Tag Archives: Yello Bole

Cleaned up a Small KBB Yello Bole Sandblast Billiard

Blog by Troy Wilburn

I know what you all of you are thinking ….another Yello Bole? lol

I was just telling a friend of mine that I most likely would not be going to go after anymore Yello Bole’s for a while unless I saw another sandblast I liked. Sure enough just after that this one popped up EBay. Here is the way it looked on EBay. I thought nice pipe but it has some stem chatter that won’t be too hard to get rid of. Yello1 Well when I got it in, come to find out it wasn’t stem chatter but just some glue residue. You can see in the picture where I wiped some off with my finger.Yello2 The pipe has not been smoked much at all.Yello3 There were a few nicks and spots around the rim.Yello4 All in all, I lucked out again and got a really nice excellent condition original Yello Bole. I wiped off glue with 91% alcohol and cleaned inside stem and stinger. I sanded the stem lightly with 2500 grit.Yello5 I touched up nicks with some black acrylic. Gave the inside a quick swab with a cleaner and 91% alcohol.Yello6 I gave the pipe a good scrubbing with mineral oil and toothbrush. I wiped it dry with cotton cloth.Yello7 Quick buff and wax ….Voila finished.Yello8







Yello15 Looking up the pipe on my Kaywoodie charts I believe this to be a shape #67 Small Billiard Long Shank.Yello16 Due to its small size this will be used mostly for flakes. I have smoked a bowl of Bold Kentucky in it already and it’s a great little smoker.Yello17 I have been thinking about doing a write up on why I like KBB Yello Boles so much and add some pictures of my Yello Bole collection. Steve has also mentioned this to me. So maybe in the near future I will post the article.

Doing an interior shank repair and restemming a KBB Yello Bole Lovat

Blog by Troy Wilburn

I got this pipe from a member of Dr. Grabows Collector Forum, John McP. He hails from across the pond in Scotland. He had contacted me about a old KBB Yello Bole pipe that he had picked up that did not have a stem and wanted to know a little about it and what kind of stem it originally had. He also informed me it had an old repair of a cracked shank.

It is stamped 2079 and had the “Honey Cured Briar” under the KBB Yello Bole, which made it a pre 1936 model. I then checked my Kaywoodie charts. It’s a large bowl, long shank Lovat saddle bit. Even though the KW shape charts call it a Canadian I don’t think so because of its round shank. I’ll never consider a round shank as a Canadian.K1 I informed him that it was a nice pipe and should be a good smoker once cleaned up and a replacement stem found. Unfortunately for John the old repair was not a good one and it had made the shank weak. When John tried to fit some stems to it, a piece broke out of the shank. He asked me if I wanted it free of charge as he did not want to tackle repairing the pipe.

The pipe as John showed me before he sent it.K2 I agreed that I would see what I could do with it. Well after over a month in the mail it finally arrived and I got a good look at it and found a donor saddle bit from another Yello Bole.K3

K4 The bowl had some black scorch marks from smoking hot.K5 I was going to get this pipe blasted after repairs to help hide them and cover some dark burn marks on the bowl. After much thought I decided to restore it close as factory as I could. The possible history of this pipe was just too good to alter it. In the short time of my possession of this pipe it had already been half way around the globe. That’s just a fraction of the long life that this pipe has had over it’s at least 80-year-old life. Maybe it was taken over by an allied soldier and left behind as a gift of friendship? Maybe it was carried by an OSS agent behind German lines during the war? Maybe not but its fun to think of the possibilities.

So all the sand pits and small fills were left as is and not covered or filled. After all it’s a Yello Bole if it did not have these imperfections it would have been a Kaywoodie. The old war horse has some scars from repairs and wear. The stamping’s are quite worn but it’s a pipe someone had thought enough of to repair it once before. Hopefully it has many more years left in it.

