Tag Archives: sanding a stem

Life for another American Made Pipe – A Bertram Washington DC 25 Cutty


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to me from one of our estate purchases. Between us we pick up quite a few pipes for restoration. I try to work them into the restoration queue so that I can keep them moving. We picked up over 120 Bertram pipes from an estate that a fellow on the east coast of the US was selling. This next one is from that estate – a beautifully grained Cutty Grade 25 Bertram with a tapered vulcanite stem. The pipe is stamped on the underside side near the bowl with the Grade 25 number. Above that on the left side it is stamped Bertram [over] Washington D.C. centered on the shank. The finish had a lot of grime ground into the smooth finish on the bowl and some darkening around the sides of the bowl. The bowl was moderately caked with lightly overflowing lava on the top of the rim toward the back of the bowl. The edges looked to be in good condition. The stem was lightly oxidized, dirty and had light tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the button. There were not markings or a logo on the taper stem. Like the rest of the Bertrams in this lot the pipe had promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the very light, spotty lava on the rim top. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the chatter and tooth marks. Otherwise the stem is quite clean. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar around the pipe looked like. There is some stunning grain under the grime. He took photos of the stamping on the left side of the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable. The grade number is 25.    As I have worked on Bertrams I have written on the brand and have included the following information. If you have read it in past blogs, you can skip over it. If you have not, I have included the link to Bertram history and information. I would recommend that if you don’t know much about them take some time to read the background. I include a link to the write up on Pipedia (http://pipedia.org/wiki/Bertram). Bertram pipes were based out of Washington DC. They were popular among famous politicians and celebrities of the time. They made many products for them from FDR’s cigarette holders to Joseph Stalin’s favorite pipe. They were considered some of the best America had to offer till they finally closed their doors in the 70s. Bertram graded their pipes by 10s and sometimes with a 5 added (15, 25, 55 etc.), the higher the grade the better. Above 60s are uncommon and 80-90s are quite rare. I have worked on one 120 Grade billiard. I have several blogs that I have written on rebornpipes that give some history and background to Bertram pipes. (https://rebornpipes.com/2015/06/16/an-easy-restoration-of-a-bertram-grade-60-217-poker/).

I have included the following link to give a bit of historical information on the pipe company. It is a well written article that gives a glimpse of the heart of the company. http://www.streetsofwashington.com/2012/01/bertrams-pipe-shop-on-14th-street.html#

From this information I learned that all of these Bertrams were made before the closure of the shop in the 1970s. This Bertram Cutty with stunning grain has a few fills around the bowl that have been blended in quite well. This pipe has a 25 Grade stamp on it which I am sure explains the quality of the briar. But like many of these Bertrams the Grading system is a mystery to me.

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe once I received it.  The rim top cleaned up really well with the lava coat removed. The inner and outer edge of the rim looked good.  The stem surface looked very good with a few small tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.  There was also some residual oxidation to be addressed.   I took photos of the stamping on the shank. The Bertram Washington DC is on the left side mid shank shank. On the underside of the shank it is stamped with the Grade 25 number.   I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. The stem is tapered and narrow.Now it was time to do my work on the pipe. I polished the bowl and the rim top, sides and shank with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with a damp cloth.  I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.   I set the bowl aside and turned to work on the stem. It was in very good condition so I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.   This Bertram Washington DC 25 Cutty with a vulcanite taper stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. 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 Bertram 25 Cutty 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 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. 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!

Restoring a North Dane Pipes 72 Special Stack


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us in one of Jeff’s pickups. It is a tall well grained Stack shaped pipe with a taper stem. The finish is a nice medium brown with darker stain highlighting the grain. The pipe has a mix of cross grain and birdseye grain around the sides of the bowl and shank. The stamping is the readable. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads North Dane Pipes [over] Made in Denmark. On the right side of the stem it is stamped 72 Special. On the underside at the shank/stem junction it is stamped 112. The taper stem is stamped on the left side with what looks like GJ in a circular stylized logo with the J being turned into an anchor. The smooth finish had a lot of grime ground into the bowl and some darkening around the sides of the bowl. The bowl was heavily caked and had a lava overflow and darkening on the top of the rim and beveled inner edge. Overall it appeared that the rim top and inner edge of the bowl looked to be in good shape but we would know more once it was cleaned up. The vulcanite taper stem was calcified, oxidized and had tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside ahead of the button. The pipe had promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the overflow of lava on the beveled rim top. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the oxidation, chatter and tooth marks on the surface. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar around the pipe looked like. There is some interesting grain under the grime.       He took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank and stem. It read as noted above. I have not worked on a North Dane Pipe before so I turned to Pipephil’s site to see if I could find any information on the brand (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-n2.html). He had a brief entry which I have included below as a screen capture.I turned to Pipedia and the brand was listed as Maker Unknown. I find that Pipephil’s connection of the brand to Georg Jensen, Danish Pipemaker to be very believable. The logo shown in the above photo can be read as a stylized GJ. I wonder about the concept of it being a second as the quality of the one I am working on is very good and makes me wonder if it should not be read as “another” line of Georg Jensen pipes. I guess I will never know for sure so it is time to work on the pipe.

Since Jeff follows the same pattern of work in his cleanup we do not include photos but rather just a simple summary. Jeff reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He was able to remove the lava build up on the rim top and you could see the damages to the top and edges of the rim. He scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub and then soaked it in Mark Hoover’s Before & After Deoxidizer. The stem was clean but lightly oxidized. I took photos of what the pipe looked like when I brought to my worktable.   The rim top cleaned up really well. The lava coat was removed and there was some darkening and burn damage left behind on the back side of the rim top. Other than that the edges were in good condition. The stem surface looked very good with some light tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button.    I took a photo of the stamping on the top side of the shank. The stamping was clear and readable.   I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the well shaped Stack. To remove the darkening on the back bevel of the inner edge of the rim I used a folded piece of 340 sandpaper to the bevel to remove the damage. I polished the rim with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.  I polished the bowl and the rim top, sides and shank with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with a damp cloth. I carefully avoided the stamping on the sides of the shank so as not to damage the stamping. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sidesand shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.      I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. The tooth dents in the stem were deep enough that just heating them did not raise them. I filled in the deeper marks with back CA glue and set the stem aside for the repairs to cure. Once they were cured I flattened them with a needle file and sanded them with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface of the stem. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.  I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem 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 touched up the faint GJ stamp on the stem side with Rub’n Buff Antique Gold. I rubbed it on pressing it into the grooves with a tooth pick and buff it off with a cotton pad.  This well made, classic shaped North Dane Pipes Made in Denmark Stack really is a beautiful pipe now that it has been restored. The rich brown finish highlights the grain in such a way that it came alive with the polishing and waxing. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished North Dane Pipes Stack is a beauty with combination of great grain and rich stain. It fits nicely in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. 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!

