Tag Archives: pipe repair

Mr.Dobbs takes a vacation

Mincers scraps

Scrap briar or not I still enjoy the look of Mr.Dobbs pipes. Deeply carved and chunky. There’s no mistaking who made this line of pipes.

( As Received)

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Well loved Mr.Dobbs has been sitting in a box for some time now. Made in the 1950s using scrap briar and sold at reasonable price for the average joe, it has all the look and feel of a Custombilt with the exception of the briar quality. There were many imperfections most notably the top of the bowl. It had a thick cake, worn button and what I think is paint or maybe spackle spread across the exterior of the pipe. I received this pipe in a lot a few months ago among other Custombilt lines . 


I began with the chamber and my Castleford reamer, starting with the smallest and working up to the largest. Finishing with 400 grit paper wrapped around a finger.

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With the chamber reamed I moved to the rim. The rim was heavily caked with spots of paint mixed in. I applied Method wood for good polish to the rim and left it aside to soak. After soaking for 20 min I used a toothbrush to break up some of the residue, I would have to repeat this process a few times and move to Q-tips, make-up pads and a pick to complete it. At this time I cleaned the exterior of the pipe as well with the wood polish,toothbrush and make-up  pads. I used a pick to clean the paint and debris out of the carving of the bowl.


The right side of the bowl and bulldog ring had spots where someone may have smacked the bowl against a hard surface to empty the chamber. I first attempted steaming out some of the dents. With no luck, I instead filled in the indentations with thick superglue and briar dust. I sanded the area with micro mesh until the repair was even.


The chamber looked as if someone may have used a pocket knife in the past to remove the cake from it the edges were gouged . Using 220, 400 and 1000 grit paper around a finger I worked carefully at the top of the chamber to remove the gouging,


The mortis and draft were heavily caked with tars and old tobacco it would need to be cleared before going any further. I un-rolled cotton balls and twisted them together to form a long swab. Using the swab I turned it tightly into the mortise and then filled the chamber with a little EverClear and waited for the alcohol to be absorbed. Letting it soak for a bit, I removed the swab and cleaned the mortise / draft with stiff pipe cleaners and shank brush until the draft was clear.

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With the draft cleared it could now receive a retort . I cleaned the internals one last time after the retort with Q-tips, cotton swabs and stiff / soft pipe cleaners.


 With the bowl ready for a buff I moved to the stem, starting with non-bleach Soft Scrub . I scrubbed the stem vigorously with cotton balls and a rag until the oxidation was removed.


I tapped off the shank so I wouldn’t disturb the finnish with my sanding . Starting with a 400 grit wet sand, I sanded the bit/ lip area to remove some of the tooth impressions and to rough up the surface so the CA glue repair would have a good hold . I then wet sanded the entire stem with 1000 grit paper and then wiped down the stem with alcohol . I would repair the worn button first by first tapping off the area of the repair. I mixed thick black CA glue and activated charcoal powder into a paste and applied it to the button spreading it evenly across the surface. I let it setup for a few minutes, then I removed the painters tape and sprayed the repair with accelerator.


I now filled in one stubborn impression on the bit with the paste and sprayed it with accelerator . I left it overnight to cure.


The following day after curing overnight I began forming the new button, using needle files and 400 grit sandpaper. I tapped off the bottom side of my needle file so I could get the file  flush against the new button. I then sanded the stem with 1000 grit sandpaper to remove the file marks.

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I worked though the various micro mesh pads.

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 Next I gave the bowl a quick sand with worn micro mesh to bring out the final shine. I applied a little Howard’s butcher block conditioner with a rag working it into the nooks and crannies and letting it soak for a few minutes, removing the excess with a clean rag.

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Final buff with white diamond, carnauba and a micro fiber hand buffing.

Peterson Irish Harp B.5


The pipes my wife picked up with the exception of the Savinelli, were in great shape. The Peterson’s- two were lightly smoked and one un-smoked. The Harp B.5 is the next to my desktop.