I decided to do an inner band like Steve did on a YB I sent him for repair. I found an old metal tenon from a Grabow filter stem I had.K6 I filed out the inner shank and broken shank piece to clean up and to give the glue something to grab too.K7 After grinding the metal tenon to fit inside the shank. I cleaned up the shank and broken piece with some 91% alcohol and marked the best way it fit with a black sharpie so I know where to place it when glued.K8 I mixed up some two part epoxy and then set the inner band in the shank.K9 After it set up I got ready for the broken piece and cleaned off the Sharpie from the metal band to ensure a good bond. I put two part epoxy on the metal band then super glue on the briar edges and set the broken piece. Then I applied briar dust before the glue set. I had to work fast so no pics during this process, only before and after.K10


K12 I then sanded the repairs; the old repair had a bad high spot and took some filing.K13 I had to build up the bottom from making the old repair flush again. It was a bit lower than the stem.K14 I then filed the stem to match the shank.K15 After cleaning out the shank and bowl I noticed that all the old YB coating was gone from wear or scraped out over time. I decided to remove all the cake and address this later.K16 I then stripped off the old finish with warm water and Oxy Clean bath. I did some light scrubbing with a toothbrush and a Scotch Brite pad used on the stubborn spots. I then wet sanded repairs and bowl with various grits of wet dry paper from 600 – 2500.K17 After this I wiped the pipe several times with household bleach to lighten the dark spots and repairs so it would be harder to spot with the dye.K18 After bleach bath the pipe is ready for dye.K19 I then mixed up some dye close to original stain but slightly darker to help cover the repairs and black marks. I applied three coats.K20 Pipe dry and ready for some base wax.K21 After applying three coats of wax to lock in the dye I mixed up some homemade Yello Bole bowl coating.K22 I applied the bowl coating and found a Yello Bole paper cover from a NOS pipe I have. The cover is from an Imperial but I thought it would look nice for the pictures.K23

K24 After several more coats of wax the pipe is done. First off the repairs are not perfect and I wish I could have gotten a tighter fit with the stem. This was my first inner banding so I didn’t get the band quite as square as I should have making the stem fitting a bit difficult .The more I tried to get a tight fit the more gap I would get on one side, so I settled for a uniform gap. I’ll know better next time and should get a better fit. Here are some pics of the finished repairs.

As Steve pointed out to me on the Dr. Grabow Collectors Forum, if you flare the tube it will make it fit more squarely. I think showing your mistakes is as important as showing your successes for the next person trying to do a similar repair. So if you are doing an inner band repair soon I suggest you flare the end before you set it with epoxy.K25



K28 I did manage to save what little of the stamping’s were left.K29

K30 Pictures of whole completed pipe K31










K41 Even though this was a tough and time consuming refurbish it was quite fun and wish to thank John for sending me this old soldier to be used and enjoyed again.

An Odd Yello Bole Imperial Nosewarmer Canadian worth saving

Blog by Steve Laug

The second pipe that Troy Wilburn sent me to restem was a short Canadian with a large bowl. It was a bit of an odd pipe – no shape number and no catalogue shape that matched it. It was almost like a Canadian that had been cut off somewhere along the way. However it was sent out from the factory like this. It is stamped on the top rolling down the left side of the shank with the older KBB in a cloverleaf. Next to that it reads Yello Bole. Underneath it reads cured with real honey and an R in a circle. Underneath that is stamped Imperial in Script with small block letters reading IMPORTED BRIAR.

