Tag Archives: shaping a stem

Breathing new life into a SON Freehand – an early pipe by Eric Nording


Blog by Steve Laug

When my brother Jeff saw this pipe he went for it. I am not sure if he bought it on one of his travels or on EBay but it is the kind of pipe that catches his attention. The grain on the bowl is a mix of flame, straight and swirled patterns. The stain on the bowl is dark from the top of the bowl down about ½ inch all around the bowl. It similar to other pipes from the 60s that had a bit of a flume finish on the top edges of the bowl. The plateau on the top of the rim and the end of the shank are blackened and the dark rough plateau in those spots works well with the reddish brown stain on the bowl. The pipe was dirty with a thick cake in the bowl and an overflow of lava on the rim top filling in much of the plateau top. The stem was dirty with some built up calcification on the tenon and around the rings on part way up the stem. This is visible in the photo below. The stem was heavily oxidized and was a brownish green colour. There was tooth chatter and tooth marks on both sides of the stem near the button. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he did his cleanup. The next photo shows the rim top. You can see the cake in the bowl and the overflow of lava and grime that filled in some of the ridges and grooves in the plateau.The grain on the bowl though dirty, showed promising patterns – straight grains and flame. There were also some swirls in the grain. The photos below show what the finish looked like and under the grime it looked good. There was a flaw in the grain on the right side of the bowl (shown in the second photo below). I have circled it in red. The stamping on the underside of the shank is very readable. It reads SON over DANMARK over the number 5. At this point I had no idea who the maker of the SON brand was. I would need to do a bit of research to figure out who the maker was. The style though was very 1960s era but I had no proof of that at the moment.Jeff took some photos of the insert stem showing the calcification on the tenon and in some of the rings on the vulcanite stem. The oxidation is also very visible in the vulcanite. You can also see the grime in the grooves of the plateau on the end of the shank.The photos of the stem show a lot of tooth chatter on both sides of the stems. There are also some tooth marks on the button top and bottom.I decided to do a bit of research on the brand to see who made the SON brand. I looked first on Pipephil’s site http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-s10.html. I quote from a note on the site next to photos of the stamping on the pipes of that brand.

“The brand’s name stems from a partnership between Soren Skovbo and Erik Nording. It lasted for two years in the mid-1960s before the partnership ended and the brand ceased. That dates this pipe to the 1960s.”

I looked on Pipedia for further information: https://pipedia.org/wiki/N%C3%B8rding. In the listing of pipemakers by country the entry for SON linked back to Nording pipes. I went to that page and read the following information. I have included a portion of that article below that gives the pertinent connections.

Long before he graduated from engineering school at age 25 he was a more experienced pipe smoker than most men his age. He frequented a pipe shop in Copenhagen and often had his pipes repaired there. “The guy who did the repairs in that shop” says Nording. “could see that it was a good business, and he wanted to start his own pipe making shop.” That repairman’s name was Skovbo. One day he approached the young Erik Nording with a proposition. “You are a blacksmith and an engineer,” Skovbo said to Nording. “You must know a lot about machinery. Can you make me some pipe making machinery?”

“I told him I could make anything he wanted,” says Nording. “But I didn’t have any money. So I borrowed S200 to buy some bearings, and I scoured junkyards for old broken machinery. I bought inexpensive housings and put in new bearings and new shafts.” It was Nording’s first contract and he wanted to get a good start, so he took great care in making the best possible tools for the pipe maker. “I made him a little polishing machine, and a lathe, and a sander for shaping pipes.” When he had everything put together and running perfectly, he called Skovbo and told him his machinery was finished.

“He came out and looked it over,” says Nording. “He turned on the electricity and watched everything run. He had some blocks of wood with him, and he tried everything out. Finally he looked at me and said, ‘It’s exactly as I wanted. Perfect. How much do I owe you?’ I told him the price—I don’t remember how much it was, but it was very inexpensive.”

Skovbo thought the price was very good. “That’s fantastic,” he said. “The price is right. Now I’ll start out for myself, make some pipes and when I earn some money I’ll pay you.”

It must have been a terrifically discouraging moment for a young man who had just completed what he thought was his first paying job in a new career. As Erik Nording now remembers that moment, sitting in a beautiful home that contains a pipe making shop large enough for 20 workers making tens of thousands of world-famous pipes, his face exhibits amusement at that memory. But back then, as a youngster trying to get a foothold in the world, his expression must have been more akin to horror.

“I told him that was not good enough,” says Nording. “I told him I was a poor man, I didn’t have any money, I needed to be paid for my work.” But Skovbo told Nording that he couldn’t pay him.

“Then I will keep the machinery,” said Nording. “I’ll make pipes myself.”

“You don’t know how to use this machinery,” said Skovbo. “You know nothing of pipe making.”

“Well, you’re not getting it. You should have told me before I did all this work that you didn’t have the money to pay for it.”

Skovbo thought it over. “Why don’t we start together?” he said.

That’s how Erik Nording became a pipe maker.

There are still a few of those early pipes around. “I saw some at a shop I visited a while back,” says Nording. “The shop owner offered to give them to me as mementos but I refused. They may be worth quite a bit of money to collectors. You never know”…

Those first pipes carried the name SON”, which was an acronym for the combination of the names Skovbo and Nording. Each of the partners borrowed $5,500 to get the business going, to rent a space and get the electricity turned on and to buy two bags of briar. Skovbo taught Nording how to make pipes, “but I didn’t have much time because I was still studying,” says Nording. “And I never got the chance to learn much from him, because shortly after we started he said that I would never be a pipe maker, he said that my hands had no skill for the craft, that I could never learn. I never understood how he could make such a judgment, but he did.”

