Tag Archives: YSC Pipes

New Life for an Yves St. Claude Domino 10 Canadian


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from an online auction in 2020 from Meridian, Idaho, USA. It is a unique looking smooth Canadian unlike any pipe that I have seen or worked on in the past. The left side of the pipe was a dress black and the right side being medium brown stained briar. The stem is also tan on the left side and black on the right side. It had a mix of nice grain around the right side of the bowl and shank. The finish was a bit rough in that the bowl had nicks in the left side and there was a large crack on the top left of the shank that had spread open. There was grime on the surface of the briar. This pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Yves St. Claude [over] Domino in gold stamping. On the underside of shank it has the shape number 10 and just ahead of the stem/shank union it was stamped with a Made in France circular COM stamp. The bowl had a thick cake and a thick coat of lava had overflowed onto the rim top. It was a dirty pipe. There was a stylized YSC stamped on the top left side of the stem. There were some tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the stem near the button. There was a bite through next to the button on the underside of the stem. The button surface itself was misshapen. Jeff took photos of the pipe before his cleanup. He took photos of the rim top to show the condition of the top and edges of the bowl. It is a beautiful lightly smoked pipe with a carbonized bowl coating. The stem had light tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. He took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the grain around the bowl and the condition of the pipe. It is a very unique looking pipe. He took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above. He also took photos of the YSC stamp on the left top side of the taper stem. The next photos show that large wide open crack in the shank on the top side (primarily in the black half of the shank). There was a lot of tar and oil seepage in that area as can be seen in the next two photos. I turned first to a blog I had written on the restoration of previous YSC pipe that I received (https://rebornpipes.com/2020/04/23/next-on-the-table-an-yves-st-claude-marbre-75-bulldog/). I quote what I learned about the brand in that blog below.

In the previous blog that I cited above I had found several references to Yves Grenard, trained in Comoy’s England factory, purchasing the Chacom plant in St. Claude. He managed the factory and it passed on to his son afterward. I am pretty certain that this Yves St. Claude pipes was made by Chacom in France with the stamping bearing Yves name.

I turned back to Pipephil’s site to have a look at what was listed there and did a screen capture of the section (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-y.html).I turned to Pipedia and in the listing of French Brands and Maker I found a connection of the brand to Chapuis-Comoy and that the YSC brand was made primarily for Tinder Box (https://pipedia.org/wiki/French_Pipe_Brands_%26_Makers_U_-_Z). I followed that up by turning to the Chapuis-Comoy article from Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Chapuis-Comoy).

French factory, in St. Claude. It began with Francois Comoy who, in 1825, was making pipes in boxwood and other types, as well as in clay, for the armies of Napoleon. In 1856, the Comoy factory was the first to produce briar bowls at St. Claude. In 1870, Francois’s grandson, Henri Comoy (1850-1924) was taken prisoner in Switzerland whilst serving in the French army during the Franco-Prussian war, where he found his cousins, the Chapuis. This meeting produced the idea of an association, which only became a reality in 1922, with the creation of Chapuis-Comoy. After Henri’s death, his sons Paul and Adrien, took over the company with the support of their cousins, Emile and Louis Chapuis Sr., and in 1928 they created the Chacom brand.

In 1932, due to the economic crisis at Saint-Claude, the factory merged with La Bruyère, adopting that name, and becoming one of the biggest pipe companies in the world, with 450 workers. Louis Chapuis Jr., joined the company in 1938 and Pierre Comoy in 1947. The name Chapuis-Comoy returned in 1957 (125 workers), due to the success of the Chacom brand in France. In 1971, the London factory (see Comoy’s) became independent, and Yves Grenard, second cousin to Pierre, took over Saint-Claude, and is still running it. Between 1987 and 2001, the factory, which employed over 40 people, joined the Cuty-Fort Enterprises SA holding and, in 1994, included the Ropp brand it its catalog.

