Tag Archives: vulcanite

Repairing and adding a touch of antiquity to a Chacom Meridien Diamond Shank 811 Dublin


Blog by Steve Laug

I was scanning through Facebook Marketplace and came across a collection of four pipes that were being sold near where I live in Vancouver. I messaged the individual and it turned out it was an animal rescue/hospital thrift shop. They were selling the four pipes and the rack with all proceeds going to their charity. My second daughter and I made the drive over to visit and have a look at the pipes. I have included the photo from the advertisement to show the pipes and their condition. The label on the sale was inaccurate but I could see what at least three of the pipes were and I was interested. After I parked in front of the shop and I went in and the clerk brought out the pipes and rack so I could have a look. In the order they are in the rack from left to right the pipes were as follows: A GBD Tapestry 1970 Shape (Banker), a Brigham 228 two dot sitter in a shape I had not seen before, a Chacom Meridien 811 Dublin with a diamond shank, and a Kriswill Saga140. The Brigham and the Chacom both had cracks. The Brigham had a hairline crack in the bowl and Chacom had a cracked shank. I paid the price we agreed on for the pipes and headed home.

I wrote Charles Lemon of Dad’s Pipes who is the go to guy for all things Brigham and asked him about the pipe. He said it was a shape he did not have and did not have on his shape chart. I thought about it overnight and sent it off to him on Monday morning. I look forward to his blog on this pipe as it is a really Danish looking Brigham.

That left me with three pipes to work on. Since the Chacom had the crack it was the hardest of the three to deal with so I chose that one. I really like the shape of the pipe and the way that the diamond shank flows in to the crowned Dublin bowl. The pipe was a bit of a mess. The bowl had not only a thick cake in it but also about a ¼ bowl of old tobacco that was unsmoked. The cake in the bowl had erupted onto the crowned rim top and left it a mess. The edges were covered so it was hard to know what was underneath the lava. The shank was cracked on the top right side of the diamond at the end. The briar was filthy with ground in grit and grime. The stamping on the pipe was minimal. On the left side it read Chacom [over] Meridien. On the underside of the shank near the stem/shank joint it had the shape number 811. On the right side there are very faint stamping that appears to read Made in France or possibly St. Claude France. The stem had the Chacom CC metal oval inset on the left side of the saddle. There was a lot of oxidation, calcification and tooth marks on chatter on both side. It was worn but repairable. I took photos of the pipe as it was when I brought it home.  I took some close up shots of the bowl and rim top along with the stem to show the condition of both. The photo of the rim top also shows the crack on the shank on the back top right side at the shank end. I have circled it in red to make it clear. The photos of the stem show its condition. You can see the oxidation, calcification and tooth marking in the photos below.I took photos of the stamping on the shank sides and have included them below. They read as noted above. Some of the stamping is very faint but readable with a lens. You can also see that the stem is stamped FRANCE on the right underside near the shank.I took a photo of the pipe with the stem removed to give a sense of the beauty of the shape. It is a nice looking pipe.I turned to Pipephil’s site for a quick overview of the brand (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-chacom.html). I have included that below. The Meridien Line is not included on the site.

The brand Chacom Chacom, créateur et distributeur de pipes turned up (1934) after fusion of Chapuis-Comoy with La Bruyère. Yves Grenard (†2012), second cousin of Pierre Comoy headed the company from 1971. He was responsible for Chapuis Comoy’s recovering its independance from Comoy. His son Antoine Grenard took over the direction of the company in 2007. Chacom is a brand of Cuty-Fort Entreprises (Jeantet, Vuillard, Jean Lacroix, Ropp …).

Pipedia has a great history write up on the Chacom brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Chacom). It gives a simple and concise timeline for the history. Once again there was nothing on either the line of the shape 811. Worth the read however. With that out of the way it was time to work on the pipe.

I began my work on the pipe by reaming out the cake. I started the process with a PipNet piper reamer to remove the thickest part of the cake. I cleaned up the cake with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to remove the rest of the cake. I took it back to bare briar then sanded the bowl with piece of dowel wrapped with 220 grit sandpaper. Once it was finished the bowl was clean. With cake removed on the inside, I scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime ground into the briar and to remove the buildup of lava on the rim top and edges. It really was a nice looking piece of briar. I worked over the inner edge of the rim top with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I worked to remove the darkening on the edge and to smooth out the edge. It came out looking quite good.I took a photo of the crack on the top right side of the diamond shank. I filled in the crack with some clear super glue and pressed the parts together until the glue cured and the crack was joined.I cleaned out the mortise, the airway into the bowl and the airway in the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. It was very dirty with tars and oils and took a lot of swabs and pipe cleaners.I dropped the stem into a soak of Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and set it aside for the night. While it soaked I worked on banding the cracked shank.I went through my collection of bands and found a really interesting one from the late 1800s. It is brass band with carved vines and floral patterns. I really like the look of the shank with the old band on it. I used a topping board and sandpaper to reduce the depth of the band. I wanted to thin it down enough so that when pressed into place on the shank it would leave as much of the stamping clear as possible. I pressed it on the shank. You can see that it cut off the right leg of M in Chacom. Otherwise it looks really good. I glued it in place on the shank and took photos of the banded pipe. I really like the look of the pipe with the antique band. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each pad to remove the debris. The bowl began to take on a deep shine. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the finish my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The product brought the briar to life and gave some depth to the finish. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I took it out of the Briarville Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I rubbed it down with a coarse cloth. While it removed a lot of the grit and oxidation it left a bunch behind. I scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub to remove the softened oxidation on the stem surface. I have found that it works wonders. I used a small file to clean up the edges of the button  and smooth out some of the tooth marks. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the file marks. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it further with Before & After Fine and Extra Fine Stem Polishes. I wiped it down a final time with Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I really like the addition of the gold coloured fancy band from the late 1800s to this Chacom Meridien 811 Diamond Shank Dublin. I put the stem on the shank and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the stem and bowl multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it to deepen the shine. The grain on the briar came alive with the buffing and the gold of the band was a great contrast between the briar and the polished vulcanite stem. The dimensions of the pipe are – Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside Diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Diameter of the Chamber: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.02 ounces/29 grams. It is really a great looking pipe. The new repaired shank and golden coloured cast band really work well together. I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store in the French Pipe Makers section shortly. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me. Cheers.

