Tag Archives: Stem repairs

Breathing Life into a 1950 Dunhill Shell Briar R Pot


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table is the second one that came to me from a friend up the British Columbia Coast. It is the second of two Dunhill pipes that he found in a shop along the coast. It is a Shell Briar Pot that is worn and has a lot of damage to the rim top. It is the pipe in the front of the photo below. You can see the damage to the rim top and how the rim top is damaged at the back and the front of the rim top and the outer edge of the bowl. The photo was sent to me by Chris. When the pipe arrived I took photos of what it looked like. Chris had done some preliminary cleaning of the pipe before he sent it to me and it look quite clean. It is stamped on a smooth panel on the underside of the shank. On the heel of the bowl it is stamped with the shape number R followed by Dunhill [over] Shell Briar followed by Made in England with a superscript underlined 0. That is followed by 4 in a circle followed by S for Shell. Interpreting that stamp follows: The R is the shape for a straight stem Pot. The Dunhill Shell Briar is the finish which is corroborated the S in the circle. The underlined 0 following the D of England dates the pipe. The stamping is clear and readable. The age of the pipe and the oils in the sandblast finish has given the pipe a rich medium brown finish. There is also some interesting grain shows through the blast finish. There was still a thin cake in the bowl and a light overflow of lava on the rim top. The rim top had a lot of damage and wear on the top and outer edges.  The top was no longer flat. The vulcanite stem was lightly oxidized and had tooth marks and chatter ahead of the button. I took photos of the pipe to show what it looked like before I started working on it. I took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the thickness of the cake and the damages. The rim top and edges are a mess with lots of damage caused by beating it against a hard surface. The photos of the stem show the light oxidation and tooth marks and chatter on the surface on both sides. The stamping on the underside of the shank is shown in the photo below. It looks very good and readable. It reads as noted and explained above.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe parts to show what I was working with. It has potential to be a great looking pipe.  I turned to Pipedia’s section on Dunhill Shell Briar Pipes to get a bit of background on the Dunhill finishes (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Dunhill#Root_Briar). I quote:

Shell

A deep craggy sandblast with a black stain finish (usually made using Algerian briar) – the color of the stain used has varied over the years. Although there is some doubt as to them being the first to sandblast pipes, Dunhill’s Shell pipes, and the sandblasting techniques developed to create them are considered one of Dunhill’s greatest and most lasting contributions to the art of pipe making.

The documented history of Dunhill’s inception of the Shell is largely limited to patent applications — there are no catalog pages or advertisements promoting blasted pipes at the time. The preliminary work on the English patent (No. 1484/17) was submitted on October 13, 1917. The patent submission was completed half a year later, on April 12, 1918, followed by the granting of the English patent on October 14, 1918. This was less than a month before the end of The Great War on November 11th.

In 1986 Dunhill released a line of premium Shell finish pipes – “RING GRAIN”. These are high-quality straight grain pipes which are sandblasted. Initially only Ring Grain, but now in two different finishes. In 1995 the “Shilling” was introduced with Cumberland finish – it is an extremely rare series. These pipes exhibit a deeper blast characteristic of that of the 1930’s – mid-1960’s (and the limited ‘deep blast’ pipes of the early 1980s) and show a fine graining pattern. These are considered the best new Dunhills by many enthusiasts today and are very rare. The finish is sometimes described as tasting like vanilla at first, with the taste becoming more normal or good as the pipe breaks in.

I have also included a chart from the site from Dunhill spelling out the Standard Pipe Finishes and giving short information and a timeline.

I turned to Pipephil to establish a date for a Dunhill with the stamping that was on this pipe. The date stamp 0  (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/dunhill/cledat-en1b.html) I have marked the box below with a red box around the part of the date key that is applicable. The pipe dates to 1950.I decided to start the restoration on this one by working on the damaged rim top. I started the process by topping the bowl on a topping board and a piece of 240 grit sandpaper. My main concern was to flatten the top and remove some of the gouges and damages. I then built up the damaged areas on the front and back outer edges of the bowl with briar dust and CA glue. I wanted to raise the profile of the edge in those areas. I would rusticate them so I was not overly concerned with what it looked like at this point. I used various burrs on the Dremel to approximated the sandblast finish on the rim top and bring it back to reflect the sandblast and nooks and crannies on the sides of the bowl and shank. I stained the newly shaped rim top with an Oak and a Maple stain pen to match the colour of the bowl. I was pretty happy with the newly stained rim. It look a lot better than when I started and worked with the finish.I figured I should clean up the bowl after that work. I reamed it with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and took back the remaining cake to briar so I could check out the condition of the bowl walls. I cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I cleaned out the mortise and the airway in the shank and stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I also cleaned out the inner tube at the same time. With the repair completed I rubbed the briar down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to work it into the nooks and crannies of the sandblast finish. The product works to clean, enliven and preserve the briar. I let it sit for 15 minutes while I worked on the stem. After the time passed I buffed it with a cotton cloth to deepen the shine. The briar really comes alive with the balm. I cleaned out the tooth marks with alcohol and filled them in with black super glue. I set the stem aside to allow the glue to cure. Once it cured I recut the edge of the button with a file and then sanded the repairs with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth them out and blend them into the rest of the stem surface. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I polished the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. This Dunhill Shell Briar R Pot is a beautiful sandblast that came out looking very good. The Shell Briar finish has a great rugged sandblast that Dunhill specialized in making. The finish on the pipe is in excellent condition. The oils off the smoker’s hands and the tan stain on the bowl works well to highlight the grain. The polished black vulcanite taper stem adds to the mix. With the dust gone from the finish and the bowl it was a beauty and is eye-catching. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel being careful to not buff the stamping. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing it with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Shell Briar R Pot is quite nice and feels great in the hand. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. I can only tell you that like the other pipes I am working that it is much prettier in person than the photos capture. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¼ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 36grams/1.27oz. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next generation.

Restoring a Parker’s Bruyere Lovat made about 1923


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from the old gentleman who had purchased much of his wonderful collection from Barclay-Rex in New York City. He said he used to go there from his workplace to purchase tobacco and pipes. This is the last of his briar’s that I am working on. I have marked it in the photo to the left with a red rectangle around the pipe in the group of pipes above.

It is a nice looking Parker’s Bruyere Lovat with a Sterling Silver band and a saddle stem. The bowl has a rich reddish brown colour combination that highlights grain. The pipe has some grime ground into the surface of the briar. This pipe is stamped on the sides of the shank. On the left it reads 3 followed by Parker’s [over] Bruyere. On the right it read Made in London England. The saddle stem has a Parker “P” in a Diamond logo on the top side. There is an oxidized band on the shank that needed attention. There is a thick cake in the bowl and some overflow of lava on the edges of the rim top. The rim top looks good but it is hard to know for sure as the lava is quite thick. There were some tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the vulcanite stem near the button. The pipe looks to be in good condition under the grime. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup.He took photos of the rim top to show the cake and the lava coat. The inner edge of the bowl looks good. The top and outer edge also look okay. It is an incredibly dirty pipe but obviously one that was a great smoker. He also captured the condition of the stem. It is oxidized, calcified and has tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside of the stem near the button. There is a chip out of the top right side of the button. He took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the beautiful grain around the bowl and the condition of the pipe. You can see the grime ground into the surface of the briar. He took photos of the stamping on the side of the shank. They are clear and readable as noted above. The photos show the left side of the shank. He did not take photos of the right side. He also included a photo of the Diamond P stamp.I turned first to Pipephil’s site to look at the Parker write up there and see if I could learn anything about the line (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-parker.html). There were no pipes matching the stamping on this one – Parker’s Bruyere.

I looked up the Parker brand on Pipedia to see if I could find the Parker’s Bruyere there or at least the possessive Parker’s stamping (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Parker).

Dating

Prior to Word War II, the possessive PARKER’S stamp was used. However, at least some pipes were stamped with the non-possessive as early as 1936.

Like Dunhill, Parker pipes are date stamped, but differently than Dunhill. The Parker date code always followed the MADE IN LONDON over ENGLAND stamping. The first year’s pipes (1923) had no date code; from 1924 on it ran consecutively from 1 to 19.

There is no indication of a date code for the war years. Parker was not a government approved pipe manufacturer, while Dunhill and Hardcastle were. During the war years Parker manufactured the “Wunup” pipe made of Bakelite and clay.

The pipe that I was working on was stamped with the possessive PARKER’S stamp which identified it as being mad prior to WWII.  There was not any date code on the right side of the shank which may have linked it to a pipe made in 1923 but definitely before 1939. The 3 on the shank side seems to have been a shape number. This is another old timer.