Refurbishing a Piece of Adirondack History – a With Pipe & Book Lake Placid Canadian


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us in one of Jeff’s pickups. It is one that is stamped for a Book and Tobacco Shop in Lake Placid, New York. It was one of those places that I always wanted to visit but never had the opportunity. The shop closed in 2006 so I did a bit of digging to get some background information on the shop. It is not often that I find a shop that combines two of my passions – pipes and books so this is one that I want to hang on to when I work it over.

The first link is from an NPR (National Public Radio) article and contains an announcement of the shop’s closure after 29 years. I have included the link if you wish to read more of the story (https://www.northcountrypublicradio.org/news/story/7665/20060710/with-pipe-and-book-closes-in-lake-placid).

July 10, 2006 — One of the North Country’s cultural landmarks is closing. With Pipe & Book, a popular used bookstore and tobacco shop in Lake Placid, will close its doors after 29 years. The business has also been an important market for books about the Adirondacks.

The second link is from the Adirondack Almanac and has a great quote regarding the store and its owners  (https://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2006/08/with-pipe-and-book-will-lake-placid-lose-the-adirondacks-best-book-store.html). I quote:

With Pipe and Book, a landmark Lake Placid book store is closing next year after 29 years. We quoth:

While looking around I overheard a conversation between another customer and the cashier, and when my son had finally succeeded in herding me to the register I asked the cashier if what I thought I had overheard was true. Yes, she said. Breck and Julia Turner, proprietors, were retiring and the store will be closing next summer. It was sad news, but I was heartened to hear that, if the store must close, it is the choice of the owners and not due to lack of business or escalating rents. I will miss it terribly, and after it is gone my family will find me far less interested in driving the 35 miles from our quiet lakeside camp to the touristy streets of Lake Placid…

For those who love books and/or tobacco and have reason to be in the region, I strongly recommend you drop by With Pipe and Book in its last year of existence, and enjoy a very special store. It is located at 91 Main Street, Lake Placid, New York, and can be called at 518-523-9096.

I have also included two photos of the shop. They make me wish even more that I had had the opportunity to spend some quality time in the shop enjoying a browse through the books and choosing some of the great tobaccos that were available on the shelves…. at least I will have a pipe that bears their stamp. The pipe is beautifully grained Canadian that is really quite nice. There are a few small fills in the briar but they blend in very well. The finish is a nice medium brown with darker stain highlighting the grain. The maker of the pipe is listed in Who Made That Pipe as Breck and Julia Turner of With Pipe and Book of Lake Placid, NY.  The pipe has a mix of flame, straight and birdseye grain around the sides of the bowl and shank. The stamping is the readable. It is stamped on the top side of the shank and reads With Pipe [arched over] Lake Placid [arched under] And Book. There are no other stampings on the shank or stem. The smooth finish had a lot of grime ground into the bowl and some darkening around the sides of the bowl. The bowl was heavily caked and had a lava overflow and darkening on the top of the rim and beveled inner edge. Overall it appeared that the rim top and inner edge of the bowl looked to be in good shape but we would know more once it was cleaned up. The vulcanite taper stem was lightly oxidized and had light tooth chatter on the top and underside. The pipe had promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the light overflow of lava on the rim top. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the oxidation and light chatter and tooth marks on the surface.  Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar around the pipe looked like. There is some interesting grain under the grime.   He took a photo of the stamping on the top side of the shank. It read as noted above.   Since Jeff follows the same pattern of work in his cleanup we do not include photos but rather just a simple summary. Jeff reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He was able to remove the lava build up on the rim top and you could see the damages to the top and edges of the rim. He scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub and then soaked it in Mark Hoover’s Before & After Deoxidizer. The stem was clean but lightly oxidized. I took photos of what the pipe looked like when I brought to my worktable.   The rim top cleaned up really well. The lava coat was removed and there was some darkening and burn damage left behind on the back side of the rim top. Other than that the edges were in good condition. The stem surface looked very good with some light tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button.    I took a photo of the stamping on the top side of the shank. The stamping was clear and readable.I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the well shaped Canadian. To remove the darkening on the back bevel of the inner edge of the rim I used a folded piece of 340 sandpaper to the bevel to remove the damage. I polished the bowl and the rim top, sides and shank with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with a damp cloth. I carefully avoided the stamping on the top and underside of the shank so as not to damage the already faint stamping. I paused after the 2400 grit sanding pad and used an Oak Stain Pen to touch up the rim top to match the rest of the bowl. I finished sanding with the rest of the pads -3200-12000 grit pads.  I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sidesand shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.      I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. It was in very good condition so I did not have to do any repairs or preliminary sanding. I began by working with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem 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 well made, classic Canadian shaped pipe stamped With Pipe and Book Lake Placid is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The rich brown finish that was used came alive with the polishing and waxing. The small sandpit/fills are virtually invisible. 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 Pipe Shop Canadian is a beauty with combination of great grain and rich stain. It fits nicely in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. 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!

Breathing Life into The Tinder Box Unique Saddle Stem English Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from the large estate purchase of pipes that Jeff and I bought in 2019.  It has been around for over a year waiting to be worked on. Jeff did the original photographs of the pipe in March 2019. It is a beautifully grained large saddle stem billiard that is really quite nice. The shape of the bowl and pipe reminds me of Charatan’s Make billiards that I have worked on in the past. The pipe has cross grain and birdseye grain around the sides of the bowl and shank. The stamping is the readable. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads The Tinder Box arched over Unique [over] Made in England. The smooth finish had a lot of grime ground into the bowl and some darkening around the sides of the bowl. The bowl was heavily caked and had some darkening and damage to the inner edge of the bowl and the top of the rim. Overall it appeared that the rim top and inner edge of the bowl looked to be in good shape other than a burned area on the back right edge of the rim. The vulcanite saddle stem was lightly oxidized and had light tooth chatter on the top and underside. The pipe had promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the light overflow of lava on the rim top. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the oxidation and light chatter and tooth marks on the surface. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar around the pipe looked like. There is some interesting grain under the grime.      He took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. It read as noted above.   To learn about the brand I turned to Pipephil’s website ( http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-t6.html). I did a screen capture of the information on the site and it appears that The Tinder Box had pipes made in Italy and England. The one I am working on is a Unique and it is not listed. To me it looks like a Charatan made pipe. This is going to take some more work.I turned to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/The_Tinder_Box) for more information. I quote in full the brief article below:

The Tinder Box was the chain of tobacco stores started by Edward Kolpin, Sr., who carved Ed’s Hand Made pipes. The store, eventually sold to a Canadian conglomerate, eventually reached 200 retail outlets by 2007, and in the 40 years it operated on a large scale a great number of pipes were made for The Tinder Box by well respected makers. A few include the Tinder Box Unique, made by Charatan, Christmas Pipes by Ascorti, and the Tinder Box Noble and Exotica, made by Shalom Pipe Factory, Mauro Armellini did make the Verona and Napoli lines.