To his credit, Nording shows no sign of triumph in the fact that he has proved Skovbo wrong by becoming one of the best-known pipe makers in the world. “He said that he would continue with SON pipes alone, that he no longer needed me,” says Nording. However, the partners had a legal agreement that whoever wished to dissolve the partnership first would leave the company to the remaining partner and be paid off without interest over five years. So Nording became the one to keep the company…

…Nording continued with SON pipes for only a year or two before changing the company name to Nording in the mid-’60s. “I figured nobody could ever take that name away from me,” he says. Nording’s were exclusively freehand shapes, graded from A, B, C, D, up to its highest grade, extra. Later an “F” grade was added—less expensive than the “A.”

Jeff worked his magic in cleaning up this pipe. He reamed it with a PipNet reamer and smoothed the walls of the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife. 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 and shank with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to the oils and tars on the bowl, rim and shank. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. The cleaning of the stem raised more oxidation in the vulcanite. The tooth marks and chatter was clean but visible. I took the stem off and put it in a bath of Before & After Stem Deoxidizer and totally forgot to take pictures of the pipe before I started.I did however; remember to take photos of the bowl to show its condition before I started my work on it. While the stem sat in the deoxidizer bath I worked on the bowl. I decided to start by addressing the flaw and the nick in the briar on the right side of the bowl. I wiped down the area around the damaged and flawed spot with cotton pad and alcohol. I filled in the flaw with clear super glue. Once it had cured I sanded the filled in area with a piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the repair and blend it into the rest of the briar. I decided to scrub the briar with Before & After Restoration Balm. I rubbed it into the briar with my finger working it into the plateau on the rim top and shank end. The product worked to lift the grime and debris out of the grooves of the briar. I rubbed it down and scrubbed it deeper into the grooves of the briar with a shoe brush. I polished the briar with a soft cloth to remove the balm from the briar. The photos below show what the pipe looked like after scrubbing the briar with the product. The balm helped to blend in the repaired area with the surrounding briar. The briar had a new life and the plateau on the rim top and shank end also looked alive. I set the bowl aside and turned back to the stem. I removed it from the soak in the Before & After Deoxidizer and wiped it down. I cleaned out the inside of the airway with alcohol to remove the product from the stem. I polished the stem with a soft cloth to remove all of the deoxidizer and give it a bit of a shine. It had removed much of the light oxidation though there were remnants in the rings and grooves above the tenon. There were still some spots of oxidation that needed to be addressed and the button needed to be reshaped on both sides to remove the tooth marks and chatter. The photos below show what it looked like at this point.I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to work on the tooth chatter and to reshape the edges and surface of the button.  I worked over the spots of oxidation on the flat portions and on the rings and grooves in the turned stem with the sandpaper at the same time to remove it from the surface of the hard rubber stem.I polished out the sanding scratches and marks in the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-4000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I buffed the stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I brought it back to the table and sanded it with the final three 6000-12000 grit pads. After the final pad I gave it a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem back on the bowl and worked the pipe over on the buffing wheel using Blue Diamond to polish the bowl and shank. I used a gentle touch on the briar when I was buffing it so that the grooves of the rustication would not be filled in and make more work for me. I buffed the stem with a harder touch to raise the gloss on the rubber. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It looks better than it did in the beginning. It is a beautiful pipe. The dimensions of the pipe are: Length: 7 inches, Height: 3 1/4 inches, Diameter of the bowl: 2 inches, Diameter of the tapered chamber at the top of the bowl: 1 1/4 inches. I will be adding this one to the rebornpipes store shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection. It will make a fine addition to the rack. If you are interested email me at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.

 

Advertisements

Something is different about this Heritage Square Shank Apple


Blog by Steve Laug

As I mentioned in the first blog I did on the Heritage threesome – the 45S Antique, earlier this summer I was relaxing and surfing Ebay on my iPad and I came across three listings for Heritage Pipes. All were square shank pipes and all were in decent condition. Two of them had original stems while the third had a stem I was not sure about. Several years ago I had learned about the brand through Andrew Selking who writes for rebornpipes. Since then I have kept an eye out for them. There do not seem to be too many showing up on Ebay but every so often there is one. This time there were three. I contacted my brother with the links and he bid and won the threesome. I have finished the middle and bottom pipe and have written blogs about them (The Heritage Antique – https://rebornpipes.com/2017/10/08/cleaning-up-the-first-of-three-heritage-pipes-45s-dublin/, The Heritage Diplomat – https://rebornpipes.com/2017/10/14/new-life-for-heritage-diplomat-8-panel-billiard/). The last of the threesome is what is on the work table now. It the top pipe in the photos below. When I got to looking carefully at this pipe I immediately saw some differences from the other two Heritage pipes. Though it is stamped Heritage with a similar font on the left side of the shank, it also is stamped Made in USA under that. The stamping is more like the Kaywoodie pipes I have worked on. The right side of the shank is stamped Imported Briar. The finish on this pipe is nowhere near as nice as the other two pipes. The quality is good but not stellar like the others. The stem fit and shape is different from the other two and seems to be a stem blank rather than a custom made stem. It is not a replacement as I first thought but is the original stem. I also cannot find it on the Heritage Brochure that Andrew provided. The overall look and feel of the pipe leads me to think that this pipe was made later than the other ones and is probably a Kaywoodie of lesser quality. Even though that is true I think it has value in that it is a historical piece that may be transitional in nature. I am including the next two photos as they show the condition of the pipe when my brother received it and the stamping on the shank. For your reference if you are interested I am including a summary of the history of the brand that Andrew wrote on a previous blog on rebornpipes. I find that it is helpful and clear. There is not a lot of information on the brand available on-line so anything helps fill the gap. Here is the link: https://rebornpipes.com/2014/12/23/refurbishing-a-heritage-heirloom/.

