Tag Archives: tobacciana

Restoring Two Older Bonus Walnut Pipe Stands

Blog by Steve Laug

One of the perks I picked up in the recent lot of pipes I bought off of craigslist was a walnut pipe rest and a walnut 6 pipe rack/humidor. Both of them were in decent shape. They were scuffed and worn in spots and dusty from disuse. But they were still very functional. I have wanted a two pipe rack like the one on the left of the photo for a while now to use on my desk at the office. The other six pipe rack with the humidor now resides beside my chair in the living room. I have had pipe laying in an ash tray and tins stacked next to them. I was able to put the pipes into the rack and the tins in the humidor so it was a great addition.craig4 I took a few photos of each piece before I cleaned them up to show that they were in relatively good shape for pieces this age.rack1







rack8 I worked on eth humidor/rack first. I took it apart to clean up the pieces. The sides of the humidor had removable cedar panels on the sides of the box. The bottom and top of the humidor were milk glass and both were in great shape. There as a sliding metal plate perforated with holes that held absorbent material inside that could be wetted to keep the humidor living.rack9 I scrubbed the glass on the top and the bottom with soapy water and rinsed them before drying them. The walnut rack and case I scrubbed down with Murphy’s Oil Soap and then hand buffed with a soft cotton cloth. The wood was quite soiled as can be seen from the cotton scrubbing pads in the next two photos. I was able to remove all of the grime from the wood and bring some warmth back to the finish.rack10

rack11 I put the interior of the humidor back together. There was a cardboard piece that sat between the milk glass and the wooden bottom of the box that went in first. Then the cedar pieces that went on the sides went in next. These were beveled on the bottom and sides to make for a smooth fit with no gaps. They were well cut and fit tightly together with no gaps.rack12

rack13 I slid the metal plate out of the track in the lid and scrubbed it with a damp cloth to remove the dust and tobacco bits from the surface of the metal. I buffed it with a soft cloth to bring back some shine. After I had dried it out I slid it back into place on the lid. There is a gold label on inside of the lid that reads “Made of Genuine American Walnut”.rack14


rack16 I buffed the rack and humidor by hand and took the next series of photos.rack17



rack20 I scrubbed the two pipe rest with Murphy’s Oil Soap and hand buffed it with a soft cloth. The finished pipe rest is shown in the photo below. It looks like new and has a deep warm glow to the finish again.rack21

One I had not seen before: Anabaso Genuine Meerschaum Absorbent Smoking Filters

I received a gift box of pipe bowls today and in the box was this little package of filters. It has a price tag of .25 for 10 filters. Someone had penciled in $1 under the .25 on the tag. The front is printed Anabaso in a globe over Standard Size. Next to that it reads Imported from Vienna, Austria over Genuine Meerschaum Absorbent Smoking Filters. Underneath it reads No Chemicals – Only Pure Meerschaum. Underneath all of the above it reads Pure absorbent Meerschaum is the oldest and best filtering material in the world. IMG_1670 On the back side of the box it reads: Made in Austria in a circle in the left corner. Next to that it reads as follows: these Genuine Meerschaum Absorbent Smoking Filters are a natural filter made from genuine imported Meerschaum they not only filter out tars and impurities but add a pleasant meerschaum flavor to this smoke the same as fine meerschaum pipes. Each filter is good for 30 smokes. Change the filter when it turns dark brown. In a band on the bottom of the backside it reads for Pipes, Cigar and Cigarette Holders. The last line reads U.S. Agents – Holland-Dutch Pipe Co., New York, N.Y. IMG_1671 Inside was a sliding tray. On each end it is printed 10 Filters. The tray holds 10 plastic filters. The clear plastic tube is filled with meerschaum chips with a blue plastic cap on the top. The cap and the tube both have two have moon openings for the smoke to flow through. The meerschaum chips collect the tars and the imperfections. IMG_1672 This is a great piece of Tobacciana that I had not seen before. In the back of my mind I vaguely remembered the Holland-Dutch Pipe Co. But I could not quite connect it with what they had made. I did some digging online to try to identify the Holland-Dutch Pipe Co. of New York and found a link to Theodorus Niemeijer Holland Dutch Pipe Co. NY. This was the company that made and imported Flying Dutchman Tobacco and the various blends of Sail Tobacco into the US. I have smoked quite a few of their blends over the years and have enjoyed them all at various times in my journey with the pipe. $T2eC16NHJIYFHNr7trBOBS!je0DN9Q~~60_57 $(KGrHqZHJBYFHyTwqIb7BSDuDu5nNg~~60_57