This Opera pipe is a traveler – France to Utah, USA and now to Vancouver, Canada


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on my work top is an interesting piece that is well traveled. It was made in France and somehow ended up in Ogden, Utah, USA and now it is residing here in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. We picked up from a fellow who bought it at and estate sale in Utah back in early 2019. Jeff cleaned it up in 2020 and now I am working on it in 2021. It has been sitting for awhile in our backlog of pipes. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank in script and reads P. Viou underlined with a flourish. At an angle underneath that it is stamped in uppercase and reads SUPER. On the right side of the shank it is stamped Bruyere [over] Extra followed by the shape number 3030. It has some interesting grain around the bowl and shank that shines through the grime on the finish. The bowl had a moderate cake and some overflow of lava on the top inner edge. The original stem was lightly oxidized at the back end and had tooth marks on both side near the button. The shoulders of the shank or stem seem to be slightly rounded from the photos. Jeff captured the look of the pipe in the photos he took before his work. The moderate cake in the bowl and the lava on the rim edge and top is visible in the next photos. There also appears to be some darkening or perhaps burning on the inner edge. It will be clearer once the pipe is cleaned. The stem shows some oxidation and calcification on the button end with tooth marks and chatter visible on both sides. There was an oily corkscrew style stinger in the tenon when the stem was removed. The bowl had some nice cross grain and birdseye grain around the sides. The unique oval shape really followed the grain well. The next photos show the stamping around the sides of the shank. The first two photos show the left side of the shank. The third photo shows the stamping on the right side of the shank.You can see the rounding on the edges of the briar in both photos below. The fit of the stem to the shank is off. Earlier this morning Kenneth stopped by for a visit and I was working on this P. Viou pipe. Kenneth has a developed a love for French pipes and a growing knowledge of the brands so I asked him some questions and we chatted about that. Later this after I wrote him and asked him for information on the brand. Here is his response with a few links as well.

Paul Viou was the brand and fictional name of a French artisan who sold his pipes by correspondence and then he was a pipe supplier for military institutions. He also made sculpted pipes and sometime used horn stems. The brand is currently sold by Jacques Craen and made by Genod in Saint-Claude, after having also belonged to Paul Guilland and Vuillard. They are stamped P. Viou, and made primarily for export.

He included the following links for me to read a bit of history. I ran the French articles through Google translate and got a good idea of the brand. The first article ties Genod under Jacky Craen to a younger carver he trained named Sebastien Beaud.

https://www.fumeursdepipe.net/pipiersCcraen.htm?fbclid=IwAR2SpMLdFREZh_WyOLuwZsTUTSUx5Ohoyr6cl3JChpTYk-U1lUgZflFG4Aw

Jacques (Jacky) Craen was born in 1944, and learned the trade with his grandfather at the age of 15. Eleven years later, once his “classes” are over, he became the owner of the Genod house.

He produces around 8,000 pipes in the year, of which 500 are unique pieces. He works by smoking red Amphora and listening to classical music.

In the summer of 2001, he welcomed a young boy of 21 who enjoyed woodworking. His name was Sébastien Beaud. He returned the following summer, spent a few years with Ewa, until May 2005. At the beginning of 2006, he returned as a worker, finally succeeding Jacques Craen.

You can visit the workshop, and watch this young man work who “emphasizes the pleasure of smoking”. In 2011, Sébastien offered the brand “Sébastien Beo”, only in the USA, from heads that he reworked.

The second and third articles are the same and they tie Sebastien Beaud to Genod, Jacques Craen (Jacky) and to the Paul Viou mail order business. Once again I used Google translate to get a fair read on the article. I include it below.

http://lapipedesaintclaude.com/genod-et-viou-l-aventure-continue-p-27.htm?fbclid=IwAR09q_bVkuPvIG0Qc8DA1ClM2BNntfAPOMgZ8rv5vLe67k5K2sw4jAKqomA

https://www.amagalerie.com/artisan/paul-viou-maitre-pipier-a-saint-claude/?fbclid=IwAR1kErCvYY98vcJ6kh8c72SGf5pW5NcPZ6f8pjHlVLZYfeKChOlDRl0pBR4

Genod and Viou, the adventure continues –

Sébastien Beaud, a young Saint Claude pipe maker. After working in the Genod boutique during the summer of 2001, the idea of ​​becoming a master pipe maker slowly matured in Sébastien Beaud’s mind. With the help of many Saint Claude Pipe Masters, Jacques Craen, and mainly Denis Blanc, as well as Roger Vincent, he was able to learn the passes necessary for the complete making of a pipe.

Thus prepared, he decided to take over the Genod business in 2006. Today, he continues to develop the tourist activity initiated by Jacques Craen, opening his workshop to the public to show him the making of the noble bouffarde, as well as the mail order sale inherited from Paul Viou.

The pipe makers of Saint Claude tirelessly seek to make better pipes. Sébastien Beaud is refining his techniques to the delight of fellow pipe smokers.

Thanks Kenneth for the links and the information. It looks like I am working on one of those mail order pipes that was made primarily for export. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe very well as usual. He has detailed his process other places so I will summarize it here. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl and rim top with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub to loosen the oxidation and remove the grime. Then he soaked it in Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe once I received it.    I took a photo of the rim top to show the condition of the bowl. The cake has been cleaned out and the lava is gone. There is still some darkening and damage to the inner edge of the rim that I will need to deal with. The photos show that the stem looks really good. There is light chatter and some tooth marks on the underside but it is quite clean. The photos of the stem show the rounded shoulders on the briar at the stem/shank junction. I really dislike that look on a pipe. On the left side of the stem there is a faint P. Viou stamp. It is not deep enough to repaint but it is present.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the parts of the pipe. You can see the corkscrew stinger in the tenon. It is quite a contraption. It is also removable.I started my work on the pipe by dealing with the damage on the inside edge of the rim. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the damage and to remove the darkening. It looked better once it was finished.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the briar down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the debris. The bowl really began to shine. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the finish my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The product brought the briar to life and gave some depth to the finish. Now it was time for me to deal with the rounded shoulders on the shank and clean up the stem/shank fit. The damage that had been done to the shank end made it impossible to change the diameter of the shank or the stem and maintain the integrity of the shank. I decided to band it with a thin brass band that I would reduce the depth on so as not to cover too much of the stamping on the shank. I would lose a little bit of the R on SUPER but to me the fit of the stem to the shank was worth the loss. I used a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to reduce the depth of the band. I was able to remove over half of the depth.  I placed the band on the end of the shank lightly and carefully heated it with a Bic lighter. Once it was hot the metal had a little play in it and I was able to press it onto the shank for a tight fit. You can see the depth of the band is greatly reduced and it did not cover any of the stamp on the right side of the shank and only the R on SUPER.I put the stem on the shank and took photos of the fit against the band. The fit was perfect and the gaps and rounded shoulders were a thing of the past. To me the band also added a touch of “Opera” bling to the pipe that made it look great.With the rounded shoulders of the shank taken care of it was time to deal with the tooth marks on the stem. I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem. I “painted” the stem surface with the flame of a Bic lighter to lift the tooth marks. I was able to lift all of them on the topside and all but one deeper one on the underside. I filled in the tooth mark on the underside with clear CA glue and let it harden. Once it had hardened I sanded it smooth with 220 grit sandpaper. I also smooth out the coarseness of the topside of the stem at the same time. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with Obsidian Oil as I find that it enlivens and preserves the vulcanite. In the polishing process it also give the micromesh pads some bite. I finished polishing it with Before & After Stem Polish – both fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and let it dry.With the stem finished I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I noticed that some think I use White Diamond but I have not used it for quite awhile opting instead for a finer polish called Blue Diamond. It give the bowl and stem a rich polish. I gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. Do not skip these steps as they add depth to the shine. The finished P. Viou Super Bruyere Extra Opera 3030 pipe is a lovely pipe with great cross grain and birdseye. The thin brass band took care of the poorly fit stem and rounded shoulders and the rich polish make it quite elegant. The dimensions of the finished pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outer bowl diameter: 1 ½ inches long X 1 inch wide, Chamber diameter (oval) 7/8 of an inch long X 5/8 of an inch wide. The weight of the pipe is 1.09 ounces/31 grams. It is a lightweight and great looking pipe that should be a pleasure to smoke. I will be putting on the rebornpipes store in the French Pipe Makers section if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Thanks for walking with me through the restoration!

