Tag Archives: shaping a stem

New Life for an unusual CPF COLON Calabash Pipe


Blog by Steve Laug

Not too long ago, I wrote a blog about a virtual pipe hunt that my brother and I went on. He was visiting an antique mall in Montana and I was at home in Vancouver, Canada. We met at the mall via Apple Facetime and he was the hands and feet of the exercise. He happened upon a large consignment of CPF pipes as well as others from around the same vintage – late 1880s through early 1900s. Here is the link to that blog, https://rebornpipes.com/2017/04/26/a-virtual-pipe-hunt-a-new-way-to-experience-the-joy-of-a-pipe-hunt/.

I worked on the older alternative wood pipe with a spiral shank and horn stem. It was the first pipe I worked on from the lot we found that day. I wrote about the restoration of the pipe in an earlier blog; https://rebornpipes.com/2017/06/24/bringing-an-older-1890s-era-spiral-shank-horn-stem-billiard-back-to-life/. The next pipe on the worktable was a CPF that was different from any others that I had ever seen or worked on before. It was a briar calabash with a black Bakelite screw bowl/cup. The shank was darkened and appeared to have originally had a band that had been lost somewhere along the way. That is pretty common on these old CPF pipes. The stem was amber and needed some work to bring it back to usefulness. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank with the words COLON in an arch over the CPF logo in an oval. Underneath that, is stamped French Briar in a reverse arch thus encircling the CPF logo. There was no other stamping on the right side or underside of the shank. There were two sandpits/flaws in the briar that I would need to address but it was a beautiful little pipe.I did a bit of research on Google to see if I could find any information on this particular CPF pipe. There was not much information on that brand and some of the info was almost comical in that the key word in every listing was “COLON”. You don’t need me to spell out what kind of listings were found. The one thing I did find was a photo that someone pinned on Pinterest. Here is the link; https://www.pinterest.com/pin/495255290248000765/ . I have included the photo below that was posted there. The label on the pinned photo read: TOBACCO PIPE, CIRCA 1915, “COLON” BOWL, French Briar, C.P.F. It is the same pipe as the one on my table but mine has better grain in the briar bowl. Mine also came with a stem.My brother took photos of the pipe (including the first one above) before he started to work on it and clean it up. When he sent me these photos, I was really interested in getting my hands on it and cleaning it up. I could not wait to see it up close.Jeff’s photos showed the condition of the pipe really well and gave the reader some idea of what it looked like from a variety of angles. The top view of the bowl showed the thick cake that had formed in the Bakelite bowl and the lava that overflowed on to the rim top.  The next three photos show the Bakelite bowl and rim top, the bowl unscrewed from the briar bowl and the underside of the Bakelite bowl. The cake is very thick and looks hard. Once the bowl is out of the base it is amazingly clean considering the condition of the Bakelite bowl. The underside of the Bakelite bowl is also clean. It has three holes that carry the smoke from the bowl into the base, shank and stem to the mouth of the smoker. The threads in both are intact. He also included some close up photos of the shank and the stamping. He has a much better camera than I do so the stamping photos clearly show the condition of the stamps – they are worn but readable with a lens and a light. The marks on the shank appear to be from the time that the band was pried off the shank. Looking at it under a lens there are no cracks in the shank. He sent along a photo of the underside of the bowl as well. It is a pretty piece of briar.The photos of the condition of the stem were telling in many ways. There was a lot of tooth chatter and tooth marks on both the top and underside of the stem near the button. There were also fracturing and splintering along the edges that helped me conclude that the stem was amber. The next photos show the stem from a variety of angles including a photo of the orific airway in the button. The stem had a buildup of tars and oils on the inside of the airway that would need to be removed. I reread what I had written regarding the history of the CPF or Colossus Pipe Factory brand before I started the restoration work on this pipe. I am glad I collected the data in one place because I would otherwise have had to redo the work each time I work on a CPF pipe. Here is the link to the history of the brand. https://rebornpipes.com/2013/04/14/some-reflection-on-the-historical-background-on-cpf-pipes/ I have included a few choice paragraphs that help with the identification and the dating of the brand. You can read the entirety at the above link but here is a summary to connect this pipe to the history of the brand.

