WDC Milano

I caught this on eBay several months ago and just got round to working on it. The original eBay pictures only showed some minor issues. The reality was it looked like it’s prior life was that of a hammer.

DSCN1075DSCN1076DSCN1074DSCN1073You can see by the rim the damage done. When I removed the stem I found a surprise inside. A metal tube with a threaded insert baffle. It would not pass a pipe cleaner.


The knurled tip was threaded into the insert and came out easily. Looking at the bowl I was dismayed at the condition. The cake was thick and the rim severely damaged. I reamed the bowl using my Castleford Pipe Reamer.




Using a Tee handle holder and a drill bit I cleared the shank to the bowl and set it up for a salt and alcohol bath. It took 5 treatments to get the ghost of tobaccos past out!


Looking at the rim I was concerned about how much attention it would need. So I brought out the heavy files. Using a medium bastard file, made to file metal, I used long strokes and rotated the bowl with each pass.


After filing, I used a piece of old sandpaper to smooth out the top and a fine file to bevel the outer and inner edges. Next was to use cotton balls and alcohol to wash down the bowl. I gave it a coating of Ox Blood Leather Dye, flamed it to set it, then went over it with Dark Brown Leather Dye to get the desired color. Then using sanding sponges I wet sanded the bowl with 600, 800 and 1200 grit and rewashed the bowl with alcohol again.


Setting the bowl aside, I started on the stem. The stem was plugged from end to end. I used the Tee handle once again with a drill bit to open it up. The metal cap in the front of the stem came out easy enough. It took a number of times to use the drill bit to open up the entire shaft where I could even attempt to get a pipe cleaner through.  Once I cleared the metal tube it went into an oxyclean bath for 1 hour, using vaseline on the logo to make sure not to damage it.


The oxyclean done I rinsed it under a tap to clean the oxyclean out and deactivate it. This revealed an inner tube at the rear of the stem inside the larger metal tube. Pipe cleaners were still having a hard time passing, but eventually they did the job. I was using both bristle and tapered to get the job done.




Taking some 0000 steel wool to the metal tube cleaned and polished it up nicely. Then it was on to the outer vulcanite of the stem. Using sanding sponges from 600-1200 I wet sanded the oxidation then moved through the balance of the sanding up to the 12000 grit sponge.

An unintended occurence happened with this Reserection, the stem became loose. So I went in search of a suitable answer for finding how to tighten it. Now here is the problem, most bloggers and YouTube restorers deal primarily with the vulcanite meeting the briar in direct contact. After an extensive search I was unable to find a source that dealt with the metal to briar attachment. While there are plenty of suggestions on the aforementioned vulcanite to briar fix, I gleaned this to attempt to make the repair here. Using a CA (super glue) accelerator and CA glue. I lightly sanded the metal tube and coated it with the accelerator, allowed it to dry and then applied the CA glue and tried the fit.


It worked like a dream come true. Several sited suggested using the clear nail polish for this but, I thought that thickness would be a problem as the shank on the stummel was very thin. The thin CA glue worked perfectly. The stem now has a nice firm grasp on the briar. I think that with use the fit will only improve.

In doing this restoration I was curious about the insert used and went in search of information. On the PipesMagazine site I found a very nice interview done with Tom Clasen. I also found in my search, on Pipedia a patent for the William Demuth Company in the name of W.W. Hessen, from 1925 that showed the type of insert used in this pipe. It looks like Figure 2 in the drawing.

1925 WDC Patent




Digby Canadian #245

I saw this on eBay several months ago and fell in love with the look. What I did not like was the long crack running from the bowl front back to the shank. It looked like it was repaired once then blew out. Hoping to get it cheap I took a chance. Now that I won I had to up my game so to speak to bring it back to service.



When it arrived the condition was worse than I thought. The cake inside the bowl hid a crevasse that went straight through the bottom. There was burnout in the bowl at the base. Now I had two challenges I had never attempted before. Crack and burnout! You can see in the next picture the plug that someone attempted to make a repair once before.


The crack went right through the Digby stamped impression.


The cake was built mostly from the middle of the bowl down to the base with a lot of lava at the top.



Using the Castleford Reamer I started to clean out the bowl to see if the crack went any further, but, it did go all the way leaving a split through from a burnout into the bend of the bowl shank connection.


