Tag Archives: Stem repairs

Restemming a No Name (Anonymous) Oval Shank Sandblast Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe is bowl that I have had in the box for a very long time. The rugged and very tactile sandblast really caught my eye and the cocobolo shank extension (at least it looks like that to me) and the thin ivory coloured spacer looked really good. I figured some day I would restem it and bring it back to life again. Since I am in the mood to restem a few pipes today turned out to be that day! It had a broken tenon in the shank when I put it away but the stem had disappeared long before it arrived in my care. The sandblast is very visible in the photos below. The pipe was very clean with no cake in the bowl and a decent finish in good condition. The cocobolo wood shank extension was lightly scratched but otherwise in good condition. It really is a beautiful looking oval shank Billiard. (I had already started wiggling out the broken tenon when I remembered to take these photos.)    I started to work on the pipe quickly as there was no stamping or identifying features that I could dig into regarding the maker of the pipe. The first thing that had to be done was to remove the broken tenon from the shank. I used a drywall screw with coarse threads to lock into the airway in the tenon and remove it. It took a bit of wiggling to do so but it came out.I went through a can of stems that I have here and almost immediately found one that looked like it would work with the pipe. I took some photos of it. There were some tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. The tenon fit perfectly. The stem was a little wide on the right side and would need to have the shape reduced to fit snugly against the shank like the left side. Otherwise it was a perfect fit. I have to say that does not happen very often but it keeps me picking up used stems because one day “I will need them!”. In the second and third photo below I gave them a quick sand to see how deep the tooth marks were. I was pleasantly surprised.I wiped off the stem with some Obsidian Oil and put it in place in the shank. I took photos of the fit to the shank to give a clear picture of what the stem looked like. It would only take a bit of adjusting on the right side and clean up of the tooth marks. It would be a great looking pipe with the addition of this stem. I moved on to sand the shape of the stem fit it evenly to the shank. The stem diameter needed more work so I worked on it with 180 grit sandpaper to match it to the right side of the shank. I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth it out. I repaired the tooth marks on each side o f the stem at the same time. I smoothed out the repairs with 220 grit sandpaper. I started the polishing of the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I set the stem aside and polished the cocobolo shank extension 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 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 back to the stem. 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 together – the bowl with its new stem. This restored and restemmed No Name (Anonymous) Sandblast Oval Shank Billiard is quite stunning and I think the chosen stem works well with it. The sandblast on the bowl came alive and showed the depth of the crevices with the polishing. I used Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel on both the shank extension and stem (carefully avoiding the bowl so as not to fill in the crevices). I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem 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 attractive Anonymous Sandblast Billiard feels great in the hand. It is lightweight and the contrast in the browns of the briar, the cocobolo shank extension and the polished vulcanite stem is quite amazing. The dimensions of the pipe are Length:5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.34 ounces/38 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.

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.

Restemming & Restoring a “The Londoner” Bent Dublin


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 first is a lovely Bent Dublin stummel. The bowl looked very good. The grain around the sides was quite nice and a mix of flame and birdseye grain. There were a few fills on the right side of the bowl and shank but there were in good condition. The rim top was in excellent condition. 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 The Londoner in script and there are no other stamping on the pipe. 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 saddle style stem that was close to the right diameter and had a tenon that would work as well. It has a few tooth marks and chatter near the button but it would clean up well.The pipe is stamped “The Londoner” which is not listed with that style of stamp on either Pipephil or Pipedia. There was a Londoner made by Barlings but it is stamped differently than this one and does not have the article in front of the name. So the maker of the pipe remains a mystery for now. Now it is time to work on the pipe.

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 a Cherry stain pen. The colour was a perfect match. Once the bowl was buffed the newly stained section would blend in well. 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 “painted” the stem surface with a Bic lighter flame to raise the tooth marks (no pictures). I was able to lift some of them to the surface. I filled in the remaining spots 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 put the pipe together – the bowl with its new stem. This restored and restemmed “The Londoner” Bent Dublin 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 Londoner Dublin” 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: 2 inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.62 ounces/46 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.

The Prince of Pipes


Blog by Kenneth Lieblich

One of my dearest friends contacted me recently to inquire if I could repair and restore a pipe that belongs to his father. His father told me that the pipe had been given to him by his wife (my friend’s mother) as a graduation gift in 1967. I was only too happy to oblige – not just to help my friend, but to raise this beautiful pipe back to life. The pipe is from The House of Bewlay and is a Prince shape. Just as an aside, the shape was named after Prince Albert, the Prince of Wales, who later became King Edward VII (1841–1910). What a gorgeous pipe! I must admit that the prince is one of my favourite pipe shapes (and possibly my outright favourite). This one is the epitome of elegance in pipe smoking. The pipe’s markings read Bewlay [over] Deluxe [over] London Made. The other side of the pipe read Made in [over] England and the shape number, 258. This corresponds nicely with a Bewlay catalogue from the late 60s, as you can see in the photo below. One additional piece of information that was useful was the date of the gift: 1967. This certainly gives us a good idea of the time period from which this pipe dates. Let us read a bit more about Bewlay from the Pipedia article:

The English brand of Bewlay & Co. Ltd. (formerly Salmon & Gluckstein Ltd.), was in business from the early 20th century until the 1950s. The brand ended up being sold and taken over by Imperial Tobacco Co. The shop chain closed in the 1980s but there seems to be one shop still in business on Carr Lane in the city of Hull. Bewlay pipes were made by prestigious firms. Notably Barling, Charatan, Loewe & Co., Sasieni, Huybrecht, and Orlik. So understandably, the English considered a Bewlay pipe a quality pipe.Anyway, on to the pipe – and what a beauty it was. However, it was not without its issues. The stummel had the following problems: lava on the rim, a notable burn to the rim, plenty of cake in the bowl, strange stain patterns, and – most serious of all – a nasty crack to the shank. Meanwhile, the stem had its own set of problems: the ‘B’ logo was nearly obliterated, some oxidation and calcification, and minor tooth marks and dents. This pipe was not going to be too tough, but I needed to be especially careful to ensure the crack would be repaired perfectly – so it could be used for many years to come. The stem was first on my list. I took a BIC lighter and ‘painted’ the stem with its flame in order to lift the tooth marks. This was reasonably successful in raising the dents. Then, I cleaned out the insides of the stem with pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. It was dirty, but not too bad and I went through a decent number of pipe cleaners in order to clean it up. I also soaked the stinger in lemon-infused isopropyl alcohol. This loosened everything up and I was able to clean it up very nicely. Once this process was done, the stem 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 to remove the leftover oxidation. Before I moved on to the Micromesh pads, I built up the small dents on the stem with cyanoacrylate adhesive and let them fully cure. I then sanded it down with 220-, 400-, and 600-grit sandpapers to meld the repair seamlessly into the stem. This ensures that it keeps its shape and looks like it should. 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.I then took the opportunity to repair the “B” logo on the stem. It had faded – both by loss of paint over time and also by fingers inadvertently smoothing out the “B” over time. So, I added some acrylic paint with a paint brush, let it dry, and buffed it to make it look good. The “B” is back, but, as later photos reveal, a little bit has disappeared into history.

