Restoring a Mystery Antique 118 Made in Denmark Freehand Pot

Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I chose to work on is a mystery in several ways. First neither Jeff or I know where we picked this one up. I know it has been here for a long time. Jeff started taking  photos of the pipes we got sometime around 2016 so this one is definitely before then. I had been reamed and cleaned but the stem oxidation had not been addressed so it was also prior to the use of Before & After Pipe Deoxidizer which also puts it back in that time period. So that is the first mystery – when and where did we get this one. The second is the stamping on the pipe. To me it looked like a Stanwell however it is stamped Antique. That brand is associated with the older Pierre Morel according to PipePhil ( and to complicate it more some of those pipes were made in Denmark the other part of the stamping on the pipe. The 118 shape number points to Stanwell to me and was a shape designed by Sixten Ivarrson. So there is the mystery – where, when and who! I am going to proceed with my assumption that it is a Stanwell made pipe.

The pipe itself is quite nice it has a sandblast finish on a Freehand/volcano shape. It is stamped on the underside of the shank and reads Antique [over] Made in Denmark followed by the 118 shape number. The bowl was very clean and the rim top looked good with a little darkening toward the back. Both inner and outer edges were perfect. The shank had a faux horn extension that is made of a golden/butterscotch acrylic. The stem is a typical Stanwell style military bit that is found on Freehands. It was clean but badly oxidized. There was not any tooth chatter or marks on either side ahead of the button so it was in great shape. Here are some photos of the pipe when I brought it to the work table this afternoon. I took a close up photo of the rim top and bowl to show the condition. You can see the darkening on the back side of the rim top that I mentioned above. Otherwise it is in great shape. The stem is heavily oxidized but is otherwise clean.I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above.I took the stem off the bowl and took a photo of the parts of the pipe. It is a nice looking pipe that really has a Stanwell look to it.I have restored several Stanwell Antique pipes in the past. All have been darker stained with a sandblast finish and a smooth patch on the bowl side. They also had a different coloured shank extension. All were stamped on the underside of the shank and read Stanwell [over] Antique followed by the shape number. Here is a link to one of those blogs if you want to check it out ( This particular one has a rugged blast that I have seen on others as well. The one I am working on now has a shallower blast and a very different coloured shank extension. It is missing the Stanwell stamp though the Antique stamp is the same. I turned to a previous blog I had done on a Stanwell Jubilee shape number 118 pipe from Bob Kerr’s estate ( It is very close to the one I am working on but the stem and shank extension are different. Well at least that is one mystery solved. I knew that I was working on a Stanwell Antique that was different from others I have worked on.Now it was time to work on the pipe. I worked over the darkening on the back of the rim top with a brass bristle wire brush. I was able to remove the majority of the darkening. It looked much better.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 and a horse hair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for about 10 minutes and buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The grain came alive with the buffing.  I set the bowl aside and turned to work on the stem. I scrubbed the stem with SoftScrub to remove the oxidation and smooth out the surface of the pipe. It took a lot of scrubbing to break through the oxidation but it was getting better when I finished. I sanded out with 220 grit sandpaper. I 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 Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. This Mystery Antique Made in Denmark 118 is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The Stanwell shape is elegant and flowing with a thin turned vulcanite stem. 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 Antique 118 fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 43 grams/ 1.52 ounces.  I will be putting it on the Danish Pipe Maker section of the rebornpipes store shortly. 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 truly are many more pipes to come!

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