Daily Archives: March 16, 2022

Restoring a Newer GBD London Made C133 Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on my work table a nice looking newer Cadogan era GBD pipe. It is stamped GBD in an oval [over] London Made on the left side of the shank. On the underside of the shank it is stamped with a K. On the right side of the shank it is stamped with the circular COM Stamp with MADE IN LONDON (“IN” is in the centre) and England stamped underneath that. The shape number C133 is stamped mid shank on the right side. The taper stem has an oval GBD logo stamped on the left side. The briar has a mix grain around the bowl and shank. This pipe was bought off eBay in January, 2017 from Greenville, New Hampshire, USA. The finish was dirty but the grain shone through well. The rim top had a thick lava coat on backside and the inner edge was also coated. There was a thick cake in the bowl and some tobacco debris. The shank and stem airway was very dirty. The stem was oxidized, calcified and had light tooth chatter on both sides ahead of the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his clean up. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to show the cake in the bowl (heavier on the back side of the bowl), the lava on the bevel and rim top. The edges look very good under the grime. The stem photos show the oxidation, calcification and tooth chatter very well. Jeff took photos of the sides of the bowl to highlight the grain around the bowl sides and base. He captured the stamping on the shank sides in the next photos. They are clean and readable as noted above.I have worked on quite a few GBD London Made pipes in the past so I turned to a blog on one of them to read the background on the brand and remind myself how to understand the stamping on the shank. Here is the link (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/08/10/cleaning-up-a-gbd-london-made-9664/). I quote from the blog below rather than redo the research.

I turned to Pipedia’s article on GBD to see if I could find any information on the London Made. The article gives a lot in terms of the history of the brand and a list of various lines of GBD pipes (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD_Model_Information). I quote the section where I found the reference to the London Made.

London Made — Factory unknown: Some might not be marked with GBD logo and some with additional “house” stampings. Introduced in 1978(?) plain wax finished branded pipes” available in at least six stains. – catalog (1981)

With that information in hand I knew what I was dealing with in terms of the stamping and the age of this pipe. I knew from the information from the section quoted that the London Made originally came out in 1978 in a variety of colours. Now I had an idea of the age of the pipe and it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff cleaned up the pipes with his usual thoroughness – reaming the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaning up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the internals of the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior with Murphy’s Oil Soap to clean off the dust and grime on the finish. When he sent it the pipe was ready to restore. I could not believe how good the rim top looked in comparison to what it was when he started. I took photos of the pipe when I unpacked it. The briar was clean and the grain quite stunning. The finish looked dull and lifeless. I took a close up photo of the bowl and rim top after Jeff had cleaned it up. The look of the rim top and edges is very good. He had been able to remove the cake and the lava very well. The bowl was spotless. The stem is also shown and was very clean but lightly oxidized. He had scrubbed it with Soft Scrub and then soaked it in Mark’s Before & After Deoxidizer. There was light tooth chatter still remaining.I took some photos of the stamping on the shank sides. The first photo shows the GBD in an oval [over] London Made stamp on the left side as well as the stamped GBD oval logo on the left side of the stamp. The second shows the COM stamp Made in London [over] England and the shape number C133 on the right side. The third shows the letter “K” on the underside of the shank near the shank/stem joint.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding (carefully avoiding the stamping on the shank sides) with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth between each pad. The grain to take on a shine. I rubbed the briar down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the briar with my fingertips and let it do its magic. The product cleans, enlivens and preserves the briar. I let it sit for 10 minutes and then buffed it off with a cotton cloth. The bowl really is looking good at this point. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I scrubbed it with Soft Scrub cleanser to remove the residual oxidation that remained on the surface of both sides. I find that when I let the pipe sit a long time before getting to it this light oxidation almost always happens.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 impregnated with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine then gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. This is another beautiful pipe – this one is a GBD London Made C133 Billiard. It is made by Cadogan as can be seen from both the stamping on the stem, the shank. It would have come out after 1978. The grain on the pipe is quite nice and the few small fills are hidden in the stain and the finish. I put the stem on the shank and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the wheel (being careful of the stamping so as not to damage that). I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The dimensions of this pipe are – Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.31 ounces/37 grams. It is a great looking pipe and one that will be going on the rebornpipes store in the British Pipe Makers section. If you want to add it to your collection let me know via email to slaug@uniserve.com or by message. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

Kenneth’s Pipe Incident Report #2


Blog by Kenneth Lieblich

Here is another installment of my Pipe Incident Report. The idea, in general, is to provide a brief write-up – focusing on a particular pipe-related problem and/or solution, rather than an entire restoration story. Last time was all about plaster of Paris. Today’s report is about lemon-infused isopropyl alcohol. I have had questions, from time to time, asking me why I frequently use this lemon alcohol, rather than the usual, plain alcohol. In fact, I use both. If you do not know what this lemon alcohol is – no problem! That is what this report is intended to elucidate.

