Tag Archives: staining

Fresh Life for a Savinelli Oscar Lucite 111KS Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us 2018 from a fellow in Pocatello, Idaho, USA. It is a nice looking Billiard with cross grain and birdseye grain and has a Fancy Lucite half saddle stem. The Lucite stem fits the name on the left side Oscar Lucite. The bowl has a rich reddish brown colour combination that highlights grain. The pipe has some grime ground into the surface of the briar. The finish had a few small fills around the sides but they blended in fairly well. This pipe is stamped on the sides of the shank. On the left it reads Oscar [over] Lucite. On the right it has a Savinelli “S” Shield and next to that was the shape number 111KS [over] Italy. There is a thick cake in the bowl and an overflow of lava on the top beveled inner edge of the bowl. The rim top looks good but it is hard to be certain with the lava coat. There were some light tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the Lucite stem near the button. The pipe looks to be in good condition under the grime. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup. He took photos of the rim top to show the thick cake and the thick lava coat. It is hard to know what the condition of the rim top and edges is like under that thick lava. It is an incredibly dirty pipe but obviously one that was a great smoker. The acrylic half saddle stem had light tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button.   He took a photo of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the beautiful grain around the bowl and the condition of the pipe. You can see the grime ground into the surface of the briar. He took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above. On the underside of the shank it is stamped Savinelli Product. I turned first to Pipephil’s site to look at the Savinelli write up there and see if I could learn anything about the Oscar Lucite line (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-savinelli3.html). There was a listing for the Oscar Lucite and I did a screen capture of the pertinent section.I looked up the Savinelli brand on Pipedia to see if I could find the Oscar Lucite line and the 111KS Shape (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Savinelli). There was nothing that tied directly to the line I am working on. There is a detailed history of the brand there that is a good read. I also captured the shape chart and boxed in the 111KS shape in red. The shape is identical to the one that I am working on. The stem on this one is the original shape that was on the Lucite Line but there was no shooting star logo on the left side.It was time to work on the pipe. As usual Jeff had done a thorough cleanup on the pipe. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water. One of the benefits of this scrub is that it also tends to lift some of the scratches and nicks in the surface of the briar. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He cleaned the internals and externals of the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. He scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub all-purpose cleanser and rinsed it off with warm water and cleaned out the airway in the stem with alcohol. Other than the damaged rim top the pipe looked good.   I took a photo of the rim top and stem to show the condition. The rim top was in very rough condition. The rim top and the edges of the bowl had darkening, burn marks and some nicking. The Lucite half saddle stem had light tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button and on the button edges.  The stamping on the sides of the shank is clear and readable as noted above.     I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. It is a nice looking billiard that should clean up very well. I started working on the pipe by dealing with the damaged rim top and edges. I topped the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper on a topping board. I worked over the rim top and inner bevel of the rim with 220 grit sandpaper. I smooth out the damage and gave the  rim top and edge a clean look that would polish out nicely. I wiped the rim top down with a damp cloth to remove the dust and debris.   I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped down the bowl after each sanding pad.     I stained the rim top with an Oak stain pen to match the rest of the bowl. Once I buffed and polished the bowl it would be a perfect match. 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. The Balm did its magic and the grain stood out.  I polished the Lucite 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. The photo below shows the polished stem. This nicely grained Savinelli Made Oscar Lucite 11KS Billiard with Lucite half saddle stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The briar is clean and really came alive. The rich reddish, brown stains gave the grain a sense of depth with the polishing and waxing. The grain really popped. I put the vulcanite 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. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Oscar Lucite Billiard is a beauty and feels great 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 ¾ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 46grams/1.62oz.Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Reworking and Restoring a Kuhl Record Briar/Bakelite Dublin System