On to the stummel, and the usual cleaning procedures were in order for this pipe. I used both the PipNet Reamer and the KleenReem to remove the built-up cake and followed that with 220-grit sandpaper to remove as much as I could. I wanted to take the bowl down to bare briar 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 some nastiness inside this stummel, but fortunately not too much – it only took a handful of pipe cleaners etc. to sort that out. I followed that up by cleaning the insides with some dish soap and tube brushes. 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. By the way, I deliberately did not de-ghost this pipe – I wanted to leave as much of the original tobacco essence as I could for the owner.As I mentioned earlier, there was some lava and a substantial burn on the rim of the stummel that also needed to be addressed. In order to minimize the impact of both, 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 lava and most the damage, without altering the look of the pipe. However, I had to stop short of removing it all, otherwise the look of the pipe would have been altered. For the remaining bits of burn, I took some oxalic acid on a Q-tip and rubbed and rubbed and rubbed! The burn site did improve but never fully disappeared. It would be a permanent feature of the pipe going forward. I took solace from the fact that the burn did not affect the integrity of the wood. I then took a solid wooden sphere, wrapped sandpaper around it, and gently sanded the opening of the tobacco chamber. This was to achieve on the inner part of the rim the same thing that I achieved by “topping” on sandpaper. On to the major issue with this pipe: the crack in the shank. Naturally, Steve had the answers to all of this pipe’s problems. He explained that my first step was to ensure that the crack would not continue to creep after I had repaired it. To that end, I took a micro-drill bit, inserted it in my Dremel, and very carefully drilled a hole right through the wall of the shank. This was quite nerve-wracking, but it worked perfectly. I then needed to apply cyanoacrylate adhesive to the crack in order to seal and repair it. First, however, I used a Q-tip and a folded pipe cleaner to coat the inside of the shank with petroleum jelly. This would prevent the adhesive from dripping inside the shank and creating further problems. That done, I carefully applied a bead of adhesive to the tiny hole and the length of the crack. Finally, I clamped it shut and let it sit overnight to cure. This was a great success – obviously, the crack would always be visible, but I was really pleased with how the repair looked.Before moving on to sanding, there were a couple of small nicks on the underside of the stummel that I needed to sort out. I dug out my 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. There was some movement – not a lot, but it was better than doing nothing. I filled the remaining divots with cyanoacrylate adhesive. Now, with the crack repaired and the nicks filled, it was time to sand down the stummel. Just like the stem, I used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to sand everything smooth. A light application of Before & After Restoration Balm brought out the best in the stummel’s grain. All of the work I had done to this point had taken its toll on the colour of the wood. Originally, there was a lovely sort of brownish-Burgundy colour on this pipe, and I wanted to restore this as best I could – and I also wanted to ensure that we got rid of that weird mottling. In order to bring back some life to this pipe, I opted for aniline dye. I dragged out some of Fiebing’s Oxblood Leather Dye, but it looked too reddish to me. Instead, I experimented with mixing to see what I could come up with. I made my own concoction of Oxblood and Medium Brown dyes, painted the stummel, and then applied flame in order to set the colour. Furthermore, since it is an alcohol-based dye, I was able to adjust the colour to my liking by applying my own isopropyl alcohol to the colour. Let it sit overnight and it worked like a charm!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. Now that the wood was looking all spiffy, I had to circle back and complete the repair on the crack in the shank. It needed a tight-fighting band to ensure that the crack would never open up again. I went to my jar of bands and picked one that looked good. I heated it up and then messed it up! See the photos. I did not apply even pressure as I was attaching the band, so it went mush. Fortunately, I had more bands and I did a much better job of getting the next one on. I glued it in place and let that set. It looked very dapper. I polished up the band with a 12,000-grit MicroMesh pad. I also went back to the buffer with both the stem and stummel, gave them a final application of White Diamond and carnauba wax, and brought out that lovely shine.In the end, what a beauty this pipe is! It is an elegant pipe, from a very fine maker. It obviously meant a great deal to its owner, and I was delighted to bring it back to life. Once the pipe was returned to its owner, he told me that it looked better than when it was new! Although I am not sure I agree with that, I am very pleased that he is very pleased. As I mentioned before, the prince is one of my favourite shapes and it was great fun to work on this one. I hope you enjoyed reading the story of this pipe 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 email me directly at kenneth@knightsofthepipe.com. Thank you very much for reading and, as always, I welcome and encourage your comments.

Reviving another Old Timer – a French Made Real Briar Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

With the completion of the three pipes I just restemmed and wrote about I am returning to work on the bag of older NOS/unsmoked and lightly smoked pipes. I chose another old timer from the lot and this time picked another French Made pipe. It is buried in the pile in the photo below but it is clear in the second photo.In the photo of the poured out bag on my desk top I have circled the pipe that is next on the table. This was a lightly smoked Bent Billiard shaped pipe with a smooth finish that was dirty. The rim top had some light lava but there was minimal cake in the bowl. This little Bent Billiard really intrigued me, so it was next. The Bent Billiard was stamped in gold on the left side of the shank and read Real Briar [at an angle over] Made in France. The brass/nickel shank band was oxidized but still in decent condition. The bowl was lightly smoked and dusty but there was no cake. There was light lava on rim top toward the backside. The inner and outer edges looked good. The finish was dirty and the varnish top coat was spotty and peeling. The pipe had a Bakelite or Amberoid stem that was in good condition. There was one chip on the top near the shank joint. There were some light tooth marks and chatter on the stem. The button was orific – a round hole in the button end. The button had some wear and darkening but was in good condition. It has a push tenon that appears to be a synthetic material as well. Here are a few photos of the pipe before I did anything to it. I took photos of the bowl and stem. You can see the condition of the bowl. It is lightly cake and there is slight lava coat on the rim top. The edges look to be in good condition. The drilling is centered in the bottom of the bowl. It is a good sized bowl. The interior walls of the pipe are smooth and do not have drilling marks or checks or chips. The Bakelite/Amberoid stem is in good condition and has a push tenon and an orific button. There is a small chip in the Bakelite stem near the shank band and there are tooth marks on both sides near the button.I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. It reads as noted above. I removed the stem from the shank. You can see the brand new threaded bone tenon in the photo below. The proportions of this pipe are well done. The grain around the bowl is very nice. I knew from work on other older pipes that had the same stamp as this- Real Briar Made in France that there was not any clear cut information on that stamping on any of the usual sites. I also knew that the C.P.F. (Colossus Pipe Factory) that I had worked on bore this same stamp. My guess is that the pipe may have been made by them but I could not be sure.

