Tag Archives: waxing

Restoring a Lovely Danish Pickaxe


Blog by Kenneth Lieblich

Next on the chopping block is a beautiful Danish pipe from Scandia. This terrific pipe came to me from an antique shop in the Fraser Valley (an area to the east of Vancouver). The price was reasonable, so I had to have it. The pipe is beautiful and a great example of Danish pipe-making. The pipe is a Danish pickaxe pipe by Scandia, produced from the esteemed pipemaker, Stanwell. The pickaxe is a very attractive shape and this one is no exception. It really makes an impression. It has beautiful, sandblasted briar from the bowl, down the shank and transitions into the vulcanite ferrule. It also has a fantastic push stem. The underside of the shank reads Scandia [over] Made in Denmark. There is a faint marking on the ferrule, which appears to show “10” or possibly “1C”. I don’t think this is a shape number, for reasons I will explain momentarily. Finally, the stem’s top also has the SC, indicating the Scandia make. Both Pipedia and Pipephil list Scandia as being a Stanwell sub-brand or second (and not much else), as per the photo below.Meanwhile, Pipedia has a good amount of information on the Stanwell brand and its history. I certainly recommend looking it over: https://pipedia.org/wiki/Stanwell.Despite the (possible) number 10 on the ferrule, I went to check the list of Stanwell shapes, here on Reborn Pipes, and I found that this definitely did not match. However, I did find something that was a match! Shape 1b is listed as “Freehand, Pick Ax, push mouthpiece, by Sixten Ivarsson. (1975)”. To further confirm this, here is a page from an old 70s or 80s Stanwell catalogue which clearly shows the same shape of pipe with the matching shape number. I think we can safely assume that this is a pickaxe, designed by the legendary Sixten Ivarsson.Anyway, this really is a good-looking pipe. No major issues to resolve – just a few minor ones. The stem was dirty, and some small scratches. There were a couple of significant bite marks, as well as some oxidation and calcification on the vulcanite. The rim on the stummel was blackened and burnt – that would need to be addressed. The insides were fairly dirty and would need some work to clean out. There was also a small nick along the inside edge of the rim. The stem was first on my list. I wiped down the outside of the stem with Murphy’s Oil Soap on some cotton pads. I also took a BIC lighter and ‘painted’ the stem with its flame in order to lift the bite marks and dents. Unfortunately, this didn’t really work, but I have ways of sorting this out. Then, I cleaned out the insides of the stem with pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol.Once this process was done, I used SoftScrub and cotton pads to wipe down the stem before throwing it in the Pipe Stem Oxidation Remover overnight. The following day, I cleaned all of the de-oxidizing mess and again scrubbed with SoftScrub on some cotton pads to remove the leftover oxidation. This worked well. I used some nail polish to restore the letters SC on the stem. I painted the area carefully and let it fully set before proceeding. These letters were too worn to be fully restored, but they definitely looked better after I worked on them.Before I moved on to the Micromesh pads, I built up the dents on the stem with cyanoacrylate adhesive and let them fully cure.I used my miniature files to ensure that the repairs keep the shape and look like they should. I then sanded the stem down with 220-, 400-, and 600-grit sandpapers to meld seamlessly into the stem. I did the same to the remaining tooth marks. 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.I repeated all of the above procedures for the vulcanite ferule, which only came off the stummel after applying heat and some gentle force. On to the stummel, and the usual cleaning procedures were in order for this pipe. I used both the PipNet Reamer and the KleenReem to remove the built-up cake and take the bowl down to bare briar, as I wanted to ensure there were no hidden flaws in the walls of the bowl. Fortunately, there were none.I then proceeded to clean out the insides of the shank with Q-tips, pipe cleaners, and isopropyl alcohol. There was lots of filth inside this stummel, and it took a good number of pipe cleaners etc. to sort that out. I followed that up by cleaning the insides with some dish soap and tube brushes. I then moved on to cleaning the outside of the stummel with Murphy’s Oil Soap and some cotton pads. That removed any latent dirt. 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.As I mentioned earlier, there were some small burn marks on the rim of the stummel that also needed to be addressed. Some of this was removed by the Murphy’s. For the burns that remained, I took some oxalic acid on a Q-tip and rubbed and rubbed. As you will see, the treatment worked reasonably well and the rim was improved. Some would remain, but that is part of the history of this pipe. I completed this step by gently sanding the interior rim edge to remove any remnants that remained. Then I addressed the nick on the rim by filling it with cyanoacrylate adhesive and briar dust. I sanded it down and made it look great. After this, the entire stummel was treated to a rub-down with all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit). A light application of Before & After Restoration Balm brought out the best in the stummel’s sandblast. There is some beautiful wood on this Danish pipe! In fact, as I was working, my youngest child came to watch me for a bit and said, “Is that a doggy?” I wasn’t sure what she meant, but she grabbed the stummel and pointed this out. That’s pretty funny!I glued the ferrule back I place and then it was off for a trip to the buffer. A dose of White Diamond and a few coats of conservator’s wax were just what this pipe needed. I had to be especially careful with the bench polisher, since the edges had a tendency to catch on the buffing wheels. This pipe was a delight from the start and its beauty only increased through the restoration process. This pipe is elegant, light, and incredibly comfortable to hold. Finally, 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 section of the store here on Steve’s website. You can also email me directly at kenneth@knightsofthepipe.com. The approximate dimensions of the Stanwell are as follows: length 5½ in. (140 mm); height 2½ in. (64 mm); bowl diameter 1⅝ in. (41 mm); chamber diameter ¾ in. (19 mm). The weight of the pipe is 1⅝ oz. (47 g). I hope you enjoyed reading the story of this restoration as much as I enjoyed restoring it. If you are interested in more of my work, please follow me here on Steve’s website or send me an email. Thank you very much for reading and, as always, I welcome and encourage your comments.

Restoring a Bari Made in Denmark Bent Dublin


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe was another interesting pipe that surprised both Jeff and me when  it came in a lot of pipes that we bought it from the fellow in Copenhagen, Denmark on January 26, 2023. This one is another beautiful Bari pipe. It has great grain around the bowl and shank. The pipe is stamped on the left side and clearly reads BARI and on the right side it reads Made in Denmark. There is no shape number on the shank. The rim top is crowned curving inward with a bevel toward the bowl. The inner and outer edges clean. The bowl had been reamed recently and the rim top was clean. The finish was dirty with dust and grim ground into the briar but great grain still shone through. The vulcanite taper stem was lightly oxidized and dirty and had some light tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button. Jeff took these photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim and bowl to show the condition of the bowl and rim top. You can see the reamed bowl walls and the clean rim top. He also took photos of the stem surfaces to show its overall condition when it arrived. It was lightly oxidized and dirty and had light tooth marks and chatter on both sides. The photos of the sides and heel of the bowl show the rich grain around the bowl and shank sides. The brown stain adds depth to the finish. He took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. It was clear and readable. (There was no photo of the stamping on the right side.)Before I started working on it I did a bit of research on the brand to remind myself of the maker. I have worked on quite a few Bari’s in the past so rather than rework all of that I am including the information I found while working on a Bari Special Handcut Made in Denmark Dublin Freehand (https://rebornpipes.com/2020/07/22/cleaning-up-a-danish-made-bari-special-handcut-b-dublin-freehand/). I quote below from that blog.

I quoted a section from Pipedia on Bari pipes (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Bari). It is good to be reminded of the fact that Viggo Nielsen was the pipe maker.

