Blog by Paresh Deshpande
I was fortunate enough to have heeded the advice of my dear friend and mentor, Steve, and struck a deal with a junk collector from Mumbai for a pile of pipes that he had acquired. He did not know what he was selling and I did not know what quality and condition of pipes I was buying from him as we reside in different cities!! The argument that 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 Make “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 22nd pipe that I decided to work on from this find is a beautiful decent sized Acorn shaped DANISH QUAINT # 648 and is indicated by a green pointer.This is a beautiful Acorn shaped pipe that is partially shallow sandblasted on either sides of the stummel and shank with smooth surface on the front, and back of the bowl and on the lower and top surface of the shank that bears the stamping seen on this pipe. It is stamped on the left smooth surface of the shank as “DANISH QUAINT” over “MADE IN DENMARK”, all in block capital letters. The bottom smooth shank surface bears the shape code “648”. The vulcanite saddle stem bears the trademark logo “DQ” with the upper part of Q intertwined with the letter D. All the stampings are crisp and easily readable. The stampings, shape profile, stem styling and my reading of the Stanwell brand when I had worked on a few from my inheritance; I knew that DANISH QUAINT was a sub-brand of STANWELL. I also recollected that there was no other information available on this sub brand from Stanwell.
However, just to be sure, I visited pipedia.org and looked up their seconds/ sub-brands which I have reproduced below along with the link
Sub-brands / Seconds
- Danish Natural?
- Danish Quaint
- Danish Sovereign
- Danske Club
- Kong Christian(discontinued)
- Royal Danish
- Royal Guard
- Royal Sovereign
Just out of curiosity, I checked out the Stanwell shape number chart and Designers. There is indeed shape number 48 designed by Sixten Ivarsson that matches the pipe on the work table with the only difference being this pipe is stamped as 648 and not 48. Here is the link and description of shape 48.
- Freehand, egg-shaped bowl with rounded rim, long saddle mouthpiece, by Sixten Ivarsson.
Initial Visual Inspection
The pipe that is currently on my work table is a freehand with an Acorn/ Egg shaped bowl. The stummel has shallow sandblasted patches on either sides of the bowl and on the shank and is covered in dirt and grime through which beautiful cross grains can be seen over smooth surface. There is a thick layer of cake in the chamber. The rim top is covered in lava overflow in the 6 o’clock direction. The vulcanite saddle stem is heavily oxidized with no damage to the bite zone on either surface. The buttons on both surfaces are in pristine condition. The following pictures will give the Readers an idea of the overall condition of the pipe as it sits on my work table. Detailed Visual Inspection
The pipe appears to have been a favorite of the previous piper and has been well smoked. There is a thick carbon layer over the walls of the chamber. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber will be ascertained once the cake has been taken down to the bare briar. The round smooth rim top surface is relatively clean with maximum lava overflow in 6 o’clock direction. In spite of the thick cake, the chamber odor is not strong and should be addressed once the cake has been taken down to the bare briar and the shank internals have been thoroughly cleaned.Being a sub-brand, it was expected that the stummel would have certain flaws, this one is no different and how! There are numerous tiny fills that are filled with putty (indicated with yellow arrows and circles) and many of these fills have loosened up and would require being refreshed. The stummel surface is covered in dirt and grime giving the stummel a lifeless, dull and dirty appearance. The stummel has specks of white paint spots all over the surface and in the nooks and crannies of the shallow sandblast. The mortise shows accumulation of old oils and tars which would need to be cleaned. The vulcanite saddle stem is heavily oxidized, but otherwise in a decent condition. The bite zone and the button edge on both surfaces show calcification and some minor tooth indentations. The horizontal slot and tenon opening shows accumulation of dried oils and tars. All in all, the stem presents no major damage and should be an easy clean up.Initial Cleaning By Abha…
The initial cleaning on this pipe was done by Abha, my wife (she has cleaned up around 40-50 pipes for my further restoration and I am gradually inching towards completing these pipes). She reamed out the complete cake and further smoothed out the chamber walls with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. She further cleaned out the internals of the shank with pipe cleaners and alcohol and cotton buds. She followed the internal cleaning of the shank with external cleaning of the stummel using Murphy’s Oil soap and hard bristled tooth brush and dried it with paper napkins and cotton cloth.Next she cleaned out the internals of the stem air way and immersed it in “Before and After Deoxidizer” solution along with the stem of other pipes in line for restoration (the pipe currently on my work table is indicated in red). Once the stem had soaked overnight, she cleaned the stem under running warm water and scrubbed the raised oxidation from the stem surface using Scotch Brite pad. She further removed the oxidation by scrubbing the stem with 0000 grade steel wool and applied a little olive oil to rehydrate the stem.Once The Pipe Is On My Work Table…
