Tag Archives: vulcanite

A Gift for My Good Friend in India – An Italian Savinelli Punto Oro 413KS Woodstock


Blog by Dal Stanton

As I begin this restoration, my mind is replaying the plethora of experiences that were shaped and riveted into my memory of my visit last year to India.  Not many ‘good’ experiences in life can be described as ‘life changing’.  These kinds of changes are usually reserved for the difficult times – like now, as the world is navigating a pandemic that creates confusion and uncertainty about life and the future.  Yet, Paresh’s invitation to me, along with the rebornpipes’ trust, Steve and Jeff Laug, to visit his home and family was an experience that was life changing for me.  It wasn’t just the sights and sounds of a different cultural context or the different foods the pallet experienced tasting Indian cuisine.  What was so profoundly and wonderfully life changing was the depth of loving hospitality Paresh and his wife, Abha, provided to us during the visit.  Meeting and enjoying his family, along with their two daughters, Mudra and Pavni, was truly an experience that will walk with me in the life I continue to enjoy by God’s grace.  Of course, I cannot fail to mention the ‘reason’ for our travels where West met East!  Paresh asked that we collaborate in the restoration of one of his heirloom pipes, an unbelievably fun and enriching experience that produced this story, perhaps my favorite:  West Meets East in India to Restore a Grandson’s Treasure – an 1846 BBBHow does an Italian Savinelli Punto Oro heading to India enter this story?  It has to do with an Italian American L. J. Peretti pipe that I noticed in India – basking nonchalantly among the historic pipes of Paresh’s unbelievable heirloom collection he received from his grandfather.  The Peretti that got my attention was not from his grandfather’s collection, but a pipe that Paresh had acquired himself.  Since doing my first restoration of a L. J. Peretti, I have become somewhat of a collector of these blue collar ‘shop pipes’ from the second oldest tobacconist shop located in downtown Boston.  I had never seen a Peretti Cutty shape before and hence, the Savinelli Punto Oro makes his debut on the stage.One of the great things about ‘Pipedom’s’ smaller subset, pipe restorers, is that it is special and an honor to have pipes in your personal collection that have come from other restorers who you’ve learned from and appreciated.  I have pipes in my rotation from Steve, who introduced me to the world of pipe restoration and is a good friend who has visited me here in Sofia and I’ve had the privilege of visiting his home terrain, Vancouver.  When I enjoy fellowship with one of his pipes with my favorite blend stoked in the bowl, the relationship is always the focus of the reflection during those paused moments.  I managed to secure one very special pipe for my collection from Charles Lemon of Dad’sPipes, who I’ve also learned much from in his restorations and appreciated that his health has allowed him to come back from hiatus.

When Paresh became aware of my attraction to his L. J. Peretti Cutty, the accord we ratified between us was to do a reciprocal gifting from our personal collections.  Paresh gifted me his Peretti Cutty which I brought home to Bulgaria from India.  After getting back to Bulgaria, I chose a pipe from my personal collection for him.  The special pipe I chose for Paresh was a Savinelli Punto Oro that was in my personal restoration queue – for a LONG time.  The problem of restoring pipes primarily for others is that sometimes it’s difficult to work on your own trove of treasures!  When I saw the Punto Oro on German eBay located in Bühl, I was drawn by the elegant lines of this Savinelli offering. The shape is unique with the Dublin-esque bowl, but not quite.  In my initially assessment of the pipe, I was calling it an oval shank, slightly Bent Billiard – but not quite. The shank was not actually a true oval but a compressed oval – an American football or rugby ball shape.  The unique shape created a lined definition running down the sides of the shank transitioning into and through the stem – flow and balance!  With so much attention on focused the shape, the fact of the striking fire grain showcased throughout the pipe – was reminiscent for me of a tiger’s fur, flowing even through the shank composition.  This only added frosting on this Savinelli Punto Oro cake!  Very nice! Unfortunately, it has taken me a few years to get to this beautiful pipe, but it was waiting.  It was patiently waiting in the ‘Help Me!’ basket and when it came to mind as a comparable reciprocal gift for Paresh, his debut on the worktable became a reality.  Here are more pictures of a very nice Savinelli Punto Oro yet having some daunting issues. The nomenclature is on the upper shank and it reads, SAVINELLI [over] PUNTO ORO, (Gold Point).  ‘Gold Point’ may also be referencing the single gold point brass dot embedded on the upper stem panel.The lower panel section is stamped with the encased ‘S’ in Savinelli’s well known and recognized symbol.  The Savinelli symbol is to the left of the shape number, 413KS [over] the COM, ITALY.  The shape is found in the Savinelli shapes chart found in the Pipedia article on Savinelli,  but the chart offers no names for the shapes, only numbers.  This 413 is designated as a ‘King Size’ by the KS.   Whatever the shape is, I like it!Not satisfied with my lack of definition on what to call this shape, I sent a note off to Steve asking for his opinion – Calabash, Dublin, fancy Billiard?  Steve’s response settled the question directing me to Savinelli’s website – my first thought, why didn’t I think of that?  In the Savinelli line up of shapes or models, the 413KS is described as a Woodstock (pictured below).  Nice!  Bill Burney’s description of the Woodstock in his Pipedia shapes discussion is helpful and includes all the variations I was contemplating!

Zulu/Woodstock – The Zulu shape combines the canted bowl of the Dublin with an 1/8 bent stem.  The shape is sometimes referred to as a Woodstock, Yacht or Yachtsman.  The gentle bend makes the pipe more comfortable to hold in the teeth than a straight pipe.  This popular style is made by most pipemakers and is widely available on the estate market.My first restoration with the Italian name of Savinelli stamped on the pipe was a Tortuga, which was a very sharp looking pipe.  During that initial exposure to the name Savinelli, I learned that before and after WW II, when Italian pipe production was known more for volume than for quality, and not considered by many in the same league with other European pipe makers, Achille Savinelli Jr.’s ambition took shape to make Savinelli one of the premier names in pipe making today.  This clip from the Pipedia Savinelli article summarizes this well:

Savinelli Pipes began production in 1948 and, although the pipes were of a superior quality and unique in their aesthetic, the brand wasn’t an immediate success. Few new brands are. It takes time for the public to catch on. Retailers were skeptical of placing Italian pipes alongside their best sellers from England or France, and customers, in turn, were hesitant to purchase a Savinelli over pipes by already established, foreign brands. Achille Jr. stood by his product, however; he knew it was only a matter of time before the world realized that these pipes were of a far superior quality, capable of competing with even the most well-established pipe manufacturers in the world. As it turns out, he was right. In less than a year, Savinelli pipes gained prestige in markets all across the world—heralded for their delicate balance of innovation and tradition, of form and function. Savinelli pipes were placed alongside the likes of Dunhill and Comoy’s in tobacconists from the United States to Europe, and, in time, this exposure modified Italy’s reputation; it was not only the premier exporter of briar, but now a premium source of fine briar pipes.