Pipedia states that Bari Piber was founded by Viggo Nielsen in Kolding, Denmark around the turn of 1950/51. His sons Kai and Jørgen both grew into their father’s business from a very young age and worked there till 1975. Both have become successful pipe makers.

Bari successfully adapted the new Danish design that had been started mainly by Stanwell for its own models. Bari was sold in 1978 to Van Eicken Tobaccos in Hamburg, Germany though the pipes were still made in Denmark. From 1978 to 1993 Åge Bogelund and Helmer Thomsen headed Bari’s pipe production.

Helmer Thomson bought the company in 1993 re-naming it to “Bari Piber Helmer Thomsen”. The workshop moved to more convenient buildings in Vejen. Bogelund, who created very respectable freehands of his own during the time at Bari got lost somehow after 1993. Bari’s basic conception fundamentally stayed the same for decades: series pipes pre-worked by machines and carefully finished by hand – thus no spectacular highgrades but solid, reliable every day’s companions were what they turned out. The most famous series are the smooth “Classic Diamond” and the blasted “Wiking”.

I did a quick look at Pipephil’s site (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-b1.html) and did a screen capture of the section on Bari pipes.Now that I was reminded about the Viggo Nielsen connection it was time to work on the pipe on my end.
Jeff had done a great clean up of the pipe. He had reamed it with a PipNet reamer and took the cake back to bare briar. He cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed internals of the shank and stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He cleaned the exterior of the pipe with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and the lava on the rim top. He scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub to remove the debris that had accumulated on it. The stem was soaked in Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and then rinsed clean. The pipe looked clean and ready for the next step in the process. Here are some photos of it when I brought it to the table. I took photos of the rim top and the top and underside of the stem. You can see the clean bowl and rim top. The stem has light tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button. It is dirty but otherwise great. It is a nice looking pipe.The next photos show the stamping on the left and right sides of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above. There is also a small portion of the Bari stamp on the left side of the stem in the first photo below.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the parts to give a sense of the overall look of the pipe. It is really a nicely looking pipe that will look great once it is cleaned up.I polished 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. It really began to take on a shine. I rubbed the bowl down with some Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the briar with my fingertips. The product works to clean, renew and protect briar. I let it do its work for 15 minutes then buffed it off with a soft cloth. The pipe is really quite a beauty. I polished the stem on both sides using micromesh sanding pads. I dry sanded the stem with the 1500-12000 grit pads, then wiped it down with a cloth impregnated with Obsidian Oil. I finished polishing it with Before & After stem polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. This is another pipe I am excited to finish. It is a Bari Made in Denmark Bent Dublin. I put the pipe back together and buffed it lightly with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and hand buffed it with microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the polished stem with the golden acrylic spacer. It really was a beautiful pipe. The sandblasted grain shining through the rich browns/black stain on this Bari Made in Dublin is nice looking and the pipe feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.27 ounces/36 grams. It is a beautiful pipe and one that will be on the rebornpipes store in the Danish Pipe Makers Section soon. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. Thanks for walking through the cleanup with me as I worked over this pipe. 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 those who follow us.

Restoring a Vauen Nest Rusticated Bent Egg


Blog by Steve Laug

This past week, after some email correspondence I received a package with three Vauen pipes that a friend here in British Columbia wanted me to restore for him. The one was a broken shanked Vauen Meerschaum and the other two were rusticated briars. This is the second of the briars – a Vauen rusticated Bent Egg with a 9MM Filter stem. The smooth rim top had some lava build up and a moderate cake in the bowl. The inner and outer edges of the bowl looked very good. The finish was dirty but had a charm that was characteristic of older rusticated Vauen pipes. The rustication was slightly different than the previous Billiard which make me wonder if it is a newer rendition. The pipe was stamped on the left side of the shank and read Vauen. On the right side it read Nest. There was not a shape number present. It was light weight and would clean up quite nicely. The tenon had come loose from the stem and would need to be reglued but it was in good shape. The stem was quite clean and was made of black acrylic. There was light chatter and marks on the surfaces near the button on both sides but no tooth marks at all. I took photos of the pipe before I started working on it. I took photos of the rim top and the top and underside of the stem. You can see the cake in the bowl and the lava overflow on the rim top. The stem has light tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button. It is dirty but otherwise great. It is a nice looking pipe.The next photos show the stamping on the left and right sides of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above. I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the parts to give a sense of the overall look of the pipe. You can see the loose tenon in the photo as well. It is really a nicely looking pipe that will look great once it is cleaned up.I am including that material on the brand from the previous blog for those who may have missed it. I turned first to Pipephil’s site (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-v1.html). I did a screen capture of the information on the site. There was a great sidebar that gave some history of the brand. I include both of them below.In 1848, Karl Ellenberger and his partner Carl August Ziener establish a pipe factory in Nuremberg. In 1901 they merge with Gebhard Ott an other factory in town and they create a firm named Vereinigten Pfeifenfabriken Nürnberg (abbreviated : VPFN*). Shortly after Ernst Eckert, a member of the Ott family became manager of the society. During the 20th century Adolf, Ernst (jr) and Alexander Eckert (CEO in 2012) followed one another at Vauen’s head.* VPFN : “V” is said VAU in German (pronounce faou) and “N” becomes EN. Hence VAUEN.

I also turned to a blog written on rebornpipes by Dal Stanton (Pipesteward.com) that I quote a section from the blog below that gives a great sense of the history of the German brand and some photos from the website (https://rebornpipes.com/2021/04/27/breathing-new-life-into-a-german-vauen-6294-p-lip-saddle-billiard-for-a-special-young-lady/).

… I turn to the question of the history of the VAUEN name? I look to the History section of the VAUEN website and again, I am impressed with the presentation. Whenever I work on a pipe, and especially when a pipe name is new to me, I enjoy looking at its history to appreciate the pipe more fully now on my worktable. From VAUEN’s website:Quality and a wealth of ideas have a long tradition at VAUEN. 160 years of VAUEN: that means 160 years of skilled workmanship and modern technology and 160 years of experience in fulfilling the individual wishes of today’s pipe lovers, and those of tomorrow.

In Nuremberg in 1848, Karl Ellenberger and his partner Carl August Ziener turned an idea into reality: Germany’s first pipe manufacturer produced tobacco pipes for connoisseurs around the world using a selection of the best wood. In an amalgamation with the Gebhard Ott pipe factory, which was founded in 1866 in Nuremberg, the Vereinigten Pfeifenfabriken Nuremberg (United Pipe Factories Nuremberg, or VPFN) was born in 1901.  Under the management of Ernst Eckert, a descendent of the founding Ott family, a company was born whose products and services would shape the tobacco and smoking culture in Europe and overseas for the next 160 years and counting.

The question about the name, VAUEN, not being a name of a person and why it is capitalized throughout is explained:

In his search for a name that would be easily remembered by all pipe lovers, Ernst Eckert’s son, Adolf Eckert, coined a new name for the company in 1909: VAUEN – a composition of the first letters V (pronounced vow) of Vereinigte Pfeifenfabriken and N (pronounced en) of Nuremberg. A brand for the future was born.

