Restoring a “Made in England” Peterson’s System 3 # 357 from the Mumbai Bonanza Lot


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

I have quite a few inherited Peterson’s System pipes ranging from the period 1915 to 1947 to present!!! I also have these pipes in System Standard, System 0 and System 3. So when Abha, my wife, sent me pictures of pipes that I had purchased from a Mumbai trash collector, I saw two distinct Peterson’s System pipes, one large and the other very small!! When Abha confirmed the COM stamping on both these pipes, I knew that I had Peterson’s System pipes from the 1930s-40s. Another two vintage Peterson’s System pipes added to my collection, I say. And I am not complaining, mind you readers!!

I was fortunate enough to have heeded the advice of my dear friend and mentor, Steve, and struck a deal with a junk collector from Mumbai. He did not know what he was selling and I did not know what I was buying as we reside in different cities!!!!! The argument that Mr. Steve presented was that if not anything, I shall at least have some spares and this was logical. I struck a deal and here are pictures of the pipes that I received in this lot.       This lot contains some very nice collectible pipes, a few well known brands and some mediocre brands. Overall, with seven Dunhill pipes, a Preben Holm #1 FH, a couple of “Made in England” Pete System pipes, a couple of  Charatan’s Belvedere, Custom-Bilt, Stanwell and other assorted pipes, I would say that I had struck a decent haul!!! This is indeed my “Mumbai Bonanza”.

This 15th pipe that I decided to work on from this find is a large Peterson’s System 3 pipe with a nickel ferrule and is indicated in indigo color arrow. It is stamped on the left of the shank towards the shank end as “PETERSON’S” in an arch in block capital letters over arched “SYSTEM” in block capital over “# 3”. The tail of the P in Peterson’s is forked. The right side of the shank is stamped with COM stamp “MADE IN ENGLAND” in a circle format with “Made” and “England” in a circle with the “in” located in the center of the circle. Stamped at the bottom of the shank, very close to the ferrule is the shape number “357”. All the stampings are crisp and easily readable. The ferrule has the usual three cartouche with first having Shamrock, the second a Prone Fox and lastly a Stone Tower. Stamped above the cartouche are the letters “K & P” followed by “PETERSON’S” all in a straight line. The stem is devoid of any logo.In my earlier restoration of my inherited Peterson’s System 31, I had extensively researched the dating of these old Peterson’s and I can say with certainty that this pipe is from the period 1938 to 1940/ 41. Also the forked tail of “P” in Peterson’s with the inward coiling upper part corroborates the vintage of this pipe.

I reconfirmed and refreshed my learning by visiting pipedia.org and my memory has served me right. Here is the link to dating Peterson’s pipes: https://pipedia.org/wiki/A_Peterson_Dating_Guide;_A_Rule_of_Thumb

For further understanding of System Standard/ 0/ 3 etc, I referred to the main article on Peterson’s, but came out cropper. There is nothing substantive and clear information about this grading of these System pipes. Any source of information may please be shared with us on rebornpipes.com.

But nonetheless this is a Peterson’s System pipe from the 1938-40/41 vintage and sure is staying with me.

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
The first and foremost thing that struck me as awful was that the smooth stummel is coated with a coat of lacquer!!! To top it, the coat has disintegrated in patches giving it a very sorry appearance. The icing on the cake is that half way up towards the rim, the stummel is stained black!! Why would they do that?  Well, the long and short of the above is that both the lacquer and the black stain will be removed and whether the finish is to be kept natural or be stained will be decided later. To be honest with you, being a grade 3 System pipe, there is nothing much to boast about the grains on the stummel. It has a smattering of cross grains and swirls all around the shank and stummel. The stummel surface is covered in grime giving the stummel a dirty appearance which is further accentuated by the patches of peeled lacquer coat. The stummel surface is peppered with a number of dents and ding on the foot and front of the stummel. A couple of fills are noticeable on either side near the shank and stummel junction and shown with yellow arrows. These will be clear when the stummel is cleaned of all the grime. In spite of all these flaws, the pipe has a nice size, heft and feel in the hand. It does have a quality which is seen on vintage pipes, but difficult to explain in words. And not to forget, this is nearly an 80 year old pipe!! A thick and uneven layer of cake can be seen in the chamber. The rim top surface has suffered the maximum damage and is uneven. It is covered in thick overflow of lava, dirt, dust and grime. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber and rim top surface will be known once the cake has been taken down to bare briar and the rim top crud has been scraped off completely. The bowl is out of round with the left half being thinner than the rest of the rim top. The inner rim is uneven with suspected burn/ charred surfaces in 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock direction (marked in yellow circle). Only once the stummel has been thoroughly cleaned that I can be sure of my initial appreciation. The outer rim edge too has dents, chips and dings, but not very severe, likely caused due to knocking against the hard surface. In spite of the thick cake, the chamber odor is, surprisingly, not strong and should be addressed once the cake has been taken down to the bare briar and the shank internals have been thoroughly cleaned The shank end is adorned with a nickel ferrule. The ferrule has oxidized a fair bit but should polish up nicely. The sump shows a heavy deposition of accumulated dried gunk, adversely affecting the airflow.The P-lip vulcanite stem is heavily oxidized and has calcification deposits towards the button end. There are deep tooth marks on the lower and upper stem surface in the bite zone and appears that the previous owner has literally chomped on the bite zone of the stem. The button edges also have bite marks, in fact, they are badly worn out. The tenon end has a major chunk missing and shows heavy accumulation of oils and tars. The part of the stem that seats in to the mortise is heavily scratched. Along with the stems of other pipes in line for restoration, I immersed the stem of this Peterson’s System 3 pipe in a mix of one part Hydrogen Peroxide 20% with one part hot water after I ran a couple of pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol through the stem air way. A couple of hours later, the stem oxidation on all these stems were raised to the surface.After I had fished out the stem from the Hydrogen Peroxide bath, I scrubbed it with Magiclean sponge and followed it up with a wipe of cotton swab and alcohol. I further scrubbed the stem surface with 0000 grade steel wool. The loosened and superficial layer of oxidation was easily removed and revealed the condition of the stem. There are deep bite marks in both the upper and lower bite zone. The bite marks are deep enough to cause significant thinning of the surface and complete disfigurement of the button edges. The deeper oxidation that was pulled to the surface would require more abrasive techniques.