Heritage pipes were Kaywoodie’s answer to Dunhill. According to one of their brochures, Heritage pipes were made from “briar burls seasoned and cured for up to 8 months,” with only “one briar bowl in over 300 selected to bear the Heritage name.” “Heritage stems are custom fitted with the finest hand finished Para Rubber stems. Mouthpieces are wafer thin and concave.”

The Heritage line began in the early 1960’s, with the trademark issued in 1964. The line was started at the request of Stephen Ogdon, (who worked for Kaywoodie in 1962). Mr. Ogdon had previous experience working for Dunhill, either running the New York store or working for Dunhill North America. Mr. Ogden was made President of Heritage Pipes, Inc., Kaywoodie Tobacco Co.,Inc. and Kaywoodie Products Inc. as well as a Vice President of S.M. Frank & Co. Heritage Pipes were produced from 1964 until 1970 (Source Kaywoodie.myfreeforum.org).

From Andrew’s helpful blog I would put a 1970s date on this one. It may well have been done after the closure of the line. Jeff took photos of the grain around the bowl to give an idea of the quality of the briar. While it was dirty and scratched there was some nice grain on the pipe. The photos show some slight wear on the outer edge of the rim and on the inner edge. The rim top shows some wear and some lava buildup. It is hard to know from these photos how much damage there is to the inner edge of the rim. I will know more once the grime and lava are removed. Time will tell. The next two photos show the stamping on the shank. There are some subtle differences to the Heritage font and the not so subtle differences of the Made in USA and Imported Briar stamp that were not present on the other two pipes of this threesome. The stem did not have the PARA Hard Rubber stamping of the other two and did not bear the Heritage logo on the left side of the saddle. This could either point to a replacement stem (which is possible) or to a later version of the brand that did not include those items. I am not sure which is the case. The stem was good quality rubber and did not show too much oxidation. There was tooth chatter and some tooth marks on both sides of the stem near the button. There was also some wear on the sharp edge of the button on both sides.Jeff worked his magic in cleaning up this pipe. He reamed it with a PipNet reamer and smoothed the walls of the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife. 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 and shank with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to the oils and tars on the bowl, rim and shank. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. Once the grime was removed the finish seemed to be coated with a varnish coat. It was peeling around the outer edges of the rim and also there were some damaged spots on the sides of the bowl where the finish was slightly peeling. There was some wear around the edges of the rim top and the inner edge showed some burn damage on the right side. The cleaning of the stem did not raise any oxidation in the vulcanite. The tooth marks were clean but visible. I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work on it. I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem to show the condition of both before I worked on them. The photo of the rim top shows the damage on the inner edge of the right side of the rim and the wear on the outer edge around the bowl. Other than the tooth chatter and tooth marks the stem was in good condition with no oxidation that I would need to worry about. I decided to start on the bowl and address the rim damage. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to slightly bevel the inner edge of the rim and blend in the damaged area with the rest of the bowl. I wanted to bring it back to round as much as possible and remove the damage. The second photo shows the reshaped rim edge. I think the process worked pretty well!I decided to use Mark Hoover’s Before & After Restoration Balm. I have written a review about the product in an earlier blog. I rubbed it into the surface of the briar and scrubbed it with a cotton pad. Mark has said that the product was designed to pull the dirt off of the briar as well as polish it. He added some anti-oxidants to keep the briar from getting damaged from both UV rays and water. It worked very well as you can see from the following photos that show the cleaned briar and the grime on the cotton pad. Remember that this pipe had already been scrubbed with oil soap and rinsed. It appeared to be clean for all intents and purposes but it still had residual grime in the pores of the briar. I blended black Sharpie Marker and a Dark Brown Stain pen to colour the inner edge of the rim and the repaired area on the rim top. The combination matched the colour of the stain on the bowl perfectly.It is at this point a couple of things caught my eye. There were what looked like water spots on the front and the left side of the bowl. I looked closely and they were very odd. Almost like some of the varnish finish had bubbled and been removed. The longer I looked at it the more ugly it looked. What had looked like an easy restore suddenly looked a lot harder. I was going to have to remove the varnish coat and restain the entire pipe. Just a little discouraging when things were moving ahead so well. But, chin up and do the job!

