Daily Archives: August 10, 2019

Cleaning up a GBD London Made 9664


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I chose to work on has been sitting on my desk for a few weeks and since I just finished an older GBD Standard I decided to pick this GBD London Made up and work on it. It came in a recent box from my brother Jeff. He picked it up in one of the online auctions he frequents. It is interestingly shaped GBD – not even sure what I would call the shape as it is a bit of a Dublin and a bit of a pick axe. Very unique. The pipe is stamped on the top of the oval shank GBD in and oval London Made. On the underside of the shank it is stamped London, England over 9664 with a letter “E” stamped near the stem shank junction. The grain showing through the grime is a mix of swirls, cross grain and birdseye around the bowl sides and shank. It had a rich reddish brown stain but the finish was dirty and hard to see the colour well. There was a thick cake in the bowl and a light overflow of lava on the rim top. There was some darkening around the inner edge of the bowl and what looked like some damage toward the back edge. The stem was oxidized with light tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside near the button. The button was in excellent condition. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work on it. Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the lava build up on the edges of the bowl. The cake and edge speak to this being a good smoking pipe.Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the finish – the pipe was dirty but the finish appeared to be in very good condition.  Jeff took photos of the stamping on the topside of the oval shank. The stamping was very readable – it read GBD in an oval over London Made. On the underside it read London, England over the shape number 9664 with the letter “E” near the shank/stem union.  Jeff took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the scratching, oxidation and light tooth damage to the stem surface and slight wear to the edges of the button. I turned to Pipedia’s article on GBD to see if I could find any information on the London Made. The article gives a lot in terms of the history of the brand and a list of various lines of GBD pipes (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD_Model_Information). I quote the section where I found the reference to the London Made.

London Made — Factory unknown: Some might not be marked with GBD logo and some with additional “house” stampings. Introduced in 1978(?) plain wax finished branded pipes” available in at least six stains. – catalog (1981)

With that information in hand I knew what I was dealing with in terms of the stamping and the age of this pipe. I knew from the information from the section quoted that the London Made originally came out in 1978 in a variety of colours. Now I had an idea of the age of the pipe and it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff cleaned the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness that I really appreciate. This one was a real mess and I did not know what to expect when I unwrapped it from his box. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. The finish looks very good with good looking grain around the bowl and shank. Jeff soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked very good. I took photos before I started my part of the work. I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show the clean top and the damage to the inner edge. The back of the bowl had been charred and there was some roughening and darkening around the rest of the inner edge of the bowl. The inside of the bowl looked very good. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the remaining oxidation and the lack of tooth marks and chatter in front of the button on both sides. There is also a faint remnant of the GBD oval stamp on the top of the saddle.I also took photos of the stamping on the pipe on the top underside of the shank. It read as noted above.  I started my work on the pipe by addressing the burned area on the inner edge of the rim. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the damage and give the edge a very slight bevel to remove the damage.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the finish of the bowl and the rim top with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I find that the balm really makes the briar come alive again. The contrasts in the layers of stain really made the grain stand out. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The pipe really looks good at this point. I am very happy with the results.  I set the bowl aside and started working on the stem. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to blend the chatter and remaining marks into the surface of the stem. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I wiped the stem off with Obsidian Oil to remove the dust and see where I was at with the stem. I rubbed the stem down with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish. I have a few tins of this laying around so I am trying to use them up. It does a pretty good job polishing the stem. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped it down with Obsidian Oil. I polished it further with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both fine and extra fine. I finished by wiping it down with Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem back on the bowl and polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl 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 shine on it makes the variations of colour really pop. The pipe polished up really well. The polished black vulcanite stem seemed to truly come alive with the buffing. This uniquely shaped pipe feels great in my hand and when it warms with smoking I think it will be about perfect. It must have been a fine smoking pipe judging from the condition it was when we received it. There should be a lot of life left in this GBD London Made 9664E.  Have a look at it in the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This is one that will go on the rebornpipes online store shortly. If you want to carry on the pipe trust of this unique GBD London Made let me know. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners, we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next pipeman or woman.

