Cleaning up a Knute of Denmark Freehand

Blog by Steve Laug

Another pipe from the latest box my brother sent was a beautiful looking freehand that was stamped KNUTE over Made in Denmark on the left side of the shank. I have cleaned up quite a few Knute pipes over the years and had a memory of them being made by Karl Erik. I wanted to be sure and check my memory so I looked up some history on the brand and found Karl Erik had indeed made the brand. I also learned that Stanwell and Ben Wade also had series with this name I also looked the brand up on Pipedia and it confirmed that the brand was one of other brands produced by Karl Erik Ottendahl

The pipe was in pretty good shape when he received it in Idaho. He sent me the next two photos of the pipe from the eBay seller. In those photos the pipe almost looked new. The plateau and the finish were in excellent condition. There was no overflow of lava and the photos made me wonder if the pipe was unsmoked. When my brother received the pipe it was clear that it had been lightly smoked but there was very little cake in the bowl and the stem was free of bite marks and tooth chatter.knute1My brother cleaned the internals and wiped down the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the dust and grime on the finish and in the plateau on the rim and the shank end. The stem was clean but lightly oxidized. He sent the pipe to me and when I brought it to my work table I took these photos before I began.knute2 knute3I took a close up of the plateau rim to show the condition. It is very clean and would take very little work to polish it.knute4This pipe stem was a prime candidate for the new Before & After pipe stem deoxidizer and polish. With the turned stem it would make a great test for the ability of the product to clean out all of the grooves in the stem.knute5I scrubbed the stem with cotton pads and the deoxidizer work out the oxidation. It took a bit of scrubbing to remove the oxidation. I scrubbed it until all of the oxidation was gone.knute6I polished the stem with the fine and extra fine Before & After Pipe Polish to raise the shine on the stem.knute7I rubbed the stem down with a coat of Obsidian Oil and set the stem aside to dry.knute8I cleaned out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol until it was clean. It was pretty clean to start with so it did not take long to remove the remaining grime.knute9I buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond and gave it a coat of wax to have a look at the grain and to see if there were any areas that needed some more work. The next photos show the bowl at this point in the process.knute10 knute11 knute12There was not any need for more work on the bowl so I put the stem in place and polished the pipe with Blue Diamond again. I gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I buffed it by hand with a microfibre cloth. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The grain and the plateau are amazing. This one will eventually be on the store. If you are interested in adding it to your collection send me an email to or send me a message on the blog or on Facebook. Thanks for looking.knute13 knute14 knute15 knute16 knute17 knute18 knute19 knute20


6 thoughts on “Cleaning up a Knute of Denmark Freehand

    1. Todd L. Platek

      I have two Knutes my father bought in the 1960’s at Wally Frank’s or another shop in Manhattan. I still smoke them. Beautiful grain, wonderfully flavorful briar, and strong stems with reasonably thin buttons. Great value then and now.

  1. Todd L. Platek

    Please tell me where I can buy the “Before and After” pipe products, and the Obsidian oil.
    Thanks very much.

    1. rebornpipes Post author

      I order obsidian oil online just google it. As for the before & after products I wrote about them with a link on the yello-bole churchwarden refurb recently. I am on my cell at moment so I can’t look it up at the moment.

    2. rebornpipes Post author

      I ordered from Mark Hoover of La Belle Epoque Vintage & Modern Fountain Pens. I follow Mark on Facebook and have been reading about his restorations and cleanup or estate pipes. He developed a product for pens that deoxidizes and polishes vulcanite. He also uses it on vulcanite stem with great results. I have seen his before and after pictures of pipes that he has restored. The same product relabeled for pipe stems. The line is called Before and After. He states on the website that “All of our polishes are made using the highest quality products. These products are designed to not only recondition your pen (or in this case stem) but also to provide a layer of protection. All of the products used in these polishes are none-toxic and environmentally friendly.”

      “There are two different polishes. Fine and Extra Fine.

      Here is the link to his site with the prices for the product: T


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