It was time to work on the pipe. As usual Jeff had done a thorough cleanup on the pipe. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water. One of the benefits of this scrub is that it also tends to lift some of the scratches and nicks in the surface of the briar. He also polished the band which appears to be silver. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He cleaned the internals and externals of the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water and cleaned out the airway in the stem with alcohol. The pipe looked very good when it arrived. I took a photo of the rim top and stem to show the condition. The rim top looked very good. The inner edge of the bowl a few small nicks around the front and left side. The vulcanite taper stem had light tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button and on the button edges.  The top right side of the button had a chip missing.The stamping on the sides of the shank is clear and readable as noted above.I removed the stem and the extension from the shank and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. It is a nice Straight Grain Billiard that should clean up very well.I reshaped the bowl edges with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damaged areas from the inner edge of the bowl. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped down the bowl after each sanding pad. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Balm did its magic and the grain stood out.  I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth marks and chatter with 220 grit sandpaper. I filled the tooth marks on the stem and button with clear super glue and let it cure.   I used PaperMate Liquid Paper to fill in the Diamond P stamp on the top side of the taper stem. I let it dry the scraped off the excess with my fingernail.   I sanded the repairs smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and started the polishing process with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further the stem. The photo below shows the polished stem. This nicely grained Parker’s Bruyere 3 Lovat with a vulcanite saddle stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The briar around the bowl is clean and really came alive. The rich brown stains gave the grain a sense of depth with the polishing and waxing. The grain really popped. I put the vulcanite stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Parker’s Lovat is a beauty and feels great in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 4 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of this large pipe is 1.31 ounces /37 grams. This Parker’s Bruyere Lovat is another great find our hunts. It is much more beautiful in person than these photos can capture. I am not sure where this one will end up so I will hold onto it for a short time. This is another pipe that has the possibility of transporting the pipe man or woman back to a slower paced time in history where you can enjoy a respite. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

 

 

Repairing and Refurbishing a Jobey “Gondoli” From Steve’s Grab Box


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

Steve, my friend and mentor, had sent me a pipe lot of 15 pipes for restoration about 3 years back. These assorted pipes were requested by me with an intent that these would provide me with an opportunity to further hone my skills and gain experience in tackling varied issues that one may come across during restoration. Each of these pipes has its own set of issues to address and I look forward to work on each one of this pipe lot. Here is the picture of the pipes as I received it. The one marked with a red cross is a Dunhill Root that has been restored by Steve for my personal collection.

I have worked on a no name straight billiard and an Oom Paul from this lot and both turned out to be beautiful pipes. The next pipe from this lot that I selected to work on is a Jobey “GONDOLI” and is marked with a green arrow and numeral 3.This pipe has a nice hand feel to it and the classic Prince shape with a beautiful variegated fancy stem makes it a very attractive looking pipe. The stummel boasts of beautiful mixed grains. It is stamped on the left side of the shank as “Jobey” in fancy script over “GONDOLI” in capital letters, towards the shank end. On the right side of the shank it is stamped with shape code “965”. The variegated acrylic stem with swirls of brown carries the trademark logo of JOBEY in a brass roundel atop the surface of the stem.I had previously worked on two Jobey pipes and had researched the brand at that time. Here is the link for the research and write on the pipe.  A Simple Restoration of a “Jobey Filtersan # 690” | rebornpipes

No other information was available on the internet that I could link with the GONDOLI line or the shape code # 965. Any assistance in unearthing additional information is most welcome!!

Initial Visual Inspection
This grab bag that Steve had sent me contained few pipes that Jeff had already cleaned and sent across to Steve for further restoration. Thus, unfortunately, before condition pictures are not available with me to share with the readers, but fortunately, I get to work on a pipe that Jeff has already worked his magic upon and presented me with a clean pipe. Below are a few pictures of the pipe as I had received it. Detailed Inspection
The chamber is nice and clean with thick walls without any damage. The rim top surface has a couple of darkened areas which should be easy to clean up. The inner and outer rim edges are in decent shape and the chamber smells clean.The external surface of the stummel has been cleaned and lacquer coat has been removed in most of the places. However, a few spots remain where the lacquer coating is visible. The stummel had a reddish orange stain that has been cleaned out but would need to be eliminated completely (personal choice!). There are a few fills (encircled in pastel blue) at the back of the stummel that would need to be refreshed. There are few dents and dings over the stummel surface that needs attention. Through all this patchy lacquer coat and stain, beautiful Angel’s hair peeks out from the smooth surface. Once the stummel is cleaned and polished, these grains will pop out in all their refined glory. All in all as it stands now, this is one dull and tired looking stummel that requires a lot of TLC!! The mortise is threaded to accommodate the screw-in Jobey link tenon which was patented by Jobey. The mortise is otherwise clean but for the accumulation of dust and grime from three years of storage. This will need to be thoroughly cleaned. The famed Jobey-link Delrin tenon is shown below.The variegated acrylic fancy stem with swirls of browns and grey look very attractive, but to put it mildly, is an utter mess!! It has bite marks (encircled in green) on both upper and lower stem surface with minor tooth chatter all over the bite zone on both sides; however, these should be an easy fix. The real serious damage to the stem can be seen at the tenon end. There is a deep crack from the face of the tenon end on either surface that extends right up to the shoulders of the stem. Along the way this crack on either surface, has further bifurcated in to a couple of more cracks extending to the sides. The extents of all these cracks are indicated with red arrows.

Note: This is one tricky stem repair that I would be undertaking. I had half a mind to completely replace this stem with a new one rather than repair it. But I wanted to preserve the originality of the pipe and secondly, I did not have a suitable acrylic stem to match the beauty of the original stem and pipe combo. So repairs to this stem are the way out for me at the moment. The Process
Firstly, I cleaned the stummel exterior with Murphy’s soap and hard bristled tooth brush. I used an abrasive Scotch Brit pad to completely eliminate the lacquer coat from the surface. I diligently worked the rim top surface to remove the minor traces of darkened stains that remained. With a shank brush, I thoroughly cleaned the mortise of all the dust that had accumulated inside and along the mortise walls.

Note: The reddish orange stain on the stummel has reduced significantly, but not completely. I would need to resort to other stronger measures to eliminate the old stain. The rim top is now clean and the lacquer coating from surface has been removed completely. The fills would need to be refreshed. Next, I wiped the stummel with pure acetone on a cotton swab to eliminate the minor reddish orange stain that remained on the surface. The acetone worked well and the stummel is now free of the old stain, presenting me a fresh canvas to work further. Continuing with the stummel refurbishment, I decided to refresh the fills at the back of the stummel. Using a sharp dental tool, I removed the old fills and cleaned the area with a cotton swab and isopropyl alcohol. The gouged out spots were filled with clear CA superglue and set aside for curing.With the stummel fills set aside for curing, it was time to undertake the repairs to the stem. I first cleaned the stem surface with isopropyl alcohol on a cotton swab. Using nose pliers, I gently flexed the crack just enough for the superglue to seep in. I applied a generous layer of clear CA superglue of medium viscosity over the crack and flexed it a couple of times to make sure that the glue had seeped in to the crack. I pressed the crack together in a vice and set it aside for the glue to cure.

Note: The last picture shows that the glue had seeped completely in to the crack and inside the stem opening that houses the tenon. I shall resort to sanding to remove the excess glue from inside the stem.  Once the glue had completely hardened, I applied another coat of superglue over and around the cracks on either surface. I spot filled the tooth indentations in the bite zone with clear CA superglue and set the stem aside for the glue to cure.Next, while the stem fills are curing, I sand the stummel fills with a flat head needle file to achieve a rough match with the rest of the surface. To achieve a better match and also to address the dents/ dings over the stummel surface, I sand the entire stummel surface with a piece of 220 grit sand paper. I also work the rim top surface and inner rim edge with the sandpaper to even out the rim edge. This sanding also helps in removing residual old stain while providing a smooth surface for the next stage which is polishing cycle using complete set of micromesh pads. I was especially very careful while sanding the sides of the shank around the stampings, as it is very easy to miss out the stamp and one swipe of the sand paper is enough to ruin/ damage the stampings. To remove the sanding marks and bring a deeper shine, I polished the stummel with micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 pads. I wiped the surface with a soft cloth at the end of the micromesh cycle. The shining stummel looks amazing with a deep brown coloration and beautiful Angel’s hair grains popping over the stummel surface. Next, I rub a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to the briar with my finger tips and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful darkened grain patterns on full display. I further buff it with a horse hair shoe brush. The next afternoon, I work the stem as the fills had hardened nicely. First, with a flat head needle file, I sand the fills in the bite zone to achieve a rough match. I further fine tuned the match by sanding the filled area with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and forefinger.Next, I sand the excess glue from over and around the crack using a flat head needle file followed by a piece of 220 grit sand paper. I used a round needle file and a rolled piece of 220 grit sandpaper to sand out the excess glue from inside the stem opening for the tenon. I also remove excess glue from within the grooves of the fancy stem.

Note: I was careful to maintain a very thin layer of glue over the cracked surface as it would lend additional support and rigidity to the cracked area. Also, I was extra careful while sanding the inside of the stem opening for the tenon to achieve a smooth and even surface for the seating of the tenon.One of the probable causes for the cracks over the tenon end of the stem could have been a very tight fitting tenon. I lightly sand the smooth end of the Delrin tenon with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to achieve a snug fit (not tight and not very loose) in to the stem opening for the tenon. I frequently checked for the seating as I did not want to open up the cracks again. At this stage I am very pleased with the stem repairs and the seating of the Delrin tenon in to the stem.

Note: While sanding the smooth end of the Delrin tenon, one has to be careful and ensure an even all around sanding of tenon as it directly affects the seating of the tenon in to the mortise and thus the seating of the stem face against the shank.  Next I dry sand the entire stem surface using 600 and 800 grit sand papers followed by wet sanding with 1000 grit sandpaper. This serves to reduce the sanding marks of the more abrasive sand papers. I also sharpened the button edges with the sand papers. I wiped the stem with a cotton swab and alcohol to remove all the oxidation and sanding dust from the surface.I followed up the sanding regime with micromesh polishing to bring a shine on the stem surface. I wet sand the stem with 1500 to 12000 girt micromesh pads. I rub a small quantity of olive oil (though not necessary for acrylic stem) in to the stem surface to hydrate it and set it aside. The stem looks nice and shinning.Now, on to the home stretch!! I very excited to see the result of the final polishing cycle with Blue Diamond and carnauba wax.

