Tag Archives: Stem repairs

Just a few minor details – a Broken Tenon and a Cracked Shank on a Hardcastle Special Selection 7 Bulldog


Blog by Steve Laug

Not too long ago I received an email from a reader of rebornpipes regarding a pipe he was restoring. It was a beautiful little Hardcastle Bulldog that is stamped on the left underside Hardcastle over Special Selection over the number 7. He had finished cleaning and restoring it and it was looking good. He had done a thorough job, as I would see later in this post. He went on to tell me about how he had repeated my misadventure when buffing the pipe. Not long ago I posted about having finished a pipe and having the buffer snatch it from my hands and fling it against the floor. I snapped the tenon off a pipe I had finished while doing the final buffing. He wrote that he had done the same thing exactly. He wanted to know if I would be willing to put a new tenon on the stem. He noted a hairline crack at the shank/bowl junction and wondered if I would be willing to deal with that at the same time. We wrote back and forth and he sent me the following photos. The first one shows the cleaned up pipe ready for buffing.The next photo he sent shows the crack at the top of the shank on both topsides of the diamond. It stopped on both sides before it got to the edge of the diamond.The third photo shows the stem with the snapped tenon. He did a far better job snapping it off than I had done on mine. My broken tenon was jagged and needed to be sanded smooth before I could replace the tenon.He sent the pipe to me Vancouver for me to work on. It is funny in that it took a longer time to arrive from Idaho than pipes I have received from the east coast. But when it arrived I took photos of it. I have a container of threaded tenons here that I use for replacement tenons on pipes. I like the way they grip in the drilled out stem. Once they are anchored in place with glue on the threads, there is little chance that they will come out. I went through my tenons and found one that would fit the mortise with a little adjustment – the fit was tight and it was a little long for the shank.I set up my cordless drill and chose a bit that was close to the size of the airway in the stem. I have learned to work my way gradually through bits until I get to the size of the threaded portion of the new tenon. Doing it this way keeps the stem material from chipping or breaking away with the pressure of the drill bit. I turn the stem onto the stationary drill by hand so that I can control the depth of the bit. I mark the bit with scotch tape ahead of time to measure the depth of the drilled out airway that I need to have when I am finished.Once I had the airway opened enough to take the threaded end I used a tap to cut threads on inside of the newly opened airway. I turned the tenon in place on the stem to check the fit against the face of the stem.I checked the fit against the end of the mortise and found that the tenon was too long. I used a Dremel and sanding drum to bring it down to the correct length and cleaned up the end of the tenon with the topping board.I glued the new tenon in place in the stem with medium viscosity black superglue. It allows me time to adjust and align it so that it fits the mortise well and leaves no gaps.I set the stem aside overnight to allow the glue to cure. In the morning, I fine-tuned the fit so that it sat well in the shank. I chamfered/beveled the airway in the end of the new tenon to maximize the airflow into the stem.I put the stem in place in the shank and took photos of the newly repaired stem. This little Hardcastle Bulldog is a really beauty and extremely lightweight. The Cumberland stem looks good with the briar and gives the pipe an elegant appearance. I polished the stem and the tenon with micromesh sanding pads to remove any remaining scratches. I set the stem aside