Tag Archives: tapping a stem for a tenon

GoedeWaagen Ceramic Double-walled Pipe Restemmed

Blog by Steve Laug

I picked this old ceramic double-walled pipe up at an antique shop. The thing that attracted me to it was the amber stem. Or at least it appeared to be amber. The stem was taped to the shank with scotch tape and the bowl was badly caked with thick tars and carbon. The outside of the bowl was spotty with grime and grease. There were fingerprints all over the grime. The stem was blackened on the inside and showed stain through the airway and button. The bowl was cream coloured porcelain under the grime and had a Delft blue Dutch windmill on the front and smaller ones on the horizon around the bowl. The bottom edge of the bowl and part way up the sides was had blue lines and shadows drawn in to look like a canal with the windmills on the other side of the water. Behind and above the windmills clouds and sky had been stylized into the scene. The entirety had been glazed with a clear glaze over the pipe. With a little work this might very well turn out to be a beautiful pipe.

When I brought it home to work on it there was quite a bit to do to clean it up. I removed the scotch tape from the stem and shank and the stem dropped out of the shank on the work table. It had a metal screw tenon that was clogged and badly bent. I was able to remove the screw tenon from the stem with a pair of needle nose pliers. It was threaded into the stem so with a little effort I was able to unscrew it. The stem was indeed amber and as the screw tenon came out a small flake of amber came with it. I cleaned the airway on the stem with isopropyl alcohol, pipe cleaners and a shank brush. I scrubbed the button and slot to remove the blackening that was built up on it. I then removed the scotch tape from the shank using some acetone to soften the glue. It came off easily. The gold coloured band is stamped GoedeWaagen Made in Holland. I cleaned the band and polished it. I used a dental pick to remove the broken cork that was inside the shank. It was glued it and it was brittle. It came away with a bit of work. I used cotton swabs to clean out the shank. In the bottom of the shank was a metal piece that originally had been on the end of the cork insert and slid below the inner bowl of the double-walled pipe. I scrubbed the bowl with hot water and repeatedly ran water through it to loosen the buildup of tars inside between the walls. I scrubbed the outside of the bowl while I was washing it and was able to remove all of the grim. The remaining patina and coloration of the bowl is similar to a meer.

I decided to replace the original tenon with a Delrin pushpull tenon. That sound like an easy swap but it was not that simple. The tenon that was in the pipe was very small and the threads were fine. The new Delrin tenon was ¼ inch in diameter and was a good open draw. I drilled the amber very carefully with 3/16 inch drill bit to remove the threads and then a ¼ inch drill bit to open it up. I used a cordless drill that I adjusted to a slow speed and gently opened up the amber to ¼ inch. I took it back to the work table and used a tap to thread the newly drilled opening. Once that was clean and open I screwed in the new tenon and the stem was good to go. I cleaned up the tenon and stem junction and sanded it smooth so that the fit was smooth and transitionless.

Then it was time to figure out how to work on the mortise. I did a bit of searching to see if I could find what the original mortise looked like when it was new. There was nothing that I could find to make the job a bit easier. So I began to work through some options. I had a wine cork that I kept here so I thought that might be a good base to begin with. I drilled the cork with a ¼ inch drill bit so that the airway through it would be open and easy to work with.

I screwed in the Delrin mortis portion of the push pull tenon on one end of the cork and threaded in the metal tip in the other end. I then took my Dremel to the cork to reduce the size of the cork. I removed the outside of the cork with the sanding drum until it was as close as I could get with the Dremel. I then sanded the cork with a folded piece of emery cloth until it was almost perfect. I unscrewed the metal tip and measured the depth of the shank so that the cork plus the tip would end up with the tip just below the air hole in the bottom of the bowl. I cut the cork with an art knife that was sharp until it was the correct length. Then I used my sanding board to level the cork so that when the metal tip was in it would sit smoothly. It took a bit of sanding but once it was done I reinserted the metal tip.

With the cork the right length and ready to insert I needed to fine tune the fit. I decided to stabilize the cork around the metal tip and the Delrin insert as I did not want it to break when I inserted in the shank. I used super glue to stabilize the cork. I then sanded the cork by hand with the folded emery paper until it was round and smooth. I wanted it to be a tight pressure fit in the shank. From what I could read the cork insert was put in and left until the pipe smoker decided to remove it to clean it. Then a new cork would be used to replace it. I decided to keep that tradition. 

