Tag Archives: staining

Gifting My Dear Friend, Dal Stanton, an Alexander Zavvos Hygrosystem Pipe


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

Steve, his brother, Jeff and Dal Stanton, The Pipe Steward, were on a visit to India in early May 2019. It was a fun filled week and also a great learning. I have always admired the finish that Dal imparts to the pipes he restores while I am amazed at the speed, the measured quantum of work that Steve puts in his restoration processes and also the profound knowledge that he has on all things pipes!! I was fortunate to see and learn these nuances first hand. I had a desire that there should be a unique pipe which all three of us should have (Jeff being a non smoker) and had laid down for myself, the following parameters for identifying THAT PIPE!

(a) Both should not be having this pipe in their personal collection (knowing well that this would be a very tall order!!)

(b) The pipe must have some historical significance and should have made a contribution to the world’s pipe history.

(c) It must come from a well known carver or manufacturer.

The pipe selected is an ALEXANDER ZAVVOS HYGROSYSTEM, PAT.No 87033, made in the 1970s-80s. What followed was an extensive and prolonged hunt for two such pipes of which the first one was purchased from one seller on Pinterest and the second was on eBay. These pipes were received separately and the last delivery materialized a couple of days prior to the arrival of these esteemed guests. Here are both the pipes as I received them.Since Mr. Dal was the first to arrive in India, he was given a choice between the two. He selected one with an Apple shape and the remaining willy-nilly came to Steve. At that point in time, both Dal and I discussed that it would be the Apple shape that Steve would have selected but… It’s Dal’s pipe now. The stamping on the Apple is crisp and easy to make out. It reads on the left of the shank as “ALEXANDER” over “HYGROSYSTEM” over a square with letter “Zb” over “GREECE”. The right side of the shank is marked as “EX # 207- *”, denoting the shape code, size and grade (?). The bottom of the shank bears the stamping “PAT No. 87033” over “06/ 89”, which I believe is the date code indicating that the pipe was made in June of 1989. I re-searched this pipe on pipedia.org and reproduce excerpts of information on this pipe carver, in his own words, and his immense contributions to the Greek pipe industry in particular and entire world’s pipe community.

I am Alexandros Zavvos, born in Molos, Thermopylae, near Lamia. Since I was a child I had an inclination for art, starting with painting. I studied Radio-electronics, and at age 23 I got involved with commerce with a capital of 150.000 drs. in 1962.

I entered the pipe business where I met, by total chance, with Mr. Libero G. Albanese, first technician and producer of briar-wood models in Kalabria, Italy. When I told him that I am Greek, he almost prayed, saying that we Greeks have the best briar in the world for pipe-making! From that moment on I understood that this fellow is in love with his work – and he transmitted that to me instantly!

From mid-1962 to 1963 I searched all over the world for a college or a school in order to be taught the art of pipe-making, but in vain – there were none. Moreover, I wasn’t able to make it through the big European pipe-makers of that time (British, Italian, Danish). I was convinced that only through experience there was a chance of me becoming what I wanted.

In 1964 I started the commercial briar-wood model production, in 1965 I constructed empirically my first pipe and in 1967 I started the vertical production (this is from the briar Greek woods to the consumer) – maybe there is no other factory in the world producing smoking pipes vertically.

In 1970 I started the research, which was accomplished in 1984, on the 1st generation hygrostatic system. In that same period we founded, my brother and I, our factory in Lamia for the production of ebony epistomes.

Today, 40 years later, I have successfully arrived at the production of the 5th generation hygrostatic pipe. I will finish by saying that this pipe, to what concerns the pleasure it provides, has nothing to do with that pipe for peace, offered by American Indians.        

Update:Today I am saddened by the news that Alexander passed away on February 10th, 2015. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends. We are very thankful for his contributions to the World of pipes. —sethile (talk) 21:00, 12 February 2015 (UTC). 

The description given by the seller on eBay was equally informative and I reproduce the same for the readers to get a fair idea of the famed Hygrosystem that has been incorporated into the construction of this pipe.

A patented Hygro-system pipe by the greatest and most known (now deceased) Greek pipe manufacturer Alexander (Zabos / Zavvos). His old pieces are by now becoming rare and sought after, as his son who took over the business is not equal to the father. His stamp (Z with a B lower) comes from the two consonants in his name the way it is spelled in Greek. Very big and well known European pipe makers have purchased top briars from Alexander Zavvos, since the Greek briars are among the best in the world.

A few things about Alexader Zabos’s patent : The hygrostatic system  is the result of 35 years research and experience. It is based on the Bernoulli principle, has been allowed to be patterned (No 87833) by the Greek Ministry of Industry and Energy. Unlike most filter or no-filter pipes, the Alexander Hygrostatic Pipe reduces drastically moisture and other heavy residue (such as tar etc), which otherwise could be inhaled into our lungs and extinguishes a bitterness and a burning on the tongue.

Alexander Zavvos’s Hygrosystem pipes were quite expensive if bought new (the cheapest had a value of 160-170 euros) and have become highly collectible after the death of the manufacturer.

From the above information, it is safe to infer that this pipe is from the first generation of the hygrosystem pipes from Alexander Zavvos and made in March 1989.

I have given a detailed description on deconstructing this line of pipes and also a detailed explanation, as I understood it, on the application of the principle employed in the hygrosystem for which these pipes became famous, in my previous write up on a similar pipe which is on its way to Steve in Vancouver, Canada. Here is the link to that article, https://rebornpipes.com/2019/08/02/gifting-my-mentor-and-dear-friend-steve-an-alexander-zavvos-hygrosystem-pipe/

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
This is a very ornate and beautiful pipe with a perfect shape, size and hand feel with a delicate and a smallish stem. The forward heavy weight of the pipe does not lend itself to clenching and would best be enjoyed while being held in the hand. The brass band at the shank end, the vulcanite band at the shank end of the aluminum shank extension and again a brass band at the tenon end of this shank extension should add a nice classy touch to the pipe’s appearance once polished and it also helps to break the monotony of the briar. The stummel has beautiful mixed grain with a combination of straight on the sides and front with bird’s eye and swirls over the heel and shank. All this beauty is hidden under the accumulation of dirt and grime over the years. The stummel has numerous dents and ding over the entire surface. However, save for one large fill (marked in yellow arrow) and unlike the pipe which will be going to Steve, there are no major issues of fills or cracks that I foresee on this stummel. The outer rim edge curves inwards to form a narrow rim top surface  and shows a slight overflow of lava on the rim top and the surface itself is peppered with numerous dents and dings which should be easy to sort out by sanding the rim top with a piece of 220 grit sand paper.The chamber has a thick and even layer of cake which shrouds the condition of the walls of the chamber. However, the feel of the bowl is solid and I hope there are no major surprises here. There is a brass ring at the shank end which extends inside the shank with threads on to which the aluminum shank extension is screwed in. This brass ring should add a bit of glitz to the pipe appearance once polished. The mortise is clogged and heavy crust of dried oils and tars are clearly visible. This will take some effort to clean out.The screw-in aluminum shank extension that houses a filter is covered in oils and tars. Also the smaller aperture pipe protrusion at the stem end is covered in gunk and tars. The vulcanite band at the shank end and the brass band at the tenon end will need to be polished. The briar at the tenon end is nice and solid with no damage, and that’s a big relief having experienced the challenges firsthand with Steve’s pipe, how difficult it is to address issues on this part of the pipe. The wood gasket which is housed in the tenon end of the shank extension has been dislodged from its place and is stuck on to the tenon. The vulcanite stem with its fused briar at the tenon end is generally in good shape, save for the broken and missing nearly half of the stem. The break is at an angle and only a tiny portion of the button end on one side is available to me as a reference. This should be more than sufficient for me to undertake a complete rebuild of the missing portion of the stem. The stem is very lightly oxidized and the fused and decorative briar saddle, though covered in oils, tars and grime, is intact. The tenon is dirty and clogged with all the gunk and dried oils and tars left behind by the previous owner of this pipe. I took a few close-up pictures of the stem and broken edge of the stem for the readers to better assimilate what I would be dealing with during the stem rebuild. I have the option of cutting off the stem at the point of break and thereafter rebuild and shape a new button on either side, but this would drastically shorten the already short stem and toss the symmetry of this beautiful pipe right through the window. And remember, my dear readers, that this pipe is being sent to my dear friend and a pipe restorer par excellence, Dal!! He is a perfectionist, to say the least. I intend to use the intact part of the stem as a guide for determining the length of the stem, the flare at the button end and the length of the slot and I would be attempting all this by eyeballing all the measurements as I do not have any Vernier calipers for exact measurements. I know, that’s hell of a lot of eyeballing that I would be doing during the restoration.THE PROCESS
It is the stem reconstruction that takes the most amount of time what with all the curing, sanding, refilling if needed, shaping and polishing and, therefore, I always prefer to start with repairs to the stem. Firstly, I sand off the area of intended fill with a piece of 220 grit sand paper. This not only evens out the surface for the fill but also gets rid of the oxidation which would otherwise show itself through the fills as a brown patch after polishing. This was followed by cleaning up the internals of the stem and the tenon with regular and bristled pipe cleaners dipped in 99% pure isopropyl alcohol. With a dental pick, I scrubbed out the dried gunk from the tenon and from along the broken button end edges. I had seen Dal use a folded triangular index card while reconstructing a broken button end whereas I always used a petroleum jelly (Vaseline) coated pipe cleaner inserted in to the air way to keep it open. My method, though effective, was time consuming as I had to completely reshape the slot thereafter. However, in this instance, since there was nothing to support or hold the folded index card on the other side, I perforce had to fall back on my time tested method of using a pipe cleaner coated with petroleum jelly (Vaseline). I prepared a slightly thin (just thick enough to form a drop but not runny enough to fall down) mix of CA superglue and food grade activated charcoal and applied it over the broken stem area. I also applied this mix over the intact side lip edge to make it even. To get the flare which was evident on the intact side of the stem, I applied a thick blob of this mix and held it sideways so that the mix forms a droplet. Thereafter I maneuvered the drop to the desired shape till it hardens and harden it does so quite rapidly. Once this layer had cured, I applied another layer of the mix. The trick here is that this type of reconstruction needs to be done in layers to a thickness more than the adjoining stem surface. This, thereafter, can be filed and sanded down to match the stem surface. I did exactly as described above and set the stem aside to cure. The following pictures will give you a general idea of what I have described above. Once the mix had cured hard, I went about shaping these fills to match the overall profile of the stem, with a flat head needle file. I was very careful with my use of the needle file, eyeballing the profile frequently. An hour later and I had achieved a rough match profile to the original stem as it would have been before the break. I even had a rough button profile shaped out in conjunction with the intact button edge. Eager to use my newly acquired slot shaping tool, this was an ideal candidate to use it for the first time. Well, this tool is much more effective than using a tightly folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to shape the slot. I am very happy with the progress being made. From my experience (and I have done many!!) it usually takes a week to reach this stage and here I was on only my third day of working on the stem!!And then a set back! As I was shaping the slot, a chunk of the fill did not feel like staying and just left its place, leaving behind a gaping hole. It is marked in yellow arrow.Such chipping is to be expected and undaunted I again prepared a mix of superglue and activated charcoal, this time more glue and lesser of charcoal. Since I now had both the edges of the slot, I decided to use the folded index card. Once the index card was in place, I applied this mix over the chipped area and set it aside to cure. I also took this opportunity to fill in a few air pockets which were beginning to show as well as increase the button edges on either side.A curing time of nearly 12 hours later, the fill was nicely set and hard enough to start reshaping the slot and the button edge and further fine tune the stem profile and finish. Using a flat head needle file, I file away at the fill and roughly shape the button edge on either side of the stem. I am comfortably placed with the progress being made so far, so to say. As expected, I observed a couple of air pockets and also that one of the lip edge had been filed down more than the other and was dotted with many air pockets. I addressed these issues with a layer of superglue and charcoal powder mix. However, in this mix, the percentage of superglue was higher than the charcoal powder. I set the stem aside to cure. I would have ideally applied black CA glue, but…don’t have it.Moving ahead, I reamed the chamber with size 2 head of the PipNet reamer. Using my smaller sized fabricated knife, I further reamed out the cake from places where the PipNet reamer could not reach. I gently scrapped out the lava overflow from the thin rim top surface and followed it with sanding the chamber walls with a 220 grit sand paper. How I miss my younger daughter, Pavni, who specializes in smoothing the chamber walls and removing every trace of the old cake. Dal, I know you would have loved to have a pipe that your “Bollywood Queen” had worked on, but hope I have come close to her finesse!! Once the cake was taken down to bare briar, the walls of the chamber were found to be smooth and flawless. The draught hole is dead center and at the bottom of the chamber. I am sure that this will be a nice smoker! Removing the overflow of lava from the rim top revealed a thin surface that is peppered with numerous dents and dings. I continued with cleaning of the stummel and worked the mortise using the smaller fabricated knife first to scrap out the dried out gunk, oils and tars left behind by the previous steward. The amount of grime scrapped out is a testimony to the efficacy of this Hygrosystem, I say. A few pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol later, the shank is clean. Now that the chamber and shank internals are clean, I move ahead with the external cleaning of the stummel.I cleaned the externals of the stummel with Murphy’s oil soap and toothbrush. Rinsing under tap water (remember, I am in India and its hot here and even the tap water is equally warm!!) revealed just a few fills in the briar on left back side of the stummel and nearer to the rim top and these have been marked by yellow arrows. To be honest, I feared a rerun of the nightmare that I just went through while restoring Steve’s Alexander Zavvos Hygrosystem pipe! Not the case this time around, Thank God for such mercies!!! The stummel has a number of small dents and dings, which should be addressed when I sand the stummel with a piece of 220 grit sand paper followed by complete micromesh pad polishing cycle. I do not intend to be overly aggressive with the 220 grit sandpaper as I wish to preserve as much of the old patina as I can. Beautiful straight and mixed grains are now clearly visible. This should turn out to be a beautiful looking pipe, I think. I began removing the old fills and preparing the stummel for a fresh fill. Using my dental tools, I progressed to removing the fills. The fill on the left back side of the stummel was large and deep while the two on the rim top were smaller in size but deep.At this point in the restoration, I decided to address the issue of old odors in the chamber and shank by subjecting it to a cotton and alcohol bath. I wrapped some cotton around a folded pipe cleaner, keeping the tip of the pipe cleaner free of wrapped cotton as this would be inserted through the draught hole in to the chamber. This would form the wick for the shank. I tightly packed the chamber with cotton balls and filled it with 99% pure isopropyl alcohol using a syringe and set it aside. By next day, the cotton and alcohol had drawn out the all the old tars and oils from the chamber and max from the shank. I let the stummel fills dry out completely and after all the alcohol had evaporated, proceeded to fill the deep gouges with CA superglue and briar dust using the layering technique where I put down a thin layer of superglue in to the fill and press briar dust in to this fill over the glue. I continue with this till the fill rises above rest of the stummel surface. Once all the gouges were filled up, I set the stummel aside to cure for the next 24 hours.I file the raised mounds of the patched fills with a flat needle file. The only drawback of the layering technique is that a number of air pockets are revealed after the filing. This time was no exception and I refilled the exposed air pockets only with superglue and set it aside to cure.Since there was still time before I hit the bed, I decided to address the stem. I sand the fill with a needle file to a rough match with the surface of the stem. For a better match, I further sand the entire stem with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. I topped the slot on a piece of 220 grit sand paper to even it out. The repairs looked good at this stage.With the stummel fills nicely cured, it was time again to work on it. Using a flat head needle file, I sanded the fills and followed it by sanding with worn out folded piece of 150 grit sand paper. The fill has blended in quite well. However, I shall strive to further achieve a near perfect blend during further sanding and polishing with micromesh pads.I again worked on the stem, filing with a needle file and followed with sanding with a piece of 220 grit sand paper. With my slot tool, I carved out and shaped the slot. Here, the intact part of the stem gave me an idea of the extent of the spread of the slot from the edge. I achieved the desired shape and size by just visual estimations. I sand the slot end on a piece of 220 grit sand paper. I am happy with the way the stem reconstruction including the buttons and the slot, has shaped up till this point. I rubbed a little Extra Virgin Olive oil in to the stem surface for it to be absorbed and hydrate the vulcanite and set it aside. With the stem repairs well under control and progressing steadily, I turn my attention to the stummel once again. I address the dents and dings with further sanding of the entire stummel and the thin rim top using a worn out piece of folded 150 grit sand paper followed by a 220 grit paper. The dents and dings on the stummel and rim top are addressed to a large extent. What dents and dings remained, I let them be as a part of the history associated with the pipe and its previous owner. While going through with the micromesh polishing cycle, I extend this care to the brass band at the shank end. The now nicely shining brass band adds a touch of class to the pipe and helps in breaking the monotony of the pipe.I rubbed some “Before and After” restoration balm. This product has been developed by Mark Hoover and it helps to enrich and enliven the briar. For me it is an absolute “must have” item in my list of items for pipe restorations. I rub this balm in to the briar and set it aside for some time. I turned my attention back to the stem. I sanded the stem, including the briar insert at the tenon end with a 220 grit paper and progressively moving to 600 and 800 grit sand papers. As expected, a clean and neat looking stem stared back at me. I rubbed a little Extra Virgin Olive oil in to the stem surface to hydrate it and set it aside to be absorbed in to the vulcanite.I was satisfied with the way the stem has now turned out. I finished the stem reconstruction by polishing the stem with micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. I applied a small quantity of Extra Virgin Olive oil to the vulcanite stem and rubbed some “Before and After” restoration balm before setting it aside.I had undertaken restoration of two of the three parts of this pipe, the stem and the stummel, and now turned my attention to the third and last part, the aluminum shank extension. This part was in pristine condition, save for the accumulated oils, tars and gunk which I had already cleaned out from the aluminum tube, the smaller aperture tube and the wide shank extension at the stem end, and yes, I had missed out on taking pictures and documenting this step. I went through sanding the vulcanite band and the briar insert with a folded piece of 220, 400 and 600 grit sand papers in that order. I cleaned the aluminum tube protrusion and the threading with a brass wire brush. I further polished it with a 0000 grade steel wool followed by dry sanding with all the nine pads of micromesh. The aluminum tube is now clean and shining. I finished the cleaning regime of the tube and threads in the shank extension by polishing it with a multipurpose liquid polish.This was followed by micromesh polishing cycle, wet sanding these components of the shank extension, including the brass band, with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. I rubbed some “Before and After” restoration balm and set it aside. This part definitely adds some nice class to the overall appearance of the pipe.I cleaned out the wood gasket which makes the fit of the tenon in to the shank extension airtight with cotton buds dipped in alcohol. I applied a little Extra Virgin Olive oil to this gasket, inside and outer surface to hydrate the wood and set it aside to be absorbed by the wood. When I had initially dismantled the pipe, this gasket came out attached to the tenon. However, close observation of the outer surface of the gasket points to the fact that the gasket was stuck inside the shank extension towards the stem end. I did not sand the outer surface to a smooth finish as I wanted to keep the surface rough when I applied superglue and reaffixed it inside the shank extension.Nearing the home run, I decided to stain the stummel and the rim top surface with a dark brown stain in the hope that it would help in a nice blending of the one and only major stummel fill. I heated the stummel surface with my heat gun to open up the pores on the stummel so that the stain is well set while being careful that I do not overheat the fill, a lesson learned while restoring Steve’s Alexander Zavvos pipe. I dipped a folded pipe cleaner in Feibing’s Dark Brown leather dye and liberally applied it over the heated surface, flaming it with the flame of a lighter as I went ahead to different self designated zones of the surface. This helps in the setting of the stain in the grain of the briar.I was not very comfortable in heating the aluminum shank extension and the briar insert on the stem as this could result in warping of the vulcanite band and the briar inserts on the shank extension and stem. I decided to use a dark brown stain pen instead. I applied the dark brown stain over the briar inserts of the shank extension and stem. I set both the stummel and shank extension aside for the stain to dry and get completely absorbed in the surface.The next evening, approximately 18 hours later, as Dal describes, I began to unwrap the stain in the hope to see beautiful grains. I mount a felt cloth buffing wheel on my hand held rotary tool and setting the tool at its slowest speed, again my recent experience while working on Steve’s pipe came in handy and the damage that can be caused due to heating while using the felt buffing wheel still fresh in my memory; I began to peel off the stain from the stummel surface first. The stain was peeled out gradually. This was followed with wiping the stummel with a cotton swab and alcohol to lighten the stain a little as it was too dark for my liking. This also helps in cleaning the surface of all the residual stain and highlighting the grain. Now, the fear that besieged me was the stain running down Dal’s hand as he smoked the pipe and so I set the stain by again heating the stummel surface with the heat gun. Unfortunately in my exuberance, I missed out on taking pictures of this step.