I wiped the bowl down with acetone to try to cut through the finish. It did not budge! Oh man, that meant I was dealing with some kind of plasticized coating and it would be a bit more difficult to remove. I sanded the bowl and shank with 220 grit sandpaper to break through the surface of the topcoat. I wiped it down repeatedly with the acetone to see if I was making progress.  It was slow going. I sanded it with a medium and a fine grit sanding sponge and was able to make more progress. I wiped it down again. The photos below show the pipe when I had removed all of the plastic coating. It was odd in that there were two large spots on the front of the bowl and around the rim edges where the finish came off as well as the plastic. The rest of the finish was deeply set in the grain. I have only seen that on pipes where there was some oil in the briar that was not properly removed before staining and finishing. I wiped the bowl down with acetone a final time scrubbing the unstained portions with extra care. I wiped it down with alcohol in those areas and heated the briar to see if I could open the pores before staining. I used a dark brown stain pen to precolour the briar before restaining the entire pipe. I wanted to get deep coverage on the briar. I warmed the briar once again by painting it with the flame of a lighter. I stained the entire bowl with dark brown aniline stain and set it in the grain with a lighter. I repeated the process particularly on the front, sides and rim top until the coverage was even all around the bowl. I set the bowl aside to cure overnight.Work and general busyness kept me from working on the pipe again for several days. When I finally got a moment I wiped the bowl down with alcohol and cotton pads to even out the finish and give it a bit more transparency. I sanded the newly stained bowl and shank with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with an alcohol dampened cotton pad. I buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond to further polish out the scratches and then gave it several coats of Danish Oil with a Cherry Stain to give the bowl a rich finish similar to the one on the Heritage Diplomat that I restored earlier. The pipe is beginning to look really good in my opinion and in many ways is far better than when I started. I buffed the bowl with a soft cotton cloth to polish the Danish Oil. I took the following pictures to show the bowl at this point in the process. I still need to buff it again on the wheel and give it multiple coats of carnauba wax. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth marks and chatter with 220 grit sandpaper. I carefully blended them into the surface of the vulcanite. I also worked over the sharp edges of the button to clean up the marks that were left behind there. The sanding dust left behind on the sandpaper was a rich, dark black which spoke well of the quality of the vulcanite that was used on this stem. To me it also was further proof of the stem being original rather than a later poor quality replacement.The one oddity to the pipe was that the shank was thinner on the right side than the left. The mortise was drilled straight but it was definitely not centered in the shank. Due to that the tenon on was slightly off to the right side of the shank to match. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit pads and wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I dry sanded with 3200-12000 grit pads and again wiped it down with Obsidian Oil. I finished the polishing with the pads and gave it a final coat of the oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem back on the bowl and worked the pipe over on the buffing wheel using Blue Diamond polish to further remove scratches on the bowl and shank. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It looks better than it did in the beginning. I still think it is a transitional piece between the classic higher end Heritage line and the later line that came out when the classic line ended. It is still a beautiful pipe. The finish is good but not nearly as well done as the classics. The dimensions of the pipe are: Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Diameter of the chamber: ¾ inches. Thanks for looking.

Restoring an interesting old Bakelite Cavalier


Blog by Steve Laug

One of the sellers I follow on eBay often has unique older pipes that catch my eye. I can’t remember how long I have been following him but it has been quite a while now and I have purchased many pipes from him. When this old style cavalier came up for sale on his page it caught my eye and I wanted to add it to the collection. There were no distinguishing marks on the stem or shank. It was identified as a no name Cavalier. The bowl appeared to be briar though I was not certain of that. The base unit was one integral piece from the tip of the cavalier end to the end of the preformed button. The bowl looked like it had been smoked as there was a cake in it that had run over like lava on the rim top. It had a small nick in the side of the bowl that can be seen in the first photo below. The stem looked to be oxidized but I was not sure what the material was – it could have been vulcanite or even Bakelite. I would know more when it arrived in Vancouver from England.The second photo shows the delicate look of the bowl and the base. There is something simple and flowing about the pipe. It is that look that caused me to bid on the pipe. It just flowed nicely from the button to the end of the base.While I waited for it to arrive I did a bit of research on the web. I checked my favourite site for metal and non-metal pipes that have either threaded or push fit bowls. I was not sure what I was dealing with on the above pipe because there were no photos of it with the bowl removed. My guess was that it was a push fit bowl. I did find a similar looking pipe on the Smoking Metal website. The link is http://www.smokingmetal.co.uk/pipe.php?page=325 and the pipe bears the stamp L.M.B. in a rectangular banner on the left side of the shank. The bowl looks identical to the one that I picked up and the base had a very similar shape. I would be able to tell more about it when it arrived.When the pipe arrived I was in Europe for work so it sat for three weeks. When I got home I opened it to see what I was dealing with. I took some photos of the pipe before I started to work on it to show what it looked like when I began. I was not sure what the stem and base was made of – I was leaning toward Bakelite rather than vulcanite but the cleanup would verify. I took a close up photo of the bowl and the rim. The bowl had an uneven, thick cake that all but clogged the air hole in the bottom of the bowl. The rim had a lava overflow that covered the flat surface.The stem and base were oxidized. It had the brown tint of oxidation. I still wondered if the stem was vulcanite or if it was Bakelite. I dropped it in a container of Before & After Deoxidizer to let it soak.When I took it out of the Deoxidizer the oxidation was gone and the underlying colour of the stem and base unit was a rich dark brown. It turned out to be Bakelite not vulcanite. It would clean up nicely and be a beauty. I cleaned out the airway and the inside of the base of the pipe with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the build up inside. It took a bit of work before I could remove all of the grime. I reamed the bowl and scraped the tars off the rim top with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. It took a bit of work to scrape away all of the buildup and the lava overflow. I used a bristle brush to clean out the airway in the bottom of the bowl and remove the clogged hole. I wiped the bowl down with an alcohol dampened cotton pad to remove the grime on the bowl. The wood underneath did not appear to be briar. I am thinking that it is maple or some other hardwood with a tight grain pattern. I sanded the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. When I finished polishing it with the micromesh sanding pads I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. The Balm brought the briar to life. The rich colour and the grain on the alternate wood came to life. With the bowl finished I turned the attention to the Bakelite base and stem. I polished it with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. The photos below show the process. I pressed the bowl back on the base and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to polish the stem and the bowl. I gave the base and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise a shine. I gave the bowl multiple coats of wax and buffed it until the bowl shown. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finish on the bowl and dark brown Bakelite stem combine to present a beautiful pipe. The dimensions of this pipe are Length: 8 inches, Height: 2 inches, Bowl diameter: 1 1/4 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 inches. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. Thanks for looking.

