Daily Archives: July 22, 2018

Dunhill Pipe Refurb


Kaitlyn did an amazing job on this Dunhill restoration. I wanted to share it here on rebornpipes and encourage folks to check out her blog. Well done Kaitlyn.

Briar Babe

Ooooweeeee! I got this pipe 2-3 years ago in a lot I bought on eBay. I kept putting off the refurb because it looked like a no-name pipe to me. Upon closer inspection, I found that the stem had a dot on it. The dot looked yellow because of the severity of the oxidation to the stem. But after I found the dot, I whipped out my trusty magnifying glass and took a closer look at the writing on the bottom of the bowl/shank. I could make out a “Du” and “England” and a few numbers. I thought to myself, could it be? Is it possible that this is a Dunhill? It is indeed! Here are the goods:

Dunhill 1Dunhill 2

Those first two pics I took on the fly and prior to a bleach bath for the stem. Here is after the bleach bath:

IMG_2977IMG_2978.JPGIMG_2979.JPGIMG_2980.JPGIMG_2981

Stem:
After the bleach bath on the stem…

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Restoration of a GBD Rockroot # 1345 Sitter


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

The next pipe that caught my fancy for restoration was a GBD ROCKROOT # 1345. This pipe has beaten Kriswill “Chief”  # 20 and Kriswill “ Golden Clipper” to the finish line, though not decisively since I do not have stain pens and I had to leave the rim top duly sanded to remove all the oils and tars and burn marks. Personally though, I rather liked the look of the contrast the rim provided to the dark coloured pipe bowl, shank and stem. But I have seen other similar GBDs and they all had the nice bowl coloured rim top which also looked beautiful!!!! Hence, my attempt at darkening the rim top. Without darkened rim top!! You decide and suggest please!!!

This pipe has a relatively smaller sized bowl with wire rustications running vertically along the bowl with circular wire rustications run around the shank. This wire rustication runs along the entire rim top. The bottom of the bowl is flat, smooth and bears crisp stampings with ‘GBD’ in oval over ‘ROCKROOT’ over ‘LONDON ENGLAND’ in a straight line over # ‘1345’. The saddle stem has a very subtle and delicate bend with just the lip touching the table top which coupled with the flat bottom of the bowl, makes it a perfectly balanced sitter. A brass oval roundel rim with embossed GBD is embedded in the saddle. This should polish up very nicely. INITIAL INSPECTION
The initial visual inspection of the pipe revealed the following:

The bowl was heavily caked with oils, tars and grime overflowing onto the rim top and down the bowl along the vertical wire rustications. There appears to be some deep charring along the inner edge of the rim on the right hand side in 1’o’clock direction and on the left side in 7’o’clock direction. The extent of the damage to the rim can only be determined after reaming the bowl.The thin wire rustication on the rim top is worn out at certain places. The rest of the rustications along the bowl and shank is filled with dust, oils, gunk and dirt which has been accumulating over the years. Air did not pass through the stem. When the stem was removed from the shank, visual inspection revealed a completely blocked mortise and airway. The stem, too, was slightly blocked.The stem was heavily oxidized with heavy calcification near the lip. There was heavy tooth chatter extending up to an inch from the lip towards the saddle on both sides of the pipe. But thankfully there were no deep bite marks or holes. The lip on both sides has also been chewed out of shape.Dimensions:
Length – 5 inches
Bowl height – 1.5 inches
Bowl depth – 1 1/8th inches
Bowl inner diameter – 7/8  inch
Bowl outer diameter – 1.5 inches

THE PROCESS
As usual Abha, my wife, started work on the bowl while I addressed the stem. Using a Kleen Reem reamer and British Buttner pipe reaming tool, Abha removed most of the thick cake in no time. The reason being a 1 inch deep bowl!!! She had been very careful in avoiding the edges which had the charred marks. While Abha was working her magic on the bowl, I painted the stem with the flame of a Bic lighter to try to lift the light tooth chatter. The lightest of the tooth chatter evened out and the remaining ones were lifted to the surface. I had to sand out the stem to smooth out the tooth chatter. At this point, using a 220 grit paper, I sanded down the stem till the surface felt even and smooth to the touch. I tightly folded a piece of the grit paper and using its edge tried to shape the edges of the lip. Then I applied Extra virgin olive oil to the stem and kept it aside to be absorbed by the stem. And as usual, I just forgot to take pictures of the stem at this stage!!!

