Tag Archives: waxing a stem

Restoring a Republic Era Peterson’s “Kildare” 254 Canadian


Blog by Steve Laug

This is another one of those pipes that has been here for a long time and I have no memory where it came from. I had been cleaned somewhere along the way so I am guessing that Jeff had cleaned it. The bowl had been reamed somewhere in the journey and was quite clean inside. The shank and internals had all been cleaned and there was no residual stench to the pipe. The smooth rim top had some damage and darkening. The inner edge had some damages by burning and the bowl was slightly out of round. The smooth finish was quite clean other than the dust of sitting in my box. The stamping on the shank is clear and readable. The top side is stamped Peterson’s [over] “Kildare”. On the underside it was stamped Made in the Republic of Ireland (3 lines). On the right of shank near the bowl it is stamped with the shape number 254. The stem was lightly oxidized and has light tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. I took some photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. I took close up photos of the bowl and the stem. You can see the reamed bowl and the darkening on the rim top and the front edge. The stem surface was clean but there are light tooth marks and chatter on both sides on and ahead of the button.I took a photo of the stamping on the top, underside and right side of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above. I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo to give a sense of the proportions of the pipe. It is really quite nice looking. I am including the information from Pipedia’s article on Peterson pipes. It is a great read in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Peterson). I have included a bit of the pertinent history here.

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

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

I turned to “The Peterson Pipe” by Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg to get some background on the Peterson’s System Line. On page 314 it had the following information.

Kildare (1965-) First issue of line with matte-finish in Classic Range shapes, P-Lip and fishtail mouthpiece. Second issue C.1979 as Kildare Patch, with rusticated patches on pipe surface. Third issue 2010, matte-brown, P-Lip or fishtail mouthpiece, no band. Fourth issue 2011-, burgundy sandblast finish, nickel army mount, fishtail mouthpiece, exclusive to smokingpipes.com.

Judging from the description above I believe that I am working on a First Issue of the line in the time period of 1965-1979. It is a late Republic Era Classic Shaped pipe with a matte-finish and a P-Lip stem. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

I decided to address the damage to the front rim top and inner edge of the bowl first. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to give the inner edge of the bowl a slight bevel on the inner edge to remove burned areas and blend them into the surrounding briar. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips. It works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let it sit for 15 minutes then buffed it off with a soft cloth and raised the shine. The bowl looks great at this point.   I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the stem and button surface with the flame of a lighter to lift the tooth marks. It worked amazingly well and I was able to lift them completely or significantly. I sanded what remained with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface of the vulcanite. I started polishing the stem by wet sanding it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and gave it a final coat and set it aside to dry. I am excited to finish this Republic Era Peterson’s “Kildare” 254 Canadian. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with beautiful flame grain all around it. Added to that the polished Sterling Silver band and the black vulcanite stem was beautiful. This smooth Classic Peterson’s “Kildare” 254 Canadian is great looking and the pipe feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 32 grams/1.13 ounces. It is a beautiful pipe and I will soon be putting it on the rebornpipes store in Irish Pipe Makers Section. If you are interested in adding it to your collections let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.

Restoring a Republic Era Peterson’s System 31 Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

This is another one of those pipes that has been here for a long time and I have no memory where it came from. I had not been cleaned so it is not one that ever went to Jeff for clean up. It was a dirty but appeared to have some great grain under the grime. The bowl had been reamed somewhere in the journey and was quite clean inside. The smooth rim top was damaged and had some darkening. The edges – both inner and outer had some damages by burning and the bowl was out of round. The smooth finish is dirty with grime and grit deep ground into the sides of the bowl and shank. There were some deep nicks in the briar on the right side and heal of the bowl. The pipe stinks like heavily cased aromatics. The stamping on the shank is clear and readable. The left side is stamped Peterson’s [arched over] System. On the right side it was stamped Made in the Republic of Ireland (3 lines). To the right of that stamp is the shape number 31. The nickel band is oxidized and dirty but it has the K & P stamp over three symbols. Next to that it was stamped Peterson’s. It had some nicks and dents around shank end of the ferrule. The stem was quite clean and has deep tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button and on the topside of the button. I took some photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. I took close up photos of the bowl and the stem. You can see the reamed bowl and the darkening and light lava on the rim top. The bowl reeked of aromatic tobaccos. The stem surface was clean but there are deep tooth marks and chatter on both sides on and ahead of the button.I took a photo of the stamping on the sides of the bowl and shank. It is clear and readable as noted above. I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo to give a sense of the proportions of the pipe. It is really quite nice looking.I am including the information from Pipedia’s article on Peterson pipes. It is a great read in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Peterson). I have included a bit of the pertinent history here.

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

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

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

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

I did a search on Google about the Peterson System 31 Straight Billiard to see if I could learn any specific information on the shape. I found a link to a pipe for sale on Smokingpipes.com. I quote:

