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The Poker Barrel


by Kenneth Lieblich

Next on the chopping block is this charming Chacom Champion. It comes from the estate of a man from Winnipeg, whose relatives live here in Vancouver. I purchased several of the late gentleman’s pipes, along with this one. I have a particular interest in French pipes and pipeworks, so this was the first pipe I grabbed from the lot for restoration. It is an attractive pipe and needed just a little help to come back to life.This pipe was made by the French giant, Chacom. They are known for making very nice pipes, many of which were designed by such names as Pierre Morel, Claude Robin, and Erwin van Handenhoven. The markings on the left-hand side of the shank read Chacom [over] Champion. On the underside of the shank, the marking reads 157, which is the shape number. Also, on the stem, there is the Chacom logo: CC, encircled in a silver-coloured oval.This is a poker-shaped pipe (a flat bottom) – and a really pretty one too. I always felt that it looked a bit like an old oak barrel, hence the title of this article: The Poker Barrel. It feels very comfortable in the hand. It was obvious from the start that this was a great pipe that just needed some attention and TLC.

Chacom is a company that dates back, in its earliest form, to 1825. The name is a portmanteau of Chapuis Comoy. For a large part of the twentieth century, Chapuis Comoy was the largest pipe company in the world. For more on their history, please have a look at their website: https://www.pipechacom.com/en/history.htm. In fact, the shape number I mentioned above, 157, is a Comoy shape number and is designated as a straight-stemmed, flat-bottomed, billiard. But I am still going to call it a Poker Barrel anyway.

On to the pipe: it was in decent shape, but it had a few issues. The stem was mostly fine. There was a bit of oxidation, some tooth chatter and scratches, and that was about it. Meanwhile, the stummel had a few more issues. The outside of the bowl had some scratches and a couple of fills that needed to be redone. There was plenty of lava and debris on the rim and I suspected there would also be some burn marks. The inside was pretty dirty too – just how dirty it was became an event in itself.The stem was first on my list. I wiped down the outside of the stem with Murphy’s Oil Soap on some cotton pads. I also took a BIC lighter and ‘painted’ the stem with its flame in order to lift the bite marks and dents. This was not particularly successful in raising the damage. During this process, I noticed that the inside of the tenon on the stem was threaded. There was clearly a stinger here once upon a time. Thankfully, it is long gone.Then, I cleaned out the insides with pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. Look at that! Lots of work to get this clean! Once this process was done, the stem went for an overnight soak in the Pipe Stem Oxidation Remover. The following day, I cleaned all of the de-oxidizing mess off with alcohol, pipe cleaners, et cetera. The oxidation had migrated to the surface and would be fairly straightforward to remove. I scrubbed with SoftScrub on some cotton pads to remove the leftover oxidation. I built up the dents on the stem with cyanoacrylate adhesive and let them fully cure. I then sanded the adhesive down with 220-, 400-, and 600-grit sandpapers to meld seamlessly into the stem. I did the same to the remaining tooth marks. I then used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to bring out the lovely black lustre on the stem. I also used Obsidian Pipe Stem Oil in between each pad scrubbing. On to the stummel, and the usual cleaning procedures were in order for this pipe. This stummel was a bit of a mess inside, so I first decided to ream out the bowl. I used both the PipNet Reamer and the KleenReem to remove the built-up cake and followed that with 220-grit sandpaper to eliminate as much as I could. I took the bowl down to bare briar, as I wanted to ensure there were no hidden flaws in the walls of the bowl. Fortunately, there were none. I then proceeded to clean out the insides of the shank with Q-tips, pipe cleaners, and isopropyl alcohol. There was considerable filth inside this stummel and it took a lot of cotton to get it “clean”. I put the word clean in quotation marks for reasons that will be evident shortly. I used a small butter knife to gently chip away at the lava on the rim. I then used more Murphy’s with a scrub brush to remove any remainder. This actually worked quite well. I then moved on to cleaning the outside of the stummel with Murphy’s Oil Soap and some cotton pads. That removed any latent dirt that blighted the wood. A de-ghosting session also seemed in order, so I thrust cotton balls in the bowl and the shank, and saturated them with 99% isopropyl alcohol. I let the stummel sit overnight. This caused the oils, tars and smells to leech out into the cotton.In order to remove the remaining burns and nicks on the rim, I “topped” the pipe – that is to say, I gently and evenly sanded down the rim on a piece of 220-grit sandpaper. This effectively removed the damage, without altering the look of the pipe. Then, to further clean the inside of the pipe, I put the stem and stummel back together and used my pipe retort system. This system uses boiling isopropyl alcohol and a vacuum (a void, not the household appliance) to clean the interior of a pipe. As you can see by the brownish colour of the alcohol, the retort worked well. I managed to extract lots of otherwise inaccessible filth from inside the pipe. At this point, I had a hunch that I should run another Q-tip or two through the shank. What I discovered was shocking: it took a truck load of Q-tips and pipe cleaners to actually clean this frustrating pipe! Look at the pile I used! I then finished cleaning up the insides of the stummel with some dish soap and tube brushes. Extraordinary, but I did it and it is now clean.Having completed that, I was able to address the scratches and fills. I took out my steam iron and a damp cloth to try and raise the nicks. The hot and moist steam created can often cause the wood to swell slightly and return to shape. Fortunately, there was considerable movement – I was really pleased with the results. The repair was not perfect, but the remaining scratches would be improved by sanding.After that, a light application of Before & After Restoration Balm brought out the best in the stummel’s grain. There is some beautiful wood after all. It is a very handsome pipe. The same was true with the fills. I lined the two fills with cyanoacrylate adhesive and briar dust. After letting them cure, I sanded the fill repairs down with 200-, 400-, and 600-grit sandpaper. I then used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) on the stummel to finish it off. On to another problem: the colour. During the course of my vigorous cleaning, this pipe had lost some vibrancy of colour. So, in order to accentuate the external beauty of this pipe, I opted for aniline dye. I applied some of Fiebing’s Medium Brown Leather Dye. As usual, I applied flame from a BIC lighter in order to set the colour. What a difference that made! It looked so much better with a fresh coat of stain.   I applied some more Before & After Restoration Balm and then it was off for a trip to the buffer. A dose of White Diamond and a few coats of carnauba wax were just what this pipe needed. The lovely shine made the wood very attractive. This is a very handsome pipe and will provide many years of smoking pleasure.This Chacom Champion is back to its old glory and ready to be enjoyed again by the next owner. I am pleased to announce that this pipe is for sale! If you are interested in acquiring it for your collection, please have a look in the ‘French’ pipe section of the store here on Steve’s website. You can also email me directly at kenneth@knightsofthepipe.com. The approximate dimensions of the pipe are as follows: length 5 in. (130 mm); height 1⅝ in. (40 mm); bowl diameter 1¼ in. (30 mm); chamber diameter ¾ in. (20 mm). The weight of the pipe is 1 oz. (29 g). I hope you enjoyed reading the story of this pipe’s restoration as much I as I did restoring it. If you are interested in more of my work, please follow me here on Steve’s website or send me an email. Thank you very much for reading and, as always, I welcome and encourage your comments.