I felt as though the stummel, shank extension and the stem appeared patchy, though when I shared pictures with Abha, my wife, she found them to be nice, smooth and shiny. However, I decided to go with my instinct and dry sanded the entire pipe with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads, aluminum tubing and brass bands included. Now I am satisfied by the appearance of the pipe at this stage and ready to move on to the final stage of polishing. Next, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel and setting the speed to ¼ of the full power, I applied a thick coat of carnauba wax over the stummel, aluminum shank extension and the stem. I worked the complete pipe till the time all the wax was absorbed by the briar. The pipe now boasts of a beautiful and lustrous shine. I vigorously rubbed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine and also clean away any residual wax that had been left behind. I am very happy with the way this beauty has turned out.Before re-assembling the pipe, I once again thoroughly cleaned the internals of the shank, aluminum shank extension and the stem airway with pipe cleaners and ear buds dipped in isopropyl alcohol. I also fixed the wooden gasket with superglue in to the stem end of the shank extension. I checked the draw to make sure that the airways in the shank, extension and stem are open. The draw is nice, smooth and open and somewhat similar to the draw experienced on a Peterson’s P-lip stem. I also applied a little Vaseline over the threads of the aluminum shank extension and the wood gasket to protect and keep it soft.To finish, I reassembled the complete pipe and gave it a final buff with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. This dude has come a long way when it started its journey in June 1989 and now 30 years later, it shall soon be traveling all the way to Bulgaria to serve my dear friend and fellow pipe restorer, Dal Stanton while he reminisces about his visit to me, Abha, Mudra and his Bollywood Queen!! I sincerely thank all the readers to have spared their valuable time in going through this write up. P.S. This project has been very close to my heart as this pipe is intended to be with my friend and guide, Dal as a memento of his visit to my family in India, fond memories of which will always stay with me. I hope that whenever he sits down with this pipe, packs it with his favorite tobacco, LANE BCA and fires it up, the first whiff reminds him of us here in India.

Some readers must have observed that the fill still stands out as a sore thumb, but I would like to assure you that it’s the smooth glossy surface of the highly polished superglue that reflects more light than the surrounding and hence is more prominent. To the naked eye, however, it is not so evident. Any inputs and suggestions are always valuable to me and most appreciated as they help me grow and improve.

Lastly, I thank everyone for sharing the joy that I experienced while working on this pipe.

 

 

 

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Gifting my Mentor and Dear Friend, Steve, an Alexander Zavvos Hygrosystem Pipe.


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

When Steve, his brother, Jeff and Dal Stanton, The Pipe Steward, were on a visit to India, I had a desire that there should be a unique pipe which all three of us should have (Mr. Jeff being a non smoker) and had laid down for myself, the following parameters for identifying THAT PIPE!

(a) Both should not be having this pipe in their personal collection (knowing well that this would be a very tall order!!)

(b) The pipe must have some historical significance and should have made a contribution to the world’s pipe history.

(c) It must come from a well-known carver or manufacturer.

I began this selection with going through my own personal modest collection, rather my Grandfather’s collection to which I have made miniscule additions. Amidst all the WDCs, Charatans, Comoy’s, Barlings, Ben Wades, Stanwells and Kriswills, there was this one pipe which was very different. Very early in my association with Steve, we had discussed this pipe which Mr. Steve had not come across (which was unbelievable!!!) and did not own a pipe from this carver, but was very much interested in it. An oblique enquiry from Dal also confirmed that he did not have this make. Well, this helped me zero in on this pipe to be gifted to my friends during their visit to India. The pipe selected is an ALEXANDER ZAVVOS HYGROSYSTEM, PAT.No 87033, made in the 1970s-80s. What followed was an extensive and prolonged hunt for two such pipes of which the first one was purchased from one seller on Pinterest and the second was on eBay. These pipes were received separately and the last delivery materialized a couple of days prior to the arrival of my esteemed guests. Here are both the pipes as I received them.Since Dal was the first to arrive in India (and being the youngest amongst arriving guests…LoL), he was given a choice between the two. He selected one with an Apple shape and the remaining willy-nilly came to Steve. At that point in time, both Dal and I discussed that it would be the Apple shape that Steve would have selected but… Well after working on Steve’s pipe, am I glad that the Dublin came to Steve as it provided me with an opportunity to present my first ever rusticated pipe to the person who has introduced me to this art and mentored me all along. Thank you Steve for being with Abha and me on this journey.

The stamping on the Dublin is pretty worn out and hard to make out. However, the stampings on my pipe and that on Dal’s is pretty crisp and clear. It reads on the left of the shank as “ALEXANDER” over “HYGROSYSTEM” over a square with letter “Zb” over “GREECE”. The bottom of the shank bears the stamping “PAT No. 87033” over “03/ 89”, which I believe is the date code indicating that the pipe was made in March of 1989. This stamping is visible only under a white light with a magnifying glass and the area around the stampings has bubbled up skin surface, something akin to chipped paint.I researched this pipe on pipedia.org and reproduce excerpts of information on this pipe carver, in his own words, and his immense contributions to the Greek pipe industry in particular and entire world’s pipe community.

I am Alexandros Zavvos, born in Molos, Thermopylae, near Lamia. Since I was a child I had an inclination for art, starting with painting. I studied Radio-electronics, and at age 23 I got involved with commerce with a capital of 150.000 drs. in 1962.

 I entered the pipe business where I met, by total chance, with Mr. Libero G. Albanese, first technician and producer of briar-wood models in Kalabria, Italy. When I told him that I am Greek, he almost prayed, saying that we Greeks have the best briar in the world for pipe-making! From that moment on I understood that this fellow is in love woth his work – and he transmitted that to me instantly!

From mid-1962 to 1963 I searched all over the world for a college or a school in order to be taught the art of pipe-making, but in vain – there were none. Moreover, I wasn’t able to make it through the big European pipe-makers of that time (British, Italian, Danish). I was convinced that only through experience there was a chance of me becoming what I wanted.

In 1964 I started the commercial briar-wood model production, in 1965 I constructed empirically my first pipe and in 1967 I started the vertical production (this is from the briar Greek woods to the consumer) – maybe there is no other factory in the world producing smoking pipes vertically.

In 1970 I started the research, which was accomplished in 1984, on the 1st generation hygrostatic system. In that same period we founded, my brother and I, our factory in Lamia for the production of ebony epistomes.

Today, 40 years later, I have successfully arrived at the production of the 5th generation hygrostatic pipe. I will finish by saying that this pipe, to what concerns the pleasure it provides, has nothing to do with that pipe for peace, offered by American Indians.

Update: Today I am saddened by the news that Alexander passed away on February 10th, 2015. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends. We are very thankful for his contributions to the World of pipes. —sethile (talk) 21:00, 12 February 2015 (UTC).

The description given by the seller on eBay was equally informative and I reproduce the same for the readers to get a fair idea of the famed Hygrosystem that has been incorporated into the construction of this pipe.

A patented Hygro-system pipe by the greatest and most known (now deceased) Greek pipe manufacturer Alexander (Zabos / Zavvos). His old pieces are by now becoming rare and sought after, as his son who took over the business is not equal to the father. His stamp (Z with a B lower) comes from the two consonants in his name the way it is spelled in Greek. Very big and well known European pipe makers have purchased top briars from Alexander Zavvos, since the Greek briars are among the best in the world.

A few things about Alexader Zabos’s patent: The hygrostatic system  is the result of 35 years research and experience. It is based on the Bernoulli principle, has been allowed to be patterned (No 87833) by the Greek Ministry of Industry and Energy. Unlike most filter or no-filter pipes, the Alexander Hygrostatic Pipe reduces drastically moisture and other heavy residue (such as tar etc), which otherwise could be inhaled into our lungs and extinguishes a bitterness and a burning on the tongue.

Alexander Zavvos’s Hygrosystem pipes were quite expensive if bought new (the cheapest had a value of 160-170 euros) and have become highly collectible after the death of the manufacturer.

From the above information, it is safe to infer that this pipe is from the first generation of the hygrosystem pipes from Alexander Zavvos and made in March 1989.

DECONSTRUCTING THE PIPE
In my quest to understand the functional principal of the famed HYGROSYSTEM used in this pipe, I began by first dismantling the pipe. The pipe was dismantled in three parts; first the stummel, secondly the aluminum screw-in shank extension which has an aluminum tube to house a filter, probably a 6 mm, and lastly vulcanite stem with a fused briar wood saddle. From my appreciation, it is the shank extension which forms the critical component in the famed Hygro-System, at the stem end of which a smaller aperture pipe protrusion is seen. A similar sized protrusion is seen at the tenon end of the vulcanite stem. The fit of the tenon in to the aluminum shank extension is made air tight with a thin ring of briar wood (not leather, as it is not pliable at all).APPLICATION OF BERNOULLI’S PRINCIPLE IN THE HYGROSYSTEM

Bernoulli’s principle states that an increase in the speed of a fluid occurs simultaneously with a decrease in pressure or a decrease in the fluid‘s potential energy. This is applicable to flow of gases also.

In simple layman’s understanding, the above principle states that “Pressure is inversely proportional to the speed of the liquid or gaseous flow”. So how does this principle work in the hygrosystem of this pipe? To explain application of this principle, refer to the picture of the pipe below that I have drawn:(a) Hot smoke along with heavy particulates of oils, tars and moisture from the chamber enters the mortise and expands due to width of the mortise. As a result, speed is reduced. High pressure is created in the mortise.

(b) Once the smoke enters in to the aluminum shank extension, it is compressed and speeds up considerably creating a low pressure area. Due to the low pressure, heavy particles like oils, tars and moisture settle down and are trapped in the filter in the aluminum tube of the shank extension.

(c) The speed is further increased when the smoke passes through the smaller aperture tube due to further compression, shown in green arrows, further lowering the pressure. When this smoke leaves the smaller aperture tube and enters the wide stem end of the shank extension, there is a sudden increase in pressure. This sudden variation in pressures results in heavy particulates settling down and only smoke, being lighter, propelled ahead.

(d) Similar pressure changes are affected when the smoke passes through the wide tenon and through the smaller aperture tube in the stem, further precipitating the heavy particulates of oils, tars and moisture. The end result is a pure smoke without any oils or tars.

The above understanding is my own reasoning based on my learning of science till Graduation level. Any corrections or clarifications from more knowledgeable readers is always enriching and welcomed.