“One of the secondary hobbies to pipe refurbishing that I enjoy doing is to research the history of a particular brand or make. In a recent EBay lot I bought there were 3 pipes that were stamped with the CPF logo – CPF in an oval with the word FRENCH stamped in an arch above the oval and the word BRIAR stamped in an arch below the oval. I had heard that the CPF stood for a variety of names from Consolidated Pipe Factory to Colossus Pipe Factory and even Chesterfield Pipe Company. There was a wide range of conflicting information available on the websites and forums that I read while looking into the brand…”

“…CPF in the logo stands for Colossus Pipe Factory. The brand was purchased by KB&B sometime between 1884 and 1898 and it continued until 1915. That time frame gives help in dating some of the older CPF pipes you or I might find. It can be said that prior to the dual stamping it is fairly certain that the pipe is pre-1884 to 1898. After the dual stamping it can be placed post 1898 until the closure of the brand line in 1915. CPF made beautiful pipes. I believe Sam Goldberger was correct in his assertion that the carvers who made the pipes were of European training and used the classic shapes and well-aged briar.”

Armed with that information I was able to narrow down the period that this was made. Since the pipe bears only the CPF logo, I think that it is safe to say it was made before the time of the buyout by KB&B in 1898. That would mean that it is dated somewhere between 1884 and 1898. From 1898-1915 all of the pipes that came out of the factory bore a dual CPF/KB&B stamp. The fact that this one does not have the dual stamp further solidifies the date of manufacture as being from the 1880s to the late 1890s. This information goes against the information I included with the Pinterest photo above which identified the pipe as being made in 1915. Like I thought when I took when I first saw it – this is an old pipe.

My brother did a great job cleaning up the pipe – bowl, base and stem. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and a Savinelli Fitsall Reaming Knife and removed all of the cake. He cleaned the Bakelite with soap and water and scrubbed it with a tooth brush. He scrubbed the briar exterior with Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the grime and grit. He cleaned the interior of the briar bowl and the mortise and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. The stem was harder. He cleaned out the majority of the oils and tar build up with pipe cleaners and a little alcohol. He sent it to me to finish up but it was pretty decent. I took the next four photos of the pipe to show what it looked like when it arrived in Vancouver. I took a close up photo of the bowl and the rim top to show the difference between what it looked when he brought it home and what it looked like when I got it. I also took the bowl apart and took two photos of the parts. I took photos of the stem to show the condition from all angles. He got a lot of the grime out of the airway but there was still a lot there that needed to be cleaned out. I would need to remove the threaded tenon to do justice to the airway cleaning. I ran some alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs through the shank and the bowl to double check on the cleaning and it was really well done. The inner beveled edge of the bowl looked really good. I removed the tenon and scrubbed the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and Soft Scrub Cleanser. I rinsed it with warm water to remove the soap. I was able to get much more of the tars and oils out with the Soft Scrub. I used a needle file to define the edge of the button and make the angle sharp once again. I used the file on both sides.I lightly screwed the bone tenon in place in the stem. I would adjust it once I was ready to put the pipe back together again.I went through my bands and found a nickel band that would fit the shank. I sanded the shank to remove the darkening, nicks and dents and prepped the surface for pressure fitting the band. I used a Dremel and sanding drum to grind back the band width to make it fit the depth of the shank that I wanted to cover. I did not want the band to extend over any of the stamping.I heated the band and pressed in place on the shank. I used the Dremel to grind the band down further and sanded the edge with 1200-2400 grit micromesh to smooth out the sharp edge. I filled in the sand pits on the bowl with clear super glue and briar dust and sanded it in to blend with the rest of the briar. I filled in the nicks on the top of the Bakelite with clear super glue and sanded it smooth once it dried. I needed to buff both bowl and cup but it definitely looked better. I screwed the bowl in place on the base and took the following photos. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each grit to remove the sanding dust and give me some more bite when I sanded it with the next grit of pads. I polished the briar bowl and the Bakelite insert cup with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and wiping it down with a dab of olive oil after each pad. I touched upt the gold leaf in the stamping with some European Gold Rub’n Buff. Once I finished I buffed the bowl and insert with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to polish it and buffing the stem separately. I waxed them separately as well with Carnauba wax. I buffed them with a clean buffing pad and hand buffed them with a microfiber cloth. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I really like the finished look of the pipe.