Thereafter, I turned my attention to the bowl with hesitation. This was so because the reaming had revealed that the issue of charring was something I had not handled before. I immediately Facetimed  Mr. Steve and sought his advice. It was decided that a smooth surfaced rim, akin to the smooth bottom of the bowl, will add an interesting character to the pipe and will also take care of the charred inner edge of the bowl.

I began with cautiously sanding the inner edges of the bowl to remove as much of the charring as possible. Using Murphy’s oil soap and a hard bristled toothbrush I removed as much of the accumulated tars and lava from the rim top as I could. I lightly topped the bowl on a 220 grit sand paper. The charred portion of the briar came apart in chunks during the topping process. Thereafter, I tried to round off the inner edges of the bowl as much as I possibly could, by creating an inner bevel to cover up and address the charred portion. However, the bowl still remains out of shape.As can be seen, the bowl edge in the 1 o’clock (front right) and 7 o’clock (rear left) directions has moved out too far. I was not too inclined to sand down the other edges to merge with the moved out edges for fear of losing too much briar and further thinning the rim top. Any suggestions whether I should go all out with the inner edge to completely round it or leave it as is are welcome.  Once the bevel was made and I had sanded out as much of the charring as I was comfortable with, I sanded down the rim with micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 – 2400 grit and dry sanding with 3200 – 12000 grit. Using a brush and Murphy’s Oil soap, I cleaned the exteriors of the bowl, rim top and shank and rinsed it under running water. The bowl was wiped dry using a cotton cloth and left to dry out overnight. Turning my attention back to the stem, I wiped it down with a soft cotton cloth. On close inspection, I realized that there was one bite mark on both sides which was not raised and also that the lip edge was not defined/sharp. I mixed up activated charcoal powder with clear CA glue (the glue that was available to me here, has a tendency to come off in lumps. Hence I was skeptical about its function in this process) and applied it on both sides of the stem to fill in the bite mark as well as on the tip edge to define it further and set it aside to cure overnight. Next morning, I rubbed some “Before and After Restoration Balm” into the thin wire rustications of the dried out bowl. Every time I use this balm, I cannot help but appreciate how effectively it works to enliven and refresh an old briar bowl. I rubbed a small quantity of balm with my fingers into the thin wire rustications on the bowl and shank and kept it aside for a few seconds. Using a horse hair brush, I buffed the bowl and shank and worked the balm deeper into the closely packed rustication. I rubbed it down with a soft cloth to a bright shine. I had to use a lot of muscle power and time to get the desired shine since I do not have a wheel. I was satisfied with the way the bowl had turned out up to this point in the restoration.Thereafter I turned my attention to the stem. The fill of CA super glue and charcoal powder had cured sufficiently. Using needle files, I started filling away carefully and cautiously restricting the filing only to the filled areas. Using a flat head needle file, I filed away the excess filling and was satisfied with the end result. I used a 220 grit sand paper to further blend in the fill. I further polished the stem using micromesh sanding pads. Wet sanding with 1500 – 2400 grit pads helped reduce the sanding marks left behind by 220 grit papers to a great extent. I wiped it clean and coated the stem with extra virgin olive oil and let it rest for some time. This allows the vulcanite to absorb the oil. Thereafter I dry sanded the stem with 3200 – 12000 grit micromesh pads and applying olive oil after every third pad. The stem is now nice, smooth and shiny. I shared the pictures of the bowl and stem with Mr. Steve for his opinion and advice for further improvement. As is his style, Mr. Steve first appreciated the effort and suggested that a darker stain would look good. Since he was well aware that the stain pens I had ordered did not reach me, he suggested an ingenious and practical way of staining using local and readily available material. He suggested boiling black tea leaves in a little water and making a very strong and thick brew, letting it sit overnight. Using cotton swab/cue tip dipped in this brew, gently apply onto the area that is to be stained.

