About Going Nomad

We are Alan and Michelle - Going Nomad. A 52 year old couple from Northern Ireland who have simplified their lives and have hit the road in their motorhome on a long-term tour of Europe. We will be sharing our travels in the hope to inspire others to find their own adventure.

Transformation of a 108 Year Old Peterson Patent Pipe

In our latest batch of pipes to be restored this week we had the difficult task of transforming a 1906 Peterson Patent pipe. To the untrained eye this pipe looked to be in very poor condition, but the nomenclature was crisp and the hallmarks on the silver collar were clearly visible, although the pipe was a long way from being usable.

full pipe beforeWe started the restoration process as normal by removing the stems and putting them into a solution bath to soften oxidation and aid the cleaning process of the internal stem. While the stems are soaking in the solution I began to ream the bowl, the cake was like a rock and required a lot of elbow grease. Once the wall of cake was broken down, the next stage is to hand sand the inside of the bowl with wet and dry 400 & 600 grit sand paper to bring it back to as smooth a finish as possible. Once the cake was out we could assess the condition of the inside of the bowl. The walls were free from cracks and thinning – Good News!

before rimThe rim on the pipe was also badly charred and with a small cake build up. Using a wire brush I rubbed around the rim and then sanded the remaining charring and cake off with 400 grit wet and dry then finished sanding the entire pipe down with 800 grit but taking extra care around the nomenclature.

The stems are finished their first soaking and are removed and assessed, some of them need sanding and then put back into the solution and the Peterson stem was one of those. I sanded the stem with 400 grit wet and dry and put it back into the solution for another 30 minutes. I then give the stem another quick sand and all of the stems where put into a hot water and soap bath to aid in the cleaning.

before shankThe next step and the most time consuming is the cleaning of the bowls. The shank of the Peterson had a huge amount of tar build up, so much so the draft hole was completely blocked and invisible. No retort was ever going to fully remove this amount of tar. An adapted tool for removing tar from the shank was used to take out the bulk of the build up. Cotton buds soaked in alcohol were then rubbed around the inside of the shank to loosen and clean the tar from the shank. After around 40 cotton buds and more elbow grease I was happy to move on to cleaning the air way. Firstly the air way had to be re-drilled to removed the caked tar from the draft hole. I then used both bristle and white pipe cleaners to get the airway to a certain standard. After this stage I placed the pipe into a hot alcohol bath for a period of time, this helps soften stubborn tar, clean the tobacco chamber and strip the remaining stain from the bowl.

After the alcohol bath the above process is repeated using cotton buds and pipe cleaners, although not as much work is required the second time around. This ensures that the Peterson was thoroughly cleaned and properly sanitised. These cleaning stages are the most important as they restore the pipe’s smoking properties and quality. After these stages the pipe should smoke just like a new pipe with any tobacco ghost completely gone or hardly noticeable.after shank

The stems are removed from their bath and the remainder of any oxidation is removed by sanding with 800 and 1000 grit wet and dry to give a smooth clean finish. Any teeth marks are either removed or greatly reduced during this process using a mixture of glue if needed or sanded using emery boards, followed by the wet and dry treatment.

I then cleaned the stem using alcohol and pipe cleaners. The previous baths will have greatly helped in cleaning the internals of the stems, however in some stems stubborn tar remains. If this is the case a retort will be set up to remove the stubborn tar, followed by further cleaning with pipe cleaners.

I then moved on to the next stage which is staining. We use a variety of stains, from leather dyes to furniture markers. This time I stained the Peterson with a leather dye. I give the pipe a quick rub with alcohol after to removed drip marks. After the stain dried I put the stem back into the pipe.

after bowlWe bowl coat all of our pipes except for meerschaums. A special recipe is made and a small paint brush was used to coat the bowl. This bolsters the pipe’s smoking abilities and allows for an even cake to build up gradually. The bowl coating also makes the pipes easier to photograph!

The next stage after the bowl coating has dried is the the polishing. We use a 5 stage polishing process on a custom built buffing station. The first couple of stages use a polish with higher cut for removing impurities from the stain and stem. The remaining wheels are for giving the pipe a glossy shine and then a sealing coat of carnuba wax is applied to preserve the shine. A quick buff with a microfibre cloth and the pipe is now finished, fully restored and ready to be smoked.

before after1At Reborn Briar we pride ourselves on the quality of our restorations. The emphasis on cleaning the internals of the pipe we believe is what sets us apart from the competition. A pipe looks great with a shine but its the inside is where we judge how well a pipe smokes. The turn around on the Peterson Patent Pipe in particular is a testament to this. If you would like to read more about Peterson Patent Pipes, please read our other recent blog on their history. We also offer this restoration service to our customers as well as a range of fully restored pipes.


