Tag Archives: topping a bowl

Refurbishing a Bjarne Hand Made Nosewarmer


Blog by Steve Laug

In the past weeks I finished up some pipes for a guy here in Vancouver and when he came to pick them up he brought some more for me to work on for him. I finished up some of the ones on the worktable so I decided it was time to work on these. The third of them is a Bjarne bent apple nosewarmer with a short stem. It is another really beautiful pipe. The shape, the rich reddish brown finish along with the black acrylic stem with the bj logo all combine to make this a uniquely beautiful pipe.   The bowl had a thin and uneven cake. The upper half of the bowl was more thickly caked than the bottom half. I would need to ream it to even out the cake. There was some slight darkening on the rim top as well as dents and nicks in the top of the rim. The inside of the shank was dirty and needed to be cleaned. The black Lucite stem had tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside of the stem near the button. There was one deep tooth mark on the top edge of the button. The short saddle stem looked good otherwise. I took photos of the bowl and stem to give a clear picture of the condition of the pipe before I started to work on it.I did a quick review of the history of the brand by turning to Pipedia. Here is the link https://pipedia.org/wiki/Bjarne. I quote from part of that article to give a short synopsis of the history of the brand.

With a demanding job it was hard to find time to make pipes in that quantity, and Bjarne had to choose. His dream had always been to have a company of his own, and if he wanted fo fulfill that dream, now was the time to do it. But to leave a promising career, in which he probably would have become a Danish ambassador in some foreign country, was indeed a big step to take. “Many thought I was crazy”, Bjarne says, “and one of them was my wife. But she supported my decision anyway.”

He made that decision in 1973, and became a fulltime pipemaker. But he soon realized that it was impossible for one person to handle all of it–he could not make a lot of pipes, sell them and collect money for them all by himself. So he decided to find some pipemakers to help him. In those days Preben Holm was one of the biggest makers of fancy pipes, and he employed a great number of pipemakers. But not all of them were happy to work for Preben,m so Bjarne recruited a few of those.

During the first years all of Bjarne’s pipes were sold in the USA, but at the end of the 1970s he visited the pipe show in Frandfurt and found that there was a market for his there as well. However, he found that the Germans wanted a completely different style of pipes–pipes in traditional shapes. So if he wanted to be successful there, he had to add a completely new line to his production. “It was not easy, we learned it the hard way,” Bjarne says. But they certainly succeeded, and for a number of years Germany became the top-selling market for Bjarne’s pipes.

The photo below shows pictures of Bjarne Nielsen. The photo is from the Pipedia article and comes from Doug Valitchka as noted below the photo.I then turned to the Pipephil website – http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-b5.html  and did a screen capture of the article there on Bjarne pipes. Bjarne Nielsen distributed his own brand of pipes carved by Danish Pipemakers. It is stamped on the underside of the shank with Bjarne over Hand Made in Denmark. There are no other stampings or numbers on the shank. The pipe was obviously made prior to 2008 when Nielsen died.I started my clean up on this pipe by reaming out the bowl and smoothing out the cake on the walls. I reamed it back with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I sanded it smooth and even with a dowel wrapped in 220 grit sandpaper. Once that was finished the walls were smooth and undamaged and the surface ready for a new cake.I worked over the rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I removed the most of the damage to the rim top with the micromesh sanding pads. I removed the area on the rear that had been darkened. I polished the exterior of the bowl with the pads at the same time. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth. I touched up the cleaned up rim top with a Maple stain pen to match the colour of the rest of the bowl. The match was perfect and once the bowl was waxed and polished would be indistinguishable from the rest.I rubbed down the briar with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the finish with my fingertips and finished working it in with a shoe brush. I worked over the rim top to blend it into the rest of the stain. The balm works to clean, preserve and enliven the briar. I really like the effect of the product on briar so I took some photos of the pipe at this point. I cleaned out the airway in the stem and shank, the mortise and shank interior with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. It did not take as much as I expected to remove all the tars and oils in the shank and mortise. The stem had some debris in the edges of the slot in the stem.I set the bowl aside and turned to address the stem. I sanded the tooth marks and chatter out of the stem surface with some folded 220 grit sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads to remove the scratches in the acrylic. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I polished the stem with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine polishes. I wiped it down with a cotton pad and gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. I set the stem aside to dry. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I carefully avoided the stamping on the underside of the shank. I gave both the smooth bowl and the 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. I have five more pipes to finish for him – one move from his personal rotation and four of them that are some finds he made while pipe hunting. This is a fun bunch of pipes to work on. I look forward to moving through the rest of them. Thanks for looking.  

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Restoring a Gutta-Percha Woman’s Leg Pipe with a Briar Bowl


Blog by Steve Laug

On Friday my wife and I took a drive out to one of our favourite spots near Vancouver to do a bit of walking and hunting. She likes looking for old cookbooks and I of course am always on the prowl for old pipes. We walked about for a while and enjoyed the beautiful day. We stopped by two antique malls and spent some time looking. She found nothing for her collection but I found three old pipes – A Parker Super Briar Bark 345 Bulldog in decent shape, a French Made Algerian Briar diamond shank Billiard and a Gutta-Percha Leg shaped pipe with a briar bowl. It was in the worst condition of the three pipes.The black cast/molded Gutta-Percha base was shaped like a female leg and even had a ballet slipper on the extended foot. The airway came out at the end of the toe. The base was nicked and dull looking with none of the rich glow that I know comes when the material is polished. But by far the worst part of the pipe was that some had dipped the briar bowl in a gold metallic paint rubbed it into the grain and then covered it with multiple layers of Varathane plastic coat. They had even dipped the threads on the nipple that screwed into the base in the plastic coat and painted the inside of the bowl as well. I say that was the worst part because otherwise the pipe was unsmoked. It would have been NOS (New Old Stock) before whoever did this abomination to the pipe. The bowl is normally a rich reddish brown colour in all the variations that I have seen on the internet so the gold and plastic finish would need to go. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show you the way it looked when I got it – I don’t know if some of you like the look – but I don’t. It is like painting an antique wooden piece with crackly gold paint to give it the look of hammered metal. It just does not work for me. I also took some photos of the base to show the condition of the mouthpiece end of the pipe. There were some nicks in the material but no tooth marks or chatter and the orific airway in the end of the toes was undamaged.I took photos of the bowl with it removed from the base to show how it had been painted with streaks to make it look like vertical grain – it was not as the wood was smooth and bits of it peaked through the gaudy gold finish. You can also see the thick plastic coat on the nipple that is threaded into the bowl almost filling in all of the threads. I topped the end of the nipple with 220 grit sandpaper on the topping board to remove the thick plastic coat that was not even smooth on that portion of the bowl. I did the same with the bowl to remove the plastic and metallic gold paint. Those areas definitely looked better to me but the bowl was a long way from looking normal.I tried wiping the bowl down with acetone to break through the plastic coat – no luck. The brown stains on the cotton pad come from the nipple end and the rim top where I had broken through the finish. There was only one way to remove this abominable coat of plastic and that was to sand it until it was gone… not my favourite thing. Think twice before any of you put that stuff on a pipe. It is truly awful and stops the wood from breathing.I sanded the bowl with 180 grit sandpaper and was able to break through the plastic coat and the gold coat. Underneath the bowl was nicked and damaged. The majority of the damaged spots were merely built up plastic coat and sanding them smoothed things out. But some of them were deep gouges in the wood. I sanded, cleaned with alcohol and filled those in with clear super glue and briar dust. When the repairs had cured I sanded them smooth with 180 and 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface of the bowl. I sanded the bowl with a medium and a fine grit sanding sponge to remove the remnants of the repair and the plastic coat. It took a bit of sanding but the finish was finally smooth to touch. I sanded the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads to smooth things out more.With the bowl smooth and clean I decided to stain it with the tan aniline stain I have. I am sure that it is mislabeled as it is far too red to be tan. I figured it would work well with this bowl.I wiped the bowl down with alcohol on cotton pads to even the stain coat and make it a bit more transparent. The trouble was that all of the flaws and nicks in the wood showed up then. I gave it a second coat of stain using a Mahogany stain pen to darken the overall surface of the bowl and still leave it transparent enough to see the grain in the wood. I rubbed some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the bowl to enliven, clean and protect the newly stained bowl. I let it sit for a few moments then buffed it off with a cotton cloth. I took photos of the bowl at this point to show how things were developing. I set the bowl aside and worked on the base. I cleaned out the debris of time on the inside of the base with cotton swabs and alcohol. There were not a lot of tars as the pipe was unsmoked. But there was dust from sitting all these years since it was made.I polished the base with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the base down after each pad with Obsidian Oil and rubbed it into the material. The pictures tell the story as the base begins to develop a shine. I further polished it with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to remove more of the scratches from the Gutta-Percha base. I rub the polish on with my fingertips and polish it with a cotton pad to raise the shine. I buffed the bowl and the base independently of each other with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to remove minute scratches and give the materials a shine. I gave both parts multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed them with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I put the parts back together and hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The photos below show the finished and restored pipe. I personally like the rich brown over the metallic gold on the bowl when I got the pipe. The dimensions of the pipe are petite – the length from thigh to tip of the toe is 5 ½ inches, the height from the knee to the thigh is 2 inches, the outer diameter of the thigh is 1 1/8 inches and the chamber diameter is 1 inch. It is a unique piece of pipe history and joins the rest of the Gutta-Percha pipes in my collection. Thanks for walking through the restoration of this leg pipe with me.

A Tale of Three Churchwardens


Blog by Dal Stanton

The first of the 3 was true born, but of hobbit stature.  He dreamed of walking in the world of men and of wizards seeing eye to eye but anxious to serve.  The second was bound to the first but he held no claim to royal lineage. He stood proud in the best sense of the word and cherished his Green Lands heritage and history.  The third of the 3, was free and bound to no man.  He was born into humbler circumstances but found favor in the Maker’s eye and the Maker dubbed him The Wise a valuable gift to any man.  All 3 strong, bound together in one tale, bring hope to the Daughters of men. 

I am sure that if J.R.R. Tolkien were to write this blog about the restoration and creation of 3 Churchwardens, he might begin the tale something like this.  Every pipe man and pipe women, if they do not have a Churchwarden in their collections, are hoping one day to find one – each looking for that special bond.  Why?  Simply stated, Churchwardens are cool.  I have a Churchwarden that I’ve named, Gandalf – there are probably many Churchwardens out there bearing that name.  Why?  Simply stated, Gandalf the Wizard – first The Grey then The White – is cool.  He smoked a Churchwarden like no one else, packed with ‘Old Toby’ and who doesn’t want to be like Gandalf?

