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Bringing a Butz Choquin Simour 1507 Back to Life


Blog by Steve Laug

With this blog I worked on another of the pipes from Kathy’s Dad’s estate. This is the twelfth of the pipes from collection. For a reminder to myself and those of you who are reading this blog I will retell the story of the estate. Last fall I received a contact email on rebornpipes from Kathy asking if I would be interested in purchasing her late Father, George Koch’s estate pipes. He was a lover of “Malaga” pipes as well as others and she wanted to move them out as she cleaned up the estate. We emailed back and forth and I had my brother Jeff follow up with her as he also lives in the US and would make it simpler to carry out this transaction. The long and short of it is that we purchased her Dad’s pipes – Malagas and others. Included in the lot was this interesting Butz-Choquin Classic Pot shaped pipe with an inset of what looks like copper on the left side toward the rear of the bowl. The condition of all them varied from having almost pristine stems to gnawed and damaged stems that need to be replaced. These were some well used and obviously well-loved pipes. Cleaning and restoring them will be a tribute to this pipeman. Jeff took these photos of the Butz-Choquin before he cleaned it. Jeff took photos of the rim top and bowl to show the thick cake and what looked like potential damage to the inner edge of the rim at the right front and the middle at the back. He also took photos of the bowl from various angles to show the condition of the finish and the copper insert I spoke of above.  The stamping on the left side of the shank clearly reads Butz-Choquin and underneath it is a bit more faint but looks to read Simour. On the right side it is stamped St. Claude over France and a shape number 1507 beneath that.The stem was in better condition than most of the others in the collection. There was light tooth chatter on both sides near the button and the sharp edge of the button had some tooth damage. As I look at it I wonder if it is not an acrylic stem. We shall see.Those of you who have followed me for a while know how much I love getting to know about the pipeman who held the pipes in trust before me. That information always gives another dimension to the restoration work. This is certainly true with this lot of pipes. I can almost imagine George picking out each pipe in his collection at the Malaga shop in Michigan. Once again, I am including that information with this restoration so you can know a bit about the pipeman who held these pipes in trust before they are passed on to some of you. I include part of Kathy’s correspondence with my brother as well…. I may well be alone in this, but when I know about the person it is almost as if he is with me while I work on his pipes. In this case Kathy sent us not only information but also a photo of her Dad with a pipe in his mouth.

Jeff…Here is a little about my dad, George P. Koch…I am sending a picture of him with a pipe also in a separate email.

Dad was born in 1926 and lived almost all his life in Springfield, Illinois. He was the youngest son of German immigrants and started grade school knowing no English. His father was a coal miner who died when Dad was about seven and his sixteen year old brother quit school to go to work to support the family. There was not much money, but that doesn’t ruin a good childhood, and dad had a good one, working many odd jobs, as a newspaper carrier, at a dairy, and at the newspaper printing press among others. He learned to fly even before he got his automobile driver’s license and carried his love of flying with him through life, recertifying his license in retirement and getting his instrumental license in his seventies and flying until he was grounded by the FAA in his early eighties due to their strict health requirements. (He was never happy with them about that.) He was in the Army Air Corps during World War II, trained to be a bomber, but the war ended before he was sent overseas. He ended service with them as a photographer and then earned his engineering degree from University of Illinois. He worked for Allis Chalmers manufacturing in Springfield until the early sixties, when he took a job at Massey Ferguson in Detroit, Michigan. We lived in Livonia, and that’s where his love for Malaga pipes began. After a few years he returned to Allis Chalmers and we moved back to Springfield. I remember that when we went back to Michigan to visit friends, Dad had to go to the Malaga store and acquire a few new pipes. Many a year I wrote to Malaga and they picked out a pipe for me to purchase that I could give Dad for a Christmas or birthday present. He was always pleased. His favorites were the straight stemmed medium sized bowl pipes, but he liked them all.  He had some other pipes, but the Malagas were his favorites. I remember him smoking them sitting in his easy chair after work, with feet up on the ledge by the fire burning in the fireplace.  Growing up it was my job to clean them and he liked the inner bowl and stem coated with Watkins vanilla, leaving a little of that liquid in the bowl to soak in when I put them back on the rack. Dad quit smoking later in life and so they’ve sat on the racks for many years unattended, a part of his area by his easy chair and fireplace. Dad passed when he was 89 years old and it finally is time for the pipes to move on. I’m very happy they are being restored by you and your brother and hope they find homes who enjoy them as much as Dad did. Thank-you for your care and interest. — Kathy, the oldest daughter

Kathy, once again I thank you for providing this beautiful tribute to your Dad. We so appreciate your trust in allowing us to clean and restore these pipes. I am also trusting that those of you who are reading this might carry on the legacy of her Dad’s pipes as they will be added to the rebornpipes store once they are finished.

Jeff cleaned this one up before he sent it my way. He is really good at the cleanup work. He had 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 bowl, plateau rim and shank. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. The lava mess on the rim was thoroughly removed without harming the finish underneath it. It revealed the burned areas on the inside edge of the rim that I was wondering about. However, without the grime the finish looked really good.  The feather or leaf carvings in the briar of the bowl and shank look good and the inset of what I thought looked like copper was flat. The acrylic stem would need to be worked on but I really like the shape. I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work on it. I took some close up photos of the rim and bowl to show the damage to the rim top and edge. Jeff did a great job on the cleanup but boy did it reveal some damaged spots. I have circled the damaged areas in red in the first photo below. I have also included some photos of the stem to show the condition before I polished it.The pipe has some stunning grain and then it has this copper coloured insert in the side of the bowl (It may well be a piece of copper, I will know more once I polish it). I am still trying to figure this out. I wrote an email to Butz-Choquin to see if they can give me information on the line. We shall see. The next photo shows the inset.The next photo shows the leaf or feather carvings on the shank and the grain pattern. This is a pretty piece of briar.I had an interesting challenge ahead of me – to try to remove some of the damage to the rim edge without damaging the carved feather/leaf on the rim top. I needed to reduce the burned area on the rim top so that I could bevel the edge inward to hide the darkening in those spots. I progressed slowly on the topping board, checking every couple of rotations to make sure I was not making things worse.Once I had the burn damage removed I worked on the darkening on the top surface of the rim toward the front and at the back side of the bowl. I was able to minimize the damage on the top. I sanded those areas with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to blend it in better. I beveled the rim inward with a folded piece of 180 and 220 grit sandpaper. I was happy with the finished look of the rim edge. A good blend of stains will blend in the edge even more.I stained the rim top with a Maple stain pen first to blend it into the rest of the bowl. I worked on the inner bevel with Cherry and Walnut stain pens to darken the edge of the rim. I feathered the stain toward the out edge of the rim top and buffed it by hand to smooth out the transitions between the pens.I rubbed down the briar with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the carved feather/leaf patterns around the bowl, rim and shank. I rubbed it into the smooth portions to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I worked it into the briar with my fingertips and the help of a horsehair shoe brush. I let the balm sit for a little wall and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. Here is where things are after the balm. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. As I polished the briar the inset metal began to stand out. I was pretty certain that it was a piece of copper. It really began to shine and flash on the side of the bowl. It was an interesting touch to add that kind of adornment to a pipe. I set the bowl aside at this point and turned to work on the stem. I used 220 grit sandpaper to sand out the tooth chatter on both sides of the stem at the button. I also worked on the edge of the button to reshape it at the same time.I polished the acrylic stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit sanding pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth.