The Punto Oro line is considered a top shelf Savinelli offering.  When I first acquired this pipe, wishing to know more especially about the Punto Oro line, I emailed rebornpipes contributor, Al Jones, for his input.  His response was helpful.

Dal:

I’m sorry to say that I have very little expertise in the Savinelli world, save the Guibileo d’Oro or Autograph lines (and only cursory in those).

Here’s an interesting thread about that line on the Pipesmagazine.com forums (I’m a moderator there) http://pipesmagazine.com/forums/topic/opinions-sought-savinelli-punto-oro.  Older ones, like yours appears to be, were a pretty high grade, from what I can gather. 

If your stem is vulcanite and non-filter, it should have been made before 1981 (looks that way to me).   In ’81, they switched to filter pipes.

I’ll look forward to your restoration!

Al

The thread from PipesMagazine.com Forum was helpful.  The general impression from the thread was that the older Punto Oro pipes were on the upper shelves of Savinelli offerings, just under the Guibileo D’Oro and older Autographs.  The Punto Oro catalog ad on Pipedia describes the quality of this Savinelli line and the processes involved in the producing the quality finish.  I found interesting that the ad describes the two finishes available with the Punto Oro line – “Rich Mahogany and genuine Sandblast”.  With the smooth surfaces, the hue is mahogany – the pipe on my table fits this described hue with flare!

