Tag Archives: topping a bowl

Restemming & Restoring a Comoy’s Christmas 1987 Shape 42 Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

This morning I went through my box of stummels (bowls) again and picked out a Bent Billiard bowl that had some promise. I went through my can of stems and found a taper stem that needed some work but was a good fit. The pipe I chose to work on is an interesting Comoy’s Bent Billiard with a mixture grain around the sides. The rim top was had some darkening and some roughness on the front outer edge of the bowl. The inner edge of the bowl looked good. The interior of the bowl was clean without chips, cracks or checking on the walls. The finish was dirty and tired but still quite redeemable. The stamping on the pipe was clear and readable. On the left side it read COMOY’s [over] Christmas [over] 1987. On the right side it had the normal circular Comoy’s COM stamp Made in London in a circle [over] England below that was the shape number 42. I took some photos of the bowl before I started to work on it. I took a photo of the stamping on the left and right sides of the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable.I went through some of stems and found a taper vulcanite stem that had been used previously. It had some calcification and oxidation on the surface and had tooth marks on both sides near the button.The tenon would need to be shortened slightly but I put it on the shank and took some photos of what it looked like at this point.I started my work on the bowl by dealing with the damage to the rim top and outer edge of the bowl. I lightly topped the rim on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I worked over the inner beveled edge of the rim with a folded piece of sandpaper to remove some of the darkening. It was definitely an improvement. I polished the rim top and the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth between each pad. The bowl began to take on a shine as I went through the various pads. I stained the top of the bowl with a Cherry stain pen to blend in better with the rest of the bowl colour. It will definitely blend well once the pipe is buffed and polished.I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 10 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The grain really came alive. It looks better than when I began. With the bowl finished it was time to focus on the stem. I took out the stem and worked on the fit in the tenon. I shortened the length with a Dremel and sanding drum and it fit very well. I used a heat gun to soften the vulcanite enough to give it the proper bend.While I was bending the stem I also heated the bite marks in the stem. I was able to lift many of the tooth mark. I filled in the remaining tooth marks on the button surface and just ahead of it on the underside with clear super glue and set the stems aside to let the repairs cure.    Once the repairs cured I smoothed them out with a small file and started blending them into the surface of the stem. I sanded the repairs with 220 grit sandpaper to further blend it into the stem surface. I started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I don’t know if this ever happens to you but I was so busy fitting and shaping the stem that I forgot to clean out the inside!! I paused now to do that. I scrubbed out the airway with 99% isopropyl alcohol and pipe cleaners. It was really dirty! Not any more.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a cloth and Obsidian Oil. I finished the polishing with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. I put the pipe back together – the bowl with its new stem. This restemmed and restored Comoy’s Christmas 1987 Shape 42 Bent Billiard is a real beauty and I think that the chosen stem works well with it. The grain on the bowl came alive with the buffing. I used Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel on both the bowl and stem. I gave both multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel then buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The Comoy’s Bent Billiard feels great in the hand. It is lightweight and the contrast in the browns of the briar, the Silver band and the polished vulcanite stem with the popping grain on the mixed brown stained bowl is quite amazing. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.41 ounces/40 grams. It really is a beauty. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store in the  British Pipe Makers section shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Thanks for walking through the restemming and the restoration with me. Cheers.  

Restoring a Lovely Barling 5959 Regency Oom Paul


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I chose to work on an interesting looking Oom Paul shaped briar pipe that Jeff picked up from an online auction on 11/08/18 in Romney, West Virginia, USA. It was an interesting Oom Paul that has some great grain around the bowl and shank. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Barling [over] 5959 [over] London England. On the right side it is stamped Regency in script [over] EXEL [over] T.V.F. So it is a Barling pipe. I will need to do a bit of work on the stamping to identify when it was made. The stem is a vulcanite saddle stem that had a rotting and cracking rubber Softee Bit on the end. The briar was very dirty and the front of the bowl had been knocked against a hard surface and was damaged and rough. There was a thick cake in the bowl and an over flow of lava covered the rim top. The stem was oxidized, calcified and the rubber Softee bit was worn. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started his clean up work on it. He took some photos of the bowl, rim top and edges to show the condition of the pipe before he started. There appeared to be some damage on the inner edge at the back of the bowl. The outer edge at the front was a real mess. He took photos of the stem with the Softee Bit in place and with it removed. It really is a mess with oxidation, calcification and tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the stem.He took photos of the stamping on the shank sides. It is clear and readable as is noted above.He took a photo of the side and heel of the bowl to show the grain that was on this particular piece of briar. It was a beauty.I checked the usual sources for information on the Barling Regency and did not come up with much. I am pretty certain it is a Post Transition Era pipe from the late 1960s to 1970s. I cannot narrow it down much further than that so I know that it is a new pipe (still over 50years old at least). Now it was time to move on to the pipe itself.

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe in his usual manner. He had reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed that up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife afterward. He took the cake back to bare briar and the bowl looked very good. He scrubbed the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs to remove the oils and tars. He scrubbed the externals with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime from the briar. He scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub and then soaked it in a bath of Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer. He rinsed it off with warm water and dried it with a coarse cloth to remove the remaining oxidation. The tooth marks are visible in the photos of the stem surfaces below. The pipe looked very good once it arrived here in Vancouver. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work. I took a photo of the rim top and bowl to show the condition of the briar. You can see the damage on the outer edge of the bowl on the front side. The top surface is scratched and marred. The inner edge of the bowl shows some burn damage on the back of the bowl. The stem looked good but the tooth marks are very visible.The next photos show the stamping on both sides of the shank. It is clear and readable though faint. The grain is also quite stunning.I took a photo of the pipe with the stem removed to give a sense of the proportion of the bowl and the stem.I decided to start by dealing with damage to the inner and outer edge of the bowl and clean up the rim top. I began with the inner edge and used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the damage there and begin a slight bevel on the edge. I topped the bowl to clean up the top and to deal with the damage on the front outer edge. I took photos of the refreshed rim top and edges. It looked much better. I polished the rim top and the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth between each pad. The bowl began to take on a shine as I went through the various pads. I stained the top of the bowl with a Maple stain pen to blend in better with the rest of the bowl colour. It will definitely blend well once the pipe is buffed and polished.I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 10 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. If you look you can see the many small fills in the briar but they actually blend in surprisingly well. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the surface of the stem on both sides with the flame of a lighter. I was able to lift many of the tooth mark. I filled in the remaining tooth marks on the button surface and just ahead of it on the underside with clear super glue and set the stems aside to let the repairs cure.    Once they cured I smoothed out the repairs with a small file and started blending them into the surface of the stem (I forgot to take photos of that part of the process). I sanded the repairs with 220 grit sandpaper to further blend it into the stem surface. I started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. This Barling Regency 5959 Oom Paul with a vulcanite saddle stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The rich browns and blacks of the contrasting stains came alive with the polishing and waxing. I put the 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 and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Barling Regency Oom Paul is a beauty and fits nicely in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 4 inches, Height: 2 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 64 grams/2.26 ounces. I will be putting this Barling on the British Pipe Makers section of the rebornpipes store shortly if you want to add it to your collection. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Restoring a Comoy’s Grand Slam Pipe 233 Straight Bulldog


