Tag Archives: staining

Breathing Life into a Mr. Mac Ultra Grain 140 Diplomat


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from an auction in Cedar Springs, Michigan, USA. It has been around for a while waiting to be worked on. Jeff did the original photographs of the pipe in December 2018. It is a beautifully grained Mr. Mac Diplomat that is really quite nice. The stamping is the clear and readable. It is stamped on the topside of the shank and reads the Mr. Mac [over] Ultra Grain. On the underside of the shank it is stamped with the shape number 140 [over] Made in London [over] England. The smooth finish had a lot of grime ground into the bowl and some darkening around the sides of the bowl. There was a burn mark on the front left and left back rim edge. The bowl was heavily caked and had an overflow of lava on the top of the rim. It was hard to know what the rim top and inner edge of the bowl looked like under the grime. The vulcanite saddle stem and was calcified, oxidized and had light tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside but the surface of the button was surprisingly free of damage. The stem had no identifying logo on the top of the saddle. The pipe had promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the overflow of lava on the rim top. You can see the damage on both the outer and the inner edge of the bowl. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the oxidation, calcification, light chatter and tooth marks.   Jeff took a photo of the heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar around the pipe looked like. There is some interesting grain under the grime.    Jeff took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank and the top of the stem. It reads as noted above.  I turned to the listing on Pipephil and Pipedia to gather information on the brand and did not find anything. I did more research on the Pipedia site to identify the shape of the pipe. It fits the description of  a Diplomat shaped pipe (https://pipedia.org/wiki/File:Diplomat.gif). From there I did some digging to find out who made the shape 140. I identified the shape as being made by both Hardcastle and Masta. I have included photos of both shapes for comparison sake.

First is the Hardcastle pipe with the same shape number 140 found on SmokingPipes.com (https://www.smokingpipes.com/pipes/estate/england/moreinfo.cfm?product_id=182204)The second pipe is a Masta made pipe that also had the 140 shape number. This one came from a pipe that I had previously restored (https://rebornpipes.com/tag/masta-pipes/).So, now I knew that the pipe I was working came from the same company that made both the Masta and the Hardcastles pipe. I did not find any inforamtion on the brand itself but there was definitely a connection. Now it was time to work on the pipe itself.

Since Jeff follows the same pattern of work in his cleanup we do not include photos but rather just a simple summary. Jeff reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He was able to remove the lava build up on the rim top and you could see the damages to the top and edges of the rim. I think this pipe may well been before we worked with Mark Hoover’s Before & After Deoxidizer so he cleaned the internals and externals. The stem was clean but lightly oxidized. I took photos of what the pipe looked like when I brought to my worktable.    The rim top cleaned up really well with the lava coat removed. The rim top, inner and out edges of the rim showed some damage. There were burn marks on the right front and left back of the bowl and rim top. I circled them in red in the photo below. The stem surface looked very good with heavy oxidation remaining and some light tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button. I took photos of the stamping on the sides if the shank. It reads as noted above.     I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. It is a well shaped apple with great grain.Now it was time to do my work on the pipe. To remove the damage to the rim top and the edges of the bowl I topped it on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I was able to remove the  damage on the rim top but the damage on the inner edge would take more work.I built up the damage to the inner bevel of the rim top with clear super glue and briar dust. It looks ugly but once it is cleaned up it will look much better. I topped it once again to smooth out the rim top. The second photos shows the rim top after that topping. I worked over the inner edge of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out repairs. The beveled rim edge was better but until it was stained it is hard to tell from the photos. I restained the rim edges and top with a blend of Cherry and Walnut stain pens. It matched colourwise and once it was polished the blend would be perfect.I polished the bowl and the rim top, sides and shank with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with a damp cloth. I carefully avoided the stamping on the top and underside of the shank so as not to damage the stamping. I restained the rim top and set it aside to let the stain cure before I did the final buffing on the pipe.I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.  It helped to blend the stain into the rest of the bowl.   While I was working on the bowl the stem was soaking in a new product I received from Briarville Pipe Repair – Pipe Stem Oxidation Remover. It is a liquid of about the same consistency as apple juice. The stem sat in the mixture for 2 ½ -3 hours. I removed the stem from the bath, scrubbed lightly with a tooth brush and dried if off with a paper towel. I was surprised that it was quite clean. Just some light oxidation on the top of the stem remained. The bath was dark with the removed oxidation of the seven stems. I cleaned out the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners.  I filled in the tooth marks on the topside and the damage to the button edge on the underside of the stem with clear super glue.   Once the repair cured I used a needle file to flatten the repairs and recut the button. I used 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the repairs further and blend them into the stem surface. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.    I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.     This well made, classic Mr. Mac Ultra Grain 140 Diplomat with a vulcanite saddle stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The rich brown finish came alive with the polishing and waxing. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Mr. Mac Diplomat is a beauty and fits nicely in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

A Piece of  Pipe Smoking History – a Comoy’s Virgin Briar 28 Billiard Stamped Sutliff San Francisco


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to me from one of our estate purchases. It is a beautifully grained Comoy’s Billiard that really is a pipe of Pipe Smoking History. The stamping is the significant marker that points this out for me. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads COMOY’S arched [over] Virgin Briar. On the right side it has the shape number 28 next to the bowl/shank junction and that is followed by Sutliff [over] San Francisco. On the underside next to the stem/shank junction it is stamped with the football shaped Comoy’s COM stamp that reads Made in England. The finish had a lot of grime ground into the smooth finish on the bowl and some darkening around the sides of the bowl. The bowl was heavily caked and had an overflow of thick lava on the top of the rim. It was hard to know what the rim top and inner edge of the bowl looked like under the grime. The stem was calcified, oxidized and had tooth chatter and large deep tooth marks on the top and underside but the surface of the button was surprisingly free of damage. There was a three part inlaid C on the left of the taper stem. The pipe had promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the overflow of lava on the rim top. It is hard to know if there is damage to the inner edge of the bowl because of the lava coat. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the oxidation, calcification, chatter and deep tooth marks. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar around the pipe looked like. There is some stunning grain under the grime. You can also see some of the damage around the outer rim edge.   He took photos of the stamping on both sides and underside of the shank. They read as noted above. He also included a photo of the stamping on the left side of the taper stem.   I looked on Pipephil’s site for information on the Comoy’s Virgin Briar and found the following information I have included a screen capture below (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-comoy.html). It is interesting that the Virgin Briar originally came out in 1933 and by 1965 was no longer listed in the Comoy’s catalogues. The example on Pipephil was crafted fro the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair in 1933. I also went to the the Comoy’s article on Pipedia and found nothing in the great historical article that was pertinent. I did find a shape chart that listed the 25 as a medium billiard. I have included a screen capture of the page that included that shape number. I have outlined it in red in the photo included below(https://pipedia.org/images/d/d7/Shape_Chart_1975_1.jpg). I turned to the article on Pipedia about dating Comoy’s pipes but the style of the stamping (https://pipedia.org/index.php?title=Comoy%27s_Dating_Guide#1917_to_the_end_of_the_1930.27s_.28at_least_1938.29). I have include the section in the screen capture below that date this pipe to the 1930s.

1917 to the end of the 1930’s (at least 1938)

The slightly fancy “COMOY’S” can be found stamped in a curve, in upper case script with serifs, apostrophe before the “S,” and the “C” larger than the other letters. The arched “COMOY’S” with serifs and apostrophe may have been continued for a short time after the WW I. Pipes can also be found with the name stamped across the top of the stem as apposed to along the side.

During the 1940s

Not many pipes were made. It seems that the “COMOY’S” was stamped as described above, with the grade of the pipe (quality) stamped in block letters below. Just after WW II, in 1945 or slightly later, the “COMOY’S” stamp was changed from the fancier curve to a straight line, sans serif, block lettered “COMOYS”, with no apostrophe, see No 3 below in “From the 1950s”.

That article gave me some helpful information. I knew that the pipe line originally came out in 1933 at the time of the Chicago World’s Fair. From the information I also knew that the stamping on the pipe I am working on also came from the 1930s – 1945 when the arched Comoy’s stamp was changed. The 28 shape number was tied to a Medium Billiard with a taper stem. I still needed to check for information on the Sutliff San Francisco stamp on the right side of the shank.

I found an article online about the Sutliff Tobacco Company in San Francisco that gave a bit of the history of the company (https://tobaccobusiness.com/sutliff-tobacco-company-editorial/). I have included a pertinent section of the article below.

When H.W. Sutliff established Sutliff Tobacco Company in San Francisco in 1849, California had yet to become a state. Sutliff established his company as a tobacco retailer, and, like so many tobacco retailers of his day, he created his own pipe tobacco blends for his clientele. As the city grew, so did Sutliff Tobacco Company, and, by the time of San Francisco’s great earthquake of 1906, the company had a well-established reputation for providing good-quality pipe tobaccos and other tobacciana. Remaining within the Sutliff family, Sutliff Tobacco Company’s pipe tobaccos also grew in popularity within the region, and by the 1930s, the company enjoyed national sales for its Mixture 79, a non-aromatic cube-cut burley-based blend, which it introduced in 1933.

It is interesting to note that by the 1930s the company had international sales for its Mixture 79 tobacco which was introduced in 1933. This links in nicely with the time period of the pipe. I wonder if the 1933 World’s Fair in Chicago pushed them to have Comoy’s make a pipe for them with their name on it to go along with the tobaccos they shipped around the US.

