Daily Archives: March 30, 2018

Finishing the last of Mark’s Challenges – this one a GBD Bulldog 2331


Blog by Steve Laug

I finished the restoration work on Mark’s uncle’s pipes and a few of his own and sent them back to him in late January of this year. I wrote a blog on each of the restorations. They were a fun batch of pipes to restore for him. He sent me another package a few weeks ago that had just three pipes in it – A GBD 2331 Popular Straight Bulldog, a GBD 9242 Rhodesian (one of my holy grail pipes) and a long Churchwarden pipe. Each pipe had a different set of issues that would provide a variety of challenges. The GBD 9242 had suffered much at the hands of a hack repair person. The Churchwarden had a broken tenon stuck in the shank. I am finally working on the last of the pipes – the little classic shaped GBD Bulldog. The Bulldog was in excellent condition other than the first ½ inch of the stem missing in chunks. This pipe was by far in the best condition of the lot. The finish has spots of varnish on the sides of the bowl and shank. Most of it was gone but there were still flecks of it present. The finish underneath was in decent shape and the oxblood stain looked very good with the mixed grain patterns around the bowl. The bowl was clean and looked like it had been recently reamed. The rim top was free of lava and though it had some light rim darkening on the top. The edges of the bowl – both inner and outer were in good shape. The stem looked really good other than the missing chunks. There was little oxidation and after the damaged part was removed it was pretty clean. The stem had enough length on it that I thought I might be able to cut it off and reshape it. Time would tell. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the general condition of the pipe. You can see how clean the bowl, rim top and edges are. You can see the broken end of the stem with the missing chunks. It appeared as if someone had tried to glue the pieces on the stem and affect a repair. The repair had not worked but the glue was left behind.I took some close up photos of the shank to show the stamping on both sides. The left side shows the GBD oval over the Brand Popular. The right side is stamped London England in a straight line over 2331 which is the shape number. The stamping is faint in some places but it is still readable. The GBD brass oval rondel is in good condition on the left side of the saddle stem.I decided to start working on this pipe by addressing the issue with the damaged stem. I removed the stem and set the bowl aside. I used a Dremel and sanding drum to remove the damaged portions of the stem on both sides. I cut off as much as the damage as necessary to remove the broken and chipped edges and still leave behind enough stem to work with in shaping the new button.I used a  mixture of black super glue and charcoal powder to build up a button edge on both sides of the stem. I set it over a lighter so that it could dry on both sides.Once the repair had dried/cured I reshaped the stem and button. I cut a sharp edge on both sides of the stem with a needle file. I shaped the taper of the stem surface on both sides with the blade of the file.I sanded out the file marks on the stem with 220 grit sandpaper and reshaped the button and slot with the sandpaper. I cleaned up the sanding marks with 400 wet dry sandpaper. I sanded the entire stem to clean up all of the scratches and marks in the vulcanite.I followed the sanding by polishing the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I finished polishing it with Before & After Pipe Polish – using both the Fine and the Extra Fine polish. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I was happy with the new look of the button and stem. I rubbed down the surface of the briar with a cotton pad and acetone. I was able to remove the entire patchy varnish coat. The briar looked far better with that removed. The photos below show the bowl after the acetone wash. I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm to deep clean the briar and the smooth rim. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I hand rubbed it with my fingers and wiped it off with a soft cloth and buffed it with a shoe brush to polish it. The briar really began to have a rich shine. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave it several coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise a shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The new button and reshaping of the stem looks really good. Now that I have finished the last of Mark’s pipes I will be packing them up soon to send back to him. It won’t be long before Mark gets to enjoy them with their inaugural smokes. With the damage removed I think the pipe looks a lot better. Thanks for walking with me through the process of the reshaping.