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
Starting with the rim and rim top surface, there is a slight overflow of lava on the rim top and the surface itself is peppered with numerous dents and dings which should be easy to sort out by topping the rim top. The rim edges are sans any serious damage, save for an odd chip on the outer edge, marked in blue arrow.The chamber however tells a very different story. There is a thin layer of cake which has taken on a grey coloration, which is a first for me, by the way. The way the cake appears to the eye, I suspect a few heat lines in the walls of the chamber towards the back and right side. I just hope that the issue is not a major one and just a bowl coating should suffice. Well, I shall cross the bridge when I reach it. There is strong smell emanating from the chamber which should be addressed to a great extent once the chamber has been reamed and the shank has been cleaned. The stummel surface has signs of accumulated dirt, dust and grime and should clean up nicely. It was surprising to note that these accumulations are in patches, almost following the cross grains seen on the right and front and over the entire shank. The left side, which has some beautiful bird’s eye grain, is clean. There are a large number of dents and dings all around the stummel surface. The shank surface has bubbled up near and around the stampings towards the shank end. Just near to the shank and bowl junction, I could make out a very thin line running all round the shank forming a circle (marked in yellow arrow). This worries me as at this stage, I am not sure about the extent of the depth of the crack. Also along this crack line, I could make out one fill. All in all, this is going to be a challenging restoration to get it back to being smoke worthy. There is a brass ring at the shank end which extends inside the shank with threads on to which the aluminum shank extension is screwed in. This brass ring should add a bit of glitz to the pipe appearance once polished. The mortise is clogged and heavy crust of dried oils and tars are clearly visible. This will take some effort to clean out.   The screw-in aluminum shank extension that houses a filter is covered in oils and tars. Also the smaller aperture pipe protrusion at the stem end is covered in gunk and tars. The briar coating at the top of this extension is chipped at one place (marked in yellow arrow) exposing the underlying aluminum shank extension. At the stem end of this extension, the brass ring is missing (marked in orange). I don’t have any brass rings and hence will have to improvise one that will fit. The vulcanite stem with its fused briar saddle at the tenon end is generally in good shape, save for the broken button end. The stem is very lightly oxidized and has minor tooth chatter on the lower lip surface towards the button end. The lower button itself shows minor tooth marks. Rebuilding of the missing button portion of the upper surface and reshaping of the lower button shouldn’t pose any major issue. The tenon is dirty with all the gunk and dried oils and tars left behind by the previous owner of this pipe. THE PROCESS
Since any stem reconstruction takes the most amount of time what with all the curing, sanding, refilling if needed, shaping and polishing, I always prefer to start with repairs to the stem. Firstly, I sand off all the tooth chatter and the area of intended fill with a piece of 220 grit sand paper. This not only evens out the surface for the fill but also gets rid of the oxidation which would otherwise show itself through the fills as a brown patch after polishing. This was followed by cleaning up the internals of the stem and the tenon with regular and bristled pipe cleaners dipped in 99% pure isopropyl alcohol. With a dental pick, I scrubbed out the dried gunk from the tenon and from along the broken button end edges. I had seen Dal use a folded triangular index card while reconstructing a broken button end whereas I always used a Vaseline coated pipe cleaner inserted in to the air way to keep it open. My method, though effective, was time consuming as I had to completely reshape the slot thereafter. Therefore for this repair, I decided to adopt Dal’s method. I appropriately folded an index card and covered it with a transparent tape which prevents the superglue and charcoal mix from sticking to the card. This is how it appears and fits in to the broken stem.I prepared a thick mix of CA superglue and food grade activated charcoal and applied it over the broken button area. I also applied this mix over the lip edge to make it even and cover the tooth marks. Once this layer had cured, I applied another layer of the mix. The trick here is that this type of reconstruction needs to be done in layers to a thickness more than the adjoining stem surface. This thereafter can be filed and sanded down to match the stem surface. I did exactly as described above and set the stem aside to cure.First layer.Second layer.Third layer.Final layer.

Once the mix had cured hard, I went about matching these fills with a flat head needle file and followed it up with a piece of 220 grit sand paper. As expected, I observed a couple of air pockets and also that one of the lip edge had been filed down more than the other and was dotted with many air pockets. I addressed these issues with a layer of superglue and charcoal powder mix. However, in this mix, the percentage of superglue was higher than the charcoal powder. I set the stem aside to cure. After the stem fills had cured, I repeated the process explained above to match the filled surface with the stem surface using needle files and sand paper. Now the lip edges are even, however, the air pockets persist. It’s very frustrating, I know but you have to be equally persistent. I applied a layer of clear CA superglue (would have ideally applied black CA glue, but……don’t have it) and set it aside. To take my mind off the troublesome stem repair, I decided to tackle the issue of missing brass band from the stem end of the shank extension. Working with limited spares, materials and tools has its advantages. It forces you to think out-of-the-box for ways around the hurdle, many a times with startling and successful results but you pay the price in terms of time penalties. Well, time I have aplenty!!! I decided to fabricate a brass ring of adequate thickness. My fabricator informed me that it would not be possible to make one with this width as he had only wires and not strips of brass. No issues, I had two rings made!! These rings fit perfectly and add a nice unique touch. These should polish up nicely. I shall fix these rings towards the end of the restoration process. Moving ahead, I reamed the chamber with size 1 and 2 head of the PipNet reamer. Using my smaller sized fabricated knife, I further reamed out the cake from places where the PipNet reamer could not reach. I gently scrapped out the lava overflow from the rim top surface. I followed it with sanding the chamber walls with a 220 grit sand paper. How I miss my younger daughter, Pavni, who specializes in smoothing the chamber walls and removing every trace of the old cake. Steve, hope I have come close to her finesse!! Once the cake was taken down to bare briar, my initial fears of heat fissures/line were confirmed, with the only difference being that these were not linear but pits, another first for me. These pits were only on the right side of the stummel and marked in yellow.  To use J B Weld or only a bowl coating (which I prefer) would suffice, shall be decided later. Removing the overflow of lava from the rim top revealed a surface that is peppered with numerous dents and dings. Other than these issues, the walls of the chamber are even and solid. I still did not have the inclination to work on the stem (actually it’s the fear of unknown result of the last fill!!) and continued with cleaning of the stummel. I worked the mortise using the dental tool first to scrap out the dried out gunk, oils and tars left behind by the previous steward. The amount of grime scrapped out is a testimony to the efficacy of this HygroSystem, I say. A few pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol later, the shank is clean. Now that the chamber and shank internals are clean, the smells though reduced, is still prevalent.Staying with the stummel, I cleaned the externals with Murphy’s oil soap and toothbrush. Rinsing under tap water (remember, I am in India and its hot here and even tap water is equally warm!!!!) was the start of my nightmare and prolonged conversations with Steve and on our FB messenger group. Here are the pictures first; description of my observations will follow subsequently. Just follow the arrows… As I had noted during my initial inspection, the hairline crack towards the bowl end is now prominently visible and marked with yellow arrows in each picture. This hairline crack runs all around the shank and is joined end-to-end. This still was okay as I had anticipated it, but what surprised me, or rather rocked my feet, was the thick fill of putty running all around the shank end. The same is marked with blue arrows. This fill runs in a more perfect circle than the one near the bowl shank joint and right through the middle of all stampings!! Aargh……There goes the stampings… Sorry Steve, hope you understand.

As if the hairline crack and the all-round fill at the shank end was not enough, the right side of the stummel is…. Actually, I am lost for words and the words that come to my mind are most definitely unprintable and I definitely have no desire for a rap on my knuckles from Steve. Have a look at the pictures and please decide for yourself a suitable description. There is not an inch on the right side of the stummel and shank that is free of any fills. Undaunted, I began the arduous journey of removing the old fills and preparing the stummel for a fresh fill. Using my newly acquired dental tools which were procured when Steve, Jeff, Abha and I had gone around the town shopping for tools for pipe resto work, I progressed to removing the fills. This is how the pipe appeared after the old fills were removed, a cheesecake pipe!!!! The fills were large and deep. The only saving grace was the crack near the bowl shank joint was only superficial and the fills on it would act as counter hole, what am I writing!! It’s a complete circular crack. The long and short of it is that the crack is stable and going nowhere damaging the structural integrity of the pipe. At this point in the restoration, I decided to address the issue of old odors in the chamber and shank by subjecting it to a cotton and alcohol bath. I wrapped some cotton around a folded pipe cleaner, keeping the tip of the pipe cleaner free of wrapped cotton as this would be inserted through the draught hole in to the chamber. This would form the wick for the shank. I tightly packed the chamber with cotton balls and filled it with 99% pure isopropyl alcohol using a syringe and set it aside. Immediately a few seconds later, the alcohol started oozing out of all the fills. The pipe appears to be shedding tears at its present condition, and so am I. I shared these pictures with my FB messenger group friends inquiring whether to discard the pipe or continue and ways to progress ahead with the restoration. The unanimous reply was to continue and rustication was the way ahead. Well I moved ahead with my work on the pipe but was not sure about the rustication part. Here is how the pipe appeared at this stage in restoration: By next day, the cotton and alcohol had drawn out the tars and oils from the chamber and max from the shank.I let the stummel fills dry out completely and after all the alcohol had evaporated, proceeded to fill the deep gouges with CA superglue and briar dust using the layering technique. I my part of the world, the moment briar dust came in to contact with the glue it becomes rock hard even after trying every trick that Dal had shared with me and Steve when we were together in India. Therefore, I adopted the layering technique where I put down a thin layer of superglue in to the fill and press briar dust over the glue. I continue with this till the fill rises above rest of the stummel surface. Believe you me readers, I spent an entire evening working well past midnight, to get all the gouges filled up. I set the stummel aside to cure for the next 24 hours. Still working on the stummel, I file the raised mounds of the patched fills with a flat needle file. The only drawback of the layering technique is that a number of air pockets are revealed after the filing. This time was no exception and I refilled the exposed air pockets only with superglue and set it aside to cure. Since there was still time before I hit the bed, I decided to address the stem. I sand the fill to match the surface of the stem. For a better blending, I further sand the entire stem with 220. I topped the slot on a piece of 220 grit sand paper to even it out. The repairs looked good at this stage. With the stummel fills nicely cured, it was time again to work on it. Using a flat head needle file, I sanded the fills and followed it with further sanding with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. Again the same sordid story, the fills revealed numerous air pockets through which the briar dust was seen. In my quest to make this restoration as perfect as possible, it refilled these air pockets with superglue and briar dust. This time around, I mixed a minuscule amount of briar dust with superglue and surprise! The mix remained pliable for just enough seconds in which I could apply it over the fills. Again I set the stummel aside to cure. This sure is trying my patience and stubbornness. I shall prevail, is what I have decided. Since the glue and briar dust mix had hardened immediately, but not hard enough to use a flat head needle file on it, I decided to address the issue of the numerous dents, dings and scratches on the rim top surface. To do this, I spread out a patch of 220 grit sand paper on my work table. Firmly holding the patch in my left hand and the stummel in my right, I gave a few firm rotations to the rim top over the sand paper patch. I continued the process, checking ever so frequently, till I was satisfied with the result. The rim no appears pristine and even. This was the only uneventful part in the entire restoration, LoL!!The fills on the stummel having sufficiently cured, I went ahead and filed the fills with a folded worn out piece of 150 grit sand paper and followed it up with sanding with a piece of 220 grit sand paper. My reasoning for not using a flat head needle file was that maybe the hard abrasiveness of the file is causing the fill to come out exposing the air pockets. But no, the air pockets still showed themselves in all their ugliness. I decided to press on with the process, even though Steve was still gently prodding me to take the rustication route. This was followed up with micromesh polishing cycle. I wet sanded the stummel going through with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. Intermittent wiping of the stummel with a moist cloth helps firstly, to remove the sanded dust and secondly, gives an idea of the progress being made and areas which needed more attention. The stummel has taken a beautiful sheen where there are no fills, but the right and front of the stummel and the shank tells a different story, it does not look presentable to put it mildly. While going through with the micromesh polishing cycle, I extend this care to the brass band at the shank end. The now nicely shining brass band adds a touch of class to the pipe and some bling too!!I shared the above pictures with Steve and asked for suggestions for the way ahead. He suggested applying some “Before and After” restoration balm as it may also help in further blending the fills. As he was suggesting this, there was a ping on my mobile and there were some pictures of beautifully rusticated pipes that Steve had done over the years. I just smiled and went ahead with applying the balm and see the results. The results were not encouraging at all to say the least. To be honest, the thought of going the rustication route to salvage this pipe had started taking roots in my head, mind you head and not the heart! Disappointed with the stummel appearance at this stage, I turned my attention back to the stem. I had sanded the stem, including the briar insert at the tenon end with a 220 grit paper. I picked it up from there and progressively sanded the entire stem with 600 and 800 grit sand paper. I expected a clean and neat looking stem to stare back at me, but what I saw made me cringe. The top of the button showed some beautiful white spots of air pockets (marked in circle)!! Why, why can’t this restoration progress without any hiccups? I decided to take a break and cleaned out my work table. I loaded my large W. O. Larsen bent brandy pipe with my favorite G. L. Pease Virginia blend, Telegraph Hill (thanks Steve for this pipe and the tobacco, though my gift to you is testing my endurance and determination!) and went out and sat down in the lawns closing my eyes. I thoroughly enjoyed my smoke and came back refreshed. I rubbed a little Extra Virgin Olive oil in to the stem surface to hydrate it and set it aside to be absorbed in to the vulcanite.I had undertaken restoration of two of the three parts of this pipe, the stem and the stummel, and this had proved to be tedious and frustrating. I left them aside in various stages of progress and now turned my attention to the third and last part, the aluminum shank extension. The only issue that I had seen in my initial inspection was that of the chip and bubble in the surface of the briar coating over the aluminum insert. I picked out the bubble and lo, behold, the small chip instantly transformed itself in to larger than life sized!!!! The thickness of the coat was very thin, a few microns, maybe, and instantly peeled of like wall paint. I immediately realized that I am in for a long haul on this one too. Here is what happened and for comprehension, reproducing the picture taken during the initial inspection.It was interesting to note that the aluminum shank extension had a nice design, indicated with a yellow arrow, below the briar finish coat and the coat was pressed on to it. That the coat is heated and wrapped around is evident from the fact that this design can be seen on the intact coat surface. I decided to address the issue of chipped coating by filling it with a mixture of briar dust and superglue. I set the shank extension aside to cure after applying the mix. I missed out on taking pictures of the fill.While fill on the shank extension was curing, I decided to complete the stem repairs. I completely gouged out the area with air pocket for a fresh fill. With a black marker I darkened the fill and thereafter spot filled it with a mix of charcoal powder and superglue, superglue being more than charcoal and set it aside to cure. The mix hardened immediately and I continued with sanding and shaping the button. The fills and stem reconstruction came out good and I was satisfied with the way the stem has now turned out. I followed it up with sanding the entire stem with a folded piece of 220, 400 and 600 grit sandpaper in that order. I finished the stem reconstruction with a polishing with micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. I applied a small quantity of Extra Virgin Olive oil to the stem and set it aside. The fill on the shank extension had cured and I progressed with filing it with a flat head needle file followed with a sanding with a piece of 220 grit sand paper. I further matched the fill with the rest of the surface by sanding the entire wood coating on the shank extension with folded pieces of 400 and 600 grit sand papers. In the pictures below, one may think that there are air pockets in the fill; however, the fill is solid without any air pockets. I also evened out the edges over the aluminum extension in preparation for fixing the two fabricated brass rings, described above. Staying with the shank extension, I cleaned out the aluminum tube protrusion and the threading with a brass wire brush. I further polished it with a 0000 grade steel wool. The aluminum tube is now clean and shining. I finished the cleaning regime of the tube and threads in the shank extension by polishing it with a multipurpose liquid polish.Now it was time to affix the two fabricated brass rings. I applied a little superglue over the exposed aluminum protrusion of the shank extension towards the stem end and fixed the rings over it. I polished the shank extension, the aluminum tube and the two brass rings included, with micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. The shank extension now has a nice shine and the aluminum tube looks like new. The fill does show through in all its awfulness, but this will blend in nicely when I stain and subsequently polish it further. I applied a little “Before and After” restoration balm and buff it with a microfiber cloth after 20 minutes.I cleaned out the wood gasket which makes the fit of the tenon in to the shank extension airtight with cotton buds dipped in alcohol. I applied a little Extra Virgin Olive oil to this gasket, inside and out, to hydrate the wood and set it aside to be absorbed in the wood. When I had initially dismantled the pipe, this gasket came out attached to the tenon. However, close observation of the outer surface of the gasket points to the fact that the gasket was stuck inside the shank extension towards the stem end. I did not sand the outer surface to a smooth finish as I wanted to keep the surface rough when I applied superglue and reaffixed it inside the shank extension.Now that I had completed the restoration and reconstruction of the shank extension and stem respectively, I turned my attention back to the stummel with all its imperfections. Even at this stage, while on Face time with Steve he suggested that I rusticate the stummel. However, when he saw the reluctance, he suggested that I should try to blend the fills, which were standing out like sore thumbs, with a darkest stain available to me. I decided to stain the stummel and the rim top surface with black stain first and later with a dark brown stain in the hope that the contrast would help in a nice blend. I heated the stummel surface with my heat gun to open up the pores on the stummel so that the stain is well set. I mixed black stain powder with isopropyl alcohol and liberally applied it over the heated surface, flaming it with the flame of a lighter as I went ahead to different self designated zones of the surface. This helps in the setting of the stain in the grain of the briar. Similarly, I applied the black stain over the wood of the shank extension. I set both the stummel and shank extension aside for the stain to dry and get completely absorbed in the surface. The next evening, approximately 18 hours later, as Dal describes, I began to unwrap the stain in the hope to see beautiful grains. I mount a felt cloth buffing wheel (for the first time I admit, as I had only recently purchased these) on my hand held rotary tool. Setting the tool at its slowest speed as Dal had explained to me that a felt cloth wheel generates tremendous heat, I began to peel of the stain from the stummel surface first. But, hell there was no unwrapping at all!!! Not an iota of stain was buffed out. Therefore, I decided to increase the speed of the rotary tool a notch higher and still no result. I further upped the ante and took the speed regulator to half of the full power. Now the stain was peeled out gradually. This was followed with wiping the stummel with a cotton swab and alcohol to lighten the stain a little as it was too dark for my liking and this also helps in cleaning the surface of all the residual stain. But as soon as I reached to the right side of the stummel, I started seeing the dreaded patches where the fills got removed. Same for the shank extension!!! Here are the pictures as I saw the after effects of this buffing. Following are my observation on the stummel at this stage:-

(a) The stain had not set in over certain fills. These stood out like red blisters and are gory to look at.

