Blog by Steve Laug
I have a box of pipes from a friend in Dawson Creek to clean up. In trade for a few restorations he was the one who gave me the Preben Holm Pair. I asked him to prioritize which pipes he wanted me to tackle first. Number one on his list was a Stanwell made Royal Guard 504 that combines smooth and sandblast areas into the finish. It was in rough shape. The finish was dirty and worn with the brown top coat worn down. The vulcanite shank extension was oxidized and the RG stamp on the left side was faded. The bowl was thickly caked and the lava overflow on the top of the bowl was also very thick. I was a bit concerned that underneath the cake I would find burn. You can never tell – sometimes a thick cake protects the rim top and sometimes it hides a lot of rim damage. Once I got into the cleanup I would be able to tell better with this one. The stem was lightly oxidized and there was tooth chatter and bite marks on the top and the bottom sides near the button. The top edge of the button had a small dent as well. The deepest tooth mark was on the topside of the stem and would need to be repaired. But even under all the grime I could see that this pipe would be a thing of beauty once it was finished. I took a closeup photo of the rim to show how thick the cake was in the bowl and the extent of the overflow on the rim. It was very thick and quite hard.I reamed the bowl with the first three cutting heads on the PipNet reamer and then cleaned it up more with the Savinelli Pipe Knife. The amount of carbon that came out of the bowl was amazing.I used a pen knife with a thin stiff blade to carefully scrape off the buildup on the rim. It was pretty thick and hard so I slowly and carefully flaked it off with the knife.I scrubbed the bowl and rim with acetone on a cotton pad and was able to remove the grime and the buildup of wax and oils in the grooves of the sandblast.There were some scratches and nicks in the curved top of the rim that needed to be sanded out. I also sanded the inner bevel on the rim. I used 180 and 220 grit sandpaper to remove most of the damaged areas. The photo below shows the rim after quite a bit of work. There was still more sanding to do at this point.I did some more work on the rim with sandpaper and on the inner edge of the rim with the Savinelli Pipe Knife and was able to smooth out some more of the damage.I wiped down the inner edge of the bowl and the rim with alcohol to see where I stood with the rim resurfacing. It was starting to look really good.I used black super glue to repair the deep tooth mark on the top side of the stem. When it dried I sanded it and filed it smooth the surface of the stem.I sanded the shank extension with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanded it with 3200-6000 grit pads. I rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil. I used some European Gold Rub n’ Buff on the stamping on the stem to refresh it.I restained the bowl with a dark brown aniline stain cut by 50% with alcohol. I applied the stain and flamed it with a lighter. I repeated the process until I was satisfied with the coverage.I wiped the bowl down with isopropyl alcohol to even the stain coat and make it more transparent. The combination of grains in the sandblast and underneath is beautiful. I scrubbed out the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the airways in the shank and the stem and the mortise in the shank were clean.I buffed bowl with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel and then gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. Once I had the repair smoothed out and blended into the surface of the stem top I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each set of three pads. Once I had finished I set the stem aside to dry. I forgot to take a photo of the stem after sanding it with the 6000-12000 grit pads. I took the pipe to the buffer and buffed the stem with Blue Diamond and then gave the pipe multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad and with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I am hoping the pipe man in Dawson Creek likes the new look to this old pipe. It is truly a beauty. Thanks for looking.