Restemming & Restoring a French Made GBD Sauvage 1345 Poker/Pot


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I chose to work on was another bowl from my box of bowls to restem. It is a different looking bowl that combines both a Pot and a Poker shape. It has a inward beveled rim, flat bottom and worm trails curled around the bowl sides. When I examined the shank it had a small hairline crack on the right side that would need to be repaired but otherwise it was solid. It was unique enough I wanted to work on it. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and has a GBD oval logo next to the bowl/shank union followed by Sauvage. On the right side of the shank it is stamped FRANCE [over] the shape number 1345. The stamping was clear and readable with a lens. The bowl had been cleaned and reamed somewhere along the way by either Jeff or me. I honestly don’t remember when or where we got this bowl. It looked very good and I was looking forward to seeing the finished pipe. The stem was long gone so this would be a restemming job. I took some photos of the bowl to give a sense of the condition of bowl. The stamping was on both sides of the shank and it is clear and readable as noted above. I have also drawn a red rectangle around the area where the crack in the shank is located in the photo below.The next photo shows the rounded rim top and edges. It also shows the condition of the bowl and rim top/edges. It is clean and looks quite good. There is some burn damage on the inner edge of the bowl and on the beveled rim top at the front and the back of the bowl.Now it was time to begin my restemming work on this pipe. I went through my can of stems and chose a stem that would work. I would need to remove some the diameter of the tenon and the saddle portion to fit the thin almost pencil shank of the pipe. I used a flat file to remove the small amount of excess on the tenon. It was a close fit but I did not want to make the crack in the shank worse by a tenon that was not correct.When I had finished shaping the tenon I sanded it with a piece of 220 grit sandpaper and inserted it in the shank. It was looking pretty good. I would need to trim back some of the diameter of the saddle portion but I liked it! I generally use a Dremel and sanding drum to reduce the diameter of the stem. I do this with the stem in place on the shank so that I do not overdo it. It is a touchy exercise and one slip and I could easily damage the shank and make more work for myself. I move carefully and take it back as close as I can at this point. Once I band the shank I will need to do some more work on it but it is starting to look right. With the fit close enough it was time to band the shank. I generally do the final adjustments on the stem diameter after I have fit the band in place. I picked a band out that would fit when heated. I took a photo of the crack in the shank to show what I was working with. I sanded the shank end and gave it a slight bevel to facilitate pressing the band in place. Once it was ready I put the band on the shank. It was tight so I heated it with a lighter and when it had expanded I pressed it against the pad on my desk and pushed it all the way onto the shank. It covered the “e” on Sauvage slightly but the length of the crack defined what I needed to band it. I used some 220 grit sandpaper to once again take a little bit off the diameter of the tenon and the band compresses the crack and the diameter of the mortise changes. When I was finished I put the stem in the shank and took photos of the newly banded shank. It was going to look good once I finished shaping the stem diameter but it is very close at this point. What do you think of the new look? I finished adjusting the fit of stem diameter with 220 grit sandpaper and everything was aligned. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper and the stem was looking very good at this point. Now I needed to deal with the tooth marks and chatter on the end of the stem. I “painted” them with the flame of a lighter to lift them as much as possible. I filled in the ones that remained with clear super glue. Once the glue cured I flattened out the repairs with a small flat file. I followed that by sanding the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished the stem with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and buffed it with a cotton cloth. Once I had finished the polishing I gave it final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. With the stem finished (other than to buff the pipe at the end)I set it aside and I turned my attention to the bowl. I used a wooden ball that Kenneth gave me with a piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the bevel. I finished with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to further minimize the burn damage. I touched up the stain with an Oak Stain pen to match the surrounding briar of the bowl. It looked much better at this point. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding debris left behind. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the smooth and worm trails on the bowl 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 really took on dimension and colour. I am excited to be on the homestretch with this petite French Made GBD Sauvage 1345 Poker/Pot. This is the part I look forward to when it all comes back together, polished and waxed. I put the bowl and the new stem together and polished the stem and bowl with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the vulcanite and give a light shine to the bowl. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The worm trail carving on the bowl actually looks okay with the rest of the smooth finish. The banded shank and new polished black saddle vulcanite stem works well with this little sitter. This GBD Sauvage Poker/Pot was another fun pipe to work on and came out looking great. It is a comfortable sized pipe to hold in the hand. The finished pipe is shown 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: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 33 grams/1.16 ounces. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your rack it will be on the rebornpipes store in the French Pipemakers Section soon. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.

Five for the Price of One


Blog by Kenneth Lieblich

Next on the chopping block is a quintet of pipes. Word has been getting around! My barber’s boss approached me recently about restoring his late grandfather’s pipes. Of course, I was only too happy to oblige. The fellow told me that his grandfather did not have fancy pipes, but he just wanted them to look good. Interestingly, he also asked that I not clean the pipes too much – he wanted some of the olfactory memories to remain. When I got my hands on the pipes, I realized what I was up against. These five pipes were really a mess. Quite frankly, if I had these pipes for myself, I would have tossed some on the firewood pile. But my customer wanted these pipes restored as a nice remembrance of his grandfather – and I completely understand and respect that. Since I restored these pipes all together, I thought I would write up their story altogether too – with a tip of my hat to my customer’s late grandfather.

Well, what have we got here? (1) A cherrywood pipe from Missouri Meerschaum, missing its stem; (2) another cherrywood pipe from Missouri Meerschaum; (3) a briar bent pot, marked Château Bruyère 32; (4) a briar egg, marked Savoy 710, missing its stem; and (5) a Brigham Voyageur 126 bent Rhodesian. Missouri Meerschaum is, of course, most famous for being the largest corncob manufacturer in the world – although they do make hardwood pipes too. Herb Wilczak and Tom Colwell’s book, Who Made That Pipe? states that Château Bruyère (as its name suggests) is made in France by an unknown manufacturer. Pipedia tells us that Savoy is a brand of Oppenheimer Pipe/Comoy’s, which was also sold by M. Linkman & Co. Finally, Brigham is the famous Canadian pipe manufacturer. The markings suggest that this Brigham was made after the move of production to Italy.