(b) The fills had come out at certain spots. This was due to my mistake. I had either heated thestummel too much prior to staining or could be that I erred in my handling of the newly acquired felt cloth buffing wheel. Unknowingly, I got the stummel overheated, ditto for the shank extension.

It was extremely frustrating to say the least. Now I had option of either refilling the spots or “RUSTICATING” the stummel and the shank. To the readers, I would like to inform that during the process of filling and subsequent sanding of the stummel there were numerous, or countless I say, times when I had to spot fill small pockets and repeat the sanding of these small spots. I really had no desire to go that route as it would have literally meant starting from square one!! And it has already been nearly 25 days that I have been working on this pipe (and simultaneously on Dal’s pipe too with its own share of challenges!). I decided to go the path pointed by my mentor and rusticate the stummel. I messaged Steve about this decision and his first response was a terse “Good”!!! Before I could forward a message lamenting further about not having suitable tools, he sent me a link on rebornpipes.com about how to make rustication tool from a Philips screwdriver. From the speed and swiftness with which he forwarded the link, it appeared as if he had anticipated this. Here is the link and is a must read for all new exponents of this art. https://rebornpipes.com/2012/11/03/making-a-rustication-tool-out-of-a-phillips-screwdriver/

The article is worded very simple and articulate enough for anyone to follow and make a rustication tool for oneself.  Lucky for me, I had ordered a DIY rotary tool kit with complete accessories and this kit included all the tools that were essential to make myself a rustication tool. Shown below are a few pictures of the tools used and the completed rustication tool. With this, I geared myself for the first ever rustication of a pipe amidst a lot of trepidation. It was after a lot of effort that I had laid my hands on a pipe from this maker with this system, was meant to be a gift for someone I admire and as such did not want to ruin it. However, if you do not take a step further, you never progress and never learn and so I began the process of rusticating the bowl and shank.

I first wiped the stummel with a cotton pad and isopropyl alcohol to clean the surface and lighten the dark stain. The rim and about half an inch below the rim was in decent shape and I decided to maintain a smooth ring atop the rustication. Since I did not have a masking tape, I used a transparent tape to demarcate the area that I wanted to keep smooth that is the rim top and about half an inch below the rim outer edge. Similarly, I covered whatever little that remained of the stamping. This is a very essential step as I realized during rusticating that it is very easy to lose track and transgress over the areas and stampings which you wish to preserve. To rusticate, I firmly held the stummel in my left hand and with my right hand and began gouging out the briar. The technique is to firmly press the pointed four prongs of the modified Philips screwdriver in to the surface, rotate and pull out the removed chunk of briar. During the entire process, I kept sharing pictures of the progress that I was making, with Steve. As Steve suggested, I was pretty aggressive in my rustications. Once I had completed the rustications over the intended areas, I removed the transparent tape and cleaned the entire stummel with a soft bristled brass brush to remove all the debris from the rusticated surface. Here is how the stummel appeared after the cleaning process. I am happy with the way the stummel appears at this stage. I wanted to smooth out the jagged edges left behind by the screwdriver. I decided to scrub the entire stummel with a hardwired bristled circular brush mounted on my rotary tool. I hoped that this would thoroughly clean the rustications, smooth out the rough edges, and remove the chipped surface which could not be removed by the soft wired brass brush while adding a new dimension to the rusticated surface. Well, honestly I am not sure about the last aspect that I had hoped to achieve, but the other objectives we successfully achieved. I cleaned the smooth and rusticated surface with a cotton swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol to remove the sticky mark left behind by the tape and clean the rusticated surface in preparation for application of black stain. Once satisfied with the cleaning, I heated the stummel with my heat gun and applied a coat of black stain as described above. I set the stummel aside to set the stain in the surface. Once the stain had dried, I did observe a few spots that missed the application of the stain. However, I am not overly concerned with this, as these spots would eventually get stained when I apply the second coat of dark brown. Once the stain had set in well, I again warmed the stummel with my heat gun. This helps the stain to be absorbed and set further in to the briar. This heating also helps in reducing/preventing the stain from bleeding onto one’s hands while smoking or that is what I have read. I mounted a felt cloth buffing wheel on my rotary tool and gently buffed the entire stummel surface. Not wanting to repeat my previous mistake, I kept the speed of the rotary tool at its minimum. It took some time before I was finally able to remove the crust formed by the black stain. I wiped the stummel with a cotton swab and alcohol to remove any excess stain and followed it up sanding the raised rustication with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. This was followed up by carefully dry sanding of the entire stummel, especially the raised rustications with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. This not only lightened and highlighted the rustications, but would also provide a smooth surface for the next coat of dark brown stain. I was contemplating either a cherry red or oxblood stain apart from the dark brown as suggested by Steve, for the next coat. Also the present look of the stummel was equally beautiful. So there I was, at cross roads for deciding stain or no stain for the second coat. I decided to go by Steve’s suggestion as he is more experienced and as also this was to be his pipe. Here is how the pipe appeared before I applied the second coat of dark brown stain. I buffed the stummel with a horse hair shoe brush to remove any sanding dust resulting from the micromesh sanding. I applied a small quantity of “Before and After” restoration balm to rehydrate and rejuvenate the briar and set it aside for some time. Thereafter, I buffed and cleaned the stummel with a microfiber cloth. I applied a second coat of dark brown stain over the stummel and the shank extension, going through the same method as described above and set them aside for the stain to set. However, in my exuberance to cross the finish line, which by the way was now within sight, I completely missed out on taking pictures of this stage. Once the stain was set, I wiped down the stummel with a cotton swab and alcohol to remove any excess stain and lighten it from the raised rustications. Mounting a felt cloth buffing wheel on my rotary tool, I went about removing the crust formed by the stain over the raised rustication. The second coat of brown stain has added another layer of texture to the appearance of the stummel and aluminum shank extension. I like the way the stummel now appears to the eye. Now, the fear that besieged me was the stain running down Steve’s hand as he smoked the pipe and I shared this anxiety with him. He suggested that I should set the stain by again heating the stummel surface with the heat gun and this is exactly what I did. Next, I mounted a cotton cloth buffing wheel and setting the speed to ¼ of the full power, I applied a coat of carnauba wax over the stummel, aluminum shank extension and the stem. I worked the complete pipe to a beautiful and lustrous shine.I followed this wax polish by a mounting a clean cotton buffing wheel on the rotary tool and cleaned the stummel surface to remove any excess wax that had lodged itself in the rustications. The last issue that remains unaddressed is the thin chamber wall on the right side of the stummel. I had an option of either applying JB Weld or using plain bowl coating. I decided to go with the latter as, in my appreciation, this should suffice and also, in case my appreciation goes awry, I know Steve would apply JB Weld to make it functional again. Had this pipe been for anyone else, I would have applied JB Weld followed by a layer of bowl coat, just to be sure.Before re-assembling the pipe, I once again thoroughly cleaned the internals of the shank, aluminum shank extension and the stem airway with pipe cleaners and ear buds dipped in isopropyl alcohol. I also fixed the wooden gasket with superglue in to the stem end of the shank extension. I checked the draw to make sure that the airways in the shank, extension and stem are open. The draw is nice, smooth and open and somewhat similar to the draw experienced on a Peterson’s P-lip stem. I also applied a little Vaseline over the threads of the aluminum shank extension and the wood gasket to protect and keep it soft.To finish, I reassembled the complete pipe and gave it a final buff with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. This dude has come a long way from being on the verge of being discarded, to be my first ever attempt at rustication, to being my first gift to my Guru and mentor, Steve. I am pleased with the way this pipe has turned out and I sincerely hope that Steve likes it too. This pipe will soon be on its way to another part of the world, Vancouver, Canada to be precise, to be enjoyed and to serve my dear friend while he reminisces about his visit to me, Abha, Mudra and Pavni. I sincerely thank all the readers to have spared their valuable time in going through this long, and at times repetitive, write up. P.S. This project has been a great learning, with its fair share of frustrations and moments of euphoria, both of which are memorable to me. I enjoyed researching and understanding the working principle employed in this pipe. Any input and suggestions are always valuable to me and most appreciated as they help me grow and improve.

Restoring a Cased Camelia 515 Bent Billiard with Two Stems – Horn and Amber


Blog by Steve Laug

Jeff picked up this clam shell cased pipe from an online auction out of Virginia and I brought it back to Vancouver to work on. It is an interesting pipe that came in a nice case with a pair of stems included. One of the stems is golden amber with some interesting swirls and patterns and the other one is a horn stem. Both stems appear to be in excellent condition with minimal tooth chatter. The bowl itself had a cake and some darkening and lava overflow on the rim top. The finish was in decent condition though there was one medium sized fill on the left side mid bowl. Otherwise it is a nice piece of briar with a mixture of grains around the bowl and shank. The stamping on the pipe reads Camelia on the left side of the shank and 515 on the right side of the shank. The brand is not one that I had heard of before but shape number reminded me of some of the GBD numbers. Regardless who made it, it is hard to pass up older pipes with either horn or amber stems and impossible to pass up one that came with both. Jeff took the following photos of the pipe in its case from closed to opened showing the pipe and stems. Jeff took a photo of the pipe with each of the stems in place in the shank. The top one is a very nice amber stem and the lower one is the pipe with a nice horn stem.He took the pipe and stems out of the case to show the look of the parts of this old timer. The pipe has some good grain on the sides.Jeff took a photo of the rim top to show the condition. The photo shows the tarry buildup on the top and the damage to the inner and outer edge of the rim. You can see the cut like marks on the front of the bowl. The thick cake is also visible on the inside of the bowl. The second and third photo shows the grain around the bowl sides. Even under the grime you can see the interesting grain on the bowl sides. There is also a fill very visible on the left side of the bowl toward the rear top. The next photo is a close up of the fill on the left side. It is a bit shrunken but still and ugly pink putty.Jeff also took photos of the stamping on the pipe. On the left side it was stamped with Camelia in an oval and on the right side it was stamped with the number 515. I assume the number is the shape number for a bent billiard. The third photo shows the stamping on the silver band. It has the letters SLV in a rectangle. Under that are three hallmarks – each one has a letter in in a cartouche. The first letter appears to be a J, the second letter looks like a Y and the third looks like an M. All three letters are in a square shaped cartouche with the corners cut off. Jeff also took photos of the tenon on each of the stems.  Both are bone push tenons rather than the older style threaded bone tenons. The tenon on the amber stem has more of a taper to the end before the nipple. The tenon on the horn stem is more even from the end of the stem to the end of the nipple.Jeff took photos of the two stems together. There seems to be a variation in length between the two stems. The horn stem has more of a bent and makes it appear to be slightly shorter than the amber one. In reality they are the same length. Jeff also took photos of both sides of each stem to show their condition. I searched online using Google. Several of the links I found took me to Smokingpipes.com where they had a Camelia pipe listed in their estate area. They listed the brand in the French Made Pipe section. Here is the link to the billiard that they were selling (it has since sold but the connection is interesting to me here it is https://www.smokingpipes.com/pipes/estate/france/moreinfo.cfm?product_id=307863). I am not sure how they arrived at the brand being French as there are no clues on the pipe itself other than what they identify as a classic French billiard shape.

I also found a link to a blog on rebornpipes that Robert M. Boughton had done on a Camelia pipe that he restored also commenting that it was French made (https://rebornpipes.com/tag/camelia-pipes/). I had forgotten about this blog.  In it Robert pointed the way to the GBD connection for me in this quote: “this lovely example of the elegant Camelia straight smooth bulldog #699, originating in France of excellent lineage, being, according to Pipedia, an obsolete line of pipes once made by GBD.”

I did some digging on the Pipephil website (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-c1.html) and found a listing there that also associated the brand with a French pipe manufacturer. I have included a screen capture from the site on the brand showing the French connection. However I am not able to link the brand to a larger pipe manufacturer in France. This always makes me want to dig a bit deeper so the search continues.I turned to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/French_Pipe_Brands_%26_Makers_A_-_D) under the Pipe Brands and Makers section and clicked on French Made pipemakers in the A-D section and sure enough I found a note there that read as follows – Obsolete brand by GBD in Paris. With that I clicked on the link and was taken to a page where there was a very brief write up on the brand itself (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Camelia). Here is what it said:

Camelia is thought to be a GBD second, and was one of many brands owned by the Oppenheimer Pipe Group, as evidenced in the following catalog page from a Circa 1950s Oppenheimer Pipes Catalog.

The page makes the GBD connection very clear and says the pipe is LONDON Made. It also states that the pipes would not be released for sale until 1952. I am getting closer to what I am looking for – a post 1954 London Made pipe with a GBD connection.Now that the connection to GBD was established I decided to go back and read the connection between GBD and Oppenheimer. The pipe catalogue page for the 1950s Oppenheimer catalogue was good but I am not clear about the age of the pipe that I have in hand. So I went to the Pipedia section on GBD (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD). I quote in part the section spelling out the details on Marechal and Ruchon’s sale of GBD to Oppenheimer.

There is a very simple explanation for GBD’s program to turn more “British”: GBD became a British company soon after the turn of the century! In 1902 Marechal and Ruchon sold GBD to A. Oppenheimer & Co. in London. Charles Oppenheimer had founded this successful trade business in 1860 as an import-/export house. His brothers David and Adolphe and brother-in-law Louis Adler soon joined him. Adolphe took over when Charles went to Germany as British ambassador. Briar pipes were among the first products traded. The business relation to GBD in Paris began as early as 1870. Being the most important customer in the English speaking world, Oppenheimer & Co. were designated as sole distributor for Great Britain, the USA and Canada in 1897. Especially Adolphe Oppenheimer had a burning interest in the pipe business, and Louis’ son James Adler shared that. He should play the most important role in the amicable merger of GBD. A. Marechal, Ruchon and Cie. in Paris was now Marechal, Ruchon & Co. Ltd. (see Marechal Ruchon & Cie. page) – a British firm with four directors: Adolphe Oppenheimer and James Adler had their seat in the head office in London while Auguste Marechal and Ferdinand Ruchon went on leading the GBD factory in the Rue des Balkan in Paris, which was considerably extended and modernised. Ruchon acted as CEO.

Simultaneously Oppenheimer started to build a pipe factory in London. It was opened in 1903, but the forecasts had been over-optimistic for it’s capacity could not be utilized to the full until World War I. Things changed as the French pipe factories lacked more and more workers who were called to the front. In 1916 the ledgers registered that 18,000 of 27,000 dozens bowls manufactured in Saint-Claude were determined via GBD Paris for GBD London. Wherewith London had become the more important location.

After the war, GBD continued production both in London and in Paris. London GBDs mainly went into the national trade and as well into the British Empire and the USA. Paris on the other hand served the French and the other European markets. The location of the factories influenced the GBD history furthermore in the future although later on the products of both countries occasionally were marketed side to side to match special market requests.

