Tag Archives: topping a bowl

Can this one be brought back to life? Dunhill Amber Root 3103 Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

Sometimes on a pipe hunt you have a surprising find. We look for pipes wherever we go so we go through a lot of shops and look at a lot of pipes. Many are just junk we leave behind but there are always some good ones. The next one was purchased on 10/20/22 from an antique store in Vancouver, Washington, USA. Jeff found it and excited when he saw it and more excited when he picked it up. It is a filthy looking Billiard with a Cumberland stem. It turned out to be a Dunhill pipe. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Dunhill (in an oval). To the left of it the shape number 3103 is stamped. On the right side of the shank it is stamped AMBER ROOT [over] Made in England35. The 35 identifies the date of the pipe. The pipe was in rough shape. The outside of the bowl and shank were heavily coated in thick oils that were almost black. The bowl had a thick cake that overflowed as lava onto the rim top. The Cumberland stem was oxidized, calcified, coated in sludge but had little or no tooth damage on the stem top or underside. The shank was so coated with internal sludge that the stem did not fit the shank well. Jeff took photos of the pipe when he found it and before he started the clean up. Try to imagine how the pipe smelled and felt. Even your imagination cannot begin to capture the smells or feelings of the briar in your hand. The heavy cake in the bowl flows from the bottom up and all over the rim top and edges. It was impossible to know what the condition of the top and edges was underneath that thick, rock hard coating. The Cumberland stem was dirty, oxidized and calcified but had only light tooth chatter on both sides. Jeff took photos of the bowl, rim top and the stem to show the condition of both. The photos of the sides and heel of the bowl show the grain peeking through but it is almost impossible to see what the finish is underneath the thick sludge. I am hoping that underneath the thick grit it is a real beauty.  The stamping on the sides of the shank are shown in the photos below. It looks very good with portions of it faint but readable. It reads as noted and explained above. Jeff captured the detail in the photos below. I wanted to unpack the Dunhill stamping on the shank and work to understand each element of the stamp. I generally use the Pipephil site to gather as much initial information as possible (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/dunhill/amber1.html). The stamping is interpreted as follows: The number 3103 is the shape number that unpacks as follows: the 3 is the bowl size, 1 is the normal identifier for a taper stem, 03 is the shape designation – a billiard. The Amber Root stamp refers to the finish. The superscript 35 following the D of England would give the date the pipe.Pipephil also has some helpful dating keys on the site that are basically flow charts that you can walk through to date your pipe (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/dunhill/cledat-en1.html). I turned to Part 1 of the Dating Key and followed the chart. This pipe has a superscript 35  following the D in England. There was no patent number so that took me to the section on the chart below (column one) which instructed me that the pipe could be dated as being made “posterior to 1954”.I followed the link under “Your pipe is posterior to 1954. Narrow down your dating”. That took me to Page 2 of the dating key (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/dunhill/cledat-en1a.html). The second column (suffix 1…4) or (11…39) led me to the section with a 35 after the D in England. There was a directive for dating the pipe spelled out as follows: 1960 + suffix which gives the pipe a date of 1995. From that I knew that the pipe was made in 1995 but since the last digit was covered I could not identify the exact year. I then turned to Pipedia’s section on Dunhill Cumberland to get a bit of background on the Dunhill finishes (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Dunhill#Root_Briar). I quote:

Amber Root – Introduced in 1995. A warm yellow-orange stain, reminiscent of the original Root Briar finish. Cumberland stems were used, although recently, Amber Root pipes have appeared with black stems. This is also a limited production pipe that is found in mainly Company stores and Principle Pipe Dealers. Straight grained pipes are made available in this finish under the name Amber-flame and are graded from one to three flames.

Note: While the Amber Root finish existed in the past with Cumberland and black Vulcanite mouthpieces (now we use usually the black Vulcanite variety only)[32].

I have also included a chart from the site spelling out the Standard Pipe Finishes and giving a timeline. You can see that the Amber Root Finish (a smooth polished medium stain) was introduced in 1995 so this is definitely from the first year of the release of that finish from the factory. I turned to work on the pipe itself. Jeff had done an amazing cleanup of the pipe. He reamed the light cake with a PipNet reamer and cleaned up that with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the internals of the bowl and stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the externals with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and rinsed the bowl off with running water. He soaked the stem in Briarville’s Pipe stem Deoxidizer and once it had soaked rinsed it off with warm water to remove the residual solution. He dried it off and rubbed it down to remove any oxidation that was still on the stem. The pipe looked very good when I received it. I took a photo of the rim top to show the condition. You can see the clean bowl. The rim top and inner edge are damaged and the bowl is slightly out of round. The stem came out looking quite good. There are some scratches, light tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button.  I took a photo of the sides of the shank to show the stamping. The photo shows the stamping and is actually more readable in person.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe parts to show what I was working with. It is a nice looking pipe.I worked on the inside and top of the rim with a piece of 220 grit sandpaper and a wooden ball to clean up the damage on the rim top and edges. I used a folded piece of 220 to clean up the inner edge even more. It would take some work but this was a good start. I polished the cleaned up rim top and edges with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping the bowl down with a damp cloth to remove the dust. The rim top came out looking very good.   I rubbed the briar down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the briar with my fingertips. The product works to clean, enliven and preserve the briar. I let it sit for 10 minutes then I buffed it with a cotton cloth to deepen the shine. The briar comes alive with the balm. I set the bowl aside and turned to address the stem issues. I “painted” the surface of the stem with the flame of a Bic lighter to lift the tooth marks. I was able to lift them considerably. I filled in what remained with clear CA glue. Once the glue cured I flattened the repairs with a small flat file. I sanded them with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface and started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. This 1995 Dunhill Amber Root 3103 Billiard with a Cumberland taper stem has a beautiful, unique Dunhill smooth finish with great grain. The medium orange brown finish highlights some great grain around the bowl and shank. It has a unique finish and the polished Cumberland taper stem adds to the mix. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel being careful to not buff the stamping. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing it with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Dunhill Amber Root 3103 Billiard is quite nice and feels great in the hand. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inch, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.20 ounces/33 grams. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store soon in the British Pipe Makers Section. If you want to add it to your collection let me know. Thanks for your time.