A Piece of Tobacciana – Restoring an Old Nylon Cigarette Filter/Holder

Somewhere along the way in one of the pipe lots I bought off EBay this old cigarette holder was included as a pipe stem. I put it in a drawer and forgot about it for several years at least. The other evening I was cleaning out a drawer of pipes that I had already refurbished getting them ready for my daughter to catalogue and came across the old holder. At first glance it appeared to be a cigarette holder. There was no filter apparatus present and the mouthpiece was short and condensed so I did not think there would be one inside the stem itself. I sanded down the casting marks on the side of the stem and also cleaned the stem of debris. There was one burn spot on the underside of the stem near the metal holder end. The metal holder was brass and quite clean with a slight nicotine and tar build up on the inside. The airway on the stem was plugged and no air could pass through it.


I twisted the end cap and it came free from the stem itself. Inside was a filter apparatus similar to the different stingers that one finds in American made pipes of days gone by. This apparatus was a single unit. There was a rubber o-ring around the top just below the holder top. This held the cap unit snugly in place in the stem.

Once I had removed the apparatus from the stem the stinger design was visible. It extended half way down the shank of the stem. Behind the o-ring was a cut/slit half way through the aluminum of the stinger. It was clogged with tars and oils. In the middle of the slit was an opening. One on the o-ring side and one on the stem side of the slit. The aluminum then funneled down to tube that at first glance appeared to be solid. At the end of the tube were two solid rings around the tube. Between the rings there were holes on two sides in the groove. When it was inserted and clear the air would be pulled through the holder and into the stinger slit. It would circulate in the stem to cool and then move through the slit and down the tube and out the two holes. These would then disperse the smoke through the remainder of the stem and out the slot in the button. In many ways it was like an inverted stinger in shape and function to those found on pipes.

The hole in the end of the stinger does not go through the stinger but rather is like a small cup on the end. It was for collecting moisture and tars if the grime buildup was any indication.


The holder cap pictured in the photo below is the depth of the filter on a modern cigarette and also the dame diameter as the end of the cigarette. I cleaned the entire apparatus and soaked it in a bath of Everclear to try to open the airway. I was able to clean out the cut in the aluminum, the holes in the end and in the cut itself using a dental pick. I scrubbed down the apparatus with a tooth brush and Everclear. I was unable to get air to pass through due to a clog in the end of the holder. In the photo below it is visible as a small hole in the bottom of the cup. It was plugged and the dental pick was too thick to go through it. I tried a thin paper clip and a needle with no success. I finally was able to open it with a tiny micro drill bit on the Dremel and pushed it through at a very slow speed. The bit came with a plastic guide that fit inside the cup perfectly and kept the drill straight as it opened the airway. Once it pushed the clog through I cleaned the inside of the airway with Everclear and was able to push air through with no effort.

I repaired the burned spot on the stem with superglue and sanded the stem until the patch blended with the rest of the stem surface. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper and then with a medium grit sanding sponge to smooth out the scratches in the surface of the nylon stem.


I wet sanded the stem with micromesh sanding pads from 1500-2400 grit and then dry sanded with 3200 – 12,000 grit sanding pads. I used a plastic polish to further shine the stem once I was finished with the micromesh pads.



I rubbed down the stem with Obsidian Oil and gave it a very light buff with White Diamond. You have to exercise a very light touch when buffing nylon as it melts with the heat of the buffing wheel. I finished by giving the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax to give it a shine. I hand buffed the shine with a soft cotton cloth. The finish filter is pictured below in the final three photos. It is not something I will ever use but it is an interesting piece of tobacciana for the collection. I have no idea of the maker of the piece or of the age but I am fascinated by the ingenuity of the product.