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

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

The bowl had been reamed and cleaned. I started working on the pipe by cleaning out the inside of the shank and the airway into the bowl and the stem. I scraped the shank out with a small pen knife to remove the thick tars. I then cleaned it with a isopropyl alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners until it was clean.  I topped the damaged rim top on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage on the rim top and edges of the bowl. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the inner edge of the bowl. I gave the inner edge of the bowl a slight bevel. I filled in some of the deep gouges in the briar on the right side and heel of the bowl with some clear CA glue. Once the repairs cured I sanded the briar surface with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth it out and blend it into the surrounding briar.I stained the sanded area on the bowl side and the rim top with a Cherry stain pen to lay a base coat and then did a top coat of Mahogany stain pen. I polished the rim top and edges with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads to raise a shine. I wiped it down with a damp cotton pad to wipe off the debris after each sanding pad.   I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips. It works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let it sit for 15 minutes then buffed it off with a soft cloth and raised the shine. The bowl looks great at this point.   The nickel ferrule was out of round and dented. It was solidly connected to the shank end so I did not want to removed it. Instead I fit a dowel into the end of the ferrule that was round and heated the nickel with a lighter to soften it. Once it was softened I used a small furniture hammer to bring the ferrule end back to round. I repeated the process until the opening in the ferrule was round and the stem fit well. It was not perfect but it was better than when I started. I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem. I “painted” the stem with the flame of a Bic lighter to lift the tooth marks in the stem. I was able to raise them slightly. I filled in the remaining marks with Black CA glue. Once the repairs cured I sanded it smooth with 120 grit sandpaper and started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I unscrewed the extension tube from the end of the stem. I cleaned up the threads on the extension and inside the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and isopropyl alcohol. It did not take long to clean it. I coated the threads on the extension with Vaseline and screwed the extension back into the stem. I worked on the stem to further smooth and reshape the button and stem with the 220 grit sandpaper and the 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.  I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and gave it a final coat and set it aside to dry.  I put the stem back on the Peterson’s System 31 Straight Billiard and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I polished the briar and the vulcanite of the stem until there was a rich shine. This classic Peterson’s shape and finish really highlights a proportionally well carved pipe. Once I buffed the pipe the briar came alive and popped with polishing. The black vulcanite stem has a rich glow. This Peterson’s System Straight Billiard fits well in the hand and sits right in the mouth. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of and inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.23 ounces/35 grams. This beauty will be going on the rebornpipes online store in the Irish Pipemakers Section. If you are interested let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as it was a pleasure to work on.

Restoring a Peterson’s of Dublin “Kildare” 05 Calabash


Blog by Steve Laug

This is another one of those pipes that has been here for a long time and I have no memory where it came from. I had not been cleaned so it is not one that ever went to Jeff for clean up. It was a filthy pipe but appeared to have some great grain under the grime. The bowl had been reamed somewhere in the journey and was quite clean inside. The smooth rim top had some light lava on the top and some darkening. The edges look very good. The smooth finish is dirty with grime and grit deep ground into the sides of the bowl and shank. The pipe stinks like heavily cased aromatics. The stamping on the shank is clear and readable. The left side is stamped Peterson’s [arched over] of Dublin [over] “Kildare”. On the right side, low on the shank toward the front of the bowl it is stamped 05. The stem is oxidized, calcified and has tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. There was a thick build up of tar on the end of the tenon and inside of the shank was heavily coated with tar and oil. There was also a P logo stamped on the left side of the taper stem. I took some photos of the pipe before I started my work on it.  I took close up photos of the bowl and the stem. You can see the reamed bowl and the darkening and light lava on the rim top. The bowl reeked of aromatic tobaccos. The stem surface has the mark from a Softee Rubber Bit Guard that is clear and there is calcification and oxidation on the stem. There are also tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button.I took a photo of the stamping on the sides of the bowl and shank. It is clear and readable as noted above. You can also see the P logo stamp on the left side of the taper stem.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo to give a sense of the proportions of the pipe. It is really quite nice looking.I am including the link to the Pipedia’s article on Peterson pipes. It is a great read in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Peterson).

I turned to “The Peterson Pipe” by Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg to get some background on the Peterson’s Kildare Line. On page 306 it had the following information.

Kildare (1965-) First issue of line with matte-finish in Classic Range shapes, P-Lip and fishtail mouthpiece. Second issue C.1979 as Kildare Patch, with rusticated patches on pipe surface. Third issue 2010, matte-brown, P-Lip or fishtail mouthpiece, no band. Fourth issue 2011-, burgundy sandblast finish, nickel army mount, fishtail mouthpiece, exclusive to smokingpipes.com.

I read further in “The Peterson Pipe” by Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg to get some background on the Peterson’s Of Dublin pipes. On page 298 it had the following information.

Dublin 1906-2003 Although Dublin appears under Peterson’s on many pipes over the decades, it has served mostly as part of the brand name. The word first appeared on pipes hallmarked 1906-11 Stamped Peterson’s over Patent over Dublin. The simpler Peterson’s over Dublin first appeared on pipes hallmarked 1912 after the expiration of the patent. Illustrations of pipes in the ’37 catalogue show a random dispersion of the stamp Peterson’s over Of Dublin together with the ordinary Peterson’s over Dublin on every model offered. Specimens of the former will either bear an Irish COM or London Made over England COM and almost certainly date from 1945-62. It was first mentioned in print as part of a model name in ’68 price list, as K&P Dublin, in ’92 for a Danish market line and in 2017.

Judging from the description above I believe that I am working on a First Issue of the line in the time period of 1965-1979. It is probably a late Republic Era Classic Shaped pipe with a matte-finish and a taper stem. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

I reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer using all four cutting heads. I cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to remove all debris. I sanded the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel to smooth out the wall of the bowl. The bowl was in excellent condition with no fissures or checking.  I scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with a tooth brush and undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the debris and grime from the finish to remove the light lava overflow on the rim top. Once it was finished it looked much better. I cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway into the bowl and the stem. I scraped the shank out with a small pen knife to remove the thick tars. I then cleaned it with a isopropyl alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners until it was clean.  I polished the rim top and edges with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads to raise a shine. I wiped it down with a damp cotton pad to wipe off the debris after each sanding pad.   I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the rusticated briar with my fingertips. I worked it over with a shoe brush to get it deep into the grooves and crannies of finish. I let it sit for 15 minutes then buffed it off with a soft cloth and raised the shine. The bowl looks great at this point.   To rid the bowl of the tars and oils that made the bowl still stink I stuffed it with cotton bolls and twisted a boll into a wick that I threaded into the shank. I used an ear syringe to fill the bowl with isopropyl alcohol and set it in an old ice tray over night  to let it wick out the tars and oils.This morning when I went back to the pipe to work on it I took a photo of the cotton to show how the tars and oils had wicked into the pipe. I removed it from the bowl and took photos of the cotton to show how dirty it was.  I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem. I “painted” the stem with the flame of a Bic lighter to lift the tooth marks in the stem. I was able to raise them slightly. I filled in the remaining marks with Black CA glue. Once the repairs cured I sanded it smooth with 120 grit sandpaper and started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I touched up the Peterson’s P on the left side of stem with white acrylic fingernail polish. I worked it into the stamping with a tooth pick. I scraped off the excess paint with my nail and then used a worn 1500 grit micromesh pad to buff off the excess. I rubbed it down with some Obsidian Oil and set it aside.  It looks better but you can see that the curve of the P is faint at the front.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and gave it a final coat and set it aside to dry.   I put the stem back on the Peterson’s of Dublin Bent Calabash and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I polished the briar and the vulcanite of the stem until there was a rich shine. This classic Peterson’s shape and finish really highlights a proportionally well carved pipe. Once I buffed the pipe the briar came alive and popped with polishing. The black vulcanite stem has a rich glow. This Peterson’s Calabash fits well in the hand and sits right in the mouth. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of and inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.87 ounces/53 grams. This beauty will be going on the rebornpipes online store in the Irish Pipemakers Section. If you are interested let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as it was a pleasure to work on.

