Daily Archives: February 12, 2023

Discovering Beauty under the Filth of this Stanwell Valby Piben Nr.1 51 Billiard

Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I am working on was purchased on 12/13/2022 as part of another group of pipes from a fellow in Copenhagen, Denmark. This was a tired and dirty pipe that obviously had been someone’s favourite smoker. The pipe has an identifying plate on the left side of the shank that reads Valby -[over] Piben Nr.1. On the underside of the shank it was stamped Stanwell [over] Made in Denmark. On the right side of the shank it was stamped with the shape number 51. The dirty reddish finish on this was worn and tired looking but showed some great grain. There were tars and oils ground into the surface of the briar. The thin gold band on the shank was original and distinguishing feature of the Valby. The bowl had a thick cake that flowed over the top of the rim in a thick coat of a lava and showed potential damage on the top and the inner edge. The stem was a black vulcanite taper stem with a gold Crown S on the left side. It was oxidized, calcified and had light tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. I think it would clean up to be a beautiful pipe. Jeff took photos of the pipes before he started his clean up work.  He took photos of the rim and bowl to show the heavy cake and thick lava coat covering the rim top. It really was filthy and a mess. He also took photos of the stem surfaces to show its overall condition when it arrived. The photos of the sides and heel of the bowls show beautiful grain around the bowl and shank sides. The rich red stain highlights the grain and adds depth to the finish. It shows some promise. He also took a photo of the stamped gold plate on the left side of the shank. He also took photos of the stamping on the underside as well as the shape number on the right side. It read as noted above. From what I can find online it seems that Valby is one of the cities that Stanwell was made in along with Copenhagen. I wonder if the Piben Nr.1 is to commemorate the first pipe that was originally made in Valby. It could be another commemorative pipe like the pair of Bulldogs I just finished commemorating the 65th Anniversary of Stanwell – 1942-2007. Hard to  know for sure but very likely.

Jeff cleaned up the pipe for me. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned it up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the exterior with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to clean off the grime off the finish and the heavy overflow of lava on the rim top. The cleaning had removed the thick coat on the rim top. He cleaned up the internals of the shank, mortise and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove all of the oils and tars in the pipe. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and was able to remove much of the oxidation, calcification. When it arrived here in Vancouver it was a clean pipe and I knew what I had to work with. I took photos of it before I started my part of the restoration. I took a photo of the rim top and the stem to show their condition once it arrived in Canada. Jeff was able to clean up the incredibly thick cake and the lava overflow that was shown in the rim and bowl photos above. The rim top and the inner edge of the bowl looked very good. He was also able to get rid of the grime and grit in the surface of the briar around the sandblast. The stem looked very good.I took a photo of the stamping on the gold plate on the left side of the shank and the underside and the right side of the shank to show that it was readable and undamaged by the cleanup work. I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the parts to give a sense of what the pipe looks like.I started my work on the bowl by polishing the briar with micromesh sanding pads. I dry sanded it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth. The bowl began to take on a rich shine and grain was beginning to stand out. I sanded with all of the pads and wiped the bowl down after each pad with a soft cloth. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm to deep clean them. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I worked it in with my fingers to get it into the briar. I let it sit for 10 minutes then I wiped it off and buffed it with a soft cloth. The briar really began to have a rich shine. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. It is a beautiful bowl. I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem at this point in the process. 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 damp cloth to remove the sanding dust. I gave it a further polish with Before & After Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I finished by wiping the stem down with a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem back on the Commemorative Stanwell Valby – Piben Nr.1 shape 51 Billiard pipe and took the pipe to the buffer. I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish the briar and the acrylic. Blue Diamond does a great job on the smaller scratches that remain in both. I gave the bowl and the stem several coats of carnauba wax and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. Considering the mess the pipe was when we received it I am amazed at how well it turned out. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. This is a beautiful Stanwell Valby Nr.1 Billiard – the vulcanite saddle stem and crowned rim top and sandblast finish combine to give the pipe a great look. The polished black, vulcanite stem looks really good with the rich browns standing out in the sandblast. 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 1.23 ounces/36 grams. This is another pipe that I will be putting on the rebornpipes online store in the Danish Pipe Pipemaking Companies Section shortly, if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me on this beauty!