New wings for a pair of Falcon Pipes

One look at a Falcon pipe and you are transported back in time to the mid-century modern period of design that was characterized by a contemporary, seemingly futuristic aesthetic and an emphasis on function.

“The Mid-century Modern design movement spanned from about 1933 to 1965 and included architecture as well as industrial, interior, and graphic design.”

Architectural Digest

At the stepping off point of this movement, American engineer Kenly C. Bugg invented an alternative tobacco pipe in 1936 combining metal and briar. Kenly Bugg later patented his pipe invention in 1945. The Falcon pipe is a metal pipe with a threaded dish at the end of a metal shank. The pipe has interchangeable Briar bowls of different shapes and finishes that thread into the metal dish of the pipe.

Kenly Bugg claimed that the Falcon Pipe provided the pipe smoker a cooler, dryer smoke. The briar bowls could be cleaned like any other briar pipe, while the metal stem and could be cleaned easily with a pipe cleaner. In fact you could wash it with soap and water if you wanted to.

Falcon Pipes were produced in the United States until the 1960’s, after which production was moved to England.

First Impressions

The first Falcon Pipe is the original design, with a bent stem, and marked “Made in England” which tells me that it was made after 1960’s. There are a couple of dents on the tube that runs down the centre of the stem, probably from getting knocked around all these years. The mouthpiece is made of nylon.

The second Falcon had a more traditional straight body, still had the versatility of the falcon system but the stem could also accommodate a 6mm filter. The metal pipe has a wrap that gives it the brown colour. The wrap had nicks and abrasions that are not going to be corrected without sanding away the coating. The nomenclature was also unreadable, it took me some time to find the “Falcon International” logo to determine that’s what it used to say. The mouthpiece is also made of nylon.

Both of the briar bowls were heavily smoked and had a heavy layer of carbon buildup. The finish of each bowl were worn off and covered with dirt and carbon buildup as well. The base of the briar bowls both had cracks in the bottom. The cracks did not breach the tobacco chamber but would need to be addressed.

Step 1: Carbon Buildup Removal

My pipe reamer set made short work of the carbon buildup located in the upper half of both bowls. I used 100 grit sandpaper to remove the buildup at the bottom portion of the bowl.

Step 2: Clean, Clean, Clean

I used some Murphy’s Oil Soap to scrub the briar bowls, then set them aside to dry while I worked on the stems and mouth pieces of the two Falcons.

The “Falcon international” mouthpiece removed quite easily. The body of the pipe was full of solids. The stem of the standard Falcon was completely clogged, I was unable to pass a pipe cleaner through it. I was able to get them both cleaned out using a combination of alcohol and soapy water.

Both mouthpieces were completely clogged. I soaked them in alcohol to loosen the solids in the stems, and used hot soapy water and a dental tool to pull the grime out of the mouthpieces. In the end I was able to get them completely clean.

I used steel wool to ream the metal bowls of the stems, then used more alcohol to clean the stems, and mouthpieces to an acceptable standard.

Step 3: Repairs

Both briar bowls had cracks in the base of the bowls. Oddly they didn’t breach the walls of the pipe at all. I filled the cracks with an adhesive product called “Chair Doctor” using a syringe. It will soak into the end grain of wood, swell the wood and then freeze the wood in the swollen state as it cures. A film of dry glue lines the wood cells, preventing contraction. It dries clear and is easy to sand and also heat resistant.

Step 4: Refinishing

Both bowls needed to be refinished. I sanded the old finish off both bowls but left the rustication alone on the one. I used Fiebings Light Brown leather dye to restore the colour to both bowls. Afterwards I applied a light coating of mineral oil to help set the stain in the bowls. The mineral oil deepened the colour of the stain including the original stain on the rusticated portion of the one bowl.

Step 5: Stem & Mouthpiece restoration

I began polishing the standard Falcon stem with 0000 Steel wool which worked really well to remove scratches in the metal and get it ready for further polishing. Next I used my microfibre pads and sanded the stem from 1500 – 12000 grit. Lastly I used my rotary tool and a buffing wheel to polish the stem with white diamond. The stem was like chrome when I finished, it looks amazing.

The Falcon logo on the one mouthpiece was discoloured, and despite my best efforts to scrub it white, I was unsuccessful. I decided to use one of my dental tools to remove it. I then used an oil paint pen to fill in the logo again. Once that dried I sanded both nylon mouthpieces with microfibre pads then polished them with white diamond.

Step 6: Final buffing and polishing

I buffed the briar bowls with white diamond, then buffed and polished the bowls and mouthpieces with Carnauba wax. Lastly, both bowls received a waterglass bowl coating (forgot to take pictures) using activated charcoal, white pumice and sodium silicate (waterglass). This will provide a heat shield for the briar and extend the life of the bowls.

