Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe on the work table was purchased from a fellow in Los Angeles, California, USA. This one is obviously a Stanwell made pipe from just looking at it. The sandblast finish is quite beautiful even through the grime. The shape of the pipe is very odd in my opinion – almost oval but odd and designed to sit on the desk top. There is a Crown S stamped in the left side of the saddle stem. It was stamped on the underside of the shank on a smooth panel. The shape number 96 is stamped mid shank. Under that it reads Hand Made. Next to that it reads Stanwell [over] Regd. No. 969-48. With the Regd. No. I know it is an older pipe. The finish was dirty with dust and grime ground into the nooks and crannies of the sandblast finish. There was a thick cake in the bowl and lava overflow on the rim top. The inner edge of the rim was covered so thickly in lava it was hard to know what was underneath. The vulcanite fancy saddle stem was calcified, oxidized and had tooth marks and chatter ahead of the button on both sides. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started to work on cleaning it up for us. Jeff took photos of the rim top and the stem to show the condition of the pipe when we received it. You can see the thick cake in the bowl and the heavy coat of lava filling in the blast on the rim top and inner edge of the bowl. The stem is calcified and oxidized with light tooth chatter and marks on both sides near the button. He took photos of the sides of the bowl and the heel to give an idea of the shape and the condition of the briar around the bowl. It really is a strangely shaped pipe in my opinion but it has a great sandblast around the sides. The next photo Jeff took shows the stamping on the underside of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above. The Crown S logo is also visible on the left side of the saddle stem.Before I started working on it I did a bit of research on the brand to get a feel for where it fit in the Stanwell line. I turned to Pipephil’s site to see if I could some information on the shape or line (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-r6.html). While there was a lot of information on the brand there was nothing on this particular shape. There was a note on one of the shapes regarding the “Regd. No.” stamping being discontinued in late 1960s to very early 1970s. That helped to pin down and end date for the manufacture of this pipe.
I then turned to Pipedia and quickly scanned the article on Stanwell getting a great overview of the history. I went through the photos and did not find the shape of the pipe that I was working on (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Stanwell).
I followed one of the links at the end of the site to an article on rebornpipes written by Bas Stevens on the shape numbers and the designers who originally carved those shapes for Stanwell (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Stanwell_Shape_Numbers_and_Designers).
The shape number 96 is listed as follows: 96. Freehand, oval bowl, long saddle mouthpiece by Sixten Ivarsson. It also appears to be a rare shape that has been compared to a potato sack.
Jeff had cleaned up the pipe following his normal cleaning process. In short, he reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the smooth bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He worked over the lava and debris on the rim top and was able to remove it. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub and cotton pads to remove the debris and oils on the stem. He soaked it in a bath of Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation. He rinsed it with warm water and dried it off. I took photos of the pipe once I received it. It really looked good. I took close up photos of the stem and the rim top to show both how clean they were and what needed to be addresses with both. The rim top and bowl edges look very good. The stem looked better and the tooth marks and chatter was very light.I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. You can see from the photo that it is clear and readable.I removed the stem from the bowl and took a photo of the parts to give a sense of the beauty of the pipe.The bowl was in such good condition that I started by rubbing the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm working it into the briar with my finger tips and into the blast and plateau with a shoe brush. The product works to clean, revive and protect the briar. I let it sit on the pipe for 10 minutes then buffed it off with a soft cloth. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. Continuing with Al’s (upshallfan) recommendation I applied some acrylic white nail polish to the stamping on the stem side. I was paying so much attention to getting it in the stamp that I forgot to take a photo until after I cleaned it up. The nail polish worked great. Thanks again for the reminder Al!I polished out the tooth chatter and marks on the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it 1500-12000 pads. I wiped it down with some Obsidian Oil each pad to remove the dust and polishing debris. I polished it with Before After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. This is another pipe that I am really happy about the look of the finished restoration. This reborn Sixten Ivarrson Design Stanwell 96 Sandblast Freehand turned out really well. I think that it really is a great looking pipe with a great shape and grain. The freehand/plateau top bowl and the vulcanite saddle stem goes well together. The polished black of the stem works well with the briar. The briar really came alive with the buffing. The rich brown stains of the finish make the grain really pop with the polishing and waxing. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Stanwell 96 Sandblast Freehand really feels great in the hand and it 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 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 34 grams/1.20 oz. The pipe will be going on the rebornpipes store soon. It will be in the section on Danish Pipe Makers if you would like to add it to your collection. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. It was a fun one to work on!