and turned my attention to the crack on the shank/bowl junction. I examined the crack with a bright light and a lens to make sure I could see the ends of the crack on both sides of the shank. It was a tight hairline crack so I just needed to stop it from spreading further. I drilled the end of the crack on both sides of the top of the shank using my Dremel and a microdrill bit. I slow the Dremel down to a speed of 10 so that I can carefully put the holes at the crack ends without it either going too deep in the shank or bouncing across the surface of the shank. It did not take too long to drill the holes.I took it back to the work table and took photos showing the two drill holes. The plan now was to use a dental pick to see if I could open the crack at all. I wanted to be able to put superglue into the crack to seal the two sides. It did not budge so I scratched it with the pick to provide a rough surface for the glue to adhere.I ran a bead of clear super glue the length of the crack from drill hole to drill hole. I put a drop of glue into each drill hole to fill them in. Since they are so tiny, I don’t bother with briar dust. I used the end of the dental pick to push the glue deep into the drill hole and refilled it to a bubble.Once the glue hardened I sanded it smooth to match the surface of the shank using 220 and 320 grit sandpaper folded to fit the angle of the junction. I sanded the area until the repair was smooth with the surface of the shank. I wanted the transition to be seamless. I took a close up photo of the repair on both sides of the shank to show what I had to deal with in terms of blending it into the finish of the bowl and shank.I sanded the repair with micromesh sanding pads to remove the scratches left behind by the sand paper. I worked through 1500-4000 grit pads to polish the shank. I polished the gold band with the higher grades of micromesh as well to give them a richer gleam. The repairs were slightly lighter in colour than the rest of the shank and the bowl so they would need to be restained. I restained the repaired area with a medium brown stain pen to blend it into the colour of the bowl and shank. I buffed the stained areas by hand with a microfibre cloth.I wrote to the pipeman who owned it and told him I had finished the repair to the shank and the stem and was touching up the stain. He wrote back to say that I had carte blanche to finish the pipe in any stain I saw fit. That was the go ahead I needed. I wanted to highlight the red hues in the briar that stood out in the bright light. I also knew that a red stain would allow me to blend in the repaired areas on the shank/bowl junction better. So I chose to stain the pipe with Danish Oil with Cherry stain. I am really happy with how the red of the stain works to highlight the grain. It also goes really well with the Cumberland stem and its red striations.I warmed the briar and applied the stain with a cotton pad. The nature of Danish Oil stain is that it highlights grain and breathes life into the wood. I let it sit for 10 minutes and hand buffed it off the bowl and shank. I took the next four photos of the finished bowl once I had hand buffed it. I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel to polish out any remaining scratches in the finish of the briar or the Cumberland. I gave them multiple coats of carnauba wax to protect the finish and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise a shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. I hand buffed the gold band on the shank with a jeweler’ cloth to polish and shine it. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I really like the finished look of the pipe. It is a beautiful and well executed Bulldog and it should serve its owner well. I plan on letting him know that if it does not fit his collection it will always have a home here. Thanks for looking.