The Reveal

Thanks for reading. These two Falcons are ready to fly again! You can purchase the pair of Falcons at the Lunting Bear Store!

Restoring a Jobey Stromboli E37

This pipe was acquired from a Goodwill auction along with several other pipes and a pipe stand. Unfortunately I don’t know who the original owner of this pipe was. Often when I’m on a pipe hunt, I’m hopeful that I not only find some interesting pieces to restore, but that I may be imparted with some information about the previous smoker.

The nomenclature on the pipe reads Jobey Stomboli E37. Jobey was an American pipe manufacturer, the ownership of which changed hands throughout the years and sometimes made under the banner of another brand. I turned to pipedia to see what I can glean about Jobey. From what I could find.

“the first mention of Jobey seems to be back in 1915, when two brothers named Ulysses and Louis Jobey of Brooklyn, New York obtained a patent for an odd sort of cavalierish pipe in 1915” (Source; Pipedia).

pipedia

Pipedia also refers to the patent for the “Jobey Link” in 1970. The Jobey link is an alternative pipe tenon. The mortise of the pipe is threaded along with one end of the tenon itself. The tenon is threaded into the pipe, the remaining end is smooth and acts like a push-tenon to connect the stem. The stem is simply held in place by friction. This is pretty well a reverse of how most pipes are made. At least in my opinion. Here is a picture of the patent for the Jobey tenon.

Jobey Link | rebornpipes

First Impressions

The pipe was in sound condition. There was no evidence of cracks in the shank or breaches of the airway in the stem due to harsh clenching. The finish is a very craggily deep rustication on both the rim and the body of the stummel. You can see dust or dirt had collected in these craggily areas and the finish was dull. The Jobey link was seized in the stem, fortunately it threaded out of the stummel quite easily. The stem is a acrylic, the airway was heavily soiled from smoking and was a visible brown right through the stem.

Step 1: Remove Carbon buildup

The tobacco chamber on this pipe was quite large. I was able to insert the 3rd largest reamer bit to remove the carbon buildup in the chamber. As always I will ream the pipe right back to the briar if I can. The purpose of which is so I can assess the condition of the tobacco chamber and determine if there any heat fissures or cracks in the bowl.

After I finished removing the carbon buildup from the tobacco chamber I used some steel wool and a wire brush (steel) to remove the carbon buildup on the rim of the pipe and within the rusticated finish. A brass brush is much softer that the steel brush, however; in my experience, you will discover that the brass will leave a metal sheen on the pipe as some of the brass will transfer right onto the pipe itself creating more work. Here’s the before and after:

Step 2: Clean & Deoderize

With the carbon buildup removed, it was time to clean and deoderize the internals of the airway of the stummel and clean the airway in the stem. I use a combination of nylon brushes, bristled pipe cleaners, regular pipe cleaners and a retort system.

First, I scrubbed and cleaned the stem until I was able to remove all of the brown buildup in the airway.

I used cotton batting soaked with alcohol to deodorize any lingering aromas or flavours left behind in the pipe.

Step 3: Refinishing

I used a combination of Feibings Dark Brown leather dye to restore the brown finish on the smooth accent on the shank as wells as the smooth bottom where the nomenclature is located. I touched up the rim and any peaks in the rustication with a Wood Furniture Repair Marker in the Espresso colour. These stain markers are one of the most useful tools for matching stains when refinishing pipes. You can buy these usually in a pack of 6 at most Hardware stores.

Step 4: Stem Polishing

I used my micro fibre pads to restore the finish on the acrylic stem. I don’t often work with acrylic as most of the pipes that come my way usually have Vulcanite stems. I find acrylic very forgiving to work with when you reach the polishing stage. I was able to start at 1500 grit and work my way up quite quickly. I was able to achieve an excellent finish on the stem, I don’t think I even needed to buff it, but I will anyway for the sake of process.

Before moving to the buffing stage for this pipe, I replaced the Jobey link back into the shank of the pipe. It threaded back in quite easily and I was able to push and pull the stem from pipe as originally intended. The stem seated firmly on the push tenon firmly.

Step 5: Buffing and Polishing

I used a buffing wheel on my rotary tool to buff and polish the whole pipe. I start with Red Tripoli, then White Diamond and finally Carnauba Wax. Here is the finished pipe.

This pipe is available at the Lunting Bear Store BUY IT NOW for $60 plus shipping!

