it onto the shank end. I finally finished this nightmarish restoration of a pipe that should have been quite simple. The Greenwich House Antique Import Briar Crowned Pot with a vulcanite saddle stem is a great looking pipe now that everything came together. The briar around the bowl is clean and really came alive. The rim top looks much better than when I began. The rich brown stains gave the grain a sense of depth with the polishing and waxing. The grain  on the smooth portions really popped and the worm trails carving look good as well. I put the vulcanite stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine.

The finished Greenwich House Antique Pot is a beauty and feels great in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of pipe is 2.29 ounces/65 grams. It is much more beautiful in person than these photos can capture. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store soon. Look for it in the American Pipe Makers section. If you would like to add it to your collection let me know. This is another pipe that has the possibility of transporting the pipe man or woman back to a slower paced time in history where you can enjoy a respite. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

Replacing a Broken Tenon on an Italian Made Capri Gozzo Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

Yesterday I received an unexpected package from a fellow living in Port Clements, British Columbia. I say unexpected because I had not spoken to anyone from there about a repair. But here it was so I opened it to find a pipe with a broken tenon and a cheque for the work. There was a note in the package with a return address but no phone number or email. The pipe had the tenon broken off cleanly and stuck in the shank.The edges of the shank had some nicks in the edges and face on the left side. The stem face had some remnants but otherwise the break had been clean. The pipe was stamped on the left side of the shank and read Capri [over] Gozzo. On the right side of the shank it was stamped and read Made in Italy. The finish was dirty and there was a moderate cake in the bowl and lava overflowing on the rim top. It looked like he had dropped it somewhere along the way and snapped the stem off. The stem was lightly oxidized and had some chatter and tooth marks on both side ahead of the button but nothing to deep. I took some photos of the bowl and stem when I received it to show what it looked like when I received it here in Vancouver. I took photos of the rim top to show the condition of the bowl and the damage to the inner edge and the top of the rim. I also took photos of the stem to show the oxidation and tooth chatter on both sides at the button.I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. It was clear and readable as noted above.I took some photos of the shank end and stem end to show the broken tenon and the remnant on the face of the stem.I decided to start my work on the pipe by pulling the tenon from the shank. Usually I use a dry wall screw and twisted it into the airway. On this pipe it was stuck tight. I put it in the freezer for about 30 minutes and it was still stuck. I decided to drill it out and move on. I went through my tenons and found that I was missing the black Delrin one that I needed for the size of the shank. I did find a threaded white Delrin one that would fit the shank with a few minor adjustments. I used a Dremel and sanding drum to remove the shoulder ahead of the threads and it fit perfectly in the shank. I am hoping that the fellow will return my calls so I can chat with him about the tenon. No luck on many phone calls so the tenon was glued in place this morning.Now it was time to work on replacing the broken tenon. I drilled out the face of the stem with a cordless drill and a bit roughly the size of the airway in the stem. I find that this helps to center the drilling. I worked my way through drill bits up to 15/64s which is approximately the size of the threaded portion of the tenon.I turned the threaded portion of the tenon into the drilled airway and the fit was perfect. I used a dental pick to spread some black CA glue on the threads of the tenon and turned it in place in the stem. I set it aside to wait for the glue to cure.While the glue cured on the new tenon I turned my attention to the bowl. I reamed the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife and then sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel.I used a piece of folded 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the inner edge of the bowl and smooth out the nicks there. I also sanded the rim top at the same time to remove the lava and darkening there. I stained the rim top with an oak stain pen to blend it into the surrounding briar.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping the briar down with a damp cloth after each pad. The briar began to take on a shine as the pads progressed. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I pressed a thin brass band on the shank end to take care of the nicks and chips there. It also gave a smooth surface for the face of the stem to sit. I like the addition of the bling. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. It was in such great condition that I polished it with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. This Capri Gozzo Fancy Saddle Stem Billiard turned out to be a more beautiful pipe than I had expected when I took it out of the package. The finish on the briar is nice and the grain really stands out. I put the pipe back together and buffed it lightly with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the polished black vulcanite stem. This classic looking Capri Gozzo Billiard feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 63 grams/2.22 oz. The pipe definitely looks better than when it arrived. It will be heading back to pipeman who sent it to me later this week. Thanks for walking through the repair and restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.