THE PROCESS
I started the restoration with the stem repairs as this would take the maximum of my time to clean, repair and spruce up the stem. I flamed the damaged button edge and the nicks and dents with the flame of a lighter. This helps the vulcanite to rise to the surface as it has an inherent property to regain its original shape when heated. At this stage, I could clearly make out the extent of damage to the lower surface and the extent of the crack in the bite zone. This was further accentuated due to heating with the flame of a lighter. The upper surface too has a couple of deep tooth marks. I cleaned the internals of the stem using hard and normal bristled pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. The heap of pipe cleaners tells the sordid tale of the stem condition. With a pointed dental tool, I scraped out the entire dried gunk from the tenon end. I addressed the deeper oxidation by sanding the entire stem with a folded piece of 150 and followed by 220 grit sand paper. This also helps to address minor tooth chatter and prevents the fills turning brown once polished. Once the oxidation was completely removed, I wiped the surface clean with a cotton swab and alcohol and rubbed a little Extra Virgin Olive oil to hydrate the stem. Just for the information of statistically oriented reader, to get the stem to this stage it took better part of the afternoon and well past mid night!! Continuing with the stem repair, I tightly wrapped a scotch tape around one end of a pipe cleaner so that I had achieved a snug fit of the pipe cleaner in the small rounded slot of the P-lip stem. At the tenon end, I folded a pipe cleaner till the fit was snug in to the wide tenon and after applying generous coat of petroleum jelly, I inserted it in to the tenon end of the stem. Both the scotch tape and petroleum jelly prevents the mix of charcoal and superglue from sticking over the pipe cleaners and keeps the slot and tenon open. Thereafter, I mixed superglue and activated charcoal powder and generously applied it over the bite zone on either side, including over the button, over the chipped tenon end and set it aside to cure.  With the stem fill set aside to cure, I started with cleaning of the stummel as I was keen to know the condition of the walls of the chamber. With size 1 head followed by head size 2 and 3 of a PipNet pipe reamer, I took the cake down to bare briar. With my sharp fabricated knife, I removed the cake from the chamber where the reamer head could not reach and thereafter, using a folded piece of 180 grit sand paper, I sand out the last traces of cake and expose the walls of the chamber. I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad dipped in isopropyl alcohol to remove the carbon dust left behind by all the reaming and sanding process. Once the chamber walls were cleaned out, I was pleased to note a pristine chamber with no signs of heat fissures/ lines/ pits. With the same sharp knife, I gently scraped off the lava overflow from the rim top surface. The charred and uneven rim surface and damaged inner and outer rim edges is now clearly seen and should be addressed with simple topping of the bowl. Next, I cleaned out the internals of the shank and mortise. Using my dental tool, I scraped out all the dried oils, tars and gunk that had accumulated in the draught hole, airway and sump. The amount of crud that was scrapped out and the condition of the pipe cleaners that were used leaves no surprise why air flow through it was restricted. I finished the cleaning by running a few pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol. I also wiped the sump with cotton buds and alcohol. I gave a final cleaning to the sump with a paper napkin moistened with isopropyl alcohol. With this cleaning, all old smells in the pipe are history. The pipe now smells clean and fresh.  All this time that I was handling cleaning of the internals of this pipe, the patchy lacquer coating and the black stain to the upper half of the stummel was irritating me no end. The more I looked at it, the more convinced I was that this needs to be removed completely. Using cotton balls dipped in pure acetone; I worked the entire stummel and got rid of the lacquer as well as the black stain. The cleaned stummel revealed a couple of more flaws in the briar, but that is fine by me. I was prepared to handle a couple of fills and a couple more does not perturb me.  Next, I cleaned the external surface using a hard bristled toothbrush and Murphy’s Oil Soap. With a soft bristled brass wired brush, I removed the overflowing lava from the rim top surface and cleaned the internals of the shank with a shank brush and dish washing soap to remove what little crud remained in the shank. I rinsed it under running tap water and wiped the stummel dry with an absorbent soft cotton cloth.   Once I had wiped the stummel dry with paper towels and soft cotton cloth, the exact extent of damage to the rim top and edges could be clearly gauged. Now I had a fair idea of the extent of topping the rim surface. I top the rim on a piece of 220 grit sand paper to even out the rim surface dents and dings and also to reduce the charred rim surface. I addressed the out of round inner edge by creating a light bevel to inner edge with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and index finger. With a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper, I sand the entire stummel surface and addressed the minor pits and flaws that were revealed when the lacquer coat was removed. To further smooth out the scratches left behind by the abrasive 220 girt sand paper, I top the rim surface on a piece of 400 grit sand paper. I had hoped that further sanding with a 400 grit paper will address the minor dings that remained on the outer edge, but that was not to be. Thus, with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and index finger, I created a light bevel over the outer edge. I am very happy at the way the chamber and rim top surface appears at this in restoration. The old fills observed earlier during initial inspection and those revealed once the lacquer coat was removed, were next that I addressed. Very carefully and painstakingly, I completely removed the old fill with a pointed dental pick. I cleaned the fill of all the debris of old fill material, wiped it with alcohol and refreshed the fill with a mix of briar dust and CA superglue in each fill and set it aside to cure overnight.By next day, the fill was nice, hard and well set. Using a flat head needle file, I sand these fills to achieve a rough match with the stummel surface. With a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper, I worked the fill till I had achieved a nice blend with the rest of the stummel surface. At this stage, the dreaded air pockets revealed itself (marked with red arrows) in one of the fills. I spot fill these air pockets with CA superglue. I repeated the sanding with a piece of 220 grit sand paper again once the glue had hardened. It turned out much better than I had anticipated. I further sand the entire stummel surface again with the same grit sand paper to further smooth the stummel surface in preparation for a polish by micromesh pads. I subjected the stummel to a complete cycle of micromesh polish, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. I paid greater attention to polish the rim top surface and the bevels created on the inner and outer rim edges. I wiped the stummel with a moist cloth after every grit pad to remove the sanding dust left behind by the pads. This also helps in monitoring the progress being made and provides an opportunity to take early corrective action, if required. I am happy with the progress being made till now. Next, I rub a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to the briar with my finger tips and worked it deep in to the surface and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful swirl grain patterns on full display. The contrast of the dark browns of the grain with the light hues of the rest of the stummel adds an interesting dimension to the appearance of the stummel. I further buffed it with a horse hair brush to further deepen the shine. Turning my attention to the stem repairs in my home stretch, using a flat head needle file, I reshaped the button and roughly matched the fills with the rest of the stem surface. I sand the tenon end on a piece of I sand the fill with a piece of folded 220 grit sandpaper to even it out. With a round needle file, I smooth out the jagged tenon opening. A sanding with a flat head needle file of the buttons and bite zone to achieve a rough match, revealed air pockets on the upper and lower portions of the P-lip. I painted these air pockets with a permanent marker and spot filled it with clear superglue. Once the fill had cured, I sand the fills with a piece of folded 220 grit sand paper and followed it up by further sanding the stem with 320, 600 and 800 grit sand papers to achieve a perfect blending of the fills with the stem surface and a build a crisp button edge on either side of the P-lip. The repairs look good and the stem should polish up nicely. In my exuberance to cross the finish line and start on the new project, I completely missed out on taking pictures of this last step in stem restoration. My sincere apologies for this miss…. Using the micromesh pads, I completed the polishing cycle by wet sanding the surface with 1500 to 3200 girt pads. I had read that White diamond polish is between 3600 and 4000 grit of micromesh pads and best used between these two. I decided to give this a try to see if there is any difference in the final stem finish. I mount a fresh cotton buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and apply white diamond polish and buffed the stem. I wiped the stem with microfiber cloth and go through the remaining pads, dry sanding with 4000 to 12000 grit pads. The stem looks great with the fills nicely matched with the rest of the surface. I gave a final rub with “Before and After Extra Fine” stem polish compound from Mark to remove fine scratches from the stem surface. I rub a little quantity of Extra Virgin Olive oil in to the stem surface and set it aside to be absorbed by the vulcanite. The stem polished up nicely and appears as good as when new. To complete the restoration, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and applied several coats of carnauba wax. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. I vigorously buff the nickel ferrule with a jeweler’s cloth and bring it to a nice shine.I mount a clean cotton cloth buffing wheel and give the entire pipe a once over buff. The finished pipe with a natural finish to the briar looks amazingly beautiful and is now ready for its long second innings with me. The dark spots of the fills, though visible, are not addressed as the pipe looks beautiful as it is. I only wish it could share with me its life story of the past years while I enjoy smoking my favorite Virginia blend in it or maybe an English blend!! P.S. I earnestly would like to request all the readers to help me with information as to what does Standard/ 0/ 3 on these System pipes denote/ signify. The only thing that is confirmed is that this is definitely not one of the high grade System pipes from Peterson’s what with the fills that were seen on the stummel, but nevertheless, it’s a vintage Peterson’s!!

With this write up, I am through with all my pending works and look forward to work on my next project to restore a pipe which my dear friend and mentor, Steve, had sent me about a year back with the intention of providing me an opportunity to test my own skills. This pipe is close to my heart for other reasons too which I shall bring out in the write up after I have completed the restoration. Suffice to say at this point that this pipe is in a very very sad state and that it’s a DUNHILL!! I wish to thank each one for sparing their valuable time to read through this write up and sharing this journey with me.

 

Advertisements

A Black Sea Beach Pipe Project: The Third Stanwell Henley Special, Made in Denmark 57 Chimney


Blog by Dal Stanton

This Stanwell Henley Special Chimney is the last of the 3 Stanwell Henley Specials that I obtained off the eBay auction block.  Jim saw the Henley on the online ‘For “Pipe Dreamers” Only!’ and he commissioned the Oval Shank Billiard that I restored some time ago (see LINK) pictured in the middle below.  I had also taken notice of the solid craftsmanship of these 3 Danish made pipes, so I just restored the second, the Blasted Saddle Stem Billiard and put it in the Store to also benefit the Daughters of Bulgaria.   Then, I’ve claimed the third, a Chimney, to keep in my personal collection.  But I’ve thrown down the gauntlet on the Henley Chimney – I’ve developed a tradition of restoring a pipe in my personal ‘Help Me!’ basket collection to take with me to the beach on the Black Sea coast where my wife and I enjoy our summer holiday😊.

To review what I know about this Stanwell Henley line, I start with the seller’s information on eBay:

This auction is for three vintage Stanwell, Henley Line estate pipes from the 1950’s-60’s era. All are in good pre-owned condition. The stems are primarily free from teeth marks. The stems do have some fading. All of the stems fit snug and the wooden bowls are free from outstanding blemishes. As seen from top to bottom, the first pipe reads Henley Special #57, the second and third read Henley Special without any numbers seen. All of the pipes read Made in Denmark.

Here are the three Stanwell Henley Specials as I saw them on the eBay auction block.Pictured are the first and second Henley Specials after each was restored are pictured below. The transformation in these beautiful Danish pipes is unbelievable! As I expressed in the previous Stanwell Henley Special restorations, since I started collecting and restoring pipes, I’ve grown in my appreciation for Danish made pipes.  They tend to be stout, well-made pipes.  In my research on the Henley pipes, I have found no conclusive information dating them, but anecdotal information and a the feel of these pipes, I’m confident placing them in the 1950s and 60s. Pipedia’s article on Stanwell pipes simply places the Henley Special line in the list of Stanwell second brands.  The Chimney bound for my collection is identical with what Pipephil.eu provided.   It shows a Henley Chimney with the Fishtail stem slightly bent, along with the distinctive characteristic of a bulging midsection, which attracted me to this pipe!  The difference with the Pipephil listing is that it is blasted – nice.  It also shows an ‘H’ stem stamping.  The Chimney now on my worktable has no stamping on the stem – or it has worn off over time.The dating of the Henleys and this Chimney is elusive.  The only information I found in my initial research that gave any reference to dating isn’t conclusive. I found the following picture on Google images but the link to pipesmokersforum.com.  “Who made this pipe?”   I went to the pipesmokersforum site and searched ‘Henley’ and no reference or article emerged.  Having added this discussion to my research would have been helpful!  The picture I found puts a question mark in the late 50s.  Added to this the eBay seller’s description placing the pipes in the 50s or 60s and I do not know where this information originates.  Even though this information is anecdotal, the dating seems accurate to me based upon the appearance, craftmanship and feel of these pipes. I really like the Chimney stacked shape with a very nice feel in the hand.  I’m attracted to the tall Chimney and the interesting bulging of the bowl about midway.  The other thing that I like is the unique, pinched saddle fishtail stem.  Coupled with the tall bowl, the fishtail gives the pipe an overall sleekness – I like it a lot!