Refreshing a Nording Hand Made Freehand Pipe


Blog by Steve Laug

One of the most unusual pipes in the estate pipes that my brother Jeff purchased and sent to me recently was a freehand that is stamped on the underside of the shank with the words NORDING over MADE IN DENMARK. The plateau on the top of the bowl and the end of the shank is black in colour and is rough to the touch. It is a nice contrast to the cherry and brown stain of the rest of the bowl and shank. The smooth portions are stained with a contrast of a dark stain and a red cherry stain. The contrast is very beautiful and makes the grain pop. The stem is a nicely turned freehand style stem. There is a barrel at the end of the tenon that has several turns that make it look barrel like. There is then a pinched area above the barrel and then a tapered stem.The plateau on the rim and the shank end were dirty with dust and grime. The smooth portion of the bowl and shank was grimy but undamaged. There was also no damage to the plateau portions of the bowl. There was a light cake in the bowl. My brother took the photo above and the rest of the photos that follow to show the condition of the pipe when he brought it home.He took some photos from a variety of angles around the bowl to show the grain that covered the bowl sides, bottom and the shank sides, top and bottom. The last photo shows the Nording over Made in Denmark stamping on the underside of the shank. He took some close up photos of the rim top to show the condition of the plateau. It was undamaged but dirty. You can see the condition of the cake in the bowl in these photos.The stem was oxidized and had the now familiar tooth chatter and tooth marks in the vulcanite on both sides near the button. They were also on the top and bottom sides of the button.My brother did his usual good job cleaning the inside and the outside of the pipe. He reamed it with a PipNet reamer and cleaned out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem. He scrubbed the finish with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to clean out the dust from the plateau on the rim and the shank end. He scrubbed the stem as well. The pipe was impeccably clean when it arrived in Vancouver. I took the following four photos to show the condition before I finished the restoration. I took a close up photo of the rim top. There were some spots on the rim that needed to be touched up with black stain. The bowl was very clean.The next two photos show the stem on both sides. The oxidation is more evident on the top than the bottom. The tooth chatter and tooth marks are on both the top and the bottom of the stem near the button.I touched up the spots on the rim top with a black Sharpie pen and then waxed the plateau on the rim and the shank end with Conservator’s Wax and buffed it with a shoe brush to raise the shine.I lightly buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel and hand polished it. I took photos of what the bowl looked like at this point in the process. I laid the bowl aside and worked on the stem. I sanded the stem with 320 grit sandpaper to break up the oxidation on the surface. I worked the sandpaper into the grooves in the tenon end of the stem. The oxidation still remained but it was much softer and closer to the surface.I wiped the stem down with some Obsidian Oil and then cleaned out the airway in the stem and cleaned the airway in the shank and the mortise at the same time. The interior was very clean so it took no effort to clean it out.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and starting the process of polishing it. I rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil and then took it to the buffer and buffed it with red Tripoli. I worked on all the rings and surfaces of the stem with the Tripoli and the wheel to remove more of the oxidation. I polished it more by dry sanding it with 3200-1200 grit pads to further remove the oxidation and bring the shine to the surface. I gave it several more coats of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to let the oil be absorbed in to the vulcanite. I buffed the finished pipe with Blue Diamond polish on the wheel carefully avoiding the plateau areas. I polished the minute scratches out of the sides of the bowl and from the surface of the stem. I gave the smooth portions of the bowl and shank and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the entire pipe with a soft microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos that follow. It is a beautiful piece of briar and the stains on the plateau portions and the smooth provide a good contrast. The plateau portions and the black of the vulcanite stem highlight the dark striations of the grain on the bowl sides. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 7 inches, Height: 2 inches, Diameter of the outer bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 inches. This pipe is available to any of you who want to add it to their collection. It is just a bit large for my liking or I would keep it myself. I will post it on the rebornpipes store shortly. Send me an email to slaug@uniserve.com or a private message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.

Freshening up a GBD Topaz 559 Bulldog


Blog by Steve Laug

This is another of the pipes that came from that estate sale that my brother picked up recently. It is a classic GBD shape. It is stamped GBD in an oval over TOPAZ on the left side of the shank and London, England over 559 on the right side of the shank. On the left underside of the shank next to the stem/shank junction it is stamped with a P. The Topaz line was introduced in about 1980. From a Pipedia link with a list of GBD lines I quote: “Probably the most perfect harmony of combining the soft beige tones of the Hand Cut Acrylic mouthpiece with complimentary shades of brown in the Briar.” This GBD is probably made after the merger by Cadogan, who also makes Comoys, Dr. Plumb’s Perfect Pipes, BBB, and Orlik Pipes. Since the merger in 1981 GBD pipes are not considered to be of the same quality that they were originally. Though the brass rondels were discontinued after the merger they once again reappeared on new production GBD’s. (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD_Model_Information, https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD_Model_Information#List_of_GBD_Models.)