Since Jeff follows the same pattern of work in his cleanup we do not include photos but rather just a simple summary. Jeff reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He was able to remove the lava build up on the rim top and you could see the damages to the top and edges of the rim. I think this pipe may well been before we worked with Mark Hoover’s Before & After Deoxidizer so he cleaned the internals and externals. The stem was clean but lightly oxidized. I took photos of what the pipe looked like when I brought to my worktable. The rim top cleaned up really well with the lava coat removed. The inner edge of the rim showed some damage and burning on the front and back edges. There was also some damage on the rim top at the front. The stem surface looked very good with some light oxidation remaining and some deep tooth marks on both sides ahead of the button.   I took photos of the stamping on the shank sides and underside. It reads as noted above.    I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. It is a well shaped billiard. Once the stem was off I noted that the airway in the tenon was quite large. Given the information that some of the Virgin Briar had a Comoy’s Grand Slam metallic stinger I checked for threading and sure enough the tenon was threaded. I tried several Grand Slam stingers that I have here and all were too long and too big to fit in the shank. But at least I knew that it had one in the past.Now it was time to do my work on the pipe. I started by dealing with the rim top and edge damage. I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the rim top damage. I reworked the rim edges smoothing out the damaged areas. The rim top looks much better. I polished the bowl and the rim top, sides and shank with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with a damp cloth. I carefully avoided the stamping on the top and underside of the shank so as not to damage the already faint stamping. Between the 2400 and the 3200 grit pad I stained the top of the rim with a Maple Stain Pent to match the colour of the bowl. I polished it with the rest of the pads and the blend was good.   I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the stem surface to raise the tooth marks and the small ones lifted some. You can see what they looked like in the photos below. I filled in the dents and built up the edge of the button on both sides with black Loctite 380 CA. I set the stem aside to let the repairs cure.     Once the repairs cured I recut the button edge and flattened out the repaired areas with a needle file to begin to blend them into the surface. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to further blend them in and followed that by starting the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.     I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.     This gorgeous Comoy’s Virgin Briar 28 Billiard with the Sutliff San Francisco stamp and a vulcanite taper stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The rich browns and blacks of the contrasting stains came alive with the polishing and waxing. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Comoy’s Medium Billiard is a beauty and fits nicely in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

 

 

Life for a large well-made Apple stamped Made in Denmark 59


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to me from one of our estate purchases. Between us we pick up quite a few pipes for restoration. I work them into the restoration queue so that I can keep them moving. This next one is a nicely grained tall apple shaped pipe with a vulcanite saddle stem. It has been here since the winter of 2017. The pipe is a bit of a mystery in terms of the maker as it only stamped on the left side and reads MADE IN DENMARK. On the underside it is stamped with the shape number 59. The finish had a lot of grime ground into the smooth finish on the bowl and some darkening around the sides of the bowl. There appeared to be a burn mark on the front left of the bowl. The bowl was caked a light overflowing lava coat on the top of the rim. There were some scratches in the rim top but the edges appeared to be in good condition. The stem was dirty, oxidized and had light tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the button. There were not any markings or a logo on the stem. The pipe had promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work.He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the overflow of lava on the rim top. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the oxidation, calcification, chatter and tooth marks. Otherwise the stem is quite clean. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar around the pipe looked like. There is some stunning grain under the grime.     He took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank and band. They read as noted above and are clear and readable.      I looked on Pipedia and on Pipephil’s site for information on the brand and found nothing listed. I also checked out Who Made that Pipe found nothing that was stamped just Made In Denmark. I tried matching the shape numbers to Danish pipemakers and again came up empty handed. Perhaps one of you might know the maker of this pipe. Otherwise the maker shall remain a mystery to me. It is now time to get working on the pipe.

Since Jeff follows the same pattern of work in his cleanup we do not include photos but rather just a simple summary. Jeff reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He was able to remove the light lava build up on the rim top and you could see the damages to the top and edges of the rim. You can also see the burn mark on the left front of the bowl. I think this pipe may well been before we worked with Mark Hoover’s Before & After Deoxidizer so he cleaned the internals and externals. The stem was clean but oxidized. I took photos of what the pipe looked like when I brought to my worktable. The rim top cleaned up really well with the light lava coat removed. The inner edge of the rim showed some damage and burning. The stem surface looked very good with some light oxidation remaining and a few light tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. I took photos of the stamping on the left and underside of the shank – they show that the stamping is clear and readable as noted above.   The burn mark on the left front and another possible one on the right side of the bowl were problematic with the light finish.  The bowl was sound so they were not burn outs. Rather it looked like someone had set the bowl in an ashtray against a hot ash.I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. It is a well shaped tall apple shaped pipe.Now it was time to do my work on the pipe. I sanded the bowl exterior with 220 grit sandpaper and reworked the rim edge. I gave the rim a bit of a bevel to smooth out the damaged areas. I started the polishing on the bowl with 340 grit sandpaper to polishing out some of the scratches. The rest would be removed later between micromesh pads and buffing on the wheel.I stained the bowl with a dark brown aniline stain. I applied it and flamed it to set it into the grain. I repeated the process until I was happy with the coverage on the bowl rim and sides. I set the bowl aside to let the stain dry.After several hours of sitting I removed it from the stand and took some photos of the bowl and rim. I was looking forward to removing the top coat and seeing what was underneath. Once the stain cured I buffed it with Red Tripoli to polish off the thick crust on the stain. Afterwards I polished the bowl and the rim top, sides and shank with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with a damp cloth. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.   I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the remaining oxidation and the light tooth chatter with 220 grit sandpaper and started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.   I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.   This Made in Denmark 59 Apple with a vulcanite saddle stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The coat of dark brown stain gives life to the pipe and the burn mark is lessened from the sanding and stain. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Danish Apple fits nicely in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Cleaning up a Svendborg Danish Handmade Bark Inka Bent Apple 21


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table is another one that is a bit of a mystery to me. It is obviously one that I picked up on one of my hunts or in a trade as it has not been cleaned at all. The mystery is that I have no recollection of finding the pipe so I have no way to connect it to a time period. I do know that it has been here for quite a while and I am just now getting to it. I try to eventually work the pipes we find into the restoration queue so that I can keep them moving. This one is a full bent apple shaped pipe. It has some nice mixed grain around the bowl and shank with a vulcanite shank extension. It was stamped on the underside of the shank and reads Svendborg [over] Danish Handmade. On the left side of the shank it is stamped Bark [over] Inka and on the right side is the shape number 21. The finish was dirty with dust and grime ground into finish. There was a cake in the bowl and some lava overflow on the rim top. The inner edge of the rim did not look too bad as far as I could tell. The vulcanite shank extension and stem were both oxidized. The stem was a mess of oxidation, calcification and grime with tooth marks and chatter ahead of the button on both sides. There was very faint Svenborg ∞ (infinity sign) logo on the left side of the fancy saddle stem.

Before I started working on it I did a bit of research on the brand to remind myself of what I knew of the maker. I turned to Pipephil’s site first (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-s14.html). I did a screen capture of the information on the site. I did a screen capture of the pertinent information and have included it below. I copied and pasted the side bar information below:

Brand founded in 1970s by Henrik Jørgensen, Poul Ilsted and Tao Nielsen. They bought an old factory (Nordisc Pibefabriker) in Svendborg on Funen Island. Poul and Tao gradually bow out from machine manufactured pipes (1982) and Henrik Jørgensen manages the brand until its takeover by Design Berlin (D) in the late 90ies. Kaj C. Rasmussen jointed the firm for several years. 17 employees worked for this brand under Henrik Jørgensen direction.

I then turned to Pipedia and found that an article on the brand that was helpful and interesting to read (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Svendborg). I have included the first part of the article below.

Jens Tao Nielsen and Poul Ilsted Bech met each other when working together for Erik Nørding and soon became close friends. Both felt a bit tired to make nothing but bizarre fancy shapes and agreed they wanted to produce pipes of more style and more classicism. They decided to establish their own brand “Tao & Ilsted” – But how to do it?

A good fortune brought them in contact with Henrik Jørgensen, a passionate pipe lover and a wealthy Copenhagen banker who was willing to retire from bank business and change his career to become a pipemaker. The trio joined in 1969 and decided to start a new pipe brand together. Nielsen and Ilsted started to search for a suitable workshop while Jørgensen took care of the finances. In early 1970 the partners found an old, closed down pipe factory in Svendborg on Funen, and bought it shortly after for a mere 16.500 Danish Kroner. It was the earlier Nordic Pipe Factory – Nordisc Pibefabriker – maybe the oldest Danish pipe factory. And now it became the home of Svendborg Piber.

The article also included this set of pages from a catalogue that were interesting as they included the Bark line. The philosophy that drove the brand is also there to read.Now it was time to clean up this pipe and get it restored. I cleaned the pipe with the methodology that Jeff and I have developed. The pipe was a mess when I took it out of my box here so I was curious to see how well it would cleanup. I took some photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. You can see that it is filthy but has some great grain in the blast and on the smooth portions. It has a really nice sandblast that is deep and rugged. I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem surface. I wanted to show the condition of the cake in the bowl and look of the rim top and lava overflow. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the tooth marks and the calcification, oxidation and generally condition of the stem surface.    I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank and it is faint but readable under the grime. It is stamped as noted above. It is also stamped on both sides of the shank.I removed the stem for the shank and took a photo of the bowl and stem to give a picture of what it looked like. It is a great looking pipe under the grime.I decided to start my restoration by getting rid of the cake in the bowl and cleaning up the rim top. I reamed it with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I sanded the inside of the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel. Once I finished the bowl was smooth and clean. I was glad to see that there was no internal damage.  I scraped the inside of the tenon with a pen knife to remove the buildup of tars. I followed that by scrubbing out the internals of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean.  I was not able to push a pipe cleaner through the shank to the bowl. There was some obstruction in the way that impeded the airflow.      I 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 looks very good with good looking grain around the bowl and shank. Once it is polished it will come to life. I scrubbed the oxidized shank extension with Soft Scrub All Purpose scrub and cotton pads to remove the oxidization. It took a bit of elbow grease and hard scrubbing to remove the oxidation but it looked very good.      I decided to pause and try to clean out the shank and try to remove what was clogging the airway in the shank. I could not push a pipe cleaner through the shank it was blocked and when I blew air through it and it was very constricted. I probed the shank with a dental pick and was surprised when this piece of plastic wrap came out of the shank. It explained the buildup I took off the tenon when I first clean it. It appeared that something had been glue to the tenon and now I knew what it was.  Without it the airway and flow was unobstructed.With the obstruction out of the airway the tenon was far too loose in the shank. Something would need to be done to make the tenon fit snug in the shank. I decided to make a Delrin sleeve for the tenon. I thought about making Delrin insert for the vulcanite shank extension but decided to do it this way. I drilled out a replacement tenon with a variety of drill bits. I held it in a set of vise grips and opened the tenon.Once it was open I pressed it onto the existing tenon.  The fit on the tenon was perfect and the fit in the shank was much better than originally. I would clean up the new tenon adapter so that the fit in the shank would be snug but smooth.  The tenon was wide open and excellent airflow. I put the newly sleeved tenon in the shank and took a photo of the pipe at this point.   The stem needed to be bent to fit the profile of the bowl and to hang well in the mouth. I put a pipe cleaner in the stem and heated it with a heat gun until the vulcanite had softened. Once it had softened I bent it to the correct angle. I put the stem on the pipe and took a photo of the new bend. I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth and shoe brush to raise the shine.    I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub polish to remove the oxidation. While it did not take it all out it removed much of the oxidation. I filled in the small tooth dents next to the button with Black Super Glue and set the stem aside to let the glue cure. Once it cured I smoothed it out with a needle file and sharpened the edges of the button.   I sanded the stem surface with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the remaining oxidation and to blend the repairs into the surface of the stem. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I polished the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.  I left a little oxidation around the stamp so as not to damage it more. This restored Svendborg Handmade Bark Inka 21 Bent Apple is a nice looking pipe. The contrasting brown stains on the pipe worked really well with the polished vulcanite shank extension and fancy turned vulcanite stem. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel keeping a light touch on the buffing wheel for the bowl. I followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Svendborg Bent Apple fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. If you are interested in carrying on the previous pipe man’s legacy with this pipe send me a message or an email. I have more to work on of various brands. Perhaps one of those will catch your attention. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.

