Daily Archives: August 11, 2019

Restoring a Custom-Bilt Small Pot from my ‘Mumbai Bonanza’


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

It seems that my grandfather loved Custom-Bilt pipes!! I say this with certain amount of conviction as there are quite a few of them in his collection that I have inherited. All the Custom-Bilts in his collection have, apart from the trademark rustications developed and mastered by Tracy Mincer, large size (more like humongous, I say!). Thus, when Abha, my wife sent me pictures of the Mumbai Bonanza lot, I instantly recognized a Custom-Bilt. I confirmed from Abha on Face time that the stamp was spelt with a hyphen between Custom and Bilt confirming the vintage. I was surprised to say the least, not at the fact of finding a Custom-Bilt in the lot (which incidentally contains many collectible pipes), but surprised at the size which stared back at me!! It was small, but small when compared to the size of the other Custom-Bilts that I have inherited. This is the pipe that is now on my work table, my first restoration work after rejoining my work place.

For those readers who have missed out on my previous work, I was fortunate enough to have heeded the advice of my dear friend and mentor, Steve, and struck a deal for 30 pipes with a junk collector from Mumbai. He did not know what he was selling and I did not know what I was buying as we reside in different cities!! The argument that Mr. Steve presented was that if not anything, I shall at least have some spares and this was logical. I struck a deal and here are pictures of the pipes that I received in this lot. This lot contains some very nice collectible pipes, a few well known brands and some mediocre brands. Overall, with seven Dunhill pipes, a Preben Holm #1 FH, a couple of “Made in England” Pete System pipes, a couple of  Charatan’s Belvedere, Custom-Bilt, Stanwell and other assorted pipes, I would say that I had struck a decent haul!! This is indeed my “Mumbai Bonanza”.

The 12th pipe that I decided to work on from this find Custom-Bilt small pot shaped pipe and is indicated in magenta colored arrow in the picture below. It is stamped on the left side of the shank as “Custom-Bilt” in sentence form with a hyphen between Custom and Bilt. The pipe or stem is devoid of any other stamping.Now coming to the research of this brand and line/ model in specific, I referred to pipedia.org and as expected there is an extensive research on this pipe. I searched the internet for information in order to date this pipe. Pipedia has a lot of information about this pipe and just typing in Custom-Bilt in the search bar of the site will reveal the required information. There is an interesting review given by Richard Esserman on a book written by William E. Unger, Jr., PhD, which deals with the study of Custom-Bilt pipes. The author authoritatively states, after a lot of research and study that the stamp as seen on this particular pipe dates it from between 1938 – 1946!With the dating of this pipe confirmed, I move on to the next step of carrying out initial inspection of the pipe as it appears. This not only provides me with an opportunity to closely look at the pipe (more like ogle at it!) and identify the issues that need to be addressed but also plan on the sequence and processes that would be required in restoring the pipe.