It came to Troy as New Old Stock or NOS – unsmoked pipe. It had a strange tenon repair that someone had made some time in its history. The tenon had broken off in the shank and rather than remove it, the decision had been made to leave it in the shank. In the first photo below you can see the broken tenon and at the end of it is the YB stinger apparatus still sitting in the shank. There was a notch taken out of the shank on the left underside near the end of the mortise and in the mortise end. The repair that had been made was to smooth out the end of the stem and insert a stainless steel rod in the stem. The rod was the same diameter as the inside of the tenon. Effectively it was like the repair I did on Troy’s other pipe. The problem with this one was the very constricted draw due to the narrow airway constricted by the tenon. With the notch in the end of the mortise the fit of the stem against the shank was also compromised. This pipe was going to be a bear to get all of the alignments straight. The airway drilled in the stem for the metal tenon was slightly off centre and a little angular. The notch in the shank would need to be corrected or removed. The fit in the shank would need to be adjusted. You can see that this NOS pipe would take a bit of creativity to reconstruct.YB1 I began the reconstruction of a new tenon by addressing the constricted airway and broken tenon in the shank of the pipe. I used a drill bit that fit well against the end of the tenon that was stuck in the shank and slowly drilled into the broken tenon. My hope was that the drill bit would catch on the material of the tenon and I would be able to back it out of the shank. It worked on the first try. The bit stuck in the bit and I reversed the direction of the drill and the broken tenon came out on the drill bit. Once it was free I was able to shake out the stinger from the airway and the shank was clear. This unsmoked pipe now had an unconstricted airway. The first part of the repair had gone off without a hitch.YB2 The next photo shows the parts that were in the shank. The broken tenon piece and the spoon shaped stinger are to the left of the end of the shank. You can also see the short metal tenon that had been inserted in the stem end.YB3 I gripped the end of the metal tenon with needle nosed pliers and wiggled it free of the stem. It had not been glued but rather heated and inserted deep in the airway of the stem. With very little effort I was able to remove the tube from the stem. The next two photos give two different views of the tenon and the end of the stem. You can see in the second photo that the airway had been drilled open to take the metal tube tenon. It would not take much to open it slightly larger to put a repair tenon in place.YB4

YB5 With the airway opened I decided to address the notch out of the end of the shank. I did this by using super glue and briar dust to build up the shank end. The trick was to keep the glue isolated to the shank end and not let it run on the finish of the shank bottom.YB6 I carefully put a few drops of glue in the notch and then packed in briar dust with a dental pick. I repeated this process until I had built up the notch slightly higher than the flat end of the shank. I then used the topping board and carefully stood the pipe against the sandpaper and slowly worked the filled area smooth with the paper. I repeated the process until the area was evenly built up and the notch was gone. There remained a little darkening at the edge of the repair on the bottom edge of the shank end but the notch was gone. Once the stem is repaired and is in place the notch will be virtually invisible. I cleaned up any of the glue bits and briar dust in the shank with the dental pick and a sharp knife.YB7


YB9 The next three photos show the shank end from different angles to show the state of the repair at this point in the process. It still needs to be cleaned up and touched up once the stem is fit in the shank, however the notch itself is virtually gone and the stem (sans tenon) sits smoothly against the shank end.YB10


YB12I decided that rather than wait for a new tenon to arrive I would make my own. I had a very small stem that I knew would work well to fashion a tenon. I used a hacksaw to cut off a portion of the stem to use for the tenon. I purposely cut it long to give me material to work with.YB13


YB15 The cut off portion is shown in the photo below. I held the smaller portion in the tip of a pair of needle nose pliers and used the Dremel with a sanding drum to bring down the larger portion to match the smaller one. I would sand until I had a vulcanite tenon that I could insert into the stem.YB16

YB17 Here is a photo of the shop “foreman” sitting in my chair while I worked on the tenon. Spencer loves to hang out with me while I work.YB18 The thinner part of the tenon in the photo below will be the part I insert in the stem once it is drilled out. The larger part will need to be turned down to fit in the mortise.YB19

YB20 I started by using a drill bit that was slightly larger than the airway that had been opened in the stem for the metal tenon. I worked my way up to a drill bit that would open the airway and deep enough to take the new tenon and provide stability.YB21 When I had drilled the opening in the stem as large as I could, given the taper of the stem I needed to take down the diameter of the replacement tenon I had made. I used a Dremel to take off the excess material to reduce it to the same size as the stem opening. Once I got close in diameter with the Dremel I hand sanded it to fit.YB22

YB23 When the tenon end fit snugly in the stem, I squared off the end of the tenon and then superglued it in place in the stem. I coated the tenon with the glue and pressed it into place. The tenon itself would also need to be turned to fit the shank of the pipe.YB24 I used the Dremel and sanding drum to sand down the tenon and then used sand paper to get a snug fit.YB25 Once it fit well I polished it with fine grit sanding sponges and micromesh.YB26 The fit in shank was good and snug. It was at this point that the alignment issues became clear. I would need to do some work on the shank to clean up the repair and also get a good transition from the shank to the stem. The fit on the topside was slightly high and the fit on the underside was a little low. I needed to sand the shank anyway to clean up the repaired notch on the underside so to sand it a bit more was not an issue.YB28 I sanded the shank and stem with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the transition between the two and to give a better flow to the taper on the stem.YB28