Blog by Steve Laug

I decided to dig deep in the boxes of pipes I have here to work on. I chose a Comoy’s Grand Slam Pipe Straight Bulldog. It is a beautifully grained Comoy’s Bulldog that was purchased from a Portland Oregon estate sale on 08/16/17. It really is a pipe of Pipe Smoking History. The stamping is the significant marker that points this out for me. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads COMOY’S [over] Grand Slam [over] Pipe. On the right side it has the shape number 233 next to the bowl/shank junction and that is followed by a Comoy’s COM stamp that reads Made in London in a circle [over] England. On the underside there was a *7 stamped at the stem/shank junction. There was a lot of grime ground into the smooth finish on the bowl and some darkening around the rim cap and top. The bowl was heavily caked with an overflow of thick lava on the top of the rim and on the inner bevel of the bowl. It was hard to know what the rim top and inner edge of the bowl looked like under the grime. The stem was oxidized, calcified and there were tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. There was a three part inlaid C on the left of the taper stem. The pipe had promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the overflow of lava on the rim top and down the side. It is hard to know if there is damage to the inner edge of the bowl because of the lava coat. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the condition of the stem. He took photos of the stamping on both sides and underside of the shank. They read as noted above. You can also see the 3 part C logo on the left side of the taper stem.   I looked on Pipephil’s site for information on the Comoy’s Grand Slam Pipe and found the following information I have included a screen capture (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-comoy.html). It has the three part C which dated it to 1946 and following. The stamping on the second pipe in the capture is the same as the one I am working on. The *7 is the size of the washer on the end of the stinger. (The pipe in hand is missing the stinger apparatus.)I turned to the article on Pipedia about dating Comoy’s pipes but the style of the stamping (https://pipedia.org/index.php?title=Comoy%27s_Dating_Guide#1917_to_the_end_of_the_1930.27s_.28at_least_1938.29). I have include the section in the screen capture below that date this pipe to the 1950s.

Now the Comoy’s stamp can be found in three variants in the 1950s

  1. A simple block-letter style without serifs but with the C larger than the other letters and the apostrophe before the “S”.
  2. A return to the slightly more fancy block letters with serifs and the apostrophe. (It seems that some grades carried different stamps, or at least that the stamping changed in different years for some grades.)
  3. A simple block-letter style without serifs and without the apostrophe and with the “C” the same size as the rest of the letters. This stamp was probably not used very long.
  4. A simple block-letter style without serifs but with the apostrophe before the “S” and with the “C” the same size as the rest of the letters.

Made in London England

Appears in two versions. This is again stamped in a circle with “MADE” at the top, “IN” in the middle, and “LONDON” at the bottom, with “ENGLAND” in a straight line beneath. It can be assumed that this stamp was first used in the export drive in the early 1950s. On a Bulldog Sandblast from the early 50s the Comoy name no. 2 above was used together with “MADE IN LONDON” over “ENGLAND”. There are no known examples of pre-WW II Comoy’s stamped in this way. The second version is the same as above but in a “rugby ball ” shape. This shape is verified on Comoy´s “Extraordinaire” pipes.

Inlaid “C”

C” was first inlaid in the side of the mouthpiece around 1919. This was a complex inlay needing three drillings. First, a round white inlay was inserted, then the centre of the white was drilled out, and a smaller round black inlay was inserted. Finally, another drilling was made to remove the open part of the “C,” and an even smaller black inlay was inserted. This inlaid “C,” known as the “three-piece C,” was continued until the Cadogan era in the 1980s. However, the “C” in the 1920s and early 30s is much thinner and more delicate than the one post-WW II.

That article gave me some helpful information regarding the pipe that I was working on. I knew that the stamping and logos identified the pipe as having been made in following WW2 and from what I can see from the above information it is a 1950s era pipe.

Jeff had done his usual thorough clean up of the bowl and stem. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer to remove the remaining cake back to briar. He followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the remnants of cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water and dried it off with a soft cloth. The pipe was remarkably clean considering where it began! The rim top looked much better. There was still some darkening on the top and inner bevel as well as some down the cap on the bowl. It was definitely an improvement but more would need to be done. The stem looked better as well but the tooth marks are very visible in the photos below. I took photos of the stamping on the shank sides. They read as noted above.  I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the proportions of the pipe. It is a beauty.Now it was time to start working on the pipe. I decided to work on the rim top and edges to try to remove the darkening that was present. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the top and edges and try to lighten them. I am pretty pleased with the way it turned out.  I polished the bowl and the rim top, sides and shank with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with a damp cloth. I carefully avoided the stamping on the shank so as not to damage it.    I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 10 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.    I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the surface of the stem on both sides with the flame of a lighter. I was able to lift many of the tooth marks. I filled in the remaining tooth marks on the button surface and just ahead of it on the underside with clear super glue and set the stems aside to let the repairs cure.    I smoothed out the repairs with a needle file and started blending them into the surface of the stem. I sanded the remaining repairs with 220 grit sandpaper to further blend it into the stem surface. I started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.   I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. This 50s era Comoy’s Grand Slam Pipe 233 Straight Bulldog with a vulcanite taper stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. I did a lot of work on the bowl and the stem. The rich browns and blacks of the contrasting stains came alive with the polishing and waxing. I put the 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 and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Comoy’s Grand Slam Bulldog is a beauty and fits nicely in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 38 grams/1.34 ounces. I will be putting this older Comoy’s Bulldog on the rebornpipes store shortly if you want to add it to your collection. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