I like this pipe – a Woodstock (!) a lot and I think it will be a good addition Paresh’s collection although a lesser, humbler cousin in that collection to be sure!  Looking at the state of the Punto Oro’s condition, the briar landscape is beautiful – no issues that I can see.  The chamber has very light cake – the appropriate dime-width that is recommended.  I’ll remove it for the briar to have a fresh start and to inspect the chamber condition.  The rim reveals the lighting practices of the former steward – over the aft rim surface where it’s darkened and caked with crusted lava flow.  The picture below looks at the chamber and rim.The major issues with the restoration of this Punto Oro are with the stem.  The upper bit has tooth compressions on the bit and button.The lower bit is where all the fun is hiding!  The lower button has broken off and the break migrates down the stem – it will be no small button rebuild to address this moon crater!  There is also tooth chatter evident on the lower bit.  To restore the usefulness of this original Savinelli ‘Gold Point’ stem, which to me is critical, requires a button rebuild.  Rebuilds are never as strong as the original stem, of course, but I’m hopeful of building in some strength as I do this rebuild. I begin the restoration of this gift for Paresh by cleaning the Savinelli stem airway with a pipe cleaner wetted in isopropyl 95%.  It takes one cleaner to do the job.The oxidation on the stem is deep.  I use grade 000 steel wool with CIT, a product like SoftScrub, to work on the oxidation before putting it into the soak of Before & After Deoxidizer.  I like this product but when the oxidation is deep I’ve found that the soak alone is not sufficient to remove the oxidation.  The steel wool gives a head start for the Deoxidizer to break up the oxidation.The stem is then added to the soak of Before & After Deoxidizer along with several other pipes in the queue and their stems.  I let the stem soak for a few hours.When I fish out the stem after a few hours, I let the Deoxidizer fluid drain off the stem and I also squeegee the stem with my fingers.  Using a pipe cleaner wetted with isoproypl 95%, the airway is cleaned of the Deoxidizer.  I also wipe off raised oxidation from the stem with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol.  To help to rejuvenate the vulcanite stem, I also apply paraffin oil and set the stem aside to soak in the oil.Turning now to the stummel, I use the Pipnet Reaming Kit to begin the removal of carbon cake from the chamber.  After taking a picture showing the starting point, I use 3 of the 4 blade heads available in the kit. The chamber narrows at the bottom, consistent with a conical shape of the Woodstock crafted stummel.  I use the Kleen Reem Tool that more easily reaches to the floor of the tapered chamber.  The Savinelli Fitsall tool continues the scraping and finally the chamber is sanded with 240 grade paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen.  After wiping the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol to clear the carbon dust, an inspection reveals heat veins in the chamber briar.  These are fissures that form from overheating the stummel.  The veins are not substantial enough to repair, but I will complete the restoration by applying a coating of yogurt and activated charcoal mixture to the chamber that will protect the chamber wall and encourage the formation of a protective cake. Switching now to the external briar surface, undiluted Murphy’s Oil soap is used with a cotton pad to scrub the stummel.  The thick, crusted area on the aft of the rim is stubborn.  With the solvent working, I also carefully scrape with my thumb nail, with the edge of my Winchester pocketknife, and with a brass wired brush.  After working on the scrubbing of the external briar surface, I then transfer the stummel to the kitchen sink and using warm water, I scrub the internal mortise and airway with shank brushes and anti-oil liquid dish soap.  After a thorough rinsing, I take a picture back on the worktable.  The stummel cleaned nicely, but the darkened area remains on the stummel’s rim.  I’ll continue to work on that with minor sanding later.I turn now to focus on the internal cleaning.  With only one cotton bud and one pipe cleaner wetted with isopropyl 95%, the fact of the internal cleaned condition is established.  Nice!With the stummel cleaning completed, I turn now to the stem.  The daunting aspect of the restoration is the button rebuild.  Before starting on this, I first focus on the tooth chatter and compressions on upper and lower bit.  I go in this order because the approach in rebuilding the button introduces the CA glue and activated charcoal patch which has a different composition from the vulcanite stem. Since I’m beginning with the heating method to erase as much as possible the chatter and compressions, this involves the heating and expanding of the vulcanite.  This is better done before the patch is applied in the button rebuild.  Using a Bic lighter, I paint the upper and lower bit to heat the vulcanite and through heating the rubber compound expands to reclaim its original disposition – or closer to it.  After going through the painting procedure and comparing the before and after pictures, the heating method did not help a great deal with the composition of this vulcanite stem. It helped some, but not a great deal it seems to me.With pictures showing the starting point for the upper and lower bit, it’s interesting to me to see where the tooth chatter is on the lower bit.  It extends about a quarter of the way down the stem!  I think what this indicates is that a frustrated steward, after he crunched the button, refused to put one of his favorite pipes aside!  Just like in American baseball, he ‘choked up’ on the stem, to keep using his pipe even though the button had endured catastrophic failure.  Now I turn my attention to the button rebuilding procedure.  First, I fashion a cone that inserts into the airway having a pipe cleaner running through the cone into the airway.  The cone is covered with scotch tape and then petroleum jelly is put on the tape.  This helps the cone not to get stuck after the patch material is applied. The patch material is a mixture of activated charcoal that is in capsule form and CA glue.After placing the charcoal in a small pile from the capsule, the glue is placed in a small puddle next to it.  The toothpick is used to mix the charcoal and glue by gradually pulling charcoal into the CA glue while mixing.  As the charcoal is mixed in, the patch material thickens.  After it reaches the consistency like molasses, I apply the charcoal putty to the button using the toothpick as a trowel. I intentionally use a mixture that is a bit thinner at the beginning so that is will seep down around the cone filling in the open spaces.  This is important to create as much strength as possible in the rebuild.  I apply more than is needed to build a mound that will later be filed and sanded to shape the new button. After enough patch material has been applied, I put the stem aside overnight allowing the button build to cure.  The lights go out!Well, the next morning held some surprises!  When I examine the button rebuild, looking forward to starting the process of filing and shaping, I discover that the new CA glue that I used did not cure to a solid state!  The patch was reminiscent of a bite guard – pliable rubber.  With some tugging and peeling, the repair came off in two pieces….  Interestingly, nowhere that I can find on the labeling that this glue does not harden, unless the “Extra Durable and Versatile” on the front label implies this?The good news is that the cone was removed without trouble and is ready to go again for button rebuild patch attempt number two!  I’ll spare the reader of all the pictures to record this second process but will jump forward.  What I did do differently after examining the large area of the patch, was to better engineer and strengthen the resulting rebuild.  I carefully applied rounded and flat needle files to the edge of the break.  I filed to taper downwardly the edge toward the break. My thinking is that this small innovation perhaps will strengthen the patch by providing more of a shelf or footing upon which the patch material can rest.  It seems that this engineering would inherently provide better buttressing than a straight vertical edge drop.  I’m thinking also that this will help in the sanding and blending of the patch. The sketching below illustrates my thinking.  I also file and clean out the entire button cavity and clean it with a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95% in preparation for the new patch.  Before starting on the button patch, I decide to do a quick fill of the upper bit and button lip where there were compressions.  I use medium-thick black CA glue to do the filling.  To quicken the curing and to hold the patch in place I use an accelerator.The next pictures show the second finished button rebuild patch with the engineering changes beginning the curing process.After the second button rebuild patch is cured, using the flat needle file, the patch on the upper bit and button lip are filed down flush with the vulcanite stem surface.Switching to the underside, filing and shaping begin on the button rebuild.  I start with the slot facing to flatten it by removing the excess patch material.  Then, cutting the line shaping the button lip is next.Filing continues with the main bit patch and button shaping.  I’m careful to allow a rounded patch and not filing straight across horizontally.  This would weaken the patch – thinking of the difference between an arched bridge’s symmetry rather than that of a flat bridge’s.  Maintaining the patch thickness is critical to its strength.With the filing phase completed I transition to using 240 grade paper starting first on the upper bit and button lip fills.The 240 grade sanding fine tunes the button rebuild further. I’m careful not to sand too much on the patch and continue to round it to maintain thickness.  A slightly thicker lower button lip purchases some strength as well. I focus on sanding the seams of the patch so that they are flush with the vulcanite surface.  The patch is still rough but making progress!I use the flat needle file to shape and smooth the slot as well.  It’s almost a given that air pockets will emerge as the sanding continues to shape the button.A careful examination of this cross-section view of the slot facing shows the added buttressing effect of the earlier tapered filing.  Arrows help to show this.With the 240 grade sanding paper still in play, I sand the entire stem to remove any residual oxidation.  Deep oxidation always seems to appear during the fine sanding and polishing phases.  Sanding the stem with 240 now will hopefully address this as well as the remnants of tooth chatter remaining on the bit.  I use a plastic disk that I fabricated to be able to sand the stem facing without shouldering the edges.Next, I sand the entire stem by wet sanding with 600 grade paper and following this, 000 grade steel wool is applied.The upper bit and button repairs are looking great – the sanding is erasing the contours of the patch and blending nicely.Work on the lower stem side is a bit more of a challenge with the huge button rebuild patch material.  The stem is looking great, but the challenge is to blend the large patch area.Air pockets are the most common side effects of patching.  Air bubbles are trapped in the CA glue and activated charcoal as it is mixed and these air bubbles become visible as sanding dissects and reveal the pockets.The many microscopic air pockets are not easy to remove.  I use a clear acrylic nail polish to try to fill and erase the pockets.  CA glue can be used to do the same. I use the brush provided by the nail polish and I paint over the pockets almost covering the entire patch.  I let it dry and repeat the process for a second coating.After the acrylic polish cures, I apply 000 steel wool to the patch and the picture below shows the results.  The nail polish does an amazing job but there remain some pockets.  These are very small and I’m doubtful that more coating will erase them.  I’m satisfied now with leaving them and moving on!  They remain as a testament to the catastrophic button failure and this noble attempt to recommission this beautiful Savinelli Punto Oro Woodstock!  Moving on!I move on to applying the full regimen of micromesh pads to the Woodstock stem.  I begin with wet sanding using pads 1500 to 2400 and follow by dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  Between each set of 3 pads, Obsidian Oil is applied to condition the stem and to protect it from oxidizing.  The stem is looking great. With the stem sanding completed, looking now to the stummel, I focus first in cleaning up the rim.  There remains darkened briar from the lava flow earlier cleaned on the aft quadrant of the rim.  The inner rim edge is also darkened at places with the normal nicks from wear and tear.  The outer edge of the rim is also with some normal nicks and dents – all very small. To clean the rim, I first start by using 240 sanding paper and doing a very light inner and outer rim bevel – just enough to clean the edge of the rim.  After this, I also use the 240 paper to lightly ‘feather sand’ the aft part of the rim to clean the darkened surface.  I run the sandpaper lightly around the full rim plane surface to clean the briar, not to remove it.I follow the same procedure with the rim edges and the rim plane with 600 grade sanding paper.  The rim is shaping up very nicely.Next, I use micromesh pads to do fine sanding on the Savinelli Gold Point stummel.  I begin by wet sanding with pads 1500 to 2400 and then dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 120000.  The fine sanding brings out the grain and restores the mahogany finish for which the Punto Oro line is known.  Very nice indeed! To deepen the natural hues of the briar, Mark Hoover’s Before & After Restoration Balm (www.ibepen.com) does a great job.  I put some of the Balm on my finger and work it into the briar surface.  The Balm begins with a cream consistency and then thickens into a waxy consistency as it is worked into the stummel.  After working the Balm thoroughly into the surface, I put the stummel aside for about 20 to 30 minutes as the Balm is absorbed into the briar.  The picture below was during this period.  Afterwards, I wipe off the Balm with a cloth dedicated to this, and then the stummel is buffed up using a microfiber cloth.  The stem also is a beneficiary of Before & After Fine Polish and Extra Fine Polish.  The polish helps further to condition the vulcanite and to rid the stem of oxidation.  Starting with the B&A Fine Polish, I work the black oily liquid into the stem – the liquid has a gritty texture.  Afterwards, I let the stem absorb the polish for 15 minutes and then wipe the excess off with a paper towel.  I follow by applying the Extra Fine Polish in the same manner.  Again after 15 or so minutes, the excess is wiped off and the stem is buffed with a microfiber cloth.Now, the homestretch.  After reuniting stem and stummel and mounting a cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel setting it at about 40% full power, Blue Diamond compound, a fine abrasive, is applied to the pipe.  After this, the pipe is wiped down with a felt cloth to clean it of compound dust before application of the wax.  Next, after mounting another cotton cloth buffing wheel onto the Dremel at the same speed, carnauba wax is applied to the pipe.  Following the wax application, the pipe is given a vigorous hand buffing to further raise the shine.