A Very Spiffy Peterson Kildare Bent Bulldog


Blog by Kenneth Lieblich

How fine it is to come across a pipe as comely as this. I found this republic-era Peterson bent bulldog at a local antique fair and I was charmed by it right away. There is a feeling of satisfaction in just looking at it and a feeling of comfort with it in hand. Despite its rather shabby appearance when I found it, the pipe held great promise – and I was sure that I could tease out its beauty with a little TLC. Let’s have a closer look. This Peterson pipe has the classic bulldog shape: diamond shank and tapered stem. In this case, it also had a very nice bend and the traditional Peterson P-lip stem. The markings on the left side of the shank are Peterson’s [over] “Kildare”. The right side of the shank showed Made in the [over] Republic [over] of Ireland. Further along the right side of the shank was the shape number: 80S. Naturally, the Peterson logo “P” was engraved on the stem. I know something about Peterson pipes, but little about the Kildare line, so I went over to Pipedia to have a look. Obviously, there is a long and very good article about Peterson – here is the link. Here is a brief quotation about the republic-era pipes:

1950 – 1989 The Republic Era – From 1950 to the present time, the stamp for this era is “Made in the Republic of Ireland” in a block format generally in three lines but two lines have been used with or without Republic being abbreviated. During the 1950’s and 60’s the Kapp & Peterson Company was still in the ownership of the Kapp family. However, 1964 saw the retiral of the company Managing Director Frederick Henry (Harry) Kapp.

No mention was made of the Kildare line there, but Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg’s book, The Peterson Pipe: The Story of Kapp & Peterson, did make mention of it:

Kildare (1965–) First issue of line with matte-finish in Classic Range shapes, P-Lip and fishtail mouthpiece. Second issue C.1979 as Kildare Patch, with rusticated patches on pipe surface. Third issue 2010, matte-brown, P-Lip or fishtail mouthpiece, no band. Fourth issue 2011-, burgundy sandblast finish, nickel army mount, fishtail mouthpiece, exclusive to smokingpipes.com.So? Does this mean I have a First Issue Kildare or a Third Issue Kildare (it’s clearly not Second or Fourth). Truth be told: I don’t know for sure. But the First Issue is the only one that specifically mentions the Classic Shapes, of which the 80S is one. So I have no reason to think that this isn’t from the earliest (1965-79) range. I am more than happy to be corrected by someone who knows more than I do!

Let’s have a closer look at this pipe. Someone had clearly attempted to clean the pipe in the past. Their cleaning job was mediocre, but better than nothing. The near side of the rim of the bowl had a clear burn mark. Mercifully, the burn looks quite superficial. The stummel has a couple of small nicks, which are not a big deal. The two grooves which wrap around the bowl were fairly grungy and would need to be cleaned. Fortunately, the stem was in good shape – just some oxidation to address. There was an inner tube in this pipe and it needed to be cleaned. I threw it in some lemon-infused isopropyl alcohol and let it soak for a while. I took it out, cleaned with some SoftScrub, gave it a rinse, and gave it a polish. Much better.Stem next. As usual, I cleaned the insides with lemon-infused isopropyl alcohol and some pipe cleaners. Fortunately, it wasn’t too dirty inside. Then I wiped down the outside of the stem with Murphy’s Oil Soap on some cotton rounds – that removed some exterior dirt. Then, of course, I stuck it in the deoxidizing solution overnight. The next day, I scrubbed it down with some SoftScrub on cotton rounds. Before moving on to sanding, I wanted to restore the stylized “P” logo on the stem. I could see that the impression was shallower at the bottom than at the top. I painted that “P” in white and let it dry. I then used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to bring out the lovely black lustre on the stem. I also used Obsidian Pipe Stem Oil in between each pad scrubbing (from 3,600 on). Setting aside the stem, I grabbed the stummel and started on that. Fortunately, this pipe didn’t need to be reamed, but other cleaning still needed to be done. Just like the stem, I cleaned the insides with lemon-infused isopropyl alcohol and some pipe cleaners and Q-tips. One has to keep cleaning until the pipe cleaners no longer show any interior filth.Since I wasn’t sure what was done in the previous owner’s cleaning job, I decided that a de-ghosting session would be sensible. I thrust cotton balls into the bowl and the shank and saturated them with 99% isopropyl alcohol. I let the stummel sit overnight. This caused the oils, tars and smells to leach out into the cotton. The bowl was nice and clean after this. I then took some 400-grit sandpaper and gently sanded down the inside edge of the bowl. I wanted to remove any remaining detritus. Following that, I grabbed a dental tool and dug out the muck that filled the two grooves on the bowl. I was actually surprised how much stuff was in there. Once done, I thoroughly cleaned the outside with Murphy’s on cotton rounds. I gently “topped” the pipe in order to safely remove the burn on the rim. The burn was very slight, so it didn’t take much. The pipe was really beginning to look beautiful. I followed that up by cleaning the insides of the stummel with some dish soap and tube brushes.Almost forgot the little dents on the underside of the bowl! Those were easily repaired with cyanoacrylate adhesive and briar dust. After this, I used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to sand the stummel smooth. I then applied some Before & After Restoration Balm which I massaged into the wood and let sit for 20 minutes or so. After that, I rubbed it with a microfiber cloth. The balm brings out the best in the beautiful wood. It makes things shine and really shows the lustre. Finally, I took it to the buffer and used some White Diamond and a few coats of carnauba wax.This Peterson Kildare really came out well. I am proud of the work and I’m sure the new owner will love it! I am pleased to announce that this pipe is for sale! If you are interested in acquiring it for your collection, please have a look in the ‘Irish’ pipe section of the store here on Steve’s website. You can also email me directly at kenneth@knightsofthepipe.com. The approximate dimensions of the pipe are as follows: length 5⅜ in. (136 mm); height 1¾ in. (45 mm); bowl diameter 1⅝ in. (41 mm); chamber diameter ¾ in. (19 mm). The weight of the pipe is 1¼ oz. (39 g). I hope you enjoyed reading the story of this pipe’s restoration as much as I did restoring it. If you are interested in more of my work, please follow me here on Steve’s website or send me an email. Thank you very much for reading and, as always, I welcome and encourage your comments.