Salvaging an old SeaDog Pipe

The morning breaks, and the first sunbeams of morning peek over the horizon. The water is calm this morning like a sheet of glass reflecting the suns rays over the bay. Gulls can be heard waking the day with their calls as they emerge from their nests greeting an old sea Captain and his boat. He loads the last of his gear onto his fishing boat, a trusted old friend, weathered and weary much like himself. He steps into the cockpit of his fishing boat and sets out across the bay, slowly chugging along the water. His hands pat his coat pockets to locate his pipe, he finds a favourite billiard, sturdy and reliable, just like him. He scoops a bowl full of his favourite tobacco from a tub that sits at the helm packing it with his thumb. He takes a sip of his black coffee and lights his pipe, a humble smile appears under his beard. This morning belongs to him, an old Sea-Dog….

Okay, indulge me, I am being a little melodramatic or verbose with this post. Its fun to imagine who the previous pipe steward was before acquiring the pipe myself. My imagination got away with me on this one.

Among the pipes in this lot that I purchased was this billiard labelled Sea-Dog 8876. Sea Dog was one of many brands owned by the Oppenheimer Pipe group, apparently made in France, likely by Marechal Ruchon & Cie. as evidenced on page 34 of the Circa 1950s Oppenheimer Pipes Catalog.

One can imagine this box of pipes on display at their tobacconist counter labelled with an affordable price tag that no modern pipe smoker likely can recall or will ever see again.

First Impressions

The pipe had a few issues. Overall it was relatively clean and wouldn’t need too much elbow grease to re-condition the internals. The briar itself is a lower grade briar. The stem wasn’t oxidized and just need some tooth chatter removed and then refinished and polished. There were large fills on the side of the bowl that will need to be addressed along with some basic aesthetics to bring this pipe back up to a favourable standard.

Step 1: Ream & Clean

I used the typical methods to remove carbon build-up in the tobacco chamber. I also will use my drill head from my lathe with a drill bit to clear the draught hole of carbon build up. Sometimes its not necessary, but more often than not I find it necessary. This accelerates the cleaning process and removes more gunk than scrubbing endlessly with pipe cleaners. I don’t increase the draught hole, I just use this as a means to remove any carbon buildup.

Once I’m satisfied that I have removed all the carbon buildup, I will plug the mortise and tobacco chamber with cotton batting and saturate it with Alcool alcohol to sanitize the internals. As you can see the process pulled out a lot of unwanted matter, I’m assuming tars and nicotine.

Lastly I’ll give this pipe a scrub with Murphy’s Oil Soap to clean it and prepare the bowl for additional repairs and refinishing.

Step 2: Stummel Repairs

I removed the old fill material from the pits in the briar. Clearly these would have been rejects from a pipe factory and had been filled and repurposed for an economy line of pipes. I have a dental tool set I use remove the old fills. Kind of like the dentist scratching the tartar off your teeth.

Lower Grade Briar and Pit Fills

The alcohol from the sanitize process leached through the pits in the bowl.

This is a good example of why we pay more money for good quality pipes. Ideally a pipe maker or factory wants to consume all their materials to produce a product they can sell. This bowl in most cases wouldn’t meet standard, likely discarded and thus not yielding a sale. Fills were probably used to capture as many sales as possible even with lower quality bowls.

Full disclosure. I will use the fill method myself to restore this pipe and put it back in service.

I make my own filler using a combination of briar dust and a CA Glue. Once the CA glue sets, I use a small hobby files to blend the fill to the contour of the pipe. I then sand using progressive grits up to 1200, at which point the pipe is ready to re-stain.

Step 3: Refinishing

I used Fiebing’s Dark Brown leather dye to match the original stain that was on the pipe. This will also do a good job of camouflaging the fills. I let the pipe rest overnight to let allow the stain to set in completely.

Once the stain is set, I unwrap the stain using red tripoli and a polishing bit on my rotary tool. Afterwards the whole pipe gets refreshed with mineral oil. Mineral oil can be used as a finish on wood, I usually use it to rejuvenate the wood and vulcanite stems.

**NOTE** I omitted showing the final steps of polishing the stummel and the stem work in favour of sharing how I apply bowl coatings and why

Step 4: Bowl Coating

Whenever possible I omit applying a bowl coating. However; in order to put this pipe back in service and extend its life, a bowl coating was necessary to complete this repair. Think of it like a heat shield for the pipe. I use the water glass method which is a combination of Sodium Silicate, Activated Charcoal powder and white pumice.

Water glass is the common name for an aqueous solution of either sodium silicate or potassium silicate. It gets its name because it’s essentially glass (silicon dioxide) in water. … As the water evaporates, the solution solidifies into a glassy solid. Once it cures, it appears to be exactly like the coating you get on a factory grade pipe. Aesthetically it looks good and provides a fresh surface for carbon buildup.

