Tag Archives: Stanwell Pipes

Refreshing a Beautiful, Danish Made Stanwell Majestic 64 Freehand


Blog by Steve Laug

Today was a good day in the shop. I brought the third pipe to the work table today. It is a Stanwell Majestic shape 64 with a nice plateau top. The briar itself was in good shape. There were a lot of small nicks and dents in the sides of the briar. Other than being faded, the finish was in great shape. The plateau on the rim was faded and you could see remnants of tars and oils in the nooks and crannies of the rim top. The inner and outer edges of the bowl were undamaged. The pipe was stamped on the left side of the stem with the words Stanwell Made in Denmark over Majestic. On the right side it was stamped with the shape number 64. There was no other stamping on the pipe. The stem was oxidized and there was tooth chatter on the top and underside near the button. Jeff sent me these photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup process.The late Bas Stevens was the master at identifying Stanwell shapes tying the shape number to the designer. The shape 64 came in two variations – a Freehand with a saddle stem and a bent billiard with a full taper stem. This one is clearly the Freehand variation having a plateau top and a saddle mouthpiece. It was designed by Sixten Ivarsson (https://rebornpipes.com/tag/shape-numbers-and-designers-of-stanwell-pipes/).The stamping on the pipe is very readable. The left side of the shank is stamped Stanwell over Made in Denmark over Majestic. The Stanwell Crown S is stamped on the left side of the saddle stem. The right side of the shank bears the 64 shape number stamp.The rim top looked to be in good shape – dirty but sound.The lightly oxidized stem had tooth chatter on the top and underside. It did not appear to be deep in the vulcanite and should clean up easily.Jeff cleaned up this beautiful pipe with his usual methodical thoroughness. He reamed the bowl clean with a PipNet reamer and touched it up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife. He scrubbed internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs leaving the airways in the shank, mortise and stem very clean. He scrubbed the externals with Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the grime and the old waxes on the bowl and rim. He soaked the stem in OxyClean to bring the oxidation to the surface of the vulcanite. When the pipe arrived in Vancouver I took the following photos. The rim was very clean and faded. They were generally black or at least dark with the high spots on the plateau showing through with the same brown as the rest of the stummel. The nooks and crannies were black and the high spots brown. The inner and outer edge of the bowl were in perfect condition.The stem was lightly oxidized and surface of the vulcanite on the topside was pitted with small holes and nicks. It was hard to capture that issue with the photos but it was there and would need to be addressed if I was to polish the stem to a rich shine. I put the stem in the Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and left it to soak overnight. I keep the mixture in a flat plastic tray with a cover. I dropped the stem into the mixture and made sure that it was completely covered with the mixture. I put the lid on the tray and set it aside to soak. I have referred to the latest use of this product in the past three blogs because I am putting it through its paces to see how the product delivers. I was skeptical when I first started using it but I have to admit that I am becoming less skeptical the more I use it. If you are interested in trying the product, I purchased the Deoxidizer from a guy on Facebook. His name is Mark Hoover and he is on the Gentlemen’s Pipe Smoking Society Group on Facebook. He has a pen making site where you can email and order the deoxidizer and the polishes (http://www.lbepen.com/). While the stem soaked I began my work on the bowl. I restained the plateau top on the bowl with a black aniline stain that I applied with a cotton swab making sure to get the stain deep in the grooves. I use a cotton swab because it enables me to keep the stain off of the sides of the bowl. I let the stain dry for a few moments and sipped a hot coffee.Once it had basically dried I polished the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with damp cotton pads after each sanding pad. When I finished with the 12000 grit pad I wiped the bowl down with olive oil on a paper towel to enliven the briar and highlight the colour. The next morning I removed the stem from the Deoxidizer and dried it off with a paper towel. I let the excess deoxidizer drip off into the tray before wiping it down. The oxidation came off and stained the paper a dark brown. The top surface of the stem was pitted near the button. I filled in the pits with clear super glue. Once it had dried I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to blend in the repair to the surface of the stem. Once I had smoothed out the repairs it was time to polish the stem. I polished it with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. After sanding with the 12000 grit pad I gave it a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. I buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I worked over the bowl sides and the stem to polish out the last of the scratches in the surface of both. I gave the bowl and stem with multiple coats of carnauba wax to protect the briar and the vulcanite. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine on the pipe. I used a microfiber cloth to hand buff it and give it a deeper shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is a beautiful example of the Stanwell Freehand shape 64. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outer diameter: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ inches. I will be posting this on the rebornpipes store so if you would like to add it to your collection you can wait until I add it or you can email me at slaug@uniserve.com or message me on Facebook. Thanks for walking with me through this restoration.

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Burn through Repair – Salvage of a Worthy Stanwell Rouge 109 Sand Blasted Ball


