Tag Archives: stem work

Taking a Breather and Refreshing a Beautiful Brebbia Twin 2


Blog by Steve Laug

My brother picked up this nice rusticated Brebbia Twin 2 because of the beautiful cobalt blue stem. It is a twin in that it can be smoked as a Churchwarden with the long stem or by simply removing the lower part of the stem it can be smoked as a regular length bent pipe. The rustication is very tactile and rugged looking – similar to the Brebbia Lido finish. The mixture of dark black and brown stains gives the bowl an interesting contrast finish. The top of the rim is beveled inward and is smooth. It also has the same brown stain as the shank end and underside. It is a great contrast to the surround black rustication of the bowl and shank. The end of the shank is smooth and rounded while the smooth panel on the underside of the stem is stamped with the pipes identification. In this case it reads Italy, Brebbia Twin 2. The long insert portion of the stem is made out of cobalt blue acrylic and has a small multi-coloured brown acrylic ring attached to the end. The extension has a Delrin tenon that holds it in the shank. The second part of the stem has a briar ring attached to the end of the stem and also a Delrin tenon. The left side of the stem has the Brebbia gold diamond shaped logo stamped in it. All of the parts work well together and give the pipe an elegant look. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he cleaned it up and sent it to me. The next photos show the pipe taken apart and also in its shortened version. You can see the Delrin tenons on both the extension and the stem itself. The gentle curves of the stem and the shank is really nice even in the shorter version of the pipe. Jeff took close up photos of the rim top and bowl to show how clean the pipe was when he received it. The second photo below shows a side view of the rustication of the bowl. It is a really beautiful pipe.The rich cobalt blue stem and extension are one of my favourite parts of this pipe. The colours of the bowl, rim, shank end, acrylic spacer and briar spacer work really well together with the blue of the stem material.The next two photos show the Brebbia Twin 2 stamping and the Brebbia logo on the left side of the stem portion. Both are very clean and readable.The stem was very clean in terms of tooth marks or chatter. There was some debris in the crease of the button that would need to be cleaned out but otherwise it was in very good condition.Before I did my part of the work on the pipe I decided to do a bit of background reading on the brand just to refresh my knowledge about Brebbia. I figured a quick read on Pipedia and on the Pipephil Logos and Stampings site would give me sufficient information. I turned to Pipedia first and there found some company history summarised. I quote in full from that article (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Brebbia).

Pipe Brebbia Srl, or better the M.P.B. (Manifattura Pipe Brebbia) was born in 1953 from the denouement of the association between Achille Savinelli and Enea Buzzi in 1947, where the first was employed in the marketing and the second in manufacturing of pipes under the name of Savinelli. It was made in exclusive up to 1953 and extended without further rights up to 1956.

The production, which is always careful and perfect, has continued in a traditional way for 60 years, using old lathes for the first steps, but finishing every piece by hand.

The secret of their manufacture, if we may put it this way, is the respect for the traditions with the experience acquired in several years of successful work, which could be summed up in two words: high quality.

The factory is currently managed by Enea’s son, Luciano.

For the last few decades, many of Brebbia’s pipes have been made by a number of small, otherwise independent pipe manufacturers, being marketed under the trade name Brebbia.

I then turned to the Pipephil site (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-brebbia.html) and found confirmation of the above information.

The Brebbia brand Brebbia Pipe is named after the locality of Bosco Grosso di Brebbia (Prov. Varese, Reg. Lombardia). A first corporate was founded by Enea Buzzi and Achille Savinelli in 1947. They split in 1953. Buzzi ketp the factory and created the MPB brand (Maniffatura Pipe Brebbia). After 1968 the brand was shortly called “Brebbia”. Luciano Buzzi son of Enea manages the company since the 1990s.

Jeff did not have to do a whole lot of cleaning on this pipe as it was pretty spotless. He ran pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol through the mortise and the airways in the shank, extension and stem. He cleaned around the button edge to remove the debris. He wiped down the rim top and the inside of the bowl to remove dust and gave the pipe a general once over to remove any dust or debris from shipping. When I received the pipe I took photos of it to show its general condition. It is in great shape which is why I took a breather and worked on refreshing it before doing some of the more grimy pipes that are on my work table. I took some close up photos of the bowl, rim top and stem to show its general condition. It was in pretty good shape. A little polishing and buffing would bring it to its full potential.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the deep rusticated surface of the briar with my finger tips to deep clean the finish, enliven and protect the wood. I used a horse hair shoe brush to make sure that the balm went deep into the grooves and valleys of the rustication. I let it sit for a few minutes and then buffed it with a cotton cloth. The wood came alive and there was a rich shine to the briar. The smooth rim top, shank end and underside looked rich as well. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. The stem and extension were in such good condition that I only worked them over with micromesh sanding pads. I polished the cobalt blue acrylic – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads and wiped it down with a damp cotton pad after each one. When I finished with the 12000 grit pad I wiped it down a final time and hand buffed it with a cloth. I finished by polishing it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish Fine and Extra Fine. I buffed stem and extension with Blue Diamond to polish them. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem and extension multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The briar has a shine and a rich glow to it and the cobalt blue acrylic stem came out quite nice with a deep shine. The pipe really looks quite amazing. The dimensions on the pipe are; Length with extension: 10 inches, Length with just stem: 6 ½ inches, Bowl Height: 2 inches, Bowl Outer Diameter: 1 ½ inches, Chamber Diameter: ¾ inches. This will be a hard one to let go of but watch the rebornpipes store if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Send me an email to slaug@uniserve.com or a message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.