Problems with these pipes? Wow – where to begin? Both cherrywoods needed new stems. After all, one was cracked beyond repair and the other was missing altogether. They had lava and burns all over, and plenty of cake in the bowl. Besides that, the stummels were just a bit grimy. The Château Bruyère was in really bad condition: tons of lava, cake, and serious burning; cracks galore on the rim; but at least the stem had only minor tooth marks and dents. The Savoy would, of course, also need a new stem, but its stummel was also a disaster: some fills; tons of lava and cake; and (worst of all) an enormous burn gouge on the rim. The Brigham was not too bad (compared with the others), but it still had the usual cake and lava. It also looked like the rim had been used to hammer nails! The stems were first on my list. Fortunately, Steve had a couple of new Missouri Meerschaum stems for me to use on the cherrywood pipes. That was the easiest part of this whole restoration! I also had to sculpt a new stem for the Savoy. Stupidly, I forgot to take photos of this procedure, but, suffice it to say, it was tricky getting the tenon to fit correctly and getting the edges of the new stem to match with the existing stummel. On the two pre-existing stems, I took a BIC lighter and ‘painted’ them with flame in order to lift the tooth marks. This was reasonably successful in raising the dents. Then, I cleaned out the insides of the stems with pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. They were terribly dirty and I went through a large number of pipe cleaners in order to clean them up. Once this process was done, the stems went for an overnight soak in the Before & After Hard Rubber Deoxidizer. The following day, I cleaned all of the de-oxidizing sludge off with alcohol, pipe cleaners, et cetera. The oxidation had migrated to the surface and would be fairly straightforward to remove. I scrubbed vigorously with SoftScrub on cotton pads to remove the leftover oxidation. On the Brigham, the tenon had come loose from the stem and needed to be repaired. I used my cyanoacrylate adhesive to sort that problem out and let it set. I also built up the small dents on the Brigham and Château Bruyère stems with cyanoacrylate adhesive and let them fully cure. I then sanded the repairs down with 220-, 400-, and 600-grit sandpapers to meld the repair seamlessly into the stems. This ensured that they keep their shape and look like they should. I then used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to bring out the lovely black lustre on the stems. I also used Obsidian Pipe Stem Oil in between each pad scrubbing. I should make quick mention of the stem I made for the Savoy. I had a blank and an old, spare stem to potentially use. I ended up using the blank because it fit better. Making a new stem is tricky and messy business, and Steve is far better (and more experienced) than I am at it. Basically, I used some 220-grit sandpaper to remove the excess material from the tenon (to ensure it fit into the stummel’s mortise) and from the tenon-end of the stem (to ensure that this end matches the shape and thickness of the shank). Once the basic shape is achieved, I use progressively finer sandpaper (and then the MicroMesh pads) to make the stem look just as it should. In this end, I was pleased with the results and I wish I had photos to show you of the process!All five stummels were a terrible mess: loaded with cake, filth, and an overall yucky feel. They had obviously been thoroughly smoked and enjoyed. Quite frankly, the grandfather must have smoked them until there was no more draw! Anyway, I first decided to ream out all of the bowls. I used both the PipNet Reamer and the KleenReem to remove most of the built-up cake – but not all. I didn’t take the cake down to bare briar, as my customer wanted some essence of his grandfather left in the bowls. The one exception to this was the Brigham, and I did ream it completely and brought it down to bare briar. My customer wanted only this pipe to be completely cleaned out. On all five, however, I did clean out the insides of the shanks with Q-tips, pipe cleaners, and isopropyl alcohol. There was a lot of nastiness inside the shanks and it took a lot of cotton to get them clean! I then moved on to cleaning the outside of the stummels with Murphy’s Oil Soap on some cotton pads and also used a tooth brush to get into the crevasses of the Brigham and the Château Bruyère. I actually soaked the rims in Murphy’s for a while, just to loosen up the lava. I followed that up by cleaning the insides of the Brigham with some dish soap and tube brushes. A de-ghosting session seemed in order for the Brigham. The de-ghosting consisted of thrusting cotton balls in the bowl and the shank, and saturating them with 99% isopropyl alcohol. I let the stummel sit for 24 hours. This caused the oils, tars and smells to leech out into the cotton. Finally, a relatively clean and fresh-smelling bowl emerged. There was a great deal of damage to the rims of all the stummels – and that also needed to be addressed. In order to remove the lingering bits of lava, fix any nicks, and tidy up the look, I “topped” the pipes – that is to say, I gently and evenly sanded down the rims on a piece of 220-grit sandpaper. This effectively removed the lava and the damage, without altering the look of the pipes. However, some needed more attention than others. The two cherrywood pipes were straightforward enough, but a fair amount of work was needed on the other three. The Château Bruyère, as you will have seen, had fairly horrific damage to the wood of the bowl. There were so many cracks and burns that I was not sure if anything meaningful could be done. I did top the bowl, but stopped before I took too much off. There was no getting around the fact that this pipe was not going to be like new. I was comforted by the fact that this pipe was simply being cleaned up and was not going to be smoked again. I sealed off the cracks with cyanoacrylate adhesive, let them cure, and then sanded them smooth. It made a huge difference.But the Château Bruyère still needed a bit more help: re-staining. In order to create some external beauty to this pipe, I opted for aniline dye. I applied my own mixture of some of Fiebing’s Medium Brown Leather Dye and some Fiebing’s Black Leather Dye. I then applied flame in order to set the colour. Worked like a charm! The pipe looked so much better after this.The Savoy had a large valley running along the rim of the bowl (not to mention some considerable burning). A combination of techniques was used to sort this out. I topped the stummel to start, but then I took a solid wooden sphere, wrapped sandpaper around it, and sanded it thoroughly. This was to achieve on the inner part of the rim the same thing that I achieved by “topping” on sandpaper. I then built up the remaining wound with a mixture of briar dust and cyanoacrylate adhesive. I was quite pleased with the results. Finally, I added a brass ferrule to the end of the shank and glued it in place. It gave the pipe a snazzy look. The Brigham was also tricky, but for a different reason. The Brigham had what I like to call a “broken nose”. The front edge was smashed in and would need to be built up. More than that, the repair would need to be rusticated so as to match the original rustication of the pipe. I am always worried about this sort of work because I dread the possibility of not getting the match right. In this case, I topped the Brigham first, but only slightly – just enough to make it neat and tidy. Then I built up the edge with a mixture of briar dust and cyanoacrylate adhesive. Then, I topped it a second time in order to even out the repair with the rim. Finally, I got out my Dremel and used that to rusticate the pipe’s “nose”. The results were quite good. Now, with the damage repaired on all five pipes, it was time to sand down the stummels. Just like the stems, I used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to sand everything smooth on the three briar pipes (I did not sand the cherrywoods). A light application of Before & After Restoration Balm brought out the best in the stummels’ grain

Then it was off for a trip to the buffer. A dose of White Diamond and a few coats of carnauba wax were just what these pipes needed to shine (literally and figuratively). The polishing was the cherry on top of a long road of recovery for these five pipes. The pipes began in the hands of a man who clearly loved smoking them. His grandson, honouring his grandfather’s memory, wanted them to look good again – but not so new that the essence of his grandfather was lost. It was my job to make sure that his grandfather was still in those pipes. I know that my customer will enjoy looking at those pipes (and remembering) for many years to come. I hope you enjoyed reading the story of these pipes as much I as I did restoring them. If you are interested in more of my work, please follow me here on Steve’s website or email me directly at kenneth@knightsofthepipe.com. Thank you very much for reading and, as always, I welcome and encourage your comments.