This Old Italian Canadian showed Promise


Blog by Steve Laug

Jeff picked this heavily rusticated pipe up on one of his recent forays into the antique shops and malls of Montana. It is sea rock like rustication on the bowl and shank with a wire rustication on top of that. The finish was very dirty with a lot of dirt and grime in the deeper grooves of the rustication. There was a random stem stuck in the shank when he picked it up – I think it was just to make it more sellable. The stem is a round saddle stem while the shank is oval. The finish was dirty and there were some nicks in it around the shank end. The bowl had a heavy cake in it with some lava overflow filling in the rustication pattern on the rim top. There appeared to be some burn damage on the back left side of the rim top. The pipe had a smooth portion on the underside of the shank for stamping but the only stamping was at the shank/stem junction where it read ITALY. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his clean up. The rim top can be seen in the next photo. You can see the thick cake and the lava overflow on the top of the rim. It is hard to know if there is damage to the inner edge of the rim but the outer edge was clean and undamaged. It appeared that there was some burn damage on the back left side of the inner rim edge but we would not know until Jeff cleaned the pipe.Jeff took pictures of both sides of the bowl to show the rocky, craggy appearance of the finish on the bowl. It is unusual and interesting at the same time.The next photos show the shank and Italy stamping on the shank end. The stem is obviously the wrong one. You can see the variation of the round saddle portion of the stem and the oval shank. I am not too worried about the stem as it is going in the bin anyway as I will need to fit a new stem on the shank. Jeff worked his magic in cleaning up this pipe as it was a real mess on the rim and deep grit and grime in the grooves of the finish. He reamed it with a PipNet reamer and smoothed the walls of the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife. 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 and shank with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to the oils and tars on the bowl, rim and shank. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. Once the grime was removed the finish actually looked quite good condition. I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work on it. I did not bother with the old stem as it would be replaced. I went through my can of stems and found one that had the same diameter all the way around as the shank. The fit against the shank end was almost perfect. I would need to make the edges taper a bit more at the shank. The stem was new and still had castings on the sides and the end of the button. The tenon was a perfect fit in the mortise. I put the stem in the shank and took photos of the restemmed pipe. The pipe looks good with the new stem. There is promise in the appearance at this point. I repaired the chip on the left side of the shank end with clear super glue. I needed to rebuild that edge to remove the damaged area and allow the stem to fit snug against the shank. I used a sharp knife to bevel the edges of the mortise to accommodate the hip at the tenon/stem junction.I used a brass bristle wire brush on the rustication to clean off any remnants of the finish and then wiped the bowl down with acetone on cotton pads to remove the dust. I stained the bowl with a dark brown aniline stain and flamed it to set it in the briar. I repeated the process several times until I was happy with the coverage on the bowl. I set the bowl aside to dry overnight before proceeding with polishing the briar.In the morning I buffed the bowl with a shoe brush to raise a shine on the briar. I took the following photos to show what the pipe looked like at this point in the process. The bowl is looking good with a lot of colour variation due to the roughness of the rustication. I laid aside the finished bowl and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the casting marks and scratches on the stem with 220 grit sandpaper. I opened up the slot in the button with needle files to make it easier to push a pipe cleaner through. After I had removed the casting marks and the scratches on the stem surface it was time to work on it with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit pads and wiped it down after each pad with Obsidian Oil to give the next pad more bite when I sanded. I dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads and again wiped it down with the oil after each pad. After the final pad I wiped it down with a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. Each photo shows it progressively getting a shine. I set aside the stem and picked up the bowl once again. I used the Mark Hoover’s Before & After Restoration Balm on the briar. I rubbed it into the grooves on the bowl sides with my fingers. I wanted it to go deep in the grooves to further test the effectiveness of the product. This would be a good test as it one of the roughest rustications that I have worked on with the product. As I have mentioned in previous blogs Mark had said that the product can be used on briar or stems – whether vulcanite, acrylic or horn. He said it was designed to pull the dirt off of the briar as well as polish it. I figured this deep rustication would certainly put those claims to a test. He said that he had added some anti-oxidants to keep the briar from getting damaged from both UV rays and water. Once I had all the grooves and surfaces of the bowl covered I wiped it down with a clean cotton pad and then buffed it with a shoe brush. It seemed to work very well and I took the following photos to show the results. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to polish the stem and lightly polish the briar. I gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise a shine. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and rubbed it into the rusticated finish. I buffed it with a shoe brush and then with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The variegated finish on the bowl and stem combine to present a beautiful pipe. The pipe really does look good with the new stem. The dimensions of this pipe are Length: 5 1/2 inches, Height: 2 1/8 inches, Bowl diameter: 1 1/2 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 inches. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I will soon be adding it to the rebornpipes store if you are interested in adding to your collection. It is a beauty and will serve someone very well. Email me at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.

