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Reclaiming Paw’s Kaywoodie “500” 04 Long Stem Billiard – A Great-Grandfather’s Legacy


Blog by Dal Stanton

One of the greatest challenges to me AND honors is to receive a request to restore a pipe that is a family’s heirloom.  It’s amazing how when a loved one passes from this life, the things they leave behind become present links to the memories of the past.  Pipes are favorite heirlooms because they hold an enormous sense of the presence of the loved one – the smell, marks left on the pipe, memories of the loved one sitting and reflecting with pipe in hand and a wink of the eye….  This was one of the reasons I took the name, The Pipe Steward, because of this strong sense of passing on something of great value – not just the physical pipe, but the memories and associations welded to that pipe’s presence.   Joe contacted me with a request for some pipes that hold this honor.  Joe and Hannah work in the same organization as my wife and I, but live in Athens, Greece.  I met them for the first time at a conference there last year.  This was Joe’s request:

Hey Dal,
Joe here…, we talked for a while about pipes. I have some old pipes. They were my wife’s Great-Grandfather’s pipes from Winston-Salem, NC.  I’d love for them to be restored, and I’d love for the money to go to a good cause like
the Daughters of Bulgaria program. All of them need an intense deep cleaning, and some have some stem damage. If I sent you some pictures, do you think you could offer a guesstimation of the price? I’d love to give these pipes to my father-in-law in the same condition as his grandfather smoked them.

Many blessings,
Joe

Joe sent some pictures on to me and he settled on one pipe as a starter project – a Kaywoodie “500” Lovat shape – or what I originally identified it as.  Here were a few pictures showing the major issues.Since Joe wanted to gift the pipe to his father-in-law, which belonged to his grandfather – Hannah’s great-grandfather, I asked Joe what he knew about the pipe’s history.  This is what he wrote:

History of the pipe… hmmm. That’s going to be tricky. I will ask and see if anyone can offer more input on the history of Paw’s pipes, but I can’t honestly say much myself.

Ben is my father-in-law. He was raised by a single mom, who worked a lot to raise her 4 boys. So, Ben’s grandparents raised the boys while the mom worked so much. When Ben’s mom passed away a few years ago, we were all cleaning out her home and I noticed a pipe stand in the garage with 5 pipes and a Sir Walter Raleigh bowl cleaner, and someone was asking if that should go in the garage sale. I quickly offered to be a home for it if no one else wanted it, which made Ben happy. He didn’t really have the capacity to decide things that week, he was just glad it was staying in the family and not going to a stranger. 

My ultimate goal is to get these pipes, the stand, and this bowl cleaner in good shape to re-give them back to Ben (maybe for his 60th Birthday next year).  I’ve really just been a pipe steward, myself. I think it will mean a lot to Ben to have an heirloom from his grandfather (who functionally was his father).

Dusty, cobwebby garages often hold the key to finding special heirlooms!  After I wrote Joe describing some of the issues and remedies for Paw’s Kaywoodie “500”, he wrote back with some special instructions to preserve some of the evidences of Paw’s time with his Lovat.  With the heavy erosion to the back of the rim, I had suggested rounding/topping the rim.  Joe’s response:

My initial thoughts are to not round out the rim. I like the flat surface of the rim. As far as the damage on the backside, I know it should be cleaned up, but I wonder if taking 1/10 of an inch off instead of 1/8, if that would yield a proper looking bowl, yet still with the slightest reminder that Paw lit his pipes with a match from the back of the bowl.   It’s just a thought.   I like it when antiques look in their original condition (or close) but I’m also a sucker for the sentimental stuff, so I don’t mind having at least a little bit of the bowl erosion still visible. 

The pipe made it to Bulgaria from Greece via another colleague and another conference in Barcelona that I attended.  With the Kaywoodie “500” now on my worktable I take more pictures to get a better idea of the pipe’s condition. The nomenclature on both sides of the long Lovat stem is clear.  The left flank is stamped KAYWOODIE [over] “500” [over] IMPORTED BRIAR [over] PAT. 2808837.  The right side of the shank is stamped with the Kaywoodie shape number, ‘06’.  The stem holds the classic inlaid Kaywoodie shamrock or clover.  Almost missed and lurking on the lower side of the stem is stamped: “B75” – I’ll need to check this out! Looking first for information about the shape number, ‘06’, Pipedia Kaywoodie Shapes Numbers list is helpful:

04 Large saddle bit billiard, long shank, short bit 1931-1958, 1961-1970

The description is spot on with the saddle stem and long shank.  Calling it a long shank Billiard is essentially the same as a Lovat, in the Canadian family of shapes.  The potential dating brackets are also helpful.  Another Kaywoodie Shapes chart I go to at Kaywoodie Free Forum confirms that this number describes a medium Billiard, long shank, saddle stem but I also see specific shape numbers for Canadians, ‘71’, and such.  So, in deference to the Kaywoodie shape number specifications, I’ll be calling this a Long Shank Billiard and not a Lovat.  Also at Kaywoodie Free Forum, there is a very helpful Kaywoodie Master List that was compiled and I quickly find the Kaywoodie “500” series listed as ‘low end pipes’ with the date range of 1957 to 1967.  The list provided this example of the “500” series of a classic Billiard which matches Paw’s pipe scheme perfectly.  These were not expensive pipes but attractive and well within a working man’s budget.I still have not seen anything regarding the ‘B75’ stamp on the lower side of the saddle stem.  So, as I often do, with all of Steve’s rebornpipes.com experience, I send a note to him with the inquiry.  This response cleared up the mystery:

As for the stamping on the stem I was told by a fellow on the KW forum that they were part numbers to make replacement of a stem easy, I have seen it on quite a few of the KWs I have restored.

So, with that mystery resolved, I look more at the Kaywoodie name.

I’ve worked on several Kaywoodies before this and I am always intrigued by the story and repeat it here to give the broader heritage of Paw’s “500”. The Kaywoodie website, actually the S. M. Frank Co. & Inc. site, is informative:

The history of S. M. Frank & Co. spans nearly a century and half of pipe making, supporting our claim as the “oldest pipe house in America.” S. M. Frank, as it exists today, is a combination of some of the biggest names in pipe making from the early part of the 20th. century. The pipe names Kaywoodie, Yello-Bole, Reiss-Premier, DeMuth, Medico, Heritage and Frank are familiar to generations of pipe smokers.

The article describes how in 1919 the Kaufman Brothers & Bondy Company (KBB) produced the Kaywoodie and Dinwoodie pipe lines.  By 1924 the Dinwoodie line fell by the wayside and the primary name of Kaywoodie was the mainstay pipe line and the company came to be known by that name.  Little is known about the early activities of the KBB Company which started in 1851 by the German born Kaufman brothers.  The company had several locations but was centered in the New York City region throughout its production history.  The expansion of the KKB Company following the gold rush I find fascinating:

produced the Kaywoodie and Dinwoodie pipe lines.  By 1924 the Dinwoodie line fell by the wayside and the primary name of Kaywoodie was the mainstay pipe line and the company came to be known by that name.  Little is known about the early activities of the KBB Company which started in 1851 by the German born Kaufman brothers.  The company had several locations but was centered in the New York City region throughout its production history.  The expansion of the KKB Company following the gold rush I find fascinating:

When one of the men from the New York office got “gold fever”, he carried a large supply of pipes with him to California that he sold along the way. This early “national distribution” did much to build the reputation of KBB. By the late 1800’s, branches of KBB were opened in Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco and St. Louis with family and friends acting as agents. The trademarks, for the inlaid cloverleaf and the cloverleaf with the KBB initials inside, were issued in 1881. 

In 1935, KBB boasted of being the largest pipe making facility in the world with 500 employees and a production of 10,000 pipes per day from their facility in West New York, New Jersey.  In 1955, Kaywoodie was acquired by S. M. Frank & Co. (See Link) and continues to the present with well-known names Yello-BoleReiss-PremierWilliam Demuth CompanyMedico, Heritage (Heritage Pipes Inc.), along with Kaywoodie (Link).

I enjoyed seeing this picture in the 1955 Kaywoodie Catalog from Pipedia with a specific listing of shape 04.  The ‘04’ is the forth pipe down (picture to the left) and this shows that the shape designations for Kaywoodie pipes stay consistent.  This catalog pre-dates by a few years the ’57 to ’67 dating for the “500” series, but the shape again is spot on.  I enjoyed seeing this catalog page because it shows the huge inventory variety that Kaywoodie provided its customers.  The subtle nuances between these long shank, saddle stem Billiards is interesting to me.  The ‘04’ enjoys the distinction of the longest shank compared to the shapes presented.