The cleaned up pipes presents a very clear picture of what needs to be done to restore this pipe to a pristine and smokable condition. I really cannot thank Abha, my wife, enough for all the help and support that she extends me in my pursuance of this hobby. A clean pipe also helps in clearly identifying the work that would be required to restore a pipe. The following pictures shows the condition of the pipe when it reached me after being cleaned. The stamping is crisp and readable as mentioned above. The shape code is just marginally below the putty fill. Whether or not to refresh this fill will be decided later. The chamber is odorless and the walls are solid without any signs of damage. The smooth round rim top surface has few dents/ dings and very minute fills. The inner and outer rim edges are in perfect condition, save for the minor fills. The stummel has cleaned up nicely and all the numerous tiny dots and few slightly larger fills are easily identifiable. I intend to address only the larger fills that have come loose. The stummel needs cleaning again as it has attracted a lot of dust and dirt since it was last washed. The mortise and shank internals will benefit from further cleaning.The stem has cleaned up really well. The stem airway, horizontal slot and tenon end are clean and air flow is open and full. There are no bite marks/ tooth chatter in the bite zone on either surfaces. The seating of the stem tenon in to the mortise is snug and sits flush with the shank face.The Process
I started the restoration with the external cleaning of the stummel. I cleaned the external surface of the stummel with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a hard bristled toothbrush. Once the stummel surface was cleaned, I rinsed the stummel under warm water. The rim top surface is now clean and without any damage. The shank and chamber cleaned up nicely and there are no traces of ghost smells. A polish with micromesh pads should highlight the cross grains on the smooth stummel surface. The large fills that have come loose will need to be refreshed. Next, I cleaned out the internals of the shank and mortise. Using my dental tool, I scraped out the dried oils, tars and gunk from the mortise. I continued further cleaning of the mortise and the shank with shank brushes and dish washing soap. I finished the cleaning by running a few pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol through the mortise.Once I had wiped the stummel dry with paper towels and soft cotton cloth, the fills were very apparent. With a pointed dental pick, very carefully and painstakingly, I completely removed the old fills from the stummel surface. I cleaned the fills of all the debris with isopropyl in preparation of fresh fill.I filled up the gouged out spots with a drop of clear CA superglue. The larger fill at the shank end was filled with a mix of superglue and briar dust. I set the stummel aside for the fills to cure overnight. With the stummel set aside for the fills to cure, I turned to refurbishing the stem. I lightly used a flat head needle file to re-define the button edge on either surface. I followed it up by further dry sanding the stem with 320, 400, 600, 800 and wet sanding with 1000 grit sand papers to completely rid the surface of the oxidation and bring out the shine in the vulcanite. I rubbed a small quantity of Extra Virgin Olive oil in to the stem surface and set it aside to be absorbed in to the vulcanite. The stem at this point in restoration is shown below.By next day, the stummel fills were nice, hard and well set. With flat head needle file, I sand each of the fill to achieve a rough match with the rest of the surface. With a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper, I worked on each fill till I had achieved a nice blend with the rest of the stummel surface. It turned out much better than I had anticipated. I further sand the entire smooth portion of the stummel surface with the same grit sand paper to address the minor scratches and further smooth the stummel surface in preparation for a polish by micromesh pads. The rounded rim top surface looks much better at this point in restoration. Using micromesh pads, I completed the polishing of the stem by wet sanding the surface with 1500 to 12000 girt pads. I gave a final rub with “Before and After Extra Fine” stem polish compound from Mark Hoover to remove fine scratches from the stem 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. The stem polished up nicely and appears as good as when new. Next, I subjected the smooth surfaces of the stummel to a complete cycle of micromesh polish, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. I paid greater attention to polish the rim top surface. I wiped the stummel with a moist cloth after every grit pad to remove the sanding dust left behind by the pads. I am happy with the progress being made till now. Next, I rub a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to the briar with my finger tips and worked it deep in to the surface 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 cross grain patterns on full display. The contrast of the dark browns of the grain with the light reddish brown hues of the rest of the stummel adds an interesting dimension to the appearance of the stummel. I further buffed it with a horse hair brush to further deepen the shine. To refresh the stem logo, I coat the stem logo with white correction ink and let it dry out completely while I polished the pipe with Blue Diamond. Once the ink had dried out, with a toothpick, I gently removed the excess ink from the surrounding surface. The logo is very crisp and looks good.To put the finishing touches, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and polished the stummel and stem with Blue Diamond compound. This compound helps to remove the minor scratch marks that remain from the sanding. Next, I mount another cotton buffing wheel that I have earmarked for carnauba wax and applied several coats of the wax. I mount a clean cotton cloth buffing wheel and give the entire pipe a once over buff. 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 with a deep brown shine to the briar looks amazingly beautiful and is now ready for its long second inning with a new piper. I would like to express my gratitude to all the readers of rebornpipes who have taken the efforts to walk through this journey with me. Your comments and suggestions are of utmost importance as this helps me gain experience and grow in this hobby about which I am very passionate.
This is a very beautiful pipe with a medium sized bowl but very light in weight. It has the same design features of a well-made Stanwell pipe, but at half the cost being a sub-brand. If any reader is interested in adding this pipe to his/ her pipe rotation, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Praying for the health and safety of all the readers and their loved ones in these troubled times…