Tag Archives: Television Churchwarden Pipes

Cleaning up a Television Imported Briar Italian Made Churchwarden


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table was purchased from an antique store on 10/14/17 in Pocatello, Idaho, USA. It is a nice looking Rusticated Billiard Churchwarden with a long straight stem. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads TELEVISION [over] Imported Briar [over] Italy. The stamping is very clear and readable. The rusticated finish had a spotty coat of varnish around the rusticated rim, sides and shank but it was primarily on the high spots with little of it going into the depths of the rough rustication. The bowl had a thin cake and dust and debris in the rustication on the rim top and the rest of the bowl and shank. The stem was acrylic and in decent condition with some ripples in the underside from when it had been heated to bend it. It had some tooth chatter and marks on both sides near the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe when he unpacked it and before he started his clean up work. It is a great looking piece of briar. Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the light cake bowl and the debris in the rustication. He also took photos of the stem to show the wrinkles in the middle of the underside as well as the light tooth marks and chatter on the acrylic stem. He took photos of the bowl and heel to show the condition of the finish. Though the photos show the deep rustication around the bowl sides and heel. It is a rugged, tactile looking pipe with a nickel band on the shank. The stamping is on a smooth portion of the shank. You can also see the spotty finish on the bowl and shank. Jeff took photos of the stamping on the left side of the shank. It read as noted above and was readable. It took two photos to capture the full stamp on the shank. You can also see the crackle in he varnish coat on the shank. Jeff also took photos of the shank band. The photos show that it had an EP in a diamond stamped on it and underneath were some faux hallmarks.I have worked on quite a few Television Pipes over the years – old timers, billiards and at least one Churchwarden pipe. I checked all the usual sites for information and I could find nothing about the brand. I decided to leave the hunt behind and just work on the pipe.

I took some photos of the pipe as I took it out of the box. Here is what I saw. I slid it out of the wrapper around it. I could see that Jeff had cleaned it well. The bowl had been reamed with a PipNet reamer and Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He had scrubbed the exterior with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap. He rinsed it with warm water. He cleaned out the internals with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. The stem was twisted and tweaked to the right as can be seen in the photos of the top and underside of the pipe. The grain on the bowl is quite nice with just a few small fills that are solid and well blended in with the surrounding briar. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. The rim top had cleaned up very well and the rim top and edges looked very good. The stem was in decent condition other than light tooth chatter on both sides at the button. The stem also has some casting marks on the sides and a wrinkle on the underside from when it was heated and bent originally. I was surprised to see that the stem was acrylic rather than vulcanite. It really does shine. I took a photo of the stamping on the smooth panel on the left side of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above.I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to show the proportion of the stem to the bowl. It is a nice looking pipe.I decided to start work on this pipe by addressing the spotty varnish coat on the bowl. It was a bit odd in that it was on the high spots not in the crevices of the rustication as much. I scrubbed it with a brass bristle wire brush and acetone to try and break it down. Once finished it did look better. I would at least be able to stain the valleys and crevices! I stained the bowl with a dauber and a light brown aniline stain. I put the stain on quite heavy to let it get down in the crevices. I flamed it with a lighter to set the stain in the grain and repeated the process until I was happy with the coverage.When the stain dried I buffed the finish with a clean buffing pad and a horsehair shoe brush to raise the shine. I also polished the Electro Plated band with a jewelers cloth to bring out the shine. It is quite nice looking at this point. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the casting marks along both sides of the stem as well as the wrinkle in the stem with 220 grit sandpaper. I also smoothed out the tooth chatter on both sides. It became exceptionally clear that I was working with an acrylic stem. The sanding dust was almost blue looking and plastic feeling dust. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the 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 polish the stem. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. Once I finished working on the stem, this Television Imported Briar Italy Churchwarden was another beautiful pipe. The rusticated briar around the bowl is clean and really tactile. The rim top and edges are in great condition. The rich brown stains gave the grain a sense of depth with the polishing and waxing. The depth of the rustication really stood out. I put the acrylic stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Television Italian Churchwarden 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: 11 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of pipe is 1.38 ounces /40 grams. It is another one that is much more beautiful in person than these photos can capture. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store soon. Look for it in the Italian Pipe Makers section. If you would like to add it to your collection let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