It is obvious from the condition of the Kaywoodie “500” that Paw loved this pipe and this pipe hung in there a long time!  As you would expect, the briar surface has its share of nicks and grime after over half a century of service. The chamber has thick cake that has built up and closes the chamber as you go downward. The rim has seen better days.  What I first thought might be burn damage on the back side of the rim.  I think there’s evidence of that too, as the inner rim lip is burnt and receded, but there’s more.  Because the briar is raw here, it indicates something else about Paw’s habits and rituals of pipe smoking.  It looks as if Paw was a knocker.  With that nice long shank in hand after finishing his bowl, my guess is that he would twist the pipe over and give the bowl a few knocks on whatever hard surface was nearby to loosen and remove the ashes.  The knocker dent is what Joe would like to preserve to some extent as a lasting memory of Paw.  The second picture below is convincing forensically to prove that Paw was a knocker – the angle is perfect! The stem is a mess.  The oxidation is deep.  The tooth chatter and button compressions suggest also that Paw was a chewer!  The upper bit over time took the brunt and over time cracked and the entire top of the button broke off, taking with it some of the flat bit vulcanite real estate.  This area will need rebuilding.The stem shows one more issue that needs addressing: the stem is over-clocked.  It tends to be normal with these pipes as they age, with much wear and use, the metal fittings rubbing, gradually there is a microscopic loss in the metal composition.  The result is more thread room and therefore, when the stem turns to the right and tightens, it’s not in the proper orientation.  This is the case for this Kaywoodie “500” as this picture shows. With an ongoing appreciation for the history of the Kaywoodie name, and of this pipe’s former steward and Joe’s desires to gift the pipe to his father-in-law, Ben, I begin the restoration of Paw’s Kaywoodie “500” with a pipe cleaner dipped in isopropyl 95% and clean the airway of the stem.  I also use a thin shank brush to clean up through the air hole on the metal Kaywoodie tenon.  I then add the stem to a soak of Before & After Deoxidizer to work on the deep oxidation in the vulcanite.  I don’t believe the Deoxidizer will have total success in raising all the oxidation, but this is a good start.  There are other pipes and stems in the commissioning queue that the Kaywoodie joins, all of which have been restored and shipped off to new stewards!After several hours, I fish out the Kaywoodie saddle stem and let it drain.  I then put another pipe cleaner wetted with alcohol through the airway to remove the excess Deoxidizer liquid.Next, wiping the stem surface with cotton pads wetted with alcohol removes much of the raised oxidation.  Much comes off, but the evidence of the residual deep oxidation is easily seen.  I take some close up pictures of the upper and lower bit to show what I’m seeing – I notch down the aperture of the iPhone app I use to allow more light to see the brown/olive green oxidation more clearly. For now, with a cotton pad I apply paraffin oil (a mineral oil) to the stem to begin the process of revitalizing the stem.I now commence the cleaning regimen of the stummel. First, I remove the carbon cake build up by reaming the chamber.  I take a picture of the chamber to mark the start.  I start by using the Pipnet Reaming Kit. After putting paper towel down to minimize cleanup, I start with the smallest blade head and go to work. It takes some time for the blade to break through to the floor of the chamber – the cake is hard and stubborn.  In addition, I use the next 2 larger blade heads of the 4 blades available in the kit.  I then scrape the walls more using the Savinelli Fitsall tool and finish by sanding the chamber with 240 grade sanding paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen to give me reach and leverage.  After wetting a cotton pad with alcohol, I clean the chamber of the carbon dust residue left over.  The pictures show the progress. When I inspect the chamber, the walls look good. There are heating veins in the wood, but no cracks or fissures from heating damage.  I do note two things that give me some concern.In the picture below I mark off the draft hole with 2 yellow marks.  The first issue I see is marked by the arrows. Through decades of reaming and scraping, which I just added to, a curved ridge has formed – you can see the edge of the ridge marked by the arrows.  The briar curves outwardly to the ridge which I show with the curved red line.  The ridge is only on the back side of the chamber, over the draft hole.  I may need to sand this ridge down so that the chamber doesn’t have an abrupt bump to hinder future reaming and cleaning.  The second issue is caused by overzealous reaming.  The floor of the chamber drops underneath the proper amount of space below the draft hole.  A floor cavity has been created by the chamber floor wearing down over time.  The ridge of this floor cavity is marked with the red dashes. Not only does this create a burning dynamic that will always leave excess tobacco beneath the draft hole, but also the danger of a burn through is a concern with the thinning of the floor.  I will continue to think about these new issues as I continue the cleaning process.Next, I work on cleaning the external briar surface by using undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap on a cotton pad and I scrub.  I also use a brass wire brush to clean the thick lava flow over the rim.  I use cool tap water to rinse off the soap.  The Murphy’s Soap does a good job cleaning, but the cleaning reveals the rough shape of the stummel. The finish is very thin with shiny finish patches here and there.  There are also many scratches and pits – too many to count.  I take pictures for an inventory. I need to remove the old finish so that there aren’t the shiny patches and unevenness.  I first try wiping the stummel surface with cotton pads wetted with isopropyl 95%.  The pads take a good deal off as evidenced in the coloration of the cotton pads, but there are still patches with the old finish hanging on.Next, I wet a cotton pad with acetone and again I scrub the surface.  This does the trick.  I move on.I turn now to the stummel internal cleaning.  The effort is made difficult by the Kaywoodie metal shank facing which only provides a very small access point to the mortise through the thread air hole.   I use cotton buds and pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 95% to clean the tars and oil accumulation out of the mortise and airway.  I also reach through the metal hole with a smaller dental spatula to scrape the mortise wall as far as the tool will reach.  But it doesn’t reach far.  To save on my limited supply of pipe cleaners, I utilize shank brushes also wetted with isopropyl 95%.  After some time, I decide to call a halt to this frontal assault which reminds me of the carnage of WWI – carnage but little advance as the lines were kept in check.  The hour is late, and I change gears.I utilize the more passive approach of allowing the stummel to soak through the night with a kosher salt and alcohol soak. First, I stretch and twist a cotton ball to create the ‘wick’ which I stuff down through the mortise into the long shank airway.  The wick will help draw out the tars and oils from the internal briar.  I then set the stummel in an egg crate to stabilize it and fill the bowl with kosher salt which does not leave an aftertaste.  I then fill the bowl until with isopropyl 95%, the purest alcohol I can purchase in Bulgaria, until it surfaces over the salt.  In a few minutes I top off the alcohol after it has absorbed into the internals.  I then turn the lights off and another day ends. The next morning, I’m hoping that the fact that the cotton wick and salt are strongly soiled is indication that the cleaning of the internals has advanced significantly with the kosher salt and isopropyl 95% soak through the night.  I toss the expended salt in the waste and clean the leftover salt from the chamber with a paper towel, also blowing through the mortise to remove crystals.  I follow this with a renewed regimen of pipe cleaners, cotton buds, shank brushes, and scraping with a dental spatula.  Eventually, as I hear the hallelujah course in the recesses of my mind, the cotton buds begin to lighten and finally I declare that the job completed!  The new steward will do well to clean the internals on a regular basis to avoid this in the future! For a change of scenery and to start on the stem repairs, I take a close look at the stem upper and lower.  There remains deep oxidation of the vulcanite stem requiring sanding to bring it out.  It is mainly in the flat part of the saddle stem.  The tooth chatter and button compressions are significant and of course the upper button must be rebuilt using a mixture of CA glue and activated charcoal.  Before working on this, I decide to use the heating method to bring out and minimize the tooth chatter by painting the areas with a Bic lighter.  I do this before rebuilding the button because of the differences in the materials.  Vulcanite will expand with heat – the CA glue/charcoal will not – at least not in the same way.  So, to be on the safe side, I will work on raising and minimizing the tooth chatter and lower button compressions first, before working on the rebuild.  Sanding will be necessary after both.I paint both upper and lower bit with a Bic and sand with 240 grade paper.  The heating did raise the chatter nicely and the sanding erased it.  I also work on the lower button with a flat needle file to refresh the lip and to work on a small compression.  I’m pleased with this first phase of the stem repair.Next, the button repair. The first thing I do is create a wedge that fits in the slot. I use stiffer index card material to do it.  I fold the card stock to form it into a triangle so that it wedges up the slot into the airway.  I trim it a bit with scissors to make a good fit.  I then cover the fashioned wedge with smooth scotch tape to help it not to stick to the patch material. I leave the end of the wedge open – not covered by the tape in order to leave a ‘sleeve’ opening to tighten the fit. I fit the wedge into the slot then slide other folded pieces of the index card through the end of the wedge which expands the wedge to hold it firm but also to form a mold for the formation of the slot. I also put a very thin coating of petroleum jelly on the wedge to help with the non-sticking.With the wedge firmly in place, I open a capsule of activated charcoal on an index card.  I then place a puddle of thick CA glue next to the charcoal and then draw charcoal into the CA glue gradually until the mixture thickens to the consistency of molasses.  I then apply the mixture to the button and build a mound over the cavity. The first application hardens on the index card before I had dolloped enough to area.  I wait a few minutes and mix another batch and finish building the mound over the button rebuild area.  With this completed, I set the stem aside for several hours for the CA glue and activated charcoal rebuild fully to cure.I look again to the stummel and decide that I will continue in the mixing and patching mode.  I mix a small amount of J-B Weld Kwik to rebuild and reinforce the chamber floor.  It will not take much J-B Weld to do this.  I put a pipe cleaner in through the airway to better show the landscape.Again, on an index card, I mix a small amount of the two components of the Weld, the ‘Steel’ and the ‘Hardener’.  The Weld does not set up immediately which is good.  It takes about 4 minutes before it begins to set.  As it’s setting, I will form a rounded chamber floor so that it’s not flat.  I begin by wiping the chamber floor with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol to clean it.  I mix small equal amounts of the J-B Weld and then spoon up a portion of the Weld on the end of a dental spatula and carefully carry it to the floor of the chamber. I hold the dental spatula there allowing the Weld to slide off the spatula to fill the cavity. I then carefully remove the spatula to avoid getting the Weld on the chamber wall.  