I saw this Kaywoodie Relief Grain 51 on Ebay while i was searching for another pipe.
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.
I was disappointed though that the shape was not closer to my 1930’s 5051 push stem .
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.
I drill it to the bowl being careful when i go through as to not put deep scratches in the chamber.
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.
I then cleaned off the burrs with some 500 grit paper.
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.
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.
After the dye was removed i gave a rub down with mineral oil to help bring out the natural color.
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.
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.
After a quick buff and wax on my wheel the 51 is done.
I went ahead and gave the bowl a syrup/carbon bowl coating to help make breaking it in easier.
I packed a bowl in it after the modifications and gave it another try.
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.