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from an antique dealer on the Oregon Coast, USA back in 2019. It has been sitting here for a year. Jeff took photos in in February of this year. Now I am finally getting a chance to work on it. The pipe is a system pipe with a Briar Bowl, a Bakelite base and a vulcanite stem. The pipe was an absolute mess. On the backside of the briar bowl it is stamped with Bruyere [over] Garantie. The Bakelite base is embossed and reads Kuhl Record across the front of the base. The mix of stains were worn and spotty around the bowl but still showed the original orange and brown look even with the grime ground into the finish. It was very dirty with dust and debris ground into the finish. There was a thick cake in the bowl and an overflow of lava on the rim top. The inner edge looks good but we will know for certain once the bowl is reamed and cleaned. The stem was oxidized, calcified and there were light tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started working on it. I include those below. Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the condition of both. It was heavily caked with a lava overflow on the rim top. He took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the calcification, oxidation and tooth marks on the stem surface and button. He took photos of the sides and heel to show the fit of the bowl to the Bakelite Base as well as the condition of the pipe under the grime.  There were some large fills around the bowl sides that are visible in the photos below. Jeff took two photos to capture the stamping on the backside of the bowl and the front of the Bakelite base. It is clear and readable as noted above.    He removed the stem from the shank and the bowl from the base and took photos of the parts of the pipe. The shank is lined with cork that needs to be rejuvenated but is in good condition. The brand was not listed on either Pipephil’s site or Pipedia. So I googled the name on the web and also found no links.

I turned to the Smoking Metal.co website as I have found it to be very helpful on these mixed material pipes (http://www.smokingmetal.co.uk/pipe.php?page=509). I checked the index page and found the Kuhl Record listed. It gave the following description as well as some photos of the pipe. I have included that below.

KUHL Record Bakelite shank, vulcanite stem, briar bowl. Length: 5 5/8″ height 1 3/4″ diameter of bowl 1 5/8″

This pipe was a bit of a mess like many of the pipes we work on. I was curious to see what it would look like when I unpacked it. I was surprised at how good it looked. Jeff reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals of the shank and stem 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 on the bowl looked really good when I got it. The rim top looked better. The inner edge showed damage at the back side of the bowl. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer bath to remove the oxidation. The stem looked better other than the light oxidation that remained and some light tooth marks and chatter on the surface. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked much better than when he found it. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it.  I took photos of the condition of the rim top and stem before I started working. The rim top looks better but the burn damage is very evident at the back of the bowl. The stem has light oxidation remaining and some tooth chatter and marks on both sides near the button.   I took a photo of the stamping on the front underside of the Bakelite base and on the back of the briar bowl. They read as noted above.   I took the bowl and stem apart and took a photo of the pipe to show the look of the pipe. The threads on the right side of the Bakelite base are chipped but they do not affect the fit of the bowl to the base.I started my work on the pipe but addressing the cracking varnish finish on the briar bowl. I wiped it down with acetone and was able break down much of it.   I filled in the damaged fills with super glue and sanded the surface smooth with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the repair. I sanded the rest of the bowl at the same time and evened out the finish. I forgot to take photos of the bowl before I stained it but that is the process. Once it was smoothed out I stained it with a dark brown aniline stain and flamed it to set it in the briar.  Once the stain had set in the briar I polished the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads to make the stain more transparent an to raise a shine on the briar. I wiped it down with a damp cloth  after each pad.  I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the finish of the bowl, rim top and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I find that the balm really makes the briar come alive again. The contrasts in the layers of stain and the separate finishes really made the grain stand out. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The bowl really looks good at this point. I set aside the bowl and turned my attention to the Bakelite Base. I greased the cork in the shank with Vaseline Petroleum Jelly to enliven and give it back its flexibility.  I rubbed the Bakelite down with Before and After Restoration Balm to rejuvenate it as well as clean and protect it. I put the base aside with the bowl and turned my attention to the stem. I built up the damage to the stem surface with clear super glue. Once the repairs cured I smoothed them out with 220 sandpaper to blend them in and started polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.    I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I polished it further with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both fine and extra fine.   Once again I am the part of the restoration that I always look forward to – the moment when all the pieces are put back together. I put the pipe back together and carefully buffed it with Blue Diamond. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl, Bakelite base and vulcanite stem look like with the wax and buff. This richly stained Kuhl Record Bruyere Garantie is light weight and ready for you to load up a tobacco of preference and enjoy it. Have a look at it in the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 ¼ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 1 inch. The weight of the pipe is 46 grams/1.62 oz. This is one that will go on the rebornpipes online store shortly. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next generation.

