Blog by Dutch Holland
I had been looking for a small Dunhill Bulldog and recently found this one. It’s a 1962, style 148, Bruyere, Group 3 in need of some TLC. It’s quite petite, almost delicate compared to the GBD Rhodies I’m usually drawn to but the price was right so I pulled the trigger and several days later it arrived. Although not in really bad shape, it had some issues that would need attention. The bowl top hadn’t seen a cleaning in some time, carbon build-up had migrated onto the upper outside of the bowl and the tobacco chamber had a significant build-up of cake. At some point the pipe had apparently been dropped because there was a nasty crease and some dents surrounding it on the front. The shank had several tones of color, the cause is uncertain. After cleaning the rim area I discovered a number of edge scars and some charring on one side that made the inner edge look out of round. There would be no saving the finish, a stripping would be necessary. The nomenclature was clear and strong so attention to method would be important to preserve it. Dave G’s stripping formula worked out exceptionally well but who would expect anything less? I slightly topped the rim after beveling the inner edge to minimize the amount that needed removal. Topping was done with 1000 grit sandpaper on a flat surface following the application of some steam. The steam had all but eliminated the edge scars and a little softening of the outer edge did the rest. Treating the inner edge with a slight bevel took out the majority of the scorch so almost nothing needed to be removed. Preserving that classic profile was important. That came at the expense of giving the top a somewhat different look. One that seems to better compliment the delicate style of this pipe but that’s just a personal opinion.
The crease and dents on the front were steamed out and the entire pipe stripped of wax and stain. I really wanted something darker than the original stain so I mixed 2 parts of medium brown with 1 part oxblood and applied it. After the color set I buffed it to a rich dark mahogany and then applied four coats of carnauba wax, giving each a chance to harden in between. The stem was worked with Micro-Mesh and then a final buff with white diamond to bring up the gloss. There are some who would consider changing the color of a Dunhill to be heretical but I’m not so constrained. This one’s for my pleasure, the next guy can restore it for authenticity. I really like the color and overall the pipe looks better than it did at the start so I don’t feel the slightest bit guilty. Burn me at the stake if you like, I’m unrepentant.