A Strangely Unique Standing Churchwarden called a Television Pipe


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table is an interesting pipe that caught my attention this morning when I was going through the boxes of pipes I have here awaiting restoration. This pipe was purchased from an online auction early in 2020 from St. Albans, West Virginia, USA. It has the length of a churchwarden and is a two part bowl and base with a tall bent stem. The pipe is a standing pipe that is well balanced and still stands when it is put together. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and read TELEVISION PIPE and on the right side it read Algerian Briar [over] Made in France. There is a metal band/ferrule on the shank that is stamped EP in a diamond which means Electroplated and below that it has some very worn hallmarks. It was extremely dirty with grime and grit ground into the bowl sides. The bowl was heavily caked and there was a thick lava coat on the rim top and edges. The bowl unscrewed from the base which was also thickly caked with tars and oils. The band/ferrule was oxidized as was the vulcanite stem. There were light tooth marks on both sides of the stem ahead of the button. There was a small aluminum stinger in the tenon that was removable. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his work on it.He took some photos of the bowl and rim top to show their condition. The cake is thick and there is debris on the walls of the bowl. The rim top has a thick coat of lava and between that and the cake it is hard to know the condition of the rim edges. Clean up will reveal the condition. There are chips and nicks in the outer edge of the bowl. The stem looks pretty good with light tooth marks on both sides. The stem is oxidized and calcified. He took photos of the bowl and base together to show the overall appearance of the pipe. There is a lot of grime around the junction of the bowl and base that can be seen in the photos below. He unscrewed the bowl from the base and took a series of photos to show the condition of the bowl and the base. You can see the thick oils and tars in the threads, on the bottom of the bowl and in the base of the pipe. It is really a mess and will be a major work to clean up. Jeff took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank and on the electro-plated band/ferrule on the shank.He remove the stem from the base and took a photo of the tenon end and shank to see the built up tars on the tenon and in the inside of the shank. You can also see the tarnish on the band.I looked on both Pipephil’s site and Pipedia to see what I could find out about the brand. There was nothing listed on either site regarding that brand. I turned a site that has been helpful in identifying pipes called Smoking Metal (http://www.smokingmetal.co.uk/pipe.php?page=277). The site shows a short version of this pipe – with a P-lip style stem on the shank rather than a Churchwarden stem. Other than the stem it is the same pipe. Since the information was quite limited on the brand it was time to turn to work on the pipe itself. I have to say that this was another pipe that I was really looking forward to seeing what Jeff had done to it. It is a French Made Algerian Briar Television Pipe that had shown such beauty through the grime that I was quite sure it would be stunning he cleaned it. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned the remnants of cake back with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl and base with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and oils. He cleaned the internals of the base, shank and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove all of the tars and oils there. He scrubbed the exterior of the stem with Soft Scrub to remove the oxidation and calcification. He wiped the bowl and stem down with a light coat of olive oil to rehydrate both. The pipe really was quite stunning. You can see the nicks around the bowl and base but they do not lessen the beauty of the pipe.  I took close up photos of the stem and the rim top to show both how clean they were and what needed to be addresses with both. The rim top had some nicks in the top and the inner edge of the bowl was out of round. The stem looked better but the light tooth marks and chatter were still present.I took photos of the cleaned up stamping on sides of the shank. It is very clear and readable.I removed the stem from the shank and took photos to show the overall look of this beautiful pipe. I then unscrewed the bowl from the base and took photos of all of the parts of the pipe. I started my work on this pipe by dealing with the shrunken fills on the bowl sides. I filled them in with clear CA glue and briar dust. Once the repairs cured I sanded them smooth to blend them into the surrounding briar. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-4000 grit pads. I wiped the briar down after each pad. The grain began to really come alive through the polishing. I took a  break from the polishing process and I stained the sanded areas of the bowl with a Walnut Stain pen to blend them into the surrounding briar.I buffed bowl with Blue Diamond polish and then went back to polishing the bowl with 6000-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads. I repeated the process of polish the base with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the briar down after each pad. The grain began to really come alive through the polishing. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar of both the bowl and the base with my finger tips. The product is incredible and the way it brings the grain to the fore is unique. It works to clean, protect and invigorate the wood. I put the bowl and base back together again and rubbed them down with the Balm. I buffed the bowl and base with Blue Diamond on the wheel. The finished bowl looked a lot better. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it 1500-12000 pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each pad to protect it and preserve it. I polished it with Before  After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I finished the polishing with a final coat of Obsidian Oil. I am really happy with the way that this Tall Television Pipe Churchwarden Sitter turned out. It really is a unique looking pipe with character. The long mouthpiece is a unique feature of this pipe and sets it apart. The removable bowl and base work well and the pipe is a beauty. To me it is a great pipe with unique details. The grain really came alive with the buffing. The rich brown and black stains of the finish 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 Television Pipe Sitter really 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: 10 inches, Height: 3 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 57 grams/2.01 oz. The pipe will be going on the rebornpipes store soon. It will be in the section on French Pipe Makers if you would like to add it to your collection.Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. It was a fun one to work on!