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


Blog by Steve Laug

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

Repairing a shattered stem on a Comoy’s Grand Slam Lovat Patent 210


Blog by Steve Laug

I received an email from Pat about a pipe he had that he wanted to know if I would have a look at and see if I could do anything with it. Here is his first email.

Hello Steve, I have a 1930’s Comoy,s grand slam 210 Lovat with the old bar logo on the stem. The stem however is broken in three or four places. I have all the pieces but one. Is it possible to join the pieces back together again and fill the remaining hole from the missing piece? I visit your site often and you truly have done some amazing things. I don’t know if you typically do repairs but if you do would you consider taking on a repair like this. It’s a lovely old Comoy’s and I’d really like to bring it back to its former glory. Can you help? Thanks for your consideration. — Pat

I wrote him back saying that I would like to see photos of the pipe before I committed to trying a repair. He sent the following two photos of the pipe for me to look at. The piece of briar was a typically beautiful specimen of a Comoy’s pipe. It had some excellent grain and the finish was in very good shape for a pipe this old. The stem however, was another issue. It had shattered.The first photo above showed the bowl and stem together. I had been a really nice looking Lovat and with the bar logo on the stem it was indeed an old one. He wanted to see if I could somehow piece the stem back together preserving the old logo. Looking at the photos I was pretty amazed at the condition. It was obvious to me that the stem must have been stuck in the shank and when someone torqued on it to remove it the stem had shattered into pieces. It looked to me that there were some pieces missing but maybe I could do something with it. I had him ship it to me with all of the parts included.It did not take too long to arrive in Canada and when it did, I opened the box with some trepidation. I was expecting the worst and what I found inside was pretty close to what I had expected. There were two broken pieces in a small baggy, the rest of the stem with the stinger in another baggy and the bowl wrapped in bubble wrap. I laid out the pieces to get a feel for what was missing. The two broken pieces fit well together and together they fit well with the saddle portion. The underside of the stem looked pretty good with the parts connected. However the top side was another story – there was a large chunk of vulcanite missing virtually the length of the stem. Now I knew what I was dealing with.

I put the pieces back in the bag and put the bag and bowl back into the box. I laid it aside and took some time to think through the best course of action for putting it back together again. It was a true Humpty Dumpty project and I did not know if all the kings’ men or even this king’s man could put it back together again. I let it sit while I repaired pipes that were in the queue ahead of it.