Rebirthing a Republic Era Peterson’s System Standard 304 Flat Bottom Oom Paul


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen is another Peterson’s System Standard pipe that has been sitting here in Vancouver for a long time. It is a nice smaller size, flat bottom sitter. It has a nickel ferrule and a saddle style Peterson’s P-lip stem. It came to us from an antique mall on 10/20/16 in Chinook, Washington, USA. This pipe was obviously a favourite of the previous trustee. It had been well smoked and there was a thick cake in the bowl and lava overflowing onto the rim top. The well grained briar was dirty with grime and dirt ground into the finish and some small dents and scratches on the bowl sides and heel. The nickel ferrule was oxidized but undamaged. The flat bottom on the bowl enables it to stand on the desk or table top while you are doing other work. The pipe was stamped on the left side and read Peterson’s [over] System [over] Standard. On the right side it had the three line Republic of Ireland stamp [over] the shape number 304. The ferrule was stamped K&P over Peterson on the left side. The stem was oxidized, calcified and had tooth marks on both sides ahead of the button. The stem was not stamped with a logo but it appears to be the original stem. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his clean up work on it. Jeff captured the thick cake in the bowl and the heavy lava overflow onto the rim top and beveled inner edge in his photo. There really was no way of knowing what the edges looked like under the thick cake. The heavily oxidized and calcified stem surface had a lot of tooth chatter and marks on the stem and on the button surface and edges. He took a photo of the heel of the bowl to show the interesting grain patterns in the briar. It was quite beautiful.He took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank and on the ferrule and stem. It is readable but faint in places.I remembered that Paresh had restored a Peterson’s System Standard 314 earlier this year and as usual had done good work on the research. I turned to his blog and read through his work on the pipe (https://rebornpipes.com/2021/07/24/helping-a-fellow-piper-with-his-dream-pipea-petersons-system-pipe/). I quote below from the section on his blog regarding the dating of the pipe.

While dating a Peterson’s pipe, I always fall back to my under mentioned favorite site; http://thepetersonpipeproject.blogspot.com/2007/07/dating-peterons-pipes.html 

I quote from the above site.

Stamping of Bowl: During the years of Kapp and Peterson’s business operations, the country of Ireland has undergone several name changes and K&P’s stamping on their pipes reflects these changes. Knowing these changes, a Peterson pipe can be roughly dated and placed in “eras.”

The Republic Era is from 1949 until the present. The Republic of Ireland was formed on 17 April 1949. From 1949 to present the stamp for this era is “Made in the Republic of Ireland” in a block format generally in three lines but two lines have been used with or without Republic being abbreviated.

With Paresh’s help on the date in place, I then turned to the Peterson’s Website to get a sense of the 304 System Standard Sitter shape (https://www.peterson.ie/pipes/system/system-standard-smooth/moreinfo.cfm?pd_product_Id=172). I quote from the site regarding the shape, line and the range of pipes.

About the Shape: A smaller version of our signature flat-bottomed Oom Paul, this deeply bent design is a sturdy sitter with the comfortable posture of a bent pipe. Despite its compact size, it maintains the iconic muscularity, stout proportions, and overall antique look of our House Style.

About the Line: Our flagship line, the System Standard stamp first appeared in 1945, but the entry-level design has been a staple in our catalogues since Charles Peterson secured his final patent in 1898. Designed to provide a cooler, drier smoke, each pipe features a deep reservoir within the shank to collect excess moisture; a graduated bore mouthpiece that funnels the smoke and allows moisture to collect within the reservoir; a sturdy nickel military mount, which allows the pipe to be broken down and cleaned without damage or warping; and our patented P-Lip bit, which draws the smoke upward, thus reducing tongue bite. While the P-Lip bit is the traditional choice, we also offer System Standard pipes with fishtail stems. Available here in the traditional walnut stain of the Smooth finish.

About The Range: In 1890, after 15 years of handling and repairing pipes while working for the Kapps, Charles Peterson secured a patent in his own name, titled “A certain new and useful improvement in Tobacco-Pipes,” which introduced a unique system comprised of a higher draft hole and a moisture reservoir bored into the shank and transition of a briar pipe. Over the next eight years, Charles continued to refine his System, applying for and securing patents for a graduated bore mouthpiece (1891), and a unique button design known today as the P-Lip (1894-1898). Designed to wick moisture away from the smoke, reduce tongue bite, and increase the longevity of the pipe, Peterson’s complete System patent sparked a tradition of innovation, one we continue to uphold to this day. The System Pipe is the invisible source behind our unique House Style: our pipes’ muscular shanks and transitions, tubular profile, and generous bends. Our overall shaping style has a distinctly antique form because it has remained largely unchanged for over 120 years.

In our System range, you’ll find a variety of shapes in myriad finishes, each featuring Charles Peterson’s groundbreaking improvements in the realm of tobacco pipes. Whether you’re looking for your first pipe or to enhance a robust collection, here you’ll find numerous options to suit any taste, all backed by our legacy of craftsmanship.