Restoring a Kaywoodie Churchwarden


Blog by Kenneth Lieblich

Next on the chopping block is a charming and looooong Kaywoodie Dublin churchwarden (twelve inches long), commissioned by the daughter of a friend, for her fiancé. She was determined to get her beau a churchwarden as a gift. Fortunately, I was able to lay my hands on one and did a nifty restoration job on it. This pipe was made by the well-known American pipe company, Kaywoodie. The markings on the left side of the shank read Super Grain [over] Kaywoodie. On the right side of the shank is the shape number: 95. The left side of the stem has the traditional Kaywoodie logo, a club: ♣.   I went over to Pipedia, in order work out a rough date for this pipe. I know that the very old Kaywoodies have four-digit shape numbers – and this pipe obviously only has two digits. On the list of Kaywoodie shape numbers, the following information was shown:

Shape #                 Description                                                         Years Produced

95                           Extra Long Dublin Churchwarden              1932-1937, 1947-1972

So, at its youngest, this pipe is a minimum of 50 years old. Having said that, however, I think it’s older because the scant information I could find suggests that the 95 was not produced in Super Grain from at least 1968. I also don’t feel that this pipe falls into the earlier year ranges. My best estimate is that this pipe dates from the period of 1955 to 1968. Sadly, I cannot be more precise than that. The following photo shows the pipe in question from a 1955 Kaywoodie catalogue:The pipe was in decent condition. The pipe had been well-smoked add the bowl and shank were quite dirty, but nothing outlandish. The bowl had notable cake on the inside and some lava on the rim. I felt that some burning was possibly there too. Similarly, the stem was relatively clean – not much oxidation to speak of, and what I would describe as “typical” tooth marks on the bit. The stem was somewhat bent out of shape (in the yaw, pitch, and roll axes) and would need to be corrected. Finally, some previous owner had decapitated the drinkless filter system. Time to get to work. The stem was first on my list. I wiped the outside down with Murphy’s Oil Soap on some cotton pads. I cleaned out the insides with lemon-infused isopropyl alcohol and some churchwarden pipe cleaners. I also took a BIC lighter and ‘painted’ the stem with its flame to lift the few bite marks and dents. This was reasonably successful in raising the damage. It wasn’t perfect, but it was improved.

As I mentioned, the stinger thing had been lopped off. There was no repairing it – and I didn’t want to anyway! What I did do, however, was to gently sand down the cut edge with metal sandpaper in coarse, medium and fine grits. This worked beautifully and I was pleased with the results. I cleaned off the end with some alcohol on a cotton pad and gave the metal a quick polish. I then heated the stem with my heat gun and gently worked the twisted stem back into place. I have bent many stems before, but this one was by far the trickiest – perhaps because it was so long. There was considerable resistance in the stem and, after correcting the yaw and roll axes, I opted to leave some of the pitch – figuring that discretion was the better part of valour. Or, rather, I didn’t want to break the darn thing!

Fortunately, the stem was in good enough shape that it didn’t need a soak in the Pipe Stem Oxidation Remover. I simply scrubbed and scrubbed with SoftScrub on some cotton pads. I built up the remaining marks on the stem with black cyanoacrylate adhesive and then cured it with the aid of some CA glue accelerator. I then carefully sanded the adhesive down with 220-, 400-, and 600-grit sandpapers to meld seamlessly into the stem. I then used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to bring out the lovely black lustre on the stem. I also used Obsidian Pipe Stem Oil in between each pad scrubbing (from 3,600 onward). Now for the stummel. I decided to ream out the bowl. I used the PipNet reamer to remove the built-up cake and followed that with 220-grit sandpaper taped to a dowel to eliminate as much as I could. I took the chamber down to bare briar, as I wanted to ensure there were no hidden flaws in the wall. Fortunately, there were none.   I then proceeded to clean out the insides of the shank with Q-tips, pipe cleaners, and lemon-infused isopropyl alcohol. There was quite a bit of filth inside this stummel and it took a fair amount of cotton to get it clean. I used cotton rounds and some Murphy’s Oil Soap to scrub the outside of the stummel. I soaked the rim of the pipe in Murphy’s in order to soften the lava. This worked well, but burn marks remained on the wood of the rim. I followed that up by cleaning the insides of the stummel with some dish soap and tube brushes. Next, I decided to de-ghost the pipe in order to remove any lingering smells of the past. I thrust cotton balls into the bowl and the shank and saturated them with 99% isopropyl alcohol. I let the stummel sit overnight. This caused any remaining oils, tars and smells to leach out into the cotton. The bowl was nice and clean after this. Often, to remove burn marks, I use oxalic acid, but, in this case, the burning was too extensive. I should say that the burning wasn’t severe or deep – just wide. In order to safely remove the burns on the rim, I “topped” the pipe – that is to say, I gently and evenly sanded down the rim on a piece of 220-grit sandpaper. This effectively removed the damage, without altering the look of the pipe.Before sanding, I applied some Before & After Restoration Balm and let it sit for 20 minutes or so. It does lovely things to the wood. Once I polished it with a microfibre cloth, I sanded the stummel down with all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit). Finally, I applied some more Before & After Restoration Balm and buffed it with a microfiber cloth a second time. I then took the pipe to my bench polisher and buffed it with White Diamond and a few coats of carnauba wax. Wow – the pipe really looks lovely. My friend’s daughter presented her fiancé with the pipe and he seemed quite pleased with it. I met the lucky fellow myself and I know that he will enjoy smoking it for many years to come. I hope you enjoyed reading the story of this pipe as much I as I did restoring it. If you are interested in more of my work, please follow me here on Steve’s website or email me directly at kenneth@knightsofthepipe.com. Thank you very much for reading and, as always, I welcome and encourage your comments.