I decided to follow the trail on the Marechal Ruchon and Cie  name and see if I could read a bit more about the sale to Oppenheimer (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Marechal_Ruchon_%26_Cie). I quote  piece of that article to cross reference the information on GBD.

Marechal Ruchon & Cie. was a company owned by Auguste Marechal and Ferdinand Ruchon (“& Cie” is the French equivalent of “& Co”) which owned the GBD brand from the end of the 19th century until 1902 when they sold Marechal, Ruchon & Cie. to Oppenheimer Pipe, which in turn changed the name of the company to Marechal, Ruchon & Co., Ltd.. Upon the creation of Cadogan, however, the brand was no more, remembered only in the name of the GBD Marcee pipes made until just after the Second World War.

Now I knew the connection to Oppenheimer but I still wanted to understand the birth and life of the Camelia Brand. I went back to the Pipedia article on GBD (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD) and read further to see if there was any mention of the Camelia line of pipes. Low and behold there was a reference to the brand just below the 1950s Oppenheimer Catalogue pages and just above the photos of GBD pipes. I quote the pertinent part of the article below and have highlighted the section on the brand.

The claims after the 1st World War demanded further distinctions. First of all was the London Made, which became the Standard London Made, followed by the New Era– in 1931 the top model asking 12½ Shilling. The Pedigree, although sketched around 1926, was not produced until the later 1930s. The New Standard was introduced in order to give the popular Standard of the 20s a higher rank in value. The Prehistoric, a deeply sandblasted black pipe, that still carried the small GBD Xtra stamp, was entirely new and unusual.

The French GBDs more or less followed the same developments, although Xtra and Speciale very longly used there. In the late 1920s a GBD with a metal filter system was introduced under the name Extra Dry. Also from Paris came another important new feature: the introduction of the inserted metal plate with the GBD initials on the stems. That insert added a further “touch of class” to the pipes and in London it was attached immediately.

The solid demand for GBD pipes also encouraged the management to introduce a number of sub brands designed to win new buyers. We can list such sub brands as follows:

  1. The City de Luxe (1921) had an inserted star on the stem as trademark and were marketed in England and in France. These pipes were the bestseller of the 5½ Shilling class in the 1930s in Great Britain.
  2. Reserved for the French market remained the even more favorable GBD brand Marcee, a derivative of Marechal Ruchon & Co. Ltd. that was offered until the 2nd World War and for another one or two years afterwards.
  3. The Camelia – made in London as a 2½ Shilling line – was only around for a few years.
  4. Important to mention is also the Riseagle—completely produced in Paris before the wartime for England’s smokers who wanted “a cheap but dependable British made pipe”… one of the most successful 1 Shilling pipes until 1939! The introduction of the luxury impact on the excise tax for pipes after the war put an end to this cheap brand.

Other brands of this time were marketed with even larger independence. The Dr. Plumb’s had been developed by the Parisian sales manager J.B. Rubinovich in 1925 when GBD France needed “a cheap line of pipes” especially for the Canadian market. In fact, the new brand was nicknamed for Mr. Rubinovich’s secretary Leslie W. Plumb, whose most important business was “to doctor figure” the ledgers. Dr. Plumb’s made their way not only in Canada. – The Peter Piper, as well as the Dr. Plumb’s produced in Saint-Claude, is another great example that stampings like “London made” or “London England” are not always totally trustworthy also on older pipes! Not only today numberless brands are made in Saint Claude and stamped with whatever the buyer wants to be stamped.

Here is a link to the full GBD Oppenheimer catalogue from the 1950’s if you would like to check it out further (https://pipedia.org/images/2/2f/1950s%3FGBDcatalog.pdf).

Now I could honestly say that while many thought this was a French brand it is actually only French by association with GBD in its early days. However, the quote above unequivocally asserts that it is a London Made Pipe that was made as a 2 ½ Shilling Line of pipes for a short time. The catalogue from the 1950s Oppenheimer Group pushes the date to post WWII and potentially the early 1950s (there is a note on the catalogue page saying that the pipe was not available for Home Trade until 1952) for a very short time and then it was gone. The only thing that leaves me with a bit of a question is the twin stems – a horn one and an amber one. Were those made for pipes in the 1950s? 

Last night I took the pipe out of the box of pipes for restoration. I took a photo of the case it was in to show the condition it was in. The leather was in very good shape for a pipe of this age. The outside of the case is stamped in gold PWS in an oval followed by Echt Bruyere & Bernstain. That translates as follows. Echt = Genuine, Bruyere = Briar and Bernstain = Amber. The description fits the pipe that is in the case. It states that the pipe in the case is Genuine Briar and Amber. I am not sure of what the PWS means on the case or how it connects to GBD.On opening the case I was once more stunned by the beauty of the pipe. It really was a beautiful billiard. The only visible flaw was the fill on the left side of the bowl. The fill had shrunken and was rough to touch. You can see it in the photo below. Other than the damage to the rim top it is a stunning pipe. Jeff did his usual thorough cleanup of the pipe and stems. He cleaned the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. He scrubbed it and rinsed it off with warm water. He scrubbed out the internals with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol.I took photos of the pipe bowl with each of the stems in place. The first set of photos show the bowl with the amber stem. The fill is very visible in the left side of the bowl and the damage to the rim top is also visible in the photos. The second set of photos show the bowl with the horn stem in place. The tenon on the horn stem had some shrinkage, I believe due to age and not being used. It was loose in the shank and would need to be taken care of in the restoration. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the cuts in the rim top on the front outer edge of the bowl. The scratches and cuts were deep. I also took close up photos of the stem surfaces to show their condition.I set the stems aside and turned my attention to the bowl. I used a dental pick to remove the large fill on the left side of the bowl. I cleaned it up with alcohol on a cotton swab to remove the dust and debris from the crevice. I used clear super glue and briar dust to fill in the cleaned out hole in the bowl side and clear super glue to fill in the cuts and nicks on the rim top. When repairs had cured I sanded them with 220 grit sandpaper and polished it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I sanded and resanded until the surface was smooth. I polished it with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each pad.Once the surface was smooth I used a cherry stain pen to touch up the repaired areas on the rim top and the left side of the bowl. The colour of the pen was a good match to the rest of the bowl. The repaired areas on the front of the bowl and the repaired fill look very good with the stain coat. To further blend the stain into the rest of the bowl colour I decided to continue experimenting with a new product from Mark Hoover of Before & After Products. This one is a product he labels briar cleaner and it has the capacity of absorbing grime and dirt from the surface of briar. I rubbed the bowl down with some of his Briar Cleaner to see how it would work in this setting. In speaking to Mark he noted that the product is completely safe to use. The main product is even FDA approved edible. I rubbed it onto the bowl and rim top with my finger tips and worked it into the grime and grit on the bowl. I let it sit on the pipe for about 5 minutes before I rubbed it off with a microfibre cloth. I rinsed it under warm running water to remove the residue. I was pleasantly surprised by how clean the surface on the bowl looked when I was finished. I could see remnants of gold leaf in the Camelia logo as well in the catalogue illustration above. I used some Antique Gold Rub’n Buff to give the stamping a new coat of gold leaf. The finished bowl looked really good at this point in the process.I touched up the repaired fill on the left side of the bowl with a black Sharpie Pen to assure that it blended into the finish. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface 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. Mark Hoover’s Balm is a product that I have come to appreciate and one I use on every pipe I have been working on. I hand buffed the bowl with a microfiber cloth to raise a shine in the briar and the silver. I took photos to show what the pipe looked like at this point in the restoration process. I really like the look of the bowl and after this I set it aside to work on the pair of stems. The bowl had the lion’s share of the restoration work needed on this pipe. So with that virtually completed other than the final polishing I set it aside and turned my attention to the stems. I painted the bone push tenon with clear fingernail polish to build it up and tighten the fit in the shank.I polished the horn stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down with some Obsidian Oil after each pad. I repeated that with the amber stem as well. I polished it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I finished polishing it with Before & After Pipe Polish – Fine and Extra Fine and rubbing it down with a final coat of Obsidian Oil. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth. With the parts finished it was time to polish up this interesting piece of GBD post WWII pipe history. It is a great clam shell cased pipe with both a beautiful striated horn stem and a swirled genuine amber stem. It was time to finish this pipe. I put the horn stem and bowl back together first and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I polished the briar and the minute scratches still in the horn stem until there was a rich shine. The horn stem looks really good with the rich red/browns of the bowl. The Gold Leaf in the logo stamp goes well with the older look of the horn stemmed pipe. The finish really highlights some amazing grain and hides the fill on a proportionally well carved pipe. Once I buffed the pipe the briar came alive and the mixture of grain popped with polishing. The horn stem had a rich glow. The finished pipe is a beautiful grained Bent Billiard. It fits well in the hand and sits right in the mouth. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe with the horn stem are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 7/8 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/4 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The dimensions of the same pipe with the amber stem are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 7/8 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/4 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This is an interesting piece of GBD history having been made only for a short time from 1952 onward. It is mentioned in the Oppenheimer 1950 Catalogue and it clearly states that it did not come out for sale until 1952. The horn and amber stems could well be a re-introduction of older stem materials when vulcanite was scarce in post war Europe. The push style bone tenon rather than a threaded older style bone tenon also makes this very feasible. However you view it I have to say that is a beautiful pipe with options for each smoke that will give a very unique experience each in their own right. Thanks for taking time to work through the whole blog. It was a  pleasure to work on. Sorry for the length!

Restoring Jennifer’s Dad’s Champ of Denmark 4 Freehand


Blog by Steve Laug

I decided to change things up a bit and work on a few more of Jennifer’s Dad’s pipes. I just posted the finished Sasieni Four Dot Walnut “Appleby” M apple on the blog. For the next pipe from the estate of George Rex Leghorn I have chosen a nicely shaped Champ of Denmark Freehand. You may not have read about this estate before, so I will retell the story. I received an email from Jennifer who is a little older than my 64+ years about whether I would be interested in her Dad’s pipes. My brother Jeff and I have been picking up a few estates here and there, so I was interested. Here is the catch – she did not want to sell them to me but to give them to me to clean up, restore and resell. The only requirement she had was that we give a portion of the sales of the pipes to a charity serving women and children. We talked about the organization I work for that deals with trafficking and sexual exploitation of women and their children and she decided that would be a great way to carry on the charitable aspect of her Dad’s character. With some great conversation back and forth she sent the pipes to Jeff and he started the cleanup process on them. Once he had finished cleaning them all he sent them to me to do my work on them.

The Champ of Denmark pipe is stamped on the underside of the shank CHAMP over of Denmark and below that is the number 4. It came to us with a broken stem and the tenon stuck in the shank. The beautiful straight and flame grain around the bowl and up the shank is visible through the very thick coat of grime. It seemed like it had a dark stain but hard to tell. There were oil stains from George’s hands on both sides of the bowl obscuring the grain. It was so dirty that it was hard to see the colour well. There was a thick cake in the bowl and it had overflowed with lava into the plateau on the bowl top and shank end. It was a dirty and tired looking old pipe. The stem was badly oxidized with deep gouges and tooth marks both sides from the button up about 1 inch onto the stem surface. The button was cracked on the topside and tooth marks made it an unlikely candidate for a repair. It had been sitting in boxes for a lot of years and it was time to move ahead with the restoration. Jennifer took photos of the pipes she was sending. I have included two she included from this pipe.When the box arrived from Jennifer, Jeff opened it and took photos of each pipe before he started his cleanup work on them. There were two Champ of Denmark Freehands in the box – both were in bags and both had broken tenons and stems. There is something about classic Danish Freehands that is intriguing and I like working on them. The shapes seem to really capture the flow of the grain on the briar and this is no exception. The briar appeared to be in good condition underneath the grime. The finish looked intact under the grime. The bowl had a thick cake that had hardened with time. The lava overflow on the rim but it could very well have protected the rim from damage. We won’t know what is under it until Jeff had cleaned it off. The stem was irreparably damaged and would need to be replaced. The broken tenon was only one of the problems that led me to the decision that this stem would need to be replaced. (Jeff quickly pulled the broken tenon before he even cleaned the pipe.)Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the lava build up on the plateau rim top and on the shank end as well. It was thick and hard but hopefully it had protected the rim and edges from damage. The lava coat looks horrible but it points to a well-used, favourite smoking pipe. George must have enjoyed this old timer and when the tenon broke he must have been frustrated. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the finish – the grime and grit all over the sides and flat bottom of the bowl. It is a dirty pipe. Jeff took photos of the top and underside of the broken stem showing the scratching, oxidation and deep tooth damage to the stem surface. You can also see the broken tenon (totally fixable by with the other damage I don’t think it is worth it). I looked on the Pipephil site to get a quick overview of the brand. In the back of my mind I remembered a connection to Karl Erik. I could not remember the details of the connection (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-c4.html). I did a screen capture of the section on the brand that was shown on the site. I have included it below.In summary it says that the brand was distributed by Larsen & Stigart a tobacconist in Copenhagen, Denmark. The warehouse had a workshop that had such famous carvers as Soren Eric Andersen, Karl Erik Ottendahl and others.

I turned then to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Champ_of_Denmark) to see if I could get a bit more information. I quote in full from that site:

“Champ of Denmark” were made for and distributed by Larsen & Stigart by Karl Erik Ottendahl. Larsen & Stigart had some indoor carvers at certain times, too (e.g. Søren Eric Andersen) and among other things they managed to supply Dunhill with wild Danish fancy pipes.

In an endnote under the article on Karl Erik (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Erik) I found someo more information. I quote the endnote in full.

¹ It is almost impossible to draw a sharp line between some of these brands… Larsen & Stigart – once a famous Copenhagen pipe shop, now almost forgotten – offered pipes produced by KE stamped “Larsen & Stigart” as well as pipes stamped “Larsen & Stigart” + “Champ of Denmark” or “Larsen & Stigart” + “Shelburne”. Almost needless to say, there are pipes stamped “Champ of Denmark” or “Shelburne” only. And the only reason is inconsistent stamping??? (BTW Larsen & Stigart employed own indoor carvers for approximately one decade – e.g. Søren Eric Andersen. They even managed to supply Dunhill with wild Danish fancy pipes.)

Now I had the verification of the link to Karl Erik Ottendahl. The pipe was most probably made by him for the pipe shop in Copenhagen. Before I get on to cleaning up the pipe I thought I would once again include the tribute that Jennifer wrote to her Dad for the blog. She also sent some photos and an article that her Dad wrote for Jeff and me to be able to get a feel for him. I have included those below. Note in each of them that he is holding a pipe in his left hand. I asked her to also send me an email with a brief tribute to her Dad. Here is her tribute from an email to me.

Steve, I want to thank you again for accepting my dad’s pipes.  They were so much a part of my dad’s life that I could not simply discard them. But as his daughter, I was not about to take up smoking them either. *laughing* I think my dad would like knowing that they will bring pleasure to others.  I know that I do.

I’m not sure what to say about his pipes. I always remember Daddy smoking pipes and cigars.

First a bit about my dad. Though my father, George Rex Leghorn, was American (growing up in Alaska), he managed to join the Canadian Army at the beginning of WWII, but in doing so lost his American citizenship.  He was fortunate to meet a Canadian recruiting officer who told him the alphabet began with “A” and ended with “Zed” not “Zee”, and also told him to say that he was born in a specific town that had all its records destroyed in a fire.  When the US joined the war my dad, and thousands of other Americans who had made the same choice*(see the link below for the article), were given the opportunity to transfer to the US military, and regain their citizenship.

After WWII, my dad, earned his degree at the University of California Berkeley and became a metallurgist. There is even a bit about him on the internet.

He loved taking the family out for a drive, and he smoked his cigars on those trips. (As a child, those were troubling times for my stomach.)

I most remember my father relaxing in his favorite chair with a science fiction book in one hand and a pipe in the other… Sir Walter Raleigh being his favorite tobacco… and the pipes themselves remind me of him in that contented way.  If I interrupted his repose, he’d look up, with a smile on his face, to answer me.

