Tag Archives: Yello Bole pipes

Cleanup and restoration of an Art Deco Yello-Bole Rhodesian


Blog by Steve Laug

Jeff picked this one up because of our mutual love of older late 19th– early 20th Century. Even in its sorry state when he found it there was a stunning quality about the pipe. The shape and design of the bling make me think it is an Art Deco period pipe 1920s and 1930s. The briar is quite nice and the rim cap is well sculpted. It has a cast head on each side of the cap. The helmeted head looks like a Samurai warrior like the picture to the left. The helmet flares to the left and right like feathers like that. Under the chin of the head is green “gem” or glass inset in a “gold” ring and inlaid in the bowl. There is a matching band around the shank. Those two decorative pieces on the pipe add a touch of unique style to the pipe.

The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and read: KBB in a cloverleaf followed by Yello-Bole. Under that it is stamped Cured with Real Honey and an R in a circle. Under that it is stamped Imperial in script. The bottom line of the stamping reads Imported Briar. The finish on this pipe was dirty with dust and a light lava coat on the edge of the rim cap. The bowl was lined with a thick cake and the metal edge of the bowl cap is thickly caked. The smooth finish was also dirty and dull looking. The finish looks good under the grime and dust. The stem is a tapered vulcanite stem with an orific button on the end. The fit of the stem to the shank was snug. There were light tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the stem at the button. Otherwise it was a very clean stem. Jeff took of the pipe to show the overall condition of the bowl and stem.Jeff took some close-up photos of the bowl sides and heel. You can see the cast Samurai head and the inset “gems”. It is dirty and tarnished with a lot of oily tars inserted in the twin rings around the bowl and around the inset gems. Jeff took photos of the stamping on the left side of the shank. It is clear and readable but hard to capture in the photos. You can also see the filigree on the band and the scratching on the stem.The first photo below shows the full length and profile of the vulcanite stem. The next two photos show the surface of the top and underside of the stem. You can see the light tooth marks and chatter both on the button surface and on the blade itself.I turned to Pipephil’s site (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-y.html) and captured the following screen. In it the key point is that KBB (Kaufman Brothers & Bondy) expanded their lines by adding the Yello-Bole line in 1932. That helps to date this pipe a bit. From this I knew that the pipe was issued after 1932. It also shows the stamping Cured with Real Honey.I turned then to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Yello-Bole) to see if I could pin down the date with a little more clarity. I quote two pertinent parts of the article below:

In 1932 Kaufman Brothers & Bondy (KB&B), est. 1851, expanded their program consisting of KB&B pipes, Reiss-Premier and Kaywoodie as the mainstay brand by introducing the Yello-Bole line. Yello-Bole was designed as an outlet for lower grade briar not used in Kaywoodie production…

Tips for Dating Yello-Bole Pipes

  • KBB stamped in the clover leaf indicates it was made in 1955 or earlier as they stopped this stamping after being acquired by S.M. Frank.
  • Pipes from 1933-1936 they were stamped “Honey Cured Briar”
  • Post 1936 pipes were stamped “Cured with Real Honey”
  • Pipe stems stamped with the propeller logo were made in the 1930’s or 1940’s – no propellers were used after the 1940’s.
  • Yello Bole used a 4 digit code stamped on the pipe in the 1930’s.
  • Pipes with the Yello-Bole circle stamped on the shank it were made in the 1930’s, this stopped after 1939.
  • Pipes stamped BRUYERE rather than BRIAR it was made in the 1930’s.

I have highlighted the two lines in the dating article that help narrow down the date for me. The first tells me that pipes stamped with the KBB in the cloverleaf indicate that the pipe was made prior to 1955. Now I had both a starting and ending date to work with 1932-1955. The second red highlighted text tells me that pipes stamped Cured with Real Honey came out after 1936. This took it a bit further for me. I knew that the pipe I have is made after 1936. The fact that it is an Art Deco piece sets the end date a bit closer. I now knew that the pipe was made between 1936-1939. I was definitely honing in on the date.

I did some more research online to establish the ending date of the Art Deco period and found this interesting site:

In 1937 came the Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne. Its emphasis on science and technology decisively, if unintentionally, marked the end of the Art Deco period (https://theculturetrip.com/europe/france/paris/articles/a-history-of-art-deco-in-1-minute/).

With the additional information I can with some certainty say that this pipe was made sometime in the period of 1936-1937.

Armed with that information I moved forward to work on the pipe itself and see what I had to do with it. It had come back looking amazingly clean. Even the stem looked like new. The brass bling just shone. I was impressed. Jeff had done his normal thorough clean up – reaming, scrubbing, soaking and the result was evident in the pipe when I unpacked it. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. I took some photos of the rim top and stem to show the condition of them both when it arrived. Overall it looked good. The rim top was very clean. The stem looked amazingly good. The chatter on the stem surfaces was gone and the surface was clean.I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. It was in very good condition and was readable and clear.To begin my part of the restoration work I decided to tap out the dings on the rim cap as much as possible without removing the cap. It appeared to me that the dings were on the surface of the cap. I used a ball peen hammer to gently tap the surface of the rim. It worked to smooth out the surface significantly.With that finished the work on the bowl was quite minimal. There were no fills to repair and no damage to deal with. I took two photos of side of the cap to show their condition. The bling was quite shiny and looked good. I did not need to clean it or polish it.I decided to polish the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the briar down after each pad with a damp cloth. The briar bowl begins to shine with the transition to each new pad. After the final polishing pad it looks great. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and into the plateau rim top and shank end with a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. The stem looked really good so I skipped the sanding and Denicare steps and went directly to polishing it with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with some Obsidian Oil. I finished polishing it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and buffed it off with a cotton cloth. I wiped the stem down with Briarville’s No Oxy Oil to protect and preserve the stem. This is a great piece of pipe history and one that I can at least give a reasonable date for it making. It is a fancy KBB Yello-Bole Cured with Real Honey Rhodesian with a unique rim cap and band on the shank. The figures on the sides of the cap could easily be a fanciful samurai or some other figure but that is my best guess. The stem is a polished hard rubber that really shines with the buffing. The briar is also quite nice with just a few well-hidden fills. The brass, the briar and the hard rubber all combine well for a unique looking pipe. I polished stem and the bowl with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel carefully avoiding the brass. 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 rich combination of brass, browns and black of the bowl and stem came alive with the buffing. Have a look at it with the photos below. The shape, finish and flow of the pipe and stem are very well done. The dimensions are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: 5/8 of an inch. This older American made Art Deco era pipe is a real beauty. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. This one will be joining my collection of older American made pipes. Thanks for your time.

Restoring my Inherited Huge KBB Yello-bole “Imperial” # 68c


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

The next pipe on my work table had all the traits/ signs of it being used by my grand old man; it was huge, it was solid with a nice hand fill, it was heavily caked with severe signs of being knocked around the rim edges, blocked shank and stem airways and the likes!! From the number of pipes that I have inherited from him, it appears that regular pipe cleaning and maintenance was an alien concept to him and whence a pipe fouled up, he just chucked it and got a new one- a very simple concept, to say the least!

The pipe that I decided to work on is a large full bent billiards with a P-lip stem. It is stamped on the left side of the shank as “YELLO-BOLE” over “REG. U.S. PAT. OFF” (Registered U.S. Patent Office) in block capital letters over “Imperial” in cursive script over “CURED WITH REAL HONEY”. To the left of these stampings towards the bowl, KBB is stamped in the clover leaf. The right of the shank bears the stamp of “ALGERIAN BRUYERE” over shape code “68C”. The shank end is adorned with a ferrule that bears the stamping of K B & B in a clover leaf over “NICKLE PLATED”. The stem bears the Yello-Bole logo in bright yellow circle. All the stampings are crisp and clear and is definitely surprising that it has survived over all these years!! Researching a pipe is always an enriching learning and I look forward to the same on every pipe that I work. Having worked on a few Kaywoodies and also on Yello-Bole, I knew about the connection between the two. However, what intrigued me during the research is that both the brands also have shared the shape codes along the way, albeit at different points in time. Given below are extracts of the most relevant details from pipedia.com, specifically pertaining to this pipe on my work table, wherein I have highlighted information which merits attention:-

Tips for Dating Yello-Bole Pipes (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Yello-Bole#Tips_for_Dating_Yello-Bole_Pipes)

  • KBB stamped in the clover leaf indicates it was made in 1955 or earlier as they stopped this stamping after being acquired by M. Frank.
  • Pipes from 1933-1936 they were stamped “Honey Cured Briar”
  • Post 1936 pipes were stamped “Cured with Real Honey”
  • Pipe stems stamped with the propeller logo were made in the 1930’s or 1940’s – no propellers were used after the 1940’s.
  • Yello-Bole used a 4 digit code stamped on the pipe in the 1930’s.
  • Pipes with the Yello-Bole circle stamped on the shank it were made in the 1930’s, this stopped after 1939.
  • Pipes stamped BRUYERE rather than BRIAR it was made in the 1930’s.