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Back to Bob Kerr’s Estate – Working on a GBD Standard 9136 Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

I am changing up my work on Bob Kerr’s estate again by taking on this GBD Standard 9136 bent billiard. This is the first of his GBD pipes that I am working on. I am cleaning them for the family and moving them out into the hands of pipemen and women who will carry on the trust that began with Bob and in some pipes was carried on by Bob. In the collection there were 19 Peterson’s pipes along with a bevy of Dunhills, some Comoy’s and Barlings as well as a lot of other pipes – a total of 125 pipes along with a box of parts. This is the largest estate that I have had the opportunity to work on. I put together a spread sheet of the pipes and stampings to create an invoice. I was taking on what would take me a fair amount of time to clean up. I could not pass up the opportunity to work on these pipes though. They were just too tempting. This lovely GBD Standard is a great break. It is a shape that is interesting and unique. It will go on the rebornpipes store.

I have been collecting and restoring GBD pipes for as long as I have worked on pipes. This one also has some beautiful mixed grain – birdseye, cross and flame grain. It is a beauty! The pipe is stamped GBD over Standard on the left side of the shank. On the right side it is stamped London, England followed by the shape number, 9136. The swirls of grain poking through the grime and dirt are a mixture that leaves a rich look and feel. It had a rich brown stain that does not look too bad. There are nicks in the briar on the sides and heel of the bowl. There was a thick cake in the bowl with remnants of tobacco stuck on the walls. There was a light lava overflow on the rim. The edges of the rim and top are dirty but look pretty pristine under the grime. It was a beautiful pipe that was dirty and tired looking. The stem was oxidized and calcified toward the end. Again, surprisingly did not have the tooth marks that I have come to expect from Bob’s pipes. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work on it. Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the lava build up on the edges of the bowl. It was thick and hard but hopefully it had protected the rim and edges from damage. The edges look pretty good. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the finish. You can see the beautiful grain. The front of the bowl had some deep nicks toward the bottom of the bowl as seen in the first photo. The finish was very dirty.   Jeff took photos of the stamping on the smooth panel on the underside of the bowl and shank. The stamping was readable as you can see from the photos. On the left side it read GBD in an oval over Standard. On the right side it read London, England over 9136. On the left side of the stem was an inlaid GBD roundel.  Jeff took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the tooth chatter, scratching and oxidation on the stem surface and wear on the edges of the button.I turned to Pipedia’s article on GBD to see if I could find any information on the Standard. I was familiar with the New Standard but not the Standard. The article gives a lot in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD). I quote the section where I found the reference to the Standard.

The claims after the 1st World War demanded further distinctions. First of all was the London Made, which became the Standard London Made, followed by the New Era– in 1931 the top model asking 12½ Shilling. The Pedigree, although sketched around 1926, was not produced until the later 1930s. The New Standard was introduced in order to give the popular Standard of the 20s a higher rank in value. The Prehistoric, a deeply sandblasted black pipe, that still carried the small GBD Xtra stamp, was entirely new and unusual.

With that information in hand I knew what I was dealing with in terms of the stamping and the age of this pipe. I knew from the information from the section quoted that the Standard originally came out in the 20s. In the late 1930s the New Standard was introduced after the war. So this is one of Bob’s older pipes – late 1920s to early 30s. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

With over 125 pipes to clean from Bob’s estate I took a batch of them to the states with me on a recent visit and left them with Jeff so he could help me out. Jeff cleaned the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness that I really appreciate. This one was a real mess and I did not know what to expect when I unwrapped it from his box. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. The finish looks very good with good looking grain around the bowl and shank. Jeff soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked very good. I took photos before I started my part of the work. I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show what an amazing job Jeff did in the cleanup of the rim top. The rim top looks very good. The sandblast finish is very nice. The bowl looked very good. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the lack of tooth marks and the remaining oxidation on the stem surface. Since this is another pipe Bob’s estate I am sure that some of you have read at least some of the other restoration work that has been done on the previous pipes. You have also read what I have included about Bob Kerr, the pipeman who held these pipes in trust before I came to work on them (see photo to the left). Also, if you have followed the blog for long you will already know that I like to include background information on the pipeman whose pipes I am restoring. For me, when I am working on an estate I really like to have a sense of the person who held the pipes in trust before I worked on them. It gives me another dimension of the restoration work. I asked Brian if he or his wife would like to write a brief biographical tribute to her father, Bob. His daughter worked on it and I received the following short write up on him and some pictures to go along with the words including one of Bob’s carvings. Once again I thank you Brian and tell your wife thank you as well.

