Daily Archives: March 7, 2017

The Striking Grain of a GBD Americana – Made in London England Bent Billiard

Blog by Dal Stanton

When I saw this pipe on the eBay auction block, I was drawn to it first by the grain.  The dark veins of grain were an anomaly and immediately the questions that came to my mind were, “Is that natural or were the darker veins introduced through the manufacturing processes of GBD?  Or, are they discolorations that came afterwards through aging?  The questions raised my curiosity enough to stand back and look at the pipe itself – a GBD Americana half Bent Billiard.  The grain beyond the dark veins were interesting – one side of the stummel was almost exclusively a pattern of peacock feather eyes – bird’s eye grain, but larger and flowing.  The other side appeared as a tree flowing up from the heal of the stummel and fanning out midway to the rim, with more bird’s eye grain taking the form of the foliage of the tree.  Unapologetically, I’m a briar grain addict!  Well, with the winning bid cast, the GBD made its way from the United States to my “Help Me!” basket here in Sofia, Bulgaria.  Here are the pictures that first got my attention on eBay – the black vein grain and the flowering tree: This attractive Bent Billiard has markings on the left side of the shank of, “GBD” (oval encircled) over “Americana”.  The right side of the shank bears, “Made in London” (circular lettering) over “England” with the shape number “508” immediately to the right.  The bottom of the shank has “M” imprinted standing alone.  The traditional brass GBD rondel garnishes the stem. The story of GBD pipes is an interesting one starting in France in 1850 with an unexpected partnership, not coming from businessmen, but fellow pipe makers who felt they could make a go of it.  This excellent article, Finding Out Who Created GBD – Story of a Pipe Brand – Jacques Cole was reposted on Reborn Pipes and is an excellent read for framing a historical appreciation for a pipe name and its development – GBD.

Who were these creators? Ganneval, Bondier and Donninger were three ‘Master Pipemakers’ who got together in Paris in 1850 to manufacture meerschaum pipes. It was a bold decision as these were troubled times in France. Charles Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte has returned after the 1848 revolution and become President of the Republic. Following a coup d’etat in 1851, he made himself Emperor Napoleon III in 1852. He was incidentally a keen pipesmoker and may well have owned one or more early GBDs.

 The pipe of Emperor Napoléon!  Does it get much better than this?  The picture to the left bottom is not Napoleon depicted, but with pipe in hand, the ‘charge’ gives one an image to imagine!  The focus of the ‘GBD’ enterprise in the late 1800s was primarily the production of meerschaum pipes but in the 1850s, with Saint-Claude’s discovery of briar and its special qualities for making lasting, heat-resistant pipes, GBD adapted and added briar to its list of materials.  GBD boasted in the end of the 19th Century as having 1500 models that customers could choose from – though Pipedia’s article on GBD clarifies this unbelievable number as counting each shape three times due to three different stem materials used.  GBD straddled its French identity and its adopted English identity through various acquisitions and changes in ownership, yet, keeping the initials of the founders firmly in place.  Pipedia’s history is helpful to understand these historical iterations:

There is a very simple explanation for GBD’s program to turn more “British”: GBD became a British company soon after the turn of the century! In 1902 Marechal and Ruchon sold GBD to A. Oppenheimer & Co. in London. Charles Oppenheimer had founded this successful trade business in 1860 as an import-/export house. His brothers David and Adolphe and brother-in-law Louis Adler soon joined him. Adolphe took over when Charles went to Germany as British ambassador. Briar pipes were among the first products traded. The business relation to GBD in Paris began as early as 1870. Being the most important customer in the English-speaking world, Oppenheimer & Co. were designated as sole distributor for Great Britain, the USA and Canada in 1897.