Thus, from the above tips it is evident that I am dealing with a pipe from the 1930s. However, when I visited the pipedia.com page on Collector’s Guide on Kaywoodie (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Collector%27s_Guide_to_Kaywoodie_Pipes#HINTS_ON_COLLECTING.2C_DATING_AND_PRICING_KAYWOODIES), under the heading 1947 Kaywoodie Shape Numbers and Descriptions”, I found the shape # 68C with the description as Extra Large Billiard, Full Bent which perfectly matched with the size and shape of the pipe on my work table.

Also on the same page, there is a picture of an advertisement flyer for CHESTERFIELD KAYWOODIE from 1947. The similarities between this Kaywoodie (read P-lip stem, large sump, massive size and shape) and the Yello-Bole that I am working on is striking.

Thus, the pipe that I am working on is from 1930s, specifically after 1936 as per the stampings seen on the pipe, however, the shape number and description matches with the Kaywoodie catalogue from 1947. Thus it is an interesting conflict as Yello- Bole was designed as an outlet for lower grade briars not used in Kaywoodie production, but the shape code and Chesterfield similarities were incorporated in Yello-Bole earlier than its introduction in Kaywoodie pipes!! I would be happy if anyone reader can clarify this conflict.

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
The chamber is heavily caked with lava overflow on the rim top surface. The inner edge of the rim is severely damaged. Nicks and dings are also seen along the outer rim edge and chamber appears out of round. Chamber has strong odors of sweet smelling tobaccos. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber can be commented upon once the cake has been reamed down to the bare briar, but going by the solid feel of the external surface, I do not foresee any serious issues/ surprises with the chamber walls. The stummel surface is covered in dust, dirt and grime of years of use and uncared for storage for the last 45 years when my grandfather quit smoking in the late 1970s. Oils and tars have overflowed over the stummel and have attracted dust giving a dull and lackluster appearance to the stummel. A number of minor dents and scratches are seen over the stummel, notably towards the front, foot and the bottom of the shank. Through all the dirt, some really stunning straight and bird’s eye grains are waiting to be exposed. The mortise is, well mildly put, clogged to hell and back!! That the sump is overflowing and overfilled with accumulated gunk is a fact that could be seen with the naked eyes. Believe you me readers, the pipe smells are too strong. The large bent vulcanite stem exudes high quality and is heavily oxidized. The tenon is covered in a very thick coat of dried gunk and blobs of accumulated dried tars are seen inside the wide tenon opening. This also indicates the extreme clogging that can be expected in the expanded portion of the stem and in the stem air way. The lower button edge has a deep tooth indentation and tooth chatter in the bite zone. The button edge on the upper surface has worn down and would need to be sharpened. The lower end of the stem at the tenon end which enters the mortise shows severe scratch marks and chipped surface, the result of rubbing against the sharp edges of the ferrule at the shank end. INITIAL CLEANING BY ABHA…
The initial cleaning on this pipe was done by Abha, my wife (she has cleaned up around 40-50 pipes and these have now reached me for further restoration). She reamed out the complete cake and further smoothed out the chamber walls with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. She further cleaned out the internals of the shank with pipe cleaners and alcohol and cotton buds. She followed the internal cleaning of the shank with external cleaning of the stummel using Murphy’s Oil soap and hard bristled tooth brush and dried it with paper napkins and cotton cloth.

Unfortunately, this time around, she could not clean the stem as it was too large to fit in to the container of the stem deoxidizer solution.