Tobacciana – Gifted a PIPE Lighter

I was gifted a pipe lighter – no I mean really a Pipe lighter. A friend gave me this Pipe shaped lighter because he knows that I appreciate the quirky pipe ephemera that are a part of our hobby. I collect the oddities along with the pipes, so this fit right into my collection. There is a part of me that supposes it was a hoax but it is never the less actually very unique. It is a heavy lighter as the bowl is made of metal and painted to look like wood. The stem is cast plastic and the end; the button is metal as well. The oval slot in the button is where the flame comes out. The bowl cap is a plastic button, spring loaded so that when it is depressed the butane is released and the igniter in the button sparks and the flame is sent out the button. The lighter is butane and is refillable on the bowl bottom.



The lighter works quite well. The first time I used the lighter the heat of the flame melted the stem in front of the button and there is a “bite through” now. I may have to do a repair with the superglue and build it up so that the hole no longer is present. On the other hand it looks kind of well used the way it is. In the slot there is an igniter that sparks when the cap is depressed. The lead of the igniter is slanted toward the tube that carries the butane and when the spark hits the butane the flame leaps out as can be seen in the last photo below.



That is it for the quirky PIPE lighter – truly an interesting addition to my collection of tobacciana ephemera. I usually have it on the desk or in the pipe cabinet. It is quite heavy and makes a great decorative piece. Anybody else have one of these?

A Piece of Tobacciana History – a Bakelite Bowl on a Bakelite Base

This is a new one to me. I have never seen this combination of parts. I have refurbished quite a few of the screw on bowls on Bakelite bases with either metal or vulcanite stems. I even recently completed a Bakelite base with a Bakelite stem on it. But never have I seen a Bakelite bowl. This one is solid Bakelite with no lining whatsoever. The bowl is like a cup. This one was another Chuck Richards gift. I think he takes delight in these surprises. And a surprise it truly is. There is not a single identifying stamp on the pipe so it is a mystery as to its manufacture. It is very unique. The brass ring between the bowl and base was loose and slide around as the pipe was moved. The bowl was lightly coated with tar. The rim had some dings in it and the base/stem unit was not even at the button. Each side of the angle coming down to the button was off and there were tooth marks in the stem. The inside cup of the base was dirty and the inside of the shank and stem unit was also dirty with tars. The end of the button and orific “o” opening was very clean and unstained which is a bonus. Once I get it cleaned up I intend to load a bowl and see what it is like to smoke. The first series of four photos show the pipe as it was when it arrived to my worktable.



I took it to the work table this morning and took it apart. I cleaned all the parts of the pipe with Everclear and a soft pipe cleaner. I scrubbed out the cup in the Bakelite base with Everclear on a cotton pad. There was darkening to the Bakelite that I could not remove but the slight build up disappeared. I cleaned up the brass ring and then reglued it to the base. I used a white glue to anchor this to the base. The next series of three photos shows that process.


I sanded out the interior of the bowl with 320 grit sandpaper, wiped it down with Everclear on a cotton pad and then sanded it again with a fine grit sanding sponge. I sanded down the rim of the bowl with the sanding sponge to remove the slight nicks in the edge of the bowl and clean up the rough edges. I followed up with a 1500 grit micromesh sanding pad. The picture below shows the cleaned bowl.
I reshaped the stem and button area with needle files to repair the angles and remove the tooth marks. I sanded the newly shaped area with 240 and 320 grit sandpaper to remove the file scratches. I followed up with micromesh sanding pads 1500-12,000 grit to progressively polish and shine the stem and base. I sanded the entire base with the micromesh sanding pads. There were many small surface scratches in the surface that the micromesh took care of. The next series of eight photos show the reshaping of the button area from the use of the files through the sanding with 1500 grit micromesh sanding pads.