YB31 I sanded the stem and shank with a medium and a fine grit sanding block to make the transition smooth and remove the scratches left behind by the sandpaper.YB32



YB35 Once the transition was smooth I sanded the briar with micromesh sanding pads from 2400-4000 grit and then used the Guardsman brand stain pens to stain the shank. I used the lightest stain pen first and finished with the medium stain pen. Once it dried I buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond to raise the shine on the shank and to even out the stain.YB36

YB37 I sanded the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12,000 grit pads. I buffed the stem with White Diamond and Blue Diamond and then buff the shank with the same once again.YB38


YB40 I buffed the stem and the shank with Blue Diamond on the wheel and then gave the pipe several coats of carnauba wax. I finished by buffing it with a soft flannel buffing pad. The finished pipe is shown below.YB41



YB44 The next two photos show a close up of the fit of the stem to the shank. I am pleased with the way it turned out.YB45

YB46 The last two photos are of a regular sized Yello Bole Canadian (top pipe) and the little nose warmer (bottom pipe). I put these together to give a bit of perspective. The bowl on the nose warmer is larger and the shank is definitely shorter.YB47

YB48 Thanks Troy for the challenge on this little Canadian. It was a pleasure to work on it. Each time I work on putting a new tenon on a pipe I learn something new. This time around, between the new tenon on the billiard, the insert in the cracked shank and the new tenon on this little one I had a good week in pipe school. They will soon be on their way back to you Troy. I hope they smoke well and you enjoy them.

Restoring an Old Yello Bole 2033 Apple

Blog by Troy Wilburn

This is the other pipe I got with the Doc Watson. Both came from the same owner estate sale – an old gentleman that had them has since passed on to glory. The two pipes have been together longer than I have been alive. It’s an early Yello Bole in that it has the Imported Bruyere stamp but no “Honey Cured Briar” along with the 2033 four digit shape stamp. I’m guessing 1930 – 1933 roughly.

The pipe as it was when I got it.YB1



YB4 I started out by removing most of the cake, then sanding inner bowl with some rough grit paper leaving a thin coat of cake.YB5 Next I cleaned out inner shank and stem with 91% alcohol. On these large airway YBs I like to twist 2-3 shank brushes together for better scrubbing. I also scrubbed outer stem with 91% alcohol and a Scotch Brite pad to remove grease, oil, wax etc.YB6 This is easiest way I’ve found to remove rim cake. I mix up some Oxy Clean and warm water. Dip a piece of Scotch Brite pad in it leaving it not quite dripping wet. Lay it flat on surface and move rim along lightly. It takes it off pretty fast and will not harm under finish if you are trying to save it. It will leave it discolored but a little mineral oil will bring the color back to original.YB7

YB8Next I went ahead and scrubbed bowl and stem with same pad and Oxy Clean solution. It will remove contaminants and not hurt the finish just dull it. It will remove any light oxidation from stem that might be present. I scrub the stem harder than the bowl.YB9 Next I went ahead and scrubbed bowl and stem with same pad and Oxy Clean solution. It will remove contaminants and not hurt the finish just dull it. It will remove any light oxidation from stem that might be present. I scrub the stem harder than the bowl. After getting a good look at the bowl after old dirt and such was removed the finish looks toasted. Sadly it cannot be saved.

So I went ahead and sanded bowl with 400-2000 grit sandpaper. Never touching the stampings with any grit sandpaper less than 1200 grit. I will leave a defect or mark near a stamping just so it won’t be harmed.YB10 Luckily the stain I had left over from the Doc Watson was a good match so I was able to use it. I applied three coats letting in dry in between.YB11 After third coat of stain I like to apply mineral oil to help the grain stand out and condition the briar. The mineral oil lets you see any defects in the finish and what the bowl will look like when waxed. I set it to the side and let it air dry.YB12 I had to do some filing on the stem and button to remove some tooth marks.YB13 If you noticed in before pic the stem did not fit tight to the shank, so I filed down tenon a little at a time until it fit tight.YB14

YB15 I wet sanded the stem again using 400-2000 grit sandpaper.YB16 I put the bowl and stem back together and it is ready for some buffing and wax.YB17 On bowls I’ve stained I put about 3 coats of base wax then go back over with white Tripoli then go back to wax .