Reminded about the Chacom connection for the YSC brand it was now time to turn to the pipe itself and do my part of the work. As usual Jeff had done a thorough cleanup on the pipe. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He was also able to get rid of the tarry build up on the outside and inside of the cracked shank. He rinsed it under running water. One of the benefits of this scrub is that it also tends to lift some of the scratches and nicks in the surface of the briar. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He cleaned the internals and externals of the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. He soaked the stem in Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water and cleaned out the airway in the stem with alcohol. Other than the small nicks and the cracked shank the pipe looked good.   I took a photo of the rim top and stem to show the condition. The rim top and the inner edge of the bowl were in good condition. The divided colour on it made it a difficult rim to top or change so I would have to look at other options. The stem could be acrylic but I am uncertain. The heavy tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button and on the button edges as well as the bite through will make the cleanup and repair of the stem problematic and complicated. The stamping on the left side and underside of the shank is clear and readable as noted above. The COM stamp is damaged from the poorly done repairs to the cracked shank.     I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. It is a unique looking Canadian and I am looking forward to seeing what I can do with it.I started working on the pipe by addressing the cracked shank. Unfortunately the tars and oils had stained the natural briar shank with dark spots on the top and underside where the colours came together. I squeezed the crack together and heated a thin brass band with the flame of a lighter and pressed in place on the shank end. The fit was very tight and it pulled the crack together tightly. I filled in the crack with clear CA glue and briar dust to build it up and make it even with the rest of the shank.    I put the stem on the shank to see what the pipe would look like with the addition of the band. I have to say that I really like the dressy look of the pipe with the band!  I used a black stain pen to touch up the damaged areas on both top and underside of the shank to help blend in the repair. It looks much better in the photos below even though there is still along ways to go.   To remove the shiny varnish coat on the smooth briar side of the bowl and shank I sanded it with micromesh sanding pads, dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads and wiping it down with damp cloth after each sanding pad. I decided to leave the dress black side alone preferring to leave the small nicks on the bowl surface rather than trying to match them to the black of the bowl finish.   I touched up the gold stamping with Rub’n Buff Antique Gold. I rubbed it on to the stamp on the briar with my finger tip and worked it in to the stamp with a tooth pick. I buffed it off with a soft cloth. The stamp is readable and clear.    I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Balm did its magic and the grain stood out on the natural finished part and the dress black portion look shiny and nice.  I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem. I greased a pipe cleaner with Vaseline and inserted it in the stem below the bit through. Once I had it situated I had a decision to make. The bite through was centered on the underside of the stem surface evenly split between tan and black. I decided to do the repair with clear CA glue hoping that it would pick up the colour of the underlying material. In the best case scenarios it works very well. In this case it went a bit crazy. The repairs cured over both areas in a milky white colour! Fortunately I overfilled the repairs so I was hoping that once I filled them and sanded them the repair would at least be less noticeable.   While the repair hardened I used a black Sharpie Pen to restain the YSC stamp on the top of the taper stem. It was in the tan area so I was hesitant but did it anyway. Once I had it in place I sanded the stem surface with 1500 grit micromesh to remove the excess stain and it cam out really well.I used a small file to reshape the button, cut the sharp edge and flatten out the repairs. It worked amazingly well. The topside was perfect and the bit through was far better than I expected. I sanded the repaired areas with 220 grit sandpaper blend them into the surrounding surface of the stem and started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.  I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. The photo below shows the polished stem. You can see that the top repair came out very well. The repair on the underside is better than it was when I started but you can clearly see the repair.     This nice smooth finished Yves St. Claude Domino 10 Canadian with a black and tan taper stem even with the visible repairs and banded shank still is a great looking pipe. The rich medium brown finish on the right half of the pipe and the dress black finish on the left half works well with the split black and tan stem. The briar is clean and really came alive. The rich natural finish gave the grain on the right side a sense of depth with the polishing and waxing. The painted dress black left side also looks good. The repairs on the stem are solid yet visible on the underside due to the dual colour of the stem (I have yet to figure out a tan colour fill). I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished YSC Domino Canadian is a beauty and feels great in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch.The weight of the pipe is 1.69 ounces/48 grams. This pipe will soon be on the French Pipe Makers section of the rebornpipes store if you are interested in adding it to your rack. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