Now it was time to work on the pipe. I started my work on the pipe by scraping out the light cake in the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I also scrubbed off the lava on the rim top with a damp cotton pad.I wiped down the bowl with 99% Isopropyl alcohol on a cotton pad to remove the peeling varnish coat and grime on the finish of the bowl sides. Wiping it down revealed some great grain around the bowl and shank sides. I polished the briar and the nickel plated band with micromesh sanding pads. I dry sanded with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. The briar began to really come alive. I touched up the stain on the rim top using a Mahogany stain pen and used a Black Sharpie Pen on the fills that became evident on the back of the bowl. I was able to blend the stain and pen into the surrounding briar and it looked very good.I used alcohol and cotton swabs to clean out the shank of any debris that may have gotten in from the reaming of the bowl. It was still quite clean.I rubbed the briar down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the finish with my fingertips. The product works to clean, enliven and protect briar finished. I let it sit for 10 minutes then buffed it off with a cotton cloth. The grain on the bowl really came alive with the buffing. It is really a beautiful pipe.While working on the bowl the band came off the shank. It was loose so while it was off I polished it with a jewelers cloth to remove the oxidation and protect the finish on it. I used a tooth pick to put all purpose glue on the inside of the band and pressed it back in place on the shank.I set the bowl aside and filled in the chip on the top shank end edge and the tooth mark on the top and underside of the stem near the button. I used clear CA glue. Once it cured I polished it with micromesh sanding pads.I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with Obsidian Oil to protect and enliven the stem. I finished the polishing with Before & After Pipe Stem polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry.This another interesting older pipe – Real Briar Made in France Bent Billiard turned out really well and it is a great looking pipe with a great shape to it. Once the varnish coat was removed the grain on the briar and the sheen on the stem really popped when the pipe was buffed with blue diamond on the buffing wheel. The brass/nickel band also took on a sheen. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished French Made Real Briar Bent Billiard is comfortable to hold and is quite distinguished looking. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 inches, Chamber diameter: 5/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 34 grams/1.20 ounces. It is a really beautiful pipe that I will be putting on the rebornpipes store in the French Pipe Makers section 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. Keep an eye out on the blog as I have several other older pipes that I will be working on.

Restemming & Restoring a GBD Virgin London England 9437 Pot


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. Yesterday when I finished the old timer on my work I went through the box and picked out three bowls and found workable stems for them. All were in different states of need but all had been thoroughly cleaned before I boxed them up. The first restemmed and restored was a ZETTERVIG Copenhagen Handmade 900 Egg (https://rebornpipes.com/2021/09/04/restemming-restoring-a-zettervig-copenhagen-hand-made-900-egg/). The second pipe was a nice Malaga Lumberman (https://rebornpipes.com/2021/09/05/restemming-restoring-a-malaga-lumberman/). The next one was the last of the bowls I had chosen – a nicely grained GBD Virgin 9437 Pot.

The bowl looked very good. The grain around the sides was quite nice and a mix of flame and straight grain around the bowl sides and birdseye grain on the bottom of the bowl. The rim top had some darkening on the top and inner edges. There was a small burned divot low on the left side of bowl near the shank. It looked as if the pipe had been set in an ashtray on a cigarette or a live ash. It was not deep but it was very present on the bowl side. The interior of the bowl was clean and there were not any chips, cracks or checking on the walls. Examining the mortise it was clean and well drilled with no issues. The finish was washed out and bit and tired but still quite redeemable. The stamping on the pipe was clear and readable. On the left side it read GBD in an oval [over] VIRGIN and on the right side it read London England [over] 9437. I took some photos of the bowl before I started to work on it. I took a photo of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable.I went through some of stems and found this saddle style stem that perfectly fit the shank. The diameter of the shank and the diameter of the saddle were not quite even. The saddle on the right half of the saddle was slightly larger than the shank. The left side was perfect. It had a few tooth marks and chatter near and on the button but it would clean up well. I put it on the shank and took some pictures of the look before my work on it.I addressed the burn damage dip in the lower left side of the bowl. I sanded it and filled it in with a drop of clear CA glue. I smoothed it out with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. It is smooth too touch but it is definitely darker than before I filled it in. At this point it was smooth and clean feeling.With that repaired I turned to deal with the rim top issues. I sanded the beveled rim top with 220 grit sandpaper and smoothed out the damage – both burns and nicks. I polished the briar 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 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 filled in the tooth marks and rebuilt the edge of the button with clear CA glue. Once it cured I used a small file to recut the edge of the button and flatten the repairs. I smoothed out repairs with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them in further to the stem surface. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I fit the stem on the shank. It looked pretty good but seemed to be a bit blah. I took a set of photos to show the look of the new stem on the shank. For the fun of it I put a band on the shank and refit the stem on the shank. The shank is perfect there were no cracks and no issues so the band was just adding a touch of bling that works with the pipe. What do you think? With or without the band? I am leaning toward the banded version to be honest. I think it looks really good.

Without the band? With the band? I left the band on the shank but it is not glued in place and can be removed. Let me know what you think – one way or the other.

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 restored & restemmed GBD Virgin 9437 Pot turned out really well. The pipe (even with the burn mark on the left side of the bowl) really is a beauty and I think the brass band and the chosen stem works well with it. Remember I have not set the band in place so it can be removed. What do you think of it? Yea or Nay? 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 GBD Virgin Pot feels great in the hand. It is lightweight and the contrast in the browns of the briar, the brass of the 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: 6 inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 1 inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.45 ounces/41 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.