Cleaning up a Real Briar Root Opera Pipe with a long stem


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from one of Pipe Hunts. Between us we pick up quite a few pipes for restoration. I try to work them into the restoration queue so that I can keep them moving. The next one is an interesting long stemmed Opera pipe. The oval bowl on the pipe is typical of the Opera pipe but the long stem is atypical. These pipes were made to fit nicely in the pocket of the Opera goer but the stem on this one makes that unlikely. It seems more like a “Bing Crosby” style Opera pipe. There is a mix of grains around the bowl and a fill on the lower left side of the bowl. It was stamped on the left side of the shank. It is stamped Real [over] Briar [over] Root. The right side was unstamped. The finish was dirty with dust and grime ground into the bowl sides. There was a thick cake in the bowl and lava overflow on the rim top. The inner edge of the rim had some darkening and damage. The vulcanite stem was oxidized and had tooth marks and chatter ahead of the button on both sides. The tenon had been broken and filled to fit the shank.  I did some searching on Pipedia and Pipephil’s site to hunt down the Real Briar Root brand but there was nothing on that brand on either site.

Jeff cleaned the pipes with his usual penchant for thoroughness that I really appreciate. This one was filthy so I was surprised to see how well it turned out. 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 looks very good with good looking grain around the bowl and shank. Jeff scrubbed it with Soft Scrub and soaked it in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked a lot better. I took photos before I started my part of the work. I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem surface. I wanted to show what cleaned bowl and rim top looked like. The rim top shows some damage on the inner edge of the bowl and on the left outer edge and rim top. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the tooth marks and the remaining oxidation on the stem surface.    I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank and it is clear and readable. It is stamped as noted above. I removed the stem for the shank and took a photo of the bowl and stem to give a picture of what it looked like.When I examined it with a lens I could see that there was a crack in the shank on the right side. I cleaned up the area around the crack and put a drop of glue in the crack and clamped it together until it dried. I put a line of all-purpose glue on the shank end and pressed a brass end cap/band on the shank end. I sanded the inner edge of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the rough edges. I sanded the briar with 220 git sandpaper to smooth out the filled area and then polish it with a piece of 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I topped the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damaged on the rim top and outer edges of the bowl.I sanded the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads to prepare it for staining. I wiped the briar down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad.  I stained the pipe with a dark brown aniline stain. I applied the stain with a dauber and flamed it with the flame of a Bic lighter. I applied it and repeated the process until I had a good coverage on the briar. I continued polishing the stained briar with 3200-12000 micromesh pads. By the time I had worked through the sanding pads the bowl began to take on a shine and the pipe looked much better. The fill on the left side of the bowl was still visible but blended in better than before. I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it 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 and shoe brush to raise the shine. With the bowl finished I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. The tenon was broken off and damaged but the stem was long enough to allow me to turn the tenon on the stem. I used a PIMO tenon turning tool to add another quarter inch to the depth of the tenon.  The second photo shows the first turn on of the stem. I turned it further until I had a full ½ inch deep tenon.I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper and started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. It did not take too much to remove the tooth marks and chatter.I polished the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.  I left a little oxidation around the stamp so as not to damage it more.    This long stemmed Real Briar Root Opera is a beauty. The restored and reworked Opera turned out to be a great looking pipe. The dark brown stain on the pipe worked really well with the polished vulcanite taper stem. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Opera is thin and fits well in the hand. The feel of the pipe in hand is good and I think as it heats up it will be even better. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 ¼ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 inch wide x 1 ¼ inches long, Chamber diameter: ½ inch wide x 1 inch long. If you are interested in carrying on the previous pipe man’s legacy with this pipe send me a message or an email. I have more to work on of various brands. Perhaps one of those will catch your attention. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.

Cleaning up a Westminster Made in London England Chunky Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from one of our finds from a Southern Idaho Pipe Hunt. Between us we pick up quite a few pipes for restoration. I try to work them into the restoration queue so that I can keep them moving. The next one is interesting chunky billiard with a mix of grains around the bowl and some issues on the left side of the rim and top. It was stamped on both sides of the shank. On the left side it is stamped “Westminster”. On the right side it Made in London England. The finish was dirty with dust and grime ground into the bowl sides. There were large fills on the front heel of the bowl and a large burned area and fill on the left top edge. There was a thick cake in the bowl and lava overflow on the rim top. The beveled inner edge of the rim had some darkening and there were issues with nicks on the rim top and outer edges as well. The vulcanite stem was oxidized and had tooth marks and chatter ahead of the button on both sides.

There was something very British about the shape and look of the bowl but I was not familiar with the Westminster brand mark so before I started working on it I did a bit of research on the brand. I turned to pipephil’s site to have a look at the brand and see if I could get a feel for the brand (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-w2.html). I did a screen capture of the information on the site. I found that the brand either came from Comoys or from John Redman Ltd. There were two variations of the brand in the pictures – one with the Tower Bridge logo on the stem and another with a crown logo. I did a screen capture of the pipe with the Tower Bridge logo and included the photo of the stamping on the stem side and the shank.We picked this pipe up in 2017 and it has been sitting here since Jeff mailed it after cleaning it. He cleaned the Billiard with his usual penchant for thoroughness that I really appreciate. Once he finished he shipped them back to me. It was a mess when we found it so I was surprised to see how well it turned out. 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 looks very good with good looking grain around the bowl and shank. Jeff scrubbed it with Soft Scrub and soaked it in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked a lot better. I took photos before I started my part of the work. I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem surface. I wanted to show what cleaned bowl and rim top looked like. The rim top shows some damage on the beveled inner edge of the bowl and on the left outer edge and rim top. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the tooth marks and the remaining oxidation on the stem surface.     I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank and it is clear and readable. It is stamped as noted above. The Tower Bridge logo is visible on the left side of the shank.I removed the stem for the shank and took a photo of the bowl and stem to give a picture of what it looked like. The burn mark on the left topside of the bowl and chip is very visible.I took some photos of the fills on the front and sides of the bowl and the damaged areas on the outer edge of the rim. There is also damage on the beveled inner edge of the rim.  Now, on to the restoration of this chunky Billiard. I decided to clean up the damaged rim top and edges of the bowl. I cleaned up the inside of the bowl edges with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. Once I was finished the edge looked a lot better. I gave the bowl a light topping to clean up the damage on the outer edge and the rim top. I then sanded the burned area on the left side of the bowl and built up the damage with super glue and briar dust. I sanded the repaired areas with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper then touched up the fills with clear super glue. I re-topped the bowl to smooth out the repaired rim top.I sanded the bowl with a medium and a fine grit sanding sponge and polished out the some of the scratches with 1500-2400 grit sanding sponges to prepare it for staining. I stained it with a dark brown aniline stain and flamed it with a lighter to set the stain. I repeated the process of staining and flaming the stain to set it.I sanded the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads to remove the excess stain. I wiped the briar down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad.  By the time I had worked through the sanding pads the bowl began to take on a shine and the pipe looked much better. The repairs were still visible but blended in better than before. I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it 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 and shoe brush to raise the shine.   I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper and started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. It did not take too much to remove the tooth marks and chatter.      I polished the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.  I left a little oxidation around the stamp so as not to damage it more.    I touched up the Tower Bridge logo with Antique Gold Rub’n Buff. I worked it into the stamp with a tooth pick and rubbed and buffed it off with a cotton pad.This thick shank Billiard made by either Comoy’s or John Redman is a beauty. The restored and reworked Westminster Chunky Billiard turned out to be a great looking pipe. The dark brown stain on the pipe worked really well with the polished vulcanite taper stem. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Chunky Billaird fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¼ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. If you are interested in carrying on the previous pipe man’s legacy with this pipe send me a message or an email. I have more to work on of various brands. Perhaps one of those will catch your attention. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.

Refurbishing A Second Pipe From A Lot Of Six Pipes: A Barling Garnet Grain # 5059.


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

I had picked up a job lot of six pipes from a Curio Store on eBay. This lot contained brands like Barling’s, Parker and Orlik and other English make pipes. These are some of my favorite brands and I couldn’t pass them over even though they were in a hopelessly beat up condition. Here are pictures of the pipe lot that the seller had posted. This lot contained a variety of nicely shaped and grained pipes which I had been looking forward to work on. The first pipe from this pipe lot that I had worked on was a classic Billiards indicated in red arrow. The second pipe that I have selected to work on is shown with an indigo arrow.The second pipe that I decided to work on from this lot is an hour glass shaped pipe with beautiful tightly packed bird’s eye grain to the sides of the stummel and cross grains to the front, back and over the shank surfaces. This pipe is stamped on the left shank surface as “Barling” in running hand over “LONDON ENGLAND” in block capital letters over the grade “GARNET GRAIN”. The right side of the shank is stamped with the shape code “5059”. The stampings are all crisp and deep. The trademark Barling styled vulcanite saddle stem bears the trademark Barling stamped in cross. The size, shape and feel of the pipe are solid in hand. Barling’s pipe brand has been well researched and chronicled on pipedia.org and by Steve when he worked on many of Barling’s pipes over decades and thus, shall not waste time in repeating the information that is available. I too have carefully read and researched this brand as I do have many pipes that I have inherited. However, to refresh my memory, I read the entire article once again and tentatively date this pipe as being an Early Corporate Era pipe, that is made between 1962/3 to prior to 1970. I have based my conclusions based on the following facts that I have read on pipedia.org (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Barling)

(a) Barling logo on the shank is stamped in script without an apostrophe and without ‘S’, as against BARLING’S MAKE that was in use during the Family Era.

