Blog by Steve Laug
I chose a second easy pipe to work on – another of my favourite shapes, a GBD Rhodesian. It is stamped on the left side of the shank with GBD in an oval over the words New Standard in script. On the right side of the shank it is stamped London, England over 9438. The stamping is quite readable. The finish was in decent shape. There was a light cake in the bowl and overflowing onto the topside of the rim. There was a slight burn mark on the outer edge of the rim from repeated lighting in that spot. The stem has the brass roundel on the left side of the saddle. The stem was lightly oxidized and there was tooth chatter on both the top and underside near the button. The next series of photos show the pipe when my brother received it in Idaho. He sent along a few close up photos to show the rim top and cake in the bowl. It shows the thickness of the cake and the light build up on the top. The photos that follow show the stamping on the shank sides and the roundel on the stem side. The next two photos show the tooth chatter on the top and the underside of the stem at the button. There were a lot of tiny tooth marks that covered the first inch of the stem on each side.My brother did his usual exceptional job of cleaning the pipe on the inside and out before he sent it to me in Vancouver. I ran a pipe cleaner through it when it came and it was spotless. He was able to remove much of the grime from the finish and the tars from the rim top.In the next photo you can see the burn marks around inner edge of the rim and on the front left outer edge. These would take a bit of work to minimize.I took a close up photo of the rim top to focus in on the burn marks around the edges of the bowl and rim top. I also took some photos of the stem to show the oxidation and the tooth chatter. I worked on the rim top with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads to remove the burned areas. I was glad to see that they were only surface and did not go too deep. I was able to remove them for the most part. There is a small remnant of the mark on the front edge of the rim. I polished the entire bowl with the 1500-2400 grit micromesh while I worked on the rim to begin to bring a shine to the briar. I continued to polish the rim and the bowl with 3200-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads to deepen the shine and polish the briar. I buffed the bowl lightly with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel and set it aside. I worked on the stem. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the tooth chatter on both sides. They were not too deep so it did not take too much work to remove the marks in the vulcanite. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and then buffed it with Red Tripoli on the buffing wheel to breakdown the oxidation further. I then dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each set of three pads to bring life to the rubber and to also give the micromesh something to bit in during the polishing. Once I finished with the 12000 grit pad I gave it a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem on the pipe and buffed the entire pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to polish out the remaining scratches. I gave the pipe multiple coats of carnauba wax to protect it and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I took it back to the work table and hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The grain is unique and a mix of grains – flame grain, cross grain and some straight grain. There is even birdseye on the bottom and on the rim. The stain that was on the bowl is a reddish-brown and it allows the grain to shine through. It is a beautiful example of the GBD 9438 shape Rhodesian and one that will grace the pipe rack. Thanks for walking through this simple refresher with me.