On the stems I use brown Tripoli, white Tripoli and then wax.YB18 Here are pics of the finished pipe.YB19






YB25 It was missing a stinger so I dug out an extra I had and cleaned it up.YB26




YB30 It should make a fine daily smoker and better than most any pipe I could buy today for under a 100 dollars. I have less than 12 dollars in it.YB31

Bringing a Yello Bole Pot back to Life

Blog by Andrew Selking

Anyone who reads my previous postings know that I have a fondness for early KB&B pipes. Since the briar used in Yello Bole pipes was generally inferior to those used in Kaywoodies, most Yello Bole pipes are smaller. This was a work around for defects found in the briar. I saw this Yello Bole pot and was intrigued. It’s a full size pipe. Here is the seller’s picture.YB1 When the pipe arrived, the stem was nearly perfect with the original stinger intact (not that I planned to leave it there). The bowl looked decent with a minimal amount of tar on the rim and very light cake. I dropped the bowl into the alcohol bath and soaked the stem in Oxyclean.

I noticed the first indication of trouble when I pulled the bowl out for reaming: it had a heavy varnish coating. That’s usually a sign that the pipe maker wanted to hide imperfections in the wood.


I quickly reamed the bowl then broke out the 0000 steel wool and acetone to remove the varnish.


I’ve seen some pits in briar before, but this is the first time I’ve encountered a pit so deep that I gave it a name. I named it the pit of despair. Here’s the picture before I removed the pink putty.


Here’s the pit of despair fully revealed. My dental pick had a good ¼ of an inch of room to explore.


Even with the pit I still liked the pipe and decided to fix it anyway. I filed a good amount of briar dust from a broken shank onto a piece of paper. The paper makes it easier to collect the briar dust. Or you could do like Steve and just have a big jar of briar dust.YB6 I packed the pit and added super glue followed by accelerator.YB7 After applying the super glue and accelerator, I had to add briar dust two more times. This was the final result.YB8 In addition to the pit of despair, there were three minor pits on the front of the bowl and two deep pits on the bottom of the shank near the juncture of the stem. I finally got the exterior of the pipe sorted out and turned my attention to the insides.
I did my retort on the bowl.YB9 There was some gunk on the brush, but the stinger did a decent job keeping the shank clean.YB10 After a few passes with the brush dipped in alcohol, I moved on to q-tips. Not a terribly dirty pipe.YB11 Next I retorted the stem. I anticipated it would be dirty, since stingers tend to make pipes smoke wet. I retorted it three times to be safe and had an easy time cleaning the remaining tar.YB12


YB14I next turned my attention to removing the oxidization from the stem. I used 400 wet/dry with water and my sanding wedge, followed by 1500-2400 grit micro mesh pads with water.YB15 I polished both the bowl and stem with a progression of micro mesh pads, 1500-12,000 in preparation for final finish. I used my rotary tool with white diamond, followed by carnauba wax on the stem. I have to say this will be the new standard from now on.YB16 I decided to use Pimo Pipe Supply’s dark walnut stain on the bowl. This would give me a fighting chance to cover the pit repairs while still allowing the grain to show. It turned out better than I expected. I now have a very classy looking short pot. I also had the chance to try extreme pit repair. Even though this pipe had several pits, the briar still had nice grain. This one is a keeper.YB17










