Blog by Steve Laug
About a month ago a friend of mine, Richard who has a tobacco shop here in Vancouver gave me a call and asked me to stop by for a visit. I went on a Sunday afternoon and we visited for a while. At the end of the visit he took me to another counter in his shop and brought out some display cases of pipes – four of them and a small bag. He told the story to me. An elderly gentleman who was a customer of his had died and his wife had stopped by and gave him the fellow’s pipes. She wanted nothing for them she just wanted him to get them cleaned up and sold to folks who would appreciate them. Richard is a reader of the blog and he thought that I would have fun cleaning these up and selling them. As we went through the display cases and bag I was pretty pumped about the collection. There were some really nice GBD pipes, Comoy’s, Stanwell as well as some brands I was not familiar with.
The first pipe I chose to work on was a GBD author shaped pipe. It was obviously one of the old gentleman’s favourites. It was very dirty. It was stamped on the topside of the shank with GBD in an oval and next to it MARQUIS. There is also the GBD Oval stamped on the topside of the stem. It is not the brass rondel but is stamped into the vulcanite on the top of the saddle. On the underside of the shank the pipe is stamped St Claude France and the shape number 752. The stamping is clear and sharp. The St Claude France stamp is light on the front part of the name. The finish is in decent shape with a medium brown stain over great straight grain. There is a thick cake in the bowl and over the beveled rim. It is hard to tell if there is rim damage as it is so dirty. There were two large fills on the front of the bowl that follow the grain. They were shrunken and not even with the surface. There is calcification from a softee bit on the stem and button. There are some deep tooth marks on the top and bottom side of the stem near the button.
The following photos show the condition of the pipe when I brought it to the work table. I took following close up photos of the pipe. The first shows the rim with all of its tars and oils. The cake is very thick and hard. The second photo shows the fills on the front of the bowl. The third and fourth photos show the stamping on the top and underside of the shank. The last two photos show the stem and the dents and calcification on the stem near the button. I reamed the bowl with the PipNet pipe reamer starting with the smallest cutting head and worked my way up to the third cutting head which took the cake back to bare briar. I cleaned up the walls of the bowl with the Savinelli Pipe Knife. I sanded the bowl and rim edge with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the interior of the bowl and the inner edge of the rim. I cleaned the slight bevel on the inner edge as well. To clean the tars and lava on the rim I used a sharp pen knife to scrape the debris free of the rim without damaging the rim surface. I scrubbed it with saliva and a cotton pad to remove the oils and tars that remained on the surface.I heated the dents in the stem with a lighter and sanded what remained along with the calcification and tooth chatter with 220 grit sandpaper. I cleaned out the tooth marks with alcohol and a cotton swab and filled in the dents with clear super glue. I set the stem aside to let the glue cure. Once it had cured I sanded the repairs smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads.I wiped down the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the grime on the surface and give some clarity to the grain. The photos below show the bowl at this point in the process. I scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol until they were clean.I used European Gold Rub’n Buff to touch up the GBD logo on the stem. I sanded the stem with 1500-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads. After each set of three pads I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil. After sanding with the 12000 grit pad I gave the stem a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. While the stem dried I worked on repairing the fills on the front of the bowl. I decided to just top up the fills rather than dig them out and refill them. I used clear super glue to top up the fills. I over filled them slightly so that when they dried they would not shrink and need a second application of glue. I sanded the repair with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth it out. I wet sanded the area with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads and dry sanded the entire bowl with 3200-4000 grit pads.I restained the repaired area with a medium and a dark brown stain pen. I streaked the area to look like grain with a black Sharpie pen. I buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond to smooth out the stain and blend it into the rest of the bowl.I lightly buffed the pipe and stem with Blue Diamond once again to polish it. I gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth and it was finished. The restored pipe is shown in the photos below. This is the first of about 50 pipes that I received from my friend at the pipe shop. They are all from the same gentleman’s estate and there are some beauties. If you would like to add this one to your rack contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or send me a message on Facebook. We will discuss the cost and the shipping. Thanks for looking.