Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe in the queue came from a group of pipes Jeff and I purchased from a fellow in Pennsylvania who was selling out his collection as he no longer smoked a pipe. We picked up quite a few of his pipes and they included this beautiful Stanwell Made in Denmark Brazilia with a horn shank extension. It is a round apple shaped pipe with a round rim top curving from the sides into the bowl. The entire pipe had some beautiful mixed grain around the bowl. The rim top was covered with a thick tar and lava coat. The pipe was filthy but the grain underneath was rich and the finish looked like it would clean up well. The pipe is stamped on the underside of the shank and reads Stanwell over Brazilia over Made in Denmark. On the right side of the shank it is stamped with the shape number 87. The stem is vulcanite and has the Stanwell Crown S on the top side. The stem is dirty and had deep tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the stem at the button edge. The photos below tell the story and give a glimpse of the pipe before clean up.Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim from various angles to capture the condition of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. There was a thick coat of lava on the rim and the cake in the bowl. It appeared that the beveled inner edges were in good condition. The outer edges actually appeared to be in excellent condition. He also took a series of photos of the sides of the bowl and shank to show the straight grain around the bowl. It is very dirty but the grain is visible in the photo. Jeff took photos of the stamping on the underside and the right of the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and legible. The horn shank extension is quite stunning and should shine up nicely. The next two photos show the stem surface. They show the deep tooth marks on both sides near the button. The stem is oxidized and has a thick build up around the button end.Jeff did his usual thorough clean up job on the pipe so that when it arrived here in Vancouver it looked really good. Jeff reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl of the pipe. He rinsed it off under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He was able to remove all of the lava build up on the beveled rim top of the pipe. The rim top looked really good with a little darkening on the inner bevel toward the front of the bowl. The mixed grain stood out on the clean pipe. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and was able to remove the oxidation. The pipe looked very good.I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work. I took a close up photo of the bowl and rim to capture the condition of the pipe before he started my restoration of the pipe. The rim top was clean but had some darkening on the inside edge of the rim at the front of the bowl. It was solid so it was not charred. The horn shank extension looked dry and lifeless but otherwise in good condition. The stem was quite clean with some deep tooth marks on the top and underside near the button.I started the process of the restoration by working on the bowl. I worked over the inner bevel of the rim with 220 grit sandpaper to address the darkening and light damage.I polished the briar with 2400-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-4000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad. I found that with each successive grit of micromesh the grain on the bowl and shank sides stood out more and gave a shine to the pipe. The sanded rim top was beginning to blend in quite well. I stained the top of the bowl to match the rest of the bowl. I used a Maple stain pen and set it aside to dry.As is my pattern on these restorations, I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The following photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. The bowl and the rim top look really good and the darkening is lessened. The finish looks very good with the rich brown stain on the bowl and rim. The horn has come alive once again and the striations of colour are rich. I am very happy with the results. With the bowl finished I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I filled in the deep tooth marks with black super glue and rebuilt the damage on the button. I set the stem aside to let the repairs cure overnight.In the morning when the repairs had cured I used a needle file to cut the sharp edge of the button and to flatten out the repairs. I sanded the stem surface with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out tooth chatter and light tooth marks. I polished the surface of the whole stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I touched up the Stanwell Crown S with a white touch up pen. I used a dental pick to push it into the grooves and polished the excess off with a coarse cotton cloth. I did it early in the polishing to make sure I did not polish off any of the deep grooves of the stamp.I continued to polish the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with a damp cloth after each pad. I further polished it with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I wiped it down with a coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. Since I had finished both the bowl and stem I put them together and polished them both with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl multiple and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The mixed grain really began to stand out with contrast as I buff the bowl. The rich medium brown finish on the briar works well with the polished horn shank extension and the black vulcanite stem. Stanwell has a knack for making pipes that not only look good but also feel great in the hand. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 1/2 inches, Height: 1 7/8 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/2 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 of an inch. I will be putting this beauty on the rebornpipes store shortly and it can be added to your collection. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me on this beautiful Stanwell Brazilia 87 Apple.