 

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Cleaning up a Fascinating KBB Yello-Bole Premier Bulldog


Blog by Steve Laug

I am not sure where Jeff found this old pipe but I like it. Once again he showed that he has an eye for old and unique pipes. This one is a ¼ bent bulldog with a large bowl and a unique rustication pattern on the underside of the bowl and on the shank. The pattern on the shank was framed with smooth frames. The cap on the bulldog was also smooth above the twin rings. The bowl was coated with varnish or some shine coat that was worn off of the smooth part of the pipe but remained in the grooves. The rim top had a lot of dents and damage but that will become evident in the following photos. It was stamped on the left underside of the diamond shank on a smooth panel. It has the KBB in a cloverleaf and next to that it reads Yello-Bole over Cured with Real Honey. Next to that is the symbol for a registered trademark ® (R in a circle). Underneath it reads Premier over Imported Briar. On the stem is the propeller inset logo that appeared on older Yello-Bole pipes. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. Jeff took some close up photos of the rim top to show the condition of the bowl and rim. The bowl interestingly, still had some of the Yello-Bole Honey Cured coating on the top edge and the bottom half of the bowl. The rim and cap had been knocked hard on surfaces to empty the bowl. There was some lava and dirt on the rim top and the sides of the cap but there was very little cake in the bowl and the edges looked to be in good condition.Jeff also took photos of the bowl from various angles to show the condition of the finish. You can see the crackling varnish and dust in the grooves of the rustication. The varnish is worn off the smooth portions and high spots on the rustication. There is also dust and crackling varnish filling in the twin rings that separate the smooth cap from the rusticated lower portion. The stamping on the left underside of the diamond shank is clear and readable. The KBB in the cloverleaf has more wear than the rest of the stamping. You can also see the grime on the finish in the photo below. The second photo shows the propeller logo on the top left side of the diamond saddle stem.The stem was in decent condition. It was oxidized on both sides of the stem. There were some nicks and tooth marks on both sides near the button and on the top and underside of the button itself. There were no deep tooth marks which is really a relief.I went back to a previous blog about the various Yello-Bole logos in my collection of these pipes. I reread that blog to try to narrow down a date for the pipe. Here is the link to the post and the comments on the blog: https://rebornpipes.com/2013/01/25/yello-bole-logos-from-my-collection-of-old-yello-bole-pipes/. There was a comment on that blog that came from Troy who I consider my go to guy for Yello-Bole information (who has written on rebornpipes and also has a blog of his own). Troy wrote as follows on dating Yello-Bole pipes by the stamping and logos.

“I have a large KBB Yello-Bole collection. They are some of my most favorite pipes and the best smokers for the money (briar wise) you can find in my opinion. I have restored and researched them quite a bit. I have several listed on my blog that I have cleaned or restored. I own about 30-40 KBB Yello-Boles now.”

“Here is a little guide to dating KBB Yello-Boles. If it has the KBB stamped in the clover leaf it was made 1955 or earlier as they stopped the stamping after being acquired by S.M. Frank. From 1933-1936 they were stamped Honey Cured Briar. Pipes stems stamped with the propeller logo they were made in the 30s or 40s no propellers were used after the 40s. Yello-Bole also used a 4 digit code stamped on the pipe in the 30s. If the pipe had the Yello-Bole circle stamped on the shank it was made in the 30s this stopped after 1939. If the pipe was stamped BRUYERE rather than briar it was made in the 30s.” (NB. The portions above in bold and underlined were highlighted as they pertain to the present pipe.)

From that information I ascertained the following. The rusticated Premier Bulldog I had was stamped with KBB in the cloverleaf on the left underside of the shank which told me that the pipe was made before 1955. It had a propeller logo on the stem which further placed it in the period of the 30s and 40s. With all of that collected I knew the pipe was made between 1930 and 1949 which means that this old Bulldog has seen a lot of life. I wish it could tell its story.

Ah well… I don’t know for sure where it came from or what previous pipeman carried the trust of this pipe before it came to me. It still needed to be cleaned up. I turned my attention to the restoration of the Bulldog.

Jeff had worked his magic in cleaning up this pipe. It is nice to work on pipes that he has cleaned up once again. He reamed it with a PipNet reamer and smoothed the walls of the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim and shank with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to the oils and tars on the bowl, rim and shank. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He was able to remove much of the crackling varnish in the grooves of the rustication and the briar beneath was in good condition. The cleaning of the stem left a light oxidation in the vulcanite. The tooth marks were clean but visible. I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work on it. I took some photos of the rim top and cap to show what it looked like after Jeff had cleaned off the grime and tars. The briar was in good condition but there were some deep gouges and scratches in the flat top and there were knock marks all around the cap surface. The stem was oxidized and showed tooth chatter and wear but it was otherwise in good condition. There were no deep tooth marks.I started my work on this pipe by lightly topping the bowl to remove the damage to the surface of the rim. It did not take too much topping to remove the damaged areas.I wiped the bowl down with acetone on cotton pads to remove the varnish that remained. I worked it into the grooves of the rustication with a brass bristle wire brush. Once I was finished the finish was clean and the grain looked really good on the cap and the rim top. The rustication was clean. I took photos of the bowl after the clean up to show the condition of the bowl at this time. It is beginning to look really good. In the third photo below you can see the Yello-Bole Honey Coat still present on the walls of much of the bowl. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to sand out the nicks in the surface of the cap and to smooth out the small nicks around the outer edge of the flat rim top. I polished the rim top and the smooth portions of the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth. I rubbed some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar to enliven, clean and preserve it. I rubbed it in with my fingertips working it into the briar. I worked it into the nooks and crannies in the rustication on the bowl and the shank a shoe brush. I set it aside for a little while to let the balm do its work. I buffed it off with a cotton cloth and then buffed it with a microfiber cloth. The photos below show the pipe at this point in the restoration process. I set aside the bowl and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded the tooth chatter and the oxidation off the surface of the vulcanite. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil and took some photos of the stem at this point.I polished the stem using micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and then buffing on the wheel with red Tripoli. I dry sanded the stem with 3200-12000 grit pads to further polish it. After each pad I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil to protect and enliven the stem. I polished it further with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. When I finished with the polish I gave it a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. This older rusticated KBB Yello-Bole Premier Bulldog is an interesting and unusual piece. The rustication on the bowl is really unusual and the framing of it on the shank is quite unique. The smooth rim and cap is quite nice and has some birdseye and swirled grain undulating in the briar. The reddish brown of the bowl and the black of diamond vulcanite stem contrast well together. I buffed the bowl and the stem with Blue Diamond polish to raise the shine on the briar and the vulcanite. I lightly buffed the rim top and shank end as well. I was careful to not buff the stamping and damage it. I gave the smooth parts bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand waxed the rustication with several coats of Conservator’s wax. I buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are: Length: 5 1/2 inches, Height: 1 3/4 inches, Outside Diameter: 2 inches, Diameter of the chamber: ¾ of an inch. It is an interesting old pipe and should make a great collectible piece. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