 

Cleaning up a Pair of Goedewaagen Delft Ceramic Pipes


Blog by Steve Laug

This pair of double walled ceramic pipes was originally white with a blue Delft style scene painted and cured into the ceramic on the front of both bowls. They both have a painting of a scene that is a famous picture from Troost Tobacco where one man is in the stocks and another, rather portly man is helping him smoke a pipe. There is no other stamping on either pipe. Both pipes have begun to develop a nice patina as the bowls darken from smoking them. The stem on the smaller of the two (photos 1-4) was a typical freehand stem like many I have seen and used in the past. The one on the larger calabash (photos 5-8) shaped one is like the stems on WDC Wellington’s – kind of a faux p-lip with the airway coming out the end of the button rather on the top like a Peterson. The smaller pipe had a rubber stopper in the end of the shank to hold the stem in place and the larger one had a crumbling cork stopper. Both pipes were very dirty with cake in the bowls and oxidation on the stem surfaces. The pipes were made by an old Dutch pipe making house called Goedewaagen. Here is the link to their website. Have a look at the history page on the site. It gives a detailed background on the Company that made the pipes. Even though the link is in Dutch it is worth translating with Google Translate. http://www.goedewaagen.nl/goedewaagen/. I have included the cutaway diagram of the double walled ceramic pipe to help give and idea of the concept and construction of the pipe.Both pipes came to me from the estate of a Vancouver pipe smoker whose widow left them with RJ Clarke’s Pipe Shop after he died. I was asked to clean them up and sell them for the shop as it has since closed. I decided to work on them together as they will need the same kind of cleanup and restoration. The photos below show both pipes as they were when I brought them to my work table. I took photos of each of the bowls to show the cake lining the walls and the condition of the bowl and rim top. Both had a thick cake and the airway at the bottom of both bowls was half plugged making the airflow quite restricted.The paintings on both bowls were identical – a painting of a scene that is a famous picture from Troost Tobacco where one man is in the stocks and another, rather portly man is helping him smoke a pipe. As mentioned above both shanks used a stopper in the mortise to hold the stem in place. The smaller pipe used a rubber stopper and the calabash style pipe had a cork stopper. The rubber one was in good condition while the cork one was crumbling and pushed into the mortise. The photos below show the two stoppers.The stems were quite different in terms of condition. It appeared to me that the one on the smaller pipe was better quality vulcanite than the other one and it was barely oxidized. There was light tooth chatter on the stem. The stem on the calabash pipe was heavily oxidized and the tooth chatter and marks were heavier. I put both stems in the Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer bath to soak overnight. I knew that it would work well on the stem from the smaller pipe as it was less oxidized. The heavier oxidation on the calabash stem would be harder because the bath was getting less effective after soaking and cleaning 80-90 stems in it.I scraped out the cake in both bowls using the Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I removed all of the cake and sanded the inside of the bowls with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the remnants. I used a dental pick to clean out the clogged airway at the bottom of each bowl.The rubber stopper on the smaller pipe was in good condition and still usable. The cork stopper was crumbling and I could hear pieces rattling in between the double walls of the ceramic pipe. I used a pen knife to clean out the pieces of cork. I cleaned both bowls under warm running water. I filled the space between the two walls of both pipe with hot water and shook it to loosen any residual tars or oils that had collected in those spots. I shook the water out and repeated the cleaning until the shanks and insides of both pipes were clean. I scrubbed the outside of the bowl and the inside of the bowl with hot water and a light detergent to remove the dirt on the glazed ceramic finish. While I was cleaning the bowls I remembered that I had inherited a bag of corks that were drilled or Le Peltier ceramic pipes. I took one out and was glad that it was the proper diameter for the calabash.  I dried out the shank and the bowl with paper towels and wetted the cork to cause it to swell. The fit in the mortise was perfect. I used a dental pick to carefully lift it out of the mortise and coated it with all-purpose glue. I pressed it in to the mortise until the surface of the end of the cork was the same distance from the outer edges as the rubber stopper on the other pipe. I set the bowl aside to let the glue dry before trying the stem on the pipe. I took photos of both bowls to show how clean they were at this point in the process. By this time the stems  had been soaking since the night before. I took them out of the bath and held them over the container to let the thick solution drip clean of the stems. When the majority had dripped clean I dried them off with a rough cotton cloth the wipe off as much of the oxidation on the rubber as possible in the drying process. I cleaned the airway on both stems with alcohol and pipe cleaners until the deoxidizer and the tars and oils in the stems was removed and they were clean. In retrospect I should have cleaned them before soaking them but hindsight is always better anyway. The stem with the lighter oxidation came out almost perfect. The other one was certainly better than before the soak.The stems looked good but more work would need to be done before the final black gleam was back. I buffed both stems with red Tripoli to remove the remaining oxidation. I sanded both stems with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the tooth chatter from both sides near the button. I did more work on the stem from the calabash to remove the heavier oxidation of the vulcanite and to reshape the button. Once I was finished with the sanding I buffed both stems again with the red Tripoli. After buffing them I polished them with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding them with 1500-2400 grit pads and wiping them down after each pad with Obsidian Oil to give the next pad more bite when I sanded. I dry sanded them with 3200-12000 grit pads and again wiped them down with the oil after each pad. After the final pad I wiped them down a final time with the oil and set them aside to dry. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the entire pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to polish the stem and the bowl. I used a soft touch on the bowl as I did not want to damage the paintings on the bowl fronts of the ceramic polish in any way. I buffed stem hard to work over the remaining small scratches and minute oxidation that was still on the rubber of both stems. It took some work but they cleaned up nicely. I gave the bowls and the stems multiple coats of carnauba wax buffed them with a clean buffing pad to raise a shine. I hand buffed the pipes with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The two double walled bowls with the Delft style painting on the front and the developing brown patina combined with the black vulcanite stems present a beautiful pair of pipes. I find these interesting double walled Goudewaagen ceramic pipes a pleasant change to the briar pipes that I normally work on. The finished pipes are shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the smaller brandy shaped pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Bowl diameter: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 inches. The dimensions of the larger calabash pipe are Length: 7 inches, Height: 2 ½ inches, Bowl diameter: 2 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 inches.I will be adding both of these pipes to the rebornpipes store shortly. I already have several of these pipes so I will be passing these on to others to try. Thanks for looking.