I finished my reading about the shape 304 System Standard Flat Bottomed Oom Paul by following a link to some information on the smokingpipes.com website that is quite helpful (https://www.smokingpipes.com/pipes/new/peterson/moreinfo.cfm?product_id=362575). I quote a portion of the description regarding the shape below. It was written by Truett Smith.

The “304” shares both style and history with the “306”: Both designs were introduced to Peterson’s shape chart in 1992 and were the first new System pipes since the “301,” “302,” and “303” were featured in the 1978 catalog. The “304” and “306” also boast flattened heels, allowing them to sit upright while still offering the comfortable posture of a bent pipe. While most Peterson shapes change numbers when featured outside the System line, these two flat-bottomed forms remain constant across series. Presented here is the “304,” being a touch smaller than the “306,” catering to pipe smokers’ personal preferences.

With that information at hand I turned to work on the pipe itself. Jeff had thoroughly cleaned up the pipe. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed 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 scrubbed the exterior of the stem with Soft Scrubb to remove as much of the oxidation and calcification as possible. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe once I started to work on it.   I took photos of the rim top and bowl as well as the stem to give a sense of the condition of both. The rim top looked amazing – no burn or chip damage on the top or on the beveled inner edge. The stem cleaned up fairly well leaving behind some residual oxidation that would need to be dealt with. The tooth marks on the top and underside ahead of the button are visible in the photos.  I took photos of the stamping on the shank sides. The are clear and readable as noted above. There is some faintness on parts of the stamping but it is still readable.   I took the stem out of the shank and took a photo of the overall look of the pipe. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth.  I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips. 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.  I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the tooth marks on the surface with the flame of a lighter to lift them as much as possible. I was able to lift many of them but a few still remained. I filled in the remaining tooth marks with black CA glue and set it aside to cure. I sanded the repairs smooth with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to begin blending them into the stem surface. I started the polishing with some 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 used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.  This Republic Era Peterson’s System Standard 304 Flat Bottom Oom Paul with a vulcanite P-lip stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The beautiful grain that shines through the polished finish is stunning. As the pipe is smoked the patina should develop and look even better. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. 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 Peterson’s System Standard 304 Oom Paul 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: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 54 grams/1.90 ounces. I will be adding the pipe to the Irish Pipe Makers Section of the rebornpipes store. If you are interested in purchasing this pipe send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.

Restoring a Consul Freehand – Perhaps by Preben Holm or Karl Erik


by Kenneth Lieblich

Next on the chopping block is a gorgeous example of a Danish freehand which I got from an older gentleman in Vancouver. I’ve had my eye on this one for a while because of its a beautiful plateau and wood grain, and I was looking forward to working on it. This is a Consul De Luxe pipe and I am sorry to report that I have found very little on the origin of the Consul brand of pipes. There is no information to be had from the usual sources (Pipepedia, Pipephil, etc.), but Steve believes that Consul could have been made either by Preben Holm or Karl Erik – both esteemed names in Danish pipemaking. In any event, this pipe is clearly Danish, clearly well-made, and clearly a beautiful addition to anyone’s collection. The markings were clear enough. On the left-hand side of the shank, it said Consul [over] De Luxe [over] Special. On the right-hand side of the shank, it said Handcut. On the underside of the stummel, it read Made in Denmark. On the left side of the stem, there was a very thin, stylized capital “C”, which appeared to have been slightly worn. The condition was generally good, and it must have been a good smoker, because it was very well used. The stem was heavily oxidized and had some tooth marks. In addition, there was a strange residue scattered over the surface that was reminiscent of icing sugar – I have no idea what it was, but hopefully, it would come off during cleaning. The stummel was fine; there was some cake in the bowl, lava on the rim, and some dents, though no burn marks to speak of. However, the heel of the bowl was very narrow which made reaming a challenge. To work! The stem was so oxidized and filthy that I wiped it down with SoftScrub before soaking. Ultimately, I did send it for an overnight soak in the Pipe Stem Oxidation Remover. The following day, I cleaned the rest of the de-oxidizing mess off with alcohol, pipe cleaners, et cetera. The oxidation had migrated to the surface and would be fairly straightforward to remove. Again, I scrubbed with SoftScrub on some cotton pads to remove the leftover oxidation. Fortunately, that bizarre ‘icing-sugar’ stuff did come off without a problem.   After this, I used some nail polish to restore the logo on the stem. I painted the area carefully and let it fully set before proceeding. Then, I built up the dents on the stem with black cyanoacrylate adhesive and let them fully cure.Next, I sanded the adhesive down with 220- and 400-grit sandpapers to meld seamlessly into the stem. I then used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to bring out the lovely black lustre on the stem. I also used Obsidian Pipe Stem Oil in between each pad scrubbing. As I surmised, the ‘C’ on the stem was not as robust as it had been in better days, but I managed to restore it nicely. Now for the stummel. Firstly, I reamed out the bowl. I used the PipNet Reamer to remove the built-up cake and followed that with 220-grit sandpaper taped to a dowel to eliminate as much as I could. I took the chamber down to bare briar, as I wanted to ensure there were no hidden flaws in the wall. Fortunately, there were none. I then proceeded to clean out the insides with Q-tips, pipe cleaners, and lemon-infused isopropyl alcohol. There was a bit of filth inside this stummel and it took some cotton to get it clean. I followed that up by cleaning the insides with some dish soap and tube brushes. I used cotton rounds and some Murphy’s Oil Soap to scrub the outside of the stummel and a toothbrush with Murphy’s on the rugged plateau of the pipe. A toothbrush gets into the grooves of the wood more easily. Next, I decided to de-ghost the pipe in order to remove any lingering smells of the past. I thrust cotton balls into the bowl and the shank and saturated them with 99% isopropyl alcohol. I let the stummel sit overnight. This caused any remaining oils, tars and smells to leach out into the cotton. The bowl was nice and clean after this. You can see the before and after photos – it needed a de-ghosting! But wait! I had missed something. Inside the shank, there was a small gouge – no idea how it got there – but I felt it needed to be repaired. It’s difficult to make out, but I’ve pointed it out in the photograph. Similar to other blemishes, I filled this gouge with cyanoacrylate adhesive and briar dust. Once it had cured, I sanded it down and voilà! Problem solved. Finally, I used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) on the stummel to make it lovely and smooth. After that, a light application of Before & After Restoration Balm brought out the best in the stummel’s grain.    This is a very elegant Danish pipe. At the buffer, a dose of White Diamond and a few coats of carnauba wax were just what this pipe needed. However, on the rugged plateau, I used Clapham’s Beeswax Salad Bowl Finish, as carnauba wax will get gummed up in the crevices of the wood. I applied the beeswax finish with my fingers and used a horsehair brush to buff it. This Consul Freehand looks fantastic again and is ready to be enjoyed again by the next owner! It is a gorgeous pipe and will make a fantastic smoker. 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 ‘Danish’ Pipe Makers Section of the rebornpipes 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 5¾ in. (146 mm); height 2⅜ in. (60 mm); bowl diameter 1⅝ x 2 in. (41 x 51 mm); chamber diameter ¾ in. (19 mm). The weight of the pipe is 1⅞ oz. (56 g). I hope you enjoyed reading the story of this pipe’s restoration as much as I did restoring it. If you are interested in more of my work, please follow me here on Steve’s website or send me an email. Thank you very much for reading and, as always, I welcome and encourage your comments.

