Tag Archives: topping a bowl

Cleaning up a Whitecross Real Cherrywood Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

On one of my brother’s visits to an antique shop near his home he picked up a batch of pipes. The owner of the shop through in this little one as a freebie. It is a Ropp like cherry wood pipe. It has the cherry bark on the bowl and the remnants of bark on the shank. The stem is lightly oxidized but otherwise is in decent shape. There were not any tooth marks or chatter on it. The shank is screwed into the bowl and the fit is tight and aligned. The rim top has some burn and peeling on it but otherwise it is clean. The inner and outer edge of the bowl is very clean. The pipe has been lightly smoked but there is no cake in the bowl. It is stamped on the smooth underside of the bowl as follows: Whitecross over Real Cherry over Made in France. Jeff figured it was not worth cleaning up but there is something about these folksy Cherry wood pipes that intrigues me and I am a sucker for them. I took these photos before I worked on the pipe. The next photo shows the stamping on the underside of the pipe. The Made in France stamping makes me fairly certain that this is a Ropp brand pipe. It has all the components of a Ropp and the cherry wood look of the pipe is all Ropp.I unscrewed the shank from the bowl to clean up the interior of the shank and open area under the air hole in the bottom of the bowl. I cleaned it with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. I was surprised at how little dirt, tar and oil had built up there. I cleaned the airway in the shank and stem with pipe cleaners and alcohol.I cleaned up the rim top and edges with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit micromesh pad and dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I was able to remove all of the lava on the rim edge and the peeling edges of varnish. When I was finished the bowl looked really good. I rubbed the Cherry wood down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I used my fingers to rub it into the bark and the bare parts of the pipe. I wiped it down with a soft cloth and hand buffed it with a shoe brush. I rubbed the shank down with the Balm and buffed it with the shoe brush as well. I put the shank on the pipe and buffed it again with the shoe brush. I polished out the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-4000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I buffed the stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I brought it back to the table and sanded it with the final three 6000-12000 grit pads. After the final pad I gave it a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem back on the bowl and gently worked the pipe over on the buffing wheel using Blue Diamond to polish the bowl and shank. I used a gentle touch on the pipe when I was buffing it so that the bark would remain intact on the bowl and shank. I buffed the stem with a harder touch to raise the gloss on the rubber. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a shoe brush to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It looks better than it did in the beginning. It is a neat little Ropp style Cherrywood  pipe. The dimensions of the pipe are: Length: 5 1/2 inches, Height: 1 3/4 inches, Diameter of the bowl: 1 5/8 inches, Diameter of the bowl: 3/4 inches. I will be adding this one to the rebornpipes store shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection. It will make a fine addition to the rack. If you are interested email me at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.

 

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Something is different about this Heritage Square Shank Apple


Blog by Steve Laug

As I mentioned in the first blog I did on the Heritage threesome – the 45S Antique, earlier this summer I was relaxing and surfing Ebay on my iPad and I came across three listings for Heritage Pipes. All were square shank pipes and all were in decent condition. Two of them had original stems while the third had a stem I was not sure about. Several years ago I had learned about the brand through Andrew Selking who writes for rebornpipes. Since then I have kept an eye out for them. There do not seem to be too many showing up on Ebay but every so often there is one. This time there were three. I contacted my brother with the links and he bid and won the threesome. I have finished the middle and bottom pipe and have written blogs about them (The Heritage Antique – https://rebornpipes.com/2017/10/08/cleaning-up-the-first-of-three-heritage-pipes-45s-dublin/, The Heritage Diplomat – https://rebornpipes.com/2017/10/14/new-life-for-heritage-diplomat-8-panel-billiard/). The last of the threesome is what is on the work table now. It the top pipe in the photos below. When I got to looking carefully at this pipe I immediately saw some differences from the other two Heritage pipes. Though it is stamped Heritage with a similar font on the left side of the shank, it also is stamped Made in USA under that. The stamping is more like the Kaywoodie pipes I have worked on. The right side of the shank is stamped Imported Briar. The finish on this pipe is nowhere near as nice as the other two pipes. The quality is good but not stellar like the others. The stem fit and shape is different from the other two and seems to be a stem blank rather than a custom made stem. It is not a replacement as I first thought but is the original stem. I also cannot find it on the Heritage Brochure that Andrew provided. The overall look and feel of the pipe leads me to think that this pipe was made later than the other ones and is probably a Kaywoodie of lesser quality. Even though that is true I think it has value in that it is a historical piece that may be transitional in nature. I am including the next two photos as they show the condition of the pipe when my brother received it and the stamping on the shank. For your reference if you are interested I am including a summary of the history of the brand that Andrew wrote on a previous blog on rebornpipes. I find that it is helpful and clear. There is not a lot of information on the brand available on-line so anything helps fill the gap. Here is the link: https://rebornpipes.com/2014/12/23/refurbishing-a-heritage-heirloom/.

Heritage pipes were Kaywoodie’s answer to Dunhill. According to one of their brochures, Heritage pipes were made from “briar burls seasoned and cured for up to 8 months,” with only “one briar bowl in over 300 selected to bear the Heritage name.” “Heritage stems are custom fitted with the finest hand finished Para Rubber stems. Mouthpieces are wafer thin and concave.”

The Heritage line began in the early 1960’s, with the trademark issued in 1964. The line was started at the request of Stephen Ogdon, (who worked for Kaywoodie in 1962). Mr. Ogdon had previous experience working for Dunhill, either running the New York store or working for Dunhill North America. Mr. Ogden was made President of Heritage Pipes, Inc., Kaywoodie Tobacco Co.,Inc. and Kaywoodie Products Inc. as well as a Vice President of S.M. Frank & Co. Heritage Pipes were produced from 1964 until 1970 (Source Kaywoodie.myfreeforum.org).

