If you follow my restorations on Steve’s blog, you already know I love the Rhodesian shapes made by classic British pipe makers. I have a “Holy Grail” list of desired shapes and marques. The GBD 9242 has been at the top of that list for three years. In the past few years, this shape has been hotly contested and infrequently sold. I had resigned to myself that the probability of finding one, within my means, was slim. This week, a somewhat tired New Standard grade 9242 was listed and I was surprised to win the auction at a modest price. The pictures were fuzzy and showed it would need a lot of work. The stem did look quite promising and I hoped the tars and cake build-up on the bowl top would come off. The nomenclature, button, rondell and bowl beading all looked to be in very good condition.
I used some distilled water and a rag to remove the tars from the bowl top, which did come off. That revealed a few dents and dings. I then removed the cake with my Castleford reamer and was pleased to find some very solid wood inside the bowl and a nicely drilled pipe. The shank was filthy inside and required a lot of cleaning with brushes and alcohol.
I worked on removing or minimizing some of the dings and marks on the briar. I used a kitchen knife, heated with a propane torch and a wet rag to steam out the dents. Some of the crease could not be removed, but I was able to minimize them.
The bowl and shank were then packed with sea salt and alcohol to soak. The bowl and shank came out very clean inside, which should help reduce any ghosts. The stem was soaked in a mild Oxyclean solution, with a dab of grease on the rondell.
After the bowl soak was complete, I started to work on the stem. It had a pretty rough layer of oxidation near the button and I used 600 grit wet paper on that area. Then, progressively, I used 1000>1500 and finally 2000 grade wet paper on the rest of the stem, button and crease. Miraculously, the stem only had some mild teeth chatter under that oxidation. I then moved to Micromesh sheets in 8000 and 12000 grades. The stem was then polished, mounted on the pipe, with White diamond rouge (lightly!). The briar was also polished with White Diamond, but I was careful to stay away from the all important (to me) nomenclature.
Below is a comparison shot with a GBD 9438 New Standard. The 9438 weighs 55 grams and my scale shows the 9242 comes in at 45 grams. Now I can see why this shape was so appealing to me, and others. That tapered shank and stem really make the pipe.
The pipe still has a few “character marks”, but I’m quite pleased to add this one to my collection. A piece I thought was almost unattainable.