I repeat this again by bringing a spoon of Weld and allowing it to fill the cavity as it runs off the spatula. I take a picture of the Weld filling the cavity in the chamber floor and decide that I would let it set as it is which will result in a flat floor.  I will use a grinding ball on the Dremel later to round it out for a more natural bowl.  I set the stummel aside allowing the J-B Weld to cure fully.The stem button rebuild has set up and cured.  As hoped, the wedge easily is removed revealing the rough form of a slot to be shaped.Using a flat needle file, I file and shape by bringing the build overhang of the wedge flush with the button face.After filing so that the button face is flush, I’m able to see the basic form of the slot.  The left side of the slot is closed more than the right side as you can see in the picture above.  I use a rounded sharp needle file to file the tighter end.  I’m patient.  I file gently and methodically.I come to a place where the button slot looks balanced.  I can fine tune it later.Next, again using the flat needle file, I file the top of the button down to form the upper contours.  I have the advantage of having the original ends of the button on both sides that were not broken off.  These provide me with the angles of trajectory the upper button lip took.  I try to file down to be consistent with this to form the button.The button is looking good, but I’m concerned that I did not put enough CA glue/charcoal mixture at the side.  In the picture below you can see the unfiled repair material jutting on the right side.  I’m concerned that this may leave a gap when I start filing the inner edge of the button.  To be on the safe side, I apply a drop of Black CA glue on this gap to make sure that I have a uniform platform to file out and shape the button.  I put the stem aside to allow the patch to cure.When CA patch cures, I quickly file off the excess patch material and continue with the lateral filing to form the internal button edge.After completing the filing, I switch to sanding the newly formed button with 240 grade paper and continue to smooth.  I also sand the upper and lower bit to remove residual oxidation.While sanding the new button, an air pocket is uncovered which is visible on the lower side of the button.To fill this very small air pocket, I paint the button with regular CA glue.  I apply a small drop on a toothpick and spot drop it and this spread the CA over the area.I spray the CA glue patch with an accelerator which quickly cures the glue.  I then sand it with 240 grade paper.The stem is still rough from the 240 sanding and filing.  I switch to 600 grade paper and wet sand the entire stem and follow this with applying 000 grade steel wool.  Wow!  I am pleased with the button rebuild.  It looks great and blends well.   I put the stem aside for now.Again, focusing attention on the stummel and the chamber repair.  The J-B Weld is fully cured filling the cavity at the chamber floor. With gravity forming the orientation of the Weld, the floor is now flat.  For a more natural bowl curvature, I initially use a round grinding ball mounted on the Dremel.  Using the round ball, I grind out the flat surface of the J-B Weld.  As I rotate the ball moving it in circles, I check often with my thumb to measure the progress.When the floor feels good, I mount a small sanding drum on the Dremel and reach in to the lower chamber above the new floor where I had earlier detected a distinct ridge from overzealous reaming.  I use the sanding drum to smooth these out.  I do the same as with the grinding ball, I sand and then feel with my thumb.  Progress is made.After the sanding drum, I switch to sanding with 240 grade paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen to help me reach and give me leverage.  I further smooth the lower chamber.  A ridge is still detected, but it is much less distinct.  I like the progress and the entire chamber looks and feels much better. The new floor is now at a more appropriate orientation to the draft hole that is seen in the picture below.With the internal chamber repair complete, I turn to the external surface.  The first thing I look at is the rim repair.  Joe wants the pipe in a pristine condition as much as possible.  Yet, he asked to preserve in some degree the rim knocking damage at the back of the rim as an ongoing remembrance of Paw. With this motif in view, the restored rim will provide a strong contrast of new and old, but not forgetting what the ‘old’ represents.  To begin the rim preservation and restoration, I take the chopping board and place 240 grade paper on it.  Keeping the forward rim surface in contact with the board, I top the forward part of the inverted bowl.The picture below first shows the beginning progression and then after further rotations, the second picture shows the full extent of topping with 240 grade paper.  I leave the area on the back side of the rim and it looks good.I then switch the paper on the board to 600 grade paper and turn the inverted stummel several more rotations to smooth out the 240 scratches.After the topping, I examine the rim edges.  The external rim edge still shows many cuts and nicks.  The internal edge is darkened. To freshen the rim edges and to address the residual blemishes I lightly run a rolled piece of 240 grade paper around the external and internal circumferences (minus Paw’s patch).  I follow the 240 grade with 600 grade.  This doesn’t introduce a bevel as much as clean the edges and soften the flat rim presentation.  I think it looks good.Next, I take another inventory of the stummel’s briar surface.  It has many nicks, scratches and some bruising on all sides of the stummel. I decide to clean the surface by utilizing sanding sponges.  Sanding sponges do a great job addressing the minor issues of normal wear and tear that accumulates on the briar surface.  The soft sponge texture also helps clean and freshen the nooks and corners.  To protect the already thin Kaywoodie “500” nomenclature and shape number, I cover them with masking tape to protect their integrity during the sanding phase.I first use a coarse sanding sponge followed by medium and light grade sponges.  The results are good, but I decided that whatever remains on the surface that is not removed through the sanding belong to Paw 😊.Next, I take the Kaywoodie to the sink to wet sand with micromesh pads 1500 to 2400 grade pads.  I follow wet sanding by dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000. I take a different angle picture with each set of 3 pads. For the last 6 pads I remove the protective masking tape which reveals the contrast of the finish as it was and as it is now. I will add a stain to the stummel which will mask the difference between the dark nomenclature residue of the former hue and the rest of the stummel.  To reduce this contrast, I try rubbing the darkened areas with a cotton pad wetted with acetone.  This works somewhat, but there’s still a contrast, but toned down some.The cotton pad in the picture above gives a good indication of the reddish hue of the original stain which is consistent with other examples that I’ve found on line of the “500” series.  Pipephil’s information on the Kaywoodie “500” provides a few pictured examples.  Here is one that shows the color used for this line of Kaywoodie pipes.  I’ll aim to match it.  My approach will be to first stain the stummel using a dark brown stain.  I’ll then apply an overcoat of Fiebing’s Oxblood over this.  I start with the dark brown first to darken the grain which is evident in the pictures below.I assemble my desktop staining station and fit the stummel with bent pipe cleaners through the mortise to serve as a handle.  I have Fiebing’s Dark Brown Leather Dye in a shot glass with another bent over pipe cleaner ready to serve as an applicator.  I wipe the stummel with a cotton cloth wetted with isopropyl 95% to clean it. I then warm the stummel with a hot air gun to heat the briar to expand the grain making it more receptive to the dye.  I then use the pipe cleaner to apply the Dark Brown dye to the stummel and as I paint different sections of the stummel, I flame the dye by igniting it with a lit candle.  As an aniline dye, the alcohol combusts, and it flames out leaving the dye pigment set in the grain.  After I apply the dye thoroughly, I set it aside for a few hours to rest before the next step of the process. After a few hours, I mount the Dremel with a felt cloth buffing wheel, speed set at the lowest possible to avoid too much heat.  I then apply Tripoli compound to the stummel to remove the fired shell on the stummel.  It takes some time to methodically move through the process of ‘plowing’ the crust then following with Tripoli. With my wife’s assistance, a picture of this is shown. When completed, I change the felt buffing wheel to a cotton cloth buffing wheel and again apply Tripoli compound to the entire stummel.  This time it is much faster and the felt wheel allows me to reach into the elbow of the shank and bowl which was not possible with the harder felt wheel.  After I complete the cotton cloth wheel cycle of Tripoli, I then buff the stummel with a felt cloth to remove the compound dust.The first phase results in the darkened grains.  The grain is beautiful – the next pictures show the side of the bowl with beautifully swirled bird’s eye.The first phase results in the darkened grains.  The grain is beautiful – the next pictures show the side of the bowl with beautifully swirled bird’s eye.I repeat the same process for the next phase of applying Fiebing’s Oxblood Leather Dye over the dark brown stained stummel – warming the stummel, applying and flaming the aniline Oxblood dye. I put the newly stained stummel aside to rest overnight.Before I rest, I turn again to the Kaywoodie saddle stem waiting in the wings.  I apply the entire regimen of 9 micromesh pads beginning with wet sanding using pads 1500 to 2400 followed by dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  Between each set of three pads I apply a coat of Obsidian Oil to enrich the vulcanite.  This stem has come a long way and is looking great. Next, after a few days of a business-related trip, I return to Sofia and to the stummel that had been dyed first with a dark brown undercoat then with an Oxblood overcoat.  I remove the Fiebing’s Oxblood Leather Dye fire crusted shell using a cotton cloth buffing wheel on the Dremel applying Tripoli compound.  When completed, I use a cotton pad wetted with alcohol to lightly wipe the stummel to blend the dyed surface.  I then change to another cotton cloth buffing wheel on the Dremel, remaining at 40% of full power and apply Blue Diamond to both stummel and stem.  Following this, I wipe the surface of the stummel and stem with a felt rag to remove the compound dust.Before moving to applying carnauba wax, I reunite the stem and stummel and address a few smaller projects.  First, I noted before that the stem was overclocked by a few degrees.  This happens through time.  To realign the stem to the correct orientation, I heat the metal stinger until the heat loosens the grip of the metal stinger and while it is hot, I rejoin the stem and turn it clockwise.  When it tightens it puts the necessary torque on the heated stinger which loosens it and allows me to continue the clockwise turn.  I turn it a full 360 degrees bringing it back around into proper orientation. This works well.  I move on.Next, I do a quick job of polishing the metal shank facing using a piece of 000 steel wool.  It did a great job.On last project before applying the wax.  I rebuilt the chamber floor using J-B Weld. Now I apply a mixture of natural yogurt and activated charcoal to form a thickened mixture to apply to the chamber floor and wall to create a cake starter.  After inserting a pipe cleaner in the airway to block the mixture, I then put a small about of Bulgarian natural yogurt in a dish and add activated charcoal and mix it.  I continue to add charcoal and mix until it thickens and will not run. I then apply it to the chamber floor and wall using a dental spatula to apply and spread.  It works well and I put the stummel aside for a time for the coating to cure. In the home stretch, I mount another cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel, maintaining the same speed, and apply carnauba wax to the stem and stummel.  After applying a few coats, I then give the pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth.  This raises the shine even more.