From Andrew’s helpful blog I would put a 1970s date on this one. It may well have been done after the closure of the line. Jeff took photos of the grain around the bowl to give an idea of the quality of the briar. While it was dirty and scratched there was some nice grain on the pipe. The photos show some slight wear on the outer edge of the rim and on the inner edge. The rim top shows some wear and some lava buildup. It is hard to know from these photos how much damage there is to the inner edge of the rim. I will know more once the grime and lava are removed. Time will tell. The next two photos show the stamping on the shank. There are some subtle differences to the Heritage font and the not so subtle differences of the Made in USA and Imported Briar stamp that were not present on the other two pipes of this threesome. The stem did not have the PARA Hard Rubber stamping of the other two and did not bear the Heritage logo on the left side of the saddle. This could either point to a replacement stem (which is possible) or to a later version of the brand that did not include those items. I am not sure which is the case. The stem was good quality rubber and did not show too much oxidation. There was tooth chatter and some tooth marks on both sides of the stem near the button. There was also some wear on the sharp edge of the button on both sides.Jeff worked his magic in cleaning up this pipe. He reamed it with a PipNet reamer and smoothed the walls of the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife. 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 and shank with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to the oils and tars on the bowl, rim and shank. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. Once the grime was removed the finish seemed to be coated with a varnish coat. It was peeling around the outer edges of the rim and also there were some damaged spots on the sides of the bowl where the finish was slightly peeling. There was some wear around the edges of the rim top and the inner edge showed some burn damage on the right side. The cleaning of the stem did not raise any oxidation in the vulcanite. The tooth marks were clean but visible. I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work on it. I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem to show the condition of both before I worked on them. The photo of the rim top shows the damage on the inner edge of the right side of the rim and the wear on the outer edge around the bowl. Other than the tooth chatter and tooth marks the stem was in good condition with no oxidation that I would need to worry about. I decided to start on the bowl and address the rim damage. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to slightly bevel the inner edge of the rim and blend in the damaged area with the rest of the bowl. I wanted to bring it back to round as much as possible and remove the damage. The second photo shows the reshaped rim edge. I think the process worked pretty well!I decided to use Mark Hoover’s Before & After Restoration Balm. I have written a review about the product in an earlier blog. I rubbed it into the surface of the briar and scrubbed it with a cotton pad. Mark has said that the product was designed to pull the dirt off of the briar as well as polish it. He added some anti-oxidants to keep the briar from getting damaged from both UV rays and water. It worked very well as you can see from the following photos that show the cleaned briar and the grime on the cotton pad. Remember that this pipe had already been scrubbed with oil soap and rinsed. It appeared to be clean for all intents and purposes but it still had residual grime in the pores of the briar. I blended black Sharpie Marker and a Dark Brown Stain pen to colour the inner edge of the rim and the repaired area on the rim top. The combination matched the colour of the stain on the bowl perfectly.It is at this point a couple of things caught my eye. There were what looked like water spots on the front and the left side of the bowl. I looked closely and they were very odd. Almost like some of the varnish finish had bubbled and been removed. The longer I looked at it the more ugly it looked. What had looked like an easy restore suddenly looked a lot harder. I was going to have to remove the varnish coat and restain the entire pipe. Just a little discouraging when things were moving ahead so well. But, chin up and do the job!

I wiped the bowl down with acetone to try to cut through the finish. It did not budge! Oh man, that meant I was dealing with some kind of plasticized coating and it would be a bit more difficult to remove. I sanded the bowl and shank with 220 grit sandpaper to break through the surface of the topcoat. I wiped it down repeatedly with the acetone to see if I was making progress.  It was slow going. I sanded it with a medium and a fine grit sanding sponge and was able to make more progress. I wiped it down again. The photos below show the pipe when I had removed all of the plastic coating. It was odd in that there were two large spots on the front of the bowl and around the rim edges where the finish came off as well as the plastic. The rest of the finish was deeply set in the grain. I have only seen that on pipes where there was some oil in the briar that was not properly removed before staining and finishing. I wiped the bowl down with acetone a final time scrubbing the unstained portions with extra care. I wiped it down with alcohol in those areas and heated the briar to see if I could open the pores before staining. I used a dark brown stain pen to precolour the briar before restaining the entire pipe. I wanted to get deep coverage on the briar. I warmed the briar once again by painting it with the flame of a lighter. I stained the entire bowl with dark brown aniline stain and set it in the grain with a lighter. I repeated the process particularly on the front, sides and rim top until the coverage was even all around the bowl. I set the bowl aside to cure overnight.Work and general busyness kept me from working on the pipe again for several days. When I finally got a moment I wiped the bowl down with alcohol and cotton pads to even out the finish and give it a bit more transparency. I sanded the newly stained bowl and shank with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with an alcohol dampened cotton pad. I buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond to further polish out the scratches and then gave it several coats of Danish Oil with a Cherry Stain to give the bowl a rich finish similar to the one on the Heritage Diplomat that I restored earlier. The pipe is beginning to look really good in my opinion and in many ways is far better than when I started. I buffed the bowl with a soft cotton cloth to polish the Danish Oil. I took the following pictures to show the bowl at this point in the process. I still need to buff it again on the wheel and give it multiple coats of carnauba wax. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth marks and chatter with 220 grit sandpaper. I carefully blended them into the surface of the vulcanite. I also worked over the sharp edges of the button to clean up the marks that were left behind there. The sanding dust left behind on the sandpaper was a rich, dark black which spoke well of the quality of the vulcanite that was used on this stem. To me it also was further proof of the stem being original rather than a later poor quality replacement.The one oddity to the pipe was that the shank was thinner on the right side than the left. The mortise was drilled straight but it was definitely not centered in the shank. Due to that the tenon on was slightly off to the right side of the shank to match. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit pads and wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I dry sanded with 3200-12000 grit pads and again wiped it down with Obsidian Oil. I finished the polishing with the pads and gave it a final coat of the oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem back on the bowl and worked the pipe over on the buffing wheel using Blue Diamond polish to further remove scratches on the bowl and shank. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It looks better than it did in the beginning. I still think it is a transitional piece between the classic higher end Heritage line and the later line that came out when the classic line ended. It is still a beautiful pipe. The finish is good but not nearly as well done as the classics. The dimensions of the pipe are: Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Diameter of the chamber: ¾ inches. Thanks for looking.