Blog by Dal Stanton

Stephen, a friend visiting Bulgaria from Rainbow City, Alabama, and I were walking through the Antique Market in the shadow of Nevski Cathedral in center city Sofia, when I my roving ‘pipe eyes’ spied an unbelievably nice looking, hefty, handful of a sand blasted Ball or Apple shaped pipe waiting on a table gratuitously mixed with WWII paraphernalia, old Communist memorabilia, skeleton keys and an assortment of cork screws, lighters and want-a-be Rolex watches.  This pipe, though, was the real deal.  With Stephen by my side, I did my best not to lock my eyes on the prize.  Finally, after I gave serious non-interested examination of the seller’s other offerings, I picked up the pipe and gave it a cursory, equally, non-interested look over.  As I looked down into the chamber, I saw my opportunity.  There was daylight at the bottom of the chamber – a hole, my leverage for the negotiation.  A quintessential burn through.  With my index finger at the chamber floor, it was sharply wedged downwardly so that the wearing, digging and burning finally was more than the briar could handle.  Turning the pipe over in my hand I read the nomenclature stamped on the underside of the shank – STANWELL (barely visible in the blasted briar) [over] ROUGE 109 [over] MADE IN DENMARK.  The hefty sand blasted stummel received my initial attention, and then the vulcanite shank extension I had not seen too often.  I laughed after the seller gave me his opening volley.  At the end of the day, both Stephen and I were happy.  The deal struck for the Stanwell Rouge was very satisfactory given that the hole in the bottom of the pipe just would not go away no matter what the seller said.  As we headed to the Metro Subway, Stephen proposed that he become the next steward of the Stanwell after I tackled the burn through.  So, some time later, Stephen emailed me from Alabama, saying he was still interested in the Stanwell.  Now on my worktable here in Sofia, Bulgaria, the time has come to recommission him. Here are the pictures from my worktable.  I recalled that Steve had posted a blog by Bas Stevens, who, according to Steve, was one of the foremost authorities on Stanwell pipes (See: LINK HERE).  Bas Steven’s extensive list of Stanwell shape numbers and designers also included this Rouge’s shape 109, which is described as:  109. Flat, ball-shaped bowl, slightly bent, full mouthpiece.

I did searches on Rouge and I could not find a Stanwell listing for only ‘Rouge’ but ‘Royal Rouge’ was evident.  This BollitoPipe.it listing has for sale, a ‘Royal Rouge’ 109 which is a smooth version described with information that matches the ‘Rouge’ in dimension with the difference of the briar shank compared to the vulcanite extension on my Rouge. Pipedia’s site links to Stanwell catalogues shows this 2008 9mm catalogue listing the 109 shape (2nd down on left) with others.  Rouge simply means ‘Red’ in French which is a good description of what the Rouge’s sand blasted stummel formerly revealed, as the ‘Royal Rouge’ exemplifies above.  The Danish pipe company, Stanwell, according to Pipedia’s article closed its doors in 2009 ending an interesting chapter of pipe history as the only remaining pipe manufacturer in Scandinavia.  The ‘Stanwell’ name moved to Italy where pipes were produced bearing the name since 2010.  The ‘Made in Denmark’ on the Rouge indicates that it was produce pre-2010 before the closing.  With a better appreciation for the Stanwell Rouge 109 before me, the first thing I do in his recommissioning is to put the stem in an OxiClean bath after putting petroleum jelly on the Stanwell Crown stamping to protect it. Before I tackle the repair of the burn-through the stummel’s heel, I like working on clean pipes because it helps with the assessment of needs.  I start by carefully reaming the bowl to remove the light carbon build up.  I say, “careful” because the floor of the fire chamber is dangerously thin.  The last thing I want is the floor to drop through!  For the gentle approach, I use the Savinelli Pipe Knife and work the sides of the chamber without reaching too deeply.  Next, I take 240 grit paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen and sand the chamber ridding it of more carbon and exposing fresh briar.  Finally, I wipe the chamber out with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol.  Using undiluted Murphy’s Oil soap, a cotton pad and a bristled tooth brush, I scrub the exterior of the sand blasted bowl working the brush well into the surface as well as the rim (pictured below) before starting the cleaning.  The surface had a good bit of grime.  The good news is the rim is in good shape – it still shows the blasted sculpting over it, though it is darkened. Now to the internals of the stummel – using pipe cleaners and cotton swabs and isopropyl 95%, I clean the internals.  Oh my.  This old boy I believe was like the old proverbial horse saying, ‘he’s been road hard and put up wet’!  There was no end to the gunk in the mortise.  I scraped it with straight edge files and small screw drivers, and with scads of cotton swabs – the effort was immense to clean the internals.  After some time, things would start to look up, I would scrape a bit more and it was like I was starting over.  Yet thankfully, eventually the tide turned.  The picture shows the aftermath.The stem has been soaking in the OxiClean bath and I take it out to reveal the raised oxidation on the stem.  The petroleum jelly is still intact covering the Stanwell stem Crown stamping, protecting it from the OxiClean process. I start by putting a disk between the stem and the shank to protect the stem from shouldering as I wet sand with 600 grade sanding paper to remove the raised oxidation.  Then, I had one of those ‘Duh!’ moments – the shank extension on the stummel is also vulcanite with a white acrylic divider.  Removing the disk, I treat the two together.  First, with the shank extension, I lightly use 240 grit sanding paper around the extension because it did not have the benefit of the OxiClean bath.  I do this to loosen the oxidation.  Then, with the shank and stem united I wet sand using the 600 grade paper, careful to protect the stem Crown stamping. With this completed, I look to the bit area with minor tooth chatter. Using 240 grit paper I sand the chatter out, following with 600 grit again, then finish off this phase of the stem’s polishing using 0000 grade steel wool over the entire shank and stem.  To try to remove any oxidation in the Stanwell Crown stem stamp, I use a MagicEraser sponge to apply a non-abrasive cleaner.  The pictures show the progress with the stem. With the stem completed up to the micromesh phase, I put it aside to focus on the stummel repairs.  I have been developing the plan since I first saw this incredibly desirable and redeemable Stanwell Rouge beckoning on the table in the Antique Market.  There are two main steps in the burn through repair.  The first is to patch the external presentation of the stummel using a putty created from CA glue and briar dust.  This patch will fill the hole leaving an external mound for eventual sanding and shaping aiming at blending with the sand blasted finish.  When the Briar Dust Putty is applied from the external side, there also will form an internal mounding as the putty presses through the hole.  This is good and desired.  This internal mound will form the primary internal encasing of the burn through area, which is extremely thin and therefore weakened.  This internal covering of Briar Putty will form the hole fill as well as the initial reinforcement of the chamber floor.  The second step is to augment this initial reinforcement internally by using JB Weld.  I first saw the use of this from Charles Lemon on Dad’s Pipes.  I will mix a batch of JB Weld and apply it on top of the patch area and rebuild and level the floor of the fire chamber, bringing the new floor almost up to the draft hole.  That is the theoretical plan – of course, the best laid plans are often…. You know the story 😊!

