GBD Shape 269 Prehistoric Bulldog Restoration


By Al Jones

GBD had a number of straight bulldog shapes in their catalog. Typically, the 2007 or 2006 shapes are seen more often. Shape 269 is listed in their catalogs an “Oversize Bulldog with saddle stem” and is seen less frequently. This is a larger pipe, easily a Group 5, but it only weighs 43 ounces. I love the “Prehistoric” deep sandblast finish for it’s craggy look. Another feature of that finish is the polished bowl top that is frequently hidden underneath a layer of cake. Sporting the brass rondell and “London, England” COM mark, this pipes dates 1981 or earlier. Below is the GBD shape chart showing the straight bulldog shapes

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The briar was in excellent shape, including the nomenclature and bead lines on the bowl. The stem fitment was excellent. The stem had a deep tooth mark on each side of the stem and an abrasion on the button.

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On this pipe, the cake was quite thick and bubbling over the rim. I reamed the cake with my new Pipenet reamer set but unfortunately, one of my bits shattered. My garage was in the 40’s overnight, but was warm enough on the evening I worked on this pipe to only require a sweatshirt. I like the sharp, carbon blades on the Pipenet set but I hadn’t considered the clear plastic might be brittle in my cold workshop. Fortunately, I still have my Castelford set, which is made of black, rubber like material. I’ll keep the Pipenet set inside the house in the future. For the bowl top, I used some 600 grit paper to remove the heavy deposit on the bowl top.Then 8000 micromesh, followed by a buff with White Diamond and several coats of carnuba wax . A beautiful polished, beveled rim was revealed.

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With this work completed, I soaked the briar with sea salt and isopropyl alcohol overnight.

I soaked the stem in a mild Oxy-Clean solution for several hours. Using a lighter, I was able to raise the tooth dents only slightly. I decided to fill the indentions with the black Stew-Mac superglue product, also using the accelerator. Here is the stem with superglue patches.

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I smoothed the repairs and button first with a flat needle file, then with 600 and 800 grit paper. Next up is to mount the stem on the briar and finish removing the oxidation. For shaping the button, I wrap the paper around a small, flat needle file which allows me to recut the button.

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The stem was finished with 1500 and 2000 grade wet papers, followed by 8,000 and 12,000 grade micromesh sheets. It was then buffed (mounted to the briar) with White Diamond and Meguiars Plastic Polish. The teeth repairs blended in nicely, particularly on the more visible top of the stem.

After the salt and alcohol soak, the shank was cleaned with a bristle brush dipped in alcohol. The briar was in great shape, with some faded stain areas. I gave it a “stain wash” using a diluted mixture of Feiblings Medium Brown stain, whipped on with a cloth, then buffed by hand. I then used a toothbrush to brush in some Halycon wax.

Below is the finished pipe, a very handsome piece.

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