Restoring a Kriswill “Golden Clipper”


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

“………. and now make me handsome and desirable too!!!!!” This is what the sibling of the Kriswill “CHIEF”, the “GOLDEN CLIPPER” appeared to be demanding of me and who am I to refuse this lovely pipe. So here I am with all my enthusiasm to work on this beautiful pipe with mixed grains.

This was one of the pair of Kriswill pipes which was dug out by my younger daughter from the large pile of pipes, the other being Kriswill “CHIEF”. Both these beauties had an issue with their stems. The stem of the “CHIEF” did not sit flush with the shank and appeared smaller in diameter compared to the shank, while the stem of the “GOLDEN CLIPPER” sat flushed with the shank but was larger in diameter than the shank. I addressed this issue in an ingenious way and completed the restoration of the “CHIEF”. For those interested in knowing the issue of stem in detail, process to address it and the complete restoration, please follow the link https://rebornpipes.com/2018/08/04/breathing-new-life-into-a-kriswill-chief-20/. I am sure you will find it an interesting read.

My joys knew no bounds when the “CHIEF’S” stem fit perfectly like a glove in the shank of the “CLIPPER” (the time-consuming, cautious, accurate and nerve-wracking but enjoyable work of matching the stem and shank of the “CHIEF” still fresh in my mind!!!!!!). Here are the pictures of a perfectly matching stem and shank on the CLIPPER.This KRISWILL “GOLDEN CLIPPER” has a medium sized bowl with mixed grain. It is stamped “KRISWILL” over “GOLDEN CLIPPER” over “HANDMADE IN DENMARK” on the left side of the shank. At the bottom of the shank and close to the edge of the shank where it takes the stem, is stamped with number “54”.As I had determined the dating of this pipe, while searching information for the “CHIEF”, from 1970s (the snowflakes stamp on the stem and block letters on the shank were adopted post 1970), I proceeded to carry out a visual inspection of the condition of the pipe in my hand. This helps me map the road to restoring the pipe by identifying the issues involved and identify methods/ options to address the same.

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION

The bowl is covered in dust, oils, tars and grime of yesteryear. It is filled with a thick cake and the lava has overflowed on to the rim. I would still say that this bowl is not as heavily caked as I have gotten used to with my grand old man’s pipes. The cake has completely dried out.The rim surface is pock-marked with few minor dents and dings of being banged around. Exact extent of damage, there appears to be some, to the inner edge will be known after the bowl has been reamed down to its bare briar. The outer edge of the rim appears to be in decent condition.The interchanging of stem with the CHIEF ensured a perfect fit of the stem on this pipe and required no matching the fit to the shank end. The stem is, again comparatively to what I have dealt with before, lightly oxidized with light tooth chatter. The lip has been bitten off at one place and will need to be rebuilt and reshaped. There is some calcification seen around the lip on either surface. As I have come to expect, the airway in the stem is blocked and the mortise is clogged with gunk, debris and tars. I will need to clean both to ensure an open draw.The stummel needs to be cleaned. I will have to decide if I should retain the stain finish or polish it to its natural look and match it to its bigger sibling, the “CHIEF”.
THE PROCESS
Abha, my wife, dealt with the cake by reaming the chamber with a Kleen Reem pipe tool and a British Buttner pipe tool. Using the fabricated pipe knife, she further scraped the cake from the bottom of the bowl and also the walls of the chamber. She was especially very careful while reaming with the knife so as not to damage the inner edge of the rim. Once the solid briar was exposed, she further smoothed the walls and removed remaining cake by sanding with a 180 followed by 220 and 600 grit sand paper. Another advantage of this process is the elimination of traces of ghosting to a great extent. She gently scraped the rim top with the sharp edge of the knife and removed the accumulated overflow of lava. Abha followed this by scrubbing the chamber walls with cotton swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol. This removed the fine cake dust, leaving the chamber clean, fresh and smooth. As can be seen from the picture, after the cleaning, the dents and dings are more pronounced and will need to be addressed. Further, if observed closely, there is a small chip to the inner edge which can be seen on the right side in the 3 o’clock direction. I had the following two courses of action to choose from to address these issues:-
(a)        Create a slight bevel on the inner edge to eliminate the inner edge chip.
(b)        Topping the rim on a topping board.

Abha suggested proceeding with the second option since the “CHIEF” was without a bevel and as these were together, she wanted to maintain the similarities as far as possible. I concurred with her since topping will also address the minor dents and dings seen on the rim top. I gently topped the stummel on a 220 grit sand paper, frequently checking the progress.  This is very important since you do not want to lose too much briar and there is always a fear of distorting the proportions of the pipe due to excessive sanding. How much sanding is sufficient, is a question to which the answer can never be quantified. For me the mantra is, topping or sanding should be kept to the minimum and preserve maximum briar even at the cost of very minute dents/ chips being visible.

I topped the bowl just enough to address the dents and dings on the rim surface. The small nick to the inner edge of the rim has also been addressed to a great extent, but not completely. It is barely perceptible in person and acceptable to me. Hence, I left it at that!!I cleaned out the internals of the shank/ mortise and airway using pipe cleaners, cue tips and isopropyl alcohol. Thereafter using undiluted Murphy’s oil soap and tooth brush, I cleaned all the tars, oils, dust and grime from the bowl and washed it under running water. I wiped it down with paper towels and a soft cotton cloth.

Using a brown stain pen (Yes!!! I finally have them, thanks to my guru, Mr. Steve who had diligently packed them with the pipes that he had sent me after repairs, when he learnt that I was unable lay my hands on them), I stained the rim to match the rest of the bowl and set it aside to dry out. In my haste to finish the restoration, I forgot to click pictures of the above mentioned process and the look of the pipe at this stage.