The article confirms a large number of different pipemakers who made pipes for the Tinder Box. The interesting thing is that Charatan did make the Unique for them. My eye was right – I was dealing with a Charatan Make Unique. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Since Jeff follows the same pattern of work in his cleanup we do not include photos but rather just a simple summary. Jeff reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He was able to remove the lava build up on the rim top and you could see the damages to the top and edges of the rim. I think this pipe may well been before we worked with Mark Hoover’s Before & After Deoxidizer so he cleaned the internals and externals. The stem was clean but lightly oxidized. I took photos of what the pipe looked like when I brought to my worktable.   The rim top cleaned up really well. The lava coat was removed and there was some darkening and burn damage left behind on the back side of the rim top. Other than that the edges were in good condition. The stem surface looked very good with some light tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button. I took photos of the stamping on the left side of the shank. The stamping was clear and readable.I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the well shaped saddle stem billiard. To remove the damage on the rim top and the inner edge of the rim I began by topping the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I used a folded piece of sandpaper to give the inner edge of the bowl a slight bevel to remove the damaged area.     I polished the bowl and the rim top, sides and shank with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with a damp cloth. I carefully avoided the stamping on the top and underside of the shank so as not to damage the already faint stamping. I paused after the 2400 grit sanding pad and used an Oak Stain Pen to touch up the rim top to match the rest of the bowl. I finished sanding with the rest of the pads -3200-12000 grit pads.  I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.    I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. It was in very good condition so I did not have to do any repairs or preliminary sanding. I began by working with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem 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 well made, classic Chartan Made The Tinder Box Unique Saddle Stem Billiard is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The rich brown finish that was used came alive with the polishing and waxing. The small sandpit/fills are virtually invisible. 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 Unique Billiard is a beauty with combination of great grain and rich stain. It fits nicely in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. 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!

 

New Beginnings for a Piccadilly Liverpool


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to me from the large estate purchase of Bertrams and assorted other pipes that included several Piccadilly pipes. It has been around for a while waiting to be worked on. Jeff did the original photographs of the pipe in March 2019. It is a beautifully grained large Liverpool that is really quite nice. The pipe has cross grain on the sides and shank and birdseye grain on the front and back of the bowl. The stamping is the readable. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads the PICCADILLY. On the right side it reads Made in London England. The smooth finish had a lot of grime ground into the bowl and some darkening around the sides of the bowl. The bowl was heavily caked and had a light overflow of lava on the top of the rim. Overall it appeared that the rim top and inner edge of the bowl looked to be in good shape under the grime. The vulcanite taper stem was lightly oxidized and had light tooth chatter on the top and underside. The pipe had promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the overflow of lava on the rim top. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the oxidation and light chatter on the surface.   Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar around the pipe looked like. There is some interesting grain under the grime.       He took photos of the stamping on the underside of the shank. They read as noted above.    To learn about the brand I turned to Pipephil’s website (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-p3.html). I did a screen capture of the information on the site and it appears that the pipe was made either in the US by Weber or in England by Baron & Co. This is going to take some more work.I turned to Pipedia and there were no listings on the brand name. I also checked under Baron and Company and found nothing listed there either. This is a bit of a mystery brand. Some of the pipes that we picked up bore the Piccadilly stamp as well as the Peretti stamp from the historic Boston Tobacconist. I wonder if there is a link between the Pipe Shop and the brand. Furthermore the Circle P stamp on the stem is the same stamp on Peretti pipes! To me this adds to the connection.

Since Jeff follows the same pattern of work in his cleanup we do not include photos but rather just a simple summary. Jeff reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He was able to remove the lava build up on the rim top and you could see the damages to the top and edges of the rim. I think this pipe may well been before we worked with Mark Hoover’s Before & After Deoxidizer so he cleaned the internals and externals. The stem was clean but lightly oxidized. I took photos of what the pipe looked like when I brought to my worktable.   The rim top and shank end cleaned up really well. The lava coat was removed and some darkening left behind on the back side of the rim top. The edges were in good condition. The stem surface looked very good with some light tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button.        I took photos of the stamping on both sides of the shank. The stamping was clear and readable. The left side of the taper stem had a Circle P  logo with gold stamping.I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the well shaped Liverpool. I polished the bowl and the rim top, sides and shank with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with a damp cloth. I carefully avoided the stamping on the sides of the shank so as not to damage the stamping.       I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides, plateau top and shank end 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.    I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. It was in very good condition so I did not have to do any repairs or preliminary sanding. I began by working with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem 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 used Rub’n Buff Antique Gold to touch up the gold circle P on the left side o f the stem. I rubbed it on and rubbed off the excess to leave behind a clear stamp.This well made, classic Piccadilly Liverpool with a taper vulcanite stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The rich brown finish that was used came alive with the polishing and waxing. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Liverpool is a beauty with combination of great grain and rich stain. It fits nicely in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 ¼ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. 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!

 

A Simple Clean Up of a Double Walled GoedeWaagen Apple Bowl Pipe


Blog by Paresh

About two months ago, I had worked on a battered and abused, but well loved meerschaum line Orlik Bent Brandy pipe from an estate lot of 40 pipes that I had acquired about eight/ nine months ago. That was the third pipe from the lot that I had refurbished, the first being a huge Real Cherry wood pipe and the second was a Corn Cob with a long Albatross wing bone. Here is the link to the three write ups which will provide background information as to how I came to acquire this lot and the condition of the pipes that I had received;

https://rebornpipes.com/2020/03/08/refurbishing-a-real-cherry-foreign-pipe-from-estate-lot-of-40/

https://rebornpipes.com/2020/05/10/refurbishing-a-vintage-corn-cob-pipe-with-an-albatross-wing-bone/

https://rebornpipes.com/2020/06/11/a-second-inning-for-a-meerschaum-lined-orlik-bent-brandy/