The bowl did not seat well on the base. It seemed to sit at a bit of an angle and did not fit into the bottom of the cup. I sanded down the bottom of the bowl insert to remove a small portion of the material to reduce the depth of the threaded portion of the bowl. I also sanded the thread carefully to remove the nicks and chips to the surface. I used micromesh to sand the threads as I wanted to merely clean them up not damage or reduce them. Once this was completed the bowl threaded on more easily and also was seated well on the base. The next series of three photos show the reseating of the bowl.


At this point in the process I sanded the entire pipe with micromesh sanding pads. I used all the grits from 1500-12,000 to polish the Bakelite and give it back its luster. This took quite a bit of time as I was trying to remove all of the minute scratches in the base and on roughness on the outer edges of the bowl. The seven photos below show the progress shine developing through the sanding with the micromesh sanding pads.






When I had finished with the sanding and the bowl and base had a shine to them I hand buffed it with carnauba wax, applying several coats and buffing it with a soft cotton cloth. My only frustration with the finished pipe is that the area around the button that I changed and sanded is a bit lighter than the yellow/amberlike colour of the rest of the base. It shined up nicely but is lighter. Ah well, it is better than it was and it is certainly more comfortable than when I began. The final series of four photos show the finished pipe. Now it is time to load it and fire it up. The experience is about to begin.




An Interesting Challenge – Restoring a Horn Stemmed Austrian Silver Capped Briar Sitter

Blog by Steve Laug

This is the second pipe that was given to me by Chuck Richards. It was a real challenge and it was actually an enjoyable restoration project. This particular pipe is stamped Algerian Briar over Austria on the left side of the shank and on the right side of the bowl below the cap it is stamped EL in an oval. It is actually a nice piece of briar. It is capped by a silver rim cap that goes down the bowl a 1/2 inch. It is rounded over the edges of the rim and flattens in towards the inner rim leaving a briar edge of 1/8 inch. It is topped by a silver wind cap that is hinged a little off centre toward the right side from the back of the bowl. The front of the cap has a folded ornate flap stamped with curls and swirls on the surface. This flap acts as a catch for the lid on the outer lip of the bowl. The cap has a small ball-shaped handle on the top that is for decoration. The cap also has two half circle opening for air. The bowl was heavily caked with a crumbly and soft cake. The stem was horn and was nicely carved. It had also been repaired at least once in its life. At the junction of the smaller part of the stem to the saddle there had been a repair done. It looked at first as if it was copper wire that was used to band the horn which seemed to have splintered and been repaired. Upon closer examination I am almost certain it is a small copper band that was set into the horn stem to secure the break. It is solid. The upper portion of the stem had also splintered and not been repaired. The round end of the button had been worn down on the top and bottom edges to where it was almost squared off. The splinter on the bottom of the stem was loose. The horn was also covered with a shiny lacquer like substance that hid the beauty of the horn. I wonder if it was part of the original repair. The next series of three photos show the pipe as it appeared when I took it out of the shipping box and bubble wrap. I was really interested in seeing what I could do with this one – a worthy challenge that would be enjoyable to work on.


I took it to my work table and removed the stem. I examined the shank and the bowl as well as the stem. I have noted above what I saw in my examination. The interior of the shank was in good shape, there was little wear on the inside from the insertion of the horn stem. The drilling was similar to a Peterson in that it had a sump area with the airway drilled above that. It allowed for condensation of the tobacco juices to settle into that well. It was full and dark and the stain of the juices had migrated up the stem and stained the bottom edge. You can also see the repairs that had been made to the stem in the three photos below. The bowl cap was tarnished and the brass shank cap was also tarnished. The stamping is also clearly visible in the photos. At this point I sat and examined the stem to make a decision whether to seek and revive it or to replace it with a newer Peterson style fish tail stem. After some time examining it I decided to see what I could do with the existing stem and left the other stem idea in reserve should I need to do that.


The first of the next two photos shows the bottom of the bowl and give a clear idea of the nice piece of briar that I was dealing with. The second photo shows the inside of the bowl and the wind cap. The cake and build up of lava like tar on the lid is prominent.

