Baccy Pipes

Improving A Kaywoodie Relief Grain 51


I saw this Kaywoodie Relief Grain 51 on Ebay while i was searching for another pipe.s-l1600 (640x480).jpg

Being a fan of the 51 shape i went ahead and bid on  it. It looked in excellent shape. I have noticed that some Relief Grains are stained red like this one. The ones i have are a darker natural , which i prefer over the stained ones.

The pipe arrived a few days later and was pleasantly surprised to find the pipe had not even really been broken in. Maybe one or two bowls had been smoked in it. The 51 shape was not made past 1966 making the pipe at least 49 years old.

51   Medium billiard, short stem                                                1932-1966

Being a three hole stinger it’s from mid 1950’s to 1966.

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I was disappointed though that  the shape was not closer to my 1930’s 5051 push stem .100_0474 (640x477).jpg

This one was longer and just not as just not as pleasing a shape as the 5051 to me. Still a nice pipe and being clean and nearly unsmoked i went ahead and packed a bowl in it and tried the 51 out.

Well to be honest the pipe smoked AWFUL. The draw was horrible, it smoked hot and wet. It also gurgled like a catfish with a hairball. I couldn’t even finish a whole bowl without my tongue threatening to jump out of my mouth. I know a pipe will not smoke good until broken in and i have broke in several new pipes, but this one was just evil.

From experience i know that drilling out the shank on a three hole stinger Kaywoodie can  improve the draw quite a bit.

So i drilled out the shank with a 3/16 inch drill bit. How i drill out my shanks is i hold the bit in a channel lock pliar and screw the bowl onto the bit by hand .Taking it slow and easy. I also pull it bit out every  half inch or less to and remove shavings and debris allowing it not to build up and put less stress on the shank during drilling.

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I drill it to the bowl being careful when i go through as to not put deep scratches in the chamber.100_0482 (640x480).jpg

I went one step further and decided to modify the stinger. Not having small enough metal bits handy i used a old metal round file. I bored out all three holes.100_0483 (640x499).jpg

I then cleaned off the burrs with some 500 grit paper.100_0485 (640x480).jpg100_0487 (640x480).jpg

As you can see in this picture next to a unmodified three hole stinger the stinger now has more airflow. The filed one is on the right ,obviously.100_0499 (640x264).jpg

Checking the draw after the drilled shank and modified stinger i found it was GREATLY improved.

I decided to go ahead and strip off the red dye and make it a darker natural color. I stripped it with acetone and 91% alcohol.100_0494 (640x480).jpg

After the dye was removed i gave a rub down with mineral oil to help bring out the natural color.100_0498 (640x480).jpg

I went ahead and gave the stem a quick  wet sand with 1000 on up to 2800 grit paper.I also polised the stinger with some 000 steel wool.100_0506 (640x334).jpg

With stem and bowl back together i gave them both a another rub down with mineral oil to remove any lingering dust before buff and wax.100_0507 (640x480).jpg

After a quick buff and wax on my wheel the 51 is done.

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I went ahead and gave the bowl a syrup/carbon bowl coating to help make breaking it in easier.100_0538 (640x480).jpg100_0541 (640x480).jpg100_0549 (640x480).jpg100_0543 (640x318).jpg

I packed a bowl in it after the modifications and gave it another try.100_0551 (640x480).jpg

I can not stress how much BETTER the pipe smokes now. It’s like a different pipe. The draw is easy and effortless. It smokes much ,much cooler and drier. It will only get better  with time and the many bowls i plan to smoke in it.

Til next time,

Good smokes to you.


10 thoughts on “Improving A Kaywoodie Relief Grain 51

  1. This post illustrates why so many stingers were simply cut off at the threads, Troy. Your approach maintains the original look of the pipe, which is nice. Thanks for posting your mods.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you Charles.
    I was tempted to cut the stinger off but hate doing such things to a nice collectible pipe. The pipe smokes so good now that i think it smokes as well as the Kaywoodies i do have that i have purchased with cut stingers.


  3. Reblogged this on rebornpipes and commented:
    Troy shows how to open not only the airway into the bowl on this older KW but also how to open the stinger without ruining it. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Better than new. Well done Troy!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great work, Troy. Thanks. Stingers have been lost to me with regard to the functionality. Your Improvised approach to keep the stinger, help it, and maintain the original intent of the historic design, gave me a new category. The description drilling the shank was also helpful. Bookmarking this one!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you Dal,
    Stingers is one of those love/hate things for pipe smokers. Although honestly i prefer a open push stem but I don’t mind them as they have a good draw. A option to remove them is the best. I really like the older Kaywoodie pipes and shapes but i will never understand why they did not make a removable stinger as a option.
    The older 4 hole large ball stingers work pretty darn well but the 3 hole like the one in this post needs help and i hate to cut one . I would prefer to leave them as original as possible. So i came up with some ways i think works well and tries to make most everyone happy.


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