After the buffing, one project came to mind that I had almost forgotten.  Earlier, after inspecting the chamber and finding some heating veins, I had decided to apply a coating of natural yogurt and activated charcoal powder mixture to the chamber wall.  This mixture, after applied to the chamber, hardens into a protective layer to help protect the briar as well as encourage the formation of a protective cake.  I mix some charcoal powder with a small amount of natural yogurt.After the yogurt and charcoal are mixed and is somewhat thickened – not running but with the consistency of mud, and after inserting a pipe cleaner to keep the draft hole cleared, I use the pipe nail and spread the ‘mud’ over the chamber wall.  After it is covered, since it is late, I put the pipe aside to allow the mud to dry through the night and the lights go out!The next morning, after applying the pipe mud mixture to the chamber, I give the pipe one more rigorous hand buffing to raise the shine and my gift to Paresh is complete.

The button rebuild was, without doubt, the most technically demanding part of the restoration of this striking Savinelli Punto Oro Woodstock.  The grain is beautiful, and I am especially drawn to the Woodstock shape with the lines guiding the eyes down the sides of the pipe, taking in the movement of grain and shape.  I’m thankful for my L. J. Peretti Cutty that I received from Paresh when I was in India.  I have yet to put the Cutty into service here in Bulgaria – it has been waiting for my gift to Paresh to make it to India.  It still needs to be refreshed and a little polishing work, and my plan and hope is that Paresh and I will share our first bowls together with our gifted pipes to each other, perhaps not in person, but via video conferencing, today’s miracle bringing people together throughout our ever shrinking world.  After the pandemic issues are behind us, I’ll be mailing the Savinelli Punto Oro Woodstock to India.  Thank you for the Peretti Cutty, my friend!

Refreshing an Unsmoked NOS Wally Frank Ltd. Rhodesian


Blog by Steve Laug

In the next box of pipes Jeff sent me there was an interesting Rhodesian that ticked all the boxes for me. He had picked it up on an auction from Louisiana. On top of that it was a New Old Stock (NOS) Unsmoked Bulldog with a black vulcanite stem. It is stamped on the left side of the shank Wally Frank Ltd. On the right side of the shank it is stamped Imported Briar over Made in Italy. It has some stunning grain around the sides of the bowl with birdseye on the top of the rim cap and the heel of the bowl. It really is a beautiful pipe. The bowl was clean and unsmoked with a little dust on the walls and the bottom of the bowl. The finish seemed to have a varnish or shellac coat and it was very clean. The twin rings around the bowl had some debris in them that would need to be removed. The vulcanite stem looked good and showed no tooth marks of chatter. It did have some nicks on the topside of the button and just ahead of the button on the left topside. The saddle stem had something on the topside near the stem shank junction. It was a great looking pipe and one that should be an easy refresh. I took photos of the bowl and rim top to show their unsmoked condition. You can see unblemished, unused bowl and the pristine rim top. I took photos of the stem at the same time to show how clean it was. You can see the mark of what appears to be either varnish or shellac on the top of the saddle stem at the junction with the shank.I took photos of the stamping on both sides of the shank. They read as noted above.It was at this moment that I faced the first issue with the pipe. When I tried to remove the stem I found that it was absolutely stuck in the shank and would not turn. I put the pipe in the freezer this morning and left it there by accident for several hours. I got busy working on other pipes. Once I removed it from the freezer I was able to slowly and carefully turn the stem. It was still very tight in the shank but I could remove it. I took photos of it after I removed the stem. It had a small aluminum stinger in the tenon. It was pressure fit so I removed it from the tenon.Now that I had removed the stem I examined the mortise area and could see that it seemed that some of the shellac had gone inside the shank of the pipe. It had locked with the vulcanite tenon and formed a seal. The temperature change loosened it but ultimately it took some careful working of the stem back and forth to break the seal free. I used alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners to clean out the varnish coat on the inside of the mortise. It took a bit of work but I was able remove all of it from the surface of the briar.I wiped the tenon down with alcohol to try to soften the shellac coat. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to sand the shellac off the tenon. It took a fair bit of sanding to get the tenon back to raw vulcanite. Once it was clear it fit snugly in the mortise without sticking.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. The repair looks really good. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the blue acrylic stem. I sanded out the remaining tooth chatter with 220 grit sandpaper and started to polish it with a folded piece of 400 wet dry sandpaper. Once it was finished it was smooth.  I used some Denicare Mouthpiece Polish that I have in my kit to start polishing out some of the scratches on the stem. I rubbed it in with a cotton pad and my finger tip and buffed it off with a cotton pad.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with a cloth containing some Obsidian Oil. I finished polishing it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and buffed it off with a cotton cloth. I love the end of a restoration project like this one that needed more than first appeared. It is the moment when all of the parts come together and the pipe looks better than when we started the cleanup process. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I carefully avoided the stamping on the shank sides during the process. 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 on the buffer. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is a really beautiful smooth grained bowl with a saddle stem. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. I can only tell you that it is much prettier in person than the photos capture. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 7/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This Italian Made Wally Frank Ltd Rhodesian is a great looking pipe. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. I will be putting this pipe on the rebornpipes store shortly. If you want to add it to your collection let me know. Thanks for your time.

My First Ever Tenon Replacement and it’s on a Preben Holm # 7 Freehand Pickaxe Pipe!!


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

The first ever Preben Holm in my collection was from eBay about two years back. It came to me with a broken stem and the tenon stuck in to the mortise. This pipe received a new lease on life in the month of May last year when Steve, Jeff and Dal Stanton visited me here in India. I learned the process of tenon replacement along with many other tips and processes in pipe restoration. Here is the link to the informative write up by Steve on this pipe; (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/05/14/restoring-a-preben-holm-hand-cut-sandblast-freehand-in-pune-india/).

The second Preben Holm in my collection came from my Mumbai Bonanza, which I really enjoyed working on; (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/08/12/refurbishing-a-tired-preben-holm-1-from-the-mumbai-bonanza-lot/).

The next two Preben Holm pipes came to me from a seller on eBay. Both these pipes had some serious stem issues which really kept other buyers away from placing their bids and lucky me, I got both these pipes for a really good price. Even though both pipes came to me together, I shall be working on them separately since they each have a different set of issues involved.

