A Trio of Blue Ribands

By Al Jones

Any collector and enthusiast of Comoy’s pipes knows that that the Blue Riband grade is one of the finest made by that storied maker. I own a number of Comoy’s pipes and have restored several dozen in the past few years. But to this point, I’d only seen the fabled Blue Riband on internet forums and never held one for myself. The trio here belong to my friend Dave Jacobson and were found at the recent Kansas City pipe show. I was thrilled for the opportunity to restore them. “Restore” might be a bit strong as all three were in very good condition. The seller (or someone else) had cleaned them and polished the stems but there was some rim build-up on one pipe and all three had a stubborn layer of oxidation on the stem. The trio included a Shape 252, a “Medium Pot”; Shape 66, a “Large Liverpool”; and the Shape 483, “Large Apple”. All three bear the same, round “Made in London, England” stamp used from the late 1940’s to the merger in 1981.

Shape 252

Shape 483

Shape 66

I polished all three stems starting with 800 grit wet paper, followed by 1,500 and 2,000 grades. 8,000 and 12,000 micromesh sheets were used next, followed by a machine polish using White Diamond and Meguiars Plastic Polish.

The briar was polished with White Diamond and several coats of Carnuba wax, while being careful to stay away from the very good nomenclature.

The Shape 66 had an odd stem logo and I determined that the stem was a replacement. The “C” was stamped and not of the drilled, 3 piece logo found on the other two. The tenon was also slightly different and it did not include the stainless tenon insert. Fortunately, the replacement stem is of a very high quality. This pipe was the most worn of the trio. Assuming they belonged to the same pipeman, this one might have been his favorite. He chose well on the repairman for the the replacement stem and it should be equally as comfortable as the stems on the other two. This one has a bit of bowl-top build-up which I removed with a worn piece of scotch brite and 2,000 grade wet paper.

Here is the metal supported tenon found on the other pipes.

I used some white acrylic paint to brighten the stamped “C” logo. The stamp was a bit shallow, but it did improve the appearance. That finished pipe is below

Here is the finished Shape 252.

And finally, the Shape 483.

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