I begin by taking another close picture of the external hole area as well as the floor of the chamber, with a pipe cleaner inserted to mark the gap the new floor will need to fill.  This marks the starting point.  The second picture below does not reveal the depth, but I estimate a good, 3 to 4 mm between the hole and the draft hole level.  I clean the stummel external surface with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol.  The pictures show the prep. Using an index card, I mix briar dust and Hot Stuff Special ‘T’ CA Instant Glue (thicker) with a toothpick to form a putty.  I’m shooting for the thickness of molasses so that the putty will not run and spread but stay where I apply it.  When the putty reaches the viscosity I desire, I apply the putty to the hole pressing it through until I achieve sufficient mounding on the inside.  As I press the putty through with the toothpick, the putty spreads out a bit more than I desire.  I use an accelerator on the inside and outside to cure the putty more rapidly.  I take pictures to mark the completion of step one.  It will be tricky filing and sanding on the sand blasted surface, but not impossible with patience.  As I reflect further, a different approach that may have lessened the mounding on the external side would have been to apply the putty internally and pushed it through…. The approaches for smooth briar and blasted briar may not be the same! Next time. I’m back to the worktable after a day’s work and unfortunately, in the back of my mind the application of briar dust putty to the external surface as I did yesterday, has blossomed in my mind into a colossal blunder!  In my mind, I picture the way I should have done it and it was perfect – in my mind!  But, I have a salvage plan coming together, also in my mind and my hope is that my blunder might spare others from the same fate 😊.