I followed his advice and applied it to the rim top of the Rockroot. After allowing it to rest for a few minutes, I gently wiped it off with a soft cotton cloth. The results are truly amazing. Mr. Steve further advised me to use regular black boot polish to further stain and bring back the shine to the rim top. The results of this can be seen in the following pictures of the finished pipe.This restoration has been a fantastic journey of learning, trials and frustrations which I enjoyed to the fullest. I cannot thank Mr. Steve enough for his wise, practical and timely advice and sharing his immense wealth of experience so readily with a novice like me. Thanks Steve!!!

Restoring a Cased Set – 2 JBV & 1 M&T Bent Billiards – Part 1


Blog by Steve Laug

I was chatting with Chris van Hilst from Tobacco Pipe Restorers one day using Messenger and he was selling this old set of pipes. Two of them were stamped JBV in an oval and one was a M&T Best Briar & Bands. The set was missing the third JBV pipe and one of the stems was for the M&T. The silver was dirty and the bowls caked but there was something about the pipes that really attracted me. We talked prices and made a deal. I had him send the pipes to Jeff in Idaho as it was easier to deal with than sending them to Canada. I had him send me a couple of photos of the set that are shown below. The first is the pipes sitting in the case. It shows that there is some kind of cigarette holder and a tamper missing from the set. The second photo shows the JBV in an oval stamp on the left side of the shank of one of the pipes. I could also see hallmarks in the silver but was not able to clearly read them. Jeff received them pretty quickly and put them aside. My daughters went down for my Dad’s 90th birthday so he took the opportunity to send them north with them on their return trip. He had not had a chance to clean them so I was left to my own devices on this set of three. When they arrived, I took a photo of the case before I opened it and of the case open showing the pipes. It is covered in leather and is kidney shaped. It is lightly stained but other than a few nicks it is in great condition.There was some gold leters on the front edge of the case that reads FOURNISSEUR DE SM LEROI DES BELGES. It translates from Belgian French to read PROVIDER HM KING OF BELGIAN. Or the Provider for His Majesty King of Belgium.I opened the case and took a photo of the pipes on the inside and the stamping on the inside of the lid. It reads J.B. Vinche over “Au Nabab” over Bruxelles. That is what it reads as best as I can make out. It is pretty blurry.I took photos of each of the pipes before I started to work on them. I started with the pipe on the left side of the photo above and worked my way across for the photos. The first pipe below is the one on the left. It is stamped JBV in an oval on the left side of the shank. The silver ferrule is also stamped JBV in an oval over BRUX over three hallmarks that are hard to read. The first appears to be a flower, the second a person and the third is ARG over 900. The pipe is in rough shape. The finish is shot; there is silver polish on the shank ahead of the ferrule. There are some gouges in the top and underside of the shank. The JBV Oval was originally gold leaf. There is a thick cake in the bowl and the rim top is beat up. There are big chunks of briar missing around the outer edge of the rim. The rim top is chipped and damaged and the inner edge is in rough condition. The pipe is very dirty. The second pipe is shown below and is the one in the center position in the case. It is stamped BEST BRIAR & BANDS  with each word over the next on the left side of the shank. One the right side it is stamped M&T in a football shaped oval. The silver ferrule is also stamped with a BBB vertically on the side of the band next to the shank. Next to that is the same M&T stamp in an oval over three hallmarks that are hard to read. The first appears to be a flower, the second is 933 and the third is a crescent moon. The pipe is in rough shape. Once again the finish is shot; there is silver polish on the shank ahead of the ferrule. There are some gouges in the top and underside of the shank. There is a thick cake in the bowl and the rim top is beat up. There is a crack running down the back side from the rim halfway to the shank. The rim top is dented and damaged and the inner edge is in better condition than the first pipe. The pipe is very dirty. The third pipe is shown below and is the one on the right side of the case. It is stamped JBV in an oval on the left side of the shank. The silver ferrule is also stamped JBV in an oval over BRUX over three hallmarks that are hard to read. The first appears to be a flower, the second a person and the third is ARG over 900. The pipe is in rough shape. The finish is on this one is also shot; there is silver polish on the shank ahead of the ferrule. There are some gouges in the top and underside of the shank. The JBV Oval was originally gold leaf. There is a thick cake in the bowl and the rim top is beat up. There are big chunks of briar missing around the outer edge of the rim. The rim top is chipped and damaged and the inner edge is in rough condition. There looked like there could be a crack in the bowl down the left side. Like the rest of the pipes in this set the pipe is very dirty. There were two stems in the set. You can see from the photos below that they were different sizes. In the first photo the top stem is more delicate. It is narrower at the tenon end. It is for the M&T pipe while the bottom one is for the JBV pipes. The stems both are in decent condition with a little oxidation and minimal tooth chatter. There are no deep tooth marks so that is something to be thankful for. I knew that the set was older but I was unfamiliar with the brands. I had not heard of JBV so I did a bit of research on the brand and found an interesting link to an old catalogue. It turns out that the JBV is short for J.B. Vinche Company in Brussels. I have included the information on the brand that I found in the link as well as the link below.