Yet another one of my own – an Ehrlich Hexagonal Opera Pipe


Blog by Steve Laug

This is another pipe that I have taken out of my personal collection as I do not use enough to warrant keeping it. This pipe was one that I kept from a group of pipes Jeff and I purchased a few years ago. It was not used very often and I believe it is one that I actually found in a lightly smoked condition when I picked it up. I cleaned the pipe but never smoked it after the clean up work. The airway in the shank and the mortise were quite clean. The smooth finish and rim top were in good condition. There was some darkening on the inner edge of the bowl around the bowl. The stamping on the pipe is very simple and on the left side of the shank it is stamped EHRLICH. On the underside of the stem it is stamped FRANCE. The finish is a natural brown with a shiny coat of varnish that gave it a rich look. The rich brown finish goes well with the black, taper vulcanite stem which is in excellent condition with no tooth marks or chatter on either side. I took photos of the pipe before I did my clean up work on it. I took a photo of the bowl and rim top to verify the description above. I also took photos of the stem surface showing the light chatter and tooth marks on both side. I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank and the underside of the stem. It is clear and readable as noted above. I took the stem off the bowl and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of proportion of the pipe. You can also see the grain around the side of bowl and the shank and it is a beauty. Now it was time to work on the pipe. I worked on the inner edge of the bowl 220 grit sandpaper to give the inner edge a slight bevel and clean up the damage that was present there. I used a ball and a piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth it out. The rim came out looking quite good.I wiped the bowl down with a cotton pad and acetone to remove the varnish coat on the briar. I find that once the varnish is removed the grain really stands out and can be appreciated. That was certainly true with this one. I polished the rim top and the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad to remove the dust and debris. The rim top polished out and matched the oil cured look of the bowl and shank. I cleaned the mortise and airways in the shank and stem with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol to remove the debris and tars from my smoking. You can see that it was not too bad as I tend to keep my pipes clean. The bowl was in such good condition that decided to give the bowl and shank a coating of Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I polished it with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I rubbed it down between pads with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Fine and Extra Fine Pipe Stem Polish. I wiped it down with some Obsidian Oil and buffed it off. It is a beautiful stem. It is good to put the final touches on another of my own pipes that I am selling – Ehrlich Hexagonal Bowl Straight Opera Pipe. I put the pipe back together and buffed the stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the beautiful grain and the polished vulcanite saddle stem. This smooth Ehrlich Opera Pipe is great looking and the pipe feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 inch x 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch x 1 inch. The weight of the pipe is 22 grams/.78 ounces. It is a beautiful pipe that I will soon be putting on the rebornpipes store in the American Pipe Makers Section. If you are interested in adding it to your collection send me an email or a message. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.

Restoring a Generation 1.5 Kirsten – Made in U.S.A. K


Blog by Steve Laug

This past week I received an email from a fellow named George. He was hunting for a specific Kirsten Pipe that he wanted as a gift for his son. I am including his first correspondence with me about the pipe.

Hi Steve

I am inquiring about the Kristen Companion K Straight Pipe. I read the posting on this pipe and am wondering if there is any place where I can purchase this style pipe. My father had and used this style pipe. It was his favorite of all the pipes he had. He had purchased it because the bowl was replaceable. He was very poor growing up, coming out of the Depression and WWII times and every penny counted. Having a pipe that he could replace just the bowl and not have the expense of purchasing the entire pipe appealed to him. My son is looking for this pipe to remind him of his grandfather and I want to find one for my son. Any leads you could provide me would be deeply appreciated. Thank you.

I wrote him back and sent him a picture of an anodized Kirsten Companion K and polished aluminum Kirsten K both of which I had here in my clean up queue. I asked him to have a look and get back to me on whether one or both would fit his needs.He wrote me back and gave me a bit of the back story on the pipe he was seeking. I have included a portion of that email below.

Hi Steve,

Thank you so very much for getting back to me. As with any pipe, there is always a back story, but I will only relate the Reader’s Digest version.  I have a son who remembers his grandfather’s (my dad’s) pipe of this style and regrets that he was only 14 and too young to speak up and get one of my dad’s pipes when he passed in 1982.  I am trying to surprise my son with this replica of my dad’s favorite pipe.  I am thrilled you have two of this style and are willing to sell one or both… I do like the bowl on the lower one better since my dad had only very plain bowls…

George

I corresponded with George and answered his questions regarding the difference on the two pipes and he wrote back with his choice. I quote from that email as follows.

Steve,

Thank you for your reply and your clear explanation of the difference in the pipes.  I would be interested in the smooth finished as that is the type pipe my dad had.  The less ornate, smooth finished, brown bowl would be the one I would like. Please keep my informed, but there is no rush on getting the pipe to me as I want to send it to my son on my father’s birthday which was on 18 February… Thanks for your help in doing this for my son and my dad’s memory.

George

With his choice made I knew what pipe I was working on next – a Kirsten metal pipe with a smooth briar Dublin bowl with carvings around the smooth finish. It is stamped on the left side of the shank, Kirsten in a cursive script. On the underside it is stamped Made in U.S.A. – K.

Here is some background information on the brand. These pipes were made for a long period of time in the Seattle, Washington area of the US. They came in four generations or iterations – Generation 1, 1.5, 2 and 3. The stamping on this one, the absence of a metal cap to hold the bowl, and the presence of the rubber O rings on the metal valve and on the stem insert, point to it being a Generation 1.5 pipe or a transitional one.

I am thankful to Dave Whitney for the information he provided for an earlier blog on Kirstens to help date this pipe (https://rebornpipes.com/2012/11/03/kirsten-generation-1-1-5-2-3/). The blog gives following information on the Generation 1.5 – transitional period – mid to late 50’s.

This was an experimental stage. Kirsten realized that the bit and insert were prone to seizure as the condensate dried. This model always has O-rings on the metal insert, and later models can have O-rings on both. Same markings, as I remember it. There is no metal cup spacer under the bowl. This generation has O rings either on the valve or mouthpiece but no O rings on the other end. This transitional period is stamped “Pat. Pending” and “Pats. & Pats. Pending” some with “Made in U.S.A. It seems like the company was using surplus parts to combine into this series of pipes. This particular pipe is stamped K after the U.S.A. thus making it a Companion.

