Blog by Steve Laug
Quite a while ago now my brother Jeff picked up a handful of pipes from an antique shop in Montana. There were quite a few GBD pipes in the lot. One of them was this GBD International bent billiard. It came with a gnawed off stem that was irreparable. The bowl was caked and dirty and the rusticated/plateau top was filled with grime to the point that it was almost smooth. The bowl looked good under the grime and the finish looked salvageable. The pipe was stamped GBD in an oval over International over London Made on the left side of the shank. On the right side it was stamped with London England over the shape number 508. I failed to take photos of the bowl before I cleaned it up as I was on a roll with about four bowls going at the same time. Here is what it looked like after I had wiped it down with alcohol. I scrubbed the plateau top with a brass bristle brush and some Murphy’s Oil Soap. I rinsed it down with cool water and dried it off. It is in very good shape. I had reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer and cleaned out the shank and the bowl. I went through my stem can and had several potential stems there. I chose one that was slightly larger in diameter than the shank. I had to shorten the tenon as it was too long to sit correctly in the shank. With the tenon shortened the stem fit nicely in the mortise. The diameter was close and I would adjust it to fit.The stem was a used one that I recycled and it had one deep bit mark on the top side near the button. I sanded it smooth and cleaned it before I filled it in with black super glue. Once the glue cured I sanded the repair with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth it out. I used the Dremel and sanding drum to reduce the diameter of the stem. I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper until the transition was smooth. I wiped down the bowl with acetone on cotton pads to clean off the remaining grime before restaining the rim with a Black Sharpie. I heated the stem over a heat gun until it was pliable and bent it to the proper angle. I set the bend with cold water. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the scratches left behind by the Dremel and smooth out the flow of the stem. I sanded the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil and then dry sanded it with 3200-4000 grit pads. I gave it another coat of oil and then finished sanding it with 6000-12000 grit pads. I gave it a final coat of oil and let it dry. I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel and then gave the pipe multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad and then hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The grain on this pipe is spectacular – great birdseye on the sides and cross grain on the front, back and bottom. The plateau or rustication on the rim that I stained black gives it a unique look. I think it is a beauty! Thanks for looking.