When rebornpipes was started the dream I had was to create a blog that became a place where folks who refurbish pipes could share their expertise and methods with one another and continue to learn new ways of working on the briar we love. That dream is still alive and a few brave and well spoken refurbishers are taking me up on my desire to have them post their work here.
In light of that I wish to thank the following individuals who have made ongoing contributions to the blog. It is their generous contributions and comments that keep the blog alive and active.
1. Al Jones – Al was the first to contribute his writings and photographs under the name upshallfan. Al does incredibly nice refurbs and adds a nice touch of class to the blog.
2. Fred Bass – Fred is the Meer Guru in my book and to have several of his pieces here on the blog is incredibly helpful. Fred brings a love of the meer and years of experience in cleaning, breaking them in and caring for them to the table.
3. Gan Barber– what can I say about Gan? Over the years we have fired emails back and forth with ideas and suggestions and insight into our joint hobby. I am thankful to have Gan posting here as in many ways he has been a mentor to me in this hobby.
4. Chuck Richards – Chuck, like Gan, has been someone with whom I bounce ideas and methods back and forth. Chuck also keeps the challenges in front of me and I learned much from him.
5. Kirk Fitzgerald – Kirk is a relative newcomer to the refurbishing craft but he has an amazing talent with a chisel and carving knife. His contributions on his method of rustication has been well received and it is a pleasure to have him contribute here as well.
6. Piet Binsbergen – I have corresponded with Piet for awhile now and we connected over Keyser Pipes. A mutual friend on the forums – Muddler – connected us when I was searching for Keyser stems. Piet is an artist at heart and by profession. His love of the briar and restoring it comes out in his work and his words. It is great to have added him to the pool of contributors.
7. James Gilliam – I asked James to contribute from the perspective of a pipe maker what it was like to do refurbishing. James makes some amazing pipes and has done a great article on his perspective on our craft. His website is JSEC Pipes at http://jsecpipes.com/ I appreciate James willingness to contribute to the blog and it is a pleasure to have him contribute.
8. Al Shinogle – I contacted Al Shinogle and received his permission to post his article on opening the airway on a pipe. Al continues to do some great refurbishing work on estate pipes that he revives and passes on to old timers. I look forward to future articles by Al.
9. Greg Wolford – is one of the blog’s readers and comments often on various posts. He contacted me with several articles on the pipes he has refurbished and the methods he has used. Greg writes well and is a fine photographer in his own right as well. I look forward to reading what he contributes in the days ahead.
10. Robert Boughton – Robert is one our newest contributors to the blog. He is a new practitioner of the refurbishing art being tutored by Chuck Richards in the finer points of refurbishing. It is a pleasure to have him writing for the blog and adding a new voice to the posts. His research and his work are well done. Thanks Robert.
11. Brian Devlin – Brian is a 62 year old retired electronic manufacture and design company owner living in Blairgowrie, Scotland. He is a stroke survivor (I like him already as I too am a stroke survivor) having survived 3 major strokes 7 years ago. He loves his new home, pet rabbit and morning ritual with pipe and rabbit in his garden. He frequents EBay to hunt for pipes that he buys skillfully refurbishes to smoke. It is great to have Brian writing about some of his refurbs on the blog. Enjoy his work.
12. Bas Stevens – Bas is the go to person for information and history on Stanwell pipes. He has one of the most beautiful Stanwell collections that I have ever seen. I appreciate Bas’ willingness to have his piece on Stanwell shapes available on the blog.
13. Mark Domingues – Mark is another reader of the blog and has lately contributed some of his work. Mark collects Peterson pipes and his work is a pleasure to read about. Mark seems to never shy away from trying things that are daunting at best and certainly some that others would consider futile. Thanks you Mark for writing for us.
14. Eric Boehm – Over the years on the forums I have read Eric’s posts with interest. He has collated and collected some great information that it is our privilege to be able to share here on the blog. I thank Eric for his willingness to pass on his writing through the blog.
15. Les Sechler – Les graciously gave permission to put his article on Barling pipes on the blog. Les possesses a wealth of information on Barling’s and Dunhill pipes. He has always been gracious when I contact him for help on various projects. Thanks Les for being a willing and able correspondent.
16. Martin Farrent – Martin graciously gave permission to put his article on Dating Loewe Pipes by Period on the blog. I look forward to reading more of Martin’s work in the future. His knowledge of Loewes pipes is incredibly helpful and insightful. Thank you Martin.
17. Mike Leverette – Mike was a very good friend and the consummate pipeman. He was a fountainhead of information on all things Peterson and also one who shared a common interest with me regarding alternative woods used in pipes. He knew and loved the older historical alternative woods used by American pipe makers. All of Mike’s articles on the blog are published posthumously from pieces he sent to me over the years before his death. Mike I miss the chats and the ready wit that characterized you so much.