This Beat up Yves St. Claude Interlude 96 Pocket Pipe Needs an Interlude


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from a fellow in Brazil, Indiana, USA earlier this year. It is a small pocket pipe with flat sides and an oval shank. There is some nice grain on the bowl and there is carved pattern on the back side of the bowl. The rim top is pretty beat up and has some ground in grime and lava build up. The inner edge of the rim is in rough shape and there is damage and burn marks on the outer edge as well. The finish on the bowl is very worn and dirty but there is still something intriguing about the pipe even with the grime on the surface of the briar. There is a large shrunken fill on the left side of the heel of the bowl. This pipe is stamped on the topside of the shank and reads Yves St. Claude [over] Interlude. On the underside of shank it has the shape number 96 followed by the Made in France circular COM stamp. There was a stylized YSC stamped on the top of the oval saddle stem. The pipe is heavily smoked with a moderate cake in the bowl that has been poorly reamed. There were some tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the stem near the button. The pipe is in a condition that is a challenge to bring back to life. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup. He took photos of the rim top to show the condition of the top and edges of the bowl. It is a heavily smoked and well worn older pipe that must have been someone’s favourite. The stem had tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button.He took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the interesting grain around the bowl and the condition of the pipe. He also captured the carving on the back of the bowl. It is a unique looking pipe. He took a photo of the shrunken fill on the left side of the heel of the bowl. It was a large fill that had chipped and left a pit.He took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above. He also took photos of the YSC stamp on the left side and Hand Cut on the right side of the taper stem.   I turned first to a blog I had written on the restoration of previous YSC pipe that I received (https://rebornpipes.com/2020/04/23/next-on-the-table-an-yves-st-claude-marbre-75-bulldog/).

In the previous blog that I cited above I had found several references to Yves Grenard, trained in Comoy’s England factory, purchasing the Chacom plant in St. Claude. He managed the factory and it passed on to his son afterward. The shape of this Yves St. Claude pipe makes me believe that it may have been made by Chacom in France with the stamping bearing Yves name.

I turned back to Pipephil’s site to have a look at what was listed there and did a screen capture of the section (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-y.html).I turned to Pipedia and in the listing of French Brands and Maker I found a connection of the brand to Chapuis-Comoy and that the YSC brand was made primarily for Tinder Box (https://pipedia.org/wiki/French_Pipe_Brands_%26_Makers_U_-_Z). I followed that up by turning to the Chapuis-Comoy article from Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Chapuis-Comoy).

French factory, in St. Claude. It began with Francois Comoy who, in 1825, was making pipes in boxwood and other types, as well as in clay, for the armies of Napoleon. In 1856, the Comoy factory was the first to produce briar bowls at St. Claude. In 1870, Francois’s grandson, Henri Comoy (1850-1924) was taken prisoner in Switzerland whilst serving in the French army during the Franco-Prussian war, where he found his cousins, the Chapuis. This meeting produced the idea of an association, which only became a reality in 1922, with the creation of Chapuis-Comoy. After Henri’s death, his sons Paul and Adrien, took over the company with the support of their cousins, Emile and Louis Chapuis Sr., and in 1928 they created the Chacom brand.

In 1932, due to the economic crisis at Saint-Claude, the factory merged with La Bruyère, adopting that name, and becoming one of the biggest pipe companies in the world, with 450 workers. Louis Chapuis Jr., joined the company in 1938 and Pierre Comoy in 1947. The name Chapuis-Comoy returned in 1957 (125 workers), due to the success of the Chacom brand in France. In 1971, the London factory (see Comoy’s) became independent, and Yves Grenard, second cousin to Pierre, took over Saint-Claude, and is still running it. Between 1987 and 2001, the factory, which employed over 40 people, joined the Cuty-Fort Enterprises SA holding and, in 1994, included the Ropp brand it its catalog.