Restoring an Edwards Hexagon Dublin Sitter 97


Blog by Steve Laug

I got an email a while back from a friend who wanted me to work over an old Edwards that he had picked up. He had bought one from me in the past and had now found another one. It was a Hexagonal Dublin that had carved grooves on the sides of the bowl from the rim down to the base. The shank is square sided and is smooth. It is stamped Edwards on the top side of the shank. On the underside of the shank it is stamped Algerian Briar followed by the shape number 97. He had found it in a local antique shop I think. It had a thick cake in the bowl and the lava flowed over the top of the rim and down to the second layer of the carving on the rim. The shank was dirty and also filled with tars. The stem was a heavily oxidized replacement stem with the entire underside of the button broken off. Because it was a replacement I decided to put another replacement stem on the shank. I pulled the stem off the shank and took photos of the bowl. The grooves in the carving were dirty and the natural finish was dirty and damaged. I forgot to put the stem back on the shank and take photos. I was intent on cleaning up the bowl. I scraped out the carbon cake in the bowl and off the rim top with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I carefully removed the lava from the rim of the bowl.I lightly topped the bowl on the topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the thick lava coat on the rim. I did not want to take off too much of the briar as it looks like an interesting stack of briar sheets from the top down.I scrubbed the bowl and rim with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to get all of the grit and dust out of all of the grooves and edges of the briar stack. I rinsed the pipe with running water to rinse off the dust and the soap and scrubbed it under the running water to leave behind a clean bowl. I dried it off with a clean cloth. Then I remembered I had not taken photos of the pipe with the old stem in place so I slid the stem into the shank and took the next series of photos. Not only was the replacement stem badly oxidized it also had a large chip out of the button across the top side of the stem. It was poorly fit to the shank as well. You can see from the photos that it is larger in diameter than the shank itself. It was definitely going to be replaced. I put aside the damaged replacement stem and took a new square stem blank out of my box of stems. I turned the tenon on the PIMO tenon turning tool on my cordless drill to take down the tenon to fit the shank of the Edwards pipe. Once I had the tenon turned I wiped it down with a damp cloth and took a picture of the new stem next to the one I was replacing.I put the new stem on the shank to see how it fit against the shank end. I needed to do quite a bit of sanding on the sides of the stem to get the flow along the sides, top and bottom smooth and even.I cleaned out the internals of the pipe – the mortise and the airway in the shank using alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners to remove all of the oils and tars that collect there. I cleaned out the airway in the new stem to remove the dust from turning tenon.I sanded the stem to reduce the size on all sides with 220 grit sandpaper. When I got close I put it on the shank and carefully sanded it until the transition between the shank and the stem was smooth. I sanded out the casting marks and scratches on the stem with 220 grit sandpaper. There were quite a few scratches left behind by the work I did to fit it to the shank. Once I had the majority of deep scratches sanded out, it was time to work on it with micromesh sanding pads. I used the micromesh sanding pads to polish the stem. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit pads and wiped it down after each pad with Obsidian Oil to give the next pad more bite when I sanded. I dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads and again wiped it down with the oil after each pad. After the final pad I wiped it down with a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. In the last photo of the three below you can still see some light scratches in the vulcanite on the saddle part of the stem. These would need to be buffed out on the wheel. (I polished the tenon as well as can be seen in the photos below. Each photo shows it progressively getting a shine.) With the stem almost finished I took it off the shank and used the Mark Hoover’s Before & After Restoration Balm on the briar. I rubbed it into the grooves on the bowl sides with my finger and a cotton swab. I wanted it to go deep in the grooves to further test the effectiveness of the product. This would be a good test as it is a totally different finish than any of the other pipes I have worked on with the product.  Mark had said that the product can be used on briar or stems – whether vulcanite, acrylic or horn. He said it was designed to pull the dirt off of the briar as well as polish it. He added some anti-oxidants to keep the briar from getting damaged from both UV rays and water. Once I had all the grooves and surfaces of the bowl covered I worked it into the finish with a cotton pad to see if it pulled out the dirt. It seemed to work very well and I took the following photos to show the results. So far the product seems to be delivering as promised. I will continue using it for a while and see how it works in a variety of settings before I give an opinion of the product. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the entire pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to polish the stem and the bowl. I used a soft touch around the stamped areas as I did not want to flatten them or polish them away. I buffed stem hard to work over the remaining scratches in the rubber. It took some work but they are smoothed out. I gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise a shine. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and rubbed it into the sandblast and the plateau areas. I buffed it with a shoe brush and then with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The interesting carved finish on the bowl with its natural oil finish and the new stem combine to present a beautiful pipe. The pipe has been given a total makeover and the new stem fits the shape very well. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I think William is going to really like the new look and feel of this pipe. I have one more of his to finish up and then the pair will go back to him in the mail. Thanks for looking.

Restoring a Wreck of a C.P.F. Rectangular Shank Bent Egg


Blog by Steve Laug

This poor old C.P.F. rectangular shank bent egg was in rough shape when it arrived in Vancouver. Not only was the tenon broken but the stem was in pretty damaged. There were tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside of the stem. The sides of the rectangular saddle portion of the stem were very damaged with deep casting marks and gouges. I think the stem is made of Bakelite but it was really a mess. Add to that the condition of the bowl – three cracks running down the front right side from the rim down and across the bowl, a cracked shank, no band, a scratched and damaged finish and you have a clear picture of the condition of the tired old pipe. There was a day when I would have retired this one and moved on to a different pipe but today it is a challenge worth taking and seeing what I can do with it. Jeff took various photos of the pipe to show what it looked like when he picked it up.The rim top was a mess. There was an overflow of lava that had hardened on the rim top. There was an average cake in the bowl that would need to go in order to repair the damaged areas. The inner edge of the rim was probably damaged though it was hard to tell at this point. There were to cracks on the right side of the rim toward the front of the bowl. I have included two photos to show the cracks in the same area from the rim down and across the bowl on the top right side. I have used red arrows to point them out in both photos.The crack in the shank is very obvious in the photo below. It was quite deep and had begun to separate. You can also see the damage to the stem at the stem/shank junction. But even with all of the damage there was still some charm to the briar. The grain was interesting – a combination of birdseye and cross grain all around the bowl. The flat bottom portion had nice cross grain that would stand out once the pipe was restained. The threads in the mortise were in excellent condition. The U-shaped divot at the bottom of the mortise shows how the airway was drilled into the bowl. The threads on the tenon looked good at this point. The next photos show the extensive damage to the sides of the saddle stem. It was rough. It almost looked as if someone had tried to pry it free from the shank rather than unscrewing it. There were some deep tooth marks and a lot of chatter on both sides of the stem in front of the button. Once again when the pipe arrived in Vancouver, I could see that Jeff had done his magic in cleaning and scrubbing it. He had reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He cleaned up the rim and the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the grime and debris on the briar itself. He had exercised care around the gold stamping on the left side of the shank. He had cleaned out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. The stem damage was clearly visible and the gouges on the sides of the saddle stem stood out in clarity. There were some deep tooth marks on both sides of the stem at the button. When I brought the pipe to my work table I took some photos of it as I opened the case. It really was a beautiful old pipe. I took a photo of the rim top and bowl to show the issues there. The bowl was very clean. The rim top photo shows the cracks very clearly and the scars on the inside edge of the rim. The right side photo also shows the cracks.The stem has some beauty still, but the deep tooth marks would need a lot of work to bring them back to a smooth condition.This is where some of the issues show up. The tenon had broken when Jeff was cleaning it up. Fortunately it had not broken off in the shank or the stem so it was a clean repair. I would need to fit a new threaded tenon in the shank and stem. The gouges and nicks in the sides of the saddle are very clear in the next photos.Since the stem was such a mess and would take time to work on I started with it. I sanded the sides and top of the stem and filled in the damaged areas with amber super glue. In the next photos you can see the extent of the damage from the size of the glue repairs. I set the stem aside to dry and went for lunch with my wife and daughters. When I returned the repairs would have cured and I could continue. When I returned I used a needle file to smooth out the repaired areas and flatten out the sides of the saddle. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to further blend in the repaired areas. I fit a new threaded tenon in the stem and set it in place. I sanded the stem more, to smooth things out. In the first photo below there looks like a crack runs along the middle of right side of the saddle. It was not a crack but a flaw in the stem material. There was still a lot of sanding to do before the stem was acceptable. I sanded the stem surfaces until they were smooth and the repairs were unnoticeable. It took quite a bit of sanding to achieve this. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad to give traction to the next pad and also bring a little life to the Bakelite stem. With the work on the stem complete I set it aside and turned my attention to the issues with the bowl and shank. I decided to address the cracked shank first. I would need to fit a band on the shank. I did not have any brass bands so a nickel one would have to suffice. I used a needle file to work on the shank end to get it ready for the band. I started with the file and finished with the Dremel and sanding drum. Making a band that would fit took some work. I only had round bands so I needed to shape one that would work. I used a small nail hammer and the square edges of the needle file to make the round band rectangular. It was tedious but the finished band is shown in the photo below. I pressed it onto the shank of the pipe. It was still too large and if pressed all the way onto the shank would look awkward. I used the Dremel and sanding drum to cut the height of the band in half. It takes time and care to slowly grind the metal away. I used the topping board to smooth out the sharp edges of the band. I used an all-purpose glue to repair the crack and to anchor the band on the shank. I pressed the band in place on the shank. I took photos of the banded shank to remind myself of what it looked like at this point in the process. I still needed to polish the metal but it was looking better. The bowl still had remnants of the old varnish coat in the angles and on the shank bottom. I wiped it down with acetone on a cotton pad to remove the rest of the finish in preparation for the repairs that I needed to do on the cracks. I topped the bowl to remove the damaged areas on the rim top and to clean up the inner edge damage.I marked the ends of the cracks with a black Sharpie pen and drill the spots with a microdrill bit on my Dremel. I put these pin holes at the end of each crack to stop it from spreading further. I filled in the drill holes with clear super glue and smeared the glue over the cracks themselves. When the repairs dried I sanded them smooth with 220 grit sandpaper to blend into the surface of the briar. I also sanded the inner edge of the rim to minimize the damage there. With the repairs completed it was time to stain the bowl and blend them into the rest of the briar. For me the staining process on this pipe would be done in several steps. I stained the bowl with a dark brown aniline stain, flamed it and repeated the process to ensure an even coverage over the bowl. I wiped the bowl down with alcohol on cotton pads to make the stain more transparent. I sanded the bowl down with 1500-4000 grit micromesh sanding pads to make the grain more transparent and polish it in preparation for the next contrast coat of stain. I wiped it down with alcohol once more and then gave it a coat of Danish Oil Cherry stain for the top coat. I really like the way it brings out the reds in the grain of the briar. I touched up the gold stamping with Rub’n Buff European Gold. I rubbed it on and off leaving it in the light C.P.F. oval logo. It is faint in some places but it is readable. I gave the bowl several coats of Conservator’s Wax and buffed it with a microfiber cloth. The photos below show the renewed stamping and the waxed finish on the bowl. I used the Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to clean up the remnant of the cake on the wall that is shown in the above photos. I buffed the pipe bowl and stem independently with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to polish them both. I worked over the briar around the bowl with the Blue Diamond. I carefully gave the briar several coats of carnauba wax and then Conservator’s Wax in the hard to reach spots. I buffed the waxed briar with a clean buffing pad to a raise a shine. I gently buffed the stem with Blue Diamond so as not to melt it or cause damage. I gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed bowl and stem with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. I put the stem in the shank and hand buffed it once more. I am quite happy with the finished pipe. It is a beautiful piece of briar and the stem picked up a nice shine that brought it back to life. The damage on the stem is almost invisible now and the amberlike Bakelite looks translucent. The repairs to the cracks in the briar on the side of the bowl and the shank have disappeared into the contrast stain. The nickel band works alright with the finished look of the pipe and takes care of the shank damage. The finished pipe is shown in the photos that follow. Thanks for putting up with my passion for these old C.P.F. pipes from another time. Thanks for looking.

