Blog by Steve Laug
This is another pipe that came to my work table. It is a beautifully shaped Dunhill Bulldog. It is stamped 41041 and Dunhill over Root Briar on the left side of the shank. The right side bears the made in England stamping with the date number that puts it at 1978. The bowl was in excellent shape and had been recently reamed and cleaned. The finished was dull but very clean. There were no issues with the briar. The stem was also in great shape other than being heavily oxidized on the top sides. There was a small tooth mark on the top side of the stem next to the button as well. What made this one interesting to me was the issue that I often see with diamond shank pipes. The sides all looked the same but were not when measured. The top left was slightly bigger than the top right and so forth. It was not an issue as I did not need to replace the stem but it was just an interesting tidbit and one thing I always look for when working on diamond shank pipes. The next series of four photos show how the pipe looked when I brought it to my work table.
While the stem soaked I decided to clean out the shank and airway. I used isopropyl alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners to remove the tars and oils in the shank. I have found that even when I buy a “refurbished” pipe on eBay I do this and am always surprised at the grime and oils that come out of the “clean” shank. I did not want to use the retort on this one as it was not terribly dirty and had been subjected to a pretty good cleaning before it came to me. In the morning when I took it out of the bath and dried it off much of the surface oxidation was gone and the mix had raised some more oxidation.
I put a plastic washer on the tenon and put the tenon in the shank so that I could clean up the edges/shoulders of the stem without rounding them. I sanded it with a medium and a fine grit sanding sponge to start with and worked on the oxidation.
I wet sanded the stem with 1400-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads. I worked on the scratches as well as the oxidation on the stem. I “painted” over the surface of the stem with flame from a BIC lighter to burn off some of the surface oxidation and then wiped it down with Obsidian Oil. The photos below show the stem after that process.
I buffed the stem with red Tripoli and White Diamond before finishing with 6000-12,000 grit micromesh sanding pads. When I finished with the pads I rubbed down the stem with Obsidian Oil and let it soak in.
Once the oil had soaked into the stem I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond plastic polish being careful around the stamping on the shank. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and then buffed it with a clean, soft flannel buffing pad to raise the shine and give it that like new look. The finished pipe can be seen in the photos below. It is ready for the next pipeman to load up his favourite bowl and have a smoke.