The first of these two PH pipes was restored a couple of weeks ago and it really turned out to be a gorgeous pipe. Here is the link to the write up that has been posted on rebornpipes.com (https://rebornpipes.com/2020/03/10/refurbishing-a-preben-holm-3-freehand-pipe/).

The second PH currently on my work table, is a beautiful pickaxe freehand with beautiful flame grain all around the stummel and shank and birdseye at the foot of the stummel. The rim top has remnants of plateau along the front left side and extending to the right up to half the length of the rim top. The shank end is sleek and smooth with a slight flare at the shank end, a complete contrast to the earlier PH I had worked on that had a large flare at the shank end. Here are the pictures of the pipe as it sits on my work table. The pipe is stamped on the bottom of the flared shank end as “PREBEN HOLM” in block capital letters over “Hand Cut” in a cursive artistic hand over “COPENHAGEN” over “DENMARK”, all in block capitals. The left side of the shank bears the encircled numeral “7”. All the stampings are crisp and easily readable. The fancy vulcanite stem is devoid of any stampings.There is a lot of interesting information on the carver, Preben Holm, on pipedia.org (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Holm,_Preben) which makes for an interesting read. However, there was no information or guidelines to help understand the grading and dating of these pipes from the carver. In my previous write ups on Preben Holm pipes, I had sought input on these specific aspects and was honored by studied information from esteemed readers of rebornpipes. Here is some of the information that was shared by the readers;

Roland Borchers March 10, 2020 at 8:21 am

Hi Paresh,

What a wonderful pipe and a great job (again) on the restoration. The PH pipes were 1968-1970 graded from 1 (lowest) to 8 (unicorn) .
This page from smokingpipes.com might be of interest, but there is more to be found on the www.
https://www.smokingpipes.com/pipes/estate/denmark/moreinfo.cfm?product_id=136933

So a 3 is not bad at all…

Best wishes,

Roland

I followed the link forwarded by Mr. Roland Borchers and reproduce the information gleaned;

“Now that my pulse has returned to (vaguely) normal. Preben Holm pipes which bear a single grading number in a circle, represent Holm’s earliest ‘Hand Cuts’, a period that most estimate between 1968 and 1970. Prior to handling this amazing jewel, the highest grade that I had encountered was a ‘5’. Once (just once) I saw a smoked ‘7’ offered across the pond for a price that could feed a decent sized village for a month (mild exaggeration, but you get the idea). Here we have a ‘6’, featuring both the conservancy of shape that one would expect from the earliest days, as well as a grain worthy of such a lofty grade designation. Forty (plus) years young, utterly unsmoked and it comes with both the original presentation box and sleeve. For Pete’s sake, don’t let this one get away”.

–R. ‘Bear’ Graves

borman August 15, 2019 at 5:44 pm

Not sure how correct I am but… pipes 1-4 as such are lower to higher quality rating as A-E is low to high. The bone extensions that I have had and others I have seen appear to be from the 60’s. Hope I am not far off and also I hope it helps you.

Thus from the above information, it’s evident that this beautiful Preben Holm pipe in my hand is a very rare # 7, top grade and very expensive pipe from 1960s…

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
The first and foremost issue that I noticed and was aware of from the description given by the seller is that of the broken tenon. Most of the readers must be wondering as to the rational of buying a pipe, even a Preben Holm, with a broken tenon and it’s a logical question. However, there are two main reasons why I went in for this purchase; firstly my friend and guru, Steve had demonstrated how to replace a broken tenon and I was keen to try my hand at it and secondly was the economic consideration!! Pray tell me if it is possible to get a grade 7 early hand-cut Preben Holm from the 1960s at USD $65, including shipping!! Never, I say. Below are the pictures of the broken tenon stuck in to the mortise. This is going to be a challenging repair being my first tenon replacement.The chamber has a very thin layer of dry and hard cake with the slightly outward flared inner rim edge showing darkening in the 6 o’clock direction. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber can be checked and ascertained only after the cake has been taken down to the bare briar. However, I do not envisage any damage to the chamber walls. There is negligible lava overflow and debris embedded in the plateau of the rim top surface. It is my guess that this pipe suffered said catastrophic damage very early in its existence and had since been languishing in a box with the previous piper before he decided to get rid of it. The stummel boasts of beautiful straight grain all around and extends over the shank surface too!! The surface is relatively clean and without any fills save for a few very minor scratches that could have been caused during routine use. The slightly flared smooth end of the shank is clean. The foot of the stummel shows beautiful bird’s eye grains and is sans any damage. Overall, the stummel presents a sparingly used and a well-cared for pipe. The mortise has the broken tenon stuck in to it. However, given the condition of the chamber and the overall pristine appearance of the stummel, I think the mortise should be clean too!!

The fancy vulcanite stem shows traces of oxidation and is otherwise sans any major damage. The horizontal slot end of the stem is heavily oxidized to a dark brown coloration. The broken tenon end is jagged and sharp at the place where the tenon has snapped. The fancy stem, though it looks beautiful when black and shiny, is a bear to clean with all the dips and narrow gaps between the beads and rings etc.THE PROCESS
I began the process of refurbishing this pipe with cleaning the internals of the stem using pipe cleaners with isopropyl alcohol (99.9% pure) and dunking the stem in to “Before and After Deoxidizer” solution developed by my friend Mark Hoover. The solution helps to draw out heavy oxidation to the surface making its further removal a breeze, while the minor oxidation is eliminated to a very great extent. I usually dunk stems of 5-7 pipes that are in-line for restoration and this pipe is marked in green arrow. I generally allow the stems to soak in this solution overnight for the solution to do its work.With the stem soaking in the deoxidizer solution, I worked the stummel starting with reaming the chamber with my fabricated knife as the layer of cake was too thin and did not warrant the use of a reamer. It was at this stage that I realized that the pipe has been so sparingly smoked that what I was assuming to be a layer of cake, is in fact a layer of bowl coating!! The walls of the chamber are smooth and solid. I tried to wriggle out the broken tenon that was stuck in to the mortise. Lucky me, it came out without any resistance!! That’s a big relief. Next, I cleaned the mortise with hard bristled and regular pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol. I scrubbed the external surface of the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s oil soap and hard bristled tooth brush and dried it using paper towels and soft cotton cloth. I carefully cleaned the plateau rim top with a soft brass wire brush to remove the accumulated dirt and debris from the surface. Thereafter, I cleaned the mortise, plateau rim top and stummel surface with anti-oil dish washing soap on shank brush and tooth brush. The entire stummel, including the platue rim top, cleaned up nicely. I set the stummel aside to dry out naturally. Staying with the stummel restoration, I polished the stummel with micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 pads. This time around, I did not repeat the mistake of polishing the plateau rim top as I had done with the PH # 3 earlier! I wiped the surface with a soft cloth at the end of the micromesh cycle. The stummel looks amazing with a deep shine and beautiful straight grains popping over the stummel surface. I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to briar. I rubbed this balm deep in to the nooks and crannies of the plateau rim top surface with my fingers and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the dark brown hues of the grain contrasting with the rest of the stummel surface. I further buff it with a horse hair shoe brush. As mentioned in the previous write up on refurbishing of pipe PH # 3, I had worked on all the stems that had been soaking in the deoxidizer solution overnight. I fished out all the stems and cleaned them under running warm water and scrubbed the raised oxidation from the stem surface using Scotch Brite pad. I further removed the oxidation by scrubbing the stems with 0000 grade steel wool and applied a little olive oil to rehydrate the stems and set them aside for the oil to be absorbed. Complete oxidation was removed on this stem by the process described above. Unfortunately, I did not click any pictures of these stems at this stage.