Several weeks went by, at least it seemed that way to me and I did not look at the pipe again. I knew it was there but I was not ready to commit to a repair. Today, Saturday arrived and I finished the repairs that were ahead of it. I decided that today was the day. I unpacked the pieces and put them together again to have a look. The tenon/saddle end had a clean break away from the rest of the pieces. The airway inside was oval shaped as was the airway in the button and in the gap between the pieces. Whatever I used to repair this one would have to take that into account. I would need to give an adequate interior base for the rebuild of the stem. If I could glue the pieces together and then insert a tube of some sort I could then rebuild the gap of the missing pieces of vulcanite. It seemed like the plan would work. The first step was to glue to two parts of the button end together. I cleaned the surface with alcohol and ran a bead of clear super glue along the edges of each piece. I put them together and ran a bead of glue along the surface of the crack on the underside of the stem.I took some photos of the bowl and rest of the broken stem just to give an idea of the beauty of the pipe and the magnitude of the issue at hand. The bowl and the finish on the pipe were in excellent condition. It really did not need any work. I don’t know if Pat cleaned the briar or not but it was looking really good. To encourage myself a bit I took some photos of the bowl. The grain is beautiful and the stamping is very sharp and clear. It is stamped on the left side of the shank Comoy’s over Grand Slam over Patent. On the right side it is stamped British over Patent No. over 40574.I flattened the first two inches of the inner tube to make it oval. The trick was not to collapse the tube but merely change its shape from round to oval. It worked really well. I slid the oval tube into the repaired pieces of stem. I aligned it so that it was centred looking at it from the slot in the button. I took photos of the tube in place from the top and the bottom sides.It was now time to proceed. I prepared my charcoal powder and black super glue putty mixture on a folded piece of paper. Because the super glue cures slowly I stir the two components together until I get a thick paste. I double checked the alignment of the tube in the stem end and then applied the mixture to both sides of the stem with a dental spatula. I pressed it into the area on the top side where the stem pieces were missing first then applied a thick coat over the top of the repaired area. The photos below show the progress and the filled repair once I had smoothed it out with the spatula. The flattened tube is anchored solidly in place and the area around it is filled in with the putty. The putty is purposely thick so I have a good base to work with once it dries. I will need to flatten it out and reshape the edges of the button. So far I was happy with the progress of the repair. Once the repair had dried it was time to work on shortening the tube to fit into the other half of the stem. I cut it off with a hacksaw until the length such that when I slid the two parts together it would allow them to match.I applied super glue to the edges of both pieces of the stem and slid the two parts together. I filled in the low spots on the connection with clear super glue to begin with and set the stem aside to cure some more.When the repair had cured I sanded the patch with 180 grit sandpaper to smooth out the surface and begin to blend it into the rest of the stem. I wanted the two parts of the stem to flow together naturally. I continued to sand it with 220 grit sandpaper to further smooth out the surface. In the process air bubbles showed up in the repair surface. This is a normal occurrence and would need to be patched further once I finished this stage of sanding. I also lightly sanded the tenon as the fit in the shank was too tight and I was pretty certain that the stem had shattered because of that. I used black super glue to fill in the air bubbles and pits in the surface of the stem and set the stem aside to cure overnight. In the morning I would sand out those repairs and continue to shape the stem.In the morning the repaired had cured well and the stem was solid. It was a unit once more. The touch up repairs to the air bubbles had also cured so I began the long process of sanding the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth things out. The next two photos show the beginning of the progress. The stem is starting to look pretty good. Still a lot more sanding to do before it is finished but I like what I see so far.In talking to Patrick he wanted to have the stinger apparatus removed and cleaned up so that he could put it back in place should he want it but he wanted the more open draught of the stem without the stinger. These older style Comoy’s stingers were usually threaded and screwed into the tenon of the stem. In all of the ones that I have cleaned up the stingers were locked in place by the lacquer like tobacco juices that had dried and caused it to be frozen in place.

I rubbed the tenon end down with a cotton swab and alcohol and let it soak into the tenon itself. I wanted to soften the tars and oils there and the alcohol would do that without damaging the rest of my repair. Once it had soaked for a while I dried off the area to make sure there was no residual alcohol and heated the stinger repeatedly with the flame of a Bic lighter. Heat would further loosen the lacquers on the threads so that I could unscrew it without damaging the tenon. I used the flat sides of the diamond on the stinger as anchor spots for a pair of needle nose pliers and unscrewed it from the tenon. It was threaded on the end and sat at the bottom of the tenon.The tenon was slightly enlarged and would not seat easily in the mortise. I wonder if this may not have been part of the reason the stem had shattered. Even before I heated the stinger the fit in the mortise had been tight and it would not sit snug against the shank. I cleaned out the inside of the mortise and shank with cotton swabs, alcohol and pipe cleaners to remove any residue that lined the walls. I wanted to be sure that the fit was not hampered by the shank itself. In examining the tenon I could see that the it was slightly thicker at the tenon/saddle junction. I used a needle file to smooth out the thickness and sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper.The fit of the tenon now was snug and the stem could be easily removed and put in place without being tight. I sanded the stem with 220, 320 and 400 wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each pad and gave it a final coat after the 12000 grit pad. The photos show some white flecks on the top surface of the stem. These needed to be sanded out and polished. I gave the stem multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and hand buffed the stem and pipe with a shoe brush to polish it. I buffed it with a microfibre cloth to raise and deepen a shine on the briar and the vulcanite. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I am sending the original stinger back with the finished pipe to Patrick. He has the option of using it or not as he chooses. The finished stem looks better than the three parts and missing chunks that arrived. It should work for him but I am wondering about the fragileness of the old vulcanite. We shall see. Care will need to be exercised when smoking this pipe and taking it apart for cleaning. The briar is absolutely beautiful and the age and patina of the pipe is stunning. I will send it back soon Patrick. Can’t wait to hear what you think.