ONCE THE PIPE IS ON MY WORK TABLE…
The chamber is massive, that is what I noticed first when I got the cleaned up pipe on my work table. The wall of the chamber shows insignificant beginnings of heat fissure on the left and back of the chamber walls. Though insignificant now, if not addressed at this stage, these heat fissures may further lead to burn outs. I need to address this issue. The rim top surface is uneven and pock marked with dents and dings. The inner edge is severely damaged with dents and dings, some of them quite large. The chamber is significantly out of round, most notably on the left side in 10 o’clock direction. The rim repairs required are extensive.The nicely cleaned stummel looks exciting with beautiful transverse flowing straight grains on the sides of the stummel and shank and bird’s eye on the front of the stummel and extending to the bottom of the shank. Patches of old lacquer coat can still be seen in the fold between the bowl and shank and also along the bottom of the stummel. The dents and scratches to the front and at the foot of the stummel are now clearly visible. I intend to let them be as they are part of the pipe’s past and also since I wish to preserve the patina. Abha has painstakingly cleaned out the mortise and the sump. However, I could still see remnants of the gunk in the sump and the still strong odor is a pointer to the requirement of further sanitizing the internals of the stummel. The ferrule at the end of the shank end came loose as I was inspecting the stummel. This gave me an opportunity to closely inspect the shank end for cracks or any damage. Lucky me, there are no such hidden gremlins here!! I did notice a fill at the base where the ferrule sat on the shank end (circled in yellow) that would need to be refreshed. The edges of the ferrule at the shank end have become very sharp (I did manage a nick during inspection) that had caused the damage observed on the tenon end of the stem. I need to address this issue. The unclean stem that came to me shows heavy scratches to the tenon end which seats in to the mortise and caused due to the sharp edges of the ferrule. I will address this issue by sanding the surface followed by a fill, if required. The upper surface and button edge of the P-lip shows damage and will have to sharpen the button while sanding and filling the surface. Similarly, the lower button edge has a deep tooth indentation and will need a fill to repair. The heavy oxidation will be a bear to get rid off given the size of the stem. The tenon is covered in a thick coat of dried gunk, not to mention the clogged the stem air way. THE PROCESS
As is my norm, I started the process with stem cleaning and repairs. I cleaned the accumulated dried gunk from the insides of the tenon by scrapping it out with my dental tools followed by q-tips, pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. I soon realized that no matter how many pipe cleaners and q-tips I used, the insides of the wide tenon will still keep throwing out dirty pipe cleaners. I would need to use a more invasive method. Using a shank brush and dish washing soap, I thoroughly cleaned out the gunk. I rinsed it under running warm water. Once satisfied with the internal cleaning, with my fabricated knife I scrapped off the dried oils and tars from the tenon surface. I wiped the tenon end with cotton swab and alcohol till clean. I also cleaned the stem air way and the slot end with pipe cleaners and alcohol.While I was working on the stem, a colleague had come visiting and was amazed at the patience and care being exhibited, traits which I am usually not associated with. He did crack a joke on this and clicked a couple of pictures which I have included here for posterity.I cleaned the stem surface with isopropyl alcohol on a cotton swab and followed it with a scrub using Murphy’s Oil soap and cotton swab. I also smooth the sharp edges of the ferrule with a folded piece of 150 grit sand paper. I mix clear superglue and activated charcoal and paint the damaged tenon end surface and also applied it over the both button edges, upper P-lip surface and lower surface of the P-lip. I set the stem aside for the fills to cure. I cleaned the stummel surface with acetone on a cotton swab to remove the patches of old lacquer. This cleaning further highlighted the beautiful grains on this pipe. This is sure going to be beautiful pipe in my collection. Next I decided to address the issue of strong odor in the chamber. To eliminate the ghost smells from the pipe, I decided to treat it with salt and alcohol. I do not use Kosher salt as it is not readily available here and if available, it’s very expensive. I use cotton balls which is an at par substitute as I have realized over a period of time. I pack the sump with cotton and draw out a wick from the cotton and along with a folded regular pipe cleaner; insert it in to the mortise and through the draught hole in the chamber. I pack cotton balls in to the remaining portion of the mortise. Thereafter, I pack the chamber with cotton balls to about quarter of an inch below the rim inner edge. I soak the cotton balls with isopropyl alcohol up to the brim. About half an hour later, the level of alcohol has gone down, having being absorbed by the cotton. I top it up once again and set it aside overnight. By next afternoon, the cotton and alcohol has drawn out all the remaining oils and tars from the chamber, sump and mortise and the cotton and alcohol had fulfilled its intended task. I removed the cotton balls and the dirt can be gauged by the appearance and coloration of the cotton balls. With my fabricated knife and dental tools, I spent the next hour scrapping out the entire loosened gunk. I ran pipe cleaners through the mortise to clean out all the loosened tars and gunk that had lodged when I cleaned the sump and mortise. The chamber now smells clean, fresh and looks it too. I set the stummel to dry out naturally. By this time the stem fills had cured and with a flat head needle file, I sand these fills to achieve a rough match. I further fine tuned the match by sanding the filled area with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and forefinger. I followed it up by sanding the entire stem surface using 400, 600, 800 grit sand papers and finally with a piece of 0000 grade steel wool. This serves to remove the deep seated oxidation and also reduces the sanding marks of the more abrasive sand papers. I also sharpened the button edges while sanding. I wiped the stem with a cotton swab and alcohol to remove all the oxidation and sanding dust from the surface. I applied a little Extra Virgin Olive oil over the stem and set it aside to be absorbed by the vulcanite.The next stummel issue to be addressed was that of the rim top surface damage. I topped the rim on a piece of 220 grit sand paper, checking frequently till I was satisfied that the charred surface was addressed to a great extent and the rim top surface is nice, smooth and even. The inner edge is still uneven, though much better than before topping, and shall be addressed next. With a folded piece of a 220 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and forefinger, I created a slight bevel on the inner edge of the rim top surface. This helped to mask the out of round chamber and address the sever dents that had remained on the inner rim edge. It can never be perfect, it’s a repair after all, but the repairs sure looks great. I know I have scrapped the shank end while topping the rim, I should have been careful, but I noticed it early and will be under the ferrule, so no sweat!! The one fill which was seen and readied for a fresh fill was patched up with a mix of briar dust and superglue and set aside to cure. Once the fill had hardened, and it was very quick indeed, I matched the fill with the rest of the stummel surface by sanding the fill with a flat head needle file followed by sanding the fill with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper.To preserve the patina and bring a deeper shine, I polished the stummel with micromesh pads, dry sanding with 1500 to 12000 pads. I wiped the surface with a soft cloth at the end of the micromesh cycle. The stummel looks amazing with a deep shine and beautiful grains popping over the stummel surface. The massive size of the stummel helps accentuate these grains further. The result of all the topping and subsequent micromesh polishing was that the rim top surface had a lighter hue as compared to the rest of the stummel surface. I matched the rim top surface with the rest of the stummel by staining the surface with a dark brown stain pen. I set it aside for the stain to cure.Turning my attention back to the stem, I decided to polish and shine up the stem surface. I wet sand the stem with 1500 to 12000 girt micromesh pads. Next I rub a small quantity of extra fine stem polish that I had got from Mark and set it aside to let the balm work its magic. After about 10 minutes, I hand buffed the stem with a microfiber cloth to a nice shine. I rub a small quantity of olive oil in to the stem surface to hydrate it and set it aside. After the rim top surface stain had cured for about 6 hours, I rub a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to the briar with my finger tips and let it rest for a few minutes. I applied the balm over the rim top surface also. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful darkened grain patterns on full display. I further buff it with a horse hair shoe brush. I wiped it with a microfiber cloth. The rim top is now perfectly matched with the rest of the stummel dark coloration. I am very pleased with the blend. I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and apply a coat of Blue Diamond to the stummel and the stem to polish out the minor scratches. It was at this point in the process of restoration that I realized that I am yet to attach the ferrule at the shank end. I rub a small quantity of ‘Colgate’ toothpowder over the ferrule surface. Those who have not tried out this trick, you must try it out at least once, it works like magic and imparts a nice shine to the nickel plated (it works even better on Sterling Silver) ferrule. I apply superglue over the shank end, align the ferrule stamp with that on the shank and attach the ferrule over it. I press it down firmly for a couple of minutes to let the glue set. After the glue had completely cured, I tried the seating of the stem in to the mortise and realized that the stem surface still brushed against the sharp ferrule edge. With a needle file I sand the edges, frequently feeling for the sharpness with my fingers and checking the seating of the stem in to the mortise. Once the edges and seating were smooth, I applied a little petroleum jelly on the walls of the mortise as this reduces friction and moisturizes the briar and moved on to the home stretch.With a cotton buffing wheel that I use for carnauba wax, I apply a coat of carnauba wax and continue to work on it till the complete coat of wax had been polished out. I mount a clean cotton cloth buffing wheel and give the entire pipe a once over buff. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The finished pipe looks beautiful. Having addressed the cosmetic aspect of this pipe, I move on to address the functionality aspect by addressing the ridges and re-entrant formed at the draught hole as well as the minor/ insignificant heat fissures. I insert a petroleum jelly coated pipe cleaner in to the draught hole. I mix a small quantity of the contents from the two tubes of J B Weld in equal proportions and apply it evenly only over the damaged area near the draught hole with my fingers. I had to work deftly and fast as the compound starts to harden within 4 minutes. I set the stummel aside for the JB Weld coat to completely harden.The next day, the compound had completely hardened. With a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper, I sanded the fill to as thin a layer as I thought would be just sufficient to protect the heel and ensure a smooth even surface for the pipe mud coating.Next I mixed activated charcoal and yogurt to a thick consistency and evenly applied it over the chamber walls and set it aside to dry out naturally. Once the coating had dried I buffed the pipe again with a microfiber cloth to a nice deep shine. P.S. This was a fun project and I absolutely loved and enjoyed working on it. It has some stunning grains and beats me that even though Yello-Bole was designed as an outlet for lower grade briars not used in Kaywoodie production, this beauty is anything but lower grade!! This would be joining my collection and I shall get to admire the beauty whenever I so desire.

Thank you all for sparing your valuable time in reading thus far and I would be happy to hear comments on the conflict that I find between Yello-Bole and Kaywoodie.

Paresh’s Grandfather’s Pipe #2 – A Yello-Bole Carburetor 4522 Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

I have repaired pipes for Paresh in India over the past four months and not long ago he sent me seven of his Grandfather’s pipes to restore. It is an interesting assortment of older pipes that come from the period of 1937-1950s. His Grandfather worked for the Indian Railroad many years and was a pipeman. Paresh is also a pipeman and recently found out that his Grandfather smoked a pipe as well. The second of the pipes is an older Yello-Bole Carburetor Billiard. It is stamped on the left side of the shank Carburetor over the KBB triangle logo followed by Yello-Bole over US Pat. 2082.106 over Cured with Real Honey. On the right side there is a four digit number 4522. This pipe was made between 1935 and 1936. Here is the rationale. The carburetor patent was granted in 1935, this pipe is stamped “US Pat.” Interestingly enough, it also has a patent number on the bottom of the shank that reads Reg.U.S.Pat.Off. over No. 343.331. The four digit number was used by KBB until 1936. The first two numbers indicate the finish, in this case 45 indicates a smooth finish. The second two numbers indicate the shape, in this case 22 indicates a straight billiard. The rim top is beat up and worn there is damage on the surface and also has nicks around the inner and outer edges of the bowl. The bowl still had a fairly thick cake on the walls. The carburetor tube that goes through the bottom of the bowl from outside to the inside was clogged and dirty. I took a close up photo of the rim top and both sides of the stem. You can see the damage to the top and inner edge of the rim top in the first photo below. The second and third photo shows the top and underside of the stem.The next photo shows the stamping on the left side of the shank as noted above. There is also a large crack on the top left side of the shank. The next two photos show the stamping and the crack very clearly. I always enjoy getting some background information on the pipeman whose pipes I am restoring when I am working estate pipes from the family members. If you have followed rebornpipes for a while you have read a few of these summaries from estates like Kathy’s Dad, Barry’s Dad and Farida’s Dad. Each of them did a great job summarizing their fathers’ estates. Since the next group of seven pipes that I will be working came to from India and belonged to the Grandfather of Paresh, I asked him to write a short tribute to his Grandfather. What follows is his writeup.

