Blog by Steve Laug
I think I must be on a bit of a roll with restemming some of the bowls I have collected over the years. I decided to do yet another one that has been here for a very long time. The pipe I chose to work on first is a lovely Bent Billiard stummel with a sandblast finish and a smooth panels on the sides of the bowl. The bowl looked very good. The blast, while not deep was quite nice and a the smooth panels had some interesting grain. The rim top was in excellent condition. The interior of the bowl was clean and there were not any chips, cracks or checking on the walls. The finish was dull and bit and tired but still quite redeemable. The stamping on the pipe was clear and readable. On the underside of the bowl an shank it read 983 followed by Royal Danish [over] Made in Denmark. I took some photos of the bowl before I started to work on it. I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable.I went through some of stems and found this fancy saddle style stem that was close to the right diameter and had a tenon that would work as well. It has a few tooth marks and chatter near the button but it would clean up well.I knew that I was working on a Stanwell second from previous experience but decided to have a look on Pipephill anyway (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-r6.html). I have included a screen capture of the information that was present there.Pipedia also verifies that it is a Stanwell second (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Danish).
Armed with the confirmation about the maker of the pipe it was time to work on the pipe itself. I started my work on it by fitting the new stem to the shank. I trimmed down the tenon diameter slightly with a file so that the fit in the shank was snug. The stem diameter needed more work so I worked on it with 180 grit sandpaper to match it to the shank. I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the shank fit. I heated the stem with a heat gun to bend it to the correct angle to match the flow of the bowl and shank.I removed the stem and turned my attention to the bowl of the pipe. I sanded the inside of the bowl with a piece of dowel wrapped 2w9th 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the walls and further check them for issues. Fortunately the bowl was in excellent condition. I used a brass bristle wire brush to clean off the remaining debris in the sandblast finish on the rim top.I cleaned out the internals of the pipe and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners to remove the sanding debris on both. It also removed any remnants of tars and oils in the shank and stem.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my finger tips and a shoe brush to get into the valleys and crevices of the blast finish. The product is amazing and works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let it sit on the briar for 10 or more minutes and then buff it off with a soft cloth. It really makes the briar come alive and look quite rich. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth marks and smoothed out the sanding I had done on the diameter of the saddle portion of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a cloth and Obsidian Oil. I finished the polishing with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. I put the pipe together – the bowl with its new stem. This restored and restemmed Royal Danish 983 Sandblast Bent Billiard turned out to be a real beauty. I think the chosen stem works well with it. The finish on the bowl came alive with the buffing. I used Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel on both the bowl and stem. I gave both multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel then buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The Royal Danish Bent Billiard feels great in the hand. It is lightweight and the contrast in the browns of the sandblast and smooth briar and the polished vulcanite stem with the popping grain on the mixed brown stained bowl is quite amazing. The dimensions of the pipe are Length:5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.16 ounces/33 grams. It really is a beauty. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store in the Danish Pipe Makers section shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Thanks for walking through the restemming and the restoration with me. Cheers.