The Mystery of Blue Hill


Blog by Kenneth Lieblich

The title sounds like a Hardy Boys story, does it not? Well, it is not that exciting. Next on the chopping block is a peculiar pipe: it is both superbly made and unattractively painted. In addition, its true origin is unknown. I actually acquired the pipe from Steve. I bought a grab bag of pipes from him a long time ago and this was among them. Fortunately for me, Steve’s legendary pipe-cleaning brother, Jeff, had already done his work on this. Although I do not care for the paint scheme, this is a beautiful pipe: excellent proportions, handsome manufacture, and undoubtedly a good smoker.There is one other peculiarity about this pipe: no information about its history and origins! The has a clear marking of “Blue Hill” on the shank of the stummel and the word “France” on the stem. Yes, we can obviously assume that the pipe was made in France, but there is nothing to be found on the name “Blue Hill”. My uneducated guess is that it was made for an English or American company – perhaps even a tobacco shop. As an aside, there is a different pipe maker who uses the name “Blue Hill Crafts”, but he has no connection to this pipe. All the usual sources (Pipedia, Pipephil, et cetera) have no listing for “Blue Hill”. Even rebornpipes had nothing. Alas, we do not know who made this pipe, but whoever it was – they did a good job. If you have any information about Blue Hill, please do let me know.Thanks to Jeff’s stellar clean-up work, there were not too many issues that needed to be addressed. The stem had a few nicks and dents, but nothing catastrophic. Similarly, the stummel had a bump or two, here and there, but the only major problem was the two-tone colour pattern. I think two-tones can and do work well on some pipes, but I felt that this pipe needed a deep, rich brown to make it look its best. The photos of the original colour do not show the reddish tinge very well. Trust me, the pipe looked much more red than it does here. The stem was first on my list. I took a BIC lighter and ‘painted’ the stem with its flame in order to lift the tooth marks. This was reasonably successful in raising the dents. I did not need to clean the insides of the stem (thanks again, Jeff), so the stem went straight for an overnight soak in the Before & After Hard Rubber Deoxidizer. The following day, I cleaned all of the de-oxidizing sludge off with alcohol, pipe cleaners, et cetera. The oxidation had migrated to the surface and would be fairly straightforward to remove. I scrubbed vigorously with SoftScrub to remove the leftover oxidation. Before I moved on to the Micromesh pads, I built up the small dents on the stem with cyanoacrylate adhesive and let them fully cure. I then sanded it down with 220-, 400-, and 600-grit sandpapers to meld the repair seamlessly into the stem. This ensures that it keeps its shape and looks like it should. I then used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to bring out the lovely black lustre on the stem. I also used Obsidian Pipe Stem Oil in between each pad scrubbing. On to the stummel, and I figured that it would be fairly straightforward to remove the old, ugly stain. Boy, was I mistaken! My first plan was to dunk the stummel in an alcohol bath overnight. This will often loosen, thin, or remove stains from pipes. Twenty-four hours later, nothing happened! The stain looked just as it did when it went into the bath. That was not in the plans. So, time to escalate the situation: I used acetone and rubbed it vigorously into the stain. After many minutes of scrubbing, nothing happened (again)! I then realized that I was going to have to use the nuclear option: soaking overnight in acetone. The next day dawned and there was, at long last, some evidence of progress on the stain. Not a lot had been shed, but enough to show me that I was on the right track. I then went to the sink with the stummel, some acetone, a wire brush, and some gloves. I set about scrubbing the dickens out of that pipe and finally succeeded in getting that silly stain off. Most of the black remained in the lower recesses of the rustication, but I actually liked that – it added some character. Having completed that, I was able to address a couple of small nicks on the side of the stummel, just below the rim. I dug out my iron and a damp cloth to try and raise the nicks. The hot and moist steam created can often cause the wood to swell slightly and return to shape. There was some movement – not a lot, but it was better than doing nothing. I filled the remaining divots with cyanoacrylate adhesive.

Now, with the nicks filled, it was time to sand down the stummel. Just like the stem, I used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to sand everything smooth – although, as the photos show, I masked the rusticated parts so as not to disturb them. A light application of Before & After Restoration Balm brought out the best in the stummel’s grain. Whoops! I then noticed that the opening of tobacco chamber was not in perfect shape. It required some “rounding”. I took a solid wooden sphere, wrapped sandpaper around it, and gently sanded the opening of the tobacco chamber. This both corrected the problem and added a beautiful beveled edge to the pipe. I went back over it with the Micromesh pads and made everything lovely again. Naturally, one of the main purposes of this pipe restoration was to correct the colour problem. In order to create some external beauty to this pipe, I opted for aniline dye. I applied some of Fiebing’s Medium Brown Leather Dye and then applied flame in order to set the colour. In fact, I added a second helping of the dye, just to make sure the colour was nice and rich. Worked like a charm! This lovely, warm brown is just what I was hoping for. Then it was off for a trip to the buffer. A dose of White Diamond and a few coats of Halcyon II wax were just what this pipe needed. The lovely shine made the wood look quite spiffy. This is a wonderfully crafted pipe and somehow has a very masculine feel to it. Although I never did find out who made it, clearly the pipe was superbly completed. The draught hole has been bored perfectly; the heel of the bowl is exacting; the wood is thick and solid (but not heavy). In short, this is a pipe worth owning, so I am pleased to announce that this pipe is for sale! If you are interested in acquiring it for your collection, please have a look in the ‘French’ pipe section of the store here on Steve’s website. You can also email me directly at kenneth@knightsofthepipe.com. The approximate dimensions of the pipe are as follows: length 142 mm/5 1/2 inches; height 52 mm/2 inches; bowl diameter 35 mm/ 1 1/3 inches; chamber diameter 21 mm/3/4 of an inch. The mass/weight of the pipe is 53 grams/1.86 ounces. I hope you enjoyed reading the story of this pipe’s restoration as much I as I did restoring it. If you are interested in more of my work, please follow me here on Steve’s website or send me an email. Thank you very much for reading and, as always, I welcome and encourage your comments.

Restoring a Blatter Montreal Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table is another mystery one. What that typically means is that it has been around here for a long time. Neither Jeff nor I have any recollections of where it came from. I know that he cleaned it before it came north but when that was I have no idea. My guess is that is from one of our hunts in 2014-15. It is a nice looking Blatter Montreal Billiard. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Blatter [over] Montreal. There is no other stamping on the pipe. I suspect that the stem is a replacement as it does not have the characteristic Blatter dot on the top side. The fit is well done however and it is a beauty. The finish is in good condition and will come alive with buffing. There are some small nicks on the rim top but the inner and outer edges look very good. The stem has some light oxidation on the top near the shank. There is light chatter on both sides just ahead of the button. I took some photos of the pipe before I began my work on it. I took photos of the rim top and the stem to give an idea of the condition of the pipe. You can see in the photo of the rim top that there are some nicks and scratches on the surface. The stem looks good other than the light oxidation on the top at the shank and the light tooth chatter on both sides.I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank to capture the condition. It is clear and readable and actually better than it appears in the photo below.I removed the stem from the shank to show the look of the parts. I am pretty certain the stem is a replacement but it is well done.I have worked on a lot of Blatter pipes over the years but always find that a quick read of the information on Pipephil (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-b5.html) is helpful. It has been awhile since I looked at the information and I do not recall seeing the time line before. It is very helpful information. I have done a screen capture of the information and the time line and included them below. The stamping on the pipes changed in the early 1980s from a Germanic script to more current flowing script. The pipe I am working on has the post 1980s script so it was made at least after that change.

I turned to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Blatter_%26_Blatter) to read a bit more about the brand. They have a great article (in French) that is worth a read. As usual Doug Valitchka has some great photos in the side bars and also a collage of the shop exterior and interior. It never ceases to amaze me the collection of photos (if not) pipes that Doug has at his disposal. Thanks Doug for your contributions.

Photos Courtesy Doug Valitchka

I also have included the link to Blatter of Montreal’s own website for your reference (http://www.blatterpipes.com/English.html). Well worth a visit. Now it was time to work on the pipe itself.