Respected Sir,

Now that the first batch of my Grandfather’s pipes has reached you, I would like to share my memories of him with you, the aim being to provide you with an insight to his personality, the era in which he lived, and a brief history associated with the pipes that I have inherited from him.

My Grandfather, Ananta (named after an exotic seasonal white flower having lovely fragrance), was born in a small coastal town of Konkan region of Maharashtra, India, in 1918. These were very turbulent times when India’s freedom struggle against British rule was gathering momentum and the atmosphere was charged with “Quit India Movement”. Having completed his graduation from Bombay, he joined Railways in 1937. This also marked the beginning of his journey into the world of pipe smoking!!!!!

Having seen his potential, in 1945, he was sponsored by the Government to visit England, for gaining further experience and expertise in his profession. This was a period when India’s Independence was round the corner and efforts were being made to train Indians for various administrative appointments in future Independent India. He returned back to India after a year, in 1946 and with him came some pipes that he had purchased in England. I believe a few of his Petes, Barlings, Charatans and GBDs are from this visit.

In 1947, when the British finally left India for good, my Grandfather was gifted pipes by his British peers, subordinates and Superior Officers as a parting gift. He stayed in touch with a few of them over all these years, even visiting them in 1959-60. Some of his later era Charatans and Barlings and Pete are from this trip. He quit smoking in early 1970s (before I was even born!!!!) and his pipes were packed up. There were a number of pipes which were used as TINDER for lighting fires (CAN”T BELIEVE IT…… I have not overcome my grief of this loss till date!!!!!) due to ignorance!!!!!!

My Grandfather was a very strict disciplinarian and temperamental (I did not know this as he was neither when dealing with me as I am the youngest of all his grandchildren!!!!!! He was always the most understanding and loving person in my life). I later learned that in his office, he was not to be disturbed when his pipe was lit, as he would be in his thinking/ contemplating mode while it was just the opposite as he lit his pipe in the evening while at home, when he would be at his relaxed best!!!!.

The interesting part is that neither of us knew that we each smoked a pipe until after his demise in Jan 2018!!!! In our culture, to this day, smoking or alcohol consumption is socially never talked about (mute acceptance!!!). It was during his last rites that absent mindedly I lighted my pipe and looking into the flickering flames of his funeral pyre, remembered and recollected all the wonderful memories and talks that we had shared. No one said a word to me about my lighting up a pipe!!!!!! Immediately thereafter, I rejoined my duty station. A few days later, my wife, Abha, received a box from my Uncle with a note that said “Grandfather would have loved Paresh to have these”. This box contained a collection of his fountain pens and 8-10 of his pipes (since then as my folks are winding up his belongings, I have received 2-3 packets and a large number of pipes, some in decent condition and some in unspeakable state). Abha immediately messaged me with pictures of these pipes and pens. I had been collecting and restoring (no major repairs, though) fountain pens since long and immediately recognized some of them as highly collectibles, however, pipes were a totally different ball game! I was inexperienced with no knowledge/ information regarding various brands/ pipe makers, shapes and materials. I knew nothing about the value of these pipes, nothing about pipe restorations, nothing about caring for them; I mean zero knowledge about collecting pipes. I smoked some real cheap Chinese pipes which were readily and unfortunately, the only ones, available in India and some inexpensive pipes from eBay India!!!!! Also regular pipe cleaning, pipe rotation, pipe cleaners and such things were unknown to me.

Thus, to know more about the REAL pipes, I embarked upon the journey of exploring finer nuances of pipe brands/ makers, their history and watching “How to videos” on packing a pipe, cleaning, repairing and caring for ones pipes. I found it extremely interesting and satisfying. It was while meandering through this confusing quagmire of pipe world that I came across rebornpipes.com website and eventually established contact with you, Mr Steve, who has since been my mentor, guide and GURU, making this journey a wonderful and satisfying experience.

Sir, there is one more thing that I need to thank you for and that is when you asked me to write a brief about my grandfather and his pipes, I realized how little I knew about him, in fact, knew nothing, as I was not even aware that he was a “pipeman” as no one in my family ever spoke about it being taboo subject and since he had quit a long time before I was even born!!!! This led me to ask the elders in my family, questions on the subject and came to know the above details. I cannot thank you enough for prodding me to get to know my grandfather and his pipes a lot better. Sir, these pipes of his, with your help and guidance, will remain with me forever in mint condition……

Thanks Paresh for this great descriptive take of your Grandfather. It really gives me a sense of the pipes that you have sent me and what they meant to him. It is obvious from the variety of pipes that you sent and the overall condition that he knew how to choose good quality pipes and obviously enjoyed smoking them throughout most of his life.

Paresh’s wife Abha cleaned the pipes before she sent them to me here in Canada and did an amazing job cleaning them up. She reamed the bowls, cleaned the rims and scrubbed the exterior of the pipes and the stems with Murphy’s Oil Soap and cleaned off the buildup on the stems. This particular pipe had a very hard cake in the bowl and with the tube sticking up from the bottom of the bowl she was very careful in here cleanup. There was till cake that needed to be removed. The finish on the bowl is in bad condition and was peeling and dirty. The light varnish coat was rough. The stamping on the sides and bottom of the bowl was very readable. The crack in the shank was fairly open and would need to be banded to repair it. The rim top had been beat up on hard surfaces and the outer edges were rough and rounded. The stem was lightly oxidized on both sides of the stem and had quite a bit of tooth chatter on both.

I removed the stem from the shank and started my work on the bowl itself. I wiped down the peeling finish on the bowl and shank with acetone on cotton pads. I rubbed it down until I had removed the varnish coat and the grime in the finish. I carefully cleaned up the reaming in the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer first. I started with the smallest cutting head and worked up to the second cutting head. I took the cake back to bare briar on the top ¾ of the bowl with the PipNet. I finished up the bottom ¼ with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife and took the cake back to the bare briar on the bottom. I was careful around the tube extending into the bowl bottom so I would not damage it. I wanted to check out the condition of the interior of the bowl. It looked very good once it was cleaned off. There was no checking or cracking on the bowl walls. There was no sign of burn out inside.  I decided to take care of the cracked shank next before I cleaned up the inside. I found a nickel band that was the right diameter for the shank. I used the Dremel and sanding drum to cut back about 1/3 of the depth of the band so that when it was fully on the shank it would not cover up the stamping on either side of the shank. I cleaned out the crack with a cotton swab and alcohol. I put some all-purpose white glue in the crack and pressed the band onto the shank. I used the sandpaper on the topping board to face the band and the end of the shank. I wanted the shank end and band to be absolutely smooth so that the fit of the stem in the shank would not change. You can see from the first photo below that the band placement does not come close to the stamping but completely cover the crack.To remove the damage to the top of the rim and minimize the damage on the inside and outside edge of the rim I topped it on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I cleaned out the carburetor tube on the bottom of the bowl with a paper clip and pushed through the tars and grime that had plugged the tubes. I cleaned out the airway in the shank and the mortise with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and alcohol until the inside was clean.I polished the rim top and bevel with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust and the scratches. I stained the rim with a Maple stain pen to match the colour of the rest of the bowl and shank.I worked Before & After Restoration Balm deep into the briar to clean, enliven and protect it. I worked it into the finish with my fingertips. I worked it into the rim and shank end. I set it aside for a few minutes to let the balm work. I wiped it off and buffed it with a soft cloth to polish it. The briar really began to have a deep shine. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. The grain on the bowl is really beginning to stand out and will only do so more as the pipe is waxed.  I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem. I sanded out the tooth chatter on both sides of the stem at the button with 220 grit sand paper.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit sanding pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I finished polishing the stem with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish both Fine and Extra Fine to remove the last of the scratches. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. With the stem polished I put it back on the pipe and lightly buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond. I gave them both multiple 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. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I have five more of Paresh’s Grandfather’s pipes to finish and then I will pack them up and send across the sea to India where he can carry on the legacy. I know that he is looking forward to having them in hand and enjoying a bowl of his favourite tobacco in memory of his Grandfather. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked this pipe over.

