Blog by Steve Laug
The second pipe I picked up from Charles Lemon of Dadspipes was a nice little Stanwell Bulldog that captured my attention. It is another one that I have added to my own collection. I loved the shape of it when I saw it in the photos that Charles sent me of the estate pipes he had purchased recently. It came in the mail through our ‘ultra quick’ Canada Post Express Mail on Friday. I cleaned up the W.O. Larsen and already wrote about that on the blog. This one looked amazing and came in its own Stanwell pipe pouch. It was stamped on the left underside of the diamond shank with the number 33 and next to that Stanwell Regd. No. 969-48 over Handmade in Denmark.When I removed the packing material and took the pipe out of the bag it was indeed a beauty. The colour was lighter than what was shown in the original photo that I had of the pipe. That does not matter too much to me as the lighter colour allows the grain to show through. This pipe has some amazing birdseye grain on the bowl sides. The diamond shank culminating in a vulcanite shank extension looks stunning. The finish was quite clean on the pipe and it still had a shine. The vulcanite shank extension was lightly oxidized. The shank stamping was very clear and sharp. The double rings on the bowl were in perfect condition. The finish on the bowl and shank was in excellent condition. The rim was another story. It had some tar and oil (lava) build-up that flowed over from the cake in the bowl. The cake, though uneven, was hard. The rim also had a burned area on the middle of the rim top on the right side. It impacted the condition of the bowl and the roundness of the inner rim edge. The stem was oxidized and the stamping of the Crown S was worn and the gold stamping was gone. There was tooth chatter on the topside of the stem and tooth marks on the underside. I took some close-up photos of the stem to show the tooth chatter and tooth mark on the underside near the button.I took a close-up photo of the rim to show the condition of the rim with the burned area (top left toward the front of the bowl) and the thickness of the cake.I reamed the cake back to bare briar with the Savinelli Pipe Knife. The carbon cake came out nicely and left the bowl quite clean. This reaming also gave me a clear picture of the condition of the burned area on the rim. The next series of photos tell the story. I reamed the bowl and then topped it. I took a photo after I had topped it lightly to show the extent of the burn mark on the right side of the rim. I finished topping the bowl using 220 grit sandpaper on the topping board. I sanded the rim with a medium and fine grit sanding block to smooth out the scratches. I used the light brown stain pen to touch up the rim surface. The inside rim edge needed some more work but I wanted to see what the rim looked like at this point.I sanded the inner edge of the rim with a folded piece of sandpaper – beginning with 180 grit and then progressing to 220 grit sandpaper and then on to 1500-3200 grit micromesh sanding pads. I beveled the edge slightly to remove the rim damage and darkening. The second photo below shows the finished rim after sanding. I touched up the inner bevel with a light brown stain pen. I wet sanded the vulcanite shank extension with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads and gave it a coat of Obsidian Oil. I dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads and gave it a coat of micromesh between the 4000 and the 6000 grit pads. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I cleaned out the inside of the mortise and the airways in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners until they came out clean.I scrubbed the stem with Meguiar’s Scratch X2.0 to begin removing the oxidation on the surface.Most of the oxidation came off so I used some Antique Gold Rub n’ Buff to highlight the Stanwell Crown S on the stem top.I wet sanded the stem with 1500-2400 grit micromesh pads and gave the stem a coat of Obsidian Oil. I dry sanded it with 3200-4000 grit pads (I forgot to take the photo) and gave it another coat of oil. I finished sanding it with 6000-12000 grit pads and gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. I set it aside to dry. I buffed the stem and bowl with Blue Diamond carefully working over the stem and the shank extension to polish the vulcanite. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax to protect and preserve it. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to add depth to the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I am looking forward to giving it an inaugural smoke soon. I really like the finished look of the pipe. The slightly beveled rim took care of the burn so that it can no longer be seen. The smooth finish shows off the birdseye grain and the swirls of cross grain. It is a beautiful pipe and I am glad to have it grace my pipe rack. Thanks for looking.