I learned about this lemon alcohol thanks to my wife. She stumbled upon a “mom” blog, written by Alexis Rochester, a mother who is also a professional chemist. One particular blog post extolled the virtues of lemon-infused alcohol as a household cleaner. My wife sent it to me, and I was intrigued at the possibility of this cleaner being used to attack the oils, tars, etc. on the inside of pipes. Obviously, the article was not considering the possibility of this being used on pipes, but I certainly was! If you are curious to read the original article, here is the link: https://chemistrycachet.com/lemon-infused-rubbing-alcohol/.

So, what is lemon-infused 99% isopropyl alcohol? In brief, it is the extracted chemicals from the zest of the lemon (Citrus limon), absorbed into 99% isopropyl alcohol. The addition of the lemon makes a more effective cleaner than alcohol alone.

I learned from the blog that isopropyl alcohol, on its own, is slightly acidic. This is important because some acidity is very effective for cleaning. Lemon zest is also slightly acidic. These low levels of acidity are NOT harmful to wood. It is also important to note that this lemon-alcohol extraction does NOT contain any lemon juice – that would be too acidic for our purposes. Essentially, we have a cleaner that is very mildly acidic and combines the best cleaning properties of isopropyl alcohol and lemon. Among other things, Alexis says the following in her post:

Rubbing alcohol is a great disinfectant on its own, but adding in lemon peels increases the disinfectant quality. Lemon peels contain ascorbic acid (vitamin C), malic acid, and citric acid all which make great cleaning options. But again, you are just getting the benefits of the peel without the acid of the lemon juice.

I went ahead and bought a bag of lemons and thought I would give it a try. Lemons are inexpensive and the method of manufacture couldn’t be easier. You simply peel a bunch of lemons, stick the zest in a container with isopropyl alcohol, seal the container, and let it sit for two or three weeks. You can read more details on how to make it from the link above.

Now that I have made this product and used it frequently, some important questions need to be answered: (1) is the lemon-infused isopropyl alcohol a better cleaner of pipes than alcohol alone;  (2) does this product leave a lemon “ghost” in the pipe; and (3) is it ultimately worthwhile making this stuff? I will address the questions in turn.

I am not a chemist and I have not personally executed the full, scientific method in answering the question of which is a better cleaner. However, anecdotally, I think that lemon-infused alcohol is a better cleaner of pipes than alcohol alone. I don’t really have the inclination to use full scientific rigour on this, but I have tried both and I think the lemon one is superior – perhaps not dramatically so, but superior nonetheless. Having said that, perhaps the most important statement in this report is this: I use both “plain” 99% isopropyl alcohol and the lemon-infused 99% isopropyl alcohol. It is not one or the other, but both.

In answer to the second question, there is no lemon ghost in the pipe after cleaning. Certainly, during the cleaning process (and for a few moments afterwards), there is a detectable scent of lemon in the pipe, but it dissipates very quickly. I have tested this several times. First, I have smoked pipes cleaned in this way and there was no hint of lemon at all. More emphatically, however, I had my son test this out – he was born blind. Naturally, he relies more heavily on his other senses in navigating the world. I told him to stick his nose inside pipes that I have cleaned with lemon alcohol and then asked him what he could discern. He was never able to smell any hint of lemon – even within a few minutes of the pipe being cleaned.

Third question: is it worthwhile for you to make this stuff? Yes it is, but I don’t think it is world-changing. As I’ve said, it is a superior cleaner (in my non-professional opinion) and I will continue to make and use it. However, it would be disingenuous for me to say that you MUST make this for yourself. For goodness’s sake, Steve and Jeff use plain alcohol and they are the gold standard of pipe cleaning and restoration!

If you do try this lemon alcohol, please let me know how it goes. I would be interested to know what your results are. I hope you enjoyed reading this installment of the Pipe Incident Report – I look forward to writing more. If you are interested in my work, please follow me here on Steve’s website or email me directly at kenneth@knightsofthepipe.com. Thank you very much for reading and, as always, I welcome and encourage your comments.

Look at the Straight Grain on this La Savinelli Giubileo D’ Oro Fiammata ** Billiard


 Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on my work table literally called out to me from my box. The Straight Grain on the bowl just called me to pay attention. This one is stamped La Savinelli [over] Giubileo D’Oro on the left side of the shank. On the underside of the shank it is stamped Straight Grain [over] – Fiammata – [over] two stars. On the right side of the shank it is stamped with the Savinelli Shield S logo followed by the shape number 114KS [over] Italy. The saddle stem has three brass dots on the top. The briar has some nice straight and flame grain around the bowl with birdseye on the top of the bow, shank and the underside of both. This pipe was bought on December 12, 2019 from a fellow in Los Angeles, California, USA. The finish was dirty but the grain shone through well. The rim top was quite clean but there was some light lava on top and on the bevel. There is a thick cake in the bowl and some tobacco debris. The shank and stem airway was very dirty. The stem was oxidized, calcified and had light tooth chatter on both sides ahead of the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his clean up. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to show the cake in the bowl, the lava on the bevel and rim top. The stem photos show the oxidation, calcification and tooth chatter very well. Jeff took photos of the sides of the bowl to highlight the amazing straight grain that explains the Straight Grain – Fiammata stamping on this pipe. It is quite stunning even though it is dirty.He captured the stamping on the shank sides in the next photos. They are clean and readable as noted above. I have worked on at one previous La Savinelli Guibileo D’ Oro in the past that I remembered so I turned there on the blog to read the background on the brand and remind myself how to understand the stamping on the shank. Here is the link (https://rebornpipes.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=74052&action=edit&classic-editor). I quote from the blog below rather than redo the research.