This company maintained a factory in Brussels, Belgium, but records indicate that it also operated a retail establishment at 34, Rue Notre Dame des Victoires, in Paris under the name “Au Nabab” where, no doubt, it offered its product line for sale to the public.

https://www.facebook.com/tobaccopipeartistory/photos/a.111646685586370.24977.101191206631918/111646972253008/?type=3&theater

I also included some photos of a J.B. Vinche Catalogue from 1875. I checked on the Pipephil website to see what I could find there. Generally I find the site one of the most helpful in quickly confirming information on a brand. In this case it came through with a great bit of information. I did a screen capture of the pertinent section of the link. You can check it out further on the following link. http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-v2.html.

The information included in the capture reads:

The brand has been created in Bruxelles in 1864 by Jean Baptiste Vinche and run after him by his son Victor. Marcel and Rene Vinche (3rd generation) managed the corporation from 1927 on. The brand is famous for its meerschaum pipes but briar pipes were also produced after 1938. In 1965 Jacques Vinche (4th generation) entered the family firm. Jeff and Mia Koopmans from Hilson Pipes joined in 1977. Today (2009) Ben and Wim Koopmans manage the business.Pipedia confirms this information at the following link: https://pipedia.org/wiki/Vinche.

I could not find out any information on the third pipe – the M&T Best Briar Band pipe. I checked in all of my usual sources and came up empty. Does anyone know anything about the brand? Let me know.

Armed with the background information, I decided to start on these pipes by reaming all three of them. The cake in each was quite thick and the damage to the rim and bowl made me proceed with caution. I was concerned about the cracked bowl in the M&T pipe as well as the potential crack in the second JBV pipe. I started with the first JBV pipe and reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer starting with the first cutting head and working my way up to the second and lightly working on it with the third one. I took the cake back to bare briar to check out the interior of the bowl. I followed up by reaming it with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe knife and finally sanding the bowl with 180 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel. I moved on to the M&T Best Briar Band pipe and reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer starting with the first cutting head and working my way up to the second and lightly working on it with the third one. I took the cake back to bare briar to check out the interior of the bowl. I followed up by reaming it with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe knife and finally sanding the bowl with 180 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel. I moved on to the second JBV pipe (the one that I thought had a possible crack). I started with the smallest cutting head on the PipNet pipe reamer and turned it gently in the bowl one twist and the bowl split in half in my hands. I was sick when I felt it break. I have never had that happen in all these years of working on pipes. It really was unbelievable. I held the pieces together and took the cake back to bare briar to check out the interior of the bowl. I used a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe knife to scrape away the remnants of cake. The photo below shows the bowl in half with the reamer next to it.This is not what I wanted to do next! I had planned to work through each of the pipes and have a nice set! Now I had to deal with this one and because it was part of an old set I felt obligated to try to put it back together. I was just sickening to have the second original bowl break in my hands. Why couldn’t it have been the cracked M&T bowl? But since it was the other JBV bowl I needed to repair it. At this point this blog also took a turn. I would do the rest of the first part of the blog on the bowl repair of this particular JBV pipe. I would have to follow up with at least one more part on the other two pipes in the set.

