Blob by Steve Laug
One of the first pipes I chose to restore from the estate lot my brother and I purchased in Idaho from an older pipeman, Gene was this Stanwell Canadian. It was a nice looking contrast stained pipe that was sandblasted over most of the surface area – the shank and ¾ of the bowl. The underside of the shank and the front of the bowl were smooth and stained a medium brown. The rim top was also smooth and had a matching stain. The stem was a replacement and while it fit the mortise well it did not fit against the shank. It was well chewed by what Gene called a beaver. The tooth marks were deep and many. Fortunately the stem did not match the shank of the pipe so it would not be a loss. I would need to look for a stem in my can of stems and see if I could find one that matched the stem. Maybe I would even find one that bore the Stanwell logo and worked with the pipe. My brother Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he cleaned it up. The next photos show the pipe when he received it.Jeff took close up photos – the first shows the cake in the bowl and the overflow of tars and lava over the top of the rim. The outer and inner rims were in great shape. The bowl was still in round and the outer edge is smooth where the smooth portion is and rougher where the sandblast portion of the bowl was. The underside of the shank was stamped Antique in script over Made in Denmark. Next to that it was stamped Stanwell. Next to the shank/stem junction it bore the shape number 56 which is the shape number for a long Canadian. He also took some photos of the stem top and bottom. I have included them as they show the chewed surface of the stem on the top and the bottom side. It was a mess and the button was chewed down as well.When the pipe arrived in Vancouver I took a photo of the pipe with the stem that came with it. I went through my can of stems and found a stem that bore the silver Stanwell logo on the top side of the saddle. It fit the shank well and with a little cleanup it would work very well. It was oxidized and had some light tooth chatter on both sides. It was almost straight from the shank to the edge of the button.I removed the stem and took photos of the bowl without a stem to give you an idea of the condition of the bowl and shank of the pipe. You can see from the photos that my brother had cleaned up the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush and removed the grime that was in the grooves and crevices of the sandblast finish. There was also a small fill on the front of the bowl on the smooth portion of the bowl front. He was also able to remove much of the tars and lava on the rim top. I took a close up photo of the stem – both top and bottom sides in order to show the general condition. You can see the crown S on the top of the saddle portion of the stem.The tenon was the perfect size to fit the mortise on the Canadian. The width of the stem was the same as the shank. The height was slightly larger than the height of the shank. It would need to be sanded lightly to bring about a match. The photos show what the pipe looked like with the new stem. I took a close up photo of the bowl rim and the underside of the shank. It was in great shape. The stamping on the shank underside was clear and readable. I also took a close up photo of the stem top and underside with it in place in the shank. You can see from the photos that the stem fit nicely in the shank and looked like it belonged on the pipe.I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the tooth chatter and the tarnishing to the crown S logo. I worked on the height of the stem so that it was more in line with the thickness of the shank.Once I had the stem fit better I polished it with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit sanding pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit sanding pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each set of three sanding pads. I gave it a final coat of oil after the last set of three pads and set it aside to dry. I rubbed the bowl down with a light coat of olive oil and hand buffed it with a shoe brush. I gave it several coats of Conservator’s Wax and buffed it with the shoe brush. I buffed the smooth portions on the bowl and rim with Blue Diamond and buffed the stem as well to polish it. I gave the stem and smooth portions of the bowl with carnauba wax. I buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The shine and the contrast finish and stains make the pipe a unique looking pipe. The new stem looks right with the pipe. Together they combine to make a good looking pipe. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.