Tag Archives: Using pipe mud

Custombilt Hooked Bass

  The Custombilt Masterpieces and Sculptured Bowls were produced during the Eugene Rich years 1946-1952, each one beautifully carved and surrounded by chunky Custombilt rustication. The Hooked Bass I believe is one of thirteen, I have one other in my collection the Shriner’s Emblem that I have yet to restore. The Hooked Bass is the largest full bent Custombilt in my collection, with a generous 25mm by 47mm deep chamber and an overall length of 6 inches, a hardy yet surprisingly light weight pipe. This saddle bit Bilt was designed for a long relaxing smoke. 

 

-The Restore-

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The pipe was immaculate, the nomenclature crisp- Custombilt (Rich Era s) over Imported Briar and a shape stamp I have not seen before. Very lightly smoked, the chamber still held some of its original bowl coating. The stem, light oxidation, faint chatter and metal flecks thought out the vulcanite, I have many war time pipes with recycled rubber stems.

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I started with the chamber and its light cake. The largest PipNet reamer attachment was still to small for the massive chamber, I used the largest attachment and worked slowly around the inside wall of the chamber until I was back to briar. I uncovered a pit at the back of the chamber wall.

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Next the rim and one scorched area, I applied Method Wood For Good to the scorch and scrubbed with Q-Tips to try and lighten the area. When finished the rim blended pretty well. I wiped  down the stummel with a rag and Method Good For Wood, getting into the deeper carving with a soft children’s toothbrush.

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Next I moved to the internal cleaning of the stummel and stem. Using EverClear, mortise/shank brushes, stiff/soft pipe cleaners and Q-Tips cleaning until my finial pipe cleaner came out as it went in.

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After the internal cleaning of the chamber I could see the sand pit better. The original filler that had been packed in the pit was crumbling away, using a pick I removed any loose debris from the cavity, cleaning the area one more time with EverClear and let dry. I mixed some pipe mud using cigar ash, a little water and then repacked the pit. I left it to set, once dry I removed the excess with a rag.

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With the pit refilled I decided to use a bowl coating to give the chamber a line of defense while braking the pipe in. I had some premixed bowl coating in a lock&lock leftover from a previous pipe. I have cut and pasted my process for applying the bowl coating from a past post below.

Prepping the chamber before applying the bowl coat, the chamber was scrubbed thoroughly with EverClear during my internal cleaning but I gave it one more round with an EverClear dipped Q-Tip and allowed it to dry, removing any the loose debris from the crack with a pick. I then mixed a little cigar ash and water together to make pipe mud to fill the crack, I applied it with a finger and left to dry. Once the mud was hardened in the crack I wiped the excess from the chamber with a rag. The bowl coating is a three step process starting first with mixing the primer coat. (Step One)- I start with honey about 2.5 ml in an old medicine cup, I add activated charcoal powder a little at a time to the honey and stir with a toothpick until I get the right constancy (it will ball up on its self as the charcoal coasts the honey but continued mixing will combined the two) basically your looking for the toothpick to stand on its own for a few seconds before falling to the side of the cup. I let the mixture settle until the bubbles rise to the top. (Step Two)-I apply a thin layer of the mixture to the chamber with a small flat paint brush, starting from the bottom of the chamber and working up the side walls being careful not to get it on the rim  (If you do get it on the rim warm water and a Q-Tip will remove it just try not to get water in the chamber itself).  There will be quite a bit of primer coating leftover, I store it in a lock&lock and will keep for a while for reuse.

I let the coating set in the chamber for a few minutes just so it looses some of its shine, I then insert a folded pipe cleaner into the airway and lay down a piece of printer paper on my desk top before moving to the next step.(Step Three)- I add a little charcoal powder to the bottom of the chamber and slowly turn the stummel in hand to coat the entire chamber any excess charcoal powder that falls to the paper can be reused. I leave the stummel aside to dry, the chamber should be a dark gray color when completely coated if any dark wet spots reappear repeat step three. When the chamber is well coated and wet spots have not re-emerge I tap the stummel lightly on the side of my finger to remove any leftover charcoal powder. In warm dry conditions I leave the chamber to cure for a couple of days before buffing the stummel, in high humidity it could take up to a week or longer. Once the coating has cured for a few days and is dry to the touch and doesn’t smear (If it does smear and appears wet again repeat step three and let dry) I’ll remove the pipe cleaner, blow out any leftover powder and wait an additional week before packing and puffing. To be honest its a pain and takes a long time to fully cure which is why I avoid it if I can but I believe the clean smooth finish is worth it. All I can say is if you decide to try this bowl coating take your time and be patient, its all trial and error.

