Author Archives: upshallfan

Sasieni Four Dot Danzey XS Restoration.


By Al Jones

My buddy Dave made a smart grab with this Sasieni Danzey XS. The Danzey is one of several Sasieni bulldog shapes. He has been looking for this shape for a while so I was glad he finally located a fine example. The pipe was in great shape and I knew it would be an easy restoration. Tnis one sports the “Rustic” finish which is hand carved and follows the grain. The Rustic finish is my personal favorite offered by Sasieni.

The Danzey is also known as the Shape 79. This one has the S for the saddle stem. All Danzey’s have the XS stamp which Pipephil says stands for a premium priced pipe. Below is the chart showing the Sasieni bulldog shapes. The Sasieni logo dates this one from 1946 to 1979.

Below is the pipe as it was received, the stem was oxidized but free of any teeth marks. There was a very mild cake and little build-up on the bowl top. Even in unrestored condition, you can see that this pipe has the beautiful pale blue dots. My cheap point and shoot digital camera don’t capture this well.

I used a worn piece of scotch brite to remove the bowl top build-up then the cake was removed. The bowl was in terrific shape. The stem was soaked in a mil Oxy-Clean solution. Following the soaks, the stem was mounted and oxidation removed first with 800 grit paper, than 1,500 and 2,000 grades. Next up was 8,000 and 12,000 micromesh sheets. The stem was buffed with White Diamond and Meguiars plastic polish. I hand waxed the briar with Halycon wax.

The one challenging aspect of the pipe was that it had an aluminum stinger tube (slip-fit). You can just see it the bowl top photo below. Dave said it was stubborn and he wasn’t kidding. Typically, a soak in alcohol frees these pieces. But, after a soak, this one still wouldn’t budge. I used a pair of pliars to try and twist it out, which of course only collapsed the tube and then it tore. Note for next time: Insert a tooth pick or similar in the tube to give it some support! With a ragged piece of aluminum sticking out of the tenon, I pondered just filing it smooth. I decided to try some drill bits from my index box. Two of my smaller bits looked to be the right size. I mounted the larger of the two bits in my bench top vise and screwed tenon onto the bit. The aluminum twisted right out in two strips. This left a very thin piece of aluminum further into the tenon. The next larger bit worked out the remaining piece. I worked very carefully as I obviously didn’t want to break the tenon on my friends pipe. The draw on the stem without the tube is much improved, so I think it was worth the risk and effort.

Below is the finished pipe, soon to be heading back to Dave.

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1937 GBD Chubby Rhodesian (R9239) Restored


By Al Jones

I’ve had a great year for acquiring GBD pipes. I started the year in January by finding a 9242 Sandblast at the NYC Pipe Show.  And later, another 9242 New Standard. I can’t think of a better way to cap off 2017 than with this hallmarked R9239.

This shape is a bit of a GBD mystery. In the past six years, I’ve seen three of these come up on Ebay (one was unsmoked!). All of them have the R9239 designation, with a London hallmarked band that dates to 1937 (B date code). I have two other hallmarked 1930’s era GBD’s and each has the R code in front of the four digit shape number. The 9239 is referenced no where else in any GBD catalogs or literature that I’ve encountered. I speculate that the R must have signified a silver hallmarked band, but unfortunately that detail is lost to time.

Winning this auction was a battle with 12 other bidders and I eked out a victory by a few dollars. I studied the sellers photos carefully before bidding and I had plenty of apprehension until it was delivered. As you can see below, the photos were either altered digitally or the flash made some odd patterns on the briar. The rest of the pipe looked solid enough to allow me to bid. On delivery, all of my fears disappeared. The briar and vulcanite were in terrific condition. The stem fitment was snug with zero bite marks on the oxidized stem. The odd shadow was just that, a flash mark or other.

Below are my photos of the pipe as it was received. The stem was mildly oxidized and there were several handling marks on the bowl. The bead lines were mint and the bowl and shank interior showed little use.

I reamed the very slight cake from the bowl and soaked it with alcohol and sea salt. After the soak, I used a silver polish to remove the tarnish on the silver band, which was a bit stubborn. I mounted the stem with a plastic collar and removed the first layer with 400 grit, then 800 grit wet paper. This was followed by 1,500 and 2,000 grade paper, then 8,000 and 12,000 micromesh sheets. The stem was then buffed with White Diamond and Meguiars Plastic Polish.

I was able to remove several of the handling marks on the bowl with an electric iron and a wet cloth. The bowl was then buffed with White Diamond and several coats of Carnuba wax.

Below is the finished pipe.

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Sasieni Hendon Patent Era Addition


By Al Jones

The Sasieni “Hendon” shape has been on my Holy Grail list for a while. It is one of the more elusive of the Sasieni shapes, also known as the shape 87 in the Sasieni catalog. The Hendon shape drops in and out of the Sasieni catalogs. It is certainly the least common of the Sasieni bulldog shapes. (Grosvernor, etc.)

Below are two catalog pages depicting the Hendon shape. The standard multi-page Sasieni catalog, which shows black and white drawings of the shapes and names does not show this shape.