While the stummel was kept aside for drying, I turned my attention to the stem. Starting with the use of Bic lighter, I painted the surface with its flame to raise the tooth chatter and bite marks as much as possible. I scrubbed the stem with a piece of moist Mr. Magic Clean sponge to clean the stem of the calcification. Minor tooth chatter was addressed to a great extent, however, some stubborn and deep bite marks and the bitten off lip stood out like sore thumb!!! Having learnt my lessons and working around the handicap of glue, I spot applied clear CA superglue with a tooth pick and set it aside to cure over night. The next morning, I applied another layer of the superglue and set it aside to cure. The reason I decided to adopt this technique is because the glue I have and available to me is of very thin consistency and hence the layering technique. After 24 hours, I checked the fills and proceeded to sand down the fills and reshape the edge of the button with a flat head needle file to match the surface of the stem. Using a 220 grit sand paper followed by wet 320 grit sand paper, I evened out the fill and removed oxidation from the stem surface. Thereafter, I used micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 2400 pads and dry sanding with 3200 to 12000 pads. I deeply rubbed a very small quantity of Extra Virgin Olive oil after every three pads. I am pleased with the way the stem has turned out. It is now smooth and shiny.Using normal and bristled pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol, I completely cleaned out the airway in the stem till the pipe cleaners came out nice and clean from the other end. However, when I checked the draw, I found it to be constricted and laborious. It was not a free flowing and open draw. I checked the alignment of the airway in the stem and shank and realized that the airway was not aligned. With a rounded needle file, I file down the tenon hole and the mortise opening in the shank to the point where there are perfectly aligned. Now the draw is full and open.

By this time, the stain on the rim top has dried out and I applied a small quantity of Before and After Restoration balm to the entire surface of the stummel, including the rim top. This product is absolutely fantastic as it freshens up the briar and makes the grain to pop out. Using a horse hair shoe brush, I buffed the bowl. Later, with a soft cotton cloth, I polished it to a nice shine. As a final touch, I rubbed a very small quantity of PARAGON wax on to the stem and the stummel. A few seconds later, using muscle power and a microfiber cloth, I polished the entire pipe to a lovely shine. Here are the pictures of the finished pipe. Hope you enjoyed reading the write up and yes, my apologies for the lack of pictures since I had to catch a flight late in the evening to rejoin my duty station, I forgot to take pictures at this stage as completing the restoration was priority task.