With that I knew that the Kirsten K I was working on was a Companion (what George had asked for). It was made from the mid to late 1950s during the transitional period of Kirsten manufacture. It will be a great, smokable piece of both Kirsten history and George’s family history once it is finish. Now it was time to work on the pipe itself.

Somewhere along the journey of this pipe Jeff had done a great cleanup on the pipe. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the bowl exterior and the aluminum barrel with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the grime on the finish of the bowl and the lava from the rim top. He rinsed it under running water. One of the benefits of this scrub is that it also tends to lift some of the scratches and nicks in the surface of the briar. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He cleaned the internals and externals of the aluminum barrel and the vulcanite stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. He soaked the stem in Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water and cleaned out the airway in the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. I took photos of the pipe as I saw it when I put it on the table.   I took photos of the rim top and stem to show the condition. The rim top and beveled edge looked amazing. The stem was vulcanite and there were tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the aluminum barrel. They are clear and readable as noted above.   I removed the stem from the barrel and the flow adjuster valve from the front of the barrel. I removed the bowl from the top of the shank and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the components of the pipe.I set the parts aside and worked on the bowl. I removed the screw from the bottom of the bowl so that I could clean up the bowl. I sanded the inside of the bowl and topped the rim top to remove the burning and darkening. I worked on the inner edge with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the darkened and damaged inner edge of the bowl. In the photo below there is a mark at the 5 o’clock section of the rim top below. The mark is actually a fill in the rim top. It is solid and undamaged. Once finished, the top and inner edge looked better.I used a Maple stain pen to restain the rim top to match the sides of the bowl. Once it was finished and polished it would look a lot better.I polished the bowl sides and top with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad to remove the grime. The finish began to look much better. I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm and worked it into the grooves as well as the smooth surface of the briar. I let it sit for 15 minutes then buffed it off with a soft cloth. The bowl took on a rich glow and the grain shown through the finish. I polished the aluminum valve on the from of the barrel with 4000-12000 grit micromesh pads to polish off the oxidization that was on it when I first took it out of the box. It shined up very well. I coated the rubber gasket on the valve with some Restoration Balm as it worked to bring the rubber back to life. Once it had sat for awhile I wiped it off and put the valve back in the barrel of the pipe and the bowl. The valve was easily adjustable and would act like a flue on a wood stove when the pipe was smoked. I set the bowl and barrel aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the vulcanite stem surface with the flame to lift the tooth marks. I was able to lift them considerably. I filled in the remaining tooth marks with clear CA glue and set it aside for the repairs to cure. I used a small file to flatten the repairs and start the process of blending them into the surface of the stem. I then sanded them with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface of the vulcanite stem. I used micromesh sanding pads to polish the stem and bring back the shine. I dry sanded the stem with 1500 – 12,000 grit pads and rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I polished it with Before & After Fine and Extra Fine Polish and then gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and let it dry. This Kirsten Gen. 1.5 Made in U.S.A. – K straight pipe with a vulcanite saddle stem has a smooth reddish finish. The rich reds and blacks of the contrasting stain makes the grain come alive with the polishing and waxing. I buffed the barrel lightly with the Blue Diamond and also buffed the bowl. I gave the bowl and barrel several coats of carnauba wax and then lightly buffed it with a clean flannel buffing pad to raise the shine. I put the vulcanite stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. This older Kirsten Companion K is a great looking pipe and the Dublin bowl gives it a distinctive look. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.66 oz./46 grams. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is ready for George to give to his son in memory of his grandfather. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Moving yet another one of my own – A Bertram 30 Bent Dublin


Blog by Steve Laug

This is another pipe that I have taken out of my personal collection as I just do not use enough to warrant keeping it. This pipe was one I picked up in a lot of over 100 Bertrams that Jeff and I purchase a few years ago. It was used solely for Virginia tobaccos so there is no real ghost in the pipe. The airway in the shank and the mortise were quite clean. The smooth finish and rim top were in good condition. There was some darkening/burning on the front right and rear of the inner edge of the bowl. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Bertram in script [over] Washington, D.C. [over] the grade number 30. The finish is a natural brown with just time and some light  polishing adding colour. There are a few small flaws and fills in the shank and heel of the bowl. There was a light cake in the bowl but the top and inner edge of the bowl clean of lava. The rich brown finish goes well with the vulcanite saddle stem is in good condition with some light tooth chatter ahead of the button on both sides. I took photos of the pipe before I did my clean up work on it. I took a photo of the bowl and rim top to verify the description above. I also took photos of the stem surface showing the light chatter on either side. I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above.  I took the stem off the bowl and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of proportion of the pipe. You can also see the grain of the briar and it is a beauty.Now it was time to work on the pipe. I worked on the inner edge of the bowl 220 grit sandpaper and a wooden ball to give the inner edge a slight bevel and clean up the damage that was present there. The rim came out looking quite good.I cleaned up the light cake in the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I sanded the bowl walls with a piece of dowel wrapped in 220 grit sandpaper.  I cleaned the mortise and airways in the shank and stem with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol to remove the debris and tars from my smoking. You can see that it was not too bad as I tend to keep my pipes clean. I polished the rim top and the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad to remove the dust and debris. The rim top polished out and matched the oil cured look of the bowl and shank. The bowl was in such good condition that decided to give the bowl and shank a coating of Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. Since the stem was in quite good condition other than tooth chatter I polished out the chatter with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I rubbed it down between pads with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Fine and Extra Fine Pipe Stem Polish. I wiped it down with some Obsidian Oil and buffed it off. It is a beautiful stem. I am excited to put the final touches on this great looking Bertram Washington, DC Grade 30 Bent Dublin I put the pipe back together and buffed the stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the beautiful grain and the polished vulcanite saddle stem. This smooth Grade 30 Bertram Bent Dublin is great looking and the pipe feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 5/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 48 grams/1.69 ounces. It is a beautiful pipe that I will soon be putting on the rebornpipes store in the American Pipe Makers Section. If you are interested in adding it to your collection send me an email or a message. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.