The dimensions of the Henley Chimney are: Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 3/16 inches, Rim width: 1 1/4 inches, Chamber width: 13/16 inches, Chamber depth: 2 inches. With the third Stanwell Henley Special Chimney on the worktable, I take some pictures to get a closer look. Of the 3 Stanwell Henleys I acquired, the nomenclature on this pipe is the clearest.  The left shank flank is stamped in cursive ‘Henley’ [over] SPECIAL.  The right shank side is stamped, MADE IN DENMARK [over] 57.  I assume this to be the shape number.The general condition of the Henley Chimney is good.  The chamber has thick cake buildup – but not has heavy as the other Henleys.  The rim has caked gunk and the smooth briar surface has grime and dirt and needs cleaning.  The one aspect of the stummel that is strange,  are the dark areas on the upper and lower shank.  These spots look like they’ve been scorched, but a shank usually isn’t the source of high temperatures.  I’ll have to wait to see what the cleaning does with these spots.  I take a few pictures to show what I see.The Pinched Saddle Fishtail stem has oxidation and some tooth compression – mainly on the lower bit.  To begin the restoration of the Stanwell Henley Special Chimney, I add it to a bath of Before & After Deoxidizer along with other pipes in the queue to deal with the oxidation in the vulcanite stem.  To keep the Deoxidizer as clean as possible, I first clean the airway using pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl 95%.I then put the stem in the bath and allow it to soak for several hours.When I fish out the Pinched Fishtail stem, I run another pipe cleaner dipped in alcohol through the stem to clear away the excess Deoxidizer.  I then wipe down the stem with a cotton pad also wet with isopropyl 95% to remove the raised oxidation.  The B&A Deoxidizer does a good job.To begin the process of revitalizing the stem, I apply a coat of paraffin oil and rub it into the vulcanite.  I set the stem aside for the oil to absorb.Turning back to the stummel, I begin the cleaning process by reaming the chamber.  I take a starting picture and the last unsmoked baccy is seen on the floor of the chamber. Like the other Henleys, this one has thick cake.  I’m wondering if this Henley will have as much heating damage as the Blasted Saddle Stem Billiard I just restored.  I use the Pipnet Reaming Kit to ream starting with the smallest blade head.  The cake is hard, but the blade eventually works through.  I then use 2 more of the blade heads and then switch to the Savinelli Fitsall Tool to do the fine tuning by scraping the chamber walls.  Finally, after wrapping a piece of 240 grit paper around a Sharpie Pen, I sand the chamber walls.  Then, after wiping the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95%, I inspect the chamber and I see some minor cracks in the chamber, but nothing requiring major attention. Transitioning now to the external surface, I take a few pictures to mark the start and then using undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap, I begin scrubbing.  I’m anxious to see what the cleaning does! I use a cotton pad to scrub the stummel using Murphy’s.  I also use a pocketknife blade to scrape the rim and then I apply a brass wire brush to the rim.  I work on the dark spots on the shank and nothing subdues the discoloration.  I continue the cleaning by taking the stummel to the sink and rinsing it with warm water.  I continue to scrub the briar surface with a bristled toothbrush and using anti-oil liquid dish soap.  I transition to the internals using a shank brush with the liquid dish soap.  I look at the shank and the dark spots are holding on, but they have changed – the spot has roughened in texture.  This gave me the idea – I used the anti-oil dish soap and put a plastic dish scrubby and I apply it to the shank and voila!I’m not sure what the substance was, but it dissolved for which I’m thankful!  I finish by fully rinsing the stummel and bringing it back to the worktable.  I take some ‘after’ pictures showing the cleaned stummel and the areas of the shank.  There still appears to be a discoloration after the stummel dries, but this should dissipate through the further stages of the restoration. I continue the cleaning procedure using cotton buds and pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 95% to clean the internals of the Henley.  I also use a small dental spoon to scrape the mortise walls to remove old tars and oils.  Through the narrowing of the airway, I also hand turn a drill bit to aid in the excavation of gunk.  After some time, the buds and pipe cleaners are lightening, and I halt this phase of cleaning.To further clean the internals, I use a soak with kosher salt and isopropyl 95%.  I like utilizing this soak as it freshens the stummel and removes old odors.  I begin by pulling and twisting a cotton ball to serve as a ‘wick’ to draw out the old tars and oils that are further expunged from the internal briar.  I insert it into the mortise with a straight wire and then fill the bowl with kosher salt and place the stummel in an egg crate for stability.  I then fill the bowl with isopropyl 95% until it surfaces over the salt.  I wait several minutes and after the alcohol has receded, I then top off the alcohol.  Turning off the lights I let the soak work through the night. The next morning, I remove the wick and it has soiled through the night absorbing the tars and oils.  The salt is also discolored showing it has done the job.  I thump the expended salt into the waste basket and clean the salt out of the stummel by wiping with paper towel and blowing through the mortise.  To make sure the cleaning is thorough; I follow by using cotton buds and pipe cleaners again.  After two pipe cleaners and one bud, it is clear the soak did the job.  I move on.Looking now at the rim, there remains a darkened discoloration as a remnant of the lava.  I do not want to top the stummel in order to retain the original patina.  Using a piece of 240 grade I lightly sand the rim, more to clean than to remove briar.  I also lightly sand the inside rim edge to remove darkened briar on the edge. Looking at the stummel, there are very small scratches expected with normal wear. To address this, I use sanding sponges.  A start with a coarse grade sponge, follow with medium grade, and then with the light grade.  Sanding sponges are effective in cleaning the surface in a less invasive way.After the sanding sponges, I move straight away to the full regimen of micromesh pads.  I first wet sand with pads 1500 to 2400, then dry sand with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  The grain emerges very nicely through the process. Next, I apply Before & After Restoration Balm to the Henley Chimney stummel. I’ve been looking forward to this part of the process.  The Restoration Balm does a great job bringing out the subtle tones of the natural briar grain hues. I put some of the Balm on my finger and I rub it in to the briar surface.  It starts with a creamy consistency andthen thickens like a wax.  After applying it thoroughly, I put the stummel aside for about 20 minutes to allow the Balm to do what it does then I use a cloth to wipe the excess Balm and buff up the stummel with a microfiber cloth.The Pinched saddle fishtail stem is waiting to catch up with the stummel.  There are some tooth compressions on the bit, one on the upper and a few on the lower.  I take a fresh picture of these to mark the start.  I will first use the heating method to raise these compressions by painting them with the flame of a Bic lighter.  When heated, the vulcanite expands to reclaim its original shape or closer to it.  After applying the flame, there is a difference that I’ve pictured, before and after of the upper and lower bit. The heating minimized the compressions but did not fully erase them.  I dispatch what is left by sanding the bit with 240 grade paper and I use a needle file on the bit and button.  I refresh the button as well with the file.I wet sand the entire stem with 600 grade paper followed by applying 000 steel wool.Next, the micromesh process.  Using first pads 1500 to 2400, I wet sand followed by dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 go 12000.  Between each set of 3 I apply Obsidian Oil to the pinched saddle fishtail stem.  The stem looks great! After reuniting stem and stummel, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel set at 40% of full power and apply Blue Diamond compound to the pipe.  When completed, using a felt cloth, I hand buff the pipe to remove the leftover compound dust in preparation for applying the wax.Again, after changing to another buffing wheel and maintaining the same speed, I apply a few coats of carnauba wax to the Henley.  I finish the restoration after applying the wax with a rigorous hand buffing with a microfiber cloth to raise the shine and to blend any excess wax into the surface.The butterscotch hue of this Chimney shaped stummel has a very warm draw to it.  I’m pleased with the plethora of grain movement that provides the kind of visual beauty that I appreciate in a pipe that I add to my collection.  I especially like the Chimney’s midriff bulge that is unique bringing attention to the shape.  The Pinched Saddle Fishtail stem also is a sleek and classy touch that completes the ensemble.  My goal was to finish this Stanwell Henley Special to take with me to the Black Sea Coast for our time of R&R enjoying the beach as well as the cuisine in the evenings. A little respite from our work with the Daughters of Bulgaria.  The Stanwell Henley Special performed well on the beach as well as in a classy, relaxed evening meal – the pictures tell the story.  I tell people that, I believe I’m living the dream – some would agree!  Thanks for joining me!  (www.ThePipeSteward.com)

Refurbishing a Tired Preben Holm #1 from the Mumbai Bonanza Lot


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

I am a big fan of Free Hand pipes!!! I love the way these pipes fit in to the hand and the creativity of the carver can be really appreciated in these pipes. And a freehand pipe made by the renowned Danish pipe carver, Preben Holm, is my dream come true. To be very honest to you all, the PH estate pipes that are available nowadays on eBay are very expensive and well nigh out of my reach. So when Abha, my wife, sent me pictures of the Mumbai Bonanza lot, I was immediately attracted to one free hand pipe that screamed PREBEN HOLM and when she confirmed that it was indeed one, I knew I was lucky. I say lucky because of the circumstances in which I made a purchase of this lot of 30 pipes and thereafter, the pipes that I received in this lot. I have given a gist of this purchase in the paragraph below. Well, the PREBEN HOLM is finally on my work table now!

I was fortunate enough to have heeded the advice of my dear friend and mentor, Steve, and struck a deal with a junk collector from Mumbai. He did not know what he was selling and I did not know what I was buying as we reside in different cities!! The argument that Mr. Steve presented was that if not anything, I shall at least have some spares and this was logical. I struck a deal and here are pictures of the pipes that I received in this lot. This lot contains some very nice collectible pipes, a few well known brands and some mediocre brands. Overall, with seven Dunhill pipes, a Preben Holm #1 FH, a couple of “Made in England” Pete System pipes, a couple of  Charatan’s Belvedere, Custom-Bilt, Stanwell and other assorted pipes, I would say that I had struck a decent haul!!! This is indeed my “Mumbai Bonanza”.