To apply the finishing touches, I first mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and apply a coat of Blue Diamond to the stummel and the stem to polish out the minor scratches. With a cotton buffing wheel that I use for carnauba wax, I apply a coat of carnauba wax and continue to work on it till the complete coat of wax had been polished out. I mount a clean cotton cloth buffing wheel and give the entire pipe a once over buff. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The finished pipe looks fantastic, the beauty of which is accentuated by its classic shape, size and hand feel. P.S. The stem repairs are solid and with a little care while handling, this pipe should last a few more decades. This pipe is all set for a new home and is now truly ready for a long hiatus with a new piper, providing years of service in future.

Thank you all for reading through this write up and for the valuable time you have invested in doing so. If any reader is interested in adding this pipe to his/ her pipe rotation, feel free to contact me at deshpandeparesh@yahoo.co.in

Completing a Long Pending Repair and Restoration of Comoy’s Made “Air-O-Dry 212”


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

As I was winding up my stay at the old duty station, I came across a neatly packed zip-lock pouch that was stowed away in to the deepest part of the cupboard. In that pouch were three pipes; two Comoys and one Drury Lane # 484. I remembered that the Comoy’s had stingers that needed leather gaskets and one needed a top nut for the stinger. Steve had sent me the leather gaskets/ washers while a replacement for the stinger that required top nut, was in post that was delayed for more than a year due to the prevalent worldwide pandemic situation. I completed refurbishing the Drury Lane # 484 (Another Of My Inherited Pipes Restored…. A “Drury Lane # 484” | rebornpipes) and decided to work on the Comoy’s pipe that had an intact top nut but needed a leather gasket.

This pipe is a classic Lovat shape and is stamped on the left of the shank towards the shank end as “AIR-O-DRY” in fancy Gothic script. The right side of the shank surface is stamped as “MADE IN ENGLAND” over “BY” over “COMOY’S” and followed by the shape number “212” towards the chamber end. The bottom of the shank is stamped with *5 (this number denotes the leather washer size) over letter “K” (a mystery!!). The high quality vulcanite saddle stem bears the trademark BAR logo that appears to be an aluminum strip embedded in to the vulcanite. All the stampings are crisp and easily readable.The stampings on the pipe were categorical in pointing out that the pipe is English made and linked with Comoy’s. The shape code # 212 of Comoy’s Shape Number chart also corresponds to LOVAT shape of the pipe on my work table. However, the Air- O- Dry line does not find a mention in the list of seconds from Comoy’s on pipedia.org.

Pipedia.org has some information on this line of pipes and I quote:-

The Air-o-Dry pipe that follows was made by Comoy’s according to the stamp. The patent for the unusual stinger system shows it was invented by Marcel C.H. Jacquemin, as “Annexed” in Montreal, June 27th, 1933.

Here are a couple of pictures of the pipe and the patented details of the stinger that were available on pipedia.org, courtesy Dough Valitchka.The three digit shape number, COM stamp and the stinger system make me believe this pipe is from the 1930s to 1950s.  

Initial Visual Inspection
The pipe that is currently on my work table has a classic Lovat shape with a nice hand feel and heft to it. The stummel has rich light brown coloration that has turned dark over the years due to regular use. The stummel has a beautiful mix of cross grains and tightly packed bird’s eye grains peeking out from underneath the dirt and grime. Once the stummel has been cleaned and polished, these beautiful grains should add to the visual appeal of this piece of the briar. There is a thick layer of cake in the chamber with lava overflow over the rim top surface. The beveled inner rim edge has dents and dings and suspected charring in 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock directions. The outer edge has chipped surfaces all around, probably the pipe having being knocked against a hard surface. The vulcanite saddle stem is heavily oxidized with minor calcification and damage to the bite zone on either surface. The buttons on both surfaces have worn out slightly with minor tooth indentations. The following pictures will give the Readers an idea of the overall condition of the pipe as it sits on my work table. Detailed Visual Inspection
A thick and even layer of cake is seen in the chamber. The rim top surface is covered in overflow of lava, dirt, dust and grime and appears uneven underneath the overflow of lava. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber and rim top surface will be known once the cake has been taken down to the bare briar and the rim top crud has been scraped off completely. The inner rim has suspected burn/ charred surface in 12 o’clock (low probability, I guess) and 6 o’clock directions and is marked in yellow circle. Only once the stummel has been thoroughly cleaned that I can be sure of my initial appreciation. The outer rim edge has chipped surfaces all around (indicated with green arrows) but the most severe damage is in the 3 o’clock direction and is encircled in green. The chamber odor is strong.

Notes: – The stummel feels solid to the touch and I do not foresee any major issues with the condition of the chamber walls. The dents and dings to the rim top surface will necessitate topping. A thin delicate bevel to the outer edge should address the damage to a great extent. The strong ghost smells should be addressed to some extent once the cake has been taken down to the bare briar and the shank internals have been thoroughly cleaned. In case required, more invasive measures like salt and alcohol treatment will be resorted to if the ghosting prevails.Being a seconds pipe from Comoy’s, I had expected to find a few fills and some non-descript grain on the stummel briar. However, I was surprised to note that there is just a single fill in the stummel surface that’s already loosened (encircled in pastel pink). The stummel surface boasts of some beautiful cross grains around the front, back and over the shank surface while tightly packed Bird’s eye adorns the sides and foot of the bowl. The stummel surface is covered in dirt and grime giving the stummel a dull and oily appearance. The surface shows a few scratches, dents and dings (indicated in red). The mortise shows accumulation of old oils and tars which would need to be cleaned.

Note: – The loose fill will need to be refreshed with a mix of CA superglue and briar dust. Light sanding of the stummel with a piece of 220 grit sand paper should address the minor scratches and dings over the surface. A nice polish with micromesh grit pads will bring a nice shine to the stummel and highlight the grains. It does have a quality which is seen on vintage pipes in terms of perfection in size, briar material, quality of stem and perfectly centered draught hole drilled right at the bottom of the chamber. And not to forget, this is nearly a 50 plus year old pipe!! The vulcanite saddle stem is heavily oxidized, but otherwise in a decent condition. The bite zone on either surface shows some minor tooth indentations with a small amount of calcification at the base of the button edge. The button edges on either surface have worn down with minor bite marks. The horizontal slot and stinger openings show accumulation of dried oils and tars. There is a gap at the stinger head, between the top nut and the shoulder of the stinger (indicated by red arrows), where the leather washer is seated.

Note: The button edges will need to be sharpened and reshaped. The gap at the stinger head will be covered with the leather washer. All in all, the stem presents no major damage and should be an easy clean up.The Process
I started the restoration by reaming the chamber with size 2 followed by size 3 head of the PipNet reamer as I was keen to know the condition of the walls of the chamber. With my sharp fabricated knife, I removed the cake from the chamber where the reamer head could not reach and thereafter, using a folded piece of 180 grit sand paper, I sanded out the last traces of cake and exposed the walls of the chamber. I wiped the chamber with a cotton swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol to remove the carbon dust left behind by all the reaming and sanding process. Once the chamber walls were cleaned out, I was pleased to note a solid chamber. With the same sharp knife, I gently scraped off the lava overflow from the rim top surface. It was a big relief to note that the suspected charring in 6 o’clock and 12 o’clock direction is non-existent and the beveled inner rim edge has just darkened as a result of the lighting habits of my grandfather. However, the damage to the outer rim edge is very much a reality and will need to be addressed. Next, I cleaned out the internals of the shank and mortise. Using my dental tool, I scraped out all the dried oils, tars and gunk that had accumulated in the draught hole and on the walls of the mortise. The amount of crud that was scrapped out is an indicator as to how dirty the shank internal is.