I am delighted to pass on these beloved pipes of my father’s. I hope each user gets many hours of contemplative pleasure as he did. I remember the aroma of tobacco in the rec room, as he put up his feet on his lazy boy. He’d be first at the paper then, no one could touch it before him. Maybe there would be a movie on with an actor smoking a pipe. He would have very definite opinions on whether the performer was a ‘real’ smoker or not, a distinction which I could never see but it would be very clear to him. He worked by day as a sales manager of a paper products company, a job he hated. What he longed for was the life of an artist, so on the weekends and sometimes mid-week evenings he would journey to his workshop and come out with wood sculptures, all of which he declared as crap but every one of them treasured by my sister and myself. Enjoy the pipes, and maybe a little of his creative spirit will enter you!

Now on to the rest of the restoration on this GBD Standard Bent Billiard. Since Jeff had done such an amazing clean up job on the bowl it was very easy for me. There was some small damage on the front of the bowl that needed to be address. It was surrounded by a shiny ring that looked like someone had tried to repair it before. I wiped it down with acetone and filled in the damaged area with clear super glue. When the glue dried I sanded the repaired area down with 220 grit sandpaper and polished it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust. I touched up the sanded area with an oak stain pen. I carefully blended it into the surrounding surface of the briar.I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth and shoe brush to raise the shine. Mark Hoover’s Balm is a product that I have come to appreciate and one I use on every pipe I have been working on. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to break up the oxidation. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to remove the scratching. It is starting to look good. I rubbed the stem down with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish. I have a few tins of this laying around so I am trying to use them up. It does a pretty good job polishing the stem. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. Once I had finished the polishing I gave it final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. I am excited to be on the homestretch with this pipe and I look forward to the final look when it is put back together, polished and waxed. I put the bowl and stem back together. I polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the briar and the vulcanite. I gave the bowl and 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 grain really popped with the polished black vulcanite. This old GBD Standard bent billiard was another fun pipe to work on thanks to Jeff’s cleanup work. It really has a shape that catches the eye. The combination of various brown stains really makes the pipe look attractive. It is a comfortable pipe to hold in the hand. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. If you are interested in carrying on Bob’s legacy with this pipe send me a message or an email. I have a lot more to work on of various brands. Perhaps one of those will catch your attention. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. This is an interesting estate to bring back to life.

Back to Bob Kerr’s Estate – Changing Up and Working on a Danish Made Stanwell de Luxe 812 Billiard Regd. No. 969-48


Blog by Steve Laug

I am changing up my work on Bob Kerr’s estate a bit by taking on this Stanwell de Luxe 812 sandblast billiard. This is the first of his Stanwell pipes that I am working on. I am cleaning them for the family and moving them out into the hands of pipemen and women who will carry on the trust that began with Bob and in some pipes was carried on by Bob. In the collection there were 19 Peterson’s pipes along with a bevy of Dunhills, some Comoy’s and Barlings as well as a lot of other pipes – a total of 125 pipes along with a box of parts. This is the largest estate that I have had the opportunity to work on. I put together a spread sheet of the pipes and stampings to create an invoice. I was taking on what would take me a fair amount of time to clean up. I could not pass up the opportunity to work on these pipes though. They were just too tempting. This beautiful Stanwell is a great break. It is a shape that is interesting and unique. It will go on the rebornpipes store.

I really like the sandblasts that the Danish Stanwell Company did. This one also has a rugged, swirling sandblast finish with lots of nooks and crannies in the briar. It is a beauty! The pipe is stamped Stanwell over Regd. No. 969-48. That is followed by the line which is de Luxe and the shape number 812. The valleys and ridges of the sandblasted grain showing through the grime and dirt are a mixture that leaves a rich texture. It had a rich dark and medium contrasting brown stain that does not look too bad. There was a thick cake in the bowl with remnants of tobacco stuck on the walls. There was a fair lava overflow filling in the blast on the rim. The edges of the rim and top are dirty but look pretty pristine under the grime. It was a beautiful pipe that was dirty and tired looking. The stem was oxidized and calcified toward the end. Again, surprisingly did not have the tooth marks that I have come to expect from Bob’s pipes. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work on it.   Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the lava build up on the edges of the bowl. It was thick and hard but hopefully it had protected the rim and edges from damage. The edges look pretty good.Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the finish. You can see the beautiful swirls of the sandblast. There is a lot of dust and grime filling in the valleys. Jeff took photos of the stamping on the smooth panel on the underside of the bowl and shank. The stamping was readable as you can see from the photos. It read Stanwell Regd. No. 969-48. That is followed by de Luxe and the shape number 812. Jeff took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the tooth chatter, scratching and oxidation on the stem surface and wear on the edges of the button. The “S” on the stem was in very good condition. Interestingly it did not have the crown over the “S”. I turned first to Pipephil’s site to get a quick idea of when this pipe was made by reference to the Regd. No. on the underside of the shank (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-stanwell.html). I quote what I found there. Logo without crown. The “Regd. No.” stamping discontinued in late 1960s to very early 1970s.