There’s A LOT of information on the internet easily obtained by a simple search of ‘Churchwarden’ and I don’t want to repeat what’s easily found.  The short of it is this – ‘Churchwarden’ is an old shape as far as pipes go.  Of course, they were prevalent throughout Middle Earth.  As the story goes, there were men back in the days when they didn’t lock churches at night, who were employed as ‘wardens’ of the church – whose responsibility was to guard the premises.  To be faithful to their charge, they were not allowed to leave the walls of the church.  That created an unusual dilemma between guarding the holy confines and the desire to enjoy one’s evening smoke.  The moral dilemma was creatively solved by a stem.  The length of the stem enabled the church wardens to tend to their evening bowls as they stood vigilantly inside the church walls while the stems extended through the windows…so the story goes (see Pipedia’s article).

Another very interesting factoid about Churchwardens comes from Bill Burney’s Pipedia description of the Churchwarden that it is unique among all pipes:

I want to include one other interesting link for those of you who are Middle Earth and Churchwarden enthusiast.  The question has always been asked by discerning folk, while Gandalf was smoking his Warden, or Bilbo, Merry and Pippen were puffing on theirs, what exactly was packed in their bowls??  Of course, we all know that the bowls had ‘Old Toby’ packed in them – or simply, ‘Pipeweed’.  This link goes to a fun site that explores the minutia of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth including the story of pipe smoking and the mystery of what exactly inhabited the bowls of Middle Earth!  Enjoy!

The first of the 3 was true born, but of hobbit stature.  He dreamed of walking in the world of men and of wizards seeing eye to eye but anxious to serve.

My ‘Tolkienesque’ opening, like Tolkien’s ‘Lord of the Rings’, holds some truth in the telling.  The ‘Tale of the Three Churchwardens’ started when I received an email from Toby – yes, I’m not making this up!  Gandalf smoked ‘Old Toby’ and a younger Toby from Germany wrote me about commissioning the “Imperial Churchwarden” (the ‘true born’ Churchwarden with royalty) as a birthday gift for a friend which he discovered in my website’s section, For ‘Pipe Dreamers’ Only.  We came to an accord and I put the Imperial Churchwarden from France in the queue to be restored in time for his friend’s birthday celebration. Later, when I found the Imperial in the “Help Me!” Basket, I was a little concerned.  The stem was shorter than I had originally thought – it was more of ‘Hobbit stature’ – a miniature Warden.  The stem was 5 ¾ inches beyond the shank or the total length of the pipe was about 8 ¾ inches or 22 cm – not really the coveted ‘Gandalf’ size.  I wrote to Toby with a proposal of adding some stature to the Imperial with a longer Churchwarden stem I had on hand – it would be more of a ‘Gandalf statured’ Churchwarden as a result.  I sent this picture with the proposed stem giving a total length of 11 inches or 28 ½ cm.  My Gandalf was on top for comparison.  Toby liked the idea and said that his friend was a huge ‘Lord of the Rings’ fan and that an extra 5 cms was a good investment for his friend to have a ‘Gandalf’ pipe.  

The second was bound to the first but he held no claim to royal lineage.  He stood proud in the best sense of the word and cherished his Green Lands heritage and history.

Then Toby asked if I might have another long warden stem in my stores – he thought it might be good for him to add a Churchwarden to his collection – perhaps that both he and his friend could blow smoke rings into the air in proper wizard fashion on his friend’s day of celebration!  I ordered 3 more 8.5” Churchwarden stems from Tim West at http://www.jhlowe.com and they arrived in Bulgaria from the US with a returning colleague.  At this point I moved from restoring a Churchwarden (true born) to creating a Churchwarden with re-purposed bowls.  I went through my stores to find potential bowls to be wedded to a Warden stem and transformed to a Churchwarden (thank you Bill Burney!).  I sent two options next to the Imperial – a Dublin and a Rhodesian.  Toby chose the Dublin with the canted bowl which to him was more ‘Gandalf-like’.  And so, the Dublin will mast the Churchwarden stem – representing a strong and resilient people proud of their ‘Green’ heritage and history.

The third of the 3, was free and bound to no man.  He was born into humbler circumstances but found favor in the Maker’s eye and the Maker dubbed him ‘The Wise’ a valuable gift to any man.                     

All 3 strong, bound together in one tale, bring hope to the Daughters of men.

