Tag Archives: Soren Freehand Pipes

Next on the table – A Soren Hand Carved 3 Freehand


Blog by Steve Laug

As mentioned in the last few blogs, Jeff picked up some amazing freehand pipes lately. When I was in Idaho for my mom’s funeral I packed and brought them to Canada. There was a Soren Hand Carved, Granhill Signature, Ben Wade Golden Walnut, Veeja 900 C6 and Viggo Nielsen Hand Finished. All were handcrafted and had interesting shapes and finishes. Some had full plateau rims, some partial plateau rim. Tonight I started working on them. The next pipe I chose was a Soren Hand Carved. My brother had done the entire cleanup – reaming, scrubbing the exterior and cleaning the interior. That left me the finishing work. The bowl has a smooth finish with plateau on the rim top and shank end. The pipe is a pick axe shape with an interesting collar then flares toward the plateau on the shank end. The finish on the pipe was in excellent condition. The vulcanite stem had very light tooth chatter on the top and bottom at the button and was lightly oxidized as well. Jeff had cleaned the rim top and removed the debris in the plateau. He had scrubbed the exterior with Murphy’s Oil soap and a tooth brush to remove the dust and grime that had accumulated there. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer and touched it up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He cleaned the interior of the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. It came to me clean and ready to touch up and polish. The stem was cleaned but had tooth chatter on the top and underside near the button and on the surface of the button. I took close up photos of the rim top and the shank end to show the condition of the plateau. I also took photos of the stem to give a clear picture of what I had when I started. I took photos of the underside of the shank to show the stamping there. It read Soren over Hand Carved over Copenhagen over Denmark. On the left side of the collar on the shank the number 3 was stamped. I am assuming that may well be a grade stamp.I needed to refresh my memory on the history and background of the Soren pipes so I went to a previous blog and reread what I had written. https://rebornpipes.com/2016/09/12/repairing-and-rejuvenating-a-soren-danish-freehand/. I quote from that blog post: I looked up the brand on pipephil (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-s10.html) and found that the brand was carved by Søren Refbjerg Rasmussen. Pipes that he made for the European market were mostly stamped “Refbjerg” while those made for the US market were stamped “Soren”. Thus I knew that one I was working on was imported into the US market.

It looked like I was once again working on a pipe made by Soren Refbjerg Rasmussen for the US market as it was stamped Soren. I continued to do reading on another of my go to websites, Pipedia. Here is the link for the article there. https://pipedia.org/wiki/Refbjerg. I quote some of the more pertinent information.

Søren Refbjerg Rasmussen founded a company in 1969, which employed an average of 8 – 12 craftsmen in the 1970’s. The semi-freehands they produced were traded under his prename Søren. Rasmussen himself finished only the very best pipes. So his way of pipemaking closely resembled the ways of Preben Holm, Karl Erik Ottendahl or Erik Nørding. Altogether more than 1,000,000 pipes were sold.

There was also a note from Soren himself regarding the Danbark line of pipes that he made. I think that it is interesting to note that even on these he used the finest Corsican and Grecian briars. I assume that is also true of his other lines as well. I quote the note in full.

“A note from the carver:

I am very proud to introduce my new (!) series of hand-carved Danbark Pipes by Søren. These pipes are crafted from the finest Corsican and Grecian briars. I take a great deal of pride in crafting the Danbark Pipes to be highly functional and so they will provide the smoker with many years of dedicated service. The Danbark Pipes by Søren are available in several different styles and finishes with my personal touch and inspirations. At this time I favor making classic shaped pipes with a slight touch of my own hands and feelings. I do not produce many pipes today but the pipes that I do make available are individually crafted from the finest Corsican and Grecian Briars available to me. I still make free-hand pipes but not as many as I once made. For the past 35 years I have always tried to make good smoking pipes in my workshop located near Copenhagen, Denmark. I have always tried to craft my pipes in such a way as they will be long lasting and best friends with the owners. I take great pride in the shape of my pipes, the drilling of the pipes, and the overall dimensions of the pipes. I enjoy spending my spare time on the very long, rugged coasts of Denmark. I derive much relaxation from being on the coast while angling for Sea Trout with my own hand-tied flies. I find this environment is a great inspiration to me for making pipes. Many times I think to myself, “Inspired by nature, made by me”.  — Happy puffing, Søren”