Before I work on the salvage plan coming together in my mind, I will complete the floor build-up using JB Weld.  One of the difficulties that I’ve thought about is a delivery system – how to get the JB Weld mixture to the chamber floor where it’s needed and not smeared on chamber walls trying to place it.  I’ve come up with plan of using a plastic bottle nozzle as the delivery system – load the mixture in the nozzle and force it down with a dowel rod and cotton swab.  It looks like it should work. I also insert a pipe cleaner into the airway to protect the draft hole from being clogged by the JB Weld.  It also helps me know where the floor should be.  The mixture sets up in about 4 minutes after the Hardener and Steel are combined.  Thankfully, everything works as hoped.  I take pictures through the process. Regarding the external surface patch mound, I realize that with a sandblasted surface it will be very difficult to remove the entire patch mound by filing and sanding as is the method with smooth briar.  This will damage the blasted briar surface.  After doing research on the internet, I discover that acetone dissolves CA glue.  Acetone is the primary active ingredient in nail polish removers.  What I’m hoping is a salvage plan; I begin by filing the patch mound down as far as possible without impacting the surface briar terrain. I then apply acetone to the remaining patch mound with a cotton swab to dissolve the surface overflow of the patch.  I work the briar dust patch with the cotton swab and gradually the surface patch begins to loosen and dissolve.  I’m encouraged.  I continue patiently, allowing the acetone to set its own pace.  The putty patch dissolves toward the center and leaves ridges which I scrape with my fingernail.  At the end of the process, I am relieved – it works. Not only did it work, but the blending is incredible!  I cannot see where the hole was without very close scrutiny.  The blunder becomes a teachable moment and a bit more experience for future restorations!  The pictures tell the story and I’m thankful a disaster was averted with this Stanwell. The next day, after several hours of curing for the JB Weld, I look at the new rebuilt floor of the chamber.  I rub my finger over it and it, as expected, is flat.  I want to introduce a slightly bowled chamber bottom.  To do this I employ the round grinding stone attachment which I mount on the Dremel.  I will remove just enough of the JB Weld floor to create this bowl.  With the speed at 40%, I start in the center with a circular motion creating the initial rounding.  I gradually expand it outwardly by moving it in circular motions.  This works well.  Afterwards, I use 240 grit paper to sand it more and wipe the bowl out with a cotton pad and alcohol to clean the chamber.  Done.  Later, near the end of the project, I will coat the chamber with a mixture of activated charcoal dust and sour cream that will form a hard base for forming a new cake for the bowl.  Bowl repair officially complete.  Yes! Before I address the Rouge’s stummel finish, I continue the sanding and finishing of the vulcanite shank extension so it doesn’t get in the way. I reattach the stem and beginning with micromesh pads 1500 to 2400, I wet sand the extension and stem and then apply Obsidian Oil to the vulcanite.  At this point I realize that I have forgotten to clean the internals of the stem (again!).  Before moving on, I clean the airway and the 9mm filter bay – which really needed some cleaning.  With a ‘proof of cleaning’ picture taken, I follow by dry sanding the extension and stem with pads 3200 to 4000, then 6000 to 12000.  After each set of three, I apply Obsidian Oil to the stem and extension to revitalize the vulcanite.  While sanding, I notice that the stem is a bit loose in the mortise extension.  I will look at this later.  The stem and extension look good! Turning now to the Stanwell Rouge’s stummel, and it is evident that the historic color of this stout, blasted ball shape was in keeping with its namesake – red.  My sense is a deeper burgundy tone would fit well.  My plan is to use 2 parts Fiebing’s Oxblood Leather Dye with 1 part of Fiebing’s Black Leather Dye.  I want it on the darker side.  Let’s see what happens!  Taking a close look at the stummel, I probe around with the sharp dental tool and see that there’s bits of dust and residues in the crevices of the blasted texture of the briar.  I use a cotton pad and alcohol to clean the stummel, and I use a bristled brush as well to dislodge debris.  I then tightly wrap masking tape around the vulcanite extension so that the dye does not possibly impact it – in a note from Steve, he said that some vulcanite will absorb the stains, others not….  Better to be on the safe side.  I mix the dyes in a shot glass using a large dropper at 2 to 1, insert a cork in the shank as my handle – and then realize later that the shank extension works just fine as a handle.  I take a picture of the set-up.  I then warm the stummel with a hot air gun and then apply the 2 to 1 dye mixture to the stummel with a folded pipe cleaner.  I work the dye into the crevices – I want good coverage.  I then ‘fire’ the aniline dye and the alcohol immediately burns off and sets the dye pigment in the briar.  After a few minutes, I repeat the process and set the stummel aside to rest. With the stummel now resting, I want to freshen the Stanwell Crown stamp on the stem.  Using white acrylic paint, I dab a bit of paint over the Crown with a tooth pick.  After the paint sets well, I scrape the excess off gently with the flat edge of a toothpick which goes over the stamp patterns leaving color in the stamp.  It looks good.  I had noted that the stem was a bit loose when seated in the mortise.  As I slowly insert the stem into the mortise extension, it is properly snug until the very end – at home station.  The tightness is generated by the white acrylic divider garnishing the end of the extension.  This lets me know that the tenon has thinned only at the base – where it ties in to the stem.  I use Special ‘T’ CA glue and a manicure brush and paint a line around the circumference of the tenon base.  We’ll see if this tightens the stem a bit after the CA glue cures.  After several hours, I’m anxious to unwrap the fire crusted stummel.  With the surface being sand blasted, I use a softer cotton cloth buffing wheel on the Dremel instead of the felt wheel, that I use with smooth briar pipes.  The softer cotton wheel better navigates the textured blasted surface.  With the speed at 20%, I utilize Tripoli compound to remove the crusting and to begin the buffing process.  After a short time, I decide to up the speed to 40% and this works better with the cotton wheel.  I take a picture to show the unwrapping.  After completing with the Tripoli, I wipe the bowl down with a cotton pad and alcohol to blend the dye better.  Then, loading another cotton cloth wheel, I apply Blue Diamond compound to the stummel.  I am liking the very, very subtle oxblood reds tucked away in the contours of the 3-D grain of the sand blasted surface.  This was exactly the classic, smoking jacket effect I was aiming for.  I press on and after changing to another cotton cloth wheel, I apply carnauba wax to the stummel, shank extension and stem.   One last project.  I use a mixture of sour cream (or plain yogurt may be used) and activated charcoal powder to apply to the fire chamber wall.  When this mixture hardens, it provides a good foundation for a new carbon cake to grow – but the new steward needs to be gentle with this after the first few bowls, not scraping the chamber but simply using a folded over bristled pipe cleaner to rub the sides.  This will remove the needed leftovers but protect the walls.  Over time, a cake grows and life as usual!  After mixing the sour cream and charcoal powder to a non-running thickness (like mayonnaise), and inserting a pipe cleaner through the draft hole, using a pipe nail tool, I scoop the mixture into the bowl and spread it over the surface.  After spreading, I see that there is too much here and there as the mix thickened.  I would scoop a little out and spread again.  After it starts to dry, it is thicker.  It takes about 15 to 20 minutes for it to set totally.  I let it set for at least 24 hours before smoking the pipe.  The pictures show the progress.After the sour cream/charcoal powder mixture dries, I check the fit of the stem and shank extension after applying CA glue to tighten the fit.  The patch is too thick so I sand it down using 600 grade sanding paper until the stem slides into the mortise.  I fine tune the cleaning of the tenon and apply some Obsidian Oil to it.  I complete the restoration with a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to bring out the striking shine of this Stanwell Rouge.

I thought I was facing disaster with the burn through repair when I mounded briar dust putty on the external surface with no way of removing it without damaging the sand blasted briar grain.  Yet, I was bailed out by acetone.  Now, as I look at this Stanwell Rouge, I can’t believe I could see daylight through it and that most people would pass it by as a loss.  I’m glad to have restored it for his new steward.  I’m pleased with the subtle red – burgundy tones in the finish.  The hefty Ball shape is a distinctive presence in the palm and the sand blasted grain stands out well.  This Stanwell Rouge 109, Made in Denmark, is ready to go.  All my restorations benefit the work we do here in Bulgaria with the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Check out my blog, The Pipe Steward for more information about this, why I do what I do and other pipes I have for sale in the store!  Thanks for joining me!