The fourth pipe from this lot and currently on my work table is beautiful brightly colored straight Apple with a tapered yellow variegated stem with swirls of black. The first three pipes that I had worked on are marked with yellow, green and indigo arrows while the fourth pipe that is currently on my work table is shown in the third picture marked in pastel blue colored arrow. The eye catching candy colored attractively Apple shaped pipe screams “PARTY” and feels ultra light in hand. The shank end is adorned with a brass band. It is stamped on the brass band as “GOEDEWAAGEN” over “MADE IN HOLLAND”. There is no shape code or stamping on either the stummel or the acrylic stem.   The stamping on the brass band gave me a definitive direction to my quest to know about this brand. I turned to my favorite site, rebornpipes.com, to know more about the brand and sure enough, Steve had worked on a couple of GoedeWaagen pipes and researched it in detail. Given below is the link for the readers who are interested in knowing about this pipe from Holland.

https://rebornpipes.com/2017/10/21/cleaning-up-a-pair-of-goedewaagen-delft-ceramic-pipes/

Steve has included a picture of these pipes that gives out the construction and functioning of the pipe which I have reproduced below.I searched pipedia.org for more information on the Maker and brand of GoedeWaagen. I have reproduced the information contained on the site and also the link to the webpage.  https://pipedia.org/wiki/GoedeWaagen

Dirck GoedeWaagen became a master pipemaker on January 1, 1779 and took on his first assistant the following month. Soon after Dirck’s grandson fell in love with and married a girl from the illustrious De Jong family, legendary in the ceramic pipemakers guild in Gouda. He built a workshop in the Keizerstraat in Gouda, which continued for two generations until his grandson Abraham GoedeWaagen moved the company to a new location.

In 1853, Pieter Goedewaagen purchased his father-in-law’s factory “De Star”, which becomes the basis of the modern GoedeWaagen Company. In approximately 1880, Abraham’s grandson Aart GoedeWaagen persuaded his father Pieter to expand the business with an eye towards more models of pipes, and P. GoedeWaagen & Sons was founded in response. Within ten years the firm had hundreds of models and P. GoedeWaagen & Son was exporting pipes around the globe.

GoedeWaagen continued to make pipes, but also began acquiring other ceramics firms, including ‘De Distel’ in 1923, and in so doing acquiring the expertise to make decorated ceramics other than clay pipes. It is at this time that the company is granted a Royal charter and by the 1930’s Royal Goedewaagen is one of the top names in Dutch ceramics.

While Goedewaagen pipes were originally traditional and figural clays, after the invention of the double walled clay pipe by Zenith, also a Gouda company, Goedewaagen began producing pipes in that commonly seen style, which they marketed as The Baronite Pipe, advertised for its clean smoking and health benefits. Since the company’s bankruptcy in 1982, however, they have made only the occasional souvenir pipe, including a line commemorating Holland’s monarchs.

There is a mention of “Zenith” pipes and visited the page that contained information on this brand related to GoedeWaagen pipes. The article makes for an interesting read.  https://pipedia.org/wiki/Zenith

Correlating the above two, it can be safely established that the pipe is from in between the period 1920s when the double walled ceramic pipes were invented by Zenith to 1982 when GoedeWagen filed bankruptcy.

With the provenance of the pipe established and firm in my knowledge and understanding of the GoedeWaagen Brand, I move ahead with my initial visual inspection.

