Tracy Mincer Custom-Bilt and Doodler Pipes (2018)I have always been intrigued by Tracy Mincer and his Custom-Bilt pipes and even his Custombilt pipes like this one. There is something about the rugged carving and appearance of the pipes that gets my attention. I have a few of them in my collection and always enjoy the tactile nature of the pipe when it is being smoked. This old apple has the Custombilt stamp and I had reacquainted myself with the eras of the various spellings of the brand so that I can place it along with the previous billiard within the Rich Era. The pipe was in pretty decent condition when Jeff received it — dirty but really not too bad. The finish was dusty and dirty in the worm trail carvings. The bowl had a thick cake in it that flowed over the rim top into the rustication.
But, since nearly everything is acceptable these days, it probably is OK. Just don't take pictures. Just avoid her sweat spot!! I'm glad someone knew so much about them, but I am more happy that I was beaten to the punch by the last two comments. This is one of the best reasons to be on this forum. Knowledge of pipes here makes it the google of pipe smoking! RSS feed for this topic.
Become a member. Help with dating a pipe Started 1 year ago by addamsruspipe Latest reply from jayski. The pipe is an instrument of civilization. Hi addamsruspipe, I can add a bit more.
Custombilt pipe dating
Rgds, Jon. I know that you believe you understood what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant. Remember Me. However, it appears Mincer was working on his new pipe, the Doodler. InRodgers sold the Company to Consolidated Cigars. In the early s, Wally Frank Co.
Hollco Rohr owned the Weber pipe factory, located in New Jersey, and produced the Custombilt pipes there. Inthe pipes were made out of the Butz-Choquin factory France and then Mexico until the late s. Currently, the Custombilt name is owned by Tobacalera of Spain. According to Steve Frank, it appears that Carl Weber, the original owner of the Weber factory, never owned the Custombilt name as suggested by Hacker.
InMincer began a new pipe, the Doodler, that due to the holes in the bowl had to made primarily in a billiard type shape in three sizes. In the early s, National Briar was turning the bowls for Mincer. Based upon the documentation, it appears that Mincer made the pipe until the mid s, when National Briar Pipe Co. Mincer died in Based upon the information provided, Mincer seemed to always have money, production, distribution and other problems. Mincer was probably a terrific craftsman but a very poor businessman and administrator.
Mincer always seemed to be on the brink of going out of business, not meeting payroll and so on. Stuart finished nearly all the pipes produced, mostly carved and textured bowls and the occasional straight grain.
Claude made the Tracy Mincer Pipe Company a moderate success. Currently, Jim Tedesco owns the Tracy Mincer name. Most Custom-Bilt pipes that you see at a pipe show have somewhat big, chunky bowls with rough carving or gouges.
It is very rare to see a completely smooth piece. It should be noted that in the early days when the Custom-Bilt pipes were first being produced, these bowl sizes were considered very large and massive. The size of the average pipe was a group 3 or 4 sized Dunhill. The first thing that Bill addresses in his chapter on pipes is the quality of the bowls in the early years. Rick Hacker, in his Rare Pipes book, suggests that Mincer bought blemished bowls from other companies and used the wood-working router to get rid of the blemishes.
According to an important employee, Hetzer Hartsock, "Tracy used a very choice Algerian briar, and they were bigger blocks than what the other companies were using. I should note that prior to WW II and then again up to the early s, Algerian briar was readily available to the pipe-making houses.
The Barclay Rex store, located in Manhattan, imported many bags of very large blocks of Algerian for use in the making of their in-store house brand. As mentioned in the beginning of the book, there were many variations on the stampings of Custombilt. The book reflects various examples of the stamps and tries to relate the stamps to the production years.
There were also slight variations on these shapes. In the ads one notes many smooth pieces as well as carved pipes. During WW II, it appears that Mincer stopped making smooth pieces and went strictly with carved pipes.
Mincer also made the occasional cased set as well and also patented a filter pipe. Filter pipes were very popular at the time and were offered by many pipe companies. Hartsock also did carved heads and other figures.
Carved head and other such pipes were very popular at the time. One wonders what difference could have caused such a radical change in price. Geometric Markings such as these likely have to do with pricing, but there is no clear concensious on a system.
American companies such as Marxman were doing similar things. It seems to me that Mincer was trying to show that the Custom-Bilt company was a complete outfit capable of making the same things as some of the "big boys" of the day. There were other variations, such as the Covertible removable bowlthe Saddle, Military Bit stems, and others.
