Blog by Steve Laug
When I first took this one out of the box I figured it was an Italian made pipe. Something about the look led me to think that way. But I was way off. My brother had told me he was sending along a pipe that might surprise me. This was it. The bent Bell Dublin look did not give me a clue to the stamping that was on the pipe. Here is how it is stamped. Surprised? Maybe not but I sure was. The stamping is really clear (lighter in some spots than others). It reads Colossus over the GBD oval over Fantasy. Next to that it is stamped London, England and the shape number 9552. I had no idea that the pipe was a GBD, a Colossus or a Fantasy. But it is.Here are some of the photos that my brother sent me to give me a hint. Once I had seen the stamping the combination of smooth panels and sandblast finish fit well. The brown swirled Lucite stem also fit into the GBD Fantasy look. Okay so I should have known it was a GBD but I did not. My brother scrubbed the grime off the pipe. When it arrived it was very clean and the rich brown stain was dull and light. The black understain in the pits and crevices still showed through. It would not take too much to bring it back. The bowl and rim were clean and the shank and the inside of the stem were also clean. I took a close up photo of the rim. You can see a little more grime and tar deep in the grooves in the crevices of the rim particularly toward the back of the rim. I used a brass bristle tire brush to clean up the rim. I scrubbed it back and forth until the sandblast was clean.I took photos of the tooth marks and the tooth chatter on the top and the underside of the stem near the button. None of the marks were deep but they were very present.I stained the bowl with a dark brown aniline based stain that I mixed 50/50 with isopropyl alcohol. I flamed the stain and repeated the process until the briar was equally covered.I sanded out the tooth marks and chatter with 220 grit sandpaper.I wet sanded the stem with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads. I wiped it down with a damp cotton pad. I dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit sanding pads and wiped it down once again to remove the sanding dust. I gave the bowl several coats of Conservator’s Wax (micro-crystalline wax) and buffed it once it had dried with a shoe brush to raise the shine. I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the pipe a light coat of carnauba wax (a very light touch on the bowl). I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The finish is quite nice with the contrast between the medium looking brown stain and the black undercoat. The contrast between the stains on the bowl and the striations of brown on the Lucite stem is amazing and the pipe looks new. Thanks for looking.