This 14th pipe that I decided to work on from this find, is a smallish Free Hand pipe with a bone shank extension and is indicated in yellow colored arrow in the picture below. It is stamped on the bottom of the shank towards the shank end as “PREBEN HOLM” in block capital letters over “HAND CUT” in a fancy script over “COPENHAGEN” over “DENMARK” again in block capital letters. The left side of the shank is stamped with an encircled numeral “1”. All the stampings are crisp and easily readable. The stem is devoid of any logo.To research this brand and line/ model in specific, I referred to pipedia.org in an attempt to date this pipe and understand the significance of the numeral # 1, if it was a shape code or grading code. However, there is nothing on this numbering system, except on Preben Holm “Private Collection” where the grading system starts with 101, 202 up to 808 in ascending order. And this is definitely not from “Private Collection” line!! I even visited rebornpipes.com in the hope that I would be able to unravel the mystery shrouding this pipe, but to no avail.

But nonetheless this is a PREBEN HOLM and is staying with me. Any reader who has any information or knowledge about this pipe is earnestly requested to share it with us on rebornpipes!

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
The smooth stummel has some beautiful straight grains on the front, back and sides of the stummel. On either side of the stummel, is an elegantly contoured elevation which makes for a nice and comfortable hold with the thumb and the middle finger while smoking. The front of the stummel rises above the back making for a downward sloping rim top surface. The upper portion of the rim top flares out in a typical PH design and adds a distinct feature to the appearance of the pipe. The stummel surface is covered in dirt and grime giving the stummel a dull and lackluster appearance. There are a one/ two likely fills, noticeably on either side near the shank and stummel junction and another couple near the foot. These will be clear when the stummel is cleaned of all the grime. A thick layer of cake can be seen in the chamber. The backwards sloping plateau rim top surface has nice knobby raised portions and the portion of crevices formed, is covered in thick overflow of lava, dirt, dust and grime. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber and rim top surface will be known once the cake has been taken down to bare briar and the rim top crud has been scraped off completely. The inner rim condition appears to be in good condition with no burn/ charred surfaces. Only once the stummel has been thoroughly cleaned that I can be sure of my initial appreciation. In spite of the thick cake, the chamber odor is, surprisingly, not strong and should be addressed once the cake has been taken down to the bare briar and the shank internals have been thoroughly cleaned. The draught hole is dead center at the bottom of the chamber and should be a great smoker. The shank end is adorned with a horn shank end extension which is pinched in the middle and then flares outwards matching in profile with the rim top. The shank extension is dry and has darkened nicely due to absorption of all the oils over the years of smoking. This will add a nice classy touch to the overall appearance of the pipe once cleaned and hydrated. The shank extension end and mortise are blocked with accumulated dried gunk, adversely affecting the airflow. The fancy vulcanite stem is heavily oxidized and has calcification deposits towards the button end. There are deep tooth marks on the lower and upper stem surface in the bite zone and appears that the previous owner has literally chomped on the bite zone of the stem. The lower stem surface is cracked near the button edge and is circled in red. The button edges also have bite marks, in fact, they are badly worn out. The tenon and horizontal slot shows accumulated oils and tars. The oxidation in the space between the three squares, in descending size from the tenon end to slot end, is going to be a bear to get rid of but once nice and shiny will elevate the appearance of the overall pipe manifold times. Along with the stems of other pipes in line for restoration, I immersed the stem of this Preben Holm in a mix of one part Hydrogen Peroxide 20% with one part hot water after I ran a couple of pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol through the stem air way. A couple of hours later, the stem oxidation on all these stems were raised to the surface. The pictures below show the stem after it was removed from this bath. The appearance is definitely not for the fainthearted, to say the least!!After I had fished out the stem from the Hydrogen Peroxide bath, I scrubbed it with Magiclean sponge and followed it up with a wipe of cotton swab and alcohol. I further scrubbed the stem surface with 0000 grade steel wool. The loosened and superficial layer of oxidation was easily removed and revealed the condition of the stem.. There are deep bite marks in both the upper and lower bite zone. The bite marks are deep enough to cause significant thinning of the surface and complete disfigurement of the button edges. The deeper oxidation that was pulled to the surface would require more abrasive techniques.

THE PROCESS
I started the restoration with the stem repairs as this would take the maximum of my time to clean, repair and spruce up the stem. I cleaned the internals of the stem using hard and normal bristled pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. The heap of pipe cleaners tells the sordid tale of the stem condition. With a pointed dental tool, I scraped out the entire dried gunk from the slot. I addressed the deeper oxidation by sanding the entire stem with a folded piece of 150 and followed by 220 grit sand paper. Once the oxidation was completely removed, I wiped the surface clean with a cotton swab and alcohol and rubbed a little Extra Virigin Olive oil to hydrate the stem. I flamed the damaged button edge and the nicks and dents with the flame of a lighter. This helps the vulcanite to rise to the surface as it has an inherent property to regain its original shape when heated. At this stage, I could clearly make out the extent of damage to the lower surface and the extent of the crack in the bite zone. This was further accentuated due to heating with the flame of a lighter. The upper surface too has a couple of deep tooth marks. Just for the information of statistically oriented reader, to get the stem to this stage it took better part of the afternoon and well past mid night!! Continuing with the stem repair, with a dental spatula, I probed the area around crack from inside the slot end with the aim of dislodging only the thin and loosened stem surface. Once the thin and loose stem surface was removed, I was certain that the rest of the stem surface around the crack was solid. I inserted a triangulated index card covered in transparent tape in to the slot. The tape prevents the mix of superglue and charcoal from sticking to the index card. I mixed superglue and activated charcoal powder and generously applied it over the bite zone on either side, including over the button and set it aside to cure.While the stem fill was set aside to cure, I started with cleaning of the stummel as I was keen to know the condition of the walls of the chamber. With size 1 head followed by head size 2 of a PipNet pipe reamer, I took the cake down to bare briar. Using a folded piece of 180 grit sand paper, I sand out the last traces of cake and expose the walls of the chamber. I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad dipped in isopropyl alcohol to remove the carbon dust left behind by all the reaming and sanding process. Once the chamber walls were cleaned out, I was pleased to note a pristine chamber with no signs of heat fissures/lines/pits. Next, I cleaned out the internals of the shank and mortise. Using my dental tool, I scraped out all the dried oils, tars and gunk that had accumulated in the shank airway and mortise. The amount of crud that was scrapped out and the condition of the pipe cleaners that were used leaves no surprise why air flow through it was restricted. I finished the cleaning by running a few pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol. I also wiped the shank with cotton buds and alcohol. With this cleaning, all old smells in the pipe are history. The pipe now smells clean and fresh.With the internals of the stummel now clean, I cleaned the external surface using a hard bristled toothbrush and Murphy’s Oil Soap. I diligently scrubbed the rim top surface to remove the entire dust, dirt and lava overflow that was embedded in the crevices of the plateau rim top surface. With a soft bristled brass wired brush, I removed the overflowing lava from the rim top surface and cleaned the internals of the shank with a shank brush and dish washing soap to remove what little crud remained in the shank. I rinsed it under running tap water and wiped the stummel dry with an absorbent soft cotton cloth. Once I had wiped the stummel dry with paper towels and soft cotton cloth, I saw a couple of small and superficial fills on the left side of the bowl, near the bowl and shank joint and one at the foot of the stummel. These fills are marked in yellow circle. Very carefully and painstakingly, I completely removed the old fill with a pointed dental pick. I cleaned the fill of all the debris of old fill material, wiped it with alcohol and refreshed the fill with a drop of clear CA superglue in each fill and set it aside to cure overnight. By next day, the fill was nice, hard and well set. With a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper, I worked the fill till I had achieved a nice blend with the rest of the stummel surface. It turned out much better than I had anticipated. I further sand the entire stummel surface with the same grit sand paper to address the minor scratches and further smooth the stummel surface in preparation for a polish by micromesh pads. The plateau rim top surface still did show areas where the overflow of lava was still embedded in the crevices. With a dental pick, I diligently scraped each and every spot to remove the deposit of lava. I am now pleased with the cleaning of the rim top surface.I subjected the stummel, including the bone shank extension, to a complete cycle of micromesh polish, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. I wiped the stummel with a moist cloth after every grit pad to remove the sanding dust left behind by the pads. This also helps in monitoring the progress being made and ensures early corrective action. I am happy with the progress being made till now. Next, I rub a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to the briar, the bone shank extension and the plateau rim top surface with my finger tips and work it deep in to the surface and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful straight grain patterns on full display. The contrast of the dark browns of the grain with the light hues of the rest of the stummel adds an interesting dimension to the appearance of the stummel. I further buffed it with a horse hair brush to further deepen the shine. I was slightly perturbed by the dark coloration taken on by the bone shank extension and shared pictures of the same with my mentor, Steve, who reassured me that this phenomenon is normal and should be good when the balm has been completely absorbed and polished subsequently. With this assurance, I move ahead with the stem repairs.

Using a flat head needle file, I reshaped the button and roughly matched the fills with the rest of the stem surface. I sanded the fills with a folded piece of 180 grit sand paper and followed it up by further sanding the stem with 320, 600 and 800 grit sand papers to achieve a perfect blending of the fills with the stem surface and a crisp button edge on either side of the stem. In my exuberance to cross the finish line, I completely missed out on taking pictures of this stage in restoration. My sincere apologies for this miss….