Restemming & Restoring a Comoy’s Christmas 1987 Shape 42 Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

This morning I went through my box of stummels (bowls) again and picked out a Bent Billiard bowl that had some promise. I went through my can of stems and found a taper stem that needed some work but was a good fit. The pipe I chose to work on is an interesting Comoy’s Bent Billiard with a mixture grain around the sides. The rim top was had some darkening and some roughness on the front outer edge of the bowl. The inner edge of the bowl looked good. The interior of the bowl was clean without chips, cracks or checking on the walls. The finish was dirty and tired but still quite redeemable. The stamping on the pipe was clear and readable. On the left side it read COMOY’s [over] Christmas [over] 1987. On the right side it had the normal circular Comoy’s COM stamp Made in London in a circle [over] England below that was the shape number 42. I took some photos of the bowl before I started to work on it. I took a photo of the stamping on the left and right sides of the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable.I went through some of stems and found a taper vulcanite stem that had been used previously. It had some calcification and oxidation on the surface and had tooth marks on both sides near the button.The tenon would need to be shortened slightly but I put it on the shank and took some photos of what it looked like at this point.I started my work on the bowl by dealing with the damage to the rim top and outer edge of the bowl. I lightly topped the rim on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I worked over the inner beveled edge of the rim with a folded piece of sandpaper to remove some of the darkening. It was definitely an improvement. I polished the rim top and the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth between each pad. The bowl began to take on a shine as I went through the various pads. I stained the top of the bowl with a Cherry stain pen to blend in better with the rest of the bowl colour. It will definitely blend well once the pipe is buffed and polished.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 10 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The grain really came alive. It looks better than when I began. With the bowl finished it was time to focus on the stem. I took out the stem and worked on the fit in the tenon. I shortened the length with a Dremel and sanding drum and it fit very well. I used a heat gun to soften the vulcanite enough to give it the proper bend.While I was bending the stem I also heated the bite marks in the stem. I was able to lift many of the tooth mark. I filled in the remaining tooth marks on the button surface and just ahead of it on the underside with clear super glue and set the stems aside to let the repairs cure.    Once the repairs cured I smoothed them out with a small file and started blending them into the surface of the stem. I sanded the repairs with 220 grit sandpaper to further blend it into the stem surface. I started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I don’t know if this ever happens to you but I was so busy fitting and shaping the stem that I forgot to clean out the inside!! I paused now to do that. I scrubbed out the airway with 99% isopropyl alcohol and pipe cleaners. It was really dirty! Not any more.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a cloth and Obsidian Oil. I finished the polishing with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. I put the pipe back together – the bowl with its new stem. This restemmed and restored Comoy’s Christmas 1987 Shape 42 Bent Billiard is a real beauty and I think that the chosen stem works well with it. The grain on the bowl came alive with the buffing. I used Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel on both the bowl and stem. I gave both multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel then buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The Comoy’s Bent Billiard feels great in the hand. It is lightweight and the contrast in the browns of the briar, the Silver band and the polished vulcanite stem with the popping grain on the mixed brown stained bowl is quite amazing. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.41 ounces/40 grams. It really is a beauty. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store in the  British Pipe Makers section shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Thanks for walking through the restemming and the restoration with me. Cheers.  

Restoring a Lovely Barling 5959 Regency Oom Paul


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I chose to work on an interesting looking Oom Paul shaped briar pipe that Jeff picked up from an online auction on 11/08/18 in Romney, West Virginia, USA. It was an interesting Oom Paul that has some great grain around the bowl and shank. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Barling [over] 5959 [over] London England. On the right side it is stamped Regency in script [over] EXEL [over] T.V.F. So it is a Barling pipe. I will need to do a bit of work on the stamping to identify when it was made. The stem is a vulcanite saddle stem that had a rotting and cracking rubber Softee Bit on the end. The briar was very dirty and the front of the bowl had been knocked against a hard surface and was damaged and rough. There was a thick cake in the bowl and an over flow of lava covered the rim top. The stem was oxidized, calcified and the rubber Softee bit was worn. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started his clean up work on it. He took some photos of the bowl, rim top and edges to show the condition of the pipe before he started. There appeared to be some damage on the inner edge at the back of the bowl. The outer edge at the front was a real mess. He took photos of the stem with the Softee Bit in place and with it removed. It really is a mess with oxidation, calcification and tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the stem.He took photos of the stamping on the shank sides. It is clear and readable as is noted above.He took a photo of the side and heel of the bowl to show the grain that was on this particular piece of briar. It was a beauty.I checked the usual sources for information on the Barling Regency and did not come up with much. I am pretty certain it is a Post Transition Era pipe from the late 1960s to 1970s. I cannot narrow it down much further than that so I know that it is a new pipe (still over 50years old at least). Now it was time to move on to the pipe itself.