Now it was time to work on the pipe itself. I reamed out the cake on the bowl walls with a PipNet Pipe reamer and  cleaned it up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I sanded the walls smooth with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel. I cleaned out the mortise and airway into the bowl and the stem with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol until they came out clean. I scrubbed the rugged exterior of the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. I rinsed it off with warm water to remove the grime and the soap. It looked much better once it was clean. I polished the rim top and removed the light scratching in the surface with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down with a damp cloth after each pad to remove dust. I stained the rim top and edges with a Walnut stain pen to match the rest of the bowl and shank. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the finish with my fingers and used a shoe brush to press it deep into the crevices of the rustication. The product works to deep clean the finish on the bowl and shank and enliven and protect the briar. After it sat for 15 minutes I wiped it off with a soft cloth. The briar really came alive with a rich shine. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. It is a beautiful bowl.  I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I reglued the tenon in the cleaned up stem end with clear CA glue. It lined up perfectly and I set it aside for the glue to cure.I polished out the tooth chatter and marks on the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with Obsidian Oil to remove the sanding dust. I used the Before & After Pipe Polish to remove the small minute scratches left in the vulcanite. I finished by wiping the stem down with a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry.  As usual at this point in the restoration process I am excited to be on the homestretch. I look forward to the final look of the Vauen Nest Rusticated Bent Egg when it is put back together, polished and waxed. I put the bowl and stem back together. I polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the briar and the vulcanite. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The took on depth with the wax and polish. The shiny black acrylic stem is a beautiful contrast to the browns of the bowl and thick shank. This Rusticated Vauen Next Bent Egg was another fun pipe to work on. It really is a quite stunning piece of briar whose shape follows the flow of the grain on the briar. The pipe is comfortable pipe to hold in the hand. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.80 ounces/51 grams. This is the second of three Vauen Pipes that I am working on for my friend. Once I finish the last pipe of the threesome I will be sending them back to him. Thanks for reading my reflections on the pipe while I working on it.

Restoring a Vauen College 350 Rusticated Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

This past week, after some email correspondence I received a package with three Vauen pipes that a friend here in British Columbia wanted me to restore for him. The one was a broken shanked Vauen Meerschaum and the other two were rusticated briars. The first of the briars was a Vauen rusticated Billiard with a 9MM Filter stem. The rim top had some lava build up in the rustication and a moderate cake in the bowl. The inner and outer edges of the bowl looked very good. The finish was dirty but had a charm that was characteristic of older rusticated Vauen pipes. The pipe was stamped on the underside of the shank and read College [over] Vauen followed by the shape number 350. It was quite lightweight and would clean up quite nicely. The tenon was set in the shank and the stem fit over it. The stem was quite clean and was made of black acrylic with the characteristic Vauen White Dot. There was light chatter on the surfaces near the button on both sides but no tooth marks at all. I took photos of the pipe before I started working on it. I took photos of the rim top and the top and underside of the stem. You can see the cake in the bowl and the lava overflow on the rim top. The stem is very clean in regards to tooth marks an damage. It is dirty but otherwise great. It is a nice looking pipe.The next photo shows the stamping on the underside of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the parts to give a sense of the overall look of the pipe. It is really a nicely looking Billiard that will look great once it is cleaned up.I wanted to remind myself of the background on the Vauen brand before I started my work on the pipe. I turned first to Pipephil’s site (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-v1.html). I did a screen capture of the information on the site. There was a great sidebar that gave some history of the brand. I include both of them below.In 1848, Karl Ellenberger and his partner Carl August Ziener establish a pipe factory in Nuremberg. In 1901 they merge with Gebhard Ott an other factory in town and they create a firm named Vereinigten Pfeifenfabriken Nürnberg (abbreviated : VPFN*). Shortly after Ernst Eckert, a member of the Ott family became manager of the society. During the 20th century Adolf, Ernst (jr) and Alexander Eckert (CEO in 2012) followed one another at Vauen’s head.* VPFN : “V” is said VAU in German (pronounce faou) and “N” becomes EN. Hence VAUEN.

I also turned to a blog written on rebornpipes by Dal Stanton (Pipesteward.com) that I quote a section from the blog below that gives a great sense of the history of the German brand and some photos from the website (https://rebornpipes.com/2021/04/27/breathing-new-life-into-a-german-vauen-6294-p-lip-saddle-billiard-for-a-special-young-lady/).

… I turn to the question of the history of the VAUEN name? I look to the History section of the VAUEN website and again, I am impressed with the presentation. Whenever I work on a pipe, and especially when a pipe name is new to me, I enjoy looking at its history to appreciate the pipe more fully now on my worktable. From VAUEN’s website:Quality and a wealth of ideas have a long tradition at VAUEN. 160 years of VAUEN: that means 160 years of skilled workmanship and modern technology and 160 years of experience in fulfilling the individual wishes of today’s pipe lovers, and those of tomorrow.

In Nuremberg in 1848, Karl Ellenberger and his partner Carl August Ziener turned an idea into reality: Germany’s first pipe manufacturer produced tobacco pipes for connoisseurs around the world using a selection of the best wood. In an amalgamation with the Gebhard Ott pipe factory, which was founded in 1866 in Nuremberg, the Vereinigten Pfeifenfabriken Nuremberg (United Pipe Factories Nuremberg, or VPFN) was born in 1901.  Under the management of Ernst Eckert, a descendent of the founding Ott family, a company was born whose products and services would shape the tobacco and smoking culture in Europe and overseas for the next 160 years and counting.

The question about the name, VAUEN, not being a name of a person and why it is capitalized throughout is explained:

In his search for a name that would be easily remembered by all pipe lovers, Ernst Eckert’s son, Adolf Eckert, coined a new name for the company in 1909: VAUEN – a composition of the first letters V (pronounced vow) of Vereinigte Pfeifenfabriken and N (pronounced en) of Nuremberg. A brand for the future was born.

Now it was time to work on the pipe itself. I reamed out the cake on the bowl walls with a PipNet Pipe reamer and  cleaned it up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I sanded the walls smooth with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel. I cleaned out the mortise and airway into the bowl and the stem with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol until they came out clean. I scrubbed the rugged exterior of the bowl and the stem with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. I rinsed it off with warm water to remove the grime and the soap. It looked much better once it was clean. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the finish with my fingers and used a shoe brush to press it deep into the crevices of the rustication. The product works to deep clean the finish on the bowl and shank and enliven and protect the briar. After it sat for 15 minutes I wiped it off with a soft cloth. The briar really came alive with a rich shine. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. It is a beautiful bowl.   I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with Obsidian Oil to remove the sanding dust. I used the Before & After Pipe Polish to remove the small minute scratches left in the vulcanite. I finished by wiping the stem down with a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry.  As usual at this point in the restoration process I am excited to be on the homestretch. I look forward to the final look of the Vauen College 350 Billiard when it is put back together, polished and waxed. I put the bowl and stem back together. I polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the stem. 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. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The depth of the rustication really pops with the wax and polish. The shiny black acrylic stem is a beautiful contrast to the browns of the bowl and shank. This Rusticated Vauen College 350 Billiard  was another fun pipe to work on. It really is a quite stunning piece of briar whose rustication flows with the cut of the briar. The pipe is a comfortable pipe to hold in the hand. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.02 ounces/ 29 grams. This is the first of three Vauen Pipes that I am working on for my friend. Once I finish the threesome I will be sending them back to him. Thanks for reading my reflections on the pipe while I working on it.