The Resurrection of an old KBB Yello-Bole Premier Panel

Blog by Steve Laug

In a recent trade with Andrew Selking I received an older KBB Yello Bole Paneled billiard. When I removed it from the box there was something about the older KBB Panel that grabbed my attention. It was stamped on the left side of the shank with the familiar KBB logo and the Yello-Bole next to it. Underneath that it bore the stamp Reg. US Pat. Off. Directly below that was stamped Premier over Cured with Real Honey. The pipe had been repaired at some time in its ragged existence with what appeared to be a homemade repair job. The tenon had broken somewhere along the line and a previous owner had drilled out the stem and used a piece of stainless steel tubing to make a new tenon. The metal tenon was stuck in the shank of the pipe and the stem just sat loosely on it. The fit of the stem to the shank was off with the stem sitting high and to the right. The previous owner had tried to compensate for the off centered stem by sanding flat spots on the stem sides and bottom that broke the smooth lines of the square shank and stem. There were two small hairline cracks on the shank – top right and bottom left that would need to be repaired once the tenon was removed. The bowl was out of round with damage to the inner edge of the rim and a tarry build-up on the surface. The outer edge rim crown of the bowl was also compromised and would need some work. The stem was not too badly oxidized but it had tooth marks on the top and bottom near the button.YB1


YB3 Background Information
I wrote about the history of the KBB stamped Yello-Bole Pipes. The following link will give you the details: https://rebornpipes.com/2014/07/21/renewing-an-old-kbb-yello-bole-honey-cured-briar-billiard/
Yello-Bole pipes are one of my favorite older US brands doing the research would be enjoyable. As with other early brands made in the states I have found that older is better. A KBB in a cloverleaf stamp will date them back to the ’30’s. I have found through my reading that the 4 digit shape numbers are older than 2 digit ones. The pipes with the logo on top of the stem are older than ones that have them on the side. That is just some of the information that I found with a cursory read through the forums and a variety of websites.

The SM Frank website http://www.smfrankcoinc.com/home/?page_id=2 gives a wealth of historical information on Kaywoodies, Yello-Boles and the merger between KBB and SM Frank and later Demuth. It was a great read and I would encourage others to give the website a read. I also wanted to find some help in dating my old Yello-Bole Pipes and I came across this link to the Kaywoodie Forum: http://kaywoodie.myfreeforum.org/archive/dating-yello-bole-pipes__o_t__t_86.html . I am including some of the information I found there as it gives the only information that I found in my hunt to this point.
“…there isn’t a lot of dating information for Yello-Bole pipes but here is what I have learned so far.

– If it has the KBB stamped in the clover leaf it was made 1955 or earlier as they stopped the stamping after being acquired by S.M. Frank.
– From 1933-1936 they were stamped Honey Cured Briar.
– Pipes stems stamped with the propeller logo they were made in the 30s or 40s no propellers were used after the 40s.
– Yello-Bole also used a 4 digit code stamped on the pipe in the 30s.
– If the pipe had the Yello-Bole circle stamped on the shank it was made in the 30s this stopped after 1939.
– If the pipe was stamped BRUYERE rather than briar it was made in the 30s.”
Given the above information I discovered that the pipe I was working on was made sometime between 1930 and 1940. Thus it was an early Yello-Bole from the 1930s or 40s.

Restoration Process

I took the stem off the bowl and tried to remove the inserted metal tenon. It was firmly stuck in place and I could not move it even with pliers. I put the bowl in the freezer overnight hoping that the cold would contract the metal and briar differently (as is the case with the varied material and density). In the morning I took it out of the freezer and was able to turn the tenon out of the shank with pliers. Once it was removed it was clear to see that it had not been glued in the shank but merely stuck with the tars and oils of the tobacco in the shank.YB4 I found a threaded Delrin tenon in my box of tenon parts and it was a workable replacement for the metal tenon. I tapped the drilled out hole in the stem and screwed the threaded tenon into the hole. It was a perfect fit. I removed it once again and put some glue on the threads and screwed it into place and let the glue set. The diameter of the tenon would need to be adjusted as it was too big for the mortise. This was actually ideal in that I would be able to adjust the fit against the shank on the sides and the top. The bottom of the shank would take work to make a smooth transition.YB5





YB10 I sanded the tenon with a Dremel and sanding drum to remove the excess Delrin. I hand sanded it with 180 grit and 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out and fine tune the fit. I spread the hairline cracks with a dental pick and dripped superglue along the cracks and pressed them together until the glue set.YB11 The stem fit in the shank nicely. The photos below show the damage that had been done to the stem in the previous repair. It is especially visible in the photos of the pipe from the side and the bottom. The stem had been modified to the misfit of the previous tenon so work would need to be done to realign the fit against the end of the shank.YB12