Restemming & Restoring a Zettervig Copenhagen Hand Made 900 Egg


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. This morning when I finished the last old timer I went through the box and picked out three bowls and found workable stems for them. All were in different states of need but all had been thoroughly cleaned before I boxed them up. The first of these was an interesting egg shaped freehand. It is stamped on the underside of the shank and reads ZETTERVIG (double stamped) [over] Copenhagen (also double stamped) [over] Handmade [over] 900. It had some great grain around the bowl and plateau on the rim top and shank end that was interesting.  I have worked on other Zettervig pipes in the past so I am not a stranger to the brand. I have included links to two different pipes that I worked on (https://rebornpipes.com/2013/12/05/a-complete-reworking-of-a-zettervig-freehand/)(https://rebornpipes.com/2018/07/28/restoring-and-restemming-a-zettervig-handmade-351-freehand/).

The bowl looked very good. The grain around the sides was quite nice and a mix of flame and straight grain. The plateau on the rim top and shank end looked good but the rim top was faded and worn. The shank end was black and looked very good. The bowl was clean and there were not any chips, cracks or checking on the walls. Examining the mortise it was clean and well drilled with no issues. The finish was washed out a bit and tired but still quite redeemable. I took some photos of the bowl before I started to work on it. I took a photo of the double stamping on the underside of the shank. It reads as noted above and is surprisingly clear and readable.I went through some of the fancy, turned freehand style stems and found this old timer. It is quite heavily oxidized and has some deep tooth marks but I think it will work with the Zettervig. I put the stem in place and took a photo to have a look at it in situation. What do you think? With the stem chosen I dropped it in a bath of Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer that I have here. It is getting a bit tired but it still works. I let it sit while I worked on the bowl.While the stem soaked in the bath and before I started to work on the bowl I decided that I would look up some information on the Zettervig brand before I started the clean up on the pipe. I looked up information on two of my favourite sites. The first was Pipedia. Here is the link: https://pipedia.org/wiki/Zettervig. I quote in full:

In the 1960’s and into the early 1970’s Ole Zettervig had a shop in Copenhagen, Denmark where he was carving high quality pipes equal to Stanwell, Larsen, Anne Julie, Thurmann, Bang and others. These early pipes were marked “Copenhagen” and are very collectible. He sold his shop at some point in the 70’s and moved to Kolding and continued to produce pipes as a hobby, but the quality of briar and workmanship is said to not equal the early production. The later pipes he now marked as Kobenhaven rather than Copenhagen, and these were sold by Ole at flea markets throughout Europe.

That information told me I was working on an early one of his pipes from the 1960s to early 1970s as it is stamped Copenhagen.

I turned to Pipephil’s site and did a screen capture of the information that was there. There was no addition info but it did show one of the pipes (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-z.html). You can also see the style of the stem and the Z on the top of the stem. The one I have chosen is very different but I think it will still work.With that information in hand I turned to work on the bowl. I used a brass bristle wire brush to clean out the remaining debris and lava in the grooves of the plateau rim top and to remove the dust from the plateau shank end. Once it was clean I used a Black Stain Pen to stain it black as it was originally. I polished the briar 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 worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the smooth briar with my finger tips and into the plateau rim top and shank end with a horsehair shoe brush. 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. With the bowl finished I turned my attention to the stem. It had been sitting in the bath for several hours. I removed it and ran a pipe cleaner and alcohol through the airway to remove any remaining soak. I wiped the stem down with a paper towel to remove the oxidation that had been loosened. It looked much better than when I put it in the bath.I “painted” the stem surface with a Bic lighter flame to raise the tooth marks. I was able to lift many of them to the surface. What remained I would fill in later. I scrubbed the stem surface with cotton pads and Soft Scrub to remove the remaining oxidation. The stem was really starting to look very good. I cleaned out the ends of the stem and button with a pipe cleaner and alcohol to remove the bits of Soft Scrub that had gotten into the airway. I heated the stem and gave it a slight bend to fit the flow of the pipe better.I filled in the remaining divots and marks in the stem with clear CA glue. Once it had cured used a small file to flatten the repair and sharpen the edge of the button. I sanded it smooth with 220 grit sandpaper to blend it into the stem. I started the polishing 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 put the pipe back together – the bowl with its new stem. This restored Zettervig Copenhagen Handmade 900 Egg 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 Zettervig Freehand Egg feels great in the hand. It is lightweight and the contrast in the blacks of the plateau 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 ¾ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 2.05 ounces/59 grams. It really is a beauty. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store in the Danish 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 Diamond Black Extra Squat Bulldog


