Reclaiming Oil Saturated Briars

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Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
1,689
3,596
Humansville Missouri
One of the joys of owning a meerschaum pipe is to color it by saturating the pipe with the tobacco oils produced by burning tobacco.

It takes some incredible amount of smoking, but over a long, long period briar pipes will become saturated with oils, too.

Unlike meerschaums, most folks don’t appreciate a tobacco oil saturated briar.

This otherwise nice 7 pointed star era medium apple Three Star Lee is oil saturated.

DA9E9234-3F5C-4778-ABAB-0CF5C1A6BB66.jpeg9907F7E1-4BF5-4B7F-B081-B5E34C473270.jpeg09A373D2-D53C-4335-B986-140BB5025435.jpeg19B59691-6143-4E6C-A902-50C9DA912B7D.jpeg
You’ll notice the tobacco oils have only saturated the shank (to black) and then the saturation is only on the bottom part of the bowl.

If this was a meerschaum I’d be giddy.

It came with another Lee and a Yello Bole that were far worse saturated than this one, and I’ve salt treated the other two. This one is still a good, but not outstandingly good smoker, so I’ve left it with just a good washing in hot soapy water. It helps, but not very much.

This next pipe is my oldest I know of in my stash. It’s an early KB&B marked Kaywoodie Drinkless that has faint lettering on the bottom that reads

SYNCROSTEM
PAT APP FOR

The ball stinger came first, and then the syncrostem patent was approved in 1931, I believe. This pipe was new when Herbert Hoover was President. It’s old.

I spent hours and hours salt treating this and scrubbing it with toothpaste.
It’s only a barely acceptable smoker, now. It was horrible before.

C229E22C-8232-4668-9591-02D22748C747.jpeg34F6DBEE-DE4D-4538-8AD6-9832C6DB0107.jpegA2A6765D-E6D5-4A2F-8288-99335B2B26BA.jpeg664ECFAA-6AB7-4F64-8651-1DA08455DE72.jpeg6CC66F01-B1CE-4719-B844-04976E9E3D5A.jpegThe Kaywoodie is in amazing shape for the amount of smoking it took to color the entire pipe black.

The bit isn’t chewed, the rim isn’t bad, there’s no big dents or deep scratches, and it’s not had the bowl reamed lopsided. Somebody just loved smoking it too much.

I think the average member of a pipe forum might be an addict but they are surely a pipe enthusiast (I avoided the word hobbyist.:) ).

To smoke a pipe enough to saturate the briar required a stone cold addict that took his nicotine through that vessel for years, if not decades.

But if it’s survived, the addict was also a pipe enthusiast that took enough care of it to not just burn it up.

The Lee owner kept a perfect cake the thickness of a dime, and didn’t smoke to the bottom.

The Kaywoodie had so much cake it held about a cigarette’s worth of tobacco.

Id like anybody to give me pointers how to make the Lee look like the Kaywoodie. That, was too much work to do all at once.:)

I think that if you want to have an excellent smoker, you’d better buy lower mileage pipes.

I don’t know the exact number, but even the best kept briar can be smoked until it’s mainly good for showing off and saying lookie here at this old relic that I resurrected from dead.

I can make them acceptable to smoke, but you’d never grab one first from the stash.
 
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The Amish Tyrant

Part of the Furniture Now
Jul 26, 2021
996
3,326
Metro-Detroit
Paul's Pipe Shop in Flint, Michigan has a Cayuga process where the briar is cured in oil and treated with a "miracle cake". My understanding is that Malaga pipes formerly in Royal Oak, Michigan had the same process.

I'm guessing Lee pipes have the same process as well.

I own both a Cayuga and Malaga and the Cayuga smoked great from the start. Cayuga pipes are available at Paul's starting at about $35 and the shop is one of a kind with an in-store museum.
 
I too doubt that the oil soaked through to the surface. A band saw would make a good check of it. I suggest you split the pipe open and send us some picks. If it is as sour as you suggest, it is worth the science.

I do have a question of @Briar Lee as well. What evidence - written documentation - do you have that Lee pipes were oil cured? I haven't found any data to suggest they were.

Worn out sour pipes - I suggest you send them off for a O3 bath as well.
 

Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
1,689
3,596
Humansville Missouri
Could the oil have come from handling?