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
The pipe has deep and large vertical rustications along the entire length of the shank and height of the bowl. Within these large vertical rustications are very thin, closely stacked horizontal lines which give this pipe its unique appearance and are its trademark!!! The deep large rustication on the stummel is covered in dirt, oils, tars and grime of 70 plus years of its existence. At this stage, the briar looks filthy, dry and lifeless, but this should clean up nicely. However, there are two issues which may prove to be a challenge to address. On the front left side of the bowl, there is a dark burn mark, probably scorched by a burning cigarette lying in the same ashtray (marked in a yellow circle). The second issue is also towards the left side of the stummel, but at the back. There is significant darkening in that area as compared to the rest of the stummel, and is marked in a yellow circle. The exact nature of this darkening will be known once the stummel surface has been cleaned. A thick layer of cake can be seen in the chamber. The rim top is covered with the same thin, closely stacked lines as seen between the large vertical rustications and is covered in thick overflow of lava, dirt, dust and grime. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber and rim top surface will be known once the cake has been taken down to bare briar and the rim top crud has been scraped off completely. With the inner rim, I suspect burn/ charred surface at the back in 6 ‘O’ clock direction and is encircled in red. The extent and severity of the damage, if present, can be ascertained once the cake has been removed and the rim top is cleaned. The outer rim edge appears to be in a decent condition. Only once the stummel has been thoroughly cleaned that I can be sure of my initial appreciation. In spite of the thick cake, the chamber odor is, surprisingly, not strong and should be addressed once the cake has been taken down to the bare briar. The mortise is blocked with dried gunk, adversely affecting the airflow. A thorough clean up with alcohol and pipe cleaners should address this issue.The vulcanite stem is heavily oxidized and has calcification marks for about an inch over the bite zone, probably a result of using a rubber bit. The stem surface on either side is peppered with nicks and dents along the entire surface. There is one deep bite mark on the button edge on the upper surface. The tenon is covered in dried oils and tars and ash. The air way in the stem will need to be cleaned for a free and smooth draw.THE PROCESS
Along with the stems of other pipes in line for restoration, I immersed the stem of this Custom-Bilt in a mix of one part Hydrogen Peroxide 20% with one part hot water after I ran a couple of pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol through the stem air way. A couple of hours later, the stem oxidation on all these stems were raised to the surface. After I had fished out the stem from the Hydrogen Peroxide bath, I scrubbed it with Magiclean sponge and followed it up with a wipe of cotton swab and alcohol. The loosened and superficial layer of oxidation was easily removed and revealed not one but two tooth marks on the upper button edge and the nicks and dents on the surface are now more apparent. However, the deeper oxidation that was pulled to the surface would require more abrasive techniques.Staying with the stem, I cleaned the internals of the stem using hard and normal bristled pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. I addressed the deeper oxidation by sanding the entire stem with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. Once the oxidation was completely removed, I wiped the surface clean with a cotton swab and alcohol. I flamed the damaged button edge and the nicks and dents with the flame of a lighter. This helps the vulcanite to rise to the surface as it has an inherent property to regain its original shape when heated. I spot filled the damaged spots with clear CA superglue and set it aside to cure overnight. Thereafter, I started with cleaning of the stummel as I was keen to know the condition of the walls of the chamber. With size 3 head of a PipNet pipe reamer, I took the cake down to bare briar. Using a folded piece of 180 grit sand paper, I sand out the last traces of cake and expose the walls of the chamber to ascertain that there are no cracks/ heat fissures. I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad dipped in isopropyl alcohol to remove the carbon dust left behind by all the reaming and sanding process. I was happy to note that the walls of the chamber are in pristine condition without any heat fissures or pits. I used my smaller of the two fabricated knife to gently scrap away at the overflow over the rim top surface while being careful not to damage the thin wired rustications on the rim top. I was pleased to find the inner and outer edge of the rim intact and without any burn or char marks which I had feared to be lurking under the heavy overflow of lava. Next, I cleaned out the internals of the shank and mortise. Using my dental tool, I scraped out all the dried oils, tars and gunk that had accumulated in the