It was a privilege to restore Paw’s old Kaywoodie “500” Long Stem Billiard.  I’m pleased with the stem button rebuild and catching the thinning chamber floor.  I think the final stained hue captures well the historic Kaywoodie “500” theme that ranges from 1957 to 1967 – truly a vintage pipe.  Best of all are the remnants of Paw’s stewardship of the Kaywoodie.  Leaving the rim with latent evidences of Paw’s thumping and lighting, as he went through his own unique ritual with his Kaywoodie in hand, reflecting on life and family with his favorite blend stoked and ready to go.  Joe’s desire to safeguard this heritage and restore this pipe for his father-in-law, benefits the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks, Joe!  And thanks for joining me (ThePipeSteward)!

 

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Time to work on another old timer – a Surbrug Best Make ¾ Bent Capped Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

I have been cleaning up a lot of American made pipes between the Malaga’s for Alex and the Bertrams that Jeff and I picked up. I was in the mood for something a little different this time around. You know variety is the spice of life and all that… So today I went through my box and picked an interesting pipe that came from an auctioneer in Los Angeles, California with the older Barling’s Make S-M Take Apart Pipe. That was an old timer and this one is also an old one. From the silver band and the band around the rim top I will be able to date it. But I knew looking at it that was older. The pipe was very dirty but had a look of class to it. There was a sterling silver band on the shank and one around the rim top with a hinged wind cap. The briar is very dirty and the silver has a lot of dings and dents around the rim. The bowl had a thick cake and the wind cap was black. Looking down the shank it was filled with tars and oils. The left side of the shank was stamped Surbrug over Best Make and the right side was stamped England. The hallmarks on the band were an O, a rampant lion and a crownless lion’s head. On the cap around the rim top the hallmarks were P, a rampant lion and a crownless lion’s head. On both the makers’ marks were the same – AD over JD. The stem had some bite marks on the top side near the button. It was lightly oxidized and the bend on the stem had almost straightened out. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup.The next series of photos show the band around the rim top and the wind cap. The briar is quite beautiful and the silver, though oxidized is quite pretty. He also included some close up photos. The last photo in the series shows the thickness of the cake in the bowl. It was quite thick. He took a photo of the left side of the bowl and the underside. It shows the dirt and grime in the briar as well as the nicks and dents in the wood.He took photos of the stamping on the left and right side of the shank as well as the hallmarks on the silver band and rim top. The stamping and the hallmarks are as noted above The last two photos show the stem surface. It is both oxidized and has some tooth damage to the surface of the button on both sides.I had forgotten that Al Jones (Upshallfan) had restored a Surbrug pipe and done a blog on it for rebornpipes. When I googled the brand one of the first links that came up was the one to Al’s blog on rebornpipes (https://rebornpipes.com/2015/03/24/surbrugs-special-restoration/).There was a great section on the brand written by Jon Guss and linking it to a New York City Tobacco Shop that Al quoted. I quote from that in full now.

I only knew that Surbrug’s was a New York City tobacco shop and I’ve seen their shop pipes pop up occasionally.  Jon (Guss) sent me this about the shop:

John R Surbrug, born in Switzerland of a Swiss father and Ohio mother, had a small tobacco shop in New York City. After his death in the 1880s, his young son John Willard Surbrug (born in NYC in 1859) took over the store. Incorporating the business in 1895, John W. expanded into the cigarette market and prospered greatly. After buying a cigarette competitor name Khedivial, Surbrug’s business in turn was acquired by the Tobacco Products Company (TBC) in 1912. TBC was what we would now call a roll-up play, created by George and William Butler as a vehicle to compete with the American Tobacco Company. Surbrug’s business was acquired for stock, which meant John was left with an active role in the combined business. The later part of his career (and his son’s career), though interesting, is irrelevant here; what matters is that the Surbrug Company, while primarily engaged in the manufacture and sale of cigarettes, continued to be true to its roots offering well known tobacco blends and pipes. In regard to the former, the company was especially famous for its Golden Sceptre, Best Make, and Arcadia Mixture tobaccos. In regard to the latter, it appears that Surbrug was not a manufacturer, but rather a reseller of pipes that were stamped with their name by a variety of third party suppliers. Some at least of these were major players in the world famous London pipe industry. Surviving early hallmarked examples make it clear that BBB/Frankau, Barling, and Delacour Brothers were three of Surbrug’s vendors.

Al also included an old advertisement for one of Surbrug’s famed tobacco blends. I have included it below to give a feel for the Pipe Shop and also because it gives the address of the shop. I love these old adverts as they give a great view of the time period the brand came out.To help get closer to a maker and a date I worked on the hallmarks on the band and rim cap. The hallmarks on the band were an O, a rampant lion and a crownless lion’s head. Those marks told me that the silver band was made in 1909 (O) in London (crownless lion or leopard head) and the rampant lion told me it was .925 Sterling Silver. On the cap around the rim top the hallmarks Those marks told me that the silver cap was made in 1910 (P) in London (crownless lion or leopard head) and the rampant lion told me it was .925 Sterling Silver. On both the band and the cap the makers’ marks were the same – AD over JD. (I am including the picture of the hallmarks that I included above). I have also included a chart to help date the band and cap. I have put a red box around the two dates. Note that the cartouche (box surrounding the letter) is the same on the band and cap as the one shown in the chart (https://www.925-1000.com/dlc_london.html).Now that I had the date I needed to identify the Maker Marks on both pieces of silver. From Al’s quote above I was given another clue about the manufacture of the pipe. It seems that Surbrug was not a manufacturer, but rather a reseller of pipes. They also seemed to have these pipes stamped with their name by a variety of third party suppliers. I quote the section of the above blog as it gave me a starting spot.

Some at least of these were major players in the world famous London pipe industry. Surviving early hallmarked examples make it clear that BBB/Frankau, Barling, and Delacour Brothers were three of Surbrug’s vendors.

I wonder if perhaps the AD and JD marks could be Delacour Brothers as noted in the above quote. They are certainly the only D in the list of third party suppliers. I decided to check on the pipephil website to see if I could find any information on the Delacour brand to help narrow down the identification of the initials on the bands (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-d4.html). Sure enough the pipe was a Delacour the band in the photo on the site is the same as the one I am working on. It has the AD over JD stamp and identifies the makers as Delacour Brothers – Auguste and Joseph. The pipe was also a lidded pipe like mine. A further interesting link was found there that made the connection to a late 19th century Alix Delacour who owned a subsidiary company in London. I am including the screen capture below.I followed the links that were given on that site to further information on extra pages on the site (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/infos/delacourusine-en.html). The first is to a picture of the letterhead of the Delacour Company in Saint Claude, France. The letterhead shows a wood cut of the factory. There was also a photo of the factory itself that shows a similar view to the letterhead illustration. Now I knew I was working on a pipe made by Delacour for the Surbrug pipe shop in New York City and that it was made around 1909/10. I had a good sense of the Delacour Brothers and the London connection for this pipe. With the history and background of the brand in mind it was time to go to work on my part of the restoration but first a review of Jeff’s cleanup of the pipe. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He was able to remove lava build up on the rim top and you could see the great condition of the bowl top and edges of the rim. There was still some darkening to the rim top toward the back of the bowl. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. I took a close up photo of the silver rim top to show the condition of the bowl and rim after Jeff had cleaned up the grime and lava from the bowl and the silver. The cap and the rim top looked very good and had been polished. There was some scratching and dents in the silver. The stem photos show that the oxidation is gone. The light tooth chatter is hard to see but I should be able to sand it out quite easily. There were some tooth marks on the top and underside of the button edge.I also took a photo of the stamping on the left side and the underside of the shank showing how the stamping was laid out. I also took photos of the hallmark on both the band on the shank end and the rim cap and top. I polished the bowl and shank with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad to remove the sanding debris. After the final sanding pad I hand buffed it with a cotton cloth to raise a shine. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into finish of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Restoration Balm really makes the grain stands out beautifully. I set the bowl aside and filled in the deep tooth marks on the topside of the button with clear super glue and set the stem aside to let the repair cure. Once it had cured I used a needle file to flatten it into the surface of the stem. I used a folded piece of 240 grit sandpaper to reshape the button surface on both sides of the stem. Once the surface was smooth I sanded out the scratch marks and started the polishing of the stem with a folded piece of 400 grit sandpaper. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil. (I neglected to take photos of the process of sanding the file marks and smoothing out the repair. I apologize.)I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil and set it aside. I stopped the polishing process at this point to put a proper bend in the stem. I put a pipe cleaner in the stem and heated it with a heat gun until the vulcanite was supple. Once it was supple and flexible I bent it over a round jar to get the bend to match the flow of the top of the bowl. I took some photos of the newly bent stem to show what it looked like now that it was finished. I put the stem back on the pipe and took photos of the new look. I like what I see. I need to finish polishing the stem and then do the final buffing. I finished polishing the stem with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and gave it a final coat and set it aside to dry.  I put the stem and bowl back together and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I polished the briar and the minute scratches still in the vulcanite of the stem until there was a rich shine. I polished the silver with a jeweler’s cloth to protect it and give it a shine. This old 1909/1910 Surbrug made by Delacour Brothers has a classic bent billiard with a twist – a sterling silver band on the shank and a sterling silver rim and wind cap. It is a beautifully carved pipe. Once I buffed the pipe the briar came alive and the mixture of grain – cross, swirled and birdseye – popped with polishing. The black vulcanite stem had a rich glow. The finished pipe is a beautiful grained bent billiard shaped pipe. This old pipe with a new bend in the stem fits well in the hand and sits right in the mouth. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This old timer is one that is staying in my own collection and fits the niche of my old pipe collection well. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as it was a pleasure to work on.

