Blog by Steve Laug
I was looking through the box of pipes I brought home from my brother’s when I visited recently and came across a beautiful example of a GBD Prestige pipe. It is stamped GBD in the oval and Prestige below that on the top of the shank. It sports an oxidized silver band stamped Sterling in an arch across the top. It has some stunning grain and is an oval shank. On the bottom side of the shank it is stamped 1451 which according to the GBD shape charts is an oval shank Canadian. This one however does not look like a Canadian to me. It is a nice looking billiard. The stem is clear Perspex and was in decent shape. It has the brass GBD roundel on top of the stem. I took some close-up photos of the pipe. The first shows the stamping on top of the shank. It is very legible and sharp. The second shows the build up on the rim and the cake in the bowl. The inner and outer edges of the rim are sharp and show no damage.The Perspex stem is actually surprisingly clean. Often the airway and slot on these older stems is stained a deep brown from the tobacco smoke and it is a bear to get out. This one however had minimal staining and most of that is in the slot on the end of the button and on the tenon itself. There was also some light tooth chatter on the top and bottom of the stem at the button.I was hoping that the build up on the rim could be scrubbed off so that is where I started. I used cotton pads and saliva and was able to remove most of the tars and lava. I used 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads to clean it up further. Other than some slight darkening of the beveled rim it came out clean.I polished the silver band with some silver polish and a jeweler’s polishing cloth and was able to remove all of the tarnish without scratching or damaging the band.I reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer. It was slightly bigger than the second cutting head so I used the Savinelli Pipe Knife to remove the remainder of the cake. I finished by sanding the inside of the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper.I scrubbed out the airway and mortise in the shank with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners until all of the tars and oils were gone. Fortunately this pipe was well cared for and it did not take too many cleaners before they came out clean.The stem was another story. Never use alcohol on Perspex stems as it causes them to craze and crack. I scrubbed out the airway and slot with pipe cleaners dipped in Soft Scrub cleanser until the airway was once again clear. The slot took a little more work. When the pipe was made the slot work was rough and sloppy so the dark stains filled in grooves and scratches internally that no amount of scrubbing would remove. I used a round, oval and a flat oval needle file to clean up the roughness of the slot and remove the stains from those spots. I rinsed the inside of the stem with cool water to remove the scrubbing compound. The stem came out reasonably well in my opinion. There were a few brown stains that I was not able to remove but they are minimal. They will show up in the final photos of the pipe.I wet sanded the tooth chatter on the top and bottom sides of the stem at the button using 1500-2400 micromesh sanding pads. I sanded with those until the tooth chatter was gone. I was fortunate that none of the tooth marks were very deep. I dry sanded with 3200-12000 grit pads and finished by wiping the stem down with a damp cotton pad to remove the dust. I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond on the wheel and was amazed at how the grain popped and the stem began to shine. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed them with a clean buffing pad. I finished by hand buffing the pipe with a microfibre cloth. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. While there are some small brown stains in the button area it is clean. I think you will agree that it is a stunning example of a GBD Prestige. The grain and the stem work really well together and the factory installed silver band sets off the pipe with a touch of class. Thanks for looking.