YB17 I sanded the bottom, top and right side of the shank until the transition between the briar and the vulcanite was smooth. The left side was touchier in that I did not want to damage the stamping. I sanded this area while covering the stamping. The trick was to smooth out the transition without making a drastic dip in the briar – it just needed to be re-tapered until it flowed naturally into the stem. Sanding the top of the stem also took care as it had the insert of the white propeller. Too much sanding on the top would damage and compromise the insert. The photos below show the newly sanded and tapered shank/stem. I sanded with 220 grit sandpaper, medium and fine grit sanding sponges and a fine grit sanding block. I sanded the rim and curves of the rim with the same sandpapers. I folded a piece of 220 grit sandpaper and worked on the out of round bowl to clean it up as much as possible.YB18



YB21 I wiped the bowl and shank down with acetone on a cotton pad to remove the finish from the bowl.YB22



YB25 I cleaned out the bowl and shank with isopropyl alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I cleaned out the stem as well at the same time. I sanded the bite marks on the top and bottom of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to minimize the damage and remove the tooth chatter. There were still some tooth marks that needed to be repaired.YB26




YB30 I scrubbed the areas around the bite marks with alcohol to clean the sanding dust and grit from around them. I then used black superglue to fill the bite marks and sprayed it with and activator/accelerator to harden it.YB31



YB34 When it dried I sanded the filled areas with 220 grit sandpaper to level them out with the surface of the stem. I sanded the stem with a medium and fine grit sanding sponge and a fine grit sanding block to further blend the patches into the stem surface. In the next two photos the patches are blended into the stem but the blackness of the super glue and the blackness of the unpolished stem do not match so they show up as spots on the stem.YB35

YB36 I stained the bowl and shank with a medium brown aniline stain thinned 50/50 with isopropyl alcohol. I wanted a medium brown wash to highlight the grain and show contrast in the finish. The wash provided just what I was looking for.YB37




YB41 I sanded the stem further with fine grit sanding blocks and also sanded the flat areas on the transition between the shank and stem to work towards a more seamless look. The next photos show the smooth transition and the smooth stem. The patches are fading more into the vulcanite of the stem as well at this point in the process.YB42

YB43 I moved on to sand the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12,000 grit pads. I rubbed down the stem between each set of three pads with Obsidian Oil and then continued sanding. I have found that sanding the stem while the oil is freshly applied allows the grit on the pads to cut into the finish and raise a shine.YB44


YB46The next two photos show the finished stem. After the final sanding I rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil and let it soak in before polishing it with the buffer. I gave it several coats of carnauba wax. The patches on the stem by this point are fully blended into the vulcanite and cannot be identified.YB47

YB48 The next photo shows the reworked inner edge of the rim to show my repairs on the out of round bowl. I sanded until it was as close to round as I could get it by hand. I bevelled the inner edge of the bowl with the sandpaper to make the transition smooth.YB49 The finished pipe is shown below. Thanks to Andrew for sending me this challenge. I really enjoyed bringing this old timer back to life. It will occupy a special spot in my older American pipe maker collection and join my other KBB Yello-Boles as favourites that I enjoy smoking. I buffed it with White Diamond and gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax and finished by buffing it with a soft flannel buffing pad to raise the shine. All that remains is to sit back and enjoy a bowl of an aged Virginia tobacco and read a good story!YB50




A Sweet KBB Yello-Bole Honey Cured Bulldog – Robert M. Boughton

Guest Blog by Robert M. Boughton
Member, North American Society of Pipe Collectors
Photos © the Author

You can’t stop us on the road to freedom
You can’t stop us ’cause our eyes can see
Men with insight, men in granite
Knights in armor intent on chivalry
She’s as sweet as Tupelo honey
She’s an angel of the first degree
She’s as sweet as Tupelo honey

Just like honey, baby, from the bee — Van Morrison, Northern Irish singer-songwriter-musician, “Tupelo Honey” (1971)

As my good friend and mentor, Chuck Richards, commented at a recent gathering of local enjoyers of the fair tobacco pipe in general, Kaufman Brothers & Bondy created the Yello-Bole line in 1932 as a less expensive alternative to its regular stable of Kaywoodie, Reiss-Premier and of course KB&B pipes.

