A Cleaning Question and Another Estate Pipe ID

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wolfpackfan

New member
Mar 24, 2014
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Okay guys...I have another question and some more pics. First off... cleaning an old bowl. About 3 months ago, my wife went to an estate sale and found this pipe.







I am not certain about the best option to core the bowl. I have looked into some reaming tools, but am not sure of the best option. Some threads I have read said that using a small knife works well as long as I don't get too deep and scar the briar. I certainly do not want that. The caking is pretty hard and I want to be careful. Any tools/brands that you would recommend? Techniques or videos that are online? I just don't want to mess the bowl up.
Now on to another question are the initials in the stem the pipe maker? I am not familiar with JCG. Can any of you more experienced pipers help me? (Also if you cannot read the second photo is says "Signature imported Brair")

 

anglesey

Senior Member
Jan 15, 2014
383
1
I dont think you can go wrong with a small knife to be honest, I find there's much more control. It's pretty easy to avoid scratching the bottom of the bowl to be honest. Ease the blade into the bowl as far down as you can, then put the blade flat on the cake with the blade at a 20 degree angle, kind of if you were shaving with a straight razor, then put your thumb on the rim and rotate the pipe anticlockwise, if you're doing it right handed. I find increasing the angle helps if the blades a bit blunter.
Also, how deep does that chip on the bowl go? Your pics are a bit small ;)

 

ejames

Preferred Member
Oct 6, 2009
3,917
1
I can't remember which company it was ,but I seem to remember a "Signature Series". When the pipe was ordered the persons initials could be stamped into the stem. Weber maybe? Wally Frank? Any other stampings on that pipe?
I would invest in a Castleford reamer set. They're cheap and effective. A knife is fine--once you get the hang of it.

 

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wolfpackfan

New member
Mar 24, 2014
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Thanks for the advice on the reamers. I will look into them. A small knife may work well, but I am hesitant to start in on one so caked. @ ejames - there is no other markings on the pipe. One of the reason I was scratching my head on it. I have searched the net, but you all are more the expert on older pipes. It looks like a good one, just needs a bit of TLC and it will be back in action. Thanks again, if you all can think of anything more concrete about this pipe, please let me know! Thanks again.

 

phil67

Preferred Member
Dec 14, 2013
2,052
2
You might possibly also want to give the bowl an alcohol and salt treatment. I've done this with estate pipes and it works miracles. Mind you, this has nothing whatsoever to do with removing a built up cake and is done after you remove it, but it simply leaches everything that might possibly be foul out of the bowl and makes it fresh and like new.

 

tuold

Preferred Member
Oct 15, 2013
2,125
67
Beaverton,Oregon
ejames, I have one of those "Signature" pipes with the original owner's name written in cursive on the stem. I don't see a manufacture's name anywhere on it but it is stamped "Signature" on the shank. I'd like to know who made those myself. It's not the highest quality briar but it's still a nice looking pipe.
Wolfpackfan, I have a pipe that looks very similar to yours and it's a Willard. It's plainly marked though, so maybe not.

 

sfsteves

Preferred Member
Aug 3, 2013
1,282
0
SF Bay Area
I've used a knife for years (if I say decades, it makes me feel old) and have gotten pretty good with it ... the nice thing about the one I use is that it has a rounded tip which isn't sharpened, which makes it easier to avoid screwing up the bottom of the pipe ...
My son got one of those Castleford sets and I used it on a particularly crusted bowl ... that made short work of a project that would have taken a lot longer with the knife ... I think I'd like having one of those ...
The knife is on a pipe tool like this one:


 

jah76

Preferred Member
Jun 27, 2012
1,608
4
You might be surprised how easy that cake pops out, sometimes in those old beaters it comes out in uneven chunks. I usually take them down to just a bit before bare wood. I have a senior reamer I like but it doesn't see too much use.
I stopped using salt and now just use alcohol and cotton balls. I think the salt generally pulls more stuff out, but honestly two cotton ball treatments is just easier and I may be imagining it but I always taste the salt for a few bowls afterwards.
Make sure you let the pipe sit and dry a few days after the treatment. The wood gets puffy IMO.

 

petes03

Preferred Member
Jun 23, 2013
5,245
7
+1 on the salt/cotton balls!

I switched to cotton balls on the last few estates I cleaned up. I was very pleased with the job it did! I didn't really notice a significant difference between the cotton and the salt, plus the cotton is a LOT easier and MUCH less messy!

 

wolfpackfan

New member
Mar 24, 2014
11
0
Thanks guys. Actually before I joined the forum/pipes magazine I found a thread from here that gave such insight into cleaning with alcohol and salt that I tried it on the collection of pipes I bought from the new guy at work. His dad has taken all of the caking out of the pipes, but they had been sitting for so long I decided to try the salt/alcohol treatment. It worked like a charm! It is now one of the only 2 I smoke (and probably will). (The other one is also an old estate Kaywoodie bulldog that I tried the treatment on...it too was awesome). Here is some picks of my #1 go to pipe! It is a Dr. Mac.





Evidently Dr. Mac was a pipe sold at a local tobacconist here in the Charlotte NC area. Is it the nicest briar on the planet? Maybe not...but it is REALLY nice and if I read correctly was made for the store by local artists (even though the store stiffed the pipe makes on their craft...NOT COOL). From my google research this is a bent rusticated Dr. Mac from the 1970s. Has anyone heard of this pipe? Was my research correct? I love it because it has a generous bowl and smokes great. I will sell the others in the lot...but this one is ALL MINE!

 

mymonkey

New member
Apr 1, 2014
1
0
My first post here. I too have come across some old pipes and am thankful for the info provided here. I look forward to cleaning them up!

 

tankbuster183

New member
Feb 27, 2014
30
0
Deptford NJ
My first post here. I too have come across some old pipes and am thankful for the info provided here. I look forward to cleaning them up!
I am new to the site but not the hobby. I definitely recommend getting a few cheaper estate pipes to practice on. I love taking an old, over caked, oxidized outcast and making it look new.
Also, welcome!

 
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