I also turned to Pipedia’s article on Stanwell but it did not add any further information. It is a great read in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Stanwell).

Talking with Chris van Hilst on Facebook Tobacco Pipe Restorers Group he helped me understand that the crown was introduced mid- to late 50’s. Before that they didn’t have a stem logo.

With that information in hand I knew what I was dealing with in terms of the stamping and the age of this pipe. I knew from the information from Pipephil that the Regd. No. stamping was discontinued in the late 60s to very early in the 70s. I learned from Chris that the crown was added late in the 1950s so this one is most probably an early 1950s pipe. Most of Bob’s pipes were purchased between the 50s and late 60s so my guess is that this pipe fits that time frame. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

With over 125 pipes to clean from Bob’s estate I took a batch of them to the states with me on a recent visit and left them with Jeff so he could help me out. Jeff cleaned the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness that I really appreciate. This one was a real mess and I did not know what to expect when I unwrapped it from his box. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. The finish looks very good with good looking grain around the bowl and shank. Jeff soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked very good. I took photos before I started my part of the work. I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show what an amazing job Jeff did in the cleanup of the rim top. The rim top looks very good. The sandblast finish is very nice. The bowl looked very good. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the lack of tooth marks and the remaining oxidation on the stem surface.Since this is another pipe Bob’s estate I am sure that some of you have read at least some of the other restoration work that has been done on the previous pipes. You have also read what I have included about Bob Kerr, the pipeman who held these pipes in trust before I came to work on them (see photo to the left). Also, if you have followed the blog for long you will already know that I like to include background information on the pipeman whose pipes I am restoring. For me, when I am working on an estate I really like to have a sense of the person who held the pipes in trust before I worked on them. It gives me another dimension of the restoration work. I asked Brian if he or his wife would like to write a brief biographical tribute to her father, Bob. His daughter worked on it and I received the following short write up on him and some pictures to go along with the words including one of Bob’s carvings. Once again I thank you Brian and tell your wife thank you as well.

I am delighted to pass on these beloved pipes of my father’s. I hope each user gets many hours of contemplative pleasure as he did. I remember the aroma of tobacco in the rec room, as he put up his feet on his lazy boy. He’d be first at the paper then, no one could touch it before him. Maybe there would be a movie on with an actor smoking a pipe. He would have very definite opinions on whether the performer was a ‘real’ smoker or not, a distinction which I could never see but it would be very clear to him. He worked by day as a sales manager of a paper products company, a job he hated. What he longed for was the life of an artist, so on the weekends and sometimes mid-week evenings he would journey to his workshop and come out with wood sculptures, all of which he declared as crap but every one of them treasured by my sister and myself. Enjoy the pipes, and maybe a little of his creative spirit will enter you!

Now on to the rest of the restoration on this Stanwell de Luxe 812 Billiard. Since Jeff had done such an amazing clean up job on the bowl it was very easy for me. I only had to rub the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth and shoe brush to raise the shine. Mark Hoover’s Balm is a product that I have come to appreciate and one I use on every pipe I have been working on. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to break up the oxidation. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to remove the scratching. It is starting to look good. I rubbed the stem down with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish. I have a few tins of this laying around so I am trying to use them up. It does a pretty good job polishing the stem. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. Once I had finished the polishing I gave it final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. I am excited to be on the homestretch with this pipe and I look forward to the final look when it is put back together, polished and waxed. I put the bowl and stem back together. I polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the briar and the vulcanite. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax 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 valleys and ridges of the sandblast looked good with the polished black vulcanite. This Stanwell de Luxe 812 billiard was another fun pipe to work on thanks to Jeff’s cleanup work. It really has that classic Stanwell sandblast finish that catches the eye. The combination of various brown stains really makes the pipe look attractive. It is a comfortable pipe to hold in the hand. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. If you are interested in carrying on Bob’s legacy with this pipe send me a message or an email. I have a lot more to work on of various brands. Perhaps one of those will catch your attention. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. This is an interesting estate to bring back to life.

