A Utah Camping Trip Restoration of an Unbranded Bent Dublin

My wife and I love to travel.  Ever since returning from living in Bulgaria for 15 years – and before that in Ukraine and Spain, our 30 years living in Europe has made it difficult to stay in one place for long.  This introduction is to serve as the backdrop for the next pipe on the worktable.  The mobile worktable is at a US Bureau of Land Management campground in Utah called Hittle’s Bottom.Hittle’s Bottom is on the Colorado River, about 30 miles north east of the town of Moab, Utah.  Moab is known for its close proximity to Arches National Park – one of the wonders of the world.  Hittle’s Botton was named after the early 1900s family that settled here which was a midway point for transporting mail to change out the team of horses.  We have no electric hook ups or water here, so our solar panels charge the batteries during the day and five-gallon jugs of fresh water tend to our basic needs.  We were amazed to discover that many movies, especially old westerns with well-known stars like John Wayne and Richard Widmark, were filmed in this valley with the amazing backdrop of cliffs, buttes and towers.I’ve done this a few times on previous road trips, with all my pipe restoration tools, materials, and supplies packed in 3 DeWalt utility cases.  The pipe on the Hittle’s Bottom worktable is one of those diamonds in the rough one finds now and then.  It is unbranded, but the lines of the 3/4 Bent Dublin attracted me when I saw it in June 2022, on the auction block.  What also attracted me to this unbranded Dublin was the exceptional grain patterns.  Here is what the seller in Meriden, Connecticut, said to describe the pipe:

Up for sale is a gorgeous bent dublin billiard estate pipe beautiful briar good condition. Unmarked on shank and stem. This pipe has a great bent dublin billiard shape. Beautiful briar on this pipe as well. Pipe is in really nice condition but used and does need a cleaning. Stem has oxidation. Great solid estate pipe for any collector or smoker.

Here are the specs on this pipe: Length: 5.125”, Inside diameter: 0.75”, Outside diameter: 1.3125”, Inside depth: 1.75”, Outside depth: 1.875”, Weight: 1.21oz

The seller described the pipe as a “dublin billiard”.  Since there is no such pipe shape, its Dublin designation will stand without challenge.  My bid was sufficient and here are the pictures after it arrived and placed in the ‘For “Pipe Dreamers” ONLY!’ collection for pipe men and women to commission benefiting the Daughters of Bulgaria: Pipe man Justin is from Ohio and this pipe got his attention.  He reached out to me with this note:

#B4641 Unmarked Bent Dublin

Hello, I’ve checked your site out a few times and finally think I found the pipe that is worth diving deeper. That grain is amazing, and bent pipes are fun. 

Let me know what else you need from me. Pleasure to meet you and browse your website.


Justin was hopeful of finding some information about the origins of this attractive Dublin, but lacking any nomenclature, it makes it difficult.  Later on, I found out more about Justin:

I am in Ohio. 🙂 So we’ve had some great spring days and a little bit of cold in the last two. I am a remote working design engineer. We have locations across the country and world. Right now, I’m working in the coal power plant industry, but I’ve been in a couple of different areas. Like smoking pipes, of course! But I also enjoy building Lego models, going on hikes with the family, and just exploring the area we just moved to last year. We also have my grandparents nearby with a family farm so that’s a lot of fun to go visit!

