Daily Archives: March 4, 2017

Refreshing a Stanwell Gilt Edged 124 Ivarsson Design

Blog by Steve Laug

I received an email a few weeks ago from Mario. He has been following the blog for some time now and had enjoyed reading the posts. He wrote that he had purchased a pipe on Ebay for a good price. He attached some photos of the crack in the shank and wondered if I would be willing to take it on. I wrote back and asked for some photos so he sent me the following two photos. The first shows what appears to be a crack in the shank just ahead of the gold band between the shank and the stem. I have circled the damaged area in red in the photo below.stan1The second photo shows the shank end of the pipe. The band wraps over the end of the shank which was a plus to my mind. The band was tight on the shank according to the seller. My thinking was that the band would hold the crack together and it would be easier to work with. (The tenon on the stem is also a 9mm filter stem).stan2I wrote back and told him I would be glad to work on it. He wrote back when the pipe arrived at his place. As he looked it close up he wrote that the crack did not look as bad as he had expected. It appeared to be possibly a flaw in the briar. He also wrote that the end of the flaw near the band did extend to the edge of the band. He packed up the pipe and sent it to me in Vancouver. When it arrived I loved the look and shape of the pipe. The long shank and the shape of the bowl work well together. The gilt ring around the outer edge of the bowl and around the shank is what gave the pipe its name. It is stamped Stanwell of Gilt Edged on the left side of the shank. On the underside it reads Made in Denmark. On the right side of the shank it reads 124 which is the Stanwell Shape number. According to information compiled by the late Bas Stevens regarding Stanwell shapes the 124 is a freehand, long conical shank, with a short saddle mouthpiece. It was designed by Sixten Ivarsson. Here is the link to the full blog post that Bas gave permission to post on rebornpipes: https://rebornpipes.com/2013/09/03/stanwell-shapes-compiled-by-bas-stevens/

I took the following photos of the pipe when it arrived and before I started to work on it. You can see the damage to the rim – including both dents and a slight burn on the back inner edge toward the right side. There were also some dents on the top of the shank just ahead of the crack in the briar. The pipe was sold as clean and restored but it was far from clean by the smell of tobacco and the oils in the shank and stem.stan3 stan4There was some tar and oil on the top of the rim so I wiped it off with a cotton pad and took the following close up photo. It is hard to see but there were light dings in the rim top and the damage at the rear which I have circled in red.stan5The stem was clean on the surface but there were ripples and ridges from buffing as well as some slight tooth indentations on both sides near the button and on the button.stan6I sanded the damaged/flawed area on the top of the shank and probed it with a dental pick. Interestingly if it was a crack it was sealed tightly and there were no soft spots in the surface. It also appeared that the top finish had run slightly leaving a sag mark on the shank. I examined it with a bright light and lens and could see that the flaw ended a good 1/8th inch before the band and that the other ended. I decided to not drill the ends of the crack because it was a tight fit and also because when I looked at the inside I could see no trace of the crack coming through. I filled it in with clear super glue and when it dried I sanded it smooth with 220 grit sandpaper.stan7I cleaned up the rim top with 220 grit sandpaper and lightly beveled the inner edge to clean up the burned spot. I did not want to bevel it too much but only enough to match the rest of the rim bevel. When I finished shaping it I sanded it with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads to remove any scratch marks. I steamed out the dents on the top of the shank and polished them and the repair with micromesh sanding pads. I stained the rim edge and repair with a medium brown stain pen. I used a black Sharpie pen to continue the grain marks through the repair on the shank.stan8I buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel and hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth. I took the following photos of the pipe and sent copies to Mario. We are both really pleased with the way the pipe has come out to this point.stan9 stan10Here are some close up photos of the shank repair and the rim clean up. It looks much better than when I began the work.stan11I set the bowl aside and started to work on the stem. I sanded both sides with 220 grit sandpaper and took the photos to show the marks, ripples and dents on the surfaces.stan12I cleaned out the tenon area with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners to remove all of the oils and tars in airway and the area where the filter would have been. It took a lot of pipe cleaners and cotton swabs to remove all of the debris. The next photo shows about half of the cotton swabs and pipe cleaners that I used on the stem.stan13I examined the inside of the mortise and airway with a pen light and could see that the shank was thickly caked with a hard coat of tars. I used a dental spatula to scrape away the debris in the mortise. It took a lot of scraping to remove the buildup to see the briar. I cleaned out the shank and airway with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners until it was clean. The pipe smelled much cleaner though still smoky.stan13a stan14I pressed cotton balls into the bowl and rolled a cotton pad and inserted it in the shank. I used an ear syringe to fill the bowl with alcohol. I tipped it so that the alcohol ran into the shank. I filled it until the cotton was covered in the bowl. I set the bowl aside to let the alcohol do its work in drawing the oils out of the briar. I set the bowl aside and turned to the stem.stan15I finished sanding it with the 220 grit sandpaper to remove all of the ripples and dents in the stem surface. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. After each set of three pads I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil. After the last rubdown of oil I set the stem aside and let it dry.stan16 stan17 stan18I let the cotton balls and alcohol sit in the bowl for 6 hours. I took the following photo of the darkened cotton balls. I removed the cotton balls and cleaned out the shank, airway and bowl with cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I was able to remove a lot more of the tars in the shank.stan19Once the shank was clean and the walls were clean and had dried I put the stem in place on the shank. I buffed the pipe and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and stem several coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfibre cloth. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The stem is smooth and glassy, the rim is much better and looks smooth, and the flaw/crack in the shank is smooth to touch and virtually invisible.  It will be heading back to Mario this week and I look forward to hearing what he thinks of his pipe now. Thanks for walking along with me through this restoration.stan20 stan21 stan22 stan23 stan24 stan25 stan26 stan27 stan28 stan29