IMG_3101After the reaming was done I pulled the plug out of the crack and found it went all the way through the briar. Using a small hand drill I went to each end of the crack and drilled a small hole to terminate the crack. I’ve used this technique in the past when trying to repair metal, so, why not do it here to try to stop the spread? I used a pick to clean out as much loose material I could to give the patch something to hold on to.


The next step was to use the J-B Weld epoxy to fill in the opening and get the the integrity back into the bowl. I pushed it into the crack with a toothpick to get it to go through to the inside.  I used a pipe cleaner to keep the airway open while the repair setup. Note: (I failed to take pictures of the application).


The J-B Weld flowed very well and I gently filed it so as not to change the blast lines of the pipe. The makers lines are very attractive and I wanted to try and keep them as close to normal as I could.

Using a dark brown stain marker and dark brown leather stain I gave the entire bowl a going over after cleaning it with Murphy’s Oil Soap.


Here you can see the build up of the J-B Weld in the burnt out area of the base. Again using the pipe cleaner to keep the airway open I kept the epoxy purposely low as the epoxy was thicker to work with and I could not get as smooth an area as I wished to.


Instead I used “pipe mud” to smooth out the base of the bowl to give it the best I could. The pipe mud was made from cigar ash and saliva. Having never used this method before I wanted to see how well it worked as I have read other use it to great reesults. The mud is said to add an insulating factor to the repair.


With the briar done it was time to move on to the stem. It was in very good shape and required only minor work to bring it up. Using the sanding sponges I went from 600 – 12000 ansd finished up with the Obsidian Oil. Note: (again I failed to get all the pictures) Argh!


Next it was off to the buffer with several coats of Carnuba Wax to bring out the shine. I used some Brebbia Stem Polish to clean up the silver band at the end of the stem.


This was one of those refurbs that is very rewarding to have completed. It taught me several things I’ve not attempted before, but, made for a special time of learning. I can’t wait to light it up and give it a test smoke!




GBD Pre-Historic with Perpex Stem

This was an inexpensive find on eBay.


The overall condition was very good, with the exception of an unbalanced color.


Using a retort to clean the stem and the alcohol and salt treatment after reaming the bowl it came out looking like a very solid pipe. I have a couple of the perplex seemed GBD’s and the only way to get them nice and clean is to use the retort. I used the q tips to clean the inside of the stummel.



IMG_2966IMG_2967IMG_2969IMG_2970IMG_2968Once all cleaned I used some light brown leather dye to even out the color. And just buffed it on the wheel. This was a pleasure to do and it is a joy to smoke!



Savinelli Punto Oro

A friend found several pipes while on a trip to Iowa last summer and she brought them to me to Reserect. The lot of them were not in the best shape.


The Savinelli Punto Oro, second from the top right was to be the first. There is a Dr. Grabow Royal Duke on the left below the large block of briar. The rest of the pipes are not identifiable. There are no impressions in any of them. The Savinelli has very faint impressions.



The impressions can only be seen if held at an angle. I was able to take a picture of it before the work was done but, sadly, it is gone after. The stem has been snapped off at the button on an angle leaving it sharp.

This will be an effort that I have not attempted before, to rebuild the button. Having the opportunity of reading and rereading Steve Laug’s Blog, Reborn Pipes, it gave me the courage to attempt this repair. Using black super glue and activated charcoal I put a pipe cleaner into the airway and began to build up the broken area.


I used a couple of files and Dremel tool to shape the button and begin the process of making it square again.

Then it was back to building up the filler again. More super glue and charcoal.

After a salt and alcohol bath I swabbed out the stummel with Q tips and pipe cleaners. It took several salt baths to get the bowl clean. the rim was rough from abuse, but, I did not want to lose the natural lines from Savinelli. So, I just used a tooth brush and Murphy’s wood soap to clean the rim followed by some light sanding with used 320 sandpaper. I then used black leather dye to even the color.



After the bowl was done I put it asside and went to finish the stem.






After using small files to shape the button with the new charcoal and super glue, it was on to the sanding sponges to polish it. Between each course of three sponges I used Obsidian Stem Polish to help some of the very stubborn oxidisation. A couple of coats of carnuba wax on the buffer and it is ready to smoke again.

There is still a slight flaw in the bit that I will need to address, but, overall I think that this pipe is now a serviceable unit once again.