Resurrecting a Second Stately Stanwell Henley Special, Made in Denmark, Blasted Saddle Stem Billiard


Blog by Dal Stanton

Jim was the recipient of the first Stanwell Henley Special, Oval Shank Billiard, that I restored some time ago (see LINK).  Jim saw it on the online ‘For “Pipe Dreamers” Only!’ collection benefiting the Daughters of Bulgaria – our work here in Bulgaria helping women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  The second Stanwell Henley Special on the worktable is the Blasted Saddle Stem Billiard on the bottom in the picture below.  This pipe has not been commissioned and will be heading to The Pipe Steward Store and this beautiful stout Danish will also benefit the Daughters when a new steward brings it home.  I have also taken notice of the solid craftsmanship of these 3 Danish made pipes and decided that the third, a Stanwell Henley Special Chimney (on top in the picture below), would find a home in my personal collection.  The eBay seller gave this helpful information about this Lot of 3 Stanwell Henley Special pipes:

This auction is for three vintage Stanwell, Henley Line estate pipes from the 1950’s-60’s era. All are in good pre-owned condition. The stems are primarily free from teeth marks. The stems do have some fading. All of the stems fit snug and the wooden bowls are free from outstanding blemishes. As seen from top to bottom, the first pipe reads Henley Special #57, the second and third read Henley Special without any numbers seen. All of the pipes read Made in Denmark.

Here are the three Stanwell Henley Specials that I acquired on the eBay auction block from a seller in Maryland.  The Henley Jim commissioned is pictured in the center above and below is the restored pipe now in Jim’s collection – an unbelievable transformation!As I expressed before, since I started collecting and restoring pipes, I’ve grown in my appreciation for Danish made pipes.  They tend to be stout, well-made pipes and just fit the hand wonderfully.  Unfortunately, my original research did not uncover much online regarding the Henley line.  Pipedia’s article on Stanwell pipes simply places the Henley Special line in the list of Stanwell second brands.  Pipephil.eu provided more information with a Henley much like the slightly bent Chimney above which I’m claiming for my collection, with the interesting characteristic bulging midsection, but with a blasted finish.  It also shows an ‘H’ stem stamp.  None of the 3 Henleys of my acquisition have stem stampings – or they wore off long ago.The only information I found in my initial research that gave any reference to dating isn’t conclusive. I found the following picture on Google images with the link to pipesmokersforum.com, “Who made this pipe?”   I went to the pipesmokersforum site and searched ‘Henley’ and no reference or article emerged. I would have loved to read the thread that discussed the dating of the discontinued Stanwell second, Henley Special.  The picture puts a question mark in the late 50s and the eBay seller’s description placing the pipes in the 50s or 60s are anecdotal but seem to me to be accurate.  I will keep searching but based upon the look and feel of these Danish made pipes, I think the 50s/60s is on target.With the second Stanwell Henley Special on the worktable, I take some pictures to get a closer look. He’s a large bowled pipe with dimensions: Length: 5 1/2 inches, Height: 2 1/4 inches, Rim width: 1 7/16 inches, Chamber width: 7/8 inches, Chamber depth: 2 inches. The nomenclature on the blasted stummel is on the lower side of the pipe.  There is a flat panel running the length of the heel and shank allowing this Billiard to sit on the table – nice feature!  On the shank side of the panel in cursive is stamped a thin ‘Henley’ [over] SPECIAL.  To the right of this is stamped MADE IN [over] DENMARK.The condition of this Henley resembles the others in that they are very dark and dirty from grime over the stummel.  The blasted surface of this Henley will need much scrubbing with a brush.  One crevasse is so large/deep that when I first saw it, I thought that the bowl had cracked.  However, it is the result of the blasting process.  The blasted surface is amazing on this pipe. The chamber is choked with carbon cake buildup – this needs to be removed to give the briar a fresh start and to examine the chamber walls.  With the cake as thick as it is, there is concern for heating damage.  The rim is inundated with lava flow – it’s thick!  The saddle stem has also seen better days!  The oxidation is thick, and the bit has been chewed – or more accurate, clenched.  There are several compressions on both upper and lower bit – the former steward loved this pipe, but he was a hands-free clincher which would be no small feat for a pipe with a bowl this big!