Blog by Steve Laug

I finished the restoration of four of the older horn stem pipes that I have posted the blogs about on rebornpipes, the first was a beautiful early 1900s KB&B Horn Stemmed Italian Billiard (https://rebornpipes.com/2021/08/29/reviving-another-older-horn-stemmed-pipe-my-next-choice/) then an early French made JSN Racine Bruyere Dublin with a horn stem (https://rebornpipes.com/2021/08/29/reviving-another-older-horn-stemmed-pipe-from-the-bag-of-old-timers/), then a lightly smoked GVG Liverpool made by the founder of Genod (https://rebornpipes.com/2021/08/31/reviving-a-lightly-smoked-horn-stem-gvg-extra-9745-liverpool/) and fourth a Belle D’ Or Vielle Bruyere “Double Or” French Made Bent Dublin (https://rebornpipes.com/2021/09/01/restoring-a-la-belle-dor-vielle-bruyere-double-or-horn-stem-bent-dublin/). I decided to keep working on the bag of older NOS/unsmoked and lightly smoked pipes. I chose another horn stemmed pipe from the lot and this time picked a bit of a mystery pipe. It is buried in the pile in the photo below but it is clear in the second photo.In the photo of the poured out bag on my desk top I have circled the pipe that is next on the table. This was a lightly smoked pipe with a cut glass rustication stained black. The rim top is smooth as is the panel where it is stamped. This squat Bulldog really intrigued me so it was next. I sat at my desk went over the pipe I had chosen. It is lightly smoked squat Bulldog with a diamond shank and a taper stem. It is stamped on the left underside of the shank on a smooth panel and reads Diamond [over] Black. Just above that toward the shank/stem junction it is also stamped Extra. The pipe is a bit of a mystery as there is no country of origin. The finish is rusticated with a cut glass style rugged rustication that is stained black. The rim top is smooth and stained with a medium brown. There was some thin lava on the back top and edge of the rim. The stem is horn and has tooth chatter on the top and underside ahead of the button. There were worm holes on the point of the diamond on the underside and on the top right side at the joint of the stem and shank. The tenon is metal/aluminum with twisted stinger in place. It is a push stem. The button end is slotted. Typically these metal tenon pipes came out during the war or directly after when horn was brought back into use when rubber was short. It really is a beautiful pipe. Here are a few photos of the pipe before I started my cleanup and restoration. I took photos of the bowl and stem. You can see the condition of the bowl and the rim top and edges. The drilling is centered in the bottom of the bowl. It is a good sized bowl. The interior walls of the pipe are smooth and do not have drilling marks or checks or chips. There was some lava on the rim top at the back of the inner edge of the bowl along with darkening and burn damage. The horn stem is in excellent condition other than a worm hole on the top and underside near the shank. The button has a slotted opening and is quite clean. I took a photo of the stamping on the left underside of the diamond shank. It reads as noted above.I took some photos of the worm holes in the stem surface. I have circled them in red in the photos below. I removed the stem from the shank. You can see the metal tenon and the turned stinger in the photo below. The proportions of this pipe are well done. The rustication around the bowl is very nice. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the inner edge and then polished the smooth rim top with micromesh sanding pads. I dry sanded with 1500 -12000 grit pads and wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. It began to really come alive. I rubbed the briar down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the finish with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush. The product works to clean, enliven and protect briar finished. I let it sit for 10 minutes then buffed it off with a cotton cloth. The rustication on the bowl sides and the smooth rim top really came alive with the buffing. It is really a beautiful pipe.I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I filled in the worm holes in the stem surface with clear CA glue. I layered it in until the surface was smooth. Once the repairs cured I sanded them smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and started polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I also sanded the tooth chatter on the top and underside near the button. I cleaned up the twisted stinger apparatus with alcohol and cotton swabs until it was clean. It is removable which mean it can be smoked with it in place or removed.I polished the horn stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with Obsidian Oil to protect and enliven the horn. It came out looking very good. This another interesting pipe – a ruggedly rusticated Diamond Black Extra Horn Stem Squat Bulldog. It turned out really well and it is a great looking pipe with a great shape to it. The rusticated finish on the briar and the sheen on the horn stem really popped when the pipe was lightly buffed with blue diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The Diamond Black Extra Squat Bulldog is tactile and comfortable to hold and is quite distinguished looking. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inch, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 29 grams/1.02 ounces. This is a beautiful pipe that I will soon be putting on the rebornpipes store in the French Pipemakers Section. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. Keep an eye out on the blog as I have several other older horn stemmed pipes that will be coming up soon.

A 3 Pipe Reclamation Project – The next is a D.P. Ehrlich & Co. Meerschaum Bulldog


Blog by Steve Laug

With the completion of a beautiful Octagonal, horn stemmed billiard as another  break from the routine of these meerschaums (https://rebornpipes.com/2021/08/28/reviving-an-unsmoked-nos-octagonal-billiard-with-a-horn-stem/) it was time to go back to the D.P. Ehrlich Meerschaum reclamation work. I will quote the next paragraphs to give context to the pipes that I am working on in this project.

Not long ago I received a Facebook Message from a friend asking if I would consider restoring three Ehrlich meerschaums that he had. He spoke about first, then sent photos as he knew I was not presently taking on any new work due to my heavy schedule. He described the first cased set – which contained a Bulldog and a Billiard with great patina and cloudy acrylic stems. It sounded amazing. He described the second cased single – a Poker with the same kind of stem. At least one of the stems had a bite through on it. All were heavily smoked and dirty. From his reckoning the pipes came from at least two different time periods in D. P. Ehrlich of Boston’s long life. I thanked him for thinking of me and gently said I would not be able to do the work.

He understood but wanted me to have a look at them anyway. He sent these photos of the pipes in their cases on Messenger. They were indeed beautiful pipes. They were also very tempting. I really like these cased older style, smooth, classic shaped meerschaums. I did not reply to him for a bit and thought it over. I looked over my schedule and calendar for the next two months and it was very heavy. But… I was hooked. I finally answered him and basically said if he was not in a hurry I would be willing to take them on. He replied that he was in no hurry. You have to understand when I have pipes to work on here I squeeze them in somehow but I wanted freedom.Once I gave my answer he sent a few more photos of each of the pipes so that I could have a look at what was coming my way. He sent the tracking number of the pipes as well. They arrived safely and I went over them and called him to talk about what I saw. I restored the Poker first and then the Billiard. I have written about the restoration of both on rebornpipes. Here is the link to those blogs (https://rebornpipes.com/2021/08/26/reclamation-project-an-older-d-p-ehrlich-co-cased-meerschaum-poker/ and https://rebornpipes.com/2021/08/27/a-3-pipe-reclamation-project-next-a-d-p-ehrlich-co-meerschaum-billiard/).

Now to have a look at the Bulldog (the second pipe in the cased 2 pipe set). He took some photos of the bowl, rim top and stem so I could assess the condition they were in. I have included them below. The lava on the rim top and cake in the bowl are very thick and I am hoping they have protected the inner edge and top from damage. The 14K gold ring on the shank looked very good. The stem had tooth marks and chatter on both the top and underside near the button. It is by far the best looking stem of the threesome. The fit at the shank is very good. The cloudy gold stem material looks good. This stem material can be problematic in that the yellow colour often is on the top surface and once there are repairs done or sanding they are visible and significantly different in colour from the rest of the stem. Once I had it in hand and checked it out I would know more.While I have worked on a significant number of Ehrlich briar pipes over the years I have not tackled a meerschaum let alone three older ones. I have worked on a lot of meers but not Ehrlich meers (with this one I have worked on three). I actually knew very little about them. They looked like European made meers that come out of Austria but I was unclear of where Ehrlich got these pipes. I was time to due some work on this. I checked first on Pipephil and found only information on the briar pipes. Then I turned to Pipedia and was more successful (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Ehrlich%27s). I quote a portion of that article below that gives a bit of history and more importantly cleared up where the pipes came from for me.

The David P. Ehrlich story – Pipemakers and Tobacconists for a Hundred Years, 1868-1968.

The David P. Ehrlich Company has remained solely in the hands of one family during its century of business, yet it has had several firm names and locations. David P. Ehrlich went to work in 1881 at the age of twenty for Ferdinand Abraham, who dealt in cigars and tobacco and who had begun business in 1868 at 1188 Washington Street in the South End, but in 1880 moved to the center of the city, where the firm has been ever since. David Ehrlich married the boss’s daughter. In 1916 the name became the David P. Ehrlich Company and Mr. Ehrlich devoted the rest of his life to this business. Since David’s death in 1912 it has been owned by – his nieces and nephews including Richard A. and William Ehrlich.