(b) The revamped Early Corporate Era grade includes the GARNET GRAIN that replaced the Ye Olde Wood finish (having dark or Plum stain) from the Family Era.

(3) The presence of London England in block lettering underneath the Barling stamp in script.

(4) The absence of the T.V.F stamping since the Ye Olde Wood and TVF both were discontinued at the beginning of the Corporate Era. These were reintroduced in the mid 1960s.

I have dated this pipe tentatively as being from the Early Corporate Era when the facts are conclusive enough, is because of the stummel shape. In my reading and knowledge, early Barlings pipes have always been in classic shapes and this one is anything but a classic shape. Any insight in to this aspect is most appreciated.

Initial Visual Inspection
This pipe has a decent medium bowl size with chamber depth of about 1 7/8 inches. The stummel boasts of some beautiful cross grains to the front and back of the bowl and all around the shank and tight Bird’s Eye to the left side of the stummel. The stummel is covered in dirt and grime of the overflowed lava and dirt accumulated over the years of heavy smoking and uncared attention to cleaning. The stummel has a nice deep and dark color to it, reminiscent of the Ye Olde Wood finish. There is a thick layer of cake in the chamber and some damage is likely to the back of the rim top surface. The stem is heavily oxidized with a few deep bite marks to the button edge in the bite zone. The pipe’s appearance, as it sits on my work table, does not present an encouraging picture. Detailed Inspection Of The Pipe And Observations
The bowl has a wide rim that slightly tapers down towards the heel and has a chamber depth of about 1 7/8 inches. The draught hole is in the center and at the bottom of the chamber. The chamber has an even layer of thick hard cake with remnants of un-burnt tobacco seen at the heel of the chamber. The rim top surface is covered with thick lava overflow and has max accumulation in the 6 ‘O’ clock direction. Through this layer of lava, a few dings can be seen over the rim top surface. The inner rim edge in the 6 ‘O’ clock direction appears dark and worn out. The outer rim edge is sans any damage. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber can be commented upon after the cake has been taken down to the bare briar. There is a strong ghost smell in the chamber which is all pervading. The chamber is out of round in the 10 ‘O’ clock direction (encircled in red) due to the charred inner rim edge. There are a number of dents and chipped areas over the outer rim edge (indicated with green arrows). There are a number of dents/ dings and scratches that are visible over the rim top surface. The stummel appears solid to the touch all around and hence I do not foresee any serious damage to the walls in the form of burnout/ deep heat fissures/ lines or pits. The dark inner rim edge, in the 10 ‘O’ clock direction, may be charred further than anticipated and the same will be confirmed after the surface has been thoroughly cleaned. I need to resort to topping the rim top in order to address the damage to the surface. The ghost smells should reduce once the cake from the chamber is removed and the shank has been cleaned.   The smooth stummel has an hour glass shape (or should I call it a fancy Dublin?) that is broad at the rim, narrow in the mid region and is slightly flared at the bottom/ foot. The surface is covered in dust, lava overflow and grime through which one can make out the beautiful cross grains to the front and back of the bowl and shank. The stummel surface has two small fills, one to the right side of the stummel and the other at the front of the bowl. These fills are difficult to spot against the dark finish of the stummel and can be seen only in a bright white light. The briar is looking lifeless and bone dry. For a pipe that has been so heavily smoked, there are surprisingly no dents and ding over the stummel surface. Once the stummel has been thoroughly cleaned, these fills will be more apparent. I intend to refresh only that fill which has loosened out with a fresh fill of briar dust and superglue. Thorough cleaning and rising of the stummel under warm water will highlight the grain patterns. Micromesh polishing will help in blending these fills while imparting a nice shine to the briar. The mortise shows accumulation of oils, tars and gunk and the air flow is not full and smooth. The shank end face is not a perfect round but slightly flattened at the top. The seating of the stem is not flush with the shank face if not aligned perfectly and precisely. The out of round shank end face is another pointer that this pipe is not from the Family Era!! The ghost smells should further reduce after the mortise and shank walls are thoroughly cleaned. The high quality vulcanite tapered stem is typical Barling with a narrow saddle at the end of a proportionately broad stem. The stem is so heavily oxidized that it appears brownish green in color! Deep calcification is seen in the bite zone probably from prolonged use of rubber bit. Some heavy tooth chatter and deep bite marks in the bite zone are seen on both the upper and lower surfaces of the stem. The button edges on either surface have been completely flattened with the lip edges seen as mere straight thin edges with no shape and sharpness at all. The tenon air opening is completely blocked with accumulated ash and oils/ tars that have dried out on the inside as well as on the outside. The horizontal slot end is completely deformed and the slot itself is chock-a-block with gunk. The other fact that is noticed, if observed closely, is that the trademark stem logo of BARLING CROSS is upside down!! The bite marks will be raised to the surface by heating to the extent possible and further will be filled using charcoal and CA superglue mix. The button end, including the button itself on either surface will have to be completely rebuilt and reshaped. The tooth chatter and the calcified deposits will be removed by sanding with a piece of 220 grit sand paper. I am convinced that all the pipes in this lot is from one estate as the damage to the rim, damage to the stem and general condition of each is exactly the same.

The Process
Abha, my wife, first cleaned the internals of the stem with stem brush, bristled/ regular pipe cleaners and 99.9% pure isopropyl alcohol. She scraped out the dried oils and tars from the tenon end with my fabricated knife and also removed the dried oils and tars from the slot end. She followed it up by sanding the entire stem with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper to remove the surface oxidation. The amount of gunk that has been scraped out of the stem surface just to get to the black vulcanite shows that the oxidation was very deep and heavy over the stem surface. It has been our experience that sanding a stem before dunking it in to the deoxidizer solution helps in bringing the deep seated oxidation to the surface which in turn makes further cleaning a breeze with fantastic results.   She, thereafter, dropped the stem into “Before and After Deoxidizer” solution developed by my friend Mark Hoover. The solution helps to draw out heavy oxidation to the surface, making its further removal a breeze, while the minor oxidation is eliminated to a very great extent. The initial sanding helps to draw out the complete oxidation as the sanding opens up the stem surface that has been initially covered with oxidation. We usually dunk stems of 4-5 pipes that are in-line for restoration and this pipe is marked in green arrow. We generally allow the stems to soak in this solution overnight to do its work.While the stem was soaking in the deoxidizer solution, I worked on the stummel by first reaming the chamber with size 1 followed by size 2 Castleford reamer head. I further scraped the chamber walls with my fabricated knife to remove the remaining carbon deposits where the reamer head could not reach. I scraped out the lava overflow from the rim top surface, especially from the area in the 6 o’clock direction. Once the cake was reamed back to the bare briar, I used a 150 grit sand paper followed by 220 grit sand paper to remove all the traces of remaining cake and also to smooth out the inner walls of the chamber surface. Finally, to remove the residual carbon dust, I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with 99.9% pure isopropyl alcohol. The inner rim edge was charred in 10 o’clock and 3 o’clock direction which have been encircled in red. I scraped off the charred briar from these areas and now the chamber is out of round. The chamber walls are pristine without any damage. I shall give the inner rim edge a slight bevel to get the bowl back to a perfect round and mask the damage. The ghost smells are still very strong and may reduce after the shank/ mortise are thoroughly cleaned. The rim top surface is still considerably darkened and would need to be thoroughly cleaned to know the exact damage to the surface.    I followed up the reaming with cleaning the mortise using cue tips, pipe cleaners and shank brush dipped in isopropyl alcohol. I scraped the walls of the mortise with my fabricated knife to remove the dried oils and tars. The ghost smells are still very strong and would require a salt and alcohol treatment.   With the bowl internals clean, I move to clean the exterior of the stummel. I used a hard bristled tooth brush and Briar Cleaner, a product that has been developed by Mark Hoover, to scrub the stummel and rim top. I set the stummel aside for 10 minutes for the product to draw out all the grime from the briar surface. After 10 minutes, I washed the stummel under running warm water with anti oil dish washing detergent till the stummel surface was clean and dried it using paper towels and soft cotton cloth. I simultaneously cleaned the shank internals with the detergent and hard bristled shank brush and set the stummel aside to dry out naturally. I had anticipated that this thorough cleaning of the shank would help eliminate the strong ghost smells, but that was not to be. The stummel surface has cleaned up nicely and the beautiful grain patterns are now on full display. The fills, even the smallest ones, are now clearly discernible. I probed each of the two fills on the stummel surface with a sharp dental tool to check for solidity and thankfully, each fill was nice and solid without any give. I decided not to refresh these fills as my horrific experience while using the thin superglue that was available to me for the purpose, on my last project Bewlay “GENERAL”, still being fresh in my mind. The charring over the rim top surface in 3 o’ clock (encircled in red) is significantly deeper than anticipated. I shall have to resort to topping to address this damage and also the issue of chipped outer rim edge. The chamber and shank needs to be subjected to a salt and alcohol treatment to remove the deeply embedded ghost smells from the stummel.   I continued the cleaning of the chamber and shank internals with a salt and alcohol bath. I use cotton balls which is an at par substitute as I have realized over the years. I draw out a wick from the cotton and along with a folded regular pipe cleaner; insert it in to the mortise and through the draught hole in to the chamber. Thereafter, I packed the chamber with cotton balls to about quarter of an inch below the inner rim edge and soaked the cotton balls with isopropyl alcohol up to the brim. About half an hour later, the level of alcohol had gone down, having being absorbed by the cotton. I topped it up once again and set it aside overnight. By next afternoon, the cotton and alcohol had drawn out all the remaining oils and tars from the chamber and mortise, fulfilling its intended task. I removed the cotton balls and ran pipe cleaners through the mortise to clean out all the loosened tars and gunk and further cleaned it with alcohol and q-tips. The chamber now smells clean and fresh. I set the stummel aside to dry out naturally.While the stummel was drying, the next morning, Abha removed the stem that had been soaking in the deoxidizer solution overnight. She cleaned the stem under running warm water and scrubbed the raised oxidation from the stem surface using a Scotch Brite pad and cleaned the airway with a thin shank brush. She further removed the oxidation by scrubbing the stem with 0000 grade steel wool and applied a little EVO to rehydrate the stem. This now gives a clearer picture of the extent of depth of the bite marks as can be seen in the pictures below. These will definitely require a fill even after I have heated and raised the vulcanite. The buttons on either surface will have to be reconstructed and reshaped. I need to further sand the stem to completely remove the oxidation. Further stem repairs would have to be kept on hold till I got back to my work place where I have a couple of superglue tubes for the purpose.With further stem repairs being on hold, I turned back to the stummel repairs. I topped the rim top over a piece of 220 grit sand paper till I had a smooth even surface and the charred surface in the 3 o’clock direction was completely eliminated.    With a folded piece of worn out 180 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and forefinger, I carefully gave a bevel to the inner and outer rim edge and addressed the issues of out of round chamber and chipped outer rim edge. The rim top surface and the edges look very neat at this stage with the bowl in a nice round shape. I followed it by wet sanding the stummel with 1500 to 2000 wet & dry sand paper and further with 3200 to 12000 grit micromesh pads, wiping frequently with a moist cloth to check the progress. It was at this stage of restoration when I was taking pictures that I saw the numerous tiny fills at the bottom of the bowl and shank junction. I heaved a sigh of relief when I checked and found these fills to be solid and not requiring any work. I really like the looks of the stummel at this point in restoration. The grains and the clean lines of this piece of briar are worthy of appreciation. The topping has resulted in the rim top surface being lighter than the rest of the stummel surface. I shall darken the rim top surface with a dark brown stain pen once I reach back to my place of work. Next, I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” deep in to the briar with my finger tips and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful grain patterns displayed in their complete splendor. I further buffed it with a horse hair brush and gave a vigorous buff with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The dark browns of the bird’s eye and cross grains spread across the stummel makes for a visual treat. It really is a nice piece of briar. The dark YOW like stain elevates the beauty of this pipe to a new level.     Now, having rejoined my place of work after a hiatus of four months I need to work real fast to complete my backlogs of write ups and complete the repairs on pipes that were worked on during the lockdown period while at home. I have completed a few and now this pipe has inched forward on to my work table. While packing these pipes for its journey with me, I had noted all the issues that had to be addressed on each pipe. This one needed stem repairs to include filling of deeper tooth indentations, rebuilding/ reshaping of the buttons, stem and stummel polishing with a carnauba wax.