Restoring a Large Ben Wade Martinique Freehand Sitter


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table came to us from a recent pipe hunt Jeff and his wife Sherry did in Utah. They picked this beauty up at an Antique Mall along the way of the hunt. Even though the finish was dull and lifeless it showed promise under the grit and grime of the years. On the underside of the shank it was clearly stamped Ben Wade in script [over] Martinique [over] Hand Made [over] In [over] Denmark. The finish is filthy with grime and oil ground into the smooth briar of the bowl and shank sides. There were flecks of white paint on the sides as well. The bowl had a thick cake that overflowed in lava on the plateau rim top filling in the grooves and valleys of the finish. The acrylic stem was dirty and had some tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. Jeff took some photos of the pipe to show its overall condition 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 lava on the plateau finish of the rim top. There is dust and debris stuck to the walls of the bowl clearly visible in the photos. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the 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 shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable. I remembered a bit of history on the brand that thought that the Preben Holm pipes were marketed under the Ben Wade label in the US and imported through Lane Ltd. I turned to Pipedia and read the listing on the brand to refresh my memory and flesh out the knowledge of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Wade). I have included a photo from that site that was taken from a Tinderbox advertisement.

Ben Wade Ad in a Tinder Box catalog, courtesy Doug Valitchka

I quote the portion of the article that summarizes the Danish period of the history of the brand:

Young Copenhagen master pipemaker Preben Holm had made a meteoric career heading a pipe manufacture employing 45 people at the age of 22! But around the turn of 1970/71 he was in major financial difficulties. His US distributor, Snug Harbour Ltd. in New York City, left him in the lurch. Holm had three unpaid invoices on his desk and another large shipment was ready for the USA, when Snug Harbour’s manager told him on the phone that there was no money at all on the account to pay him.

So the Dane went to New York for an almost desperate search for a new distribution partner. He made contacts with Lane Ltd. and met Herman G. Lane in February 1971. Lane Ltd. had no interest in Holm’s serial pipes produced at that time but so much the more in the hand-carved freehands because the hype for Danish freehands and fancies in the States was still on its way to the climax then. The meeting resulted in an agreement to start a cooperation. Lane insisted to improve the quality considerably and in return he assured to be able to sell essentially larger quantities.

Holm went back home to work on new samples with all-new designs and altered finishes for Lane. Both, Lane and Holm, agreed that it would be unwise to sell the pipes under Preben Holm’s name as long as Snug Harbour had a considerable stock of Preben Holm pipes and might sell them pipes at very low prices just to bring in some money.

So on Mr. Lane’s proposal it was determined to use the name Ben Wade belonging to Lane Ltd. Lane spent considerable amounts of money for advertising the new brand in the big magazines– the centerpiece being whole-page ads showing a very exclusive Seven Day’s Set.

The cooperation with Lane Ltd. proved to be an eminent business success for both partners. Within a very short time Ben Wade Handmade Denmark sold in much larger quantities and at higher prices than they had ever dreamed of. And the hype these freehands and fancy pipes caused went on unbroken long after Herman G. Lane deceased. Preben Holm – obviously much more brilliant in pipe making than in pipe business – was in major troubles again in 1986 and had to sack most of his staff. The Ben Wade production was significantly lowered but continued until his untimely death in June of 1989.

Up to now Preben Holm made Ben Wade pipes are cult and highly sought for on the estate markets.

With that information my initial thoughts were confirmed. This pipe was a Preben Holm made Freehand distributed in the US by Lane Ltd under the name Ben Wade. The freehand rage occurred in the late 70s and the pipes were made until Preben’s death in 1989. My guess would be that this pipe was made sometime during that time period and potentially in the late 70s.

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub and cotton pads to remove the debris and oils on the stem. He rinsed it with warm water and dried it off. I took photos of the pipe once I received it.   The rim top had some darkening on the back of the bowl. The beveled inner edge of the rim looked very good with some darkening. The stem surface looked very good with a few small tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.    I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It read clearly as noted above.  I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. The stem is turned fancy acrylic. I started my work on the pipe by cleaning up the darkening on the inner bevel of the plateau rim top with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I was able to remove the darkening and I like the looks of the rim top.  I touched up the black stain in the valleys of the plateau on the rim top and shank end with a Black stain pen. I would use the micromesh pads to knock off any of the black on the high spots when I polished it.    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 and into the plateau rim top with a horsehair shoe brush. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 10 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.   I set the bowl aside and turned to work on the stem. I sanded out the tooth marks from the surface of the acrylic with 220 grit sandpaper and started the polishing of the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.   I polished the acrylic 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 Ben Wade Martinique Freehand Sitter with a fancy, turned acrylic stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. 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 Martinique Freehand 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: 6 inches, Height: 2 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 inches, Chamber diameter: 1 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!

