Restemming & Restoring a Stanhope Genuine Imported Briar Smooth Bullmoose

Blog by Steve Laug

I continue on a restemming binge with stummels (bowls) that I periodically go through and see if I have a potential stem that would fit. This is the final bowl of the three stummels that took out to restem last week. The first one was the Malaga Second, the second was a Yorkshire Bullmoose. (; This particular bowl is a smooth Bullmoose style pipe. The grain on the bowl was quite nice with a mix of straight and birdseye. The rim top had some darkening but the inner and outer edges were in good condition. The interior of the bowl was clean and there were not any chips, cracks or checking on the walls. The mortise was clean and well drilled with no issues. The finish was clean and the grain stood out against the light background. It is worn and tired looking. The stamping was clear and readable. On the left side it read Stanhope [over] Genuine [over] Imported Briar. I took photos of the bowl before I started to work on it. I took a photo of the stamping on the side of the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and though the Stanhope stamp is faint it is still readable.I went through some of stems and found this nice looking saddle stem blank that would work with the bowl. It had already been turned with a tenon tool so that portion of the work was finished. I would need to reduce the tenon diameter slightly for a snug fit. The stem was significantly larger in diameter than the shank. I decided to see what Pipephil’s site had on the brand ( I found that the pipe was made by LHS (L.H. Stern). I did a screen capture of the particular brand. I have included it below. Now it was time to work on the stem and fit it to the shank of the pipe. The diameter of the tenon was close. I used a flat file that I have here that works well for me to do the fine tuning of the fit. I used it to straighten out the sides of the tenon next to the surface that face the shank. It worked well and fit the shank. I used a Dremel and sanding drum to reduce the diameter of the stem as much as possible before I proceeded. I ran the sanding drum around the diameter of the saddle portion and stem sides to reduce it the also worked it lengthwise to remove more of material. The photos below show the fit at this point. Looking better but still a long ways to go. I continued to reduce the diameter of the stem with a flat file. It was taking quite a bit of time to finish the fit but it was getting there. I think that the stem would look very good once it was properly fit. The fit against the shank was better. There were spots where the stem diameter and the shank diameter did not match were greatly reduced. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the transition even more between the two. I left a slight Danish style flare to the flow of the saddle. I started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a cloth and Obsidian Oil. I finished the polishing with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. I set the stem aside and turned my attention to the bowl. I started by cleaning up the rim top and edges with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I was able to remove the darkening on the rim top and the inner edge of the bowl.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-120000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth. The grain began to stand out and the briar took on a shine. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the smooth briar with my finger tips and a horsehair shoe brush. The product is amazing and works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let it sit on the briar for 10 or more minutes and then buff it off with a soft cloth. It really makes the grain sing.   Now it was time to bent the stem to fit the flow of the pipe. I heated the stem with a heat gun on the low setting until the vulcanite was  pliable. I bent it to proper angle and then set it with cool water. I put the pipe back together – the bowl with its new stem. This smooth finished Stanhope Genuine Imported Briar Bullmoose is a real beauty and the chosen stem works well with it. It is an American made pipe with connections to L.H. Stern. The grain on the bowl is quite beautiful and came alive with the buffing. I used Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel on both the bowl and stem. I gave both multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel then buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The Stanhope Bullmoose feels great in the hand. It is lightweight and the contrast in the browns of the briar and the polished vulcanite stem is quite amazing. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.69 ounces/48 grams. It really is a beauty. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store in the American (US) Pipe Makers section shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Thanks for walking through the restemming and the restoration with me. Cheers.

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