Restoring a Tom Howard Saddle Stem Rhodesian Scoop


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table was purchased on eBay on 01/04/17 from Portland, Maine, USA. It is a rusticated squat Rhodesian that is in good condition. It is stamped on the sides of the shank. On the left side it is stamped Tom Howard. On the right side it is stamped Imported Briar. The stamping is clear and readable. I have worked on quite a few of Tom Howard’s pipes in the past and later in the blog will give a bit of the history (thanks to Dal or Pipesteward.com). At this point I have to say that the pipe is well made and actually has a similar rugged beauty and finesse to a Tracy Mincer Custom-Bilt in my opinion. The age of the pipe and the oils in the finish has given the pipe a rich reddish brown finish. There is also some nice grain that the shape follows well. The finish was dirty with dust around the nooks and crannies of the worm trail rustication. There were some spots of what looked like cream coloured paint right outer edge of the rim cap. There was a thick cake in the bowl and the rim top showed darkening and some lava. The inner edge appeared to be in good condition. The vulcanite saddle stem was oxidized, calcified and had tooth marks and chatter ahead of the button on both sides.  Jeff took photos of the pipe to show what it looked like before he started working on it. He took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the thickness of the cake and the darkening and lava overflow on the rim top. The photos of the stem show the oxidation, calcification and tooth marks and chatter on the surface and on the button on both sides. The photo of the side and heel of the bowl shows the carved worm trail rustication and the grain on the smooth portions of the pipe. It looks quite nice under the grime and dust.    The stamping on the sides of the shank is shown in the photos below. It looks very good and readable. It reads as noted and explained above.   Before I started my work on the pipe I wanted to refresh my memory of the brand. I remembered that Tom Howard was a notable figure beyond pipe making. I also remembered that Dal Stanton had worked on one and done a great job ferreting out the history of the brand and the maker. I turned to his blog on the brand and read what he had written during his restoration of one of the Howard pipes (https://rebornpipes.com/2018/09/16/the-vintage-notoriety-of-tom-howard-and-his-jumbo-squat-rustified-tomato/). I have included the portion of the blog on the history below for ease of reference. (Thanks Dal!)

I had never heard of a Tom Howard stamp on a pipe and after I put the name in search tool on Pipedia I was surprised to find what I found.  Tom Howard was a vintage celebrity in America during the 1940s and 50s.  Here’s what Pipedia said about Tom Howard the man:

Tom Howard was a popular comedian and personality in the 1940s/50s, known for vaudeville stage and radio work. But he also was a skilled pipe maker. In a Popular Mechanic article from 1947 he is written up as the “Hobbyist of the Month, Tom Howard.” He made pipes in his workshop outside his home in Red Bank, NJ. Starting about 1939 and looks like into the late 1940’s or later. He purchased briar blocks by the bag as well as stem blanks, and in his well-equipped shop he handcrafted his pipes, in about three hours on average. He was a true craftsman, also specializing is intricate model boats, trains and brass canons, all built to scale.

I was intrigued – this vaudeville and stage comedian made pipes and this pipe came from his workshop made by his hands.  How cool is that?  Desiring to find out more about Tom Howard the man, I searched Wikipedia and found a fun and informative article about his professional life and how he hosted a I was intrigued – this vaudeville and stage comedian made pipes and this pipe came from his workshop made by his hands.  How cool is that?  Desiring to find out more about Tom Howard the man, I searched Wikipedia and found a fun and informative article about his professional life and how he hosted a zany Q&A game show that was spoofing the ‘serious’ Q&A game shows.  It was called “It Pays to Be Ignorant”.   Here is what the Wikipedia article said:

It Pays to Be Ignorant was a radio comedy show which maintained its popularity during a nine-year run on three networks for such sponsors as Philip Morris, Chrysler, and  DeSoto. The series was a spoof on the authoritative, academic discourse evident on such authoritative panel series as Quiz Kids and Information Please, while the beginning of the program parodied the popular quiz show, Doctor I.Q. With announcers Ken Roberts and Dick Stark, the program was broadcast on Mutual from June 25, 1942 to February 28, 1944, on CBS from February 25, 1944 to September 27, 1950 and finally on NBC from July 4, 1951 to September 26, 1951. The series typically aired as a summer replacement.

Snooping a bit more, I found an online site that had the July 5, 1951 episode of ‘It pays to Be Ignorant’ available for viewing.  I watched it and it was like I was in a time machine!  The video also included period advertising for cars and tobacco and Tom Howard in form, dawning a professorial gown and a gravelly 1950s vaudeville tin can voice.  It’s great! I clipped a picture of the episode.  If you want to see it yourself, here’s the link:  The Internet Archive.