Though English owned, pipe production continued in Paris and soon Oppenheimer acquired two factories in Saint-Claude in 1906, increasing its production.  Also during this period, Oppenheimer continuing to expand, built a pipe factory in London, but this operation failed to live up to expectations until the genesis of WW I when demand for pipes increased for the front line and production fell in the French factories as men were called to the front lines.  The shift of GBD being identified more distinctly as a British pipe emerged after the close of the war even though production continued in London and France through the 1920s.  I find the next Pipedia excerpt interesting because it marks well how GBD had fully transitioned from its origins, the handshake of 3 French pipe makers, to a macro-business continuing through the 1900s.

In 1920 Oppenheimer had purchased BBB (Blumfeld’s Best Briar, formerly A. Frankau) and little later Loewe & Co. and large shares of Comoy’s of London. The economic crisis in the early 1920s induced the foundation of Cadogan Investments Ltd., named for its seat at Cadogan Square in London. The Cadogan group was a superordinated holding company, in order to tune all activities of Oppenheimer’s brands in the pipe industry. Whereby an extensive independence of the single brands was preserved. Remember, the Oppenheimers and Adlers weren’t pipe specialists, but rather sales people who depended on their experts in the British and French plants.

This link is to a 50 page catalog featuring Oppenheimer’s product line – it is fascinating.  The index page is pictured below.  In 1952 the Paris factory moved to Saint-Claude and since the 1980s most GBD pipes come from London.  The higher-end GBD pipe lines are of good quality and many feel they stack up well against the array of Dunhill offerings yet more affordable.  The Pipe Phil history of GBD says that the Saint-Claude pipe factory closed in 1981 leaving only London as the producer of GBD pipes.This list comprises the better grades of GBD pipes in descending order: Pedigree, Pedigree I, Pedigree II, Straight Grain, Prodigy, Bronze Velvet, Virgin, Varichrome, Prestige, Jubilee, New Era, Prehistoric, International, Universe, Speciale Standard, Ebony, Tapestry, New Standard, Granitan, Sauvage, Sierra, Penthouse, Legacy, Concorde.

According to the José Manuel Lopes, the Americana before me now is a GBD second associated with L&H Stern, Pioneer, and Appleby.  The closest indicator of dating of this GBD Americana comes from Pipe Phil that GBD’s metal stem rondels were discontinued after 1981 when GBD merged with Comoy.  After seeing Reborn Pipes’ contributor, Al Jones’ comments in several GBD discussion threads, I sent him a note with some questions and pictures about this Americana.  His response was helpful and his description of ‘Odd Duck’ helps me place this pipe in context:


You’ve got an odd duck! 

Typically, the stamping used on pre-Cadogan pipes is the straight line COM, “London, England” stamp (see attached) combine with the brass rondell stem logo.  Cadogan era pipes (made after 1981) have the round “Made in London” (with England under) COM, as shown on your pipe.  But, they typically have stamped stem logos. I see these pipes occasionally, and my assumption is they were made after the merger, until the brass rondell inventory was exhausted. One common denominator on these pipes is a single letter.  I have no idea as to what it may mean, but M is frequently used. These pipes also had many more finish names, like your Americana, that were not seen before.  Comoy’s started doing the same thing, adding lines and letters just after the merger. I’ll look forward to seeing the restored pipe, it looks like a good candidate.


Al With Al’s ‘Odd Duck’ description in place, my best summation of this GBD Americana, is that it is placed after 1981, but in the early 80s, after the Cadogan merger, but before the brass rondel bucket emptied which more than likely indicates a cost-saving measure that may indicate a lowering of GBD quality – perhaps, only my guess.  I took a quick look in the early 80’s GBD catalog listings on Chris’s Pipe Pages, perchance to find a listing for an Americana, but came up empty.