The Last of Boston’s Peretti Oom Paul Sitter Recommissioned


Blog by Dal Stanton

I’ve enjoyed restoring a Lot of 10 Peretti pipes and recommissioning them for new stewards.  All the Oom Pauls in the picture below, except for one which I added to my collection, are in the hands of new stewards except for the one on my worktable now.  I have been pleased to hear back from stewards who have these Oom Pauls and often I’ve heard that they have become favorites in their rotation lineups! I like Perettis myself and have a healthy collection of them.  They are great smokers in my experience and my Peretti Oom Paul is a favorite for me too – he hangs on the chin perfectly, like a good lap dog!  When I began my research on the L J Peretti name, I was surprised to discover that it is not an Italian pipe as one might expect with such a name!  In fact, I discovered the genesis of a significant story of Americana pipe history with the establishment of the L. J. Peretti Company of Boston in 1870 (Pipedia citing: Pipes, Artisans and Trademarks, by José Manuel Lopes), the second oldest tobacco shop in the US, second only to Iwan Ries & Co. of Chicago established in 1857 (See: Link).  The Peretti family originally comes from Switzerland, but the Italian name is explained by the fact that they originated from the southern slopes of the Swiss Alps which flows south toward Italy more easily than to the north – the heart of Switzerland.  The Calabash (upper left) and the Goliath Billiard (bottom) are waiting to be restored to be added to my collection of Perettis.  The hefty Egg in the middle is already in my lineup!Brian commissioned two pipes (See: For ‘Pipe Dreamers’ Only), a nice looking Jobey Hand Rubbed Dublin (next on the worktable) and the Oom Paul Sitter before me – both pipes benefit the Daughters of Bulgaria – helping women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks Brian!  For a close-up look at the Oom Paul Sitter, I take several pictures on my worktable.  The nomenclature is the simple L.J. PERETTI stamp on the left shank.  This Oom Paul shares every single challenge that his former brothers had – the former steward seemed to have a scorched earth policy.  The chamber is heavily caked, and the rim scorched.  The rim challenges are the most daunting for this restoration.  The stummel has a build up of grime and minor nicks from usual wear.  The stem has significant oxidation and bit clenching and chewing which needs addressing.  To begin the restoration of this, the last Peretti Oom Paul Sitter in need of a new steward, after cleaning the internal airway with a pipe cleaner dipped in isopropyl 95%, I put the stem in a soak with Before & After Deoxidizer along with 5 other stems.  After some hours soaking, I fish out the Peretti stem and wipe off the raised oxidation with a cotton pad wetted with light paraffin oil (mineral oil in Bulgaria).  The Deoxidizer seems to have done an adequate job. Next, I attack the chamber carbon cake build up using the Pipnet Reaming Tool.  Putting paper towel down to minimize clean up, starting with the smallest blade head, I use 3 of the 4 blades available to me. I follow the blade heads by using the Savinelli Fitsall Tool to reach down into the chamber to scrape more carbon off the wall.  Then, to clean the chamber and to bring out fresher briar, I sand the chamber using a piece of 240 grit paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen.  To remove the thick carbon dust left behind, I wipe the chamber with cotton pads wetted with alcohol.  After clearing the cake away, a look into the chamber reveals no problems – no heat cracks or fissures.  Good! Now to scrub the stummel surface and the rim with its thick lava I start with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and cotton pads.  I also use a brass brush on the rim to break up the lava crust.  To scrape the rim, I use a pin knife as well as the straight edge of the Savinelli Fitsall tool.  As I scrape the crust off, I also remove the scorched charcoal that is on the inside of the rim mainly on the left side of the stummel – the area where the former steward damaged all his pipes.  The result is that the left side of the rim is narrower after the cleaning.  The stummel is in great condition – the rim is the challenge. Before moving on with the rim repairs I continue with the internal cleaning of the stummel.  Using pipe cleaners and cotton buds dipped in isopropyl 95% I go to work. I also employ a dental scalpel to scrape the internal wall.  I’m pleased that there wasn’t too much resistance.  At the end of my work day I’ll continue the cleaning process by giving the stummel a kosher salt and alcohol soak.Turning now to the stem, I begin addressing the tooth dents and chatter on the bit.  With his brother Oom Pauls, there usually was some button damage too, but this guy’s in better shape in that regard.  I first use the heat method to raise the vulcanite dents to make them less severe.  By heating the vulcanite, it expands, and the dented vulcanite naturally seeks its original positioning.  I use a Bic lighter and paint the upper and lower bit and after heating several passes, I do see a lessening of the severity of the dents as the vulcanite expands.  As a result, I can sand the remaining dents out with both the upper and lower bit.  Before the heating:After the heating:I sand out the damage using 240 grit paper.I move on to using 600 grit paper by wet sanding the entire stem.  I follow this with 0000 steel wool sanding/buffing the entire stem.Moving forward with the stem, I wet sand using micromesh pads 1500 to 2400 followed by dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  To revitalize the vulcanite, I apply a coat of Obsidian Oil after each set of 3 pads.  I love the glossy pop! Looking now to the stummel, I see a few very small, nicely camouflaged fills which are in good shape, but I see one significant cut into the briar that needs attention.  To address it, using a toothpick, I lay a line of thick CA glue over the cut.  I set the stummel aside to allow the patch to cure.After a while, the patch has set enough for me to work on the rim.  The bad news is that the loss of briar on the left side of the internal rim from scorching is gone – it can’t be replaced.  The good news is that the aesthetic imbalance of the rim as a result can be mitigated somewhat by creating a bevel around the entire rim.  The bad news – there is additional loss of briar.  In restoring a pipe there’s always this tension between loss and gain.  With this Peretti, as with all his Oom Paul brothers, I did the same thing and they turned out well.  I start the process by taking the stummel to the topping board to remove the damaged wood on the top. Topping an Oom Paul can be a challenge because the shank extends beyond the plane of the rim.  So, to top the rim, the shank needs to hang off the side, so it isn’t unintentionally topped!  I take a picture to mark the start. I turn some rotations on the board and check out the progress.  I also utilize a small sanding block which allow me to focus on a certain area of the rim.  After the 240 paper, I put 600 grit paper on the board and do a few more rotations.  The pictures show this progress. Now, using a tightly rolled piece of coarse 120 grit paper, I begin beveling the internal rim edge – hoping to bring more balance to it.  I take a bird’s eye picture first to mark the progress.  I pinch the paper under my thumb as I move it in the areas of the rim to be reduced.  While I work on equalizing the rim diameter, I’m also sanding down the chamber to taper the walls as they move downwardly.  I’m looking for greater aesthetic balance.  I come to the point where I’ve done all I can do.  I think it looks much better.  I do another bird’s eye shot for comparison. I take the stummel one more time to the topping board using 600 grade paper.  I do this simply to reestablish the lines after the sanding. One more thing I want to do with the rim.  I’ve worked on the inside balance, now I also introduce a very gentle bevel on the outside of the rim.  I do this to soften the edge which is sharp after the topping.  I use 120 grit paper then 240 and finish with 600 – each rolled tightly.  With the rim repair done, I take the flat needle file and begin to file down the patch on the side of the stummel.  When I bring the patch down close to the surface, I switch to using 240 grit paper to remove the excess patch to the briar surface, making the patch area flush with the surface.  I then finish the sanding with 600 grit paper.  The patch will blend well later.My day has ended and I will continue the cleaning process of the stummel with a kosher salt and alcohol soak.  This freshens the briar and draws out more latent tars and oils from the briar.  I fashion a wick from a cotton ball by pulling and twisting it.  I insert it down the mortise and airway.  I then fill the bowl with kosher salt, which has no aftertaste, and then put isopropyl 95% into the bowl until it surfaces over the salt.  I wait a few minutes and top off the alcohol and turn out the lights. The next morning the soak has done the job through the night.  The salt and wick show soiling from the tars and oils.  I clean the stummel of residue salt with paper towel, blowing through the stummel, and to be on the safe side, I run a cotton bud with alcohol through the mortise to clean up any leftover remnants – after a couple of cotton buds I move on. The next step is to address the external briar surface of the Peretti Oom Paul Sitter.  I filled the one cut I saw on the surface that stood out.  There are other nicks and scratches that are normal from use.  To address these, I use micromesh pads.  I first wet sand using pads 1500 to 2400, then dry sanding 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  The grain looks good as the micromesh pads coaxed it out.  The one bummer is the darkened wood from the scorching damage around the inner edge of the rim.  That will not go away because it would sacrifice too much briar to accomplish it. Since the rim had been topped and sanded, it is a shade lighter than the rest of the stummel.  To remedy this, I apply a maple color dye stick around the rim.  I forgot to take a starting picture for comparison but here is the aftermath.  It looks good and matches well.As I’ve done with all the other Peretti Oom Pauls (and one Bent Billiard!) I restored, I kept the color true to the original as much as possible.  To do this I used Before & After Restoration Balm on the briar and it does a great job deepening and enriching the color already there.  I do the same with this Sitter.  I squeeze some of the Balm on my fingers and work it into the surface.  The Balm starts with the consistency of light oil but as it is worked into the briar it gradually thickens to a wax-like feel.  After applying it fully and working it in, I set the stummel aside for a while, about 30 minutes to allow the Balm to do its thing and take a picture.After about 30 minutes I use a clean cloth to wipe and buff off the Balm.  I’m pleased with the results.  Turning now to the application of Blue Diamond compound, I rejoin stem and stummel, mount a cotton cloth wheel onto the Dremel, set the speed at 40%, and methodically apply the compound.  After finished, I wipe the pipe with a felt cloth to remove compound dust in preparation for the wax.  I mount a different cotton cloth wheel to the Dremel dedicated to applying carnauba wax, leave the speed at 40% and again, methodically apply a few coats of wax to stem and stummel.  I finish the restoration of the Oom Paul Sitter by giving the pipe a rigorous hand buffing with a microfiber cloth to raise the shine.

I am very pleased with the restoration of this, my last for now, Peretti Oom Paul Sitter.  The grain is rich on the huge, ample bowl which is the reason many pipe men and women desire an Oom Paul in their collections. The added benefit to this Oom Paul is that it is a Sitter.  He can comfortably join his steward at a table playing cards or board games!  Brian commissioned (see For ‘Pipe Dreamers’ Only) this Peretti Oom Paul Sitter and will have the first opportunity to acquire it in The Pipe Steward Store.  This pipe benefits the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks for joining me!

Resurrecting a Badly Damaged BBB ** Billiard


Blog by Victor C. Naddeo

I have been following the Pipe Club of Brasil Group on Facebook for quite a while now and have enjoyed the posted that Victor Naddeo has made about his restoration work. He is the administrator of the Facebook Group and we have chatted back and forth. When he posted this restoration I was intrigued by his solution to the crack in the bowl. He sent me photos on Messenger and we talked about the repair and BBB pipes in general. Seems we are both devotees to BBB pipes. I asked him to write up this repair on an old BBB ** that was in very rough shape before he started. He gladly did so. I am hoping this is just the first of many blogs on rebornpipes by Victor. Welcome to rebornpipes! Now in Victor’s own words.

A few years ago i had my first experience with restorations. As a young man just into adulthood, I had little money to invest in good pipes, and on one fateful day I met an old Bent Apple BBB ** for sale at an antique dealer. The pipe had a very rusty stem, there were beat marks all over the edge of the bowl, and a cake that looked more like the shell of a turtle. Already for some time I followed the blog rebornpipes and the work of Steve, and inspired by him I decided to get involved in this project. Two months later (and after many mistakes made) I finally managed to bring the old warrior back into action. On that day I gained two new passions: Restoration and old BBB’s. This restoration I will show you below began months ago when in an auction I bought this BBB billiard from a not very honest auctioneer who had not reported that the bowl was cracked. After some time waiting in a drawer, I finally decided to do something to bring another warrior to this army of BBBs, I hope you like it!