 

Cleaning up another CPF – this time it is a square shank Bulldog Setter


Blog by Steve Laug

If you have been reading rebornpipes for long, you will have figured out that I really like older C.P.F. pipes (Colossal Pipe Factory). I have quite a few of them in my collection and really like them. The history is an intriguing and enjoyable part of the brand for me. The artisanship and design of these pipes captures my appreciation and admiration. The shapes are always unique; even in the same line the shapes vary from pipe to pipe. The creativity and inventiveness of the smoking delivery systems of their pipes are always a pleasure to study. The variations of Bakelite bases and stems with briar bowls, briar bowls with Bakelite stems, briar bowls with horn and with vulcanite stems. The names the company gave their pipes always has me wondering where they came from. Sometimes they seem to be humorous like the Siamese conjoined stem pipe I just finished and sometimes descriptive like this one – the square shank, horn stem Setter. The pipe came from Jeff in a box he shipped to me just before he left for his European adventure. The box arrived last evening. I was like a kid on Christmas morning. No matter how many boxes he sends my reaction is always the same. There were two C.P.F. pipes that immediately caught my attention. Jeff had shown me these two on FaceTime before he left so I was awaiting their arrival. When he was cleaning them both he somehow switched the stems in a hurry and in the process broke the tenon off the wrong stem in the shank of this pipe. Both pipes had a bone tenon so it is easy to understand what happened. He had put both pipes in individual bags in the box. When I saw this one, I decided it was the next one I wanted to work on.The pipe is a bulldog with a square shank and square tapered horn stem. It has twin rings around the top of the bowl. The shank had a gold coloured ferrule on it with the end turned over to cover the exposed end of the shank. On the left side of the ferrule, it was stamped with the C.P.F. oval logo. There was no other stamping on the metal ferrule. The bowl had a thick cake that lightly overflowed like lava over the top of the rim. The inner edge of the rim shows a lot of damage from what looks like reaming with a knife. The outer edge showed some nicks on the right side and a few on the left front. Jeff took some photos from different angles showing the condition of the bowl. It was a beauty. The grain was quite nice and the twin rings around the rim were in excellent condition with no chips. On the top of the shank there was faint gold lettering reading Setter in a Germanic script that I have come to expect on C.P.F. pipes from this era of the late 1890s to early 1900s. The finish was worn and dirty as expected on a pipe of this age. The two photos that follow that are different views of the shank and the ferrule. The ferrule appeared to have slipped off during its life and there was a dark space just in front of it showing its original position on the shank. The diameter of the stem was larger than the diameter of the shank so it looked a little awkward making me wonder if it was not a replacement horn stem. If not it was poorly fitted and would need to be properly fitted to the shank. There were issues with the stem that might lessen with reshaping but they were present and can be seen in the photos below. These included deep nicks on the edges of the square stem – a chip at the right corner near the shank, a nick on the right side about a ½ inch from the shank end, and another on the left side that looked like a wormhole.The threads in the shank were evidently worn and someone had wrapped the bone tenon in scotch tape to facilitate a tight fit. I have seen this done often so it is not a surprise but it also makes me wonder if the stem is not a replacement. I won’t know until I check out the threads in the mortise when it arrives.The button showed some wear and tear and there was light tooth chatter on both sides of the stem. Fortunately it appeared that there were no deep tooth marks present.Jeff did a lot of cleaning and scrubbing on the pipe before he sent it to me. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He cleaned up the rim and the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and removed the grime and debris of the years. He had cleaned out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. The bone tenon on the stem was in good condition. The stem damage was clearly visible and the nicks and marks stood out in clarity. I drilled out the broken tenon in the shank of the pipe so that I could put it back together and check out the fit of the stem to the shank. Over the years I have developed my own method of drilling out a broken, threaded tenon. It may be different from the one that you use but it works for me. I followed that procedure on this pipe. I set up a cordless drill on my worktable and put a drill bit a little larger than the airway in the broken tenon. I slowly twisted the stummel onto the drill bit. I wanted it to grab onto the tenon and allow me to either twist it free or break it enough that I can remove it without damaging the threads in the mortis. I repeated this several times until the broken tenon came out on the bit. I blew the dust out of the shank. The pipe was now ready for me to work on.I checked out the threads in the mortise and they were slightly worn but not too severely damaged. They would easily be renewed for a better fit. I screwed the stem on the shank and took the following photos of the pipe before I started my work. These photos are kind of a benchmark for me to compare the finished pipe with the original shown in the photos. Note the fact that the stem is larger in diameter than the shank as noted above. It is the right shape but it sits above and below the top of the ferrule on the shank. The fit on the sides of the shank is perfect. That kind of fit makes me think that perhaps this was a replacement stem. The shape was correct but the fit was off. I have worked on enough C.P.F. pipes to know that they do not send them out of the factory with this kind of sloppy fit. Jeff had managed to clean up the rim quite well. The bowl was clean and the inner edge damage was clear.The next photos show the nicks and worm hole in the stem. These would need to be repaired. The side view photos show the fit of the stem against the shank. You can see from the photo that the top of the stem is significantly higher than the top of the ferrule and shank. I decided to address the nicks and worm hole first. I was not sure how much of the repair would be left once I reshaped the stem but I figured I might as well start with smoothing those out before I started shaping. I sanded the stem to smooth out the tooth chatter and the edges of the damaged areas first. I wanted to see if I had any filling to do around the button before I repaired the damaged areas. Fortunately there were no deep marks at the button. I filled the nicks and hole in with amber super glue. The photos below show the stem repairs from different angles. Note that the damage was on the top and side mid stem on the left and toward the front on the right. Once the glue dried I used a needle file to smooth out the repairs and blend them into the surface of the stem. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to further blend them in. I used the Dremel and sanding drum to reduce the height of the stem on the top and bottom at the shank as well as adjust the width on both sides. Once I had it close I sanded it more with the 220 grit sandpaper. I painted the thread on the bone tenon with clear fingernail polish and let it dry. Once it was dry I screwed it into the shank and it was a snug fit. You can see in the photos below that the fit to the shank in terms of height and width is getting much closer. I sanded the stem until I was happy with the transition between the stem sides and the ferrule. I wanted it to be smooth. It took a lot of sanding to get it to the place where I was happy with the flow. I was happy to see that the sanding removed much of the repaired areas from the stem. The right side repairs are virtually invisible and on the left side it was quite small. Once it was there I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanded with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I polished the stem with Fine and Extra Fine Before & After Pipe Polish to further remove the scratches. I buffed the stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I set the stem aside and turned my attention to the damaged rim and edges of the bowl. I lightly topped the bowl to remove the damage on the surface and the outer edges of the rim. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to reshape the inner edge of the rim and bring it back close to round. I wiped down the surface of the bowl with alcohol on cotton pads and then put a drop of clear super glue in the damaged spot on the right side edge of the rim and bowl. When the glue dried I sanded it smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and polished it with 1500-4000 grit micromesh sanding pads. I used a dark brown stain pen to blend the repaired area on the side of the rim cap and the top of the rim into the existing colour of the pipe. It did not take much work to get a good match. I tried to add Rub’n Buff European Gold to the stamping on the shank top but the stamping was not deep enough to hold the repairs. I buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to polish the briar and the stem. I gave the entire pipe multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. I am quite happy with the finished pipe. It looks far better than it did when I started the restoration. The fit of the stem to the shank and the overall look of the bowl is better. The small burn mark on the right side of the rim top is a beauty mark of the past life of the pipe. The rim and bowl look very good. The finished pipe is shown in the photos that follow. Thanks for looking and enduring my obsession with these older C.P.F. pipes.