Putting the Spiff on an Unsmoked Vintage Yello-Bole


Blog by Robert M. Boughton
Copyright © Reborn Pipes and the Author except as cited

Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.  Albert Einstein

INTRODUCTION

Sometimes a pipe fix-up is so easy that chronicling the work in a blog seems pointless if not self-serving.  No doubt, some readers will agree this is one of those occasions.  Nevertheless, my reason for going ahead with the exercise is manifold: I’ve been off the grid for some time now, and this seems as good a way as any to vault back into the saddle; no effort, if performed with love and attention to detail, is unworthy of mention; the original price of the pipe is so low that this specimen could not have been made after the 1950s, if not earlier, and  this straight natural YB Dublin – made in France – is one of the finest examples I’ve ever seen of the brand.  Some of you may recall a few of my less positive remarks on the maker.I got a good deal for the Dublin on eBay, meaning it was the price of a Walgreen’s variety today.  But there the comparison ended.  The preeminent aspect of this stunning pipe was its pristine, blazing yellow honey-caked coating in the chamber.  I have owned and restored a few well-used old soldiers with this proprietary finish, but this was my only glimpse so far at an untried sample right there in my reverent hands.  There was also a small, round cardstock insert in the bowl.  However, I was most pleased with the tiny decal on the bottom of the bit, which showed the original price as $2.50!  To me, that was a clear sign that the Dublin had sat in a cupboard or closet or attic somewhere for close to three-quarters of a century.

The sole problems were an unpleasant darkness of the stain that bordered on black, an un-clocked bit (as well as the yellow circle emblem on the bit not being centered), and normal roughness of the briar wood.  I knew I could remedy everything but the obdurate yellow circle.

RESTORATION

The un-clocked bit is hard to spot in the photos, but notice the word France at the bottom of the bit’s rear.  Thinking – which is one of my greatest problems – to be done with the easiest part first, I ended up having a deuced time removing the charming little sliver of aluminum that was the tenon.  I wrapped a small micro fiber cloth around the bit, careful to cover everything but the metal, and used my Bic to apply heat.  To my surprise, that failed, even when I wrapped the innocuous seeming aluminum in the rag and applied the least possible force of pliers.  Several more runs of the same type later, I was no closer to success.  At last, not knowing what else to try but needing to put the cursed thing aside for a while, I did so in my freezer.  When I remembered having stashed it there, I found that a simple twist with my fingers did the truck and straightened it. Despite the straight tenon-stem fit, the off-center YB logo can still be seen.

The main goal after re-fitting the bit was to give the stummel only the slightest reduction in darkness, so that the brown would just show through.  Starting with 1500 micromesh, I followed through with the rest.  In most cases, I would prefer to make the wood lighter, but in this case, I was determined to keep it as original as was reasonable for the benefit of the eventual buyer.  I had been worried about going too far, but it worked out quite well.

For the bit, I gave it a light sanding with 400 and 600 paper and then the full micro mesh progression.The last stage was a double waxing of the stummel using red and white Tripoli and carnauba, and red Tripoli and carnauba on the bit.

CONCLUSION

As obsessed as I was with unabridged musings of the delights I anticipated experiencing if I kept this splendid wonder of the heyday of Yello-Bole pipes, with remiss I decided to let it go to another guardian who would, with hope, covet the gem with all due zeal.  One of my first estate pipe purchases was an old brother of the Dublin – in fact, they may have been twins as the shape of that early purchase was the same – and I never tired of caring for it and savoring the pleasures of many tobacco blends its design and construction enhanced.

Planning at first to target the sale to collectors’ circles with the hope of maximizing my profit, one distraction after another delayed the notion.  Then one night, on a whim, I took the pristine implement of contemplation with me to a meeting I attend on a regular basis where there are always regular attendees as well as a few who come and go.  One of the latter, a friend named Mike who, as do I, never fails to bring along a pipe and tobacco, walked into the meeting and waived to me from across the room.  I knew with a flutter in my stomach that I had found the perfect recipient.  His collection so far is spare, counting the latest acquisition. His favorite was an aged corncob that he treats with the utmost respect, never considering it disposable as so many others would, which he told me he likes because of its lightness and ease of keeping it in his mouth without needing to support with a hand.  The only other was one a Custombilt behemoth freehand of unmeasured density that he showed me once without even knowing it was a brand name pipe.  I knew its maker on sight and showed him the somewhat hidden nomenclature that verified the fact.

After the meeting, I hurried over to Mike, who seemed alarmed by my speed.  I unwrapped the Yello-Bole and held it out to him.  Mike was, of course, enchanted at once, most of all due to the extreme lightness.  I told him I was selling it, at which news he stood at once to reach in his pocket, not even knowing the price.  But I was not about to take advantage of my friend and made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.

“I’m afraid to smoke it!” he said.  “I don’t want to ruin the beautiful chamber!”

I persuaded Mike to try it out and convinced him that with attention the yellow honey cure would remain intact.  For some time, we sat there together, each of enjoying our beloved pipes.  Mike could not stop extolling his new addition’s virtues.

 

 

Giving New Life to a KBB Yello Bole Imperial 3068C


Blog by Mike Rochford

In the last two weeks, I have been corresponding with Mike about a pipe he had. He wrote and sent photos of it and asked if I thought it was repairable. Those of you who have been reading the blog for a while know that I rarely put a pipe in the bin to burn. We wrote back and forth as he did the work and he sent photos along the way. I asked if he would mind doing a blog on the refurb job he did. He sent me the following. Without further introduction, I will let Mike tell you about himself and then share his work with us. Welcome Mike.

First a bit about me. I am a retired FBI Special Agent of 30 years. My grandfather had a wood pattern shop in downtown Chicago. I always enjoyed woodworking projects, but never had much time for complicated projects. This project was pretty easy as long as I did not hurry each step. Patience and your guidance helped me a lot. I am now pretty confident that I can handle another project if one comes along. – Mike

My brother Tim bought me a very worn out KBB YELLO Bole Imperial 3068C pipe. He knew I loved its look. But its issues were many: gaping hole in bowl, rotting wood on ferrule, bite marks on stem, and a slight tool mark on the crowned our area of the stem below the Yellow circle.

I was prepared to throw the pipe out or just relegate it to a shelf. But I found Steve Laug on rebornpipes. He advised me step by step how to restore and make my pipe smokeable again.

First, I completely cleaned out the inside of bowl down to the briar in order to relieve pressure on the crack in the bowl. Then I used a 1/32 drill bit to drill out the bottom of the crack.  I stripped and cleaned the outside of the pipe and combined briar dust with super glue and filled in the crack on the outside of the bowl. I was surprised that the chemical reaction caused a flash fire on my first try. But I worked through that. The paste dries very fast so I had to apply it to the crack quickly, using a Popsicle stick.  I then let it set. Then I applied JBWeld for wood to the cracked area inside of the bowl. I put a pipe cleaner inside the opening to ensure no weld found its way into the airway blocking up my smoking end of the bowl. I let that dry and set it aside for the evening. Then I used 500 grit sand paper on the outside and inside of my bowl. Once I was satisfied, I applied Aniline dye stain to the outside of the bowl and painted the inside of my bowl with a charcoal powder/ sour cream paste.Next, I worked on the cracked and damaged shank end using the 1/32nd inch bit on the end of the cracks in wood and my super glue briar dust paste to fix the damaged areas. Sanding it after it set.I then used the charcoal powder and super glue paste to patch up the bite marks on my stem, using a pipe cleaner with Vaseline on it to ensure it did not super glue my stem closed. I used some 800 grit sand paper to buff the entire stem clean of oxidation and to clean off excess super glue charcoal powder once it dried. I also used the 800 grit sand paper to clean up the tool marks on my stem below the Yellow circle. I did not have any obsidian oil, so I used some sesame seed oil on my stem to slick it up. I also super glued the silver metal ferrule on the end of the shank as it was much too loose. I then resanded and repasted the inside of my pipe bowl.