With the stummel rejuvenation almost complete, save for the final wax polish, I worked the stem. Here is how the damage to the stem looks as it sits on my work table. The damage to the buttons and the deep tooth indentations are also clearly visible. Once I have repaired these damages, the entire stem needs to be polished and the stem logo needs to be refreshed. That I have to use the CA Wood Superglue gives me shudders as I still am reeling under the frustrations of using this glue while I repaired the stem of the Bewlay “GENERAL” pipe, my last project!!I carefully inserted a triangle shape index card covered in transparent tape in to the slot so as not to break the bite zone. The tape prevents the mix of superglue and charcoal from sticking to the index card. I mixed superglue and activated charcoal powder and generously applied it over the bite zone, including over the buttons, on either surfaces of the stem and set it aside to cure. Once the fill has hardened, I shall file and sand the fills to match the surface of the stem and sharpen the button edges on either surface. This glue hardens immediately and allowed me only a few seconds of application whereas the all purpose CA superglue allowed me enough time to get an even spread over the damaged surface.The fill had hardened and with a flat head needle file, I worked on the filling till I had achieved a rough match with the surrounding surface and had sufficiently sharpened the button edges. As with the stem repair of my previous project, Bewlay “GENERAL”, this too had many air pockets. I filled these air pockets with clear CA superglue and set the stem aside for the superglue to harden.

While the stem repairs were curing, I stained the rim top surface with a Dark Brown stain pen and set the stummel aside for the stain to set. The rim top now blends in nicely with the rest of the dark stained stummel surface. Once polished it should match perfectly with the rest of the stummel surface.Once the fill had cured sufficiently, I sand the fills with a flat head needle file and reshaped the button, roughly blending the fills with the surrounding stem surface. For a better blending, I further sand the entire stem with 220 followed by 400, 600, 800 and 1000 grit sand paper. This helps to reduce the scratch marks left behind by the more abrasive 220 grit paper.   To bring a deep shine to the vulcanite stem, I polished the stem by wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. I wiped the stem with moist cloth after each pad and rubbed it down with Extra Virgin Olive oil to rejuvenate the vulcanite. The finished stem is shown below. The sanding with 400 to 1000 grit sand papers followed by wet sanding with micromesh pads had miraculously eliminated most of the many air pockets that were observed earlier. A few air pockets do remain but they are few and not significant at all. I am pretty pleased with this appearance of the stem.  I polished the rim top surface with a cotton cloth buffing wheel mounted on my hand held rotary tool and Red compound. I wiped the rim top with cotton swab and alcohol to increase the transparency of the stain. I am quite pleased with the match of the rim top with the rest of the stummel surface.  I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and polished the stummel and stem with Blue Diamond compound. This compound helps to remove the minor scratch marks that remain from the sanding. This pipe is starting to look really beautiful with the glossy dark plum like stain through which the beautiful grains pop out over the stummel surface.  The only cosmetic, yet important aspect that remained was to refresh the stem logo. I applied a coat of white correction ink over the logo and once dried, I gently wiped it with a cloth. The logo is now clearly visible.   I mount another cotton buffing wheel that I have earmarked for carnauba wax and applied several coats of the wax. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The finished pipe looks amazingly beautiful and coupled with the size, heft and the hand feel, makes it quite a desirable pipe. If you feel that this pipe calls out your name, please let Steve know and we shall make arrangements for it to reach you. I wish to thank each one for sparing their valuable time to read through this write up and each one is my prayers. Stay home…stay safe!!

 

A Story Of The Restoration Of An Old Battered Bewlay “General” That Went Awry…


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

I had picked up a job lot of six pipes from a Curio Store on eBay. This lot contained brands like Barling’s, Parker and Orlik and other English make pipes. These are some of my favorite brands and I couldn’t pass them over even though they were in a hopelessly beat up condition. Here are pictures of the pipe lot that the seller had posted. The first pipe from this pipe lot that I decided to work on is a classic Billiards and is indicated in red arrow. This classic Billiard shaped pipe is stamped on the left shank surface as “BEWLAY” in artistic running hand over “GENERAL” in block letters and on the right shank surface as “MADE IN ENGLAND” in capital letters. The bottom of the shank bears the numeral (or is it letter) “0” towards the shank end. The stampings are mostly all worn out and can be roughly made out under bright light and under magnification. The vulcanite tapered saddle stem bears the logo of letter “B”.    This would be the first BEWLAY pipe that I have worked on and thus my curiosity was piqued. I first searched rebornpipes and came across a catalogue uploaded by Jacek A. Rochacki. However, the pipe on my work table finds no mention of it in the brochure. The article has an interesting snippet of information that is reproduced below.

Here is the link to the article – https://rebornpipes.com/2014/03/07/house-of-bewlay-pipes-tobacco-leaflets/

“Bewlay House was a chain of English pipe stores whose pipes were made by Barling, Charatan, and Loewe, so the English considered the Bewlay pipes a quality pipe in its own right. The English brand of Bewlay & Co. Ltd. (formerly Salmon & Gluckstein Ltd.), was in business from the early 20th century until the 1950’s. The brand ended up being sold and taken over by Imperial Tobacco Co. The shop chain closed in the 1980’s but there seems to be one shop still in business on Carr Lane in the city of Hull”.

Unfortunately, the catalogue has no mention of shape “0” and there are no apparent signs of other numerals being worn out. Having hit a wall here, I would like to request readers of Reborn pipes if they could fill in the void by sharing their knowledge with other readers.