I think that many people know the Custombilt pipe made by Wally Frank at the Weber factory.
These pipes were based upon the original Custom-Bilt finishes using Greek briar. As mentioned, Tracy Mincer went his own separate way and "unveiled" the Doodler pipe in April, The Doodler is a ventilated pipe with holes and rings throughout the bowl that are used for cooling.
Some pipes featured silver bands. Claude Stuart produced many different styles of Tracy Miner pipes, including freeform pipes. Bill ends the book by writing, "It would be interesting to know how much the various pipe carvers at the various American pipe companies were aware of each other or communicated with each other in the s and s when pipe making was a booming industry in the United States.
If you look closely at certain stamps on some of the major brands of that day, they are identical. I do not think that with the release of this book the Custom-Bilt will become a super collectible pipe. And I do not think that this was in anyway the point of the book. The various production values of this pipe are different than those collectable pipes made today.
With the Custom-Bilt, it seems to me you are looking for the rare pieces carvings or smooths or early pipes that have an older stamp. Here you can get a good-smoking, high-quality piece of Algerian briar for a reasonable price.
You can use this book to identify those earlier or rare pieces. All the pipes were made from the same sized blocks, which were not of Magnum size. The sense of adventure definitely comes through as you read this book. You can see the various discoveries that Bill made over time, the twisted paths, the limitations and so on. I call it modern day archeology-pipe history-and it is very important. I received and email reply from him that he liked the new look of the pipe so I continued with the fit of the stem.
The fit of the stem to the shank was far better than the previous one. Since the shank was not round I would need to work on the shank to round out the two sides to match the stem. The next two photos show that the stem fits well on the top and the bottom of the shank but that both sides are wider than the diameter of the stem slightly better than the previous stem.
I used a folded piece of grit sandpaper to sand down the sides of the shank to match the stem.
I worked on it to make it round rather than the slightly off centred broad oval that it was when I started. I cleaned out the interior of the mortise and shank with a dental pick to remove the buildup of tars and oils that were built up in front of where the replacement stem tenon had ended.
I cleaned it out with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners to remove all of the grime. Once the cleaners and cotton swabs came out clean I was finished with the cleanup. I did the same with the airway in the stem until it too was clean.
I used a dental pick to clean around the inside of the slot in the button. I topped the bowl with grit sandpaper on a topping board to remove the damage to the rim top and remove the damage to the inner edge of the rim. I removed very little to smooth out the rim. I also used a folded piece of grit sandpaper to smooth out the inside edge of the rim and remove the damage.
I gave the edge a slight bevel to smooth out the edge. I polished the rim top and the reshaped shank end with micromesh sanding pads — wet sanding with grit pads and dry sanding with grit pads. I wiped down the surfaces after each pad with a damp cloth.
After the final grit pad I gave it a final wipe before I continued with the restoration work. I used a combination of three stain pens — Cherry, Maple and Walnut to stain the sanded areas of the bowl.
I used them on the rim top and around the end of the shank. The three together matched the colour on the rest of the bowl. I worked it into the rustications with my fingertips and with cotton swabs. I worked it into the rim and restained shank end.
I set it aside for a few minutes to let the balm work. I wiped it off with a soft cloth and buffed it with a horsehair shoe brush to polish it. The briar really began to have a deep shine. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration.
The grain on the bowl is really beginning to stand out and will only do so more as the pipe is waxed. I sanded the stem surface with grit sandpaper to remove the tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the stem near the button.
I also sanded out the deep scratches in the surface of the stem. I polished stem with micromesh sanding pads — wet sanding with grit pads and dry sanding with grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry.
I buffed the stem with carnauba wax. I buffed bowl and stem with a clean buffing wheel to raise a shine.
The photos below show the finished pipe. It is a great looking pipe. I love the old Custombilt shapes and the look and feel of them in hand. This one is a beauty that looks great with its new stem. Thanks for looking. I needed a short break from the repairs that I have been doing a lot of lately so I chose to work on a nice Custombilt Bulldog that Jeff had sent me.
Each of the worm trails and all around them was marked with a further rustication over the top — horizontal lines that ran all across them and around the bowl. They continued about half way up the shank on the top of the diamond shank. On the underside there was less rustication.
The lower left side is stamped Custombilt over Imported Briar. There were two rings going around the bowl separating the rim cap from the rest of the bowl.
One ring was slightly larger than the other. There were some small chips and nicks in the rim cap and between the rings. They were not too bad so they would not need a lot of work. The bowl had thick cake and a slight overflow of lava on the back side of the rim. There was some darkening to the rim.