Windsor Ashford Restoration ( Sasieni 2nd)

By Al Jones

This pipe was listed as a Sasieni and indeed it had the Sasieni “Made in England” football COM stamp. Because of the rustification style, I knew it was a 2nd line from Sasieni. Of course it also didn’t have a Sasieni two or four Dot stem logo. The brand name wasn’t shown and it appeared similar to a “Shashar” I restored a few months ago. The Sterling silver band was not factory and I didn’t know what damage it might be hiding. The Sasieni Ashford is shape 88 in their catalog and this one was stamped 688, typical for a Sasieni 2nd’s line. The Ashford shape evolved through the different era’s of Sasieni and this one had the sharper bend that is usually seen on Patent era pipes.

Below is the pipe as delivered.



I posted a few pictures of the pipe in the British section of the PipesMagazine.com forum. Not surprisingly, Dave Cuneo was the first to respond. Dave is a moderator on the Pipe Smokers Unlimited forum and a frequent contributor to all things British on the PipesMagazine forum. Over the years, Dave has sent me various ebay links for pipes that I’ve added to my collection and he has a keen interest and expertise in the history of these storied brands. Dave has a theory on the unique rustication technique used by Sasieni:

The most interesting thing about this pipe is the rustication. During most of the pre-war period, all of the “seconds” were smooth pipes, but at some point Sasieni began to experiment with rusticated finishes on some of their seconds, finally ending up in the post-war period with the rusticated finish on the Old England line. Having seen a few of these, I would date the pipe to somewhere between the late 1930’s ~ 1950. The stem also has that classic “chubby” pre-war look.

Upon receipt, and under magnification, I could see that the name started with a W. The letters IN and the word Sasieni are also legible. Not much else was legible and the silver band obscured the final letters. Curiously, the shank didn’t appear to have cracks and it didn’t appear to have been added for a repair. The stem was heavily oxidized but in pretty good shape. The bowl was in great shape and overall, I’d say the pipe didn’t see heavy use. Like most Ashfords, this one weighed 45 grams.

Update:  A Pipesmagazine.com forum member sent me a picture of the nomenclature for a Windsor.  After seeing this, I’m fairly certain that this is the brand.


The stem was soaked in a mild solution of Oxy-clean. While it was soaking, I reamed the bowl and soaked it with alcohol and sea salt. I removed the layer of oxidation first with 800 gri paper, then 1,000 and 2,000 grades. I then used 8,000 and 12,000 grade micromesh paper. AT this time, I discovered that the stem had a faint capital W stamp. Sasieni made no less than nine 2nd line pipes that started with a W. The best guess I can make is that it is a Wingate.

I hand waxed the bowl with Halycon wax and polished the silver band with some silver polish cream. The stem was then buffed with White Diamond and Meguiars Plastic polish.

Below is the finished pipe. Dave expressed interest in the pipe and I was happy to make him the next owner.