Restoring a Mysterious Rusticated Pot with an Amber Acrylic Stem


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe was another interesting pipe that surprised both Jeff and me when  it came in a lot of pipes that we bought it from the fellow in Copenhagen, Denmark on January 26, 2023. This one a mystery pipe that has no stamping on the shank or stem. It has a wire brush style rustication around the bowl and short shank. The rim top and shank end have some brass/gold finishings. The rim top is capped around the outer edge leaving behind a smooth rim top with clean edges. It is held in place by three small brads. The shank end has a band/ferrule carved with Celtic knots all the way around it with twin rings on each side and a cap over the shank end. The bowl had a thick cake and some lava overflow on the smooth rim top. The inner edge of the rim top appeared undamaged. The brass cap was slightly tarnished as was the shank end cap or ferrule. The finish was dirty with dust and grim in the wire style grooves of the rustication. The clear amber acrylic taper stem was lightly oxidized and dirty and had some light tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button. Jeff took these photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim and bowl to show the condition of the bowl and rim top. You can see the thick cake in the bowl and the lava on the rim top. He also took photos of the stem surfaces to show its overall condition when it arrived. It was lightly oxidized and dirty and had light tooth marks and chatter on both sides. The photos of the sides and heel of the bowl show the unique rustication around the bowl and shank sides. The rich brown stain adds depth to the finish. He also took photos of the etching and marks on the rim cap and the shank ring/cap. It is a beautiful piece. Since there was no information on the pipe regarding the maker I decided to move ahead to the work on the pipe. Jeff cleaned up the pipe for me. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned it up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the exterior with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to clean off the grime and dust off the finish. The cleaning had removed the debris and left the pipe looking very good. He cleaned up the internals of the shank, mortise and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove any remnant of oils and tars in the lightly used pipe. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and was able to remove much of the oxidation, calcification. When it arrived here in Vancouver it was a clean pipe and I knew what I had to work with. I took photos of it before I started my part of the restoration. I took a photo of the rim top and the stem to show their condition once it arrived in Canada. Jeff was able to clean up the rim and bowl sides as shown in the photos below. He was also able to get rid of the grime and grit in the surface of the briar. I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the parts to give a sense of what the pipe looks like. It is a proportionally pleasing pipe with classic dimensions and an oval shank with a vulcanite stem.I started my work on the pipe by polishing the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding debris. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm to deep clean them. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I worked it in with my fingers to get it deep in the briar. I let it sit for 10 minutes then I wiped it off and buffed it with a soft cloth. The briar really began to have a rich shine. I set aside the bowl and turned my attention to the stem. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust. I gave it a further polish with Before & After Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I finished by wiping the stem down with a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I put the amber acrylic stem back on the Mysterious Wire Rusticated Pot and took the pipe to the buffer. I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to lightly buff the briar and the vulcanite. Blue Diamond does a great job on the smaller scratches that remain in both. I gave the bowl and the stem several coats of carnauba wax and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. I am amazed at how well it turned out. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. This is a beautiful Custom Made Pot with a tight rustication and a brass cap and shank band – the amber acrylic taper stem and the finish combine to give this Pot a great look. The polished stem looks really good with the deep grain shining through on the bowl and shank. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 4 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 2.15 ounces/61 grams. Since it came to us from Copenhagen, Denmark this pipe will soon be added to the rebornpipes store in the Pipes By Danish Pipemakers section of the store. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me on this beauty!

Restoring a Faaborg Special Old Briar Hand Shaped 36 Volcano


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe was another interesting pipe that surprised both Jeff and me when  it came in a lot of pipes that we bought it from the fellow in Copenhagen, Denmark on January 26, 2023. This one is the first of the Faaborg pipes we have picked up from him. It is a great looking Volcano with a rusticated heel. The rustication goes up the edges on the underside of the shank in a thin line framing the area where it is stamped. The pipe is stamped on the underside of the shank and reads Faaborg [over] Special [over] Old Briar [over] Hand Shaped [over] In Denmark. To the right of that stamping at the stem/shank joint is stamped the shape number 36. The bowl had a thick cake and some lava overflow on the smooth rim top. The inner and outer edges of the thin rim top appeared undamaged. The finish was dirty and on the rusticated base was dusty and grimy in the grooves of the rustication. The vulcanite saddle stem was lightly oxidized and dirty and had some tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button. Jeff took these photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work.He took photos of the rim and bowl to show the condition of the bowl and rim top. You can see the thick cake in the bowl and the lava on the rim top. He also took photos of the stem surfaces to show its overall condition when it arrived. It was lightly oxidized and dirty and had light tooth marks and chatter on both sides. The photos of the sides and heel of the bowl show the beautiful grain around the bowl and shank sides. The rich brown stain adds depth to the finish. He also took photos of the stamping on the underside of the oval shank. The stamping was clear and read as noted above. I turned to Pipephil’s site to see what I could learn about the Faaborg brand and the carver who had made the pipe (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-v2.html). I have included a screen capture of the pertinent section from the site and have added the sidebar information below the photo. Artisan: Viggo Nielsen (1927 – †2009) starts making pipes during WWII. He establishes his own Bari factory in 1948. The business is sold to a German tobacco manufacturer in 1978 and from this period on he starts the “Faaborg Pipe” (Fåborg Pibe) with his two sons Jørgen Nielsen and Kai Nielsen. The “Jewel of Denmark” stamping is reserved for perfect pipes (flawless straight grain).

As I had vaguely remembered the pipe was identified with Viggo Nielsen (Bari) and his two sons Jorgen and Kai (both famous carvers in their own right). I knew that the pipe was made after 1978 when he sold Bari and started the Faaborg Pipe.

I turned to Pipedia to see if I could gain a bit more information on the brand as it generally has a great digest of the history of the brand and maker (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Faaborg_Pipe). I quote the article in full below:

In 1978 Viggo Nielsen sold his previous business to a German tobacco manufacturer and he began making the Faaborg Pipe together with his two sons Jørgen Nielsen and Kai Nielsen. Even when Viggo had reached the age of retirement, he could not quite leave his workshop and he still made about 100 pipes a year, some of them based on the famous “Fåborg Pibe” but also a few “Jewels of Denmark”, until he passed away.

The name “Jewel of Denmark” was reserved for the very few 100% perfect blocks with no stains and with straight grain and birds eye, and is still used by his son Kai, who continues making pipes in the workshop they shared together in the latter years of Viggo’s life.

The Faaborg Pibe is sculptured by hand, from the best materials. Each piece of briar was carefully selected and seasoned before shaping began. By following the structure and the fine grains of the briar root the pipes were formed to become the pride of any particular pipe owner. They offered both sandblasted and smooth finishes.