Note: The darkened and uneven beveled inner rim edge and the dents/ dings to the rim top surface are now clearly seen. These issues should be easily addressed by topping and light sanding of the existing inner edge bevel. Similarly, the outer rim edge issue would be reduced after topping and what chipped areas remain will be masked by creating a light delicate bevel. The ghosting is still prevalent and will, in all probability, require invasive methods to completely eliminate it. I continued the cleaning of the chamber and shank internals with a salt and alcohol bath. I usually use cotton balls which is an at par substitute to Kosher salt as I have realized over the years. I drew out a wick from the cotton and along with a folded regular pipe cleaner; inserted it in to the mortise and through the draught hole into the chamber. Thereafter, I packed the chamber with cotton balls to about quarter of an inch below the inner rim edge and filled it with isopropyl alcohol up to the brim. About half an hour later, the level of alcohol had gone down, having been absorbed by the cotton. I topped it up once again with isopropyl alcohol and set it aside overnight. By next afternoon, the cotton was dark colored and with alcohol, had drawn out all the remaining oils and tars from the chamber and mortise, fulfilling its intended task. I removed the cotton balls from the chamber and the pipe cleaner with cotton from the shank and ran pipe cleaners through the mortise to clean out all the loosened tars and gunk. I further cleaned the mortise and chamber by scarping the walls with a dental tool and knife respectively, to completely remove the gunk. I blew through the draught hole to dislodge the trapped gunk, wiped the bowl clean and dried the shank and bowl with paper napkins and set it aside to dry for an entire day. By next day, the pipe was nice and dry and all the smells were history. With the stummel set aside for drying, I turned to address the stem issues. I addressed the deeper oxidation by sanding the entire stem with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. Once the oxidation was completely removed, I wiped the surface clean with Murphy’s oil soap on a cotton swab. I cleaned up the oils and tars from the surface of the stinger using alcohol on cotton pads followed by Murphy’s Oil soap. I followed it up with cleaning the internals of the stem using hard and normal bristled pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. The gunk that came out with the pipe cleaners tells the sordid tale of the stem condition. To save on to the requirement of number of pipe cleaners, I have resorted to cleaning the stem internals using thin shank brushes with anti-oil dish washing soap and finally rinsing the stem with warm water to clean and freshen up the stem internals. With a pointed dental tool, I scraped out the entire dried gunk from the horizontal slot. I rubbed a little Extra Virgin Olive oil to hydrate the stem and kept it aside. Continuing with the stem refurbishing, I heated the bite zone with the flame of a lighter to raise the tooth indentations to the surface. Though the issue was addressed to a great extent, one bite mark on both surfaces (encircled in yellow) along with damage to the button edge (indicated in pastel blue) was still evident. The button edges and deeper tooth indentations on either surface of the stem were filled with a mix of CA superglue and activated charcoal powder and set aside for the fill to cure.With the stem repairs set aside for curing, I decided to clean the external surface of the stummel. I used a hard bristled tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to scrub the stummel and rim top. I further scrubbed the rim top surface with a brass bristled brush to completely remove the dirt and grime from the rim surface. I rinsed the stummel under running warm water. I cleaned the stummel with anti oil dish washing detergent till the stummel surface was clean and dried it using paper towels and soft cotton cloth. I simultaneously cleaned the shank internals with the detergent and hard bristled shank brush and set the stummel aside to dry out naturally.While the stummel was set aside for drying, I decided to complete the stem repairs and refurbishing. With a flat head needle file, I sanded the stem fills on either surface till I had achieved a rough match with the rest of the stummel surface. I reshaped and sharpened the button edges with the same flat needle file. The filled surface and button edges were worked upon with a piece of 220 grit sand paper to further blend in the repairs. I followed it up by further dry sanding the stem with 400, 600, 800 and wet sanding with 1000 grit sand papers to completely rid the surface of the oxidation and bring out the shine in the vulcanite. I applied a little EVO to stem surface to hydrate it and set it aside. While the stem was set aside to absorb the EVO, I addressed the issue of one single fill in the entire stummel surface. I removed the old fill from the surface with a sharp dental tool and cleaned the area with isopropyl alcohol in preparation for refreshing the fill. Since the area to be filled was very minute, I decided to fill it with a drop of CA superglue alone. Once that was done, I set the stummel aside for the fill to cure.Once the stummel fill had cured, I sanded it first with a flat needle file and followed it up with a piece of 220 grit sand paper. Simultaneously, I sanded the entire stummel surface with the 220 grit paper to eliminate the minor scratches and dings from the surface.The next stummel issue that I addressed was of uneven rim top and damages to the rim edges. I decided to address the issue of uneven and darkened rim top surface by topping the rim surface on a piece of 220 grit sand paper. The progress being made was frequently checked as I had no desire to lose any briar estate than was absolutely necessary. Once satisfied with the result, I wiped the rim top surface with a moist cloth. The darkened rim top had been addressed completely, however, the beveled inner rim edge was still dark and uneven (though greatly reduced) with slight charred edges. I addressed these issues by simply running a piece of 220 grit sand paper along the inner rim edge bevel, till the darkening was eliminated. I created a delicate but sharp bevel to the outer edge for a smooth and an evenly rounded outer edge. However, I was extremely careful that the profile of the stummel was not altered with the creation of the bevel. I subjected the stummel to a complete cycle of micromesh polish, dry sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. I paid greater attention to polish the rim top surface and the bevel created on the inner and outer rim edge. I wiped the stummel with a moist cloth after every grit pad to remove the sanding dust left behind by the pads. This also helps in monitoring the progress being made and provides an opportunity to take early corrective action, if required. I was happy with the progress being made till now. The briar had taken on a nice deep shine with the original natural brown of the stummel and the darker brown stains to the grains contrasting beautifully. I really liked the dark brown coloration and the patina that was seen over the stummel surface. Next, I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” into the briar with my finger tips and worked it deep in to the surface and let the balm be absorbed by the briar for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful straight and Bird’s eye grain patterns on full display. The contrast of the dark browns of the grain with the light brown hues of the rest of the stummel adds an interesting dimension to the appearance of the stummel. I further buffed it with a horse hair brush to further deepen the shine. Using micromesh pads, I completed the polishing of the stem by wet sanding the stem surface with 1500 to 12000 girt pads. I gave a final rub with “Before and After Extra Fine” stem polish compound from Mark Hoover to remove fine scratches from the stem surface. I rubbed a little quantity of Extra Virgin Olive oil in to the stem surface and set it aside to be absorbed by the vulcanite. The stem polished up nicely and appears as good as when new.The only repair aspect that remained was replacing the leather washer in the stinger head. Steve, my Guru/ Mentor/ Friend, had spared me two size 5 leather washers, for this pipe and other for Comoy’s “Grand Slam”. These leather washers will be put to good use, I assure you Steve!!

I soaked one leather washer in water to make it soft and more pliable. Carefully unscrewing the top nut (I had broken the top nut on the stinger of Grand Slam while trying to unscrew and the memory of the pain is still vivid), I fixed the leather washer and gently tightened the top nut. With a piece of 220 grit sand paper, I sanded off the excess leather material from the washer, frequently checking for the seating of the stinger into the mortise (remember my mantra… SAND ONCE, CHECK TWICE!). Once the seating was snug and just perfect, I stopped any further sanding and applied petroleum jelly to the washer to keep it moist and pliable.To put the finishing touches, I mounted a cotton cloth buffing wheel onto my hand held rotary tool and polished the stummel and stem with Blue Diamond compound. This compound helps to remove the minor scratch marks that remain from the sanding. Next, I mounted another cotton buffing wheel that I have earmarked for carnauba wax and applied several coats of the wax. I mounted a clean cotton cloth buffing wheel and gave the entire pipe a once over buff. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The finished pipe with the aged patina to the briar looks amazingly beautiful and now all that remains for me is to load it with some Regent’s Flake and get transported back in time when things were a bit more contemplative and people had time for each other… time to share!! P.S. The completion of this project would not have been possible without the help that was extended by Steve and I am really thankful to him.

Praying for the health and safety of all the readers and their loved ones in these troubled times…

 

Breathing Life into a well carved Meerschaum Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

I have finished restoring quite a few of the pipes in this collection that we purchased from the older gentleman. He sent me the photos and I was amazed at what I saw. You have seen many of the pipes that he had. These included Dunhill, BBB, Orlik, Barclay Rex, a cased Ben Wade, an H. Simmons all briar, Hardcastles and some Meerschaums. There were also some assorted others that I will get to in the days ahead. It was a great collection.

The next pipe I have chosen is a worn and dirty looking Bent Meerschaum Billiard. It is the first [top] of the three meerschaum pipes in the photo above. There was a thick cake in the bowl and the rim top and edges were told buried under a thick coat of lava. It was filthy both inside and out. The shape probably caught my eye because it is quite lovely even under the grime and wear. The stem is yellow acrylic and it is chipped and damaged. The exterior of the bowl had a lot of debris in the rustication around the bowl. The stem had tooth chatter on the top and underside near the button. This was another well loved pipe that obviously been a good smoker!

Jeff took some photos of the Meerschuam Bent Billiard before he worked his magic in cleaning up the pipe. It is a an interesting pipe with a lot of potential and what appears to be some great grain under the grime and debris of the years. Jeff took photos of the bowl, rim top to show the thickness of the cake in the bowl and the thick lava on the rim top. The rim top and inner edge are so thickly covered that it is hard to know their condition. All of the issues will become clearer after the clean up. He took photos of the top and underside of the acrylic stem showing the tooth chatter on both sides and the chip out of the underside of the stem on the right.   Jeff also took some photos of the threaded metal tenon in the shank and the threaded inside of the stem to show the appearance and condition of both.Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the rustication. You can see the beautiful shape of the bowl and some interesting patterns in the meerschaum even through the dirt and debris of many years. This unstamped Meerschaum Bent Billiard is an interesting looking pipe. There appears to be a JW written on both the face of the shank and stem. Because the old gentleman that we bought the pipes from intimated that he purchased his pipes at the Manhattan Barclay-Rex store I would imagine that he may have purchased this one from them as well. I was unable to pin down any information regarding the date this pipe so it was time to move on and work on the pipe.

Jeff carefully cleaned the pipe. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and then cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals of the shank, stem and shank extension with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and lava on the rim top. The finish looks much better and has a deep richness in the colour that highlights the dimensions of the rustication. The edges looked good otherwise. He scrubbed the acrylic stem with Soft Scrub to remove the grime and oils on the stem. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver I was amazed that it looked so good. Here are some photos of what I saw. I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem surface. The top and inner and outer edge of the rim showed some darkening/heavy tars and damage. The stem had tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the parts of the pipe. I started my work on the pipe by polishing the smooth rim top with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding debris. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the bowl and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the smooth surfaces of the meerschaum. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I filled in the large chip on the right underside with clear CA glue, layering it on to repair both the stem ahead of the button and building up the button. I set it aside to cure. Once it cured I sanded it smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. It looks significantly better and is smooth but the repairs show! With the bowl and the stem finished I put the beautiful Meerschaum Bent Billiard back together and buffed it lightly on the wheel using Blue Diamond to give it a shine. I gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel. I buffed the bowl with a horsehair shoe brush to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The smooth and carved finish is a great looking. The dimensions of the pipe are – Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¾  inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of this large pipe is 1.27 ounces /36 grams. This Meerschaum Bent Billiard is another great find from this collection. It is much more beautiful in person than these photos can capture. I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store soon. If you want to add it to your collection it will make a fine smoking addition. This is another pipe that has the possibility of transporting the pipe man or woman back to a slower paced time in history where you can enjoy a respite. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

Restoring A Vintage Kriswill “Chief # 35” Pickaxe


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

The next pipe selected for refurbishing is a commonly shaped pickaxe Danish pipe. I say common because through the 1960s and 70s, this shape and its variations was the most loved and common on many Kriswill and Stanwell pipes as well as with various artisan pipe carvers from Denmark.