Brandy Bent Unmarked – another ‘Hole in the Wall’ Find

Blog by Dal Stanton

The Brandy before me now was a very nicely bundled pipe when I recently purchased the Stanwell Silver Mount which I’ve already restored (See HERE).  I landed these pipes at the treasure trove I call the ‘Hole in the Wall,’ an antique shop in the center-city of Sofia, Bulgaria.  My sites were on the Stanwell which was the prize, with its silver and class, but when I saw the Brandy, I plucked it out of the basket to bundle with the Stanwell – hopefully to land a more favorable purchase price for the pair.  The Stanwell and Brandy came home with me that day, and the picture I took below commemorated that day’s finds.  The next picture shows the results of the Stanwell Silver Mount’s restoration – a beautiful, dressy pipe.brandy1 brandy2The Brandy drew my attention as well because the bowl is a significant presence in the palm as I cradled the expansive bowl.  When I first saw it, I thought it might be a Volcano shape because of the hefty, expansive base of the stummel and the tightly restrained cone moving upwardly culminating in the rim. Yet, looking at Pipedia’s Pipe’s Chart by Bill Burney (see below), my later thoughts were confirmed that this indeed is a Brandy – actually, the first in my collection.  The stummel measures 1 3/4 inches in diameter at the broadest point of the ‘brandy glass’ bulge and the stummel tightens to the rim which measures 1 1/4 inches.  The height of the stummel is 1 7/8 inches.  This bowl is nicely shaped and proportioned – I like it!brandy3I take more pictures when I take the Brandy out of the ‘Help Me!’ basket and place him on my work table.brandy4 brandy5 brandy6 brandy7 brandy8With the stem in the Oxi-Clean, I continue with the clean-up of the stummel internals using cotton swabs and pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl 95%.  After moderate resistance, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs started coming out cleaner.  Later, I will give the bowl a kosher salt/alcohol soak to further clean and freshen the internals and readying it for a new steward.brandy12With the internals cleaned with the frontal approach, I now look at the external surface.  I first scrub the rim and entire stummel with undiluted Murphy’s Oil to see if it makes much of a dent on the cloudy finish.  I have my doubts.  Well, after scrubbing the surface with Murphy’s Soap and I can see my reflection on the surface, I know that I’m dealing with an acrylic finish – the candy wrapper finish.  For manufacturers of pipes that put this kind of finish on a pipe, I can only think of two reasons to do so – it is a more cost-effective mass application of shininess – a chemically produced sheen that takes minimal time and man-hours, and to hide imperfections in the briar.  Switching to acetone to remove the finish, first, I use cotton pads, then the more persuasive help of 0000 steel wool.  The finish comes off with little effort and I begin to see why the finish is dark – there are several fills that the dark stain was masking.   I have no problems with darker hues to mask fills and imperfections, but I do not like the acrylic shine finish.  Pictures show the progress and the surface revealed.brandy13 brandy14 brandy15Before dealing with the fills, I sand the outer surface of the stummel and rim with a course grade sanding sponge to remove the superficial nicks and damage.  This works well.  I follow with a medium grade then a light grade sanding sponge to smooth and clean the surface of imperfections.brandy16I take a close look at the fills on the surface of the stummel and scrape them with a sharp dental probe to find out whether they are solid or if they are in danger of pitting.  Generally, they seem to be in good condition.  I do detect one pit and I drop-spot some super glue and apply an accelerator to cure the glue rapidly.  When the superglue is fully cured, I use a flat needle file to file it down near to the briar surface, then I use a rolled piece of 240 grit paper to sand it down to the surface, removing all the excess glue.  Then I use 600 grit paper just to smooth the surface of the patch.brandy17 brandy18Sanding with the sanding sponges removed most of the dents I detected earlier on the rim.  I want to freshen the inwardly sloped bevel to improve the lines of the rim.  I first cut an inner bevel with a rolled piece of coarser 120 grit paper.  Then I follow this by using 240 and 600 grit paper over the entire surface of the rim from the lower inner lip to the higher rim edge.  The result is a more tapered and sloped bevel and a crisper rim edge as the lower bevel blends into the upper slope.  The pictures show the progress.brandy19Next, I wet sand the stummel with micromesh pads 1500 to 2400 and when I complete this cycle, what I see I am not expecting.  Every fill on the stummel had softened and some had come out.  Apparently, the fill was not glue based, but simply a colored wood putty that would sit underneath the acrylic finish.  I haven’t seen anything like this up to this point.  Oh well….  I take the sharp dental probe and continue to dig out all the old filler putty and clean the holes left behind.  This restoration is taking an unexpected turn and it will take a bit of time to fill and sand down each of these 16 fill spots.  