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe in his usual manner. He had reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed that up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife afterward. He took the cake back to bare briar and the bowl looked very good. He scrubbed the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs to remove the oils and tars. He scrubbed the externals with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime from the briar. He scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub and then soaked it in a bath of Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer. He rinsed it off with warm water and dried it with a coarse cloth to remove the remaining oxidation. The tooth marks are visible in the photos of the stem surfaces below. The pipe looked very good once it arrived here in Vancouver. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work. I took a photo of the rim top and bowl to show the condition of the briar. You can see the damage on the outer edge of the bowl on the front side. The top surface is scratched and marred. The inner edge of the bowl shows some burn damage on the back of the bowl. The stem looked good but the tooth marks are very visible.The next photos show the stamping on both sides of the shank. It is clear and readable though faint. The grain is also quite stunning.I took a photo of the pipe with the stem removed to give a sense of the proportion of the bowl and the stem.I decided to start by dealing with damage to the inner and outer edge of the bowl and clean up the rim top. I began with the inner edge and used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the damage there and begin a slight bevel on the edge. I topped the bowl to clean up the top and to deal with the damage on the front outer edge. I took photos of the refreshed rim top and edges. It looked much better. I polished the rim top and the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth between each pad. The bowl began to take on a shine as I went through the various pads. I stained the top of the bowl with a Maple stain pen to blend in better with the rest of the bowl colour. It will definitely blend well once the pipe is buffed and polished.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 10 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. If you look you can see the many small fills in the briar but they actually blend in surprisingly well. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the surface of the stem on both sides with the flame of a lighter. I was able to lift many of the tooth mark. I filled in the remaining tooth marks on the button surface and just ahead of it on the underside with clear super glue and set the stems aside to let the repairs cure.    Once they cured I smoothed out the repairs with a small file and started blending them into the surface of the stem (I forgot to take photos of that part of the process). I sanded the repairs with 220 grit sandpaper to further blend it into the stem surface. I started polishing it 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. This Barling Regency 5959 Oom Paul 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 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 Barling Regency Oom Paul 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: 4 inches, Height: 2 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 64 grams/2.26 ounces. I will be putting this Barling on the British Pipe Makers section of the rebornpipes store shortly if you want to add it to your collection. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Restemming & Restoring a Bertram 60 Bent Bulldog


Blog by Steve Laug

Sometimes the repetitive work on similar pipes and stems gets tiring to me and to alleviate the inevitable boredom I change things up a bit to refresh me. I have a box of stummels (bowls) here that I periodically go through and see if I have a potential stem that would fit them. Sunday afternoon I went through the box and picked out two bowls and found workable stems for them both. They were in different states of need but all had been thoroughly cleaned before I boxed them up. The pipe I chose to work on next is a nicely grained Bulldog stummel. The bowl looked very good. The grain around the sides was quite nice and a mix of flame and birdseye grain. There was one small fill on the right side of the shank but it was in good condition. The rim top was in excellent condition with a bit of darkening toward the rear of the bowl. The interior of the bowl was clean and there were not any chips, cracks or checking on the walls. The finish was dull and bit and tired but still quite redeemable. The stamping on the pipe was clear and readable. On the left side it read Bertram in script [over] Washington DC in a ribbon. The grade 60 stamp was on the same side near the bowl/shank junction. I took some photos of the bowl before I started to work on it.   I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable.I went through some of stems and found this diamond saddle style stem that was close to the right diameter and had a tenon that would work as well. It has some file damage on the surface near the button but it would clean up well. I also took a photo of the stem and bowl together to give a sense of the look.The pipe is a Bertram from the Bertram Pipe Shop in Washington DC. I have posted a lot of different blogs on the brand so the information available is quite accessible. I am including pic of a post card that a reader of the blog sent me. It is a great memento that I love to spend time looking at. I started my work on the pipe by fitting the new stem to the shank. I trimmed down the tenon diameter slightly with a file so that the fit in the shank was snug. The stem diameter needed more work so I worked it with a file to match it to the shank. I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth it out. I removed the stem and polished the briar (bowl and sanded shank end) with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down with a damp cloth after each pad. It really began to shine. I restained the shank end where I had sanded it to make the transition to the new stem smooth with an Oak stain pen. The colour was a perfect match. Once the bowl was buffed the newly stained section will blend in even better. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the smooth briar with my finger tips. The product is amazing and works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let it sit on the briar for 10 or more minutes and then buff it off with a soft cloth. It really makes the grain sing. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I flattened out the file marks as much as possible with a flat file. I knew I would not remove them this way but I wanted make them flatter. I filled in the deeper cut marks with clear CA glue and once it was hard smoothed out the repairs with 220 grit sandpaper and started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a cloth and Obsidian Oil. I finished the polishing with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. I used my heat gun to bend the vulcanite stem to match the angles of the bowl and give it a proper Bent Bulldog look. I put the pipe together – the bowl with its new stem. This restored and restemmed Bertram Washington DC Grade 60 Bent Bulldog is a real beauty and I think the chosen stem works well with it. The grain on the bowl came alive with the buffing. I used Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel on both the bowl and stem. I gave both multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel then buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The Bertram Bent Bulldog feels great in the hand. It is lightweight and the contrast in the browns of the briar and the polished vulcanite stem with the popping grain on the mixed brown stained bowl is quite amazing. The dimensions of the pipe are Length:5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.31 ounces/37 grams. It really is a beauty. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store in the American Pipe Makers section shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Thanks for walking through the restemming and the restoration with me. Cheers.

It is about time to Breath Life into a new Frankenpipe


Blog by Steve Laug

I have not created a Frankenpipe for a long time. I call them Frankenpipes with a tip of the hat to Mary Shelley’s grand creation Frankenstein. These remind me of her story what with the gathering of parts, “stitching” them together and breathing life into them. It is a thoroughly creative process I enjoy and I suppose there is always the possibility of crafting of a monster. Over the years I have crafted quite a few of these pipes and they tend to stay in my collection. You can search on the blog and see the variety of Frankenpipes that have come together. I find them incredibly enjoyable because they are very different from a restoration. Truly it is looking at a bunch of parts and imagining combining them into something that reflects the parts but as a whole it very different from any of them.

This afternoon I had an urge to make a Frankenpipe so after work I went through my parts. I found some parts that with some imagination could make an interesting looking pipe – at least in my mind’s eye. The parts for this Frankenpipe have all been around for a long time. The bowl is one I have had in a box here that had a snapped tenon in the shank. The stem had disappeared a long time ago and I did not have a stem for it that interested me. It is a large magnum sized “Malaga” bowl. It is far from a perfect piece of briar with a bald spot on the front left of the bowl. The rim top has burn marks and the bowl is out of round – thicker on the front side of the bowl than either side of the back of the bowl. The inner edge had a burned in “bevel” on the back right. The finish was worn and tired with black streaks over the bald spot on the left front of the bowl. It needed some serious TLC to bring life to it. Jeff had done his thorough clean up on the bowl so it was ready to work on. Here is what I saw with the bowl! As I stared at the bowl I thought that a band might look interesting on it. Don’t ask me why because as yet I had not chosen a stem for the bowl. I just thought a band would work. I went through my box of bands and nothing turned my crank or caught my eye. Then I remembered a bag of parts that I have from the mid to late 1800s. In that bag were several unique and original bands. There was one that caught my eye and I really thought it had promise. I took it out of the bag and found that it was in excellent condition and was probably never used. Here are some pictures of the decorative brass band.At that point I had an aha moment. I remembered an odd stem that I had in my collection of stems that just might be the thing that I was looking for on this Frankenpipe. It was unique and one that Jeff had picked up and save for me. I had never found a use for it but now I thought I might have. The two knuckle bamboo shank and acrylic stem is a single that has bend bonded together. The stem is thus a unit with the bamboo and the Delrin tenon on the other end is also integrated. It is drilled for a filter so I found a repair tenon that I could craft into an adapter to convert the tenon to a regular pipe sans filter. It would be removable if needed. Here is what it looked like with and without the tenon adapter. (The adapter would need to be shortened but you get the idea.)All of the parts have been here for quite a while. All of them give silent testimony to my crazy propensity to collect parts!! And all of them would finally come together to form a new Frankenpipe that was more than the sum of its parts. Read along as I walk through my process.