With a greater appreciation for the name and history of the GBD Americana pipe before me, and the other GBDs waiting in my “Help Me!” basket, I take additional pictures on my work table to fill in the story and take a closer look. I like the appearance of this GBD Americana bent Billiard.  The cake build up in the chamber is thick and will need to be removed to the briar for a fresh start.  The rim is covered with lava flow and will need cleaning before I can see what lies beneath.  I’m interested to see what happens with the dark briar veins on the stummel surface when I clean it up with Murphy’s Soap.  I detect some pits and dents on the stummel surface – normal wear and tear.  The stem shows significant oxidation coupled with moderate teeth chatter and some dents on the bits.  The first thing I do to begin the restoration and recommissioning of this GBD Americana is to plop the stem into an Oxi-Clean solution for a good soak to raise the oxidation. After soaking several hours, I pluck the stem out of the Oxi-Clean bath and the solution did the job of raising the oxidation.  After I take a picture, I wet sand the stem using 600 grit sandpaper that takes the mother-load of oxidation off.  I continue using 0000 steel wool to remove more oxidation and work the grooves around the button.  I also work around the GBD rondel with the steel wool, working on the oxidation and shining the brass as well.  The pictures show the progress.I then take pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl and clean the internals of the stem.  There was not too much resistance and the pipe cleaners returned clean very quickly.