Restoring an Edwards 730 – 4 Panel Rhodesian with a Square Shank


Blog by Steve Laug

When my brother sent me this Edwards Panel Rhodesian (at least that is what I would call it), I immediately thought of William and wondered if he would be interested in it. He had earlier purchased an Edwards paneled pipe from me so it was not a far stretch to wonder if he might be interested in this one as well. I set it aside and pretty much forgot about my initial thought. However, not long afterward, William wrote about a pipe he wanted to send me to clean up for him. He sent the package to me and when it arrived, I opened it to find an Edwards Octagon shaped paneled Dublin that he wanted reworked. When I saw that, I remembered the other pipe I had that might interested him. I wrote and sent him photos of this pipe to see if he had any interest in adding it to his collection. He wrote back and said he was definitely interested in it. I figured I would restore it the same time I worked on his other pipe and could save postage by mailing them both back to him in the same package. With that in mind, I worked on the pair at the same time. I have already written about the restemming and the restoration of his Octagon shaped pipe (https://rebornpipes.com/2017/10/17/restoring-an-edwards-hexagon-dublin-sitter-97/).

The pipe is stamped Edwards on the left side of the shank and on the right it reads Algerian Briar over the shape number 730. The underside of the shank bears as a large number 7. The Edwards stamp while readable was faint in the middle. The pipe was in pretty decent shape for an estate. There was a light cake in the bowl and some darkening on the rim top but nothing thick or horrible. Even the inner beveled edge of the bowl was in good shape. The finish has some nicks and scratches on the sides and front of the bowl. There were a few small fills in the briar on the rim cap but the pipe was in very god condition. The next series of photos show the condition of the finish on the bowl. The old oiled finish that Edwards put on their pipes was worn but the grain still showed through. There was a mix of grains on the sides and bottom of the bowl and shank – cross grain, birdseye and mixed. The next photos show the stamping on the shank of the pipe. All of it is readable. The last picture shows the France stamp on the underside of the saddle stem. The stem was oxidized and had tooth chatter and tooth marks on both sides near the button. There was some damage to the top edge of the button as well from being chomped.Jeff did his usual impeccable job cleaning off the debris and grime on this old bowl. He reamed the light cake from the bowl with a PipNet reamer and smoothed the walls of the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife. 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 and shank with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to the oils and tars on the bowl, rim and shank. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. Once the grime was removed the finish underneath was in decent condition. The rich patina on the grain of the older briar really stood out after the pipe was cleaned. I took photos of the bowl to show its condition before I started my work on it. The condition of the bowl and rim was good. There was a little damage on front right of the inner edge that I had not seen before that would need to be address but otherwise it was clean.The stem had some oxidation around the saddle portion of the stem and the tooth chatter and marks would need to be addressed.I decided to start working on the stem first. I lightly sanded the tooth chatter and marks out of the surface of the stem on both sides at the button. I heated the stem with a lighter to try to raise the marks. While many of them responded well to the heat some of them remained. I have found that if the marks are dents they respond well to heat and typically return to a flat condition. If however, they have any sharp edges on then the heat only works minimally well. I filled in the larger tooth mark and the damage to the top edge of the button with black super glue. I also filled in the lighter, smaller mark on the underside at the same time.While the stem repair was drying I worked on the bowl itself. I wiped down the surface with acetone on cotton pads to remove any remnants of debris and grime that had escaped my brother’s attention or had been picked up in the shipping wrappers. I lightly sanded the inner edge of the bowl to take care of the light damage on the front right edge. By this time the repair on the stem was dry. I recut and reshaped the button with a needle file and smoothed out the surface repairs. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to blend the repairs into the rest of the stem. I sanded the stem to remove the oxidation that is visible in the next photos. I put the stem on the bowl and rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. As part of my ongoing experiment I thought it would be good to use it on an oil finished bowl and this one was a prime candidate. I rubbed it in (using the stem for a handle) and wiped it off with a cotton pad. I removed the stem and dropped it in a bath of Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer to attack the oxidation. My bath is getting older and it is not as effective as it was when I first started using it but it would help minimize the work on the stem for me. (I am waiting for a new jar of the deoxidizer to replace this one. I have cleaned between 80-90 stems with the product so it is tired.) I put the lid on the bath and left it to soak until morning.Before calling it a night I worked on the finish on the bowl some more. I lightly buffed the bowl with red Tripoli to remove as many of the surface scratches and nicks as I could. Doing that got rid of a lot of them and polishing it with micromesh would minimize what remained. I hand polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I worked on the beveled inner edge of the bowl to clean it up the damage and the darkening a bit more. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth after the 12000 grit pad. The pictures below show the progress of the polishing on the briar. In the morning I took the stem out of the bath and let the excess product drain off into the bath before wiping it down with a cotton pad to remove the oxidation that was attached to the product. I ran a pipe cleaner through the airway with alcohol to remove the remnants of the bath. The stem looked good but more work would need to be done before the final black gleam was back. I buffed the stem with red Tripoli to remove the remaining oxidation. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with Obsidian Oil to give the next pad more bite when I sanded. I dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads and again wiped it down with the oil after each pad. After the final pad I wiped it a final time with the oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the entire pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to polish the stem and the bowl. I used a soft touch around the stamped areas as I did not want to flatten them or polish them away. I buffed stem hard to work over the remaining scratches in the rubber. It took some work but they are smoothed out. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise a shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The four panel Rhodesian shaped bowl, and the square shank and saddle stem combine to present a beautiful pipe. I find these interesting shaped Edwards four sided, six sided and eight sided Dublin shaped pipe a real pleasant variation on the normal classic shapes. The combination of grains and the natural oil finish give the pipe a rich patina that is highlighted by the black of the polished vulcanite stem. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I think William is going to really like this new pair of Edwards pipes. They are both ready to pack up and head back to him in the mail. Thanks for looking.