The 7th of a collection of Bertrams – a Bertram 60 Bullmoose


Blog by Steve Laug

You will probably get tired of this introduction if you are following the blog but I will keep it here at least for a while for those who have not read the previous blogs on the pipes in this collection… As I mentioned before, once in a while I get emails through the blog about pipes that someone wants to sell. These can be estates or they can be a collection that an older pipeman has decided to get rid of by passing it on to someone who can work on them and see that they get into the hands of another pipe smoker. In this case I received an email from a fellow who wanted to sell me a collection of Bertram pipes. We met over FaceTime and he showed the pipe collection to both Jeff and me. We discussed their condition and arrived at a price for the pipes. The majority of the pipes in the collection were Bertrams but there were also some other brands that were known to me. We struck a deal on the lot and he shipped them to Jeff. Jeff took some photos of the collection when it arrived in Idaho. He unwrapped each of the 200+ pipes and filled the three boxes that they were mailed in, and then took a photo to show the size of the collection we had purchased. To be honest it was a bit overwhelming to see all of the collection in boxes. We were looking at a lot of work to bring these back to life.I am glad that Jeff is working through the clean up on this lot as there are many! I am leaving it to choose which pipes to work on. So far he is choosing the higher grade pipes and the more interesting shaped ones. As he finishes a batch of them he boxes them up and sends them to me. From that box, I chose another one of the Bertrams from the lot to be the seventh pipe that I would work on. As with the rest of the collection this one was dirty! The smooth finish was grimy and dusty but the grain shone through showing me that this was a beautiful pipe. It was a Bullmoose shaped pipe with a straight tapered stem. There was a cake in the bowl and light lava overflowing on to the rim top. The rim had slight darkening on the rear inner edge. The stem showed some light oxidation and some chatter on the top and underside. There was a crack in the button and on the underside of the stem surface. The photos below tell the story and give a glimpse of this interesting pipe. Jeff took 2 close-up photos of the bowl and rim at different exposures to capture the condition of the pipe when it arrived. The rim top had some light lava and some darkening on the back rim top. The bowl had a cake that was quite thick but also a lot of tobacco debris stuck to the walls.He also took a photo of the left side of the bowl to show the large fill that was mid bowl. He took a photo of the underside of the shank to show the shape ant the grain on the bowl and heel. The finish is very dirty but this is another interesting pipe. Jeff took a photo to capture the stamping on the left side of the shank. The first photo shows stamping which read Bertram over Washington, D.C. The stamping on this pipe is clear and readable. The second photo shows the grade number stamping on the underside at the shank stem junction. It read number 60 which shows the quality of the pipe. The next two photos show the stem surface. They show the oxidation and the chatter on both sides near the button. There is also some wear on the button edges. The most significant issue that will need to be dealt with is the crack in the button edge and into the stem on the underside.If you have read the previous five blogs I have posted on the Bertram pipes that I have cleaned up so far you can skip the next bit. But if you have not, then I include the link to Bertram history and information. I would recommend that if you don’t know much about them do some research on them. I include a link to the write up on Pipedia (http://pipedia.org/wiki/Bertram). Bertram pipes were based out of Washington DC. They were popular among famous politicians and celebrities of the time. They made many products for them from FDR’s cigarette holders to Joseph Stalin’s favorite pipe. They were considered some of the best America had to offer till they finally closed their doors in the 70s. They graded their pipes by 10s, the higher the grade the better. Above 60s are uncommon and 80-90s are quite rare. I’ve never heard of or seen a 100 grade. I have several blogs that I have written on rebornpipes that give some history and background to Bertram pipes. (https://rebornpipes.com/2015/06/16/an-easy-restoration-of-a-bertram-grade-60-217-poker/).

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

I am also including this photo of the shop in Washington D.C. and a post card of the shop. From this information I have learned that the shape and grade Bertram I have in front of me now was made before the closure of the shop in the 1970s. This Bertram Bullmoose is a rare shape in terms of the Bertram pipes I have worked on. With a grade 60 stamp it is just above the mid-range mark.

Jeff reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He was able to remove light lava build up on the back of the rim top and you could see the great condition of the bowl top and edges of the rim. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. (Please note that I forgot to take a photo of the underside of the stem before I started my repair work so the last photo below shows the initial repair started.) I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the condition of the bowl and rim after Jeff had cleaned up the darkening at the front and rear of the rim. It looked really and both the inner edge and the outer edge of the rim look really good. The stem photos show that the oxidation is gone. The light tooth chatter is hard to see but I should be able to sand it out quite easily. The repair on the button and the stem would actually work well as it was not as large as it appeared.I also took a photo of the stamping on the left side and the underside of the shank showing how the stamping was laid out.I polished the bowl and rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wetsanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad to remove the sanding debris. After the final sanding pad I hand buffed it with a cotton cloth to raise a shine. The large fill on the left side is rock hard so I left is as it was when I received the pipe. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into finish of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Restoration Balm really makes the grain stands out beautifully. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I cleaned off the crack in the underside of the button with alcohol and a cotton swab. I dried it off and filled in the area with clear super glue and set it aside to cure.I used a folded piece of 240 grit sandpaper to address the tooth chatter and blend the repair into the surface of the stem. Once the surface was smooth I sanded out the scratch marks and started the polishing of the stem with a folded piece of 400 grit sandpaper. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wetsanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and gave it a final coat and set it aside to dry. I put the stem and bowl back together and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I polished the briar and the minute scratches still in the vulcanite of the stem until there was a rich shine. This Bertram has a protruding chin or nose to it. It is that shape that is called a Bull Moose. Once I buffed the pipe the briar came alive and the mixture of grain – straight, flame and birdseye popped with polishing. There are some fills on the left side of the bowl but they are not glaring pink putty. The black vulcanite stem had a rich glow. The finished pipe is a beautiful grained Bull Moose shaped pipe. Like the other Bertrams I have worked on this one fits well in the hand and sits right in the mouth. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 3/4 inches, Height: 1 5/8 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/4 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. Since I am traveling for a bit for the next three weeks this one will go on the store once I return. If you are interested let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as it was a pleasure to work on.

The 4th of a collection of Bertrams – a Bertram Dublin 70S


Blog by Steve Laug

As I mentioned before, once in a while I get emails through the blog about pipes that someone wants to sell. These can be estates or they can be a collection that an older pipeman has decided to get rid of by passing it on to someone who can work on them and see that they get into the hands of another pipe smoker. In this case I received an email from a fellow who wanted to sell me a collection of Bertram pipes. We met over FaceTime and he showed the pipe collection to both Jeff and me. We discussed their condition and arrived at a price for the pipes. The majority of the pipes in the collection were Bertrams but there were also some other brands that were known to me. We struck a deal on the lot and he shipped them to Jeff. Jeff took some photos of the collection when it arrived in Idaho. He unwrapped each of the 200+ pipes and filled the three boxes that they were mailed in, and then took a photo to show the size of the collection we had purchased. To be honest it was a bit overwhelming to see all of the collection in boxes. We were looking at a lot of work to bring these back to life.Jeff chose a group of pipes from the collection and began his work on them He sent me a box with some of the pipes he had cleaned up. I chose another one of the Bertrams from the lot to be the fourth pipe that I would work on. The smooth finish was dirty but the grain shone through showing me that this was a beautiful pipe. It was a Dublin shaped pipe with a straight shank and a tapered stem. There was a cake in the bowl and light lava overflowing on to the rim top. The rim top also had dents and dings and a slight darkening on the rear inner edge. The stem showed some light oxidation and some chatter on the top and underside. The photos below tell the story and give a glimpse of this interesting pipe. Jeff took 2 close up photos of the bowl and rim to capture the condition of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. The rim top had some light lava and some darkening on the back rim top.He also took a photo of the right and left side of the bowl and shank to show the interesting grain on the bowl and the heel. The finish is very dirty but this is another interesting pipe.Jeff took a photo to capture the stamping on the topside of the shank. The photo shows stamping which read Bertram over Washington, D.C. The stamping on this pipe is clear and readable. The second photo shows the stamping on the left side at the shank bowl junction. It read number 70S which not only shows the quality of the pipe but also refers to the fact that it is a straight grain pipe. The next two photos show the stem surface. They show the oxidation and the chatter on both sides near the button.If you don’t know much about them I recommend doing a little research on them. I include a link to the write up on Pipedia (http://pipedia.org/wiki/Bertram). Bertram pipes were based out of Washington DC. They were popular among famous politicians and celebrities of the time. They made many products for them from FDR’s cigarette holders to Joseph Stalin’s favorite pipe. They were considered some of the best America had to offer till they finally closed their doors in the 70s. They graded their pipes by 10s, the higher the grade the better. Above 60s are uncommon and 80-90s are quite rare. I’ve never heard of or seen a 100 grade. I have several blogs that I have written on rebornpipes that give some history and background to Bertram pipes. (https://rebornpipes.com/2015/06/16/an-easy-restoration-of-a-bertram-grade-60-217-poker/).

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

I am also including this photo of the shop in Washington D.C. and a post card of the shop.

From this information I have learned that the shape and grade Bertram I have in front of me now was made before the closure of the shop in the 1970s. I also learned that the 70S was a higher grade than the grade 60 pipes that I have worked on. It was on the higher end of the spectrum above the 50 mid-grade. Jeff reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He was able to remove the lava build up on the rim top and you could see the great condition of the bowl top and edges of the rim. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the condition of the bowl and rim top after Jeff had cleaned up the darkening at the rear of the rim. It looked really good. Both the inner edge and the outer edge of the rim look really good. The stem photos show that the oxidation is gone. The light tooth chatter is hard to see but I should be able to sand it out quite easily.I also took a photo of the stamping on the top of the left side and the remainder of the left side of the shank showing how the stamping was laid out.I polished the bowl and rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wetsanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad to remove the sanding debris. After the final sanding pad I hand buffed it with a cotton cloth to raise a shine. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into finish of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The pipe really looks good at this point and the grain stands out beautifully. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I used a folded piece of 240 grit sandpaper to blend the tooth marks and chatter into the surface of the stem. Once the surface was smooth I sanded out the scratch marks and started the polishing of the stem with a folded piece of 400 grit sandpaper. I wiped the stem down with a damp cloth and took the following photos.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wetsanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and gave it a final coat and set it aside to dry. I put the stem and bowl back together and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I polished the briar and the minute scratches still in the vulcanite of the stem until there was a rich shine. The polished briar came alive with buffing and the straight, flame and birdseye grain just popped with polishing. The black vulcanite stem had a rich glow. The finished pipe is a beautiful straight grain Dublin that really is a comfortable pipe in the hand. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 1/4 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/2 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. I will be putting this one on the rebornpipes store sometime in the days ahead. If you are looking for a beautifully grained Dublin with a straight tapered stem this one might be for you. Let me know if you are interested. Thanks for walking through the restoration of this with me it was a pleasure to work on.

 

Restoring a 1965 Dunhill Shell Briar # 56 F/T 3/4 Bent Billiard


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

I had just finished restoring the fifth Dunhill from my Mumbai Bonanza find, a 1962 DUNHILL SHELL #196 F/T and now this is the sixth. I am left with only one Dunhill pipe to complete from the Mumbai Bonanza, a smooth finish LB.