It seemed he smoked his Briarwood pipes the most, though he had others.  At the time, it was only the Briarwood I knew by name because of its distinctive rough shaped bowl.  And it was the Anderson Free Hand Burl Briar, made in Israel, which I chose for his birthday one year, because I thought he might like that particular texture in his hand.

At least two of his pipes, he inherited from his son-in-law, Joe Marino, a retired medical laboratory researcher (my sister Lesley’s late husband)… the long stemmed Jarl (made in Denmark), and the large, white-bowled, Sherlock Holmes style pipe.  I believe Joe had others that went to my dad, but Lesley was only sure about those two.

The Buescher, corncob pipe my older sister Lesley bought for Daddy while on one of her travels around the States.

A note on the spelling of my sister’s name…

My dad met my mother, Regina, during WWII and they married in Omagh, Ireland.  My mother was English and in the military herself.  The English spelling of Lesley is feminine, and Leslie masculine, in the UK… just the opposite of here in the United States.  I guess my mom won out when it came to the spelling of the name.

I’ll send you photos of my dad soon, along with his WWII experience story.

Jennifer

*https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2013/10/22/the_americans_who_died_for_canada_in_wwii.html

I am getting more and more used to Jeff cleaning up the pipes before I work on them. So much so that when I have to clean them it is a real chore! This pipe was a real mess just like the other ones in the collection. I did not know what to expect when I unwrapped it from his box. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. The finish was in rough condition with some darkening from oils on both sides of the bowl. The rim top and shank end plateau looked lifeless. Since I was going to replace the stem he cleaned the internals and scrubbed the exterior to keep the box from smelling. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked very good. I took photos before I started my part of the work. It is still darkly stained on both sides. I started sanding the bowl before I took photos so the top view shows the sanding dust… I quickly did some photos. At this point I decided to see what I had in terms of a freehand stem that would work with this bowl. I went through my options here and chose one with the approximate shape. It is a little less ornate but I think it will work well when it is cleaned up.I put the stem in the shank and took some photos to get an idea of the look of the pipe with the new stem. I will likely bend it slightly more to match the bowl angles but at the moment it is the same bend as the broken on. I like it! I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show what an amazing job Jeff did in the cleanup of the rim top. Even with the work there was still some hard lava in the plateau area I also took close up photos of the new stem to show condition it was in. It would not take a lot of work – just sanding out the scratches and polishing with micromesh sanding pads.I wiped the underside of the shank down with a cotton pad and alcohol so I could more easily see the stamping. It read as noted above.I started to sand out the inside of the bowl as noted above – a lesson learned from Paresh’s daughter Pavni while I was in India. It soon became apparent that there were some heat fissures in the briar. Fortunately they were not too deep but they were significant on the front and backside of the inner walls of the bowl. I mixed a small batch of JB Weld and used a folded pipe cleaner to fill in the fissures in those areas. I did not coat the entire bowl. Once it had cured I would sand the areas smooth leaving the fill only in the fissures themselves.Once the repair had hardened to touch it was time to continue my work on the bowl. I wanted to scrub the briar with alcohol and see if I could remove some of the oils in the briar on both sides. I also worked over the front and rear of the bowl and the shank. I was able to remove a lot of the darkening oils with the alcohol. I used a dental pick and a brass bristle wire brush to work over the rim top plateau. I was able to clean out the remaining lava and set the rest of the definition of the plateau free. It is a nice looking rim top. I wiped it down with alcohol and then touched up the valleys in the plateau with a black Sharpie pen.I polished the bowl with 1500-2400 grit micromesh to see what the sides looked like. I was not happy with the finished look on the sides of the bowl as it seemed to highlight the darkening on both sides. I was going to have to stain the bowl to try to blend in the darkening on the sides.I decided to use a Tan stain to see what I could do with it. I applied it and flamed it to set it in the grain. I repeated the process until I was happy with the coverage on the bowl. Once the stain had set and the alcohol evaporated I wiped it down with alcohol on cotton pads to make the colour more transparent. I wanted the grain to stand out but still hide the darkening on the sides of the bowl. I was happy with the results so far. Once I polished it with micromesh sanding pads and buffed it with Blue Diamond it would be even more transparent. I polished the bowl and rim with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded it with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped it down between pads with a soft cotton cloth. You can see the progress in the shine as you go through the photos. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the finish of the bowl and the plateau on the rim top and shank end with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I find that the balm really makes the briar come alive again. The contrasts in the layers of stain really made the grain stand out. 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. I am very happy with the way the pipe is looking at this point in the process.  With the outside of the bowl finished and the repairs on the inside hardened and cured it was time to smooth out the interior of the bowl. I sanded it with a piece of dowel wrapped with 220 grit sandpaper. I was able to remove the material around the repairs by sanding. I wiped the bowl down with alcohol on a cotton pad to clean up the dust. I mixed up a batch of bowl coating – sour cream and charcoal powder blended together. The mixture dries hard and does not have any residual taste. I put a pipe cleaner in the airway to keep the coating out of it. I coated the bowl with the mixture by painting it on the briar with a folded pipe cleaner. Once the bowl was coated, I set it aside to dry. I will need to wipe off the rim top and externals before waxing the bowl but it is looking very good at this point. I set the bowl aside to allow the bowl coating to cure and turned my attention to the “new” stem. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the oxidation followed by 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I rubbed the stem down with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish and a cotton pad to remove remnants of oxidation and to further blend in the sanding. The stem was showing some promise at this point in the process. I heated the stem over a candle to soften the vulcanite. When it was softened I bent it over a jar to match the angle that would match the top of the bowl.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I polished it further with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both fine and extra fine. I finished by wiping it down with Obsidian Oil after each pad and set it aside to dry. Once the bowl coating had cured I wiped the bowl down with a microfiber cloth and hand wiped off any residual bowl coating on the outside with a damp cotton pad. I put the stem back on the bowl and polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The new darker stain works well to mask the darkening and make the grain really pop. The pipe polished up really well. The polished black vulcanite bit seemed to truly come alive with the buffing. This Freehand  feels great in my hand and it is a sitter as well. It must have been a fine smoking pipe judging from the condition it was when we received it from Jennifer. There should be a lot of life left in this Champ of Denmark by Karl Erik. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 ½ inches, Height: 2 3/4 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/2 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. This is one that will go on the rebornpipes online store shortly. If you want to carry on the pipe trust of George Leghorn let me know. Thank you Jennifer for trusting us with his pipes. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners, we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next pipeman or woman.

…And Steve and Jeff Laug bid adios with this restoration: a Block Meerschaum # 22!!!


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

From the heading of this post, it is but natural to infer that this would be the last pipe that Abha, Steve, Jeff and I selected to work on before we bid our farewells, but the on-ground fact is this was selected and work commenced on this pipe after we had completed the restoration of an 1846 made BBB with Amber stem from my inheritance. Here is the link to the write up which was penned by Dal Stanton –

https://rebornpipes.com/2019/05/30/west-meets-east-in-india-to-restore-a-grandsons-treasure-an-1846-bbb/

When your life partner supports you in your hobby of restoring pipes and even helps you by doing the dirty work of initial cleaning of an estate pipe, you should be thankful to her and God for the match. And if you don’t want to rock this boat, always acquiesce with their likes and suggestion…I am a wise man too!!

Well, the above musings is the rationale for our owning this pipe in the first place. Abha, my wife, saw this pipe on eBay as I was surfing and she made a passing comment of liking the shape and look of this pipe. Her passing comment was akin to a decision and lucky for me, my bid won. I paid single digit USD for the pipe and a whopping cost of shipping when the pipe reached me about 6 months ago. When Steve and Jeff reached us on a visit, along with other gifts and pipes, Jeff had brought along “Before and After Stem deoxidizer” which I had Mark Hoover ship to Jeff in Idaho, USA to save on the costs of shipping. During one of our discussions, the efficacy of this solution in removing very heavy oxidation from the stem without resorting to any further invasive procedure cropped up. It was then decided to select one of the most heavily oxidized stem from my collection and subject the deoxidizing solution to stringent test. This is, thus, how the Meer came to the fore for restoration and the fact that it was Abha’s choice of pipe, made her happy.

This well made pipe has a beautiful Oom Paul shape with shallow non geometrical concave panels all around. The rim top shows large and evenly serrated surface. The rim top surface appears to have been painted black which has worn out over time.  The bottom of the shank is stamped as “GENUINE BLOCK” over “MEERSCHAUM” with #22 on the left, probably the shape code. The underside of the screw-in vulcanite stem surface bears a very faint stamp of “MADE IN TAN…….IA”, could be and logically most likely is, Tanzania!!The lack of any distinguishing maker’s stamps on the bowl makes it impossible to date and comment upon this pipe. The stamping on the stem points to this pipe as being made in Tanzania, probably by Amboseli? All that I can say is that this a beautiful, well made pipe that feels nice in the hand.

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
This is virtually an un-smoked pipe with no cake in the chamber. However there are a few scratches on the walls of the chamber. The serrated rim top surface and the rim edges are in pristine condition. The darkened rim top surface points it to have been painted black to provide a contrast with the white of the meerschaum and which over a period of time has been rubbed off. The draught hole is perfectly at the bottom center and should be a great smoker.The stummel surface is covered with minor scratches and one odd very minor chip commensurate with uncared storage and age (??). The stummel has yellowed at some places and appears lifeless being covered in dust and dirt. These issues should not pose any trouble while being addressed. The shank end is clean and air flow is full and smooth. Running a few pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol should freshen up the shank internals. The main protagonist of the entire exercise is this heavily oxidized stem!! To be very honest, I have not seen a more heavily oxidized stem since the time I was introduced to the art of pipe restoration. Even the gentleman who coaxed/ cajoled me in to this wonderful world, Mr. Steve, was unanimous in his comment of this being one of the many most heavily oxidized stems that he has come across….. And he has seen many!!! The threaded metal tenon is clean and shining almost like new. The air flow through the stem is open and full. Again, one odd pipe cleaner through the stem air way should clean out any traces of dust and dirt that could have lodged itself in the stem.THE PROCESS
Since the aim of selecting this pipe for restoration was to check the efficacy of the “Before and After Deoxidizer” solution, this was also the start point. Jeff ran a couple of pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol through the stem just to make sure that the air way is clean and open. Thereafter, he immersed this stem in to the deoxidizer solution and let it sit for 6 hours.While the stem was soaking in the deoxidizer solution, Pavni, my younger daughter who loves and specializes in working the chamber walls to a smooth surface, worked on the chamber walls with a folded piece of a 220 grit sand paper to a smooth and an even surface.Once Pavni was through with her work, Jeff took over further cleaning of the stummel. He began by cleaning the stummel and rim top surface with Murphy’s Oil soap on a cotton swab to remove the dust and remnants of the black coloration from the serrated rim top. He followed it up by further cleaning the stummel with a dish washer paste on his finger tip till all the accumulated dirt and dust was removed and thoroughly rinsed it under running tap water. Jeff also cleaned the internals of the shank with q tips and pipe cleaner dipped in isopropyl alcohol. I took over from where Jeff had left and began polishing the stummel with micromesh pads, dry sanding the entire stummel with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. The stummel now has a nice smooth and shiny surface. I wiped the stummel and each pad with a soft slightly moist cloth to remove the meerschaum dust from the surface. Once I was done with the micromesh pads, Steve decided to blacken the rim top surface using a permanent black marker. Since the burning tobacco would not be in contact with the rim surface, this should have no harmful effect while the pipe is being smoked. This darkening of the rim top surface transformed the complete appearance of this Oom Paul as can be seen in the last picture.  All the while, the stem was soaking in the deoxidizer solution. At the end of this stage, we got the stem out of the solution only to find that there was not much effect on the oxidation (as can be seen from the picture below) and it was then unanimously decided to let the stem soak overnight. That decided we sat down peacefully for our Single Malt Scotch, pipe smoking and discussing pipes, tobaccos and other things in general. The best part of such times was that Dal, Steve and Jeff ensured that everyone was part of the conversation by discussing and talking on topics wherein my daughters could also participate. My daughters adore these gentlemen!!The next dawn came with the excitement of seeing the result of the fight between the deoxidizer and the stubborn stem oxidation. After a hearty breakfast, we flocked around Jeff, our undisputed expert on cleaning and in use of this solution. Jeff removed the stem from the solution, washed it under running water, blew through the stem to remove any solution that had entered in the stem air way and rigorously cleaned it with a microfiber cloth. We all closely observed the result. Though at this stage, the stem did appear black, but the oxidation was still very much visible.Dal suggested cleaning the stem surface with Murphy’s Oil soap to see if that made any difference. We tried it without much success, though there was some improvement. Next Steve suggested to rub a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration” balm in to the stem surface. Although the stem was now completely black in appearance, we knew that underneath the blackness still lurks the ugly oxidation. We tried cleaning it with isopropyl alcohol and Fine and Extra fine stem polish (both products developed by Mark Hoover). All that has happened is that this residual oxidation was just masked. We kept wondering what is it that Mark does to the stem that they come out shining like they do just after a soak in this solution.When all other ideas and permutations/ combinations failed, I suggested the good old method of using sand paper to remove the oxidation, which incidentally was also the last resort!! This task fell on to the participant who had suggested it in the first place. So there I was, again in my familiar territory of sanding the stem with a 220 grit sand paper and following it up with 400, 600 and 800 grit papers. I followed it up with polishing the stem, going through the micromesh cycle of wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. I rubbed a small quantity of Extra Virgin Olive oil in to the stem and set it aside for it to be absorbed by the vulcanite. To finish the pipe, Steve generously rubbed some natural Bee’s Wax in to the stummel surface and set it aside to coat the stummel surface. The prevalent heat here ensured that the wax remained melted and absorbed in the meerschaum! I mounted a clean cotton buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and gave it a nice buffing. I polished the stem, applying carnauba wax with the rotary tool. The pipe, after marrying the stem and stummel looks amazing, to say the least. Have a look at it in the pictures below. The smile on Abha’s face and in her eyes made it well worth the effort and beyond. I wish to make it amply clear here that these conclusions are not laboratory results or a result of sterile and accurate experimentation processes under ideal conditions. This was just a fun filled attempt at attaining the level of finish which our friend Mr. Mark Hoover achieves by just a soak in to this solution. To summarize the findings, we all narrowed down to these followings facts: –

(a) Slight to slightly heavy stem oxidation is very effectively addressed by soaking in the solution of “Before and After Deoxidizing” solution followed by rigorous wipe with a microfiber cloth.

(b) Very heavy/ severely oxidized stem, similar to the one on this pipe, we could not completely remove the oxidation from the stem surface without resorting to invasive processes like sanding with grit papers etc. The oxidation was only masked, but not removed. However, the oxidation had loosened greatly and made further progress easy and rapid. This does save considerable time. It can be inferred that the heavily oxidized stem may be soaked twice for better results.

The outcome of all this is that this is an amazing product and will ease your work on stem. This could form a part of your “MUST HAVE” list while embarking on the journey in to world of pipe restoration.

 

Bringing a Silver Match Toronto 115 Squat Lumberman Back to Life


Blog by Dal Stanton

I acquired this Silver Match Toronto from what I have called, the ‘French Lot of 50’.  It was on the French eBay auction block and I was fortunate enough to have the winning bid.  When the Lot arrived here in Bulgaria from France, I unpacked it, took pictures of each pipe and posted them in the ‘For “Pipe Dreamers” Only!’ collection for potential new stewards to find and commission.  I have already restored many treasures in this French Lot of 50 for new stewards.  Robert saw the Silver Match Toronto 115 Squat Lumberman in the ‘Dreamers Only!’ collection and wrote me about commissioning it.  In my interchanges with Robert describing the pipe and what was involved in commissioning it, he wrote this in response:

Dal I’m still interested in commissioning the lumberman pipe and I’m in no rush. My wife and I just had a baby he just turned 1 week old! I found out about your restorations on Facebook on The Gentleman’s Pipe Smoking Society.  Thanks for returning my email and I can’t wait to see the outcome of this little pipe!