If it did it went all the way through, and the best evidence it’s from the inside is:

1. The tobacco oil saturated pipe looks like it’s a partially colored meerschaum.

84C5CFFB-08FB-495A-BE8F-FFECFC7093D7.jpeg2. These pipes are in nice shape after cleaning. A careless owner would surely hurt it, chatter the rim, bite the bit, and scratch it all up.

3. These pipes have been cleaned and reamed regularly. I’ve had pipes where it took tons of pipe cleaners to get the airway open. These have the look of a chauffeur driven Cadillac hearse with a half million miles on the clock.

4. Salt treating these means multiple treatments, bowl after bowl black with tars. But to get the outside back to something close to brown instead of black means hours and hours of scrubbing with toothpaste and a toothbrush, or maybe soaking the entire stummel in salt.

5. if they were meerschaums there’d be no question about it.
 

warren

Lifer
Sep 13, 2013
10,320
10,753
Are you saying "oil" as opposed to the lees, dregs or residues of a bowl of tobacco. Also, I not sure about comparing Meerschaum, a mineral, to piece of dead briar. Could not your bowl coloring simply be the accumulation of years of oily residues and grime from the smoker's hand and fingers?

Of course if that pipe was a meerschaum we wouldn't be having this discussion, that's patently obvious. Apples and oranges it is!
 

Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
1,689
3,596
Humansville Missouri
I too doubt that the oil soaked through to the surface. A band saw would make a good check of it. I suggest you split the pipe open and send us some picks. If it is as sour as you suggest, it is worth the science.

I do have a question of @Briar Lee as well. What evidence - written documentation - do you have that Lee pipes were oil cured? I haven't found any data to suggest they were.

Worn out sour pipes - I suggest you send them off for a O3 bath as well.
The Missouri State Checker champion for most all of the last half of the twentieth century lived about four miles on down the road to Stockton, by Alder Cemetery. Riley dropped by my father’s milk barn to visit so much he was almost family.

Riley and his wife Dova had one beloved son that grew up and attended SMS college at Springfield.

My father asked Riley once hiw his son was doing in college and Riley said not so good.

Riley said the boy had a job at a drug store where he was on his feet so much he’d wear a pair of shoes completely out in about six months, and have to get em’ fixed or buy new shoes.

Riley said his shoes lasted for years and years playing checkers, and maybe the boy ought to find another occupation where his shoes would last longer.

Daddy winked at me, and I didn’t laugh.

The boy went on to be a college professor and I suppose his shoes last longer now.

There was a day, when men had one pair of good shoes.

And one good pipe.
 
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The Missouri State Checker champion for most all of the last half of the twentieth century lived about four miles on down the road to Stockton, by Alder Cemetery. Riley dropped by my father’s milk barn to visit so much he was almost family.

Riley and his wife Dova had one beloved son that grew up and attended SMS college at Springfield.

My father asked Riley once hiw his son was doing in college and Riley said not so good.

Riley said the boy had a job at a drug store where he was on his feet so much he’d wear a pair of shoes completely out in about six months, and have to get em’ fixed or buy new shoes.

Riley said his shoes lasted for years and years playing checkers, and maybe the boy ought to find another occupation where his shoes would last longer.

Daddy winked at me, and I didn’t laugh.

The boy went on to be a college professor and I suppose his shoes last longer now.

There was a day, when men had one pair of good shoes.

And one good pipe.
Okay.... but that reply avoids the question, "What evidence - written documentation (online, etc) - do you have that Lee pipes were oil cured? I haven't found any data to suggest they were."

I have found written evidence in advertisements that Gold Coast pipes were "seasoned and cured". Nada for Lee.
 

Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
1,689
3,596
Humansville Missouri
Are you saying "oil" as opposed to the lees, dregs or residues of a bowl of tobacco. Also, I not sure about comparing Meerschaum, a mineral, to piece of dead briar. Could not your bowl coloring simply be the accumulation of years of oily residues and grime from the smoker's hand and fingers?

Of course if that pipe was a meerschaum we wouldn't be having this discussion, that's patently obvious. Apples and oranges it is!
Tars, resins, oils, goo,,,,from burning tobacco.

Most of these continuously smoked pipes were thrown away, and the owner bought another.

The oils even expand the shank a bit.

