Working on an All Briar H. Simmons “The Guilford” Short Billiard

Blog by Steve Laug

It seems like just a few weeks ago I was contacted by an older gentleman about purchasing his pipe collection. He sent me the photos and I was amazed at what I saw. He had Dunhill pipes, BBB pipes, Orlik pipes, Barclay Rex Pipes, a couple of Meerschaums and a whole lot of other pipes. All I could say as I looked at the pipes was what a collection it was. We negotiated a deal and I think we both walked away quite happy with the exchange.

You have seen the work we have done on the Dunhills, Hardcastles and BBB pipes from the lot but there are still more. The above photo shows an interesting All Briar Pipe that combines the bowl and stem into a single unit. The bowl is shaped like an eye with a point at the front and rear of the bowl. The chamber is round and the draught is wide open. I have chosen to work on the pipe pictured above next.

I have worked on several All Briar pipe is the past but not one that bore stamping like this one. Most of the others were either nameless or had been made by Kaywoodie. This pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads “The Guilford”. On the right side it reads H. Simmons [over] Burlington Arcade. The stamping is clear and readable and there is no shape number evident.

Jeff took some photos of the H. Simmons All Briar “The Guilford” billiard before he worked his magic in cleaning up the pipe. It is a an interesting pipe with a lot of potential and what appears to be some great grain under the grime and debris of the years. Jeff took photos of the bowl, rim top to show the thickness of the cake in the bowl and the lava on the rim top. The shape of the bowl is also evident in the photo below. The bowl had a moderate cake that overflowed in light He took photos of the top and underside of the shank/stem showing the tooth chatter, scratching, and wear on the briar stem/button. The opening on the end of the button is orific (round) rather than a slot adding to my thinking that this was an older pipe. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the briar. You can see the beautiful shape and the grain on the bowl even through the dirt and debris of many years. Jeff took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. You can see that it is clear and readable.I turned to Pipephil’s site to see what I could learn about the H. Simmons brand and see if there was any information on the All Briar Guilford ( I have included a screen capture of the information that is shown there.I turned to Pipedia to try and place this pipe in the timeline of the brand and was able find some helpful information which I have included below (  The information was quoted from “Pipes, Artisans and Trademarks”, by José Manuel Lopes. I quote the information below.

Simmons was the brand of tobacconist, H. Simmons, of the Burlington Arcade, London. It was bought by Dunhill in the late 1980s.

There were also two photos included with the article. The pipe was an H. Simmons all briar pipe, that came courtesy Doug Valitchka. It is very similar to the one that I am working on. I have included those photos below.With the information from Pipedia I knew that I was working on a pipe from H. Simmons tobacconist shop at the Burlington Arcade in London, England. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff carefully cleaned the pipe. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and then cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals of the shank, stem and shank extension with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and lava on the rim top. The finish looks much better and has a deep richness in the colour that highlights grain of the briar. The rim top looked good with some darkening on the top and light damage to the inner edge of the bowl. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver I was amazed it looked so good. Here are some photos of what I saw. I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem surface. The inner edge of the rim was lightly damaged and would need to be cleaned up. I took close up photos of the stem end of the pipe to show the condition of the surface and button. I took a picture of the stamping on the shank sides and it was all clear and readable as noted above.I started my work on the pipe by addressing the darkening on the rim top and the damage on the inner edges of the bowl. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to work over the inner and outer edge to smooth out the damage and to remove the darkening on the rim top as well.I polished the briar bowl, shank and stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. After each pad I wiped the briar down with a damp cloth.  I was able to give a shine to the bowl and remove some of the surface scratches in the process. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the bowl and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I buffed the All Briar H. Simmons “The Guilford” Burlington Arcade Billiard on the wheel using Blue Diamond to give it a shine. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel and then buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. It really is an amazing piece of briar with stunning grain. The dimensions of the pipe are – Length: 3 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 inch , Chamber diameter: 5/8 of an inch. The weight of this large pipe is .42ounces /12grams. This H. Simmons “The Guilford” All Briar is another great find in this collection. I will be holding onto it for awhile until I decide what I am going to do with it. I may well keep it and have a smoke. This is another pipe that has the possibility of transporting the pipe man or woman back to a slower paced time in history where you can enjoy a respite. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

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