I’ve restored a number of GBD shape 9456 bent billiards before, but this is the first “New Era” finish that I’ve had in that shape. I’ve learned that New Era pipes are definitely a step up the GBD quality scale, regarding the briar. This one is no exception and has a nice mix of grain and birdseye. The brass rondell and “London, England” stamp show the pipe was made before the merger with Cadogan in 1981.
New Era finish was describe in a catalog from the 1970’s as:
New Era: “The beauty of this pipe’s perfect briar is accentuated by the richness of the ‘take-off’ dual finish.”
Some New Era pipes had the “Hand Cut” stamp on the stem, but according to Pipedia, not all Hand Cut stems were stamped as such. This stem does have the bullet-style tenon that I always see on stems withe the Hand Cut stamp.
The pipe had some build-upon the bowl top, the finish was faded and the stem heavily oxidized. The bowl had some small handling marks and a mild cake. The stem, while in great condition, was quite loose. Below are pictures of the pipe as it was received.
I use a piece of worn scotchbrite to remove the bowl top build-up, which revealed a nicely beveled bowl top. The cake was reamed with my Pipenet set and finished with a piece of 320 grit paper wrapped around one of the reamer bits. The bowl was soaked with alcohol and sea salt. Following the soak, the stem was fitted to the pipe. I use a heat gun to warm and expand the tenon and was fortunate that it expanded back to it’s original size, with a proper fit, but not too snug.
I removed the oxidation with 400, 800, 1,500 and 2,000 grit wet paper, followed with 8,000 and 12,000 micromesh sheets. The stem was then buffed with White Diamond rouge and Meguiars Plastic Polish.
The handling marks on the bowl steamed out nicely with a wet cloth and an electric iron. The bowl was then buffed with White Diamond rouge, followed with several coats of Carnuba wax. This revived the faded finish nicely and no re-stain was required.
Below is the finished pipe.