I lightly topped the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper on a topping board to remove the damage on the rim top. It took very little work and the top was clean again. I would need to polish out the scratches but the rim top damage was gone.I polished the rim top and the rest of the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. As the pipe was polished the rim top began to match the rest of the bowl. By the final sanding pad it blended perfectly. I rubbed some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips. The product is remarkable and continues to amaze me with its ability to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I worked it into the surface and let it sit for 10 minutes then buffed it off with a soft cloth. The bowl and rim look amazing! The grain really comes alive. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the surface of the vulcanite with the flame of a Bic lighter. I was able to lift the tooth marks almost completely. A little sanding would take care of the rest. I sanded out the remaining marks and the oxidation on the top end of the stem near the shank with 220 grit sandpaper and started the polishing of the stem with 400 grit sandpaper. I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside. I put the parts back together and buffed this beautiful Blatter Montreal Billiard with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. The grain came alive with the buffing. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine further. I had buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. I am happy with the look of the Blatter Billiard. The only thing that would make it even better is an original stem for it. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.62 ounces/46 grams. The pipe is a real beauty. I am probably going to send it to Robert Blatter in Montreal to be restemmed with an original Blatter stem. If I have the stem made for it I will likely hold onto the pipe. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me. As usual there are more to come.

Restemming & Restoring a Weber Custom Made Bullmoose


Blog by Steve Laug

I think I must be on a bit of a roll with restemming some of the bowls I have collected over the years. I decided to do yet another one that has been here for a very long time. The pipe I chose to work on next is a lovely Bullmoose rusticated stummel with a smooth rim top and twin rings around the cap of the bowl. The bowl looked very good. The rustication while not deep was quite nice and an interesting texture. The rim top was a bit rough with nicks and dings in the rim top and wear on the front edge of the cap. There were also burn marks and darkening on the outer edge of the cap. The interior of the bowl was clean and there were not any chips, cracks or checking on the walls. The finish was dull and bit and tired but still quite redeemable. The stamping on the pipe was clear and readable in smooth panels on the shank. On the left side it read Weber in a circle [over] Custom Made. On the right it read Imported Briar. I took some photos of the bowl before I started to work on it. I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable. (I forgot to take a photo of the Imported Briar stamp on the right side). You can also see some of the chips in the twin rings around the bowl – particularly on the cap edge. I went through some of stems and found this saddle style stem that was close to the right diameter but would need to have a tenon replacement. It has a few tooth marks and chatter near the button but it would clean up well. I took a photo of the bowl and stem together to show what the look would be once I fit the stem.I worked on quite a few Weber pipes in the past but decided to have a look on Pipephil anyway (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-w2.html). I have included a screen capture of the information that was present there.I turned to Pipedia found that it gave significant amount of history and some advertising on the brand as well (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Weber_Pipe_Co.). I quote from the article below:

Carl B. Weber was a German from Bavaria. Aged 21 he emigrated to the USA in 1911. In 1938 he established Weber Briars Inc. in Jersey City, New Jersey. Later renamed in Weber Pipe Co.

The firm grew to be one of the giants of American pipe industry focusing itself in the middle price and quality zone. Trademark: “Weber” in an oval. Beside that Weber – especially in the years after 1950 – was a most important supplier for private label pipes that went to an immense number of pipe shops. Alone in New York, exactly the same pipes were found at Wilke’s, Barclay Rex, Trinity East, Joe Strano’s Northampton Tobacconist in Ridgewood, Queens, Don-Lou in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn… Nearly all pipes for Wilke were unstained and many models, for example the “Wilke Danish Bent”, could hardly deny originating of Weber.

Among other well reputated pipe makers Anthony Passante[1] worked for Weber.

Weber Pipe Co. owned and manufactured Jobey pipes – when mainly sold in the USA by the Tinder Box from 1970’s – 80’s. In addition Jobey / Weber bought Danish freehands from Karl Erik (Ottendahl). These pipes were offered as Jobey Dansk. Ottendahl discontinued exports to the United States in 1987 and in the very same year – obviously only as a ghost brand – Jobey was transferred to Saint-Claude, France to be manufactured by Butz-Choquin.

Carl B. Weber is the author of the famous book “Weber’s Guide to Pipes and Pipe Smoking”.

Armed with the confirmation about the maker of the pipe it was time to work on the pipe itself. I started my work on it by replacing the tenon on the stem. I flattened the short stubby tenon with a Dremel and sanding drum to make the surface flat. I found the proper replacement tenon in my box of tenons. I used a cordless drill and a series of bit to drill out the airway to receive the new tenon replacement. I lined up the stem and tenon with the shank and then glued the tenon in the stem with clear CA glue. I set the stem aside to let the glue cure.I decided to put a decorative band on the shank of the pipe. It was not necessary but I liked the look of it. I used a dental spatula to spread the glue on the shank end. I pressed the brass band in place on the shank, wiped off the excess glue with a damp cloth and set it aside to dry.Once the glue on the band and the tenon cured I put the stem in place on the shank and took photos of the new look of the Weber. I have always liked Weber Golden Banded pipes so this brass band approximates that look. Still a lot of work to do on the fit of the stem and the clean up of the rim and top of the bowl.I removed the stem and turned my attention to the bowl of the pipe. I started the clean up of the rim by topping it on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I rebuilt the outer edge with a little bit of CA glue and briar dust and then topped it again to smooth it out. I cleaned up the inner edge of the bowl and the cap of the rim with folded 220 grit sandpaper. It took some work but it looked much better when finished.I wiped off the rim cap and smoothed it with some 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I wiped it down with a damp cloth. I stained it with an Oak stain pen to match the rest of the bowl and shank.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down after each pad with a damp cloth. The briar began to take on a rich shine. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my finger tips and a shoe brush to get into the valleys and crevices of the blast finish. The product is amazing and works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let it sit on the briar for 10 or more minutes and then buff it off with a soft cloth. It really makes the briar come alive and look quite rich. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth chatter and the deep scratches on the saddle portion of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a cloth and Obsidian Oil. I finished the polishing with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. I put the pipe together – the bowl with its new stem. This restored and restemmed Weber Custom Made Bullmoose (or Scoop) turned out to be a real beauty. I think the brass band and the chosen stem works well with it. The finish on the bowl came alive with the buffing. I used Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel on both the bowl and stem. I gave both multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel then buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The Weber Custom Made feels great in the hand. It is lightweight and the contrast in the browns of the briar, the gold of the band and the polished vulcanite stem with the popping grain on the mixed brown stained bowl is quite amazing. The dimensions of the pipe are Length:5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.62 ounces/46 grams. It really is a beauty. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store in the American (US) Pipe Makers section shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Thanks for walking through the restemming and the restoration with me. Cheers.

Kenneth’s Pipe Incident Report #1


Blog by Kenneth Lieblich

Today, I thought I would try something a bit different. This is the first installment of what I am arbitrarily calling, Pipe Incident Report. My idea is to provide a brief write-up – focusing on a particular pipe-related problem and/or solution, rather than an entire restoration story. These reports will be intermittent and, hopefully, instructive. Please let me know what you think.