I began the work by addressing the issues with the bowl. I tried to pull the broken tenon with a screw. It was stuck so I put the bowl in the freezer for a little while. After about 10 minutes I tried again and was successful pulling the tenon out of the shank.With that finished I need to address the shank of the pipe to fit the conical ferrule/band that I had chosen. In the next photos you can see that I have chosen to shape the shank end to match the flow of the band. I did this with a Dremel and sanding drum and smooth it out with files and sandpaper. I was careful to leave the original Malaga stamp intact. I was not as concerned with the Imported Briar stamp on the right side of the shank. Progress is being made.I did a bit more shaping on the shank end. The decorative band now fit it quite well. I put the parts side by side and took some photos of the parts of the pipe. I took photos from various angles and sides. Can you begin to see what I am seeing with this pipe? I think it is going to work. Do you? Now back to work on the bowl! I decided to deal with the rim top damage by topping the bowl. It was in rough shape so I used 150 grit sandpaper on a topping board and remove the damaged parts of the rim top. It looked better. I worked over the inner edge of the rim with a folded piece of 150 sandpaper to give it all a bevel to match the burn damage at the back of the bowl. At this point I wanted to try the fit of the band on the shank. I heated it slightly with a lighter and pressed in place. I like what I am seeing. I removed the band once it cooled and went to work some more on the bowl. It needed to be polished and stained before I set the band in place but I wanted to have a look. Didn’t you? I wiped the bowl and shank down with acetone on a cotton pad to try to remove the dark patches and the remnants of the stain. All of this was in preparation for the future staining of the bowl. I polished the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads to prepare it for staining. I wiped it down with a damp cloth to remove the debris after each pad. I stained the polished bowl with Fiebings Light Brown aniline stain. I applied the stain, flamed it and repeated the process until I was happy with the coverage. I set it aside to dry.Once the stain dried I wiped the bowl down with alcohol to make the stain more transparent. I buffed the pipe on the buffer with both Red Tripoli and Blue Diamond to further reduce the heaviness of the colour. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my finger tips. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let it sit on the briar for 10 minutes then buffed it off with a soft cloth. With the bowl finished and the stain cured it was time to press the band in place. I gave it a thin layer of white all purpose glue on the inside of the band and pressed it onto the shank end. It looks quite fetching to me. I set it aside to let the glue cure but I like it! I set the bowl aside and worked on the tenon adapter and the stem surface. I used the Dremel and sanding drum to shorten the adapter until the fit in the tenon allowed the shank to fit snug against the shank end.With the internals finished it was time to work on the tooth marks and chatter on the surface of the acrylic stem. I sanded them smooth with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I started polishing the stem surface with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I dry sanded the stem with the pads and wiped it down with a damp cloth after each pad. I finished the polishing with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final buff with a cloth and Obsidian Oil. I put the parts of the Frankenpipe together and took the pipe to the buffer. I buffed it with Blue Diamond and really like the way the brass and bamboo polished up. They looked great after buffing. The bowl and stem also shone but I expected that really. The combination of the darker stain on the bowl, the antique brass band, the 2 knuckle bamboo with developing patina and the black acrylic stem came together even better than expected. I gave the pipe several coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe really shone with rich hues. The dimensions of this Frankenpipe are Length: 5 ½ inches from the front of the bowl to tip of the stem, Height: 2 inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 69 grams/ 2.47 ounces. It really surprised me as it looks to be a much bigger pipe than it is. I would say it is Dunhill Group 5 pipe at least in terms of bowl size. It really is a beautiful pipe in person and it will be staying with me along with the other Frankenpipes I have crafted. I am looking forward to enjoying a bowl shortly. It was a fun pipe to work on. I hope you enjoyed the process as you read about it. Thank you for taking time to read about it. As Paresh says – Stay safe/Stay healthy.

New Life for a Butz-Choquin Regate 1282 Zulu


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table is one that came to us from Australia. It went to Jeff first then was shipped to me. It is a well traveled pipe that was purchased in 2020 from the estate of a fellow pipeman in Australia, shipped to the US and then to Canada. The shape is very nice, with the forward canted bowl and the quarter bent stem. It is a great shape with a taper vulcanite stem. The finish was dirty with grime ground into the finish around the bowl sides. There was a thick cake in the bowl and lava overflow on the top of the rim – heavier on the backside of the rim top but nonetheless on the entire rim top. There was some burn damage on the right front inner beveled edge of the bowl. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Butz-Choquin at an angle [over] Regate. On the right side it reads St. Claude – France [over] the shape number 1282. The stem was lightly oxidized and there were tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. The taper stem also has a BC stamped on the left side. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started the clean up work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and well as the nicks, lava and darkening on the rim top. The inner edges showed some burn damage on the inner bevel of the bowl. The outer edges of the bowl appeared to be in great condition. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the light oxidation and the chatter and tooth marks. Jeff took a photo the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of the beautiful grain around the bowl and shank. There were also shiny spots of varnish around the bowl and shank sides. The stamping on the sides of the shank is clear and readable and read as noted above. There is also BC stamp on the left side of the stem. I turned to Pipephil’s site and looked for information on the Butz – Choquin Regate I was working on (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-butzchoquin.html). As always there was a good, brief description of the history of the brand.

I turned to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Butz-Choquin) to see what I could find on the brand that the Regate line there. I found a catalogue page from Doug Valitchka on the Regate that listed the pipe line and a description (https://pipedia.org/wiki/File:BC10.jpg). I have captured that image below. The description under the Regate heading reads –

Regate (and the description below is in both French and English)

Les veines classique qui rallie les suffrages de la plupart des fumeurs

A great classic which meets with the approval of the majority of smokers.