I appreciate learning about those who commission pipes from me and what their values and aspirations are.  I think this Bent Dublin will be a good addition to Justin’s collection.  This Dublin is 3/4 bent and a great pipe to hang on the chin while walking or doing something with the hands.  The condition of the pipe is good.  It seems to have been gently used and needs only a refreshing.  The chamber is lightly caked, and the stem has very minuscule tooth chatter, but has oxidation.  The next few pictures show this.The first step in the refreshing of this nice unbranded Bent Dublin is to clean the airway of the stem with pipe cleaners moistened with isopropyl 99% alcohol.Following the cleaning, the stem is placed in a soak of Briarville’s Stem Oxidation Remover for several hours.  The following pictures show the results after the soak with the oxidation raised.A cotton cloth is used to rigorously rub the stem to remove the raised oxidation.  0000 grade steel wool also aids in this. The Briarville soak did a good job addressing the oxidation.To condition the stem, Paraffin Oil is applied to the stem and then the stem is set aside to absorb the oil.Turning now to the bowl, the chamber has a very light cake – probably not even at the ‘cake’ phase yet.  A before picture is taken.Due to the conical shape of the Dublin chamber, only the smallest blade head is used to ream using the Pipnet Reaming Kit.  This blade head cleans the floor of the chamber.  The Savinelli Fitsall does a better job scraping the angled chamber walls.  The light reaming job is complete using 220 paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen.A picture in the sunlight shows the cleaned chamber.The cleaning continues next with the external briar.  The briar is darkened and cleaning the briar is done using a cotton pad and undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap.The pad shows the grunge that has come off the stummel.To rinse, with limited water, a paper towel wet with water does a good job.The cleaning continues with the internals of the stummel.  Cotton buds and pipe cleaners moistened with isopropyl 99% alcohol are used to do the job.  After the buds and cleaners start emerging lightened, the job is completed for now.  Since my wilderness circumstances don’t allow me to do internal cleaning with hot water and anti-oil dish washing soap, the internal cleaning will be continued later with a kosher salt and alcohol soak to draw out latent tars and oils.I’ve examined the stummel and I can see no fills – this is a nice piece of wood.  To continue with the bowl, micromesh pads are applied starting with pads 1500 to 2400, then pads 3200 to 4000 and finishing with pads 6000 to 12000.  To clear away the dust and give the following pad more traction, the bowl is wipe after each pad with a damp cotton cloth. Since my wife and I are preparing to head out to Arches National Park for our third time during this camp out, we plan to take in the final groupings of arches including the ‘Landscape Arch’ and the ‘Delicate Arches’, I decide continue the internal cleaning process with a kosher salt and alcohol soak.This passive form of cleaning helps to remove any residual ghosting and to sweeten the briar for a new steward.  To start, a cotton ball is pulled and twisted to form a wick that helps draw out tars and oils from the internal briar.With the aid of a stiff wire, the wick is guided down the mortise until is appears at the draught hole.  The stummel is then placed in an egg crate to keep it steady.Next, kosher salt is used to fill the bowl.  Kosher salt is used because it doesn’t leave an aftertaste like common iodized table salt.  Isopropyl 99% alcohol is then used to fill the bowl until it surfaces over the salt.  After a few minutes, the alcohol is topped off after it’s been absorbed into the salt and cotton wick.The bowl is then left overnight to soak.The next day, I’m surprised to see that there is almost no soiling of the salt or wick.  I’m hopeful that this indicates a very clean pipe.To confirm this, one pipe cleaner and one cotton bud moistened with isopropyl 99% alcohol emerge clean.The grain of this unbranded Bent Dublin is striking and next, an application of Mark Hoover’s, ‘Before & After’ Restoration Balm, should bring out the natural hues of the briar even more.  After placing some Balm on the fingers, it is thoroughly worked into the briar.  The stummel is then placed aside for 10 to 15 minutes allowing the Balm to do its work.After the time has passed, the excess Balm is wiped/buffed off revealing a very nice briar landscape.Turning next to the stem, to remove any residual oxidation and to erase any of the miniscule tooth chatter, the entire stem is sanded with 470 grade paper.This is followed by wet sanding with 600 grade paper and this is followed by applying 0000 grade steel wool.Continuing with the sanding/polishing of the stem, micromesh pads are used starting with wet sanding with pads 1500 to 2400.  This is followed by dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  To protect the vulcanite stem from oxidation in the future, Obsidian Oil is applied between each set of 3 pads.  The stem turned out great with that glossy pop! With the stem and stummel reunited, a cotton cloth wheel is mounted on the rotary tool being powered by a solar generator 😊.  With the speed set at about 40% full power, Blue Diamond compound is applied to stem and stummel.After application of the compound, a felt cloth is used to wipe the pipe to remove compound dust in preparation for the wax.Before applying wax, one thing has bothered me about this pipe.  There is a lightened, white ring around the circumference of the otter rim.  This usually comes from the sharp edge of the rim rubbing on objects resulting in the lightening.  The next few pictures show what I’m seeing.I don’t like the white circle.  To soften and blend the rim’s edge, a walnut-colored dye stick is used to dye the lightened edge.  I like the results – much nicer transition from the bowl to the rim plateau.The final step in the refreshing of the Dublin is to apply wax.  With another cotton cloth wheel mounted on the rotary tool, Carnauba wax is applied to stem and stummel.I enjoyed restoring this unbranded 3/4 Bent Dublin while camping with my wife near Moab, Utah.  The Dublin is a classic shape with a bit of an attitude.  The 3/4 bend allow the pipe to hang nicely while a new steward enjoys his favorite blend.  The grain on this pipe is not what you would expect on an unbranded pipe, but it is definitely beautiful.  The bird’s eye grain draws the attention nicely.  Justin commissioned this pipe and has the first opportunity to claim the Dublin from the Pipe Steward Store benefiting the Daughters of Bulgaria – a ministry in Bulgaria helping trafficked and sexually exploited women and girls.  Thanks for joining me!




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