Pipes for Marines Project (Comoys 1057 & GBD 9438 Virgin)

By Al Jones

Last year, PipesMagazine forum member “shaintiques” undertook a project to supply pipes and tobacco to active duty Marines on deployment. Dave Shain has been posting updates to the forum, below is the latest update. Dave explains the project:

The purpose of the project is to build community and help new pipe smokers. I want new pipe smokers to have an awesome experience out of the gate so they stick with it. All pipes and tobacco are donated from the larger community. I run the project through two forums, facebook, and instagram. I have started reaching out to some of the bigger names in the business looking for donations as well. Anyone who wants to donate can contact me at westgapipe@gmail.com. My address is Dave Shain, 6808 Brookwood Ct. Douglasville, Ga 30135.


A fellow British Rhodesian forum member, Glouchesterman, recently sent me these two Rhodesian beauties and we decided once restored, they would be a nice contribution to Dave’s project. The first pipe is a Comoys Shape 1057 in Sunrise and the second a GBD 9438 Virgin. Both are post-Cadogan makes of the same shape.

The pipes were in very good shape. The Comoys just needed a mild clean-up. The GBD was also in terrific shape but curiously had two noticeable fills.

Comoys 1057

Comoys_1057_Sunrise_Before (1)

Comoys_1057_Sunrise_Before (2)

Comoys_1057_Sunrise_Before (3)

The Comoys just needed the typical bowl ream and soak (alcohol & sea salt). The stem only had mild oxidation and was polished with 800>1500 and 2000 grade wet paper, than 8000 and 12000 grade micromesh. It was buffed with White Diamond and Meguiars Plastic polish. I did decided to remove the very weakly stamped “C” stem logo. Working around it only makes it stand out more. The nomenclature is super-strong on this one, so there’s no mistaking that it is a Comoys. The tenon did have a very tiny draft hole. I used a 5/32″ drill bit to open the tenon end up a bit, hopefully that will enable it to be a better smoker for the soldier that receives it.

There was some mild scorching on the rim top but it was removed with 2000 grade wet paper and then a stain wash just on the bowl top. The bowl was then buffed lightly with White Diamond to brighten it up and several coats of Carnuba wax.

Comoys_1057_Sunrise_Finish (1)

Comoys_1057_Sunrise_Finish (4)

Comoys_1057_Sunrise_Finish (2)

Comoys_1057_Sunrise_Finish (3)

Comoys_1057_Sunrise_Finish (5)

The GBD was an interesting piece. It was stamped “Virgin” and had the “London, England” stamping and brass rondell usually seen on pre-Cadogan era pipes. The person donating these pipes thought it was a Cadogan era pipe. The brass rondell does look a little different. There is also a letter stamped on the shank, which I have frequently seen on Cadogan era pipes. This one also has the non-tapered stem (full width) and I’ve heard that is a sign of a Cadogan era stem. It is identical to the Comoys, but drilled larger. And of course there are the two fills and dark stain. Virgin grade pipes, while not necessarily nicely grained, were never seen with fills (at least by my experience).

Curiously, the shank had what appeared to be a burn mark on the top of the shank,near the junction with the stem. The stain was also blotchy dark in several spots.

GBD_9438_Virgin_Before (1)

GBD_9438_Virgin_Before (2)

GBD_9438_Virgin_Before (3)

GBD_9438_Virgin_Before (4)

GBD_9438_Virgin_Before (6)

The stem had some stubborn oxidation that I removed with 800>1500 and 2000 grade paper. Then, like the Comoys, 8000 and 12000 grade paper to finish. It was also buffed with White Diamond and Meguiars Plastic polish.

I thought the pipe would present better with the fills removed. At first, I just used some black super-glue but they were just as noticeable. I took that out and put a drop of clear superglue and briar dust in each fill. Sanded smooth with 800 grit paper, the fills were nearly invisible. The first picture shows the fills removed and then covered by the glue/dust.




I restained the pipe with some darker brown stain (Feiblings Medium Brown) and then buffed it with White Diamond and several coats of Carnuba wax. I was able to minimize the burn mark on the shank by sanding it with some 2000 grade wet paper. It was already below the edge of the stem,but it looked like an improvement.

The finished GBD and both pipes. Hopefully they allow two of our Marines to enjoy some brief moments of peace and solitude as they serve our country.

GBD_9438_Virgin_Finish (1)

GBD_9438_Virgin_Finish (4)

GBD_9438_Virgin_Finish (2)

GBD_9438_Virgin_Finish (5)

GBD_9438_Virgin_Finish (6)

GBD_9438_Virgin_Finish (3)




6 thoughts on “Pipes for Marines Project (Comoys 1057 & GBD 9438 Virgin)

  1. Anthony

    Nicely done, Al. Those are beautiful pipes now. I love the shape of both. There’s going to be a couple of very happy marines out there.

  2. Dave G

    Nice work. Those turned out great. A post Cadogen Virgin with the brass rhondelle? Nonetheless, still a good looking pipe. You’re right about the fills. The 1976 GBD catalog stated that Virgin grade pipes were flawless briar with tight grain pattern. Maybe the fills were a post factory repair/restoration from the previous owner?

    1. upshallfan Post author

      The grain of the wood is such a far cry from any of my earlier Virgins. It’s just an odd duck. One of the Hagley brothers once told me that any pipe with a non-taper width stem is a Cadogan era pipe, regardless of the rondell or stamping. (they worked at the old Smokers Haven store I believe and between the two, had over 1,000 GBD pipes)

  3. Charles Lemon

    Great work and a great project! As a Canadian ex-Reservist, I know there will be two happy servicemen out there who can enjoy these quality pipes with the assurance that they are not forgotten by the people they serve. Well done!


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