Blog by Steve Laug
This great looking Banker shaped pipe is another one from the pipe man up in Dawson Creek, British Columbia. I am not sure if it was also one of his Grand dad’s pipes but it definitely has some age. It is stamped Knudsen’s Pipe Dream on top of the shank and Made in London England on the underside. From my research I am pretty confident that the pipe was made by Charatan as the shape is on their shape charts. However, it does not have the Banker shape number. I took the photos below to give an idea of the shape and the condition of the pipe when it arrived at my work table. The first thing that stood out to me is that there is a lot of promise under the grime – the birdseye grain and cross grain are peaking through. There was one fill on the underside of the bowl that was chipped but otherwise tight in the sandpit. The finish appears to be really good under the grime with no dings or dents in the briar. There was a thick cake in the bowl that runs like lava runs over the rim of the bowl. It is hard to know for sure if there is damage to the rim underneath the thick cake. The stamping is readable and the Made in London England stamp on the underside of the shank appears to have been done twice though one of them is quite faint and slightly above the other. The stem is worn and has deep tooth marks on the top and bottom sides and the button is worn. I was looking forward to working on this pipe.
I did some digging to see if I could find anything out about the brand stamp on the top of the shank. I found that there is a Knudsen’s Pipe Dream Pipe Shop in Regina, Saskatchewan. The address and phone number is as follows: 4621 Rae St, Regina SK S4S 6K6, Phone: 306-585-1616. There was also a Knudsen’s Pipe Dream sandblasted Dublin that had sold on the smokingpipes.com website. The web address and link to the pipe is https://www.smokingpipes.com/pipes/estate/england/moreinfo.cfm?product_id=132697. They list it as an English made pipe. To me it also looks like a Charatan shape. I found this page from a Charatan Catalogue online. The link said that it was Charatan even though the page does not say so. I have circled the Banker shape in red in the picture below. It is in the middle column at the top of the page. The shape would thus be a 2651.I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the thickness of the cake on the rim and in the bowl. You can see why it is hard to assess what is going on with the inside of the bowl and the rim from this photo. A lot of work will need to be done before I can actually know the condition of the bowl and the rim.I also took close up photos of the stem showing the bite and tooth marks on the top and bottom near the button.I wanted to photograph the stamping as well. You can see the faint double stamping of Made in London England in the first photo and you can clearly see the name Knudsen’s Pipe Dream in the second photo.I scraped the rim with a sharp pen knife to scrape off the thick buildup. I generally do this to try to preserve the stain coat on the rim. In this case I also wanted to see if there was damage under the cake on the rim top before I topped the bowl. Once I had it scraped off I wiped it down with alcohol on a cotton pad.I reamed the bowl with the PipeNet reamer and the Savinelli Pipe Knife and took the cake back to bare briar. I wanted to assess damage to the interior wall of the bowl. Thankfully there was none this time around.I repaired the chipped fill and the deep nick on the underside of the bowl with clear superglue. I did not use briar dust this time as neither repair was deep. I lightly sanded the spot with 220 grit sandpaper and then with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads.
I cleaned out the mortise and airways in the bowl and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol until they were clean.I needed to repair the small groove (looks like a crack but does not go through the surface) in the button and on the surface of the stem as well as the tooth marks but before I could do that I needed to redefine the button edges. I used a needle file to recut the sharp edge and smooth out the ridges and bumps on the stem. With the file I was able to smooth out the groove on the button surface and the stem. With this done it was clear that there was not a crack. I wiped the stem down with alcohol and then built up the damaged areas with black super glue. I also repaired the spots on the underside of the stem with the black super glue. When the glue had cured I filed the repairs back until they were even with the surface of the stem. I also recut the edge following the path I had previously cut.I sanded the repaired areas and the entire stem with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the surface and to remove the oxidation.I wiped down the bowl with a light coat of olive oil to make the grain stand out and to see if there was any glaring light spots that needed to be touched up with a stain pen. It looked good. Once I polished and waxed the bowl I think it would be good to go. The photos below show the bowl at this point in the process. It really is a beautiful piece of briar. I polished the repaired stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I tried something new this time to try to defeat the frustrating oxidation on the stem. Instead of wet sanding with water I wet the stem with a light coat of olive oil and sanded it with the pads. It worked really well to cut through the oxidation. I wiped the stem dry after wet sanding and dry sanded without the oil. The finished shine is deep. I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to raise the shine. I gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing wheel. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth. I am hoping Steve enjoys this one. It is one beautiful old pipe. It helps that it carries a family story with it. Thanks for looking.