Bringing a Stanwell Jubilee Sixten Ivarsson Design 10M back to life


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe in the lot that my brother brought back from the recent estate sale was a beautiful little Stanwell Acorn with a vulcanite shank extension. The pipe had some nice birdseye on the left side of the bowl and shank and a mix of grain around the rest of the bowl. The point at the bottom of the bowl has a ring of grain with a centre at the bottom and turning around the bowl up the front and back of the underside of the shank. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank Stanwell over Regd. No. (an illegible number) over Jubilee. On the right side it is stamped 10M which is the shape number. The shape is a design by Sixten Ivarsson that was done for Stanwell. It has a military mount stem. The Stanwell Crown S in on the shank extension rather than on the stem. The photos that follow are one that Jeff took of the pipe before he cleaned up to send to me.Jeff took close up photos of the rim and the bowl to show the condition. There was a light cake in the bowl with an overflow of lava on the crowned rim top. The next two photos show the grain on the sides of the bowl. The third photo shows the ring at the bottom of the bowl radiating up the bowl sides. It is a beautifully grain piece of briar that the shape fits very well. The next two photos show the stamping on the sides of the shank. The left side shows the Stanwell stamp clearly as well as the Jubilee stamp. It also shows the Crown S on the shank extension. There is a Regd. No. that is very faint and unreadable.The stem had the now familiar tooth chatter and marks the top and underside near the stem. The dents/marks on the underside were worse than those on the top side.My brother cleaned up the pipe as he usually does before he sends it to me. He did an amazing job cleaning up the interior and the exterior. When the pipe arrived in Vancouver it was absolutely clean on the inside. He had cleaned out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until it was spotless. He had scrubbed exterior with Murphy’s Oil Soap and removed all of the grime on the bowl sides and the lava build up on the rim. I took the next four photos to show what the pipe looked like when it arrived here. The finish looked really good. The shank extension and stem were lightly oxidized. I took a close up photo of the rim to show how well it cleaned up. There was some darkening on the rim top. The grain really stood out well on the crowned rim. The inner edge of the rim was in excellent condition.I took some photos of the stem top and underside to show the oxidation and the tooth chatter and marks on the surface near the button.I sanded the shank extension with micromesh sanding pads to remove the oxidation. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanded with 3200-12000 grit pads. I buffed the shank extension and the bowl with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to polish the vulcanite. I use an acrylic paint to fill in the Crown S on the left side of the shank extension. Once the paint dried I buffed it off with Blue Diamond to remove the excess paint and leave some in the stamped impression in the vulcanite. There is still some oxidation in the vulcanite of the extension that needed to be polished out but the buffing would take care of that. The photos tell the story.I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the oxidation on the surface. I followed that by sanding with 320 grit sandpaper to remove the scratches. I polished the stem with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil. I dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads and gave it a rub down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I buffed it with Blue Diamond between the 2400 and 3200 grit pads and between the 4000 and the 6000 grit pads. I gave it a final buff after the 12000 grit pad and gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set the stem aside to dry. I put the stem back in the shank extension and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I buffed it until the remaining scratches and oxidation were gone. The grain really began to stand out as I buffed the pipe. I gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax to protect the briar and the vulcanite. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is a beautifully grained pipe that is laid out well with the piece of briar. The dimensions are Length: 5 ¼ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside bowl diameter: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ inches. It is a pipe that I would normally hang on to for my own collection but I have a similar one already so I am going to put it on the rebornpipes store. It is available to anyone who wants to add it to their collection, their pipe rack. Just let me know if you are interested. Email me at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a private message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.