This doesn’t happen often.  My wife got into The Pipe Steward activities to picture me cleaning stems of pipes in queue – two Henleys included – this second one and the third staying with me.  Yep, this is what my worktable looks like!  I clean each airway with pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl 95% as well as employing shank brushes.  I clean the stems before placing them in the soak of Before & After Deoxidizer. The stems soak for several hours to work on removing the oxidation.  The oxidation on the Henley is pretty think.  We’ll see how the Deoxidizer works.When I fish out the Henley’s saddle stem, I rub/wipe the stem with cotton pads wetted with isopropyl 95% to remove the raised oxidation.  I also run a few pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 95% through the airway to clear the Deoxidizer.I also apply paraffin oil, a mineral oil, to the stem to begin the conditioning process.  The B&A Deoxidizer did a fair job on the stem.Turning now to the Henley stummel, I take a picture to show the condition of the chamber. The cake closes as it moves down the chamber.  I’m hopeful that the chamber walls are not suffering from heating damage.  To address the thick cake, I use the Pipnet Reaming Kit.  After putting down paper towel to save time on cleaning, I begin with the smallest of the 4 blade heads available.  With a chamber width of 7/8 inches and depth of 2 inches, he took all 4 blade heads that the Pipnet Reaming Kit had to offer.  The cake is hard and crusty, and it takes patience to work the blades and not overdo it.  I follow the reaming using the Savinelli Fitsall tool to continue to scrape the chamber walls clearing more carbon. Finally, I sand the chamber using 240 grade paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen.  The sanding is very helpful in cleaning the walls to allow inspection.  After cleaning the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95%, I’m able to get a good view of the chamber and the damage from heating is evident.I take pictures going around the chamber from different angles.  With the thickness of the cake that I removed, I’m not surprised to find heating damage.  I’m sure that the cracks and fissures that I’ve pictured are a result of the heat build-up caused by the thick cake and not allowing proper heating expansion and contraction.  This puts more stress on the briar and these results occur.  As I continue the cleaning, my mind will be processing the question of how to address this. Switching from the wall issues of the chamber, I move to cleaning the external surface.  Without a doubt, this stummel is the King of Cragginess.  I love the deeply hewn valleys and ridges of this large stummel created by a very thorough sandblasting process.  I take pictures to show the various angles.  The stummel is very dark and I’m anxious to see what cleaning does. I begin the cleaning by using undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and scrub with a cotton pad.  With the craggy landscape, the process graduates very quick to scrubbing with a bristled tooth brush as well as a brass wire brush on the rim.Taking the stummel to the sink, warm water continues the cleaning rinsing off the Murphy’s Soap and scrubbing the surface of the crags with the toothbrush.  I also attack the internals using shank brushes and anti-oil dish soap.  I scrub the internals well and rinse the stummel thoroughly.  The result of the cleaning is a considerably lightened stummel.  Another round of pictures show the cleaned briar landscape on the Henley stummel. The rim still appears to have some lava residue on it, and I continue to clean it using a dental probe to break up the carbon in the crags as well as apply the brass bristle brush to the rim. I like the results and I love how the crevassed valley rises and bisects the rim!  This blasted stummel has a lot of expression going on!I continue to clean the internals using cotton buds and pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl 95%. Joining the cleaning process was a small dental spoon that allowed me to reach into the mortise and airway and scrape the wall, helping to clean the old tars and oils.  I also utilize drill bits to help excavate tars and oils deeper in the airway.  I insert the bit into the airway carefully and hand-rotate into the airway. The rotation helps to remove the gunk.  After a good bit of cleaning, the buds and pipe cleaners start coming out lighter.  I called a halt to the cleaning transitioning to a kosher salt and alcohol soak to continue the cleaning in stealth mode through the night.Before I set up the kosher salt and alcohol soak, I look at the stummel and it is a very dry piece of wood.  I decide to apply a coat of paraffin oil to the stummel allowing the oil to hydrate the briar while it’s sitting through the night with the soak.  Paraffin oil is a mineral oil available here in Bulgaria in the pharmacy.  I apply the oil over the surface with a cotton pad and take a few pictures.  Man, it looks good.  This gives me a sneak peek at what the finished pipe will look like left in its present state.  