With two Churchwardens bound to Toby – one for his friend and one for himself, I was thinking, while I’m working on restoring and creating these Churchwardens, why not fashion another to put in The Pipe Steward Store for another steward to add to their collection.  I found a small bowl that I really liked – a Yello Bole ‘Air-control’ Imported Briar.  I looked at the Air-Control stem mechanism and my thought was that no one will ever want this Yelo Bole as he is now attached to his ‘high-tech’ stem, but I really liked the Apple shaped bowl.  I think he’ll look great mounted on a long-bent stem – a third Churchwarden, a wise choice for anyone wanting to add a Churchwarden to his collection!  All three Churchwardens will benefit the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls, the ‘Daughters of men’ who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.I want to thank Charles Lemon of https://dadspipes.com  up front for his input that led me to add two new tools to my tool box and expanding my ‘restorative reach’ with pipes.  The first is a PIMO Tenon Turning Tool that I ordered at Vermont Freehand after seeing the tool on Charles’ Worktable and Man Cave blog.  Charles’ later restoration, Re-Stemming a Butz-Choquin Marigny Deluxe Hand-Made Calabash was very helpful providing a step by step description of its use in replacing a tenon and the use of the tool.  The other wonderful tool that I coveted reading the same ‘Re-Stemming’ blog was the electronic caliper which Charles uses hand in hand with his many stem repairs.  I hadn’t seen an electronic caliper in Bulgaria, but then, I had never looked for one either!  Joy of joys, I found a German made electronic caliper in the local ‘Bricolage’ – I was a happy camper!  My new toys – that is, tools 😊 pictured next. As I approach the restoration and creation of the 3 Churchwardens, I will try to work in the reverse – starting with the ‘Free Born’ Yello Bole, then the ‘Green Land’ Dublin and finally, the ‘True Born’ French made Imperial.  Why this order?  As I get used to my new tools, I would rather start with the ‘non-commissioned’ pipe first to hone in on the techniques, working toward the most important Churchwarden, the Imperial, destined to be a gift.  To experiment and practice, I have already turned one stem with the PIMO tenon turning tool – a French Jeantet Jumbo which came to me without a matching stem and has been waiting patiently.  Without description, this is what I did last night while watching the World Cup match between Sweden and Mexico (my wife rooted for Mexico where she grew up!).  Sweden prevailed.  The Jeantet Jumbo will be completed sometime in the future – he’s a ‘big boy’ pipe! Turning now to cleaning the stummels of the Churchwardens, I start first by reaming each with the Pipnet Reaming Kit.  Each stummel uses only the smallest of the 4 blade heads available.  I then fine tuning each with the Savinelli Fitsall tool, followed by sanding the chambers with 240 grade paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen.  Finally, each is cleaned with a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95%.  After clearing the light to moderate cake in each bowl getting down to the briar for a fresh start, the chambers look good in each – no problems I can see. Turning now to the external surface I use undiluted Murphy’s Oil soap and cotton pads to scrub each.  The Dublin (center above) has the most lava over the rim, while the other two, not as much.  In addition to cotton pads, I utilize a brass wire brush for the rims and use a knife blade carefully to scrape the Dublin rim.  The Dublin and the Imperial will both need some sanding on the rim to clean them up.  All 3 stummels’ finishes reveal that they are thin and worn.  Murphy’s took much of the finish off but not all with the Yello Bole and Imperial bowls.  The Dublin’s finish is gone.  During the cleaning, I discover that I missed the remains of a broken off tenon in the mortise of the Dublin.  I keep screws of different sizes on hand for just these occasions.  Using a small diameter screw, I screw into the airway hole of the tenon just enough to grab some vulcanite and gently pull out.  I don’t want to insert it too far into the broken tenon to not expand it and crack the shank.  As hoped, a little pressure and thankfully, the tenon comes loose. With the mortise cleared in the Dublin, I proceed to clean the internals of all 3.  I use pipe cleaners and cotton buds dipped in isopropyl 95% to do the dirty work.  Here is a truism: Just because you’re cleaning a smaller stummel doesn’t mean it’s a smaller mess!  Each stummel required boocoos of cotton buds, pipe cleaners – I also scrape the sides with a sharp dental probe as well as hand-turning drill bits down the mortises to excavate the tars and oils.  The pictures show the finish line of sorts – later, before I turn out the lights, I’ll give each a kosher salt/alcohol soak through the night to provide more stealth cleaning.To remove the old finish from the stummels I wipe them down with isopropyl 95% and cotton pads.  The alcohol fully removes the old tired finish off the Imperial and the Dublin, but the Yello Bole’s old finish is persistent.  The first picture below reveals the sheen left on the Yello Bole but the others are dull.  To deal with the ‘Candie Apple’ finish that remains on the Yello Bole stummel I use acetone on a cotton pad.  This does the trick and now we’re down to the briar on all the stummels.With the stummels clean inside and out, the next step is fashioning the Churchwarden stems from the precast stems I acquired for the job.  I start with the Yello Bole by making an outside measurement of the original stem’s tenon which, of course, fits perfectly.  The measurement with the electronic caliper is 6.83mm.  From Charles Lemon’s blog that I noted above, Re-Stemming a Butz-Choquin Marigny Deluxe Hand-Made Calabash, Charles recommended a conservative approach to using the PIMO tenon turning tool which I employed on my first run with the Jeantet Jumbo, to first do a test cut of the tenon at approximately 40mm more than the target measurement.  This allows a more conservative sanding of the tenon to gradually bring it down to a good fit – not too snug and not too loose.  The Pimo tool comes with a drill bit to pre-drill the tenon airway on the precast stem to serve as a guide for the guide pin on the tool.  Adding my margin of error of 40mm to 6.83mm target size leaves me a practice cut of about 7.23mm to aim at for the conservative approach.  The pictures move through the steps. The tenon turning tool is in the drill shock and when powered rotates at high speed. With the cast stem’s airway guided by the guide pin, I push the stem steadily against the revolving blade of the tool and it peels away the vulcanite.  The blade peels the vulcanite in spaghetti-type curls.  My first practice cut is measured, and it is 8.45.  Another 1.20 mm can come off.  With the enclosed allen wrench, I adjust the Pimo tool to remove more vulcanite and the next measurement is 7.34mm.  That is a .51mm difference and places me in the conservative sanding zone.  Now, I complete the cut of the entire tenon – all the way to the face of the stem.  I haven’t figured out how to minimize the vulcanite shavings that spew out everywhere!  I note that the original stem’s tenon is shorter.  I use a sanding drum on the Dremel and take off the excess. The cut looks good and now it’s time to take file and sanding papers to gradually bring the tenon to size. Now, as I watch several episodes of Grimm which I discovered on Netflix here in Bulgaria, I gradually sand the tenon to a snug but not too tight fit.  I use coarse 120 grade paper to start – always sanding around the tenon to maintain proper round.  Then, using a flat needle file and 240 grit paper, I fine tune the tenon sanding – again, maintaining proper round by sanding around the tenon evenly.  I must admit, when the tenon gets down to the target size – when it starts to marginally slide into the mortise, my stress level increases!  I know how easily one can crack a shank by rushing the tenon’s entry into the mortise.  It takes ‘100s’ of sanding cycles followed by testing the fit (carefully!) before the tenon safely and fully engages and finds a new home!  Success!The tenon is snug and secure, and now I take some pictures to show the ridges that need to be removed and tapered through the shank and stem.  Also, the precast stem has casting ridges down the length on both sides and the button is in very rough form.  The entire Churchwarden stem needs to be sanded, smoothed and shaped along with the shank/stem transition.One picture to show the growth in stature this Yello Bole stummel now enjoys before retiring the old stem to the stem bucket.Several episodes of Grimm later, I’m satisfied with the rough sanding and shaping of the stem.  I show the full length and then some closeups of the shank/stem transition and the button shaping.  I like what I see. The next step is to introduce a gentle bend to the stem.  This will aid the future steward of this ‘Free Born’ to know which way the stem is properly positioned – there is an up and down after the custom sanding and fit – there is no standard stem fit – echoing the words of Charles Lemon’s blog!  To give me an idea of where and how much the bend should be, I used my Gandalf as a template on a piece of paper.  I also draw an outline of the original, smaller Imperial stem for comparison.  I mark the stem at the point that Gandalf’s stem’s bend began.  Bends are very subjective, but this gives me an idea what to shoot for.  After I insert pipe cleaners in both ends of the stem to guard the airway integrity during the bending, I heat the target area of the stem with a hot air gun and bend it when it becomes supple.  I take the bend to the faucet with cool tap water to set the curve.  At the start, I found that I was bending too much.  Thankfully, vulcanite is very forgiving – to correct the bend all I do is re-heat the stem and it straightens on its own.  After a few tries, I find a bend I’m happy with – a compromise between Gandalf’s slightly longer stem and the shorter, original Imperial. I put the Yello Bole ‘Free Born’ aside and now turn to the Dublin.   The following pictures are lacking my standard background working mat – it needed to be cleaned!  I start by doing an inside measurement of the mortise – 7.19mm.  That is the target width of the tenon that is shaped.  I use the drill bit provided and drill the airway to receive the PIMO guide pin.  I then bring the blade down to just touching the tenon and cut a test like before and measure – 8.15mm.  That leaves .96mm to the target size.  I make a quarter turn of the wrench, closing the blade that much and take another cut – 7.46.  The quarter turn took .69mm off the tenon.  I now have .27 mm of ‘fat’ left on the tenon.  Again, the pictures show the steps. Now, well within the conservative sanding zone, I use a flat needle file and 240 grit paper and sand the tenon down to fit with appropriate snugness.  I then sand down the stem and button as before with the Yello Bole.  I’m aiming for a fluid transition from shank to stem.  The Dublin shapes up nicely!I use the same template to give the Dublin’s new fitted stem a gentle bend over the hot air gun. Now to the Imperial.  The same methodology is employed as with the former 2.  I fast track describing the process with each picture.I drill the airway to guide the Pimo guide pin.The mortise is measured for the target tenon size – 7.56mm.With the PIMO tool I cut a ‘fat’ initial tenon that measures about 40mm larger than the target – conservative sanding zone. I measure the length of the original Imperial stem tenon and shorten the precast Churchwarden tenon to match using the flat needle file as a saw.After sanding the tenon down to a snug fit, I’m left with filing and sanding the ridge and tapering the warden stem.  I cover the Imperial’s nomenclature with masking tape to protect it from the shank sanding.After some filing with a flat needle file and sanding with 240 grit paper, the transition from the shank to the Warden stem is shaped and the button is shaped from the rough precast stem. As with the other two, I heated the Warden stem with a hot gun and when it became supple I give it a slight, gentle flowing bend and seal the bend under cool tap water.The 3 are looking good and the transformation is taking shape!I then take each of the Warden stems through a wet sanding with 600 grit paper and then used 0000 grade steel wool to continue the sanding but also buffing up the fresh vulcanite.  To hydrate each of the 3 Wardens I wipe the stems and stummels with light paraffin oil (mineral oil in Bulgaria), which serves to give me a sneak peak at the finished Churchwarden pipes.  I like what I see!With my day coming to a close, I utilize the night by allowing the stummels to clean further by using a kosher salt and alcohol soak.  I fashion cotton ‘wicks’ from cotton balls and insert them down the mortises into the airways.  They act to draw the additional tars and oils out of the briar.  I then fill each bowl with kosher salt which leaves no aftertaste as iodized salt does.  I then fill the bowls with isopropyl 95% until the alcohol surfaces over the salt.  I top each stummel off in a few minutes and I turn out the lights.The next morning, I wasn’t disappointed.  The salt in each bowl had darkened and each of the wicks had discolored indicating further extraction of the tars and oils.  The salt went into the waste basket and I cleared the excess salt by wiping the bowls with paper towel and blowing with some force through the mortises.  I also follow with pipe cleaners and cotton buds to make sure all was clean.  Only the Dublin resisted further but soon pipe cleaners and cotton buds were coming out clean.  Stummels are cleaned and ready for their future stewards!  The picture shows the final carnage.Now, turning from the labor-intensive stem work, I look at the stummels.  Starting with the ‘Free Born’ Yello Bole that drew my attention.  The small Apple shape fits well the classic Churchwarden motif.  The grain is active with lateral grain expressing in bird’s eye perspective on the sides.  There are some fills in the stummel – one larger one on the right side of the stummel then a few pocket fills.  The fills all seem solid, but I will keep my eye on them as I sand. The rim is darkened from tobacco lighting and the inner edge of the rim is scorched.  I decide to give the rim a very light topping using 600 grade paper – more of a clean up to reestablish crisp lines and to remove the charring.  I use a kitchen chopping board and put the 600 paper on it for the topping.  It doesn’t take much. To address the normal nicks and dents on the stummel I use micromesh pads 1500 to 2400 and wet sand the stummel.  After the wet sanding I again look at the old fills that caught my attention before to see if they softened.  They remain solid, but I can see very small pockets that might benefit from repair.  I do not dig out the fills but simply painted the fills with a very thin layer of thin CA glue with a tooth pick – like the repair to miniscule air pockets that emerge with a CA glue/charcoal patch on vulcanite stems.  The painting is thin, so it cures very quickly, and I focus sand the spots again starting with the 1500 micromesh pad to the present was sufficient.  There is no impact on the surrounding briar.  I complete the micromesh cycles by dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  I keep the Warden stem mounted on the stummel to guard against shouldering the shank face – keeping a nice seamless transition from shank to Warden stem.Here I picture the right side of the stummel to show the results of the ‘paint patching’ the larger fill and a few on the shank.  It blended well. Now, the Dublin is next in line.  This Dublin has ‘Selected Briar’ stamped on the left side of the shank.  It has nice looking briar, but the finish has lost its luster – it’s dull, tired and bored.  The rim is dark and has several dings on the edge.  There is one noticeable fill on the right front of the Dublin stummel.  The canted bowl of a Dublin has always attracted me and when Toby chose the Dublin to mast the Warden stem, I agreed it was a good choice – it will be an impressive looking Churchwarden.  I take a few pictures to get a closer look. I start by taking the Dublin to the topping board using 240 grit paper.  Removing the tired finish and re-establishing the lines of the rim will go a long way in sharpening this stummel.  After turning the inverted stummel on the 240 paper a few revolutions, I switch too 600 grade paper and smooth out the scratches of the 240.  Then, using 120 grit paper I cut an internal bevel on the rim followed by 240 and 600 grade papers.  I also cut a very small bevel on the external edge of the rim with the 240 and 600 papers.  I create the bevels to soften the look of the stummel and to me, it’s a classy touch.Next, I take the stummel through the full micromesh pad cycle by wet sanding with 1500 to 2400, followed by dry sanding using pads 3200 to 4000 and then 6000 to 12000.  The Dublin’s attitude is shaping up nicely! Turning now to the ‘True Born’ Churchwarden, the nomenclature stamped on the left side of the shank is a cursive, ‘Imperial’ over ‘CHURCHWARDEN’ in full block letters.  ‘Algerian Briar’ is stamped on the right.  The COM is France, stamped in very small block letters on the lower shank along the shank face.  These pictures show what I see. It did not take long to match the unique ‘Imperial’ nomenclature found in Pipedia’s very short article about the Imperial Tobacco Co. referencing Lopes:

From Pipes, Artisans and Trademarks, by Jose Manuel Lopés’

The Imerial Tobacco Co. (Imperial Tobacco Ltd.) was founded in 1901 through the merger of several British tobacco companies. In 1902 it went into partnership with the American Tobacco Company to found the British American Tobacco Company.

Brands involved: Comoy’sBewlayNordingOgden’sSalmon & Gluckstein, and Steel’s

This example was provided by the courtesy Doug Valitchka to let me know that I had locked into the right company.Pipedia’s article on Imperial Brands goes into more of the history of the multitude of acquisitions that happened in the early 1900s to maintain competitive edge.  Today, Imperial Brands is an international consortium primarily involved in cigarette sales and is based in the UK.  I found only one reference in the article to a French-based connection referencing the closure of a factory in Nantes, France, in 2016.  The company website, http://www.imperialbrandsplc.com contains an extensive history of the company, but I found no references to pipe productions in France!  In Pipedia and in Pipephil – Imperial, references to Imperial, the country of manufacturing is consistently the UK and no mention of France.  So, the French connection to this True Born will remain shrouded in mystery!