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Restoring Mark’s Uncle’s Third Pipe – A Kaywoodie Super Grain S-L Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

One of the things I really like about restoring pipes is the opportunity to get to know the back story behind the pipes. I like knowing the journey they have traveled and if the opportunity presents itself the pipeman who held them in trust for the years of his own travels. When Mark sent me his uncle’s seven pipes I had no idea of the back story but I liked the idea of being able to enter into the ongoing story of the pipe.  After I finished the Ropp Cherrywood De Luxe (https://rebornpipes.com/2018/01/17/cleaning-and-restoring-a-ropp-cherrywood-de-luxe-805/) and the Doodler (https://rebornpipes.com/2018/01/19/restoring-a-beautiful-the-doodler-bullmoose/) and posted them on the blog Mark sent me an email about the backstory. To me it adds a lot of flavour to the work I am doing on the pipes. As I ream and clean them bringing them back to a fresh look I often think of the pipeman who had used the pipe daily as a part of his life. With this lot now I had the story.Mark’s Uncle’s pipe were worn a bit and the Kaywoodies had stem damage but the pipes were relatively clean – the bowls did not have a thick cake and the rim tops though caked with lava were decent. You can tell from the photos which pipes were his favourites.Mark sent me the following email giving me some back story on this set of pipes. I love hearing the story behind the pipes I work on. Here is what he wrote:

Hello Steve,

You must wonder about the history of the pipes you work on, so I thought might like to know a little about my uncle and his pipes:

My Uncle John, raised in an Appalachian Mountain family (think Hatfield and McCoy), was a large man with an affable personality – although this had limits and he could be quite formidable.

During WWII he left home and enlisted in the US Army where he was assigned to Patton’s 3rd Army as an ambulance driver.  After Germany surrendered, he was transported back to the US on a converted ocean liner troop ship (I believe it was the Queen Mary).  Upon reaching the US, his unit was immediately sequestered on a troop train for transport to the West Coast to be shipped to the Pacific for the invasion of Japan.  About half way across the country (possibly somewhere in Texas), the train stopped and the troops informed that Japan had capitulated – WWII was over.

Before the Korean War began, my uncle re-enlisted in the US Air Force.  He as assigned to a Photo Mapping unit as an Aircraft Mechanic.  He worked his way up to Crew Chief and served in Photo Mapping until he medically retired in the mid 60’s due to heart problems.

Being part of an Air Force family, I did not get to spend much time with my uncle while growing up.  However, I was able to stay a couple of summers with him at his West Palm Beach home while in my teens.  On a desk in his Florida Room sat collection of old used pipes in a walnut pipe rack / humidor combo (very similar the Decatur Industries 6 pipe Rack and humidor combination shown in the rebornpipes store).  There were a couple of packages of old dried up commercial brand tobacco in the humidor – one was cherry, I think.  I never saw my uncle smoke and never discussed the pipes with him, but I was intrigued by the pipe collection.  They were old, dirty, and well used – some with chewed through stems.  Obviously, the pipes had been smoked by a devoted pipe enthusiast.  As a young boy, I loved the smell of pipe tobacco, which you could occasionally smell in public way back then.  I started smoking an occasional pipe in college.  When my uncle passed away a few years later, I asked for his pipe collection and have stored it away since then.  The pipes are just as I received them some thirty years ago.

While I will never know for sure, I believe my uncle purchased the pipes in various PX’s and smoked them while an Air Crew Member.  The PX’s would have sold common commercially available pipe brands at a good price, nothing too expensive or exotic – consistent with the pipes in my uncle’s collection.  As a Photo Mapping Air Crew Member / Chief my uncle traveled the world extensively, and was stationed at many bases  – including “permanent” stations in West Palm Beach, Warner Robins, and Goose Bay Labrador, to name a few.  Smoking a pipe would have been a relaxing way to spend a few monotonous hours on the flight line or in the air.  After his heart problems, he must have given up pipe smoking and the pipes sat unused thereafter.  If the bowls look like they were recently scraped, it would have been over fifty years ago, most likely with a Case hardware store folding knife. If dirty, it is due to sitting for many years in the back room.  If well used and chewed it is due to many hours of smoking enjoyment.

I’m looking forward to seeing my Uncle John’s pipes in restored condition.  I know they are not “collectors” items, but they bring back priceless memories of my uncle and the times we spent together sharing “war stories”.

