by Kenneth Lieblich
Next on the chopping block is beautiful Danish pipe from Stanwell. I acquired it locally from the estate of an old boy who kept a lovely collection of pipes. The shape of this pipe is a Liverpool – a member of the Canadian pipe family. For some reason, the Liverpool is far less common than the Canadian. Both types have a shank length 1½ to 2 times the height of the bowl. The difference between the two is as follows: the Canadian has an oval-shaped shank whereas the Liverpool has a round-shaped shank. This Stanwell Liverpool is so charming that I was tempted to keep for myself, but, as a life-long Manchester United fan, I cannot have anything named Liverpool in my home! As I mentioned, this is a Stanwell de Luxe 298 Liverpool. It has beautiful briar from the bowl all the way down the long shank to a short-but-elegant stem. The left side of the shank reads Stanwell [over] Regd. No. 969-48 [over] de Luxe. The right side of the shank reads Fine Briar [over] 298. Finally, the stem’s left side also has the trademark S of the Stanwell company. Of course, 298 refers to the model number and I went to check the list of Stanwell shapes, here on Reborn Pipes. There was no 298 on this list. Hmm. Well, I did find some images from an old Stanwell catalogue (rather vaguely dated as 1960-70). The image below does not mention a shape “298”, but it does show a “98” which looks very similar to the pipe I have. I am assuming that there is a connection.I know from information at Pipephil that the pipe I have is certainly more than 50 years old – and this corresponds to the catalogue above. My pipe has both the “Regd. No.” and the S logo without a crown. This screen capture explains that clearly.Meanwhile, Pipedia has a good amount of information on the Stanwell brand and its history. I certainly recommend looking it over: https://pipedia.org/wiki/Stanwell.
Anyway, this really is a good-looking pipe. No major issues to resolve – just a few minor ones. The stem was dirty, though not too beat up. There were some small scratches and a couple of bite marks, as well as some oxidation and calcification on the vulcanite. The rim on the stummel was blackened and a bit burnt – that would need to be addressed. The insides were fairly dirty and would need some work to clean out. In addition, there was a strange colour to the wood that just wasn’t right. The stem was first on my list. I wiped down the outside of the stem with Murphy’s Oil Soap on some cotton pads. There was enough calcification on the stem that I decided to take a blade and gently scrape it off. I also took a BIC lighter and ‘painted’ the stem with its flame in order to lift the bite marks and dents. Unfortunately, this didn’t really work, but I have ways of sorting this out. Then, I cleaned out the inside with pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. It wasn’t too dirty and only required a few pipe cleaners.I then wiped down the stem with SoftScrub cleaner to remove some surface oxidation. Once this process was done, the stem went for an overnight soak in the Pipe Stem Oxidation Remover. As the name suggests, this liquid removes oxidation, but, more than anything, it helps draw oxidation to the surface of the vulcanite. This allows me to clean the oxidation off in a couple of ways: both by applying a mild abrasive cleaner to the surface, then by sanding the stem. The next day, I used SoftScrub again with some cotton rounds and, as you can see, more revolting colour came off the stem.The bite marks on and around the button had to be dealt with, so I whipped out my black cyanoacrylate adhesive to fill those in and let them fully cure. After curing, I used some nail polish to restore the letter S on the stem. I painted the area carefully and let it fully set before proceeding.For sanding the adhesive, I used 220- and 400-grit sandpapers to meld seamlessly into the stem. Then I used a set of nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) which gradually erased the ravages of time and brought out the stem’s lovely black lustre. For the last five pads, I also lightly coated the stem with Obsidian Pipe Stem Oil in between each scrubbing. At last, I set the finished stem aside. Off to work on the stummel! The bowl needed a bit of reaming, so I used the PipNet Reamer to scrape off the built-up cake and I followed that with 220-grit sandpaper taped to a dowel to eliminate as much as possible. Generally, I prefer to sand the chamber down to bare briar. When restoring, it is important to ensure that there is no damage to the briar in the bowl, under the cake. Fortunately, there were no hidden flaws to the briar on this pipe. I then proceeded to clean out the insides of the shank with Q-tips, pipe cleaners, and lemon-infused isopropyl alcohol. There was a bit of filth inside this stummel and it took a fair amount of cotton to get it clean. I followed that up by cleaning the insides with some dish soap and tube brushes. I decided to de-ghost the pipe in order to remove any lingering smells of the past. I thrust cotton balls into the bowl and the shank and saturated them with 99% isopropyl alcohol. I let the stummel sit overnight. This caused any remaining oils, tars and smells to leach out into the cotton. The bowl was nice and clean after this. I used cotton rounds and some Murphy’s Oil Soap to scrub the outside of the stummel and a toothbrush with Murphy’s for the lava on the rim of the pipe. With the lava on the rim removed, I could see that the burn marks remained (see the photo below).In order to remove the remaining burns, I “topped” the pipe – that is to say, I gently and evenly sanded down the rim on a piece of 220-grit sandpaper. I enhanced this further by running the same sandpaper along the inside edge of the rim and creating a very subtle (and beautiful) chamfer. This effectively removed the damage, without altering the look of the pipe. This is always a tricky business – I want to find the balance between removing old burns and maintaining as much of the pipe as possible. But I believe that the photos at the end of this blog show that I got the balance right.
As I mentioned earlier, there were some remnants of an oxblood-like stain on the wood. I’m not sure if this was the original colour of the pipe or if it was added later, but – regardless – it didn’t look good at all. I hoped (and expected) that sanding would help this problem. I used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) on the stummel to make it lovely and smooth. However, not all of the colour was gone, so I removed it with 99% isopropyl alcohol and other stuff I had on hand. It looked so much better with that colour gone.
At this point, I rubbed some Before & After Restoration Balm into the briar and left it to sit for 10 or 15 minutes. I brushed it with a horsehair brush and buffed it with a microfibre cloth. The BARB does wonderful things to the wood, and I really like the natural colour of the briar. Finally, it was off for a trip to the bench polisher. A dose of White Diamond and a few coats of carnauba wax were the perfect complement to the briar. The lovely shine made the wood look absolutely beautiful. This pipe is elegant, light, and incredibly comfortable to hold. I thoroughly enjoyed bringing this Stanwell de Luxe 298 Liverpool back to life and I am pleased to announce that this pipe is for sale! If you are interested in acquiring it for your collection, please have a look in the “Danish” pipe section of the store here on Steve’s website. You can also email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. The approximate dimensions of the Stanwell are as follows: length 6 in. (152 mm); height 2 in. (50 mm); bowl diameter 1⅛ in. (29 mm); chamber diameter ¾ in. (19 mm). The weight of the pipe is 1⅛ oz. (33 g). I hope you enjoyed reading the story of this restoration as much as I enjoyed restoring it. If you are interested in more of my work, please follow me here on Steve’s website or send me an email. Thank you very much for reading and, as always, I welcome and encourage your comments.