Initial Visual Inspection
The pipe, as it appears, is shown in the pictures below. The pipe must have hardly been smoked as the layer of cake in the chamber is very thin with very minor traces of overflow of lava over the rim top surface. The stummel is covered in clear glaze and is covered in dust and fingerprints. The stem airway is dark with dried oils and tars. Heavy tooth chatter and deep bite marks in the bite zone and button edges on either surface can be seen on the stem surface. All in all, this is a lovely pipe and should stand out in any gathering once cleaned and polished. Detailed Inspection
The chamber has an even layer of hard cake. There are traces of old oils, tars and grime that can be seen over the inner rim edge. The cake masks the condition of the chamber walls and condition of chamber walls will be determined only once the cake and lava overflow has been cleaned up. The rim top surface is in pristine condition with no dents or dings or chipped areas. The smells from the chamber are very strong. This issue of old smells will have to be addressed. A simple reaming and cleaning should make this chamber as good as new, unless we have a cracked wall or any such surprise underneath the cake.   The clear glazed double walled ceramic stummel is covered in dust and oily fingerprints and appears dull. There are no cracks, dents/ dings on the stummel surface… Not even a scratch!! The mortise is nice and clean with no traces of accumulated gunk. A simple wash and polish should get the stummel nice and shining like new.   The yellow acrylic variegated stem with dark swirls perfectly matches the candy color of the stummel and rather elevates it further. The tenon end has a cork stopper that helps in snug fit of the tenon in to the mortise. The cork stopper has a small piece that has broken off and the cork itself appears dry. The bite zone is peppered with deep tooth chatter and heavy tooth indentations over the button edges on either surface. The tenon and the air way is covered and clogged with gunk. Air way over the surface appears darkened and flow through the stem is not full and clear. The stem surface and internal first needs to be cleaned. The tooth chatter will be sanded out with 220 grit sandpaper and filled with glue. The button edges on either surface needs re-building using clear CA superglue.   The Process
I began the process of refurbishing this pipe first by working on the stem. As I was handling the stem, I realized that the tenon turned in my hand. I completely unscrewed and realized that what I thought to be a tenon was in fact a tenon extension that was screwed on to the threaded tenon. The threaded tenon and the tenon extension were covered in dried gunk and grime. The front edges of the tenon extension are up turned and sharp and I shall address them subsequently.The threaded tenon and the tenon extension were cleaned with soft brass wired brush and cotton swabs wetted with alcohol. I cleaned the stem internals with a small shank brush and liquid dish soap. I have realized that using small shank brush and liquid soap reduces consumption of pipe cleaners by about 75%. This is considerable savings considering that I pay thrice the cost of pipe cleaners on cost of shipping!! Next, I ran a couple of dry pipe cleaners through the stem to clean and dry it out. I avoid using isopropyl alcohol in cleaning stem air way just to guard it against crazing (call it my paranoia to use alcohol on an acrylic or Perspex stem!!). The tenon end, slot and the air way is now clean. I cleaned the external surface of the stem with a Scotch Brite gauze and liquid dish washing soap. Next I addressed the issue of broken cork piece. I cut a piece of wine cork and roughly shaped it to match the missing cork piece. I stuck the new piece in place with clear CA superglue taking care that I did not foul up the threads on the tenon. I set the repairs aside for the glue to harden.  I wiped the stem with a cotton pad and alcohol. Thereafter, I applied clear CA superglue over the button edges and filled the deep tooth indentations and the minor tooth chatter in the bite zone. I set the stem aside for the fill to cure.   I had completely forgotten about the tenon extension amidst the other processes. The tenon extension was covered in oils and tars that had dried out and set hard over the surface. I cleaned it with shank brush, hard bristled toothbrush and dish washing soap. Once the tenon extension was cleaned, I observed that the tenon extension also bears the stamp “GoedeWaagen”. I still have to address the up turned and sharp front edges in the tenon extension.    Next, I reamed the chamber with my fabricated knife to take the cake down to the ceramic walls. Truth be told, the use of the knife was restricted only to scraping the surface in an attempt to dislodge the cake as I did not want to subject the ceramic to excessive force of a reamer head. With a 150 grit sand paper, the walls of the chamber were rid of all the remnants of the cake. I further wiped the chamber with a cotton swab wetted with alcohol to remove the carbon dust that remained. I wiped the traces of lava overflow from the rim edges with cotton swab and alcohol. The chamber walls are pristine with no damage and the rim top also cleaned up nicely.  I cleaned the shank internals first with hard and regular pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol. Thereafter, I rinsed the areas between the double walled chamber and the shank with warm water. The shank internals are now clean and fresh.    As I was wiping the stummel after the internal wash of the shank, the brass band came loose. The thick white ceramic paste that held the brass band over the shank end had dried up completely. I scraped the dried ceramic paste from the shank end surface and also from the insides of the brass band.   With the stummel internals clean and fresh, I moved ahead with cleaning the external surface of the stummel. I wiped the stummel surface with Murphy’s Oils soap on a cotton swab. I rinsed the stummel under warm running water and wiped it dry with a soft cotton cloth.   I cleaned the brass band with an all purpose liquid polish and worked up a nice shine to the brass band.   The cork repair had cured completely. With a flat head needle file, I sand the excess cork to match the rest of the cork surface. I further sand the cork to achieve a perfect match.  Next I worked the stem. The stem fills had cured nicely. Using a flat head needle file, I sand the fills to achieve a rough match with the rest of the stem surface and also reshaped the buttons on both the surfaces. I further fine tuned the match and sand the entire stem with 400, 600 and 800 grit sandpapers. I polished the stem surface with micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 pads. I wiped the surface with a soft cloth at the end of the micromesh cycle. I applied a little Extra Virgin Olive oil to the stem, though it does not help much, and set it aside. Though I am not a big fan of acrylic stems, I am happy with the way the stem appears at this stage.   With the stem repairs and polishing completed, I turn my attention back to the stummel. I stuck the brass band to the shank end with all purpose glue and set it aside for the glue to set completely.    I evened out the sharp and up turned edges of the tenon extension by rolling them out with the middle round potion of a screw driver. I further smooth out the edges by sanding it down with a piece of 180 grit sandpaper. To bring a nice shine to the tenon extension, I polish it further by dry sanding it with 12000 grit micromesh pad. All through the process, I was careful to preserve the stamping on the surface of the tenon extension.   I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to the stummel and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the stummel now has a nice vibrant appearance. I further buff it with a horse hair shoe brush. Though the balm works best over the briar wood, it has been my experience that it works nicely on other stummel surfaces like Meerschaums and now ceramic. The balm imparts a nice sheen over this alternative stummel material which is as good as that over briar wood.    I applied a generous quantity of petroleum jelly over the cork stopper to rejuvenate and moisten the cork.    To apply the finishing touches, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and apply a coat of Blue Diamond to the stummel and the stem to polish out the minor scratches. With a cotton buffing wheel that I use for carnauba wax, I apply 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 mount 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. The yellow variegated stem with dark swirls elevates the fun quotient of the pipe and is very appealing to the eye. P.S. The next time once this pandemic is over and things return to normal, I shall take this attractive pipe to one of the gatherings, just to check out the reactions of the gathered people.

Appreciate all the efforts of readers who have had the patience to read this write up thus far!

Praying for the safety and well being of all the readers and their loved ones in these troubled times…

 

New Beginnings for a Malaga Ras Kassa Freehand


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to me from another of our estate purchases. It has been around for a while waiting to be worked on. Jeff did the original photographs of the pipe in December 2019. It is a beautifully grained Malaga Ras Kassa Freehand that is really quite nice. The Ras Kassa is the top of the line for Malaga pipes and very few receive that premium stamping. The grain on this one is unique on the left and amazing birdseye on the right. The stamping is the readable. It is stamped on the underside of the shank and reads the Malaga [over] Ras Kassa. The Malaga Oil finish had a lot of grime ground into the bowl and some darkening around the sides of the bowl. There was a cut in the left side of the bowl toward the top. The bowl was heavily caked and had an overflow of lava on the top of the rim. It was hard to know what the rim top and inner edge of the bowl looked like under the grime. The rim top and shank end are carved plateau like finishes and had a lot of grime ground into them. The fancy turned Freehand stem was calcified, oxidized and had light tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside particularly on the button surface. The pipe had promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the overflow of lava on the rim top. It is hard to know what the rim edge looks like under the lava coat. He also took photos of the fancy turned portion of the stem as well as the top and underside of the stem to show the oxidation, calcification, light chatter and tooth marks and damage on the underside of the button.   Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar around the pipe looked like. There is some interesting grain under the grime.   He took photos of the stamping on the underside of the shank. They read as noted above. I am also including the link to a blog that I wrote that gives some of the history of the Malaga brand and the Malaga Pipe Shop in Royal Oak, Michigan in the USA. I have written an earlier blog to give a little history of the Malaga Brand and the pipemaker, George Khoubesser. Here is the link – https://rebornpipes.com/tag/malaga-pipes/. That blog also includes links to a catalogue and the history of the pipemaker George Khoubesser. Follow the link to get a feel for the brand and the pipemaker.