Your pictures and stories of the Doodler and Ropp are great, keep up the good work.  Feel free to edit and use any of my uncle’s write up on your blog if you wish. – Mark

Armed with that information I had a better view of the pipeman who had once owned these pipes. That information always makes the restoration more personal and more interesting for me. I turned my attention to the third of Mark’s uncle’s pipes – a Kaywoodie Super Grain S-L rusticated billiard. The finish looked a lot like the classic Kaywoodie take on Tracy Mincer’s Custom-Bilt pipes. The pipe was stamped Kaywoodie ® over Super Grain S-L on the smooth, flat underside of the shank. There was a dust and grime deep in the grooves of the rustication. The rim top was clean and uncaked with lava. The bowl had a light cake around the walls but nothing heavy. There was some darkening on the rim along the inner edge on the back side of the bowl. Overall the finish was in really good condition but it was a dirty pipe. The stem was completely overturned in the shank to the point that Kaywoodie club logo was on the opposite side of the stem and upside down. The stem was oxidized and there was tooth chatter and tooth marks on both sides near the button. The stinger in the shank was a three hole one and it was coated in tars and oils. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the lack of lava build up and the light cake in the bowl. Mark’s uncle had kept the pipe relatively clean in terms of the cake. It appeared that the bowl had been reamed not too long ago. There were some remnants of the tobacco in the bowl. The rusticated rim top had some debris in the grooves of the finish. The edges of the rim looked to be in good condition. I took some close up photos of the stem to show the condition of both sides. The stem was oxidized and showed tooth chatter and tooth marks on both sides near the button.I added this stem to the other three stems that I put in the Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer. I pushed them under the solution and left them to soak overnight.While the stems were all soaking I turned my attention to the bowl. I scrubbed the Custom-Bilt like grooves and rustication on the rim top with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and dirt on the bowl. I rinsed it off with running water and dried the bowl and shank off with a soft cotton towel. I took photos of the cleaned bowl to show what it looked like at this point in the process. I used a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to scrape away the remaining cake and debris in the bowl of the pipe.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my finger tips to deep clean the finish, enliven and protect the wood. I used a cotton swab to work the balm into the grooves in the rustication on the rim top and bowl sides. I let it sit for a few minutes and then buffed it with a cotton cloth. The wood came alive and the grain had begun to show through at this point and there was a rich shine to the briar. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. I set the bowl aside and called it a night. The bowl was ready other than touching up the cleaning of the shank. In the morning I removed the stem from the Before & After Stem Deoxidizer and wiped it off with a paper towel to remove the remaining oxidation and bath. I cleaned out the airway with pipe cleaners and alcohol until it was clean. I cleaned out the shank with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs at the same time to remove any debris that remained inside. The stem was clean and there was still some oxidation on the surface with some scratching, tooth chatter and marks. It was ready to be sanded and polished. I heated the stinger with a lighter and turned it into the shank to correct the overturn. With a little heat the glue loosens in the stem and it can be carefully turned to align. When it cooled I removed the stem from the shank and painted the surface of the stem with the flame of a Bic lighter to lift the tooth dents in the stem. I was able to lift all of them on both sides. It would not take too much sanding to smooth out the remnants of the dents and blend them into the surface. I sanded them smooth with 220 grit sandpaper.The edge of the button was damaged on both sides of the stem. I filled in the damaged areas with clear super glue. Once it cured I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper and needle files to shape it. I worked over the stem with micromesh sanding pads. I polished out the sanding scratches and marks in the vulcanite – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads and wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each one. When I finished with the 12000 grit pad I gave it a final coat of oil and let it dry. Once it had dried, I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish Fine and Extra Fine. I rubbed it down with final coat Obsidian Oil and took the following pictures. At this point in the process, the camera had revealed more oxidation at the shank end of the stem and some scratching near the button. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed it with Red Tripoli and Blue Diamond until the oxidation was gone. I also worked on the stubborn scratches on the button end of the stem to remove those. When I finished that I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish Fine and Extra Fine. I rubbed it down with final coat Obsidian Oil and took a photo.I put the stem back on the bowl and took the pipe to the buffing wheel to work it over. I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish them. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The briar has a shine and a rich glow to it and the vulcanite stem came out quite nice with a deep shine. The pipe came out really well. I have four more of the uncle’s pipes to finish up and then these will be heading back to the US. Thanks for looking.