Now the name Yello-Bole is synonymous with the terms second-rate and, worse still, just cheap, as though the measure of a good smoke were ever determined by its price. [See, for example, Peterson’s late great and noble attempt in years gone by to make pipes affordable to the Everyman.]

But its older products, such as the KBB Yello-Bole Imperial Bulldog of this discourse, “Cured with Real Honey” and with the KBB in a clover, as well as a tell-tale encircled “I” on the stem (might it be ambera?) – although crafted with briar deemed unsuitable for the older brothers of the family – nevertheless was still made from higher quality pieces of that fine wood than is, in general if ever, available today.

Also, the KBB Yello-Bole Imperial Bulldog is a definite vintage specimen (another present day determinant of value), based on the four key signs contained on the pipe, which date it to anywhere from the 1930s to the 1950s.Rob1








Rob9 Beginning with the rim, I removed most of the blackening with a quick rub of purified water, and the rest except for one small, pernicious burn with a light touch of super fine steel wool that left no new scratches but also made clear the blemishes that were already present. Rob10 I sanded the rim with 400-grit paper and micro-meshed with 1500, 2400 and 3600 grades. I later succeeded in removing the one remaining burn mark shown below.Rob11 Moving on to the chamber, I was startled when most of the cake crumbled from the walls with a couple of turns of the reamer. Still more shocking was the sudden appearance of a thin coat of the original yellow product of honey curing. I knew I had a rare find and wondered at the short-term but intense enjoyment of the pipe that could have led to more than average cake but left the prominent yellowing intact. The rest of the cake came clean with gentle 400-grit sanding.

Staying with the 400-grit paper to remove scratches and dings on the beautiful briar, I lightened the color still more and found a few fills and other grain flaws that accounted for why this finely shaped bulldog didn’t end up with, say, a Kaywoodie stamp.Rob12



Rob15 Using micromesh at an escalation from 1500 to 2400 and 3600 grades eliminated the remaining scratches.

The cleaning of this pipe was achieved with refreshing ease and the expenditure of few bristly cleaners soaked in Everclear.

In a difficult choice, I decided to re-stain the briar with a medium as opposed to the original light brown color. I applied Lincoln boot stain and flamed the alcohol out before removing the char with 2400 micromesh and smoothing it out using 3600.

To polish the prepped pipe, I used red and white Tripoli, White Diamond and carnauba, and after rubbing the wood with a cotton rag saw it needed another round on all of the buffers except the red Tripoli.

I finished the stem with red and white Tripoli before White Diamond.Rob16




This was a very pleasant and relaxing restoration, in particular following my Ben Wade and the Chamber of Horrors brush with terror.

Tonight and tomorrow (Wednesday and Thursday), before the monthly official meeting of my pipe club at the local Moose Lodge, I will attempt to power through as many of the easier prospects as possible from my recent online purchase spree. The highlights include what I believe is a Comoy’s Smooth Bent Satin Matt Short Brandy #1770 (Made in London in a circle); a Kaywoodie Silhouette Bent Rusticated Squat Apple; a Kaywoodie Smooth Bent Signet Billiard; an Ehrlich Rusticated Straight Billiard; a LHS Park Lane Smooth Straight Poker; a Reinhard’s Smooth Straight Billiard; an Amadeus Greek Bent Billiard; a Parker Tall Tan Straight Poker; a unique small Town and Country Round-Bottom Straight Squat Rhodesian; a no-name Gourd Calabash Meerschaum Lined; a trio of old Missouri Meerschaum corncobs…and another KBB Yello-Bole, this one a Straight Four-Panel, also with the KBB in a clover but a yellow circle on the stem.

The first person to post a response challenging my ability to pull off the restorations/refurbishes of the above pipes before tomorrow night, and willing to bet a free pipe from the loser to the winner, is on for the bet. I will post before and after shots in a blog on my business Website, noted at the top of this submission, by 9:00 p.m. MDT (U.S.) tomorrow.

Our host, I trust, will vouch for my honesty in this type of wager.