The pipe in question today is a leather-wrapped, meerschaum lined, pot billiard by Croydon. The pipe was made in Belgium, but, other than that, there is not a whole lot of information to be had about this company. Steve has restored a few over the years (and I checked his previous posts), but he had not gleaned any significant information either. The “incident” we will address in this report is some unexpected damage to the inside of the meerschaum bowl. We will get to that shortly – first some background. A friend of mine wanted this pipe – somehow, it spoke to him – so I was happy to bring it back to life for him. The pipe was in decent enough shape: the stem was well-used but not damaged, the leather was sound, the rim was a bit of a mess, and the bowl looked as though it had been reamed with a boat hook. Although it is difficult to make out in the photos, the bottom of the bowl was quite badly gouged and I wondered whether I should fill in the gouge or leave it as is. Steve had told me in the past about making a paste of egg white and chalk dust. Something for me to consider… Anyway, I began with the stem and inner tube, which I resolved fairly quickly. The leather enveloping the bowl was quite clean and in good shape, so that was also a quick fix. I then moved on to the rim of the pipe. As the photos show, it was filthy and slightly damaged.  I “topped” the pipe – that is to say, I gently and evenly sanded down the rim on a piece of 220-grit sandpaper. This was done with even greater care than usual, as I did not want to scuff the leather. I finished up the top with all nine of the MicroMesh pads to make a lovely surface and then used one of my furniture pens to liven up the colour of the rim. That done, I moved on to the inside of the bowl. Meerschaum does not do well with traditional reaming processes – it needed to be sanded. This was required – not just to clean things up – but also as there was a distinct aromatic ghost left behind. Well, I went sanding away happily, when – lo! and behold – a flaw or cavity appeared in the wall of the meerschaum bowl. Yikes!This is obviously a serious concern for this pipe. One is tempted to wonder: was there a manufacturing flaw? Not sure. Did I sand too hard and cause the breakage? Definitely not. Could there be other flaws? Not as far as I could tell, but it was difficult to be sure. This repair was going to need something more than egg white and chalk dust. After consulting with Steve, his recommendation was to repair both the gouge in the heel and the wall cavity with plaster of Paris. I agreed since plaster of Paris has the virtues of binding well to the meerschaum, resisting heat nicely, and (best of all) drying rock hard. I rushed out to buy some and started making my mix. In order to ensure that it works correctly in this context, the plaster of Paris must be much thicker than usual. Normally, the consistency would be something like thick pancake batter, whereas the mix I made was closer to cream cheese.As you can well imagine, actually applying the plaster of Paris properly to the inside of the bowl was a bit of a challenge. I used a dental spatula, which made the job much easier. First, I placed the plaster carefully in the gouge at the heel of the bowl. Next, I delicately filled in the cavity on the wall by inserting as much plaster as possible behind the intact areas of meerschaum. This would provide added strength and support to the repair. Finally, I filled in the hole itself and let all of the plaster harden overnight. On the morrow, the repair looked sound. The next step was to sand the plaster of Paris down to make it smooth and even with the surrounding meerschaum-lines bowl. I used 200- and 400-grit sandpaper to make this happen. I was very pleased with the way it looked in the end. As the photographs show, the plaster and meerschaum merged very well. I should add that the craze lines that you can see were also addressed, but I neglected to take a photo of that. In the end, the pipe was successfully restored and, what looked at first to be a fatal flaw in the meerschaum, turned out to be an educational and enjoyable repair. I was originally tempted to call this blog post “I got plastered in Paris”, but that seemed too cheeky in the end. It is a nice pipe and its new owner is very pleased with the results. I hope you enjoyed reading this first installment of Pipe Incident Report – I look forward to writing more. If you are interested in my work, please follow me here on Steve’s website or email me directly at kenneth@knightsofthepipe.com. Thank you very much for reading and, as always, I welcome and encourage your comments.

The Prince of Pipes


Blog by Kenneth Lieblich

One of my dearest friends contacted me recently to inquire if I could repair and restore a pipe that belongs to his father. His father told me that the pipe had been given to him by his wife (my friend’s mother) as a graduation gift in 1967. I was only too happy to oblige – not just to help my friend, but to raise this beautiful pipe back to life. The pipe is from The House of Bewlay and is a Prince shape. Just as an aside, the shape was named after Prince Albert, the Prince of Wales, who later became King Edward VII (1841–1910). What a gorgeous pipe! I must admit that the prince is one of my favourite pipe shapes (and possibly my outright favourite). This one is the epitome of elegance in pipe smoking. The pipe’s markings read Bewlay [over] Deluxe [over] London Made. The other side of the pipe read Made in [over] England and the shape number, 258. This corresponds nicely with a Bewlay catalogue from the late 60s, as you can see in the photo below. One additional piece of information that was useful was the date of the gift: 1967. This certainly gives us a good idea of the time period from which this pipe dates. Let us read a bit more about Bewlay from the Pipedia article:

The English brand of Bewlay & Co. Ltd. (formerly Salmon & Gluckstein Ltd.), was in business from the early 20th century until the 1950s. The brand ended up being sold and taken over by Imperial Tobacco Co. The shop chain closed in the 1980s but there seems to be one shop still in business on Carr Lane in the city of Hull. Bewlay pipes were made by prestigious firms. Notably Barling, Charatan, Loewe & Co., Sasieni, Huybrecht, and Orlik. So understandably, the English considered a Bewlay pipe a quality pipe.Anyway, on to the pipe – and what a beauty it was. However, it was not without its issues. The stummel had the following problems: lava on the rim, a notable burn to the rim, plenty of cake in the bowl, strange stain patterns, and – most serious of all – a nasty crack to the shank. Meanwhile, the stem had its own set of problems: the ‘B’ logo was nearly obliterated, some oxidation and calcification, and minor tooth marks and dents. This pipe was not going to be too tough, but I needed to be especially careful to ensure the crack would be repaired perfectly – so it could be used for many years to come. The stem was first on my list. I took a BIC lighter and ‘painted’ the stem with its flame in order to lift the tooth marks. This was reasonably successful in raising the dents. Then, I cleaned out the insides of the stem with pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. It was dirty, but not too bad and I went through a decent number of pipe cleaners in order to clean it up. I also soaked the stinger in lemon-infused isopropyl alcohol. This loosened everything up and I was able to clean it up very nicely. Once this process was done, the stem went for an overnight soak in the Before & After Hard Rubber Deoxidizer. The following day, I cleaned all of the de-oxidizing sludge off with alcohol, pipe cleaners, et cetera. The oxidation had migrated to the surface and would be fairly straightforward to remove. I scrubbed vigorously with SoftScrub to remove the leftover oxidation. Before I moved on to the Micromesh pads, I built up the small dents on the stem with cyanoacrylate adhesive and let them fully cure. I then sanded it down with 220-, 400-, and 600-grit sandpapers to meld the repair seamlessly into the stem. This ensures that it keeps its shape and looks like it should. I then used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to bring out the lovely black lustre on the stem. I also used Obsidian Pipe Stem Oil in between each pad scrubbing.I then took the opportunity to repair the “B” logo on the stem. It had faded – both by loss of paint over time and also by fingers inadvertently smoothing out the “B” over time. So, I added some acrylic paint with a paint brush, let it dry, and buffed it to make it look good. The “B” is back, but, as later photos reveal, a little bit has disappeared into history.

