Restoring an Unusual BBB Trafalgar 1752 Square Dublin Sitter

Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the worktable is a BBB in a shape I had not seen before. It is kind of a Panel Dublin Sitter with a square shank. We bought it on eBay from Frederiksberg, Denmark on 06/05/2016 so it has been sitting here for a long time. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads BBB in a diamond (logo) followed by R. Underneath it reads Trafalgar [over] Square. On the right side of the shank it is stamped Made in England [over] 1752. On the underside of the shank it also was stamped 7R next to the shank/stem logo. On the left side of the saddle stem is a BBB diamond logo stamped in white. The bowl had a thick cake and there was a light lava overflow on the rim top and inner edge of the rim. The unique saddle stem fits the square shank perfectly and is oxidized. The tenon is drilled for a 6mm filter. There are light tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside of the stem ahead of the button. The grain around this unique pipe is quite beautiful under the grime on the finish. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his clean up work. He took photos of the rim top to show the condition the rim top – darkening and lava build up on the rim and edges. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show its general condition. It is oxidized and shows some tooth marks on both sides near the button.He took a photo of the pipe looking down on the length of it both on the top and on the underside. It is an interesting and unique pipe. He took photos of the stamping on the left, right and underside of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above.  While there is a lot of information on the BBB brand there is nothing on the Trafalgar Square line. It has a simple Made in England stamp and a painted stamp on the left side of the stem. I would assume that it is one that was made during the Cadogan era.

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe as usual. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet pipe reamer and removed the rest of the cake with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub and a tooth brush and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe before I started my part of the restoration work. There were still spots varnish on the bowl sides that would need to be removed. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it.     The rim top looked very good and the inner edge had some darkening and wear that would need to be addressed. The outer edge of the bowl look very good. The stem surface still showed oxidation and had a few small tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. The stamping on sides of the shank is clear and readable. I took photos of the stamping on the each side of the shank and it is stamped as noted above. The logo on the stem could well be a decal but I will know more once I am working on it.I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. It is an unusually shaped pipe.I started my work on the pipe by wiping the bowl down with acetone to remove the remaining varnish around the bowl and shank. It lifted some of the red stain in the process. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the damage and darkening there. I also smoothed out the damage on the rim top. It worked amazingly well and the finished edge and top looked much better.  I polished the bowl and the rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth.   I rubbed some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar to enliven, clean and preserve it. I rubbed it in with my fingertips working it into the briar. I set it aside for 15 minutes to let the balm do its work. I buffed it off with a cotton cloth and then buffed it with a microfiber cloth. The photos below show the pipe at this point in the restoration process.  I set aside the bowl and turned my attention to the stem. I scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub on cotton pads to remove the deep oxidation that was still on the stem. It worked quite well and I was able to remove the majority of it. I then used some Meguiar’s Scratch X 2.0 Fine Polish and scratch remover and was able to remove even more of the oxidation. I polished the stem using micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads to further polish it. After each pad I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil to protect and enliven the stem. I polished it further with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. When I finished with the polish I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I tried to redo the BBB triangle on the stem side. It was faint and the stamping was not very deep. I used some Rub’n Buff Antique Gold but it did not work so I wiped it off and buffed it with some Obsidian Oil to clean up the stamping. This BBB Trafalgar Square 1752 Panel Dublin Sitter is an interesting and unusual piece. It has a classic English looking Billiard shape. The smooth finish around the bowl and shank has some nice straight and flame grain around the sides. The rim top and heel have some nice looking birdseye grain. The reddish brown of the bowl and the black of taper vulcanite stem contrast well together. I buffed the bowl and the stem with Blue Diamond polish to raise the shine on the briar and the vulcanite. I lightly buffed the rim top and shank end as well. I was careful to not buff the stamping and damage it. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are: Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside Diameter: 1 ½ x 1 ½  inches, Diameter of the chamber: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.62 ounces/46 grams. It is an interesting old pipe and should make a great collectible piece for lovers of old Americana Pipe Making Companies. I will be adding it to the American Pipemakers Section on the rebornpipes store very soon if you would like to add it to your collection. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

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