Bringing New Life to a C.P.F. Siamese Parallel Twin Stem Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

Like other older C.P.F. pipes I have in my collection this one has some real charm. It is another pipe on the petite side of things – 4 ½ inches long and 1 ½ inches tall. It is not a bad piece of briar, a mix of grains. The finish was worn with some gouges in the right side and the bottom of the shank and bowl, but the pipe looked like it still had some life in it. This older C.P.F. may well show a bit of the tongue and cheek humour of the era in the name that is stamped on the shank – Siamese = conjoined stems. The top of the shank bears the name Siamese in worn gold leaf over the logo of C.P.F. in an oval. The silver plated ferrule on the shank bears a series of faux hallmarks and the C.P.F. in an oval logo on the top side. The top of the stem is stamped the C.P.F. in an oval logo. The stem is unusual in that it has two silver plated spigot tenons that fit into openings in the silver collar. The conjoined, twin stems match the dual airways in the shank and in the bowl. Looking down the end of the shank I could see both airways all the way to the bottom of the bowl. When I looked in the bowl there were twin holes at the back just above the bottom of the bowl. The stem shares some of the same damage as other pipes that came from the Virtual Pipe Hunt in Montana (https://rebornpipes.com/2017/04/26/a-virtual-pipe-hunt-a-new-way-to-experience-the-joy-of-a-pipe-hunt/). The left side of the twin stem has a large piece of the vulcanite missing that has been replaced by hard putty that is painted black. Jeff took photos of the pipe from a variety of angles to show its uniqueness and condition.The next photo Jeff took shows the overall condition of the pipe from a top view. It gives a clear picture of the conjoined twin stems from which I assume the pipe derives its name.The bowl was thickly caked and there was also a thick lava coat on the top of the bowl rim. It was impossible to see if the inner edge of the rim was damaged because of the cake. More would be revealed once the cake and lava were removed. To me these were signs of a much loved and often smoked pipe. Judging from the other pipes in this collection I would love to have met the pipe man who owned them and worked the repairs on the stems to keep his pipes smokable.The next series of photos show the condition of the sides and the heel of the bowl. There were a few deep nicks and gouges that would need to be repaired. The nicks on the right side of the pipe appeared to have been repaired prior with a coat of glue as can be seen in the first and second photos below. (Note the twin silver end caps entering the ferrule in the photos below.) The next three photos show the identifying stamping on the shank top, silver band and stem. The first shows the top of the shank and the stamping is very readable. The second shows the stamp on the silver band – faux hallmarks that I have come to expect on C.P.F. pipes along with the C.P.F. oval logo. The third photo shows the same logo on the twin stem. The rest of the photos that Jeff took of the pipe before he cleaned it show the condition of the stem. Note the repair on the top left side in front of the button (I have circled the area in red for ease of reference). The third and fourth photos below show the repair quite clearly. The filled in area seems to be hard putty that is then painted black. After the black paint a coat of varnish seems to have been applied to protect the repair. The underside of the stem looks quite good. The twin bore openings in the stem are shown in the last photo. Jeff did a lot of cleaning and scrubbing on the pipe and in the process, we learned that like the earlier C.P.F. Cromwell we had worked on, the repair was a hard putty fill. The top side of the stem had been coated with what appeared to be black paint to hide the repair. On top of the paint a varnish coat had been applied to protect the repair. The oxidation seemed to be on the areas that had not been covered with the varnish coat. That led to some really strange patterns in the oxidation. Jeff reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He cleaned up the rim and the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and removed the grime and debris of the years as well as the glue repair on the right side of the bowl. The silver ferrule on the shank and the metal military style tenon ends looked better. He had cleaned out the twin mortises and the airways in the shank, into the bowl and in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I took the following photos of the pipe before I started my work. These photos are kind of a