The rich dark burgundy tones are peeking out.Next, for the kosher salt and alcohol soak, I pull and twist a cotton ball to form a ‘wick’ that is inserted into the mortise with the help of a firm straight wire.  The wick serves to draw the tars and oils that are released further from the internal wood.  I then fill the bowl with kosher salt which will not leave an after taste as does an iodized salt. I then set the stummel in an egg crate for stability, tip the stummel so the salt surface is generally level with the end of the shank.  Then with the use of a large eyedropper, I fill the bowl with isopropyl 95% until it surfaces over the salt.  After a few minutes when the alcohol has been absorbed, I top off with more isopropyl 95%.  I then put the stummel aside for the night and turn off the lights! The next morning the soak had done the job evidenced by the soiled salt and cotton wick.  After tossing the expended salt in the waste, and wiping the chamber out with paper towel, and blowing through the mortise to dislodge salt crystals, I used a few more cotton buds and pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 95% to make sure all was clean.  The soak did the job and the stummel will be much fresher for the new steward of this Stanwell Henley Special.Before moving further, I need to address the heating issues in the chamber.  There are cracks and fissures which undoubtedly developed over time because the cake buildup became too much.  With the cake so thick, it hinders proper expansion and contraction when the pipe is used. The result is what we now see in this chamber.  To address this, I mix a batch of J-B KWIK Weld using the two components, Steel and Hardener.  I use a plastic disc as a mixing pallet with scotch tape over it to aid in clean up. After mixing the two components on the pallet, about 4 minutes is available to apply the Weld before it begins to harden. I mix the components thoroughly with a toothpick, then using my finger (with a surgical glove on!), I scoop a bit of Weld and apply it to the chamber wall.  I do this uniformly around the chamber and applying pressure to make sure the Weld is filling the cracks and fissures.  I’m VERY careful to avoid dripping Weld on the rim during the application.  Later, after the Weld thoroughly cures, I’ll sand the chamber removing all the excess Weld leaving behind only what filled the cracks and fissures – or that is the theory! I usually insert a pipe cleaner to guard the airway from the Weld, but this time I forgot and thankfully, no problems result.  After completing the application, I put the stummel aside for several hours allowing the Weld to cure.  Cleanup is quick – I simply peel the tape up and discard.Turning now to the saddle stem, the Before & After Deoxidizer did a good job, but I see residual oxidation yet remaining in the vulcanite.  I take a few pictures with an opened aperture to show what I can see with the naked eye.  The bit does not have tooth chatter as much as compressions – it appears the molars were engaged by the former steward to smoke the Henley hands-free.  To address the bit compressions, I first use the heating method.  Using a Bic lighter, I paint the compressions with flame and as the vulcanite heats, it expands to reclaim the original stem shape or at least the compressions are minimized.  After heating several times, the compressions have lessened but are still visible.   The before and after pictures tell the story – in fact, I had a hard time pairing the correct photos after the heating! I believe the compressions have been minimized enough that sanding will be all that is necessary to repair the bit.  Using 240 grade paper, I sand not only the bit and button, but I expand it to the entire stem to address residual oxidation as well.  I employ a flat needle file to freshen the button lips and to assist with the tooth compressions next to the lip.  In the sanding of the saddle, I use a plastic disc I fashioned and with the disc separating the stem and stummel, I reunite the two.  The disc acts as a shield to shouldering the stem shank facing.  The sanding removed all the compressions. The pictures show the progress. With the major sanding with 240 paper complete, I continue by wet sanding the entire stem using 600 grade paper.  I then follow the wet sanding by applying 000 grade steel wool to the stem.  I’ve lost track of which is the upper and lower stem.  The stem is looking great!I move directly to applying the full regimen of 9 micromesh pads starting by wet sanding with pads 1500 to 2400 then dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  Between each set of three pads I apply a coat of Obsidian Oil to assist in rejuvenating the vulcanite.  The saddle stem has that glassy pop! I turn back to the stummel and the J-B Weld has had time to cure.  I begin to sand off the excess J-B Weld by using the Dremel with a sanding drum.  I set the Dremel to the slowest speed and gently, without much pressure, sand off the upper layer of the J-B Weld – the excess.  With the drum, as I’m working patiently around the entire chamber, I also sand out a reaming step that had developed near the floor of the chamber.  