There was also a catalogue included on the site and I have included the description of the brand from that catalogue below in the screen capture.What I learned is that the pipe was made post 1978 (as noted above) and was hand shaped from quality materials by Viggo Nielsen and his sons. He only made about 100 pipes per year so there are not too many. Now it was time to work on the pipe.
Jeff cleaned up the pipe for me. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned it up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the exterior with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to clean off the grime and dust off the finish. The cleaning had removed the debris and left the pipe looking very good. He cleaned up the internals of the shank, mortise and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove any remnant of oils and tars in the lightly used pipe. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and was able to remove much of the oxidation, calcification. When it arrived here in Vancouver it was a clean pipe and I knew what I had to work with. I took photos of it before I started my part of the restoration. I took a photo of the rim top and the stem to show their condition once it arrived in Canada. Jeff was able to clean up the rim and bowl sides as shown in the photos below. He was also able to get rid of the grime and grit in the surface of the briar. I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It reads as noted above.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the parts to give a sense of what the pipe looks like. It is a proportionally pleasing pipe with classic dimensions and an oval shank with a vulcanite stem.I started my work on the pipe by polishing the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding debris. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm to deep clean them. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I worked it in with my fingers to get it deep in the briar. I let it sit for 10 minutes then I wiped it off and buffed it with a soft cloth. The briar really began to have a rich shine. I set aside the bowl and turned my attention to the stem. I smoothed out the tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper and started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust. I gave it a further polish with Before & After Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I finished by wiping the stem down with a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I put the vulcanite stem back on the Faaborg Special Old Briar Hand Shaped 36 Volcano and took the pipe to the buffer. I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to lightly buff the briar and the vulcanite. Blue Diamond does a great job on the smaller scratches that remain in both. I gave the bowl and the stem several coats of carnauba wax and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. I am amazed at how well it turned out. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. This is a beautiful Viggo Nielsen Hand Shaped Faaborg Special Old Briar Volcano – the vulcante saddle stem and the grain combine to give this Brandy pipe a great look. The polished vulcanite stem looks really good with the deeply grain shining through on the bowl and shank. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 inch, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.87 ounces/53 grams. This beautiful pipe will soon be added to the rebornpipes store in the Pipes By Danish Pipemakers section of the store. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me on this beauty!

Restoring a GiGi Castagna 1988 Collezion 721 Rusticated Brandy with a Cumberland Stem


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe was another surprise to Jeff and me when  it came in a lot of pipes that we bought it from the fellow in Copenhagen, Denmark on January 26, 2023. Most of what we have picked up from him are Danish Pipes and few interesting exceptions. However, this Italian Made rusticated Brandy was a unique addition. It is a rusticated oval shank Pot with a smooth rim top and band at the shank end. The pipe is stamped on the underside of the shank and reads GiGi [over] Castagna. To the left is the shape number 721 and to the right is the line – Collezion [over] 1988. The bowl appeared to be lightly smoked with raw briar on the lower half. The smooth rim top was clean and the edges undamaged. The finish on the rusticated bowl was dull looking with dust in the grooves of the rustication. The Cumberland saddle stem is oxidized and dirty but otherwise undamaged. It came with a flannel bag stamped The Danish Pipe Shop in a circular logo. Jeff took these photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work.He took photos of the rim and bowl to show how clean the inside was and the lightly smoked condition. The bowl and the rim top and edges were in flawless condition. He also took photos of the stem surfaces to show its overall condition when it arrived. It was lightly oxidized and dirty but did not have any tooth marks or chatter. The photos of the sides and heel of the bowl show the rugged rustication around the bowl and shank sides. The rich tan stain adds depth to the finish. He also took a photo of the stamping on the smooth panel on the underside of the oval shank. The stamping was clear and read as noted above.I turned to Pipephil’s site to see what I could learn about the GIGI brand and the carver who had made the pipe (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-g3.html). I have included a screen capture of the pertinent section from the site. The information I found was as follows:

Artisan: Luigi “Gigi” Crugnola made at Gigi Pipe Via Rovera, 40 21026 Gavirate Oltrona al Lago (VA).

Now I knew that the pipe was made by Luigi “GIGI” Crugnola. That was the extent of the information on that site. I turned to Pipedia to see if I could gain a bit more information on the brand as it generally has a great digest of the history of the brand and maker (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Gigi). I quote the article in full below:

Luigi “Gigi” Crugnola was born in 1934, the same year Giorgio Rovera founded a company in his own name in Varese, Italy along with partners Angelo and Adele Bianchi, who also happened to be Luigi Crugnola’s Uncle and Mother, respectively. The company produced pipes for 30 years, largely exported to America and elsewhere in the world. Crugnola took over the company in 1964 with the death of Angelo Bianchi, changing the name soon after to his own nickname Gigi, and continues to run the company today. The vast majority of Gigi pipes continue to be made for export.

What I learned is that the pipe was made post 1964 and was in all likelihood made for export. We purchased this pipe from our Copenhagen, Denmark connection so indeed it was exported. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff cleaned up the pipe for me. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned it up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the exterior with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to clean off the grime and dust off the finish. The cleaning had removed the debris and left the pipe looking very good. He cleaned up the internals of the shank, mortise and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove any remnant of oils and tars in the lightly used pipe. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and was able to remove much of the oxidation, calcification. When it arrived here in Vancouver it was a clean pipe and I knew what I had to work with. I took photos of it before I started my part of the restoration. I took a photo of the rim top and the stem to show their condition once it arrived in Canada. Jeff was able to clean up the rim and bowl sides as shown in the photos below. He was also able to get rid of the grime and grit in the surface of the briar. The Cumberland stem was quite clean and just needed a good polishing. I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It reads as noted above.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the parts to give a sense of what the pipe looks like. It is a proportionally pleasing pipe with classic dimensions and an oval shank with a Cumberland stem.I started my work on the pipe by polishing the smooth rim top with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding debris. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm and a horsehair shoe brush to deep clean them. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I worked it in with my fingers and the brush to get it into the rustication of the briar. I let it sit for 10 minutes then I wiped it off and buffed it with a soft cloth. The briar really began to have a rich shine. I set aside the bowl and turned my attention to the stem. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust. I gave it a further polish with Before & After Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I finished by wiping the stem down with a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I put the Cumberland stem back on the GiGi Castagna 1988 Collezion 721 Brandy and took the pipe to the buffer. I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to lightly buff the briar and the Cumberland. Blue Diamond does a great job on the smaller scratches that remain in both. I gave the bowl several coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem several coats of carnauba wax and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. I am amazed at how well it turned out. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. This is a beautiful GiGi Castagna 1988 Collezion – the Cumberland saddle stem and the rusticated finish combine to give this Brandy pipe a great look. The polished Cumberland stem looks really good with the deeply rusticated bowl and shank. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.62 ounces/46 grams. This beautiful pipe will soon be added to the rebornpipes store in the Pipes By Italian Pipe Making Companies section of the store. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me on this beauty!

Restoring the first Tsuge Kaga I have worked on – a smooth 950A Bulldog


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe was another surprise to Jeff and me when  it came in a lot of pipes that we bought it from the fellow in Copenhagen, Denmark on January 26, 2023. It is a smooth wide shank Bulldog with an unusual flair to the classic shape. The pipe is stamped on the underside of the shank. On the left underside of the diamond shank it is stamped TSUGE [over] KAGA. On right underside of the diamond shank it reads Handmade [over] In Japan [over] 950A – the shape number. The bowl had a thick cake with some lava overflow on the rim top and inwardly beveled inner edge of the bowl. There was some damage on the inner edge and bevel. The silver was oxidized and darkened. The finish on the bowl was dirty but also seemed to have a very shiny coat on it. The vulcanite taper stem is oxidized, dirty and had tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside of the stem ahead of the button. It came with a flannel bag stamped The Danish Pipe Shop in a circular logo. Jeff took these photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim and bowl to show the thick cake and lava coat covering the rim top. It really was filthy and a mess. The photos show the rim top and beveled inner edge and they appear to be in good condition under the lava. He also took photos of the stem surfaces to show its overall condition when it arrived. It was lightly oxidized and had tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the stem ahead of the button. The photos of the sides and heel of the bowls show beautiful grain around the uniquely carved bowl and shank sides. The rich brown stains highlights the grain and adds depth to the finish. It shows some promise. He also took photos of the stamping on the underside of the diamond shank. The stamping on both the left and right side were clear and read as noted above.  The stem had a classic Tsuge Red Dot on the left side of the diamond saddle. To help me understand the stamping a bit more and the history of the brand I turned to Pipephil’s site to see what it said about Tsuge Japanese Handmade pipes (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-t9.html). I have included a screen capture of the section below as well as the side bar information below the capture. The first pipe shown in the photo below shows the same Red Dot on the top of stem as the one on the pipe I am working on.Tsuge Pipe Company Ltd. The company was founded by Kyoichiro Tsuge (1911 – † Nov 2010). The traditional classic shape pipes are machine-made. After Kyoichiro Tsuge passed away, his three sons continue to run the two factories and the Ikebana workshop. Kyozaburo “Sab” Tsuge, the youngest son , manages the company.