 

 

benchmark for me to compare the finished pipe with the original. The bowl and the rim top were very clean. There was a little damage on the inner edge of the rim toward the back right side and some roughness around the front left edge. The bowl itself was internally in excellent condition.The stem was quite oxidized and the putty repair is very visible now. I checked it with a dental pick and it is very hard. There is no give or softness to the putty. I will probably leave it and work at turning it black to match the stem and smoothing it out. I was glad to see that my initial assessment of the patch being only on the top side of the stem was correct. They underside was solid.The nicks and sand pits in the underside and right side of the bowl were very clear and would need to be addressed. They are obvious in the photos below. There were also some small sand pits on the left side of the bowl as well. I put the stem in the Before & After Pipe Stem Dexodizer bath and left it to soak while I worked on the bowl. I am pretty pleased with the deoxidizer and even after about 35-40 stems it is still working its magic.The band was loose on the shank so I slipped it off before I started to work on the repairs to the sand pits and nicks in the briar.Since the nicks and sand pits were not too deep I decided to use clear super glue and not mix it with briar dust on these repairs. I filled them each with a bubble of super glue and set the bowl aside so the glue could harden. It does not take too long as those of you who use the technique have learned so I did not need to wait long. I decided to leave the small pits on the left side of the bowl as they were and did not repair them. When the glue dried I sanded the repaired areas with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface of the briar. I have yet to figure out how to avoid the way the glue makes dark spots when it cures. To me it is the price for having a smooth surface. I keep experimenting but have not found the solution. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth and dried it off. I applied some all-purpose glue to the surface of the shank where the band would sit. I pressed the band in place and wiped off the excess glue with a damp cotton pad. Before staining the repaired areas I turned to address the damaged areas on the inner edge of the rim. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the edge. I chose not to bevel it as it was not beveled originally. Once it was smooth I used a dark brown stain pen to colour in the repaired areas on the bowl sides, bottom and rim top. I don’t worry too much about streaks at this point because they will buff smooth when I am finished. I lightly buffed the stained areas of the bowl and gave the entire bowl a coat of Danish Oil Cherry stain to blend the colours to match what was originally there. I really liked the finished look of the contrasting stain. The grain stood out really well and the repairs blended in as well as could be expected. They were smooth to the touch and felt good in the hand. I then used a Rub’n Buff European Gold to touch up the gold stamping on the top of the shank. I applied the product with a cotton swab and rubbed off the excess with a pad.I called it a night and turned off the lights in the shop and went to bed. In the morning I took the stem out of the Before & After bath and dried it off. It had done its magic on the oxidation on the stem and the putty repair was clear and hard. I cleaned out the airway with alcohol and pipe cleaners to remove the deoxidizer from the stem internals.I sanded the surface of the stem particularly around the patch in preparation for repairing it further with black super glue. I wiped off the dust and used a black Sharpie pen to stain the putty black. It was porous so I was hoping that the putty would stay black. I applied a coat of black super glue on top of the stained putty, smoothing it out with the dental spatula. I set it aside to dry and headed out to work. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and rubbing the stem down after each pad with Obsidian Oil. In doing so I learned that the black stain I had put on the putty repair did not work. I had a decision to make at this point. Did I keep the repair as it was or did I remove it and refill it in my own way – that was the question.  I buffed it with Tripoli after that because of the stubborn oxidation in the groove between the twinned stems. In doing so the black was totally removed from the repaired area on the stem. As I looked at it I made my decision. The repair would stand as a memorial to the nameless repair person who had concocted this repair on the stem. It had lasted at least 100 years and it was solid. I decided to leave it alone. I would try to darken it a bit but I was not hopeful. I dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads to polish it even more. After each pad I rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil. After the 12000 grit pad and rubdown I set it aside to dry. I certainly wish that the black stain would have sunk deep into the putty repair on the stem but it did not. I may one day pick it out and replace it but I figured that it is still workable the way it is. I buffed the pipe and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the stem and the bowl multiple coats of carnauba wax to give it a shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is really a nice looking pipe. The mixed grain on the bowl and the silver ferrule and tenon caps on the twin military mount stem look good with the black (well almost all black) of the stem. I think this is one that will enjoy. Thanks for looking.

 

The Brief, Shining History behind an Italian Dublin and Its Easier Than Usual Refurbish


Robert M. Boughton

Copyright © Reborn Pipes and the Author except as cited

 

 

— “The Treachery of Images” (1929, also known by the translation of the message on it, from the French, “This Is Not a Pipe”), an oil on canvas painting by the great Belgian Impressionist, René Magritte (1898-1967)

 

 

INTRODUCTION

Sometimes I wonder if the D in P.A.D. shouldn’t be replaced with S for Serendipity, in the sense of being in the right place at the right time, or with still more sneaky spin, Fate with a capital F.  Then my sense returns, and I realize the musing rationale is only a symptom of the Disorder.  My most recent bout with this overwhelming inner turmoil was lost within minutes after I chanced (yeah, right) to read an informative and enthusiastic, yet brief, account of a little known but masterful creator of hand-carved Italian pipes in the 1980s and into the early ‘90s.  Thinking of an assertion in the post that claimed the brand in question is difficult to find as a sort of challenge, I clicked on eBay and searched for the name.  Indeed, only two samples popped up, as well as a nice, dark brown pipe sleeve.  Not really able to afford either pipe, or the $11 sleeve for that matter, I was nevertheless torn between both and knew I had to have one.  The source of the information that set my P.A.D. careering is an acquaintance on the Smokers Forums UK, on the Pipes page.  The gentleman’s SF handle is fishnbanjo, which I suppose indicates two things he enjoys very much other than pipes.  He and most everyone who knows him at all shortens the moniker to the simpler Banjo, which is also, after all, a kinder, gentler re-nicknaming than Fish, or even Fishn.

‘The title of the post caught my eye before I noticed it was started by Banjo: “The stepchild of Italian pipes.”  I always enjoy Banjo’s contributions because of the rugged good looks of the pipes he has a knack for acquiring and his keen knowledge of the subjects he covers, and when it comes to pipes the brands of which, most of the time, I find I have never heard but without fail would like to own.  Often spoken in pipe smoking circles is the comment, “That pipe looks good on you,” which is one of those statements that of course in intended to be courteous and friendly but, when considered in literal terms, is preposterous.  Somehow, though, with Banjo the expression is more à propos than anyone I’ve ever seen, even if only in excellent selfies.