Time to work on the stummel.  I begin by removing the moderate cake build up in the chamber.  I first put a paper towel down on the work space to collect the carbon dust and then take the Pipnet Reaming Kit and I use two smaller of the 4 blades available.  Starting with the smaller blade, I turn it until the crunchy resistance of the carbon cake is absent, then I move up to the next larger blade removing the cake.  Following the reaming blades, I use the Savinelli Pipe Knife and fine tune the reaming by scraping the chamber walls removing even more carbon.  Then, I roll 240 grit sanding paper around a Sharpie Pen and sand the chamber walls.  Finally, I use a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95% to remove the residue carbon dust and clean the chamber.  Inspecting the wall of the chamber, all looks good – no problems detected.  The pictures show the progress. I like working on a clean pipe so I turn now to the internals of the stummel.  Using pipe cleaners and cotton swabs dipped in isopropyl 95% I attack the mortise and the airway. The tar and oils are not putting up too much resistance and the pipe cleaners and swabs start coming through clean.  Later, I will give the internals a salt/alcohol soak to clean the stummel further and freshen the pipe. With the internals clean, I now turn to the external surface.  I’m anxious to see what the Murphy’s Soap does regarding the dark veins on the surface – I’m not sure if it’s actual dark grain color or something else.  I use undiluted Murphy’s Soap with cotton pads and bristled tooth brush to scrub the surface and remove the grime.  To clean the rim, I also employ use of a brass bristle brush which will clean but not damage the wood.  Without a doubt, I am looking at an amazing piece of briar with dark, blackish veins in the grain – unique and striking.  The surface itself is in good shape.  I detect very small fills but they are solid and will easily blend.  The rim shows damage on the front-left edge – possibly scorching from lighting the pipe over the rim.  There is also a bevel on the inner rim. To remove the damage to the rim and to reestablish crisp lines, I will lightly top the GBD – only taking off as much as needed.  I use a chopping board on my work table with a sheet of 240 grit paper over it.  I invert the stummel and rotate the stummel in a circular motion – careful not to lean to the softer damaged area of the rim. I take a picture mid-way to show progress.  After removing enough of the top, I then switch to a 600 grit paper and give the rim a few more rotations on the topping board, primarily to smooth the rim.  Burning and discoloration remain on the inner rim after the topping.  I take 120 grit paper, tightly rolled, and cut a new inner rim bevel.  I follow with 240 grit paper rolled, then a 600 grit rolled paper to complete the bevel.  The pictures show the rim’s progress. With the stummel before me, I decide to proceed with sanding the externals.  I first use a light grade sanding sponge, followed by the micromesh pads from 1500 to 12000.  In sets of three, I wet sand using micromesh pads 1500 to 2400, followed by dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000, and then concluding also dry sanding with pads 6000 to 12000.  The grain in this GBD Americana is unique and the way the grain emerged through the micromesh cycles was striking.  The pictures show the sanding process. I now clean and freshen the internals of the stummel more and I use kosher salt and alcohol to soak the stummel.  The kosher salt will leave no residual taste as will regular iodized salt. I first stretch and twist a cotton ball to stuff down the mortise acting as a wick to draw out the tars and oils.  I then fill the chamber with kosher salt and set it in an egg carton where it will have the right angle and be stable.  Then using a dropper, I fill the chamber with isopropyl 95% until it rises above the level of the salt.  I top it off after a few minutes because the alcohol is drawn down initially into the mortise and the cotton wick.  I then set the stummel aside for several hours to soak.  The pictures show the progress.With the stummel soaking, I start the stem polishing process.  I first work around the GBD rondel using a small piece of Mr. Clean Miracle Eraser.  I detect left over oxidation ringing the rondel in the vulcanite.  I do not want to bear down on the rondel with an abrasive so I’m hoping that Mr. Clean will do the job and the result confirms this.  Previously, when I removed the oxidation with 600 grit paper, it cleaned the button area of teeth chatter very well.  I detect on both the upper and lower lip edges residue oxidation that was shielded by the lip overhang.  I fold a piece of 240 grit paper to create a sharp blade/edge and sand the lip edge.  This removes the oxidation as well as sharpening the button definition.  I follow doing the same with 600 grit paper and then buff the bit, upper and lower with 0000 steel wool.  The pictures show the fine-tuning stem work. I’m ready to begin the micromesh pads polishing process.  First, using pads 1500 to 2400, I wet sand the stem, followed by pads 3200 to 4000 then 6000 to 12000, I dry sand the stem.  After each cycle of 3, I apply Obsidian Oil to revitalize the vulcanite and take a picture to mark the progress.  The GBD stem rondel has a pop with the black backdrop of the newly revitalized vulcanite stem.  The pictures show the progress. Back home after a day at work, I’m looking forward to finishing and recommissioning this GBD Americana for service to a new steward.  The salt and alcohol soak has had all day and there isn’t that much discoloration of the salt – hopefully this means there wasn’t that much left to clean!  I thump the bowl on my palm to dislodge the used salt and dump it.  I then take a dry paper towel and wipe out the excess salt from the chamber and after removing the cotton wick, I use multi-sized round bristle brushes to remove excess salt from the airway and mortise.  Then I complete the job by wetting a cotton swab and a pipe cleaner with isopropyl 95% and plunge them, only to discover that the internals were indeed cleaned and ready to go. With the stummel cleaned and stem waiting in the wings, I reassemble the pipe to get a bird’s eye view of things.  It does not take long to decide not to apply a stain, but to leave the natural finish on this striking and graceful Bent Billiard.  The color combinations of the black veins and black stem, the golden briar and the brass stem rondel are eye-catching.  This is one nice looking pipe! I use white diamond compound with a felt wheel mounted on the Dremel at the lowest speed.  Before I apply the compound, I purge the wheel of old compound using the edge of the Dremel’s adjustment wrench.  I apply the compound to both stem and stummel. I rotate the wheel over the surface, not applying much downward pressure on the surface but allowing the RPMs of the Dremel and the compound to do the work.  After the White Diamond, I mount a cotton cloth wheel at the same lowest speed, and apply Blue Diamond compound to both stummel and stem.  With the compounds completed, I buff the pipe with a flannel cloth not so much to shine it but to remove the excess compound dust before I apply wax.  With the carnauba wax I mount the cotton cloth wheel, increase the speed one notch faster, 2 with the fastest being 5.  I apply several coats of wax to stem and stummel.  I finish the polishing process with a hand buff using a micromesh cloth to deepen and bring out the shine.

This GBD Americana Bent Billiard has perhaps the most striking briar grain I have yet to see.  The black veined grain gives a marbling effect that draws the eyes to look closer.  When one looks closer the grain is a myriad of shapes and bird’s eye swirls that make me ponder again one of God’s little creations.  Then, the black grain on the left side of the stummel, dips underneath the heel, and emerges on the right side as straight vertical grain resembling a mature tree, beginning with the roots, then trunk, replete with foliage fanning out above as it reaches toward the rim – a virtual canvas.  If I decide to sell this pipe (I’m conflicted, this one may indeed be a keeper!), you will see it in the store at my blog site, The Pipe Steward.  All the profits of pipes that I sell go to help the Daughters of Bulgaria – the organization we work with here in Bulgaria helping women and children who have been sexually exploited and trafficked.  Thanks for joining me!