My brother sent me the following photos of the pipe before he cleaned it up to send to me. (I have to say by the way that I really like working on clean pipes. It makes the job so much easier for me. Thanks Jeff.) He took some close up photos of the sides of the bowl and the rim to give an idea of the condition when he brought it back from the estate sale. The bowl had a thick cake that had overflowed onto the beveled rim and top leaving a nice coat of lava. I was hoping that once he removed it that we would find that the lava protected the bowl rim from damage. He took some photos of the stamping that I noted above. The stamping was sharp and readable. The P stamp on the underside of the stem on the left was readable as well. I am not clear what the stamp means however. Do any of you know what the meaning of it is? The brass roundel is not worn and is very clean. It is a little hard to see from the photos of the stem shown below but this pipe had the same kind of tooth chatter and marks that the rest of the pipes in this estate had. They were worse on the underside of the stem but they were present on the top as well.My brother did a very thorough job reaming and cleaning this pipe. The internals and externals were very clean. The bowl looked well reamed and showed that the pipe had never been smoked to the bottom of the bowl – there was still fresh briar at the bottom ¼ of the bowl. The next four photos show what the pipe looked like when it arrived in Vancouver and I brought it to the work table. I took a close up photo of the rim to show the change from the caked and dirty pipe that Jeff started with. It is amazing how well the lava protected the bevel and the rim top.I ran a pipe cleaner through the airway in the stem and the shank and they were very clean. I used a cotton swab to clean around the step down on the tenon and in the mortise. These too were clean.The right side of the bowl had a lightened area where the stain had worn away from the original owner’s hand. I touched it up with a dark brown stain pen. It blended very well. When it dried I hand buffed it and gave the bowl a coat of Conservator’s Wax to protect it.I took some photos of the stem to try to capture the tooth damage and chatter on both sides. It is hard to see with the copper Lucite but it is very present. You can see a bit of it showing up toward the bottom of the second photo.I sanded out the tooth marks and chatter with 320 grit sandpaper. It did not take much sanding to remove all of the marks and chatter as they were not too deep in the acrylic. I polished the acrylic with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with a damp cotton pad between each sanding pad to remove the dust and check the progress. The photos below tell the story. I put the stem back in place on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I polished out the minute scratches in the briar and Lucite with that buffing. I gave the pipe and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos that follow. It is a beautiful pipe with a lot of character. The dark stain and the copper coloured variegated Lucite stem work really well together. The contrast is really stunning. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ inches. The pipe is ready to pass on to its next pipe man. It should serve the next owner for a long time. If you are interested in adding it to your rack email me at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a private message on FaceBook. I will be putting this one on the rebornpipes store shortly. Thanks for looking.

Breathing Life into an Antique Imported Briar Bull Moose


Blog by Steve Laug

There is something about these older Mincer style pipes that grabs my attention. I am drawn to their rustic appearance and feel in the hand. This one was a Bullmoose shape – though the “nose” on it is much more conservative than many of these that I have seen. The stamping on the left side of the shank is a standing lion inside of a shield and next to that ANTIQUE over Imported Briar. I have searched on the web and in my books for this logo and cannot find it but I did find a listing for the ANTIQUE in Who Made That Pipe for a company called Heritage Pipes Inc. NYC. The company is to be distinguished from the Heritage line made by Kaywoodie as a high end alternative to Dunhill pipes. I have looked for information on the company online but so far have not found any. Anyone have any information on the brand?