Once the cork fit correctly, I greased it with some Vaseline jelly and fit it in the shank. I was able to easily press it in place. When I was level with the end of the shank I use a ball point pen to set it a bit deeper to receive the tenon with a slight bevel.

I pushed in the stem and aligned it and the fit was absolutely perfect! I polished the bowl and the stem with a quick buff of White Diamond and then gave the entirety several coats of carnauba wax to protect it.

A New Tenon on an Old Stem and a Petersons K Briar 999 is Back in Action

Blog by Steve Laug

I picked up this older Peterson 999 K Briar from EBay. It came in a lot with some Barlings, Bewlays and three Imperial Tobacco pipes that I have repaired. This is an interesting pipe in that it is stamped K over Briar on the left side of the shank and on the right side it is stamped 999 “Peterson’s Product” made in England. I had not seen a K Briar pipe from Peterson before. This one is a beauty. It has the appearance of a GBD Rhodesian or a BBB Rhodesian. It has no fills and some very minor sand pits. The stain and finish were in great shape. The stem had just two small bite marks that needed to be taken care of. It has a unique stem that can be seen in the photos below. It is very different from the standard Peterson stem as it is rounded and crowned with a slot in the end of the button.

When the pipe arrived the tenon was broken off at the shank. It was a clean break as can be seen in the photo below. The tenon itself was stuck in the shank. I tried to remove it by my usual method – turning a screw into the airway on the tenon and then pulling. I tried and pulled both by hand and with a pair of vice grips. I clamp down on the screw and try to twist the bowl of the pipe. This tenon was really stuck. I dribbled alcohol down the shank and filled the bowl with cotton bolls and poured in alcohol and so that the inside of the shank could soak. I left it sitting that way over night and in the morning the tenon still would not come out. I figured I would try putting it in the freezer so that the two materials of the shank and tenon would contract and expand at different rates and loosen that way. When I took it out of the freezer I tried to remove it from the shank. It did not move. Nothing I tried seemed to work. I took a drill bit a little bigger than the airway in the tenon and drilled out the tenon very carefully. Once the drill bit was set I backed the drill out and the tenon was free. ImageImageImageImageImage

Once the tenon was out I held the stem vertically on a flat board and sandpaper to make certain that the flat surface of the stem was smooth and that there were no sharp pieces of the old tenon in the way. I drilled the airway in the stem to receive a quarter inch tap. I worked up to the quarter inch drill bit slowly moving from one that was slightly bigger than the airway. I wanted to make sure that the new opening for the Delrin tenon was centred and not off. Once I had it drilled with the ¼ inch drill bit I used a quarter inch tap to thread the hole in the stem. I had ordered threaded tenons from Pipe Makers Emporium and when they arrived I checked the depth on the tapped hole in the stem to make sure that it was the same depth as the length of the new tenon. Once it was correct I turned the new tenon into the threaded hole until it was just about tight and then dripped some super glue into the hole and finished threading the tenon in. I set it aside to dry before trying the tenon for a fit on the pipe. These threaded tenons are great to work with. It is the first time I have used them and it worked like a charm. ImageImage

Once the tenon was set, it was time to work on the stem and remove the oxidation. I used fine grit emery cloth to loosen the oxidation on the stem. From there I proceeded to use 240 grit sandpaper and then used 400 and 600 wet dry sandpaper. I wet the stem and sanded it with the wet dry sandpaper until all of the scratches were gone. The next series of three photos show the fit of the stem with the new tenon. Most of the oxidation is gone at this point. ImageImageImage

I took the pipe to the buffer and buffed the stem with Tripoli to see where I was at with the sanding. The oxidation was gone so I took it back to the worktable and sanded it with the micromesh pads from 1500-12000 grit. The final shine came alive with the 8000 and the 12000 grit micromesh. From that point I took it to the buffer and lightly buffed it with White Diamond. Then I waxed the pipe and stem with carnauba and buffed with a flannel buff. ImageImageImageImage