The Pipedia article I included above, referenced one more source to learn a bit more about Tom Howard.  In a 1947 Popular Mechanics edition he was named ‘Hobbyist of the Month’ – but it didn’t say which month!  With a little bit of help from Google, I found Archive.org that housed old editions of many periodicals including Popular Mechanics.  I started in January and started searching – thankfully they had a search tool I utilized for each month.  Finally, I found the article in the Popular Mechanic 1947 June’s edition.   For the absolute nostalgia of it, and for the interesting information it adds about Tom Howard and especially his pipe production, I’m including the pages here for you to read – including the cover page!  I couldn’t pass it up!  Armed with the great information Dal had provided it was time to work on the pipe. Jeff had carried out his thorough cleanup of the pipe. He had reamed it with a PipNet reamer to remove the cake and cleaned the reaming up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the internals of the bowl and stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the externals with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and rinsed the bowl off with running water. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and once it had soaked rinsed it off with warm water to remove the residual solution. He dried it off and rubbed it down to remove any oxidation that was still on the stem. The pipe looked much better when I received it. I took a photo of the rim top to show the condition. You can see the darkening and the damage to the inner edge of the rim on the back right. It is roughened and chipped and out of round. The taper stem came out looking quite good. There are tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button and some damage to the button surface itself.     I took photos of the sides of the shank to show the stamping. It is clear and readable as noted above. I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe to show what I was working on. The stem also shows a small aluminum stinger in the tenon.I decided to start the restoration on this one by working on the damage and darkening on the right rear of the rim top. I sanded the rim top with 220 grit sandpaper and gave the inner edge of the bowl a slight bevel to remove the damage and blend it into the rest of the rim edge.   I polished the smooth parts of the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad.  With the repair completed I rubbed the briar down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to work it into the nooks and crannies of the rusticated finish. The product works to clean, enliven and preserve the briar. I let it sit for 10 minutes while I worked on the stem. After the time passed I buffed it with a cotton cloth to deepen the shine. The briar really comes alive with the balm. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth it out the marks and tooth chatter on the surface. I started the polishing with a piece of 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.  This Tom Howard Rhodesian/Scoop turned out to be a nice looking pipe. The rusticated finish looks quite good while not obscuring the grain around the bowl. The stain used on the bowl served to highlight the grain on the bowl. The polished black vulcanite saddle stem adds to the mix. With the dust gone from the finish and the bowl it was a beauty and is eye-catching. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel being careful to not buff the stamping. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing it with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Tom Howard Rhodesian is a large pipe and feels great in the hand. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. I can only tell you that like the other pipes I am working that it is much prettier in person than the photos capture. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 70grams/2.47oz. I will be adding it to the American Pipe Makers Section soon if you would like to add it to your collection. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. 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.

Restoring a Long Shank “Canadian” By Sasieni London Made


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I chose to work on has the characteristic rustication that I have seen on quite a few of the Sasieni Rusticated pipes that I have worked on. It is a long shank Canadian with hatch marked rim top and beveled inner edge. Jeff bought the pipe at an antique store on 10/29/2016 in Boise, Idaho, USA. It is stamped “Canadian” [over] By Sasieni [over] London Made [over] Made in England. The rustication on the bowl and shank was rugged with a tight pattern. The briar was stained with dark brown and black stains that provided depth to the finish. The finish on the pipe is dirty with a lot of dust and grime in the grooves of the rustication. There was a thick cake in the bowl and lava overflowing on to the rim top. The rim top is hatch marked and the inner edge is smooth. The outer edge of the rim has some wear from being knocked against a hard surface. There is a smooth ring around the end of the shank. The stem looked dirty but otherwise there were no tooth marks or chatter on the surface on either side. It was in good condition. Overall the pipe looked good. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his clean up work on it. Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top and the stem to give a sense of the condition they were in. You can see the cake in the bowl and lava on the rim top as well as the hatch marks scratched into the rim top in the first photo. The stem photos show a relatively clean stem. He took photos of the bowl sides and heel to give a sense of the rustication around the bowl. To me it is a classic Sasieni style rustication. He took a photo of the stamping to show how clear and readable it is. It reads as noted above.I turned to Pipephil’s site to see if there was any specific information on “Canadian” By Sasieni (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-sasieni2.html). There was a listing there under the section on Sasieni seconds that matched the pipe I was working on. The pipe I have on the table is a lot like the second pipe in the screen capture below. The finish is the same though the stamping is slightly different and the stem does not have the –S- logo stamp on the top of the taper. I also captured the additional photos of the second pipe to show the finish and shape of the pipe. I then turned to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Sasieni#Sasieni_Seconds) and clicked on a list of seconds that had been provided by Doug Valitchka. The “Canadian” line is in the list at the bottom of the second column below. I have marked it in red for ease of reference on the chart below.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 edge looked much better. You can see the darkening on the beveled inner edge of the bowl and the hatching marks on the top of parts of the rim top. It seems to me that those marks are not original to the pipe when it was made. The stem looked very good and was smooth on both sides. There were scratches on both sides but no tooth marks or chatter.   The stamping on underside of the shank on the smooth panel is clear and readable as noted above. I really like the rugged Sasieni style rustication on the bowl and shank. The pipe is a beauty and the long shank fascinating to me. 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 the pipe by dealing with the darkening on the beveled inner edge of the rim and the hatch marks on the rim top. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the bevel and then stained it with a black Sharpie pen to blend it into the rest of the bowl walls. I then used the sandpaper to further flatten out the rim top. It definitely looks much better. I polished the rim top 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 dust and debris. I restained the rim top with a combination of Walnut and Cherry stain pens to match the stained panel on the underside of the shank and the variations in colour on the rustication. Once it is buffed it will look very good.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 and a horsehair shoe brush 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 rustication took on depth. It really looks good.  I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem. It was in great condition so I polished it with 1500-12000 grit micromesh sanding 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 “Canadian” By Sasieni London Made with a vulcanite taper stem has a classic Sasieni rusticated finish that looks great. The rich dark contrasting stain gives depth to the rustication 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 multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel. I buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Sasieni Made Canadian 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: 7 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of bowl: 1 ¼ inch, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.38 ounces /39grams. 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!

