Tag Archives: Cracked shank repair

Lorenzo – Not A Typical Restoration

Lorenzo Firenze Monterosa

Lorenzo pipes I’ve always been a fan of there shapes and thick walls but not so much with the use of filler a little overboard in the putty department. In the past pipes with an overwhelming amount of filler or to beat up to save the shape I’ve opted to rusticate instead of sanding and filling. I had a few in my collection but recently gave one away to my father, so when I received this thick walled Lorenzon I knew it was a prime candidate to be carved and rusticated. Its been a few years since I’ve rusticated a pipe and I couldn’t wait to get into it..

The Restoration.



The pipe was in poor condition when received , it appeared the previous owner attempted to band the cracked shank or removed an existing band. The shank was cracked in multiple areas straight though to the mortise. The shank was sanded leaving an uneven fit between shank and stem. The stem had tooth impressions, oxidation and the button was chewed. The chamber was thick with crumbling cake and rim tar and char. The stummel had quite a few large fills.


I started with the chamber reaming back the cake to a suitable thickness. The odd shaped chamber led me to use both the Pipnet and Castleford reamers. Starting with the smallest attachments and working up to the largest the chamber would accept.


With the chamber reamed I now concentrated on the caked rim. I applied a generous amount of Method Wood For Good Polish with a Q-Tip to the rim and left it upside down on a makeup pad to allow the polish to penetrate the build-up, once the build-up is softened it is easily removed with a makeup pad and Q-Tips.


I now worked the stem/shank portion , sanding the stem/shank flush , the nomenclature due to my sanding and the previous owners sanding was almost nonexistent.


I now banded the cracked shank with a wide band, I worked the band part way on then heated the band with my Wagner’s heat gun and pressed the band into place using the banding tool..


I cleaned the internals using EverClear, stiff/soft pipe cleaners and shank brushes, cleaning until the final pipe cleaner came out as it went in.


I decided to rusticate the stummel instead of filling multiple large fills. In the past I have craved stummels on less desirable pipes or pipes that are too far damaged . I drew out the pattern to be carved on the stummel and using a rotary burr set I carved the stummel, the thick walls of the Lorenzo pipe allowed me to go deeper into the briar.


Before staining the stummel I sanded the smooth areas with 400,800 and 1000 grit sandpaper. Using Fiebing’s Leather dye I stained the stummel. I mixed black Fiebing’s with a little EverClear and applied it to the rusticated area of the stummel using a Q-Tip. Finally I mixed red Fiebing’s with a little EverClear and applied it to the smooth area of the stummel, I now left it for a few hours to dry, I removed the excess stain with an EverClear dampened rag.


With the stummel ready to hit the wheel I moved onto the stem. I applied a generous amount of non-bleach Soft Scrub to the stem and left it aside to penetrate the oxidation. Once the Soft Scrub turns from white to a brownish color is time to scrub vigorously with a rag adding more Soft Scrub as needed. Holding the stem under natural light will help to see if all oxidation was removed.


After cleaning the stem I worked on the chewed button and tooth impressions, I removed some of the shallow impressions with a flat sided needle file , the deeper impressions would need filling. I rough sanded the area of repair with 400 grit sandpaper wiping down with an EverClear dampened rag. I filled the impressions with thick black CA glue and allowed to dry. I mixed thick black CA glue and charcoal powder together to form a paste to rebuild the button, applying the paste with a toothpick to the button and hitting it with accelerator to set ,I left it over night to cure. Using needle files and sandpaper I reformed the button .


After banding the shank the stem / shank fit was off leaving a small gap between stem and shank. Using a small block of wood drilled to fit the tenon loosely , I lightly sanded the stem flat. I was able close the gap but not completely , the draw is air tight but if held up to the light you can still see a small gap.


I now ran the stem thought the various grits of sandpaper and micro-mesh pads. Sanding the stem with 800, 1000 and 1500 grit sandpaper wet and micro-mesh 1500-3200 wet and 3600- 12000 dry.




I finished up on the wheel with white diamond , a few coats of carnauba and a micro-fiber hand buffing. Buffing the stem with blue compound and carnauba.

Thanks For Taking A Look.



Karl Erik

Karl Erik.

My free hand pipes can be counted on one hand , I’m not the biggest fan but once and a while one catches my eye .Erik Nording, Preben Holm, Ben Wade, Karl Erik Ottendahl and W.O. Larsen pipes are a few I keep an eye out for but they have to be the right shape and preferably smooth , so as luck would have it I found just that a Karl Erik and at a price I couldn’t refuse thirteen bucks. Now for thirteen bucks your not getting mint condition , some work would be involved . The stamping reads Karl Erik over Hand Cut In Denmark and below that the number 5. I’ve read the grading of his pipes but was unable to find the use of the number 5. To my eye the pipe is flawless not an ounce of filler. The stem on the other hand may not be original to the pipe there are no markings of any kind but I have also seen a few examples considered original without the KE stamped on the stem .

The Restoration.



The cracked stummal was the biggest issue , I couldn’t tell from the auction photos how deep or how far the crack had run. Once the pipe itself was in my hands I was happy to see it was a stress crack  and not due to a drop. As the briar dried it twisted and formed the crack. The stem was worn , oxidized and the lip was nonexistent. The rest of the pipe was in decent shape.


A few years ago my wife had picked up a couple of stem blanks on clearance from Pipe Smokers Emporium , I decided to re-stem the pipe and save the original stem to work on later. Using the Pimo tenon turning tool I cut down the tenon until it almost fit the mortise finishing with 400 grit sandpaper to get the snug fit required . I now taped off the tenon with painters tape and tightened the tenon in my mounted drills chuck. I set the drill to auto run and began to shape the stem with wood carving chisels.