This old Sea Dog is ready to be re-commissioned!

Cleaning up a 1976 Dunhill Bruyere (213)

This was the second Dunhill in the lot I acquired in Toronto. On the picture on the right you can see it is similar in size to a Group 1, the Shell Briar at the bottom is my Father’s Group 4 for comparison.

In 1976 a 3-digit system (“Interim”) was developed that showed a logical approach to identify pipes in terms of size & mouthpiece (this was soon to be replaced). Conveniently this pipe is stamped in the exact year that this interim system was developed. The pipe was stamped DUNHILL BRUYERE, (213), MADE IN ENGLAND16. The dating code for pipes from this era was used from 1955 – 1994. From 1970-1994 the date code was determined by adding the double suffix number to the year 1960. In this case the double suffix number is 16, therefore 1960 + 16 = 1976, et voilà!

Pipedia Dunhill Dating Guide

First Impressions

This is one filthy pipe. This pipe was well smoked, carbon buildup was moderate in the tobacco chamber but had also deposited itself on the rim as well bonding with the finish. There was some minor tooth chatter on the stem which wasn’t too badly oxidized and could be fixed easily. The red top finish that a Bruyere is known for was gone, it still had a nice luster but it had faded completely. The Bruyere finish is a brown under stain with a red top coat. That can be remedied easily.

Step 1: Ream & Clean

Several passes with a pipe cleaner were returning black, this was a very long process. It was definitely a favoured pipe of our previous smoker. I scrubbed, and scrubbed, and scrubbed the internals with pipe cleaners until the airway was clean. Lastly I applied a salt and alcohol treatment to the tobacco chamber using Kosher Salt and Alcool. Alcool is food grade alcohol and is 95% Alcohol. I live in Ontario where it is available at the LCBO by permit only (BTW you just email them and they will ask you some questions to ensure you’re not making moonshine then give you the permit).

As you can see, after 24 hours, the salt had turned a nice amber brown colour from all the matter it absorbed from the tobacco chamber. Better in the salt than in the bowl! After this step was complete I performed an alcohol retort on the pipe and drew out any remaining tars and nicotine. With the internals in better shape I moved on to the stem.

Step 2: Stem deoxidation and repairs

Once again I turned to Mark Hoover’s Deoxidizer formula. If you read the other two blogs related to this pipe lot you will see I’m recycling the pictures because the stems all took a bath at the same time. After removing all the deoxidizer and oxidation from the stem, I always use mineral oil to rejuvenate and protect the stem from re-oxidizing. Once the oil has penetrated the vulcanite and dried I wipe it down and begin any necessary repairs.

I was able to pull all the tooth chatter out of this stem using a flame. I used my butane lighter and pass the flame along the bite zone slowly, heating up the vulcanite. Vulcanite has “muscle memory” I guess you could call it, heating it swells the vulcanite back to its orginal form. In this case, sans bite marks. Sometimes the flame will dull the luster of the stems so you almost inevitably need to sand. I started with 800 Grit and work my way up to 12,000 using micro mesh pads. Below is a before and after comparison.

Move the slider back and forth to reveal the before and after

Step 3: Stummel repairs and refinishing

With the stem work complete, I moved my attention back to the stummel. By now all the alcohol in the pipe has evaporated. Passing the pipe under my nose I do not detect any evidence of ghosting whatsoever. Back to the task at hand. Working on the stummel is my favourite and most rewarding part of this hobby. Restoring the finish on a pipe is so satisfying!

As I pointed out earlier, the rim was heavily caked in carbon buildup. Topping the bowl, I decided, was the best remedy. You don’t want to use a really low grit on this other wise you’re going to have to keep sanding to higher grits to achieve a finish grade. For this I’m just using 800 grit. Moving in circular motions, I sand the rim until remove the finish layer.

Once I’ve removed the carbon buildup and the finish layer, I continue in higher grits but only to 1000. We’re not polishing the rim we just want to prepare it receive a stain again. Next I use a stain marker to match the rim to the brown under stain. These stain markers work remarkably well and are perfect for this.

With the rim looking sharp and stained to match the brown under stain, its time to restore the red top stain that the Bruyere finish is known for. For this I turn to Fiebings Dark Red Leather Dye. I use a pipe cleaner to apply the stain to the whole stummel then let it sit for 24 hours. Yeah you can get fancy and Flambé if you like but it also works to just let it rest and absorb the pigment.

Once set, I unwrap the stain using a buffing wheel on my rotary tool and red tripoli to reveal the finished result. This process both unwraps the stain and buffs at the same time. After this I will assemble the pipe and buff both the stem and stummel together with red tripoli, then white diamond and lastly carnauba wax.

Here is the finished pipe!