There were several things about the stamping that I was unfamiliar with so I did some searching online. I wanted to know when Savinelli stamped their pipe “La Savinelli”. I wanted to know about the “Giubileo D’ Oro” and where it fit in the hierarchy of pipes from the company. I also wanted to understand the three gold dots on the stem.

I turned first to Pipephil – http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-savinelli2.html and there I found the first helpful information. Some of my questions were answered in the notes on the page.

  • The “LA” article precedes the “SAVINELLI” stamping on all pipes from the Giubileo d’Oro line.
  • 4 digit shape number means The pipe predates the 1970’s. This new one does not have the four digit number but a three digit 114KS stamp
  • Additional 2 stars indicating the grade (from 1 to 3 stars)

I then turned to the Pipedia article to see if I could learn more about the pipe

( https://pipedia.org/wiki/Savinelli). I have included to pages from Brochures that give some interesting information about the brand. It seems that Golden Jubilee pipe is made from very rare briar burls from Sardinia. Due to the limited raw materials available the pipe can only be produced in small quantities. Each pipe originally came with a certificate of authenticity. Sadly this was missing with the pipe I am working on.

Guibileo D’Oro Brochure Page, courtesy Doug Valitchka

Guibileo D’Oro Brochure Page, courtesy Doug Valitchka

I also did a websearch of Savinelli’s 50th Anniversary and was immediately given a link to their site (https://www.savinelli.it/rw2_en/catalog/product/view/id/15909/s/giubileo-oro-prime-0005?__from_store=rw2_en). They describe the line as follows:

The significance of ‘Golden Jubilee’ is to commemorate the “50th anniversary”; it defines the rarity of these pipes. Only 0.1% of our total production has the quality to be worthy of this unique series. Nature gives us this rare jewel of a pipe as an unparalleled and exceptional combination of perfect raw material and outstanding grain. The selection process is passed on only by word of mouth and is determined by the experience and high quality standards of Savinelli, a guarantee of reliability and elegant style.

Putting all of that together I learned that the pipe was a 50th Anniversary Commemorative and part of a limited production “Golden Jubilee” series. That would make it a mid 70s pipe rather than what Pipephil noted above. It is selected for its special and unique grain and handpicked for a shape to highlight the grain. The entire line was stamped with the La Savinelli marking. It is a unique piece of history. Now to get to work on it!

Jeff cleaned up the pipes with his usual thoroughness – reaming the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaning up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the internals of the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior with Murphy’s Oil Soap to clean off the dust and grime on the finish. When he sent it the pipe was ready to restore. I could not believe how good the rim top looked in comparison to what it was when he started. I took photos of the pipe when I unpacked it. The briar was clean and the grain quite stunning. The finish looked dull and lifeless. I took a close up photo of the bowl and rim top after Jeff had cleaned it up. The look of the rim top and edges is very good. He had been able to remove the cake and the lava very well. The bowl was spotless. The stem is also shown and was very clean but lightly oxidized. He had scrubbed it with Soft Scrub and then soaked it in Mark’s Before & After Deoxidizer. There was light tooth chatter still remaining.I took some photos of the stamping on the shank sides. The first photo shows the La Savinelli [over] Giubileo D’ Oro stamp on the left side. The second shows the shape number 114KS and the Savinelli Logo and the Italy stamp on the right side. The third shows the Straight Grain [over] –Fiammata- [over] two stars stamping on the underside of the shank. The final photo shows the three brass dots on the top of the saddle stem. I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo to show the beauty of this pipe. The grain really is stunning.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding (carefully avoiding the stamping on the shank sides) with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth between each pad. The grain to take on a shine. I rubbed the briar down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the briar with my fingertips and let it do its magic. The product cleans, enlivens and preserves the briar. I let it sit for 10 minutes and then buffed it off with a cotton cloth. The bowl really is looking good at this point. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I scrubbed it with Soft Scrub cleanser to remove the residual oxidation that remained on the surface of both sides. I find that when I let the pipe sit a long time before getting to it this light oxidation almost always happens.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 impregnated with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine then gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. This incredibly beautiful La Savinelli Giubileo D’ Oro Straight Grain –Fiammata- 2 Stars Billiard (114) is an amazing looking pipe. It is a 50th Anniversary Commemorative and part of a limited production “Golden Jubilee” series. That would make it a mid 70s made of briar that was specially selected because of the spectacular grain. I put the stem on the shank and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the wheel (being careful of the stamping so as not to damage that). I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The dimensions of this pipe are – Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.55 ounces/44 grams. It is really a gorgeous pipe and one that will reside in my own collection for now while I figure out if I want to hang on to it. I look forward to enjoying it soon.