The Imperial stummel has a dulled finish as the Dublin but promises a very nice briar grain beneath.  The bowl and rim have normal wear nicks and dents.  I also detect residue shininess of old finish that didn’t come off when I cleaned with Murphy’s Oil Soap. I quickly dispatch this using a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95%.Inspecting the surface I find on the left side of the shank, near the ‘Imperial’ stamping, a chip that needs patching. I mix a small batch of CA glue and briar dust to patch the chip – this will blend well after sanded down.  I put a small mound of briar dust on an index card and place next to it a drop of regular CA glue.  I mix a small bit of the briar dust into the glue and when I find the resulting putty about the consistency of molasses, I apply it to the chip and put the stummel aside to cure. While the patch is curing, the large job of continuing the sanding of the Churchwarden stems jumps to the fore.  I decide to do all 3 Wardens together by first wet sanding using micromesh pads 1500 to 2400.  I follow by dry sanding using pads 3200 to 4000 and then 6000 to 12000.  After each set of three pads, I apply Obsidian Oil to each stem to vitalize the vulcanite.  There’s a LOT of vulcanite real estate to sand with a Churchwarden stem!  It’s also not easy taking pictures of the long Warden stems. Turning again to the bowls, and the Imperial’s cured patch of CA glue and briar dust, I carefully file the mound/excess down toward the briar surface.  I’m careful to stay on the excess patch material so not to damage the nearby briar and nomenclature.  I then switch to 240 paper, rolled tightly and then 600.  The patch looks great. As I take a closer look at the Imperial stummel, the rim is blackened on the internal edge.  I start by giving the bowl a very light topping with 600 grade sanding paper to clean it and to reestablish lines.  I then bevel the internal rim edge enough to clean it up as well as giving the external rim edge a bevel to soften the rim and to ‘class it up’ a bit. I like how it’s shaping up. With the rim restoration complete at this level, I use micromesh pads 1500 to 2400 and wet sand the entire stummel.  I follow with dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and finish with 6000 to 12000. I have noticed on the shank a lightened area that was a result of the stem/shank fitting process where more sanding was necessary.  To darken and blend this area, I use an oak Furniture stain stick to do the job and it looks good.  I take a picture.Now, to deepen and enrich the briar of the French made Imperial Churchwarden, I apply Before and After Restoration Balm to the briar surface.  I put some on my fingers and work it into the surface.  The Balm does an amazing job bringing out the richness and the luster of the briar grain that is already beautiful.  After about 20 minutes, I wipe the Balm off the stummel with a clean cotton cloth.  It buffs up nicely.  I take a picture of the stummel with the Balm on it.Next in line is the Dublin bowl.  As with the French Imperial, I take the Dublin through the full 9 micromesh pads, 1500 to 12000.  I show the progress after each set of three pads – the first three wet sanding, the last 6, dry. As with the Imperial, I apply Before and After Restoration Balm to the Dublin bowl.  I put some Balm on my fingers and work it into the briar.  The Balm starts with the texture of light oil then as I rub it into the briar, is thickens into the texture of a thicker wax.  After I work it in I set the stummel aside to absorb the Balm.  After a time, I wipe off the Balm using a cotton cloth – it buffs up as I wipe the stummel.The final stummel is the Free Born Yello Bole.  Since the stummel has already gone through the full micromesh pad sanding process, it is ready to receive the Before and After Restoration Balm to deepen and enrich the nicely emerging briar grain.  As with the others, I apply the Balm with my fingers and after setting is aside for about 20 minutes, I wipe/buff off the Balm.  I take a picture of the Balm on the stummel and afterwards. At this point, using the Dremel mounted with dedicated cotton cloth buffing wheels set at the slowest speed, each of the three bowls I apply Blue Diamond compound and White Diamond compound is applied to the stems.  After the application of the compounds, I buff each Churchwarden with a felt cloth to remove the compound dust before applying wax.  I then mount another cotton cloth wheel on to the Dremel, increase the speed to about 40% full power and apply carnauba wax to stems and stummels.  After applying a few coats of wax, I give each Churchwarden a rigorous hand buffing with a microfiber cloth to raise the shine.

The Tale of the Three Churchwardens is now beginning.  I am pleased with the results.  Each bowl responded well displaying a myriad of grains and patterns.  Each now displays that classic, long, graceful, wise aura of the Churchwarden genre.  It is true, only one of the Churchwardens started has a Churchwarden – the True Born.  He is now no longer of Hobbit stature and will walk with men and wizards.  The other two re-purposed bowls look great – I’m pleased.  Tobias of Germany commissioned the French made Imperial Churchwarden and the Dublin.  He will have the first opportunity to secure these Churchwardens for his friend’s birthday present and for his own collection in The Pipe Steward Store.  As ‘fate’ would have it, the third Churchwarden bound to no man, was claimed also by a person also living in Germany!  A colleague was visiting Bulgaria and saw the 3 Churchwardens on my worktable.  Thankfully, I was able to finish ‘The Wise’ to return with his new steward to Germany.  I declare that Germany receives the Middle Earth Award!  Each of these Churchwardens benefits the Daughters of Bulgaria – a noble cause of helping women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thank you for joining me in the telling of the Tale of Three Churchwardens!

The first True Born Imperial Churchwarden of France The second was bound to the first, the proud Dublin Green Land Churchwarden The Third ‘Free Born’ Churchwarden

Farida’s Dad’s Pipes #5 – Restoring a Dunhill Root Briar 56 Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

I am back working on a of pipes that comes from the estate of an elderly gentleman here in Vancouver. I met with his daughter Farida last summer and we looked at his pipes and talked about them then. Over the Christmas holiday she brought them by for me to work on, restore and then sell for her. There are 10 pipes in all – 7 Dunhills (one of them, a Shell Bulldog, has a burned out bowl), 2 Charatans, and a Savinelli Autograph. His pipes are worn and dirty and for some folks they have a lot of damage and wear that reduce their value. To me each one tells a story. I only wish they could speak and talk about the travels they have had with Farida’s Dad.

When I wrote the blog on the Classic Series Dunhill and thinking about its travels, Farida sent me an email with a short write up on her Dad. She remembered that I had asked her for it so that I could have a sense of the stories of her Dad’s pipes. Here is what she wrote: My dad, John Barber, loved his pipes. He was a huge fan of Dunhill and his favourite smoke was St. Bruno. No one ever complained of the smell of St. Bruno, we all loved it. I see the bowls and they’re large because he had big hands. When he was finished with his couple of puffs, he would grasp the bowl in the palm of his hand, holding the warmth as the embers faded. The rough bowled pipes were for daytime and especially if he was fixing something. The smooth bowled pipes were for an evening with a glass of brandy and a good movie. In his 20s, he was an adventurer travelling the world on ships as their radio operator. He spent a year in the Antarctic, a year in the Arctic and stopped in most ports in all the other continents. He immigrated to Canada in the mid-fifties, working on the BC Ferries earning money to pay for his education. He graduated from UBC as an engineer and spent the rest of his working life as a consultant, mostly to the mining companies. Whatever he was doing though, his pipe was always close by. 

She sent along this photo of him with his sled dogs in the Antarctic sometime in 1953-1954. It is a fascinating photo showing him with a pipe in his mouth. He is happily rough housing with his dogs. As a true pipeman the cold does not seem to bother him at all.Thank you Farida for sending the photo and the background story on your Dad for me to use on the blog. I find that it really explains a lot about their condition and gives me a sense of who Dad was. If your Dad was rarely without a pipe I can certainly tell which pipes were his favourites. As I looked over the pipes I noted that each of them had extensive rim damage and some had deeply burned gouges in the rim tops. The bowls seemed to have been reamed not too long ago because they did not show the amount of cake I would have expected. The stems were all covered with deep tooth marks and chatter and were oxidized and dirty. The internals of the mortise, the airway in the shank and stem were filled with tars and oils. These were nice looking pipes when her Dad bought them and they would be nice looking one more when I finished.

I finished two of the pipes and have written a blog on each of them. The first one was the Dunhill Shell with the oval shank pot (https://rebornpipes.com/2018/02/04/restoring-a-1983-dunhill-shell-41009-oval-shank-pot/) and the second was the Dunhill Classic Series Shell Billiard (https://rebornpipes.com/2018/02/08/faridas-dads-pipes-2-restoring-a-1990-lbs-classic-series-dunhill-shell-billiard/). The third pipe I restored from the estate was a Savinelli Autograph (https://rebornpipes.com/2018/02/15/faridas-dads-pipes-3-restoring-a-savinelli-autograph-4/). The fourth pipe of his that I worked on was a Dunhill Red Bark Pot that was in rough shape (https://rebornpipes.com/2018/03/10/faridas-dads-pipes-4-restoring-a-dunhill-red-bark-pot-43061/).

I went back to the remaining two Dunhills in the collection today and chose to work on a Dunhill Root Briar 56 Bent Billiard. It was so dirty it was hard to read the stamping on the sides. I could see that it was worn but I could not tell much else looking through the thick grime. The smooth finish sticky with oils and thick grime and the bowl felt oily to touch. I wiped off the oils and grime on the shank sides to see the stamping. It was worn but readable. On the left side of the shank it reads Dunhill over Root Briar. To the left of the stamping is the shape number 56. On the right side of the shank there is a faint stamp R with 4 in a circle. The rest of the stamping is very faint.

I turned to a blog I have on rebornpipes by Eric Boehme on Dunhill Shapes and looked for the shape number stamped on this pipe. Here is the link. https://rebornpipes.com/2012/11/01/dunhill-pipe-shapes-collated-by-eric-w-boehm/. I did a screen capture of the section on Bent Billiards and circled the pipe I have in hand in red. The shape number 56 is noted as a bent billiard size 4. It is noted as 5 ½ inches long just as the one I have is. It is listed as coming out in 1928, 1950, 1960 and 1969. The spread of dating was pretty large and the stamping so unreadable that I could not determine the date with that normal help. It was time to move on and look for other helpful information to see if I could narrow things down a bit.