Using the micromesh pads, I completed the polishing cycle by wet sanding the surface with 1500 to 3200 girt pads. I had read that White diamond polish is between 3600 and 4000 grit of micromesh pads and best used between these two. I decided to give this a try to see if there is any difference in the final stem finish. I mount a fresh cotton buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and apply white diamond polish and buffed the stem. I wiped the stem with microfiber cloth and go through the remaining pads, dry sanding with 4000 to 12000 grit pads. The stem looks great with the fills nicely matched with the rest of the surface. I rub a little quantity of Extra Virgin Olive oil in to the stem surface and set it aside to be absorbed by the vulcanite.To complete the restoration, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and applied several coats of carnauba wax. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further and remove any residual wax from in between the plateaus of the rim top surface. The finished pipe looks amazingly beautiful and is now ready for its long second innings with me. I only wish it could share with me its life story of the past years while I enjoy smoking my favorite Virginia blend in it or maybe an English blend!! P.S. I earnestly would like to request all the readers to help me with the grading and dating this pipe. The only thing that is confirmed is that this is definitely not one of the high grade pipes from Preben Holm what with the fills that were seen on the stummel, but nevertheless, it’s a PH!!!!

There is only one more pending write ups which I shall be tackling before I undertake to restore a pipe which my dear friend and mentor, Steve, had sent me about a year back with the intention of providing me an opportunity to test my own skills. I wish to thank each one for sparing their valuable time to read through this write up and sharing this journey with me.

Restoring an Interesting Acorn # 7472 from Stanwell


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

One of the pipes in my Mumbai Bonanza lot which intrigued me no end was a small Acorn shaped pipe from the Danish pipe maker, Stanwell. I prefer large pipes and so this pipe was always being relegated to the next-in-line project status. Finally I decided to break the shackles of resistance and brought it to my work table as the next project. It’s a Stanwell pipe with shape code # 7472.

I was fortunate enough to have heeded the advice of my dear friend and mentor, Steve, and struck a deal with a junk collector from Mumbai. He did not know what he was selling and I did not know what I was buying as we reside in different cities!! The argument that Mr. Steve presented was that if not anything, I shall at least have some spares and this was logical. I struck a deal and here are pictures of the pipes that I received in this lot. This lot contains some very nice collectible pipes, a few well known brands and some mediocre brands. Overall, with seven Dunhill pipes, a Preben Holm #1 FH, a couple of “Made in England” Pete System pipes, a couple of  Charatan’s Belvedere, Custom-Bilt, Stanwell and other assorted pipes, I would say that I had struck a decent haul!!! This is indeed my “Mumbai Bonanza”.

This, then, is the 13th pipe that I decided to work on from this find and is an Acorn shaped pipe indicated in blue colored arrow in the picture below. It is stamped on the bottom middle half of the smooth surface of the shank as “# 7472” over “MADE IN DENMARK”. Towards the shank end, it is stamped as “STANWELL” in its trademark inverted arch in block capital letters. The stem bears a plain “S” logo on the left side of the stem.Now coming to the research of this brand and line/ model in specific, I referred to pipedia.org and as expected there is an extensive research on this pipe and even has a separate page on Stanwell Shape numbers and Designers, a study compiled by Stanwell collector and an undisputed authority on these pipes, Basil Stevens. However, there is nothing on this particular shape and number, in fact, this shape and number does not find any mention. I even visited rebornpipes.com in the hope that I would be able to unravel the mystery shrouding this pipe, but to no avail.

The only input I received was from Steve was that this is most likely a Sixten Ivarsson carved pipe, but nothing to date and confirm. Any reader who has any information or knowledge about this pipe is earnestly requested to share it with us on rebornpipes!

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
The stummel has beautiful sandblast patterns on the uniquely shaped stummel with a short neck and a nice flow to the shape profile of the pipe. The sandblasted stummel is covered in dirt and grime of yesteryear. This should clean up nicely. The stummel surface is solid with no damage to the external surface. The dark browns of the raised sandblast contrast beautifully with the black stain of rest of the stummel. A thick layer of cake can be seen in the chamber. The sandblasted thin and inward curving rim top surface is covered in thick overflow of lava, dirt, dust and grime. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber and rim top surface will be known once the cake has been taken down to bare briar and the rim top crud has been scraped off completely. The inner rim condition appears to be in good condition with no burn/ charred surfaces. Even the outer rim edge appears to be in a decent condition. Only once the stummel has been thoroughly cleaned that I can be sure of my initial appreciation. In spite of the thick cake, the chamber odor is, surprisingly, not strong and should be addressed once the cake has been taken down to the bare briar and the shank internals have been thoroughly cleaned. The draught hole is dead center at the bottom of the chamber and should be a great smoker. The shank end and the mortise are blocked with dried gunk, adversely affecting the airflow.The delicate vulcanite saddle stem is heavily oxidized and has calcification deposits towards the button end. There are deep tooth marks on the lower and upper stem surface and appears that the previous owner has literally chomped on the bite zone of the stem. The button edges also have bite marks, in fact, they are badly worn out. The horizontal slot shows accumulated oils and tars.Along with the stems of other pipes in line for restoration, I immersed the stem of this Stanwell #7472 in a mix of one part Hydrogen Peroxide 20% with one part hot water after I ran a couple of pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol through the stem air way. A couple of hours later, the stem oxidation on all these stems were raised to the surface. After I had fished out the stem from the Hydrogen Peroxide bath, I scrubbed it with Magiclean sponge and followed it up with a wipe of cotton swab and alcohol. I further scrubbed the stem surface with 0000 grade steel wool. The loosened and superficial layer of oxidation was easily removed and revealed the condition of the stem. It was not as horrifying as I had imagined it to be during the initial inspection. There are deep bite marks in both the upper and lower bite zone. The bite marks are deep enough to cause significant thinning of the surface and complete disfigurement of the button edges. The deeper oxidation that was pulled to the surface would require more abrasive techniques.THE PROCESS
I started with cleaning of the stummel as I was keen to know the condition of the walls of the chamber. With size 1 head followed by head size 2 of a PipNet pipe reamer, I took the cake down to bare briar. Using a folded piece of 180 grit sand paper, I sand out the last traces of cake and expose the walls of the chamber. I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad dipped in isopropyl alcohol to remove the carbon dust left behind by all the reaming and sanding process. Once the chamber walls were cleaned out, I saw very minor and superficial beginnings of heat fissures/ pits all along the chamber walls. I shall address this issue by a simple bowl coat. I used my smaller of the two fabricated knife to gently scrap away at the overflow over the rim top surface while being careful not to damage the sandblast on the rim top. I was pleased to find the inner and outer edge of the rim intact and without any burn or char marks. Next, I cleaned out the internals of the shank and mortise. Using my dental tool, I scraped out all the dried oils, tars and gunk that had accumulated in the shank airway and mortise. The amount of crud that was scrapped out and the condition of the pipe cleaners that were used leaves no surprise why air flow through it was restricted. I finished the cleaning by running a few pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol. I also wiped the shank with cotton buds and alcohol. With this cleaning, all old smells in the pipe are history. The pipe now smells clean and fresh.With the internals of the stummel now clean, I cleaned the external surface using a hard bristled toothbrush and Murphy’s Oil Soap. I diligently scrubbed the stummel to remove all the dust and dirt that was embedded in the crevices of the sandblast. With a soft bristled brass wired brush, I removed the overflowing lava from the rim top surface and cleaned the internals of the shank with a shank brush and dish washing soap to remove what little crud remained in the shank. I rinsed it under running tap water and wiped the stummel dry with an absorbent soft cotton cloth. Once I had wiped the stummel dry with paper towels and soft cotton cloth, I thought I saw a fill on the left side of the bowl, near the bowl and shank joint. It was perfectly matched and blended with the sandblast on the stummel and stained in dark as seen on other surfaces of the stummel. It is marked in yellow circle. My fears were confirmed when I probed it with a dental pick. Very carefully and painstakingly, I completely removed the old fill with a pointed dental pick. I cleaned the fill of all the debris of old fill material, wiped it with alcohol and refreshed the fill with a mix of clear CA superglue and briar dust and set it aside to cure overnight.By next day, the fill was hard and well set. With a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper, I worked the fill till I had achieved a nice blend with the shape and contours of the stummel. It turned out much better than I had anticipated. With a soft wire brass brush, I again cleaned out all the debris that lodged itself in the sandblast surface as a result of all the sanding and use of briar dust.Next, I rub a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to the briar with my finger tips, work it deep in to the sandblasts and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful sandblast patterns on full display. The contrast of the dark browns of the raised sandblast with the dark black of the rest of the stummel adds an interesting dimension to the appearance of the stummel. I further buffed it with a horse hair brush. The last picture is of the side that had the refreshed fill and even the most discerning reader will be hard pressed to accurately pin point the fill. With the stummel nearly completed, I turned my attention to the stem repairs. I masked the stem logo “S” with a whitener pen to protect it during the sanding process. I cleaned the internals of the stem using hard and normal bristled pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. With a pointed dental tool, I scraped out the entire dried gunk from the slot. I addressed the deeper oxidation by sanding the entire stem with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. Once the oxidation was completely removed, I wiped the surface clean with a cotton swab and alcohol. I flamed the damaged button edge and the nicks and dents with the flame of a lighter. This helps the vulcanite to rise to the surface as it has an inherent property to regain its original shape when heated. At this stage, I noticed that the bite zone on the upper stem surface has a crack which extends over to the button. This was further accentuated due to heating with the flame of a lighter. Continuing with the stem repair, I inserted a triangulated index card covered in transparent tape in to the slot. The tape prevents the mix of superglue and charcoal from sticking to the index card. I mixed superglue and activated charcoal powder and generously applied it over the bite zone, including over the button and set it aside to cure. Once the mix had cured, I removed the index card from the slot.Using a flat head needle file, I reshaped the button and roughly matched the fills with the rest of the stem surface. However, things rarely happen as you want them to happen and in this case, a few air pockets were revealed. With a permanent black marker I darkened the air pockets and spot filled them with clear superglue. Once the superglue had cured (I had set it aside overnight), I sanded the fills with a folded piece of 180 grit sand paper. I followed it up by further sanding the stem with 320, 600 and 800 grit sand papers to achieve a perfect blending of the fills with the stem surface and a crisp button edge on either side of the stem.Using the micromesh pads, I completed the polishing cycle by wet sanding the surface with 1500 to 3200 girt pads. I had read that White diamond polish is between 3600 and 4000 grit of micromesh pads and best used between these two. I decided to give this a try to see if there is any difference in the final stem finish. I mount a fresh cotton buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and apply white diamond polish and buffed the stem. I wiped the stem with microfiber cloth and go through the remaining pads, dry sanding with 4000 to 12000 grit pads. The stem looks great with the fills nicely matched with the rest of the surface. I rub a little quantity of Extra Virgin Olive oil in to the stem surface and set it aside to be absorbed by the vulcanite. To complete the restoration, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and applied several coats of carnauba wax. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further and remove any residual wax from in between the sandblasts.The finished pipe looks amazingly beautiful and is now ready for its long second innings with me. I only wish it could share with me its life story of the past years while I enjoy smoking my favorite Virginia blend in it or maybe an English blend!! P.S. There was only one more issue that needed to be addressed and one that could not be ignored, being a functional issue. After I had reamed and sanded the chamber walls, I had observed very minor and superficial beginnings of heat fissures/ pits all along the chamber walls. I addressed this by mixing activated charcoal and plain yogurt to a thicker consistency, just enough that I would spread easily and applied it evenly all along the chamber walls after inserting a folded pipe cleaner through the draught hole to keep it open. Once dry and set, this will not only protect the walls but also aid in faster build up of cake.There are two more pending write ups which I shall be tackling before I undertake to restore a pipe which my dear friend and mentor, Steve, had sent me about a year back with the intention of providing me an opportunity to test my own skills. I wish to thank each one for sparing their valuable time to read through and once again request you for any inputs or advice on dating and designer of this pipe.