Smokingpipes.com (https://www.smokingpipes.com/pipes/new/tsuge/) sells the brand and has this introduction on their site.

The Tsuge (pronounced roughly “Su-gay”) pipe company is led by pipe maker Kazuhiro Fukuda, who has been carving for the company for nearly 60 years. Initially, they produced pipes out of ivory and briar which were all classic shapes that were small and stained dark. Kazuhiro went to Denmark in 1969 to work with Sixten Ivarsson for a month and Sixten was able to teach him how to hone his innate skill, which he took back to Japan to help the company become famous the world over.

While the factory produces many machine-made pipes, Tsuge also has available a handcrafted line called Ikebana, available here. Most of these pipes are carved in the shape/drill Danish fashion with very strong Japanese aesthetics. Frequent use of plateau and Japanese bamboo adorn many of the high-grade pieces. Each stem is hand cut from solid vulcanite rod, with a beautifully polished vulcanite tenon from the same piece. Slight asymmetry allows many of the shapes to utilize the wonderful grain and Japanese aesthetic. A few of their pipes even are dressed in ultra high grade Japanese lacquer for the Namiki line.

I then turned to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Tsuge) for more information. It has a great summary of the history of the brand. I quote from a portion of the article below:

1950–Tsuge Started Making Products Eyeing Overseas Markets

When imported briar became available in the 1950’s, TSUGE started making briar pipes. Kyoichiro requested an ivory carver to engrave traditional Japanese motifs such as Mt. Fuji, three monkeys, Toshogu, and Geisha on pipe bowls. The pipes were sold to the U.S. soldiers as souvenirs at the Imperial Hotel, Yokohama officers club, and at the shops of the PX and USO. In the 1960’s the demand of pipes for soldiers increased due to the aggravation of the Vietnam War and a large amount of cherry wood pipes made in Japan were exported to Saigon.

1970 –Excellent Craftsmanship Acclaimed by the World

In the 1970’s the company lost its share to the emerging Asian countries in the severe price competition resulting from the sharp hike in the yen. In order to make competitive high value-added pipes, the company sent six craftsmen to pipe workshops in Italy and Denmark to acquire advanced skills of pipe-making from Europe. Two craftsmen, Fukado and Sato, studied under the great masters Sixten Ivarsson and Jørgen Larsen to touch the essence of freehand pipe making.
Upon returning to Japan, they immediately started working on freehand pipes. At first, the pipes were exported to the U.S. and earned a good reputation. Then, Tsuge received an offer from Germany that led to success in Europe. When freehand pipes and series pipes started to be sold at famous smoking goods shops in Germany and Switzerland, people said, “Japan has sent us cars and motorcycles, and now pipes,
too!”

I then turned to the following link on Worthpoint, an online auction site that had a Kaga 950S on it (https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/tsuge-kaga-950-handmade-japan-dark-400653938). It referred to a bent “Rhodesian” 950S shaped pipe, made by Tsuge Briar Pipe Company, Japan. It shows a “Kaga” pipe-line or grading stamp, with a beautiful “Dark” sandblasted finish, with an awesome grained, deep blast “Relief Grain”. This pipe is in excellent condition, it’s almost like a new pipe by Tsuge Briar Pipe Co.

The description gave another concise history of the brand that I quote below.

The company was founded by Kyoichiro Tsuge (1911 – �� Nov 2010). Tsuge business is owned by a family whose craftsmen tradition stretches back to Japan’s warring period, which ended in the 19th Century. During that time, they were sword makers; it was only in the 1930s that the family began hand carving pipes. After Kyoichiro Tsuge passed away, his three sons continue to run the two factories and the Ikebana workshop, now handled by Kyozaburo “Sab” Tsuge, the youngest son. The Tsuge pipe company is led by pipe maker Kazuhiro Fukuda, who has been carving for the company for nearly 60 years. Initially, they produced pipes out of ivory and briar which were all classic shapes that were small and stained dark. Kazuhiro went to Denmark in 1969 to work with Sixten Ivarsson for a month and Sixten was able to teach him how to hone his innate skill, which he took back to Japan to help the company become famous the world over. “Tsuge Briar Pipe Company” is the best known Japanese pipe maker in the world and are highly regarded across the globe for their superior workmanship and creative styles. Tsuge pipes are distinctively Asian in style, with heavy Danish influence, balanced by Japanese aesthetics. They make traditional English style straight pipes, but their fanciful and delicate bents and half-bents are especially eye-catching. Some combine smooth, flame-grain bowls with startling lengths of honey-colored bamboo shanks, and flowing, with vulcanite or lucite stems. While the factory produced many machine-made pipes, the real gems are the Ikebana line. Most of these pipes are carved in the shape/drill Danish fashion with very strong Japanese aesthetics. Frequent use of plateau and Japanese bamboo adorn many of the high-grade pieces. Each stem is hand cut from solid vulcanite rod, with a beautifully polished vulcanite tenon from the same piece. Slight asymmetry allows many of the shapes to utilize the wonderful grain and Japanese aesthetic. A few of their pipes even are dressed in ultra high grade Japanese lacquer for the Namiki line. Their Corsican briar is exceptionally light in the hand and mouth, as well as dry-smoking.

Jeff cleaned up the pipe for me. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned it up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the exterior with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to clean off the grime off the finish and the overflow of lava on the rim top. The cleaning had removed the debris on the rim top. He cleaned up the internals of the shank, mortise and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove all of the oils and tars in the pipe. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and was able to remove much of the oxidation, calcification. When it arrived here in Vancouver it was a clean pipe and I knew what I had to work with. I took photos of it before I started my part of the restoration. I took a photo of the rim top and the stem to show their condition once it arrived in Canada. Jeff was able to clean up the cake and the lava overflow that was shown in the rim and bowl photos above. The rim top and the inner edge of the bowl showed some damage to the inner edge and top toward the front of the bowl. He was also able to get rid of the grime and grit in the surface of the briar. The stem looked better, though there were tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.I took photos of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It reads as noted above.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the parts to give a sense of what the pipe looks like. It is a proportionally pleasing pipe with classic dimensions and a twist with flattened and widened diamond shank. Maybe it is my imagination but it seems like the pipe combines the Eskimo pipe shape with the Classic Bent Bulldog for an unusual shape that works well.I started my work on the pipe by polishing the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding debris. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm to deep clean them. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I worked it in with my fingers to get it into the briar. I let it sit for 10 minutes then I wiped it off and buffed it with a soft cloth. The briar really began to have a rich shine. I set aside the bowl and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded the chatter and marks on the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the stem surface. I started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.  I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust. I gave it a further polish with Before & After Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I finished by wiping the stem down with a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem back on the Tsuge 950A Smooth Stylized Bulldog and took the pipe to the buffer. I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish the briar and the vulcanite. Blue Diamond does a great job on the smaller scratches that remain in both. I gave the bowl and the stem several coats of carnauba wax and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. Considering the mess the pipe was when we received it and the surprise of a cracked shank that appeared in the cleanup, I am amazed at how well it turned out. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. This is a beautiful Tsuge Bulldog – the vulcanite taper stem and the smooth finish combine to give the pipe a great look. The polished black, vulcanite stem looks really good with the rich grain standing out on the bowl and shank. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 2.12 ounces/60 grams. This beautiful Tsuge will soon be added to the rebornpipes store in the Pipes From Various Makers section of the store. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me on this beauty!