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Before oxidation removal I addressed the light chatter.

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Using a Bic lighter I lightly brushed the bit with the flame to raise some of the chatter. Most of the shallow chatter raised what remained could be lightly sanded away.

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With chatter reduced I moved to the stems oxidation. I applied non-bleach Soft Scrub to the stem a left aside so the Soft Scrub could begin to penetrate the oxidation. Once the Soft Scrub turns from white to a brownish color its time to scrub vigorously with a rag adding more Soft Scrub as needed until all oxidation has been removed. (Holding the stem under natural light will help to see if all oxidation has been removed.) It took a few rounds to remove all oxidation.

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Many war time stems were made with recycled rubber and contain small bits of metal spread throughout the stems material, it cannot be removed and I’ve come to except that. After raising most of the chatter there were a few spots that needed attention. I sanded the deeper impressions with 400 grit sandpaper wet and then ran the stem though 800,1000 and 1500 grit sandpaper wet until the stems surface was smooth. I locked the tenon into my vice so I wouldn’t round out the edge of the stem face and would still have a smooth fit between stem and shank.

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After the rough sanding I ran the stem through the various grits of micro-mesh pads 1500-3200 wet and 3600- 12000 dry.

Complete

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I used Howard’s Butcher Block Conditioner and a Q-Tip to get into the deeper rusticated areas where the buffing wheel couldn’t reach.I then buffed the stummel on the wheel with a few coats of carnauba and a round on a nude wheel. Buffing the stem with white diamond and carnauba. Hand buffing the pipe as a whole with a microfiber cloth before the photos.

Procure- Restore- Puff- Repeat

Thanks for dropping by-

Tim.

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Peterson System Standard 305

 Its funny but sometimes you can surprise yourself , when it comes to pipe refurbishing I’m my number one critic,  sometimes you should leave well enough alone before things get out of hand and you make more work for yourself. In this case I was happy with the finished pipe, I only hope the photos due it justice. This Pete is one more form the lot my wife gifted me for Christmas and so far my favorite. I wish Peterson would bring back there deep craggy rustication, the look and  feel are incredible.

The Pete.

 

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 This System Standard 305 was loved and well enjoyed, chunky cake, stem oxidation, very faint chatter, grime embedded in the crags, loose band and rim build up. So much grime had built up from handling the pipe over the years the stummel appeared black. I have a newer XL 305 and love the way it smokes so this was a great addition.

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I started by reaming the chamber with the PipNet reamer, knowing the pipe had been put though its paces I decided to bring it back to briar. I then lightly sanded the chamber with 400 grit sandpaper. I uncovered one good crack and charring in the left side of the chamber.

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Next the rim build up, I applied a generous amount of Method Good For Wood polish and left it aside to penetrate the old tar and char. Once the build up softened I removed the residue with Q-Tips and a pick to get the crud out of the deeper rustication.

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With the rim clean I moved to the internal cleaning of the stem and stummel. I inserted a cotton ball into the mortise and soaked it in EverClear, I left it aside to brake up the old tars and nicotine. After soaking for an hour or so I cleaned the stummel and stem using EverClear, shank/mortise brushes, Q-Tips and stiff/soft pipe cleaners, cleaning until my final pipe cleaner came out as it went in.

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Forced air heating is a blessing this time of year, a killer on the sinuses but great for bowl coating cure. The bowl coating I use is something I try to avoid if I can, in the summer it can take a week or more depending on the humidity to achieve the right cure but when it cures fully its smooth and rock solid.