Initial Visual Inspection
This pipe has a nice large bowl size equivalent to a Dunhill group size 4. The stummel is covered in dirt and grime of the overflowed lava and dirt accumulated over the years of heavy smoking and uncared attention to cleaning. The stummel boasts of some beautiful mix of swirls, cross and bird’s eye grain over the stummel surface that can be made out under the grime. There is a very thick layer of cake in the chamber and some damage is seen to the rim top surface and the rim edges. The stem is heavily oxidized with a few deep bite marks to the button edge in the bite zone. Here is how the pipe appears as it sits on my work table. Detailed Inspection Of The Pipe And Observations
The bowl has a decently wide rim and a chamber depth of about 1 7/8 inches. The draught hole is in the center and at the bottom of the chamber. The chamber has an extremely thick layer of hard cake with remnants of tobacco flakes embedded in it. The rim top surface appears to be damaged with dents/ dings and is covered in lava overflow, dirt and grime. The inner front rim edge appears to be charred (enclosed in a yellow circle) in the 11 o’clock direction. The outer rim edge has suffered a few blows on a hard surface resulting in a dented and chipped edge surfaces in 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock direction and the same in enclosed in a blue circle. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber and the inner rim edge can be commented upon after the cake has been taken down to the bare briar. The chamber has very strong and sharp ghost smell to it. The stummel appears solid to the touch all around and hence I do not foresee any serious damage to the walls in the form of burnout/ deep heat fissures/ lines or pits. The darkened inner rim edge may be charred further than anticipated and the same will be confirmed after the surface has been thoroughly cleaned. I need to resort to topping the rim top in order to address the damage to the surface. The ghost smells should reduce once the cake from the chamber is removed and the shank has been cleaned.   The smooth stummel surface is covered in lava overflow, dust and grime through which one can make out the beautiful swirls, cross and Bird’s eye grains over the bowl and shank. The stummel surface has a few scratches, dents and dings on the either sides of the stummel, probably due to likely falls during its time with the previous piper. I could make out two fills, one at the back and one to the right side of the stummel (circled in blue). The briar is looking lifeless and bone dry. Once the stummel has been thoroughly cleaned, these damages will be more apparent. Thorough cleaning and rising under warm water of the stummel surface will confirm if these fills are required to be refreshed or otherwise and should also highlight the grain patterns. I shall need to sand the stummel surface with sand papers to remove and minimize the scratches, dents and dings. Micromesh polishing will further help minimize these dents and scratches to some extent. The mortise shows heavy accumulation of oils, tars and gunk and the air flow is not full and smooth. Cleaning of the mortise/ shank will further improve the seating of the stem and also further reduce the strong odors from the pipe.The high quality vulcanite tapered stem has a nice broad flare to the button end and looks good with the stout large stummel. The stem is so heavily oxidized that it appears brownish green in color! Deep calcification is seen in the bite zone from prolonged use of rubber bit. Some heavy tooth chatter and deep bite marks in the bite zone are seen on both the upper and lower surfaces of the stem. The button edges on either surface have been completely flattened with the lip edges seen as mere straight thin edges with no shape and sharpness at all. The tenon air opening is completely blocked with accumulated ash and oils/ tars that have dried out on the inside as well as on the outside. The horizontal slot has a crack to the upper lip and the slot itself is chock-a-block with gunk. The bite marks will be raised to the surface by heating to the extent possible and further will be filled using charcoal and CA superglue mix. The button end, including the button itself on either surface will have to be completely rebuilt and reshaped. I suspect that the upper lip, or whatever remains of it, is cracked in the center.   Overall, this pipe is in a filthy condition and will be a bear to clean up. There is likelihood that this pipe may spring a few unforeseen surprises during the restoration process. It was surely one of the most beloved pipes of the previous owner as it has been heavily smoked.

The Process
Abha, my wife, first cleaned the internals of the stem with stem brush, bristled/ regular pipe cleaners and 99.9% pure isopropyl alcohol. She scraped out the dried oils and tars from the tenon end with my fabricated knife and also removed the dried oils and tars from the slot end. She followed it up by sanding the entire stem with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper to remove the surface oxidation. The amount of gunk that has been scraped out of the stem surface just to get to the black vulcanite shows that the oxidation was very deep and heavy over the stem surface. It has been our experience that sanding a stem before dunking it in to the deoxidizer solution helps in bringing the deep seated oxidation to the surface which in turn make further cleaning a breeze with fantastic result.   She, thereafter, dropped the stem in to “Before and After Deoxidizer” solution developed by my friend Mark Hoover. The solution helps to draw out heavy oxidation to the surface, making its further removal a breeze, while the minor oxidation is eliminated to a very great extent. The initial sanding helps to draw out the complete oxidation as the sanding opens up the stem surface that has been initially covered with oxidation. We usually dunk stems of 4-5 pipes that are in-line for restoration and this pipe is marked in pastel blue arrow. We generally allow the stems to soak in this solution overnight to do its work.While Abha was working on the stem, simultaneously, I worked on the stummel by first reaming the chamber with size 2 and followed by size 3 Castleford reamer head. I further scraped the chamber walls with my fabricated knife to remove the remaining carbon deposits where the reamer head could not reach. I scraped out the lava overflow from the inner rim edge and the rim top surface, especially from the area in 11 o’clock direction. Once the cake was reamed back to the bare briar, I used a 150 grit sand paper followed by 220 grit sand paper to remove all the traces of remaining cake and also to smooth out the inner walls of the chamber surface. Lastly, to remove the residual carbon dust, I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with 99.9% pure isopropyl alcohol. The chamber walls are sans any damage. The inner rim edge has a nice thick bevel which was revealed after the lava overflow was removed from the rim top and rim edge. Thankfully the inner rim was not charred under the lava overflow. There is a fill on the rim top surface in 11 o’clock direction (encircled in red) that has come to the notice after the lava overflow was scraped off. The rim top is still considerably darkened and will need deep cleaning. The outer rim and rim top damage will necessitate topping and creating a slight bevel to the outer rim edge.  I followed up the reaming with cleaning the mortise using cue tips, pipe cleaners and shank brush dipped in isopropyl alcohol. I scraped the walls of the mortise with my fabricated knife to remove the dried oils and tars. The ghost smells are still very strong and would need a salt and alcohol treatment.   I continued the cleaning of the chamber and shank internals with a salt and alcohol bath. I use cotton balls which is an at par substitute as I have realized over the years. I draw out a wick from the cotton and along with a folded regular pipe cleaner; insert it in to the mortise and through the draught hole in to the chamber. Thereafter, I packed the chamber with cotton balls to about quarter of an inch below the inner rim edge and soaked the cotton balls with isopropyl alcohol up to the brim. About half an hour later, the level of alcohol had gone down, having being absorbed by the cotton. I topped it up once again and set it aside overnight. By next afternoon, the cotton and alcohol had drawn out all the remaining oils and tars from the chamber and mortise, fulfilling its intended task. I removed the cotton balls and ran pipe cleaners through the mortise to clean out all the loosened tars and gunk and further cleaned it with alcohol and q-tips. The chamber now smells clean and fresh.   With the bowl internals clean, I move to clean the exterior of the stummel. I used a hard bristled tooth brush and Briar Cleaner, a product that has been developed by Mark Hoover, to scrub the stummel and rim top. I set the stummel aside for 10 minutes for the product to draw out all the grime from the briar surface. After 10 minutes, I washed the stummel under running warm water with anti oil dish washing detergent till the stummel surface was clean and dried it using paper towels and soft cotton cloth. I simultaneously cleaned the shank internals with the detergent and hard bristled shank brush and set the stummel aside to dry out naturally. The stummel surface has cleaned up nicely with the beautiful grain patterns on full display. However, this cleaning has also revealed the fills (encircled in blue) that have gone soft. The spot of fill in the rim top (encircled in red) is now clearly seen. This too would need to be refreshed. Darkening around the outer edge (encircled in yellow) is suggestive of charred briar and would need to be addressed. With a sharp thin edged blade, I gouged out the fill to the right side and one at back of the stummel. However, I decided not to address the fill at the rim top at this juncture since I was, anyway, going to top it and there is always a possibility that the fill is not very deep and is eliminated completely.   I top the rim on a piece of 220 grit sand paper to even out the rim surface dents/ dings and also to reduce the charred outer rim edge surface that was noticed after the stummel was thoroughly cleaned. The rim top looks perfect with a flawless inner rim edge. However the fill, though reduced in size, is very much visible as a dot. The damages to the outer rim edge (marked in red) in the 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock direction, though minimized, will need to be addressed by creating a bevel. I removed the old fill from the rim top surface with a sharp dental tool till I reached solid briar underneath the fill.   While I continued with the stummel repairs the next morning, Abha removed the stems that had been soaking in the deoxidizer solution overnight. She cleaned the stem and the stem airway under running warm water and scrubbed the raised oxidation from the stem surface using a Scotch Brite pad and the airway with a thin shank brush. She further removed the oxidation by scrubbing the stem with 0000 grade steel wool and applied a little EVO to rehydrate the stem. This now gives a clearer picture of the extent of depth of the bite marks as can be seen in the pictures below. These will definitely require a fill even after I have heated and raised the vulcanite. It is now confirmed that the lip edge on the upper surface is cracked. This crack will be repaired when I rebuild the entire button on both the upper surface of the stem. With the stem cleaning in progress in some of the finest hands, I decided to refresh the fills that I had gouged out yesterday. Using the layering method, I filled these gouges with a mix of briar dust and CA superglue till the mound of the mix was slightly above the rest of the stummel surface. This helps in a better blending of the fill with the rest of the stummel surface while sanding and reduces the scratches caused by the use of a needle file as you have a correct perspective of the sanding that is required. I set the stummel aside for the fills to cure. I realized with a cringe that I had run out of medium CA superglue that was at my home and since the entire country being in a lockdown, I could not order for some. All that was available to me was very thin CA superglue that was almost of the viscosity of water. Not wanting to waste time, I had decided to continue my repairs using what was available only to realize at the very end how wrong that decision was…. Abha, in the meanwhile, had cleaned the stem and handed it over to me to deal with the damages that I had described during my initial inspection. To raise the deep bite marks in the bite zone, I heated the damaged potion with the flame of a candle. The heat from the candle flame helps to raise these bite marks to the surface as vulcanite has the property to raise and attain its original shape when heated. Though addressed to some extent, these bite marks would need to be filled with a mix of activated charcoal and superglue. The buttons would need to be entirely rebuilt and reshaped. The stem is cracked (indicated in yellow arrows) on the stem upper surface over the lip. Further stem repairs would have to be kept on hold till I got back to my work place where I have a couple of superglue tubes for the purpose.  With further stem repairs being on hold, I turned back to the stummel repairs. Using a flat head needle file, I sand the fill till I had achieved a rough match with the surrounding stummel surface. I sand the entire stummel with a piece of 220 grit sand paper to address the dents and dings to the stummel surface and also to further match the fill with the rest of the stummel surface. Though 95% of the scratches and dings have been eliminated, there still remains few very minor dings that are remnants of the deeper ones. I accept these dings as part of this pipe’s journey till date.   I addressed the inner rim darkening to the bevel in the 11 o’clock direction by sanding the inner bevel with the same piece of 220 grit sand paper. To address the dents to the outer rim, I created a slight bevel with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and index finger. The rim top surface definitely looks a lot better at this stage in restoration.    I followed it by wet sanding the stummel with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads, wiping frequently with a moist cloth to check the progress. I really like the looks of the stummel at this point in restoration. The grains and the clean lines of this piece of briar is really appreciable.   Next, I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” deep in to the briar with my finger tips and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful grain patterns displayed in their complete splendor. I further buffed it with a horse hair brush. The contrast of the dark browns of the flame and cross grains with the natural finish of the rest of the stummel adds an interesting dimension to the appearance of the stummel which may be insufficiently described in words and be rather seen in person. It is the two fills, one to the right and one at the back of the stummel surface that is an eye sore. I shall stain the stummel with a dark brown stain to mask these fills. Now, having rejoined my place of work after a hiatus of four months I need to work real fast to complete my backlogs of write ups and complete the repairs on pipes that were worked on during the lockdown period while at home. I have completed a few and now this pipe has inched forward on to my work table. While packing these pipes for its journey with me, I had noted all the issues that had to be addressed on each pipe. This one needed stem repairs; stem polishing and stummel staining to mask the ugly fills.