The rusticated finish was dirty and had grit and dirt in the grooves. The vulcanite stem was oxidized and there was tooth chatter on both sides near the button. There were no deep tooth marks in the stem itself. Jeff took some photos before he started working on his normal cleanup of the pipe.
Jeff took a close up photo of the bowl and rim to show the condition of the pipe before he started to work his magic on it. The bowl had a thick dark cake and some overflow on the rim top.
The rim edges were in decent condition with light dents in the surface. You can see some of the chipping to the edge of the cape over the twin rings around the bowl.
Jeff took photos of the sides and bottom of the bowl from different angles and you can see the overall condition of the finish on the pipe. The next photo shows the chips in the edges of the cap. The middle ring was intact in this photo. He took a photo of the underside of the shank to show the stamping. The stamping is readable and is the standard Custombilt over Imported Briar stamp.
The style of script in the stamp should help date and identify the time period the pipe was made. The next photos show that the stem was quite heavily oxidized and pitted. There was some light tooth chatter on both surfaces of the stem near the button and on the button edges itself. I wanted to identify the stamping on the pipe so I started going through various sites I have used before.
I looked on both the Pipephil website and the Pipedia website. The Pipephil site gave the following information: Tracy Mincer stopped making Custom-Bilt pipes in the early s. The later began to produce again his version of the pipe in or at Weber pipe factory NJ. Currentlythe Custombilt name is owned by Tobacalera of Spain which is part of Altadis. The name might have changed from Custom-Bilt to Custombilt without the hyphen in I did some more research on the brand in the article on Pipedia.
As I read through the material there I came across this photo that is pretty close to the stamping on the pipe I am working on.
The note under the stamping photos identifies the stamping as one that was on pipes from the Wally Frank era. I read further in the Pipedia article to help confirm this. From all of that I can say with fair certainty that the pipe came out in the s and was made by the Wally Frank Company.
Jeff reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He rinsed it under running water.
He dried it off with a soft cloth. The pipe came out looking really good. The grooves and carving on the briar looked clean and the stem oxidation was virtually gone. I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work on it. I took a photo of the rim top to show the condition it was in after the cleanup. Jeff was able to remove the darkening and tars from the rim top and edges.
The grain on the top is very nice and the top is clean. There were dents in the surface of the rim but the edges of the rim itself looked very good. It is a nice looking finish. The stem was clean and you can see that the deoxidizer had done a great job removing the oxidation. The tooth chatter, though present was not as visible on the stem and button. I took a photos of the chips out of the cap on the front and middle left. While they are visible I will leave them as part of the story of the journey of this old pipe.
I started my restoration with the bowl. I used a folded piece of grit sandpaper to smooth out some of the nicks in the inner edge of the bowl. It was not out of round so it did not take too much work to remove the damage to the edge. The rest of the pipe was in such good condition from the cleanup that I did not have to do any sanding on the rim top or bowl.
The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I hand rubbed it with my fingers and worked it into the rustication with cotton swabs. I wiped it off with a soft cloth. I buffed the bowl with a horsehair shoe brush to polish it. The briar really began to have a rich shine. I apologize for the lighting on the 2 sanding photos as they are a bit dark. The stem actually looks far better than my photos at this point. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads — wet sanding with grit pads and dry sanding with grit pads.
I wiped the stem down after each pad with Obsidian Oil. I finished by wiping the stem down with a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem back on the pipe and worked it over with Blue Diamond to polish out the remaining small scratches. This chunky Custombilt Bulldog has been brought back to life.
The stamping gave me a bit of information on the date of the pipe. The one word Custombilt stamping rather than the Custom-Bilt stamping. From this date on he devoted himself entirely to freehand pipes. . Some Custom -Bilt pipes sport a special stamping on the underside of the. Custombilt pipe dating games. Online dating latin america photos Lds single parent dating. Columbus ga hook up list. Cop dating service jobs. Helen fisher.
It is my kind of pipe but it is one that I will likely sell on the store. If you are interested let me know as I will be posting it soon. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this Custombilt. Those of you that collect Tracy Mincer made pipes know all about the variety of stampings on the pipes that he made.
His pipes are unique and the Custom-Bilt pipes no matter how you spell the name that he made are immediately recognizable. When Jeff sent me photos of the next pipe that came to the worktable, I was not sure where it fit in the world of this brand.