Fanfare for the Everyman Pretender


Blog by Robert M. Boughton

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

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

INTRODUCTION

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That is as much as I would hazard to guess.

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

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

Case closed.

RESTORATION

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

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

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

CONCLUSION

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

SOURCES

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

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

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

https://pipedia.org/wiki/Stanwell_Shape_Numbers_and_Designers

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

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

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

 

1967 DUNHILL 197 SHELL BRIAR Clean-up


Blog by Henry Ramirez

When surfing Ebay I noticed a very well smoked Shell billiard whose stem had lost its White Dot. It looked like it could be cleaned up to present an elegant addition to my collection. I anxiously awaited its arrival and immediately dunked the stem in an Oxyclean bath for a nite.

The next morning I pulled it out of the bath and wiped off the smegma for my first real look at the stem. The divots reminded me of a deflated balloon. Just what I was hoping for! Off to the buffer I went to buff off the sulfur discoloration with a wet rag wheel and pumice. Knowing what I know now, I should have popped this baby in the oven to raise the dents but instead I got to cleaning the stem’s airway and tenon. I bonded some shade A2 dental composite in the hole for the White Spot and was dismayed that it refracted the surrounding black vulcanite. Note to self, next time place a layer of opaque before the bulk fill. Luckily, when researching the earlier White Spots I came across examples of dots so dark they were black. I had made a silicone impression of a new pipe’s stem and used that as a mold to create a refurbishment of the button. What a mess! Next time I’ll mix the charcoal in with the composite resin rather than CA. I ended up recreating the button the way Steve has posted here on Reborn Pipes. OK, so now it’s the bowl’s turn. My armamentarium and procedure is pretty routine for cake and gunk removal. The rim’s blast was scorched but luckily, the rest of the pipe’s blast was vestigial. This was an opportunity to try out emulating a blast through rustication. Plus, since the pipe was stained rather darkly, it would help hide a myriad of sins. When polishing the chamber I noticed some alligatoring of the briar. Today I would probably schmeer some JB Weld into the cracks but what I did was a coating of Structural Sour Cream and charcoal. I played around with the button’s internals, polished with the usual green, red and white compounds (thanks Tim West), threw on some wax and called it a day! Thanks for looking, regards, Henry

Dunhill 1949 Patent 120 FrankenStem


Blog by Henry Ramirez

Cruising Ebay for a pipe to play with I came across a Shell bent which, as stated in the listing, had the stem bit completely chewed off. I’d been trying a mold technique to reconstruct the stem button with limited success, very limited. Anyway, this pipe’s stem had been chewed to the point where no pipe cleaner could negotiate the airway and tobacco dottle was packed in tight. Here is a photo of the listing.Dang me, the previous owner had a heck of an oral fixation!  This stem was exactly what I was looking for.While the stem soaked in the Oxyclean bath, I evaluated the briar. The cake in the chamber was so thick you could shake a stick at it but after removal proved to be the protection connection because the inner bowl was pristine. I don’t know what it is about old tobaccos but the cake is dry and pumice-like with a delightfully transporting aroma to another time. The bowl’s rim was likewise protected by the lava of cake and tar. When I use my augers and drill bits, it’s either by holding the bit by hand or using an electric drill to hold the spade bit and turning the pipe itself. I’m listening for the crunching sound of cake being cleaved rather than the squeaky sound of metal on briar. Full rotations are usually not possible until the very end.

The stain and finish on the briar had that great oxblood highlight color that I love but was tarnished with a river of muck. I decided to try using my micro etcher to preserve the blast on the rim but knowing that I would later have to re-stain. I didn’t want to use Murphy’s Oil Soap because it diminishes the intensity of the stain somewhat.  Regarding the River o” Muck, I tried using my steamer which has a gun for accurate aiming and a boiler which keeps up the psi.  This muck was visible in the blast’s valleys as a white deposit. I fished out the stem from the Oxyclean bath, scrubbed it with blue shop paper towels to remove the slimy coating and polished it with flour of pumice, green, red, white diamond and Bendix on the lathe with individual rag wheels.