A Labour of Love


Blog by Kenneth Lieblich

Next on the chopping block is the very first GBD I have had the pleasure of restoring. I titled this story A Labour of Love because the work involved was far more than I could have imagined for such a beautiful pipe. The pipe is a GBD Colossus and I acquired it in a group of pipes I purchased from a fellow in the Eastern US. It was definitely a mixed bag of very good and very bad. Some pipes were destroyed beyond repair, some pipes were filthy but repairable, some stems were missing their stummels, and some stummels were missing their stems. This was one of those – a stummel without a stem. Makes it a bit tricky to smoke, methinks. This pipe is a calabash-shaped GBD Colossus. As the photos show, it is stamped on the left side of the shank with GBD [over] International [over] London Made [over] Colossus. On the right side it is stamped Made in London [over] England [next to] 9552 – this, of course, is the shape number. There is quite a bit of information on GBD on the Internet – they have a long and storied history in pipemaking. In this case, I was curious about International and Colossus. The main Pipepedia article on GBD tells us about their origins:

In 1850 three gentlemen got together in Paris to establish a firm dedicated to the fabrication of Meerschaum pipes – a courageous step in politically restless times. Ganneval probably came from the area of Saint-Claude where he had learned making wooden pipes. Bondier’s family obviously came from Paris and had emigrated in 1789 to Geneva. He himself had worked as a wood turner in the clay and china pipe industry in and around Saint-Claude making stem extensions etc. Donninger was an Austrian or Swiss and had worked in Vienna, the world’s center of the Meerschaum pipe. They agreed on the acronym GBD selecting the initials of their surnames.

The Pipedia article provides a lot more information on their interesting history. I would encourage you to read on here. The shape number 9552 corresponds correctly with GBD’s identification of this pipe as a calabash. The page on GBD models states the following concerning the International line and the Colossus size:

International – France and England made: medium brown smooth, carved top rim, rim stained black. 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.