I turned to repair the bowl. I decided to pin the two halves together and then fill it and line the bowl with JB Weld. It would be a process. I drilled 8 small pin holes in the front half of the bowl and put stainless pins in the holes. I matched the two halves together and marked the holes on the other side of the bowl. I drilled matching holes. Once I had the holes aligned I painted each half with gel super glue and pressed the halves together and held them in place until the glue set. I filled in the cracks around the sides and bottom of the bowl with briar dust and super glue. I used a dental spatula to apply the patch all around the bowl. I pressed the mixture into the crevices that remained in the sides and bottom.When the repair hardened I sanded it with 180 grit sandpaper to blend it into the surface of the bowl. I also repaired the chips out of the edges of the bowl with super glue and briar dust. I sanded the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper and smoothed out the repaired areas and sanded the rest of the bowl at the same time. I carefully avoided the stamping on the shank so as not to damage that area. I topped the bowl to remove the damage to the rim top. I had hand sanded it with sandpaper to start the process and filled in the damaged areas with super glue and briar dust. Now it was time to top it. Once I had it topped I wiped the bowl down with alcohol to remove the dust and the remainder of the finish on the shank and bowl. I cleaned out the inside of the mortise and shank as well as the airway into the bowl with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. The airway was clogged so I pushed a pipe cleaner through into the bowl. The mortise was like a Peterson’s sump and it was filthy. It took a lot of work to clean it out.I sanded the exterior of the bowl with a medium and a fine grit sanding sponge. At this point I paused in sanding the exterior and turned my attention to repairing the inside of the bowl. I mixed a batch of JB Weld and put a pipe cleaner in the airway into the bowl to keep the airway from being covered with the mixture. I applied the mix to the inside of the bowl with a popsicle stick. I pressed it into the cracks and build up the damaged areas to protect it from further damage. With that I called it a night, set the bowl aside to dry and turned out the lights.  In the morning I sanded out the excess JB Weld with 180 grit sandpaper wrapped around a dowel. I wiped the bowl down with a damp paper towel to remove the dust. The photos below show the bowl at this point. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad to remove the dust. I stained the bowl with a Tan aniline stain. I had found that the stain was probably mislabeled as it had a definite red cast to it. I applied it with the dauber and flamed it with a lighter to set the stain in the finish.Once the stain cured I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. It cleans, enlivens and protects the briar. In this case I also found that it blended the stain well on the surface of the briar. I polished the silver with a jeweler’s cloth to polish and remove the tarnish. I reapplied the gold to the stamping on the shank using Rub’n Buff Antique Gold. I applied it in the stamping using the tip of a sanding stick. I let the stamping sit for a few minutes then buffed off the excess product.I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to making a stem for this pipe. Remember I mentioned that the second stem in the case was for the M&T pipe and was too small in diameter for the shank of the second JBV pipe. I found a Bakelite stem in my box of stems that only needed to be shaped to fit the shank of the pipe. I tapered the end of the stem with a Dremel and sanding drum to match the taper of the other stem. I sanded it with 180 grit sandpaper to smooth out the Dremel marks and further taper it.I sanded out the tooth chatter and reshaped the edges of the button with 220 grit sandpaper. I also smoothed out the flow of the stem.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with Obsidian Oil to wipe away the sanding dust and bring some life to the Bakelite. With the stem and bowl done it the first installment of this blog is complete. It is time to reconnect things and take some final photos. I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the entire pipe multiple coats of carnauba wax to protect. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. This frustrating old pipe that split in half had been brought back to functional life and it does not look to bad to my eye. This is a long one. For some of you I am sure you are wondering what is wrong with me to take time to fix this one. To you I say it was worth the lessons that I learned and it is still a smokable pipe. Thanks for reading.