When the stem airway is too congested or crimped to allow passage of even a bristle pipe cleaner, I use a base “E” guitar string. It has a stiff central core wire which is later wound with another thicker resilient wire to poke on through.  My intent is not to mechanically open the airway but to remove any remaining tobacco chattel that the steamer couldn’t dislodge.

Next, I want to straighten the stem in my Wife’s oven. Of course I do this when she’s not around and so far she has turned a blind eye towards this practice.  But if there is residual tobacco burnt in her oven, I don’t want to be around to explain! The vulcanite has a memory of its initial pre-bent and pre-chewed state which will allow ease of cleaning and repair. The only bugaboo is that tenon-mortise margin can open. I was fortunate to have that happen because I have an adjustment technique to fix that which I want to try out. Importantly, don’t forget to trace the initial outline of the bent stem on a piece of paper for a reference when re-bending.

The pipe stem is positioned on a sheet of aluminum foil on the middle shelf where it is easy access and can be well illuminated by the oven’s light, I have tried to use an aluminum pie plate but the higher sides obscure my viewing the stem. I set the temperature to 247 degrees using the Bake Convection mode. This oven is electric and if yours is gas, you may want to let it get up to temperature first before placing your stem. Gadzooks!  The tenon on the stem opened like a blunderbuss barrel and the stem won’t fully seat. More fun!

The cross section on either side of the air way seemed meaty enough for some pins and channeling to create a ferrule of composite resin. I made a silicone putty impression of an unsmoked stem which approximated the same size and shape of this pipe. I made sure to capture the airway’s interior.I then plugged the stem’s airway with wax; micro etched the exterior surface and bonded the composite. I’d gotten a black resin colorant online but found that it either accelerated the mix to a very short working time or inhibited the mix to not fully curing. To blacken my next mix I’m going back to activated charcoal. But although this bit is ivory colored, it is very strong and decently shaped so I decided to simply slather it with a coating of black CA.

When I placed the pipe back in the oven to re-bend it, I found that some of the CA had over heated and was bubbled up like road tar. Note to self, keep CA out of the oven. I had seen this happen with an infrared light in a previous experiment but thought the temp was sufficiently lower to prevent a recurrence. Oh well, just more fussin’.

By the way, when re-bending the stem I never seem to be able to wait long enough and go through several attempts before getting it right. If it doesn’t fully bend to the proper contour, you have to wait until it re-straightens itself and then some. If you get greedy you can snap stem in half. I’m looking forward to my next stem bending because I plan to chronicle the ideal temperature using my laser thermometer.Returning to the bowl’s rim, I stained it with a light brown, got the stem to fit better but haven’t yet dialed it in and polished the pipe.I noticed that the preliminary outline of the stem displayed the additional length that the new bit added.Here’s the semi-final result and I wonder if any of these projects are truly ended because to aspire to the superb craftsmanship of these old Dunhill artisans is a journey rather than an endpoint.

 

 

 

Why is it a Second? A Fiammata 128 Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came from the recent estate sale my brother attended. The pipeman whose pipes were being sold had good taste as can be seen from the pipes I have posted recently from my workbench. This one is no exception. It has stunning straight grain around the bowl and a few small well-hidden fills. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank with the name FIAMMATA and on the right side it is stamped 128 over Italy. There are no other markings on the pipe. The stem is lightly oxidized and has the now familiar tooth marks as the other pipes in this estate.The shape number, the Italy stamp and the overall look of the pipe told me that it was a Savinelli pipe but I was not sure. You know how when you are handling a pipe of unknown make you just have a feeling about its origin? That is what happened as I turned this one over in my hands to examine it. I did some digging on Pipedia and found the information to confirm my suspicions about the pipe being a Savinelli made produce. Here is the link to the section of the Pipedia article on Savinelli Sub-brands: https://pipedia.org/wiki/Savinelli#Savinelli_made_sub-brands.2C_seconds_.26_order_productions