I turned to another site that I use often – the pipephil website on Logos and Stampings because there is some really helpful information on when each of the lines of Dunhill pipes entered the market. Here is the link to the section of the site that I turned to, http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/dunhill/root-bru-guide.html. I did a screen capture of a portion of the chart that gave me the time frame for this particular pipe. I circled the date and brand in red in the photo below. It looks like the Root Briar came out between 1960 and 1970. Now I knew that one I was working on a pipe that came from that era – which incidentally matched the other pipes in Farida’s Dad’s estate collection.The bowl was thickly caked and the cake had flowed over onto the smooth Root Briar finish on the rim top forming hard lava that made the top uneven. The inner and outer edges of the rim were both damaged. On the right front of the bowl the rim had been scraped and damaged and then burned. On the back edge there was the same kind of damage that was on the other Dunhill pipes in this estate. This one however was not quite as deep so it would need to be dealt with a bit differently when I got to that point. The stem was lightly oxidized but otherwise in good condition. There were light tooth marks and chatter on both sides in front of the button. The Dunhill white spot was intact on the top of the stem. I took photos of the pipe to show what it looked like before I started the cleanup work. I took close up photos of the bowl and rim top as well as the stem. You can see the condition of the rim top and bowl in the first photo. The outer edge has damage on the front right – burn damage and wear that comes from lighting a pipe repeatedly in the same spot. The back left side also shows damage on the inner edge. There was damage from what looked like a poor rim job. The stem has tooth chatter and some bite marks on the top and the underside of the stem just ahead of the button.I reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer and used two of the four cutting heads to clean out the cake. The bowl thickly caked so I started with the smaller of the two and worked my way up to the second one which was about the same size as the bowl diameter. I cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to remove the remnants of cake. I finished by sanding the inside of the bowl with a dowel wrapped in sandpaper. I scrubbed the surface of the briar with alcohol and cotton pads. I scrubbed until I had removed the sticky tars and oils on the finish. I worked on the top of the rim with the edge of the Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I scraped the heavy buildup that was there. I scrubbed the scraped rim top with alcohol and cotton pads to remove the debris. I dried off the bowl with a soft rag. The cleaned and scrubbed pipe really made the rim top damage very clear. It looked to me that I would need to top the bowl. I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage to the top surface of the rim and clean up the damage to the edges. I did not have to remove a lot and repeatedly checked it to make sure that I had removed enough but not too much. I wanted to take the top down until it was smooth up to the burn damaged area on the rim top.I wiped down the rim top with alcohol and cotton pads to remove the sanding dust. I built up the damaged area on the rim with clear super glue and briar dust. I layered it until the height of the damaged area was roughly equal to the rim top. The third photo below shows the top at this point in the process. I took photos of the repaired bowl from a variety of angles to show what the repair looked like before I sanded and cleaned it up. I would need to top the bowl again to smooth things out and work on the edges. I topped the bowl again to remove the excess repair material. I worked it over the sandpaper on the board until the surface was smooth. I used a folded piece of 150 and 220 grit sandpaper to bevel the inside edge of the bowl. With the externals clean it was time to clean out the mortise and shank and airway into the bowl and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I scraped the mortise with a dental spatula to loosen the tars before cleaning. I worked on the bowl and stem until the insides were clean.I used a Cherry stain pen to touch up the rim and match the colour of the rest of the pipe.I rubbed down the briar with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the smooth finish to clean, enliven and protect the new finish. It also evened out the stain coat and gave the stain a dimensional feel. I let the balm sit for a little wall and then buffed it with a horsehair shoe brush. I buffed the bowl with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. There was some darkening on the bowl front but the briar was solid. Overall the bowl looked really good. I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth chatter on both sides with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I polished it further with Before & After Pipe Polish, using both the Fine and Extra Fine polishes to further protect and polish out the scratches. When I finished with those I gave it a final rub down with the oil and set it aside to dry.  With the stem polished I put it back on the pipe and lightly buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond. I buffed the stem with a more aggressive buff of Blue Diamond. I gave the bowl several coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem several 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 pipe polished up pretty nicely. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. This is the fifth of Farida’s Dad’s pipes that I am restoring from his collection. I am looking forward to hearing what Farida thinks once she sees the finished pipe on the blog. This one is already sold to a fellow in India. It will soon be on its way to him to carry on the trust from Farida’s father. The dimensions are Length: 5 1/2 inches, Height: 1 3/4 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ inches. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another of the Dunhills. More of his pipes will follow including some one more Dunhill and two Charatans. The last photo of the front of the bowl shows the darkening to the briar that remains. It is solid and the burn mark does not compromise the briar. It looks worse in this photo than it does in reality. It is a dark spot that is solid.

A Nice Little Full Bent Pocket Pipe – #4 of Anthony’s Dad’s Pipes


Blog by Steve Laug

This is a continuation of the work that began with an email from Anthony, a reader of rebornpipes asking if I would be willing to help him clean up his Dad’s pipes. He wrote; “I have a few pipes (8 or so) that haven’t been smoked in 15 years. They were my dad’s. I would like to get someone to restore them”. We chatted back and forth via email and the long and short of the story is that I have eight of his Dad’s pipes in my shop now to work on. The photo below shows the mixture of pipes that he sent me. There are some interesting shapes and most are very dirty and have very little if any of the original finish left on the briar. All have an overflow of carbon on the rim top and all have damaged stems and buttons. Anthony remembers his Dad smoking them throughout the years he was growing up so they went from regular use to being boxed and stored. They will need a lot of TLC to bring life back to them but it should be fun to give it a go. I went through the pipes and assessed their condition and contacted him and got the go ahead to proceed on the lot.I have completed the restoration of three of the pipes. I put red X’s through the pipes in the above photo to show the ones that I have completed. The next pipe I chose to work on was the full bent briar with a stem that turned over the bowl to make it a pocket pipe – it is the second pipe down on the right hand column in the above photo. I have circled it in red. It is an interestingly shaped full bent pipe with the shank and the bowl being side by side with no gap between them. The only stamping on the pipe is on the underside of the shank at the stem/shank junction and reads ITALY. The bowl was very dirty and the finish was worn to the point that it was lifeless looking. Once again, not only did it have a thick cake in the bowl and some darkening and lava overflowing onto the rim top it also appeared that Anthony’s Dad had laid the pipe aside mid smoke. The bowl was about 1/3 full of partially burned tobacco that had hardened and dried with age. The bent, vulcanite stem was the least chewed of the collection and had some tooth chatter and light marks on both sides around the button. It was also oxidized and would need to be cleaned. I took photos of the pipe to show its overall condition when it arrived at my work table.   I turned the stem over the bowl to show how it was used as a pocket pipe and took a photo. The stem turned gave the pipe a better profile and it could easily be stuffed in a coat or vest pocket for use and reuse.I took some close up photos of the bowl, rim top and the stem to show what I was going to be dealing with on this pipe. The rim top was dirty and lava covered but the inner edge appeared to be in decent condition. The stem was lightly oxidized and it had the least chewing damage of any of these pipes. There were light marks and tooth chatter on both sides of the stem and button.I took photos of the bowl from various angles to try to capture the condition of the pipe for you. The briar appears to have some interesting grain around the sides. There is one fill in the bottom of the bowl that is chipped and damaged. I shared the tribute that I asked Anthony to write about his Dad and his pipe smoking in the last blog post and will share it again now. I always find that it gives me a sense of the previous pipeman when I work on a pipe from an estate. Anthony sent me a great tribute. Here it is in his words:

When my dad died 6 years ago, my mom asked if I wanted my dad’s old pipes. He was a long time pipe smoker, ever since I was a kid I can remember him sitting on the couch smoking his pipe inside. He worked at IBM and used to smoke his pipe in his office before they changed the laws in California. So you can imagine he had quite the collection over the years.

I took his pipes and put them in storage for a few years, I myself recently quit smoking cigarettes and decided to take up pipe smoking as it was easier on the wallet. I asked in /r/pipetobacco if anyone could recommend a pipe restoration service and someone told me about rebornpipes.com. I was hesitant but after looking at the blog I knew it would be a good place to send my dad’s pipes.

My dad loved smoking his pipes, sitting out by the pool in the sun taking a nap or in the garage wood working. The house was my mom’s area and the garage was my dad’s area. I spent hours sitting out in the garage as a kid watching the niners or a’s and giants on tv while doing woodworking projects. I hope to do the same with my kids these days.

I’m not sure if my dad smoked other tobacco but I remember Captain Black was the kind he smoked regularly. He had tins of it in the garage, full and empty and would turn the old tin jars into storage for odds and ends, like screws or washers or miscellaneous stuff.

I remember when I played little league my dad would sit in the stands and smoke his pipes. One of my teammates asked “What is that smell?” and I ashamedly said “Oh that’s my dad’s pipe…I’ll go tell him to put it out” and my teammate said “No man, it smells good!”.  It’s funny how the little conversations over the years you remember.

Another time when I was in 3rd grade or so we learned how smoking was bad for you (this was back in the 80s). I remember I asked my teacher if smoking a pipe was bad for you too….and she hesitated and said “Not as bad as cigarettes, since you don’t inhale it”. After that I was no longer worried about my dad smoking.

Knowing my mom I have no idea how my dad pulled this off but he managed to smoke his pipe in the house. I guess she liked the smell of it. Recently when I was waiting for my girls to get out of school I was sitting on a side street smoking my pipe and someone walked by and thanked me for bringing the pipe back. He said his dad used to smoke a pipe and he loved the smell. As did mine. The only difference is my daughters complain constantly about the smell of my car, but that is mostly because I smoke cigars too.

Anyway, grab some fine tobacco, light up a bowl and sit back and relax. I don’t have a pool like my dad did but you can catch me working on my laptop sitting in my driveway smoking a nice pipe, especially one of these restored pipes from reborn pipes….I can’t wait to smoke them.

Today after publishing the blog on the twisted freehand pipe I received an email from Anthony. He copied me an email that he had received from his Mom after she read the blog. It gives more insight into his Dad so he gave me permission to post it here.

Dear Anthony,I really enjoyed your email attachment about Steve Laug’s restoration of your dad’s pipes (“#1 and #3”)!  Your father would be so thrilled to see this master craftsman bringing back to life his old favorites — especially as he so loved wood-working himself — and to know that you treasure them.  (I wonder if the one I “rescued” from his workshop and now display in plastic case — the meerschaum lion’s head — is ruined.  After vacuuming and blowing out all the dust and rat-turds, I soaked it in vinegar till white again.  It looks good, anyway!)

I also loved reading your comments about Dad’s enjoyment of them.  I don’t think he was ever addicted to tobacco; he just enjoyed it casually (and mostly chewing on them!).

I remember when he acquired the large, twisted one (“#3”) at a pipe shop called “Andre’s,” around 1969 or ’70.  It was a unique shop, originally in Los Gatos or Campbell (I think) which later moved — maybe to The Alameda area in San Jose.  I’m not sure if Andre made any that he sold, but as a woodworker Dad was fascinated by this one especially.  He also bought his favorite tobacco blends there.  (Maybe there’s something on the Internet about Andre’s, if he became more well known.)

While expecting our first child in early April 1971, I went down there to get Dad a surprise gift pipe for his April 25 birthday and picked out a plump, short one labeled “The Little Chub.”  Not knowing in those days whether Baby would be a boy or girl, I wrapped it with a card saying it was “To My New Daddy from your Little Chub.”  Lo and behold, Baby arrived on Dad’s very own birthday, when I tucked the pipe into my suitcase for the hospital and presented it to him there (along with The Little Chub herself — his best birthday gift ever)!  I don’t see it among these photos, so I guess it got chewed down worse than the others!

Re. your notes on changes over the years in  smoking habits and rules:I think it was IBM that banned smoking at work before state or local governments did.  Also, as tobacco was made stronger (and more addictive), odors grew stronger and more permeating, and its terrible health effects became more obvious, more bystanders were impacted and objected.

As for my allowing pipes in the house in “the old days,” I had grown up with both parents heavy smokers, when that was common practice.  (I didn’t take it up myself, as I couldn’t afford it — in the break room at work in my teens, machines sold candy bars for a nickel, but a pack of cigarettes cost 35 cents!  And I liked chocolate better anyway.)  But a  man with a pipe was more attractive (especially if he dressed well), it seemed a sophisticated image, and the smoke smelled better.    Many of my professors at Berkeley had pipes on their desks!  But after we had kids and knew smoke was a hazard for them, we didn’t want them near it inside.  And of course, we watched both my parents suffer terribly (Daddy’s heart attacks and emphysema, and Mom’s lung cancer) from near-lifelong smoking.