With this, I have now reached the most critical and challenging part of this restoration; replacing the broken tenon. While Steve, Dal and Jeff were here in India, Steve had replaced a tenon on a Preben Holm which had come to me with a broken tenon. I had minutely observed the procedure, made detailed notes and read the relevant blogs that Steve has written on rebornpipes.com.

The process starts with sanding the broken tenon end of the stem till a smooth and even stem face is available for the new tenon. This step also reveals and opens up the stem airway for drilling to accommodate the new tenon. I did this by topping the tenon end of the stem face on a piece of 220 grit sandpaper till smooth.Next, I selected a Delrin tenon that was the closest fit in to the mortise. I mounted a sanding drum on to my hand held rotary tool and setting the speed at its lowest, I shaped the tenon to a perfect fit in to the mortise. I was very slow, deliberate and frequently checked the progress being made. Once I had achieved a snug fit, I kept the tenon aside and worked the stem.The one and most important aspect that has to be kept in mind while replacing a tenon is to keep the new tenon and stem airway straight and aligned. To ensure this, with a sharp knife I gave a slight inward bevel to the stem’s airway opening which will serve as a guide to the drill bit when drilling. I use the length of the end of the tenon to determine the depth of the drilling. I marked off this length with a rubber band wound tightly on each and every drill bit that I used. I started the drilling with a bit that was slightly larger than the existing airway. I proceed through a series of bits starting with a 3 mm bit until I had drilled the airway with the final bit of 5.5 mm, the same size as the end of the replacement tenon that I had shaped earlier. I proceed with caution as I wanted to make sure that I kept the airway straight for a good fit of the new tenon.I used a file to knock off the threads on the tenon end just enough to pressure fit it in place in the stem. I carefully checked the alignment to make sure the tenon was straight on the stem before setting it aside to cure. I subjected the stem with the replaced tenon to the pipe cleaner test. The pipe cleaner passed through the air way smoothly and without any obstruction. Once satisfied that the alignment is perfect, I put some super glue on the tenon end and pressed it into the airway and set it aside to cure. I am very pleased with my first attempt at a tenon replacement. I further sand the stem with 600 and 800 grit sand paper and wiped the stem with cotton pad dipped in alcohol to remove the resultant dust and rubbed some extra virgin olive oil in to the stem and set it aside to be absorbed in to stem. I polished the stem with micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. I rubbed a little extra virgin olive oil in to the stem at the end of the micromesh pads polishing cycle. I completed the polishing regime of the stem by rubbing a small quantity of Extra Fine Stem polish developed by my friend Mark Hoover, and giving it a final polish with a soft cotton cloth. The stem is now nice, smooth and shiny.To apply the finishing touches, I first mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and apply a coat of Blue Diamond to the stummel and the stem to polish out the minor scratches.With a cotton buffing wheel that I use for carnauba wax, I apply a coat of carnauba wax to the stummel and stem and continue to work on it till the complete coat of wax has been polished out. I mount a clean cotton cloth buffing wheel and give the entire pipe a once over buff. I finish the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine further. The finished pipe is shown below. P.S. – First things first; tenon replacement, now that I have personally worked on it, is definitely not a very difficult procedure. All it takes is a lot of patience and I strongly recommend that before attempting it, one should go through as many write ups on tenon replacement as possible. Steve has some nice, simple and informative step by step write ups on this procedure which is strongly recommended.

I am really fortunate to be in the process of learning the nuances of pipe restoration and cannot thank Steve enough for his support and guidance.

I wish to thank Mr. Roland Borchers and Mr. Borman who have explained the numbering system followed on Preben Holm pipes and also on dating these pipes for the larger good of our fraternity.

Thanks for your patience and looking forward to inputs about the write up. Cheers…

 

Cleaning up a lightly smoked Italian Made Zeppelin Style Cigar Pipe


Blog by Steve Laug

Jeff and I pick up a lot of pipes from a variety of places. The last time I visited him in Idaho I went through out boxes of pipes to be restored and picked out some unsmoked pipe that I could quickly spruce up and turn around on the rebornpipes store. This is another one of those pipes. It is called a Sparkless, Zeppelin or Cigar pipe. It unscrews in the centre of the pipe and the tobacco is stuffed in the cone side and then the pipe is screwed back together. I have yet to read a definitive description of how to light it. Some light it before putting it back together and others light it through the cone end. It remains a mystery to me! It has a vulcanite saddle stem. It is stamped Made In Italy around the thin band between the briar and the vulcanite stem. The pipe was lightly smoked and dusty from sitting around for a long time before coming to us. I say lightly smoked where actually I am not sure if a full bowl was ever smoked in it. It is impeccably clean on the inside with slight darkening in the bowl portion. The finish was a mix of smooth and rusticated in twists and turns around the bowl. It dirty but you can see the finish was okay. The nickel plated cone is oxidized but was not dented. The stem looked good but had some small nicks and scratches in the surface. Otherwise it was a great looking little pipe. It is a unique pipe for sure and well made. I took some photos of the pipe before I cleaned and polished it. I took a close-up photo of the nose cone of the pipe and of both sides of the stem. You can see the dust and debris in the rustication on the nose cone photo. That is how the rustication looks all around the bowl. The stem is scratched and dirty. It looks like it might have had a price tag sticker on it that left behind some stickiness. The smooth portions also seemed to have a light shellac or varnish coat on them that was flaking.I took the pipe apart and took some photos to show what I was trying to explain in the opening paragraph. You can see the front half is threaded in the briar. The mouthpiece end has metal threads over the briar. I removed the bit/stem from the other end and took a photo. It had a metal cone shaped stinger apparatus that is built into the tenon. It looks like it is pressure fit in place. I took a photo of the Made in Italy stamp on the shank end of the cone – just above the stem/shank junction. It is stamped on the smooth portion of the briar.I started my clean-up of the briar with a wire brush. I worked it over the rustications to remove the grime and grit and over the smooth areas to remove the loose varnish or shellac coat. I followed that with a quick application of a 1500 grit micromesh pad on the smooth parts of the pipe. When I was finished it looked dull but clean.I wanted give a little life to the bowl finish so I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to get it into the grooves of the rustication. The product works 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 photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I polished the nickel nose cone with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down after each pad with a damp cotton pad. The cone took on a rich shine. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. The nicks were prevalent on the surface of the stem so I sanded them out with 220 grit sandpaper and started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I rubbed the stem down with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish – a red Tripoli like gritty pasted that seems to work really well to smooth out the scratches and remove light oxidation. I don’t think the product is made anymore but it is a great one to use while I still have a bit of it around. I wiped it off with a cotton pad to polish the vulcanite.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with a cloth containing some Obsidian Oil. I finished polishing it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and buffed it off with a cotton cloth. I gave it a coat of Briarville’s No Oxy Oil to preserve and protect it. I put the pipe back together and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I carefully avoided the stamping on the shank during the process. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing it with a clean buffing pad on the buffer. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is actually a nice looking unique. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¼ inches, Height: 1 1/8 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inch, Chamber diameter: 5/8 of an inch. This unique Zeppelin style Cigar Pipe is a well-made little pipe in great condition. Thanks for walking through the sprucing up process with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. This one will be going on the rebornpipes store shortly. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. Thanks for your time.