His own looks being a cross between Spencer Tracy, who played the down-on-his-luck old Cuban fisherman in the 1958 classic movie version of Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea, and Anthony Quinn, who reprised the role of Santiago in a 1990 TV remake, are complemented to perfection by his good, strong, masculine, bold taste in pipes.  Here he is in an example of one of those apparent self-photos, from the Capitello post I had the good fortune to find.  The self-portrait really is quite good since I decided to contact Banjo and ask for his permission to use it in full rather than lop off the top half of his head for the silly sake of protecting his privacy without even knowing if he minded. When Caminetto Pipes (1968-1979, the official Caminetto Period) stopped production, all by hand, the assorted partners went their own ways. Giuseppe Ascorti produced Sergio pipes for a short time before forming the company bearing his own last name with his son Roberto; Luigi Radice opened Radice Pipes, and Enzo Galluzo, who was the official carver for Caminetto and had worked at Castello and later Ascorti’s shop, founded the Capitello Pipe Company with his partner on the business end, Corrado Ripamonti, c. 1982.  Capitello closed in 1991, according to Banjo “because [Galluzo’s] distributor never paid him for the pipes he sold and without money to pay the bills a great, not well-known company ended its run.”  In 1986, by the way, two years after the death of his father, Roberto Ascorti started the New Caminetto Period.

Banjo wrote, with nostalgic eloquence, of Capitello being the first Italian pipe manufacturer in the 1980s to use oil curing.  The process was patented by the Alfred Dunhill Company Ltd. on November 14, 1918, just 28 days before the signing of the Armistice – at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month – that officially ended World War I (“the War to End All Wars”).  Dunhill’s Patent №. GB119,708 involved immersing natural-finish stummels in olive oil for several weeks before drying with hot air and sandblasting away large rough parts of the early irregular results.  Whether old Alfred in fact invented the procedure is debated, but I’m not going there today, so relax.  At first the use of oil was for aesthetic reasons only, as it gave the outer area of the stummel greater luster.  Pipe collectors and scholars giving every indication of being quarrelsome when it comes to just about everything, the rough effect that seems to have led to the creation of the Shell pipes (and is also the reason for the reddish tinge to the briar in that line) is yet another subject of discord in certain rarefied circles, with an emphasis on circles being never-ending. At any rate, the unavoidable consequences of Dunhill’s approach were unusual shapes that could not be classified according to the official charts until oil curing was “perfected” some years later.

Returning to Banjo’s humble eloquence, he wrote of buying the pipe more than 30 years ago from “someone with much more experience than I who told me it would color much like a Meerschaum does.”  As would most experienced pipesters familiar with the differences of wood and meerschaum, Banjo had his doubts, but he liked the huge, pebbled specimen, so why worry about it?  I can’t help thinking and interjecting the notion that such a refreshing thought process could benefit certain more vocal experts.  To Banjo’s lasting surprise, his old pipe indeed continues to color, just like a well-aged meerschaum.  Banjo noted that today it is difficult to imagine the gorgeous piece of work in the virgin finish he first viewed it.  I suspect it looked something like this other Capitello, minus the smooth finish.

Capitello Airlecchio 773, courtesy Haddock’s Pipes

Capitello’s peculiar, more common designs and crafting include the following.

Corinzio Two Columns Sandblasted Belge, courtesy amaxwell1_eBay

Wax Drip Gotico, courtesy Pipephil

My remaining opening comments are few enough to wrap up in short order, which I will now do.  As far as the farfetched-sounding idea of smoking a wax-dipped pipe goes, see the last link in my Sources below before passing judgment.  Concerning the somewhat confusing list of Italian names – both for some of the companies mentioned and more to the point Capitello and its various lines – my curiosity got the better of me.  As a result, I discovered they have real meanings, and here they are.

  1. Capitello – capital. I sense a dual meaning here, as in the seat of power of a government, etc., as well as the monetary distinction
  2. Caminetto – literally, fireplace, but also used to describe a very hot, small space where objects are forged by craftsmen
  3. Radice – a surname that also means root
  4. Castello – castle
  5. Corinzio – Corinthian. No, not the Corinthian leather used in a certain car promoted by Ricardo Montalbán, but Corinthian architecture, the last and most ornate of the three main orders of ancient Greece and Rome that was characterized by columns. Hence, the Corinzio Two Columns Belge shown above.  I did not find Belge anywhere.
  6. Gotico – Gothic
  7. Jonico – Ionian, or pertaining to the second primary architectural order of ancient Greece and Rome

RESTORATION

The nomenclature is crisp, although I had to edit the color and brightness levels of the photos above to make the stampings clear: on the left shank, lowercase “Capitello,” in quotations with the closing mark in subscript, above JONICO, and below that, to the right, a small square with what appears to be an Ionic column matching the brand’s logo as shown in this photo of a genuine Capitello stem, courtesy of Pipephil.

The symmetry of the classic Dublin shape combined with corresponding tight, vertical grain on the bowl except for the rear, which is more mottled, and the way all of it points to the flawless large bird’s-eye of the rim, transfixed every brain cell I possess related to reason.  My power to resist, at $26.99 with about two days of bidding left and only three other buyers interested, turned to mush like a clay or meerschaum pipe after being retorted with Everclear.   I’m happy to say I never made that mistake but have heard pained accounts from more than one friend who has, none of them more than once.  Thus, I bid $100 on the pipe, thinking that if the bidding inched up $1 at a time I would be safe.  Foolhardy but true!  Not another bid was made.

Scrutinizing each of the plentiful photos taken well and from every angle, except for the color that was a little darker, the only flaw I detected was the worse than average looking but single rim burn.  The description noted the inclusion of a replacement stem which, in my excitement, I must admit I did not notice was left only halfway turned into the shank in the photos.  I should have expected something was up with that. 

The pipe arrived from Daytona Beach, Florida only two days after shipping despite Irma’s devastation that left 80%+ of the power in that area off the grid.  I inspected the pipe, and almost all of it looked very good.  I love the olive wood ferrule.  I tried to tighten the stem.  No-go.  Less than halfway, the Ebonite screeched.  Halfway, I stopped with the certainty the tenon would break if I were to continue.

Now, adjusting the tenon circumference took only a few minutes before it fit as though hand-crafted for the Jonico.  I should add that the stem was straight and needed a gentle curve, as well as removal of slight, almost imperceptible rough edges along the sides, left-over signs of the machines that stamped them in groups.

But the end of the shank was rounded, which I had seen with a few new and restored estate pipes I bought over the years.  I just hadn’t ever given much attention to the stem fittings on these pipes.  My first impulse, therefore, was to order a stem that was the correct diameter for the shank, specifically an army mount, but then I thought, “Why wait?”  Scanning through my photos of various such pipes, I noticed that the one common trait of the stems used is that they look good on the given pipes.  That being true enough for now with mine, and its destination being my shelf, I proceeded to the required stem work until the army mount stem arrives.