My brother took photos of the pipe before he cleaned it up. I have included those photos below. It is an interesting pipe.The next photos of the pipe show the damage on the rim top. The three different photos show the damaged areas from different angles. The rim top looked like it was damaged on the inner and outer edges of the bowl. The top looked like the finish was peeling but I would know more about it once I had it in hand. He took photos of the rusticated bowl sides. The smooth portions show grain. The double rings around the bowl cap have nicks and chips out of the top and bottom edges of the rims as well as the centre spacer. The next photo shows the stamping on the left hand side of the shank. Metal shank insert that separates the stem from the shank is oxidized.The stem is oxidized and has tooth chatter and tooth marks on both sides near the button. It is also overclocked making the stem sit crooked in the shank.My brother reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer and cleaned out the insides. Pipes with the threaded metal mortise hold a lot of grime and tars so I will need to clean it further. The exterior was scrubbed with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush and the grime and deteriorating finish was removed completely. The stem oxidation came to the surface in the cleaning. The next four photos show the condition of the pipe when I received it. I took a close up photo of the rim to show what it looked like when it arrived. Fortunately the areas on the rim that looked like flaking in the early photos was only lava buildup and it was gone. I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw that.The next two photos show the stem. The tooth chatter was lighter on the top of the stem than the underside. There were two deep tooth marks on the underside. The button edge on the topside was dented from teeth as well.I took the stem off the shank and was surprised that the conical stinger apparatus was gone. I heated the metal tenon with a lighter until the glue softened and twisted the stem around in the mortise until it lined up straight on the shank.I sanded the rim top and the inner beveled edge of the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage and the darkening. It did not take too much work to smooth out the dents and nicks and clean out the darkened inner edge of the bowl.To repair the chip out of the ring around the cap on the bowl on the right side I filled in the gap with briar dust and put drops of clear super glue on top of the dust. I used a dental spatula and a knife to recut the twin rings around the cap. Once it dried I sanded the repaired area on the ring and the rim top with a medium and fine grit sanding sponge and with 1500-6000 grit micromesh sanding pads to smooth out the scratches left behind by the paper.I cleaned out the inside of the mortise and the airway in the shank and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol until the cleaners came out white.I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the oxidation and then used black super glue to fill in the tooth marks on the top edge of the button and the underside of the stem.When the glue dried I sanded the stem with 320 grit sand paper and polished it with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 and dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down after each pad with Obsidian Oil. After sanding it with the 4000 grit pad I buffed it with red Tripoli on the buffing wheel then finished polishing it with the final three grits of micromesh. I gave it a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. I stained the bowl with Cherry Danish Oil and wiped it down to give it a shine. I wanted to highlight the red colours in the briar. The colour came out really well and the grain shines through on the rim and the smooth portions of the bowl and shank. I buffed it lightly with a shoe brush. The photos below show the staining and the finished bowl. I buffed the stem some more with red Tripoli and with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to polish out the oxidation that still remained at the junction of the stem and shank. I gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and gave the bowl several coats of Conservator’s Wax. I buffed the bowl with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The dimensions on the pipe are Length: 5 1/2 inches, Height: 1 1/2 inches, Outer diameter: 2 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 inches. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It really is a nice looking older piece of pipe history and should make a great addition to someone’s pipe rack. It will go on the rebornpipes store shortly. If you would like to purchase it contact me via private message on Facebook or through my email at slaug@uniserve.com. Thanks for looking.

 

New Life or an Oval Shank Whitehall Saratoga Dublin


Blog by Steve Laug

Not long ago I received and email from Dave, a reader of the blog, asking about a couple of pipes that he had picked up. This is the second of the two pipes – the Whitehall Saratoga. I have included part of his email below. He gives his assessment regarding the pipes and what he wanted done.