Resurrecting a Beat up Warwick Sandblast Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

We picked up this next pipe back in 2017 from an auction in Rochester, New York, USA. It has been around a long time. Jeff cleaned it up in 2017 and I have had it sitting here since then. I am finally getting around to working on it. It is stamped on the underside of the shank and reads Warwick [over] Made in London England. There is a shape number 1 next to the stem/shank junction. It is a sandblast billiard. The stamping and the shape name and number make me wonder about a connection to Sasieni but I am not certain of that. The bowl was heavily caked and the sandblast on the rim top was almost filled in with the lava overflow. It appeared that there was damage on the rim top as it was no longer flat looking. That would become more clear as it was cleaned up. The sandblast around the bowl and shank was dirty and filled with debris and dust. There was also darkening around the briar from hand oils. The stem was oxidized, calcified and had tooth marks on the top and underside near the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started the clean up work. He took photos of the rim top and stem to give a feel for the overall condition of the pipe before he started. You can see the thick lava coat filling in the rim top but you can also see the unevenness of the top of the bowl and the edges. There is some definite damage under the grime. The stem is oxidized, calcified and has tooth chatter and marks on the top and the underside of the stem near the button. He took some photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to capture the deep and craggy sandblast around the bowl. It really has some beauty to the blast.He captured the stamping on the underside of the shank in the next photo. It is readable though the left side of the stamping is more faint that the rest of the stamping toward the right. It reads as noted above. Now we would need to make a connection to the maker. I turned to Pipephil’s site (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-w1.html) to see what I could learn about the brand. What I found was a pipe stamped Warwick but the font was slightly different. This one was made in Italy and said so. The one I was working on was stamped Made in London England.On the side bar it had a note that I copy as follows: A sub brand of Comoy or Singleton & Cole. Not to be confused with Warwyck. I turned to the section on Comoy’s to see if there was any note for this stamping. There was not. I also turned to the section on the site on Singleton & Cole (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-s7.html). I have included a screen capture of the section that shows a Singleton Warwick that is stamped Made in England. The Warwick stamp is similar but the one on the pipe I am working on is heavier. So the hunt continues.I searched on Google and found a link on a sale site The Collection Hero that linked Warwick to a BBB pipe. https://pipes.collectionhero.com/view_item.php?id=43025&ekeywords=BBB. I have included that photo as well. The sale site says that the pipe is stamped BBB Own Make “Warwick”. It has a deep rugged sandblast but the finish is quite different from the one that I am working on. There also were no photos showing the stamping on the shank so I had nothing to compare my pipe with.

I was not convinced. So far I have seen the name attached to Comoy’s, Cole & Singleton and now BBB and none of them are conclusive. I still needed to do some more digging.

I did a bit more digging and found the name Warwick attached to Sasieni on a  pipe on smokingpipes.com (https://www.smokingpipes.com/pipes/estate/england/moreinfo.cfm?product_id=89779). It is described as follows:

…An old Sasieni pipe like this on an update. Named after a town, Warwick, this piece is a true part of English charm, stained beautifully, and a lovely example of a Sasieni patent.

I looked up Sasieni seconds on Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/images/e/e4/Sasieni_Seconds.jpg) and found a chart that listed the various names. At the bottom of the alphabetical list is the name Warwick.Now I had all of the options in front of me and I was still no further ahead than when I started. I seemed to be able to link it to either Singleton & Cole or Sasieni. I would probably never know for certain but at least I knew it was an old English made pipe. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe very well as usual. He has detailed his process other places so I will summarize it here. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the bowl and rim top with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He soaked the stem in Briarvilles Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe once I received it. The rim top had some damage and darkening on the top. The front right and left sides were almost smooth and the sandblast was gone. The sandblast on the back side was deeper and also had some damage. The inner edge of the bowl was damaged at the front. The stem surface looked good with light tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.   I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. The stamping was faint on the left side of the stamp and the stamping on the right side was more readable as noted above. You can see the shape number 1 near the shank/stem union. I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. The stem is tapered. I started my work on the pipe by cleaning up the sandblast with a brass bristle wire brush. I worked it over the rim top and the blast on the sides and underside of the bowl until I cleaned up the blast. It looked much better once I finished with the brush. The rim top had other issues that I would need to address as well. I took some photos of the rim top to try and capture the damage to the rim top. It is no longer flat and the top from the back is at an angle and the sides have dips and valleys – it is a real mess.I would need to flatten the rim top on a topping board to get things flat again. Then I would need to try to duplicate the sandblast finish on the rim top. I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I started the rustication process with the tool for rustication that I made from a Philips screwdriver. I followed that up with a Dremel and burrs to rusticate the rim top and give it the appearance of a sandblast. I restained it with a Maple and Walnut stain pen to approximate the colour of the bowl.To deal with the darkened areas around the bowl sides and the washed out stain on the rest of the bowl I restained it with a light brown aniline stain. I applied it with a dauber and then flamed it with a lighter to set it in the briar. I repeated the process until I was happy with the coverage.I buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel and worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the sandblast finish my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The product brought the briar to life and gave some dimensionality to the sandblast. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the tooth marks with the flame of a lighter and was able to lift them significantly. I filled in the remaining marks with clear CA glue. Once it cured I used a small file to recut the edge of the button and to flatten out the repairs. I sanded out the repairs with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper and then started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down between pads with Obsidian Oil. I finished polishing using Before & After Stem polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I rubbed the stem down a final time with Obsidian Oil. The Warwick Sandblast 1 Sandblast Billiard is a beautiful pipe with an great looking, rugged sandblast finish. The blast is very nice and the rich brown stain on the briar goes amazingly well with the polished black vulcanite taper stem. The combination works to create a pipe that is a pleasure to look at and is comfortable in  the hand. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Bowl diameter: 1 ¼ inch, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.13 ounces/35 grams. Considering what the pipe looked like when we started, the now resurrected pipe is quite amazing looking. I will be adding it to the British Pipe Makers section of the rebornpipes store shortly. If you are interested in adding it to your collection send me a message on Facebook or an email. Thanks for walking through the process with me. Cheers.