shank airway and mortise. The mortise was so clogged with the old accumulations of gunk that I had to use the drill piece which comes in the Kleen Reem pipe reamer!! The amount of crud that was scrapped out and the condition of the pipe cleaners that were used leaves no surprise why air flow through it was restricted. I finished the cleaning by running a few pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol. I also wiped the shank with cotton buds and alcohol. With this cleaning, all old smells in the pipe are history. The pipe now smells clean and fresh.With the internals of the stummel now clean, I cleaned the external surface using a hard bristled toothbrush and Murphy’s Oil Soap. I diligently scrubbed the crevices formed by the sandblast to remove all the dust and dirt that was embedded in the large vertical rustications and thin wire rustications between them. With a soft bristled brass wired brush, I removed the overflowing lava from the rim top surface and cleaned the internals of the shank with a shank brush and dish washing soap to remove what little crud remained in the shank. I rinsed it under running tap water and wiped the stummel dry with an absorbent soft cotton cloth. However, I was not very satisfied with the way the rim top surface had cleaned up. There were visible traces of the lava overflow embedded in the rustication giving it a dirty and unclean appearance. I vigorously cleaned the rim top surface again with the brass brush, following the direction of the thin rustications till the overflow of lava was greatly reduced. What little grime that remained was carefully scraped out with a sharp dental pick. Another scrub with a toothbrush dipped in oil soap and I was very pleased with the way the stummel had cleaned up. The stummel looks absolutely gorgeous. At this point in restoration, I observed tiny specs of white. They appeared to be paint flakes but I am not sure. Very carefully and painstakingly, I removed each spot with the pointed dental pick.The other thing which highlighted itself was the burn mark and darkened surface at the front and slightly at the back of the stummel respectively. I cleaned the burned spot of all the charred briar with the sharp end of the dental spatula until I reached solid briar surface. The spot has lightened considerably. Next, with a pointed dental pick, I tried to pick in to the remaining darkened surface and was surprised to find that the area had been filled and that the old putty now came away easily (shown by a red arrow). Having discovered one fill, I closely checked the entire stummel surface for any other fills. Sure enough, there was a small fill at the shank end, just below the stamping (red arrow mark). I cleaned out the loose fills with a dental pick. I refreshed these fills with a mix of briar dust and superglue and set it aside to cure.While the stummel fills were set aside to cure, I worked the stem fills which had by now cured sufficiently. Using a flat head needle file, I reshaped the button and roughly matched the fills with the rest of the stem surface. I followed it up by further sanding the stem with 320, 600 and 800 grit sand papers to achieve a perfect blending of the fills with the stem surface and a crisp button edge on either side of the stem. Using the micromesh pads, I complete the polishing cycle by wet sanding the surface with 1500 to 12000 girt pads. The stem looks great with the fills nicely matched with the rest of the surface. I rub a little quantity of Extra Virgin Olive oil in to the stem surface and set it aside to be absorbed by the vulcanite. Once I was finished with the stem repairs, I turned back to the stummel fills which had cured. With the edge of a flat head needle file, I roughly matched the fill with the rustications on the stummel. Thereafter, using a tightly folded piece of 150 grit sand paper, I worked the fills to a perfect match with the rest of the rustications. I used a sharp dental tool and tried to roughly carve out the thin wire like rustications in to the fills, though without resounding success. But it turned out quite okay to my eyes.Next, I rub a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to the briar with my finger tips, work it deep in to the sandblasts and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful sandblast patterns on full display. I further buff it with a horse hair brush. To complete the restoration, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and applied several coats of carnauba wax. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The finished pipe looks amazingly beautiful and is now ready for its long second innings with me. I only wish it could share with me its life story of the past 70 plus years while I enjoy smoking my favorite Virginia blend in it!! P.S. I was not very pleased with the appearance of the front of the stummel, what with the ugly burn mark now all the more visible. I discussed with my mentor, Steve, and he suggested that a little oxalic acid diluted with water when applied over the burn mark should significantly reduce the black mark. This will be applied in practical once I am back on leave to my home town. I shall post an update on the end result of this process.