Breathing New Life into a Lovely S. Bang Calabash


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe was another surprise to Jeff and me when we bought it from the fellow in Copenhagen, Denmark on November 10, 2022. It is a sandblast Calabash with a smooth rim top and a silver ring around the outer edge of the bowl. The stem is vulcanite and the ring is Sterling Silver. The pipe is stamped S. Bang [over] Copenhagen on a smooth oval on the underside of the shank. Under that is over another smooth patch, a rectangle stamped with Handmade [over] In Denmark. The Sterling Silver around the outer edge of the bowl is not stamped. The bowl had a thick cake with some lava overflow on the rim top and inwardly beveled inner edge of the bowl. There was some damage on the inner edge and bevel. The silver was oxidized and darkened. The finish on the bowl was dirty but also seemed to have a very shiny coat on it. The vulcanite taper stem is oxidized, dirty and had tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside of the stem ahead of the button. It came with a leather bag stamped S. Band over Kobenhavn in gold on the front of it. Jeff took these  photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim and bowl to show the thick cake and lava coat covering the rim top. It really was filthy and a mess. The photos show the damage to the rim top and beveled inner edge. There are also scratches on the rim top at the front and back of the bowl. He also took photos of the stem surfaces to show its overall condition when it arrived. The photos of the sides and heel of the bowls show beautiful blast around the bowl and shank sides. The rich brown stains highlights the grain and adds depth to the finish. It shows some promise. He also took photos of the stamping on the smooth panels on the underside of the shank. It took several photos to capture the stamp on the curve but they were clear and read as noted above. The leather pipe sock is stamped in gold and reads as follows:To help me understand the stamping a bit more I turned to Pipephil’s site and read what it said about S. Bang pipes (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-s1.html). I have included a screen capture of the section below as well as the side bar information below the capture. Sven Bang opened his tobacco and pipe shop in 1968 in Copenhagen. He was more a business man than a pipe carver and began to hire pipemakers. About half a dozen succeeded each other in his workshop during the 1970’s (Ivan Holst Nielsen, Jan Wideløv, Phil Vigen…). At least Per Hansen and Ulf Noltensmeier stayed and when Sven retired in 1983 they took over the company (in 1984) keeping its name.

I knew from that the pipe I have was made for the European market and was known as a Black Blast. I also knew that it was made before 1984 when the stamp Copenhagen was replaced with Kobenhavn. It is also the time when Ulf and Per took over the company so it was made by one of them.

To close my understanding of the pipe I turned to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/S._Bang). I quote the section from the article where the company changed hands from S. Bang to Hansen and Noltensmeier in 1984. It is a great read so I have included it below.

Svend Bang retired in 1984. Evidently he felt a great deal of pride in the product that he initiated throughout his career and retirement and until his death in 1993.

Once Hansen and Noltensmeier took over the company (in 1984) they knew it was best to retain the S. Bang name – the two carvers always shared the same philosophy about that. Noltensmeier and Hansen were determined to maintain top quality at the expense of increased numbers. The only change they made concerns the stamping on the pipes changing from the English version “COPENHAGEN” to the Danish “KOBENHAVN”.

Still, they are two separate carvers, with their own styles and preferences. Each makes his own pipes – there is no “assembly line” construction at S. Bang. They bounce ideas off of each other, of course, and admit that when problems arise in a pipe, it is nice to have a partner to discuss them with.

Though they carve pipes as individuals, there are similarities in their work. All Bang pipes are made with black, hand-cut vulcanite stems.

The same engineering is used by both carvers as well. The shape and size of the tobacco chambers vary according to size and design of the pipe, but each carver follows the same design guidelines for choosing the proper chamber dimensions. The smoke channel is always engineered for optimum performance.

Bang pipes are noted for the high definition and fine contrast in the grain. They undergo a double staining process to achieve that effect. The technique makes the grain leap from the bowl of the pipe, making well-grained wood become extra ordinary. The same coloring, however, will produce different results in different pieces of briar, making each pipe truly individual.

Per Hansen is the designated sandblasting artist for the team. He personally takes those pieces that are to be sandblasted to Stanwell, and is permitted to use the sandblasting equipment himself. That is the only S. Bang process, though, that is not executed by the individual carver of each pipe. Everything else, including the famous S. Bang silverwork, is done in the shop by each of the carvers on his own pipes.

Jeff cleaned up the pipe for me. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned it up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the exterior with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to clean off the grime off the finish and the overflow of lava on the rim top. The cleaning had removed the debris on the rim top. He cleaned up the internals of the shank, mortise and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove all of the oils and tars in the pipe. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and was able to remove much of the oxidation, calcification. When it arrived here in Vancouver it was a clean pipe and I knew what I had to work with. I took photos of it before I started my part of the restoration. I took a photo of the rim top and the stem to show their condition once it arrived in Canada. Jeff was able to clean up the cake and the lava overflow that was shown in the rim and bowl photos above. The rim top and the inner edge of the bowl showed some damage to the inner edge and top toward the front of the bowl. He was also able to get rid of the grime and grit in the surface of the briar. The stem looked better, though there were tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It reads as noted above.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the parts to give a sense of what the pipe looks like.I started my work on the bowl by dealing with the burn damage on the inner edge and rim top. I followed the bevel on the inner edge and removed the burn damage while cleaning the bevel using 220 grit sandpaper. Once I got the bevel cleaned up and the rim damage removed I burn and the scratches on the rim top with 220 grit sandpaper. I smoothed out the repairs with a 1500 grit micromesh sanding pad. I polished the rim top and silver rim edge with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding debris. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm to deep clean them. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I worked it in with my fingers to get it into the briar. I let it sit for 10 minutes then I wiped it off and buffed it with a soft cloth. The briar really began to have a rich shine. While I was rubbing it down with the Balm a chunk of the shank fell out in my hand. There must have been cracks in the shank as the stem was loose before. It is frustrating when that happens. I repaired the cracks with clear CA glue and pressed the piece back into the shank.Once the repair cured I sanded the shank end smooth to hold a silver band. I sanded the depth of the band and removed half of the depth of the band. It would look good once it was pressed in place on the shank end. I coated the shank end with all purpose glue and heated and pressed the band on to  the shank end. I stained the sanded areas on the shank just ahead of the band with a Walnut stain pen to blend them into the surrounding briar. It looks very good. I rubbed the bowl and shank down once again with Before & After Restoration Balm to deep clean them. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I worked it in with my fingers to get it into the briar. I let it sit for 10 minutes then I wiped it off and buffed it with a soft cloth. The briar really began to have a rich shine. I set aside the bowl and turned my attention to the damage on the stem. I painted the stem surface with the flame of a lighter to lift the tooth marks. I lifted them some. I filled in what remained of the marks on both sides with black CA glue. I set it aside to cure. Once the repairs cured I flattened them out with a small file. I sanded the repairs with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the stem surface. I started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.  I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust. I gave it a further polish with Before & After Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I finished by wiping the stem down with a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem back on the S. Bang Black Sandblast Calabash and took the pipe to the buffer. I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish the briar and the vulcanite. Blue Diamond does a great job on the smaller scratches that remain in both. I gave the bowl and the stem several coats of carnauba wax and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. Considering the mess the pipe was when we received it and the surprise of a cracked shank that appeared in the cleanup, I am amazed at how well it turned out. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. This is a beautiful S. Bang Sandblast Calabash – the vulcanite taper stem and rim top and sandblast finish combine to give the pipe a great look. The newly fitted silver band and the polished black, vulcanite stem looks really good with the rich grain standing out on the bowl and shank. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.48 ounces/43 grams. This beautiful S. Bang will be staying with me for awhile. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me on this beauty!