As you can see, looking from the side he was just an old billiard that needed a bit of polishing and cleaning. Good shapes, harmonious proportions, these are typical features of an old BBB and the main reasons that made me fall in love with the brand. What I did not expect was that his former owner somehow managed to create a large crack in the front of the bowl with about 3cm.The interior of the ducts was also completely clogged with a mass of tar residues derived from years of non-cleaning use. The cake was also quite thick, which led me to believe that the pipe had never been reamed, and if it was, that was many decades ago. To remove the cake, I had to use some chisels first, because as the passage was very narrow, it was impossible to insert my Senior Reamer into the chamber. It took me some time (and I also got some blisters on my hand). In the picture you can see the amount of carbonized material being removed from inside the bowl. After using the chisels and also the senior reamer, I also use a series of sandpaper inside the bowl, starting from grit 220 through 400, 600 and ending with 800, so that the inside of the bowl has a uniform surface.After a 30 minute bath in a solution of Oxyclean and water, I washed the inside of the stem using bristle pipe cleaners and running water. With a Dremel and felt disks, used blue polishing compound to polish the inner tube. I finished cleaning the inside of the stem using cotton pipe cleaner soaked in grain alcohol, removing what was left of residues and possible bacteria. The Oxyclean bath brings the oxidation back to the surface of the stem, which facilitates the polishing and removal of the oxidized material. Returning to the subject of the dreaded crack in the bowl. I decided to use a briar insert to cover it. To prevent cracking from increasing over time and to facilitate insertion of the insert, I used a cutting blade attached to the Dremel to cut the broken part and make a V shape instead of the crack. I used this same disk to also cut out a briar block, an insert of a similar size and I used sanding paper to leave it the perfect size to fit into space. To glue the insert, I used a mixture of briar dust, pigments and super glue. I settled the insert and held it for a few minutes until the glue dried. I waited a few hours to make sure that all the glue was dry and insert was firmly in place. I cut the burrs and used sandpaper to level the insert with the rest of the bowl. I also used brown and black dye to match the colors. I used 220, 400, 600, 800, 1000 and 1200 grit sanding sticks to remake the shapes of the bowl edge that were completely destroyed by the beat marks. As you can see, after reshaping the top of the bowl, you can already see the ancient times of glory of this pipe that once was the faithful companion of some gentlemen.

After dying, it was time for the first polish. I used two different compounds, red and brown, on denim disks and jeans disks, such as a high spin, to remove sediments and dirt that were stuck to the outside of the bowl and excess dyeing of the insert and the new bowl top . I used the same process on the stem to remove the oxidized material, but finalizing with flannel discs using the blue compound and white diamond to give a mirrored sheen.

 

Recommissioning a Monarch Pat. 1989069 – 1074H Bent Ball


Blog by Dal Stanton

This nice-looking Monarch Bent Ball shape came to me along with 65 pipes in an eBay acquisition which I’ve called the Lot of 66.  The Bowl shape has a very nice feel in the palm with the dimensions an adequate: Length: 6 1/4 inches, Height: 1 1/4 inches, Bowl width: 1 3/4 inches, Bowl depth: 1 3/8 inches, Chamber width: 15/16 inches.  This pipe got Andy’s attention in the special section on my blog site called “For ‘Pipe Dreamers’ Only!” where pipe men and women (and their significant others looking for special gifts!) can commission pipes.  Andy is from the state of Maryland in the US and he and his wife attend church where I used to be the pastor – in a former life many, many years ago!  Andy reached out to me via Facebook Messenger:

I really enjoy your posts with the restored pipes, and I’m wondering what might be available now and what the costs are. I really like the Oom Paul’s (and some of the other Peretti’s), and the Savinelli from May 29. Many years ago, I had a small collection which included a Comoy, and, if I recall correctly, a Peretti and a Savinelli. Sadly, they were lost somewhere along the way. Thanks for reigniting my interest (no pun intended). I looked at your website and found the answers I needed. What can you tell me about the Monarch Pat. 1989069 – 1074H Bent Ball shape on the Pipedreamer’s page? It looks very similar to one I had many years ago, and I might be interested in commissioning it if it’s still available. Thanks!

It’s amazing how pipes become so much a part of memories and associations in our lives!  Andy and I dialogued, and he commissioned the Monarch and will have the first opportunity to acquire the Bent Ball when it is restored and placed in The Pipe Steward Store, benefiting the Daughters of Bulgaria.  Here are the pictures that caught Andy’s attention. The stampings on the pipe are distinctive: on the left side of the shank is stamped ‘Monarch’ in cursive script with swirly tail, over ‘PAT. 1989069’.  The right side of the shank has ‘1074H’ stamped which I assume is a shape number.  The stem has a dot marked on the top which I notice actually appears to be a vent – the black center of the dot is not solid but a hole.  Interesting. A quick trip to Pipedia in search of ‘Monarch’ turns up useful information.

Monarch Pipe Co. was established in Hartford Con, most likely in the late 1930 by Fred Warnke, who obtained a patent on the system pipe on January 22 1935. The company moved to Tulsa Oklahoma at some point in the 1950s, after which Monarch Pipe Co was moved to Bristow, Oklahoma. The Monarch Pipe Co. also makes E.A.Carey Magic Inch and Duncan Hill Aerosphere Pipes.

So, the question in my mind was, are pipes still being produced by the Monarch Pipe Co. in Bristow, Oklahoma?  After searching the internet, I found an interesting newspaper article from the The Oklahoman, published January 15, 1995, entitled, ‘Bristow Manufacturer Lives on Pipe Dreams Pipe Fitting As Fragile as a Smoke Ring, The Art Still Burns in Bristow’ (LINK).   Excerpts from the article are enlightening and interesting:

Monarch has manufactured pipes in Bristow for 32 years. Once it employed 12 workers and produced 5,000 pipes a month; now the workforce is four, including Austin (a manager mentioned earlier).

Monarch was founded in 1929 in Connecticut. In 1962, a Tulsa businessman who ordered his pipes from Monarch discovered his source might close down, so he bought it. He and his partners moved it to Bristow…. Some 15 years ago, Carey bought the little enterprise.

This excerpt mentions Monarch’s parent company was the E.A. Carey of Ohio, company most well known for the ‘Carey Magic Inch’ pipes which boasts of a system that produces a drier, cooler smoke.  Still wondering if Monarch currently was producing pipes, I search again, “Monarch Pipe Co.” and found an old business link from Buzzfile.com that gave information and a ,mailing address – no email or website.  I plugged the Bristow, OK, mailing address in Google Maps and found this picture of the Monarch Pipe Co.  The date of the photograph from Google is July 2012 – now six years ago. Still desiring to know if Monarch pipes were being manufactured, I decided to try one more angle.  The 1995 Oklahoman Newspaper article above said that E. A. Carey bought out the small Monarch enterprise 15 years earlier, in 1980.  I searched for the Magic Inch E. A. Carey of Ohio name and found a website: http://www.eacarey.com.  As I’ve successfully done many times in the past, I went to the sites ‘Contact Us’ page and used the email provided to see if anyone there knew anything about the Monarch Pipe Company?  I received a reply from Danielle: 

Thank you for the email.  We are sorry, but the Monarch pipe company closed a few years ago.  The woman who ran it has retired.  We do still sell magic inch pipes, they can all be found on our website: www.eacarey.com   Any pipes she made for us, we no longer have.