Restoring a  Petite MARKA St. Claude France 246 Dublin for a New Pipe Smoker


Blog by Steve Laug

Yesterday I got a call from a local lady who had been directed to me by our local pipe shop. She had found a pipe at an antique store when her family was traveling and decided it was time to load a pipe and try it out. When she was at the shop she picked up some tobaccos to sample once the pipe was cleaned up. We made arrangements for her to stop by and show me the pipe and I would be able to tell her what I saw. She arrived and took a small bag out of her pocket and removed a hard shell case. She opened it and took out the small pipe that is shown in the photos below. The pipe was stamped on the left side of the shank and read MARKA in bubble style type. On the right side it was stamped St. Claude – France [over] the number 246 (shape number). The bowl had a thick cake and an overflow of thick lava on the inwardly beveled rim top and edges. The finish was very dirty and appeared to be coated with a thick varnish coat that was bubbled or peeling on the underside of the shank. The thin saddle stem was oxidized, calcified and had light tooth chatter on the top and underside of the stem ahead of the button. The stem screwed on to a threaded metal tenon that was set in the shank of the pipe. The small pipe is a nice looking delicate Dublin that should clean up very well. I took photos of the pipe before I started my clean up work.  I took a close up photo of the bowl and rim top to show the thickness of the cake in the bowl and the thick overflow of lava on the beveled rim top. It really is a mess and hard to know what it looks like under the lava. I also took photos of the stem to show the condition it was in when she dropped it off. I took photos of the stamping on the shank sides. It is clear and readable as noted above.I unscrewed the stem from the tenon and took a photo of the bowl and stem to show the delicate proportions of the pipe. Note the metal threaded tenon on the shank end.I did some work on the background for this pipe. I checked on PipePhil and Pipedia and did not find any information on the Marka brand. I checked several other French brands to see if there was a sublisting for the Marka brand. There was nothing there. I also did a search on Google for the brand but found nothing listed. I also checked the book “Who Made That Pipe” and there was nothing listed there.  I wrote to Kenneth Lieblich to see if he was familiar with the brand or had any information on it. While I waited I did some work on the shape number 246. Interestingly it is a three digit number that fits neatly into the list of Comoy’s and Chacom shape numbers. That particular number is not listed, however the number before that – 245- is listed as is the number after it. Kenneth wrote me back that he wondered if the shape number pointed to Chacom. So independently we both came to the same conclusion that the brand was connected to Chacom. I don’t know if we will ever know for certain but that is where it stands at this point.

Now it was time to work on the pipe. I reamed the bowl back to bare briar with a PipNet reamer with the smallest cutting head. I cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I finished the bowl work by sanding it with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a small piece of briar. Once finished I wiped out the inside. The bowl walls looked very good with no heat damage or checking.   I scrubbed the exterior of the bowl and rim with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. I scrubbed the pipe with the brush to remove the grime and the tars on the rimtop. I rinsed the bowl with warm water to remove the soap and the grime. It began to look better. There was some burn damage on the outer edge of the rim toward the back of the bowl. It was not deep damage and would probably be easily removed. I wiped down the bowl and rim with acetone on cotton pads to remove some of the darkening and the remnants of the varnish. It worked well and you can see the debris on the cotton pads. It looked much better.    Now it was time to address the damage on the rim top and the inner bevel of the chamber. I topped the pipe on a piece of 220 grit sandpaper on a topping board. I removed the damage and the top looked significantly smoother.   The beveled inner edge of the bowl still had some burn damage and darkening on the front and the back of the bowl. I used a piece of 220 grit sandpaper and a wooden ball to work on the bevel. I put the sandpaper on the ball and turned the bowl rim on the paper to remove damaged areas on the top. The rim top looked better but you can see the damage on the inner front and back of the bowl edge.     I used an Oak Stain Pen to match the sanded rim top to the rest of the bowl. It certainly looks better at this point.Now it was time to clean out the inside of the shank and stem. I used isopropyl alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners to remove the tars and oils. The shank was clogged near the entry to the bowl. I used an unfolded paper clip to poke through the airway and then worked pipe cleaners through the airway until the draught in the pipe was open and clean. I cleaned the airway in the stem at the same time using the same supplies. Once finished it smelled clean and fresh. 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 sanding pad. The pipe took on a shine as I moved through the sanding pads.   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 and a horsehair shoe brush 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 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 St. Claude-France Marka 246 Dublin with a vulcanite saddle stem has some beautiful grain. The rich brown 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. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel. I buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Marka 246 Dublin 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 inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 inch, Chamber diameter: 5/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is .56 ounces/16 grams. This pipe will soon be back in the hands of the pipewoman who brought it to me to restore. I think she will enjoy smoking this petite little French Pipe. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Breathing New Life into an older, worn Patent No. Dunhill Shell Briar 31 Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table is an older looking small Dunhill Shell Briar Billiard that had an older style straight taper stem that has no fishtail flare to the button. There were deep tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside of the stem near the button. The sandblast finish is a very deep, rugged looking and is quite dirty and dusty. The bowl had a thick cake that flowed over the rim top as thick lava and filled in the sandblast surface. The pipe was purchased from an antique store on 05/24/22 in Newberg, Oregon, USA. Under a bright light with a magnifying lens I was able to work out some of the details on the stamping. It is faint but the shape number reads 31 followed by Dunhill’s Shell Briar [over] PAT. NO. (after that it is unclear but it is a number that is quite long). The last readable digits are /12. Using John Loring’s book I did some digging on what was readable to determine the potential other numbers. I found a listing for DUNHILL’S SHELL BRIAR PAT. NO. 119708/17.5861/12 that fits the pieces that are visible on the underside of the shank. That dates the pipe to 1918?-1926. So we know that it is an old timer but I only wish I could read the stamping better. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he cleaned them up. I have included them below. He took photos of the bowl, rim top and the stem to show the condition of the pipe when we received it. You can see the thick cake in the bowl and the thick overflow of lava on the rim top. It was a real mess. The photos of the stem show the deep tooth marks and chatter against the button edge on both the top and underside. There was also some damage to the top edges of the button. The white spot on the top of the stem was smaller which also fits my assessment of this being and early pipe. He took photos of the side and heel of the bowl to give a clear picture of the rugged and deep sandblast around the bowl and shank. It is really a beauty.He took photos of the stamping on the underside of the shank. You can see the faint stamping  but it is not readable in the photos. As noted above I was able to discern some of the stamping.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 edge looked much better. The stem looked much better and there were deep tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button.  The stamping on underside of the shank is faint but I was able to decipher what remains as mentioned above. I really like the rugged sandblast on the bowl and shank. It definitely fits the time frame that I deciphered above. It is a beauty. 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 the bowl by using a brass bristle brush to work over the sandblast on the rim top. I was able to remove the dust and debris and give the top blast more definition. It looked good and matched the blast on the bowl.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 and a horsehair shoe brush 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 surface of the vulcanite with the flame of lighter. I was able to lift many of them. Those that remained, I filled in with clear CA glue. I set it aside to let it cure. Once it did, I reshaped the button and smoothed out the repair with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I started the polishing 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 Older Dunhill Shell Briar 13 Patent Billiard with a vulcanite taper stem has a deep and rugged sandblast finish that looks great . The rich dark 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 multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel. I buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Dunhill Shell Briar Billiard 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 inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 inch, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is .85 ounces/24 grams. For now I am holding onto this old timer as I want to spend more time interpreting the stamping. One day it may end up on the store but I am not sure. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