I was fortunate enough to have heeded to the advice of my dear friend and mentor, Mr. Steve, and struck a deal with a trash collector from Mumbai. He did not know what he was selling and I did not know what I was buying as we reside in different cities!! The argument that Mr. Steve presented was that if not anything, I shall at least have some spares and this was logical. I struck a deal and here are pictures of the pipes that I received in this lot. This lot contains some very nice collectible pipes, a few well known brands and some mediocre brands. Overall, with seven Dunhills, a Preben Holm #1, a couple of “Made in England” Pete System pipes, Charatan’s, Custom-Bilt, Stanwell and other assorted pipes, I would say that I had hit a huge jack pot!! Hence, I like to call this find the “Mumbai Bonanza”.

The pipe that I decided to work on from this find is another Dunhill, a 1965 Shell Briar 3/4 bent billiard, and is marked in pastel pink circle in the picture below. It is stamped on the underside of the shank with the shape number 56 followed by F/T followed by DUNHILL over Shell Briar followed by the COM stamp Made in over England 5 (underlined) which dates it as being made in 1965. This is followed by Group size number 4 in a circle and letter S for Shell. Dunhill White Dot adorns the top of the vulcanite stem. The stampings are very slightly worn out and easily readable.In this short journey of mine in to the world of pipe refurbishing, this particular pipe has one of the deepest and beautiful sandblast patterns that I have come across. The sandblast on this pipe speaks volumes about the skills of the pipe carver. With this thought, I move ahead with the restoration of this beautiful medium sized sandblasted Dunhill bent billiard and restore it to its glory.

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
The chamber is clean with a decent and even thick layer of cake. From what I can see, the chamber walls appear to be without any damage. The chamber is odorless. There is an overflow of lava on the sandblasted rim top surface. The inner and outer rim edges are undamaged. The walls appear to be thin. Is this a case of over reaming or is it because the carver decided to compromise the wall thickness for deeper sandblast patterns?The stummel boasts of some beautiful sandblast pattern of mix of straight and cross grain all around. It is dirty with grime, oils and tars filling in much of the craggy finish. The briar looks lifeless and dull. The mortise shows minor accumulation of dried tars mixed with ash and remnants of tobacco. This will have to be cleaned and refreshed. The vulcanite stem shows a minor damage to the button end with minor chatter on the lower surface. The lip edges have a few bite marks and will have to be reshaped and made crisp. The stem is oxidized; however, the quality of vulcanite is good. The white dot on the upper surface has faded in some places but is still distinctly visible. This cannot be helped and status quo has to be accepted.There are no major issues to address here on this pipe; just a little TLC and the pipe should be good to go…nah, find a place of pride on my rack!!

THE PROCESS
I start this project by tackling the stem first. I sand the stem with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper to erase the minor tooth chatter on the lower surface, get rid of the oxidation and provide a smooth surface for the intended fill to reconstruct the button edges. I cleaned out the internals of the stem with hard bristled and regular pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol. Once I was satisfied with the internal cleaning, I wiped the stem surface, particularly the damaged button end, with a cotton pad and alcohol to remove any traces of dirt and grime. I prepared a mix of CA superglue and activated charcoal and carefully applied it over the damaged lip and set it aside for curing over night. Before moving ahead, I would like to mention here that I had applied this mix in sufficient thickness which would help during the filing and sanding while shaping the button and achieving the correct lip edge profile.While the stem repair was set aside to cure, I moved ahead to deal with the stummel cleaning. With size 3 head of a PipNet reamer, I took the cake down to bare briar. Using a folded piece of 180 grit sand paper, I sand out the last traces of cake and expose the walls of the chamber to ascertain that there are no cracks/ heat fissures. I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad dipped in isopropyl alcohol to remove the carbon dust left behind by all the reaming and sanding process. The walls of the chamber were solid with no damage. This was followed by cleaning the mortise by scraping away at the dried gunk with my fabricated spatula and followed it up with further cleaning using cue tips, pipe cleaners and shank brush dipped in isopropyl alcohol. This eliminated all traces of old smells from previous usage. I followed up the internal cleaning with external. Using a soft brass wired brush I gently scraped away the thick lava coat in the blast of the rim. With a hard bristled tooth brush and dipped in undiluted Murphy’s oil soap, I very deliberately scrubbed the sandblast finish on the stummel and the rim top. The stummel and rim top was dried using paper napkins and soft cotton cloth and set it aside to dry out naturally. The stummel looks fresh and clean. Next, I rub a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to the briar with my finger tips and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful contrasting hues colors that are unique to this sandblast pipe, on full display. I further buff it with a horse hair shoe brush. I set the stummel aside and turned my attention to the stem repair. The fill had cured nicely and I moved ahead and began the process of filing and shaping the button end with a flat head needle file. For a better blending, I further sand the entire stem with 220 followed by 400, 600 and 800 grit sand paper. This helps to reduce the sanding marks left behind by the more abrasive 220 grit paper. To bring a deep shine to the vulcanite stem, I went through the complete set of micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200 to 12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem with alcohol after each pad and rubbed it down with Extra Virgin Olive oil to rehydrate the vulcanite. The repairs have blended in very well and the stem now looks shiny black and beautiful. The internals of the stem was once again cleaned out using alcohol and pipe cleaners to clear the airway of all the debris resulting due to the sanding. The finished stem is shown below. To finish, I re-attach the stem with the stummel. I mounted a cotton cloth buffing wheel to my local machine which is similar to the Dremel.  I set the speed at about half of the full power and applied White Diamond compound to the entire pipe. I wiped/ buffed the pipe with a soft cotton cloth to clear it of any leftover compound dust. I then mounted another cotton cloth wheel on to the polishing machine and applied several coats of carnauba wax. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further.The completed pipe looks lovely, fresh and vibrant; the pictures speak for themselves. I really enjoyed working on this pipe and hope that readers too enjoyed walking with me through this restoration. If only this old warrior could share its past life with all of us…if only!! Cheers.

 

 

 

Restoring and Restemming a Savinelli Capri 915


Blog by Lee Neville

Over the past few months I have been continuing my correspondence with Lee via email. He picked up a couple of pipes for me at a local antique shop in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and sent them to me. We have fired emails back and forth on restoration questions and issues. He also included Charles Lemon of Dad’s Pipes in the conversations and we had a great time. Earlier this week he sent Charles and me an email about a restoration of another pipe that he restemmed. Charles and I spoke with him of the style and size of stem to use. He did a great job on the restemming and the description of the work so I asked him if I could post it on rebornpipes. He was glad to have me do so. Thanks Lee for your work and this second write up. It is great to have you on rebornpipes as a contributor once again! – Steve

Thought I would share my pipe rehabilitation effort of a Savinelli Capri 915.  It showed up in the Winnipeg Ebay lot as a dirty stummel with a snapped-off stem tenon wedged into its shank. Alas, the original stem was not included in the lot.

This is a “Birks” pipe – Henry Birks & Sons, or what it’s now known by these days – “Maison Birks”, is a Montreal-based jewellery/glassware/fine leather goods/timepieces/ silver & gold flatware / object d’art firm in business here in Canada since the late 1800s.  It appears Birks would commission pipes from manufacturers and stamp them with their house name and offer them for sale during special promotions – Christmas, Father’s Day etc.  This Savinelli is the first of two “Birks” pipes I’ve got on my bench to restore.The plan is to clean this stummel up to the natural briar,  treat it to a wax protective finish and fit a replacement stem.  This will be fun as I just received the PIMO stem tenon cutter tool which will make short work of fitting a properly sized tenon on a replacement stem blank.

Stummel clean up
The bowl was in good shape. The rim showed minor discolouration from lighting.  The rim was not obscured by any lava. The previous owner was not a dottle-knocker – luckily no dents or chips on the bowl rim.  I reamed the bowl out with my newly arrived Pipnet set – I started with the smallest head, applying light twisting force and allowing the tool to make its way into the bowl.  This was repeated by the following two larger reaming heads to remove existing cake close to briar.  This was followed by twists with a dowel covered with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the remaining cake, then more twists with 320 / 400 grits to finish the bowl interior smooth. There are no cracks or burnouts in the bowl. The shank cleaned up with a few runs of alcohol-soaked pipe cleaners and q-tips.

I attacked the stummel with a soft toothbrush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the rim discolouration and surface dirt/grease. The accumulated grunge lifted right off after two scrubbing sessions.  I was delighted to see the proprietary sandblasting/rustication is scarcely worn – the deep relief is quite attractive.

The stummel was then covered with masking tape. I clamped the padded stummel in my dremel vise and using a drill bit sized just over the ID of the snapped off stem tenon, ran it in a smidge gently, then reversed the drill and the tenon remnant came out with the drill bit.  This revealed a very fine crack in the mortise end of the stummel.  Using thin CA glue, I lightly dabbed the crack, watching it wick into the crack, then sprayed accelerant to instantly set the glue.  I lightly sanded the mortise face and mortise with 1000 grit paper to ensure any glue squeeze-out was removed before attempting to fit replacement stem

Fitting a new stem
I viewed the Savinelli web site to glean pipe proportions (stummel to stem) as well as canvassing yourselves for your thoughts on replacement stem length. I also found a high-definition image of a Capri 915 online.  Applying some ‘Edmonton Windage’, I ordered an oval tapered stem blank in a 2.25″ length from Vermont Freehand Pipes.

The stem blank on arrival was a bit wider than the stummel shank, so there was some filing and final sanding required to match the stem to the shank profile.

I mounted the replacement stem into the vise and drilled the stem draught hole to accept the guide rod of the PIMO stem tenon cutting tool.  I then mounted the PIMO stem tenon cutting tool and gently took a succession of cuts to arrive with a couple of thou of tenon final size.  I used a strip of 320 grit sandpaper to work the circumference of the tenon to a snug fit into the stummel mortise.  I used a variety of tools to flatten the stem tenon face so it would meet up with stummel mortise surface properly – needle files, sandpaper, a few licks with a very small chisel – all under a magnifier lens working the stem mating surface – testing fit/working it/test fit/working it until I got the proper fit.

