Tag Archives: Yves St-Claude pipes

Refurbishing an Yves St. Claude Glacier 80 Bent Billiard

Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I chose to work on today was one that came from the friend of mine who has the pipe shop. He had been given a large number of pipes from a customer’s estate to sell and he had given them to me to clean up. This one is a rusticated billiard that has a slight upward bend to the shank and a Lucite stem with a ¼ bend. It was stamped on the underside of the shank Yves St. Claude in script over Glacier. Next to that it was stamped with a COM circle that read Made in France. At the end of the shank near the stem/shank junction it is stamped with the shape number 80. The finish was very dirty and almost lifeless looking. The striated rustication was well done but the grooves were all filled with grit and grime. The bowl had a light cake and the rim had some darkening and tar on the back side. The stem had some light tooth chatter but no deep tooth marks. The variegated yellow/gold stem went well with the rustication.In searching the web I 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 took a close up photo from the top looking into the bowl to show the light cake in the bowl and the darkening to the back side of the rim. The rim top is a bit oddly shaped in that the back outer edge of the bowl slightly flattened and then rusticated over the top of the shape. I also took photos of the chatter on both sides of the stem at the button. I sanded out the tooth chatter with 220 grit sandpaper and it did not take much to smooth out the marks. There were also some marks left behind from when the stem had originally been bent that sanded out quite easily.I scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime. I used a brass bristle brush with the soap on the rim surface to remove the darkening and tars. I rinsed the bowl under warm water to remove the soap and grime. I took photos of the cleaned bowl and included them below. I decided to use a dark brown aniline stain thinned with isopropyl by 50% to make it more of a translucent medium brown. The colour once it was dried, buffed and polished would really look good with the yellow stem. I applied the stain, flamed it and repeated the process until I was happy with the coverage.There were some thick, hard tars on the inside of the mortise walls so I scraped them out with a dental spatula. Afterwards I cleaned out the mortise and the airway in the shank and stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I worked on the stepped tenon with alcohol and cotton swabs to remove the darkening at that point. I wiped down the outside of the stem with a damp pad. I used white acrylic paint to fill in the YSC stamp on the left side of the saddle. Once the paint dried I scraped the excess off and polished it with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads.I polished the Lucite stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with the damp pad between each set of three pads. I put the stem on the pipe before taking the photo of the stem after I had finished sanding with the last three pads. The new stain looked really good with the yellow Lucite stem. The contrast worked really well on my opinion.I buffed the stem and bowl lightly with Blue Diamond polish on the buffer. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and buffed it with a shoe brush. I gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise a shine and finished by hand buffing it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are, Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 5/8 inches, Outer bowl diameter: 1 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 inches. The pipe has been thoroughly cleaned and prepared for the next pipeman who wants to add it to their rack. I will be putting on the rebornpipes store shortly but if you want it email me at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.




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



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


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



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



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



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


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


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


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



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