Moving yet another one of my own – an Old Port “Avant Garde” Rusticated Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

This is another pipe that I have taken out of my personal collection as I just do not use enough to warrant keeping it. This pipe was one I picked up in some of my pipe hunting adventures. It is from a period of my journey where I smoked solely Virginia tobaccos so it is quite clean. The airway in the shank and the mortise were quite clean. The rusticated finish and smooth rim top were in good condition. There was some darkening/burning on the front inner edge of the bowl. It is stamped on the underside of the shank and reads OLD PORT [over] “AVANT GARDE” [over] London/St. Claude [over] the shape number 783. The shape number and research confirms that this is a Comoy’s Made pipe. There was a light cake in the bowl but the top and inner edge of the bowl clean. The rich brown finish goes well with the vulcanite taper stem is in good condition with some light tooth chatter ahead of the button on both sides. I took photos of the pipe before I did my clean up work on it. I took a photo of the bowl and rim top to verify the description above. I also took photos of the stem surface showing the light chatter on either side.I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above.  I took the stem off the bowl and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of proportion of the pipe. You can also see the deep and rugged rustication on the briar and it is a beauty.Now it was time to work on the pipe. I cleaned up the light cake in the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I sanded the bowl walls with a piece of dowel wrapped in 220 grit sandpaper.  I cleaned the mortise and airways in the shank and stem with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol to remove the debris and tars from my smoking. You can see that it was not too bad as I tend to keep my pipes clean. I worked on the inner edge of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the burn damage on the front inner edge. I gave it a light bevel to blend it into the rest of the bowl edges. I polished the rim top with micromesh sanding pads. The rim top looks very good. The bowl was in such good condition that decided to give the bowl and shank a coating of Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. Since the stem was in quite good condition other than tooth chatter I polished out the chatter with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I rubbed it down between pads with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Fine and Extra Fine Pipe Stem Polish. I wiped it down with some Obsidian Oil and buffed it off. It is a beautiful stem. I am excited to put the final touches on this great looking Comoy’s Made Old Port Avant Garde 783 Bent Billiard. I put the pipe back together and buffed the stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the rugged rustication all around it. Added to that the polished brown/ gold/tan acrylic stem combined with the bowl and make a stunning pipe. This rusticated Old Port Avant Garde 783 is great looking and the pipe feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 45 grams/1.52 ounces. It is a beautiful pipe that I will soon be putting on the rebornpipes store in the British Pipe Makers Section. If you are interested in adding it to your collection send me an email or a message. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.

Restoring a Peterson’s System 3 Bent Billiard 3170


Blog by Steve Laug

This is a pipe that I have taken out of my personal collection as I just do not use it too much. It is a classic Peterson’s System Bent Billiard shaped pipe with some nice grain around the bowl and a nickel ferrule. It is another pipe that I smoked solely Virginia tobaccos in so it is very clean. The inside of the shank, the system sump and the shank was quite clean. The smooth rim top has some damage on the inside edge of the bowl and is out of round. The smooth finish was very clean but dull and quite lifeless. The grain is mixed but still quite nice around the bowl and shank. The stamping on the shank is clear and readable. The left side is stamped Peterson’s [arched over] System [over] the number 3 in a circle. On the right side it was stamped with the shape number 3170. The nickel ferrule is dull but stamped K&P [over] three faux hallmarks [over] Peterson [over] Dublin. The stem was quite clean with no oxidation or tooth marks. I took some photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. I took close up photos of the bowl and the stem. You can see the light cake in the bowl and the darkening and damage on the inner edge of the rim top. The stem surface was clean and free of tooth marks or chatter on both sides. I took a photo of the stamping on the sides of the bowl and shank. It is clear and readable as noted above. I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo to give a sense of the proportions of the pipe. It is really quite nice looking. I turned to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Peterson) and read through the article there. It was a great reminder of the history of the brand.

I turned to “The Peterson Pipe” by Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg to get some background on the Peterson’s System 0 Made in Ireland stamp. On page 301 of the book I found a listing on System pipes that referred to the 0-3 stamps. I quote:

System Pipes (1937-59) The 1937 catalog only slightly changed the grading hierarchy for System pipes. The De Luxe model, described as “the finished possible quality obtainable” would be assigned no grading subscript, but neither would the First Quality. Below these were 0 Grade, 2nd Grade and 3rd Grade, all stamped with numbers and PETERSON’S over SYSTEM or PETERSON’S over DUBLIN. Grades 0 and 2nd were fitted with sterling mounts, 3rd grade with nickel. Each of these grades were sometimes stamped below and sometimes to the right of the model name. Sometimes these numbers were circled, sometimes not. The location of the number and whether it was circled or not was rather random from the onset of its use until discontinued in 1959, and by itself only indicates that a given pipe was made between ’37 and ’59.  

On page 302 there was a listing on the nickel mounted markings. I quote:

Nickel-Mount Markings. Often called faux hallmarks or faux marks by Peterson collectors, this set of three little images of a shamrock, an Irish wolfhound and a round tower appear within rectangular shapes as decorations on nickel mountings. Very early nickel mounts (1891-c. 1920) had no such decorations, only the same stamps used on sterling but without the hallmarks. As a stamp, the set of decorations began to appear at the beginning of the Irish Free State era, sometimes alone but often under K&P and over block lettered PETERSON over DUBLIN, although the  three emblems appeared on K&P’s Irish Carving Shamrocks pipes since 1896. The stamp was used until about 1963, when hand soldered nickel bands and ferrules were replaced by pressed ferrules and premade bands…The shamrock is the emblem of Ireland; the Irish wolfhound has long been used for both hunting and protection, and is an emblem of strength; the round tower a symbol of Ireland’s early religious power. These decorations were stamped at the factory on non-sterling mounts only, and the assay office has nothing to do with…

The information was very helpful. I have highlighted the pertinent reference to regarding the stamping, the circle 3 number and the faux hallmarks above. I knew that I was dealing with a pipe made between 1937 and 1959.