I have also included another picture from Doug Valitchka that shows the shape of the pipe that I am working on (https://pipedia.org/wiki/File:BC06.jpg). It is the second shape that is shown on the page – Shape 1282. The shape is called a Genoises. Now it was time to work on the pipe. Jeff had cleaned up the pipe following his usual procedures. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with 99% isopropyl alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe once I received it.  The rim top cleaned up really well. But the cleaning revealed some serious burn damage on the rim top and front inner edge toward the right side. The stem surface looked good and the light tooth marks and chatter would be easy to address. The stamping on the sides of the shank is readable and reads as noted above.I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the shape and the grain on the bowl and shank. It was a great looking shape and would be a beautiful pipe when I was finished. I decided to start my work on the pipe by wiping the bowl down with acetone on a cotton pad to remove the heavy stain around parts of the bowl sides. I wanted really be able to see the grain on the bowl. I dealt with the damage to the rim top by topping it on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I cleaned up the beveled inner edge of the rim with 220 grit sandpaper to remove as much of the burn damage as possible. I polished the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad.  It was beginning to look good to my eyes. I stained the inner edge and rim top with an Oak Stain Pen to match the rest of the surrounding bowl. It helps to blend in the burned area some more. The rim top and edges definitely look better than when I started.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 ten minutes then buffed the bowl with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” both sides of the stem with the flame of a lighter to lift the tooth marks. It did a great job and left only one deep mark on the underside and some lighter tooth marks on the topside along the button. I filled them in with clear CA glue and once it cured I used a small file to sharpen the edge of the button and smooth out the repair. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the repairs. I started polishing it with 400 grit sandpaper.  I used some white acrylic fingernail polish to touch up the BC stamp on the left side of the stem. I painted it on with the brush and once it dried scraped it off and sanded it with a 1500 grit micromesh sanding pad.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. This Butz-Choquin Regate 1282 Zulu is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The combination of various brown stains around the bowl is quite beautiful and highlights grain very well. The finish works well with the polished curved 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 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 Butz-Choquin Regate Zulu sits 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: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ inch. The weight of the pipe is 35 grams/1.23 ounces. I will be putting it on the French Pipemakers section of the rebornpipes store shortly. 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! 

Resurrecting a Tired Warrior – a Butz-Choquin Casino 1575 Spigot Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table is a Butz-Choquin Spigot style pipe with a polished nickel ferrule and a polished nickel stem end. The pipe had classic shape and at first glance looked very good. We purchased this from an online auction late in 2020 in Elgin, South Carolina, USA. It had a rich finish somewhere underneath all of the debris, grime and damage to rim edges and sides. There was a thick cake in bowl and lava on the rim top. The rim top was uneven with dips and burns on the top. The front of the bowl had significant burn damage from the rim top down into the surface of the briar on the front. The left side had the same issue and had been worn away over time so that it was canted inward making that part of the bowl thinner on the side. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank Butz-Choquin at an angle [over] Casino and on the right side it was stamped St Claude in an arch over France [over] the shape number 1575. The nickel ferrule and stem end were oxidized and scratched. The stem was oxidized but had deep tooth marks on the top and underside near the button. The deepest marks were on the underside with one that was almost a bite through. The BC logo on the topside was faded and needed to be touched up. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his clean up work. I like to have an idea of how the pipe was smoked before we got it and what the bowl and rim top looked like. Jeff always takes some photos of the bowl and rim from various angles to show what it looked like. This bowl and rim top were in rough condition. The stem was a real mess with deep tooth marks and damage on both sides. He took a photo of the nickel ferrule and stem end to give a picture of their condition when we received the pipe. It definitely needs work. He took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a sense of the grain on the pipe. You can also see the damage around the top front and sides in the photos. Jeff captured the burn damage on the front of the bowl in the next photo and some of the nicks and gouges in the sides of the bowl in the second photo. There is work to do on this one!The next photos show the stamping on the left and right side of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above. Jeff also captured the BC stamp on the topside of the stem. I turned to Pipephil.eu and read through the listing on the brand. It is always a quick reminder to me of the basics of a brand. The Casino line was not listed there. I include the short summary of the history below.

The origin of the brand reaches back to 1858 when Jean-Baptiste Choquin in collaboration with his son-in-law Gustave Butz created their first pipe in Metz (France). Since 1951 Butz-Choquin  is a brand of the Berrod-Regad group (Saint-Claude, France).

Jean Paul Berrod managed the company from 1969 to 2002 when he retired and sold the corporate to Mr Fabien Gichon. Denis Blanc, already owner of EWA, took over the S.A. Berrod-Regad in 2006.

I could not find anything specific in Pipedia about the Casino line, but a simple search on the internet will show many different shapes available in the Casino line from Butz-Choquin.   Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff had done a great 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 bowl exterior with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the grime on the finish of the bowl and the lava from the rim top. 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 soaked the stem in Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water and cleaned out the airway in the stem with alcohol. When I received it the pipe looked very good.  I took a photo of the rim top and stem to show the condition. The rim top and the inner edge of the bowl were in rough shape. The outer edge had a lot of burn damage on the front and the left side. The rim top and inner edge also has significant burn damage and was not flat. The stem was vulcanite and there were some deep tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. The stamping on the pipe is clear and readable as noted above. The BC logo on the stem is deep and needs to be repainted with white (as seen in the photo of the top of the stem above).I started my work on this pipe by dealing with the damage to the outer edge of the bowl and rim top. I topped the bowl first on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I flattened out the rim top and made the top of the rim consistently flat. I removed much of the burn damage to the bowl top. I worked on the damaged areas on the left side and front of the bowl by building them up with briar dust and clear super glue. I built up the left side of the inner edge with super glue and briar dust as well. There the burn damage was shallow but it made the bowl out of round. I topped it once again to smooth out the repair on the rim top. I used a piece of dowel wrapped in sandpaper to sand the inner edge of the rim and smooth out the repair in that area. It worked well.I smoothed out the repairs on the left and front of the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper and blended them into the surrounding briar.I gave the inner edge of the bowl a slight bevel with 220 grit sandpaper to help reshape it and bring it back to round. The rim top and edges looked good at this point in the process.I restained the pipe with a light brown aniline stain. I applied it with a dauber and flamed it with a Bic lighter to set it in the grain. I repeated the process until I was happy with the coverage.Once the stain had dried I wiped the bowl down with 99% isopropyl alcohol to make it a bit more transparent. I find that doing a wipe down at this point evens the finish before I start polishing it with micromesh.I polished the briar with 1200-1500 micromesh sanding pads and wiping it down with damp cloth after each sanding pad. As I worked through the cycle of pads the shine developed with each change of pad. The damage on the rim sides looks better. I left some of the nicks and sandpits as they really are a part of the pipe’s story. 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 10 minutes, then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Balm did its magic and the grain stood out on the briar. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I decided to address the tooth marks on the stem. They were ragged, with sharp edges and heat did not lift them at all. I filled them in with clear super glue. I let the repairs cure and once they hardened I flattened and shaped them with a small file. I sanded them with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface of the stem. I started the polishing of the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I touched up the BC stamp on the left side of the stem with white acrylic nail polish. I worked it into the stamp with a tooth pick and then sanded off the excess once it had dried with a 1500 micromesh sanding pad.I polished it with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. The photos below show the polished stem. This Butz-Choquin Casino 1575 Spigot Billiard with a polished nickel ferrule and stem cap on a vulcanite stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. It was a lot of work and I took a decision to leave some of the journey of the pipe in the finish so it is far from flawless but it is a beauty. The rich browns of the stain made the grain come 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 BC Casino 1575 Spigot really 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 ¼ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.87oz./53grams. This beauty will be going off to its new trustee in Michigan along with several other nice pipes. 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 this Savinelli Made Duca Carlo Pot