Breathing New Life into an Italian Made ¼ Bent Acorn


Blog by Steve Laug

When Mark sent me his uncle’s pipes for restoration he also put in several of his own pipes. This is the first of those. It is a ¼ bent rusticated acorn shaped pipe. The only marking on the pipe was the stamping Italy at the stem/shank junction on the underside of the pipe. There was a lot of dust and grime deep in the grooves of the rustication. There was a smooth band around the end of the shank and on the underside. Overall the finish was in decent condition but it was a very dirty pipe. The stem was oxidized – more on the topside than the underside. The tooth chatter was light and the tooth marks were even lighter. This pipe reminded me of one that I restemmed not long ago with the same finish and stamping. It has a great ruff finish that feels great in the hand (https://rebornpipes.com/2017/10/22/this-old-italian-canadian-showed-promise/). I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the lava build up and the light cake in the bowl. Mark kept the pipe relatively clean in terms of the cake. It appeared that the bowl had been reamed not too long ago. There were some remnants of the cake in the bowl. The rusticated rim top had some lava deep in the grooves of the finish. The edges of the rim looked to be in good condition. I took some close up photos of the stem to show the condition of both sides. The stem was oxidized and showed tooth chatter and light tooth marks on both sides near the button.I added this stem to the other three stems that I put in the Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer. I pushed them under the solution and left them to soak overnight.While the stems were all soaking I turned my attention to the bowl. I scrubbed the grooves and rustication on the rim top with a brass bristle brush to break up the tars and lava. I followed that by cleaning the surface of the briar with Murphy’s Oil Soap to clean off the dust and grime that sat on the surface. I scrubbed the surface with a tooth brush and rinsed it off with running water. I dried the bowl and shank off with a soft cotton towel. I took photos of the cleaned Italian pipe with the sea rock finish. It actually looked really good. The rim top still needed work but it looked better. I cleaned up the inside of the bowl to remove the remaining bits of cake on the walls and the bottom of the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my finger tips to deep clean the finish, enliven and protect the wood. I used a cotton swab to work the balm into the grooves in the rustication. I let it sit for a few minutes and then buffed it with a cotton cloth. The wood came alive and the grain had begun to show through at this point and there was a rich shine to the briar. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. I set the bowl aside and called it a night. The bowl was ready other than touching up the cleaning of the shank. In the morning I removed the stem from the Before & After Stem Deoxidizer and wiped it off with a paper towel to remove the remaining oxidation and bath. I cleaned out the airway with pipe cleaners and alcohol until it was clean. I cleaned out the shank with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs at the same time to remove any debris that remained inside. The stem was clean and there was still some oxidation on the surface with some scratching, tooth chatter and marks. It was ready to be sanded and polished.  I sanded the stem to remove the scratching and tooth chatter. I heated the stem with a Bic lighter to lift the light tooth marks. The heat smoothed out the surface enough that I was able to sand out the rest of the remnants of the marks.I worked over the stem with micromesh sanding pads. I polished out the sanding scratches and marks in the vulcanite – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads and wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each one. When I finished with the 12000 grit pad I gave it a final coat of oil and let it dry. Once it had dried, I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish Fine and Extra Fine. I rubbed it down with final coat Obsidian Oil and took the following pictures. I put the stem back on the bowl and took the pipe to the buffing wheel to work it over. I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish them. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The briar has a shine and a rich glow to it and the vulcanite stem came out quite nice with a deep shine. The pipe came out really well. Now I have four more of the uncle’s pipes to finish up and then these will be heading back to the US. Thanks for looking.

Introducing the House of Robertson Brand – A Large Rusticated Special Horn


Blog by Steve Laug

My brother Jeff found an assortment of House of Robertson pipes at an auction in Wilder, Idaho which is an area in the greater Boise, Idaho area. He picked them up for us to restore. I had forgotten that I had mentioned the brand in passing in a blog on Leonard’s Pipe Shop in Portland, Oregon. Here is the link to that blog where I mention it as one of the brands that Leonard’s sold: https://rebornpipes.com/2013/06/06/leonards-pipe-shop-portland-oregon/. It is a fascinating brand that really I had never had the privilege of seeing first hand. He cleaned them all up and on a recent trip to Idaho, I picked them up and brought them back to Canada. I took pictures of the lot of them to show the wide variety of pipes that they made in terms of both size and style. The craftsmanship is very good with the fit of the stem and shank well done and the finish both rusticated and smooth exemplary. Jeff picked up three more of the brand in Pocatello, Idaho so I will be working on more of these pipes in the future. They all have the name House of Robertson roughly hand etched on the side or underside of the shank with an engraving tool. I did a bit of hunting for information about the brand and found a link on Pipedia that gave me the only information I could find on the brand. I include that in total as it is interesting to read.

“House of Robertson” was in business for many years, but alas, closed their doors in 1999. They were located in Boise, Idaho. They are noted for making rather large and interesting pipes. Thayne Robertson was a Master Mason, AF & AM, and started the shop about 1947 and his son Jon started working there in 1970 when he finished college, along with Thayne’s daughter. Thayne and his son started making the big pipes at that time, and made them together until 1987 when Thayne passed away. Jon kept the store and his sister moved on to other things. The House of Robertson appears to have closed around 1999. https://pipedia.org/wiki/Robertson