Why does (pipe) tobacco bite during smoking?

Answer by Alan Chestnutt:

P-lip stems do not help if you have a sensitive palate. You will just end up burning the roof of your mouth badly instead of your tongue. Especially as the P-lip stem emits the smoke in a concentrated narrow stream.

I have found the opposite to be true from the first answer. If the tobacco is too moist then it leads to 2 problems. Firstly it is harder to keep lit and will most likely mean you will instinctively draw harder on the pipe to keep a good burn. This can heat the tobacco too much. The moisture in the tobacco can then form steam which can bite the tongue with a steam burn.

The second reason for tongue bite is a chemical reaction with a constituent in the tobacco. Some people get tongue bite from red virginia tobacco and others from aromatic tobaccos. Personally, aromatic tobaccos used to burn my tongue and I believe it was the flavourings used that created a chemical reaction in my mouth. I have never had a problem since moving to natural tobaccos.

Why does (pipe) tobacco bite during smoking?

Beds, Sofas, Fly Fishing and Pipes!

What could all of these have in common? Some years ago, in a former life, I was a financial advisor. One of my clients owned a furniture showroom. His main focus was on beds and while building the rapport, he started talking about his favourite subject. His product knowledge was high as he started talking about top manufacturers, pocket springs, mattress rotation etc. When we started talking about prices, I commented on how high I thought the prices of his beds were. What he replied has stuck with me all these years.

He said that on average, people spend 3 to 4 times as much money buying their lounge sofas and chairs than they do on their beds. Yet, if you work full time, people spend at least twice as long in bed as they ever do sitting on their sofa! And still a great quality bed was only half the price of a normal suite. Suddenly this made perfect sense, and as I have got older I appreciate the importance of a restful night’s sleep. There is a direct correlation between the quality of your bed and the quality of your sleep.

Similarly there is a link between the quality of your smoke and the quality of your pipe. Note that I did not say the price of your pipe. That is because in the estate pipes market, it is possible to pick up some great quality pipes at bargain prices. Yet it still amazes me that some people spend more on one tobacco order than they would on a pipe!

I always used to say that a pipe was the instrument but the tobacco was the music. This is true, but a good musician will get a better tune from a poor instrument than a poor musician will from a good instrument.

One of my hobbies is fly fishing. I could catch fish, because I had been fishing with other techniques since I was a boy, I have a good understanding of how trout behaved. But I was never a good caster of the fly. My rod, reel and line were mid quality at best, yet it amazed me that when experts came over to pass on some casting tips, they could take my rod and cast out a full line. However, when they returned to their own higher quality equipment, not only could they cast out a full line, but they could do it with less effort, more finesse and a lot more accuracy.

Just as the art of fly fishing is all about practice, rhythm and technique – so is the art of pipe smoking. Practice on your smoking technique, the rhythm of your cadence and then move to a higher quality pipe to put all the elements together to enjoy a much more satisfying smoke.

May you smoke your pipe in enjoyment this weekend.




English Estate Pipes

During the heyday of pipe smoking from the 1920’s until the 1970’s there is no doubting that the hub of quality pipe manufacture was based around London, England.

english estate pipes

Marques like Dunhill, Comoy, GBD, Charatan and Loewe pipes offered the top manufactured smoking pipes in the world. Apart from Dunhill, most of the other companies have now merged into larger conglomerates and their quality has diminished dramatically from the period pre-1970.

So how can you acquire some of these supreme smoking machines? The only route to adding quality classic briar like this to your collection is to invest in English estate pipes. This is the one market that always remains strong in the estate pipe market. Whilst the demand for older Italian and Danish pipes ebbs and flows, the interest for English estate pipes seems to be growing again at a steady rate.

There is probably not much surprise there. If they were at the time the finest smoking pipes in the world, they are also likely to be the best estate pipes.

The estate market gives the pipe smoker the opportunity to acquire this quality briar at reasonable prices. In my opinion such purchases are an investment, not only in your pipe smoking hobby, but also a safe monetary investment. These pipes are no longer made and there will always be a demand for them. As the stock diminishes over time, well cared for examples will grow in value as demand will outstrip supply.