What grain under the Candy Apple Red Paint –- A Television Churchwarden


Blog by Steve Laug

This Churchwarden is stamped Television on the left side of the shank and Imported Briar over Italy on the right side. From two earlier Television pipes I had restored and restemmed I remembered that Jose Manuel Lopes – Pipes Artisans and Trademarks had helped me identify the original manufacturer. Here is what Lopes says: The brand was sold by A. Grunfield Co. and was produced by Gasparini. They were known to be an English brand with long stems. I have written more about the brand at the following links:                                                                                                                                                https://rebornpipes.com/2014/08/04/restoring-and-restemming-the-first-of-two-television-pipes-a-pot/
https://rebornpipes.com/2014/08/05/restoring-and-restemming-a-second-television-pipe-a-prince/

I took some photos of the pipe before I started working on it.TV1 TV2The pipe was in decent shape – no dings or burn marks on the bowl. I just have never really liked candy apple red pipes. This was no exception, as it was almost a painted surface. The combination of a very opaque stain and a urethane topcoat left the bowl looking almost plastic. The rim was dirty and had some lava on it so I knew that in removing that I would not be able to keep the thick red coat on the rim so it would look different from the rest of the bowl. The bowl had a light cake inside. The stem was oxidized and had light tooth chatter near the button on the top and the bottom sides. Through the opaque stain and the urethane coat I could see some interesting grain on the pipe. I also was well aware that this kind of heavy stain and topcoat often hid a multitude of fills.TV3I reamed the bowl with the Savinelli Pipe Knife to scrape out the light cake.TV4I weighed my next move with fear and trepidation wiped down the bowl with acetone to see if I could dent the urethane coat. No such luck with that. I sanded the bowl with a medium grit sanding block and in some spots with 220 grit sandpaper. The finish was hard as rock and it took quite a while to remove the finish. The urethane and the stain coat came off together. It was almost as if it was not in the grain but rather sat on top. I wiped it down with acetone on cotton pads. The results of stripping the bowl can be seen in the next photos.TV5 TV6To my amazement the number of fills was not as bad as I expected. There were actually two – yes just two. Now the bad news was that they were both larger than the average ones I deal with. The first was on the front of the bowl and was centered over the two rings around the bowl. The second was on the back side of the cap. The front one was visible but I could live with it. The putty was brown and was tight and smooth. The one on the back was well blended into the grain on the bowl. It too was tight. I would not need to pick them out and repair them. I cleaned out the shank and airways in the bowl and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. It was actually quite clean.TV7I buffed the bowl with red Tripoli on the wheel and was able to remove some of the stubborn paint/stain spots on the bowl cap and the shank. I then gave the bowl a light rub down with olive oil to get a feel for the grain on the pipe. You can see from the photos below that the mix of grain is quite stunning. The right side of the bowl has some tight birdseye. The rest of the bowl is a mix of grains.TV8 TV9I gave the bowl several coats of medium cherry Danish Oil to raise the level of red from the briar. I let it dry and buffed it between coats. I gave it a final coat and let it dry while I worked on the stem.TV10 TV11When the stain coat was dry I buffed the pipe with a coat of carnauba wax.TV12 TV13I worked on the stem. I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the light oxidation and tooth chatter and then with a medium grit sanding sponge to smooth out the scratches. I wet sanded the stem with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads. I gave it a coat of Obsidian Oil. I dry sanded it with 3200-4000 grit pads and gave it another coat of oil. I finished sanding it with 6000-12000 grit pads and gave it a final coat of oil. I set it aside to dry.TV14 TV15 TV16I buffed the stem with Blue Diamond to finish the polishing. I gave the bowl and the stem several coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad and then hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to add depth to the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I like the transparent stain on this one far better than the heavy urethane coated pipe I started with. The pipe is going with me to Bulgaria on an upcoming trip I am making there. The pipe man in Sofia is looking forward to adding this to his collection. Thanks for looking.TV17 TV18 TV18a TV20 TV21 TV22 TV23 TV24