Recommissioning a GBD International Carved Rim Bent Bulldog London Made


Blog by Dal Stanton

This Bulldog is simply cool.  It was one of those wonderful surprises one hopes for when you buy many pipes in one fell swoop on eBay.  In many of my restoration blogs I’ve mentioned the Lot of 66 which I landed last year while back in the US.  What can I say – God knew that I was restoring pipes to benefit the Daughters of Bulgaria and this Lot of 66 has been a gift that keeps on giving.  It isn’t possible to see all the pipes in the landscape pictures provided and one hopes in the percentages – there has to be some good pipes in the Lot!  Here is the Lot of 66 that I saw then and have pictured several times before.  I’m not positive, but the GBD Rustified Rim Bulldog is on the extreme lower right below – only his bowl showing.Many of my restorations for the Daughters come from people seeing a pipe in my “For ‘Pipe Dreamers’ Only” section on The Pipe Steward blog.  I came up with the idea of this ‘before restoration offerings’ when I found that when people visited us here in Bulgaria, they would know about our work with the Daughters of Bulgaria and that I restored pipes that benefited that cause.  Almost always they wanted to see what pipes I had in the “Help Me! Basket” and they would choose one to be restored.  The interesting thing I discovered was that people live in hope for what something can become.  Estate pipes can be pretty nasty, but people know the amazing wonders of what the restorative processes can produce and so they see the potential and trust me to realize that hope as I bring a pipe to The Pipe Steward worktable on the 10th floor of a former Communist apartment block in Sofia, Bulgaria!  What a story!  I’m living the dream 😊.

Chris, a dedicated pipe man and regular contributor on the Facebook group, ‘The Gentlemen’s Pipe Smoking Society’ was ‘Pipe Dreaming’ while tooling around looking at the offerings and saw the GBD International Bulldog.  What attracted him to the Bulldog was the unique rustified rim with hearty agreement from me.  It adds a flair that you don’t often see on a London Made Bulldog.  The bent stem is cool, too, adding a bit more flare.  Here are some of the pictures Chris saw in the “For ‘Pipe Dreamers’ Only” page: Chris commissioned the GBD Bulldog, which put it in the queue for restoration.  After the restoration is completed and published, I then place a value on the pipe resulting from my research.  The commissioner has the first opportunity to claim the pipe from The Pipe Steward Store.  Chris will have first dibs on this Bulldog when completed.

GBD (Pipedia’s article on GBD), was the handshake enterprise started by three French ‘Master Pipemakers’, Ganneval, Bondier and Donninger in Paris in 1850 to manufacture Meerschaum pipes, which was the primary material used in manufacturing pipes along with clay.  This was true until the discovery of briar in Saint Claude, France, a discovery that changed the pipe manufacturing world.  In 1902 Marechal and Ruchon sold GBD to A. Oppenheimer & Co. in London, which began the shift of GBD to being primarily a British enterprise, even though GBD pipes continued to be produced in Paris and Saint Claude, until 1981, with the closing of the French operation when the name, GBD, was merged with the Cadogan Group.  I enjoy rehearsing the historical developments of pipe names and companies because they add to the enjoyment and appreciation of restoring pipes.

I take some additional pictures of the GBD International Bulldog on my worktable. The nomenclature has on the left side of the shank, a GBD circled with an oval over INTERNATIONAL over LONDON MADE.  The right side has LONDON ENGLAND over 546, the shape number.  The shape number lines up as a Bulldog, ¼ bent, Diamond shank according to Jerry Hanna’s GBD shapes chart listings in Pipedia.  The dating of the pipe is pre-1980s.  The stem’s brass rondel along with the “London, England” stamp indicates a pre-Cadogan era GBD.  The merger was 1981.  This information is clear.