On to the stummel, and the usual cleaning procedures were in order for this pipe. I used both the PipNet Reamer and the KleenReem to remove the built-up cake and followed that with 220-grit sandpaper to remove as much as I could. I wanted to take the bowl down to bare briar to ensure there were no hidden flaws in the walls of the bowl. Fortunately, there were none. I then proceeded to clean out the insides of the shank with Q-tips, pipe cleaners, and isopropyl alcohol. There was some nastiness inside this stummel, but fortunately not too much – it only took a handful of pipe cleaners etc. to sort that out. I followed that up by cleaning the insides with some dish soap and tube brushes. I then moved on to cleaning the outside of the stummel with Murphy’s Oil Soap and some cotton pads. That removed any latent dirt. By the way, I deliberately did not de-ghost this pipe – I wanted to leave as much of the original tobacco essence as I could for the owner.As I mentioned earlier, there was some lava and a substantial burn on the rim of the stummel that also needed to be addressed. In order to minimize the impact of both, I “topped” the pipe – that is to say, I gently and evenly sanded down the rim on a piece of 220-grit sandpaper. This effectively removed the lava and most the damage, without altering the look of the pipe. However, I had to stop short of removing it all, otherwise the look of the pipe would have been altered. For the remaining bits of burn, I took some oxalic acid on a Q-tip and rubbed and rubbed and rubbed! The burn site did improve but never fully disappeared. It would be a permanent feature of the pipe going forward. I took solace from the fact that the burn did not affect the integrity of the wood. I then took a solid wooden sphere, wrapped sandpaper around it, and gently sanded the opening of the tobacco chamber. This was to achieve on the inner part of the rim the same thing that I achieved by “topping” on sandpaper. On to the major issue with this pipe: the crack in the shank. Naturally, Steve had the answers to all of this pipe’s problems. He explained that my first step was to ensure that the crack would not continue to creep after I had repaired it. To that end, I took a micro-drill bit, inserted it in my Dremel, and very carefully drilled a hole right through the wall of the shank. This was quite nerve-wracking, but it worked perfectly. I then needed to apply cyanoacrylate adhesive to the crack in order to seal and repair it. First, however, I used a Q-tip and a folded pipe cleaner to coat the inside of the shank with petroleum jelly. This would prevent the adhesive from dripping inside the shank and creating further problems. That done, I carefully applied a bead of adhesive to the tiny hole and the length of the crack. Finally, I clamped it shut and let it sit overnight to cure. This was a great success – obviously, the crack would always be visible, but I was really pleased with how the repair looked.Before moving on to sanding, there were a couple of small nicks on the underside of the stummel that I needed to sort out. I dug out my iron and a damp cloth to try and raise the nicks. The hot and moist steam created can often cause the wood to swell slightly and return to shape. There was some movement – not a lot, but it was better than doing nothing. I filled the remaining divots with cyanoacrylate adhesive. Now, with the crack repaired and the nicks filled, it was time to sand down the stummel. Just like the stem, I used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to sand everything smooth. A light application of Before & After Restoration Balm brought out the best in the stummel’s grain. All of the work I had done to this point had taken its toll on the colour of the wood. Originally, there was a lovely sort of brownish-Burgundy colour on this pipe, and I wanted to restore this as best I could – and I also wanted to ensure that we got rid of that weird mottling. In order to bring back some life to this pipe, I opted for aniline dye. I dragged out some of Fiebing’s Oxblood Leather Dye, but it looked too reddish to me. Instead, I experimented with mixing to see what I could come up with. I made my own concoction of Oxblood and Medium Brown dyes, painted the stummel, and then applied flame in order to set the colour. Furthermore, since it is an alcohol-based dye, I was able to adjust the colour to my liking by applying my own isopropyl alcohol to the colour. Let it sit overnight and it worked like a charm!Then it was off for a trip to the buffer. A dose of White Diamond and a few coats of carnauba wax were just what this pipe needed. Now that the wood was looking all spiffy, I had to circle back and complete the repair on the crack in the shank. It needed a tight-fighting band to ensure that the crack would never open up again. I went to my jar of bands and picked one that looked good. I heated it up and then messed it up! See the photos. I did not apply even pressure as I was attaching the band, so it went mush. Fortunately, I had more bands and I did a much better job of getting the next one on. I glued it in place and let that set. It looked very dapper. I polished up the band with a 12,000-grit MicroMesh pad. I also went back to the buffer with both the stem and stummel, gave them a final application of White Diamond and carnauba wax, and brought out that lovely shine.In the end, what a beauty this pipe is! It is an elegant pipe, from a very fine maker. It obviously meant a great deal to its owner, and I was delighted to bring it back to life. Once the pipe was returned to its owner, he told me that it looked better than when it was new! Although I am not sure I agree with that, I am very pleased that he is very pleased. As I mentioned before, the prince is one of my favourite shapes and it was great fun to work on this one. I hope you enjoyed reading the story of this pipe as much I as I did restoring it. If you are interested in more of my work, please follow me here on Steve’s website or email me directly at kenneth@knightsofthepipe.com. Thank you very much for reading and, as always, I welcome and encourage your comments.

Restemming & Restoring a “Malaga” Lovat


Blog by Steve Laug

Sometimes the repetitive work on similar pipes and stems gets tiring to me and to alleviate the inevitable boredom I change things up a bit to refresh me. I have a box of stummels (bowls) here that I periodically go through and see if I have a potential stem that would fit them. Yesterday when I finished the old timer on my work I went through the box and picked out three bowls and found workable stems for them. All were in different states of need but all had been thoroughly cleaned before I boxed them up. The first restemmed and restored was a ZETTERVIG Copenhagen Handmade 900 Egg (https://rebornpipes.com/2021/09/04/restemming-restoring-a-zettervig-copenhagen-hand-made-900-egg/). The next one I chose to work on is a lovely Malaga Lovat stummel.  I have worked on a lot of Malaga pipes in the past so I am not a stranger to the brand. I have included the link below to a bit of history on the brand that I compiled.

The bowl looked very good. The grain around the sides was quite nice and a mix of flame and birdseye grain. The rim top had some burn damage on the rear top and inner edge and some darkening all the way around. The bowl was slightly out of round. There was a crack in the underside of the shank that extended about ½ inch up the shank. The interior of the bowl was clean and there were not any chips, cracks or checking on the walls. Examining the mortise it was clean and well drilled with no issues other than the previously noted crack. The finish was washed out and bit and tired but still quite redeemable. The stamping on the pipe was clear and readable. On the left side it read “MALAGA” and on the right side it read IMPORTED BRIAR. I took some photos of the bowl before I started to work on it. I took a photo of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable.I went through some of stems and found this saddle style stem without a tenon. It had been drilled for a tenon but it had never been finished. It was the right diameter and it fit the shank and the look of the pipe very well. It has a few tooth marks and chatter near the button but it would clean up well.I have worked on quite a few Malaga pipes and blogged their restorations, so rather than repeat previous blogs, I am including the link to one that gives some of the history of the Malaga brand and the Malaga Pipe Shop in Royal Oak, Michigan in the USA from a catalogue. It gives a sense of the brand and the history in their own words. Follow the link to get a feel for the brand and the pipemaker – https://rebornpipes.com/2013/02/09/george-khoubesser-and-malaga-pipes/.