On the Sub-brands list you will see the name Fiammata. Next to the name it says that the sub-brand is a “Rejected “Giubileo D’Oro” – Straight Grain”. That matches the look of this pipe. I have to say though that the quality control people were very good on the day this pipe was made as the tiny sandpits and fills that I can see on the bowl were hard to identify as they followed the grain on the pipe so well. I thought it might be interesting to check out the Giubileo D’Oro pipes to see what I could learn about the destiny of this pipe before the flaws were noted and the pipe was rejected. The next photo of an advertisement for the brand gives information that I found extremely helpful when looking at this pipe in terms of shape, colour and finish. The top pipe in the photo is the 128 which is the same shape I am working on at the moment. The grain on my pipe is far better than the one in the photo.I have included a copy of the Savinelli Shape Chart so that you can see the shape of the pipe in hand. It is stamped 128 and can be seen on the first column of the chart. It is a tapered stem billiard. I circled the shape in red on the chart below.Jeff took some close up photos of the rim top to show the condition of the cake in the bowl and the overflow of lava on the top of the rim. From the photos it is hard to know if the inner rim edge is damaged because of the buildup of lava.Jeff took the next series of photos to show the grain on the bottom and both sides of the bowl. It is really quite beautiful grain. Look closely and see if you can see the small fills. The next two photos show the stamping on the shank of the pipe. The first photo is the right side of the shank and the second is the left side.The final two photos that Jeff sent to me show the familiar tooth marks on the top and the underside of the stem at the button.My brother did his usual amazing clean up of the pipe. He reamed the bowl and scrubbed the lava off the rim. He scrubbed the finish with Murphy’s Oil Soap and rinsed it with water. He cleaned out the mortise and the airway in the shank with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. The next four photos show the condition of the pipe when it arrived in Vancouver. Jeff was able to get the lava off the rim and leave the rim looking almost new. The inner beveled edge of the rim is flawless as well. It looks undamaged and there are no burn marks on the bevel or on the rim top. There is slight darkening on the back of the top but it is minimal.He soaked the stem in Oxyclean for a few hours and scrubbed it clean. The oxidation came to the surface and looked speckled in the next two photos. The photos also show the tooth marks and chatter clearly.I sanded the stem with 320 grit sandpaper to remove the surface oxidation and smooth out the tooth chatter and tooth marks.I cleaned the top and bottom edge of the button with alcohol and used black super glue to fill in the deeper spots on both sides of the button. I filled them in and set the stem aside to dry.I sanded the bowl rim and sides with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cotton pad to remove the dust. I dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads and repeated wiping down the bowl with the damp cotton pad. The photos below tell the story of the polishing. Look closely and see if you can see some of the small fills. I sanded the repaired area on the stem with 320 grit sandpaper to remove the excess hardened super glue and blend it into the surface of the button. I ran a pipe cleaner through the shank and the airway in the stem to remove any of the sanding debris from the airways. They came out very clean.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit sanding pads. I wiped down the stem with Obsidian Oil and dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I repeated wiping down the stem with the oil. After sanding it with the 12000 grit pad I wiped it down a final time with Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem on the shank and buffed it with red Tripoli to work out the rest of the oxidation that still remained on the stem near the shank end. It took some careful buffing to work it out but it finally came out. I buffed the stem with Blue Diamond to polish the stem even more. I buffed the entire pipe with the Blue Diamond on the wheel to polish out the minute scratches in the rubber and the briar. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax with the wax buffing pad. I polished it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The shape and condition of the pipe is very nice and the grain stands out much like it would have if the pipe had made the grade for a Giubileo D’Oro pipe. There is a faint stamp of triangles on the side of the stem. The dimensions of the pipe are as follows Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 7/8 inches, Outer bowl diameter: 1 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ inches. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The pipe is a made in such a way that it follows the stunningly grained piece of briar perfectly. The shape of the stem works with the flow of the pipe. The black of the stem and natural finish of the briar work well together. This pipe will soon be available on the rebornpipes store. If you want to add it to your collection email me at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a private message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.