Tag Archives: Whitehall Pipes

New Life or an Oval Shank Whitehall Saratoga Dublin

Blog by Steve Laug

Not long ago I received and email from Dave, a reader of the blog, asking about a couple of pipes that he had picked up. This is the second of the two pipes – the Whitehall Saratoga. I have included part of his email below. He gives his assessment regarding the pipes and what he wanted done.

Steve… I have recently been gifted 2 estate pipes that I would love to have reincarnated by your hands? I am not sure of the cost and wanted to speak with you first… The 2 pipes in question are not in bad shape, just have some age, cake and minimal wear; one is a Whitehall rusticated with saddle stem and the other a Pear shaped Dr. Grabow Westbrook… I have attached some images with this email so that you have some idea of how they look. If you need additional images please let me know. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Regards, Dave The pipe was in pretty decent shape over all. The rim was dirty but the inner and outer edges were in good shape. The finish was worn and dirty but the carved striations looked good. The smooth patches around the shank, the underside and the two panels on the bowl sides were scratched but otherwise clean. The stem was oxidized and had some deep tooth marks on both the top and underside near the button. The W stamp on the top of the saddle was faint and worn. I would need to be careful in cleaning the oxidation not to damage the logo stamp. The photos below show the condition of the pipe when I received it. I took a close up photo of the stamping on the shank. The stamp is clearly legible and reads Whitehall over Saratoga over Briar Italy. The second photo shows the rim and bowl condition. There was still a light cake that would need to be scraped out but it was really quite nice.I took photos of the stem. It is hard to see the tooth dents in the photos below but they are present. There was a W on the top of the saddle stem that was a decal and it was coming off. The button is worn from use. The oxidation is quite deep.When I took the stem out there was a small stinger in the tenon. It was dirty but was easily removed and would be polished and put back in place.I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to break up the oxidation on the stem and reshape the button. I sanded out the shallower tooth marks to remove them. I wiped down the stem and repaired the deeper marks with black super glue. I set the stem aside to let the repairs cure. I turned my attention to the bowl. I scrubbed it with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the grime from the grooves in the briar on the bowl and rim. I rinsed the bowl down with warm water and dried it off with a towel. The freshened pipe is shown in the photos below. I reamed out the bowl to remove the last of the cake with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. It did not take too long to smooth out the remnants of the cake in the bowl. I scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. I went through a lot of pipe cleaners and cotton swabs before they came out clean.I restained the bowl with a dark brown aniline stain and flamed it with a lighter. I repeated the process until the coverage was even and I was happy with the results. I wiped down the bowl with alcohol on cotton pads to lighten the stain and make the contrast between the rusticated part and the smooth ones more obvious. I gave the pipe a coat of Conservator’s Wax and buffed it with a shoe brush to give it a shine and check out what the colour looked like. I took some photos of the polished bowl to show how it looked at this point in the process. The pipe is beginning to look really good. I sanded the top of the shank to remove the dark colour and make it more transparent at the stem shank junction. Note the nicks in the smooth portions of the bowl and shank. They are deep so I will not be able to sand them out. They actually act like marks of history of the journey of this pipe. It was not quite right. I wanted a little more red in the finished briar. I wiped the bowl down with alcohol on a cotton pad to remove the wax so I could do a bit of a contrast stain. For the second coat I rubbed down the bowl with a coat of Cherry Danish Oil to highlight the red colour in the briar. The combination of stains gives a nice contrast look to the pipe. I polished it with a soft cloth and took photos of the finished bowl. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I talked with Dave regarding the W decal on the saddle and we decided to remove it as it was worn and kept me from removing the oxidaiton on the saddle while trying to protect it. I resanded the with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the oxidation and the remnants of the decal. I polished it with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit pads and rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil between each pad. I dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads and repeated the oil treatments. I buffed the stem with red Tripoli on the buffing wheel and followed that with Blue Diamond polish. I gave the stem several coats of carnauba wax and polished it by hand. I buffed the stem with Blue Diamond to polish out some of the minute scratches in the surface. I gave the stem several coats of carnauba wax to protect and give it a shine. I hand waxed the bowl with Conservators Wax and buffed the bowl and stem with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I will be packing it up soon and sending it back to Dave so he can fire up a bowl and give this beauty a smoke. Thanks for looking.

Rejuvenating and Repairing a Whitehall Dublin

Blog by Steve Laug

This old Whitehall pipe came to me from the antique shop in Victor, Idaho, a small town on the way to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. On a recent trip to Idaho my brother and his family and my daughters and I visited Jackson Hole. On the way home, we stopped in Victor to stretch our legs and wander a bit. I went into the antique shop and struck up a conversation with the owner. Eventually a tin of five pipes and some parts came out from under the counter. I bought all of them. They traveled back to Vancouver with me and will one day all be refurbished.