I also took this screenshot from Pipephil:Anyway, on to the pipe – and what a gorgeous pipe it was (and such a big bowl)! However, it was absolutely filthy and had a few issues. The stummel had the following problems: tons of lava on the rim, notable greasy/sticky stains to the bowl and shank, plenty of cake in the bowl, a few scratches here-and-there, and a few small burns on the rim. Meanwhile, the stem had a few problems of its own. Oh wait. No stem. Umm, yeah, that is going to be an issue. This pipe was going to require some considerable work, but I was really looking forward to restoring this one. Well, suffice it to say that first on my list of tasks was to find a stem for this beauty. However, GBD stems are not just lying around, sad to say. In this case, Superman Steve came to my rescue. He had a spare GBD stem that suited my pipe very well. I was (and still am) deeply grateful to him for getting that stem for me. I will come back to the story of how I fit the stem a bit later. By the way, here is a photo of Superman Steve:This stummel was quite a mess. I first decided to ream out the bowl. I used both the PipNet Reamer (which I broke in the process) and the KleenReem to remove the built-up cake and followed that with 220-grit sandpaper to eliminate as much as I could. I took it down to bare briar, as I wanted to ensure there were no hidden flaws in the walls of the bowl. Fortunately, there were none. I then proceeded to clean out the insides of the shank with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners, and lemon isopropyl alcohol. There was a lot of nastiness inside this stummel and – boy-oh-boy – it took a lot of cotton to get this thing clean! As I mentioned earlier, the rim of the stummel was pretty ugly and also needed to be addressed. A combination of techniques was used to sort this out. In order to remove the lingering bits of lava and fix the nicks, I “topped” the pipe – that is to say, I gently and evenly sanded down the rim on a piece of 220-grit sandpaper. This effectively removed the lava and the damage, without altering the look of the pipe. I then took a solid wooden sphere, wrapped sandpaper around it, and sanded the inner bevel thoroughly. This was to achieve on the inner part of the rim the same thing that I achieved by “topping” the rim on sandpaper. A de-ghosting session seemed in order, so I thrust cotton balls in the bowl and the shank, and saturated 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. I followed that up by cleaning the insides with some dish soap and tube brushes. I then moved on to cleaning the outside of the stummel with Murphy’s Oil Soap and some cotton pads. Some stains were pretty stubborn and I had to scrub hard, but this did eventually remove the remaining dirt. After that, a light application of Before & After Restoration Balm brought out the best in the stummel’s grain. Having completed that, I was able to address a small nick on the shank. I dug out my iron and a damp cloth to try and raise the nicks. The hot and moist steam created can often cause the wood to swell slightly and return to shape. There was some movement – not a lot, but it was better than doing nothing. I filled the remaining divot with cyanoacrylate adhesive and let it cure. Now, with the nick filled, it was time to sand down the stummel. I used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to wet/dry sand everything smooth. Then I added a bit more Before & After Restoration Balm. On to the stem, and what a trial it was. As mentioned, Superman Steve got me a GBD stem and that was terrific: the stem was clean and in nice shape. So what is the problem? Well, its width did not quite match the width of the shank. The stem was slightly wider. So, with 200-grit sandpaper in hand, I began removing the excess vulcanite. As silly as it sounds, this took a couple of hours of work to get this right. The photos below detail the lengthy process to both remove the excess and ensure evenness all around the stem face. At long last, I managed to get the size and shape just right, but the faces of both the shank and stem were not matching in the way that one would want. I took the decision that this pipe would benefit from a thin – emphasis on thin – band around the end of the shank. My jar of bands proffered a lovely, thin band that perfectly suited this pipe. With a quick application of glue, the band was on and things were looking much improved. I used some of my Micromesh pads to give that extra shine. In order to finish up the stem, I took a BIC lighter and ‘painted’ it with its flame in order to lift the slight tooth marks. This was reasonably successful in raising the dents. Before I moved on to the Micromesh pads, I built up the small dents on the stem with cyanoacrylate adhesive and let them fully cure. I then sanded it down with 220-, 400-, and 600-grit sandpapers to meld the repair seamlessly into the stem. This ensures that it keeps its shape and looks like it should. I then used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to bring out the lovely black lustre on the stem. I also used Obsidian Pipe Stem Oil in between each pad scrubbing. Of course, since the stem was straight, it did not suit the pipe and needed to be bent. The end of the stem needed to be parallel with the rim of the bowl. I did not have a heat gun at the time, so I brought out a hair drier and heated the vulcanite stem in order to make it malleable. After heating it for 90 minutes (yes, you read that correctly), it became obvious that the hair drier just did not generate enough heat to bend the stem. I then realized that I was going to have to use the nuclear option: dipping the stem in boiling hot water. This is a nuclear option because the water added an horrific oxidation to the stem – the worst I have ever seen. When it was finally soft, I gently curved the stem over a wooden dowel. The dowel provided a firm surface and a proper curve. Once I had the bend I wanted, I left the stem to cool and set itself in place. I then had to go back and use all nine Micromesh pads (and the Obsidian Pipe Stem Oil) again to restore the black lustre. A few four-letter words might have been silently uttered in the process, but I digress… 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 this pipe needed. The lovely shine made the wood look absolutely beautiful.

This is a wonderfully crafted pipe and has a very elegant feel to it. Steve told me from the beginning that this was a pipe I should keep for myself. So, this one is being added to my collection – and I am pleased to say that it smokes beautifully. I am sure that I will be enjoying this one 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.