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Prepping the chamber before applying the bowl coat, the chamber was scrubbed thoroughly with EverClear during my internal cleaning but I gave it one more round with an EverClear dipped Q-Tip and allowed it to dry, removing any the loose debris from the crack with a pick. I then mixed a little cigar ash and water together to make pipe mud to fill the crack, I applied it with a finger and left to dry. Once the mud was hardened in the crack I wiped the excess from the chamber with a rag. The bowl coating is a three step process starting first with mixing the primer coat. (Step One)- I start with honey about 2.5 ml in an old medicine cup, I add activated charcoal powder a little at a time to the honey and stir with a toothpick until I get the right constancy (it will ball up on its self as the charcoal coasts the honey but continued mixing will combined the two) basically your looking for the toothpick to stand on its own for a few seconds before falling to the side of the cup. I let the mixture settle until the bubbles rise to the top. (Step Two)-I apply a thin layer of the mixture to the chamber with a small flat paint brush, starting from the bottom of the chamber and working up the side walls being careful not to get it on the rim  (If you do get it on the rim warm water and a Q-Tip will remove it just try not to get water in the chamber itself).  There will be quite a bit of primer coating leftover, I store it in a lock&lock and will keep for a while for reuse.

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I let the coating set in the chamber for a few minutes just so it looses some of its shine, I then insert a folded pipe cleaner into the airway and lay down a piece of printer paper on my desk top before moving to the next step.(Step Three)- I add a little charcoal powder to the bottom of the chamber and slowly turn the stummel in hand to coat the entire chamber any excess charcoal powder that falls to the paper can be reused. I leave the stummel aside to dry, the chamber should be a dark gray color when completely coated if any dark wet spots reappear repeat step three. When the chamber is well coated and wet spots have not re-emerge I tap the stummel lightly on the side of my finger to remove any leftover charcoal powder. In warm dry conditions I leave the chamber to cure for a couple of days before buffing the stummel, in high humidity it could take up to a week or longer. Once the coating has cured for a few days and is dry to the touch and doesn’t smear (If it does smear and appears wet again repeat step three and let dry) I’ll remove the pipe cleaner, blow out any leftover powder and wait an additional week before packing and puffing. To be honest its a pain and takes a long time to fully cure which is why I avoid it if I can but I believe the clean smooth finish is worth it. All I can say is if you decide to try this bowl coating take your time and be patient, its all trial and error.

photogrid_1483662468237  As I was waiting for the bowl coating to cure I worked on removing the stem oxidation. I applied non- bleach Soft Scrub to the stem and left it aside, once the Soft Scrub turned from white to a brownish color I started scrubbing with a rag, the oxidation was stubborn as it is with most Petes I’ve run across, each time it looked as if the oxidation was removed and I went to the sink to wash off  the Soft Scrub the stem would instantly turn a brownish tan color and it appeared there was more oxidation now then when I originally started. I started over and went though the same process again but this time I was sidetracked and the stem was pushed back on the desk with the Soft Scrub still on it and there it sat for a day and a half, by the time I sat down to work again the stem was encased in crusty Soft Scrub. This has never happened before an hour at most with Soft Scrub I wasn’t sure what would happen to the stem material, in this case after a good scrubbing the oxidation was all but gone and the stem was left perfect. I was able to buff the stem with white diamond back to a glossy black without the use of micro-mesh, the light chatter was buffed off as well. I’ll have to retry this again to make sure it wasn’t a fluke but I was pretty happy with the results.

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When I received the pipe the bit was cocked to the left, I heated the stem with a Bic lighter moving the flame at all times so not to burn the stem and re-bent it over a bottle.

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Buffing the band with it removed from the stummel was much easier then tapping things off, I buffed the band with Brown Tripoli on the wheel, I was able to remove the pitting and tarnish.

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With the band buffed I reattached it to the shank with a bit of Gorilla Glue holding it in place until dry.

Complete.

 

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The old and the newPipe left 2000’s Peterson System Standard XL 305 Pipe right 1980’s Peterson System Standard 305.

I buffed the stummel with Renaissance Wax and a shoe polish brush , polishing the band with Brown Tripoli  and buffing the stem with white diamond and carnauba.

Thanks Baby and Thanks For Taking A Look.

Tim.