Anyway, these are beautiful, vintage, collectors’ items when restored and they’d look great in a closed case on the wall!

Love,Mom

Thanks Anthony, that gives me a sense of who your Dad was and how he used and enjoyed his pipes. I was ready to turn my attention to this third pipe. On this pipe I decided to work with the stem as it seemed a pretty straightforward cleanup (unlike the others). I cleaned out the inside with pipe cleaners and alcohol and worked on the funneled end of the tenon with a cotton swab and alcohol. It was quite dirty but it did not take too long to change that.  I used some 000 steel wool to clean off the light oxidation and then sanded the tooth chatter and marks out with 220 grit sandpaper. I wiped down the bowl with acetone on a cotton pad to remove the grime and remnants of the finish on the bowl. I scrubbed the rim top but that would take a bit more work to clean it off. I cleaned up the fill on the bottom of the bowl and refilled it with super glue. I did not pick it out as it was merely pitted and not loose. The super glue would take care of the damage.With the exterior of the bowl cleaned and repaired it was time to address the rim top. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean off the lava and remove the damage that was present on the surface. I worked over the surface of the shank end as well and cleaned off the grime there. There was still some darkening on the briar but it was clean.Now it was time to ream the bowl. I used a PipNet pipe reamer and took the cake back to bare briar. The pipe had been sitting for so long I wanted to do a maximum cleanup and also check out the walls of the bowl for damage. I cleaned up the bowl with a Savninelli Fitsall pipe knife and then sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a dowel.  I cleaned out the sump in the shank and mortise and the airway into the bowl with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol.I repaired some deep gouges on the right side of the bowl with clear super glue. When it was dry I sanded it smooth with 220 grit sandpaper to blend it into the surface of the bowl.I began the polishing of the briar with a medium and a fine grit combination sanding sponge. I polished out the scratches and the repairs until the surface began to shine. I followed that by polishing it further 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 a damp cloth to remove the debris from the previous pad. Once I had finished I wiped it down with an alcohol dampened pad and let it dry. I rubbed Before & After Pipe Balm into the surface of the wood with my finger tips and worked it into the grain. The product did its magic and enlivened, cleaned and gave the wood a rich glow. It cleaned up the repaired areas so I could see where I needed to work in the stain to blend it into the briar. The photos show what it looked like at this point. I buffed the bowl on the buffing wheel with Blue Diamond to further polish it. The photos below show the condition of the bowl at this point. It is almost ready to restain. With the bowl cleaned, it was time to restain the pipe. I chose to use a Fiebing’s Dark Brown stain to give some life back to the pipe. It is dark enough that I figured it would hide the repairs a bit and blend the fill in on the bottom of the bowl. I heated the briar and then applied the stain with a dauber. I flamed the stain to set it in the grain and repeated the process until I was happy with the coverage. I set the bowl aside to let the stain cure overnight and called it a day.  I took pictures of it once I had buffed it with Blue Diamond to remove the topcoat of crust. It needed some more work in my opinion. The stain was a bit too opaque for me as I wanted the interesting grain to stand out. I would need to sacrifice some of the coverage on the files to get the grain to stand out. I decided to go for it and wiped the bowl down with alcohol on a cotton pad to make the stain a bit more transparent. I set the bowl aside and polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads and wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit micromesh pads and again wiped it down after each pad with oil. I gave it a final coat of oil after the final pad and set it aside to dry. There were still some stubborn spots of oxidation in hard to sand spots so I polished the stem with Before & After Pipe Polish – Fine and Extra Fine polishes and I am happier with the end result.I polished the pipe with Blue Diamond to polish out the remaining small scratches. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I 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 pipe polished up pretty nicely. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. This is fourth of eight pipes that I am restoring from Anthony’s Dad’s collection. I am looking forward to hearing what Anthony thinks once he sees the finished pipe on the blog. Once I have the remaining four pipes finished I will pack them up and send them back to him. It will give him opportunity to carrying on the trust from his Dad. The dimensions are Length: 3 1/2 inches, Height: 2 1/8 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl:  1 5/8 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 inches. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe from Anthony’s Dad’s collection. Four more will soon follow in the days ahead. Keep an eye out for them because there are still some unique pipes in the lot.

Resurrecting a BIG PIPE Lovat – the first of Anthony’s Dad’s Pipes


Blog by Steve Laug

A few weeks back I received an email from Anthony, a reader of rebornpipes asking if I would be willing to help him clean up his Dad’s pipes. He wrote; “I have a few pipes (8 or so) that haven’t been smoked in 15 years. They were my dad’s. I would like to get someone to restore them”. We chatted back and forth via email and the long and short of the story is that I have eight of his Dad’s pipes in my shop now to work on. The photo below shows the mixture of pipes that he sent me. There are some interesting shapes and most are very dirty and have very little if any of the original finish left on the briar. All have an overflow of carbon on the rim top and all have damaged stems and buttons. They will need a lot of TLC to bring life back to them but it should be fun to give it a go. I went through the pipes and assessed their condition and contacted him and got the go ahead to proceed on the lot. So I have begun.The first pipe I chose to work on was actually the first one that I removed from the mailing envelope he sent them in. It is shown above in the photo of the lot. It is the top pipe of the left column circled in red. It has a carved rustication around the bowl and a smooth thick shank. It is a large, thick shank, rusticated Lovat. It is stamped on the left side of the shank Imported Briar over BIG PIPE. The rim top has some overflow of lava and darkening. There is a thick cake in the bowl that is flaking and peeling from the walls of the bowl. The stem is heavily chewed and has some damage on both sides around the button. It will need to be reshaped and rebuilt. There is some water damage around the shank at the stem, though it is heavier on the underside of the stem. The finish is worn out and there is a lot of dust and debris in the grooves of the rustication. I took photos of the pipe to show its overall condition when it arrived at my work table. I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem to show what I was going to be dealing with on this pipe. The rim top had a thick cake of lava overflowing from the bowl over the back half. The inner edge of the rim was damaged with a burn on the right side toward the front of the bowl make the bowl out of round. The outer edge of the rim looked to be in good condition. The stem was in pretty rough condition. There were tooth marks on both sides of the stem and button and some deep chunks out of the sides of the stem at the sharp edge of the button. The fit against the shank had a gap because of the dirtiness of the shank. You can also see the water damage to the briar at the stem/shank joint.I took a close up photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. It is dirty but it is readable and says Imported Briar over Big Pipe.I like working on clean pipes so I decided to clean up both the inside and outside of the bowl and shank. I reamed it with a PipeNet reamer and took back the cake to bare briar. I started with the third cutting head and worked up to the largest cutting head and cleaned the bowl. I used a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to scrape away the remnants of cake and clean up the walls. I scrubbed the bowl and the stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the grime in the grooves of the rustication and clean off the grime and mess on the smooth portions. I also scrubbed the water damaged areas to remove the marking in those areas. I rinsed the bowl under warm running water to remove the debris and the soap. I scrubbed it with the tooth brush until the surface was clean and debris free. I took photos of the pipe after the cleanup. I scrubbed the lava build up on the rim and was able to remove the majority of it with the soap and brush. I removed the stem from the shank of this pipe and from another of Anthony’s Dad’s pipes and dropped them in the bath of Before & After Pipe Deoxidizer to break up the oxidation on the surface. It was fascinating to note that the tenon on this stem was metal and seemed to have been made for a filter.Once the briar dried there were shiny spots on it where the original finish still clung to the wood. It appeared to be varnish or some shiny substance and it was streaky and uneven so it needed to go. I wiped the bowl and shank down with acetone on cotton pads to remove the remaining varnish finish. Now that the bowl was clean and the stem was soaking it was time to start working on the rim top and the burn damage on the front right inner edge. I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to remove some of the burn damage and the nicks and dents in the rim top.I worked over the inner edge of the rim with folded 220 and 240 grit sandpaper to give it a bit of a bevel and remove more of the damage area. The next two photos give a clear picture of how the pipe looked at this point in the process.I polished the rim top with 1500-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the rim down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the debris. There were some red tints in the briar and I wanted to leave the briar light in colour. I used a tan aniline stain to bring out the red tones in the briar. I applied the stain with a dauber, flamed it and repeated the process until all of the grooves and carvings were evenly stained. To make the stain more transparent and spread it evenly around the briar I wiped the briar down with alcohol and cotton pads. Doing this thins the stain and makes the grain shine through more clearly. I let the briar dry and took photos of the pipe at this time in the process. It is starting to look really good and the grain is showing through the rustication pattern. I used an oak stain pen to fill in the rustication patterns and fill in the light spots in the pattern. I wanted to have a bit of contrast between the smooth briar and the rustication and this would provide it without being too much. I removed the stem from the Before & After Deoxidizer after it had been soaking overnight. I rinsed it down with warm water and blew air through it to clean out the mixture from the airway. The oxidation was at the surface and almost like a dust. The next two photos show the oxidation and the tooth marks and areas that needed to be repaired near the button. I wiped down the oxidation, cleaned out the tooth marks and dents with a cotton swab and alcohol. I dried off the stem and filled in the marks on the surface of the button and the tooth marks in the stem ahead of the button.I smoothed out the repairs with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface of the stem. I repeated the process with 600 grit sandpaper to further smooth out the scratches.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 and dry sanding with 3200-120000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I the polished stem and bowl with Blue Diamond to polish out the remaining small scratches. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem several 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 pipe polished up pretty nicely. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. This is first of eight pipes that I am restoring from Anthony’s Dad’s collection. I am looking forward to hearing what Anthony thinks once he sees the finished pipe on the blog. Once I have the other seven pipes finished I will pack them up and send them back to him. It will give him opportunity to carrying on the trust from his Dad. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/2 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 inches. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe from Anthony’s Dad’s collection of pipes. Seven more will follow this restoration. Keep an eye out for them because there are some unique pipes in the lot. 

Rescuing Another L. J. Peretti Oom Paul: An Upside-Down Stem and Other Hurdles!