The first of the six pipes I chose to work on was the large horn shaped rusticated pipe. It is stamped House of Robertson on a smooth panel on the left side of the shank and Special on a smooth part on the underside of the shank next to the stem/shank junction. The rusticated finish on the pipe was in good shape – just dusty and dirty. The deep grooves in the rustication were very dirty. The smooth rim top had some darkening where it had been repeatedly heated with a lighter. The bowl had a thin cake but it did not go all the way to the bottom of the bowl. The pipe is quite large but very light weight for the chunk of briar that was used. The stem was oxidized but did not have tooth marks or chatter on the surface. The fit of the stem to the shank was good. The vulcanite appeared to have been a pre-formed stem that was shaped to fit this pipe. The internals of the shank and stem had some tars and oils. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started the cleanup. The next close-up photos show the finish on various sides of the bowl. The first photo shows that the bowl had a thin cake and a darkened spot on the left side of the rim top where the previous owner had repeatedly lit the pipe. The inner edge of the rim had a few small nicks along the edges and there was some darkening on the back inner edge. The finish on the rim top was in great condition. The three photos that follow the rim view show the pipe from different angles. The next two photos show the etched name on the left side of shank on a smooth panel of briar. It reads House of Robertson. On the underside of the shank is etched the name Special – also on a smooth panel of briar. The stem was oxidized and pitted from the oxidation. There were no tooth marks on the stem top or underside. There was one small nick on the stem at the joint of the stem and the shank on the underside. I wonder if it did not happen when the word Special was etched on the shank. Probably I will never know but it is interesting.Jeff out did himself on the cleanup of this pipe. He reamed the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the thin cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. When he had finished, the bowl looks almost new on the inside (I actually don’t think it has ever been smoked to the bottom of the bowl as it is raw briar in the bottom third).  He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim and shank with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the bowl, rim and shank. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. The light lava mess on the rim and the dust deep in the rustication was thoroughly removed without harming the finish underneath it. Once the grime was removed the finish actually looked to be in excellent condition I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work on it. I took a photo of the rim top to show the great condition it was in after the cleanup. Jeff was able to remove all of the darkening and tar on the right side of the rim top and the back edge of the rim. The stem was clean but pitted and oxidized.I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm to deep clean the nooks and crannies of the rusticated finish, enliven and protect the briar. I hand rubbed it with my fingers and wiped it off with a soft cloth. I buffed the bowl on the wheel with a horsehair shoe brush to polish it. It really began to have a deep shine in the briar. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the oxidation on both sides and in the angles of the saddle stem.I polished out the sanding scratches and marks in the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-4000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I buffed the stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I brought it back to the table and sanded it with the final three 6000-12000 grit pads. After the final pad I gave it a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem back on the bowl and worked the pipe over on the buffing wheel using Blue Diamond to lightly polish the bowl and shank. I buffed the bowl with a light touch so as not to get any of the buffing compounds in the grooves of the rustication. I buffed the stem to raise the gloss on the vulcanite. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The medium brown stains on the rusticated horn shaped bowl works well with the rich black of the short vulcanite stem. The polish and the reworking of the stem material left this a beautiful and well-made pipe. The dimensions of the pipe are: Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 ½ inches, Outside Diameter: 1 3/4 inches, Diameter of the chamber: 3/4 inch. I will be adding this one to the rebornpipes store shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection. It will make a fine addition to the rack. If you are interested email me at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.

Restoring a Beautiful ‘The Doodler” Bullmoose


Blog by Steve Laug

This blog is about the restoration of the second pipe from the lot of seven that a reader sent to me that had belonged to his uncle. He said that the pipes were in good condition in terms of the bowls (though in looking at them they were in need of a good cleaning). The finishes were in decent shape – just dirty. He said that the stems all had issues and he was right with that. Some were worn with tooth marks on the stem on both the top and underside at the button. Some had been chewed off. All were oxidized to varying degrees. He sent me the following photos of the pipes for me to have a look at and we talked back and forth via email. About a week ago or so they arrived here in Canada. He had done an amazing job packing the lot. Each one was packaged in its own baggy with the stem separated for shipping. They were nicely wrapped in bubble wrap and boxed with the return mailing address inside! Very nicely done package. I opened the box and unpacked each pipe. I went over them carefully to assess what was needed in terms of repair. I chose to work on “The Doodler” Bullmoose shaped pipe which is the sixth pipe down from the top of the first photo and on the second pipe in from the right side of the second photo. It is an interesting pipe. The Doodler was originally designed by Tracy Mincer of Custom-Bilt fame as a very cool smoking pipe. It combined the thick rustic shape of the Custom-Bilt with some unusual features. The rim has a series of vertical holes drilled down the sides of the bowl and around the rim top there is a groove. These both work together to provide a very cool smoke. Add to that the thick briar bowl and you have the promise of a cool smoking pipe.

