Restoring a North Dane Pipes 72 Special Stack

Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us in one of Jeff’s pickups. It is a tall well grained Stack shaped pipe with a taper stem. The finish is a nice medium brown with darker stain highlighting the grain. The pipe has a mix of cross grain and birdseye grain around the sides of the bowl and shank. The stamping is the readable. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads North Dane Pipes [over] Made in Denmark. On the right side of the stem it is stamped 72 Special. On the underside at the shank/stem junction it is stamped 112. The taper stem is stamped on the left side with what looks like GJ in a circular stylized logo with the J being turned into an anchor. The smooth finish had a lot of grime ground into the bowl and some darkening around the sides of the bowl. The bowl was heavily caked and had a lava overflow and darkening on the top of the rim and beveled inner edge. Overall it appeared that the rim top and inner edge of the bowl looked to be in good shape but we would know more once it was cleaned up. The vulcanite taper stem was calcified, oxidized and had tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside ahead of the button. 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 beveled rim top. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the oxidation, chatter and tooth marks on the surface. 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 photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank and stem. It read as noted above. I have not worked on a North Dane Pipe before so I turned to Pipephil’s site to see if I could find any information on the brand ( He had a brief entry which I have included below as a screen capture.I turned to Pipedia and the brand was listed as Maker Unknown. I find that Pipephil’s connection of the brand to Georg Jensen, Danish Pipemaker to be very believable. The logo shown in the above photo can be read as a stylized GJ. I wonder about the concept of it being a second as the quality of the one I am working on is very good and makes me wonder if it should not be read as “another” line of Georg Jensen pipes. I guess I will never know for sure so it is time to work on the pipe.

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. He scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub and then soaked it in Mark Hoover’s Before & After Deoxidizer. 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. The lava coat was removed and there was some darkening and burn damage left behind on the back side of the rim top. Other than that the edges were in good condition. The stem surface looked very good with some light tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button.    I took a photo of the stamping on the top side of the shank. The stamping was clear and readable.   I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the well shaped Stack. To remove the darkening on the back bevel of the inner edge of the rim I used a folded piece of 340 sandpaper to the bevel to remove the damage. I polished the rim with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.  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 sides of the shank so as not to damage the stamping. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sidesand 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.      I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. The tooth dents in the stem were deep enough that just heating them did not raise them. I filled in the deeper marks with back CA glue and set the stem aside for the repairs to cure. Once they were cured I flattened them with a needle file and sanded them with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface of the stem. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.  I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil 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 GJ stamp on the stem side with Rub’n Buff Antique Gold. I rubbed it on pressing it into the grooves with a tooth pick and buff it off with a cotton pad.  This well made, classic shaped North Dane Pipes Made in Denmark Stack really is a beautiful pipe now that it has been restored. The rich brown finish highlights the grain in such a way that it 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 North Dane Pipes Stack is a beauty with combination of great grain and rich stain. It 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 ¾ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 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!

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