Ehrlich shop has since 1880 had a predilection for historic sites. 25 Court Street was close to the spot where from 1721-1726 James Franklin had, with the assistance of his brother Benjamin, published The New-England Courant. In 1908 the firm moved a few doors up Court Street to number 37, on the opposite corner of the alley that is grandiloquently named Franklin Avenue. This new location was on the site of the one-time printing office of Edes and Gill, publishers of the Boston Gazette, in whose back room some of the “Indians” of the Boston Tea Party assumed their disguises. Soon after the end of World War II at which time the store was located at 33 Court Street a move around the corner to 207 Washington Street brought the shop diagonally across from the Old State House and onto the site occupied from 1610-1808 by the First Church of Boston. The demolition of 207 Washington Street in 1967 caused still another move to 32 Tremont Street, adjoining King’s Chapel burying Ground, which is the oldest cemetery in Boston.

The David P. Ehrlich Co. has not just occupied sites intimately associated with Boston history and institutions; it has in the past century become a Boston institution in its own right. It has specialized in fine cigars, pipes, and pipe tobacco. In addition to the retail business, the firm has long specialized in the manufacture of pipes, both from Algerian briar root and from meerschaum, a beautiful white fossilized substance, mined from the earth in Turkish Asia Minor. Meerschaum lends itself to carving, and in the nineteenth century there developed in Austria a fashion for carving pipes from it with formidably intricate decoration.

The Ehrlichs have long had meerschaum carvers, who ply their craft in the shop window to the delight of passersby. For years the bearded Gustave Fischer was a familiar figure in the window at 33 Court Street. A succession of craftsmen have continued the tradition. and still make and repair pipes in the window of the new Tremont Street shop. They still turn their meerschaum pipes by hand on a foot operated wooden lathe made in Austria about 1871. Although briars are today turned on power lathes, meerschaum can only be turned on a foot-operated lathe.

I did a search on Google to see if I could find further documentation on the Ehrlich Meerschaum pipes. I came across a PDF of a 1960s Ehrlich Catalogue that had some helpful sections on the pipes(https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B0xEzQgGtOv8LXNhLUNJQUJrU1U/edit?resourcekey=0-I8eh7aQxyrEcmVW7-SKjFw). I did a screen capture of two of those sections. The first is a great descriptive paragraph on the pipe regarding both the meerschaum and what they call a handmade cloudy yellow stem. The prices are astonishingly low even for those days. The second screen capture is about how the pipes were made on a wooden lathe made in Austria and operated by Ehrlich craftsmen in the window of the Boston shop. It is also a great read.I took the pipe out of the case and took some photos of it to chronicle the condition it was in when I received it. It is another large pipe. I would say it is another large pipe – at least a Dunhill Group 4 or larger. I spent some time going over it carefully. The bowl indeed had a thick cake and the lava coat on the edge and rim was thick as well. It was in worse condition than either the Poker or Billiard had been. There were light surface scratches in the meerschaum all around the bowl and shank sides. The meerschaum was dirty with smudges and dust but underneath it had a nicely developing patina on the shank and heel of the bowl and was beginning to get some colour on the bowl. The stem was the best of the lot. It had tooth marks on the top and underside ahead of the button. I removed the stem from the shank and had a look at the parts. The threaded metal tenon was inset permanently in the shank of the pipe. It was dirty and the pipe had a musty/old tobacco smell. There was a 14K gold wedding ring style band on the shank for decoration. The shank was filthy as was the airway in the stem. The good news for me was that the stem material was solid yellow all the way through so repairing the tooth marks and chatter would be easier. The slot in the stem was filled in partially with debris. Overall it was a great looking pipe that would clean up well. Here is what I saw. I took a close up photo of the bowl and rim top to capture the condition of both. You can see the thick cake in the bowl and the lava on the inner edge and thick on the top and inner edge of the rim. It is by far the most caked and lava covered of all of them. I took photos of the shank and stem as well. You can also see the tooth damage on both sides ahead of the button. I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the proportions of the pipe. You can see that it is a large bowl but well proportioned with the stem. I like the looks of it.I started my clean up work on the pipe by reaming the bowl. I wanted to remove the cake completely from the walls of the bowl and clean it thoroughly. I began the reaming with a PipNet pipe reaming set. The bowl is quite large so I used the second and third cutting head. I took it back to the walls. I cleaned it up further with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe knife. I finished by sanding the interior of the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a dowel. I used the Fitsall knife to carefully scrape off some of the lava on the rim top. It is very thick. I used micromesh sanding pads to remove the remaining lava coat on the rim top and to polish the light scratching around the bowl. I polished the meerschaum with 1500-12000 grit pads wiping it down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the debris and dust. The bowl and shank began to really take on a shine as I worked on it. (As I mentioned in the previous blogs, my friend and I spoke on the phone and the decision was made to leave the light scratching as part of the story of the pipe.) With the exterior clean I worked on the inside of the shank and stem. The airway on the bottom of the bowl was plugged so I needed to get the airflow open again. I used a curved dental pick to open the airway in bowl bottom. I used isopropyl alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs to open the airway in the shank and into the bowl and to remove the debris and oils. I cleaned out the end of the stem where the tenon screwed in with cotton swabs and alcohol. Once finished the pipe smelled clean. I filled in the tooth marks on the top and underside of the stem near the button with clear CA glue. Was aiming for smoothing out the tooth marks and making them invisible.Once the repair cured I smoothed out the repair and worked to blend it into the stem with micromesh sanding pads. I smoothed it out with a 1500 grit pad first the polished it with the remaining pads 1800-12000 grit. I wiped it down with a bit of Obsidian Oil to remove the debris after each pad. I was quite pleased with the look of the repaired stem. With the stem finished and the bowl completed to this point it was time recoat the bowl with beeswax. I melted a chunk of beeswax in the microwave and brushed the melted wax onto the bowl and shank. I took photos of the thick wax coat around the bowl sides and top. I look forward to seeing what happens when I melt it off! I used my heat gun on the low setting to melt the excess wax and heat the meerschaum to absorb the wax. I put a thick layer of paper towels below the heat gun to catch the dripping of the wax. I used a cork in the bowl as a handle to turn the pipe over the heat. As the heat and wax did the work the bowl began darken. I took some photos of the bowl when I had finished. It is a beauty. This D.P. Ehrlich Co, Boston Made Meerschaum Straight Bulldog turned out really well and it is a great looking pipe with a great shape to it. The deepening patina around the bowl and shank has been highlighted by the wax and will only deepen with use. The smoky yellow coloured acrylic stem looks good with the darkening bowl and shank. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Ehrlich Meerschaum Bulldog is comfortable to hold and is quite distinguished looking. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 1 inch. The weight of the pipe is 50 grams/1.76 ounces. This is the third D.P. Ehrlich Co. Meerschaum I have finished. Now that the last one is finished I will be packing them carefully and sadly saying farewell to some beautiful pieces. I think the pipeman who is carrying on the trust of these beauties will thoroughly enjoy them. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.