I cleaned up the rough edges with a needle file and rounded some of the sharp corners with 1000 grit sandpaper.


Using a sanding drum mounted in my drill I began to shape the stem , once I had the basic shape I was looking for I sanded the stem with 150, 220, 400 and 800 grit sandpaper.


Before the final sanding and polishing I put a bend in the stem using my Wagner heat gun and bending it over a pill bottle.


With the bend in the stem I could now run the stem through the various grits of micro-mesh 1500-2400 wet and 3200-12000 dry.


With the stem complete I could now focus on the stummel, Using my PipNet reamer starting from smallest to largest I reamed back the cake to a suitable thickness.


I now cleaned the internals using EverClear , shank brushes , Q-Tips and stiff/soft pipe cleaners , cleaning until my final pipe cleaner came out as it went in.


Now to address the cracked stummel, I cleaned the area with an EverClear dipped Q-Tip and removed the embedded debris with a X-Acto knife.


Using a jewelers loop I looked carefully for each end of the crack. One end started just at the top of the shank and the other end of the crack ended at the bottom front of the stummel. Using a 1/16 drill bit I drilled a shallow hole at each end of the crack, to prevent it from cracking any further.


I then filled the crack and holes I drilled with Gorilla Glue and briar dust.


I sanded the area of repair first with 220 grit sandpaper, it seems I should start with a less abrasive grit but the crack was raised at one side due to the twisting as the briar dried. Once the cracked area was sanded flush with 220 grit sandpaper I moved to 400, 800 and finally 1000. At this time I lightly sanded the entire stummel with 1000 grit sandpaper then wiping down the stummel with an EverClear dampened rag to remove the fine sanding dust.


I now mixed dark brown Fiebings leather dye with EverClear to lighten it a bit. I coated the stummel with a few coats of the dye hitting it with a Bic lighter to set the stain. The stummel was substantially darker then it was when originally received but in order to hide the repair it would in turn need to be darker. I removed the excess stain with an EverClear dampened rag.



I finished up on the wheel with white diamond , carnauba and a micro-fiber hand buff. Buffing the stem with carnauba.

Thanks For Taking A Look.



Custombilt Convertibole

Advertisement courtesy of Bill Unger’s book. “As Individual As A Thumbprint” The Custom-bilt Pipe Story.


Custombilt Convertibole

The elusive Convertibole, its taken two long years to hunt this oddity down. They were always just out of reach. I have an addiction to Custom-Bilt / Custombilt Pipes but I’m not willing to brake the bank to add one to my collection. So I was pretty happy when this one went out cheap on EBAY. The Convertibole  first appeared in 1946 and was distributed by Eugene Rich, the interchangeable bowls made ease in changing between blends.  

As Received


She was in rough shape, well used but the price was right and I was up for a challenge. The shank was cracked, a band would have easily fixed the problem but it would also take away from the pipe itself. So a little unconventional fix would have to do.


Starting with the bowls chamber and my Pipnet reamer, I reamed the cake back to briar starting with the smallest attachment and working up to the third, she was free of any defects. I finished up with 400 grit sandpaper wrapped around a finger.


With the chamber reamed, I moved on to the rim and shank. There was a build up of tar/oils on the rim and where the bowl and shank met. I applied Method Wood For Good Polish to the rim and shank area with a Q-tip and let the Method penetrate the build up. Once the Method penetrated the tars/oils it was easily removed with Q-tips and makeup pads.


I did an EverClear and cotton ball soak on the bowls chamber, leaving it aside to allow the cotton balls to absorb the oils and tars.


The internals were next . I did an initial internal cleaning of the mortise and stem with EverClear,Q-tips and bristle/soft pipe cleaners to remove the loose debris. Now I un-rolled cotton balls to form a long swab , using the swab I twisted it into the mortise tightly and added EverClear until the cotton swab absorbed the alcohol and left it aside to pull the tars/oils out. After sitting I did one more good internal cleaning of the mortise and stem, cleaning the exterior of the stem with EverClear and makeup pads.


Now my unconventional shank fix. I cleaned the area of the crack with EverClear and Q-tips and allowed it to dry. I applied Gorilla Glue to the crack on the outer side of the shank and inner of the mortise with a toothpick then packed the outer shank side with briar dust and applied a hose clamp to the shank and tightened the clamp until the crack was closed. I now left it to dry overnight.


The following morning the repair had cured and I was able to begin work on removing the excess glue, first the mortise,leaving the hose clamp in place I used needle files and sandpaper to remove the excess glue until I had a clean surface for the tennon to be inserted once again. The crack had gone through a rusticated area of the shank which was good luck on my part as I was hoping I could blend the repair into the craggy rustication.( Above photo was attempt one to blend.)


 (Top photo was attempt two.) I used touch up markers ,briar dust ,Gorilla Glue and a X-Acto knife to recreate the rustication lost by the repair patch. By my third try I was happy ,it seemed to blend well.(lower photo)


Happy with the repair my attention now turned to the oxidized stem. I applied a generous amount of non-bleach Soft Scrub with a children’s toothbrush and left it aside to begin softening 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. Finishing with a damp Magic Eraser to remove the leftover oxidation.


Using a bic lighter I heated the bit/button portion of the stem to raise some of the chatter ( moving the flame at all times never leaving it in one spot too long). There were two impressions that wouldn’t raise with heat but were shallow enough to remove with sanding.


I tapped off the shank with painters tape so my sanding would remain on the stem and not damage the shank. Starting with the bit/button area and 1000 grit wet sandpaper I removed the stubborn impressions that didn’t raise with heat. I now ran the stem through the various grits of micro-mesh 1500-12000.


Just before hitting the wheel I applied Howard’s butcher block conditioner with a rag and let it penetrate for a few minutes removing the excess with a clean 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 .