A Good Smoker


by Kenneth Lieblich

Next on the chopping block is an unnamed, apple-shaped pipe I acquired in a lot from France. My customer was looking for a simple, modest pipe — nothing fancy, but a good smoker. In his opinion, this one seemed to fit the bill quite nicely.  Clearly, it had been well-loved, as it arrived with a dirty inner tube, plenty of dents, marks and a burn on the rim. Interestingly, this pipe had an orific button at the end of the stem, a feature that apparently disappeared by the 1930s, so it must be around a hundred years old. For more information on the orifice button, take the time to read Steve’s interesting article on the subject. The only markings were on the left side of the shank: Bruyère [over] Garantie which translates to ‘Genuine Briar’. The words Bruyère Garantie on a pipe are the bane of my pipe restoration existence. They are found on a plethora of different pipes, usually without any other identification. Ugh. One comment on the old Pipes Magazine forums confirms exactly what my meagre research has uncovered:

“Lots of French and German pipes, even pre-war ones, were given the label “Bruyere Garantie.” At least the ones I’ve seen for sale were listed as being from the 1920s and 30s. But I suspect that is a genuine date for those because many of them had horn stems, which are much rarer in post-war pipes and some of them definitely had an Art Deco/Art Nouveau look about them as well as old-fashioned rounded buttons.” — pitchfork

Well, time to get to work! I started by sending the inner tube for a soak in some lemon-infused isopropyl alcohol. I let it sit for several hours, cleaned it off and gave it a quick polish. Good as new! Next, I wiped the stem with Murphy’s Oil Soap on some cotton pads, then took a BIC lighter and ‘painted’ the stem with its flame to lift the bite marks. This did scarcely anything to fix the damage, but I would worry about that later. Then I cleaned out the inside with pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. Fortunately, it wasn’t overly dirty, and it only needed a handful of pipe cleaners. Next, the stem went for an overnight soak in the Pipe Stem Oxidation Remover. The following day, I cleaned all of the de-oxidizing mess off with alcohol, pipe cleaners, et cetera. The oxidation had migrated to the surface and would be fairly straightforward to remove. I scrubbed with SoftScrub on some cotton pads to remove the leftover oxidation. I built up the bite marks on the stem with black cyanoacrylate adhesive and let them fully cure. Following that, I sanded the adhesive down with 220- and 400-grit sandpapers to meld seamlessly into the stem. I then used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to bring out the lovely black lustre on the stem, with some Obsidian Pipe Stem Oil in between each pad scrubbing.   Now for the stummel. Firstly, I decided to ream out the bowl. I used the PipNet Reamer to remove the built-up cake and followed that with 220-grit sandpaper taped to a dowel to eliminate as much as I could. I took the chamber down to bare briar, as I wanted to ensure there were no hidden flaws in the wall. I also took this opportunity to wash the stummel with Murphy’s Oil Soap and remove as much grime as I could. Following this, of course, I cleaned out the insides with the requisite pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. Now I could address the burn on the rim. I took some oxalic acid, used several Q-tips, and rubbed. The burn improved slightly, but it needed some more help, so I took a solid wooden sphere, wrapped a piece of 220-grit sandpaper around it, and sanded the inner edge of the rim. This helped to both remove the burn and maintain the beveled edge of the rim. The top edge of the rim was sufficiently even, so no extra sanding (topping) was needed.The century-old patina was nice enough that it didn’t need a new stain so I simply finished it up by sanding with my Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit). Then applying some Before & After Restoration Balm added that je ne sais quoi which brings out the wood’s beauty.   In fact, the photo above shows a bit of burn remaining on the inner edge of the bowl. Although I don’t have photos, I did address this and the final product was much improved.

Finally, it was off for a trip to the buffer. A dose of White Diamond and a few coats of carnauba wax were just what this pipe needed. This is a handsome pipe with a classic look and feels very comfortable in hand. The lovely shine made the wood very attractive, and I know that the new owner will enjoy smoking it for many years to come. I hope you enjoyed reading the story of this pipe as much as I did restoring it. If you are interested in more of my work, please follow me here on Steve’s website or email me directly at kenneth@knightsofthepipe.com. Thank you very much for reading and, as always, I welcome and encourage your comments.