 

 

Another Simple Sprucing up – A Tom Thomb Lovat


Blog by Steve Laug

Jeff and I pick up a lot of pipes from a variety of places. The last time I visited him in Idaho I went through out boxes of pipes to be restored and picked out some unsmoked pipe that I could quickly spruce up and turn around on the rebornpipes store. This is another one of those pipes. It is a tiny Lovat with a saddle stem. It is stamped Tom Thomb over Imported Briar over Italy on the left side of the shank. The pipe was unsmoked but dusty from sitting around for a long time before coming to us. The finish was interesting but quite lifeless. The stem looked good but had some small nicks and scratches in the surface. Otherwise it was a great looking little pipe. It is delicate looking but also well made. I took some photos of the pipe before I cleaned and polished it. I took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the unsmoked condition. I also took some photos of the stem to show the nicks, scratches but also otherwise new condition. It would polish up really well.I took a photo of the stamping on the underside on the shank. You can clearly see the TOM THOMB over Imported Briar Italy stamp. It is very readable.  Strangely it is not spelled the way the children’s story I remember spelled it… this one is THOMB instead of THUMB!I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the parts. For such a tiny little pipe it is a well-proportioned pipe.Since it was so clean it did not require any repairs or reshaping. I wanted give a little life to the bowl finish so I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. The nicks were deeper on this stem so I sanded them out with 220 grit sandpaper and 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 it down after each sanding pad with a cloth containing some Obsidian Oil. I finished polishing it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and buffed it off with a cotton cloth. I gave it a coat of Briarville’s No Oxy Oil to preserve and protect the stem. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I carefully avoided the stamping on the shank during the process. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing it with a clean buffing pad on the buffer. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is actually a nice looking miniature. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 3 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 inch, Chamber diameter: ½ of an inch. This small Tom Thomb Lovat is a well-made little pipe in exceptional condition. Thanks for walking through the sprucing up process with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. This one will be going on the rebornpipes store shortly. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. Thanks for your time.

A Simple Sprucing up – A Semi Churchwarden with a sandblast bowl


Blog by Steve Laug

Jeff and I pick up a lot of pipes from a variety of places. The last time I visited him in Idaho I went through out boxes of pipes to be restored and picked out some unsmoked pipe that I could quickly spruce up and turn around on the rebornpipes store. This is one of those pipes. It is a small sandblast bowl with a five inch long stem. It is stamped Semi Churchwarden on the underside of the shank on a smooth panel. There are two side by side white bars on the left side of the taper stem. The pipe was unsmoked but dusty from sitting around for a long time before coming to us. The finish was interesting but quite lifeless. The stem looked good but had some debris stuck to it – maybe a price sticker glue or something like that and some small nicks and scratches in the surface. Otherwise it was a great looking little pipe. It is delicate looking but also well made. I took some photos of the pipe before I cleaned and polished it. I took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the unsmoked NOS (New Old Stock) condition. I also took some photos of the stem to show the nicks, scratches but also otherwise new condition. It would polish up really well.I took a photo of the stamping on the underside on the shank. You can clearly see the SEMI CHURCHWARDEN stamp. It is very readable. There is no other information – country of manufacture, shape number etc.I removed the stem from the shank and took photos of the parts. It is a well proportioned pipe.Since it was so clean it did not require any repairs or reshaping. I wanted give a little life to the bowl finish so I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with a cloth containing some Obsidian Oil. I finished polishing it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and buffed it off with a cotton cloth. I gave it a coat of Briarville’s No Oxy Oil to preserve and protect the stem.  I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I carefully avoided the stamping on the shank during the process. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing it with a clean buffing pad on the buffer. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is actually a nice looking miniature. The sandblast is not deep but still gives a tactile feel to the bowl. Give the finish pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 7 ¼ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 inch, Chamber diameter: 5/8 of an inch. This small Semi Churchwarden is a bit of an anomaly to me. It is one of those pipes that is too long to be a regular billiard and too short to be a real Churchwarden. Even so it is a nice pipe in exceptional condition. Thanks for walking through the sprucing up process with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. This one will be going on the rebornpipes store shortly. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. Thanks for your time.

Restoring Jennifer’s Dad’s Savinelli Capri 313KS Root Briar Prince


Blog by Steve Laug

I decided to work on another of Jennifer’s Dad’s pipes. For the next pipe from the estate of George Rex Leghorn I have chosen a Savinelli Prince shaped pipe. You may not have read about this estate before, so I will retell the story. I received an email from Jennifer who is a little older than I am about whether I would be interested in her Dad’s pipes. My brother Jeff and I have been picking up a few estates here and there, so I was interested. Here is the catch – she did not want to sell them to me but to give them to me to clean up, restore and resell. The only requirement she had was that we give a portion of the sales of the pipes to a charity serving women and children. We talked about the organization I work for that deals with trafficking and sexual exploitation of women and their children and she decided that would be a great way to carry on the charitable aspect of her Dad’s character. With some great conversation back and forth she sent the pipes to Jeff and he started the cleanup process on them. Once he had finished cleaning them all he sent them to me to do my work on them.