There are three more pending write ups which I shall be tackling before I undertake any new restoration. I am eagerly waiting to start my next project, which I wish to assure readers, is going to be an interesting one. It’s a pipe which my dear friend and mentor, Steve, had sent me about a year back with the intention of providing me an opportunity to test my own skills. I wish to thank each one for sparing their valuable time to read through and any inputs or advise is always welcome.

 

 

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Another Bob Kerr Estate – A Danish Sovereign 305 Bulldog Variant


Blog by Steve Laug

I am having some fun with Bob’s pipes now that Jeff has done the cleanup on them. When I was doing both the cleanup and restoration it was slow moving and tedious as he had smoked these pipes last in the 90s and the cake was rock hard and the pipes were dirty. The next pipe is a Stanwell second – Danish Sovereign that is a Danish take on an oval shank Bulldog. It is a shape 305 with a taper stem. This is another of Bob’s 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 quaint Danish Sovereign is an interesting and unique shape to work on.

I think this would have been a Stanwell regular line pipe if it did not have the many small and large flaws that had been puttied. Stanwell did a great job with the fills on the underside of the bowl as they are well blended in the finish. The layout of the shape to the grain is perfect with birdseye on the sides and cross grain on the front and back of the bowl. It is a beauty. To me the shape is a Danish take on a Bulldog – though with the rounded bottom and an oval shank it has come a long way. The pipe is stamped on the underside of the shank Danish Sovereign over Made in Denmark. Following the name stamp is the shape number 305. The top of the tapered stem has a XXX stamp on it. The bowl has a rich contrasting brown stain that makes the grain pop and hides the fills pretty well. There was a thick cake in the bowl with remnants of tobacco stuck on the walls. There was a fair lava overflow built up on the rim top. The edges of the rim and top are dirty but look pretty good under the grime but I would know for certain once it was clean. It was a beautiful pipe that was dirty and tired looking. The stem was oxidized and had some calcification on the first half of the stem. There was a lot of tooth chatter and marks on both sides near the button. Again, surprisingly it did not have the deep 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 heel of the bowl to show the condition of the finish. You can see the beautiful cross grain running across the front of the bowl and the birdseye on the side of the bowl. Though the pipe is quite dirty the grain and layout are stunning. The third photo shows the large chipping fill on the left side of the bowl on the lower back. Jeff took photos of the stamping on the underside of the shank and the top of the tapered stem. The stamping was readable as you can see from the photos. It read as noted above. The photo of the stem top shows the XXX stamp on the vulcanite stem.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 Pipephil’s site to confirm my memory about the pipe being a Stanwell product. I vaguely remembered it and also the shape just sang Stanwell make! Sure enough it was indeed a Stanwell second pipe (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-d2.html) made exclusively for the USA and Canada. I have included a screen capture of the section on Danish Sovereign pipes below.Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Stanwell) confirms the connection listing the brand as a sub-brand or second. So now I knew what I was dealing with but still had no idea as to the time period of its manufacture.

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. This is another of the pipes that Jeff cleaned up and sent back to me. 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. (The first photo is out of focus slightly but you can still see the flaw on the bottom part of the bowl.) I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. Once again Jeff did a remarkable job in his cleanup of the rim top. The bowl and the rim top looks good. The grain really stands out and the outer edge looks good. There is some roughening on the front inner edge and some burn damage. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the lack of tooth marks on the stem surface. You can also see the light tooth marks and the slight wear to the button edge.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 made Danish Sovereign 305 Bulldog. Since Jeff had done such an amazing clean up job on the bowl it was very easy for me. I decided to address the damage to the fills on the left side and the bottom of the bowl. The fill on the left can be seen in the first photo below. In the second photo of the bowl underside below you can see what appears to be a crack to the naked eye. It is not a crack but rather a series of 5-7 fills in a cluster. They form almost an “H” shaped figure on the bowl bottom. The fills all showed pits and flaws in the original putty repairs.I wiped the areas down with alcohol and filled in the damaged spots on the fill with clear super glue. The next three photos show the extent of the repairs to the briar. When the repair had cured I sanded them with 220 grit sandpaper until the surface as smooth.I started the polishing process on the repaired areas with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. The repairs are solid on both the side and the bottom of the shank.While I was at it with the sandpaper I worked on the damaged rim edge with the 220 grit sandpaper and the 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. When I was finished the rim looked better.I decided to polish the bowl as a whole with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wipe the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust. The outcome of the polishing is a rich deep shine that is only enhanced by the wax at the end of the process. I decided to clean the briar with Mark Hoover’s Before & After Briar Cleaner to clean up the sanded surface of the briar and blend the repairs into the briar. I rubbed it into the surface of the briar and let it sit for 10 minutes. I rinsed the bowl off with warm running water to remove the product and the grime. I used an Oak stain pen to touch up the sanded areas on the bottom and side of the bowl. I stained the rim top at the same time. I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm at this point in the process. I worked it 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 and shoe brush to raise the shine. I use this product on every pipe that I work on as it really works. Have a look at the stained portions of the bowl. The product really worked to blend it into surrounding bowl colour. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the tooth indentations on the top and underside with a “Bic” style lighter. Since vulcanite has memory the dents lifted nicely and I would be able to lightly sand the stem to remove the remaining marks.  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.    With Bob’s pipes I am always excited to be on the homestretch and seeing 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 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 birdseye grain on the sides of the bowl and the cross grain on the front and back looked good with the polished black vulcanite. This Stanwell made Danish Sovereign Danish Style Bulldog was another fun pipe to work on thanks to Jeff’s cleanup work. 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 ¼ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This one will go on the rebornpipes store shortly if you would like to carry on Bob’s legacy with it. No worries though, 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.