1973-1974 Kirsten Pipe Company Catalog

This is the second of the Kirsten Pipe Company Catalogues. While there are some similarities between the first one I posted and this one notice the subtle changes in colour, in bowl shapes offered and of course in prices. I have two more catalogues to scan from the years that follow and I find this kind of thing fascinating to read. If you are like me in this then enjoy! Inserted in the cover was a Kirsten Meerschaum bowl and pipe leaflet as well as advertisement for a boxed set of pipes.

Who would have guessed that there was a Beauty in this Beast

Blog by Steve Laug

Sometimes you have to look past the state of a pipe to really see what could be present underneath all of the layers of dirt and grime. You have to have the right perspective as well. You need to be able to see these pipes as well loved rather than abused; as a favourite pipe rather than a neglected one. This the context in which the next pipe that crossed my worktable is to be viewed. Here is the back-story. Not too long ago I received an email from a friend of mine named Jim, whose pipes I have worked on in the past. He had an interesting story to tell me and a request. I thought rather than tell the story for him I would let him tell it himself. Here is his email in full:

Hey Steve,

I have been hunting about 1200 acres of Farm and Woodland Property owned by an area farmer and old friend of mine named Stephen Lehner. Steve knows I am a pipe aficionado, and approached me the other day with a pipe that had belonged to his father. I was able to get a little history of how this pipe came to be in this abysmal condition. Steve’s father was rather hard on his pipes. As the original owner of this pipe, Steve said his dad, in the latter years of his life, was not given to cleaning his pipes. His cleaning routine, if you could call it that, consisted of digging any ash and unburnt tobacco from the bowl with a pocket knife, then grasping the pipe by the stem, toward the mouthpiece/lip area, and banging it violently against any nearby hard object – trees, brick walls, car mirrors. It was hard enough that Steve’s son, Shawn, remarked that the old man actually damaged the mirrors on his trucks! Mr. Lehner’s pipes were so abused, that he routinely broke stems, necessitating that he acquire new stems – some of which were not well fitted.

In any case, Steve handed me this pipe, stating that it is one of a very few connections he has to his late father, and asked if I could do a cursory cleaning so he could display it as a keepsake (He is not a pipe smoker). I thought the pipe was interesting, if in bad condition. I cannot clearly make out any markings. On one side, there is a partially legible stamping, “…vage” with some cursive writing below it which I cannot make out. On the other side, I can read the number “75.”  I think it is a bulldog style. The tenon will not enter all the way into the mortise, and I am not sure if that is because there is so much crud inside or because it is not the correct bit.  The bowl is heavily caked and cracked. It also looks as though there was some ad hoc rustication on the bowl, as well. The bowl shows a distinct area of impact where it was banged during cleaning as well.

I attached some pix so you could behold this wonder:Once I saw the pictures I was quite taken back by the sheer beastly look of this old pipe. It had quite literally been beaten to death. The bowl was cracked on the outside of the bowl that started at the front of the bowl and extended to almost the back side. There was a second crack below that on the front of the bowl extending from the bottom of the first crack and extending toward the other side of the bowl. The bowl was so badly caked that I could not even get my pinky finger in the bowl. I tried to blow through the end of the shank and I was unable to get any air through the bowl. The finish was dirty and sticky to touch. The worm trail rustication ran over the bowl surface but was filled in with dirt and grit. From the photos it appeared that the shank inside was incredibly dirty. I think that it is fair to say this pipe was a stranger to pipe cleaners. The stem that was in the shank was not a fit. It was of smaller diameter than the shank. The slot in the stem was almost clogged.