Beautification for an American Made Bertram Washington DC Grade 40 Dublin


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from one of our estate purchases in 2017. We picked up over 120+ Bertram pipes from an estate that a fellow on the east coast of the US was selling. This next one is from that estate – a beautifully grained Dublin Grade 40 Bertram with a tapered vulcanite stem. The pipe is stamped on the underside of the shank and reads 40. On the left side it is stamped Bertram [over] Washington D.C. centered on the shank. The finish had a lot of grime ground into the briar on the bowl and some darkening around the sides of the bowl. The bowl was caked with an overflowing lava coat on the top of the rim, heavier toward the back of the bowl. The edges looked okay other than some potential burn damage on the inner edge. The stem was lightly oxidized, dirty and had light tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the button. There were not markings or a logo on the taper stem. Like the rest of the Bertram pipes in this lot this one had promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the lava on the rim top. The lava was thicker toward the back of the rim and there were remnants of tobacco on the walls of the thickly caked bowl. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the chatter and tooth marks. Otherwise the stem is quite clean. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar around the pipe looked like. There is some stunning grain under the grime.     He took photos of the stamping on the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable. The grade number is 40.      As I have worked on Bertram pipes I have written on the brand and have included the following information. If you have read it in past blogs, you can skip over it. If you have not, I have included the link to Bertram history and information. I would recommend that if you don’t know much about them take some time to read the background. I include a link to the write up on Pipedia (http://pipedia.org/wiki/Bertram). Bertram pipes were based out of Washington DC. They were popular among famous politicians and celebrities of the time. They made many products for them from Franklin D. Roosevelt’s cigarette holders to Joseph Stalin’s favorite pipe. They were considered some of the best pipes that America had to offer till they finally closed their doors in the 70s. Bertram graded their pipes by 10s and sometimes with a 5 added (15, 25, 55 etc.), the higher the grade the better. Above 60s are uncommon and 80-90s are quite rare. I have worked on one 120 Grade billiard. I have several blogs that I have written on rebornpipes that give some history and background to Bertram pipes. (https://rebornpipes.com/2015/06/16/an-easy-restoration-of-a-bertram-grade-60-217-poker/). I have included the following link to give a bit of historical information on the pipe company. It is a well written article that gives a glimpse of the heart of the company. http://www.streetsofwashington.com/2012/01/bertrams-pipe-shop-on-14th-street.html#

From this information I learned that all of these Bertrams were made before the closure of the shop in the 1970s. This Bertram Dublin has a stunning a mix of grain around the bowl. This pipe has a 40 Grade stamp on it which I am sure explains the sandpits in the briar. But the Bertram Grading system remains a mystery to me.

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe very well as usual. He has detailed his process other place so I will summarize it here. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl and rim top with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He soaked the stem in Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe once I received it.    The rim top had some darkening on the back of the bowl but otherwise looked very good. The inner edge of the rim had some burn damage on the front left and the back of the bowl. The stem surface looked very good with a few small tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.    I took photos of the stamping on the shank. The Bertram Washington DC is on the left side mid shank. On the underside of the shank is stamped the Grade 40 number. I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. The stem is tapered. I started my work on the pipe by cleaning up the damage on the inner edge of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper.   I polished the bowl and the rim top, sides and shank with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with a cloth.      I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.    I set the bowl aside and turned to work on the stem. It was in very good condition so I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry.  This Bertram Washington DC Grade 40 Dublin with a vulcanite taper stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Bertram 40 Dublin fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of this pipe is 34g/1.20oz. I will be adding the pipe to the American Pipe Makers section of the rebornpipes store. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.

A Stunning Comoy’s Made The Guildhall London Pipe 9 Straight Bulldog


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe is a really neat looking tall Comoy’s Made Stack with a vulcanite taper stem. The classic Bulldog bowl with twin rings and the diamond shank was made to hold in your hand. The flat bottom on the bowl and shank make it a sitter as well. It is quite light weight for its size and the saddle stem is thin and looks comfortable. We picked up this The Guildhall London Pipe from the same antique dealer in 2018 from Naples, Florida, USA as The Everyman London Pipe that I restored earlier (https://rebornpipes.com/2021/07/10/a-truly-stunning-comoys-made-the-everyman-london-pipe-188-stack/). Like that one we have also had this one a long time. Jeff cleaned the pipe in 2019 and now I am working on it in 2021. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads The [over] Guildhall [over] London Pipe. On the right side it is stamped with the Comoy’s circular COM Stamp – Made in London[over] England, followed by the shape number 9. The exterior of the bowl looked surprisingly clean and shiny. There was a heavy cake in the bowl and an eruption of thick lava on the rim top and beveled inner edge of the bowl. It was hard to know the condition of the rim top and rim edges because of the grime and thickness of the cake and lava. The cleaning would make it very clear! The stem was oxidized, calcified and had tooth marks and chatter on both sides but nothing like what I was expecting from the condition of the bowl. Jeff took photos of the pipe to give a clear picture of what we were up against with this pipe. He captured the cake in the bowl and the thick eruption of lava on the rim top and edges exceptionally well in the next photos. It was very clear that it was an exceptional smoker! The stem is oxidized, calcified and shows the tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. Jeff captured some of the beauty of the shape and the grain in the next photos. The mix of grains and the way in which the stain highlights them is quite stunning. He took a photo of the stamping on the top left side of the diamond shank. It is clear and readable as noted above. You can also see the three silver bars on the top left side of the stem. There is not a photo of the right side of the shank but it reads Made In London in a circle over England (Comoy’s COM stamp) followed by the shape number 9. I turned to Pipephil’s site (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-g6.html) to confirm what I knew about the brand being made by Comoy’s. It did but did not give a whole lot of other information.I turned then to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/images/d/d7/Shape_Chart_1975_1.jpg). I found a shape chart that had the shape 9 listed. I have drawn a box around it on the picture below. It is identified as a Flat Bottom Bulldog with a saddle stem.There was also a catalogue that had a page including The Guildhall London Pipe and describing it (https://pipedia.org/wiki/File:Comoy%27s_Sunrise.jpg). I quote from the page: “Many smokers say the Guildhall is amongst the most beautiful pipes in the world. Guildhall pipes are especially selected for distinctive grains.”Now it was time to work on the pipe. It is really a beautiful piece. 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 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 stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. He soaked the stem in Briarville’s 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. The stamping on the left and right sides of the shank are clear and readable. It reads as noted above. The three silver coloured inset bars on the left side of the taper stem are also visible.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the proportions of the bowl and stem.I started my work on pipe by polishing the briar with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down between pads with a damp cloth to remove the debris. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 10 minutes, then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Balm did its magic and the grain stood out on the briar. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the tooth marks with the flame of a lighter and was able to lift them significantly. I filled in the remaining marks with clear CA glue. Once it cured I sanded out the repairs with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper and then started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I finished the polishing with Before & After Polishes – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final rub down with Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. This Comoy’s Made The Guildhall London Pipe 9 Straight Bulldog with a vulcanite saddle stem is a beautifully grained pipe with a flowing shape that looks great . The rich browns and blacks of the contrasting stain makes the grain come alive with the polishing and waxing. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished The Guildhall London Pipe Bulldog really is a beauty and fits nicely in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¼ 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 1.27oz./36 grams. This pipe will soon be on the British Pipe Makers section of the rebornpipes store if you would like to add it to your collection. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