Blog by Steve Laug

This July long weekend has been a bit of rest and relaxation for me as I have been able to take time in the basement at my work table and deal with pipes that have been piling up in the boxes around the table. I have posted two I have worked on already – both French Made – a Butz-Choquin Optima and a Chatham Volcano. They were interesting pipes because of the shape and style. This one was more of a relaxed restoration because it was a classic shape and did not present too many challenges. Jeff purchased this pipe from an antique mall Logan, Utah, USA. It had an interesting fire-like finish on it that reminded me of molten lava. The bowl was classic Pot shaped. There was a thick cake in bowl and lava on the rim top. There were nicks around the out edge of the rim  on the right side. There were several fills around the bowl sides. The finish was filthy with grit and grime ground into the surface of the briar. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank DUCA CARLO and on the underside across the shank just below the shank/stem union it was stamped ITALY. I remembered that the pipe was a Savinelli made pipe but I could not remember how it was connected. I would need to check the blog. The stem was oxidized and had light tooth marks and chatter on both sides at the stem. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his clean up work. I like to have an idea of how the pipe was smoked before we got it and what the bowl and rim top looked like. Jeff always takes some photos of the bowl and rim from various angles to show what it looked like. He also captured the nicked right outer edge. The stem looked very good under the oxidation. He took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a sense of the grain on the pipe. You can also see the fills on the right side of the bowl. The next two photos show the stamping on the left side and underside of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above.I did a quick scan of the rebornpipes blog and found a link to the Duca Carlo pipe that Dal Stanton had restored (https://thepipesteward.com/2021/05/04/liberating-the-grain-of-a-candy-apple-finish-a-savinelli-duca-carlo-poker-of-italy/). I always appreciate the research that Dal does when he works on pipes because it is what I like doing when I am restoring the pipes on my table. I quote from the portion of the blog that gives the background information on the brand. (Thanks Dal for the leg work on this one!)

Whenever I work on a pipe, I’m always interested to know something of the pipe.  My first stop at Pipedia reveals that the Duca Carlo is a second of Savinelli, the well-known Italian pipe manufacturer.Savinelli’s history as an Italian pipe maker goes back to 1876 – a rich history and tradition which can be read in Pipedia’s Savinelli article.  The Duca Carlo is listed in the main Savinelli article within an extensive listing of “Savinelli made sub-brands, seconds & order productions”.  The Duca (Duke) Carlo is listed with the Duca di Milano and Duca di Paolo giving the impression that Savinelli produced these as special lines commemorating these historical figures.  With a quick internet search brings me to a Wikipedia article.  Duca Carlo reveals an interesting story of a child that died of smallpox at age 3 (See: Carlo, Duke of Calabria):

Carlo of Naples and Sicily (ItalianCarlo Tito Francesco Giuseppe; 4 January 1775 – 17 December 1778) was Duke of Calabria as heir to Naples and Sicily. Born at the Caserta Palace near Naples, he was known as the Duke of Calabria at birth as the heir apparent to his father’s throne. His mother was a daughter of Empress Maria Theresa and thus sister of Marie Antoinette.

A member of the House of Bourbon, he was a prince of Naples and Sicily by birth. He was the hereditary prince of Naples. His birth allowed his mother to have a place in the Council of State, pursuant to his parents’ marriage contract.

Carlo died of smallpox[1] aged 3. Six of his younger siblings would die of smallpox also: Princess Maria Anna (in 1780), Prince Giuseppe (in 1783), Prince Gennaro (in 1789), Prince Carlo Gennaro (also in 1789), Princess Maria Clotilde (in 1792) and Princess Maria Enricheta (also in 1792).  He was buried at the Church of Santa Chiara in Naples.

The only other reference to the Duca series in the Savinelli Pipedia article comes from a photo that does not mention a name, but the stem stamping is clearly from the Duca series of pipes listed.  No dating on the picture can be seen.The Savinelli Duca line is confirmed by my next stop. Pipephil (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-d9.html) gives two examples of Savinelli Ducas – a Duca Carlo and Duca Eraldo.  Consistent between each example is the crown stem stamping.Armed with the information that I had gleaned from Dal’s blog, I turned my attention to the pipe itself. Jeff had done a great 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 bowl exterior with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the grime on the finish of the bowl and the lava from the rim top. 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 soaked the stem in Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water and cleaned out the airway in the stem with alcohol. When I received it the pipe looked very good. I took a photo of the rim top and stem to show the condition. The rim top and the inner edge of the bowl were in good condition. There were some nicks on the right outer edge of the bowl but otherwise it looked good. The stem was vulcanite and there were some tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. The stem is made for a 6mm filter or a Savinelli Balsa Filter System.The stamping on the pipe is clear and readable as noted above. There are the remnants of the crown stamp on the left side of the saddle stem.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. I started my work on this pipe by addressing the nicks along the edges. I filled them in with a clear CA glue and set them aside to cure. Once cured I blended them into the surrounding briar with a 1500 grit micromesh sanding pad. I touched up the rim top with a Walnut stain pen to blend it into the surrounding briar. I would probably need to do a bit more work on it but I liked what I saw. I sanded the bowl with micromesh sanding pads, dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads and wiping it down with damp cloth after each sanding pad. As I worked through the cycle of pads the shine developed with each change of pad. The pipe looks very 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 10 minutes, then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Balm did its magic and the grain stood out on the briar. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I polished it with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. The photos below show the polished stem. I fit the stem with a Savineli 6mm Balsa System filter. The fit was perfect and the draw seems remarkably open. This Savinelli Made Duca Carlo Italian Pot 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 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 Duca Carlo Pot 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 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.31oz./37grams. This beauty will be going on the rebornpipes store in the Italian Pipe Makers section. Let me know if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!