By Al Jones
This GBD is a New Era grade, shape 122. While the classic billiard shape is not in my wheel house, two details on this pipe caught my eye. First, the New Era grade is a step up the GBD food chain and less common than the New Standard pipes. The second was a stamp on the stem. Thanks to the sellers good photos, I was able to make out the “Hand Cut” stamp on the stem, which is becoming increasingly rare. Typically, I’ve only seen the “Hand Cut” stamp on Virgin or Collector grade pipes.
In their 1973 catalog, GBD describes the New Era finish as:
“The beauty of this pipe’s perfect briar is accentuated by the richness of
the ‘take-off’ dual finish.”
The pipe looked in decent shape, with some build-up on the bowl top rim and some teeth marks on the stem.
There was only a very thin cake inside the bowl, which I reamed. The bowl was then soaked with 91% isopropyl alcohol and sea salt. I used a mild Oxy-clean solution and a worn piece of 8000 grade micromesh to remove the build-up on the bowl top. Under the build up was an unharmed, nicely grained, beveled bowl top.
The stem had some teeth marks, which I was able to raise slightly with a lighter flame. There was only had a mild layer of oxidation, which was removed starting with 800 grade wet paper, working thru 1500 and 2000 grades, then the 8000 and 12000 grade micromesh sheets. The stem was mounted and then buffed with white diamond and Meguiars Plastic Polish. One deeper tooth indention on the bottom of the stem bothered me, so I filled it with the black, Medium Stew-Mac Superglue product and accelerator (from Hobby Lobby). It was a shallow indention, and I was worried the repair might not work. Using a file and some 800 grade paper, I smoothed the glue fill and it blended in nicely with the rest of the stem.
There were several dents in the briar that I was able to minimize. I used a wet cloth and an iron set on high, using the steam to lift the dents. The bowl was then buffed with White Diamond and several coats of Carnuba Wax. Below is the finished pipe. The original intent was to clean this one up and resell it, but the pipe has such a nice feel, I’m tempted to hang onto this one. If I ever take a shine to the straight tapered-stem billiard, I have a feeling that I would regret letting this one go.