This Dublin shaped pipe is stamped Whitehall on the left side of the shank – though the stamping is faint. On the right side it is stamped Imported Briar (also faint). It has a flat bottom and sits well on that. The finish was very worn but was a rich oxblood colour under the grime. The bowl sides have some great cross grain. There were some small fills near the top of the bowl on the left side. The rim was damaged on the outer edge and very caked from the bowl over the rim top. The inner edge of the rim was still round and did not show signs of damage under the thick cake. The stem appeared to be a poor fit but as I looked at it I realized that it was upside down. The flattened bottom of the bowl had not been continued on the stem so it sat wrong.Dublin1



Dublin4 I took some close-up photos of the rim and sides of the bowl. The rim photo shows the tarry buildup and the side photos show the stamping.Dublin5


Dublin7 I generally ream the bowl when I start a clean up to remove the cake so I can examine the pipe thoroughly to check for inside wall damage and potential issues. I reamed it with a PipNet reamer and took the cake back to bare briar.Dublin8 While I was at it I scrubbed the rim with alcohol and cotton pads to remove some of the tars. I had to use a sharp blade to gently scrape away the thick coat of tars while I was scrubbing. The photo below shows the initial cleanup of the rim and newly reamed bowl.Dublin9 I sanded the rim with 220 grit sandpaper to further remove the tars and to minimize the outer edge damage. There was a burn mark on the front left of the rim that I was able to reduce but not remove altogether.Dublin10 I scrubbed out the shank and the bowl with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners.Dublin11 I wiped down the exterior with alcohol and cotton pads to remove the finish and to clean it up. In doing so I found that there was a small shallow crack/flaw toward the bottom of the bowl on the left side. In the photo below the dental pick is at the close end of the crack and the dark spot is the far end.Dublin12 I picked out the crack with the dental pick, drilled two small holes – one on each end of the crack to stop it from going further. Interestingly this crack followed the pattern of the grain on the side of the bowl. Once I had it cleaned out I wiped it down with alcohol a final time. I pressed briar dust into the crack, dripped super glue into it and then pressed more briar dust on top of the glue. The photo below shows the repaired crack. Fortunately the crack was not deep and did not affect the interior of the bowl. It did not go all the way through and appeared to be more of a flaw in the briar than damage.Dublin13 I sanded the repair with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the excess patch and blend it into the surface of the briar. I sanded it with a medium and a fine grit sanding sponge to remove the scratches in the briar and feather out the surface. I sanded the entire bowl and rim with the same sanding sponges and sandpapers.Dublin14 I aligned the stem and sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the rough surface and then flatten the bottom to match the bottom of the shank.Dublin15



Dublin18 I wiped down the bowl with alcohol and then stained it with an oxblood alcohol based stain. I put the stain on heavy around the sanded areas on the shank and the bowl repair. I also darkened those areas with a dark brown stain pen following the pattern of the grain. I lightly buffed the pipe by hand and took the pictures below to show how the newly stained pipe looked at this point.Dublin19



Dublin22 I darkened the rim with the stain pen and gave it another top coat of the oxblood stain. I flamed it and buffed it lightly.Dublin23 With the bowl finished I worked on the stem. I wet sanded it 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads. I rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil. I continued by dry sanding it with 3200-4000 grit pads, rubbed it down again with oil and then finished by dry sanding with 6000-12000 grit pads. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and let it dry.Dublin24


Dublin26 I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel, gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax and then buffed it with a clean flannel buff. I brought it back to the work table and then hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth. The finished pipe is shown below. It looks better than it did when I started, in my opinion. The rich oxblood colour helps to hide the repair and the burn mark on the rim. It should be a great smoking pipe if the amount of cake buildup that was there when I started is any indication. It should continue to provide great service to whoever ends up with it in their pipe rotation. Thanks for looking.Dublin27






Whitehall Thermofilter Rebuild

Blog by Dave Gossett

This pipe was part of an estate lot I received a few weeks ago. Borderline firewood. I was just going to throw it in the pipe parts box but decided to make it my nightshift project at work. It passes the time and keeps me awake.

I have American and English made Whitehall’s but this one is stamped Italy, so It would make a nice addition to the Whitehall collection if it came out looking presentable.

I initially planned to use this pipe for practice and try my hand at beveling a rim, so I didn’t take very many pictures of the rebuild.

It had several fills and deep gashes in the briar, and the button on the stem was completely MIA.Dave1


Dave3 I started off with some aggressive sanding of the briar with 200 grit. This pipe lost some serious weight. It couldn’t get any worse so I went for broke and sanded down past the fills and gashes working around the stampings until I had a smooth stummel.

Next I gave my first rim beveling a shot. Using a rolled piece of 200 grit angled at 45 degrees, I turned the bowl slowly with one hand while sanding with the other. After trying this, I now have a new found respect for carvers that shape pipes by hand. I stopped frequently and eyeballed the rim closely to make sure it was symmetrical.

After I was content with the shape I worked my way up the grit ladder until it was smooth as babies butt.

The briar was starting to look pretty good. If I couldn’t save the original stem I would have found a substitute. The Thermofilter was similar in size and shape as my old 1919 old Loewe & Co. pipe with an antique rounded button that was popular at the turn of the century, so I modeled the stem rebuild after the Loewe.Dave4

Dave5 This is the biggest stem rebuild I’ve tried so far. This recipe is great for fixing tooth holes or small missing portions. Only time will tell if an addition this large will hold up. Here is the link of how I rebuild stems if anyone wants the details.

I piled on the mix and filed it about five times before I found the shape I was going for.Dave6




Dave10 American WhitehallDave11 English WhitehallDave12 Italian WhitehallDave13 It would be interesting to know how many other countries accompanied the Whitehall name.