In reply, I went out on a limb asking if they had a Monarch Shapes Chart…. We’ll see what happens! (Addendum: Danielle responded in a few days to say that they had no information on Monarch pipes.  Oh well!)

The closing lines in the 1995 Oklahoman article proved to be prophetic.  The former manager of Monarch Pipe Co., Francis Austin was quoted:

Still, he said, Carey “realizes the stability of the smoking industry” is as fragile as a smoke ring, and is diversifying into such areas as children’s safety toys and goose down products.

Someday, concedes Austin, who’s 60, his artful pipes will be collectors’ items.

This Monarch Bent Ball is now a collectible!  The other interesting aspect of the Monarch nomenclature is the patent number given: ‘PAT. 1989069’ which is for the system evident in the fittings of the Monarch ‘System’ pipe.  I took the patent number to the United States Patent and Trademark Office site searched the patent number.  I found that the patent was approved January 22, 1935 and a diagram that is also referenced by Pipedia, showing a cutout of a pipe with the system that remains in the Monarch on my worktable. I was also intrigued by reading the full patent document submitted by Fred L. Warnke in 1931.  I clipped the header from that document and placed it below.  The first several paragraphs describes how the system would provide the holy grail of pipe technology – a cooler and dryer smoke! One last interesting item to note which I referenced earlier.  The dot on the top of the stem is a hole or a vent air regulator which is labeled #25 in the Fig. 1 1931 patent diagram.  I found this caption that I clipped from the patent document interesting as it describes the purpose of the vent and how it contributes to a ‘dryer and cooler’ smoking experience as it regulates the introduction of fresh air to the to the smoke.  I really wish I could try out some of the pipes I restore to experience these inventions in practice!As I take a close look at the Monarch Bent Ball, the chamber has light cake buildup with some lava flow on the rim, but light.  The stummel looks to be in good shape. I see no fills and only the normal grime that builds on the surface.  I’m not quite sure how the internals of this system pipe work, I’ll have to experiment to see how to clean it.  The stem has mild oxidation and some tooth chatter.  So, with a better understanding of the provenance of this Monarch Bent Ball and the technology of the patent, I begin the restoration by cleaning the internal airway and air chamber of the stem with pipe cleaners and cotton buds then I add the Monarch stem to Before & After Deoxidizer along with five other pipes’ stems to address the oxidation.After some hours, I fish the stem out of the Deoxidizer and wipe off the Deoxidizer and oxidation with a cotton pad and light paraffin oil (mineral oil).  I also clear the airway of Deoxidizer using a pipe cleaner dipped in isopropyl 95%.  The Before & After Deoxidizer did a good job – the stem’s oxidation is removed.Turning to the stummel, I begin to clear the light cake using the Pipnet Reaming Kit.  I take a picture to mark the start and spread paper towel to minimize cleaning. I jump over the smallest blade head with this large chamber and use the next blade to the largest blade head.  I then use the Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Tool to fine tune the reaming by scraping the chamber walls where the blade heads missed.  To get down to fresher briar, I then sand the chamber by wrapping a piece of 240 grade paper around a Sharpie Pen.  Finally, to clean the chamber removing the carbon dust, I wet a cotton pad and wipe the chamber.  Looking at the chamber wall – I see no problems.  The pictures chronicle the progress. Turning to the external surface, I use undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap to scrub with cotton pads and I also utilize a brass brush on the rim.  After cleaning I rinse the bowl under tap water.  The rim came out well with most of the lava removed.

I decide to explore the internals of the Monarch’s mortise.  I first clean the nickel mortise airway tube with pipe cleaners and shank brushes.  The tube was easily cleaned.  After looking at the patent diagram again, mainly at figure five which shows the mortise fitting, I decide to see if it will come out.  The base appears to be threaded.  Carefully, I clamp down on the flat sided flange shown as #26, and gently rotate the stummel holding the mortise fitting stationary.  It starts a bit sticky but then gradually loosens up until it is removed.  What I’m looking at looks close to the 1935 patent diagram.  I find that #15 is loose and comes off of the main threaded insert.  I read in the patent document that this hardware was designed to enable an exact adjustment to position the stem with the stummel.  We’ll see after I clean everything and reassemble how this works.  I wanted to see if there was a crud trap at the end of the tubing near the draft hole.  I am pleased to see that there wasn’t after plunging a few cotton buds down through the opened mortise.  After cleaning and reassembling the mortise insert, it did take a bit to figure out how to work the adjustment mechanism. It was a combination of rotating the threaded insert (#14) so that the flange (#15) was loosened and could rotate a degree or so and tightened to change the alignment of the stem that would then be screwed on….  After a few tightenings and loosenings, I was able to align the stem as it should be!  The new steward will have to figure this out!  I take a picture to show the alignment. To address the stem’s tooth chatter, I first use the heating method to expand the vulcanite, thus reducing the severity of the indentations.  I use a Bic lighter and paint both the upper and lower bit.  I follow that by using a flat needle file to re-shape the button lips, both upper and lower, then I sand using 240 grit paper to erase the file scratches and to sand out the tooth chatter.  Following the 240 grit paper, I use 600 grit paper to erase the scratches of the 240.  Then, over the entire stem, I sand/buff using 0000 grade steel wool.  The tooth chatter is removed, and the button’s new lines look good. The stem is ready for the micromesh process.  Using micromesh pads 1500 to 2400, I wet sand the stem.  Following this, I dry sand using pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  After each set of 3 pads, I apply a coat of Obsidian Oil to rejuvenate the vulcanite.  The stem looks good – the glossy pop is what we aim for! The stem is waiting in the wings and I now look to the stummel.  To begin, I decide to do a very light topping using 600 grade paper on the chopping board to refresh the rim lines and to remove the remaining lava traces. Inverting the stummel onto the board I only go a few rotations and I’m satisfied with the results. To remove the minor cuts and nicks on the stummel from normal wear, I use micromesh pads 1500 to 2400 and wet sand the stummel.  Following this, I dry sand using pads 3200 to 4000 then 6000 to 12000.  Well, at the beginning of the second set of micromesh pads while sanding, I spied a blemish in the briar that I hadn’t seen before (second picture below).  It was a bit too large for me to be happy with the finished restoration, so I take a little detour.  I apply a drop of clear CA glue on the spot.  I spray it with an accelerator to instantly cure the patch.  I keep the drop as small as possible so not to impact the surrounding briar.  Surgically, I file and sand the patch down with a flat needle file, then use 240 and 600 grade papers and then play catchup with the spot with the first 3 micromesh pads.  Finally, I then complete the micromesh process with the final six pads.  The grain is looking good on this Monarch Bent Ball! At this point I decide to add a stain to darken the stummel, but to give it a nudge in a reddish direction. I decide to use Fiebing’s Saddle Tan Pro Dye to do this.  For the staining process, I remove the Monarch System insert in the mortise.  I then wipe the stummel with a cotton pad and alcohol to clean the surface.  Using a hot air gun, I warm the bowl causing the briar to expand.  This helps the grain be more receptive to the dye.  After the bowl is heated, I use a folded pipe cleaner to apply the Saddle Tan dye to the briar.  After I coat the stummel thoroughly, I flame the stain with a lit candle.  This causes the alcohol in the dye to combust and to set the pigment in the briar.  After a few minutes, I repeat the process of applying dye and flaming.  I set the stummel aside to rest through the night.  It’s a good idea, and I turn out the lights. The next morning has arrived and I’m anxious to ‘unwrap’ the flamed Saddle Tan crust encasing the stummel.  I mount a felt buffing wheel on the Dremel and set the speed at the slowest and I use Tripoli compound to remove the layer.  The felt wheel, coupled with the Tripoli, a coarser compound, removes the leftover stain as well as finely buffs the briar surface.  I work the Tripoli compound methodically ‘sweeping’ the briar surface revealing the grain beneath.  With my wife’s help, I include a picture of the process.  At the end of the application of Tripoli compound, I give the stummel a light wipe with a cotton cloth wetted with isopropyl 95% to blend the new stain. Next, I rejoin stem and stummel and I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on the Dremel, turn up the speed to about 40% and apply Blue Diamond compound, a less abrasive compound.  Completing this, I use a felt cloth and wipe the pipe removing the compound dust in preparation for applying wax.  I mount another cotton cloth wheel to the Dremel, maintain the 40% speed and apply a few applications of carnauba wax to both stem and stummel.  I complete the waxing with a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth.