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Restoring a Comoy’s Sandblast 215 Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

Recently I was contacted by a reader, Daniel about restoring a couple of pipes that he had picked up at a local antique shop. The first was a nice looking Art Deco style pipe with a prow and fins around the bowl. I wrote about the restoration of the C.B. Weber Streamliner already at this link: https://rebornpipes.com/2018/03/30/restoring-a-cb-weber-inc-maplewood-streamliner/. The second pipe was a briar Comoy’s Sandblast Bent Billiard that I worked on next. The bowl had a thick cake in it that had overflowed onto the rim top. There were shards of tobacco in the bottom of the bowl and on the sides as well. The finish was dirty but otherwise not too bad. There was a smooth band on the underside of the shank. It was stamped Comoy’s over Sandblast over Made in London over England and next to that was the shape number 215. The vulcanite stem was oxidized and there was tooth chatter on the top and underside at the button. The C logo was not the three part older logo that was on earlier Comoy’s pipe but rather a one part inlay with a different style font. I took photos of the pipe before I began the cleanup process. I took photos of the rim top and both sides of the stem to show the condition of both. The close up of the rim top shows the cake in the bowl and the overflow of lava in the grooves of the sandblast finish. The photo shows the tobacco debris stuck in bottom and on the sides of the bowl. The stem was oxidized and both sides of the stem had tooth chatter near the button. There were no deep tooth marks so it would be a fairly easy cleanup.I took two photos of the underside of the shank rolling it between photos to make sure that all of the stamping was readable.I reamed the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to remove all of the cake and the tobacco debris that was stuck to the walls of the bowl. I scraped the cake back to bare briar so that I could examine the walls of the bowl. There were very clean and there was no checking or burn marks.I cleaned out the interior of the pipe with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. It was not as dirty as I expected. I was able to remove all of the grime and tars that were in the mortise, shank and airway in the stem.I used a brass bristle wire brush to clean up the rim top sandblast. I scrubbed it until the entire rim top was clean and the debris removed. I worked over the inside of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the edge.I scrubbed the surface of the briar with Before & After Restoration Balm, working it into the grooves and deeper areas of the sandblast. The balm enlivens, cleans and protects the briar was it is worked into the finish. I let it sit for a short time and then buffed it off with a soft cloth. I took photos of the bowl to show the condition at this point. I wet sanded the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to smooth out the tooth marks and chatter. I worked on it until I had removed the majority of the oxidation on the surface. I polished the stem surface with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I further polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine deepen the shine. I gave the pipe a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem back on the bowl and worked the pipe over on the buffing wheel using Blue Diamond to lightly polish both the bowl and the stem. I buffed the bowl and stem to raise the gloss on the briar and the vulcanite. I gave the bowl a lighter buff than I did on the stem to keep the polishing material from clogging the deep grooves of the blast. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The contrasting brown stain – both medium and dark brown goes well with the rich black of the vulcanite stem. The dimensions of the pipe are: Length: 5 1/2 inches, Height: 1 3/4 inches, Outside Diameter: 1 1/4 inches, Diameter of the chamber: 3/4 inches. This is a newer Comoy’s pipe as far as can tell from the shape and fit of the C logo on the stem. Now that Daniel’s second pipe finished I will soon pack them up and mail both of them back to him. I know he is looking forward to loading it up and smoking it. Thanks for walking with me through the restoration.

1937 Pipe Lore Annual – Wally Frank Catalogue


Blog by Steve Laug

I purchased a group of pipes from a fellow in Texas and it included this Pipe Lore Annual Wally Frank Catalogue from 1937. It is an interesting read. For me these old catalogues are great reading and the descriptions of pipes and tobaccos fascinate me. I thought I would scan it and share it here with all of you. Give it a read. Enjoy.