Steve… I have recently been gifted 2 estate pipes that I would love to have reincarnated by your hands? I am not sure of the cost and wanted to speak with you first… The 2 pipes in question are not in bad shape, just have some age, cake and minimal wear; one is a Whitehall rusticated with saddle stem and the other a Pear shaped Dr. Grabow Westbrook… I have attached some images with this email so that you have some idea of how they look. If you need additional images please let me know. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Regards, Dave The pipe was in pretty decent shape over all. The rim was dirty but the inner and outer edges were in good shape. The finish was worn and dirty but the carved striations looked good. The smooth patches around the shank, the underside and the two panels on the bowl sides were scratched but otherwise clean. The stem was oxidized and had some deep tooth marks on both the top and underside near the button. The W stamp on the top of the saddle was faint and worn. I would need to be careful in cleaning the oxidation not to damage the logo stamp. The photos below show the condition of the pipe when I received it. I took a close up photo of the stamping on the shank. The stamp is clearly legible and reads Whitehall over Saratoga over Briar Italy. The second photo shows the rim and bowl condition. There was still a light cake that would need to be scraped out but it was really quite nice.I took photos of the stem. It is hard to see the tooth dents in the photos below but they are present. There was a W on the top of the saddle stem that was a decal and it was coming off. The button is worn from use. The oxidation is quite deep.When I took the stem out there was a small stinger in the tenon. It was dirty but was easily removed and would be polished and put back in place.I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to break up the oxidation on the stem and reshape the button. I sanded out the shallower tooth marks to remove them. I wiped down the stem and repaired the deeper marks with black super glue. I set the stem aside to let the repairs cure. I turned my attention to the bowl. I scrubbed it with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the grime from the grooves in the briar on the bowl and rim. I rinsed the bowl down with warm water and dried it off with a towel. The freshened pipe is shown in the photos below. I reamed out the bowl to remove the last of the cake with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. It did not take too long to smooth out the remnants of the cake in the bowl. I scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. I went through a lot of pipe cleaners and cotton swabs before they came out clean.I restained the bowl with a dark brown aniline stain and flamed it with a lighter. I repeated the process until the coverage was even and I was happy with the results. I wiped down the bowl with alcohol on cotton pads to lighten the stain and make the contrast between the rusticated part and the smooth ones more obvious. I gave the pipe a coat of Conservator’s Wax and buffed it with a shoe brush to give it a shine and check out what the colour looked like. I took some photos of the polished bowl to show how it looked at this point in the process. The pipe is beginning to look really good. I sanded the top of the shank to remove the dark colour and make it more transparent at the stem shank junction. Note the nicks in the smooth portions of the bowl and shank. They are deep so I will not be able to sand them out. They actually act like marks of history of the journey of this pipe. It was not quite right. I wanted a little more red in the finished briar. I wiped the bowl down with alcohol on a cotton pad to remove the wax so I could do a bit of a contrast stain. For the second coat I rubbed down the bowl with a coat of Cherry Danish Oil to highlight the red colour in the briar. The combination of stains gives a nice contrast look to the pipe. I polished it with a soft cloth and took photos of the finished bowl. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I talked with Dave regarding the W decal on the saddle and we decided to remove it as it was worn and kept me from removing the oxidaiton on the saddle while trying to protect it. I resanded the with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the oxidation and the remnants of the decal. I polished it with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit pads and rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil between each pad. I dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads and repeated the oil treatments. I buffed the stem with red Tripoli on the buffing wheel and followed that with Blue Diamond polish. I gave the stem several coats of carnauba wax and polished it by hand. I buffed the stem with Blue Diamond to polish out some of the minute scratches in the surface. I gave the stem several coats of carnauba wax to protect and give it a shine. I hand waxed the bowl with Conservators Wax and buffed the bowl and stem with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I will be packing it up soon and sending it back to Dave so he can fire up a bowl and give this beauty a smoke. Thanks for looking.