With briar dust and superglue, I mix a batch of putty and apply putty to each hole.  I leave excess over each fill area to be able later to sand each fill down flush to the briar surface.  I put the stummel aside for the patches to cure for about 12 hours.  The pictures show the digression.brandy20 brandy21With the putty patches curing, I take the stem out of the Oxi-Clean bath and take a picture of the oxidation raised on the stem.  I then wet sand the stem with 600 grit paper followed by 0000 steel wool to remove the raised oxidation from the stem.  The stem is looking good.brandy22Before I proceed with the micromesh pad sanding, I clean the internals of the stem using pipe cleaners and cotton swabs dipped in isopropyl 95%.  Using a sharp dental probe, I also dig out gunk from the slot.  The stem internals were dirty but pipe cleaners eventually prevailed.brandy23I then begin the micromesh cycle by first wet sanding with pads 1500 to 2400, followed by dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000, then 6000 to 12000.  After each set of 3, I applied Obsidian Oil to the stem to revitalize the vulcanite.  The pictures show the progress, and a slight interruption when my daughter FaceTime’s me from Nashville between cycles – the pictures also show this wonderful interruption!   With the stem looking good, I put it aside and return to the stummel.brandy24 brandy25After the briar dust patches cure on the stummel surface, I begin the long process of filing and sanding the excess putty off the patches to bring the putty flush with the briar surface.  I first use a flat needle file to bring the excess almost to the surface and then I use 240 grit paper to smooth further, blending the patch with the surface.  With as many fills that I had, it provided ample practice to perfect my approach!  After smoothing all the briar dust putty patches, I find that some patches have small air-pockets revealed as I sand.  With these, I spot-drop some superglue, apply an accelerator to rapidly cure the glue, then re-sand those areas until the patches blend with the surface.  The pictures slow the slow progress.brandy27 brandy28 brandy29 brandy30With my day ending, I decide to clean the stummel internals further with a kosher salt and alcohol soak.  This cleans further as well as freshen the stummel for a new steward.  I stretch and twist a cotton ball to create a ‘wick’ to insert down the mortise.  This helps draw out the oils and grime.  Then I place the stummel in an egg carton for stability and fill the chamber with kosher salt.  The kosher salt is without iodine which can leave a taste.  I shake the stummel a bit with my palm over the chamber to displace the salt in the mortise a bit.  I then fill the fire chamber with isopropyl 95% until it rises a bit over the salt.  I then put the stummel aside for the night allowing the salt and alcohol to do the work.brandy31The next morning, the salt and cotton ‘wick’ had darkened signifying the job of drawing out tars and oils was achieved.  I dump out the expended salt by thumping the stummel on the palm and tossing the wick. I wipe the chamber with paper towel, and then use multi-sized round bristled brushes in the chamber and mortise to rid the stummel of residue salt.  I complete the cleaning job by plunging a few more cotton swabs and pipe cleaners into the mortise and draft hole and find that all the tars and oils have been removed.  I determine the Brandy’s cleaning, ‘Completed’!  The pictures show the progress.brandy32 brandy33 brandy34I turn again to the briar surface of the stummel.  With all the patch work done, I make a quick inspection of the surface looking for little shiny spots which would indicate that some residue excess of superglue was remaining on the briar surface.  I quickly address these with a rapid sanding with 240 grit paper.  From there, I return to a light grade sanding sponge and re-sand the entire surface aiming to help the blending with the plethora of patches and the briar surface.  brandy35I then proceed through the cycles of micromesh pads, 1500 to 12000.  The volatile nature of the grain in this block of briar becomes evident – it is evident that the block was taken from the upper or outer regions of the briar bush’s ‘burl’.  Its grain is more turbulent than you would find deeper inside the burl, where grains are a spectrum of non-existent to orderly currents of grain.  This excerpt from an article from Pipes & Tobaccos (1999) about briar grains from R. D. Field, I found very helpful in understanding briar grains:

Any burl, whether it be 30 years old or 130, does not possess what we call grain in its totality. When a burl is split in half a variety of patterns are able to be discerned in that: The center of the burl has no grain. The center, or heart, contains all the liquid held in the burl which is red in color and is known as blood. The wood surrounding this blood is also of a reddish tint and is devoid of capillaries as the water has got to where it was meant to be for storage.  Capillaries surround the center and, depending on the growing pattern of the burl and how it was split, can take the shape of straight grain, cross grain, flame grain, mixed grain, etc.