I sent before and after pictures to Steve. I am very pleased and thankful to Steve Laug for guiding me through this process. My pipe is truly “Reborn!” Thanks!

Refreshing Another Giant – a KBB Yello-Bole Imperial 3068C Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

When I cleaned up a previous KBB Yello-Bole Imperial 3068C for a reader of the blog my brother immediately was struck by the beauty of the old pipe. He decided he would find one for me that matched the one I cleaned up for the reader. If you want to read about the cleanup of that one here is the link: https://rebornpipes.com/2016/11/10/breathing-life-into-a-huge-kbb-yello-bole-3068c-bent-billiard/. The 3068C is a large pipe. It is reminiscent of the WDC Wellington in many ways but to me there is a simple elegance to the lines of the 3068C that are more smooth and beautiful. This is another giant pipe. The dimensions are: length 10 inches, height 2 ¼ inches, outer diameter of the bowl 1 ½ inches, inner bowl diameter 7/8 inches. I took a photo of the pipe in hand to give an idea of the size of this old giant.imp1As opposed to the other 3068C I cleaned up this one was in remarkably good shape. The shiny varnish coat actually was perfect with no peeling or nicks in it. The grain shone through and was a great mixture of birds-eye and cross grain. The Yello-Bole Honey Cured coating still showed on the bevel of the inner rim and in parts of the bowl. The rim surface had some very small dents or scratches in it but they did not seem to break the finish on the bowl. There was a light cake in the bowl. The nickel ferrule was oxidized and lightly scratches but otherwise undamaged. The stem had the classic older Yello-Bole circle on the top of the stem just behind the saddle and was lightly oxidized with minimal tooth chatter on the top and underside of the stem at the button.imp2 imp3My brother took the above photos and the ones that follow to show the overall condition of the pipe. The next two close up photos show the rim top and inner rim bevel. The Yello-Bole Honey Cured coating can be seen on the edge of the bowl and going down into the bowl. You can also see the small dents in the rim and the light grime that had built up on the surface of the rim.imp4The next two photos give a good idea of the grain that shone through on this old pipe. The front and back of the bowl has some amazing birds-eye grain and the sides, rim and bottom show some really nice cross grain.imp5The stamping on the shank was sharp and readable. The left side bore the KBB cloverleaf logo with Yello-Bole over stamping that read Reg.U.S.Pat.Off. Beneath that was the line stamping in script Imperial. Finally underneath all of that was stamped Cured with Real Honey. On the aluminum ferrule cap there was a remnant of the KB&B cloverleaf. It is interesting to me that while all Yello-Bole pipes are stamped with KBB (minus the ampersand &) in a cloverleaf on the shank both this pipe and the previous one had the KB&B cloverleaf on the ferrule. I wonder if the company made one size fits all with the ferrules and used them on both Yello-Boles and KB&B pipes. The right side of the shank is stamped Real Bruyere over the shape number 3068C.imp6The final two photos that my brother included show the tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside of the vulcanite stem at the button. The mild oxidation is also visible in the photos.imp7My brother did the necessary cleaning on the pipe – reaming and cleaning out the mortise and the airway in the stem and shank. I cleaned off the grime on the finish and wiped down the stem. When I received the pipe it looked be in excellent condition and would not take a lot of work to refresh it. I took the next four photos to show what it looked like when it arrived in Vancouver.imp8 imp9I took some close up photos of the rim and the stem to show the condition. The rim was in excellent shape and Jeff was able to clean up the inner bevel on the rim to reveal the Yello-Bole Honey Coating. The stem photos show the oxidation and the small tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the stem near the button.imp10 imp11I sanded the oxidation on the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the brown topcoat that it had and also worked over the tooth chatter and tooth marks on both sides.imp12I used drops of medium viscosity black super glue to fill in the small tooth marks on both sides of the stem. They are shown in the photos below. The small black spots are the super glue repairs to the stem surface. You will note that there were more issues on the underside of the stem than the top side.imp13Once the repairs were dry I sanded them back to the surface of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper.imp14I polished the sanded spots by wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads.imp15I wet sanded the entire stem and continued to sand the repaired areas with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil and then dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed it down with oil after each set of three pads and after the final set I gave it a last coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry.imp16 imp17 imp18The nickel ferrule had a lot of tiny scratches in the surface of the metal. I sanded it with micromesh sanding pads to polish out the scratches and raise a shine in the nickel.imp19I polished the briar with 3200-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads to raise the shine and smooth out the small scratches on the sides and bottom of the bowl as well as the rim.imp20 imp21 imp22I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to further polish the briar and vulcanite. I gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed the bowl and stem with a clean buffing pad to polish and raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It turned out to be a very beautiful pipe that needed just a few touches of TLC to bring it to its fullest. It is another large pipe that would make a great reading or house pipe. It is comfortable in hand and the grain is interesting enough to give hours of observation pleasure. Thanks for looking.imp23 imp24 imp25 imp26 imp27 imp28 imp29 imp30

Breathing Life into a Huge KBB Yello-Bole 3068C Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

A good friend of rebornpipes, Jim emailed me about a pair of pipes that he had that he wanted me to have a look at. The first of them is on the work table and it is going to take a bit of work to bring back to life. The second is the one I just finished and it is a beautiful pipe. It is a Yello-Bole like none I have seen before and I have worked on many of them over the years. This one is a large KBB Yello-Bole bent billiard similar in style to the WDC Wellington big pipes. This one is 10 inches long and 2 ¼ inches tall. The bowl is 7/8 inches in diameter and 1 ¾ inches deep. The stem was in decent shape other than oxidation and light tooth chatter on the top and bottom sides near the button. The button itself was very clean with a few tooth marks but the airway was in perfect condition. The stem has the older style inlaid Yello-Bole logo of the yellow circle on the top side. The stem appears to be a P-lip but it is the faux P-lip that has the airway coming out straight at the end of the P.

The finish on the bowl was dirty and the varnish coat was peeling away and flaking off around the bowl. There was a deep, rich oxblood colour to the stain underneath the peeling finish. The rim was dirty but otherwise it was pretty clean with no dents, dings or nicks in the surface or in the inner or outer edges of the rim. In the photos it appears that the bowl was meerschaum lined but I assure you that it was not – it is merely coated with the famous Yello-Bole Honey Curing yellow mixture. The bevel on the rim shows the yellow as does the bottom of the bowl. In fact, though the pipe was smoked it appears that it was never smoked all the way to the bottom of the bowl and the lower 1/4th of the bowl still shows the yellow bowl coating. There was a light cake that was spotty around the inside of the bowl but it was not thick of overflowing onto the rim.

The stamping on the left side of the shank reads KBB in a cloverleaf/club and next to it Yello-Bole over Reg. U.S. Pat. Off. Under that it is stamped Imperial in script and below that the fourth line of the stamp reads Cured With Real Honey. The nickel ferrule on the shank end is stamped with the KB&B Cloverleaf and underneath reads Nickel Plated. It is interesting to me to see this stamping on the band. Typically the Yello-Bole pipes bore the KBB stamp without the ampersand (&) between the two “b’s” which is true on the logo on the left side of the shank. It simply reads KBB in the leaf. On the band however the logo has the KB&B stamp which is usually reserved for the better quality Kaywoodie pipes of the time. The right side of the shank is stamped Algerian Briar over 3068C which I assume is the shape number.