I also found out that he and his family reside in central Virginia and when we were writing, it was getting ready to snow where he lived!  Well, that was last November, and it has taken this long for Robert’s Lumberman to work its way up the queue and I’m thankful for Robert’s patience! – As well as all the stewards who commission pipes which benefit the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Here’s a picture of the original Lot of 50 in the ‘wild’ that I saw on eBay – the Lumberman it identified with an arrow.Now with Robert’s commission on my worktable, I take more pictures to show this smart squat Lumberman – I call it ‘Squat’ but the bowl is large and will handle a nice packing of one’s favorite blend. The nomenclature is stamped on the upper and lower sides of the oval stem.  On the upper is stamped ‘SILVER MATCH’ [over] ‘TORONTO’.  The lower shank bears what I’m assuming to be a shape number: ‘115’.  The stem is also stamped with a design which I assume is the flame of a match being depicted – my best guess at this point, but I’m not sure! The information about the Silver Match name is thin.  A quick search on the internet shows that Silver Match has been the name of tobacco accessories manufacturer since the 1800s, but mainly of lighters.  Silver Match lighters seem to be highly collectable with vintage lighters dating back to the 1800s but most listed that I saw have a French origin.  The only information in Pipedia refers to Silver Match in the list of British pipe makers as an inexpensive brand sold by Roy Tallent Ltd., and marked with the stamping SM (LINK).  This is confirmed in my copy of Wilczak & Colwell’s, ‘Who Made That Pipe?’ that Silver Match has English origins and manufactured by Roy Tallent LTD/S’Elite LTD – both of which seem more to be in the accessories market than focusing on the manufacturing of pipes.  Pipephil.eu (LINK) brings these two together in the following panel.  It pictures pipes distributed by the famous lighter brand, Silver Match, but shows the two different stem stampings that may indicate either French or British manufacturing – the flame (French) and the SM (England).  If this is correct, the Silver Match Toronto 115 has a French origin, but I found no other information to corroborate this.  Arriving from France in my ‘French Lot of 50’ is anecdotal evidence perhaps supporting this.I’m calling this Silver Match a ‘Squat’ Lumberman because he meets all the qualifications of his place in the Canadian family with the oval shank, but he’s on the shorter side but I’m impressed with the nice ample bowl. I did look at both French and British made shape charts to see if I could discover a lead on who produced the Silver Match but found no matches with 115 that provided this information.

I can see some nice briar underneath the thick layer of grime over the briar surface, but I see one large fill that will need attention on the lower shank near the shape number.  The cake is thick in the chamber with corresponding lava covering the rim.  The stem has oxidation and the button is chipped and will need to be rebuilt.  With this inventory of the challenges this Silver Match Toronto Lumberman faces, I start the restoration by adding the oxidized stem to a soak of Before & After Deoxidizer along with other pipes in the queue.  I first clean the airway with a pipe cleaner wetted with isopropyl 95%. After several hours I fish the Silver Match stem out of the Deoxidizer and use a cotton pad wetted with alcohol to wipe off the raised oxidation. I also run another pipe cleaner wetted with isopropyl 95% through the stem to clean the Deoxidizer remaining in the airway.The Before & After Deoxidizer does a good job and it preserves the white in the Silver Match stem stamp logo – I still can’t figure out for sure what it’s depicting!  I follow by applying paraffin oil to the stem to begin the rejuvenation process.  I put the stem aside to dry and absorb the oil. Next, I address the very thick cake in the chamber.  The chamber is almost closed off as the cake angles down the chamber.  Using the Pipnet Reaming Kit, starting with the smallest blade head, I use 2 blades of the 4 available to me.  I follow the reaming by using the Savinelli Fitsall Tool to further scrape and clean out the carbon build-up.  Finally, I sand the chamber after wrapping a piece of 240 grade paper around a sharpie pen to give me reach and leverage.  To remove the carbon dust, I wipe the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95%. After the cleaning, I inspect the chamber and it doesn’t have any cracks and fissures from heating damage.  It looks good!Next, I continue the cleaning by using undiluted Murphy’s Soap on the external surface using a cotton pad to scrub.  I also use a Winchester blade to scrape the rim addressing the thick lava you can see in the picture above. I also use a brass wire brush on the rim which doesn’t damage the briar.  After being in India, I learned about some of Jeff Laug’s (Steve’s brother) cleaning techniques and I decide to employ some of them.  After cleaning the stummel with Murphy’s, I take the stummel to the sink and clean the external surface with a bristled toothbrush with regular dish soap – the kind that is anti-oil.  I also use shank brushes to clean the mortise with the dish soap and warm water. After rinsing well, I dry the stummel with a cloth.  It came out well.As I observed earlier, there is a very large fill on the underside of the shank.  As expected, the cleaning of the stummel softens the old fill material and most of it fell out with the cleaning.  Using a sharp dental probe, I continued to excavate the material from the hole to clean it.Addressing the internals, I now use cotton buds, pipe cleaners, shank brushes and a dental spatula to scrape the mortise wall.  Using my tools to clean takes a bit of effort, but after some time, the buds started coming out lighter.  Later I will give the internals a further cleaning using a kosher salt and alcohol soak.Next, I patch the huge crater on the shank.  After I make sure all the old fill material has been removed, I clean the hole with alcohol. In the recent trip to India I discovered that there was some mild controversy around my method for filling holes using a putty created by mixing CA glue and briar dust.  Both Steve and Paresh said that they could not duplicate what I’ve been doing for some time – mixing the two components and creating a putty that remained supple.  What they experienced was the CA glue instantaneously solidifying when it touched the briar dust.  We discussed many different possible factors that would cause this difference in results – elevation, kind of glue, etc.  Another possible difference I suggested was that when I used an index card as a mixing platform, I would first cover the card with a strip of packing tape so that the glue would not be absorbed into the paper – which may, if it did absorb, cause the CA to solidify more rapidly.  Both Steve and Paresh were mixing on an index card surface without the tape.  I don’t know if they’ve had better results yet!  I decide to use a plastic lid as my new mixing platform.  You can see that I also put some scotch tape down so that I can clean easily.  I place briar dust on the tape and add BSI Extra Thick Max-Cure CA glue.I gradually pull briar dust into the puddle of CA glue and mix it with a toothpick.  I don’t overwhelm the glue with a lot of briar dust but gradually mix more in.As you can see, the CA is not solidifying as I add more.When the resulting mixture thickens to that of molasses, I use the toothpick and trowel the putty to the shank and fill the huge hole.  After filled, I put the stummel aside to allow the briar dust putty to cure.With the hour becoming late, I further advance the internal cleaning with a kosher salt and alcohol soak.  The patch on the shank has set up sufficiently.  I fashion a ‘mortise wick’ using a cotton ball. I stretch and twist the cotton until it creates a wick that will serve to draw out the tars and oils from the mortise.  I stuff the wick down the mortise with the help of a stiff wire.  After placing the stummel in a egg carton for stability, I fill the bowl with kosher salt which doesn’t leave an aftertaste as does iodized salt.  I then add isopropyl 95% to the bowl until it surfaces over the salt.  After a few minutes, the alcohol absorbs, and I top off with some additional alcohol and then put the stummel aside to soak through the night.   The next morning, I see what I was hoping to see.  The salt has soiled and after I draw out the wick it shows that it has continued the internal cleaning process of drawing out the tars and oils. After thumping and dumping the expended salt in the waste, I wipe the bowl with a paper towel and blow through the mortise to remove the salt crystals.I follow with a pipe cleaner and cotton bud wetted with isopropyl 95% to clean residue left behind after the soak.  I find that the internals are clean and refreshed for the new steward.  I move on!The crater fill on the lower side of the Lumberman shank has cured, and I begin the process of removing the excess briar putty using a flat needle file.  I file the mound down almost to the briar surface and then I switch to sanding with 240 grade paper to bring the patch flush with the briar surface. As is often the case, from the picture above, you can see the air pockets left in the sanded patch material.  To blend this, I touch up the patch with a dye stick after sanding the patch further using 600 grade paper.Turning now to the rim, the front and sides of the rounded rim have been skinned up a good bit which the following two pictures show. I use 240 grade paper on the rim and go with the rounded rim flow and sand out the roughened areas around the rim. I follow the rim sanding using sanding sponges over the entire stummel, including the rim.  I use a coarse sponge, followed by a medium sponge and finish with a fine sanding sponge.  The briar on this Silver Match Toronto is expressive and It’s coming out nicely with the sanding. After the sponge sanding, I identify a pit on the lower left side of the bowl. I decide to apply a clear CA glue patch to fill this pit.  After cleaning this area with alcohol, I blacken in the pit using a fine point Sharpie Pen then apply a drop of regular clear CA glue and set the stummel aside for the glue to cure. Not long after, the CA glue cures and I file the patch with a flat needle file followed by 240 and 600 grade papers. The result of this quick patch looks good.Waiting in the wings is the short stem of the Lumberman which sports a chipped button.  The button will need to be rebuilt using a mixture of activated charcoal powder and CA glue.I form an initial triangular insert from index card stock which fits into the slot of the button fully.  I had covered the inserted part with a layer of scotch tape to serve as a barrier to the patch material – to easily be able to remove the insert after the charcoal powder and CA mixture cures.  I then insert another triangular piece of card stock into the initial insert.  This serves to expand and tighten the insert.I open one capsule of activated charcoal dust on the plastic disc (also put a few strips of tape down for easier cleaning) and add BSI Maxi-Cure Extra Thick CA glue in a small puddle next to the charcoal powder and mix in gradually using the toothpick.  As with the briar dust putty, I draw charcoal powder into the CA glue until it reaches the viscosity of molasses and then trowel the putty to the stem to fill the missing button cavity. I trowel enough to fully over-coat the area.As hoped, after the charcoal patch sets up after a few minutes, with a bit of wiggling, the insert comes out leaving the slot and airway clear of the patch material.After several hours, the patch material has fully cured, and I go to work using a flat needle file.  I first work on clearing the excess patch material on the end of the stem.To more rapidly remove the mound of excess patch over the button I employ a small sanding drum mounted on the Dremel.  This removes the patch material very easily. I follow using the flat needle file to bring about the fine shaping of the button repair. I follow the filing and shaping of the button with 240 grade sanding paper to further smooth and shape.  I notice significant air bubbles being revealed by the sanding – ugh…Following the 240 paper, sanding with 600 grade paper and 0000 grade steel wool – upper and lower stem, brings out the air pockets even more distinctly. To address the significant presence of air pockets in this button repair, I first darken the pockets with a fine point Sharpie Pen then I paint thin CA glue over the button lip.  I put the stem aside for the CA to cure.Putting the stem aside for the time, I turn back to the stummel sanding it with the full regimen of micromesh pads.  Beginning with pads 1500 to 2400, I wet sand the stummel.  Following this, I dry sand using pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  Wow!  The grain on this Silver Match Lumberman is nice.  You can tell that when the grain patterns in the briar are random, as in this stummel, it is usually a good indication that it was cut from the upper part of the burl which is called the ‘branch wood’ section where the branches of the briar shrub form.  This article I’ve found helpful in understanding better the nature of briar grain – Published in Pipes & Tobaccos, Fall 1999, GRAIN: The first of an infrequent series of articles concerning THE BRIAR PIPE By R. D. Field (See: LINK).  The grain that emerges through the micromesh process is very nice – the Silver Match Toronto is shaping up well. The thing that bothers me like a burr under a saddle is the huge crater fill on the underside of the shank. Even with a darkened stain to mask the fill, it will still be there.  Yet, the light briar surrounding it in the current state is too much contrast for me to swallow!  I come to a decision to stain the stummel a dark brown to provide as much blending as possible and to use the staining process to tease out in greater contrast of the grain. I assemble on the worktable all the needed components for applying stain to the stummel.  I will use Fiebing’s Dark Brown Leather Dye with the possibility of lightening the dye because it’s an aniline dye – alcohol based.  I can wipe it with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol to lighten the finish and blend it.  I first clean the surface using isopropyl 95% and a cotton pad and using a cork inserted into the shank as a handle, I heat the stummel with a hot air gun.  This expands the briar and helps the grain to be more receptive to the dye.  I then use a folded over pipe cleaner to apply dye in swatches and then I flame the wet dye using a lit candle.  This immediately combusts the alcohol in the dye and it sets the dye pigment into the surface.  I methodically apply dye to the surface and flame as I go.  I then set the newly dyed stummel aside to allow the dye to rest – I’ll let it sit through the night.  This helps setting the new stain so that it will not come off on the hands when the stummel is first fired up when it goes into service. With the stummel resting, I return to the patched button addressing the air pockets.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures during this process, but the result is shown.  I use a flat file to remove the some of excess patch material and then gently sand with 240 grade paper and 600 paper.  I finish this phase using 0000 steel wool over the entire stem.  I’m not 100% satisfied with the button rebuild, but the stem is structurally ready to return to service.I move straightaway to using micromesh pads on the stem.  I begin wet sanding with pads 1500, 1800, and 2400 and follow with dry sanding with pads 3200, 3600, and 4000 and finish with pads 6000, 8000 and 12000.  Between each set of three I apply Obsidian Oil to the stem to help rejuvenate the vulcanite and the expected high-level gloss of the stem makes an appearance.  Nice.  I put the stem aside to dry and absorb the oil. The newly stained stummel rested through the night and it’s time to unwrap the stummel from the flamed crust residue revealing the grain below.  To do this I mount a new felt cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel and set the speed to the slowest possible to reduce the possibility of overheating with the friction.  I then apply Tripoli compound to the entire stummel.  I have been asked how long this process takes as I ‘plow off’ the crust and ‘clean’ the residue dye revealing the grain detail.  I timed it this time and the Tripoli compound application took me one hour and 10 minutes – yep, that long. When the help of my wife, she takes a picture of the process of removing the crust and revealing the hue of the newly stained briar underneath.  I’m pleased with the results.  The crater fill on the underside of the shank almost disappears as it blends with Fiebing’s Dark Brown Leather Dyed grain.  After I complete the application of Tripoli with the felt cloth wheel, I switch to a cotton cloth wheel, increase the speed to about 40% full power, and again apply Tripoli to the stummel.  I do this for two reasons.  First, with the cotton cloth wheel I’m able to reach into the crook of the bowl and shank which the felt cloth wheel cannot reach.  Secondly, I find that it sharpens the grain presentation as additional excess dye is taken away.  The result is almost like a luminescent effect. After applying the Tripoli, I give the stummel a gentle wipe with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol.  This lightens the hue a bit and helps blend the new dye.Next, I mount another cotton cloth buffing wheel and maintain speed at 40% and apply Blue Diamond compound, less coarse than Tripoli, to both stummel and stem.Next, I again detach the stem and I want to freshen the Silver Match ‘flame’ stamping.  It took me a while to figure out that was what it was – at least that’s what I think it is!  I apply white acrylic paint over the stamp and then gently wipe it off while still wet using the flat side of a toothpick. I use a cotton bud and the point of the toothpick to clean off the excess. The result is about 80% success.  The upper part of the flame wasn’t deep enough to catch the paint.  The result still looks good.After reuniting the stem and stummel, I mount another cotton cloth wheel to the Dremel, maintaining 40% full power, and apply carnauba wax to the entire pipe.  I give the pipe a few coats of wax then I give it a rigorous hand buffing with a microfiber cloth to raise the shine and complete the restoration of this nice looking pipe.

This Silver Match Toronto Squat Lumberman came out well.  The grain is striking with a smattering of swirls, waves, bird’s eye, and flame…, it’s an expressive piece of briar!  The darkened stain works great and masked the fill on the underside of the shank almost to perfection.  I’m pleased with the button rebuild, though I want to work more on reducing the air pockets in the process.  Overall, this stout Lumberman is ready for service.  Robert commissioned him and has the first opportunity to purchase this pipe from 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!

A Knute of Denmark Freehand – a Special Gift for My Son


Blog by Dal Stanton

This story begins in October of 2017 and concludes less than a week ago with the graduation of my son who received a master’s degree in counseling.  My wife and I have lived in Europe over 25 years and periodically we return to the US for several months from Bulgaria, to visit friends, family, and supporters of our work in Bulgaria.  It’s a great time renewing relationships and we travel a lot during these visits – often very tiring!  One of our favorite things to do as we travel (when we’re not flying over America from airport to airport) is to rent a car and drive off the interstates on the ‘Old Roads’ when we are visiting and speaking about Bulgaria.