Restoring an Unstamped Rhodesian Handmade


Blog by Steve Laug

When I saw this pipe that my brother picked up I was captivated by the grain. The unknown maker had done an amazing job of laying the shape out with the grain. The sides of the bowl and shank have stunning flame grain radiating from the point at the heel of the bowl. The heel and the cap on the bowl, as well as the top and the pointed bottom edge of the shank have beautiful birdseye grain. He sent me the following pictures to whet my appetite for this pipe. I like the Rhodesian shape and I like the combination of nice grain, a sterling silver band and a black vulcanite stem. This one had them all. The only oddities to me were the shape of the shank – it was an egg shape, pointed at the bottom and the freehand style panel stem. The bowl had a thick cake in it and it was scratched at about 11 o’clock in the photo below. It looked as if it could have been cracked but it was not once he had reamed it free of the cake. The finish was dirty and there was some darkening/burn marks on the back side of the cap. It appeared to me that it was originally a virgin finish but I would know more once I had it in Vancouver and had cleaned up the finish.The next two photos show the grain on the sides of the bowl and the bottom. There is birdseye toward the left side of the bottom of the bowl curving up to meet the grain on the sides.Underneath the oxidation and tarnish on the band it was stamped Sterling Silver in an arch. The stamping was centred on the top side of the shank.The stem was heavily oxidized and had tooth chatter on both sides near the button. On the underside of the button there were deep tooth marks and one of them was on the button. The chair leg style stem would be a challenge to clean up.My brother did his usual comprehensive clean up on the pipe. He was able to remove all of the cake in the bowl and on the rim. He cleaned up the dirty finish on the bowl and cleaned out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem. The stem was more oxidized from his cleanup but the oxidation was on the surface so it would be a bit simpler to work on. The next four photos show what the pipe looked like when I brought it to the work table. There was some rim damage on the back side of the bowl. You can see it in the photo below. There was some burn damage as well as some bad nicks in the burned area. The outer edge had been flattened at that point and would need to be reworked. I took close up photos of both sides of the stem to highlight the tooth marks and chatter on them. There were three sandpits on the bottom of the bowl. The first was on the right side and was the largest of the three. The second and third were on the opposite side and were mere pin prick flaws. I filled in the holes with clear super glue. When it dried I sanded it with a piece of 220 grit sandpaper and then with a medium and fine grit sanding sponge to blend it into the surrounding briar.I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the damaged rim and ready the back side for a repair. I was pretty sure that if I topped it most of the damage would be remedied and the burn mark would disappear. Fortunately it was not deep in the briar so the sanding took care of it. Once I had it smooth I sanded it with the medium and fine grit sanding sponge.I wiped the bowl down with alcohol on a cotton pad to remove any remaining oils and dirt on the on surface of the briar. The next set of four photos show the cleaned surface of the briar. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. The photos below tell the story of the polishing and interestingly the ring grain in the briar begins to show through by the polishing with the three final pads. I rubbed the polished briar down with a light coat of olive oil to highlight the grain and make it stand out. A little olive oil brings new life to the dry briar. This pipe truly  has some stunning grain as is evident in the following photos. I sanded out the tooth marks and chatter on the stem along with the oxidation with 220 grit sandpaper. The photo below shows the stem after the sanding. I rebuilt the dent in the button with black super glue. Once it was dry I sanded it to match the rest of the button.The stem had a very interesting tenon. It was short and it had what looked like threads on it. I decided to leave these in place rather than change the original shape of the tenon. I worked over the stem itself. I polished the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit pads. I rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil repeatedly during the sanding. The photo below shows the stem after being sanded with the first three pads. There is still evidence of oxidation in the rubber so it will take a lot more sanding and polishing before it is black again. I buffed it after this with red Tripoli on the buffing wheel and was able to remove more of it. I dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads (the second and third photos below) and again rubbed it down repeatedly with Obsidian Oil. Once it was finished I gave it a final coat of oil and let it dry. I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond a final time and worked to remove any remaining oxidation on the stem. The Blue Diamond is a plastic polish and it really brings a shine to the vulcanite. 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 finished buffing by hand to deepen the shine. I polished the silver band with a jeweler’s polishing cloth and removed the remaining tarnish. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I wish I knew who the unknown maker was. He or she did a great job making this pipe. The shape, the layout with the grain and the craftsmanship make this a pipe that will outlive me that is for certain. It is truly a beautiful pipe. Thanks for walking with me through the process of the restoration.