Posts about Custombilt pipes written by rebornpipes. my grandfather's collection, I had visited Pipedia for collecting information and dating of Custombilt pipes. Sportsman Pipe ^*J Mixture is a choice as- w sembly of the finest aged From this generation will date a standard of public- health much higher than any John Hudson Moore, Inc., Fifth Ave.,N.Y. 22 Distributors also of Custombilt Pipes. Several months ago, before I had finished my book on Custom-Bilt pipes and be like for collectors in future generations when they try to date pipes which will.
It has a more refined shape and refined application of the rustication to the bowl. It seemed more controlled and predictable than the other typical Custom-Bilt pipes I have worked on and restored. The stem also had a different feel than the others I have worked on and the amount of briar in the body of the pipe seemed less that what I expect in these pipes. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started to work on it so I could have an idea of what we had in our hands.
Posts about Custombilt dating written by pipesrevival. I am trying to track down more information about them and what date range it was likely made in. So I found the Pipedia entry on Custom-Bilt. Tracy Mincer started the original Custom-Bilt pipes it appears in . Geometric Markings such as these likely have to do with pricing, but there is no clear.
The pipe appeared to be in decent condition. The finish was dirty but did not look like it was damaged. The bowl had a thinner cake that the others I have been working on lately.
There was lava overflow on the top of the rim. I am sure there would be some darkening and possible some burn marks on the inner edge of the beveled rim top. The outer edge appeared to be undamaged. The stem was vulcanite and had a very light oxidation on the top surfaces. There was tooth chatter on both sides of the stem just ahead of the button.
The edge of the button also had some tooth wear. The previous owner had put a light bend in the stem in the last 1 inch. To me it did not look right and would need to be straightened. Jeff took two close up photos of the bowl and rim top to show the condition of the pipe when it arrived. The first shows the rim close up and the second shows it in relation to the rest of the bowl. He also included a photo of the underside of the bowl to show the carving and rustication pattern there.
The pipe is stamped on the left side and reads Custombilt as one word over Standard.
On the right side of the shank it is stamped with a number which I assume identifies the shape — The stem had light oxidation and tooth chatter so it would be a pretty straightforward cleanup as well.
I wanted to refresh my memory regarding the time periods the different Custom-Bilt pipes were made so I did a bit of research. I looked first on the Pipephil website to see what information he had on the brand. Tracy Mincer stopped making Custom-Bilt pipes in the early s. I also looked on the Pipedia website and found confirmation to the Pipephil information and some additional information.
Currently, the Custombilt name is owned by Tobacalera of Spain…. Given that information I knew that the pipe was made after when the name was changed to Custombilt. To me the lack of the characteristic shape and carving pointed to after Mincer lost the company and stopped making the brand. The shape reminds me of several Wally Frank pipes that I have had in the past so I am thinking it was made after they bought the trademark in It also could be the Weber version of the brand when Hollco Rohr owned it.
That is as specific as I can get in identifying the time frame for the manufacture of this pipe. I am pretty certain it is not a Tracy Mincer made pipe so that pushes it to the later dates.
Jeff did a thorough cleanup on the bowl and stem. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the last bit of cake with a Savinelli Fitsall reamer. He cleaned the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs — scrubbing out the mortise as it was very dirty. He was able to remove all of the tars and lava on the rim top and left it looking very clean. He soaked the stem in an Oxyclean bath to raise the oxidation to the surface of the vulcanite.Tracy Mincer Custom-Bilt and Doodler Pipes (2018)
When it arrived I took some photos of it to show how it looked before I did the restoration. He did a great job removing the cake in the bowl and the lava on the rim top. The inner edge of the bowl is damaged on the back right side and the left front of the pipe.
There were also some burn marks in those spots on the rim surface. The oxidation came to the surface of the stem after the soak in Oxyclean. The tooth chatter is visible on the top and underside near the button. You can also see the light damage on the edge of the button on both sides. In the morning I removed the stem from the deoxidizer and wiped off the excess deoxidizer from the surface of the stem with a paper towel. I cleaned out the airway in the stem with pipe cleaners and alcohol to remove any remnants of the bath from that part of the stem.
The photos below show the stem after the soak and rub down. The oxidation was pretty much gone and what remained would be easily dealt with.
The tooth chatter on the top and underside of the stem is hard to see in the photos, but it is present. I sanded the stem with grit sandpaper to remove the tooth chatter on both sides of the stem as well as the oxidation that remained in the angles of the saddle stem.
I heated the stem with a heat gun to straighten out the bent end.