Collecting focus- everyone needs one, right ? I’ll be the first to admit I might have a problem, but when I first started I had no direction, just buying up lots of estate pipes Willy Nilly. Two years ago I had over 300 hundred pipes, a few of them Custombilt ( before the bug really bit ) but nothing to right home about, nothing eye-catching, no real attachment. So my first step was to unload the clutter, donating and selling off what didn’t belong. I’ve never been a fan of dainty pipes, I’m a big guy and well it just looks silly, its kinda like
So smaller pipes would go first. What was left was starting to grab me. My introduction into large pipes began with Ropp cherrywood pipes, the rustic look originally sold me, being from the Adirondacks it seemed fitting but with time things loosened up at the shank and bowl. I have one un-somoked large cherrywood Ropp left. Than came Tom Howard and B P Jum  pipes, this was the turning point, large and interesting, fit my face pipes. The only draw back was the overuse of filler in both Howard’s and Jum pipes, riddled like bullet holes. Then finely Custom-Bilt it was like being a kid again I couldn’t resist large, ugly and roughly carved. I had to get them all, each one no mater how closely they resemble one another are completely different. The next few refurbs will be Custombilt pipes as I have many waiting in line to be revived. I need to take photos of my complete collection, I’m not really sure how many I have at this point. 
Heres one more.
Overall she was in good condition,  uneven cake, a chip out of the side of the bowl, stem oxidation and faded finish.
I started with my Pipnet Reamer and the smallest attachment and working up to the second largest. The chamber was free of burn out or pitting, I smoothed things out with 400 grit sandpaper wrapped around a finger.
With the chamber reamed I moved to the rim build up, the rim was built up with tars and char. I applied a generous amount of Method Good For Wood Polish to the rim and set aside to penetrate the build-up for a few minutes. Using Q-tips I removed the build-up, I would repeat this process a few times.
To remove the char and darkening I used worn micro-mesh until the rim darkening was faded. I now cleaned the internals of the stummel and stem with EverClear, Q-tips, shank brushes and stiff/ soft pipe cleaners. Cleaning the mortise and chamber until the pipe cleaners came out as they went in
I gave the stummel an alcohol wipe down with EverClear and makeup pads to remove the dirt and debris
The chip in the side of the bowl would be repaired with Gorilla Glue and briar dust. I cleaned the area of repair with EverClear, Q-tips and let dry. I filled the crack with Gorilla Glue and briar dust and allowed it to dry, I removed the excess glue and dust with worn micro-mesh.
I stained the repair patch with a dark furniture marker allowed it to dry and removed the excess stain with an alcohol dampened rag.
Now for the stem oxidation, I applied a generous amount of non-bleach Soft Scrub to the stem with a children’s toothbrush and set aside to penetrate the oxidation.Once the Soft Scrub turns from white to a brownish color its time to introduce the old elbow grease and scrub vigorously with a rag until the oxidation is removed.
With the oxidation removed I could now run it though the various grits of sandpaper and micro-mesh pads. 1000 grit sandpaper wet, 1500 mesh wet, 1800 mesh wet, 2000 grit sandpaper wet and 2400 mesh wet. The remaining micro-mesh pads dry 3200-12000.
I don’t typically stain my Custom-Bilt pipes but I thought I’d give it a go. Using a dark furniture marker for the rusticated area’s of the stummel and a lighter color marker for the rest of the stummel, removing the excess stain with an alcohol dampened rag.



Finished her up on the wheel with white diamond, a few coats of carnauba and a microfiber hand buffing Buffing the stem with blue compound.
Thanks For Taking A Look.


  1. Superb restoration! I too love C-Bs and it’s great to see your work. I am excited about the Gorilla glue and briar dust chip fix as it looks like the briar dust retains its natural color, unlike CA glue mixtures. I have a Dunhill Tanshell that has had me vexed with what to use on a rim chip. I think you have given me the answer. Many thanks for this article.


    1. Thank you Al-

      I’ve had the best results in matching missing chunks of briar with Gorilla Glue and briar dust, I have a couple donor pipes of different shades of briar I keep handy so I can get the closest match as possible.


      1. So, I started to make briar dust from an old stummel, when I thought about where my Gorilla glue was. Of course, I couldn’t find it, which led me to a decision, being I wasn’t going out in the snow to get some. For the first time I decided to patch the chip with a piece of briar. I used CA gel glue and a hand worked piece of briar to fit the now cleaned up and enlarged chip area. After, I ground the patch down with the Dremel and filed it, I did some imitation sandblasting on it and used a brass brush to take off the high points. it. After staining, it can hardly be seen. I am going to use the Gorilla glue method for fills and other smaller chips, though, because it seems like one of the better methods to me. One important thing for all of us, always have a sacrificial briar or two around. Again, thanks for the tip.

        Liked by 1 person

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