On one such road trip, we were traveling from visiting our son (in St. Louis) and our daughter and her husband (in Nashville) and we were returning to home base near Atlanta, Georgia – to a little hamlet railroad stop called, Palmetto.  As often as possible when time allows, we break off from the interstates and cling to two lane highways that trace our path through small towns and villages.  Of course, I’m always looking for the antique and second-hand shops along the way to do pipe-picking!  We came across one such place in a small crossroads town of Alabama which was a great place to stop and rest and to search for pipe treasures!

I found 3 pipes that were candidates, but the one that received the lion’s share of my attention was the Knute of Denmark, a stout Freehand that had a beautiful balance of upper blasted briar and a large underside shank of smooth briar that encased the Danish nomenclature.   The bowl’s plateau was striking but the shank plateau facing sloping toward and tying in the fancy stem was frosting on an already nice-looking cake!  I was fully present in the moment of this exceptional find – a find that I would keep for myself and add the first freehand to my collection of vintage pipes.

I left the 3 at the front of the shop while I did a walk about through the shop.  While doing this, I was also researching the ‘Knute of Denmark’, the sole marks on the pipe.  I discovered that ‘Knute’ was a second of well-known Danish Freehand pipe maker and manufacturer, Karl Erik Ottendahl – this sweetened the pot considerably!

Dave’s Antiques was primarily a consignment shop and the desk person, perhaps it was Dave, had the number of the owner of the Knute and called him with my counter offer.  To my surprise and gratification, the owner accepted my offer.  The Knute Freehand joined me when my wife and I returned to Bulgaria and has waited patiently in my own personal “Help Me!” basket for his turn on the work table.  Here are some pictures of the Knute of Denmark I took while still in the US on that trip. Pipedia’s listing for Knute provided helpful information to appreciate more my newest acquisition and the Karl Erik name behind it:

Karl Erik Ottendahl

Knute of Denmark pipes are said to be made by Karl Erik, see his listing herein. Karl Erik Ottendahl was born in Aalborg in 1942, just a few miles from the very northernmost tip of Denmark. He began his career as a Lithographer as an apprentice in the craft at the age of 16. While working as an apprentice he began hand carving pipes as a hobby and to give as gifts to his more senior colleagues. He began his career making pipes for various labels in Denmark and the United States. Often, he would make the higher-grade pipes for a well-known brand that was known for their midrange or low-end pieces such as Wally Frank. While doing this he administered a factory of fifteen craftsmen. During this period, he did make some of his own handmade pipes, but he felt that the responsibility of managing the factory did not give him the freedom he wished he had.

Other brands confirmed to be from Karl Erik are: Champ of Denmark, HTL, Jobey Dansk, Knute, Golden Danish, Lars of Denmark, Larsen & Stigart (Copenhagen pipe shop), Shelburne, Sven Eghold and Wenhall (for Wenhall Pipes, New York), some Ben Wade and pipes marked IS and IIS.

One other paragraph from the Karl Erik article in Pipedia referenced above is noteworthy in understanding this pipe man who died in 2004:

As one of the few notable Danes Karl Erik Ottendahl dedicated himself to the needs of the normal pipe smoker with a normal income. In the end he was one of the last of this tier. He never made any pretense of the fact that his “hand mades” were prefabricated to a large extent on automated machines and only the last steps of fine-shaping and finishing were carefully made by hand. But he never employed a copy milling, so many KE pipes may look very similar but no two are identical. As well the bulk of the stems was supplied by Stanwell in a close-to-finished state. Stanwell also did the sand blasting for KE to a large extent.

I’m thankful for my family.  We’ve been spread out all over the world for many years, but we stay close.  My son, Josiah, is number 4 of our 5 children.  He’s pictured to the right of his baby sister and my wife, when we were in Nashville during our Christmas visit to the States last year.  Soon, we’ll be heading to the US again in May to join Josiah with other gathered family members as he graduates with a master’s degree in counseling from Covenant Seminary in St. Louis.  During his years in college and seminary, as a younger pipe man, he has enjoyed a bowl now and again.  He has gifted me with pipes that are special to me because they came from him AND they are very nice pipes as well after restoring them!  My first Peretti came from Josiah.  I have gifted all my kids, sons and daughters, with pipes that I’ve restored.  It gives me joy to pass pipes on which then become family heirlooms because ‘the ole man’ restored them.

I had been thinking for some time which pipe I could give to Josiah commemorating this great milestone accomplishment in his life.  The Knute of Denmark waiting for restoration came to mind.  Several weeks ago, when Josiah and I were Face Timing, he in St. Louis and I in Sofia, I asked him if he would like this Freehand as a graduation present?  His response did not take long!  I have viewed that Knute somewhat as a ‘Pearl of Great Price’ – looking forward to restoring it and recommissioning it into my collection and service.  Yet, for Josiah to have it to commemorate his graduation is something that will always be important.  When he goes through the ritual of taking the pipe from the rack, methodically packing the bowl with his favorite blend, lighting and reflecting upon life and faith – he will remember his accomplishment as well as how proud his family is of him.

With Josiah’s master’s graduation present now on my worktable, I look more closely at the pipe itself to assess its needs and issues.  The narrowing chamber has thick cake.  The attractive squared plateau is covered with lava flow and there is much dirt and grime lodged in the valleys between the ridges.  The sandblasted stummel is beautiful, but is also covered with grime, but I see no problems with the briar.  The same observation of much needed cleaning is also true for the shank facing plateau. The lower side with the smooth briar is blotched because the finish seems thin and uneven.  I also detect a few nicks where it looks like it was knocked on the edge of something – just to the lower right of the Knute of Denmark stamping.  The fancy stem has some oxidation and tooth chatter and compressions show on the stem bit.  I take a few fresh pictures to look more closely at the plateau and the smooth briar underside.  I begin the restoration of the Knute of Denmark by using a pipe cleaner wetted with isopropyl 95% and cleaning the fancy stem’s airway.  I then add the stem to a soak of Before & After Deoxidizer along with other pipes in the queue. After several hours soaking, I fish out the fancy stem and run another pipe cleaner wetted with isopropyl 95% and clear the airway of the Deoxidizer.  I also use cotton pads wetted with alcohol and wipe off the raised oxidation.  The Deoxidizer does a great job.  The fancy stem looks good.To start the process of rejuvenating the vulcanite stem, I wipe it down with paraffin oil, a mineral oil, and set is aside to absorb and dry.Looking now at the Freehand stummel, I use the Pipnet Reaming Kit and start removing the thick cake in the chamber.  I put down paper towel to catch the excavated carbon. Starting with the smallest blade head I begin reaming the chamber. Wow, the carbon cake is as hard as a brick!  I’m careful not to force the blade head too much but allow the metal blades to crush the carbon cake gradually as I rotate the handle.  I take a picture at the starting point and then about half way down the chamber that shows how the chamber has narrowed over time. I finally break through to the floor of the chamber and I’m careful not to over ream – to continue forcing the blade downwardly which would begin to damage the briar.  I continue with the next two blade heads, using 3 of the four available in the kit.I then switch to the Savinelli Fitsall Tool – the name of this tool is apropos, as it not only scrapes the chamber walls further but also reaches down and works around the draft hole – removing cake that is hard to reach.To clean further I also sand the chamber using 240 grade paper which I wrap around a Sharpie Pen using it as a dowel rod.  With this configuration I’m able to reach down into the huge chamber cavity and sand with some leverage.  This does a great job cleaning the chamber and removing the last vestiges of cake.Finally, I wipe the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95% to remove the carbon dust left behind.  I take a picture of the pile of carbon cake removed from the chamber and the full arsenal used.After the reaming, I inspect the chamber and it shows no problems with heating cracks or fissures.  I move on!I’m anxious to see how the external blasted surface cleans up as well as the smooth briar – will the cleaning remove the thin finish?  The plateaus are full of grime as well.  I use undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap on a cotton pad to begin the scrubbing.  I use a bristled tooth brush as well on the blasted surface and the plateaus.  To help clean the lava on the rim plateau I also employ a brass wire brush that will not damage the briar.  The cleaning did well. The rim plateau cleaned up but also lightened in the process – not unexpected.  The rest of the blasted stummel looks good. The picture below shows the blotch of old, thin finish.  The cleaning with Murphy’s did not remove it.  To clean it off and give the smooth briar under-panel a cleaned surface, I use a cotton pad wetted with alcohol to do the job.  I wipe it and it comes off.  The surface looks good now. With the external briar surface cleaned, I now start working on the internals.  Using pipe cleaners and cotton buds I go to work…, and I work!  The internals are very dirty and there seems to be no end to the cotton buds coming out looking like nothing was happening.  I also use a smaller, dental spoon to reach into the mortise to scrape the tars and oils which have accumulated on the internal briar surface.  I continue until the hour of the night is too late and I decide to change gears.Before going to bed I continue the cleaning effort on the internals by using a kosher salt and alcohol soak.  To do this I first create a cotton mortise wick by pulling and twisting a cotton ball and then stuffing it down the airway with the help of a stiff hanger wire.  I then fill the ample bowl with kosher salt and place it securely in an egg crate.  Then, using a large eye dropper, I fill the internal chamber with isopropyl 95% until it surfaces over the salt in the chamber.  After waiting a few more minutes, I top off the alcohol once more and turn out the lights!  Hopefully, through the night progress will be made as the cotton wick and salt draw the tars and oils from the internal briar. The next morning, the cotton wick was very soiled showing that progress was made through the night.  I remove the soiled and expended salt from the chamber to the waste and clean the remaining salt crystals using paper towels and blowing though the mortise. I follow with more pipe cleaners and cotton buds wetted with isopropyl 95% and at first, I was worried that I still had a ways to go!  But after a few times through, the cotton buds removed the remaining tars and oils drawn from the briar and started to emerge much lighter!  Success in hand, I move on.Looking at the external stummel, I have essentially 2 projects to consider, the sanding of smooth briar and color repair to both rim and shank plateaus.  After the cleaning process to the plateaus, the wood has lightened and there are bald spots that need to be colored to blend.  I decide to do this after sanding.  The large underside of the Freehand is beautiful and has a few very minor nicks. The other sanding needed is to clean up the internal chamber wall that rises to form the forward crest of the rim plateau.  This will clean up very nicely and should provide a striking contrast to the rough, rusticated plateau.  This ridge rise continues around the circumference of the upper chamber. I start by using a coarse 120 grade paper to work on mainly the gouges and scratches to the upper chamber wall where it appears that cleaning tools were a little too anxious!  This injury is primarily on the shorter rise on the back of the chamber (picture immediately above, to the left a bit).  After I work out these larger gouges, I switch to 240 grade paper and work it around the entire upper chamber area.  Then, I finalize the inner upper chamber with 470 then 600 grade papers.  I like it! Switching to the underside, but also including the upper chamber, I go directly to using micromesh pads by wet sanding with pads 1500 to 2400 followed by dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 then 6000 to 12000.  I’m careful to keep my thumb over the nomenclature stamping, Knute of Denmark on the underside.  Wow!  The smooth briar contrasts are taking shape and I like what I’m seeing. Now, the second project – repairing the briar coloration on the plateaus.  I take a few close ups of both the rim and shank facing plateaus.  I have been thinking a lot about my approach to this.  I’m satisfied with the condition of the color of the blasted surface – it has a classy looking weathered and rustic appearance with the dark stain that appears to have an oxblood or mahogany lean and is flecked with reds. I also take a closeup of the stummel surface to show what I’m seeing. I begin by cleaning each plateau with alcohol using a cotton bud – careful not to spread alcohol on the stummel surface.  Color matching is more of a dance or an artform rather than a science.  I use a cotton pad as a canvas and use different dye sticks to identify the best match for the darker overcoat color.  I have two brands of mahogany that are the two marks – the upper one is darker, and I like it better.  The cotton bud on the top is Fiebing’s Oxblood Leather Dye.  I like this for the undercoat.With a cotton bud I apply Fiebing’s Oxblood to both plateaus which serve as the undercoat. After waiting about 15 minutes to make sure that Oxblood was dry, I then use the Mahogany Dye Stick and go over the Oxblood application.  I do this for both plateaus. In the next picture it shows the Oxblood colored edge which is not the finished product!  I will address this.To help erase this edge line, as well as to lightly sand the plateaus to bring out the oxblood flecks, I use a 3200 grade micromesh pad and sand over the tops of the ridges of the rusticated plateaus.  This removes a bit of the darker overcoat and exposes the oxblood undercoat.  I also use the micromesh pad to reestablish the line of the smooth upper chamber briar helping to remove the line of oxblood.  I follow the 3200 grade pad and go through the remaining 5 pads to sand and polish the smooth upper chamber briar.  Lastly, I do a light wipe with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol to remove excess and blend the dyes on the plateaus.I like the results!  Both rim plateau and shank facing plateau look refreshed and emulate the flecking that is evident on the Knute stummel. With the plateaus completed, I condition the rest of the stummel using Before & After Restoration Balm aiming to bring the rest of the stummel into a harmonious alignment with the refreshed plateaus.  My hope and expectation are that it will deepen and darken the beautiful blasted surface.  It will be equally enriching to the smooth briar patches.  I take ‘before’ pictures to compare, but I doubt whether the pictures will detect the darkened tones.  We’ll see. I put a generous amount of the Balm on my fingers and work it into the blasted stummel surface, the rusticated plateaus and on the smooth briar patches.  I can immediately see the briar responding to the Balm.  Josiah is going to love this beautiful Karl Erik Knute Freehand!  After saturating the surface with the Balm, it gradually thickens to a wax-like viscosity as I work it in.  Finally, I place it on the pedestal to allow the Balm to do its thing as the briar absorbs it.  I take this picture during this period.  After about 15 or 20 minutes, I use a microfiber cloth to wipe off the excess Balm and buff the stummel rigorously making sure the excess balm has been removed from the nooks and crannies of the rustication and blasted surface.  I love it!  As hoped, the stummel’s enrichment with the Balm darkened it and both plateaus and stummel are closer in shade, but the plateaus, by design, just a wee bit darker.  Yes!The fancy stem is waiting in the wings.  The Before & After Deoxidizer did a great job removing the oxidation.  Now to address the tooth chatter and bites on the button.  The stem has a very slight bend to it to mark the orientation.  The upper bit has tooth chatter and a compression, but also long scratches along the length.  The Lower bit also has tooth chatter and compressions – the button is chewed as well.  When you freehand it with a Freehand you’re bound to see evidences of clamping. To begin to address these issues, I use the heating method to see if the compressions will lessen.  Using a Bic lighter, I paint the areas with the flame.  As the vulcanite heats, it expands, and the hope is that the compressions disappear or are much lessened.  I apply the flame on both sides, and it does make a difference in lessening the compressions.  I move on to using 240 grade paper to sand both the upper and lower sides.  I also use the flat needle file to freshen the button lips edges.  The compressions sand out nicely.  The pictures show the results with the upper and lower bit. Next, I wet sand the entire stem using 600 grade paper. I then buff the stem with 0000 steel wool.I see that the slot is not smooth, and I use rounded needle file to file the edges.Next, I apply the full regimen of micromesh pads to the stem.  I begin by wet sanding with pads 1500 to 2400 and then dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  After each set of 3 pads, I apply a coat of Obsidian Oil to revitalize the vulcanite.  As expected, the Knute fancy stem now has that glossy shine – like new and better. I’m in the home stretch. I keep the stem and Freehand stummel separated for now as I apply Blue Diamond compound and wax.  It’s easier this way to manipulate the pieces.  I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to the Dremel, set the speed at 40% of full power, and I apply Blue Diamond compound to both stummel and stem.  When finished, I buff both with a felt cloth to remove compound dust from the surfaces.  I use a bristled brush as well to make sure the rusticated and blasted areas are free of dust.  I use the felt cloth again.  I don’t usually have these action pictures, but with my wife’s help here are a few.Then I change buffing wheels on the Dremel, maintain the same speed, and apply a few coats of carnauba wax to the Knute stummel and stem.  I then hand buff the stummel and stem with a microfiber cloth to blend and collect any excess wax and raise the shine more.  Again my wife provides the picture and a good shot of The Pipe