Reborn Huckster Pipe – Is It a GBD 9438?

When I hear the word Huckster I think of an aggressive salesperson or a promoter, a snake oil salesman or someone not to be trusted. The definition from the dictionary is one who uses aggressive, showy, and sometimes devious methods to promote or sell a product. The stamping on this pipe is HUCKSTER on the left side of the shank. On the right side of the shank it is stamped LONDON ENGLAND. The pipe is clearly either made by GBD or by someone doing an amazing copy of the GBD 9438 shape. The shape is perfect in comparison with my GBDs of this shape number. I have been researching on the internet to see if I can find out who the pipe was made by/for and develop some background on it but so far I have found nothing.


The five pictures below were included in the EBay sale by the seller of the pipe. While they are out of focus they gave me a clear enough picture to place the bid. I was one of a few bidders on this one so I picked it up for a very good price in comparison to that of GBD 9438s. When it arrived I was happy to see that the seller’s photos actually were poor in comparison to the pipe that I held in my hand. The grain is extremely nice – the left side and the bottom of the shank and bowl have some beautiful birdseye grain. The right side has great flame grain. The front of the bowl has a bald spot with a well hidden fill in the grain (In the photos it is just above the lighter spot on the front of the bowl. There were a few dents that would need to be steamed out of the finish but the stain and finish was impeccable. The rim was unblemished with no burn marks. There were a few small sand pits in the bowl above the double rings. The bowl had a slight cake in the bottom half but the shank is clean and spotless with some raw briar that has not been stained with smoking. If it weren’t for the slight cake in the bottom of the bowl it would appear to be unsmoked. The stem was badly oxidized and did have one slight tooth dent on the underside near the button. I think that the seller must have cleaned up the pipe before selling as there were also scratches from sanding on the stem – top and bottom sides.





When it arrived I took the next four photos to show what the pipe looked like before I worked on it. My description above formulated by and large from the photos online was accurate though in fact the pipe was very clean.





The bowl did not require any work other than a quick cleaning of the shank – more by habit than necessity. The stem on the other hand required a lot of work. I sanded it with a medium grit sanding sponge to break up the oxidation. I also used the flame of a Bic lighter to paint the surface of the stem. The flame from the lighter also raised the slight tooth indent next to the button. This combination of methods removed a large portion of the oxidation as can be seen in the next four photos below.





I then sanded the stem with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded with 1500, 1800 and 2400 grit sanding pads. I wet the pad by dipping it in a bowl of water and then sand the stem with it. Once I had wet sanded with those grits of micromesh I followed by dry sanding with 3200-12,000 grit micromesh pads. The next series of five photos show the progress of the sanding. I took it to the buffer after the wet sanding and buffed it with Tripoli to get an idea of where I stood with the oxidation. I also ran the flame over the hard to get angles on the saddle and against the button to further remove hard to get oxidation.






After I was finished sanding with the final grit of micromesh I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil and once it was dry buffed it with White Diamond. I then buffed a final time with a blue plastic polishing bar. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a soft, clean flannel buff to raise the shine on the bowl and stem. The next four photos show the finished pipe.





Here are a few more shots with a different background




2 thoughts on “Reborn Huckster Pipe – Is It a GBD 9438?

  1. Bob Landry

    If that’s not a 9438 in all but stamping I’ll eat my hat!! I have one with darker stain and nearly the same grain stamped “Ebony”. It also has the same (my term) wasp-wasted bit. Wish I’d seen that one, I’d have no problem adding it to my 5 9438s. Nice work, as usual, Steve!

  2. Dave Cooley

    The Huckster looks just like my GBD 9438. I love the shape, and it is a great smoking pipe. Thanks for your description and pictures. I learn something every time I read these installments. I had never heard of “painting” the stem with flame. This is a method I will have to (carefully) try in the future.
    Thanks again for sharing this project.


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