Blog by Al Jones
I’ve had a few “Century” finish GBD’s cross my work bench, but this is the first time I’ve seen a “Century Matt”. The Century line was introduced in 1950 and is described as:
“A golden finish created to celebrate over a century of manufacturing the
finest briar pipes.”
(quote courtesy of Jerry Hannah’s GBD webpage)
I forgot to put the memory card back in my camera, but I have the sellers “before” pictures. The stem was heavily oxidized, but appeared to be in otherwise good condition. The briar had some tars and black spots that I hoped could be removed or minimized. The brass rondell looked in excellent condition, as did the stamping. The rondell and “London, England” stamping are indicative of a pipe made prior to 1982.
I put a dab of grease on the rondell and soaked the stem in an Oxy-clean solution overnight. That really helped soften the oxidation.
The bowl was reamed and then soaked with alcohol and sea salt.
I used the Oxy-clean solution on a rag to work off the tars and build-up on the rim. A piece of worn 8000 grit Micromesh was used to remove the black marks around the bowl. This process worked well and did not remove any stain.
I mounted the stem onto the bowl and started with 600 grit wet paper to remove the heavy oxidation. I then moved through 800, 1500 and 2000 grades of wet paper. This was followed by 8000 and 12000 grade micromesh (I use sheets). The stem was then buffed via machine with White Diamond and Meguiars Plastic Polish.
I polished the bowl with White Diamond and several coats of Carnuba Wax, staying away from the crisp nomenclature.
Below is the finished pipe. For a machine made GBD, it has a nice splash of birdseye on the right side of the bowl.