With that information in hand I turned to work on the bowl. I addressed the crack in the shank first. I cleaned it and smoothed it out. I used an awl and pressed a small hole in the shank at the end of the crack. I filled in the crack with clear CA glue and pressed it together until it cured. I pressed a brass band onto the end of the shank to further address the crack. It serves that function and also gives it a bit of bling. With that repaired I turned to deal with the rim top issues. I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out and minimize the damage on the rim top. I used a small wooden ball that Kenneth gave me recently to give the inner edge a bevel to minimize the burn on the inner edge and bring the bowl back to round.I shortened the tenon to fit the shank of the pipe. I used the Dremel and sanding drum to remove the shoulder at the top of the tenon above the threads. I shaped the tenon fit with a small file and sanded it smooth. I glued the threaded end of the tenon with clear CA glue and pressed it into the stem. It cures quickly so it is key to move quickly and set it well as  you only get one chance! I put the stem in shank for a sense of the look of the pipe and then wiped the bowl down with alcohol on a cotton pad to remove the debris from the sanding and that was still in the surface of the briar. I liked what I saw. The grain was really quite nice and the band and new stem worked well with the pipe. I removed the stem and polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down with a damp cloth after each pad. It really began to shine. I stained the rim top and edges with a Maple stain pen to match the rest of the stain around the bowl sides. The rim top and inner edge look very good.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the smooth briar with my finger tips. The product is amazing and works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let it sit on the briar for 10 or more minutes and then buff it off with a soft cloth. It really makes the grain sing. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the stem surface with a Bic lighter flame to raise the tooth marks. I was able to lift all of them to the surface. I smoothed out what remained with 220 grit sandpaper and started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a cloth and Obsidian Oil. I finished the polishing with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. I put the pipe back together – the bowl with its new stem. This restored “Malaga” Imported Briar Oil Cured Lovat is a real beauty and I think the brass band and the chosen stem works well with it. The grain on the bowl came alive with the buffing. I used Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel on both the bowl and stem. I gave both multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel then buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The “Malaga” Lovat feels great in the hand. It is lightweight and the contrast in the browns of the briar, the brass of the band and the polished vulcanite stem with the popping grain on the mixed brown stained bowl is quite amazing. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.34 ounces/38 grams. It really is a beauty. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store in the American (US) Pipe Makers section shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Thanks for walking through the restemming and the restoration with me. Cheers.

Resurrecting A Dreary No Name Briar Calabash Shaped Pipe


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

While surfing eBay for estate pipes, I came across this one ‘no name’ pipe with a horn stem and beautiful flowing calabash shape. The beautiful curvy shape apart, the pipe had some really hideous (IMHO) rustication on the stummel surface, a semblance of widely spaced scales with thin vertical lines. The perfect shape and spacing of the scales over the stummel surface points to machined and not hand crafted rustications. Notwithstanding the rustications on the stummel, I fell in love with the pipe and had already chalked out a plan for its transformation even before I had won the auction. As I had expected, there was only a couple of other bids and the pipe soon made its way to me. A month and a half later, the pipe had reached me and now it is on my work table.

As mentioned by the seller, the stummel and the stem are devoid of any stampings and there is absolutely no clue for me to establish the provenance of this beautiful pipe. However, the threaded bone tenon, horn stem and round orifice are indicative of this pipe being from the period 1900s to 1950s. It would be interesting if further light could be shed on this pipe as regards its origin, vintage etc by the esteemed readers of rebornpipes.

Initial Visual Inspection
The first thing one can notice is the lovely shape of the pipe and the second is its ultra light weight. The chamber has been neatly reamed and the rim top surface is devoid of any lava overflow. There is severe charring to the inner edge in 12 o’clock direction. There are a couple of minor tooth indentations in the bite zone of the otherwise pristine stem. The stem is overturned to the right and not in alignment with the shank/ stummel. The stummel is dirty, dull and lifeless to look at. Overall, it is in decent condition as can be seen from the pictures below. Dimensions Of The Pipe
(a) Overall length of the pipe: –          5 3/4 inches.

(b) Bowl height: –                               1.5 inches.

