Breathing New Life into a Stanwell Golden S Dublin 64

Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to me from either a trade I made (pipes for labour) or a find on one of my pipe hunts. I honestly don’t remember where it came from. It has been around for a while waiting to be worked on. It is a beautifully grained Stanwell Golden S Dublin that really looks quite nice. The stamping is clear and readable. It is stamped on the underside of the shank and reads Stanwell [over] Regd. No. 969-48 [over] Golden S [over] Made in Denmark. To the right of that stamping is the shape number 64. The pipe 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 plateau rim top. 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 and the top surface of the button had a tooth mark. There an inset golden Crowned S on the top of the saddle stem. The pipe had promise but it was very dirty. I took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. I 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 thickness of the lava coat. I also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the oxidation, calcification, light chatter and tooth marks.     I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable. There is a gold Crown S logo on the top of the saddle stem.I looked on Pipephil’s site for information on the Stanwell Regd. No. 969-48 Golden S line and found the following information ( I found one piece of information on the Regd. No. that was helpful to me. I quote:

The “Regd. No.” stamping discontinued in late 1960s to very early 1970s

I also went to Pipedia and read the article on the Stanwell brand. It is a great read and worth the time to read it ( There was a note toward the end of the article on the Golden S series. I quote that note below:

Golden S: This series was last produced in the mid to late 1970s. Its distinguishing mark was an 18 carat gold Stanwell logo, crown and “S”, on the mouthpiece.

Now it was time to work on the pipe. I have to say it once again that I am really spoiled having Jeff clean up the pipes for me. Having to start with them in this condition adds time. I reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer using the first two cutting heads. I followed up by scraping the remaining cake with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I finished cleaning up the cake in the bowl with a piece of dowel wrapped in 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the walls of the bowl.  I used a dental pick to pick out the lava in the plateau finish on the rim top. I used a brass bristle wire brush to remove the debris from the finish. The rim top cleaned up really well with the lava coat removed. I scrubbed the exterior of the bowl and rim top with a tooth brush and undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the debris from the finish. I rinsed the bowl with warm water to remove the grime and soap and dried it off with a soft towel. While I was scrubbing the bowl I felt a rough spot on the front of the bowl. I examined it and found cracks on the front. There was a short one at the top from the rim down about ½ inch and below that were two further cracks extending down the height of the bowl. None of them go through to the inside of the bowl and are quite shallow. In the second photo below I showed the line of the crack with red ink. I used a microdrill bit on the Dremel to drill pin holes at the ends of each crack. You will see 7 pin holes in the photo below. I filled in the drill holes and the cracks with briar dust and clear super glue. Once the repair cured I sanded it smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and followed that with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads.  I stained the bowl with a dark brown aniline stain and flamed it with a Bic lighter to set it in the grain. I repeated the process until the coverage of the briar was even and the repaired areas were hidden.  I stained the plateau rim top with a black stain pen to highlight the grooves in the finish. I wiped the bowl down with alcohol on a paper towel to remove the excess stain and bring the grain to the surface. I polished the bowl and the rim top, sides and shank with micromesh sanding pads –sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with a damp cloth. 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 Briarville Pipe Repair’s – Pipe Stem Oxidation Remover. 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 tooth marks on the button and underside of the stem near the button.   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. At this point it dawned on me that I had not cleaned the inside of the shank or stem… boy I am rusty at this and have to tick off the steps! I cleaned the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners until the pipe smelled and looked clean.  This beautiful Stanwell Golden S shape 64 Dublin with a vulcanite saddle stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The rich browns and blacks of the contrasting stains on the bowl and the plateau rim top came alive with the polishing and waxing. The repairs to the cosmetic cracks on the front of the bowl blended in very well. 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 Stanwell Golden S Dublin 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 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ 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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