Bringing Benaderet’s Coral Billiard Back to Life

Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table is a sandblasted large Billiard. This pipe was purchased from a fellow in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA on 09/17/2018. The pipe is a real mess with dust and grime in all of the valleys of the sandblast and the rim top is covered in lava. The beveled inner edge of the rim is very dirty and darkened and there is a thick cake in the bowl. The cake was so thick in parts of the bowl that it was hard to guess the condition of the rim edge. The finish appears to be a reddish brown/cordovan with dark highlights underneath. On the underside of the shank it is stamped Benaderet’s Coral followed by London England [over] the shape number 2515. The stem was oxidized, calcified and there were tooth marks and chatter on both sides just ahead of the button. There was not any stamping on the stem so it did not have any identifying marks. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started working on it. I include those below. Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the lava build up on the rim top and dust and grime in the sandblast. It was thick and hard and heavier toward the front of the bowl. The lava is deep in the rustication and there is a buildup on the inner edge of the bowl. Hopefully it had protected the rim and edges from damage. The photos of the top and underside of the stem show the oxidation, calcification and deep tooth marks on both sides of the stem surface and button. Jeff took a photo of the side and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the finish – the grime and grit all over the sides and bottom of the bowl. The grooves in the sandblast are full of grime but it is interesting. This is a very tactile finish and one that I enjoy.     Jeff took two photos of the stamping on the underside of the shank to capture all of it. It is faint but readable other than the edge of the shank where the London Made and 2515 number are stamped. The second photo also shows a flaw in the briar between the N and D of England.  From the shape number on the shank I was pretty certain I was dealing with a GBD pipe. The stamping Benaderet’s Coral was a dead end but the shape number hit the mark. I turned to Pipedia’s shape number listing and found it ( I have included a screen capture of the listing below.Benaderet’s was a pipe shop in San Francisco that closed in the 70’s. Their house pipes were made by Comoys or Sasieni although smokingpipes had one made by GBD once. Good find.

The other link was to a blog ( That blog gave the original address of the shop in San Francisco and the names of the owners of the shop.

Benaderet’s Cigarette, Pipe and Tobacco Shop215 Sutter Street [Formerly at 566 California Street],San Francisco.

Owners: Robert and Edith Rashaw (Robert Rashaw: born 1916. Edith Edna Rashaw: born 1916.) Store still extant in the late seventies. No longer there by the eighties. At one point, they had Egyptian cigarettes made for them. Their house pipes were usually by Comoys. There are also Benaderet’s Sasienis. More research required.

Quote: “Benaderet’s Inc., was California’s oldest pipe and tobacco store when it went out of business in 1980. Sam Benaderet was a tobacconist from New York City who came to San Francisco in 1915 to work at the Panama Pacific International Exposition. An immigrant to the United States from Turkey, Mr. Benaderet decided that he liked the West Coast’s Mediterranean like climate. After the Exposition closed, he stayed to open his own tobacco business. This new firm produced custom private-label cigarettes for men’s clubs. A lavish retail store was opened in the late 1920’s that quickly became a mecca for tobacco connoisseurs.”

So what I could find out about the pipe is that it is a pipe made by GBD (Shape number confirms this). It turns out that the pipe was a GBD pipe made for Benaderet’s Cigarette, Pipe and Tobacco Shop in San Francisco, California. Since the shop went out of business in 1980 I now knew that the pipe was made before that time. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

This pipe was a real mess like many of the pipes we work on. I was curious to see what it would look like when I unpacked it. I was surprised at how good it looked. Jeff reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals 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 the lava on the rim top. The finish on the bowl looked really good when I got it. The rim top looked much better and the inner and outer edges were looking good. He had cleaned the internals and scrubbed the exterior of the stem and soaked them in Before & After Deoxidizer bath to remove the oxidation. The stem looked very good other than the tooth marks and chatter in the surface. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked very good. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. I took photos of the condition of the rim top and stem before I started working. The rim top looks very good. The crevices and valleys of the sandblast and the beveled inner edge of the rim are clean and look great. The bowl is spotless. The stem is lightly oxidized and has some tooth marks and tooth chatter. I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the heel and the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above.I removed the stem and took a photo to give a sense of the pipe. Note the deep sandblast as it is quite a beauty.I worked on the remaining darkening on the rim top with a brass bristle wire brush. I took time to carefully clean out the dark places in the depths of the sandblast.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the finish of the bowl and the rim top and shank with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect it. I find that the balm really makes the briar come alive again. The contrasts in the layers of stain and the separate finishes really made the grain stand out. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The bowl really looks good at this point. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I tried to lift the tooth marks with a flame of lighter but they did not lift. I filled in the deeper ones on each side with clear super glue. I sanded the stem to remove the oxidation that was on the surface and to smooth out the repaired areas. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper and a piece of 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. At this point the stem is looking better and the tooth marks are gone.  I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I polished it further with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both fine and extra fine.   Once again I am at the part of the restoration that I always look forward to – the moment when all the pieces are put back together. I put the Benaderet’s Coral 2515 Billiard back together and lightly buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond. I buffed the stem with a heavier touch with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the combination of rustication and smooth finishes. The black vulcanite stem stands out as a shiny black contrast to the colours of the bowl. The reddish brown stain on the Benaderet’s Coral Pot looks absolutely great. It is nice to know that it has a west coast tie to the San Francisco area and a long gone pipe shop. It must have been a fine smoking pipe judging from the condition it was when we received it. Have a look at it in the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. This is one that will go on the British Pipemakers section of the rebornpipes online store shortly. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember 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 generation.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.