Rough file work was then required to narrow the stem.  This took about an hour.  I then worked in the round with a file to shape the circumference of the stem to match the stummel profile. Last steps were using 220 sandpaper to work the circumference down as close to the final dimension. I followed that with 400 and 600 grit sandpaper.  I was now a scant hairs-width proud on the stem.  I then replaced the masking tape covering the stummel shank with clear scotch tape and brought the stem into line with the shank profile with 1500 and 1800 micro mesh pads.I filed the stem button into shape and from that point on, it was just applying a succession of micro mesh pads to 12000 to polish the replacement stem. Here is the clean stummel and new stem before finishing.Finishing the Pipe 
I treated the stummel to a coat of Howards Feed and Wax (beeswax, carnauba and citrus oils), let it sit for 30 minutes, then wiped off the excess, followed with a thin coating of carnauba wax over the whole pipe and a rub in with a polishing brush.  Using a cotton buff on my Dremel at 4000 rpm, I ran the buff over the entire pipe to bring out the shine. This pipe cleaned up very nicely and is a joy to hold.  I had fun fitting a new stem that is in proportion to the stummel and I think it’s a close resemblance to the stem originally fitted to the pipe.

Thank you Charles and Steve for your help on stem selection.

Onward and upwards!

Lee 

Rejuvenating the Amazing Grain of an EWA Trophee of St. Claude, France 909


Blog by Dal Stanton

Next on my worktable is another pipe I acquired from a ‘Lot of Treasures’ I found on French eBay.  This French Lot of 50 has rendered some real keepers with historic interest and collectability.  The EWA Trophee I’m now looking at is a classic Bent Billiard with a flare – the acrylic stem, banding and picturesque briar holds out great potential, but it come with some challenges as well.  Pipe man, Scott, commissioned the EWA – a friend on FB and regular contributor on different Face Book Groups, and a former US Navy man who I appreciate very much.  Scott reached out to me on FB Messenger and had been looking at the pipes available for commission in my For “Pipe Dreamers” Only! collection and there were 5 pipes he was dreaming about that he had seen, but settled on one, the EWA Trophee.  I appreciate Scott’s patience in the speed of my pipe restoration production line!  His patience is now paying off, and his commission benefits the Daughters of Bulgaria – our work here in Bulgaria helping women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Here are the pictures that drew Scott’s attention. I can see why this pipe got Scott’s attention.  I have worked on several French named pipes, and this was the first with ‘EWA’ stamped on the left shank flank.  Underneath and at an angle is stamped ‘TROPHEE’.  The acrylic stem also is stamped with a distinct EWA.  The right side of the shank is stamped ‘BRUYERE’ [over] ‘ST. CLAUDE’ [over] ‘FILTRE’.  Tucked on the lower side of the shank is stamped the shape number, ‘909’.  Information about this nomenclature was readily available in the Pipedia article on EWA pipes and with this being my first look at the EWA name of St. Claude, I include more of this article.

From Pipes, Artisans and Trademarks, by José Manuel Lopes

EWA is a French brand of Pipe EWA-Ets. Waille SARL. Launched in the 1970s by Michel Waille, the brand began in the Waille factory founded in 1860 by Horace Waille., and has been passed down from generation to generation ever since. He was succeeded by his son, René (1902-1932), his grandson Adré — who obtained the rank of ‘CAP de Pipier’ in 1926 and was in the company from 1920 to 1974 — and his great grandson, Michel Waille.

Michel, ‘Meilleur Ourrier de France’ but retired today, is currently President of the Pipe Club de Saint-Claude. He joined his father in 1968 and was at the head of the firm until 2002, when the brand was sold, first to Mr. Gigandet, and later to Denis Blanc, of Ad Hoc Pipe. [link is dead]

The company specialises in the production of horn, acrylic and cumberland stems, and today is the only maker in Saint-Claude producing horn and Lucite stems. It also makes the Terminus system pipes, employs half a dozen people and export 25% of its production. From site Ad Hoc Pipe [link is dead]

Horace Waille, the great-grandfather was a pioneer in the history of Pipe story of Saint Claude and created in 1860 a pipe workshop.  Rene Waille, his son, has continued the activity from 1902 to 1932 and was specialized in the initial shaping.

Andre Waille, son of Rene, obtained a “CAP de pipier” (Pipe maker degree) in 1926 and has pursued the activity of the familial company from 1932 to 1974. He is the only pipe maker, who obtained a Pipe maker degree. In 1968 Michel, son of Rene, actual Manager of EWA pipe joint the familial company and transform in 1974 the company in SARL PIPE EWA.

The information I gain from Pipedia that is useful – the Waille name is long-standing in France’s pipe center of Saint Claude.  I’m especially interested in the information that the company has historically specialized in the production and use of horn, acrylic and Cumberland stems which is relevant for the pipe on the worktable.  Pipephil.eu was my next stop and information there clarified the age of this EWA Trophee and the meaning of EWA.  The name was changed in 1979 from simply Waille to EWA from “Etablissement WAille” (English: Establishment).  So, the acrylic stemmed Billiard on my table dates at the earliest starting at 1979 with the genesis of the EWA stamp.With a better appreciation of the heritage and age of this EWA Trophee of St. Claude, I look more closely at the pipe itself.  The grain and classy acrylic stem and banding/shank ring shows promise, but there are also some issues and challenges in bringing this pipe back to a more presentable state.  I take several more pictures to catalogue the issues I see.  The fittings of the pipe have come apart.  As I disengage the stem and stummel, the 8mm filter sleeve is unattached to the stem and needs to be reattached.  The shank ring is also loose. The pipe has been heavily smoked and loved and the cake in the chamber is substantial.  By lightening the picture, you can see how the cake expands as it descends into the chamber.  There is no way to assess the health of the chamber wall until this cake is removed to allow the briar a fresh start and to inspect the wall for heat fissures or cracks.The rim corresponds to the lack of maintenance and cleaning of the chamber.  Thick lava has flowed over the rim and must be removed and cleaned to liberate the briar rim presentation.I like the grain on the stummel – very expressive.  What I don’t care for is the thick shellac finish that was used on this stummel – my classic ‘candy apple’ finish.  I love shine, but briar shine not chemical shine!  I will need to strip this stummel down to the raw briar to allow the grain I see to breathe again.There is a deep gouge on the left side of the shank that creeps toward the shank end where there is another dent next to the edge. The heel of the stummel has seen better days!  There are a few good-sized dents and divots that must be addressed.Probably the most fun will be cleaning the acrylic stem.  The external acrylic surface will not be difficult, but the discolored airway is another thing altogether coupled with the issue of not being able to use the normal cleaning attack with the use of alcohol.On close examination, my concern grows for the cleaning of the airway as I can see microscopic veins splaying from the airway – mainly at the bend of the stem. This next picture is looking into the mouth of the stem that the 8mm filter sleeve has vacated.  This needs to be cleaned thoroughly making way to reattach the filter and afterwards, the ring.We have work to do!  To begin the restoration of Scott’s choice of this EWA Trophee Bent Billiard of St. Claude, I start with the cleaning of the stummel by reaming the chamber which is nearly closed by the growth of the cake.  I take another picture to mark the start and then, starting with the smallest of the blade heads of the Pipnet Reaming Kit, I begin the cleaning process.  To help in the cleanup I first put down paper towel. The cake is hard and stubborn and takes some time and effort for the smallest blade to penetrate to the floor of the chamber.  I take a picture about three quarters of the way down the chamber. I use 3 of the 4 blades available and then switch to using the Savinelli Fitsall Tool to scrape chamber walls.  Finally, I sand the chamber with 240 grit paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen.  To clean the chamber of the carbon dust, I wipe it thoroughly with a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95%.  The picture below shows the huge pile of carbon that was removed from the chamber. After inspection, the chamber appears to be in good shape.  What I notice after the reaming is complete is the rim width imbalance that is now evident after the cake was removed.  The left side of the rim (bottom in the picture) is thinning where fire was drawn over the rim during the lighting. Next, to clean the exterior surface of the stummel, I use undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap on a cotton pad to scrub.  I also use a brass wire brush to work on the lava crusted on the rim as well as gently scraping it with a knife edge.  The cleaning helps, but the rim remains darkened from the lava and the ‘candy apple’ finish is still very much in place. To complete the stummel cleaning regimen, I use pipe cleaners and cotton buds wetted with isopropyl 95% to clean the internals. After many pipe cleaners and cotton buds, and scraping the mortise walls with a dental spatula, the color of the buds started coming out less soiled.  I decide to stop at this point – the internals were clean enough at this point.In order to strip the ‘candy apple’ finish I put the stummel in a soak of acetone. This should strip the stummel of all the old finish.  I leave it in the soak overnight. Turning to the acrylic stem, before I started on the restoration and as I was thinking about my approach, something in the recesses of my memory was ringing a warning concerning the approach to cleaning the clear, acrylic stem, but I wasn’t sure what it was. I decided to send Steve an email with the stem’s picture and my questions.  With his vast rebornpipes experience, as always, his response was helpful to help chart a course:

Hey Dal

The clear stems like that (if on a GBD are Perspex and early acrylic) are not resistant to alcohol. They can shatter or at least craze. I will often use lemon juice to start with and also liquid cleanser or soft scrub with bristle pipe cleaners or shank brushes. Sometimes you can use a needle file to work the insides. The airways are often rough inside so they need to be smoothed out. It is pretty labour intensive to clean out the stains as originally the airways were clear…

Steve

In a subsequent note he also added this:

Ok… the GBD brand was originally a ST Claude Brand. Perspex is an early acrylic. It was on GBD Prehistoric pipes… Lucite is another brand name for acrylic… both are acrylic.

I have soaked the stems and it does help some, but I have also put the cleanser on a pipe cleaner and let it soak as well. I have even used comet cleanser… big thing is no alcohol if at all possible. Too risky.