From that I knew that the pipe in my hands came from the 1970s. It bears the Soren signature stamp which also says that it was made for sale in the American pipe market. Armed with that information I turned my attention to restoring the pipe. I started with the clean bowl, I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm to deep clean the briar bowl and shank. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I hand rubbed it with my fingers, working it into the exterior of the pipe and working it into the plateau areas with a horsehair shoe brush. I wiped it off and buffed it with a soft cloth to polish it. The pipe really began to have a rich shine. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth chatter out of both sides of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper. I worked over the surface with sandpaper to remove the tooth chatter and the oxidation.I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with Obsidian Oil to protect and polish the stem. When I finished with the last pad I rubbed it down with Before & After Pipe Polish – both fine and extra fine. I gave it a final coat of oil and set aside to dry. I polished stem and bowl with Blue Diamond to polish out the remaining small scratches. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The plateau on the rim top and shank end and the smooth Dark and Medium brown contrast finish work very well with the black vulcanite stem. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I have worked on several Soren pipes by Soren Refbjerg Rasmussen and several Refbjerg pipes over the years and I have always been impressed by his craftsmanship and ability to work a pipe to follow the grain of the briar. He does great work and is quite innovative in terms of shapes, flow and finishes on his pipes. The dimensions of this one are quite large but delicate at the same time. The Length: 7 inches, Height: 3 1/4 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 inches wide and 2 inches long, Chamber diameter: 7/8 inches. This one is already sold to Paresh in India who always has an eye out for interesting freehand pipes. I am looking forward to hearing from him once he receives it. It is a beauty! Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this Soren Freehand. I have other Freehands that I will be working on in a variety of shapes and sizes in upcoming blogs.  

Advertisements

Repairing and Rejuvenating a Soren Danish Freehand


Blog by Steve Laug

soren1aThe fifth pipe I am working on for Steve in Dawson Creek, British Columbia is a beautiful freehand that is stamped Soren Hand Carved over Made in Denmark on the underside of the shank. The finish is not bad. There were two cracks in the plateau rim top with one of them just on the rim and the other one coming down the left side about ¼ inch. These would need to be repaired. The bowl had a light cake and there was overflow onto the plateau top. This would need to be scraped clean. The shank end was also plateau and it had a lot of dust in the grooves. The finish on the bowl was dirty and there were some small nicks on the sides. It has a diamond-shaped freehand stem that was lightly oxidized and had tooth marks on the top and the underside near the button.soren1I looked up the brand on pipephil (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-s10.html) and found that the brand was carved by Søren Refbjerg Rasmussen. Pipes that he made for the European market were mostly stamped “Refbjerg” while those made for the US market were stamped “Soren”. Thus I knew that one I was working on was imported into the US market.soren2I took a close up photo of the rim and the bowl to show the condition of the pipe when I took it out of the box. The thick cake on the top of the bowl rim filled in much of the plateau surface. You can see the thickness of the cake in the bowl. In the photo you can see that it is thicker at the top than at the bottom of the bowl.soren3I took photos of the stem to show the light oxidation and the scratching and wear to the stem. There were small tooth marks on the top and underside of the stem near the button.soren4I took some photos of the condition of the bowl and the finish before I started cleaning the pipe. I wanted to be able to track the difference in the cleanup of the briar. In the second photo below I used a dental pick to try to pick at the thick cake on the rim. It would not be the way to clean up the rim.soren5I reamed the cake back to bare briar using the Savinelli Pipe Knife. In the photo below you can see the crack on the left side near the rim. I have circled it with red to highlight the crack.soren6I used a microdrill bit to drill a cap hole at the end of the crack to keep it from spreading further down the side of the bowl. The crack was not long so it was an easy fix.soren7I cleaned the top of the rim with a brass bristle brush to clean out all of the grooves and the areas of plateau on top of the bowl. It worked far better than the dental pick to clean off the thick cake on the bowl top. In the photo below you can see the two small cracks. I have circled both of them. I cleaned them out with a dental pick so that they were open. The crack did not go down into the interior of the bowl.soren8I pushed briar dust into the crack and the end cap hole and the put super glue on top of the dust. I put more dust on top of the glue. The three photos below show the repairs.soren9 soren10I sanded the repaired areas with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the excess briar dust and super glue and blend the repairs into the surface of the briar.soren11After sanding the repairs I wiped down the bowl with alcohol to remove the grime on the surface of the briar. I carefully wiped down the area of the repairs.soren12 soren13The next photo shows the repaired area on the side of the bowl toward the top.soren14I touched up the repaired areas with a medium stain pen to blend those lighter areas on the side and on the rim with the colour of the stain.soren15I buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel and gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad. I took the next photos of the bowl after buffing.soren16The photo of the top of the bowl shows the newly stained and contrast finish on the rim. I used a black Sharpie pen to colour in the grooves in the top of the rim and the end of the shank. I used the stain pen over that. On the bottom of the bowl the birdseye grain shows some dark stain in the grain.soren17 soren18I cleaned out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and alcohol until they were clean.soren18aI polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each set of three grits. I set the stem aside to dry.soren19 soren20 soren21I buffed the bowl and stem together with Blue Diamond polish and gave it several more coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad and with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is ready to go back to Steve in Dawson Creek. It is the fifth of the pipes I have been working on for him. I am looking forward to hearing what he thinks of them when he has them in hand. Thanks for looking.soren22 soren23 soren24 soren25 soren26 soren27 soren28 soren29