Restoring a CB Weber Inc. Maplewood Streamliner


Blog by Steve Laug

Recently I was contacted by a reader about restoring a couple of pipes that he had picked up at a local antique shop. It was a nice looking Art Deco style pipe with a prow and fins around the bowl. The inside of the bowl itself was oval. The pipe was made out of Maple rather than briar. The fins went around the sides, back and front of the bowl. The finish was dirty but otherwise not too bad. The cuts around the bowl were rough and unsanded with a lot of burrs around the edges of each fin. The top of the bowl was darkened and also had a buildup of lava on the back side of the bowl and some darkening on the rim top. There was a cake in the bowl and shards of tobacco stuck to the sides and bottom. There were scratches on the shank and the bottom of the bowl. The bottom of the bowl had a raised ridge across the middle which made the pipe sit upright on the desk top. The stem appeared to be vulcanite with scratches and tooth chatter on the top and underside at the button. There was a small metal stinger in the tenon. I took photos of the rim top and both sides of the stem to show the condition of both. The close up of the rim top shows the darkening one the back side of the rim top and some around the other sides. The photo shows the tobacco debris stuck in bottom and on the sides of the bowl. Both sides of the stem had tooth chatter near the button. There were no deep tooth marks so it would be a fairly easy cleanup.The first article that I quoted from in that blog came from the following blogpost on WordPress: http://streamlinesdeluxe.wordpress.com/2012/06/01/weber-streamliner-pipe-2/. The author of the blog makes a brief reference to the pipe I found (and this one by the way) and even has a picture of it. He speaks of the stem being made of something other than vulcanite. Other references I found in online pipe forums spoke of the fact that the bowl was not made of briar but of some composite material. Others said that the bowls were made of American hardwoods. Interestingly no one spoke of what hardwoods were used. I have hunted high and low on the web and can find nothing definitive on the pipe’s manufacture or composition.

I broadened my search to information on finned pipes. I did not want information on Porsche design pipes or metal finned pipes but was looking for anything on wooden finned pipes. I came across the following information on a patent taken by a carver/designer named Wayne Leser. His diagrams and patent application is included below and it can be seen that it is actually very close to CB Weber’s Streamliner. His patent was applied for through the US Patent Office in January of 1941. I assume the patent was granted as it is on the Patent website. Weber’s design seems to be elongated a bit more than the Leser design but the tear drop shape of the outer bowl and the similarly tear drop shape of the drilling match quite well.

I can find no further information on Wayne Leser so I have no idea if he sold his concept to Weber, or worked for Weber. If anyone has further information on that connection it would be great to learn about it. Please post a response below. Refreshing myself on the history of the brand gave me the kind of background information that I enjoy when working on pipes that I am restoring. I took some close up photos to show that the pipe is made of Maple wood. It also shows that the shank of the pipe I am working bears stamping on both sides. On the left side it is stamped Streamliner in script over C.B. Weber Ltd. On the right side it is stamped Wally Frank Ltd. That means that while the pipe was made by C.B. Weber it was sold and distributed by Wally Frank. I wonder if it was not one of their Pipe of the Month sales.I reamed the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to remove all of the cake and the tobacco debris that was stuck to the walls of the bowl. I scraped the cake back to bare wood so that I could examine the walls of the bowl. There were very clean and there was no checking or burn marks.I used a folded piece of 320 grit sandpaper to smooth out the inside of each of the fins so that the sawed areas were smooth and all of the burrs left behind by the sawing of each fin were removed and smoothed out.I polished the rim top to remove the darkening and the light lava overflow. I also sanded the outside of the bowl with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding debris. I took some more photos of the stem when it had been removed from the shank. You can see the scratching and wear on the top and underside near the button and other scratches up the stem toward the stinger in the tenon.  I removed the stinger and took a photo of it next to the stem.I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the tooth marks and chatter. I worked on it until the surface was smooth. I polished the stem surface with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I further polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine deepen the shine. I gave the pipe a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem back on the bowl and worked the pipe over on the buffing wheel using Blue Diamond to lightly polish both the bowl and the stem. I buffed the bowl and stem to raise the gloss on the briar and the vulcanite. I gave the pipe multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The C.B. Weber Maple Streamliner is unstained. The grain on the Maple wood shows through on the rim, sides and shank of the pipe. The blonde maple goes well with the rich black of the vulcanite stem. The dimensions of the pipe are: Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 1/2 inches, Outside Diameter: 1 1/4 inches, Diameter of the chamber: 5/8 inches wide and 1 inch long. This is an interesting pipe with an Art Deco look and a streamlined flow. The fins along the sides, front and back of the bowl act as cooling fins when the pipe is smoked. I have a second pipe to work on for Daniel and then I will mail both of them back to him. I know he is looking forward to loading it up and smoking it. Thanks for walking with me through the restoration.