The Dremel shortens the work amazingly.  I then switch by wrapping 240 grade paper around a Sharpie Pen. I fine tune the sanding in the chamber so that eventually, the cracks and fissures are revealed now having been filled.  I love it when theory and practice come together!  I clean out the chamber of the dust and it looks and feels great! I run my finger over the formerly cavern-filled chamber and it is smooth.  I take finish pictures and move on. I’ve been looking forward to applying the Before & After Restoration Balm to this Stanwell Henley Special’s stummel to tease out the older patina of this vintage blasted briar surface.  I make sure the surface is clean from all the chamber sanding and I take a few pictures to mark the start.  I then apply the Balm to my fingers and rub it in to the surface.  The surface practically drinks the Balm as I work the Balm into the craggy landscape.  After it’s worked in well, I put the stummel aside for 20 minutes to allow the Balm to do what it does. I take a picture in this state. After about 20 minutes I wipe off the excess Balm and buff the blasted Henley Special stummel with a microfiber cloth.  The hues are deeper and richer.  I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel onto the stummel and set the speed at 40% full power and after reuniting the stem and stummel, I apply Blue Diamond compound to the stem.  As I go along, I experiment with the Blue Diamond on the stummel.  I don’t want to gum up the craggy surface with Blue Diamond, but what I see, with a light application of the compound, is that the briar is sprucing up and I move the wheel along with the grain of the blasted briar.  I like the results.  When I complete the application of Blue Diamond, I give the pipe a good hand-wiping with a felt cloth to remove the carbon dust before application of the wax.  I like the results.Straightaway, I load another cotton cloth buffing wheel onto the Dremel, increasing the speed of the Dremel to about 60% full power – faster than normal on smooth briar, I first apply carnauba wax to the stummel.  I increase the speed for the blasted stummel to increase the heat of the application.  I’ve found that using the Dremel on the craggy surface allows me to get up and close with the application of wax on the rough surface.  Heating the wax more helps guard against it gunking up on the rough surface.  The added speed helps dissolve the wax over the rough surface.  I’m liking what I’m seeing!  When I apply carnauba to the stem, I slow the speed of the Dremel back down to the normal 40% full power.After applying the wax, I give the pipe a rigorous hand buffing with a microfiber cloth.  This not only raises the shine but also help disseminate any excess wax on the surface.  There is one last project left to do.  The chamber was riddled with heating cracks and fissures and I used heat resistant J-B Kwik Weld to fill in the cracks.  I coated the entire chamber with the Weld mixture then sanded it after the Weld cured.  After sanding, as the theory hoped, the results were, that the only Weld remaining was that which filled the cracks and the chamber wall is smooth and again usable to put this pipe back into service.  Beautiful!  I love it when theory and practice come together so well. To help provide a protective coat over the repairs and to encourage a new cake to develop, I apply to the chamber walls a coating mixture of natural yogurt (sour cream works, too) and activated charcoal.  I mix a small amount of yogurt and charcoal in a bowl and when the consistency of the mixure will not drip off the spoon its ready to go.  After putting a pipe cleaner through the draft hole, I use my index finger to reach into the chamber and apply the mixture.  I make sure that the chamber walls are thoroughly covered, and I put the stummel aside for a time to allow the coating to cure.  It dries into an amazingly hard surface.  It’s important for the new steward to use a folded pipe cleaner to clean the bowl initially after putting the Henley into service – not to scrape the bowl! I’m very pleased with the results of this second of the 3 1950/60s Stanwell Henley Specials I acquired.  I appreciate the Danish craftmanship that is evident in all three pipes and this Blasted Billiard is no exception.  The blasting amazes me with the craggy surface showing the 3-dimensional movement of the briar grain.  One ravine is cut so drastically, at first, I thought it was a cracked bowl when I first acquired the pipes, but it remains as part of a very expressive, deep hued blasted briar landscape.  With a chamber width of 7/8 inches and depth of 2 inches, the amount of blend one can pack into this bowl is pretty impressive and with the size of the stummel and the blasting – well, I’m tempted to keep it for myself, but the third Stanwell Henley Special next on the table will be staying with me.  This Henley is heading for ThePipeSteward Store benefitting the Daughters of Bulgaria – our work here in Bulgaria helping women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks for joining me!