I took the photos below to show what the pipe looked like when it arrived and I had unpacked it on my work table.yb1 yb2I took some close up photos of the bowl, rim and stem to show the condition of those areas when I received the pipe. You can see the clean bevel on the rim with the slight darkening of the yellow bowl coating and the light, uneven cake in the bowl. You can also see the yellow bowl coating on the bottom portion of the bowl. The stem shows the oxidation and the light tooth chatter on the top and underside near the button. You can also see the airway exiting the stem at the end rather than the top of the “P-lip”.yb3 yb4I reamed the bowl with the Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to clean the cake back to bare briar. I used that tool as I wanted to leave the yellow bowl coating intact in the bowl to leave it as original as possible.yb5I scrubbed off the peeling finish with cotton pads and acetone (fingernail polish remover) until the surface of the briar was smooth and the oxblood stain coat shone through. I used 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads to work on the rim top and the inner bevel of the rim until they also were clean.yb6 yb7Once I had removed the varnish coat there were a lot of dings and dents in the rim and the sides of the bowl. I used a hot butter knife and a wet cloth to steam out the dents. It took some time but I continued to steam the dented areas on the bowl until I had removed all but the small nicks on the bowl. I took photos of the bowl after I had steamed it and you can see from the photos that the briar looked far better after steaming.yb8 yb9I took some close up photos of the stamping on the shank and the nickel ferrule to show what I talked about in the earlier paragraphs. The nickel-plated ferrule had a lot of scratches in the surface of the nickel. You can also compare the KBB stamp on the shank with the KB&B stamp on the ferrule in the photos.yb10 yb11I polished the nickel ferrule with micromesh sanding pads to remove the scratches. I started with 1500 grit and worked my way up to 12000 grit. It removed the scratches and also polished the nickel. I cleaned out the interior of the mortise, the sump at the bottom of the shank and the airways in the shank and the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. The first photo below shows the clean briar in the shank.yb12I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the oxidation on the surface of the stem. I scrubbed it with the Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer to lift more of the oxidation. I wet sanded the stem with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads and dry sanded with 3200-12000 grit pads. After sanding with each set of three pads I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil. After sanding with 12000 grit micromesh I gave the stem a final coat of the oil and set it aside to dry.yb13 yb14 yb15I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to further polish the bowl and the stem. I was seeking to remove even the micro scratches left behind in the vulcanite by the micromesh sanding pads and the remaining scratches in the briar as well. I gave the pipe multiple coats of carnauba wax to protect the pipe. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad on the wheel and raise a shine. I personally do not like the high gloss look of a pipe when it first comes off the wheel so I hand buff it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine and give it a rich look. The finished pipe is shown in the photos that follow. I look forward to hearing from Jim as to his thoughts regarding this “rare to me” older KBB Yello-Bole. Thanks for walking with me through the process.yb16 yb17 yb18 yb19 yb20 yb21 yb22 yb23

ADDENDUM:

Andrew commented below regarding the size of the pipe. I have added this photo of the pipe in my hand to give an idea of the size.yb1

A Living Tiny KBB Yello-Bole Salesman’s Pipe


Blog by Steve Laug

I have always been fascinated with miniature copies of larger items. When my daughters were younger we used to buy them brass miniature stoves and household items that were surprisingly real. All of them had working parts and were small copies of the larger counterparts. I found out that Salesmen’s samples were similar to these items I bought my daughters. They were a common item in the early 20th century. Salesmen needed a smaller version of their product to show off to retailers, and retailers in turn needed a way to demonstrate the features of larger items, which might need to be ordered from the manufacturer, to their customers. Many salesmen’s samples were highly detailed, with additional marketing copy pointing out important features of the product. http://www.collectorsweekly.com/advertising/salesmans-samples I have cleaned up a few tiny salesmen’s pipes over the years that were working models of larger pipes. They have all been smokeable.

Today I worked on one that came in my brother’s box of pipes. It is stamped KBB in a cloverleaf and next to that Yello-Bole over Imported Briar. The stem is vulcanite and the pipe bowl is briar. It had been smoked and there was a light cake in the bowl.yb1None of the reamers that my brother had would fit the tiny bowl of the pipe. My little finger is still too big to fit into the bowl. The bowl had a light cake in it and the rim was damaged both with tars and with dents from tapping the pipe out. The stem was lightly oxidized and there were tooth marks and chatter on the top and the bottom sides near the button. The finish on the bowl sides was peeling and flaky. The pipe was tiny but well used. I took the next four photos to show what the pipe looked like when I started to work on it. I put the pipe next to the seashell that I have been using for all my photos to give an idea of its diminutive size. I reamed the bowl with the Savinelli Pipe Knife but forgot to take photos of it before and after.yb2 yb3When I took the stem off the pipe it had the standard Yello-Bole shovel like stinger. It was pressure fit in the tenon. The tenon on this tiny pipe was metal which was different from previous Yello-Bole Salesmen’s pipes I have refurbished.yb4I carefully removed the stinger from the tenon with a pair of pliers. While the pipe was apart I cleaned out the shank and the airway in the shank and the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol.yb5I cleaned the spoon shaped stinger with a brass bristle wire brush, cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. Once it was clean and the stem was clean I pushed it back in place in the shank.yb6I took off the peeling varnish coat on the bowl with acetone and cotton pads. It did not take a lot of scrubbing to take off all of the finish. The acetone took off the varnish coat and some of the opaque stain on the bowl. Once it was gone I could see some nice grain showing through. The cotton pads give an idea of how small this pipe is.yb7 yb8I sanded the bowl with 1500-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads to even out the finish and smooth out some of the dings and dents on the briar. There was a dark spot on the bottom of the shank where it joined the bowl that appeared to be a burned area. I sanded it and was able to remove most of it. Each successive grit of micromesh sanding pad brought more shine to the surface of the briar. By the end of the progression, the 12000 grit pad the bowl had a shine to it that looked really good and showed off the nice grain on the bowl.yb9 yb10 yb11 yb12I sanded out the tooth chatter with 220 grit sandpaper and then wet sanded the stem with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads. I dry sanded the stem with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each set of three pads. I set the stem aside to dry after sanding it with the 12000 grit pad.yb13 yb14 yb15I put the stem on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. The polish made the bowl and the stem shine. I was careful around the stamping so as not to damage it. I gave the pipe multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. To give an idea of the size of the pipe I took the photos with a Canadian dime or 10 cent piece next to it. The Canadian dime is the same size as the American dime. Thanks for looking.yb16 yb17 yb18 yb19 yb20 yb21 yb22 yb23

Bringing New Life to a Yello-Bole Metal


Blog by Steve Laug

My brother found this older Yello-Bole metal pipe. It is a lot like the older Grabow Vikings but the bottom of the bowl is different from the Grabow. Between the bowl and the metal base there is a flat perforated screen or disk that the tobacco sits on. It acts as the bottom of the bowl. The wooden bowl itself is a threaded tube that screws into the base. There are two pin holes on the sides of the base (one on each side about mid base below the bowl). These serve as openings to draw air into the bowl. This one was in decent shape and would take a little work to clean up. The photos below were provided by the eBay seller and show the state of the pipe. From the first two photos below you can see the wear on the stem and the white calcification that generally builds up under a rubber softee bit. The finish on the bowl is shot. There is nothing but bare briar showing. The outer edge of the rim looks good. YB1 YB2The next two photos give a top and underside view of the pipe. You can see the ring of cake in the bowl around the middle and lighter on the top and bottom edges. You can see the metal disk in the bottom of the bowl. I have purchased a few of these over the years and almost all of them were missing the metal disk that sat in the base between the bowl and base. The stem shows some tooth marks on the top and underside.YB3 YB4The final photo included by the seller showed the stamping on the underside of the base. It read Yello-Bole horizontally along the bottom of the shank. It also gave the patent number on the bottom of the base. It read PAT. over 2467002 over PAT. PEND. That was enough data to do a patent search on the US Patent Information site. http://www.uspto.gov/patents-application-process/search-patents. From there I copied the patent drawing and included it below.YB5The diagram and the accompanying documents show the conceptual and descriptive narrative of what the pipe was about and what its maker hoped to achieve with his design. The inventor was a Samuel Laurence Atkins of New York. He filed his patent application on July 14, 1945. The patent was granted April 12, 1949. The pipe that I have is stamped Patent Pending thus it is easy to extrapolate that it was made between the dates July 14, 1945 and April 11, 1949 which are the dates before the patent was granted. That makes this pipe between 67-71 years old. It is in pretty decent shape for a pipe of that age.YB6 YB7I took the following photos when the pipe arrived. The seller’s photos were pretty good at showing the issues with the pipe. All the things noted above were correct.YB8 YB9 YB10 YB11The pipe was quite easy to take apart. I unscrewed the bowl and tapped out the disk in the base. The stem came out of the shank with little effort. I took the photo below to show the parts. The second photo shows the cake in the bowl.YB12 YB13I started the clean up with reaming the bowl. I used the PipNet reamer and the largest cutting head to ream from the top of the bowl. I used the second head to ream the bowl from the bottom. I reamed it back to bare briar. There was still some of the signature Yello-Bole bowl coating showing near the top just below the rim.YB14 YB15I scrubbed the bowl base with a brass bristle brush to loosen up the dried tars and oils in the base. I used a dental pick to clean out the threads. I also scrubbed the disk with the brush. YB16 YB17I used pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to clean the surface of the disk and the inside of the base and airway.YB18 YB19