A new Lee or Kaywoodie will have the juncture of stem and shank as one smooth surface and while you can see the line, it can’t be felt. An oil soaked pipe has that joint slightly proud, and you can see and feel it.
320B25DF-650C-426F-BBFF-4A545510E4FF.jpeg
By the way these are extremely rare.

I own five.

Out of who can guess how many hundreds of used pipes I’ve bought.

I got three of them at the same time a couple of weeks ago.
 

Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
1,689
3,596
Humansville Missouri
Okay.... but that reply avoids the question, "What evidence - written documentation (online, etc) - do you have that Lee pipes were oil cured? I haven't found any data to suggest they were."

I have found written evidence in advertisements that Gold Coast pipes were "seasoned and cured". Nada for Lee.
My father was the Superintendent of the Chosen and Elected Elders of the Humansville Christian Church from his twenties sometime, until he died at age 52 in 1971.

He owned two pair of work boots, lace up type, of the best quality.

Twice a day, my father was on his feet in a milk barn in continuous motion two minutes out of every ten changing milkers, letting two cows out, two cows in, hauling two six gallon milk containers to a bulk tank, and then for eight minutes he’d smile, laugh, and visit with all the loafers that were standing around.

He wore a grove, in the concrete floor.

He was always immaculately dressed in his barn in one of his two pairs of Big Smith engineer stripe overalls my mother kept fresh as new.

Daddy rotated his work boots. One was in the repair shop about once a month.

He never wore out a pair of boots.

But his life’s mission was putting on one of his immaculate suits three times a week where he presided, directed, and produced at the Humansville Christian Church the finest and most entertaining and addictive moral lessons about the sacrifice of our Gentle Savior, that anybody could imagine.

He approved every sermon, every song, every special, and every lesson plan there for about thirty years.

And he never wore out a nice suit, or nice shoes.

I think Mama bought him a new pair of overalls every month. They were never ragged.

My father never preached a sermon. He never lectured me on any subject.

But of you don’t believe that Christ blesses his faithful servants you’ve never been in my father’s milk barn, and heard him whistle while he swung all those levers and pulled ropes and hauled milk.

When you see a child with laughing eyes, looking around in rapture at the miracle of God’s creation, you have proof of God,,,

If you’ll notice it, and accept it on faith.

And when you see a briar pipe that’s been smoked so much it looks colored like a meerschaum, that’s because it’s soaked in tobacco oils.

My father kept an uneven number of cows milking, usually 25.

They all came to the barn in the same order twice a day.

Two went in, then twenty minutes later two went out, leaving four cows in the barn, the back two milking and the front two eating supplement.

Then two hours and 24 cows later would be that hind cow, the one the others had shoved to the back.

The loafers would crowd back there, to watch that pitiful hind cow, be petted and loved and wanted. Grown men would tear up at the sight.

She was just about worn out, in Daddy’s service.

It beat all you’ve ever seen.

I’d reckon these old oil soaked pipes, were the hind cows of somebody, once upon a time.

YOU BEAT ALL I’VE EVER SEEN

Rhonda Vincent version


 
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Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
1,689
3,596
Humansville Missouri
Mr. Lee. You are grand standing and refusing to answer the question. I find you in contempt of court.
All this reminiscing about bygone days makes me want to go out to me father’s milk barn, see the paths worn in the floor where he walked, and touch the numbers of cows on the door he marked in pencil for a substitute milker would know to put kickers on.

Any of those cows could have kicked his brains out at any time. He designed his barn to have elevated stanchions, so he never had to stoop.

Daddy never needed to use kickers, but Proctor boy that milked when Mama made us go on vacation a week might.

We never know just when, we’ll clean up our milkers and head for the house, where supper waits, that last time.

But a hind cow and an oil soaked pipe both wear down slowly, and my oil soaked Lee deserves a second chance, to serve.

I scrubbed the beejezzus out of it for about thirty minutes using tooth paste, and I hope I’ve not ruined it.

It looks awful.

9FEAC098-35F4-4F36-A6D6-E15C9CE6E40F.jpeg3BE2D07C-3147-4BF0-91D4-407884B930E1.jpeg7244A08E-32D2-4E4A-B70D-23D1D09FE1A3.jpeg012604E9-1536-41E0-BB84-D0AECE914DFD.jpeg

I better let it dry a bit and see what grapeseed oil cab replenish.
 
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