I started with feather-light, focused sanding using 400-grit paper followed by micro-meshing from 1500-12000.  This stem was so shiny when I unwrapped it with the pipe that the first sight of it made me fear it might be plastic and hope it would turn out to be acrylic.  The distinct odor of burned rubber and Sulphur that rose to my nose upon sanding cleared that up.   Having already pre-heated the oven to 220° F., I slipped a regular cleaner through the stem’s airhole and placed the whole thing on a small sheet of aluminum foil.After 15 minutes in the cooker, the stem was pliant.  I used the complex tool in the following shot to accomplish most of the task that called for the slightest curve of almost nothing but the mouthpiece.  I returned the stem, already somewhat cooled, to the oven for a few more minutes and made the final, tiny bend by hand, with a cooking mitten and rag of course.  Then I ran cold water from the tap over it and removed the cleaner. As I mentioned earlier, the burn on the rim in the eBay photos worried me, and my un-ease grew when I had my first Close Encounter of the Third Kind.  The concern wasn’t whether I could fix it but how far I would need to go to do so.  The reason was the depth of the affected areas, from the rim scorch that was isolated to one spot but crept into the chamber and ate away at the top of the inner wall most of the way around the top right side.  By no means was this even close to bad as I have come to understand the word in terms of pipe rim repair, but I did not want to alter the uniform, hearty thickness of the wall any more than could be avoided.  With this pipe, re-sizing the rim with a file was like to sacrilege, yet the idea did cross my mind in a sinful flash before I rejected it at the thought of eliminating any significant fraction of a millimeter of the wonderful bird’s-eye.  Have a closer gander at the unfortunate but far less egregious degradation to the inner right rim this beautiful Dublin withstood.I began the only aspect of the refurbish that could be called any kind of challenge with the gentlest approach, purified water and a soft cotton cloth over the entire stummel.  While a fair amount of soot, skin oil and whatnot came off, no amount of scrubbing made a dent, as it were, on the blemish.  Fine grades of sand paper had no effect, either, and so, I worked my way down the numbers and up the grits to my two-in-one sanding sponge, half 180 and the other 150.  Focusing on the deep rim burn spot, I went at it with the 150.  My hand a blur and breaking out in a sweat all over, the removal of the single little spot took closer to 10 than five minutes.  But I’ll be a turkey’s behind if the dang thang didn’t disappear on me!  I reversed the harsh effects of the 150-grit sponge, minimal as they were because they only rid the fine Mediterranean briar of something that had no place pocking it, with 220- and 400-grit paper before the full scale of micro-mesh pads.  While I was in the groove with the micro-mesh, I did the whole stummel.  I remember coming across one scratch big enough to warrant 320-grit sandpaper, but to save my life I can’t remember where it was, and now it’s gone.  Oh, well.  C’est la vie!

Happy with the absence of the nasty, pernicious burn mark, I found an old, small favorite piece of 150-grit paper that’s perfect for pipe chambers and, focusing again, only on the upper circle inside the chamber, succeeded in eliminating the unwanted beginning of a groove caused by what I can only imagine was a drunken fit of excessive lighting (as in the previous owner passing out while flicking his Zippo and only coming to when he burned his thumb).  I followed the 150-grit strip with the 220- and 400-grits again, and after much careful tapping and blowing of soot and wiping the chamber clean with a piece of paper towel and alcohol, I saw that the damage was repaired, and the chamber was down to bright, clean briar as far as I had gone.  Repeating the process in steady advances down the chamber, 30 or so minutes more passed before the entire inside of the chamber was down to the wood. The end of this special restoration nigh, the time had come to re-stain the rim that had lost more than a little of its fine darker color.  I rejected the notion of making the Capitello Jonico Dublin a two-tone, which is one of my favorite habits with many pipes, and chose instead to apply a couple of Qwik-Koats of Lincoln Brown Boot Dye, alcohol-based.  You know I had my Bic handy to flick, but at least I was sober, safe and sane.Taking off the charred stain and returning the rim color to the original shiny dark brown was simple with 1800 followed by 4000-12000 micro-mesh.

As a general rule, I don’t leave the cleaning and retorting of a pipe’s insides until just before the last step, but this time I became so wrapped up in the stem bending, burn removing and, for the first time, eliminating all but the ghost of the original owner’s tobacco char that I just forgot until the mental checklist time arrived.  Whomever the previous owner was loved this pipe despite the one misadventurous rim burn incident.  I can tell, because I only needed six regular cleaners half-soaked in alcohol with the dry ends to follow up each run through the shank before the last came out clean both sides.  Also, the retort was fast and easy with only three Pyrex test tubes of alcohol boiled through the pipe.

Strolling from the living room to the “workshop” (my bedroom still, for now, but next month or November at the latest I’ll start paying an old-time rent control-level extra charge for the spare third bedroom in the house and begin assembling the proper tools for this work), I plugged in the electric buffer.  Before that, I asked the cats to leave, which they did because for some reason they don’t like the noise of the machine.  I closed the door and freshened the brown Tripoli wheel I’ve been using to give more luster to the wood, made sure there were no papers or other light objects that might blow away nearby, and turned on the juice.  The whir of a wood buffing wheel is one of the happiest sounds I know.  Lightly turning the wooden stummel with confident firmness over the spinning cloth buffer is likewise one of the finest feelings, because of the completion it brings to another project.

The brown Tripoli buffing finished, I wrapped a clean cotton cloth around the wood and, with both hands, worked the excess compound and a couple of streaks, part of it deeper into the stummel and the rest onto the cloth.  I’ve been doing this lately instead of the alternative clean buffing wheel method, and it works just as well.  Then I repeated the process with a coat of Carnauba wax, and after rubbing it with another cotton cloth gave it one more roll on the Carnauba wheel before the final rub-down.  I buffed the stem with a single coat of Carnauba and rubbed it smooth of excess wax.  For now, it is aligned with the shank as close to an army mount as I could approximate with a regular narrow tapered stem.

CONCLUSION

René Magritte had a brilliant, often hilarious imagination fueled by his wild, wicked (as my generation used it to mean “awesome” or “totally [rad]”) sense of humor, even if he apparently didn’t smoke a pipe – or anything else.  Take a close look at this photo of him as a young man, cribbed from Pinterest, and you’ll see the cigarette in his mouth appears to be backward, if it’s a cigarette at all and not a pencil.  If I had to guess, and I do, I would say he appreciated the beauty of everything in life as he saw it.  Pipes being a big part of culture during Magritte’s too-short time in this world before he moved on to the Totally Surreal Higher Place, my take on the painting I used as an atypical opening quote is that it is at the very least double-edged: the artist’s rendering of a pipe in a piece of art does not make it a pipe, and the conspicuously bland billiard he chose to create with paint and paper, without doubt using the greatest consideration of the multitude of options available to his ingenious mind, is something one might find on a basic pipe chart if they were as well illustrated as this work.  That is why I chose the subtle example of the surreal to open this blog.  Look at any pipe made by Capitello, and if you speak French, you would exclaim, “C’est une pipe [That’s a pipe]!”

SOURCES

http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-c2.html
https://dutchpipesmoker.wordpress.com/tag/oil-curing/
https://patentscope.wipo.int/search/en/result.jsf
http://loringpage.com/pipearticles/First%20Shell.htm
https://pipedia.org/wiki/Dunhill
http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/infos/wax-drip-pipes.html