Giving Life to an Old Smokewel of Mysterious Origin


Blog by Kenneth Lieblich

Next on the chopping block is a bent billiard sandblast Smokewel (one “L”), which I acquired in a lot of pipes from a gentleman living on Vancouver Island. He had quite an assortment of pipes and they ranged from utterly horrible to surprisingly beautiful – fortunately, this was of the beautiful variety. The pipe is very well made: the proportions are right, the drilling is accurate, and it just oozes competence. This is a sandblasted bent billiard, with a tapered, vulcanite stem. And what a wonderful, rugged blast on this one! On the underside of the shank, the markings read ‘Smokewel [over] London Made’, and, off to the right, the shape number ’26’. This pipe had been well-loved and well-smoked, as it arrived with some marks and general wear, and the stem was pretty nasty. There were also beautiful indications of “hand erosion” on the right-hand side, where the previous owner’s hand had lovingly rubbed the pipe over the years. There were also a couple of tiny nicks, but, fortunately, nothing overly complicated.

Identifying exactly what a “Smokewel” pipe is turned out to be a typical pipe-history morass. There are a few twists and turns in this story, so join me in wading through this mess. As you’ve seen in the photos, the pipe clearly says “Smokewel” – not “Smokewell”. I initially thought that perhaps the terminal “L” had been rubbed off, but, looking closely, one can see that “Smokewel” is perfectly centred over “London Made”, which suggests this odd spelling was not the victim of rubbing. In other words, there is no missing “L”.

There is scant information to be had on both “Smokewel” and “Smokewell” – and none of it could be linked definitively to this pipe. There is this entry on Pipephil for “Smokewell”:As you can see, it is a line of pipes from the John Redman firm of London. There are some examples of these pipes that can be found online, and I have included a photo of the markings of Redman’s “Smokewell” line: This might be significant because I have studied the letters of the markings from my pipe and Redman’s pipe, and they are the same. In addition, a John Redman catalog (supposedly) from the 1960s, lists “Smokewell” as one of their “London Made Briars” (note the wording). I have clipped the specific passage here:All of this is persuasive evidence, but not definitive. The missing “L” on my pipe causes me to pause, if only briefly, before declaring it to be a John Redman pipe. Also, the various iterations of Redman pipe usually had markings on the stem – this one has none and I don’t think it’s a replacement stem. I am aware that Wilczak and Colwell’s Who Made That Pipe? lists “Smokewell” under John Redman – but there is more.

Wilczak and Colwell also list “Smokewell” under a company called Maurice Pipes. The second “L” here could be an error from Wilczak and Colwell – the book is full of them. I also found an old advertisement for Maurice Pipes. Based in London, this firm supposedly produced very fine pipes. Superficially, this ad seems to have nothing to do with our pipe, except that it instructs the reader to use the word “Smokewel” (one “L”) in telegram and cable correspondence with the firm. The word obviously had significance to Maurice Pipes.On the PipesMagazine forums online, I read a thread about early sandblasts and one comment stuck out to me: “The mysterious Maurice was listing blast pipes in the 20’s and as a pipe company they are totally in the dusty shadows, but I’d reckon they were a fine maker, mostly because of their prices – they sold their Sandblast alongside their topline Extra for the very same price, at 16/6 and that’s a fairly high price comparatively.”

The connection between Maurice Pipes and “Smokewel” is tenuous at best, but it was my only connection to the single-L “Smokewell”. If you have information about any of the research above, I would love to hear from you. The stinger is a bit odd – does it ring any bells for you?

And speaking of the stinger, let’s clean it. I heated the stem and stinger with my heat gun and this provided just enough softening of the internal goo to allow me to pull it out. It then went for a soak in some lemon-infused isopropyl alcohol. I let it sit for several hours and then cleaned it off and it looked much improved.I wiped the outside of the stem down with Murphy’s Oil Soap on some cotton pads. Though dirty, the outside of the stem was in decent condition and the oxidation wasn’t too bad. On the other hand, the inside was another kettle of fish! I used up a good chunk of the world’s supply of pipe cleaners to clean it out – the pictures only show a fraction of what I used. 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. 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 and leave the stem in a dull black colour. Finally, I 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. Now for the stummel. It was nicked on the front edge of the rim, and the rim itself had lava and general filth, so, time to work on it! I started with the KleenReem to remove the built-up cake and followed that with 220-grit sandpaper taped to a dowel to eliminate as much as I could. I took the chamber down to bare briar, as I wanted to ensure there were no hidden flaws in the wall. Fortunately, there were none. I then proceeded to clean out the insides of the shank with Q-tips, pipe cleaners, and lemon-infused isopropyl alcohol. There was an extraordinary amount of filth inside this stummel and it took an enormous amount of cotton to get it clean. I only have a photo of a small number of pipe cleaners. I can’t imagine that this pipe had ever been cleaned – or, at least, not in many decades. Because the filth in the shank was well-encrusted, I used a couple of drill bits held in a chuck, by hand (not in a drill), to try and loosen up the debris. This worked quite well. I decided to de-ghost the pipe 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 oils, tars and smells to leach out into the cotton.In fact, the pipe was dirty enough that I then used my pipe retort system on it. I neglected to take photos of that, but it certainly helped clean the pipe. I followed that up by cleaning the insides with some dish soap and tube brushes. I used some Murphy’s Oil Soap and a toothbrush to scrub the outside of the stummel and the lava on the rim of the pipe. I didn’t scrub too hard – I wanted to keep the nice colour on the wood. Having completed that, I was able to address the small nicks on the rim and the bowl. I used some tiny drops of cyanoacrylate adhesive to fill the nicks, and a metal brush to camouflage the repairs in the wood. Finally, I used only the last three MicroMesh pads to polish the stummel, but I was careful not to damage the sandblast. After that, a light application of Before & After Restoration Balm brought out the best in the stummel’s grain. Then off to the buffer! A tiny dose of White Diamond and a few coats of conservator’s wax were just what this pipe needed. This Smokewel looks fantastic again. It is elegant and handsome, and is ready to be enjoyed by the next owner. I am pleased to announce that this pipe is for sale! If you are interested in acquiring it for your collection, please have a look in the British pipe section of the store here on Steve’s website. You can also email me directly at kenneth@knightsofthepipe.com. The approximate dimensions of the pipe are as follows: length 5¼ in. (133 mm); height 2¾ in. (70 mm); bowl diameter 1¼ in. (32 mm); chamber diameter ¾ in. (19 mm). The weight of the pipe is 1⅛ oz. (35 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.