Reworking Rustication on a Savinelli Extra Lumberman


Blog by Steve Laug

My brother and I picked up this long shanked Canadian when I was in Idaho. We bought it from the same seller that had all of the Calabash pipes. It is a wire wheel rustication that follows the bowl at an angle and runs almost chevron like on the top and bottom of the shank. It is a large pipe. The dimensions are: length – 7 ½ inches, height – 2 inches, external diameter – 1 ½ inches, inner bowl diameter – ¾ inches. There were some obvious issues with the pipe that I will point out through the following photos. First of all the big picture look at the pipe. It is stamped Savinelli Extra Lumberman on the underside of the shank. Next to that it is stamped Italy. In the second photo below you can see the line where the two sections of shank are joined. The next two photos of the rim top and the underside of the bowl and shank show some of the other issues. The rim top was worn smooth in places and the front right outer edge was rough from knocking the pipe out on hard objects. There was also some cake on the wall that needed to come out on the front right of the inner edge. The underside of the shank shows a hairline crack above the Lumberman and Italy stamping and another at the edge of the bowl just above my thumb. There was also a hard patch of something stuck to the bottom front of the bowl that was hard and rough. I am not sure if it is a repair or what but it will need to be addressed.The band on the shank is part of a shank repair that had been done on the pipe. The shank had been smoothed out and most of the rustication removed under and in front of the band. There was a repaired crack on the underside of the shank. The band was loose on the shank as the glue had dried. The band is an aftermarket repair band and not original. The replacement stem has been poorly fitted to the shank end. The diameter of the oval stem does not match that of the shank and band.There were definitely a lot of little issues that needed to be addressed on this long shanked Canadian but there was something about it that attracted me to its potential. I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper and removed the damage to the outer and inner edges of the rim.I pressed some briar dust into the small crack on the right side of the bowl toward the bottom and added some clear superglue. I repaired the hairline crack on the shank and on the lower left side of the bowl – drilling the ends carefully with a microdrill and then filling in the crack with briar dust and super glue. I circled the small cracks in red in the photos below.I used a series of dental burrs and drill bits on the Dremel to replicate the striated pattern of the wire rustication on the bowl and shank. It took some slow and careful handwork. I ran the Dremel at a speed of 5 so that I could easily maneuver it around the bowl and shank to match the pattern of the rustication. I used it to remove most of the thick, hard spot on the front of the bowl and match the rustication pattern surrounding it. I reworked the rustication on the rim of the pipe. I repaired the rustication under and against the band on the end of the shank and the repair on the underside of the shank. The first go at it I used the dental burrs but would later have to use files and rasps to cut the proper pattern in the briar. The next photos show the progress of the rustication. I slid the band off the shank, put the stem in place and shaped the stem to fit the curvature of the shank. I worked on it with 220 grit sandpaper until the flow of the shank and the stem matched. I personally like a smooth junction between the stem and the shank and the only way to do that correctly is to remove the band and rework that area before gluing the band back in place. The next two photos show the fit of the stem to the band and also the striated rustication pattern. Progress is being made.I slid the band off and put white all-purpose glue around the shank where the band would go. I pressed the band in place and wiped away the excess glue. I let the glue under the band set until the band was tight against the shank.I gave the bowl and shank an under stain of dark brown aniline based stain. I applied it and flamed it to set it in the briar. I repeated the process until the coverage was what I wanted.I hand buffed the pipe with a cotton cloth to give it a basic polish. I wanted to see what the coverage looked like once the stain had dried. I took photos to show how the pipe looked once I had gotten to this point in the restoration. The rim did not look right to me so I used a file to cut lines into the rim top. I used a large rasp and also a set of needle files to hand cut the lines. The photo below shows the lines after I used the wood rasp. I stained the rim top again with dark brown stain to have a look.I used some smaller needle files to cut lines between the lines that were already on the rim from the rasp. I wanted the pattern to look more like the patterns on the bowl sides and shank. I restained it with a dark brown stain. Once the stain was flamed and dried I gave the bowl a coat of cherry Danish Oil as a top coat that would add some contrast to the look of the briar and blend the all the repairs and the joint of the two parts of the shank into one cohesive looking piece. I hand buffed the bowl and shank with a soft cloth and then gave it a light buff with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. The contrast looks really good and the coverage makes the repairs blend in really well with the rest of the bowl and shank. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wetsanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I buffed the stem between the 2400-3200 grit pads and then finished with the pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each grit of pad and then a final time after the 12000 grit pad. I set the stem aside to dry. There were still some faint sanding marks on the stem showing so I buffed the stem with Red Tripoli and then carefully buffed out the scratches with Blue Diamond on the wheel. I was able to polish the stem and it shone nicely. I buffed the nickel band and then lightly buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond. I gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and gave the bowl and shank several coats of Conservator’s wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise a shine and hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is a beauty and should provide a cool smoke to whoever wants to add it to their collection. I will be posting it in the rebornpipes store soon. Thanks for looking.