As we approach the upper part of the burl from where the branches emerge a pattern known as “branch wood” can be seen. Because the branches of the shrub actually start their growth within the burl the wood in these portions takes on some of the characteristics of the emerging branch. To look upon a swirling piece of briar devoid of other grain character (whether in a finished pipe or as part of the burl) is to look upon branch wood.

The many fills in this piece of briar I believe is due to it being an example of a block taken at a ‘branch wood’ formation seen in the pictures below.  The pictures show the progression through the micromesh pad cycles.brandy36 brandy37

The next step in the project is to stain the stummel.  I will aim for a darker hue but I want to contextualize this Brandy by bending the hue toward the reds using Fiebing’s Oxblood Leather Dye mixed with Fiebing’s Dark Brown Leather Dye including a hint of black, non-aniline dye.  I found a picture on the internet (below) that envisions the perfect ambiance for this Brandy after he’s restored and recommissioned! I’m aiming for the darker hue of the brandy that is displayed.  Dreamstime is doing a good job promoting the brandy glass, but truth be known, the Brandy shaped pipe I have would have been a better choice for display!  Acknowledging a totally unscientific approach to the mixture, if I find the results too red, I will probably follow by a straight application of Fiebing’s Dark Brown Leather Dye as an overcoat.brandy38After the dyes are mixed in a shot glass, I heat the stummel with an air gun to expand the grains to absorb the dye more efficiently.  Then, using a bent-over pipe cleaner, I apply the dye mixture liberally over the surface, utilizing a cork inserted into the mortise as a handle.  When applied, I fire the stummel with a lit candle, and the alcohol in the dye immediately burns off and sets the dye in the grain.  To make sure I’ve achieved total coverage, I repeat the process again, finishing by firing the dye, and putting the stummel aside to rest for several hours.  The pictures show the staining process.brandy39 brandy40A little anxious to unwrap the flamed dye crust, my impatience wins out and I mount the felt wheel on the Dremel high speed rotary tool.  I set the speed to the slowest available and using Tripoli compound I begin removing the crust to reveal the briar underneath.  Then, using a cotton cloth wheel, I apply Blue Diamond compound to the stummel, also using the slowest speed available.  After the Blue Diamond, I’m seeing two things – the hue is a bit redder than I wanted and I am seeing light spots that need darkening.  I use a mahogany dye stick and darken the light areas to blend.  Then, I take out the Fiebing’s Dark Brown Leather Dye, and set up for another application of dye to the stummel. With a folded pipe cleaner I apply Fiebing’s Dark Brown Leather Dye two times, as before, flaming after each application, then setting the stummel aside to rest.  Pictures tell the story.brandy41 brandy42After a few hours, I repeat the process of applying both Tripoli and Blue Diamond compounds to the stummel surface.  Following the compound application I hand buff the stummel with a flannel towel to remove the residue compound dust on the stummel.  I do this before applying the carnauba wax.  Changing to the cotton cloth wheel on the Dremel, I increase the speed to 2, the second slowest speed of 5 – being the fastest.  I reattach the stem and stummel and apply to both several coats of carnauba wax and then give the pipe a rigorous hand buff with a micromesh cloth to bring out the shine.brandy43This Brandy Bent Unmarked had a lot going against it after I discovered the multitude of fills necessary to restore and recommission this pipe.  Considering the odds against it, I think it looks very good.  The grain is very expressive.  I like the dark brown finish as the overcoat of the oxblood – it fits well the Brandy shape.  I sell my restorations with the profits helping the work we do with the Daughters of Bulgaria – those sexually exploited and trafficked.  This Brandy is ready to serve a new steward.  If you’re interested in adopting him and helping the Daughters, check out The Pipe Steward Store.  Thanks for joining me!brandy44 brandy45 brandy46 brandy47 brandy48 brandy49 brandy50