Restoring a Custom-Bilt Small Pot from my ‘Mumbai Bonanza’


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

It seems that my grandfather loved Custom-Bilt pipes!! I say this with certain amount of conviction as there are quite a few of them in his collection that I have inherited. All the Custom-Bilts in his collection have, apart from the trademark rustications developed and mastered by Tracy Mincer, large size (more like humongous, I say!). Thus, when Abha, my wife sent me pictures of the Mumbai Bonanza lot, I instantly recognized a Custom-Bilt. I confirmed from Abha on Face time that the stamp was spelt with a hyphen between Custom and Bilt confirming the vintage. I was surprised to say the least, not at the fact of finding a Custom-Bilt in the lot (which incidentally contains many collectible pipes), but surprised at the size which stared back at me!! It was small, but small when compared to the size of the other Custom-Bilts that I have inherited. This is the pipe that is now on my work table, my first restoration work after rejoining my work place.

For those readers who have missed out on my previous work, I was fortunate enough to have heeded the advice of my dear friend and mentor, Steve, and struck a deal for 30 pipes with a junk collector from Mumbai. He did not know what he was selling and I did not know what I was buying as we reside in different cities!! The argument that Mr. Steve presented was that if not anything, I shall at least have some spares and this was logical. I struck a deal and here are pictures of the pipes that I received in this lot. This lot contains some very nice collectible pipes, a few well known brands and some mediocre brands. Overall, with seven Dunhill pipes, a Preben Holm #1 FH, a couple of “Made in England” Pete System pipes, a couple of  Charatan’s Belvedere, Custom-Bilt, Stanwell and other assorted pipes, I would say that I had struck a decent haul!! This is indeed my “Mumbai Bonanza”.

The 12th pipe that I decided to work on from this find Custom-Bilt small pot shaped pipe and is indicated in magenta colored arrow in the picture below. It is stamped on the left side of the shank as “Custom-Bilt” in sentence form with a hyphen between Custom and Bilt. The pipe or stem is devoid of any other stamping.Now coming to the research of this brand and line/ model in specific, I referred to pipedia.org and as expected there is an extensive research on this pipe. I searched the internet for information in order to date this pipe. Pipedia has a lot of information about this pipe and just typing in Custom-Bilt in the search bar of the site will reveal the required information. There is an interesting review given by Richard Esserman on a book written by William E. Unger, Jr., PhD, which deals with the study of Custom-Bilt pipes. The author authoritatively states, after a lot of research and study that the stamp as seen on this particular pipe dates it from between 1938 – 1946!With the dating of this pipe confirmed, I move on to the next step of carrying out initial inspection of the pipe as it appears. This not only provides me with an opportunity to closely look at the pipe (more like ogle at it!) and identify the issues that need to be addressed but also plan on the sequence and processes that would be required in restoring the pipe.

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
The pipe has deep and large vertical rustications along the entire length of the shank and height of the bowl. Within these large vertical rustications are very thin, closely stacked horizontal lines which give this pipe its unique appearance and are its trademark!!! The deep large rustication on the stummel is covered in dirt, oils, tars and grime of 70 plus years of its existence. At this stage, the briar looks filthy, dry and lifeless, but this should clean up nicely. However, there are two issues which may prove to be a challenge to address. On the front left side of the bowl, there is a dark burn mark, probably scorched by a burning cigarette lying in the same ashtray (marked in a yellow circle). The second issue is also towards the left side of the stummel, but at the back. There is significant darkening in that area as compared to the rest of the stummel, and is marked in a yellow circle. The exact nature of this darkening will be known once the stummel surface has been cleaned. A thick layer of cake can be seen in the chamber. The rim top is covered with the same thin, closely stacked lines as seen between the large vertical rustications and is covered in thick overflow of lava, dirt, dust and grime. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber and rim top surface will be known once the cake has been taken down to bare briar and the rim top crud has been scraped off completely. With the inner rim, I suspect burn/ charred surface at the back in 6 ‘O’ clock direction and is encircled in red. The extent and severity of the damage, if present, can be ascertained once the cake has been removed and the rim top is cleaned. The outer rim edge appears to be in a decent condition. Only once the stummel has been thoroughly cleaned that I can be sure of my initial appreciation. In spite of the thick cake, the chamber odor is, surprisingly, not strong and should be addressed once the cake has been taken down to the bare briar. The mortise is blocked with dried gunk, adversely affecting the airflow. A thorough clean up with alcohol and pipe cleaners should address this issue.The vulcanite stem is heavily oxidized and has calcification marks for about an inch over the bite zone, probably a result of using a rubber bit. The stem surface on either side is peppered with nicks and dents along the entire surface. There is one deep bite mark on the button edge on the upper surface. The tenon is covered in dried oils and tars and ash. The air way in the stem will need to be cleaned for a free and smooth draw.THE PROCESS
Along with the stems of other pipes in line for restoration, I immersed the stem of this Custom-Bilt in a mix of one part Hydrogen Peroxide 20% with one part hot water after I ran a couple of pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol through the stem air way. A couple of hours later, the stem oxidation on all these stems were raised to the surface. After I had fished out the stem from the Hydrogen Peroxide bath, I scrubbed it with Magiclean sponge and followed it up with a wipe of cotton swab and alcohol. The loosened and superficial layer of oxidation was easily removed and revealed not one but two tooth marks on the upper button edge and the nicks and dents on the surface are now more apparent. However, the deeper oxidation that was pulled to the surface would require more abrasive techniques.Staying with the stem, I cleaned the internals of the stem using hard and normal bristled pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. I addressed the deeper oxidation by sanding the entire stem with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. Once the oxidation was completely removed, I wiped the surface clean with a cotton swab and alcohol. I flamed the damaged button edge and the nicks and dents with the flame of a lighter. This helps the vulcanite to rise to the surface as it has an inherent property to regain its original shape when heated. I spot filled the damaged spots with clear CA superglue and set it aside to cure overnight. Thereafter, I started with cleaning of the stummel as I was keen to know the condition of the walls of the chamber. With size 3 head of a PipNet pipe reamer, I took the cake down to bare briar. Using a folded piece of 180 grit sand paper, I sand out the last traces of cake and expose the walls of the chamber to ascertain that there are no cracks/ heat fissures. I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad dipped in isopropyl alcohol to remove the carbon dust left behind by all the reaming and sanding process. I was happy to note that the walls of the chamber are in pristine condition without any heat fissures or pits. I used my smaller of the two fabricated knife to gently scrap away at the overflow over the rim top surface while being careful not to damage the thin wired rustications on the rim top. I was pleased to find the inner and outer edge of the rim intact and without any burn or char marks which I had feared to be lurking under the heavy overflow of lava. Next, I cleaned out the internals of the shank and mortise. Using my dental tool, I scraped out all the dried oils, tars and gunk that had accumulated in the shank airway and mortise. The mortise was so clogged with the old accumulations of gunk that I had to use the drill piece which comes in the Kleen Reem pipe reamer!! The amount of crud that was scrapped out and the condition of the pipe cleaners that were used leaves no surprise why air flow through it was restricted. I finished the cleaning by running a few pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol. I also wiped the shank with cotton buds and alcohol. With this cleaning, all old smells in the pipe are history. The pipe now smells clean and fresh.With the internals of the stummel now clean, I cleaned the external surface using a hard bristled toothbrush and Murphy’s Oil Soap. I diligently scrubbed the crevices formed by the sandblast to remove all the dust and dirt that was embedded in the large vertical rustications and thin wire rustications between them. With a soft bristled brass wired brush, I removed the overflowing lava from the rim top surface and cleaned the internals of the shank with a shank brush and dish washing soap to remove what little crud remained in the shank. I rinsed it under running tap water and wiped the stummel dry with an absorbent soft cotton cloth. However, I was not very satisfied with the way the rim top surface had cleaned up. There were visible traces of the lava overflow embedded in the rustication giving it a dirty and unclean appearance. I vigorously cleaned the rim top surface again with the brass brush, following the direction of the thin rustications till the overflow of lava was greatly reduced. What little grime that remained was carefully scraped out with a sharp dental pick. Another scrub with a toothbrush dipped in oil soap and I was very pleased with the way the stummel had cleaned up. The stummel looks absolutely gorgeous. At this point in restoration, I observed tiny specs of white. They appeared to be paint flakes but I am not sure. Very carefully and painstakingly, I removed each spot with the pointed dental pick.The other thing which highlighted itself was the burn mark and darkened surface at the front and slightly at the back of the stummel respectively. I cleaned the burned spot of all the charred briar with the sharp end of the dental spatula until I reached solid briar surface. The spot has lightened considerably. Next, with a pointed dental pick, I tried to pick in to the remaining darkened surface and was surprised to find that the area had been filled and that the old putty now came away easily (shown by a red arrow). Having discovered one fill, I closely checked the entire stummel surface for any other fills. Sure enough, there was a small fill at the shank end, just below the stamping (red arrow mark). I cleaned out the loose fills with a dental pick. I refreshed these fills with a mix of briar dust and superglue and set it aside to cure.While the stummel fills were set aside to cure, I worked the stem fills which had by now cured sufficiently. Using a flat head needle file, I reshaped the button and roughly matched the fills with the rest of the stem surface. I followed it up by further sanding the stem with 320, 600 and 800 grit sand papers to achieve a perfect blending of the fills with the stem surface and a crisp button edge on either side of the stem. Using the micromesh pads, I complete the polishing cycle by wet sanding the surface with 1500 to 12000 girt pads. The stem looks great with the fills nicely matched with the rest of the surface. I rub a little quantity of Extra Virgin Olive oil in to the stem surface and set it aside to be absorbed by the vulcanite. Once I was finished with the stem repairs, I turned back to the stummel fills which had cured. With the edge of a flat head needle file, I roughly matched the fill with the rustications on the stummel. Thereafter, using a tightly folded piece of 150 grit sand paper, I worked the fills to a perfect match with the rest of the rustications. I used a sharp dental tool and tried to roughly carve out the thin wire like rustications in to the fills, though without resounding success. But it turned out quite okay to my eyes.Next, I rub a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to the briar with my finger tips, work it deep in to the sandblasts and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful sandblast patterns on full display. I further buff it with a horse hair brush. To complete the restoration, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and applied several coats of carnauba wax. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The finished pipe looks amazingly beautiful and is now ready for its long second innings with me. I only wish it could share with me its life story of the past 70 plus years while I enjoy smoking my favorite Virginia blend in it!! P.S. I was not very pleased with the appearance of the front of the stummel, what with the ugly burn mark now all the more visible. I discussed with my mentor, Steve, and he suggested that a little oxalic acid diluted with water when applied over the burn mark should significantly reduce the black mark. This will be applied in practical once I am back on leave to my home town. I shall post an update on the end result of this process.

