By Al Jones
After searching for four years for the right GBD shape 357 shape, I recently found and restored a Virgin grade in that shape. I was surprised a week later to find a 357 Pedigree offered (it was sold as a Virgin). The Pedigree line is described in the Pipedia GBD page as being produced starting in the 1930’s. It’s impossible to date the pipe, and only that with the brass rondell and “London, England” COM, it was made prior to 1981. The Pedigree line is the highest GBD grade. In comparison with my Virgin, the grain lines are straighter and the birds-eye on the bowl top really sets it apart.
The pipe had the typical build-up on the bowl top, but it looked to be minimal. The stem was oxidized heavily, near the button so it was difficult to determine it’s condition. Below is the pipe as it was received.
I removed the stem and put a dab of grease on the rondell. It was soaked in a mild Oxy-Clean solution for several hours to loosen the build-up.
The bowl was reamed and in good shape. I rubbed the tars off the bowl top with a wet rag and some further diluted Oxy-clean water. The bowl top was otherwise undamaged. There were some dings on the bowl that I was able to remove with steam from an iron and a wet rag. The bowl was then polished with White Diamond and Carnuba wax.
There were several teeth indentions on the stem, they were made less severe with the flame of my lighter. The oxidation was removed first with 800 grit wet paper, followed by 1500 and 2000 grades. 8000 and 12000 grades of micromesh were used next. The stem was buffed with White Diamond and Meguiars Auto Plastic polish. A few teeth indentions remain, but they were severe enough to be filled with superglue.
The stem was straight as received, but I believe it would have originally been 1/8th bent. I used a heat gun to warm the vulcanite, after inserting a cleaner to keep the draft hole open. I bent it slightly to match the stem on the Virgin and then immersed it in cold water to “set” the bend.
Below is the finished pipe which includes a shot with the 357 Virgin. I promised myself I would only keep one of the two 357 shapes, so now I have to decide which one remains.
Although difficult to tell from this photo, the Pedigree pipe is slightly smaller in all dimensions and a few grams lighter. The stem on the Virgin is thicker, which adds to the weight.