I scrubbed the interior and exterior of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners to remove the build up on the outside and the oils on the inside.YB20With the cleanup finished I set the parts on the table and took a few photos of the cleaned up pipe. Now it was time to restore it.YB21 YB22I wiped down the bowl with cotton pads and acetone to remove the grime and the remaining finish on the bowl.YB23

I stained the bowl with a dark brown stain pen.YB24 YB25I buffed the bowl with red Tripoli to spread and polish the stain. I buffed it with Blue Diamond and rubbed the bowl down with a light coat of olive oil. At this point in the process the bowl and the metal base was complete. I took the following photos to show the state of the progress thus far.YB26 YB27 YB28 YB29 YB30I cleaned the stem and used a clear super glue to repair the deep tooth marks in the top and underside of the stem near the button.YB31 YB32I sanded the repairs with 220 grit sandpaper to blend it into the surface of the stem. YB33 YB34I worked on the stem with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded with 1500-2400 grit sanding pads and then rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil. I wet sanded with 3200-4000 grit pads and gave it another coat of oil. I finished by dry sanding with 6000-12000 grit pads. I gave it a final coat of oil and let it dry.YB35 YB36 YB37I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond on the wheel and then gave both multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad and then by hand with a microfiber cloth. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. Thanks for looking.YB38 YB39 YB40 YB41 YB42 YB43

Breathing New Life into a Yello-Bole Burley Pot


Blog by Steve Laug

In one of the antique malls in Idaho Falls I found a pipe that I had not seen before. I have had Medico Brylon pipes and other pipes from manmade materials but I had not seen one of these before. This pipe was stamped on the left side of the shank with the words Yello-Bole over Burley with a ® trademark symbol. It appeared to be made of the same material as a Medico that I picked up the day my eldest daughter was born – Brylon. I was sure that the Medico and the Yello-Bole were made by the same company. I was not sure but thought it would be worth picking up as I had not seen one of these before. Besides the price was right – I think it was $8 or so. The bowl had a fairly thick cake at the top and some remnants of the last tobacco smoked in the bottom of the bowl. The stem was stuck in the stem and took a little effort to move it as it was inserted upside down. When I got it out of the shank the aluminum tenon was badly oxidized and there was some corrosion on the surface. The shovel scoop stinger that is a hallmark of Yello-Bole pipes was black with tars and it was stuck in the tenon. The pipe had a heavy smell of English tobacco that made me wonder if it had ever met a pipe cleaner.Burley1

Burley2 I took some close up photos of the bowl and the tenon and shovel stinger apparatus when I got the stem off the shank. The first photo shows the thick cake on the inside of the bowl, the remnants of tobacco and the tars on the rim. It takes a long time (from my experience) and lots of smoking to build up a cake like this in a Brylon pipe. The second photo shows the corroded metal tenon as well as the dirty shovel stinger apparatus. The stem also had some tooth marks and a lot of tooth chatter on both sides of the stem at the button. I was able to wiggle the stinger out of the tenon with a little effort the third photo shows the tenon and stinger.Burley3

Burley4 Since I had not heard of the brand before I did some research before I cleaned up the pipe. I found a link to Pipedia that gave a short history of the brand and I found out that Brylon was developed by SM Frank and Company in 1966. It was a combination of resins and briar dust and was a synthetic that was cheaper alternative to briar. It is virtually indestructible and I have read other place that folks used to throw them in the dishwasher to clean them… The one I had certainly had never met this fate and I would not resort to that method in cleaning it. Here is a portion of the quote from Pipedia with a photo of the Brylon pipe. It also gives information regarding the four lines of Brylon that SM Frank sold.Burley5“This material was immediately used for Yello-Bole pipes, and millions of these pipes have been sold in the decades since then. They continue to be part of the Yello-Bole and Medico brands. At the moment Yello-Bole offers:
• 4 lines of Brylon pipes: Ebony, Nova, Burley and Standard (Prices $15.95 – $18.95) and
• 4 lines of Briar pipes: Spartan, Pug, Checker and Imperial (Prices $19.95 – $24.95).
The Yello-Bole Burley was billed as a great pipe delivering top-notch Brylon quality for just a few bucks. Featuring a push-bit with an aluminum scoop, this no-nonsense pipe is a great starter, or knock-around pipe. http://pipedia.org/wiki/Yello-Bole

I also found another link that lead on tobaccopipes.com that gave a little more history of the Yello-Bole line. I cite from that article below. http://www.tobaccopipes.com/yello-bole-pipes-history/

Yello Bole Changes Hands -Throughout the 1950s the brand changed hands a few times, finally coming to rest with S.M. Frank & Company in 1955. The brand has been made by this corporation ever since. Brylon, a synthetic pipe material, first began to be used after S.M. Frank took control and is still used today.

Affordable tobacco pipes – Today Yello Bole pipes are made of both Brylon and briar and are made to be an affordable tobacco pipe for the every-man.

Today Yello Bole tobacco pipes come in eight different lines. The Brylon pipes are Ebony, Nova, Burley, Standard and Spartan series. The smoking pipes made from briar wood include Pug, Checker and Imperial lines.

Brylon pipes are generally less expensive than briar wood pipes, generally costing only a little more than a corn cob pipe. All Brylon pipes come with a push bit and scoop. The scoop helps to trap hot flakes of tobacco. It is removable for those who don’t care for this device.

I also found several pictures of the pipe online. The first is one that I include to show the look of the pipe when it was new. The second and third photos show the same model of Burley that I had found. The pipe has a jaunty look to it that catches the eye. The one I have must have been a good smoking pipe as it was heavily used.Burley6

Burley7 I scrubbed the tenon and the stinger with 0000 steel wool to remove the corrosion and grime. It did not take much scrubbing before it was shiny and clean. I cleaned out the inside of the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. There is a rubber grommet inside the end of the tenon that holds the shovel stinger tightly in place.Burley8 I reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer using the largest cutting head. I was able to get most of the cake out of the bowl. I also sanded the inside of the bowl to finish removing the buildup. It was fascinating to find some of the Yello-Bole bowl coating underneath the cake on the bottom half of the bowl.Burley9

Burley10 The next photo shows the cleaned and sanded bowl and the cleaned rubber grommet in the end of the tenon. The second photo shows the shovel inserted in the grommet.Burley11 I scrubbed the exterior of the Brylon with a cotton pad and alcohol to remove the grime and build up on the rim. With the bowl finished I worked on the stem. I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper, 400 grit wet dry sandpaper and with a fine grit sanding sponge to minimize the scratches. On both the top and the bottom side I was able to get rid of most of the tooth chatter but there were some deeper tooth dents that would need some more work.Burley12 I cleaned the surface of the stem with alcohol and then used clear super glue to fill the deeper dents on both surfaces.Burley13 I resanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper and with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to smooth out the repairs and blend them into the surface of the stem. I sanded it with a medium and a fine grit sanding sponge.Burley14 The nylon stems are a pain to work on and it takes a lot of sanding to get rid of the scratches. I wet sanded with 1500-2400 grit micromesh and paid a lot of extra attention to the repaired areas. I avoided the stamping on the stem so as not to damage that. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil and while it was still wet sanded the stem with 3200-4000 grit micromesh sanding pads. I gave it another coat of oil and sanded it with 6000-12000 grit pads.Burley15

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Burley17 I buffed the pipe and stem with Red Tripoli very lightly to raise a shine on the stem and then finished buffing it with Blue Diamond plastic polish. I gave the bowl and stem several coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean flannel buff. I finished by hand buffing it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below.Burley18

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