(The pipe as received)

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2007 Peterson Irish Harp B.5

From what I could find via web/collector sites I believe this Pete is from 2007. ( please correct me if this info is wrong) With the addition of three more Peterson’s it has brought my collection to seven. The B.5 is one of many I’ve had my eye on, the smooth bulldog shape and fishtail stem made this comfortable not only in hand but also clenched in jaw.  Lightly smoked and in decent condition just a few problem areas. A couple of tooth impressions, a scratch on the bowl and a burn on the rim that was deeper then first thought. 


When I first received the pipe the silver band was tarnished, this was my wife’s department. She used her silver jewelry cleaning trick, cigarette ash, a little saliva and rubbed in with a fingertip, then wiping with a damp rag.

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For a newer and lightly smoked pipe I was surprised to see the bowls finnish was very worn in certain areas. With some pipes in the past the worn finnish was a result of a hot bowl from rapid puffing, it would have to be re-stained. I started with Murphy’s oil soap and moved on to acetone to remove the rest of the finnish. I was happy to see I had not uncovered any filler.


 The burn on the rim seemed it was just surface deep and could be easily removed with little work but it had gone deeper then I originally thought. I taped 1000 grit sandpaper paper to my desktop and began slowly taking layers off until the burn was almost gone, I didn’t want to remove too much and change the shape of the pipe. What remained of the burn hopefully would blend with the new stain.


 The scratch at the top of the bowl luckily did not affect the bulldog ring around the bowl. I started with a heated butter knife and a damp rag to steam some of the indentation that came along with the scratch. After the steam had raised some of the indentation I used worn micro mesh pads to remove the rest of the scratch.

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Using un-rolled cotton balls I formed one long twisted cotton swab. I use this swab to clean the mortise by turning it tightly into it. Once tightly inserted into the mortise I fill the chamber with a little EverClear and allow the swab to absorb the alcohol. Once absorb I filled the chamber with two cotton balls, soaked them with EverClear and set it aside to soak. As it soaked it began to pull out the tars


With the bowl set aside I began work on the stem first by cleaning the internals with EverClear, shank brush and pipe cleaners and worked until the pipe cleaners came as they went in. Then the externals I worked carefully around the P on the stem so it would not accidentally be removed by the alcohol.


I started with the button, sanding the area with a 1500 micro mesh pad and then wiping down with EverClear. I mixed a paste of CA glue and activated charcoal powder to apply to the worn button. I used less activated charcoal powder then normally because of the cumberland stem, I didn’t want one big dark spot. I applied little dots of the paste with a toothpick and then sprayed it with accelerator and left it to dry.


I tapped off the stem with painters tape so my work on the bit/lip area would remain in one spot, the rest of the stem was in good condition there was no need to make more work for myself. I wrapped 400 grit paper around a flat needle file and wet sanded the area of the impressions.


After the 400 grit wet sand there was still one stubborn impression present, I filled the impression with a dot of the paste and sprayed it with accelerator.  I then moved to the various mico mesh pads to smooth over the stem and button.


It wasn’t perfect but better then before. This stem was a little more difficult, as I began removing the tooth impressions I uncovered bubbles within the stem that would also have to be filled.


After sitting for a few hours I removed the cotton balls/swab and proceeded to clean the internals with EverClear, Q-tips, swabs and pipe cleaners until the pipe cleaners came out as they went in.


While working on the pipe over a two day period I realized I was quite happy with the way the pipe had colored from handling it, I decided to try and match the rim to the bowl coloring. There was still light stain left on the pipe after the acetone wipe down, the acetone seemed to remove a reddish top coat leaving the darker walnut finnish underneath.


I used touch up stain markers to match the rim to the bowl, I applied several coats and hit it with a Bic lighter to set the stain, wiping away the excess with an alcohol dampened rag until I had a close match.

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Buffing with white diamond, carnauba and a micro fiber hand buffing  .

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