I am including a piece of information from Pipedia about the Doodler. What I found confirms the information that I remembered. I quote in full. “After his loss of the Custom-Bilt name in 1953, Tracy Mincer’s next production pipe was The Doodler. The pipe was turned for Mincer by the National Briar Pipe Co. beginning in the early 1950’s, and that company eventually purchased the pipe design in approximately 1960. After that time Mincer’s former partner Claude Stewart began making a line of pipes called the Holeysmoke which were largely identical to the Doodler pipes, and National Briar continued to produce the Doodler. The pipe’s design centers around a series of vertically drilled holes in a ring around the combustion chamber, meant to provide airflow and a cooler smoke.” https://pipedia.org/wiki/The_Doodler

I checked the other site I turn to – Pipephil’s Pipes, Logos and Stampings to see if any additional information could be learned on the brand. It confirms the information I already had and gives some solid dates for the pipe. I quote: Tracy Mincer who founded the Custom-Bilt brand is the inventor of the famous Doodler pipe. All the pipes of this brand have vertical air shafts around the bowl crossed by horizontal rings cut into the bowl. These characteristics are supposed to increase the cooling area of the briar. After Mincer’s death in 1964 his company was sold to National Briar Pipe Co. which continued to make The Doodler until the early 1980s. During the same time Claude Stuart who worked with Mincer continued on his side to produce pipes of this type under his Holeysmoke label. http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-t4.html#thedoodler

The bowl had a light cake in it. The rim top had an overflow of lava on the inner ring of the top that had overflowed from the bowl. The left side of the shank was stamped “The Doodler” in Germanic script and often folks read it as “The Boodler”. Underneath that it is stamped Imported Briar. The rustication on the bowl was quite dirty and there was dust and debris in the deep grooves and the ring around the top of the bowl. The stem had light tooth marks and tooth chatter on the both the top and underside near the button. The stem surface was oxidized. I took the following photos before I started to clean up the pipe. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the lava build up and the light cake in the bowl. The previous pipeman kept the pipe relatively clean in terms of the cake. It appeared that the bowl had been reamed not too long ago. There were some remnants of the cake in the bowl. I took some close up photos of the stem to show the condition of both sides.This was the second of the four pipes that I chose to work on first and put the stems in the Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer. I pushed them under the solution and left them to soak overnight.While the stems were all soaking I turned my attention to the bowl. I scrubbed the grooves and rustication on the surface of the briar with Murphy’s Oil Soap to clean off the dust and grime that sat on the surface. I scrubbed the surface with a tooth brush and rinsed it off with running water. I dried the bowl and shank off with a soft cotton towel. I took photos of the cleaned Doodler bowl. It actually looked really good. The rim top still needed work but it looked better. I cleaned up the inside of the bowl to remove the remaining bits of cake on the walls and the bottom of the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to sand off the remaining thick lava on the rim top and the damaged areas as well. I worked on it to smooth out the surface and then polished it with 1500-4000 grit micromesh sanding pads. I cleaned up the inner edge of the rim with a folded piece of sandpaper and removed the damaged areas there as well.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my finger tips to deep clean the finish, enliven and protect the wood. I used a cotton swab to work the balm into the grooves in the rustication, the ring below the bowl top and into all the drilled holes on the rim top and down the sides of the bowl. I let it sit for a few minutes and then buffed it with a cotton cloth. The wood came alive and the grain had begun to show through at this point and there was a rich shine to the briar. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. I set the bowl aside and called it a night. The bowl was ready other than touching up the cleaning of the shank. In the morning I removed the stem from the Before & After Stem Deoxidizer and wiped it off with a paper towel to remove the remaining oxidation and bath. I cleaned out the airway with pipe cleaners and alcohol until it was clean. I cleaned out the shank with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs at the same time to remove any debris that remained inside. The stem was clean and there was still some oxidation on the surface with some scratching, tooth chatter and marks. It was ready to be sanded and polished. I sanded the stem to remove the scratching and tooth chatter. I heated the stem with a Bic lighter to lift the light tooth marks. The heat smoothed out the surface enough that I was able to sand out the rest of the remnants of the marks.I worked over the stem with micromesh sanding pads. I polished out the sanding scratches and marks in the vulcanite – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads and wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each one. When I finished with the 12000 grit pad I gave it a final coat of oil and let it dry. Once it had dried, I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish Fine and Extra Fine. I rubbed it down with final coat Obsidian Oil and took the following pictures. I put the stem back on the bowl and took the pipe to the buffing wheel to work it over. I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish them. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The briar has a shine and a rich glow to it and the vulcanite stem came out quite nice with a deep shine. The pipe came out really well. Now I have five more of the uncle’s pipes to finish up and then these will be heading back to the US. Thanks for looking.