A Very Tired, Very Dirty Stanwell Bent Volcano with a cracked bowl


Blog by Steve Laug

Sometimes when I take in pipes for repair and restoration I am pretty stunned by the condition. This one obviously was an old favourite of the pipesmoker who brought it to me with 8 others in need of some TLC. I sat with him in my living room and went over the repair list of what needed to be done to bring it back to life. It had been restemmed before and the stem was good and heavy so it did not need to be replaced. There were tooth marks near the button on both sides of the stem. It had some deep oxidation that needed attention. Sometime in its life it had been buffed to the point that the stamping was all but gone on the underside of the shank. With a lens I could read Stanwell over Made in Denmark but all but one number of the shape number (1) was buffed away. The finish was sticky to touch from all the waxes and oils on the bowl. The sand blast was pretty worn away and now was shallow. The angled, tapered bowl had a thick cake and it had been reamed into almost an hour-glass shape. The rim top had an overflow of the tars on it and the blast was smooth. There was some damage on the front of the bowl from knocking the pipe out on something hard. There was a small crack on the left side of the bowl from the rim down about a 1/8 of an inch that would need to be repaired. From memory I knew that the bowl was drilled to follow the angle of the exterior of the bowl.When I turned the bowl over the bottom side was covered with cracks. There were four cracks of various sizes that did not go into the interior but rather sat on the surface of heel. They were all different in terms of depth and tended to follow the blast and cut across the ring grain. They were filled with grime and wax. The bottom of the bowl was a real mess.I took a close up photo of the rim to show the damage that had been done to it by reaming it with a knife rather than with a reamer. The cake was sticky and soft and what appeared to be an hourglass shape actually was not it followed the angled bowl walls. I was concerned that the inside of the bowl would also have cracks once the cake was removed. I recommended that we remove entire cake to assess the interior of the bowl. I also took a close up photo of the heel of the bowl to show the cracks.The stem was a replacement that was thick and well made. The fit against the shank was not too bad and there was little gap between the two parts. The stem was oxidized and there was come calcium build up on the first inch on both sides. There were tooth marks and tooth chatter on both sides of the stem near the button.The shank end shows how thick the buildup was inside of the shank. The tars and oils overflow the shank and show up on the end and walls. There were also two small holes drilled to the left and right of the mortise.I reamed the bowl with the PipNet reamer using the largest cutting head. Notice the angle of the cutting head as it shows the angle of the drilling of the bowl. I cleaned up the walls with a Savinelli Fitsall reaming knife.  I sanded the bowl with 180 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel. The third photo below shows the bowl after it has been sanded. I scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with acetone on cotton pads to remove the grime and the finish. The grime and oils came off the walls of the bowl and bowl sides and bottom to prepare the bowl for the repairs to the cracks. I drilled each end of all of the cracks with a microdrill bit on a Dremel. There were about 9 holes in the bottom of the bowl and two on the left side at the end of the shank.I put clear super glue into the cracks and pressed it down with a dental pick. I pressed briar dust into the glue and then put more dust in the glue and then more glue on top of the repair to seal it.I used a dental burr on the Dremel to rusticated the repaired areas on the bottom of the bowl and side to match them to the sand blast finish. I knocked off the rough areas of the rustication with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth it into the surrounding finish. The photos show the progress of this process. With the exterior cracks repaired and sealed I turned to work on the internals. The airway in the shank and the mortise was absolutely a mess. I used the drill bit from the KleenReem pipe reamer to clean out the airway into the bowl from the mortise. It was almost closed off with the tars and oils. I turned the bit into the airway until it was smooth. I used a dental spatula to scrape out the inside of the mortise. The scraped tars and oils can be seen in the photos below.There were two small drilled holes in the end of the shank on both sides of the mortise. I filled them in with super glue and briar dust. I cleaned out the inside the mortise and shank with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until they came out clean.The bowl smelled strongly of old tobacco and there were oils in the briar walls. I wanted to remove that smell as much as possible. I stuffed two cotton balls into the bowl, set it in the ice cube tray and used an ear syringe to fill it with alcohol. I left it standing overnight while it pulled the oils out of the briar bowl. In the morning the cotton was stained a yellow brown.I recleaned the mortise and airways after it had soaked using alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners.I stained the repaired areas on the bowl with a dark brown stain. I used a black Sharpie Pen to fill in some of the grooves in the briar and then restained it. I flamed it with a lighter to set the stain.I buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to raise a shine on the bowl. The photos below show the repaired areas and the blending into the surrounding briar. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I cleaned out the slot with a dental pick and pulled a lot of built up tars from there. I used a sharp knife to bevel the end of the tenon to open the air flow to the slot. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to break up the oxidation and to also remove the tooth chatter and some of the tooth marks. Some of them were too deep and they would need to be repaired later. I cleaned out the inside of the stem with alcohol and cotton swabs to remove the buildup in the airway. The slot was very narrow and it was hard to push pipe cleaners through the airway. I decided to open up the slot with needle files to facilitate easier cleaning with pipe cleaners. I did not want to change the shape of the slot, but merely wanted to make it wider and tapered smoothly into the airway. I used both large and small round, oval and flattened oval files to shape the slot. Once I had it large enough for a pipe cleaner to pass through easily I folded a piece of sandpaper and sanded the inside of the slot. I sanded the stem around the button with 220 grit sandpaper and filled in the remaining tooth marks with black super glue. I set the stem aside to dry overnight. In the morning I sanded the stem with more 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the repairs and blend them into the surface of the stem. I also reshaped the button and smoothed out the repairs I had made there. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil on a cloth to have a better look at where things were at. I noticed a small bubble in the patch on the underside of the stem once I had cleaned it so I put another drop of black superglue on it to fill it in. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each set of three pads. After the final set of pads I set the stem aside and let the oil dry. I mixed up a batch of pipe mud – water and cigar ash – and applied it to the inside of the bowl to provide protection to the bare walls while a new cake is formed. When it dried I put the stem on the bowl and buffed it with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. Blue Diamond is a plastic polish that comes in a block. I load the buffing pad with it and polish the stem and the bowl. I use a light touch on the bowl so that I don’t load up the grooves and crevices with the polish. I gave the stem and bowl multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise a shine to the finish. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The repairs on the bottom of the bowl blended in very well and those on the stem did also. This is the first of nine pipes that I am repairing for a guy who dropped them off at the house. It is ready for more years of service. Thanks for looking.

 

 

 