I have read of guys chucking a pipe cleaner in their drill like a drill bit and spinning it in the stem but have not tried that myself…  Anyway..,

 Enjoy

Steve

To begin the ‘enjoyment’ in tackling what proves to be a very stubborn project, I take a picture to mark the starting block.Using a sharp dental spoon, I work on digging gunk out of the slot cavity and scraping the hard stain buildup there.In Bulgaria we do not have ‘Soft Scrub’ but we have a product in the same genre called CIF that I next use to begin addressing the rough stains in the bent stem airway.  I use a bristled pipe cleaner and dip it in the cleanser and go to work.  With the pipe cleaner serving as a back drop I can see that microscopic veins are already evident in the airway lining. This is the ‘crazing’ effect that Steve mentioned in his note.  Removing stain from these will be an effort.  The veins are concentrated at the bend of the stem.To up the ante a bit, I decide to try the technique that Steve described that others had tried – to chock a pipe cleaner in a hand drill and utilize the high-speed rotation to enhance the cleaning process of the acrylic airway.  In order to increase the diameter of the pipe cleaner ‘bit’ I twist and wrap an additional pipe cleaner that I had already used.  I then insert this into the chuck and tighten it down.  I use another bristled pipe cleaner as the ‘drill’ and dip it in CIF cleanser.  I then insert the end of the pipe cleaner into the shank side of the stem and start the drill rotation gradually as I slowly insert the pipe cleaner into the airway – I haven’t done this before so I’m watching to see what happens!  It works like a charm.  As I insert the pipe cleaner, I increase the speed of the rotation and there is no wobble at all.  With the drill speed rotation engaged, I then push and draw the stem back and forth to create more cleaning movement.  I do this also with a soft pipe cleaner and cleanser.  The pictures show the pipe cleaner drilling.Well, I hoped for perfect results, but as feared, the stains in the veins remain visible and these are concentrated at the outer bend of the stem.  Because of this, it is evident that these veins have been here a while.  The rest of the airway is looking good.Next, from Steve’s suggested assault options, I squeeze lemon juice into a dish.  I will use the natural acids of the lemon to work on the airway.  I use the pipe cleaner too, but since the night is late, I settle at this point to put the stem into the lemon juice to soak through the night.  With the stummel soaking in the acetone and the stem in the lemon juice, I turn off the lights and end another day. The next morning, I use a pipe cleaner on the stem again.  The lemon soak through the night did seem to work, but the veins and the discoloration in the veins remain.  A reminder that we live in a fallen world where perfect pipes and restorations do not exist.  I accept this and decide to move on, but I decide to leave a pipe cleaner wet with CIF cleanser in the airway to continue to work on the stains while I turn to the stummel.The stummel has been soaking in acetone through the night to remove the ‘candy apple’ finish.  I fish it out of the acetone and the first appearance is that it still has the sheen showing that old finish was still present.  The finish has been greatly softened through the soak and with the gentle help of 0 grade steel wool I remove the finish without difficulty.  With the old thick finish removed, I examine the shank and the heel areas again where I saw significant dents and pits and discover that these are not as pervasive as they appeared before.  Most of the visible damage was to the thick finish and not to the briar.  Well, that’s one argument in favor of thick finishes!  The second picture below of the close-up of the grain – the bird’s eye grain is fantastic! Looking at the rim, it is thinner on the left side (bottom in the picture) and that edge is deteriorated.  The entire rim presentation needs freshening and to try to improve the width balance some. To address this, I take out the chopping board and put 240 grade sanding paper on it.  I give the stummel a minimal topping to give the rim a fresh start.After taking as much briar off the rim as will be helpful, I switch the board to 600 grade paper and rotate the stummel a few more times to smooth and blend.After the topping, the thinning on the left side of the stummel (bottom in picture above) remains thinner and more topping will not improve this because the stummel width descending in the chamber is thinned because of burning and lighting on that side.  To top until the rim width starts evening out would require too much briar real estate.  The way to mitigate against this, but not fully remove it, is to create an internal rim lip bevel.  On the ‘fatter’ side of the rim I increase the amount of bevel somewhat to help even out the round of the chamber.  I use a coarse 120 grade paper to begin, then follow with 240 and 600 grade papers.  The results I believe have improved the rounding, but again as with the stem airway, perfection is not achieved but it is looking very good none the less! Again, looking at the dent on the stummel heel and on the shank, just below the Trophee stamping, I examine the dents and how to repair them.  I go out on our 10th floor balcony, which is my ‘Man Cave’, and use the steaming method to raise the dent that’s on the heel of the stummel.  I wet a cotton cloth with water, and using my wife’s iron, I apply heat to the wet cloth.  When I do this, the moisture in the cloth evaporates and creates steam which is forced into the area of the briar compression.  The porous composition of wood expands with the forced heat and moisture and the result is the dent hopefully shrinks as the wood reclaims its original state.I apply the hot iron to the wet cloth over the dent.The results are excellent.  If I look hard at the place, I can still see an imprint but there is no longer a compression of the wood.I do the same to the small compression on the edge of the shank and the results are equally as good. To clean the entire stummel of the minor nicks and scratches, I utilize the less invasive approach of sanding sponges.  I use a coarse grade, then follow with a medium and light grade sponges.  I like using sponges because they can find the hard to get places as sponges, but they help remove the small nicks and pits in the briar surface.  The grain on this stummel is amazing – the dark grains appear almost cloudy as they cluster. Next, I take out the micromesh pads and wet sand utilizing pads 1500 to 2400. After finishing the wet sanding, I notice a fill on the underside of the shank next to the shape number that doesn’t look solid. Using a sharp dental probe, I test it and it doesn’t take much to remove it.  Before continuing with the micromesh process, I need to refill the pit left behind.I wipe the area with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol and mix a small amount of thick CA glue and briar dust.  I place a small amount of briar dust on an index card then drop some CA glue next to it.  Using a toothpick, I gradually pull briar dust into the CA glue until it thickens to the consistency of molasses. I then apply a small amount of the putty over the patch area, careful not to go over the shape number.  I put the stummel aside for the putty to cure.Several hours later, the patch has cured, and I begin the process of filing the patch down with a flat needle file.I’m careful to remain on the patch as I file avoiding collateral damage with nearby briar.After bringing the patch mound down almost to flush with the briar surface, I switch to using the sharp edge of a piece of 240 grade sanding paper to bring the patch down to the briar surface.  Again, keeping the sanding process tightly confined to the patch area.When the patch is smooth to touch, I then switch to 600 grade paper to smooth the patch and blend further.When the 600 grade has finished its work, I catch up the patch area in the micromesh process utilizing pads 1500 to 2400.With the patch completed, I continue by dry sanding using pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  I love the thick grain on this stummel!There is no question in my mind about whether this grain can stand on its own!  At this point I apply Before & After Restoration Balm to the briar surface.  The B&A Restoration Balm does a great job simply deepening the richness of the natural briar.  I apply some to my fingers and rub it into the briar surface.  As I rub it in, it thickens to a wax-like consistency.  After I apply it thoroughly, I let it stand and absorb for about 20 minutes then I wipe off the excess and buff up the surface with a microfiber cloth.  I’m loving the grain!With the stummel on the side, I now turn to the clear Lucite stem. I begin by washing the stem with dish soap and warm water.  Looking closely at the bit area, the top lip of the button is compressed.  I take a picture of it but it’s not easy to see!  There is also roughness from tooth chatter.The lower bit has a tooth compression as well as tooth chatter.I apply clear CA glue to the lower tooth compression and spray the CA glue with an accelerator to hold the glue in place and to quicken the curing process.To deal with the compression on the top button lip, I simply sand it out using 240 grad paper.  I smooth out the tooth chatter as well.I then use 240 grade paper to sand and smooth the patch on the lower side as well as to remove the tooth chatter and roughness of the bit and button.  I follow the 240 sanding by wet sanding the entire stem with 600 grade paper to take out the small nicks and scratches.Following the 600 grade paper, I sand/buff the entire stem with 0000 steel wool.Following the steel would I wet sand the stem using micromesh pads 1500 to 2400 and then dry sand with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  After each set of three pads I apply a coat of Obsidian Oil to the stem. The stem is ready to go.  I take the nickel shank ring and clean it with Tarn-X.  It does a great job shining up. Now it’s time to reattach the 8mm filter sleeve.  I want to make sure its straight and seats accurately in the mortise.  I first slip the ring over the sleeve without attaching it with CA glue.  I want to simply use it as a spacer for the first step of reattaching the sleeve.  With the ring over the sleeve, I apply CA glue around the end of the sleeve that is inserted into the stem cavity. After I insert the sleeve into the cavity, before the CA glue sets up, I quickly seat the filter sleeve into the mortise with the ring compressed between the shank and stem.  I hold the stem firmly in place with proper orientation until the CA glue sets.With the sleeve properly seated, I then apply a few drops to the stem side of the ring and then reattach it, again seating the stem into the mortise.  It looks good – no gaps and a straight snug fit.To spruce up the EWA stem stamping, I apply Rub ‘n Buff European Gold.  I apply a little over the stamping and simply wipe it lightly off with a cotton pad.  The stamp is a little thin, but the Rub ‘n Buff holds well, and it looks good.Now the home stretch.  I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel set at about 40% of full speed and apply Blue Diamond compound to the stem and stummel. I then separate the stem and change to another cotton cloth wheel dedicated to applying Blue Diamond to nickel and I buff up more shine on the shank ring.  After reuniting the stem and stummel again, I then wipe the pipe with a felt cloth to clean off the compound dust in preparation of the application of the wax.  I then change to another cotton cloth wheel with the same speed and apply a few coats of carnauba wax to stem and stummel and then finish with a rigorous hand buffing to raise the shine.

The unique grain cluster constellation that I see in the EWA Trophee is amazing.  The heel grain pattern shows color, swirls and vortexes that remind me of pictures of the planet Jupiter.  It is truly amazing and mesmerizing to look at.  The Lucite stem came out well – it is classy with the complimentary gold and black band ring providing a nice transition.  My only wish is that I could have purged the stem airway totally of the discoloration in the crazed veins that will remain as a reminder of this pipes battle scars from its past!  Even so, the EWA Trophee of St. Claude, is a beautiful Bent Billiard and Scott did well in seeing the potential of this pipe when he commissioned it.  As the commissioner, he has the first opportunity to acquire it in ThePipeSteward Store.  This pipe benefits the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thank you for joining me!