After reading his email and looking over the photos I wrote back to my friend. I was pretty certain from the look of the rustication and the shape number he gave me that the pipe was a GBD. The three letters that he could read on the left side of the shank were age. That led me to look in the GBD list I have and concluded that the pipe was a GBD Sauvage. I looked up some information on a chart I have of GBD lines and knew that the pipe was originally sold with a light brown stain, smooth bowl with deep carved lines to hide flaws. It was similar to a Savinelli Sherwood, but much deeper carved lines. The GBD shape number 75 was a Rhodesian with a1/4 Bent Saddle stem. While this old pipe was a mess it was awfully hard to tell if it ever was a Rhodesian. I sent him this information in my reply.

He wrote back and said he wondered if I would be willing to tackle the restoration on this one. If so he would send it to me. I wrote back and said I would do the work. I guess I will find out if my guesses on the brand of this pipe were correct. I would know more once it arrived.

The pipe arrived and it was indeed a mess. On top of the beat up old pipe, the reek of Middleton’s Cherry pipe tobacco filled the room when I opened the box. My daughters immediately commented on how strong the smell was. I examined the pipe with a lens to see if I could identify the pipe. It was stamped on the left side of the shank with the GBD logo in an oval over Sauvage over Collector in script. On the right side of the shank it is stamped Made in England over 75 which is the shape number. The next photos show what the pipe looked like when I received it. I took a close up photo of the rim to show the absolute dreadful condition this pipe was in when it arrived. The bowl had a thick cake that still reeked of the aroma of burnt Middleton’s Cherry pipe tobacco. The rim had been hammered to what looked like the point of no return – though I would not know for sure until I had removed the cake and the buildup on the rim top. The stem was a replacement one and it was obviously a poor fitting one. The diameter of the stem and the shank were not a match and the tenon could not be pushed into the shank because of the grit and tar built up inside. The button had been flattened by biting and there were tooth dents on it and also on the top and bottom sides. I would definitely need to make a new stem for the pipe. I decided to start by reaming the bowl back to bare wood. I wanted to see if the cracks on the outside continued into the bowl. I fully expected the bowl to fall apart once the carbon was removed and ceased to hold everything together. I started reaming with the smallest cutting blade on the PipNet pipe reamer and worked up to the largest cutting head. I finished reaming the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.I rolled a piece of 80 grit sandpaper on my index finger and sanded the inside of the bowl. I wanted to be able to clearly see if the cracks on the outside continued into the bowl. The second photo below shows the inside of the bowl. The crack on the left side of the bowl did not seem to show through inside. The one on the front of the bowl still needed some more work to be certain but it also looked like it did not show through. Notice the buildup on the rim it probably protected the top of the bowl to a large degree.I scraped the rim with a pen knife to peel off the cake that overflowed on the top. I carefully held the blade against the surface of the rim and scraped it slowly until all of the buildup was gone. Underneath all of the buildup the rim was in rough shape. It had been beaten pretty hard and the damage was quite extensive. The rim top showed signs of being knocked about hard against that truck mirror mentioned above. If this pipe could have talked I would love to hear the stories it could tell.I topped the bowl on the topping board using 220 grit sandpaper. I decided that I would sand it until the top of the rim was smooth and the damage on the outer edge of the rim was minimized.With the rim topped and smooth I wiped the bowl down with acetone on cotton pads to remove the grime and clean up the surface so I could assess the next steps in dealing with the external cracks on the left side and bowl front. I used a microdrill bit on my Dremel to drill pin holes at each end of the cracks in the bowl. The length of the bit ensures that I will not be able to drill too far and go into the bowl itself. There were five distinct ends to the series of cracks in the briar.I used a dental pick to clean out the cracks with surprisingly had closed tighter once the cake was removed from the bowl releasing the pressure. Once they were clean I pressed briar dust into the crack surfaces and the drill holes in the bowl. I dripped clear super glue on the cracks and into the plugs in the drill holes. I gave the repair several more coats of briar dust and super glue until the surface was filled. The pictures tell the story. I sanded the dried repair and the rest of the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the excess briar dust and glue. I wiped the bowl down with alcohol on a cotton pad. I used a Black Sharpie pen