A 3 Pipe Reclamation Project – Next a D.P. Ehrlich & Co. Meerschaum Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

With the completion of the latest Frankenpipe (https://rebornpipes.com/2021/08/27/it-is-about-time-to-breath-life-into-a-new-frankenpipe/), a break from the routine, it was time to go back to the D.P. Ehrlich Meerschaum reclamation work. I will quote the next paragraphs to give context to the pipes that I am working on in this project.

Not long ago I received a Facebook Message from a friend asking if I would consider restoring three Ehrlich meerschaums that he had. He spoke about first, then sent photos as he knew I was not presently taking on any new work due to my heavy schedule. He described the first cased set – which contained a Bulldog and a Billiard with great patina and cloudy acrylic stems. It sounded amazing. He described the second cased single – a Poker with the same kind of stem. At least one of the stems had a bite through on it. All were heavily smoked and dirty. From his reckoning the pipes came from at least two different time periods in D. P. Ehrlich of Boston’s long life. I thanked him for thinking of me and gently said I would not be able to do the work.

He understood but wanted me to have a look at them anyway. He sent these photos of the pipes in their cases on Messenger. They were indeed beautiful pipes. They were also very tempting. I really like these cased older style, smooth, classic shaped meerschaums. I did not reply to him for a bit and thought it over. I looked over my schedule and calendar for the next two months and it was very heavy. But… I was hooked. I finally answered him and basically said if he was not in a hurry I would be willing to take them on. He replied that he was in no hurry. You have to understand when I have pipes to work on here I squeeze them in somehow but I wanted freedom.Once I gave my answer he sent a few more photos of each of the pipes so that I could have a look at what was coming my way. He sent the tracking number of the pipes as well. They arrived safely and I went over them and called him to talk about what I saw. I restored the Poker first and have written about the restoration of it on rebornpipes. Here is the link to that blog (https://rebornpipes.com/2021/08/26/reclamation-project-an-older-d-p-ehrlich-co-cased-meerschaum-poker/).

Now to have a look at the Billiard (the pipe of the threesome in the worst condition). He took some photos of the bowl, rim top and stem so I could assess the condition they were in. I have included them below. The lava on the rim top and cake in the bowl are quite thick and I am hoping they have protected the inner edge and top from damage. The 14K gold ring on the shank looked very good. The stem had deep tooth marks on both the top and underside near the button. There was also a bite through on the top side of the stem. The profile definitely shows the condition of the stem. I am quite certain from looking at the photos of the pipe that this is a replacement stem. The fit at the shank is not as good as expected and the material does not appear to be the same as the other two Ehrlich meerschaums. The stem material can be problematic in that the yellow colour often is on the top surface and once there are repairs done or sanding they are visible and significantly different in colour from the rest of the stem. Once I had it in hand and checked it out I would know more. While I have worked on a significant number of Ehrlich briar pipes over the years I have not tackled a meerschaum let alone three older ones. I have worked on a lot of meers but not Ehrlich meers. I actually knew very little about them. They looked like European made meers that come out of Austria but I was unclear of where Ehrlich got these pipes. I was time to due some work on this. I checked first on Pipephil and found only information on the briar pipes. Then I turned to Pipedia and was more successful (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Ehrlich%27s). I quote a portion of that article below that gives a bit of history and more importantly cleared up where the pipes came from for me.

The David P. Ehrlich story – Pipemakers and Tobacconists for a Hundred Years, 1868-1968.

The David P. Ehrlich Company has remained solely in the hands of one family during its century of business, yet it has had several firm names and locations. David P. Ehrlich went to work in 1881 at the age of twenty for Ferdinand Abraham, who dealt in cigars and tobacco and who had begun business in 1868 at 1188 Washington Street in the South End, but in 1880 moved to the center of the city, where the firm has been ever since. David Ehrlich married the boss’s daughter. In 1916 the name became the David P. Ehrlich Company and Mr. Ehrlich devoted the rest of his life to this business. Since David’s death in 1912 it has been owned by – his nieces and nephews including Richard A. and William Ehrlich.

Ehrlich shop has since 1880 had a predilection for historic sites. 25 Court Street was close to the spot where from 1721-1726 James Franklin had, with the assistance of his brother Benjamin, published The New-England Courant. In 1908 the firm moved a few doors up Court Street to number 37, on the opposite corner of the alley that is grandiloquently named Franklin Avenue. This new location was on the site of the one-time printing office of Edes and Gill, publishers of the Boston Gazette, in whose back room some of the “Indians” of the Boston Tea Party assumed their disguises. Soon after the end of World War II at which time the store was located at 33 Court Street a move around the corner to 207 Washington Street brought the shop diagonally across from the Old State House and onto the site occupied from 1610-1808 by the First Church of Boston. The demolition of 207 Washington Street in 1967 caused still another move to 32 Tremont Street, adjoining King’s Chapel burying Ground, which is the oldest cemetery in Boston.

The David P. Ehrlich Co. has not just occupied sites intimately associated with Boston history and institutions; it has in the past century become a Boston institution in its own right. It has specialized in fine cigars, pipes, and pipe tobacco. In addition to the retail business, the firm has long specialized in the manufacture of pipes, both from Algerian briar root and from meerschaum, a beautiful white fossilized substance, mined from the earth in Turkish Asia Minor. Meerschaum lends itself to carving, and in the nineteenth century there developed in Austria a fashion for carving pipes from it with formidably intricate decoration.

The Ehrlichs have long had meerschaum carvers, who ply their craft in the shop window to the delight of passersby. For years the bearded Gustave Fischer was a familiar figure in the window at 33 Court Street. A succession of craftsmen have continued the tradition. and still make and repair pipes in the window of the new Tremont Street shop. They still turn their meerschaum pipes by hand on a foot operated wooden lathe made in Austria about 1871. Although briars are today turned on power lathes, meerschaum can only be turned on a foot-operated lathe.

