Breathing Life into a GBD London Made C Conquest 68 Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

Jeff and I know longer remember where or when we purchased this pipe. It is a large pipe with nice grain and a saddle stem. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads GBD in an oval with London Made C arched underneath it. Below that it is stamped CONQUEST. On the right side of the shank it is stamped Made in London in an oval England followed by the shape number 68. On the underside of the shank it is stamped with a G. We don’t have any photos of the pipe before Jeff cleaned it. But Jeff did his usual cleanup. The bowl was reamed with a PipNet reamer. He cleaned it up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. He did the same with the airway in the stem. The briar is very clean and the rim top and the beveled rim edge look good. There were several fills well blended into the finish on the bottom of the bowl. There were are few sandpits on the right side of the bowl. There is some darkening on the back edge of the beveled rim top but otherwise it looks great. The vulcanite saddle stem is clean but has some tooth marks on the top and underside ahead of the button. I took some photos of the pipe before I started my work on it.  I took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the condition of both. The bowl is very clean but you can see some darkening on the inner beveled edge. There was some slight darkening was also on the rim top on the back. I took photos of the stem as well to show the tooth marks on the top and underside ahead of the button and on the button surface as well. There was no brass logo on the side of the saddle though it was a perfect fit.I took photos of the stamping on the shank sides. The stamping on the left, right and underside is faint but still very readable.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe. It is proportionally pleasing and quite an eye catching pipe.I knew that the GBD Conquest was a special line of GBD pipes that were generally larger in my experience than the normal GBD Pipes. So I turned to Pipephil to have a look and found one photo of a Conquest but no specific information on the line (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-gbd.html). I have included a screen capture of the pipe there. It was a Conquest Century Model which was different from the one I was working on. It also had a Perspex stem rather than the black vulcanite one I have.I turned then to Pipedia link on GBD pipes and followed a link there to a separate page on the various GBD Models (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD_Model_Information). I found a section on what they called Plus Sized Pipes that included information on the Conquest line. I quote below.

In addition to the pipe line and shape information stamped on the pipe GBD also had codes for plus sized pipes. These codes in ascending order of size were…

Conquest

Collector

Colossus

Perspex refers to the lucite/acrylic bit material GBD used, the clear bits used on various models are Perspex. Metal rondelles were discontinued after the merger with Comoy.

The information was very clear that the pipe was one of the larger GBD pipes like I suspected. I also found it interesting that the Conquest was at the bottom of the order of Large pipes. It also notes that the Metal rondelles were discontinued after the merger with Comoy. That helped me to come to the conclusion that the stem on the one I was working on is probably original.

I started my work on the pipe by addressing the darkening on the inner beveled edge of the bowl and the rim top. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to deal with the darkening. It did not take too much and it was clean and smooth.  The inside of the bowl was a bit rough from the removal of the cake. I sanded it smooth with a piece of 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a dowel. I wiped it down with a piece of paper towel and the inside was clean and smooth. I cleaned out the dust from the sanding with alcohol and pipe cleaners.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the briar down with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust. The briar really took on a rich shine with the polishing.   I rubbed the bowl down with some Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the briar with my finger tips to clean, revive and preserve the wood. It really brings the grain alive once again. I let it sit for 15 minutes then buffed it off with a soft cloth. The grain really pops at this point in the process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the surface of the stem with the flame of a Bic lighter and was able to lift the tooth marks and chatter. It looked much better and the marks all lifted. Polishing the stem would take care of the damage.  I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a cloth impregnated with Obsidian Oil. I finished the polishing with some Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. The stem looked very good.    As always I am excited to finish a pipe that I am working on. I put the GBD London Made Conquest C 68 Billiard back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad and hand buffed it to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the grain popping around the bowl and shank. Added to that the polished vulcanite saddle stem was a beautiful touch. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 56 grams/1.98 ounces. It is a beautiful pipe and one that will be on the rebornpipes store in the British Pipe Makers section. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. I want to keep reminding us of the fact that we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next trustee.

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