Reminded about the Chacom connection for the YSC brand it was now time to turn to the pipe itself and do my part of the work. As usual Jeff had done a thorough cleanup on the pipe. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water. One of the benefits of this scrub is that it also tends to lift some of the scratches and nicks in the surface of the briar. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He cleaned the internals and externals of the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. He soaked the stem in Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water and cleaned out the airway in the stem with alcohol. Other than the damaged rim top and edges the pipe looked good. Strangely, I did not notice I had put the stem on upside down until I looked through these pictures. I have the YSC stamp on the underside of the stem rather than the top! Oops. I will fix that.I took a photo of the rim top and stem to show the condition (though it is a little blurry it is clear enough to see the damage). The edges of the bowl are in rough condition. The oval vulcanite saddle stem had tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button and on the edges. The stamping on the sides of the shank is faint but readable as noted above.       I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. It is unique looking pipe that is carved with a notch for the thumb of either hand when it is wrapped around the bowl. I started working on the pipe by topping the damaged rim top on a topping board with 180 grit wet dry sandpaper. I wanted to minimize the damage to the rim top and the inner and outer edges as much as possible. I used a folded piece of 180 grit sandpaper to clean up the inner edge and give it a slight bevel. I repaired the flaw on the left side of the heel of the bowl with briar dust and super glue. Once it dried I sanded it smooth with 220 grit sandpaper to blend it into the surrounding briar.  I sanded it with micromesh sanding pads, wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads and wiping it down with an alcohol dampened pad after each sanding pad. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Balm did its magic and the grain stood out.   I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem. I touched up the YSC stamp on the top of the saddle stem with Antique Gold Rub’n Buff working it into the stamp with a tooth pick. I buffed it off with a soft cloth.   I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. The photo below shows the polished stem. This nice smooth finished Yves St. Claude Interlude 96 Pocket Pipe with a vulcanite saddle stem is a great looking pipe. The rich medium brown finish and the black stem work really well together. The briar is clean and really came alive. The rich medium brown stain gave the grain a sense of depth with the polishing and waxing. The grain really popped. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished YSC Interlude Pocket Pipe is a beauty and feels great in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 4 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches wide x 1 ½ inches long, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 36 grams/1.27 ounces. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. I will be adding to the French Pipe Makers section of the rebornpipes store shortly. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.

New Life for an Yves St. Claude French Connection 83 White Stemmed Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from an online auction in Ottawa, Illinois, USA. It is a nice looking smooth bent billiard with a white pearlized bent stem. It had a mix of nice grain around the bowl and shank. It has a taper variegated silver acrylic military bit stem. The shank and the stem have and inset black bar that makes aligning the stem and shank a simple proposition. The finish on the bowl is in great condition with a coat of shiny varnish over the light tan coloured stain that makes the pipe shine. The pipe has some grime on the surface of the briar. This pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Yves St. Claude [over] French Connection. On the right side of shank it has the shape number 83 followed by the Made in France circular COM stamp. There was a stylized YSC stamped on the left side of the shank. The pipe is lightly smoked with no cake in the bowl and minimal tars and oils in the stem airway. There were some very light tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the stem near the button. The pipe is in excellent condition. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup. He took photos of the rim top to show the condition of the top and edges of the bowl. It is a beautiful lightly smoked pipe with a carbonized bowl coating. The stem had light tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. He took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the grain around the bowl and the condition of the pipe. It is a great looking pipe.   He took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above. He also took photos of the YSC stamp on the left side and Hand Cut on the right side of the taper stem. I turned first to a blog I had written on the restoration of previous YSC pipe that I received (https://rebornpipes.com/2020/04/23/next-on-the-table-an-yves-st-claude-marbre-75-bulldog/).

In the previous blog that I cited above I had found several references to Yves Grenard, trained in Comoy’s England factory, purchasing the Chacom plant in St. Claude. He managed the factory and it passed on to his son afterward. I am pretty certain that this Yves St. Claude pipes was made by Chacom in France with the stamping bearing Yves name.

I turned back to Pipephil’s site to have a look at what was listed there and did a screen capture of the section (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-y.html).I turned to Pipedia and in the listing of French Brands and Maker I found a connection of the brand to Chapuis-Comoy and that the YSC brand was made primarily for Tinder Box (https://pipedia.org/wiki/French_Pipe_Brands_%26_Makers_U_-_Z). I followed that up by turning to the Chapuis-Comoy article from Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Chapuis-Comoy).