Cleaning and restoring a Ropp Cherrywood De Luxe 805


Blog by Steve Laug

Not long ago I got an email from Mark, who had been reading the rebornpipes blog. He said that he had seven pipes that had belonged to his uncle that he was wondering if I would be interested in restoring. He said that the pipe were in good condition in terms of the bowls (though in looking at them they were in need of a good cleaning). The finishes were in decent shape – just dirty. He said that the stems all had issues and he was right with that. Some were worn with tooth marks on the stem on both the top and underside at the button. Some had been chewed off. All were oxidized to varying degrees. He sent me the following photos of the pipes for me to have a look at and we talked back and forth via email. About a week ago or so they arrived here in Canada. He had done an amazing job packing the lot. Each one was packaged in its own baggy with the stem separated for shipping. They were nicely wrapped in bubble wrap and boxed with the return mailing address inside! Very nicely done package. I opened the box and unpacked each pipe. I went over them carefully to assess what was needed in terms of repair. I chose to work on the Cherrywood pipe at the top of the first photo and on the far left of the second photo. It is a nice looking Cherrywood pipe with panels. The high points on the bowl all had bark on them with stripes without the bark. The shank also had bark on it. The bowl had a light cake in it. The rim top had a thick overflow of lava on it that had overflow from the bowl. There were also some light nicks in the rim top. The underside of the bowl was dirty but it was stamped ROPP over De Luxe over Made in France. Underneath that what the shape number 805. The stem had tooth marks and tooth chatter on the top side of the stem with some deep marks on the underside. The stem surface was oxidized. It had the ROPP oval on the left side of the stem. I took the following photos before I started to clean up the pipe. I took a close up of the rim top to show the lava build up and the cake in the bowl. It appeared that the bowl had been reamed before I received it but there were some remnants of the cake in the bowl. I took some close up photos of the stem to show the condition of both sides.I chose four of the pipes to work on first and put the stems in the Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer. I pushed them under the solution and left them to soak overnight.While the stems were all soaking I turned my attention to the bowl. I scrubbed the surface of the Cherrywood with Murphy’s Oil Soap to clean off the dust and grime that sat on the surface. There were also some paint flecks that needed to be addressed as well. I scrubbed the surface with a tooth brush and rinsed it off with running water. I dried the bowl and shank off with a soft cotton towel to make sure I did not damage the bark. I took photos of the cleaned Cherrywood bowl. It actually looked really good. The rim top still needed work but it looked better. I cleaned up the inside of the bowl to remove the remaining bits of cake on the walls and the bottom of the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to sand off the remaining thick lava on the rim top and the damaged areas as well. I worked on it to smooth out the surface and then polished it with 1500-4000 grit micromesh sanding pads. I cleaned up the inner edge of the rim with a folded piece of sandpaper and removed the damaged areas there as well.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the Cherrywood and the bark with my finger tips to deep clean the finish, enliven and protect the wood. I let it sit for a few minutes and then buffed it with a cotton cloth. The wood came alive and really had begun to show through at this point and there was a rich shine to the bark as well. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. I set the bowl aside and called it a night. The bowl was ready other than touching up the cleaning of the shank. In the morning. In the morning I removed the stem from the Before & After Stem Deoxidizer and wiped it off with a paper towel to remove the remaining oxidation and bath. I cleaned out the airway with pipe cleaners and alcohol until it was clean. I cleaned out the shank with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs at the same time  to remove any debris that remained inside. The stamping on the stem looked good. The stem was clean and black with the scratching, tooth marks and an odd red tint in the vulcanite visible on the left side. It was ready for repairs to the tooth marks and polishing. I lightly sanded the stem to remove the scratching and tooth chatter. I heated the stem with a Bic lighter to lift some of the tooth marks. Once that was done I built up the edge of the button on the underside and filled in the two remaining tooth marks on the underside of the stem with clear super glue. Once the repair had dried I sanded the repaired areas with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface of the stem. I sanded the rest of the stem as well working on getting rid of the red tint on the left side. I worked over the stem with micromesh sanding pads. I polished out the sanding scratches and marks in the vulcanite – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads and wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each one. When I finished with the 12000 grit pad I gave it a final coat of oil and let it dry. Once it had dried, I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish Fine and Extra Fine. I rubbed it down with final coat Obsidian Oil and took the following picture. I put the stem back on the bowl and took the pipe to the buffing wheel to work it over. I carefully buffed the bowl and shank with Blue Diamond. I did not want to damage the bark on the bowl or shank so I used a very light touch. I worked on the stem with Blue Diamond to polish it. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and hand buffed it with a shoe brush. I gave the stem multiple coats carnauba wax. I buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The bark now has a rich glow to it and the peeled areas of the Cherrywood bowl look rich as well. The shank looks good. The hard rubber/vulcanite stem came out quite nice with a shine to the ROPP oval on the left side. The pipe came out really well. Now I have six more of the uncle’s pipes to finish up and then I will pack these back in their well packed box and send them back to the US to carry on life for the nephew of the pipe man who left them to him. Thanks for looking.

 

 