I decided to begin with cleaning the bowl. I used a PipNet reamer set with different sized cutting blades. I used the first two heads on this bowl. The first one, the smallest opened up the cake and cut off the broken edges. I followed that up with the second cutting head and took the cake back to the briar so that I could give it a thorough cleaning. The next four photos show the reaming process. I also cleaned out the sump and the airway in the shank with folded pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and Everclear. Once that was done I also scraped out the inside of the cap with the head of the cutting blades on the PipNet set.



I took a break from the work on the cap and bowl to work on the stem. I cleaned of the surface with a damp cloth and then used superglue to fill the openings in the surface of the stem left from the previous repaired splits. I also used it to repair the splintered part on the bottom of the stem. Once the glue was dry I used 240 grit sandpaper to sand off the excess glue and also the clear coat of varnish or lacquer on the stem. I tried to put a pipe cleaner through the stem and was not successful. I blew through it and found that it was open but that the draw was tight. I would work on that later. The main purpose at the moment was to see what was underneath the clear coat. The next photos show the grain pattern on the horn stem underneath the clear coat. That gave me hope to see if I could restore that unique pattern in the horn stem and bring it back to life. The entire stem from tip to the bottom of the tenon was all horn so it would have a unique look if I was able to restore it. Several of the photos below are out of focus, I apologize for that, however they help to see the pattern and colours of the horn stem. You can also see the repairs on the side of the stem toward the button and the copper band around the lower part of the stem.




I worked on the inside of the cap and the rim with 0000 steel wool to remove the build up and tars. I worked on that until the surface of the inside shined and the rim was clean. I then polished the silver with a silver cloth to bring back some of the shine to the bling. The next three photos show that process. (You might have the impression from the photos that I bounced back and forth between the stem and the bowl in this refurbishing. While it appears that way in the photos it actually happened over the period of several days and hours. Each time I set the pipe aside to go and do something else I would come back and pick up at whatever point struck my fancy at the moment.)


The next time I came back to work on the pipe I decided to open up the stem and improve the draw. I was able to ascertain that the tenon end of the stem was much more constricted than the button end. I could easily fit a pipe cleaner in the button and down about half way but was unable to do the same from the tenon end. Even the thinnest pipe cleaner would not go through from the tenon end. I measured the length of the tenon portion of the stem and then used a small drill bit to drill the depth of the larger portion of the tenon. I did this with a cordless drill and proceeded slowly. I was careful to keep the drill bit at the same angle as the airway as I did not want to make the problem worse by slanting the airway or overdrilling the stem. The next two photos show the drilling. The third photo below shows the newly opened end of the stem. The draw was now quite open and the airway clear for a pipe cleaner to easily pass all the way through the stem.


I redefined the button area using needle files. The top edge and the bottom edge next to the button were not sharp and distinct. As the top and the bottom of the button had been flattened, it was almost parallel with the stem. I used the needle files to sharpen the edge and to round the button surface as well. The next two photos show the process and picture the results. Note also that the stem is shaping up nicely with the various sandpaper and the colours and definition of the horn are coming out beautifully.

The next series of four photos shows the progress of sanding the stem with 240, 320 grit sandpaper and a fine grit sanding sponge. The thick, shiny coat that hid the horn is pretty well gone at this point. The sanding has also smoothed out the shape of the stem and removed the overfills of the previous repair. The stem is beginning to take shape and the grain of the horn is visible. I think that the repair will work well and when I am done I will have a stem that will work quite well.



I continued to sand the stem with micromesh sanding pads from 1500-12,000 grit. I wet sanded with the 1500, 1800 and the 2400 grit pads. My goal was to remove the scratches in the horn and begin to bring out the natural shine of the material. The next series of four photos show the effects after sanding with the 1500 grit pads. The next four that follow show the finished stem after sanding with all of the micromesh pads. Once it was finished I coated it with Obsidian Oil to add some life to the horn stem. I have found that it soaks into the horn material and builds some luster over time. You can now see the variations in colour, almost striations in the horn stem. This pearlescence is what I love about the old horn stems and what made me want to try to redeem this old-timer.







I took the stem to my buffer and carefully buffed it with White Diamond. I was careful to have a light touch on the wheel as I did not want to damage the horn. The material is sensitive to pressure on the wheel so care must be exercised when buffing it. I gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax and hand buffed with a shoe brush and a soft cotton cloth. The next four photos show the rejuvenated stem ready to be put back on the pipe.