A Gold Banded Stanwell Copenhagen Calabash


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table is a striking Stanwell Calabash pipe with sandblasted body and smooth capped rim. The sandblast has exposed some wonderful ring grain around the bowl. The smooth wide rim typical of the calabash shape is wonderful birds-eye grain. The brass collar ring contrasts nicely with the dark stain of the sandblast shank. The gold crown S logo on the left side of the saddle stem combines with the other parts of the pipe to give this one a classic look. My brother Jeff found this Stanwell in an antique shop in Astoria, Oregon. It was on consignment by a widow who was selling her pipe collector husband’s collection. He bought a few of the pipes from her consignment and this is the second one that I have worked on. The first one was also a Stanwell – it was a shape 180 that was designed by Tom Eltang that I wrote about in an earlier blog (https://rebornpipes.com/2016/12/14/a-shape-you-gotta-love-a-stanwell-majestic-180/).cope1The finish on the sandblast portion was in great shape – just dirty with grit and grime. The rim cap however was another story. It had the overflow onto the top of the thick cake that was in the bowl. There was also some darkening of the inner edge of the rim. The brass band and the brass crown S logo on the stem were also dull and lifeless due to tarnishing. The stem was oxidized and had a buildup of calcification on both sides near the button. There were tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the stem and on the button. The slot in the button was nearly closed off with a thick tar.cope2My brother took two close up photos of the rim cap to show the condition of the inside of the bowl and the cap itself. There was a thick coat of tars and oils that is visible flowing over the back side of the cap. There were also several dings and dents in the cape itself though there was some nice birds-eye grain showing through the grime.cope3He also took a photo of the bowl bottom side up. The lovely bell shape of the pipe is visible from this view from the front.cope4The side view of the band and the shank/stem union shows that the connection is tight and clean. There is nothing wrong that a little polishing on the band and some elbow grease to remove the oxidation on the stem won’t take care of. The second photo below shows the stamping on the underside of the shank. It is very sharp and readable. It has the Stanwell stamp over Copenhagen over Calabash in script (it appears to have been double stamped). Beneath that it reads Made in Denmark (it is upside down in orientation to the rest of the stamping).cope5The next photos show the condition of the stem. You can see the tooth marks on the stem itself and the damage marks against the button on both sides. The calcification on the stem may have come for a Softee bit that the original owner had on the stem to protect it from more bite marks.cope6My brother Jeff again did a magnificent job cleaning up the pipe. He was able to get the grim out of the grooves and the majority of the buildup off the rim. He reamed and cleaned the interior of the pipe and stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I took the following photos to show the condition of the pipe when I received. It was on its way to being clean.cope7 cope8I took a close up photo of the rim to show how much of the tars and oils he removed. It is pretty clean. There was some darkening on the inner edge of the rim on the back side that would need to be dealt with.cope9He also removed much of the calcification on the stem and some of the debris on the surface of both sides. The photos also show the tooth marks and chatter that was on the stem.cope10I sanded the stem to remove the rest of the debris and calcification and then wiped the stem down with alcohol on a cotton pad. I cleaned out the tooth marks with cotton swabs and alcohol and then filled them in with black super glue. I set the stem aside to let the repairs dry.cope11I sanded the inner edge of the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the darkening and then worked over the rim with 1500-1800 micromesh sanding pads to clean up the inner edge and begin polishing the rim cap. You can see the grain on the cap begin to pop and reveal the beautiful birds-eye grain.cope12When the glue had cured I sanded the patches smooth, blending them in with the surface of the stem using 220 grit sandpaper. I sanded the entire stem to work on more of the oxidation that was present on the surface. The photos below tell the story of the repairs and sanding to this point in the process.cope13I polished the bowl rim with 3200-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads and gave the sandblast bowl several coats of Conservator’s Wax. I buffed it with the shoe brush to raise the shine. The photos below show the bowl at this point.cope14 cope15I touched up the stain on the rim with a dark brown stain pen. I buffed it with a microfibre cloth and then polished it with micromesh sanding pads using 1500-12000 grit pads to polish and raise a shine.cope16 cope17I probably should have done this earlier in the process but my brother has been doing such a good job in his cleaning that I honestly forgot. I decided to give the internals of the stem and the mortise and shank a quick cleanup with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol.cope18I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-15000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each set of three pads. I gave it the last coat of oil and set it aside to dry.cope19 cope20 cope21I polished the pipe and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel avoiding the sandblast portions of the bowl. I did not want to get the polishing compound in the grooves of the sandblast. It would be hard to get out of the grooves. I gave the sandblast portion several coats of Conservator’s Wax and buffed it with a shoe brush. I gave the stem and rim several coats of carnauba wax and buffed the entire pipe a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It has come a long way from the pipe I started on in the first photos above. It is a classic looking calabash pipe with a great contrast between the smooth briar, the sandblast briar, the gold band and the vulcanite stem. (The brass is so shiny now that it is hard to get the vulcanite not to reflect the brass colour. In person the oxidation is gone and the stem is shiny black.) Thanks for walking through the process with me.cope22 cope23 cope24 cope25 cope26 cope27 cope28 cope29

 

A Shape You Gotta Love – A Stanwell Majestic 180


Blog by Steve Laug

There are certain shapes that Stanwell just nails – they get them absolutely perfect. There is nothing that could be done to make the shape even more stunning than it is. The shape 180 is one of those shapes for me. It is a Dublinesque freehand with a conical bowl, an oval shank and stem that has a short saddle before flowing into the blade. According to a chart by the late Bas Stevens this shape was designed by Tom Eltang (https://rebornpipes.com/tag/shape-numbers-and-designers-of-stanwell-pipes/). It has the appearance of some of the Eltang’s that I have seen. In a write up for a Stanwell 180 sandblast pipe on smokingpipes.com Adam Davidson says this about the shape: “I would bet that this Stanwell shape was designed by Tom Eltang, who has designed quite a few for the company over the years.” So having known Bas Stevens personally I can confirm that it is definitively an Eltang designed pipe. (https://www.smokingpipes.com/pipes/estate/denmark/moreinfo.cfm?product_id=101503)

My brother Jeff found this Stanwell in an antique shop in Astoria, Oregon. It was on consignment by a widow who was selling her pipe collector husband’s collection. He bought a few of the pipes from her consignment and this is the first I have worked on. He took the following photos of the pipe to show what it looked like when he found it. It was truly a mess but looking beneath the grime he had found a gem that only needed some TLC. The grain on this pipe is truly stunning and the lay out of the pipe follows the grain amazingly well.eltang1 eltang2He took some close up photos of the rim and the underside of the bowl to show what it looked like up close. The rim was pretty tarred with overflow from the cake in the bowl. The bowl had a cake but obviously it had been trimmed back somewhere along the way. The pipe smelled strongly of aromatic vanilla tobacco and would take some serious cleaning to bring the briar back to neutral.eltang3The cross grain on the underside of the bowl is quite stunning. It would only stand out more once the pipe was cleaned and polished.eltang4The stamping on the pipe was on the underside of the shank near the stem and was sharp and clear. It reads Stanwell over Made in Denmark over the script of Majestic. Further up the shank toward the bowl it was stamped with the 180 shape number.eltang5The stem was oxidized and had tooth chatter on both sides. It seemed to have some calcification around the button. None of the marks looked to deep so it had some promise. The Crown S Stanwell logo on the topside of the small saddle portion of the stem was in excellent condition.eltang6My brother reamed the bowl and cleaned the internals of the shank and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe and stem with Murphy’s Oil Soap and was able to remove the build up on the rim and also on the stem. The finish was in very good shape under the grime on the bowl. There appeared to be a dark spot on the left side of the bowl. The next four photos show the condition of the pipe when I received it from my brother.eltang7 eltang8He was able remove the build up and calcification on the stem. You can see from the photos below that other than oxidation the stem was very clean.eltang9I worked on the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the oxidation and reshape the button edges. It did not take too much work to get the oxidation that was on the surface of the stem.eltang10I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each set of three pads. After the third set of pads I gave it another coat of oil and set it aside to dry.eltang11 eltang12 eltang13I used a dental pick to clean out the slot in the end of the button. There was some build up in that area that had hardened. I ran a pipe cleaner through the stem and used cotton swabs and alcohol to clean out the inside of the shank and the airway to the bowl. I polished the exterior of the rim, bowl and shank with micromesh sanding pads using 1500-12000 grit pads.eltang14I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to polish the vulcanite and the briar. I gave them both several coats of carnauba wax and buffed with a clean buffing pad to raise a shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. You can see from the photos of the left side of the bowl that I was able to remove the darkened spot on upper portion of the bowl. The rich finish and the comfortable shape of the pipe give the Majestic stamping on the shank a well-chosen appellation. Thanks for walking with me through the restoration.eltang16 eltang17 eltang18 eltang19 eltang20 eltang21 eltang22 eltang23