I reamed the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I sanded the walls on the bowl with a piece of 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel to take the walls back to smooth once again. I worked on the pipe with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage on the rim top and edges of the bowl. It looked better but would need a bit more work.I cleaned out the sump, the shank and the airway in the stem and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and isopropyl alcohol. The pipe was clean and it smelled significantly better.I polished the rim top and edges with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads to raise a shine. I wiped it down with a damp cotton pad to wipe off the debris after each sanding pad. I touched up the rim top and inner edge of the bowl with a Walnut stain pen to match it to the rest of the of the bowl. It blends in very well.I polished the nickel ferrule with a  jeweler’s cloth. The cloth is impregnated with polish that not only raises a shine but protects the metal. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips. It works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let it sit for 15 minutes then buffed it off with a soft cloth and raised the shine. The bowl looks great at this point.   I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding it with 1500-12000 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 and gave it a final coat and set it aside to dry.  I put the stem back on the Peterson’s System 3 Bent Billiard 3170 and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I polished the briar and the vulcanite of the stem until there was a rich shine. This classic Peterson’s shape and finish really highlights a proportionally well carved pipe. Once I buffed the pipe the briar came alive and popped with polishing. The black vulcanite stem has a rich glow. This Peterson’s System 3 Bent Billiard fits well in the hand and sits right in the mouth. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 inch, Chamber diameter: ¾ of and inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.48 ounces/42 grams. It was one I chose for my own collection and enjoyed, but I am happy to pass it on to the next pipe man or woman. This beauty will be going on the rebornpipes online store in the Irish Pipemakers Section. If you are interested let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as it was a pleasure to work on.

Restoring a Republic Era Peterson’s System 31 Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

This is another one of those pipes that has been here for a long time and I have no memory where it came from. It had been cleaned and reamed. The inside of the shank, the system sump and the shank was quite clean. The smooth rim top was damaged and had some darkening. The edges – both inner and outer had some damages by burning and the bowl was out of round. The smooth finish was very clean from Jeff’s scrubbing. The stamping on the shank is clear and readable. The left side is stamped Peterson’s [arched over] System. On the right side it was stamped Made in the Republic of Ireland (3 lines). To the right of that stamp is the shape number 31. The nickel ferrule is oxidized and dull but it has the K & P stamp over three symbols. Next to that it was stamped Peterson’s. The stem was quite clean and free of tooth marks and chatter on both sides. I took some photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. I took close up photos of the bowl and the stem. You can see the reamed bowl and the darkening and damage on the rim top. The stem surface was clean and free of tooth marks or chatter on both sides. I took a photo of the stamping on the sides of the bowl and shank. It is clear and readable as noted above. I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo to give a sense of the proportions of the pipe. It is really quite nice looking.I am including the information from Pipedia’s article on Peterson pipes. It is a great read in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Peterson). I have included a bit of the pertinent history here.

1950 – 1989 The Republic Era  – From 1950 to the present time, the stamp for this era is “Made in the Republic of Ireland” in a block format generally in three lines but two lines have been used with or without Republic being abbreviated.

During the 1950’s and 60’s the Kapp & Peterson Company was still in the ownership of the Kapp family. However 1964 saw the retiral of the company Managing Director Frederick Henry(Harry) Kapp.

I found a great description of the System 31 shape on smokingpipes.com (https://www.smokingpipes.com/pipes/new/peterson/moreinfo.cfm?product_id=192182). I am including a portion of that below.

Peterson’s “31” shape is the only straight pipe featured in the System Standard line, yet it still features system drilling. Featuring a push-style tenon and a long, tapering metal tube, it houses a condensation chamber just under the bowl itself — providing the same gurgle free smoke you’d expect of a bent System configuration.

Paresh had worked on System 31 pipe so I went back and reread his work on that smooth pipe. It was very helpful for the background information included (https://rebornpipes.com/tag/peterson-system-31-pipe/).

I knew that I was dealing with a Republic Era pipe made between 1950-1989. The K&P mark on the nickel band ties to Kapp & Peterson brings the date to the time between 1950-1964. It was a smooth Straight billiard with a unique shape and chamber beneath the bottom of the bowl. The finish was stained with a combination of rich reddish brown stains. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

The bowl had been reamed and cleaned. I started working on the pipe by topping the damaged rim top on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage on the rim top and edges of the bowl. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the inner edge of the bowl. I gave the inner edge of the bowl a slight bevel. I polished the rim top and edges with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads to raise a shine. I wiped it down with a damp cotton pad to wipe off the debris after each sanding pad. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips. It works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let it sit for 15 minutes then buffed it off with a soft cloth and raised the shine. The bowl looks great at this point.   I polished the nickel ferrule with a  jeweler’s cloth. The cloth is impregnated with polish that not only raises a shine but protects the metal.   I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding it with 1500-12000 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 and gave it a final coat and set it aside to dry.  I put the stem back on the Peterson’s System 31 Straight Billiard and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I polished the briar and the vulcanite of the stem until there was a rich shine. This classic Peterson’s shape and finish really highlights a proportionally well carved pipe. Once I buffed the pipe the briar came alive and popped with polishing. The black vulcanite stem has a rich glow. This Peterson’s System Straight Billiard fits well in the hand and sits right in the mouth. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of and inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.20 ounces/34 grams. This beauty will be going on the rebornpipes online store in the Irish Pipemakers Section. If you are interested let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as it was a pleasure to work on.

The French Collection


Blog by Kenneth Lieblich

No, not the French Connection – but French Collection! I have long had an interest in French pipes and pipemaking. In recent decades, French pipes have received a fair amount of derision – and deservedly so. However, early French pipes are very often beautiful, well-made, and – best of all – good smokers. In my own small way, I am aiming to resurrect the reputation of early French pipes. There are superb pipes to be had from France. This blog post is about the restoration of the first pipe that is going into my “French Collection”.