This pipe has a smooth stummel with a natural finish (I guess) that has darkened over a period of time. For a pipe with a length of 5 ½ inches and bowl height of 2 inches and chamber depth of 1 ¾ inches, it’s pretty much ultra light weight, making it a perfect pipe to clench. The vulcanite stem is thin and delicate. The smooth stummel surface displays beautiful cross grains to the front and aft of the bowl while the sides boast of lovely bird’s eye grains. It would need a good TLC to bring these grains to the fore. Here are a few pictures of the pipe that Abha had taken before she did her part of initial cleaning of the pipe. The pipe is stamped on the left surface of the shank as “Kriswill” in script hand over “CHIEF” over “HANDMADE DENMARK”. The bottom of the shank, at the shank end, is stamped with the shape code “35”. The vulcanite stem bears the stamp “KRISWILL” in script hand over the left surface. Last year, I had worked on a unique Kriswill “GOLDEN CLIPPER” that had a stummel shaped like the chimney of early steam locomotive engines. Here is the link for the write up… Restoring a Kriswill “Golden Clipper” Freehand Chimney | rebornpipes. I am sure you will find it an interesting read.

I had researched the brand at that time and I went through the above write up and also through the material that was available on pipedia.org and pipephil.eu. There are three facts which I wish to highlight:-

Firstly, Prior to 1970 the stampings are in script letters on the shank and on the mouthpiece. The star on the stem and block letters on the shank were introduced from that date on”

Secondly, the stem stamping changed to “stylized compass rose” prior to 1969 and not 1970 as evidenced from the Kriswill Pipe catalog pages of January 1969 (https://pipedia.org/images/5/5f/KriswillCatalog-Jan1969.pdf)

Thirdly, there is no mention of this shape code # 35 in the “CHIEF” line up in the 1969 and 1970 catalogs further implying that this shape code was discontinued after 1969,of course this is assuming that the complete catalog is made available at the above given link.

On pipedia.org, I came across an early catalog which does have a shape code # 35 pipe that is currently on my work table and is indicated with a red arrow. It’s a Nature finished pipe in brown color as indicated by the shape code.Thus from the above, the pipe that I am now working on definitely pre-dates to 1970s since the stamping is in script and the stem is sans the star and probably even prior to 1969.

With the provenance of the pipe satisfactorily established, I proceeded to carry out a visual inspection of the condition of the pipe in my hand. This helps me map the road to restoring the pipe by identifying the issues involved and identify methods/ options to address the same beforehand.

Initial Visual Inspection
The chamber is so filled with cake that I am unable to reach the bottom of the bowl with my little finger. The build-up of the cake is heavier on the bottom half of the bowl, but overall well maintained. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber can be commented upon only after the cake has been taken down to the bare briar. The rim top appears darkened and is covered with dust, lava and grime. The inner rim edge is uneven under the lava overflow and the exact condition will be ascertained once the rim top has been cleaned. The chamber odors are not very strong and should be completely eliminated once the cake has been removed and the shank has been thoroughly cleaned.The stummel surface appears dull and lackluster due to the accumulated dirt, dust and grime of years of usage and subsequent uncared for storage. One minor nick (encircled in yellow) and a scratch (indicated with green arrow) is seen over the front of the stummel surface. The mortise is clogged with oils and tars. This should be an easy clean up job. The vulcanite stem is heavily oxidized. The button has some bite marks on both surfaces and will need to be rebuilt and reshaped. There is minor tooth chatter in the bite zone on both the surfaces. The airway in the stem is blocked resulting in a restricted draw and will need to be cleaned. The tenon and the horizontal slot show accumulation of dried oils, tars and gunk on the inside as well as on the outside. This will have to be cleaned. The aluminum inner tube is covered in dried oils and tars. I shall clean it and keep it aside in my box with other inner tubes and stingers as I never use them with my pipes.Initial Cleaning By Abha…
The initial cleaning on this pipe was done by Abha, my wife (she has cleaned up around 40-50 pipes and these had reached me for further restoration). She reamed out the complete cake and further smoothed out the chamber walls with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. She further cleaned out the internals of the shank with pipe cleaners and alcohol and cotton buds. She followed the internal cleaning of the shank with external cleaning of the stummel using Murphy’s Oil soap and hard bristled tooth brush and dried it with paper napkins and cotton cloth.Next she cleaned out the internals of the stem air way and immersed it in “Before and After Deoxidizer” solution along with the stem of other pipes in line for restoration (the pipe that I am working on is indicated by yellow arrow). Once the stem had soaked overnight, she cleaned the stem under running warm water and scrubbed the raised oxidation from the stem surface using Scotch Brite pad. She further removed the oxidation by scrubbing the stem with 0000 grade steel wool and applied a little olive oil to rehydrate the stem. She had removed the inner tube from the tenon and cleaned it with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and alcohol.Once The Pipe Is On My Work Table…
The initial cleaning by Abha, my wife, is thorough and while saving me time, it also provides a clear picture of all the issues that needs to be addressed during the restoration process. She also makes a note of all the issues that she observed during initial cleaning for me to address and includes this note with each pipe that she packs. It’s a big saving on the time factor and I am really thankful to her for indulging me.

This is how the pipe came to me after Abha had worked her magic. The stampings on this pipe, as detailed above, are crisp and easily readable.The rim top surface does have a few issues that have now come to the fore after cleaning. The inner edge has minor charring between 12 o’clock and 1 o’clock direction and is encircled in yellow. The chamber walls have numerous, disjointed and very minor heat fissures which would need to be addressed. These heat fissures are indicated with green arrows. The inner edge is uneven in the 6 o’clock direction (encircled in blue). It has been my experience that these heat lines/ fissures may also appear if the complete cake has not been reamed out and once the complete carbon cake is reamed out, these lines disappear. That is what I shall try first! Through the cleaned stummel surface, the beauty of this piece of briar can be appreciated further. The beautiful bird’s eye and cross grains over the stummel will be further highlighted once the stummel has been polished and rejuvenated. I shall deal with the small nick that is observed over the front of the bowl either by filling it or may even leave it be. This nick and the scratch should be addressed to a great extent after I sand the stummel surface followed by subsequent polishing pads. The mortise is nice and clean with no ghost smells.The stem has cleaned up nicely and the oxidation is completely eliminated. One deep tooth indentation (marked in pastel blue) is seen on both the upper and lower stem surface in the bite zone. I shall address this issue with a fill of activated charcoal and CA superglue. The horizontal slot and the tenon end are clean with a full and even draw.The Process…
The first issue that I addressed was that of the stem repairs. I flamed the surface of the stem with a lighter to raise the tooth indentations on the stem. The heat from the flame of the lighter causes the vulcanite to expand and regain its natural shape, reducing the marks. I wiped the stem surface clean with a cotton pad dipped in alcohol to remove all the dust and dirt from the surface. The tooth marks which were visible after the flaming and sanding were filled with a mix of activated charcoal and clear CA superglue and set aside to cure overnight.With the stem fills set aside for curing, I worked the rim top surface. To address the uneven and charring of the inner rim edge, I topped the rim surface on a 220 grit sand paper. Though it is recommended to have a wooden board with the 220 grit sand paper firmly fixed over it, I just keep the sand paper on a flat table top, holding it firmly with my left hand and rotating the rim top over it with my right hand. I have come to realize that this set up gives me lot more freedom of movement, better control and convenience of storage. I frequently checked the progress being made as I hate to lose briar estate any more than absolutely necessary. I am pretty happy with the inner rim edge and what little darkening and unevenness remains will be masked by creating a slight bevel to the edge. This is how the rim top appears at this point in restoration. Taking these pictures, I remembered to ream the chamber to address the issue of suspected heat fissures. Using my fabricated small knife, I scraped away all the carbon from the chamber walls and followed it by sanding the wall surface using a 220 grit sand paper to a smooth surface. The chamber appears to be solid with no issues to the chamber walls. Staying with the rim, the next issue that I addressed was with the rim edges, both inner and outer. With a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and fore finger, I created a bevel on the inner edge. This addressed the issue of the uneven and out of round chamber and also reduced the darkened edge.Next, I sanded the entire stummel with a piece of 220 grit sand paper. This helps to remove the minor scratches, nicks and dings from the stummel surface. While I was working on the stummel, the stem fills had completely cured. With a flat head needle file, I worked on the filling till I had achieved a rough match with the surrounding surface and had sufficiently sharpened the button edges. I further sanded the fills with a piece of 220 grit sand paper to achieve a better match. Thereafter, I began the process of bringing a nice shine to the surface by sanding with 320, 400, 600, 800 and 1000 grit sandpapers. I applied a little EVO to the stem surface to hydrate it and set the stem aside for the oil to be absorbed in to the surface.To bring a deep shine to the stem, I went through the complete set of micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit sandpapers. I wiped the stem with moist cloth after each pad. At the end of micromesh cycle, I polished the stem with “Before and After Fine & Extra Fine” paste. I also refreshed the stem stamping with a white correction pen. The finished stem is shown below. With the repair completed, I turned my attention back to the stummel. I wet sanded the stummel with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads, wiping frequently with a moist cloth to check the progress. I really like the looks of the stummel at this point in restoration. The grains and the clean lines of this piece of briar is really appreciable. Next, I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” deep in to the briar with my finger tips and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful grain patterns displayed in their complete splendor. I further buffed it with a horse hair brush. The contrast of the dark browns of the Bird’s eye and cross grains with the natural finish of the rest of the stummel adds an interesting dimension to the appearance of the stummel which may be insufficiently described in words and be rather seen in person. I have now reached the homestretch in this restoration project. To complete the restoration, I mounted a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and polished the stummel and stem with Blue Diamond compound. This compound helps to remove the minor scratch marks that remain from the sanding. Next, I mounted another cotton buffing wheel that I have earmarked for carnauba wax and applied several coats of the wax. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The finished pipe looks amazingly beautiful and is ready to join my collection. I only wish it could share with me it’s story of the past years while I enjoy smoking my favorite Virginia blend in it or maybe an English blend or maybe just keep admiring it!! The finished pipe is as shown below. P.S. I had completed this pipe (and next 6 restorations) during the months of November and December of last year. The reason for the delayed write ups is because I have moved out to a new work place and my luggage, including pipe restoration equipment, materials and pipes, were transported from old station to new place of work. My family will be moving in with me now (after a separation of nearly five years) by next month end after winding up the household in Pune. I should be settling down in to my new routine by end of April and only then will I be able to undertake any new projects. So in the intervening period, I intend to complete all my pending write ups so that I am still in touch with all the esteemed readers, who I miss very much.

