Daily Archives: September 6, 2021

Reviving another Old Timer – a French Made Real Briar Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

With the completion of the three pipes I just restemmed and wrote about I am returning to work on the bag of older NOS/unsmoked and lightly smoked pipes. I chose another old timer from the lot and this time picked another French Made pipe. It is buried in the pile in the photo below but it is clear in the second photo.In the photo of the poured out bag on my desk top I have circled the pipe that is next on the table. This was a lightly smoked Bent Billiard shaped pipe with a smooth finish that was dirty. The rim top had some light lava but there was minimal cake in the bowl. This little Bent Billiard really intrigued me, so it was next. The Bent Billiard was stamped in gold on the left side of the shank and read Real Briar [at an angle over] Made in France. The brass/nickel shank band was oxidized but still in decent condition. The bowl was lightly smoked and dusty but there was no cake. There was light lava on rim top toward the backside. The inner and outer edges looked good. The finish was dirty and the varnish top coat was spotty and peeling. The pipe had a Bakelite or Amberoid stem that was in good condition. There was one chip on the top near the shank joint. There were some light tooth marks and chatter on the stem. The button was orific – a round hole in the button end. The button had some wear and darkening but was in good condition. It has a push tenon that appears to be a synthetic material as well. Here are a few photos of the pipe before I did anything to it. I took photos of the bowl and stem. You can see the condition of the bowl. It is lightly cake and there is slight lava coat on the rim top. The edges look to be in good condition. The drilling is centered in the bottom of the bowl. It is a good sized bowl. The interior walls of the pipe are smooth and do not have drilling marks or checks or chips. The Bakelite/Amberoid stem is in good condition and has a push tenon and an orific button. There is a small chip in the Bakelite stem near the shank band and there are tooth marks on both sides near the button.I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. It reads as noted above. I removed the stem from the shank. You can see the brand new threaded bone tenon in the photo below. The proportions of this pipe are well done. The grain around the bowl is very nice. I knew from work on other older pipes that had the same stamp as this- Real Briar Made in France that there was not any clear cut information on that stamping on any of the usual sites. I also knew that the C.P.F. (Colossus Pipe Factory) that I had worked on bore this same stamp. My guess is that the pipe may have been made by them but I could not be sure.

Now it was time to work on the pipe. I started my work on the pipe by scraping out the light cake in the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I also scrubbed off the lava on the rim top with a damp cotton pad.I wiped down the bowl with 99% Isopropyl alcohol on a cotton pad to remove the peeling varnish coat and grime on the finish of the bowl sides. Wiping it down revealed some great grain around the bowl and shank sides. I polished the briar and the nickel plated band with micromesh sanding pads. I dry sanded with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. The briar began to really come alive. I touched up the stain on the rim top using a Mahogany stain pen and used a Black Sharpie Pen on the fills that became evident on the back of the bowl. I was able to blend the stain and pen into the surrounding briar and it looked very good.I used alcohol and cotton swabs to clean out the shank of any debris that may have gotten in from the reaming of the bowl. It was still quite clean.I rubbed the briar down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the finish with my fingertips. The product works to clean, enliven and protect briar finished. I let it sit for 10 minutes then buffed it off with a cotton cloth. The grain on the bowl really came alive with the buffing. It is really a beautiful pipe.While working on the bowl the band came off the shank. It was loose so while it was off I polished it with a jewelers cloth to remove the oxidation and protect the finish on it. I used a tooth pick to put all purpose glue on the inside of the band and pressed it back in place on the shank.I set the bowl aside and filled in the chip on the top shank end edge and the tooth mark on the top and underside of the stem near the button. I used clear CA glue. Once it cured I polished it with micromesh sanding pads.I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with Obsidian Oil to protect and enliven the stem. I finished the polishing with Before & After Pipe Stem polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry.This another interesting older pipe – Real Briar Made in France Bent Billiard turned out really well and it is a great looking pipe with a great shape to it. Once the varnish coat was removed the grain on the briar and the sheen on the stem really popped when the pipe was buffed with blue diamond on the buffing wheel. The brass/nickel band also took on a sheen. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished French Made Real Briar Bent Billiard is comfortable to hold and is quite distinguished looking. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 inches, Chamber diameter: 5/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 34 grams/1.20 ounces. It is a really beautiful pipe that I will be putting on the rebornpipes store in the French Pipe Makers section if you want to add it to your collection. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. Keep an eye out on the blog as I have several other older pipes that I will be working on.