French factory, in St. Claude. It began with Francois Comoy who, in 1825, was making pipes in boxwood and other types, as well as in clay, for the armies of Napoleon. In 1856, the Comoy factory was the first to produce briar bowls at St. Claude. In 1870, Francois’s grandson, Henri Comoy (1850-1924) was taken prisoner in Switzerland whilst serving in the French army during the Franco-Prussian war, where he found his cousins, the Chapuis. This meeting produced the idea of an association, which only became a reality in 1922, with the creation of Chapuis-Comoy. After Henri’s death, his sons Paul and Adrien, took over the company with the support of their cousins, Emile and Louis Chapuis Sr., and in 1928 they created the Chacom brand.

In 1932, due to the economic crisis at Saint-Claude, the factory merged with La Bruyère, adopting that name, and becoming one of the biggest pipe companies in the world, with 450 workers. Louis Chapuis Jr., joined the company in 1938 and Pierre Comoy in 1947. The name Chapuis-Comoy returned in 1957 (125 workers), due to the success of the Chacom brand in France. In 1971, the London factory (see Comoy’s) became independent, and Yves Grenard, second cousin to Pierre, took over Saint-Claude, and is still running it. Between 1987 and 2001, the factory, which employed over 40 people, joined the Cuty-Fort Enterprises SA holding and, in 1994, included the Ropp brand it its catalog.

Reminded about the Chacom connection for the YSC brand it was now time to turn to the pipe itself and do my part of the work. As usual Jeff had done a thorough cleanup on the pipe. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water. One of the benefits of this scrub is that it also tends to lift some of the scratches and nicks in the surface of the briar. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He cleaned the internals and externals of the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water and cleaned out the airway in the stem with alcohol. Other than the damaged rim top the pipe looked good.   I took a photo of the rim top and stem to show the condition. The rim top and the inner edge of the bowl were in excellent condition. The acrylic taper stem had light tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button and on the button edges. The stamping on the sides of the shank is clear and readable as noted above.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. It is a nice looking bent billiard in great condition.I started working on the pipe by removing the varnish coat as it had some bubbling on the rim top. I had to remove it from the entire pipe not just the rim top to get an even coverage when I waxed it. I sanded it with micromesh sanding pads, wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads and wiping it down with an alcohol dampened pad after each sanding pad. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Balm did its magic and the grain stood out.    I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem. I sanded out the tooth marks with 220 grit sandpaper and started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.  I polished the acrylic stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. The photo below shows the polished stem. This nice smooth finished Yves St. Claude French Connection 83 with a white acrylic taper stem is a great looking pipe. The rich medium brown finish and the white stem work really well together. The briar is clean and really came alive. The rich medium brown stain gave the grain a sense of depth with the polishing and waxing. The grain really popped. I put the acrylic stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished YSC French Connection Bent Billiard is a beauty and feels great in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Cutting off a broken stem and reshaping the stem on an Yves Saint-Claude #75 Bulldog


Blog by Steve Laug

yvessaintclaude2aIn the gift box of pipes I received (shown below) there was one pipe that kept calling out to me to have a look and see what I could do with it. It is shown in the photo below – it is the bulldog in the bottom right corner. It is stamped Yves St.Claude GOLD TOUCH on the left side of the shank and on the right side it has the shape stamp 75 and Made in France in a circle similar to the Comoy’s Made in England Stamp. “Made” and “France” make up the outside of the circle and “in” is in the centre. On the stem it bore a script stamp of YSC and also a light golden coloured wooden stem adornment. I think this is the “Gold Touch”. I have done a bit of research on the net and have found several other examples of the Gold Touch and all have had this wooden stem adornment. The stem was broken off at an angle from the button forward about one inch.boxadditions In searching the web I found several references to Yves Grenard, trained in Comoy’s England purchasing the Chacom plant in St. Claude. He managed the factory and it passed on to his son afterward. I am pretty certain that this Yves St. Claude pipes was made by Chacom in France with the stamping bearing Yves name.