A note of thanks to all the readers who have joined me in this journey that has been such a pleasure! You and your loved ones are always in our prayers…Stay home…stay safe!!

Breathing Life into a Rusticated Meerschaum Prince


Blog by Steve Laug

I have finished restoring quite a few of the pipes in this collection that we purchased from the older gentleman. He sent me the photos and I was amazed at what I saw. You have seen many of the pipes that he had. These included Dunhill, BBB, Orlik, Barclay Rex, a cased Ben Wade, an H. Simmons all briar, Hardcastles and some Meerschaums. There were also some assorted others that I will get to in the days ahead. It was a great collection.

The next pipe I have chosen is a worn and dirty looking rusticated Meerschaum Prince. It is the middle of the three meerschaum pipes in the photo above. There was a thick cake in the bowl and the rim top and edges were told buried under a thick coat of lava. It was filthy both inside and out. The shape probably caught my eye because it is quite lovely even under the grime and wear. The stem is yellow acrylic and it was a complete mess. The exterior of the bowl had a lot of debris in the rustication around the bowl. The stem had tooth marks on the top and underside near the button. This was another well loved pipe that obviously been a good smoker!

Jeff took some photos of the Rusticated Meerschaum Prince before he worked his magic in cleaning up the pipe. It is a an interesting pipe with a lot of potential and what appears to be some great grain under the grime and debris of the years. Jeff took photos of the bowl, rim top to show the thickness of the cake in the bowl and the thick lava on the rim top. The rim top and inner edge are so thickly covered that it is hard to know their condition. It appears that there were nicks and chips on the rim top. All of the issues will become clearer after the clean up. He took photos of the top and underside of the acrylic stem showing the tooth marks and chatter on both sides.   Jeff also took some photos of the threaded metal tenon in the shank and the threaded inside of the stem to show the appearance and condition of both.Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the rustication. You can see the beautiful shape of the bowl and some interesting patterns in the meerschaum even through the dirt and debris of many years. This unstamped Meerschaum Prince is an interesting looking pipe. Because the old gentleman that we bought the pipes from intimated that he purchased his pipes at the Manhattan Barclay-Rex store I would imagine that he may have purchased this one from them as well. I was unable to pin down any information regarding the date this pipe so it was time to move on and work on the pipe.

Jeff carefully cleaned the pipe. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and then cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals of the shank, stem and shank extension with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and lava on the rim top. The finish looks much better and has a deep richness in the colour that highlights the dimensions of the rustication. The edges looked good otherwise. He scrubbed the acrylic stem with Soft Scrub to remove the grime and oils on the stem and chewed stem end. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver I was amazed that it looked so good. Here are some photos of what I saw. I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem surface. The top and inner and outer edge of the rim showed some darkening/heavy tars and damage. The stem had tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the parts of the pipe. I started my work on the pipe by addressing the damage and tars on the rim top and edges of the bowl. I topped it on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I cleaned up the inner edge with a piece of 220 grit sandpaper.I polished the smooth rim top with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding debris. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the bowl and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I “painted” the stem surface with the flame of a Bic lighter to lift them. I have tried it before on acrylic stems but it has never worked and still did not. I filled in the tooth marks with clear CA glue and set it aside to cure. Once it cured I sanded it smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. It looks significantly better and is smooth but the repairs show! With the bowl and the stem finished I put the beautiful Rusticated Meerschaum Prince back together and buffed it lightly on the wheel using Blue Diamond to give it a shine. I gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel. I buffed the pipe with a horsehair shoe brush to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The smooth and rusticated finish is a great looking. The dimensions of the pipe are – Length: 4 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ½ inch, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of this large pipe is 1.23 ounces /35 grams. This Rusticated Meerschaum Prince is another great find from this collection. It is much more beautiful in person than these photos can capture. I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store soon. If you want to add it to your collection it will make a fine smoking addition. This is another pipe that has the possibility of transporting the pipe man or woman back to a slower paced time in history where you can enjoy a respite. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

Another Of My Inherited Pipes Restored…. A “Drury Lane # 484”


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

As I was winding up my stay at the old duty station, I came across a neatly packed zip-lock pouch that was stowed away in to the deepest part of the cupboard. In that pouch were three pipes; two Comoys and one Drury Lane # 484. I remembered that the Comoy’s had stingers that needed leather gaskets and one needed a top nut for the stinger. Steve had sent me the leather gaskets while a replacement for the stinger that required top nut, was in post that was delayed for more than a year due to the prevalent worldwide pandemic situation. I decided to work on the Drury Lane and the one Comoy’s that just needed the leather gasket to be replaced.

The Drury Lane pipe is stamped on the left of the shank as “DRURY LANE” in an arch over “LONDON”, all in block capital letters. The right side of the shank surface bears the shape number “484” towards the chamber end with the COM stamp “MADE IN ENGLAND” with “MADE” at the top, “IN” in the middle, and “ENGLAND” forming the bottom of the circle (Football shaped stamping). The high quality twin bore vulcanite saddle stem bears the stamping “BITE” over “PROOF”. All the stampings are crisp and easily readable save for the stem logo which has a faint and the worn out letter P in the word PROOF.The stampings on the pipe were categorical in pointing out that the pipe is an English made and the way Drury Lane is stamped in an arch helped me narrow down the connection to early production of either Barling’s or Comoy’s brands as both had an arched stamp. To be sure of my assumptions, I visited pipephil.eu which confirmed my assumption; this brand is indeed linked with Comoy’s. Here is the link: Dra-Duk — Pipes : Logos & Markings (pipephil.eu)

Next, I visited pipedia.org for detailed information on the brand Comoy’s in general and this line of pipes in particular. The information that is given on the website makes for an interesting read and should anyone be interested in referencing the brand, the link is given below. Comoy’s – Pipedia

Further down under on the same web page, under the sub head “SECONDs MADE BY COMOY’S” is the complete list of seconds and I reproduce the same for ease of reference. The pipe on my work table finds a mention here and is highlighted in red.

Seconds made by Comoy’s
Academy Award, Ace of spades, Ancestor, Astor, Ayres, Britannia, Carlyle, Charles Cross, Claridge, Coronet?, Cromwell, Damman?, Dorchester, Dunbar, Drury Lane, Emerson, Everyman, Festival of Britain, Golden Arrow, Grand Master, Gresham, Guildhall, Hamilton (according to Who Made That Pipe), Kingsway, Lion’s Head, Lord Clive, Lumberman, Hyde Park, Lloyds, Mc Gahey, Moorgate, Newcastle, Oxford, O’Gorman, Rosebery Extra, Royal Falcon, Royal Guard, Royal Lane, Scotland Yard, St JamesSunrise, Super Sports, Sussex, The Academy Award, The Golden Arrow, The Mansion House, The Exmoor Pipe, Throgmorton, Tinder Box Royal Coachman, Townhall, Trident, Trocadero, Westminster, Wilshire.

Next, I was keen to research and link the shape code with Comoy’s pipes and at the bottom of the page is the link to Comoy’s Shape Number Chart (Comoy’s Shape Number Chart – Pipedia)

Comoy’s pipes were given shape numbers in the 1909 catalogue and also names for each shape, but it would seem that these numbers were NOT stamped on the pipes until sometime in the 1920’s. The earliest known is from 1925. The shape numbers are all 3 digits until after the Cadogan acquisition of Comoy’s in 1979, when some shapes were introduced with 4 digit numbers. However, they may have been introduced earlier in 1976, 1977 or 1978. On pre- Cadogan pipes additional letters can be found after the three numbers:

  • M on Meerschaum lined pipes.
  • P on Panel shaped bowls. ( This may not always be the case as I have now seen a photograph of a non panel Shape 309 with a P)
  • C on some shapes with curved bits. This does not seem to be universal for all curved bits and it would appear to be mainly on Princes and Bulldogs.
  • F believed to indicate a “Fishtail” bit. Verified on an early 1930’s Virgin Briar with the shape number 206F and a fishtail bit exactly like the Dunhill F/T, that was not introduced until 1950.

(S)=saddle bit – A/M=army mount – sq=squat – sq.shank=square shank

S=small – M=medium – L=large – XL=extraordinare shape – LW=lightweight shape

Circa 1975 (Pre-Cadogan) Shape Charts, courtesy Dough Valitchka which have been uploaded, finds a mention of the exact shape code seen on the Drury Lane that I am working on and is indicated with a red arrow. It is a Large Billiard with saddle stem.Here is another link from the same page which takes the readers to an absolutely well researched page on Dating of Comoy’s;

Comoy’s Dating Guide – Pipedia
Though the pipe currently on my work table is a Comoy’s second, I have attempted to date this pipe based on the stampings, particularly the COM stamp and have reproduced the relevant portions which have helped me in dating this pipe.