The 2nd of a Pair of Interesting Flea Market Finds – a Polo Sport Bruyere Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table is the second of a pair of pipes that I picked up when my daughters and I went to the Vancouver Flea Market not too long ago when the COVID-19 restrictions were lifted some here. We walked through all the stalls in the market and talked to vendors. We were chatting with an English chap about pipes and he took a bag out from under the table and in it were two pipes. The first pipe was petite Bent Bob’s sandblast pipe that I restored and wrote a blog about earlier. The second pipe was worn and had varnish peeling off. It was stamped Polo [over] Sport on the left side of the shank and Bruyere on the right side. On the underside near the stem/shank junction it is stamped with the shape number 21. The rim top had some darkening and some lava build up and there was a light cake in the bowl. The stem was oxidized, calcified and had some deep tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. button. It was another good find and I was able to negotiate a good price for the pair of pipes that I picked up. I took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a sense of what I saw. There was a thin cake in the bowl and there was lava on the rim top and the inner edge of the bowl. I also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the oxidation, calcification and the deep tooth marks and chatter next to the button on both sides. I took a photo of the stamping on the left, right and underside of the shank. It captured the stamping well in the photos and you can see that they are clear and readable as noted above.I turned to Pipephil’s and to Pipedia to see what I could find out about the brand. I also googled the brand name of the pipe. It appears that quite a few companies in several countries made pipes that were stamped Polo. Savinelli in Italy, Vauen in Germany, Imperial Tobacco Company and Cadogan in England. I have eliminated the Savinelli connection as well as the Vauen connection by the stamping on those pipe versus this one. It may well be an Imperial or a Cadogan after the merger. I am not sure I will ever know for certain.

It was now time to work on the pipe. I had a decision to make. Should I scrub it with Murphy’s or skip that step and scrub it with acetone to remove the peeling varnish coat? I opted to go with the acetone scrub. I scrubbed the rim top and sides of the bowl with acetone on cotton pads to remove the grime and the peeling varnish. I was very happy with the outcome. The bowl had some interesting grain around the top and sides. I cleaned up the inside of the bowl and removed the cake with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I took the cake back to bare briar and cleaned it up so that I could examine the bowl walls carefully. They were clean and undamaged.I heated the stinger with a lighter to loosen the tars that held it firmly in the tenon. I find that these really restrict the airflow and it did in this case significantly.I scrubbed out the internals of the shank and stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I worked until both the shank and stem were clean.I filled in the damaged areas on the rim top and the lower left side of the bowl/shank with clear CA glue. Once the repairs cured I wetsanded those areas of the bowl and rim with a 1500 grit micromesh sanding pad. I sanded the entirety of the bowl with micromesh pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad to remove the sanding debris. The bowl began to take on a deep sheen. I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. The product works to revitalize, protect and polish the briar. I let it sit on the bowl for 10 minutes and then buffed it off with a cotton cloth. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the tooth marks with the flame of a lighter and was able to lift them significantly. I filled in the remaining marks with clear CA glue. Once it cured I used a small file to recut the edge of the button and to flatten out the repairs. I sanded out the repairs with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper and then started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.  I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down between pads with Obsidian Oil. I finished polishing using Before & After Stem polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I rubbed the stem down a final time with Obsidian Oil. This is the first of this brand that I have worked on and one that I can find no detailed information. I believe it is an English Made pipe perhaps Imperial or Cadogan. The Polo Sport Bruyere 21 Bent Billiard is a beautiful pipe underneath that thick and peeling varnish coat. The grain is very nice and the colour of the briar goes amazingly well with the polished black vulcanite taper stem. The delicate curves of the bowl and stem work together to create a pipe that is a pleasure to look at and is comfortable in  the hand. With the stinger apparatus removed the pipe has a great draught (I put it back to let the new owner keep or remove it). The dimensions of the petite pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Bowl diameter: 1 ¼ inch, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.13 ounces/35 grams. It is a great looking pipe that feels great in the hand and is light weight in the mouth. The light weight of the pipe, the bend in the stem and shank should make it another  perfect clencher. I will be adding it to the British Pipe Makers section of the rebornpipes store shortly. If you are interested in adding it to your collection send me a message on Facebook or an email. Thanks for walking through the process with me. Cheers.

A Pair of Interesting Flea Market Finds – First a Savinelli Made Sandblast Bent Bob’s Acorn


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table was one of a pair of pipes that I picked up when my daughters and I went to the Vancouver Flea Market not too long ago when the COVID-19 restrictions were lifted some here. We walked through all the stalls in the market and talked to vendors. We were chatting with an English chap about pipes and he took a bag out from under the table and in it were two pipes. The first was worn and had varnish peeling off. It was stamped Polo Sport Bruyere 21. The second one was this dusty and lightly smoked (perhaps one time!!) petite sandblast pipe. It was stamped on the underside of the shank and read BENT BOB’S followed by the Savinelli shield and the shape number 630 [over] Italy. It was stamped Savinelli on the left side of the saddle stem. The pipe had some darkening and when I ran a pipe cleaner through there was some tars but otherwise the bowl and rim top were immaculate. There was dust in the grooves of the sandblast. The stem was not oxidized but had light tooth chatter on the top and underside near the button. It was a good find and I was able to negotiate a good price for the pair of pipes that I picked up. I took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a sense of what I saw. I also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the light tooth chatter next to the button on both sides. It really was minor but it was present.I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the bowl and shank. It captured the Bent Bob’s stamp well but the Savinelli shield and the shape number [over] Italy are obscured in the sandblast. I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo to show the look of the pipe proportionally. It is a pretty little blast.I turned to Pipephil’s site (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-b4.html) and looked up  Bent Bob’s and found a listing for the brand with a note linking it to Savinelli. I have included a screen capture of the listing below.I turned to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Italian_Pipe_Brands_%26_Makers_A_-_C) and looked up the Bent Bob’s pipes. I found the listing with the following information. When I turned to the Savinelli site it repeated that information but added nothing else. I quote:

Bent Bob Pipes – Savinelli made budget pipe for USA

I scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap. I used a tooth brush to work the soap into the grooves and valleys of the sandblast. I rinsed it off with warm running water and dried the bowl off with a cotton towel. It definitely took away all of the dust and debris in the finish and left the bowl looking much better. I scrubbed out the internals of the shank and stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. After removing a little bit of oil and tar I started to see a red stain come out on the pipe cleaners. I worked until both the shank and stem were clean.I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the sandblast with a horsehair shoe brush. The product works to revitalize, protect and polish the briar. I let it sit on the bowl for 10 minutes and then buffed it off with a cotton cloth. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth marks and chatter on the stem with a worn piece of 220 grit sandpaper and then started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down between pads with Obsidian Oil. I finished polishing using Before & After Stem polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I rubbed the stem down a final time with Obsidian Oil. I have worked on a few Savinelli Made Bent Bob’s Pipes over the years and found them to be well made and extremely light weight. This Sandblast Bent Bob’s Bent Acorn 630 is no exception. The sandblast is very nicely done and the finish is a combination of black and red stain that really makes the blast pop. The condition is exceptional and for all intents and purposes this pipe is new. If you pick it up for your rack you get the privilege of breaking it in for yourself with your favourite tobacco. The dimensions of the petite pipe are Length: 4 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Bowl diameter: 1 inch, Chamber diameter: 5/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is .67 ounces/18 grams. It is a great looking pipe that feels great in the hand and is light weight in the mouth. The bend in the stem and shank make it a perfect clencher. I will be adding it to the Italian Pipe Makers section of the rebornpipes store shortly. If you are interested in adding it to your collection send me a message on Facebook or an email. Thanks for walking through the process with me. Cheers.

A New Solution to an Old Problem


Blog by Kenneth Lieblich

Welcome to my first meerschaum restoration! In fact, it is not just a meerschaum pipe, but it is also a Peterson pipe. This came out of lot of pipes from eBay some months ago, but it took me a while to get to it – I was a bit daunted. Even though it looked rough to start, it ended up as a very handsome pipe. Please read on… This is a rusticated, African block meerschaum, made on the Isle of Man. The stem has a push-style tenon. Like many of the meerschaum pipes of this era, this one has a factory-stained rim – to give it that sort of ‘broken in’ look. How do I know it is a Peterson? Because it has the distinctive, stylized ‘P’ on the left side of the stem, near the shank. Similar to other pipes that Steve has restored, this one seems likely to have been produced by Laxey Pipes Ltd. on the Isle of Man for Peterson Pipes. Here is the Pipedia article about them (I hasten to add that the various errors below are in the original text and are not mine):

Laxey Pipes Ltd. resided in a historical 19th century four-storey Man stone building at The Quay, Old Laxey, Isle of Man, which thankfully has been preserved.

The company specialised in the production of meerschaum pipes using the Meerschaum mined by the Tanganyika Meerschaum Corporation in the Amboseli basin in Tanganyika (since 1964 part of the United Republic of Tanzania). 

Please note: you may often find names like “Manx Pipes Ltd.”, “Man Pipe Co.” and others more, but there is no indication of another Isle of Man pipe producer other than Laxey Pipe Ltd. at any time! 

Laxey Pipes Ltd. marketed own brands like “Manxpipe”, “Manxman”, “Manxland” e.c. Names like “John Bull”, “White Knight” (unwaxed), “Domino” (black, or lined) indicated some shapes / colours of Laxey’s own series. The stems either showed the astronomical sign for “male” or “man” (circle + arrow), or the crest of the Isle of Man, the 3-legged X in a circle. Manxpipes and Laxey’s other brands were available through pipe retailers in general, but also were sold (mainly) to tourists through their own shop in Laxey. 

Furthermore Laxey Pipes Ltd. manufactured the meer bowls for Peterson, Barling, Nørding and others from the later 1960’s until 2001. Man Pipe e.g. was a brand distibuted by Comoy’s. The bowls usually showed no nomenclature indicating the orderer. “Genuine Block Meerschaum” was engraved frequently. Often, just the stems were different, while bowls were the same.

Supply of meerschaum from East Africa run out (Kenya / Tanzania exhausted, Somalia inaccessible), and thus the last Laxey meers were supplied to trade in May, 2001. Laxey Pipes Ltd. tried to survive continuing with briar pipes – mainly in the Danish style -, but to no success. It closed down business in July, 2002.

Anyway, on to the pipe – and what a mess it was. The stummel had the following problems: a nasty ghost, filth embedded in the rustication, a creepy and unnatural yellow tinge to the meerschaum, lots of lava on the rim, lots of cake in the bowl, and – worst of all – chunks missing from the rim. Meanwhile, the stem had its own set of problems: the ‘P’ logo was nearly obliterated, heavy oxidation and calcification, and tooth marks and dents. In fact, even my wife commented that this pipe might be the proverbial ‘bridge too far’ – but, like the stereotypical, stubborn husband, I was not to be deterred! I decided to start on them stem, as I still was not sure how to resolve the chunks missing from the rim. I broke out the isopropyl alcohol and pipe cleaners, and got to work on the inside of the stem. Predictably, it was pretty dirty and I went through a good number of pipe cleaners in order to clean it up. Then I had to tackle the overwhelming oxidation and calcification – yuck. I took a blade (an old butter knife, actually) and began gently scraping at all that build-up. Obviously, I took it easy, as I did not want to damage the stem’s vulcanite any further. The butter knife worked quite well and I got a good amount loose. I followed that up with some lemon-infused isopropyl alcohol on some cotton rounds to try and scrub the rest away. This worked quite well and I noted some improvement. There were quite a few dents in the stem. Some were obviously tooth marks, but other dents looked like blunt force trauma! Time to break out the BIC lighter to see if it could raise some of these dents. Quite frankly, it did not do much – this repair was going to require some considerable sanding etc. Before that, however, the stem went for an overnight soak in the Before & After Hard Rubber Deoxidizer. The following day, I cleaned all of the de-oxidizing sludge off with alcohol, pipe cleaners, et cetera. The oxidation had migrated to the surface and would be fairly straightforward to remove. I scrubbed vigorously with SoftScrub to remove the leftover oxidation.Before I moved on to the Micromesh pads, I built up the dent damage on the stem with cyanoacrylate adhesive and let it fully cure. It turned out that this was not as straightforward as I had hoped. It took more than one application of adhesive to sort this problem out. I then sanded it down with 220-, 400-, and 600-grit sandpapers to make the stem look normal. 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.