The pipe in question has no markings whatsoever. So how do I know it’s French? Well, I don’t have absolute proof, but I’ve got good circumstantial evidence: the pipe has a very French look to it, it smells like old French tobacco, it came in a lot of exclusively French pipes from France, and – most definitively – Steve thinks it’s French too.  As the photos show, this is a cutty-shaped pipe, albeit without the spur. However, it shows the distinctive, canted bowl of the cutty. It is a handsome pipe with a jaunty look to it, and I liked the pipe straight away. As I mentioned, this pipe has no marks of any kind. This obviously makes identification trickier. I know that Georges Vincent-Genod company used to make pipes similar to this once upon a time, but I cannot, in good conscience, definitely ascribe this pipe to the GVG company. Having said that, the following pipe from Genod certainly has its similarities…The age of this pipe is quite interesting. As you can see, the stem of the pipe is made of horn and has an orific button at the end. For more information on the orifice button, take the time to read Steve’s interesting article on the subject. This type of button is a feature that apparently disappeared by the 1930s, so the pipe must be around a hundred years old, right? Not so fast. The stummel has a threaded tenon made of metal – not bone (as one might expect from a century ago). Steve, my walking encyclopedia, informed me that the fact the tenon is in metal (instead of bone) suggests a date closer to World War II. He figures that the stem itself could be significantly older, but that it was left over in the factory and married to a ”newer” stummel. Therefore, we can surmise that the pipe is about 80 years old.

Let’s have a closer look at the condition of the pipe. The stem was dirty and worn, with plenty of evidence of tooth marks and dents. The insides were dirty too, but nothing too unusual. Meanwhile, the stummel was incredibly dirty.The bowl was so full of cake and the rim so overwhelmed with lava, that I couldn’t really tell what the condition of the wood inside was. Certainly, there was some lovely patina on the old wood on the outside of the bowl.I wanted to work on the stem first, but needed some help to unscrew it! I brought out the heat gun and gave a quick blast to loosen the goo holding the pipe together. That loosened the stem sufficiently to unscrew it. I wiped the stem with Murphy’s Oil Soap on some cotton pads. There was some filth there and I needed to remove it. I attacked the inside of the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs, and isopropyl alcohol. It required a good amount of cotton to come clean. Now work on repairing the tooth marks, etc. on the outside of the stem. I built up the bite marks on the stem with cyanoacrylate adhesive and let it fully cure. There were a couple of small worm holes (or something similar) on the stem and I filled them the same way. Upon closer inspection, the button on the stem was a bit mangled. Simply doing the normal sanding wouldn’t do. I opted to use a small file and rework the horn to ensure a proper shape.Following that, I sanded the adhesive down with 220- and 400-grit sandpapers to meld seamlessly into the stem. I then used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to bring out the beautiful designs in the horn, with some Obsidian Pipe Stem Oil in between each pad scrubbing. Now for the stummel. The brass ferrule came off very easily. I set it aside for now and would return to clean it later. First, I decided to ream out the bowl. I used the KleenReem and the PipNet to remove the built-up cake and followed that with 220-grit sandpaper taped to a dowel to eliminate as much as I could. Wow, there was a lot of debris! I took the chamber down to bare briar to ensure there were no hidden flaws in the wall. Fortunately (and surprisingly), there were none.Following this, I cleaned the insides with the requisite pipe cleaners, Q-tips and isopropyl alcohol. As the stack of cleaning materials show, it was a mess!I also took this opportunity to wash the stummel with Murphy’s Oil Soap and remove as much grime as I could. The pipe’s rim was so caked with filth that I opted to soak it in a jar-lid of Murphy’s to soften it. Then I used a brush to work out all the gunk on the rim. As the pictures show, the rim was badly worn. There were gouges and burn marks. Additional work would need to be done. Before that, however, I decided the pipe needed some additional TLC and I chose to de-ghost it. I thrust cotton balls in the bowl (and plugged up the shank) and saturated it with isopropyl alcohol. I left it overnight and let all the evil spirits in the pipe leech into the cotton. Once complete, the pipe looked great and smelled even better.I was, at first, very reluctant to “top” the pipe – that is to say, gently and evenly sanding down the rim on a piece of 220-grit sandpaper. I was reluctant because I loved the height of the bowl and didn’t want to change it. However, I did decide to do it – it just didn’t look right without it. I was especially careful this time, so as to remove the bare minimum from the rim.As I mentioned earlier, there were some burns on the inside of the rim that also needed to be addressed. I took some oxalic acid on a cotton swab and rubbed and rubbed. The burn improved but not sufficiently, in my opinion. So, I took a solid wooden sphere, wrapped sandpaper around it, and sanded until such time as the burns were removed. I proceeded very carefully, as I had to ensure that I was not removing too much. I think I got it just right and the rim looked much improved. After this, I used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to sand the stummel smooth.I then applied some Before & After Restoration Balm which I massaged into the wood and let sit for 15-20 minutes. After that, I rubbed it with a microfiber cloth. The balm brings out the best in the beautiful wood. It makes things shine and really shows the lustre. I came back to the brass ferrule. It was pretty dirty too. I used some SoftScrub on a cotton pad and scrubbed it clean. Then I buffed it with a microfibre cloth and made it shine. I reattached it to the stummel with some glue and let it set.Finally, it was off for a trip to the buffer. The more I look at this pipe, the more I really like the elegant lines and the old-time feel of the wood. At the buffer, a dose of White Diamond and a few coats of carnauba wax were just what this pipe needed to shine properly. All finished! This is a wonderfully crafted pipe and has a very sporty feel to it. It took some work, but I am proud of it and the final product suits me to a T. It retains some wounds from battle, but, as Steve would say, they are part of this pipe’s story. This is one pipe that I am keeping for myself and adding to my newly-founded French Collection. I am sure that I will be enjoying this one for many years to come. The approximate dimensions of the pipe are as follows: length 6½ in. (165 mm); height 2 in. (51 mm); bowl diameter 1¼ in. (30 mm); chamber diameter ¾ in. (19 mm). The weight of the pipe is ⅞ oz. (25 g). I hope you enjoyed reading the story of this restoration as much as I enjoyed restoring it. If you are interested in more of my work, please follow me here on Steve’s website or send me an email. Thank you very much for reading and, as always, I welcome and encourage your comments. I hope you enjoyed reading the story of this pipe as much I as I did restoring it. If you are interested in more of my work, please follow me here on Steve’s website or email me directly at kenneth@knightsofthepipe.com. Thank you very much for reading and, as always, I welcome and encourage your comments.