Made in England
This is stamped in a circle with “MADE” at the top, “IN” in the middle, and “ENGLAND” forming the bottom of the circle. This can be seen on a Cecil as early as 1910 and on an Old Bruyere of 1921 and more frequent from the 1930s. It can also appear as “MADE” arched, “IN” below, and “ENGLAND” arched the other way. These stamps are in an oval rugby-ball shape rather than a circle round shape.Thus I can conclusively say that the DRURY LANE pipe on my work table is from the period 1910 to 1930s

Initial Visual Inspection
The pipe that is currently on my work table has a classic Billiard shape with thick walls. The stummel has rich medium brown stain and is covered in dirt and grime through which flame grains can be seen around the sides of the stummel and over the shank surface while Bird’s eye adorns the front, aft, rim top and the foot of the stummel. There is a well maintained layer of cake in the chamber with heavy lava overflow over the rim top surface. The inner rim edge has a nice bevel that is covered in lava overflow. The twin bore vulcanite saddle stem is heavily oxidized with minor damage to the bite zone on either surface. The buttons on both surfaces show bite marks. The following pictures will give readers an idea of the overall condition of the pipe as it sits on my work table. Overall, the thin layer of cake and excellent condition of the stem are pointers to the fact that the pipe seems to be well looked after. It should be an easy restoration project, unless some gremlins pop up during the process. Detailed Visual Inspection
A thin and even layer of cake is seen in the chamber. The rim top surface is covered in overflow of lava, dirt, dust and grime through which a number of dents and dings can be seen. The exact condition of the inner walls of the chamber and rim top surface will be known once the cake has been taken down to bare briar and the rim top crud has been scraped off completely. The outer rim is uneven with a couple of dents/ chipped surface in 2 ‘O’ clock and 6 ‘O’ clock directions (marked in yellow circle). Only once the stummel has been thoroughly cleaned that I can be sure of my initial appreciation. The beveled inner rim edge is covered in lava overflow, masking the real condition of the rim edge. The chamber odor is strong and should be addressed to some extent once the cake has been taken down to the bare briar and the shank internals have been thoroughly cleaned. The stummel feels solid to the touch and I do not foresee any major issues with the condition of the chamber walls. To be honest with you, this being a Comoy’s seconds pipe, I had expected to find a few fills and some non-descript grain on the stummel briar. However, I was surprised to note that there are only four very minute fills (encircled in yellow) in the stummel surface and the surface boasts of some beautiful cross grains around the sides and over the shank surface while beautiful packed Bird’s eye adorns the front, aft and foot of the stummel. The stummel surface is covered in dirt and grime giving the stummel a dull and dirty appearance. The stummel surface shows a few dents and dings. It does have a quality which is seen on vintage pipes, not to forget, this is nearly an 80 plus year old pipe, but difficult to explain in words. The mortise shows minor accumulation of old oils and tars which would need to be cleaned. The fills over the stummel surface is one issue that I am not sure about dealing with since I absolutely love the old dark brown color and the patina that has developed over time that needs to be preserved and also since these fills are too minor to be noticed. A nice polish with micromesh grit pads will bring a nice shine to the stummel and highlight the grains.The twin bore vulcanite saddle stem is heavily oxidized, but otherwise in a decent condition. The bite zone on either surface shows some minor tooth indentations with a small amount of calcification at the base of the button edge. The twin holed slot and tenon opening shows accumulation of dried oils and tars. All in all, the stem presents no major damage and should be an easy clean up.The Process
I started the restoration with cleaning of the stummel as I was keen to know the condition of the walls of the chamber. I worked on the stummel by first reaming the chamber with size 3 PipNet reamer head. With my fabricated knife, I further scraped the chamber walls to remove the remaining carbon deposits and also scraped out the lava overflow from the rim top surface. Once the cake was reamed back to the bare briar, I used a 150 grit sand paper followed by 220 grit sand paper to remove all the traces of remaining cake and also to smoothen out the inner walls of the chamber surface. Finally, to remove the residual carbon dust, I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with 99.9% pure isopropyl alcohol. Few very minor webs of heat lines can be seen along the heel and walls of the chamber. I am not sure if these are heat lines or remnants of old cake over the wall surface. With the same sharp knife, I gently scraped off the lava overflow from the rim top surface. The inner rim edge bevel has darkened, but I don’t think it is charred. Gently running a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper along the inner edge should suffice to clean up the bevel. The issue of dents and dings over the rim top surface will be addressed by topping it over a 220 grit sandpaper.Next, I cleaned out the internals of the shank and mortise. Using my dental tool, I scraped out all the dried oils, tars and gunk that had accumulated in the draught hole and on the walls of the mortise. I finished the cleaning by running a few pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol through the mortise. I shall continue with further cleaning of the shank internals when I clean the external stummel surface.With the bowl internals clean, I moved to clean the exterior of the stummel. I used a hard bristled tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to scrub the stummel and rim top. I rinsed the stummel under running warm water with anti oil dish washing detergent till the stummel surface was clean and dried it using paper towels and soft cotton cloth. I simultaneously cleaned the shank internals with the detergent and hard bristled shank brush and set the stummel aside to dry out naturally. The stummel surface has cleaned up nicely and the beautiful grain patterns are now on full display.With the stummel internals and externals cleaned and spruced up, I turned to address the stem issues. I cleaned the internals of the stem using hard and normal bristled pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. I addressed the deeper oxidation by sanding the entire stem with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. Once the oxidation was completely removed, I wiped the surface clean with Murphy’s oil soap on a cotton swab. I rubbed a little Extra Virgin Olive oil to hydrate the stem and kept it aside. The stem at this point in restoration is shown below. The deeper tooth indentations on either surface of the stem were filled with a mix of CA superglue and activated charcoal powder and set aside for the fill to cure.Now that the rim top surface is clean and free of the entire lava overflow, the extent of the darkening to the inner bevel and dents and dings over the rim top surface are fairly apparent. I addressed the darkened inner edge by running a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and index finger along the beveled surface and polished the freshly cleaned inner rim edge bevel with a piece of 600 grit sandpaper. I am very happy with the way inner rim edge bevel appears at this stage in restoration.I addressed the dents and dings over the rim top surface by topping it over a piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I checked the progress frequently to ensure that the topping is just adequate. This also addressed the issue of damage to the outer rim edge at 2 o’clock and 6 o’clock directions.The stem repairs had hardened considerably and I decided to complete the stem refurbishing. Using a flat head needle file, I reshaped the button and followed it up by sanding the stem with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper to achieve a rough match with the rest of the stem surface. I further dry sanded the stem with 400, 600 and 800 grit sand papers. This helps to fine tune the matching of the fill with the stem surface while removing the deep rooted oxidation from the stem surface. I followed it up by wet sanding with a piece of 1000 grit sand paper to completely rid the surface of the oxidation and bring out the shine in the vulcanite. Once I was satisfied that the fills had perfectly matched with the rest of the stem surface and oxidation has been eliminated, using micromesh pads, I completed the polishing cycle by wet sanding the surface with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. The stem looks great with the fills nicely matched with the rest of the surface. I rubbed a little quantity of Extra Virgin Olive oil into the stem surface.  I gave a final rub with “Before and After Extra Fine” stem polish compound from Mark to remove fine scratches from the stem surface. Then I rubbed a little quantity of Extra Virgin Olive oil in to the stem surface and set it aside to be absorbed by the vulcanite. The stem polished up nicely and appears as good as new. Turning my attention back to the stummel, I subjected the stummel to a complete cycle of micromesh polish, dry sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. I paid greater attention to polish the rim top surface and the bevel created on the inner rim edge. I wiped the stummel with a moist cloth after every grit pad to remove the sanding dust left behind by the pads. This also helps in monitoring the progress being made and provides an opportunity to take early corrective action, if required. I am happy with the progress being made till now. The briar has taken on a nice deep shine with the original medium brown of the stummel and the darker brown stains to the grains contrasting beautifully. I really like the dark brown coloration and the patina that is seen over the stummel surface. Next, I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” into the briar with my finger tips and worked it deep in to the surface and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works it’s magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful cross and Bird’s eye grain patterns on full display. The contrast of the dark browns of the grain with the light brown hues of the rest of the stummel adds an interesting dimension to the appearance of the stummel. I further buffed it with a horse hair brush to further deepen the shine. To refresh the stem logo, I coated the stem logo with white correction ink and let it dry out completely. Once the ink had dried out, with a toothpick, I gently removed the excess ink from the surrounding surface. I am happy with the crisp stem stamp, even though the alphabet “P” is a bit worn out.To put the finishing touches, I mounted a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and polished the stummel and stem with Blue Diamond compound. This compound helps to remove the minor scratch marks that remain from the sanding. Next, I mounted another cotton buffing wheel that I have earmarked for carnauba wax and applied several coats of the wax. I mounted a clean cotton cloth buffing wheel and gave the entire pipe a once over buff. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The finished pipe with the aged patina to the briar looks amazingly beautiful and is now ready for its long second inning with me. P.S. I have attempted to preserve the aged patina which has developed over the stummel surface with the passage of time. I did accept the minor fills that were seen over the stummel surface and let them be as they had blended in perfectly with the rest of the stummel surface.

Even though this old vintage pipe is a seconds from the Comoy’s brand, it has the same high quality feel and geometry as one expects from the top of the line Comoy’s.