Restoring an Edwards Hexagon Dublin Sitter 97


Blog by Steve Laug

I got an email a while back from a friend who wanted me to work over an old Edwards that he had picked up. He had bought one from me in the past and had now found another one. It was a Hexagonal Dublin that had carved grooves on the sides of the bowl from the rim down to the base. The shank is square sided and is smooth. It is stamped Edwards on the top side of the shank. On the underside of the shank it is stamped Algerian Briar followed by the shape number 97. He had found it in a local antique shop I think. It had a thick cake in the bowl and the lava flowed over the top of the rim and down to the second layer of the carving on the rim. The shank was dirty and also filled with tars. The stem was a heavily oxidized replacement stem with the entire underside of the button broken off. Because it was a replacement I decided to put another replacement stem on the shank. I pulled the stem off the shank and took photos of the bowl. The grooves in the carving were dirty and the natural finish was dirty and damaged. I forgot to put the stem back on the shank and take photos. I was intent on cleaning up the bowl. I scraped out the carbon cake in the bowl and off the rim top with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I carefully removed the lava from the rim of the bowl.I lightly topped the bowl on the topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the thick lava coat on the rim. I did not want to take off too much of the briar as it looks like an interesting stack of briar sheets from the top down.I scrubbed the bowl and rim with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to get all of the grit and dust out of all of the grooves and edges of the briar stack. I rinsed the pipe with running water to rinse off the dust and the soap and scrubbed it under the running water to leave behind a clean bowl. I dried it off with a clean cloth. Then I remembered I had not taken photos of the pipe with the old stem in place so I slid the stem into the shank and took the next series of photos. Not only was the replacement stem badly oxidized it also had a large chip out of the button across the top side of the stem. It was poorly fit to the shank as well. You can see from the photos that it is larger in diameter than the shank itself. It was definitely going to be replaced. I put aside the damaged replacement stem and took a new square stem blank out of my box of stems. I turned the tenon on the PIMO tenon turning tool on my cordless drill to take down the tenon to fit the shank of the Edwards pipe. Once I had the tenon turned I wiped it down with a damp cloth and took a picture of the new stem next to the one I was replacing.I put the new stem on the shank to see how it fit against the shank end. I needed to do quite a bit of sanding on the sides of the stem to get the flow along the sides, top and bottom smooth and even.I cleaned out the internals of the pipe – the mortise and the airway in the shank using alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners to remove all of the oils and tars that collect there. I cleaned out the airway in the new stem to remove the dust from turning tenon.I sanded the stem to reduce the size on all sides with 220 grit sandpaper. When I got close I put it on the shank and carefully sanded it until the transition between the shank and the stem was smooth. I sanded out the casting marks and scratches on the stem with 220 grit sandpaper. There were quite a few scratches left behind by the work I did to fit it to the shank. Once I had the majority of deep scratches sanded out, it was time to work on it with micromesh sanding pads. I used the micromesh sanding pads to polish the stem. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit pads and wiped it down after each pad with Obsidian Oil to give the next pad more bite when I sanded. I dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads and again wiped it down with the oil after each pad. After the final pad I wiped it down with a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. In the last photo of the three below you can still see some light scratches in the vulcanite on the saddle part of the stem. These would need to be buffed out on the wheel. (I polished the tenon as well as can be seen in the photos below. Each photo shows it progressively getting a shine.) With the stem almost finished I took it off the shank and used the Mark Hoover’s Before & After Restoration Balm on the briar. I rubbed it into the grooves on the bowl sides with my finger and a cotton swab. I wanted it to go deep in the grooves to further test the effectiveness of the product. This would be a good test as it is a totally different finish than any of the other pipes I have worked on with the product.  Mark had said that the product can be used on briar or stems – whether vulcanite, acrylic or horn. He said it was designed to pull the dirt off of the briar as well as polish it. He added some anti-oxidants to keep the briar from getting damaged from both UV rays and water. Once I had all the grooves and surfaces of the bowl covered I worked it into the finish with a cotton pad to see if it pulled out the dirt. It seemed to work very well and I took the following photos to show the results. So far the product seems to be delivering as promised. I will continue using it for a while and see how it works in a variety of settings before I give an opinion of the product. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the entire pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to polish the stem and the bowl. I used a soft touch around the stamped areas as I did not want to flatten them or polish them away. I buffed stem hard to work over the remaining scratches in the rubber. It took some work but they are smoothed out. I gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise a shine. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and rubbed it into the sandblast and the plateau areas. I buffed it with a shoe brush and then with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The interesting carved finish on the bowl with its natural oil finish and the new stem combine to present a beautiful pipe. The pipe has been given a total makeover and the new stem fits the shape very well. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I think William is going to really like the new look and feel of this pipe. I have one more of his to finish up and then the pair will go back to him in the mail. Thanks for looking.