I start with stem repairs since these take the longest. Here is how the damage to the stem looks as it sits on my work table. The crack is indicated by yellow arrows and would need to be repaired. The damage to the buttons and the deep tooth indentations that remain after the heating is also clearly visible. Once I have repaired these damages, the entire stem needs to be polished and the stem logo needs to be refreshed. And here I noticed that the super glue tubes that I had stashed before proceeding on leave, had completely dried out on me…. Can’t describe the agony!! So another delay of couple of days and I get delivered CA Wood Glue and not ALL PURPOSE that I always use. This too has contributed to the end results of this restoration.  Continuing with the stem repair, I inserted a triangulated index card covered in transparent tape in to the slot. The tape prevents the mix of superglue and charcoal from sticking to the index card. The moment I inserted the index card, a big chunk of the bite zone, including the button edge just broke off completely. My pain in restoring this pipe is increasing by leaps and bounds… Undaunted by this setback, I persisted with the stem repairs. I mixed superglue and activated charcoal powder and generously applied it over the bite zone, including over the buttons, on either surfaces of the stem and set it aside to cure. Once the fill has hardened, I shall file and sand the fills to match the surface of the stem and sharpen the button edges on either surface. This glue hardens immediately and allowed me only a few seconds of application whereas the all purpose CA superglue allowed me enough time to get an even spread over the damaged surface. The fill had hardened and with a flat head needle file, I worked on the filling till I had achieved a rough match with the surrounding surface and had sufficiently sharpened the button edges. It was at this stage that I noticed something that no pipe restorer is desirous of observing…air pockets in the freshly sanded fills! These air pockets are circled in yellow.   No option here but to redo the entire fill with a mix of charcoal and superglue but with the variation that this time around I mixed very little charcoal. I applied this mix and set the stem aside for the fill to cure.   I sand the stem fills a second time and again these dreaded air pockets surfaced in these same areas. To cut the whole story short, I had to repeat the fill five times with the same results. Finally I got frustrated and continued with the filing and polishing.

I sand the fills with a flat head needle file and reshaped the button, roughly blending the fills with the surrounding stem surface. For a better blending, I further sand the entire stem with 320 followed by 600, 800 and 1000 grit sand paper. This helps to reduce the scratch marks left behind by the more abrasive 220 grit paper. To bring a deep shine to the vulcanite stem, I polished the stem, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. I wiped the stem with moist cloth after each pad and rubbed it down with Extra Virgin Olive oil to rejuvenate the vulcanite. The finished stem is shown below. Though the air pockets are now not so glaringly visible (if that’s any consolation….), I very well know that they are there and that troubles me no end. Maybe at a later date when someone decides to make this pipe his/ her own, I may rework the stem to make it flawless. Till then, I shall pretend that they don’t exist.  Now that I had made peace with the stem air pockets, I turn my attention to the stummel. As I had commented earlier, the fills are an eye sore against the beautiful grains and coloration of the rest of the stummel and hence to mask it, I decided to stain the bowl using Feibing’s Dark Brown leather dye. 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. 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 using Red compound. The stain was peeled out gradually. This is where the problem of using very thin superglue for the fill came in to focus. The thin glue had spread and was not noticed until I had stained the stummel and these areas presented themselves as light spots which did not take on the stain. I had reached the end of my tethers and I decided to move ahead with the restoration.   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 grains. The grains really pop out from under the stain and the fills are hardly discernible. Save for the light spots where the thin glue had spread, I am quite pleased with the appearance of the stummel at this stage.   Next, I mount a fresh cotton cloth buffing wheel and polish the stummel with White Diamond compound. HUGE MISTAKE… the stummel had now taken on darker hues and the grains are now less prominently visible. Is it because of the White Diamond or some other reason, I do not know. The following pictures will help in comparing the stummel after wiping down with alcohol (above pictures) and after applying the White compound.   I have now reached the homestretch in this restoration project. To complete the restoration, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and polished the stummel and stem with Blue Diamond compound. This compound helps to remove the minor scratch marks that remain from the sanding. This too was a mistake, I feel since the stummel appears too dark with no grains visible at all!! However, the stummel and stem has taken on a nice shine. The only cosmetic, yet important aspect that remained was to refresh the stem logo. I applied a coat of white correction ink over the logo and once dried, I gently wiped it with a cloth. The logo is now clearly visible.  I mount another cotton buffing wheel that I have earmarked for carnauba wax and applied several coats of the wax. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The finished pipe looks amazingly….dark!! The finished pipe is as shown below. P.S. This then is one project which has not given me the satisfaction that I usually experience after I have completed a restoration. So, if that is the case, then why am I taking the pain to even do the write up and posting it for others to read about my failures?

Well, the reasons are two fold…

Firstly, I am not too concerned with successes or failures. What matters to me is the journey. This project has been a journey of experimenting and learning. This was the first time that I used White Compound after staining and alcohol wipe as I had read that this compound brings in a further transparency to the stain. Well, apparently, this did not work for me. I would definitely like to learn the views of other more experienced professional restorers on the best method of staining and the process thereafter to increase the transparency of the stain.

Secondly, if through my mistakes somebody else is able to derive benefits, then the entire effort was worthwhile. This platform that was made available to me by Steve to learn pipe restoration has helped me immensely to learn the art and this write up is my contribution for a newbie to learn what needs to be avoided.

Thank you for your patience and valuable time in reading this far. Hope all the readers and their loved ones are in the best of health and spirits. Be safe and stay safe in these troubled times.

Restoring a B. Barling & Sons Guinea Grain 4025 TVF Apple  from Bob Kerr’s Estate


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen from Bob Kerr’s Estate is a B. Barling & Sons Guinea Grain oval shank apple with a Barling Cross on the top of the stem. It is the first of Bob’s Barlings pipes. (Bob’s photo is to the left). If you have not “met” the man and would like to read a bit of the history of the pipeman, his daughter has written a great tribute that is worth a read. Because I have included it in most of the restorations of the estate to date I thought that I would leave it out this time. Check out some of the recent Dunhill restoration blogs (https://rebornpipes.com/2020/01/01/restoring-the-last-of-bob-kerrs-dunhills-a-1962-dunhill-bruyere-656-f-t-bent-billiard/).

This Apple is stamped Guinea Grain [over] B. Barling & Sons on the top side of the stem. On the underside it is stamped with the number 4025 T.V.F. [over] Made in Denmark. The tapered oval stem had a Barlings Cross on the top. The stem is oxidized, calcified and has light tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. The exterior of the bowl is grimy and dirty. There is a thick cake and lava overflow on the rim top. It is thick enough that it is hard to know if there is any damage on top and edges. Jeff took photos of the pipe to show its general condition before he did his cleanup. The exterior of the pipe was very dirty – grime and grit ground in from years of use and sitting. The rim top was covered with a coat of thick lava that overflowed the bowl. There was also some darkening on the rim top and inner edge of the bowl as well as a burn mark on the top front of the bowl. The bowl itself had a thick cake with flecks of tobacco stuck in the cake on the sides.  Jeff took photos of the sides and the heel of the bowl to give a better feel for the condition of the bowl. The next photos show the stamping on the sides of the shank and it is very readable. It reads as noted above. The stem was dirty and extremely oxidized, calcified and had tooth marks on both sides ahead of the button. It was not nearly as chewed the other pipes in Bob’s estate.Before doing cleanup work on the pipe I decided to do some research on the pipe. I looked first on the Pipephil website and found some information on the B. Barling & Sons Guinea Grain, Made in Denmark 4025 with an oval tapered stem. (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-barling.html#modernguineagrain). I did a screen capture of the section on the brand that fits the pipe I am working on.The pipe is identified as a Modern Guinea Grain and is stamped the same as the one pictured other than the shape number. It is also noted in a memo there as Post-Transition Period.

I turned to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Barling) and read the section on the rough outline on the history of the brand that links the brand with the English section of the company. I quote:

I’m retaining the terms Transition and Post Transition here because the following information underscores why they’re not useful designations. As stated earlier in this update, the Transition era began in October of 1960 and ended in February of 1963. During the first 20 months of the Transition Era, the pipes that the Barling Company produced under Finlay ownership are indistinguishable from the pipes that the Barling Company produced under Barling ownership. The Barling family continued to manage the company for Finlay. The constants are the quality of the product and family management. The product of the first 20 months of the Transition can’t be identified, so the distinction is meaningless.

I did a search on the stamping “Made in Denmark” and came across a discussion on Pipesmoker Unlimited Forum (http://pipesmokerunlimited.com/archive/index.php/t-5515.html). I quote a section from that forum below:

“By 1970, the range of products had expanded to such an extent that Imperial Tobacco decided to reassign the Barling operation to its Ogden branch. About the same time the two Barling factories at Park Street and Jeffrey Place were closed down and the production of Barling pipes was outsourced to independent pipemakers. After a year or so, operations were transferred to Ogden’s Liverpool factory. Production of Barling pipes was shifted to several Danish firms, amongst them Eric Nording.”

The pipe I am working on is definitely from the Corporate Period which includes the Post transition period. The four digit shape number, the block stamping Guinea Grain and B. Barling & Sons, the T. V.F. (The Very Finest) all point to the pipe being from this time period. The Made in Denmark stamp identifies the pipe as being made around 1970 when Barling pipes were made in Denmark by several Danish firms.