18. Alan Chestnutt – Alan is a professional pipe refurbisher doing work on the web as Reborn Briar ( http://www.estatepipes.co.uk/ ). His work is extremely well done and his website also has a wealth of information and some of the pipes he refurbishers are for sale through the site. Thanks Alan.
19. AJ Verstraten – AJ started smoking pipe at around 18 years of age (he is now 37) though it was a sporadic affair until about two years ago. His love for woodworking and the rediscovery of his grandfather’s pipes rekindled this old love. In his search for information I stumbled upon the PRF in 2012 and learned about all the differences in tobacco’s, pipe brands and the refurbishing of them. It’s now nearly a year since he started refurbishing pipes and he is learning every day. His pipes both new and refurbished can be found on http://bbn-pipes.tumblr.com/.
20. Josiah Ruotsinoja – Josiah and I have been emailing back and forth on pipe refurbishing questions for quite a while now. I asked him to do a write up for the blog on some of his work. Josiah did a great job writing up his articles and demonstrating the way the method worked and the results of the application. Thanks Josiah for the great work. I look forward to reading more about your refurbishing in the days ahead.
21. Cody Huey – Cody original posted on Twitter about the before and after on these pipes and a teaser on where they came from. So I wanted to know the whole story. I wrote and asked him if he would be willing to write-up the story and the refurb for rebornpipes. He quickly replied and soon sent the article. I am happy to have Cody write for the blog. Thanks Cody for being willing to write this up for us. It is great to have you here.
22. Chiz Szymanski – Chiz has followed rebornpipes for quite a while now and shown his refurbishing work on Pipesmokers Unlimited. When I saw his step by step work of reclaiming an old bulldog I wrote and asked if he would mind writing up the process for us on the blog. He was happy to do so. His words and photos well illustrate his work. I hope this is the first of many refurbs he writes about and posts here on the blog. Thanks Chiz.
23. Jacek A. Rochacki – Jacek is a retired sculptor, silver and goldsmith, conservator, and author of texts on history, theory and the practice of applied art in metal and applied art in general plus conservation. His second professional “incarnation” is that of a historian of applied art. He has been teaching these subjects in Denmark and in his native Poland. Jacek brings an art restorer’s touch to his refurbished pipes and has much to teach us through his thoughtful and insightful articles. Thanks Jacek.
24. Joey Bruce – Joey has been a reader of the blog for a while now. We have exchanged a few emails and over the course of his reworking an old pipe I could see that Joey was hooked on this hobby! I invited him to do a write-up on some of his work and post it here for others to be encouraged and challenged. His article on an old Schulte deLuxe that through his efforts had been reborn is fascinating. Thank you Joey for taking time to write up and send a copy to rebornpipes. It is great to have you posting on the blog as a writer. Enjoy his work readers.
25. John Williams (AKA Coastie) – I have been reading about John’s work of rustication and restoration on pipe forums online for some time now. Recently he came to Pipe Smokers Unlimited and began to post some of his work there. I was taken by the beauty of his restorations and his rustication showing his love for the restoration process. He does great work. I decided to write him a note and ask if he would like to share some of his work with us on rebornpipes.
26. Joyal Taylor (AKA holymolar) – I was taken with Joyal’s refurbs posted on a pipe forum online. I asked him if he would consider writing for the blog. He wrote that he would be delighted. Here is Joyal’s description of how he came to work on pipes: “A few years ago, I semi-retired and started looking for hobbies. Fishing is great but not for an everyday activity, at least for me. One day I looked at some of my pipes and realized that they were looking beat up and abused. I tried restoring one but quickly realized that I didn’t know what I was doing. So I began researching pipe restoration and tried again and again. Soon I was fully into it with various tools and dyes. It has become an everyday activity that gives me things to do with all of my semi-retired free time.”
27. Bill Tonge – It is a pleasure to add Bill to the list of contributors to the blog. We have sent pipes back and forth between each other as projects and I am sure we will do more of that. I first met Bill on Pipe Smokers Unlimited and appreciated the photos and write ups of pipes he has refurbished or rusticated. I also follow him on Twitter so I have kept up with some of his work there. Bill does excellent work with a minimum of tools on the pipes he refurbishes and I always learn something from his efforts. I asked Bill about why he enjoys refurbishing and he responded with the following. I think it summarizes why many of us begin the process of refurbishing. Here are Bill’s own words: “As a person that is economically challenged, I enjoy fixing up the ugly ducklings. I take pride in taking that $5.00 pipe that no one else wants and converting it to something that fits beautifully in a pipe collection.”