Blog by Dal Stanton

As with people, when you look at pipes, the way you look at them can be cursory – like walking down the sidewalk in the city center of Sofia.  You see colors, fashions, groupings of people, a quick intake of information and not much of the information reaches longer term memory in our brains.  I’ve been looking at the Peretti Lot of 10 that has been my focus over the past weeks as I’ve recommissioned each, one by one.  Interestingly though, not until a pipe reaches the status as “the one” on the worktable do you really start seeing it. The difference might be like walking the city sidewalk as I described above and then comparing this to looking at your new granddaughters for the first time just after their births – which I’ve had the pleasure of in the past several months!  Oh my, you look at toes, each one, fingers, how the ears hang and curl…. There is no end to the enjoyment of taking in the fulness of the detail!  When looking at the ‘the one’ close-up – the detail of an estate pipe in need of restoration, the detail will not be tented with the rose-colored glasses affixed when looking at grandchildren!  Here are the pictures I took from the city ‘side walk’ of the next Peretti Oom Paul now on my worktable when I was cataloging the Peretti Lot of 10 when they arrived here in Bulgaria together. After restoring several of these Perettis, all having the same steward, I’ve become familiar with what to expect.  Each Peretti has the former steward’s ‘MO’.  This Peretti falls in line.  It has thick cake in the chamber and thick, crusty lava covering the rim.  The left side of the chamber/rim is scorched and charred from the tobacco lighting habit of excessively pulling the fire over the side and damaging the briar.  Even as I do what I can to correct it, this Peretti will also leave the worktable with the same limp as his 9 brothers and cousins did in different degrees – an imbalanced and out of round rim/chamber.  Additionally, this Peretti Oom Paul’s stem is dented and chewed with almost the same ‘finger prints’ as the others.  These are the issues stemming from the former steward’s pipe smoking practices.  And yet, the stummel shows great potential – like the others, the grain on this large Oom Paul stummel is quite eye catching under the dirt and grime.  I see normal nicks and bumps of being a faithful servant in the rotation – the briar will clean up well, I’m sure of this.

Unfortunately, there’s more to the story.  In my previous write ups of the other Perettis, I had commented that some of the Oom Pauls’ stems were not aligned well with the shanks due to less than ideal drilling precision.  I have never made a pipe and my hat is off to those whose interests and creativity take them in this direction – there are many beautifully done Free Style pipes I see all the time posted by fellow pipe men and women.  I understand that the drilling of a stummel is one of the more complex parts of making pipes – especially when sharp angles require multiple drillings.  When I took a closer look at the pipe my eyes focused on the fact that there was a huge ridge overhanging the shank.  As I turned the pipe over looking at it from different angles, it appeared that somehow the wrong stem was mistakenly joined with this shank!  I looked at the other Oom Paul I have left in the basket to restore, in the queue for a new steward, and it was obvious that the other stem was not matching this stummel.  I came to the sad conclusion that this drilling job simply was shoddy.  Here’s what I see of ‘the one’ on my work table: No matter which angle I chose or how I squinted my eyes it didn’t make what I was looking at any better!  Oh my.  The next thought I had was of Abraham, a Californian and fellow pipe man and member of the Facebook group, ‘The Gentlemen’s Pipe Smoking Society’.  What would he think when he reads this blog after having commissioned this pipe, waiting patiently over the weeks as it slowly moved up in the queue!  Fortunate for him, I AM a man of prayer and this pipe WILL benefit the Daughters of Bulgaria!  I’m already wondering what I will do to rescue this ailing Oom Paul!  I remembered my research on Peretti for my first Peretti restoration a few years ago.  I wondered where the Boston-based L. J. Peretti Co., manufactured their pipes.  I sent an email to the Peretti Tobacconist in Boston and was amazed that I received a response. Here is what I learned:

Hello Dal,

We have been sourcing our proprietary pipes from a number of different manufacturers. That said, it is most likely that Arlington Briars made the pipe you have in your possession. Photos would help us identify the pipe further. I will have to look through some of our old content and see what I can find.

Hope this helps, Tom  LJP

Per Pipedia: Arlington Briar Pipes Corporation was founded in 1919 in Brooklyn, New York, and produced the Arlington, Briarlee, Firethorn, Krona and Olde London brands among dozens of others, primarily acting as a subcontractor making pipes to be sold under other brand names. Among others, in the 1950’s, Arlington turned pipes for the famed Wilke Pipe Shop in New York City. The corporation was dissolved by the State of New York as inactive on December 6, 1978. 

I don’t know for certain that Arlington Briar Pipes produced the Peretti Lot of 10, but when I looked at the Pipedia page, this picture of Arlington’s own brand, this Oom Paul was staring at me.  He looks very familiar!  Well, we won’t know for sure, but the history of L. J. Peretti and the drilling of this Oom Paul interests me!  In the back of my mind as I begin restoring this pipe, is the huge misalignment of the stem and stummel.