There are three more pending write ups which I shall be tackling before I undertake any new restoration. I am eagerly waiting to start my next project, which I wish to assure readers, is going to be an interesting one. It’s a pipe which my dear friend and mentor, Steve, had sent me about a year back with the intention of providing me an opportunity to test my own skills. I wish to thank each one for sparing their valuable time to read through and any inputs or advise is always welcome.

 

 

Another Bob Kerr Estate – A Danish Sovereign 305 Bulldog Variant


Blog by Steve Laug

I am having some fun with Bob’s pipes now that Jeff has done the cleanup on them. When I was doing both the cleanup and restoration it was slow moving and tedious as he had smoked these pipes last in the 90s and the cake was rock hard and the pipes were dirty. The next pipe is a Stanwell second – Danish Sovereign that is a Danish take on an oval shank Bulldog. It is a shape 305 with a taper stem. This is another of Bob’s pipes that I am working on. I am cleaning them for the family and moving them out into the hands of pipemen and women who will carry on the trust that began with Bob and in some pipes was carried on by Bob. In the collection there were 19 Peterson’s pipes along with a bevy of Dunhills, some Comoy’s and Barlings as well as a lot of other pipes – a total of 125 pipes along with a box of parts. This is the largest estate that I have had the opportunity to work on. I put together a spread sheet of the pipes and stampings to create an invoice. I was taking on what would take me a fair amount of time to clean up. I could not pass up the opportunity to work on these pipes though. They were just too tempting. This quaint Danish Sovereign is an interesting and unique shape to work on.

I think this would have been a Stanwell regular line pipe if it did not have the many small and large flaws that had been puttied. Stanwell did a great job with the fills on the underside of the bowl as they are well blended in the finish. The layout of the shape to the grain is perfect with birdseye on the sides and cross grain on the front and back of the bowl. It is a beauty. To me the shape is a Danish take on a Bulldog – though with the rounded bottom and an oval shank it has come a long way. The pipe is stamped on the underside of the shank Danish Sovereign over Made in Denmark. Following the name stamp is the shape number 305. The top of the tapered stem has a XXX stamp on it. The bowl has a rich contrasting brown stain that makes the grain pop and hides the fills pretty well. There was a thick cake in the bowl with remnants of tobacco stuck on the walls. There was a fair lava overflow built up on the rim top. The edges of the rim and top are dirty but look pretty good under the grime but I would know for certain once it was clean. It was a beautiful pipe that was dirty and tired looking. The stem was oxidized and had some calcification on the first half of the stem. There was a lot of tooth chatter and marks on both sides near the button. Again, surprisingly it did not have the deep tooth marks that I have come to expect from Bob’s pipes. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work on it. Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the lava build up on the edges of the bowl. It was thick and hard but hopefully it had protected the rim and edges from damage. The edges look pretty good. Jeff took photos of the heel of the bowl to show the condition of the finish. You can see the beautiful cross grain running across the front of the bowl and the birdseye on the side of the bowl. Though the pipe is quite dirty the grain and layout are stunning. The third photo shows the large chipping fill on the left side of the bowl on the lower back. Jeff took photos of the stamping on the underside of the shank and the top of the tapered stem. The stamping was readable as you can see from the photos. It read as noted above. The photo of the stem top shows the XXX stamp on the vulcanite stem.Jeff took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the tooth chatter, scratching and oxidation on the stem surface and wear on the edges of the button.    I turned to Pipephil’s site to confirm my memory about the pipe being a Stanwell product. I vaguely remembered it and also the shape just sang Stanwell make! Sure enough it was indeed a Stanwell second pipe (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-d2.html) made exclusively for the USA and Canada. I have included a screen capture of the section on Danish Sovereign pipes below.Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Stanwell) confirms the connection listing the brand as a sub-brand or second. So now I knew what I was dealing with but still had no idea as to the time period of its manufacture.

With over 125 pipes to clean from Bob’s estate I took a batch of them to the states with me on a recent visit and left them with Jeff so he could help me out. This is another of the pipes that Jeff cleaned up and sent back to me. Jeff cleaned the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness that I really appreciate. This one was a real mess and I did not know what to expect when I unwrapped it from his box. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. The finish looks very good with good looking grain around the bowl and shank. Jeff soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked very good. I took photos before I started my part of the work. (The first photo is out of focus slightly but you can still see the flaw on the bottom part of the bowl.) I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. Once again Jeff did a remarkable job in his cleanup of the rim top. The bowl and the rim top looks good. The grain really stands out and the outer edge looks good. There is some roughening on the front inner edge and some burn damage. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the lack of tooth marks on the stem surface. You can also see the light tooth marks and the slight wear to the button edge.Since this is another pipe Bob’s estate I am sure that some of you have read at least some of the other restoration work that has been done on the previous pipes. You have also read what I have included about Bob Kerr, the pipeman who held these pipes in trust before I came to work on them (see photo to the left). Also, if you have followed the blog for long you will already know that I like to include background information on the pipeman whose pipes I am restoring. For me, when I am working on an estate I really like to have a sense of the person who held the pipes in trust before I worked on them. It gives me another dimension of the restoration work. I asked Brian if he or his wife would like to write a brief biographical tribute to her father, Bob. His daughter worked on it and I received the following short write up on him and some pictures to go along with the words including one of Bob’s carvings. Once again I thank you Brian and tell your wife thank you as well.

I am delighted to pass on these beloved pipes of my father’s. I hope each user gets many hours of contemplative pleasure as he did. I remember the aroma of tobacco in the rec room, as he put up his feet on his lazy boy. He’d be first at the paper then, no one could touch it before him. Maybe there would be a movie on with an actor smoking a pipe. He would have very definite opinions on whether the performer was a ‘real’ smoker or not, a distinction which I could never see but it would be very clear to him. He worked by day as a sales manager of a paper products company, a job he hated. What he longed for was the life of an artist, so on the weekends and sometimes mid-week evenings he would journey to his workshop and come out with wood sculptures, all of which he declared as crap but every one of them treasured by my sister and myself. Enjoy the pipes, and maybe a little of his creative spirit will enter you!