I reinserted the stem in the pipe, polished the entirety with another coat of carnauba and buffed it by hand to give it a shine. The next five photos show the finished pipe. This old-timer is ready to be loaded with a bowl of aged tobacco, fitting to the age of the pipe and given its reintroduction to its original purpose. This restoration was a pleasure to do and one that gave me a sense of accomplishment in bringing back the old horn stem. The variations in colour and the striations in the horn really give life to this old pipe. The copper repair in the stem actually adds a flair of uniqueness and mystery to the pipe – it makes me wonder who did it and where it was done. Thanks for the challenge Chuck.





An Interesting Old Piece of Dunhill Tobacciana – Dri-Pipe Tubes

Blog by Steve Laug

I have a full box of these Dunhill Dri-Pipe Tubes. I am not sure where I picked them up but I was going through some stuff in the drawer today and came across this piece of pipe history. Anyone have any ideas on the time frame for these? The box says: “This absorbent tube is designed to provide a clean dry smoke. It is ideal for wet smokers and should be changed frequently.” The box has 100 tubes in it. It is marked Alfred Dunhill Ltd. 30 Duke Street, St. James’s, London, S.W.1. I love old stuff like this and I am always keeping an eye for it. I believe these were to be inserted kind of like the more modern 9MM or 6MM filters or even the Medico or Dr. Grabow filters. I figured I would post them on the blog to see if anyone has seen them or has information on them. Just another interesting piece of tobacciana




Another Instruction Manual for Kleen Reem Pipe Reamers

As I was going through some of my collection of pamphlets and brochures in a drawer this afternoon I came across this Instruction Manual for Kleen Reem Pipe Reamers. It is the second one that I have. Both are very different in design and layout and seem to be from a different era. I enjoy looking at this kind of tobacciana so I thought I would pass it on to others who might also be interested in such things.






Another Piece of Tobacciana – A Trench Art (?) Pipe Loader

Blog by Steve Laug

When I saw this piece of tobacciana I had to add it to my collection. It is so unique that I have not seen another since I first laid eyes on this one. It is pipe loader. It is made of an outer case with a plunger inside and a scoop-like inner piece that is loaded with tobacco. I think the inventive character that made this envisioned scooping a load into the scoop portion and then inserting it into the part with the plunger. Once it is loaded it is put on top of the pipe bowl and the outer portion is pushed down over the inner scoop and the tobacco is loaded and tamped in the bowl. I have to say it is a bit of a fuss to scoop and plunge but it does work remarkably well and loads a perfect bowl of tobacco. It is made of brass and what looks like several shell casings. I am not sure if it is trench art but I have been told that it appears to be. The two pieces fit together perfectly well and slide easily against each other. It has the patina of aged brass but is otherwise very clean. It is something that sits in my pipe cabinet and is a great conversation piece with other pipemen but it is not something that anyone else is truly interested.

Any ideas from any of the readers? What do you think?


Another Piece of Tobacciana – A Hammered Metal Pipe Tobacco Humidor

I finally took some pictures of this piece of pipe history – or pipe accessories that I have in my collection. I love the look and feel of this jar. It is relatively useless in keeping tobacco humidified as it is not even close to air tight. Over the years that I have had the humidor I have tried various tobaccos in it. I have even put humidifying disks in the lid and in the tobacco itself with no success. I even tried some aromatic that seemed to never dry out on its own and in the jar it dried within a week to a nice crisp dry corn flake like consistency! So it is no good for tobacco. The look and feel of the piece is nice though. I have no idea of the age of the piece. I call it metal in the title as I do not know what metal it is made of. It does not feel like aluminum so I am guessing steel.


In the past I also used it to hold pipe tools and baggies of tobacco but I decided to jar them instead as the humidor did not keep them from drying out even that way. So it has been retired from that activity and currently resides on my desk in the office at the Foundation. It holds some of the candy that I keep on hand for myself and the folks we work with. It works well for that!