Since Jeff follows the same pattern of work in his cleanup we do not include photos but rather just a simple summary. Jeff reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He was able to remove the lava build up on the rim top and you could see the damages to the top and edges of the rim. I think this pipe may well been before we worked with Mark Hoover’s Before & After Deoxidizer so he cleaned the internals and externals. The stem was clean but lightly oxidized. I took photos of what the pipe looked like when I brought to my worktable.    The carved plateau style rim top and shank end cleaned up really well. The lava coat was removed and some darkening left behind on the back side of the rim top. The edges were in good condition. The stem surface looked very good with heavy oxidation remaining and some light tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button.  You can also see the damage to the button on the underside of the stem.      I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the well shaped Freehand. Now it was time to do my work on the pipe. The slice in the briar on the left side needed to be repaired. It was not deep but it would not raise with steam. I filled it  in with clear super glue applied to the slice with a tooth pick.  Once the repair cured I sanded it with 340 grit sandpaper to blend it into the rest of the surface.I polished the bowl and the rim top, sides and shank with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with a damp cloth. I carefully avoided the stamping on the top and underside of the shank so as not to damage the already faint stamping.     I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides, plateau top and shank end 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. While I was working on the bowl the stem was soaking in a new product I received from Briarville Pipe Repair – Pipe Stem Oxidation Remover. It is a liquid of about the same consistency as apple juice. The stem sat in the mixture for 2 ½ -3 hours. I removed the stem from the bath, scrubbed lightly with a tooth brush and dried if off with a paper towel. I was surprised that it was quite clean. Just some light oxidation on the top of the saddle remaining. The bath was dark with the removed oxidation of the seven stems. I cleaned out the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners.  I scrubbed the stem surface with Soft Scrub All Purpose cleanser to remove the remaining oxidation. The oxidation was strongest in the twists and turns of the lower portion of the stem. It took quite a bit of elbow grease to remove the oxidation but when I was finished it looked very good.     I rebuilt the button edge on the underside to smooth out the finish and remove the tooth damage. Once the repair cured I smooth it out and blended it into the surface of the  vulcanite with 220 grit sandpaper. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. (I forgot to take photos of this.)I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.   This well made, classic Malaga Ras Kassa Freehand with a fancy turned vulcanite stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The rich oil finish that Malaga used came alive with the polishing and waxing. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Malaga Ras Kassa is a beauty with combination of smooth and plateau rim and shank end. It fits nicely in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 ¼ inches, Height: 2 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. 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!