(c) Inner diameter of chamber: –         0.7 inches

(d) Outer diameter of chamber: –        1.3 inches

Once The Pipe Is On My Work Table……
It appears that an attempt has been made to refurbish this pipe, but for reasons best known to the previous restorer, it was abandoned. Save for a little dust and soot, the chamber is nicely reamed back to the bare briar. The chamber walls, though not very thick, are without any heat fissures or pits and that’s a big relief. The rim top surface is peppered with numerous minor hairline scratches. The inner rim edge shows severe charring at 12 o’clock direction (encircled in yellow) and it extends over more than half way towards the outer edge. There is a smooth band of briar wood below and adjoining the outer rim edge. There are no ghost smells in the chamber. Addressing the charred inner rim edge is going to be tricky as the topping required would be extensive to the extent that the profile of the stummel and pipe as a whole, would be considerably altered. I would top the rim surface well within the limits of the smooth briar band below the outer rim edge and up to the point where I reach solid, albeit darkened briar. I would, thereafter polish it and attempt to blend the darkened areas by a applying a dark stain to the rest of the rim top surface. The stummel surface is without any damage. There is dust and dirt embedded in to the rusticated nooks and crannies giving the briar an old and lifeless look. The patterned scaled rustications also do not help in the overall appearance of the stummel. The mortise is threaded into which seat the threaded bone tenon of the stem and appears to be clean. I plan on complete rustication of the stummel and thereafter contrast staining with black and brown stains. The only issue I need to keep in mind is that the walls of the stummel are not very thick and thus I need to be cautious least I end up gouging too deep into the chamber wall. The tapered horn stem is clean with no major issues. The upper stem surface has a couple of minor bite marks at the base of the button and also over the button edge. The lower surface has some minor tooth indentations in the bite zone. The button edges on both the surfaces need to be sharpened. The round orifice and the tenon end are clean.The seating of the stem in to the mortise is overturned to the right by a huge margin and is very loose. This would need something more permanent than the clear nail polish coat application. The following pictures will give the readers a correct perspective of the issue.The Process
The process of transforming this pipe began with cleaning the chamber that had been reamed and cleaned before it reached me. With my fabricated knife, I completely removed the dust and little residual carbon from the walls of the chamber. I further cleaned the walls with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper to completely remove the carbon from the walls and wiped the chamber with a cotton pad and alcohol. The charred surface at the inner rim edge was also gently scraped with the knife and sandpaper to remove the burnt briar till I reached solid briar underneath. Next, I cleaned the mortise and shank with regular and bristled pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol. At first I just could not get the pipe cleaner to pass through the mortise and out through the draught hole. I then inserted the pipe cleaner through the draught hole and with some efforts; it came out through the mortise dislodging some dried gunk from the air way as it came out. Other than the stuck dried gunk, the mortise was clean and just a couple of pipe cleaners were put to use. I was particularly deliberate in cleaning the threads in the mortise in preparation of further repairs to improve the seating of the threaded tenon, the process for which will be covered subsequently.After I was done with the internal cleaning of the stummel, I cleaned the external surface. I generously applied Murphy’s oil soap with a hard bristled tooth brush and scrubbed the stummel and rim top with the soap. I washed the stummel under running warm water with anti oil dish washing detergent and brass wired brush till the stummel surface was clean and dried it using paper towels and soft cotton cloth. The rim top surface was deliberately cleaned with a Scotch Brite pad to further remove the charred wood from the rim edge. I simultaneously cleaned the shank internals with the detergent and hard bristled shank brush. The stummel surface has cleaned up nicely with the scaly and thin lined rustication plainly visible. Truth be told, the stummel now appear more dull and unattractive to my eyes! Once the internals and the external surface of the stummel had been cleaned, I progress to rusticating the stummel. To rusticate, I firmly held the stummel in my left hand and using my right hand began gouging out the briar with my fabricated rusticating tool. The technique is to firmly press the pointed four prongs of the modified Philips screwdriver into the surface, rotate and gouge out the removed chunk of briar. I worked diligently till I was satisfied with the rustications and the appearance of the stummel. I was careful to avoid gouging too deep as the walls are not very thick and I feared that deep rustications will lead to further thinning of the walls and subsequent burn out. As I reviewed the rusticated stummel, the rustication is prominent while the thickness of the wall is not compromised at all. I am very pleased with the progress thus far. I cleaned the stummel surface with a brass wired wheel brush mounted on a handheld rotary tool. While cleaning the surface of all the debris, this rotating brass brush wheel also creates subtle patterns of its own and this adds an additional dimension to the appearance of the stummel. I sanded down the jagged high points in the rustication to a smooth and even surface using a worn out piece of 150 grit sand paper without compromising on the tactile feel to the hand.Next I decided to work on the damage to the rim top and inner rim edge. I topped the rim on a piece of 220 grit sand paper, checking frequently till I was satisfied that the darkened surface is addressed to an acceptable extent without compromising on the stummel profile and the rim top surface is nice, smooth and even. The darkened rim is still evident but the briar in this area is nice and solid and so I shall leave it be. All this while that I was working on the stummel, Abha quietly worked on the stem. She cleaned the stem internals with regular and bristled pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol. It didn’t take many pipe cleaners to get the stem air way clean.Next she sanded the stem surface with a 320 grit paper. This addressed the minor tooth indentations and bite marks on either surface in the bite zone. She progressively moved to polishing the stem through 400, 600, 800 and 1000 grit sand paper. She finished the stem refurbishing by wet sanding the stem with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. She rubbed a little Extra Virgin Olive oil into the stem surface to hydrate it and set it aside to be absorbed into the bone. Next I polished the rim top and the high spots in the rustication using micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl with a moist cloth after each pad to clean the surface. I am happy with the appearance of the stummel at this point in the restoration. The stummel is now ready for a fresh coat of stain.I wanted to highlight the difference between the rusticated and the smooth stummel surface. I decided to stain the rusticated surface with a black dye which would contrast beautifully with the browns of the rim top and the raised knobs of the rustications. I heated the rusticated portion of the stummel surface with my heat gun to open up the pores on the stummel so that the stain is well absorbed. I used Fiebing’s Black Leather dye and liberally applied it over the heated surface, flaming it with a lighter as I went ahead to different self designated zones on the surface. This helps in the setting of the stain in the grain of the briar. I ensured that every inch of the rusticated surface is coated with the dye. I immediately followed it by wiping the raised portions of the rustication with cotton pad and alcohol to lighten the knobs. Once polished, these will contrast with the black of the rest of the stummel surface. I set the stummel aside overnight for the dye to set into the briar surface.  The following day, I again wiped the stummel with a cotton swab and alcohol to remove any excess stain and followed it up by sanding the raised rustication with a folded piece of 320 grit sand paper. This was followed up by careful dry sanding of the entire stummel, especially the raised rustications with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. This lightens and highlights the high spots in the rustications. Next, I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to the briar with my finger tips, working it deep into the rustications and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance over the smooth surface with the beautiful rusticated patterns on full display. I further buffed it with a horse hair shoe brush. The only issue that remains unaddressed at this stage is the issue of loose and overturned seating of the stem into the mortise. I had the option of using the clear nail polish to tighten the seating but that would have been a temporary solution as the threaded bone tenon was way too loose fitting in to the mortise and no amount of smoking would have tightened the mortise to the required extent and hence was dropped. I decided on using CA superglue for the purpose. I applied a coat of superglue over the threads of both the mortise and tenon and let it set for a few seconds.  Thereafter, I threaded the tenon in to the mortise till the stem was perfectly aligned and again held it in place for a few seconds for the superglue to take the shape of the threads. I repeated the process once over and achieved a perfectly aligned and snug seating of the stem in to mortise. It was at this juncture that a new issue came to the fore as I was taking pictures of the stem and shank junction under magnification. The green arrows tell the story!Closer inspection revealed that the cause of this gap was the uneven shank end and the tenon was not flush with the stem face (which by the way is also not perfectly shaped). The gap was more on the lower surface than the upper. To address these issues, I firstly topped the shank face on a piece of 220 grit sandpaper till it was even. I was extremely careful while topping so that there was minimum loss of briar as the tenon was already slightly long and I had no desire to increase this gap any further. Secondly, I bridged the gap between the shank face and stem by using a brass band. This also added a nice touch of bling to the entire pipe. I like the way the pipe has shaped up. To complete the restoration, I first mounted a cotton cloth buffing wheel that is dedicated for use with Blue Diamond, onto my hand held rotary tool.  I set the speed at about half of the full power and polished the stem. The Blue Diamond compound helps to erase the minor scratches that are left behind even after micromesh polishing cycle and followed it by applying several coats of carnauba wax with a cotton cloth buffing wheel dedicated to Carnauba Wax. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine further. The finished pipe looks amazingly beautiful and has undergone quite a transformation. With its perfectly balanced weight, a nice full bent shape and light weight, this is a perfect pipe for clenching while working. This is one pipe that will I feel will not disappoint either aesthetically or functionally. In case this beauty calls out to you, please let me know and we shall work out a mutually beneficial deal. I wish to thank our esteemed readers for sparing their valuable time to read through and any input or advice is always welcome. And how can I not thank Abha, my wife for her patient efforts in imparting glass like finish to the stem and rim top surface!

Praying for the safety and well being of you and yours…stay home, stay safe and get your vaccines please.