I did a search on Google to see if I could find further documentation on the Ehrlich Meerschaum pipes. I came across a PDF of a 1960s Ehrlich Catalogue that had some helpful sections on the pipes(https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B0xEzQgGtOv8LXNhLUNJQUJrU1U/edit?resourcekey=0-I8eh7aQxyrEcmVW7-SKjFw). I did a screen capture of two of those sections. The first is a great descriptive paragraph on the pipe regarding both the meerschaum and what they call a handmade cloudy yellow stem. The prices are astonishingly low even for those days.The second screen capture is about how the pipes were made on a wooden lathe made in Austria and operated by Ehrlich craftsmen in the window of the Boston shop. It is also a great read.I took the pipe out of the case and took some photos of it to chronicle the condition it was in when I received it. It is another large pipe. I would say it is at least a Dunhill Group 4 or larger pipe. I spent some time going over it carefully. The bowl indeed had a thick cake and the lava coat on the edge and rim was thick as well. It was in worse condition than the Poker had been. There were light surface scratches in the meerschaum all around the bowl and shank sides. The meerschaum had a nicely developing patina on the shank and heel of the bowl and was beginning to get some colour on the bowl. The stem was the worst of the lot. I had tooth marks on the top and underside and a bite through on the top of the stem ahead of the button. I removed the stem from the shank and had a look at the parts. The threaded metal tenon was inset permanently in the shank of the pipe. It was dirty and the pipe had a musty/old tobacco smell. There was a 14K gold wedding ring style band on the shank for decoration. The shank was filthy as was the airway in the stem. The good news for me was that the stem material was solid yellow all the way through. Repairing it would be easier, though the stem had its own darkening patina at the button end. The slot in the stem was filled in partially with debris. Overall it was a great looking pipe that would clean up well. Here is what I saw. I took a close up photo of the bowl and rim top to capture the condition of both. You can see the thick cake in the bowl and the lava on the inner edge and thick on the top and inner edge of the rim. I took photos of the shank and stem as well. You can also see the tooth damage on both sides ahead of the button. The bite-through is clearly visible on the top of the stem at the button.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the proportions of the pipe. You can see that it is a large bowl with a relatively shorter stem. I like the looks of it however.I started my clean up work on the pipe by reaming the bowl. I wanted to remove the cake completely from the walls of the bowl and clean it thoroughly. I began the reaming with a PipNet pipe reaming set. The bowl is quite large so I used the second and third cutting head. I took it back to the walls. I cleaned it up further with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe knife. I finished by sanding the interior of the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a dowel. I used the Fitsall knife to carefully scrape off some of the lava on the rim top. It is very thick. I used micromesh sanding pads to work on the light scratching around the bowl and to remove the thick lava coat on the rim top. I removed the sharpness of the nicks on the front of the bowl at the same time. I polished the meerschaum with 1500-12000 grit pads wiping it down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the debris and dust. The bowl and shank began to really take on a shine as I worked on it. (As I mentioned in the previous blog, my friend and I spoke on the phone and the decision was made to leave the light scratching as part of the story of the pipe.) With the exterior clean I worked on the inside of the shank and stem. The airway on the bottom of the bowl was plugged so I needed to get the airflow open again. I used isopropyl alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs to open the airway into the bowl and to remove the debris and oils. I cleaned out the end of the stem where the tenon screwed in with cotton swabs and alcohol. Once finished the pipe smelled clean.I still need to wax the bowl but I set it aside for now and turned my attention to the stem. I cleaned off the surface of the acrylic with alcohol to remove and debris from the tooth dents. I took some photos of the stem as it was after cleaning. The dents and hole are very clear in the photos.I greased a pipe cleaner with Vaseline and inserted it in the stem below the hole to protect the airway from the glue hardening and closing it off. Now I was ready to do the patch. I decided to try a bit of a new method (at least for me) on this repair. I have ground up dust from donor stem and mixed that with the CA glue to do the repair. The issue has always been that when you sand the yellow acrylic stem the dust is always white. That just does not work. So today I decided to cut a chunk of the acrylic stem off the donor stem and fill in the hole with that and CA glue around it to hold it in place. We shall see if it works. I also filled in the tooth marks on the underside and the chips on the edges and end of the button with the CA glue at the same time. I used just glue there and no chips.The repair cured and it filled in the hole very well. As it dried the piece of yellow stem turned dark (brownish yellow) and it did not match. The repair on the underside worked very well and the rebuild on the button did as well using just the clear CA glue. I used a small file to flatten out the repaired hole and recut the button. As I smoothed out the repaired hole with 220 grit sandpaper, the yellow of the original stem lightened. On the end of the button it turned almost white. It is definitely not the same material as the original stems of the other Ehrlich pipes I am working on.I worked on it to blend it into the stem with micromesh sanding pads. It worked well on the underside but the top still is a bit of an eyesore. I worked it smooth with a 1500 grit pad first the polished it with the remaining pads 1800-12000 grit. I wiped it down with a bit of Obsidian Oil to remove the debris after each pad. I was quite pleased with the look of the repaired stem. With the stem finished and the bowl completed to this point it was time recoat the bowl with beeswax. I melted a chunk of beeswax in the microwave and brushed the melted wax onto the bowl and shank. I took photos of the thick wax coat around the bowl sides and top. I look forward to seeing what happens when I melt it off!I used my heat gun on the low setting to melt the excess wax and heat the meerschaum to absorb the wax. I put a thick layer of paper towels below the heat gun to catch the dripping of the wax. I used a cork in the bowl as a handle to turn the pipe over the heat. As the heat and wax did the work the bowl began darken. I took some photos of the bowl when I had finished. It is a beauty.This D.P. Ehrlich Co, Boston Made Meerschaum Billiard turned out really well and it is a great looking pipe with a great shape to it. The deepening patina around the bowl and shank has been highlighted by the wax and will only deepen with use. The smoky yellow coloured acrylic stem looks good with the darkening bowl and shank. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Ehrlich Meerschaum Billiard is both comfortable to hold and is quite distinguished looking. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 1 inch. The weight of the pipe is 50 grams/1.76 ounces. This is the second D.P. Ehrlich Co. Meerschaum I have finished. Once finish the last one I will be packing them carefully and sadly saying farewell to some beautiful pieces. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. Keep an eye out for the final one.