Refurbishing an Intricately Carved Old Meerschaum Eagle Claw Holding an Egg


Blog by Paresh

The next pipe on my work table is an old intricately carved meerschaum Eagle claw holding an egg in its talons. The stummel has an intricately carved shape of an eagle claw complete with perfectly carved scales and claw knuckles. The shank extension is a beautiful colored amber hexagonal block with copper end adornments. The delicate thin horn stem has a threaded bone tenon with orifice slot. There is no stamping whatsoever anywhere on this pipe. The lack of stamping makes it impossible to establish the origins of this pipe. However, the intricate carvings and eye for details on this pipe makes me believe this pipe to be Vienna made. Here is the pipe as it sits on my work table. Initial Visual Inspection
The pipe comes apart in three sections. The first is the meerschaum stummel carved to resemble an eagle’s claw that holds an egg; the second is a block of beautifully colored amber with six chiseled sides. The shank end and the stem end of this hexagonal amber block are adorned with decorated copper end adornments. The airway through the amber shank extension appears to be made of bone which extends out and seats into the mortise. Lastly is the delicate thin bent horn stem with matching threaded tenon end face and the orifice slot end face and appears akin to the triangular head of a grasshopper.There is a light build up of cake in the chamber that has dried and is crumbly due to prolonged storage. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber can be ascertained only after the cake has been removed completely. No apparent cracks or damage to the stummel surface is seen from the outside. The rim top has darkened due to overflow of lava and burn marks. There are a large number of dings and chips to the rim top which are visible through the lava overflow. The right side of the outer edge of the rim is severely damaged (enclosed in red), the result of striking the edge against a hard surface to remove dottle, presenting lop sided appearance to the rim on to the right. The inner edge of the rim on the left side appears thin in 8 o’clock direction (enclosed in blue) and combined with the damaged left outer edge gives the appearance of out of round chamber. The inner rim edge is dented and chipped in few places. Topping the rim surface and creating bevels should address these issues satisfactorily. The stummel is exquisitely carved with intricate details of the scales and knuckles replicated real like!! The four talons are all intact and perfectly shaped. The stummel had developed a nice patina from years of usage. Every nook and cranny of the carvings is filled with dirt and dust from years of uncared for storage giving a very dull and dirty appearance to the stummel. The short shank is a flared round and flumed and there are a few scratches on the surface. The mortise is lined with cork and is intact all around. The mortise has strong odors akin to some sort of soap smell (?), a smell that I have not come across as yet. Cleaning of the stummel to dislodge all the grime and dust from the carving will have to be a deliberate effort. Preserving the old cork lining at the shank end while cleaning the shank and mortise will be a challenge as the cork is susceptible to easy crumbling.   The hexagonal large block of Amber shank extension has developed a crack towards the tenon end (indicated with yellow arrow). This crack is deep but thankfully has not progressed all the way down to the airway. The amber is also chipped (indicated with green arrow) in one place just above the crack. The decorative copper end pieces are decoratively cast and serve the dual purpose of protecting the amber end face while adding a very classic bling to the appearance of the pipe. The copper adornments and the block amber piece are joined by a hollow bone that extends out as tenon. The amber is loose with gap in between the copper adornments and would need to be fixed. The threaded stem end copper adornment is full of old oils and tar accumulations. The tenon end of the copper adornment appears to have had some sort of packing/ separator between the metal and meerschaum shank end that has now worn out and disintegrated.  The horn stem is very delicate and thin that is full bent. The profile of the stem lends the entire pipe a tapered profile that is both delicate and attractive. The peculiarity of this stem is that the tenon end and the slot are identical in shape and size. The bite zone on either surface of the stem has been chewed up and with the horn fibers exposed. The thin delicate buttons on upper and lower stem surface have deep tooth indentations. The tenon end of the stem is heavily scratched. The threaded bone tenon is covered in oils and tars. One of the challenges in this project would be to match the tenon end and orifice slot end profile.The Process
I started this project by reaming the chamber with my smaller fabricated knife and scraped out all the carbon from chamber. I used a 220 grit sand paper, pinched between my thumb and forefinger, to sand the inner walls of the chamber of the pipe. Once I had reached the bare walls, I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad dipped in isopropyl alcohol. This removed all the residual carbon dust and also rid the chamber of all ghost smells. The walls of the chamber are nice and solid with no signs of cracks. Using a sharp knife, I gently scraped out the overflow of lava from the rim top. The dents and chips on the rim surface are now clearly visible and so is the extent of damage to the outer edge of the rim. The inner rim edge too shows a few chipped spots along the edge. I followed up the reaming of the chamber with cleaning of the mortise and air way of the pipe using hard bristled and regular pipe cleaners, q-tips dipped in alcohol. The mortise and the draught hole were given a final clean with shank brushes dipped in alcohol. The shank internals and the draught hole are now nice and clean with an open and full draw. This was easier said than done. The pipe cleaners would not pass through the draught hole for the love of money!! A great deal of poking and prodding with a straightened paper clip got me there.Next I cleaned the internals of the stem and shank extension with pipe cleaners and alcohol. I followed up the internal cleaning of the stummel, shank extension and the stem with external cleaning. I cleaned the external surface of all the three parts with Murphy’s Oil soap and hard bristled tooth brush/ shank brush. The stummel surface cleaned up nicely. The scratches and dents and dings over the stummel and shank extension surface are now clearly visible. The crack in the block amber in the shank extension is wider and deeper than I had anticipated since the dirt and grime which was embedded in the crack has now been cleaned. The external cleaning was followed by carefully removing old and now moistened wax and gunk that remained embedded in the many nooks and crannies of the intricate carvings over the stummel surface using sharp dental tools. The stummel is now truly cleaned and prepared for the next step in restoration.   I scraped off the old remnants of the packing from the tenon end of the shank extension. This would provide a fresh and clean surface for a new packing between the shank extension and the shank end to protect and provide an airtight seal between the shank end cork lining and the copper adornment at the shank extension end. I intend to use a leather gasket (if I can find one!) to seal the joint between the shank extension and the shank end. It was at this stage that while cleaning the tenon of the shank extension that realization dawned on me that the tenon is not bone as I had appreciated but WOOD!! The wood tenon even has part of the old bark covering the tenon (encircled in green). I decided to let the piece of bark remain on the tenon to preserve the originality of the pipe. Next, I decided to address the crack, chipped surface in the amber and also the gaps between the amber block and copper adornments. I filled the crack, chipped portion and the gaps with clear superglue and set the amber shank extension aside for the glue to cure.  With the amber shank extension set aside to cure, I addressed the bit marks on the horn stem. I start by sanding the bite zone with a piece of 180 grit sand paper. I filled the bite marks on both lower and upper surfaces of the horn stem with clear superglue. Once the glue had set, I layered superglue over the button in the bite zone as well as over the tenon end and set the stem aside for the glue to completely cure. Once the glue at the either ends of the stem has cured, I shall sand the fill to match the button in the bite zone and at the tenon end.   Now that the amber shank extension and horn stem had been set aside for the superglue fill to cure, I turned my attention to address the stummel issues. To address the darkened and out-of-round rim as well as the dings to the rim edges,, I first top the rim surface on a folded piece of 180 grit sand paper. Once the darkened areas were addressed, with a folded piece of worn out 180 grit sandpaper pinched between my forefinger and thumb, I create a slight bevel over the inner and outer rim edges till all the dings were removed and the out of round issue was reduced to a large extent.   I set the stummel aside and checked the stem fills. The glue had hardened completely. With a flat head needle file, I sand the fills on upper and lower surface and reconstruct the button edges at either ends of the horn stem. With a folded piece of 320 grit sandpaper, I sand the entire stem surface, including the button edges, to blend and smooth out the repaired surfaces. I rubbed a generous amount of EVO in to the stem to rehydrate it and set the stem aside for the oil to be absorbed.    All the while that I was working on the stummel and the stem, the repairs to the amber shank extension were curing nicely. Once the glue had completely hardened, with a flat needle file, I sand off the excess fill to achieve a rough match with the surrounding amber surface. I further blend in the repairs by sanding the entire amber block with a folded piece of 320 grit sandpaper. Now moving on to the most tedious and time consuming process of polishing the three parts of the pipe with micromesh pads. I wet sand the entire stem and the block amber shank extension with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. I wiped these parts with a moist cloth to note the progress being made. Once I was done polishing with all the pads, I rubbed a small quantity of EVO in to the stem to rehydrate it. I am happy with the progress being made thus far.    I polished the top of the bowl and rim edges with micromesh pads to remove the dark surface that still remained on the surface. I wet sand the entire stummel with 1500-12000 grit pads. I diligently worked around the intricately carved scales and knuckles of the claw to polish these carvings. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth to remove the dust that was left behind by the sanding. I wanted to minimize the scratching but not necessarily remove them. These lacerations and dings must have had a history and I wanted to preserve it.   I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to the meerschaum stummel. I rubbed this balm deep in to the nooks and crannies of the carvings with my fingers and let it rest for a few minutes. Though I use the balm on briars, I have seen Steve use it on meerschaums as well and it really helps to bring out the patina that has developed on the meerschaum!! I am very pleased with the way the meer bowl appears at this stage.   Next, I polish the copper adornments at either ends of the block amber shank extension with a multi-purpose polishing liquid. I wiped it clean with a soft cotton cloth and gave a final polish with a jeweler’s cloth. Wow!! These copper adornments are now looking fantabulous and add a very chic and classy look to the appearance of the pipe.The only aspect, and functional aspect at that, to remain unaddressed was the gasket at the tenon end of the shank extension. I had thought of using a soft leather gasket as it is easy to shape and would provide an air tight seal. However, I could not lay my hands on one and neither could fabricate one. I discussed this with Abha, my wife, about the non availability of leather gasket. Always the problem solver, she promptly suggested using cork!! This solution was both practical and most likely original to the pipe. I selected a piece of cork that comes from wine bottle/ whiskey cap. With a sharp paper cutter, I carefully cut a couple of very thin round rings. I cut a hole of the size of tenon in the middle and stuck it to the end of the tenon end face of the copper adornment with superglue. I tried the seating of the tenon in to the mortise. It was snug and a perfect fit.   To complete the restoration of this pipe, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and applied White Diamond compound to each of the three pipe parts. I wiped/ buffed the pipe with a soft cotton cloth to clear it of any leftover compound dust.   I then mounted another cotton cloth wheel on to the polishing machine and applied several coats of carnauba wax over the stummel, amber shank extension and the stem. I finished the restoration by giving the pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. Admiring the pipe, it made me wonder, did he really have a spirit which kept him ticking after having suffered the kind of abuse which was evident from all the lacerations, dents and dings and chips. But he has survived his past nonetheless and will continue on his warpath with me…Cheers!! P.S. I wish to thank all the esteemed readers for being a part of my journey as I walked through this project.

Praying for you and your loved ones in these troubled pandemic spread. Stay Home and Stay Safe!!