Praying for the health and safety of all the readers and their loved ones in these troubled times…

 

Resurrecting an old Bulldog with a Bakelite Stem


Blog by Steve Laug

I have finished restoring quite a few of the pipes in this collection that we purchased from the older gentleman. He sent me the photos and I was amazed at what I saw. You have seen many of the pipes that he had. These included Dunhill, BBB, Orlik, Barclay Rex, a cased Ben Wade, an H. Simmons all briar, Hardcastles and some Meerschaums. There were also some assorted others that I will get to in the days ahead. It was a great collection.

The next pipe I have chosen is a tired and worn looking older style Bulldog with a Bakelite stem with a bone tenon. I don’t know what it is about this pipe that caught my eye but something did. It certainly was not the condition of pipe. The bowl was in very rough shape. There was a thick cake in the bowl and the rim top and edges were told buried under a thick coat of lava. The pipe was really a stranger to pipe cleaners. It was filthy both inside and out. The shape probably caught my eye because it is quite lovely even under the grime and wear. The stem is Bakelite and it was a complete mess. It had the end gnawed off  leaving behind a chipped and chewed end that was not eve square. I am not sure how much longer it was when it was made but it must have been longer than what we saw when we got. This was one well loved pipe that had been “ridden hard and put away wet”! It would be a challenge to see what I could do with it! In the end that is probably what drew me to the pipe!

Jeff took some photos of the Bakelite Stemmed Bulldog before he worked his magic in cleaning up the pipe. It is a an interesting pipe with a lot of potential and what appears to be some great grain under the grime and debris of the years.Jeff took photos of the bowl, rim top to show the thickness of the cake in the bowl and the thick lava on the rim top. The rim top and both inner and outer edges are so thickly covered that it is hard to know their condition. It appears that there were nicks and chips on the outer edge at the back of the bowl that will require a bit of attention. All of the issues will become clearer after the clean up. He took photos of the top and underside of the Bakelite stem showing the gnawed end of the stem and the broken and missing chunks from the stem end. It appears that there were button remnants on both sides. Jeff also took some photos of the bone tenon and the shank end to show the appearance and condition of both.Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the briar. You can see the beautiful shape of the bowl and some interesting grain even through the dirt and debris of many years.   Jeff took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank to show the lack of a stamping. It appears that both sides had some sort of stamp on them but it was worn away.This unstamped Bulldog is an interesting looking pipe. Because the old gentleman that we bought the pipes from intimated that he purchased his pipes at the Manhattan Barclay-Rex store I would imagine that he may have purchased this one from them as well. I was unable to pin down any information regarding the date this pipe was made but the fact that it is among the old timers I have been working on and the older Bakelite stem make me think it is older as well.

Jeff carefully cleaned the pipe. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and then cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals of the shank, stem and shank extension with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and lava on the rim top. The finish looks much better and has a deep richness in the colour that highlights the dimensions of the grain. The edges looked good otherwise. He scrubbed the Bakelite stem with Soft Scrub to remove the grime and oils on the stem and chewed stem end. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver I was amazed that it looked so good. Here are some photos of what I saw. I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem surface. The top and inner and outer edge of the rim showed damage. There was serious damage back outer edge of the bowl. The stem was gnawed and that damage is very visible in the photos. I took photos of the shank sides to show that the stamping was worn away.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the parts of the pipe. I started my work on the pipe by dealing with the chewed end of the stem. I used a file/rasp that I have here to flatten the chewed off end. I squared it off to have a fresh surface to work on a new button. I propped the stem up on the shank to take a picture of the squared end of the stem.I used a triangular file to recut the sharp edge of a button on the newly shaped stem end. I used 220 grit sandpaper to shape the top of the stem and shape the angles.I spread a coat of clear CA glue on top of the button to seal the new edge and top of the button and set it aside to cure. I followed up on that by layering glue on the top of the button to build it up and give it some shape. Once the button repair cured I used the triangle file and 180 grit sandpaper to shape the button surface.There was still more shaping to do but the  stem was taking form. I took profile pictures of it to give a sense of the shape. There is much more sanding to do but it was coming along.I set the stem aside and turned my attention to the bowl. I used a folded piece of 180 grit sandpaper to bring the inner edges of the bowl back into round. I topped the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper to minimize the damage on the rim top and particularly the back of the bowl. I took a photo of the rim top after the topping. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding debris. I stained the rim top with an Oak stain pen to match the surrounding briar. Once it is buffed the match should be perfect.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the bowl and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. With stem reshaped and built earlier in the process all that remained was to polish it. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. With the bowl and the stem finished I put the beautiful No Name Bulldog back together and buffed it on the wheel using Blue Diamond to give it a shine. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The grain on this pipe really is a great looking. The dimensions of the pipe are – Length: 4 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inch, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of this large pipe is 1.16 ounces /33 grams. This Old Bakelite Stemmed Bulldog is another great find from this collection. It is much more beautiful in person than these photos can capture. This is another pipe that has the possibility of transporting the pipe man or woman back to a slower paced time in history where you can enjoy a respite. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

Resurrecting an interesting GBD  Square Shank Dura Mount 9488 Pot


Blog by Steve Laug

I have quite a few of the pipes in this collection that we purchased from the older gentleman. He sent me the photos and I was amazed at what I saw. You have seen many of the pipes that he had. These included Dunhill, BBB, Orlik, Barclay Rex, a cased Ben Wade, an H. Simmons all briar, Hardcastles and some Meerschaums. There were also some assorted others that I will get to in the days ahead. It was a great collection.

Now it was time to work on some of the single pipes that he had. The next one of these is a interesting Pot that is stamped on the left side of the diamond shank and reads DURA [over] GBD in an oval [over] MOUNT. On the right side it is stamped LONDON, ENGLAND [over] 9488 (the shape number). The stamping is clear and readable. It is a nice looking Pot that has the kind of damage to the rim edges that I have come to expect in this lot. The Duramount fitting on the shank end is something I have not seen before. The vulcanite saddle stem does not have any stamping on either side. It is the top pipe in the above photo.

Jeff took some photos of the GBD Dura Mount 9488 Pot before he worked his magic in cleaning up the pipe. It is a an interesting pipe with a lot of potential and what appears to be some great grain under the grime and debris of the years.Jeff took photos of the bowl, rim top to show the thickness of the cake in the bowl and the thick lava on the rim top. The rim top and both inner and outer edges are so thickly covered that it is hard to know their condition. It appears that there is a large chip on the outer edge at the back of the bowl that will require a bit of attention. All of the issues will become clearer after the clean up. He took photos of the top and underside of the vulcanite stem showing the oxidation, calcification, tooth marks, chatter and wear on the stem and button. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the briar. You can see the beautiful shape of the bowl and some interesting grain even through the dirt and debris of many years.   Jeff took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank to show the clarity and readability of the stamp. It reads as mentioned above. He also took a photo of the brass GBD logo on the stem. I turned to Pipephil’s site and to the general GBD listing for the GBD Dura Mount pipe and other than a picture of the pipe and the stamping on Pipedia there was not any significant information on the line. I turned to the section on Pipedia on GBD Model Information to see what I could find (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD_Model_Information). There was one short line that I quote below.

Dura Mount — Factory unknown: Metal stem/bit fitting?

I assume from the design of the pipe the note above on Metal Stem/Bit Fitting ? is referring to the aluminum shank extension and mortise that holds the tenon firmly in place. I would guess that it was designed to protect both the shank and the tenon by providing this “DURABLE” shank end.

This GBD DURA MOUNT 9488 Pot is an interesting looking pipe. Because the old gentleman that we bought the pipes from intimated that he purchased his pipes at the Manhattan Barclay-Rex store I would imagine that he bought this one from them as well. I was unable to pin down any information regarding the date this pipe was made but the fact that it is among the old timers I have been working on makes me think it is older as well.

Jeff carefully cleaned the pipe. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and then cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals of the shank, stem and shank extension with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and lava on the rim top. The finish looks much better and has a deep richness in the colour that highlights the dimensions of the grain. The chip on the back of the rim top was clear and looked like a relatively easy repair. The edges looked good otherwise. He soaked the stem in Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and scrubbed it with Soft Scrub to remove the remnants of oxidation. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver I was amazed that it looked so good. Here are some photos of what I saw. I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem surface. The top and inner and outer edge of the rim showed damage. There was serious damage back outer edge of the bowl. The stem had tooth marks just ahead of the button and on the button surface. I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It is readable and clear.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the parts of the pipe. I started my work on the pipe by dealing with the damaged rim top and edges. I used a folded piece of 180 grit sandpaper to smooth out the nicks the inner edge of the bowl. I lightly sanded the rim top in preparation for the repair to the back outer edge. I stained the chipped area with a Maple stain pen to match the bowl and then built it up with clear CA glue. Once the glue cured I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper and sanded the outer edge with 220 at the same time. I took a photo of the rim top at this point in the process. I polished the briar and aluminum shank extension with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding debris. I stained the rim top with a Maple and a Cherry Stain pen to match the surrounding briar. Once it is buffed the match should be perfect.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the bowl and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the surface of the stem on both sides to lift the tooth marks. I was able to lift most of them. I filled in what remained next to the button with clear CA glue. Once the repairs cured, I sanded them with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the surface of the stem and reshape the button. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. With the bowl and the stem finished I put the beautiful GBD Dura Mount 9488 Pot back together and buffed it on the wheel using Blue Diamond to give it a shine. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The grain on this pipe really is a great looking. The dimensions of the pipe are – Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inch, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 1 of an inch. The weight of this large pipe is 1.34 ounces /39 grams. This GBD Dura Mount is another great find from this collection. It is much more beautiful in person than these photos can capture. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store soon. If you would like to add it to your collection let me know. This is another pipe that has the possibility of transporting the pipe man or woman back to a slower paced time in history where you can enjoy a respite. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.