With over 125 pipes to clean from Bob’s estate I took a batch of them to the states with me when I visited and left them with Jeff so he could help me out. Jeff cleaned the pipes with his usual penchant for thoroughness that I really appreciate. Once he finished he shipped them back to me. This one was a real mess and 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 looks very good with good looking grain around the bowl and shank. Jeff scrubbed it with Soft Scrub and soaked it in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked a lot better. I took photos before I started my part of the work.  I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show what cleaned bowl and rim top looked like. The rim top shows damage and charring on the inner edge of the bowl. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the light tooth marks and the remaining oxidation on the stem surface. You can also see the hash marks on the surface of the stem.I took photos of the stamping on both sides of the shank and it is clear and readable. It is stamped as noted above.  You can see the remnants of the Barling cross on the top of the stem in the first photo below.I removed the stem for the shank and took a photo of the bowl and stem to give a picture of what it looked like. You can see scratches in the stem surface.Now, on to my part of the restoration of this Barling’s Guinea Grain pipe. I decided to start by dealing with the damage to the rim top and the inner edge of the bowl. I carefully topped the bowl on a board with 220 grit sandpaper to start removing the damage to the bowl. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the damage to the bevel of the inner edge of the rim. I polished the bowl and rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping the briar down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I stained the sanded rim top with a Maple stain pen to blend it into the surrounding briar. Once the stain cured I polished the briar to further blend it into the bowl.I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank 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 and shoe brush to raise the shine. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the surface of the stem with the flame of a lighter. The heat lifted the majority of the dents in the stem surface. It also had the added benefit of burning off some of the oxidation.I scrubbed the surface of the stem with Soft Scrub to further remove the remaining oxidation. The product works wonders in removing the oxidation on the stem. It took a bit of scrubbing but I was able to remove the majority of the oxidation around the shank end.I sanded out the remaining tooth marks and scratches on the stem surface with 220 grit sandpaper and started polishing them with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.  Even though I avoided the faint stamping of the Barling Cross there was not enough depth to the stamp to hold white paint. It is still visible but just not deep enough to restore. This Barling Guinea Grain 4025 TVF Apple, Danish made pipe from Bob Kerr’s estate turned out to be another great looking pipe. The finish on the pipe is in excellent condition and works well with the polished vulcanite taper oval stem. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Guinea Grain oval shank Apple fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¼ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This is one of Bob’s pipes that I am holding on to for a while as I really like the Danish flair it has. I have about 10 more of Bob’ pipes to go. Perhaps one of those will catch your attention. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. This is an interesting estate to bring back to life.

Restoring a KB&B Kaywoodie Drinkless English Made 95B Pot from Bob Kerr’s Estate


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen from Bob Kerr’s Estate is a KB&B Drinkless Kaywoodie English Made Pot with an unmarked stem. It is the last of Bob’s English made Kaywoodies. (Bob’s photo is to the left). If you have not “met” the man and would like to read a bit of the history of the pipeman, his daughter has written a great tribute that is worth a read. Because I have included it in most of the restorations of the estate to date I thought that I would leave it out this time. Check out some of the recent Dunhill restoration blogs (https://rebornpipes.com/2020/01/01/restoring-the-last-of-bob-kerrs-dunhills-a-1962-dunhill-bruyere-656-f-t-bent-billiard/).

This Pot is stamped DRY in a KBB style cloverleaf followed by Drinkless [over] Kaywoodie [over] Made in England on the left side of the shank. On the right side it is stamped with the number 95B. The DRY stamp in the cloverleaf was new to me. The tapered stem is missing the typical white inlaid Kaywoodie Cloverleaf logo. The tenon is threaded and has been modified with the removal of the stinger. The stem is oxidized, calcified and has light tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. The exterior of the bowl is grimy and dirty. There is a thick cake and lava overflow on the rim top. It is thick enough that it is hard to know if there is any damage on top and edges. Jeff took photos of the pipe to show its general condition before he did his cleanup. The exterior of the pipe was very dirty – grime and grit ground in from years of use and sitting. The rim top was covered with a coat of thick lava that overflowed the bowl. There was also some darkening on the rim top and inner edge of the bowl. The bowl itself had a thick cake with flecks of tobacco stuck in the cake on the sides.    Jeff took photos of the sides and the heel of the bowl to give a better feel for the condition of the bark around the bowl.The next photos show the stamping on the sides of the shank and it is very readable. It reads as noted above.The stem was dirty and extremely oxidized. The stem appeared to be a replacement as it is missing the Kaywoodie logo and the metal stinger/tenon has been modified. I have learned that Bob was a chewer and his stems seemed to have been replaced often. This one at least fit well to the shank and did not yet have the chew marks that were a norm on Bob’s pipes.Before doing cleanup work on the pipe I decided to do some research on the pipe. I looked first on the Pipephil website and found some information on the white club inlay on the left side of the tapered stem. (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-kaywoodie.html). Since I did not have the original stem the information there was less helpful.

I turned to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Kaywoodie) and read the section on the rough outline on the history of the brand that links the brand with the English section of the company. I quote:

Again, demand for KBB pipes and especially Kaywoodie prompted another move for both the manufacturing facilities and the corporate offices. In 1930 the corporate office moved into the Empire State Building on Fifth Avenue in New York. By 1935, the manufacturing operations moved from Union City to 6400 Broadway in West New York, New Jersey which, at the time, was touted as the largest pipe making facility in the world. At the height of production, there were 500 employees producing up to 10,000 pipes per day.

The corporate offices were relocated in 1936 to the International Building, Rockefeller Center, 630 Fifth Avenue, New York. The invitation to visit the new office reads, “Kaywoodie is now on display at the world’s most famous address – Rockefeller Center. Here Kaywoodie takes its place among the leaders of industry and commerce.” The move to Rockefeller Center coincided with The Kaywoodie Company’s emergence as a subsidiary of KBB. All of the pipes manufactured by KBB including the Yello-Bole line were also on display here. By 1938 Kaywoodie had opened an office in London to meet worldwide demand. Kaywoodie of London was jointly owned with another famous pipemaker, Comoy’s of London.

From there I turned to a link on the article to a section called Guide to Kaywoodie Pipes (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Collector%27s_Guide_to_Kaywoodie_Pipes#NOTES_ON_.22OTHER.E2.80.9D_KAYWOODIE_PIPES).

English Kaywoodies. All of the catalogs reviewed in this research contained the following copyright notification: Printed in U.S.A., Kaufmann Bros. and Bondy, Inc., New York and London. Kaywoodie Pipe cases and smoker’s accessories were also marked with “New York and London”. The catalogs, however, do not present any information concerning Kaywoodie’s London operations, or how the English Kaywoodies might have differed from those manufactured and marketed in the U.S. Lowndes notes that he has several English Kaywoodies acquired in Vaduz and Zurich. English Kaywoodies are now made by Oppenheimer pipes. Lowndes notes that English Kaywoodies with the “screw-in bit” come in Ruby Grain, Custom Grain, Standard, and Relief Grain grades. The traditional push-bit models come in Continental Plain and Relief, London Made, Minaret, Air-way Polished No. 707, and Lightweight grades. Prices in 1985 ranged from 9.50 (pounds) to 26.00 (pounds). Lowndes notes that the Super Star was a special edition English Kaywoodie made of finest briar with a handmade silver band. Lowndes has two: one from Zurich with a large white-outlined logo, and beautifully cased; and one in walnut finish with the black-­in-white logo. A recent catalog shows the Super Star without a band and the ordinary small white logo. A 1985 letter from Oppenheimer states that the black-in-white logo has been discontinued and only the regular white logo is now used.

I turned to Pipedia’s Kaywoodie Shape Number chart to check out the number 95B that is stamped on the shank side (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Kaywoodie_Shape_Numbers). The chart gives the shape information and the time frame in which the shape was made. I did a screen capture of the shape number information and have included it below.From the above information I now knew that the pipe in hand was a Medium sized Pot with a long saddle stem originally. Somewhere in its life that stem disappeared and was replaced by a long taper stem. The pipe was made between 1940-1972 in London by Oppenheimer. It had screw-in bit.

With over 125 pipes to clean from Bob’s estate I took a batch of them to the states with me when I visited and left them with Jeff so he could help me out. Jeff cleaned the pipes with his usual penchant for thoroughness that I really appreciate. Once he finished he shipped them back to me. This one was a real mess and 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 looks very good with good looking grain around the bowl and shank. Jeff scrubbed it with Soft Scrub and soaked it in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked a lot better. I took photos before I started my part of the work. I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show what cleaned bowl and rim top looked like. The rim top shows damage and charring on the inner edge of the bowl. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the light tooth marks and the remaining oxidation on the stem surface.I took photos of the stamping on both sides of the shank and it is clear and readable. It is stamped as noted above.  The new stamp to me is the KBB style Cloverleaf stamp with the word DRY stamped in the center of the leaf pattern.I unscrewed the stem for the shank and took a photo of the bowl and stem to give a picture of what it looked like. You can see the clipped off stinger that has been modified to leave behind a threaded tenon.Now, on to my part of the restoration of this KBB English Made Pot. I decided to start by dealing with the damage to the rim top and the inner edge of the bowl. I topped the bowl on a board with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage to the bowl. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the damage to the inner edge of the rim. I worked on the inner bevel to clean up the damage and the darkening. I moved on to deal with the gouges in the bowl on the right side. I fill them in with clear super glue. When the repairs had cured I sanded them smooth with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth them out.I stained the repaired and sanded areas with a blend of Cherry, Maple and Walnut stain pens to blend them into the surrounding briar. Once the stain cured I polished the briar to further blend it into the bowl. I polished the bowl and rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping the briar down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bark on the bowl sides and shank 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 and shoe brush to raise the shine. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the surface of the stem with the flame of a lighter. The heat lifted the majority of the dents in the stem surface. There was one tooth mark on the underside that was just ahead of the button.There was one deep tooth mark on the underside of the stem next to the button. I filled it in with clear super glue. Once the repair cured I used a needle file to flatten the repair and sharpen the edge of the button. I sanded them out with 220 grit sandpaper and started polishing them with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.   I polished the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. This KB&B Kaywoodie Drinkless 95B Pot, English made pipe from Bob Kerr’s estate turned out to be another great looking pipe. The Walnut finish on the pipe is in excellent condition and works well with the polished vulcanite taper stem. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished KB&B Kaywoodie Pot fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. If you are interested in carrying on Bob’s legacy with this pipe send me a message or an email. I have more to work on of various brands. Perhaps one of those will catch your attention. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. This is an interesting estate to bring back to life.