The stummel was next, and the usual cleaning procedures were in order for this pipe. I used both the PipNet Reamer and the KleenReem to remove the built-up cake and followed that with 220-grit sandpaper to remove as much as I could. The meerschaum cannot take the usual de-ghosting process of soaking cotton balls in isopropyl alcohol, so sanding was a way to reduce the old ghost in the pipe. I also wanted to ensure there were no hidden flaws in the interior walls of the meerschaum. Fortunately, there were none. Truth be told, I actually also tried to use a bit of ground coffee in the bowl to remove the ghost, but that was not very successful.I then proceeded to clean out the insides of the shank with Q-tips, pipe cleaners, and isopropyl alcohol. There was quite a bit of nastiness inside this stummel – it took a lot of pipe cleaners etc. to sort that out. I then moved on to cleaning the outside of the stummel with Murphy’s Oil Soap and some cotton pads. That worked very well at removing any latent dirt and that weird yellow tinge that I mentioned earlier. I followed that up by quickly cleaning the insides with some dish soap and tube brushes. The meerschaum cannot be left wet for long – it will turn to mush otherwise. Before & After Restoration Balm does not make the same kind of difference on meerschaum as it does on briar, but it still works – so light coating was applied, followed by my horsehair shoe-brush. On to the inevitable repairs: this is where the nightmares begin. Honestly, it was not immediately clear to me how I was going to make the stummel look decent. Sure, I had cleaned it, etc., but what about the obvious chunks missing from the side? I considered sanding it all down, but I feared this would alter the shape of the pipe beyond reason and repair. I figured that, at very least, this pipe needed to be topped. That is to say, the rim had to be inverted and sanded down on a piece of 220-grit sandpaper. By doing this, it would remove some of the lighter damage altogether and would improve the state of the heavier damage. But the old problem remained: how was I going to repair the chunks of missing meerschaum on this pipe?I then realized that the solution was as obvious as the nose on my face: I would take a piece of meerschaum from another pipe and fashion a repair. I grabbed one of my sacrificial meerschaum pipes (a dreadfully ugly horse’s head) and used a pair of end-cutting nippers to break off a couple of pieces. Having done that, I used cyanoacrylate adhesive to fix them in place on the stummel. I was feeling pretty good about this solution, but knew that there was still a long row to hoe. Obviously, I needed to sand down and shape the new pieces of meerschaum, but I also needed to make the rim as rusticated as the rest of the stummel. Enter the Dremel (with accompanying angelic voices). Yes, I first used a sanding drum on the Dremel to remove excess material from the repair (but not too much), then I used a high-speed engraving cutter to rough up the surface of both the rim and the repair. So far, so good. The engraving cutter had worked – to a point – but it had not really resulted in the sort of rustication I was looking for. My solution came from the Dremel again, but only indirectly. Steve reminded me of his trick of using an old Philips-head screwdriver as a rustication device (you can read about that here). Whereas Steve used Dremel grinding stones to make his rustication device, I used a metal cutting disc on the Dremel. As you can see, my screwdriver came out looking quite good and the stummel came out looking even better. I was definitely pleased with the roughened surface of the stummel, but I next needed to address the lack of colour. This, of course, was a direct result of my topping of the rim – it removed the patina. The solution must have come to me in the mid-afternoon: tea. Yes, I used black tea to provide a beautiful stain to the meerschaum that gave it a really good look. I went and added some more Before & After Restoration Balm and, once again, used my horsehair shoe-brush to work it in.Meerschaum does not really do well on a high-speed buffer, so I used a microfibre cloth to achieve the same effect. I did, however, take the stem to the buffer, where I applied White Diamond and some wax to give it that lovely shine.

In the end, what a beauty this pipe is! It is back to its old glory and ready to be enjoyed again by the next owner. 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 154 mm; height 47 mm; bowl diameter 34 mm; chamber diameter 20 mm. The mass of the pipe is 40 grams. Thank you very much for reading and, as always, I welcome and encourage your comments.

Reworking a Damaged French Made GBD Speciale Standard 9465 Liverpool


Blog by Steve Laug

Jeff and I purchased the lovely long shank GBD Liverpool from a fellow in Brazil, Indiana, USA. The grain on the pipe is a nice mix of flame, swirled and birdseye that works well with the brown stains of the briar and the black of the saddle stem. The rim top is crowned with a bevel inward and has some significant damage on the front right outer edge and top. The repeated burning of that area with a lighter flame has left behind a deep dip and burn that will need to be dealt with. It was hard to see with the thick cake in the bowl and the veritable eruption of lava over the top of the rim but it was very present. The finish was quite dirty with grit, grime and oils ground into the surface of the bowl and shank. The shank is stamped on both sides and on the left it reads GBD in an oval [over] Speciale [over] Standard. On the right side it reads France [over] the shape number 9465. The vulcanite stem was lightly oxidized and well dented with tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. The button area was worn as well. There is a GBD brass oval roundel on the left side of the saddle stem. Jeff took photos of the pipe to capture its condition when it arrived at his place. It was going to take some work to bring this one back to life. But both of us thought that it would be worth it. Jeff took photos of the rim top and bowl that show the cake and overflowing lava on the top and edges of the bowl. It is really hard to know what it looks like under all of that. We have learned that it with either be badly damaged or it will have been well protected. Only cleaning it off would reveal which result was on this pipe. You can also see the burn damage on the right front outer edge. The stem had a lot of tooth chatter and marks that are clear in the photos that follow. There is some oxidation and the calcification on the stem surface. He took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show condition of the briar. You can see the dust and debris ground into the bowl. The burn damage on the outer rim edge of the right front is more apparent from the side view in the first photo. The grain is still quite nice. He took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It was faint but was still was clear and readable as noted above. The brass GBD roundel looked good as well. I always like to be able to set the pipe I am working on in its historical setting so I turn to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD) and read through the brand history. Toward the middle of the article I found what I was looking for. I quote below:

The Paris factory moved to Saint-Claude in 1952. Since 1981 the majority of GBD pipes come from the English factory.

The premium lines of GBD offered very good values, and are considered amongst the most affordable high end pipe of the 1960’s and earlier and a rival in quality, design, and price to Dunhill. Smokers’ Haven was the main retail supplier for GBD’s in the US until the early 1980’s.

GBD produced consistently well made pipes, almost entirely of Algerian or Grecian briar. In the late 1960’s to late 1970’s, they introduced the “Collector” and “Unique” lines, made primarily by Horry Jamieson, who had carved for Barling for many years, and was skilled in freehand design. Older GBD pieces are excellent smokers and unique in design. They did an excellent executions of classic pipe shapes, as well as some beautiful freehands in the “Unique” line. [2]

The following list comprises the better grades in descending order:

Pedigree, Pedigree I, Pedigree II, Straight Grain, Prodigy, Bronze Velvet, Virgin, Varichrome, Prestige, Jubilee, New Era, Prehistoric, International, Universe, Speciale Standard, Ebony, Tapestry, New Standard, Granitan, Sauvage, Sierra, Penthouse, Legacy, Concorde.

