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Stanwell Walnut 08

June 6, 2010

To say that this pipe and I have a history together is elevating understatement to an art. I bought it twenty six years ago, it has survived three girlfriends, two wives and a hell of a lot of water under the proverbial bridge. It has been a friend and companion through thick and thin, it bears the marks of almost three decades of my life, not to mention my teeth and I love the old pipe dearly..but.. I always had to tug on it to get anything out of it. It has therefore, been a bit neglected lately as my collection has grown and I don’t like to work hard for my smoke.

I took the old workhorse out of the rack today and stopped it with Old Gowrie. Once alight, the old heave-ho that I was used to started immediately. After an hour of suckling on it for nothing I gave up the tobacco and decided the time had come to do something about it. Taking a pipe cleaner, I tried to push it through the stem. This pipe has always been a bit restricted by my estimation, but today it was awful. It felt as if the airway was blocked.

I have a pipe needle so I separated the pipe and tried to push the needle through the shank. It wouldn’t pass the airway. I decided there and then to drill it out, once and for all. Taking a 3.5 mm drill bit and a tap chuck, I gently began to probe the airway. No problem at first, but then I hit something hard. It began to crunch and progress was slow. Removing the bit from the airway, I could see something resembling sand. I cleaned the bit and set about it again. Turning the bit slowly, I felt every bite of the tungsten carbide tip on something. I decided to keep going and finally I could see the bit turning in the bottom of the bowl. Removing the bit again, I found more of the sandy deposit in the flutes of the bit. I think I may have had a stone inclusion in the airway of this pipe that had worked its way loose over the years, finally blocking the airway.
Taking a 4 mm bit, I repeated the process and this time I noticed no real resistance. The pipe has now been opened up to a 4 mm airway, at least, in the shank.

I polished the pipe up when I was finished and happily blew down the stem to remove any dust particles that may be remaining in the airways and then laid the pipe aside for an hour while I took the dogs out for their afternoon run.
On returning home, I took the old 08 and filled her up again. What a difference! This pipe never smoked so well.

My friends at my pipe club have told me that this one came with a church warden stem as well as the short stem it has always had. I remember buying this pipe and no CW stem was ever offered to me at the time. Never mind. I could perhaps have one made but I feel no need for it.

It’s back in the rack now and I will give this pipe more attention in the future. Gone are the days of pulling and tugging on this one. It’s going to see a lot more use now.

For good measure, here are the dimensions:

Length: 145 mm

Height: 44 mm

Chamber: Ø18mm x 38 mm deep

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Highstump permalink
    June 17, 2010 16:43

    Very interesting. I had not thought about it before but I have a handfull of pipes with a few fills (sand pits?), I don’t see any reason why something similar couldn’t be lurking in the interior of those. I mention the fills only because it seems probable that fills raise the odds that a given pipe has something more to hide.

  2. June 24, 2010 21:26

    Hi there. I enjoyed your post. Once again, I have learned something new in this wonderful journey of the briar.

  3. April 12, 2011 03:34

    Hi, I just happened to come across your blog and by coincidence I was smoking my Stanwell Vario, shape #o8 while reading about your 08.

    You have exceptional taste..!!
    Exile.

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