Breathing New Life into a Parker Super Briar Bark 345 Bulldog


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to me from either a trade I made (pipes for labour) or a find on one of my pipe hunts. I honestly don’t remember where it came from. It has been around for a while waiting to be worked on. It is a ruggedly sandblasted Parker Super Bark Bulldog that really looks quite nice. The stamping is clear and readable. It is stamped on the underside of the shank and reads Parker [over] Super in a Diamond [over] Briar Bark that is followed by Made in London [over] England. To the right of that stamping is a 3 in a circle followed by the shape number 345. The circle 3 is the size number that matches the Dunhill group size 3. The pipe had a lot of grime ground into the grooves of the sandblast on the bowl and some wear on the finish around the sides of the bowl. The bowl was heavily caked and had an overflow of thick lava on the plateau rim top. 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 light tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside and the top surface of the button had a tooth mark. There stamped P in a diamond on the top left side of the saddle stem. The pipe had promise but it was very dirty. I took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work.   I 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 for sure how extensive the damage was to the inner edge of the bowl because of the thickness of the lava coat. I also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the oxidation, calcification, light chatter and tooth marks.       I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable. I took the stem off the bowl and took a photo of the parts. There was also an inner-tube inserted in the tenon and it was unmovable.I looked on Pipephil’s site for information on the Parker Super Briar Bark line and found the following information (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-parker.html). The screen capture below has quite a bit of information on the line from Parker. The one that I am working on definitely has the inner tube but does not have a patent number nor does it have a date stamp following the D in England.I also went to Pipedia and read the article on the Parker brand. It is a great read and worth the time to read it (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Parker). I picked up the following piece of information that was helpful.

After 1957 on pipes Parker ceased to put patent number and the code with definition of date.

That tells me that my pipe was made after 1957 when the numbers were no longer added to the stamping on the pipe.

Now it was time to work on the pipe. I started the process by heating the inner tube and removing it from the tenon. I wrapped a paper towel around the tube and wiggled it free of the tenon. It came out easily.I have to say it once again that I am really spoiled having Jeff clean up the pipes for me. Having to start with them in this condition adds time. I reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer using the first two cutting heads. I followed up by scraping the remaining cake with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I finished cleaning up the cake in the bowl with a piece of dowel wrapped in 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the walls of the bowl.  I cleaned up the rim top and the inner edge of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I gave the inner edge of the rim a slight bevel. I smoothed out the top of the rim with the sandpaper in preparation for rusticating it with a series of burrs and the Dremel.    I scrubbed the exterior of the bowl and rim top with a tooth brush and undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the debris from the finish. I rinsed the bowl with warm water to remove the grime and soap and dried it off with a soft towel. I touched up the rim top rustication with a Walnut stain pen and a Black Sharpie pen to blend the top into the rest of the bowl colour. I also touched up the faded spots on the heel of the bowl and around the edges of the bowl.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 and a horsehair shoe brush to get into the nooks and crannies of the blast. The balm works 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.   While I was working on the bowl the stem was soaking in Briarville Pipe Repair’s – Pipe Stem Oxidation Remover. 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 tooth marks on the button and underside of the stem near the button. The Diamond P stamp on the stem remained and was not damaged by the deoxidizer. I cleaned out the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners to remove the tars and oils in the airways of both. Once they were clean the pipe smelled better.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 beautiful sandblasted Parker Super Briar Bark 345 Bulldog with a vulcanite saddle stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The rich browns and blacks of the contrasting stains in the sandblast came alive with the polishing and waxing. The newly rusticated rim top blended in very well. 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 multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax 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 Parker Super Briar Bark Bulldog 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 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!

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.