The first step in the restoration of this L. J. Peretti Oom Paul is to add the stem to a bath of Before and After Deoxidizer.  After several hours in the bath with other stems, I take out the stem and drain it of Deoxidizer and wipe it down with a cotton pad wetted with light paraffin oil (mineral oil) to remove the oxidation that was raised during the soak. I then use Before and After Fine Polish followed by Extra Fine Polish to further condition the vulcanite and remove oxidation.  I work the polishes in with my fingers and after a time, wipe them with a cotton cloth.Turning to the Oom Paul stummel, I see that there is still tobacco at the floor of the chamber.  I clear that, and I ream the thick cake using the Pipnet Reaming Kit.  I start with the smallest blade and working to the larger blades as the cake is incrementally removed.  I use three of the four blades in the Pipnet Kit.I then turn to the Savinelli Fitsall Tool to fine tune the reaming job.  This is the most painful part for me – carefully removing the charred briar on the rim and watching the rim grow thinner on the damaged side and out of round!  The good news is that the chamber itself looks stellar. To clean the chamber further I use 240 grit paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen and sand the chamber.  Finally, I wipe the chamber out with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol to remove the carbon dust for all the reaming.  The pictures show the process. With all the other Perettis, the basic cleaning of the external surface and the rim revealed beautiful grain underneath the grime.  I have the same expectations for this Oom Paul stummel.  Using undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a cotton pad I go to work on the briar surface and the lava on the rim.  I also use a brass brush to work at removing the lava on the rim.  To carefully scrape the rim, I utilize the flat sharp edge of the Savinelli Fitsall Tool.  I rinse the stummel with tap water.  The pictures show the progress, before and after.  Quite a difference!  My eye is drawn to a spider web grain pattern on the stummel’s left side – shown in the first two pictures – very nice! I turn now to clean the internals and it doesn’t take too much. I use pipe cleaners, cotton buds and a shank brush to work on the draft hole and mortise.  Even though the internals are cleaning up nicely, I like to utilize a kosher salt and alcohol soak to freshen and clean even more thoroughly preparing the pipe for a new steward.To prepare the soak, I form a wick using a cotton ball.  I stretch and twist it and then push it down the mortise and draft hole. I use a straight piece of an old wire clothes hanger to push and guide the wick. This wick acts to draw out the residual tars and oils as the salt and isopropyl 95% do their job.  I then position the stummel in an egg carton for stability and fill the chamber with kosher salt.  I asked the question when I first saw this method used, why kosher?  The answer I received was that it didn’t leave an aftertaste as does iodized salt.  Sounded reasonable to me.  I then give the stummel a shake with the chamber cupped to displace the salt.  Then, using a large eye dropper I fill the chamber with isopropyl 95% till it surfaces over the salt.  After a few minutes I top it off with a bit more alcohol because it has absorbed into the fresh cotton wick and salt.  I put the stummel aside and let the soak do its thing. The next morning as expected, the darkening of the salt and wick indicate that more tars and oils were pulled out of the internals.  I thump the stummel on my palm releasing the expended salt in the waste.  I wipe the bowl with paper towel, blowing through the mortise to dislodge remaining salt.  I also use a multi-sized shank brush to do this.  Finally, I run another pipe cleaner and cotton bud dipped in isopropyl 95% in the mortise and draft hole to finalize the cleaning.   After reuniting the stem and stummel again, I take another long, hard look at the goblin stem that was lurking in my subconscious!  I have been mulling over the stem/shank junction and what it would take to repair –  counting the cost in sanding and lost briar.  As I fiddled with the stem, twisting it around checking the looseness of the fit, I stumbled onto the solution to the alignment conundrum!  When I reversed the stem, so that it was upside down, the saddle of the stem and the shank lined up almost perfectly!  The old 70s song came to mind, “Oh happy day!” I have absolutely no idea what was going on in the production line of the Arlington Briar Pipes factory that day, if indeed it was there, but there was a breakdown in communication between the drill man and the stem bending man (or women!).  My mind wonders whether they had a few beers over lunch….  I’m scratching my head, but this restoration was just made a little less difficult!  The junction between the end of the shank and saddle stem shows a bit of gap (daylight) but that can be addressed.  My plan: re-bend the upside-down stem, thereby turning the upside-down stem to right-side up!  Did you follow that? The pictures show the discovery! To make sure I retain the same angle of bend, which seems to be on the money, I trace the stem’s angle on a piece of paper which I’ll use as a template for the reversing bend.  I use a narrow-rounded glass bottle to provide the back-board for the bending.  I then insert a pipe cleaner through the draft hole to help to maintain the stem’s integrity during the heating and bending.  Using a heat gun, I gradually heat the stem in the bend area and when the vulcanite becomes pliable I bend it over the glass and size it up on the template.  When I think I have it right, I place the stem under cool tap water to cool the vulcanite and set the bend.  The first time through, I’m not satisfied that I create enough bend.  I repeat the process again.  The second time was the charm.  I like the bend – the fit is now much, much better in the shank. While I’m on the stem adjustment, I now address the gaps or ‘daylight’ I can see between the shank base and the stem saddle.  I start using by 600 grade paper on the topping board and I VERY gently top the shank base primarily to clean and start with a flat surface.  I then use a piece of 600 grade paper, folded over once, inserting it between the shank base and saddle of the stem as a two-side sanding pad.  I work on sanding down the high spots so that the gaps close.  After a while, I’m not making progress too quickly, so I switch to 470 grade paper – a little coarser, and it does the trick.  It takes quite a while sanding and testing repeatedly and making sure the stem stays in proper straight alignment during the sanding. I’m able to sand the high spots and achieve a much better, not perfect(!) union between the stem and shank. Another adjustment is needed with the fit of the tenon and mortise.  The fit now is looser than I prefer.  I will tighten the fit hopefully by heating the tenon while inserting a slight larger drill bit into the tenon’s airway and expanding it.  I heat the tenon with a Bic lighter and gradually work the smooth end of the drill bit down the airway.  I cool the vulcanite with tap water to hold the expansion and withdraw the bit and test in the mortise.  The fit is now snugger and that is good.  That completes the mechanical adjustments to the stem – its working well!  Even after the stem was turned ‘upside down’ to achieve better alignment, the saddle of the stem is enlarged over the shank at different places creating a ridge as I move my finger toward the stem over the junction.  To correct this, I use 240 sanding paper to work on these ridges of vulcanite.  I keep the stem inserted into the shank to do this.  As I sand at the edge, dealing with the ridge, I’m also sanding up the saddle to taper the angle.  I don’t want a mound of vulcanite to circle the saddle, so I blend the angle through the entire saddle – rounding it as well.  The first picture shows the evidence of a ridge with the vulcanite dust collecting.  The rest of the pictures show the stem flush with the shank and the tapering work on the saddle.  Of course, the ‘L. J. Peretti Co.’, stamping on the shank is carefully safe-guarded during the sanding. After the 240 grade paper, I go over the same area with 470 grit paper followed by 600 which goes much faster because the purpose is to erase the scratches of the previous sanding paper.  I am truly amazed at the recovery of this Oom Paul’s shank/stem alignment issues.  The entire structure of the pipe is now tighter and sharper.  The pictures show the completion of this part of the restoration for which I am thankful!  Now I remove the stem from the stummel and flip the stem over to the bit area to repair the tooth chatter and dents.  I take pictures of the upper and lower bit as well as a severe dent on the lower button lip to mark the starting point.  The first step is to employ the heating method. I use a Bic lighter and paint the vulcanite with the flame.  As a rubber composite, the vulcanite expands with the heating and so the dents will rise reclaiming their original place in the whole – or almost.  The dents have been lessened but not removed.  The lower bit’s dents have almost vanished and will probably only need sanding.  The upper bit and the button lip still have quite a bit of damage. I then take 240 grit paper and sand the bit and button to see what is left to patch. While I’m at it I sand the entire stem since it was re-bent in the extreme opposite, I want to remove any residual ripples in the vulcanite.  The lower bit dents sanded out completely.  The upper bit and button need to be patched.  Pictures show the progress – first, upper then lower bit and button after sanding with 240 grit paper. Now I will patch the upper bit using BSI Maxi-Cure Extra Thick CA glue mixed with activated charcoal dust. I will patch the two dents as well as the left side of the button lip.  It needs to be rebuilt.  After I put a small amount of charcoal dust on an index card, I drop a little CA glue next to the activated charcoal dust.  Then, using a tooth pick, I draw charcoal dust into the dollop of glue mixing it as I go.  Gradually, as I draw more charcoal dust into the CA glue it begins to form a thicker putty.  When it reaches the right consistency – like molasses, I use the tooth pick as a trowel and apply the patch putty to both dents and to the left side of the lower button lip to rebuild it.    I put the stem aside to allow the patches to cure.With the stem patches curing, I now look to the rim damage.  I take another close-up to get another look….  It’s amazing how things jump out – when I took the picture of the rim to begin working on cleaning it up, in the picture I notice what I hadn’t seen before – look beyond the rim to the shank….When I first saw it, I thought it might simply be a wet line left over from cleaning the stummel.  But after closer examination with a magnifying glass it confirmed what I was hoping against!  A crack in the shank emanating from the ‘crook’ or where the shank and bowl join.  I had almost the same thing in a previous Peretti Oom Paul restoration (See: Two of Boston’s L. J. Peretti Oom Pauls Recommissioned) – a shank crack that came from the crook and worked up toward the stem but did not reach the shank end.  I closely inspect the mortise for evidence of an internal crack and I see none.  I really don’t know how this crack started – it appears to be trauma created from the inserted tenon pushing forcefully toward the top of the mortise because of a drop which forced the stem down – my guess.  I would think if this were the case, you would expect more trauma on the back of the shank – as a reaction force.  But I see no indication of this.  I take a few close-ups of the crack to see it more clearly.The good news is that the crack is localized in the briar and has not crept all the way to the end of the shank.  As I did before, to block the ‘crack creep’ I drill small holes at both ends of the crack which will arrest its growth.  Drilling in the crook is not easy!  With the aid of a magnifying glass, I mark the ends of the crack with the sharp point of a dental probe.  I use these as a drill guide (first picture below). I then mount a 1mm drill bit into the Dremel and I VERY carefully drill the holes – not an easy feat holding the Dremel free hand!  I wipe off the area with a cotton pad this apply thin CA glue to both holes as well as along the line of the crack.  The thin CA glue will seep more deeply into the crack helping to seal it.  I then sprinkle briar dust on the entire repair area to help blending later when I sand.  I set the stummel aside to let the crack repair cure. While I’m working on the stummel, I also detect two places that have very small gaps in the briar that I want to fill.  I apply a drop of regular CA glue to each gap.  After applying the first drop, I wait an hour or so for the glue to set so that I can flip the stummel and apply the other patch.  After the first patch sets, I apply the drop of glue on the other side and set the stummel aside to allow the CA glue patches to cure. With stummel patches curing I turn again to the stem and the charcoal dust and CA glue patches are ready to be filed and sanded on the bit and to reshape the button.  I start by using a flat needle file to bring the patch mounds down to the vulcanite surface level.  I also shape the new button with the file.  The pictures show the filing progress.  Switching to sanding paper, I first use 240 grit to bring the patch mounds down to the vulcanite surface and to blend, erasing the file scratches.  I continue to shape and blend the button profile.  Then I switch to 600 grade paper and sand the entire stem to erase the scratches left by the 240 grade paper.  Finally, I use 0000 grade steel wool to sand/buff the entire stem to smooth out the scratches left by the 600 grade paper.  I like the results.  The reformed button looks good.  With a closer look at one of the patches, I detect very small air pocket cavities in the patch which is common.  To rectify this, using a tooth pick, I paint both patches, to be on the safe side, with a thin layer of thin CA glue to fill the cavities.  I wait a few hours for the CA glue to cure and I sand the patch again with 600 grade paper and then again with the 0000 steel wool.   I have sanding patch projects on the stummel to address.  I start first with the crack repair on the shank.  Using 240 grit paper I sand down the patch over both holes on each side of the crack as well as the crack itself.  I then follow with 600 grit paper over the entire area.  The repair looks good and will blend well as I finish the pipe.  The main thing was to protect the pipe from a creeping crack – this is done.Turning to the patches on both sides of the stummel, I use a flat needle file, then 240 grit paper followed by 600 on both sides.  As I file/sand, I try to stay on top of the patch mound to minimize impact on surrounding briar. Patches on the stummel are finished.  Now I turn to the rim repair. I feel like I’ve been around the block a few times with the repairs to the stummel and now I’m finally looking at the rim repair.  I take another picture to get a closer look and mark the starting point.  In the picture below, the bottom of the picture is the left side of the rim that has sustained the most damage from burned briar because of the former stewards practice of lighting his tobacco over the side of the rim instead of over the tobacco. I cannot replace the lost briar but what I try to do as I remove the damaged briar is to restore the balance to the rim as much as possible.  I do this through beveling. First, I take the stummel to the topping board which for me is a chopping board covered with 240 grit paper.  After inverting the stummel, I rotate it over the board in an even, circular motion.  I check the progress often to make sure I’m not leaning in the direction of the damaged area.  It is especially a challenge topping an Oom Paul because his shank is extended beyond the plane of the rim.  So, I hang the shank off the side of the board as I top.  I utilize a flat sanding block as well to direct the topping in specific areas.  When I’ve taken enough off in topping, I switch the paper to 600 grit on the topping board to give the rim a quick smoothing by removing the 240 scratches.  You can see in the pictures below how I unintentionally nicked the shank in the process….Next, to remove the internal ring of scorched briar I use a tightly folded piece of coarse 120 grade paper to cut a bevel around the internal edge.  I increase the bevel on the ‘fat’ areas of the rim seeking to balance the roundness a bit – even though nothing will solve it completely!  The goal is to give the appearance of more balance.  After completing the main shaping of the bevel with the coarser 120 paper, I continue using a rolled piece of 240 grit paper.  I take a picture at this point to mark the progress.I take the stummel back to the topping board with 600 grit paper to define the rim lines again.One last step in the rim repair.  The external edge of the rim is sharp because of the topping.  To soften the appearance of the rim and to enhance the overall presentation of the rim, I cut a small, gentle bevel on the external edge.  I do this with 240 grit paper rolled, then follow with 600 grit paper.  I pinch the paper on the edge of the rim with my thumb and move methodically and evenly around the circumference.  We live in a broken world and many people live their lives with a limp – it reminds us of our frailty.  This Peretti Oom Paul will always have a limp of a bowl that is out of round because of the damage he sustained in the past.  Despite this, the rim looks pretty good considering from where we’ve come! Anxious to move the stummel along, I now address the briar surface.  Using micromesh pads 1500 to 2400 I wet sand the stummel.  I follow this with dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 then 6000 to 12000.  I enjoy watching the briar grain emerge through this process! With the previous Peretti restorations, and with this one, I strive to maintain the original Peretti light, natural grain motif.  I have used Before and After Restoration Balm to deepen and enrichen the natural grain color.  I’ve been more than satisfied with the previous restorations and will apply the Balm to this Peretti Oom Paul as well.  I apply Balm to my finger and then I work it into the briar surface with the ends of my fingers.  The Balm starts with an oily feel then it gradually transforms into a thicker wax-like substance.  After I work it in, I set it on the stand to allow the Balm to work.  I take a picture of this and then after several minutes I wipe/buff the Balm off with a microfiber cloth.  The results look great. With the stummel awaiting a stem to catch up, I turn to the stem.  The CA glue painting of the air pocket cavities in the bit patch is ready for sanding and I use 240 grade paper to sand down to the stem surface.  I then use 600 grade paper followed by 0000 grade steel wool to finish it out.  The bit repair is done, and it looks good.  All the air pockets have been removed.I move on to the micromesh pad cycles.  First, I wet sand using pads 1500 to 2400.  I follow by dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 then 6000 to 12000.  After each set of 3 pads I apply Obsidian Oil to the stem which rejuvenates the vulcanite.  I love the glassy shine of polished vulcanite! After reuniting stem and stummel, I mount the Dremel with a cotton cloth buffing wheel and apply Blue Diamond compound to the pipe.  I set the Dremel to its slowest speed and apply the compound in a methodical way – not applying too much pressure to the wheel but allowing the speed of the Dremel and abrasiveness of the compound to do the work.  I then wipe the pipe with a felt cloth to remove compound dust.  Then, mounting another cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel, and increasing the speed to about 40% full power, I apply a few coats of carnauba wax to the stem and stummel.  I finish the process by giving the pipe a good hand buffing with a microfiber cloth to raise the shine.

I must admit, I was so occupied with the technical aspects of this restoration that I didn’t fully appreciate the beauty of this pipes color and grain until now.  I especially like the ‘burst’ on the left side of the large Oom Paul stummel.  Earlier I called it a spider web effect – now it looks more like a center of clustered circles, the bird’s eye grain, and sunburst expanding out from it.  Very striking grain showcased on this classic Oom Paul shape. He’s overcome an upside-down stem, a crack in the crook of the shank, a chewed up bit and a burned up rim – I would say he’s looking good now for what he’s been through!  This Peretti was commissioned by Abraham in California and he will have first dips on this L. J. Peretti Oom Paul when he goes into The Pipe Steward Store.  This pipe benefits the work of the Daughters of Bulgaria – helping women and girls (and their children!) who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thank you for joining me!