My goodness!  The grain on this Monarch Bent Ball just stands up and shouts!  As one traces the patterns around the Ball’s bowl, there’s flame grain, some bird’s eye and a rippled stream of grain that reminds me tiger fur – a landscape of grain pleasing to the eye.  The Monarch Ball shape fits naturally in the palm.  Andy from Maryland commissioned this Monarch Bent Ball and he will have first dibs on it when it’s placed in The Pipe Steward Store.  This pipe benefits the Daughters of Bulgaria – helping women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks for joining me!

Restoring a Beautiful K&P Dublin Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

This is another pipe from the fellow here in Vancouver that he dropped off for me to work on. There were 8 pipes in the lot – I have finished six and this is the seventh. It is a bent billiard shaped bowl that is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads K&P over DUBLIN. On the right side of the shank is the COM stamp Made in Ireland in a circle with the “in” in the centre of the circle. Next to that is the shape number 217. The silver band is marked K&P over Sterling Silver. The stem was the original and was in fair condition. It was another one of his pipe finds on a recent pipe hunt in Vancouver. There was some really nice grain showing through the dirt and debris of the tired pipe. The rim top was damaged with a burn mark on the front right and the back outer edge was rounded over. The finish was very dirty and there was a thick cake in the bowl. The stem was oxidized and had tooth marks on the top side near the P-lip and on the underside near the shelf. I took close up photos of the rim top and the stem to show the condition they were in when I received the pipe. The first photo shows the damage to the rim top – there is a nick out of the front inner edge of the bowl and a few other nicks and chips that make it appear to be out of round. The back outer edge on the shank end is worn down at an angle but it is not rough. The inside of the bowl has some uneven cake around the bowl and some tar and oil on the top of the rim. The sterling silver band – with K&P  and Sterling Silver stamped on it is oxidized and tarnished but otherwise in good condition. The photos of the stem show the tooth damage on the top and underside of near the P-lip button. There is a deep tooth mark on the top side ahead of the button and some wearing down of the button edge on the left and right. The underside of the stem also has tooth chatter and some wear on the sharp ledge. The airway on the top of the stem is still in good condition. I took a photo of the pipe with the stem removed to give an idea of the style of the tenon on the stem and the look of the pipe sans stem.I took a photo of the stamping on the both the right and left side of the shank. It is very clear and readable. The stamping left reads K&P over Dublin and the stamping on the right reads shape number 217 and the COM stamp as mentioned above – Made in Ireland in a circle.I started my clean up on the bowl with reaming and then cleaning out the airway to the bowl and the inside of the mortise as well as the airway in the stem. I reamed the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to remove the cake on the walls. I used a dowel wrapped with sandpaper to sand down the walls on the bowl. I cleaned out the airway in both the bowl and stem with alcohol (99% isopropyl), pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until they were clean on the inside. To remove the damage from the rim top I lightly topped the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper on the topping board. I checked it repeatedly as I did the topping to make sure I had removed just enough to suffice to remove the damage. The second photo shows the topped bowl. You will note that I left a little of the damage on the rear outer edge so as not to top too much of the briar.I wiped the rim top down with alcohol on a cotton pad to remove the dust then stained it with an Oak coloured stain pen. I buffed it lightly with a soft cloth to even out the stain.I wiped down the bowl alcohol on a cotton pad to remove the dust and grime on the surface of the bowl. I polished the briar finish with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit micromesh pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down after each pad with a damp cloth. The grain began to shine through with both flame and birdseye showing up on the sides of the bowl. I rubbed down the briar with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the finish with my fingertips and finished working it in with a shoe brush. The balm worked to clean, preserve and enliven the surface of the finish on the small bowl. The briar was coming alive so I took some photos of the pipe at this point. I polished the silver band with Hagerty’s Silver Polish to remove the tarnish. It is a soft scrub that is put on the band and buffed off with a cloth afterwards. I used a cotton pad to remove the tarnish. I polished it further with a jeweler’s cloth to protect and give it a shine. I set the bowl aside and began to work on the dents in the stem surface. I “painted” the vulcanite with a Bic lighter flame to try to raise the dents. I was able to get those on the underside completely removed. The deep one on the top surface of the stem and sides of the button needed to be addressed differently. I cleaned the areas around the button and filled in the dents with black super glue. When the repair cured I sanded the repairs and the oxidation with 220 grit sandpaper. I folded the paper and worked in the edges of the button. I polished the 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 with Obsidian Oil between each sanding pad. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I carefully avoided the stamping on the both sides of the shank. I gave both 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 finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I have one more pipe to finish for him – it is the last of the pipes he found while pipe hunting. This has been a fun bunch of pipes to work on. I look forward to moving through the rest of them. Thanks for looking.