There’s some information that is proving to be a bit more difficult to mine in my research.  I’ve contacted Al Jones (Upshallfan), a regular contributor to rebornpipes, on a few GBDs I’ve restored in the past.  Al is a gold mine of information about GBDs and I appreciate his help.  Previously, he had sent me a PDF he had gleaned from now defunct www.perardua.net/ entitled ‘GBD Model Information’.  From that PDF I found this reference regarding the ‘International’ line of GBD.  I clipped it:I was excited to get a lead on what appears to be a GBD pipe line of “carved top rims” that were stained black.  The reference in the second line is to a 1976 catalog where I could hopefully find more about the International line.  Hopeful of finding this catalog, I went to the internet.  Unfortunately, I could find nothing.  Also disheartening, the usual go to page for catalogs, Chris’ Pipe Pages, I discovered some time ago, now seems to be defunct.  Sad.  So, again I sent Al a note with some questions.  His reply came very quickly with this picture of at least one ‘GBD International’ from the 1977 Tinderbox catalog.  The writing is not easy to make out but the “M.” example of the International line is a nice looking oval shank Volcano shape which I can make out has a carved rim like the Bulldog.  With this information, my thinking is that the GBD Bulldog I have is dated from 1976 but earlier than 1981.  Again, much thanks to Al Jones!Looking at the GBD International Bulldog itself, it is in decent condition.  There is some cake build up in the chamber and the carved rim shows some expected grime but not too much.  The twin dome grooves are full of debris and need to be cleaned.  The bowl itself looks very good – it has some expected grime, but the briar looks exceptional underneath.  It will look good when cleaned up.  The stem has some deep oxidation and the bit shows some dents and tooth chatter that will need correcting.

