Blog by Henry Ramirez
Saw this mousey looking pipe with a clicker stem on EBay. Nobody seemed to want it so I took it home to practice my dent steaming. The stem attaches with a loud click and some research told me it was named after Vernon Dunhill, who was responsible for the fitment’s design. It was designed to allow the stem to be separated from the bowl even when the pipe was hot from recent smoking. It had the earlier square tip tube rather than the later angled tip. The stem had a funky downward cant before the button and it strongly resembled my Kaywoodie Allbriars. Boy they nailed that briar stain to the oxidized Cumberland stem color! The bowl rim was dented/chipped and the surface scratched. The stem and the button were in fine shape so the usual soak in Oxyclean to remove the smegma followed by a trip to the oven to allow the stem to straighten itself.The metal tube is removable from the keeper which is part of the stem. I have seen examples of the opposite where the keeper is integral to the shank. These pipes seem to have been mostly billiard Cumberlands but some exceptions exist. Both the tube and the keeper were polished with fine brass wool. I did reface the tube with a carborundum disk.The shank stampings were crisp but there seemed to be personalized script on the bottom long polished off.The dent on the bowl’s rim was the major distracting feature. I didn’t want to top the bowl and the briar dust/CA mixtures never seemed seamless to me. So I tried to fatten up the cellulose fibers with hot steam using my hand held steamer. This worked somewhat and had the advantage of pin pointing the area to be steamed. Not satisfied, I decided to fall back on the hot iron on a wet kitchen towel technique. This did a better job, I think because it affected a larger area. The problem then became one of restaining this larger area to match the rest of the pipe.
Restaining the pipe became somewhat of a chase your tail love’s labor, trying light brown, medium brown and the finally dark brown in various concentrations followed by isopropyl alcohol on a gauze sponge scrubbings.
So, I think I’m going to someday re-stain the whole pipe dark brown to try to better match the Cumberland stem while learning to love the residual dent on the rim. The only home run here was the straightening of the stem to its original straight shape. Thanks for looking, regards, Henry.