New Beginnings for a Malaga Custom Carved Freehand


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to me from another of our estate purchases. It has been around for a while waiting to be worked on. Jeff did the original photographs of the pipe in December 2019. It is a beautifully grained Malaga Freehand that is really quite nice. The stamping is the faint but readable. It is stamped on the underside of the shank and reads the Malaga [over] Custom Carved. The Malaga Oil finish had a lot of grime ground into the bowl and some darkening around the sides of the bowl. The bowl was heavily caked and had an overflow of lava on the top of the rim. It was hard to know what the rim top and inner edge of the bowl looked like under the grime. The rim top and shank end is plateau finished and had a lot of grime ground into them. The fancy turned Freehand stem was calcified, oxidized and had light tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside. There were also some wrinkles from when the stem was bent on the underside in the bend itself. The surface of the button was surprisingly free of damage. The pipe had promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the overflow of lava on the rim top. It is hard to know what the rim edge looks like under the lava coat. He also took photos of the fancy turned portion of the stem as well as the top and underside of the stem to show the oxidation, calcification, light chatter and tooth marks.   Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar around the pipe looked like. There is some interesting grain under the grime. He took photos of the stamping on the underside of the shank. They read as noted above. I am also including the link to a blog that I wrote that gives some of the history of the Malaga brand and the Malaga Pipe Shop in Royal Oak, Michigan in the USA. I have written an earlier blog to give a little history of the Malaga Brand and the pipemaker, George Khoubesser. Here is the link – https://rebornpipes.com/tag/malaga-pipes/. That blog also includes links to a catalogue and the history of the pipemaker George Khoubesser. Follow the link to get a feel for the brand and the pipemaker.

Since Jeff follows the same pattern of work in his cleanup we do not include photos but rather just a simple summary. Jeff reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He was able to remove the lava build up on the rim top and you could see the damages to the top and edges of the rim. I think this pipe may well been before we worked with Mark Hoover’s Before & After Deoxidizer so he cleaned the internals and externals. The stem was clean but lightly oxidized. I took photos of what the pipe looked like when I brought to my worktable.    The plateau rim top cleaned up really well with the lava coat removed. The rim top, inner and out edges of the rim showed some darkening. There is some burn damage on the back beveled edge. The stem surface looked very good with heavy oxidation remaining and some light tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button.  You can also see the wrinkles in the vulcanite on the underside of the stem that occurred when the stem was bent.      I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the well shaped Freehand. Now it was time to do my work on the pipe. To remove the damage to the rim top and the inner edges of the bowl I worked them over with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I was able to clean up the smooth bevel and smooth out the damages.I polished the bowl and the rim top, sides and shank with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with a damp cloth. I carefully avoided the stamping on the top and underside of the shank so as not to damage the already faint stamping.   I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides, plateau top and shank end 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.   While I was working on the bowl the stem was soaking in a new product I received from Briarville Pipe Repair – Pipe Stem Oxidation Remover. It is a liquid of about the same consistency as apple juice. The stem sat in the mixture for 2 ½ -3 hours. I removed the stem from the bath, scrubbed lightly with a tooth brush and dried if off with a paper towel. I was surprised that it was quite clean. Just some light oxidation on the top of the saddle remaining. The bath was dark with the removed oxidation of the seven stems. I cleaned out the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners.  I scrubbed the stem surface with Soft Scrub All Purpose cleanser to remove the remaining oxidation. The oxidation was strongest in the twists and turns of the lower portion of the stem. It took quite a bit of elbow grease to remove the oxidation but when I was finished it looked very good.     I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.   This well made, classic Malaga Custom Carved Freehand with a fancy turned vulcanite stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The rich oil finish that Malaga used came alive with the polishing and waxing. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Malaga Custom Carved is a beauty with combination of smooth and plateau rim and shank end. It fits nicely in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 ¼ inches, Height: 2 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. 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!

Restoring The Tinder Box Milano Pot Made by Savinelli


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to me from another of our estate purchases. It has been around for a while waiting to be worked on. Jeff did the original photographs of the pipe in June of 2017. It is a beautifully grained Savinelli Made Pot that is really quite nice. The stamping is the clear and readable. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads The Tinder Box in an arch [over] Milano [over] Made in Italy. There is not a shape number stamped on either side of the pipe. The smooth finish had a lot of grime and dirt ground into the briar. The bowl was heavily caked and had an overflow of lava on the top of the rim. It was hard to know what the rim top and beveled inner edge of the bowl looked like under the grime. The vulcanite saddle stem and was calcified, oxidized and had light tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside but the surface of the button. There was a deep trough bitten into the top of the button but it did not go through the button. There was not any logo on the stem. The grain on the bowl of the pipe was gorgeous with even the few small fills well blended into the finish. The pipe certainly had promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the overflow of lava on the rim top. The inner bevel on the rim does not look too bad and the outer edge looks good. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the oxidation, calcification, light chatter and tooth marks as well as the damage to the top of the button. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar around the pipe looked like. There is some interesting grain under the grime. Jeff took a photo of the stamping on the sides of the shank and the top of the stem. It reads as noted above. Since Jeff follows the same pattern of work in his cleanup we do not include photos but rather just a simple summary. Jeff reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He was able to remove the lava build up on the rim top and you could see the damages to the top and edges of the rim. I think this pipe may well been before we worked with Mark Hoover’s Before & After Deoxidizer so he cleaned the internals and externals. The stem was clean but oxidized. I took photos of what the pipe looked like when I brought to my worktable. The rim top cleaned up really well with the lava coat removed. The rim top and inner edges of the rim showed some damage. The stem surface showed heavy oxidation remaining and some tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button. The worst damage was to the top of the button where there was a crease in the vulcanite.      I took a photo of the stamping on the left side if the shank. It reads as noted above.  Now it was time to do my work on the pipe. To remove the damage to the rim top and the edges of the bowl I topped it on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I also worked over the inner edge of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the damages there.    I polished the bowl and the rim top, sides and shank with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with a damp cloth. I carefully avoided the stamping on the top and underside of the shank so as not to damage the already faint stamping.     I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.  It helped to blend the stain into the rest of the bowl.      While I was working on the bowl the stem was soaking in a new product I received from Briarville Pipe Repair – Pipe Stem Oxidation Remover. It is a liquid of about the same consistency as apple juice. The stem sat in the mixture for 2 ½ -3 hours. I removed the stem from the bath, scrubbed lightly with a tooth brush and dried if off with a paper towel. I was surprised that it was quite clean. Just some light oxidation on the top of the stem remained. The bath was dark with the removed oxidation of the seven stems. I cleaned out the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. I filled in the tooth marks on the top of the stem and rebuilt the button surface with black superglue. Once the glue cured I used a needle file to reshape the button and flatten the repairs. I sanded out the repairs with 220 grit sandpaper to blend it into the surface of the stem. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.  I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.      This well made, classic Italian Made Tinder Box Milano Pot with a vulcanite saddle stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The rich finish that Milano used came alive with the polishing and waxing. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Milano Pot is a beauty and fits nicely in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: 1 inch. 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!