I took the pipe to my worktable and took the following photos. They are a little dark but give a pretty clear picture of the condition of the pipe. The finish was clean but had a lot of damage. There were dings and scratches that cut deeply into the sides of bowl on both sides. On the right side there were vertical scratches on the bowl. The centre of the two rings had several places where it was chipped and damaged. The outer edge of the rim had dents on it from tapping the pipe out on hard surfaces. The top of the beveled rim had a build up of tars and oils. The inner edge was clean and undamaged. The bowl was quite clean and did not need reaming. The stem had light oxidation but the major problem with the stem was that it was broken. The bottom edge of the diamond stem had several cuts and dents in the vulcanite that would be a challenge. I would need to decide what to do with it – should I cut it back and reshape it or replace it with another saddle stem. The problem with replacing it would be that I would lose the stamping on the saddle and the nice wood stem adornment. Shortening it would not be hard to do but I was not sure what it would look like. So I was faced with a decision.YSG1

YSG2

YSG3

YSG4 The next two photos are close up shots of the stem to show the damage. The first photo is the underside of the broken stem and the second is the top side.YSG5

YSG6 I scrubbed the bowl with acetone on cotton pads to remove the finish and grime from the surface of the bowl. I wanted to have a clean surface to work with when I repaired the deep scratches on the sides of the bowl and also the damaged ring around the bowl.YSG7

YSG8

YSG9 I scrubbed it until the bowl and rim were clean. I filled the deep scratches and sharp edged dents with clear super glue and then sanded them until they blended into the surface of the bowl. Once I had sanded them down they virtually disappeared into the grain. This was one of those times that the patches literally disappeared into the briar. The next photos show the bowl stripped of its finish and cleaned and repaired.YSG10

YSG11

YSG12

YSG13 I decided to cut back the stem and reshape it. I figured that if it did not look right I could make a new stem. I used my Dremel with a sanding drum to cut away the damaged portion of the stem. I took it back until the remaining stem was solid and the damage was gone. Fortunately the airway was absolutely centered in the stem. Once I had it cut off I kind of liked the look of the shorter stem and I thought that I could reshape it so that it would look natural. It reminded me of some of my older WDC bulldogs that had an elongated shank with a short stem. I think that it works because of the wooden stem adornment which gives the shank a longer look.YSG14

YSG15

YSG16

YSG17 Below I have included a photo of the entire pipe with the shorter stem to show the new look. I like it!YSG18 I decided to stain the pipe bowl and set it aside to dry while I worked on the stem. I use an old candle stand with a wine cork that fits into the bowl of the pipe as a drying stand for the bowl. It works very well to keep all surfaces exposed to the air. I used a walnut aniline based stain to bring out the grain on the bowl.YSG19

YSG20

YSG21

YSG22 While the bowl was drying I turned my attention to cutting a new button on the stem. I use several needle files in the process followed by a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to work the new sharp edge. I start with a knife blade needle file and use the straight edge to define the line of the button. Once that is done I use the curved edge to carve away the surface of the stem ahead of the new button line. I continually refine the sharp edge in the process with a flat rectangular blade needle file that has a straight edge. It does not have the teeth to cut the edge at the beginning like the first file.YSG23

YSG24

YSG25 Once I have the general button cut I sand the stem surface with the 220 grit sandpaper folded. I use the folded edge to get right up against the new button. I work the sandpaper to get rid of the file marks. The next two photos show the newly shaped button and the smoothed out stem surface.YSG26

YSG27 I then worked on the slot in the button. For this I use three different needle files – a flat oval, an oval and a round file. I work them interchangeably as I open and flair the airway. I start with the flat oval to spread out the opening and the other two to widen the gap.YSG28

YSG29

YSG30 Once the slot was opened I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to shape the edges and to smooth out the opening of the oval slot.YSG31 Once the slot is opened and smooth I sand the stem with a medium and a fine grit sanding sponge to further shape the stem and also to remove the scratches.YSG32

YSG33 I then used my usual array of micromesh to sand and polish the stem. I wet sanded with 1500-2400 grit sanding pads and dry sanded with 3200-12,000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil between each set of three pads. After the 12,000 grit pad I rubbed it down a final time and let the oil soak into the vulcanite.YSG34

YSG35

YSg36 I buffed the stem with White Diamond and then gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a soft flannel buff to raise the shine. YSG37

YSG38 The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I like the shortened stem and how it looks on the pipe. The overall look of the pipe with the newly shaped stem has both a Danish flair and a look of days gone by. I think I will be enjoying some good smokes in this one.YSG39

YSG40

YSG41

YSg42 I have also included a few close up photos of the rim and the stampings on the shank and stem. It is truly a beautiful pipe.YSG43

YSG44

YSG45