Replacing a Stem on a Stanwell Antique 156 Bulldog


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I brought to my work table is another Stanwell Antique. This one is stamped on the underside of the shank with the words Stanwell over the script Antique and over the top of them both is the number 156 which is the shape number. This one came in the same lot as the two victims of Jaws that I have already written about on the blog – the Estella and the GBD Midnight (https://rebornpipes.com/2016/12/06/jaws-and-an-estella-non-pareil-%c2%bc-bent-9606-stack-by-savinelli/ and https://rebornpipes.com/2016/12/09/another-jaws-victim-a-gbd-midnight-788-oval-shank-apple/). This Stanwell Antique Bulldog had a poorly fit replacement stem – a diamond shaped stem from a classic bulldog shape. The stem had many deep tooth marks on both the top and the underside of the stem. anti1The finish on the bowl was in decent shape though the rim had some tarry buildup and there was a thick cake in the bowl. The first photo shows the mixture of sandblast and smooth on this pipe was a nice contrast. The front of the pipe was smooth and joined the smooth rim. The second photo shows that the front outer edge had nicks and dents in it as did the surface of the rim. The close up photo of the rim shows the condition of the pipe when my brother received it.anti2The Lucite shank extension is amber coloured. The thickness of the extension makes it hard for the light to shine through it. The mortise had been damaged – it is my thought that whoever put the new stem in place redrilled the mortise and damaged the inner edge and the bottom of the mortise. anti3The stamping on the underside of the shank is better than the stamping on the previous Antique I just finished. The shape number is very clear and sharp. The Stanwell logo is lighter on the left side and the Antique stamping is also very clear and sharp.anti4The next photo shows the transition from the smooth front of the bowl to the sandblast on the rest of the bowl. You can see some of the grit in the grooves and crevices of the blast and the grime on the smooth portion.anti5The last photo that my brother sent me shows the bite marks on the diamond stem. They are identical in pattern to the ones on the previous two “Jaws” pipes.anti6My brother cleaned up the pipe with his usual thoroughness. When the pipe arrived in Vancouver the finish was clean and the grooves and crevices clean. The rim was better though it show the damage to the front edge and the dents to the top of the rim. He had reamed and cleaned the mortise and the airway in the replacement stem so the pipe was very clean and ready for me to work on.

I cleaned up the shank extension end and used clear super glue to rebuild the damage portion of the Lucite. I sanded it with 180 grit sandpaper and also with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the repairs. I cleaned out the shank with a cotton swab and warm water to remove the debris in the shank. I took photos of the bowl after I cleaned it up and scrubbed it with Murphy’s Oil Soap.anti7 anti8The rim shows some damage to the top and the back edge in the photo below.anti9The stem was an obvious replacement so I put it in my can of stems and looked for a stem that would be a good candidate for a replacement. I had one in a lot of stems that my brother sent me. It was a Danish looking freehand stem that had a long tenon and a step up toward the ring in the middle. I forgot to take a photo of the stem before I worked on it but I had another example of one that was similarly shaped that is shown in the next photo.anti10I sanded the stem with a Dremel and sanding drum to shorten and remove the step down area. I wanted to have a smooth transition from the tenon end to the mid ring. I also wanted to make the slope to the ring more abrupt that it was in the one above. The stem was in pretty rough shape. There was deep tooth mark on the topside of the stem from the damaged button forward. There was also some tooth damage on the underside of the stem in the middle and on one side. The button was also damaged on the underside. There was a missing chunk of vulcanite on the button edge. I filled in the damaged areas with black superglue to build them up. I let the glue dry and once it was dry I sanded it smooth to match the surface of the rest of the stem. I filled in the damaged button and built up the edge on the top and bottom sides. I sanded the button as well once it had cured and reshaped it.anti11I sanded the diameter of the tenon area on the new stem until the fit in the mortise was correct. The stem still looked a little long but I would take care of that shortly. I put it in the mortise and took photos of the pipe with the new stem.anti12 anti13I sanded the stem with 180 grit and 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the repairs and reshape the stem to match the rest of the stem.anti14I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit sanding pads and rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit sanding pads and rubbing it down with the oil after each set of three pads. After the final set I gave it a final coat of the oil and set the stem aside to dry.anti15 anti16 anti17To remove the damage to the front edge and the top of the rim I topped the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper on the topping board. I sanded it with 1500-6000 grit micromesh sanding pads to sand out the scratches in the rim surface. I restained the rim to match the front of the bowl using a dark brown stain pen. I buffed it lightly with a microfibre cloth.anti18I sanded the smooth portions of the bowl face and the rim with 1500-6000 grit micromesh sanding pads to polish them.anti19 anti20I buffed the rim and smooth part of the bowl and the stem with Blue Diamond polish on the wheel. I gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and gave the bowl several coats of Conservator’s Wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad and hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The repairs on the stem show under the bright lights of the flash but in person they are pretty well blended into the surface of the stem. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.anti21 anti22 anti23 anti24 anti25 anti26 anti27 anti28