to colour in the worm trail rustication around the bowl sides. I had done some research and found that the rustication on the Sauvage line had been darker than the stain on the bowl.I used the drill bit from the KleenReem Pipe reamer to drill out the buildup in the airway from the mortise to the bowl. It was thick and hard so the drill bit took several passes through the airway to clean it out. I used a dental spatula to scrape out the thick, hard tars that lined the walls of the mortise. I scrubbed out the mortise and airway with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners until the internals were clean.I stuffed the bowl with cotton balls until they were just below the edge of the rim. I put a pipe cleaner in the airway to wick the alcohol into the shank. I used an ear syringe to fill the bowl and shank with alcohol. I set the bowl upright in an ice cube tray and let it sit over night to draw the oils out of the briar. In the morning I took a photo of the darkened cotton balls. I used a dental pick to pull them out of the bowl. I cleaned out the shank and the bowl with cotton swabs to remove all the excess alcohol. I let the bowl dry.I stained the bowl with a dark brown aniline stain thinned 50/50 with alcohol to make it more transparent. I flamed the stain and restained it. I repeated the process of staining and flaming the surface until the briar had even coverage. I buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel and then took the following photos to send to Jim to show him the state of the bowl at this point in the process. There were still scratches in the finish that would need to be polished out but the bowl was showing promise and beauty was emerging from the beast. I left the pipe on my work table while I traveled to Idaho for my mom’s 90th birthday. I stay with my brother Jeff when I am there and as usual he had a batch of pipes for me. There were some amazing pipes there but what caught my eye this time was the stem I needed for this Sauvage. It was slightly bigger in diameter than the shank but it would not take much to fit it to the pipe. When I got home I lightly sanded the tenon with a Dremel and sanding drum until it fit snugly into the mortise. I took the photo below to show the new stem and the one that was with the pipe when it arrived. I took photos of the stem to show the difference in diameters of the shank and the stem. You can also see the deep tooth marks in the top and bottom sides of the stem near the button.I sanded the diameter with a sanding drum on the Dremel. I do this with the stem inserted in the mortise so that I can remove as much of the excess vulcanite as possible without damaging the briar on the shank. I nicked the edged of the briar but fortunately the nick was not deep. I also lightly sanded the top and underside of the stem with the Dremel and minimized the tooth marks. I sanded the areas on the stem where the tooth marks had damaged the vulcanite with 180 grit sandpaper and smoothed out the surface damage. What remained were the deeper tooth marks. I wiped down the surface of the stem with alcohol on a cotton pad to remove the debris and dust from the tooth marks. I filled the remaining tooth marks with black super glue and set the stem aside to dry.When the repairs had cured I sanded them with 180 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface of the stem. I sanded the saddle portion of the stem to remove the marks left behind by the sanding drum.I put the stem in the shank and sanded the stem and shank with 220 grit sandpaper to make the transition really smooth. I could have done this differently but there was enough damage to the shank that the sanding would smooth out the briar as well. I wet sanded the stem and shank with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads to smooth out the scratches on the briar and the vulcanite. I was able to remove most of the scratches. The rest would come out with more elbow grease. I cleaned out the inside of the stem with pipe cleaners and alcohol until they came out clean. I used a sharp knife to bevel the airway into the stem. I have found that doing this directs the airflow from the bowl to the button. I put the stem in the shank and took the following photos. There is still a lot of polishing to do but the pipe is beginning to look pretty decent. I continued sanding with the 3200-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads to polish the stem. After each set of three pads I rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil and sanded some more. After the last pad I gave it a final coat of the oil and let it sit to dry.I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel and then gave both the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing wheel to raise the shine and hand buffed it with a microffibre cloth to deepen it. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I am repairing and refitting the original stem to send back with the pipe as well. Once it finished I will buff the two stems and finish removing any scratches that can still be seen in the pipe and then send it back for the surprise that Jim has in mind for it. Thanks for looking.