Restoring a Newer Cadogan Era GBD Marquis 411 Pot


Blog by Steve Laug

This GBD Marquis is the last of the local pipe shop pipes that I will work on for a bit. It came from the estate of the same older gentleman whose wife returned them to the shop for restoration and resale. This is a smooth finished GBD. The briar has some beautiful straight, flame and birdseye grain around the bowl. On the right side of the shank are two putty fills that have shrunk and left rough spots around the number stamp. It is stamped on the left side of the shank with the GBD oval logo next to the line stamp – Marquis. On the right side it is stamped St. Claude – France over the shape number 411. From the lack of a brass rondel on the stem and the GBD logo stamped on the left side of the saddle instead I am putting this pipe in the Cadogan era of the brand. The stem is original but is a stamped stem blank with none of the original GBD Charm. It is a pretty good looking pipe even though it is dirty. I included this little GBD pot in the box of pipes that I sent off to my brother for cleaning. This is the fourth pipe that I have brought to the work table from the lot of about 50 to rework. I can only repeat how thankful I am for his willingness to clean and ream the pipes for me. It really has allowed me to move through the repairs much more quickly. When he received the pipe he took a series of photos of it to show its condition. He took a close up photo of the beveled rim top showing the thick cake and the overflow of lava onto the top of the bowl. The lava pretty well hid the beveled rim top from view. The cake is very thick and hard. Like the rest of the pipes in this estate the cake made the bowl appear to be quite small and in this condition would hold very little tobacco. The photo of the underside of the bowl and shank shows the beautiful birdseye grain. The next photos show the stamping on the left and the right side of the shank. It is clear and readable. The GBD Oval stamped logo on the side of the stem is in very good condition.The next photo shows the two shrunken fills on the right side of the shank and on the underside edge. Other than those two the pipe is flawless.Jeff took a close up of the GBD oval logo stamped on the side of the saddle stem. It is great shape. The stem itself has some wear and tear with tooth chatter, tooth marks and oxidation but it should clean up well.Jeff cleaned the pipe up very well. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet Reamer and a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He cleaned the mortise and the airway in the stem and shank with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. He scrubbed the exterior with Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the grime and dust of time. When I received the pipe it was very clean. I took photos of it to record what it looked like before I started my work.   Jeff removed the thick hard cake and the lava buildup on the rim top and revealed a deep inward bevel to the rim. The inner and outer edges of the rim were in good condition. The top surface of the rim had some minor darkening and a few small nicks but otherwise looked very good. The vulcanite stem looked far better than when Jeff started the cleanup. There were a lot of scratches on the surface and a few tooth marks on both the top and underside if the stem. The GBD oval logo was undamaged.The stem still had some remaining oxidation in the vulcanite so I dropped it into the Before & Stem Deoxidizer bath and let it soak overnight. The photo below shows the stem before I pushed it into the bath.While the stem soaked I turned my attention to the bowl. I cleaned up the fills on the right side of the shank. I used a dark stain pen to try to blend them into the briar a little better (ineffective by the way). I filled in the dips in the fills with a few drops of clear super glue. I made sure to overfill the repairs as the glue shrinks as it dries. Once it cured I used a fold piece of sandpaper to sand the spots and blend them into the surrounding briar without damaging the stamping. That was a bit tricky because of the location of the fills. When I had the area smooth I used 1500-4000 grit micromesh sanding pads to polish those areas. I used a dark brown stain pen to blend the repaired areas into the surrounding stain. I hand buffed the shank to further blend the stain. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my finger tips to deep clean the smooth finish, enliven and protect the briar. I let it sit for a few minutes and then buffed it with a cotton cloth. The grain of the briar really had begun to show through at this point and there was a rich shine to the briar. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. I set the bowl aside and called it a night. In the morning I removed the stem from the Before & After Stem Deoxidizer and wiped it off with a paper towel to remove the remaining oxidation and bath. I cleaned out the airway with pipe cleaners and alcohol until it was clean. The stamping on the stem looked good. The stem was clean and black with the tooth marks very visible. It was ready for repairs to the tooth marks and polishing.I filled in the tooth marks with clear super glue on both sides of the stem and set it aside to allow the repairs to cure. When the repairs had dried I sanded them smooth and blended them into the surface of the stem. I reshaped the button on both sides of the stem with a needle file and sanded the stem down 220 grit sandpaper. The surface of the stem on both sides looks good. The tooth marks are gone and the surface is smooth. I carefully polished the saddle portion of the stem being careful to not damage the GBD oval stamping. Once the saddle portion was shining I applied some Antique Gold Rub’n Buff with a cotton swab to the stamped area. I made sure that it was deep in the stamp and let it sit for a few minutes before rubbing it off with the other end of the cotton swab and a cotton pad. I took all the excess away and left the stamping looking like brass. Once I buffed it the stem and logo would look like new.I worked over the stem with micromesh sanding pads. I polished out the sanding scratches and marks in the vulcanite – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads and wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each one. When I finished with the 12000 grit pad I gave it a final coat of oil and let it dry. Once it had dried, I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish Fine and Extra Fine. I rubbed it down with final coat Obsidian Oil and took the following picture. I put the stem back on the bowl and took the pipe to the buffing wheel to work it over. I buffed the bowl and stem once again with Blue Diamond to polish it. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats carnauba wax. I buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is a really nicely grained GBD pipe 411 Pot that came out in the Cadogan era of the brand. Its amazing grain is only marred by the two fills on the right side of the shank. They are blended into the shank better than before but they still show. The pipe still looks great and feels comfortable in the hand. The medium brown stain and the polished black vulcanite work together to give the classic pot shaped pipe a rich look. It will make a great pipe addition to the rack and should be a great smoker.  The dimensions of the pipe are: Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 1/2 inches, Outer Diameter of the Bowl: 1 ½ inches, Diameter of the Chamber: 7/8 inches. I will be adding this one to the rebornpipes store shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection. If you are interested email me at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.