Some of the best investments in English estate  pipes at the moment are pre-tansition Barlings Make pipes, early pre-1950 Comoy and GBD models, very early 20th century BBB and Loewe pipes and pre-1960 Dunhill pipes (especially those made in the Patent era before 1954). A solid collection across these marques will not only offer you a superb collection of excellent smoking pipes, but also a monetary investment due to dwindling supplies.


Choosing An Estate Pipe

Choosing an estate pipe may be a daunting task for the new pipe smoker. They will likely first be drawn to ebay, as their results dominate the search engines…. but is this the best place to start looking?

Picking out a pipe is an important matter for all pipe smokers.  After all, a pipe may be with you for the rest of your lifetime.  Pipes have a cost but may provide many years of return on the investment if you choose carefully.

Source: Picking Out A Pipe | AL’s Smokes

Peterson Estate Pipes

It is likely that many estate pipes have already lasted a lifetime. I have restored briar pipes from as early as 1890 which are still being enjoyed today 125 years later! If well looked after, expect a briar pipe to last your lifetime and beyond.

I generally would avoid eBay. While there are some great deals, you have to know what you are doing and what to look for.
Credits: Pipe Smoking 101 | The Catholic Gentleman

Buying a used estate pipe from eBay if it has not been previously professionally restored, is like going all-in on a mediocre poker hand. What lies beneath the cake, dirt and grime is unknown. I have received pipes with wall cracks, cracks in the shank, ill fitting incorrect stems and burnouts. If you do not know how to restore pipes yourself and how to bring them to a smokeable condition, you could just be throwing your money away.

Comoy's Tradition 1960'sImage by Xarls R. via Flickr

Although you don’t want to be forking out a small fortune for your first pipe, you can expect to pay more for a good quality pipe. The price usually reflects the quality of the product and as a first time pipe smoker, the quality of a pipe is important otherwise it may leave you with a bad experience that can deter you from smoking. If you are sure about becoming a pipe smoker, investing in the right pipe is important and the price bracket is likely to be between £45-£100.

Credits: How To Choose The Perfect Pipe | Are You Curious To Know

Some people may worry about the health issues around smoking a pipe that has been smoked by someone before them. Have you ever eaten in a restaurant before and used their cutlery? A properly restored estate pipe will have any previous debris removed and will be sterilised using medical grade alcohol.

 If you have no issues with  using restaurant silver and glassware, you should have no problem smoking an estate pipe once it has been properly cleaned and sterilized

Credits: Guide to Tobacco Pipes & Pipe Smoking — Gentleman’s Gazette

Would anyone be able to point me towards a reputable vendor or source who sells restored estate pipes?

Source: Source for Estate Pipes? | LikelyAnswer

Reborn Briar sells fully restored estate pipes specialising in top quality London Made brands from the first half of the 20th century. Brands like Dunhill, Comoy, Charatan, GBD and Loewe are timeless pieces made from the best quality briar. I have always found these pipes to smoke much better than their more modern counterparts. www.estatepipes.co.uk


Definition Of An Estate Pipe – What Are They?

A common used phrase you will hear and see among pipe smokers is “estate pipes” – but exactly what is an estate pipe? The word estate normally refers to the belongings owned by a person who has died, but this is not always applicable when referring to pipes.

An estate pipe is simply a pipe that has been previously owned. Most commonly these pipes are pre-smoked, but occasionally they may also be unsmoked, having been owned by a collector and kept in pristine condition, or possibly just been put in a drawer by its previous owner and forgotten about. Another category of estate pipes are the “new old stock” (NOS) pipes. These are pipes that may have been discovered in an old closed down tobacconist shop or at the back of a warehouse. They were originally bought to sell new, but for one reason or another never found a buyer at the time.

These categories of pipes are most usually referred to as estate pipes when they come up for sale.

Buying an estate pipe can offer tremendous value over purchasing a new pipe and can often offer many advantages over a new pipe as well. BUT great care must be taken when choosing an estate pipe which is beyond the scope of this post and will be covered in a later article.

restored estate pipesThe estate pipe category on eBay is now one of the most active categories offering up thousands of estate pipes per week – but many of these listings are selling badly abused and poor quality pipes. You should first educate yourself and set out certain buying conditions before falling into the trap buying used pipe from here that will not be suitable for your needs and may well be no more than bin fodder.

It would be better to look for good quality previously restored estate pipes that have been checked for quality, cleaned, sanitised, and brought back to a smokeable condition by a professional pipe restorer.