Daily Archives: August 22, 2022

Life for a Stanwell Made Royal Danish 935 Scoop


Blog by Steve Laug

This pipe was purchased from an antique mall

The next pipe on the work table was purchased from an antique mall on 05/10/22 in Astoria, Oregon, USA on one of Jeff’s pipe hunts. This one is obviously a Stanwell made pipe from just looking at it. It has a mix of sandblast finish around the bowl with smooth panels on the sides. The rim top is lightly sandblast and quite delicate. There is a large Crown stamped in the top of the taper stem. It was stamped on the underside of the shank on a smooth panel. The shape number 935 is stamped mid shank. Under that it reads Royal Danish [over] Made in Denmark. 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. There were spots on the rim top where the stain was missing and looked like it was chipped. The inner edge of the rim was covered so thickly in lava it was hard to know what was underneath. The vulcanite stem was oxidized and had tooth marks and chatter ahead of the button on both sides. There was a large crown stamp on the left side of the saddle stem. 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 cake in the bowl and the heavy coat of lava filling in the sandblast on the rim top and inner edge of the bowl. The stem is oxidized, calcified and has tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of 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 nicely shaped pipe with a nice sandblast and smooth panels on the sides. The thin rim top shows promise.  The next photo Jeff took shows the stamping on the underside of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above. There appears to be a small hairline crack on underside of the shank where it joins the stem. The large crown is also visible on the topside of the 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 knew from previous Royal Danish pipes that I had worked on that the pipe was second or sub brand. I turned to Pipephil’s site (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-r6.html) for information. I did a screen capture of the information on the site. I found that the brand was indeed made by Stanwell and was one of many second lines that they made. I did a screen capture of the pertinent information and have included it below.I then turned to Pipedia and found that it was also listed as a second or a sub-brand made by Stanwell (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Stanwell#Sub-brands_.2F_Seconds). I have included the list of seconds from the site below. I have highlighted the Royal Danish in blue in the text.

Sub-brands / Seconds – Bijou (discontinued), Danish Quaint, Danish Sovereign, Danske Club,    Henley (discontinued), Kong Christian (discontinued), Majestic, Reddish (discontinued),  Royal Danish, Royal Guard, Royal Sovereign, Sailor (discontinued), Scandia, Sorn (discontinued), Svendson.

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 bowl. You can see from the photo that it is readable. The Royal portion of the stamp is covered a bit by the edges of the sandblast but are still 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.I started my work on the pipe by addressing the damage to the inner edge and top. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth it out. I stained the rim top and a scuffed spot on the underside with a Walnut stain pen. It looks much better.  I filled in the small crack on the underside of the shank with clear CA glue. The crack had not spread and seemed be on the surface. Once the repair cured I sanded it smooth with 220 grit sandpaper to blend it into the surrounding area. I stained the repair with a Walnut Stain Pen. I rubbed 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. I “painted” the surface  of the stem with the flame of a lighter to raise the tooth marks. It looked better when I finished. I filled the tooth marks with clear CA glue. Once the glue cured I sanded the stem surface smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. 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. I touched up the Crown stamp on the top of the stem using white acrylic nail polish. It looked incredibly better. This is another pipe that I am really happy about the look of the finished restoration. This reborn Stanwell Made Royal Danish 935 Scoop 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 Made Royal Danish Bent Scoop 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 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 46 grams/1.62 oz. The pipe will be going on the rebornpipes store soon. It will be in the section on Danish Pipe Makers Section 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!

Cleaning Up a Lovely French Made GBD Sandblast Avoriaz 816 Oval Shank Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

Over the years Jeff and I have picked up many different GBD pipes from a variety of lines that all have a very English look and feel to them. We have also picked up quite a few that are from the French factory before the move to England. This pipe was purchased from an estate on 06/13/22 from Fort Myers, Florida, USA. The finish on the pipe is a sandblast that is deep but smooth and follows the grain around the pipe. The mix of black and brown stains of the briar looks very good with the black of the saddle stem. The rim top is crowned with a bevel inward and has some great grain. It was hard to know if there was damage with the thick cake in the bowl and the veritable eruption of lava over the top of the rim. The finish was quite dirty with grit, grime and oils ground into the surface of the bowl and shank. The shank is stamped on a smooth panel on the underside of the shank and reads GBD in an oval [over] Avoriaz. Next to the shank/stem junction there is the shape number 816 [over] France. The vulcanite saddle stem was lightly oxidized and well dented with tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. There is a GBD brass oval roundel on the top of the saddle stem. Jeff took photos of the pipe to capture its condition when it arrived at his place. It was going to take some work to bring this one back to life. But both of us thought that it would be worth it. Jeff took photos of the rim top and bowl that show the cake and overflowing lava on the top and edges of the bowl. It is really hard to know what it looks like under all of that. We have learned that it will either be badly damaged or it will have been well protected. Only cleaning it off would reveal which result was on this pipe. The stem had a lot of tooth chatter and marks that are clear in the photos that follow. There is some oxidation and the calcification on the stem surface. He took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show condition of the briar. You can see the dust and debris ground into the bowl. The rim edge and top have some very nice grain. The sandblast is actually quite different. I wonder if it isn’t manipulated when blasting. It has a unique look to it. He took photos of the stamping on the underside shank. It was clear and readable as noted above. The brass GBD roundel looked good as well.   I always like to be able to set the pipe I am working on in its historical setting so I turn to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD) and read through the brand history. Toward the middle of the article I found what I was looking for. I quote below:

The Paris factory moved to Saint-Claude in 1952. Since 1981 the majority of GBD pipes come from the English factory.

The premium lines of GBD offered very good values, and are considered amongst the most affordable high end pipe of the 1960’s and earlier and a rival in quality, design, and price to Dunhill. Smokers’ Haven was the main retail supplier for GBD’s in the US until the early 1980’s.

GBD produced consistently well made pipes, almost entirely of Algerian or Grecian briar. In the late 1960’s to late 1970’s, they introduced the “Collector” and “Unique” lines, made primarily by Horry Jamieson, who had carved for Barling for many years, and was skilled in freehand design. Older GBD pieces are excellent smokers and unique in design. They did an excellent executions of classic pipe shapes, as well as some beautiful freehands in the “Unique” line. [2]

The following list comprises the better grades in descending order:

The pipe I am working on was stamped Avoriaz (not listed in the GBD line list) and with a shape number that is not on the list either. It is stamped France, thus I knew that it was made either in Paris before 1952 or in St. Claude after that date and before 1981 when production moved to England.

I wondered about whether Avoriaz was a French word or a region. I did a quick search on Wikipedia and found what I was looking for (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avoriaz). I quote the introduction to the article on Avoriaz, a French Mountain Resort.

Avoriaz (French: [avoʁija], Franco-Provençal: [aˈvɔʁja, aˈvɔʁi])[1] is a French mountain resort in the heart of the Portes du Soleil. It is located in the territory of the commune of Morzine. It is easily accessible from either Thonon at Lake Geneva or Cluses station on the A40 motorway between Geneva and Chamonix. Either way one follows the D902, Route des Grandes Alpes,[2] to Morzine and then the D338 running from Morzine to Avoriaz. Snow chains are often necessary. Avoriaz is built on a shelf high above the town of Morzine, which is among the pioneering towns of skiing with its first lifts dating back to the early 1930s. Today Avoriaz is one of the major French ski destinations catering for all standards of skiing and ranks among the top snowboarding destinations of the world. Apart from snow-based pursuits, Avoriaz is also a centre for trekking, golf, VTT (mountain biking) and other outdoor activities during the summer. Cars are forbidden in Avoriaz. The resort is designed to be fully skiable. Other transport around the resort includes horse-drawn sleighs and snowcats during winter.

Now it was time to work on the pipe itself. Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual focus on detail. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet pipe reamer and removed the rest of the cake with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush and was able to remove the thick lava build up on the rim top. 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 rubbed down the stem with Soft Scrub – an all purpose cleaner that works well to remove oxidation and calcification on a vulcanite stem. He soaked it in Briarville’s Stem Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe once I received it. The rim top cleaned up really well. The crowned rim top, inner and outer edges of the bowl looked very good. The rim top and inner edge has some darkening on the back side of the bowl but there was no burn damage. The stem surface looked good with some small, deep tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It was readable as noted above.I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole.  I polished the crowned rim top with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding debris and dust.  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. I worked it into the deeper parts of the blast with a horse hair shoe brush. The product works 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. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the surface of the stem with the flame of a lighter to lift the tooth marks. It worked very well and many of the marks lifted. I filled in the remaining marks with clear CA glue and let the repairs cure. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to blend the repairs into the stem surface. I started the polishing with 400 grit 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 French Made GBD Avoriaz 816 oval shank saddle stem Billiard is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The rich contrasting brown stained finish around the bowl is quite beautiful and highlights the sandblast grain. The stain and finish works well with the polished 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 Conservator’s Wax and buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished GBD Avoriaz 816 sits nicely on the desk top and in the hand. 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 ½ inch, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 56 grams/1.98 ounces. I will be putting it on the French 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 are many more to come!