The pipe on the table is stamped on the underside of the bowl and shank on a smooth panel. On the heel of the bowl it is stamped Savinelli Capri over Root Briar. That is followed by The Savinelli “S” shield and Italy and the shape number that looks like 313KS but it hard to read as it is stamped in the rustication. The pipe has a Sea Rock or coral style rustication that I really like. The finish was very dirty, making it hard to see beyond that to the nice grain underneath that. There was a thick cake in the bowl and it had overflowed with lava onto the rim top. It was hard to know at this point the condition of the rim edges. The pipe was a dirty and tired looking old pipe. The stem was badly oxidized and there were George’s usual tooth marks and chatter on both sides just ahead of the button. It had been sitting in boxes for a lot of years and it was time to move ahead with the restoration. Jennifer took photos of the pipes she was sending. I have included the photos of this pipe below. When the box arrived from Jennifer, Jeff opened it and took photos of each pipe before he started his cleanup work on them. This pipe was another real mess but since it bore a coral finish which I like I could see some promise under all of the grime of the years. The shape was a Prince with the normal slightly bent stem. The briar appeared to be in good condition underneath the grime. The pipe really was covered with the grime and oils on the bowl sides from George’s hands. It left the finish looking mottled and dark on the high points. The bowl had a thick cake that had hardened with time. The lava overflow on the rim top filled in the rustication on the rim top. It was very thick but it could very well have protected the edges of the rim from damage. We won’t know what is under it until Jeff had cleaned it off. The stem was oxidized and there were deep tooth marks on both sides just ahead of the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started working on it. I include those below.  Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the lava build up on the rim top and dust and grime on the bowl. It was thick and hard but hopefully it had protected the rim and edges from damage. The lava coat looks horrible but it points to a well-used, favourite smoking pipe. Judging from the condition of George’s pipe I think it can be assumed that he was rarely without a pipe and that he seriously enjoyed smoking them. This was no exception. Jeff took a photo of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the finish – the grime and grit all over the sides and bottom of the bowl. The rustication is deep and dirty but it is interesting. This is a very tactile finish and one that I enjoy. Jeff took two photos of the stamping on the underside of the shank to capture all of it. It is very clear and readable other than the shape number 313KS which is in the rustication itself.    Jeff took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the scratching, oxidation and tooth marks on the stem surface and button. The tooth marks are quite deep on both sides of the stem. Before I get on to cleaning up the pipe I thought I would once again include the tribute that Jennifer wrote to her Dad for the blog. She also sent some photos and an article that her Dad wrote for Jeff and me to be able to get a feel for him. I have included those below. Note in each of them that he is holding a pipe in his left hand. I asked her to also send me an email with a brief tribute to her Dad. Here is her tribute from an email to me.

Steve, I want to thank you again for accepting my dad’s pipes.  They were so much a part of my dad’s life that I could not simply discard them. But as his daughter, I was not about to take up smoking them either. *laughing* I think my dad would like knowing that they will bring pleasure to others.  I know that I do.

I’m not sure what to say about his pipes. I always remember Daddy smoking pipes and cigars.

First a bit about my dad. Though my father, George Rex Leghorn, was American (growing up in Alaska), he managed to join the Canadian Army at the beginning of WWII, but in doing so lost his American citizenship.  He was fortunate to meet a Canadian recruiting officer who told him the alphabet began with “A” and ended with “Zed” not “Zee”, and also told him to say that he was born in a specific town that had all its records destroyed in a fire.  When the US joined the war my dad, and thousands of other Americans who had made the same choice*(see the link below for the article), were given the opportunity to transfer to the US military, and regain their citizenship.

After WWII, my dad, earned his degree at the University of California Berkeley and became a metallurgist. There is even a bit about him on the internet.

He loved taking the family out for a drive, and he smoked his cigars on those trips. (As a child, those were troubling times for my stomach.)

I most remember my father relaxing in his favorite chair with a science fiction book in one hand and a pipe in the other… Sir Walter Raleigh being his favorite tobacco… and the pipes themselves remind me of him in that contented way.  If I interrupted his repose, he’d look up, with a smile on his face, to answer me.

It seemed he smoked his Briarwood pipes the most, though he had others.  At the time, it was only the Briarwood I knew by name because of its distinctive rough shaped bowl.  And it was the Anderson Free Hand Burl Briar, made in Israel, which I chose for his birthday one year, because I thought he might like that particular texture in his hand.

At least two of his pipes, he inherited from his son-in-law, Joe Marino, a retired medical laboratory researcher (my sister Lesley’s late husband)… the long stemmed Jarl (made in Denmark), and the large, white-bowled, Sherlock Holmes style pipe.  I believe Joe had others that went to my dad, but Lesley was only sure about those two.

The Buescher, corncob pipe my older sister Lesley bought for Daddy while on one of her travels around the States.

A note on the spelling of my sister’s name…

My dad met my mother, Regina, during WWII and they married in Omagh, Ireland.  My mother was English and in the military herself.  The English spelling of Lesley is feminine, and Leslie masculine, in the UK… just the opposite of here in the United States.  I guess my mom won out when it came to the spelling of the name…

This pipe was a real mess just like the other ones in the collection. I was curious to see what it would look like when I unpack it. I was surprised at how good it looked. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. The finish on the bowl looked really good when I got it. The rim top looked much better and the inner and outer edges were looking good. Jeff had cleaned the internals and scrubbed the exterior of the stem and soaked them in Before & After Deoxidizer bath to remove the oxidation. The stem looked very good other than the deep tooth marks and chatter in the surface. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked very good. I took several photos of the pipe from the side and then got called away and did not finish taking photos. Here is what I have.   I forgot to take photos of the condition of the rim top and stem and when I came back to work on the pipe I just jumped in to do the restoration. I decided to clean up the darkening and smoothing of the rim top first. I used a brass bristle brush to work over the surface of the briar. When I was finished it looked better.     I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the finish of the bowl and the rim top and shank with my fingertips and a horsehair shoebrush to clean, enliven and protect it. I find that the balm really makes the briar come alive again. The contrasts in the layers of stain and the separate finishes really made the grain stand out. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The bowl really looks good at this point. I set the bowl aside and turned to the stem. I filled in the deep tooth marks with black super glue. I built up the edge of the button at the same time. I set it aside to dry. Once the repairs had cured I used a needle file to re-cut a sharp edge on the button on both sides and to flatten the repaired areas.  I sanded the stem to remove the oxidation that was on the surface and to smooth out the repaired areas. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper and a piece of 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. At this point the stem is looking better and the tooth marks are gone.  I rubbed the stem down with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish and a cotton pad to remove remnants of oxidation and to further blend in the sanding. The stem was showing some promise at this point in the process. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I polished it further with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both fine and extra fine. I finished by wiping it down with Briarville’s No Oxy Oil and buffing it to a shine. Once again I am the part of the restoration that I always look forward to – the moment when all the pieces are put back together. I put the pipe back together and lightly buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond. I buffed the stem with a heavier touch 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 buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the combination of rustication and smooth finishes. The black vulcanite stem stands out as a shiny black contrast to the colours of the bowl. This little Capri Prince must have been a fine smoking pipe judging from the condition it was when we received it from Jennifer. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This is one that will go on the rebornpipes online store shortly. If you want to carry on the pipe trust of George Rex Leghorn let me know. Thank you Jennifer for trusting us with his pipes. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next generation.