I begin the restoration of this GBD International Bulldog by adding the stem to a soak using Before & After Deoxidizer.  After running pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl 95% through the internals of the stem, it joins 5 other pipe stems in queue for restoration.  I leave the stem in the soak for a few hours then fishing the GBD stem out, I wipe it off with a cotton pad wetted with light paraffin oil.  I also put a pipe cleaner through the stem to push the fluid out and follow with a pipe cleaner dipped in isopropyl 95% to assure that the airway is clear. After cleaning the stem of the Deoxidizer, I can still detect oxidation in the vulcanite.  I take another picture of the stem with the aperture open more to show what I’m seeing.I decide to give the stem another soak in an OxiClean solution.  After covering the rondel with petroleum jelly, I put it in the soak. I’m not sure if the brass rondel will react or not to the OxiClean, but I take no chances.While the stem is in the OxiClean cooker, I turn to the stummel.  First, I use the Pipnet Reaming Kit to remove the carbon cake from the Bulldog’s chamber.  It takes 2 of the 4 blade heads available in the kit.  I follow this using the Savinelli Fitsall Tool to fine tune more by scraping the chamber walls removing more carbon.  To get down to fresh briar, I then wrap a 240 grit piece of sanding paper around a Sharpie Pen and sand the chamber.  To clean up, I wipe out the carbon dust with a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95%.  The pictures show the progress. Moving along with the stummel, I use undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a cotton pad to scrub the surface of the briar.  To clean the rim, I use a bristled tooth brush with Murphy’s to clean the carved angles and valleys.  I then rinse the bowl with cool tap water.  The last thing I do is take a sharp dental probe and run it through the twin dome grooves to remove the small debris that had lodged in the grooves.  With my wife’s help, I record a picture of this surgery.Since I like working on clean pipes and I know new stewards like smoking with clean pipes, I turn to the internals of the stummel.  Using cotton buds and pipe cleaners with isopropyl 95%, I go to work.  I’m thankful to discover that there is little resistance.  Later, at the end of the day, I’ll clean the internals further by using a kosher salt and alcohol soak.With the internals clean, I turn again to the briar surface.  To enliven the tired finish and to remove the small nicks and cuts that come from wear, I wet sand with micromesh pads 1500 to 2400, then dry sand with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  With each cycle, I enjoyed watching the grain emerge.  This GBD International Bulldog has nice grain – nice vertical flames rising to the carved plateau.  I’m liking this. I also want to freshen the carved black plateau – rim.  I use a black furniture dye stick to apply to the rim.  Later, when I apply compound, I’ll blend the black more, so it has more textured matte depth. Now, back to the stem.  The GBD stem has been soaking in OxiClean as a second salvo against the oxidation in the vulcanite.  After taking it out of the OxiClean bath, I use 600 grade paper and I wet sand the stem.  I work on the areas that show the deeper oxidation.  I then use 0000 steel wool and work over the entire stem, paying close attention to the area around the rondel.  I’m not 100% satisfied, but I may do more after I work on the bit. I take a picture of the upper bit and the lower bit to show the tooth dents.  The upper is not bad but the lower has two significant clinch bites and some damage to the button lip.To lessen the severity of the dents I heat the vulcanite using a Bic lighter by painting the dented areas with a flame.  As the vulcanite heats, it naturally expands and retakes some of the original ‘foot print’ of the dent.  I heat both upper and lower.  The upper will easily sand out but the lower still has work to do.To fill the dents and rebuild a little of the button, I use Starbond Black Medium CA glue.  I spot drop the black CA glue on the dents and then I use an accelerator to quicken the curing time.I then use a flat needle file and 240 grade sanding paper to sand down the patches.  I use the file to freshen the button – to reestablish crisp button edges.The following two pictures show the lower bit/button work – first in progress then completed with filing and 240 paper.I continue the smoothing and erasing of the 240 scratches by using 600 grade paper and then finishing with 0000 grade steel wool.  The patches look good, oxidation seems to be abated and the button shaping will be greatly appreciated by a new steward!I now turn to micromesh pads by first wet sanding with pads 1500 to 2400, then dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 then 6000 to 12000.  After each set of three I apply Obsidian Oil to revitalize the vulcanite.  The stem looks good. Turning now to the stummel, to enrich the briar grain I apply Before & After Restoration Balm.  I put a little on my finger and work it into the briar surface.  As I work it in, the liquid thickens into a wax-like substance.  After some minutes, I wipe off the Balm using a clean cloth.  As the Balm comes off, the surface buffs up nicely.With my day ending, I continue cleaning the internals of the stummel.  I use a kosher salt and alcohol soak.  I fashion a wick by stretching and twisting a cotton ball. I insert the ‘wick’ down the mortise into the airway.  I then fill the chamber with Kosher salt which, unlike iodized salt, leaves no aftertaste.  I then situate the stummel in an egg crate giving it stability and then add isopropyl 95% with a large eye dropper until it surfaces over the salt.  After a few minutes I top the alcohol once again and then turn out the lights.The next morning the soak had produced results with soiled salt and the wick absorbed more oils and tars.  I remove the expended salt to the waste and wipe the chamber with paper towel.  I also blow through the mortise to remove any remaining salt particles.  I then expend a few more pipe cleaners and cotton buds to clean up left overs from the soak.  The internals are as fresh as I can make them.I reunite stem and stummel and mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel, setting the speed at the slowest.  I then apply Blue Diamond compound to the entire pipe.  I also work on blending the black matte plateaued rim.  What I discover regarding the rim is that when I simply buff it with the Blue Diamond compound, is shines it up!  The exact opposite than dulling it down to a matte, charcoal look.  Then I came up with the idea of simply wetting a cotton pad with alcohol and dabbing it over the rim to dull the finish.  It worked like I was hoping.  I take a picture of before and after.  It’s difficult to see different shades of black in a photo!  But it does look good – the effect is striking. After completing the compound application and blending the rim, I wipe the pipe with a felt cloth to remove residue compound dust in preparation for the wax.  I then switch to another cotton cloth wheel on the Dremel, increase the speed to about 40% full power and apply a few coats of carnauba wax to both stummel and stem.  After application of the carnauba, I give the pipe a rigorous hand buffing to raise the shine.

Oh my.  The grain on this GBD International London Made shouts for attention!  I’m pleased with the results.  The flame grain emerges from the heel of the bowl – out of densely populated bird’s eye and swirls to reach toward the dome of the stummel, culminating in the craggy plateau of the rim.  There’s a lot going on with this bent Bulldog. It is headed to The Pipe Steward Store and since Chris saw the potential of this GBD International, he will have first dibs on bringing the Bulldog home.  The sale of this pipe benefits the Daughters of Bulgaria – helping women and girls (and their children) who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thank you for joining me!  I can’t resist starting off with a before and after picture lest we forget!