Another Bob Kerr Estate – A Stanwell Jubilee 1942-1982 Shape 118


Blog by Steve Laug

I am having some fun with Bob’s pipes now that Jeff has done the cleanup on them. When I was doing both the cleanup and restoration it was slow moving and tedious as he had smoked these pipes last in the 90s and the cake was rock hard and the pipes were dirty. The next pipe is a Stanwell Jubilee 1942-1982 Freehand designed by Sixteen Ivarrson. It is a shape 118 which is a saddle stem Danish take on a pot. This is another of Bob’s 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 an interesting and unique shape to work on.

Stanwell did a great job on the shape and finish of this pipe. The layout of the shape to the grain is perfect with birdseye on the sides and cross grain on the front and back of the bowl. It is a beauty. To me the shape is a Danish take on a pot – though with the rounded bottom and scooped bowl it has come a long way. The pipe is stamped Stanwell in script. Below that it is stamped Jubilee with the dates 1942-1982 over Made in Denmark. To me a jubilee is 50 years and this only commemorates 40 years but that is Stanwell’s decision! The bowl has a rich contrasting brown stain that makes the grain pop. There was a thick cake in the bowl with remnants of tobacco stuck on the walls. There was a fair lava overflow built up on the rim top. 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 lightly oxidized with a lot of tooth chatter and marks on both sides near the button. Again, surprisingly it did not have the deep 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 a photo of the heel of the bowl to show the condition of the finish. You can see the beautiful cross grain running from side to side and the birdseye on the side of the bowl. Though the pipe is quite dirty the grain and layout are stunning. This is a gorgeous pipe. Jeff took photos of the stamping on the underside of the bowl and shank. Together the two photos capture the stamping that wrapped up the sides a bit. The stamping was readable as you can see from the photos. It read as noted above. On the right side of the shank is the shape number 118. The third photo shows the gold inlaid Crown S on the left side of the stylized saddle stem. 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. Since I already had a pretty good idea of when the pipe was made from the stamping – Jubilee 1942-1982 I did not need to do much research on that. The pipe obviously was a commemorative of the 40 years of Stanwell history made around 1982. I also knew that the shape was designed by Sixten Ivarrson. I am including the link on Pipedia’s article on Stanwell as it is a great read in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Stanwell).

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. I am really glad that 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. Once again Jeff did a remarkable job in his cleanup of the rim top. The bowl and the rim top look very good. The grain really stands out and the edges look very good. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the lack of tooth marks on the stem surface. You can also see the slight wear to the button edge.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 Jubilee shape 118. Since Jeff had done such an amazing clean up job on the bowl it was very easy for me. Because it was smooth briar and seemed to show some fine scratches in the finish I decided to do a bit of polishing on the bowl. When this is the case I polish the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wipe the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust. The outcome of the polishing is a rich deep shine that is only enhanced by the wax at the end of the process. I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm at this point in the process. I worked it 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 and shoe brush to raise the shine. I use this product on every pipe that I work on as it really works. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the tooth indentations on the top and underside with a “Bic” style lighter. Since vulcanite has memory the dents lifted nicely and I would be able to lightly sand the stem to remove the remaining marks.  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. With Bob’s pipes I am always excited to be on the homestretch and seeing 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 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 birdseye grain on the sides of the bowl and the cross grain on the front and back looked good with the polished black vulcanite. This Stanwell Jubilee 118 Ivarrson design was another fun pipe to work on thanks to Jeff’s cleanup work. It really has that classic Stanwell 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 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. I am seriously thinking of keeping this one in my own collection and carrying on Bob’s legacy with it. No worries though, 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.