Restemming & Restoring a GBD Virgin London England 9437 Pot


Blog by Steve Laug

Sometimes the repetitive work on similar pipes and stems gets tiring to me and to alleviate the inevitable boredom I change things up a bit to refresh me. I have a box of stummels (bowls) here that I periodically go through and see if I have a potential stem that would fit them. Yesterday when I finished the old timer on my work I went through the box and picked out three bowls and found workable stems for them. All were in different states of need but all had been thoroughly cleaned before I boxed them up. The first restemmed and restored was a ZETTERVIG Copenhagen Handmade 900 Egg (https://rebornpipes.com/2021/09/04/restemming-restoring-a-zettervig-copenhagen-hand-made-900-egg/). The second pipe was a nice Malaga Lumberman (https://rebornpipes.com/2021/09/05/restemming-restoring-a-malaga-lumberman/). The next one was the last of the bowls I had chosen – a nicely grained GBD Virgin 9437 Pot.

The bowl looked very good. The grain around the sides was quite nice and a mix of flame and straight grain around the bowl sides and birdseye grain on the bottom of the bowl. The rim top had some darkening on the top and inner edges. There was a small burned divot low on the left side of bowl near the shank. It looked as if the pipe had been set in an ashtray on a cigarette or a live ash. It was not deep but it was very present on the bowl side. The interior of the bowl was clean and there were not any chips, cracks or checking on the walls. Examining the mortise it was clean and well drilled with no issues. The finish was washed out and bit and tired but still quite redeemable. The stamping on the pipe was clear and readable. On the left side it read GBD in an oval [over] VIRGIN and on the right side it read London England [over] 9437. I took some photos of the bowl before I started to work on it. I took a photo of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable.I went through some of stems and found this saddle style stem that perfectly fit the shank. The diameter of the shank and the diameter of the saddle were not quite even. The saddle on the right half of the saddle was slightly larger than the shank. The left side was perfect. It had a few tooth marks and chatter near and on the button but it would clean up well. I put it on the shank and took some pictures of the look before my work on it.I addressed the burn damage dip in the lower left side of the bowl. I sanded it and filled it in with a drop of clear CA glue. I smoothed it out with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. It is smooth too touch but it is definitely darker than before I filled it in. At this point it was smooth and clean feeling.With that repaired I turned to deal with the rim top issues. I sanded the beveled rim top with 220 grit sandpaper and smoothed out the damage – both burns and nicks. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down with a damp cloth after each pad. It really began to shine. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the smooth briar with my finger tips. The product is amazing and works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let it sit on the briar for 10 or more minutes and then buff it off with a soft cloth. It really makes the grain sing. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I filled in the tooth marks and rebuilt the edge of the button with clear CA glue. Once it cured I used a small file to recut the edge of the button and flatten the repairs. I smoothed out repairs with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them in further to the stem surface. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I fit the stem on the shank. It looked pretty good but seemed to be a bit blah. I took a set of photos to show the look of the new stem on the shank. For the fun of it I put a band on the shank and refit the stem on the shank. The shank is perfect there were no cracks and no issues so the band was just adding a touch of bling that works with the pipe. What do you think? With or without the band? I am leaning toward the banded version to be honest. I think it looks really good.

Without the band? With the band? I left the band on the shank but it is not glued in place and can be removed. Let me know what you think – one way or the other.

I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a cloth and Obsidian Oil. I finished the polishing with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. I put the pipe back together – the bowl with its new stem. This restored & restemmed GBD Virgin 9437 Pot turned out really well. The pipe (even with the burn mark on the left side of the bowl) really is a beauty and I think the brass band and the chosen stem works well with it. Remember I have not set the band in place so it can be removed. What do you think of it? Yea or Nay? The grain on the bowl came alive with the buffing. I used Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel on both the bowl and stem. I gave both multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel then buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The GBD Virgin Pot feels great in the hand. It is lightweight and the contrast in the browns of the briar, the brass of the band and the polished vulcanite stem with the popping grain on the mixed brown stained bowl is quite amazing. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 1 inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.45 ounces/41 grams. It really is a beauty. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store in the British Pipe Makers section shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Thanks for walking through the restemming and the restoration with me. Cheers.