28. Pat Russell – It is another pleasure for me to have Pat posting some of his refurbs here on rebornpipes. I have watched and read about his work for awhile now on Pipe Smoker Unlimited and asked him to write for us as well. I always learn from Pat’s writing and work so it is great to have him blog for us. Here are Pat’s own words: “I’ve been restoring pipes for just under two years, and have completed just under 100 restorations. I restore pipes because I love the idea of bringing back a beautiful piece of functional art. The idea that a nearly 100 year old pipe can be cleaned, rejuvenated and put back into circulation is one I enjoy greatly. Cleaning up and recirculating pipes affords me the chance to build my own collection of vintage pipes, and pipes from current artisans; it’s a plus that working on pipes also happens to be relaxing, and enjoyable.” Welcome Pat.
29. Andrew Selking – I have read Andrew’s posts on Pipe Smoker Unlimited and been amazed to see the work that he is doing. I asked him if hew would be willing to write for us as well. I have always learned from Andrew’s work when he spells out what he does. His innovations and adaptations of methods that others use is refreshing to watch and learn from. Here are Andrew’s words about restoration: “I am a former cigar smoker who got tired of the expense and the fact that when you’re done with a cigar you have nothing to show for it. I remember walking through an antique store and spotting an old Kaywoodie Flame Grain. I’ve always had an appreciation for craftsmanship and the sticker on the pipe got me thinking. I did a google search on how to refurbish a pipe. I had no idea what I was doing, I can remember using 100 grit sand paper on the entire thing. Those early pipes looked pretty rough and the stinger on the Kaywoodie got cut off, but I’ve learned a lot since then. My mantra when restoring a pipe is, do no harm. The second part is, if you want a nice restoration start out with a nice pipe. In my opinion there are three levels of pipe restorers; pipe mechanic (they know some of the basics, but lack the finesse), pipe technician (have a good understanding of more advanced techniques, but still need some practice), and artists (they have mastery of all techniques and produce restorations that rival the original pipes). I think I’m in the second category, but hope to become an artist one day.” Welcome Andrew.
30. Anthony Cook – I read some of Anthony’s posts on Reddit’s /r/PipeTobacco forum. We interacted with regard to refurbishing and restoration questions. He too has done some great innovations and adaptations to the work of restoration. As I read his first blog here I learned several interesting details for the work that I had not thought of before. It is a pleasure to have him write here on rebornpipes. Here are Anthony’s own words about pipe refurbishing: “I always enjoy working with my hands and take pleasure in any work that rewards meticulous attention to detail. So, when I took up pipe smoking, it seemed only natural that pipe restoration should soon follow. I love getting the opportunity to give these old soldiers a second chance at glory. I think that the scuffs, scratches, and burns that they bear are almost like entries in a journal. If I pay attention, they will tell me stories of their former lives while I work.” Welcome Anthony.
31. Aaron Henson – Aaron wrote this as his brief bio for those interested in knowing more about him. I welcome him to the writers/contributors to rebornpipes. It is great to have him here. Here is his own words: “I first became interested in pipes when I was 8 years old and came across my grandfathers pipe in dresser drawer of his office. When I asked him about it he said that he use to smoke when he was in ‘The War’(WWII). He claimed that he never really smoked it but just worked with it in his mouth for something to do. “Before they had chewing gum,” he would tell me – I didn’t really believe him then either. I loved to sneak a sniff of the bowl and inhale that wonderful aroma. I am not sure what ever happened to that pipe. I bought my first when I was 19 after joining the Coast Guard and I tossed it when I left the service (an indiscretion of youth). About three years ago I returned to the pipe. There is peace in the process of packing, tamping, lighting and puffing. I turned to refurbishing pipes because the cost of a new pipe was so high. I have always tried to make what I need rather buy off-the-shelf and so refurbishing seemed to fall naturally into this life style. Additionally, I love the history of the individual pipes and the attention to detail needed to restore them is therapeutic in itself.” Welcome Aaron.
32. Troy Wilburn– I have read about Troy’s work on PSU and on the Dr. Grabow Collectors Forum for a while now and finally asked him to contribute here. He introduces himself in his first blog with these words: I live in rural Virginia near Roanoke. I have been a dedicated pipe smoker for a little over a year now and refurbishing my own pipes for about 8 months. I mostly hang out on the Dr. Grabow Collectors Forum. My collection is mostly American made pipes. My favorite shapes are pokers, billiards and Canadians. Pokers are my most favorite with nearly 40 of them last count. I have kind of a tight budget to work with on my pipe smoking, pipe purchasing and pipe refurbishing. That’s why I got into refurbishing my own pipes. I’m always trying to find a bargain on pre 50s pipes as they are my favorite. Linkmans and Yello Boles are my most common pre 50s pipes with three Marxman’s thrown in. I do have a hard to find Marxman poker that is one of the prides of my pipe collection and is 100 % original finish.” Welcome Troy.
