GBD 9438 Century Restored

The iconic GBD 9438 saddle stem Rhodesian is one of my favorite shapes. I really wasn’t on the look out for an additional 9438, but this Century model was one I didn’t have and the asking price was too good to pass up.

According to Pipepedia, the Century model was released starting in 1950 and had “A golden finish created to celebrate over a century of manufacturing the finest briar pipes.” The finish is somewhat unique among my other GBD’s, so that description is apt.

The pipe was in pretty good shape. It had a little rim darkening, one dent on the bowl top and an oxidized stem. The rondell looked to be in good condition. There were two teeth indentions, one on each side of the stem.

GBD_9438_Century_Before (4)


GBD_9438_Century_Before (1)

GBD_9438_Century_Before (2)

GBD_9438_Century_Before (3)

I reamed the bowl of the slight cake and soaked it with isopropyl alchohol and sea salt, sharing space with a Comoys Tradition I was also working to complete. The stem was soaked in a mild Oxyclean and water solution with a dab of grease over the rondell to protect it.



I worked on the bowl top dent, which was really a small crease. Using a heated table knife and a wet cloth, I was able to steam most of the dent out.


Being careful around the weak nomenclature (but 100% legible with the naked eye), the bowl was buffed lightly with white diamond and then several coats of Carnuba wax. The rim darkening was some build-up and I was able to minimize it.

I used heat to lift the two teeth marks. The one on top was removed completely and the one below reduced to just a wave mark. I started removing the stem oxidation with 800 grit wet paper and then moved thru 1000, 1500 and 2000 grades. I used the 8000 and 12000 grade Micromesh papers before going to the buffing wheel. The stem was buffed lightly with White Diamond and then Meguiars Plastic Polish.

Below is the completed pipe, it will make a welcome to my rack of existing 9438 shapes. I thought this was number Seven, but it turns out that I have eight 9438’s in various finishes/grades. Factory made GBD pipes are now known for their grain, but this one has a nice little splash on the rondell side.


GBD_9438_Century_Finished (2)

GBD_9438_Century_Finished (1)

GBD_9438_Century_Finished (3)

GBD_9438_Century_Finished (4)

GBD_9438_Century_Finished (6)

GBD_9438_Century_Finished (5)

11 thoughts on “GBD 9438 Century Restored

  1. Astrid Campbell

    I love the GBD 9438 pipes as well, and this one is a gem.
    Great job on removing the dents, and an excellent job on the over all clean up.
    You have quite a nice collection of GBD pipes.
    I would also like to see a 9242, would you have a picture of one.?

  2. Dave

    Al, that is one to be proud of. The 9438 is “the perfect shape”…in my opinion. I have a couple, and would never consider letting them get away. Great pipe….great text, and pictures. Thanks.

    1. upshallfan Post author

      They did make a “fat” tapered stem version of and that is the shape 9242 (virtually unobtainable). The 9242 holds the #2 position on my “Holy Grail” list.


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