Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe on the work table came to me from another of our estate purchases. It has been around for a while waiting to be worked on. Jeff did the original photographs of the pipe in March of 2017. It is a beautifully grained Danish Sovereign Bent Volcano that really quite nice. The stamping is the faint but readable. It is stamped on the underside of the shank and reads the shape number 337 [over] Danish Sovereign [over] Made in Denmark. The finish had a lot of grime ground into the smooth finish on the bowl and some darkening around the sides of the bowl. The bowl was heavily caked and had an overflow of thick lava on the rounded top of the rim. It was hard to know what the rim top and inner edge of the bowl looked like under the grime. The stem was calcified, oxidized and had light tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside but the surface of the button was surprisingly free of damage. There were 3 X’s (XXX) stamped on the top of the taper stem. The pipe had promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the overflow of lava on the rim top. It is hard to know for sure if there is damage to the inner edge of the bowl because of the lava coat. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the oxidation, calcification, light chatter and tooth marks. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar around the pipe looked like. There is some interesting grain under the grime. He took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. They read as noted above. I looked on Pipephil’s site for information on the Danish Sovereign line and found the following information I have included a screen capture below (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-d2.html). It is interesting that the brand is a Stanwell second and was marketed only in the USA and Canada. The marks and stamps on the photos below match the one that I am working on.I also went to Pipedia and found a short article on the Danish Sovereign brand. I have included a screen capture of the page that included that shape number. I have included the several lines on the brand for the site as well as a catalogue page (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Danish_Sovereign).
We have the following example of a danish sovereign pipes, which appear to be Stanwell seconds, as evidenced by the catalog page.
The catalogue describes the Danish Sovereign a “Stanwell quality and bold design, with just a hint of the traditional. A fine smoking instrument. They sold for $32.50
I turned to the Stanwell article on Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Stanwell) to read about where the Danish Sovereign fits. It confirmed the connection to Stanwell and the pipes being made to be marketed in the US and Canada.
Danish Sovereign: This is a Stanwell 2nd that was marketed only in the United States and Canada. This line has 3 “X”s, no more, stamped on the mouthpiece.
Since Jeff follows the same pattern of work in his cleanup we do not include photos but rather just a simple summary. 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. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He was able to remove the lava build up on the rim top and you could see the damages to the top and edges of the rim. I think this pipe may well been before we worked with Mark Hoover’s Before & After Deoxidizer so he cleaned the internals and externals. The stem was clean but lightly oxidized. I took photos of what the pipe looked like when I brought to my worktable. The rim top cleaned up really well with the lava coat removed. The rounded rim top and inner edge of the rim looked very good. The stem surface looked very good with heavy oxidation remaining and some light tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button. I took photos of the stamping on the underside if the shank and on the top of the stem. It reads as noted above. I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. It is a well shaped bent volcano. Now it was time to do my work on the pipe. I started by dealing with the light damage to the crowned rim top and edges. I reworked the rim edges smoothing out the damaged areas with 220 grit sandpaper and started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. The rim top looks better.I polished the bowl and the rim top, sides and shank with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with a damp cloth. I carefully avoided the stamping on the top and underside of the shank so as not to damage the already faint stamping. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. While I was working on the bowl the stem was soaking in a new product I received from Briarville Pipe Repair – Pipe Stem Oxidation Remover. It is a liquid of about the same consistency as apple juice. The stem sat in the mixture for 2 ½ -3 hours.I removed the stem from the bath, scrubbed lightly with a tooth brush and dried if off with a paper towel. I was surprised that it was quite clean. Just some light oxidation on the top of the saddle remaining. The bath was dark with the removed oxidation of the seven stems. I cleaned out the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. I filled in the small tooth marks on the surface of the stem on both sides with clear super glue. Once the repairs cured I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper and started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. I touched up the faint XXX stamp on the top of the stem with Rub’n Buff Antique Gold. I rubbed it onto the stamping and rubbed it off with a paper towel. The stamping is faint but the gold stuck in some of the stamp as shown in the second photo. This beautiful Danish Sovereign 337 Bent Volcano with a vulcanite taper stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The rich browns and blacks of the contrasting stains came alive with the polishing and waxing. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Danish Sovereign Volcano is a beauty and fits nicely in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!