33. Dave Gossett – Pat Russell, another contributor to the blog introduced me to Dave’s work on Pipes Magazine Forum and suggested I contact him about writing here. After seeing Dave’s work I definitely wanted to learn from him. He does some beautiful work. I contacted him and he agreed to post some of his work here for us all to enjoy. Here is his own introduction: My passion for pipes began when I was given my grandfather’s collection of over 50 pipes. From the moment I cleaned up the first of his pipes, I was hooked and quickly found a new hobby in pipe restoration. I like pipes with history and a story. There is a connection forged with an old pipe you’ve brought back from the brink that you just can’t get from a new pipe. I take what I’ve learned over the years and try to condense it into the most simple and effective way of achieving the best results.
34. Dutch Holland – Dave Gossett introduced Dutch to me as a potential contributor via email. It is a pleasure to welcome Dutch to the blog. He does excellent work and is a great writer as well. I asked him for a brief biography to introduce him to you all. He wrote back with this lovely piece that I am including in total. He titled it The Love of “Old Briar”. His own words give a clear picture of him and his work.
I’ve smoked pipes since I was a teen, more years ago now than I care to admit to. For most of that time my collection consisted of a set of six Peretti house brand pipes and a basket Lovat, full of fills, I just loved. I had the good fortune to know Mr. Peretti and his brand of pipes were not fancy but they were always great smokers and after all, I had a pipe for each day of the week and thought myself to be “living large”. As the father of five the budget didn’t always have a surplus of disposable income and what there was of it wasn’t seen by the bride as resources to be squandered on fancy pipes. I can’t complain, she always made the money go a lot further than I ever could have. About ten years ago we became empty nesters but old ways die hard and even now that I could, spending big money on pipes was something I couldn’t entertain. I did want to finally be able to expand my collection but just couldn’t justify spending a lot of money to accomplish it. That’s when I stumbled onto Ebay. Right in front of my eyes was the most wonderful selection of old classic shapes in need of some TLC. That would allow me to expand the collection at a modest cost if I could develop the skills to restore them. The quest was on.
My father did wood working and at an early age I was introduced to those skills but pipe restoration has its own special requirements so I set about mastering them. The internet is a wonderful thing; on it you can find like-minded people that are willing to exchange ideas and techniques. A few practice pipes and the right tools of the trade and I was hooked. Now time on Ebay can be something akin to being a kid in a candy store, I’ll have one of everything. My collection needed a focus and just about then I encountered the GBD 9438 Bent Rhodesian. It was love at first sight. I carefully restored that old Sauvage and when I finally put a match to the bowl I understood why I wanted to restore pipes. Rhodies and Dogs became my passion and with each restoration the skill set improves and the satisfaction increases. Now retired, my days are never without a project. When I have caught up with the seemingly endless “Honey Do” list, I retire to the bench, pick an interesting prospect and idle away a few hours or sometimes days bring it back to life. There are always a few pipes in the “Awaiting Action” box just so I never run out. I do on occasion treat myself to a new pipe. There are so many great artists making them today and every once in a while a pipe will just speak to me but something special happens when you light up a pipe that most thought had seen better days but you saw through the dirt and abuse and took the time and effort to return its beauty. It becomes a passion. All it requires is commitment, a few inexpensive special tools and the relentless desire to continuously improve your technique. A truly modest investment for such big rewards.
The collection now blossoms with Rhodies and Dogs of all types and makers. Most pipes others had passed on because they bore the scars of misuse. I acquired them at a cost far below their true value and with modest effort returned them to what they had once been. On occasion, when another package arrives on the doorstep, the wife will ask “do you really need another pipe”? No, I answer, but I do need the challenge. She smiles; glad I think that my passion isn’t golf.
35. Bill Hein – Bill sent an email to Al Jones about writing for the blog and we have since corresponded. His love of pipe restoration comes through in all of our correspondence. I asked him to introduce himself and this is what he sent. “My name is Bill Hein and I started restoring pipes in 2014. It all started when I found a box of my Grandfathers pipes. I decided to clean them up as display pieces and found I really enjoy the work. To me even that cheap basket pipe is a work of art and I love to see the beauty that is unmasked as I clean away the years of neglect and grime. I mostly focus on pre-1970 Kaywoodie and Dr. Grabow pipes and consider myself pretty knowledgeable on the two brands. Through the last few years I have learned a lot about restoring and repairing pipes and hope some of my knowledge can help others.” Welcome to rebornpipes Bill.
With that thanks also comes an open invitation for others of you who frequent the blog to contribute articles and pictures on your work. We would love to see and read about what you are doing. Let us know what has worked and what has not worked regarding things you have read and tried from the posts here.
Thanks also to the many who read the blog regularly. It is a pleasure to have this place to interact!