Now on to the rest of the restoration on this Stanwell made Danish Sovereign 305 Bulldog. Since Jeff had done such an amazing clean up job on the bowl it was very easy for me. I decided to address the damage to the fills on the left side and the bottom of the bowl. The fill on the left can be seen in the first photo below. In the second photo of the bowl underside below you can see what appears to be a crack to the naked eye. It is not a crack but rather a series of 5-7 fills in a cluster. They form almost an “H” shaped figure on the bowl bottom. The fills all showed pits and flaws in the original putty repairs.I wiped the areas down with alcohol and filled in the damaged spots on the fill with clear super glue. The next three photos show the extent of the repairs to the briar. When the repair had cured I sanded them with 220 grit sandpaper until the surface as smooth.I started the polishing process on the repaired areas with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. The repairs are solid on both the side and the bottom of the shank.While I was at it with the sandpaper I worked on the damaged rim edge with the 220 grit sandpaper and the 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. When I was finished the rim looked better.I decided to polish the bowl as a whole with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wipe the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust. The outcome of the polishing is a rich deep shine that is only enhanced by the wax at the end of the process. I decided to clean the briar with Mark Hoover’s Before & After Briar Cleaner to clean up the sanded surface of the briar and blend the repairs into the briar. I rubbed it into the surface of the briar and let it sit for 10 minutes. I rinsed the bowl off with warm running water to remove the product and the grime. I used an Oak stain pen to touch up the sanded areas on the bottom and side of the bowl. I stained the rim top at the same time. I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm at this point in the process. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth and shoe brush to raise the shine. I use this product on every pipe that I work on as it really works. Have a look at the stained portions of the bowl. The product really worked to blend it into surrounding bowl colour. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the tooth indentations on the top and underside with a “Bic” style lighter. Since vulcanite has memory the dents lifted nicely and I would be able to lightly sand the stem to remove the remaining marks.  I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to break up the oxidation. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to remove the scratching. It is starting to look good. I rubbed the stem down with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish. I have a few tins of this laying around so I am trying to use them up. It does a pretty good job polishing the stem.  I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. Once I had finished the polishing I gave it final coat of oil and set it aside to dry.    With Bob’s pipes I am always excited to be on the homestretch and seeing the final look when it is put back together, polished and waxed. I put the bowl and stem back together. I polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the briar and the vulcanite. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The birdseye grain on the sides of the bowl and the cross grain on the front and back looked good with the polished black vulcanite. This Stanwell made Danish Sovereign Danish Style Bulldog was another fun pipe to work on thanks to Jeff’s cleanup work. The combination of various brown stains really makes the pipe look attractive. It is a comfortable pipe to hold in the hand. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¼ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This one will go on the rebornpipes store shortly if you would like to carry on Bob’s legacy with it. No worries though, I have a lot more to work on of various brands. Perhaps one of those will catch your attention. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. This is an interesting estate to bring back to life.

Another Bob Kerr Estate – A Stanwell Jubilee 1942-1982 Shape 118


Blog by Steve Laug

I am having some fun with Bob’s pipes now that Jeff has done the cleanup on them. When I was doing both the cleanup and restoration it was slow moving and tedious as he had smoked these pipes last in the 90s and the cake was rock hard and the pipes were dirty. The next pipe is a Stanwell Jubilee 1942-1982 Freehand designed by Sixteen Ivarrson. It is a shape 118 which is a saddle stem Danish take on a pot. This is another of Bob’s Stanwell pipes that I am working on. I am cleaning them for the family and moving them out into the hands of pipemen and women who will carry on the trust that began with Bob and in some pipes was carried on by Bob. In the collection there were 19 Peterson’s pipes along with a bevy of Dunhills, some Comoy’s and Barlings as well as a lot of other pipes – a total of 125 pipes along with a box of parts. This is the largest estate that I have had the opportunity to work on. I put together a spread sheet of the pipes and stampings to create an invoice. I was taking on what would take me a fair amount of time to clean up. I could not pass up the opportunity to work on these pipes though. They were just too tempting. This beautiful Stanwell is an interesting and unique shape to work on.

Stanwell did a great job on the shape and finish of this pipe. The layout of the shape to the grain is perfect with birdseye on the sides and cross grain on the front and back of the bowl. It is a beauty. To me the shape is a Danish take on a pot – though with the rounded bottom and scooped bowl it has come a long way. The pipe is stamped Stanwell in script. Below that it is stamped Jubilee with the dates 1942-1982 over Made in Denmark. To me a jubilee is 50 years and this only commemorates 40 years but that is Stanwell’s decision! The bowl has a rich contrasting brown stain that makes the grain pop. There was a thick cake in the bowl with remnants of tobacco stuck on the walls. There was a fair lava overflow built up on the rim top. The edges of the rim and top are dirty but look pretty pristine under the grime. It was a beautiful pipe that was dirty and tired looking. The stem was lightly oxidized with a lot of tooth chatter and marks on both sides near the button. Again, surprisingly it did not have the deep tooth marks that I have come to expect from Bob’s pipes. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work on it. Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the lava build up on the edges of the bowl. It was thick and hard but hopefully it had protected the rim and edges from damage. The edges look pretty good. Jeff took a photo of the heel of the bowl to show the condition of the finish. You can see the beautiful cross grain running from side to side and the birdseye on the side of the bowl. Though the pipe is quite dirty the grain and layout are stunning. This is a gorgeous pipe. Jeff took photos of the stamping on the underside of the bowl and shank. Together the two photos capture the stamping that wrapped up the sides a bit. The stamping was readable as you can see from the photos. It read as noted above. On the right side of the shank is the shape number 118. The third photo shows the gold inlaid Crown S on the left side of the stylized saddle stem. Jeff took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the tooth chatter, scratching and oxidation on the stem surface and wear on the edges of the button. Since I already had a pretty good idea of when the pipe was made from the stamping – Jubilee 1942-1982 I did not need to do much research on that. The pipe obviously was a commemorative of the 40 years of Stanwell history made around 1982. I also knew that the shape was designed by Sixten Ivarrson. I am including the link on Pipedia’s article on Stanwell as it is a great read in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Stanwell).

With over 125 pipes to clean from Bob’s estate I took a batch of them to the states with me on a recent visit and left them with Jeff so he could help me out. I am really glad that Jeff cleaned the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness that I really appreciate. This one was a real mess and I did not know what to expect when I unwrapped it from his box. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. The finish looks very good with good looking grain around the bowl and shank. Jeff soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked very good. I took photos before I started my part of the work. I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. Once again Jeff did a remarkable job in his cleanup of the rim top. The bowl and the rim top look very good. The grain really stands out and the edges look very good. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the lack of tooth marks on the stem surface. You can also see the slight wear to the button edge.Since this is another pipe Bob’s estate I am sure that some of you have read at least some of the other restoration work that has been done on the previous pipes. You have also read what I have included about Bob Kerr, the pipeman who held these pipes in trust before I came to work on them (see photo to the left). Also, if you have followed the blog for long you will already know that I like to include background information on the pipeman whose pipes I am restoring. For me, when I am working on an estate I really like to have a sense of the person who held the pipes in trust before I worked on them. It gives me another dimension of the restoration work. I asked Brian if he or his wife would like to write a brief biographical tribute to her father, Bob. His daughter worked on it and I received the following short write up on him and some pictures to go along with the words including one of Bob’s carvings. Once again I thank you Brian and tell your wife thank you as well.

I am delighted to pass on these beloved pipes of my father’s. I hope each user gets many hours of contemplative pleasure as he did. I remember the aroma of tobacco in the rec room, as he put up his feet on his lazy boy. He’d be first at the paper then, no one could touch it before him. Maybe there would be a movie on with an actor smoking a pipe. He would have very definite opinions on whether the performer was a ‘real’ smoker or not, a distinction which I could never see but it would be very clear to him. He worked by day as a sales manager of a paper products company, a job he hated. What he longed for was the life of an artist, so on the weekends and sometimes mid-week evenings he would journey to his workshop and come out with wood sculptures, all of which he declared as crap but every one of them treasured by my sister and myself. Enjoy the pipes, and maybe a little of his creative spirit will enter you!

Now on to the rest of the restoration on this Stanwell Jubilee shape 118. Since Jeff had done such an amazing clean up job on the bowl it was very easy for me. Because it was smooth briar and seemed to show some fine scratches in the finish I decided to do a bit of polishing on the bowl. When this is the case I polish the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wipe the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust. The outcome of the polishing is a rich deep shine that is only enhanced by the wax at the end of the process. I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm at this point in the process. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth and shoe brush to raise the shine. I use this product on every pipe that I work on as it really works. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the tooth indentations on the top and underside with a “Bic” style lighter. Since vulcanite has memory the dents lifted nicely and I would be able to lightly sand the stem to remove the remaining marks.  I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to break up the oxidation. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to remove the scratching. It is starting to look good. I rubbed the stem down with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish. I have a few tins of this laying around so I am trying to use them up. It does a pretty good job polishing the stem.   I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. Once I had finished the polishing I gave it final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. With Bob’s pipes I am always excited to be on the homestretch and seeing the final look when it is put back together, polished and waxed. I put the bowl and stem back together. I polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the briar and the vulcanite. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The birdseye grain on the sides of the bowl and the cross grain on the front and back looked good with the polished black vulcanite. This Stanwell Jubilee 118 Ivarrson design was another fun pipe to work on thanks to Jeff’s cleanup work. It really has that classic Stanwell finish that catches the eye. The combination of various brown stains really makes the pipe look attractive. It is a comfortable pipe to hold in the hand. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. I am seriously thinking of keeping this one in my own collection and carrying on Bob’s legacy with it. No worries though, I have a lot more to work on of various brands. Perhaps one of those will catch your attention. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. This is an interesting estate to bring back to life.