Since the pipe I was working on was made in France I knew that it was made either in Paris before 1952 or in St. Claude after that date and before 1981 when production moved to England. I also new that I was dealing with one of the better grade pipes with the Speciale Standard stamp.

I then followed the links included to a listing of the shapes and numbers on the GBD pipes (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD_Shapes/Numbers). The pipe I was working on was labeled by GBD as a 9465 which is a Liverpool with a round shank. Now it was time to work on the pipe itself. Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual focus on detail. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet pipe reamer and removed the rest of the cake with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush and was able to remove the thick lava build up on the rim top. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He soaked the stem in Briarville’s Stem Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe once I received it. The rim top cleaned up really well. The rim top, inner and outer edges of the bowl other than the burn damage on the front right were in good condition. The crowned inner edge also has some rim darkening and burn damage on the front right as well. The stem surface looked good with some large and deep tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.  He took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It was faint but readable as noted above.I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole.  Now it was time to do my work on the pipe. I decided to begin by dealing with the damage on the front of the rim top and bowl. I sanded it slightly to give a clear picture of the damage in the photo below. I have marked it in red to help identify the damaged area.Now I had a decision to make on this repair. I could top the bowl and shorten the height of the entire bowl to accommodate the damage on the front of the rim. To me this would look awkward as the dip is quite deep. The other option to me was to build up the dip in the rim top and edge with briar dust and clear CA glue (super glue) to the same height as the rest of the bowl. I decided to build up the bowl top. To begin the process I topped the bowl to give me a flat surface and to remove the other damage to the rim top.I wiped off the burned area with alcohol on a cotton pad to clean off any debris. I layered on the first batch of CA glue and then used a dental spatula to put briar dust on top of the glue. I repeated the process until I had the rim top level. Once the repair cured I topped it once again to make sure that the repaired area matched the rest of the rim top. I used a topping board and 220 grit sandpaper.I took photos of the rim top and bowl front to show the repair. It is dark and still needs a lot of work but it is at least the right height and is smooth. You can also see the slight bevel that was on the inner edge of the rim on the rest of the bowl. I would need to continue that on the repaired area to match.I worked on the inner beveled edge with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to give it a deep bevel. I also sanded the rim top repair to further smooth it out. The repair is starting to look good at this point.  I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding debris and dust.   I restained the rim edge and top with a combination of Maple and Walnut stain pens to blend the colour to the rest of the bowl. The rim top looked darker but it looked much better than when I started the repair.I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.    I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the surface of the stem with the flame of a lighter to lift the tooth marks. It worked very well and many of the marks lifted. I filled in the remaining marks with clear CA glue and let the repairs cure. I used a small file to flatten out the repairs. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to blend the repairs into the stem surface. I started the polishing with 400 grit sandpaper.     I polished the vulcanite stem 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 French Made GBD Speciale Standard 9465 Liverpool is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The rich contrasting brown stained finish around the bowl is quite beautiful and highlights the a finish that works well with the polished vulcanite stem. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished GBD Speciale Standard Liverpool sits nicely on the desk top and in the hand. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¾ of an inch, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inch, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 35 grams/1.23 ounces. I will be putting it on the French Pipe Maker section of the rebornpipes store shortly. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Reworking a French Made Bruyere Garantie Mini-Churchwarden


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the worktable has been here awhile. Jeff picked up the pipe from an online auction in 2019 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA. Jeff cleaned it in 2020 and I am starting work on it now in 2021. It is a mini-churchwarden that had a low profile and a fairly long stem. The finish was rusticated with deep rustication around the bowl and shank. There was a flaw in the briar on the right side toward the top of the bowl. The bowl is stamped on the left side and reads Bruyere [over] Garantie [over] Made in France. The bowl had a thick cake with an overflow of lava on the inwardly beveled thin rim top. The finish was worn and dirty with grime in the grooves of the rustication. It appeared that the shank had originally had a band that had long since disappeared before it came to us. The stem has a lot of damage toward the shank end. There were grooves and scratches all the way around the stem. The button end had some deep tooth marks and grooves from the edge of the button forward about 1 inch. The stem was calcified and oxidized along the length. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he did his work on it. Jeff took photos of the rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the lava overflow on the rim top. You can also see the nicks in the outer edge of the bowl toward the front side. The stem had a lot of tooth chatter and marks that are clear in the photos that follow. There is some oxidation and the calcification on the stem surface. He took photos of the sides of the bowl to show condition of the briar. You can see the dust and debris ground into the bowl. The flaw on the right of the bowl is also visible in the second photo. He also took a photo of the shank end and tenon on the stem to show the condition. In the photo of the shank end you can see where the missing band was. I appeared to be a narrow band that was missing. By the time we had it the band was missing. I would need to replace the band on the shank.He took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. It was clogged with debris that filled in some of the letters. Underneath it was clear and readable as noted above.Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual focus on detail. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet pipe reamer and removed the rest of it with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He soaked the stem in Briarville’s Stem Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe once I received it. The rim top cleaned up really well. The rim top, inner and outer edges of the bowl were in good condition. The beveled inner edge also has some rim darkening and burn damage. The stem surface looked good with some large and deep tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.  The stamping on the left side of the shank is clear and readable and reads as noted above. I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole.Now it was time to do my work on the pipe. I decided to replace the band on the shank end first. I chose a band from my collection of bands to fit the shank. I reduced the depth of the band on a topping board and glued it in place on the shank end with all purpose glue. I repaired the deep flaw on the right side of the bowl with clear CA glue and briar dust. I rusticated the repair with a wire brush. I restained the spot on the bowl with a Walnut stain pen and set it aside to dry.I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the darkened inner edge bevel on the bowl. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding debris and dust.   I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the surface of the stem with the flame of a lighter to lift the tooth marks. It worked very well and many of the marks lifted. I filled in the remaining marks with clear CA glue and let the repairs cure. I used a small file to flatten out the repairs. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to blend the repairs into the stem surface. I started the polishing with 400 grit sandpaper.    I polished the vulcanite stem 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 French Made Bruyere Garantie Churchwarden is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The sandblasted brown stained finish around the bowl is quite beautiful and highlights the a finish that works well with the brass band and the polished vulcanite stem. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Bruyere Garantie Churchwarden sits nicely on the desk top and in the hand. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 7 inches, Height: 7/8 of an inch, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 inch, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 15 grams/.53 ounces. I will be putting it on the French Pipe Maker section of the rebornpipes store shortly. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!