This is the first Patent Era Sasieni in my collection. The Sasieni florid script, Patent number and town name reveal that the pipe was made sometime between 1935, when town names started, and the onset of Word War II (’42). The patent number 150221/20 was used on pipes exported to the United States. The iconic Blue Dots are smaller, and spaced closer together than Sasieni’s from a later era.

I showed the pipe to a trusted British pipe fan who is a member of the PipesMagazine and PipeSmokersUnlimited forums. He was worried that it might have been topped. That was good advice and I asked the seller for pictures showing the bowl height. I found a few previously sold Hendon shapes on the web, but only two with specs. The bowl height and depth on this one is right in between the two that I found. It certainly could have had a millimeter taken of the bowl height, but I decided it was close enough. Jesse Silver recently mentioned the phrase “cut down process” in describing small variations in standard shapes by Barlings, etc. Perhaps this one was similarly affected?

The pipe still retains the screw in stinger, but I think that the ball may have been cut off. There is a scorch mark on the top of the bowl, which I was able to lessen, but not completely remove. The stem is in excellent shape as is the bowl interior. The button is quite different than those on my later era Sasieni’s and it has more of an ovoid but not quite orific shape.

The pipe didn’t need much in the way of clean-up or restoration. I gave the stem my usual finish process. I soaked the stinger/tenon in some alchol so it could be screwed out. I think for smoking use, I’ll keep the stinger in place. The walls of the tenon are thin and I believe the stinger gives it some additional support. Without the stinger, the draft hole would be quite large.

I used some 2000 grit wet paper on the bowl top to lessen the scorch mark, then the briar was buffed with White Diamond and several coats of Carnuba wax.

Below is the completed pipe.

Comoy’s Golden Grain Apple (483) Restoration


By Al Jones

This is the second “Golden Grain” finish Comoy’s to land on my workbench. This one, a shape 483 “Apple” was in very good condition. There was a little build-up on the bowl top and the stem only had mild teeth abrasions.

In searching for information about the Golden Grain finish, I had previously posted the following, from an old eBay ad posted by Tony Soderman (aka Mr. Can).

Exactly when the “GOLDEN GRAIN” was first introduced is not clear, but it became one of COMOY’s most popular lines. By 1977 it was the Company’s third highest grade beneath the “Designer” and “London Pride” and ranked ahead of other favorites including the “Royal Comoy,” “Guildhall,” “Everyman” and so on! The GOLDEN GRAIN was offered as a “new look” with what COMOY called an “antique patina” and later called a “golden hue.” It was advertised as “finished in golden hues to highlight the gorgeous grains in the ‘Classical’ Comoy’s of London tradition.” As you can see, there is some truth to their claim that the GOLDEN GRAIN’s “warm seductive beauty will win your heart.” The GOLDEN GRAIN was dropped from the COMOY line in 1980

The pipe as received. The stem fitment wasn’t flush, which is typically from build-up in the shank. There was some mild cake in the bowl. The three-piece, drilled “C” stem logo denotes the pipe as being made in the pre-Cadogan era (1946 to 1981).

I used a piece of moistended, worn scotchbrite to remove the build-up on the bowl top. The bowl was reamed and filled with sea salt and alcohol, then left to soak for several hours. While it was soaking, I put a dab of grease on the C stem logo and soaked it in a mild Oxy-Clean solution. Following the soak, thank was cleaned with some soft bristle brushes and paper-towels screwed into the shank. Once the shank was clean, the stem fit properly against the shank.

There were two teeth indentions underneath the button. I removed one with heat, but one remained. The stem was mounted and oxidaition removed first with 800 grit wet paper, followed by 1,500 and 2,000 grades. I sharped up the button crease with the 800 paper wrapped around a flat needle file. Micromesh sheets in 8,000 and 12,000 were used to finish the stem. It was then buffed with White Diamond and Meguiars Plastic polish.

The bowl was polished with White Diamond and several coats of carnuba wax.

Below is the finished pipe.

Sasieni Windsor Bulldog Restoration (Danzey)


By Al Jones

The Windsor is one of Sasieni’s second or sub-brands. I’ve not found any documentaiton of the difference between a second line and a sub-brand but I suspect that pipes stamped “By Sasieni” are second lines. So, I’ll assume the Windsor, which first bears the Sasieni stamp is a sub-brand. These pipes aren’t often as finished as nicely as a first line pipe. This bulldog lacks the bead lines that would be found on a Four Dot in that shape. The pipe is stamped with the shape number 79, which later became the “Danzey” shape when Sasieni began using town names. I’ve found that stems on Sasieni second or sub-brand lines is nearly equal to those used on Four Dot pipes.

The briar had a very rugged finish. I wasn’t sure if it was a sandblast or rustication, perhaps even a mix of the two.  A 1976 Sasieni price list shows the Windsor as a sandblast.

Unfortunately, on delivery, I found that the pipe had a crack in the shank.

The seller offered me a refund and told me to keep the pipe. At first, I was tempted to throw it in a drawer but the rest of it was in such great shape, I decided it was worthy of a nickel band. I never picked up a band kit, so I sent the pipe to Norwood Pipe Repair. Ken said he could use a band that would not obscure any of the nomenclature. Norwood is always does a fast turn around and the pipe was repaired and sent out a day later. Once banded, the stem/tenon fitment was nice and snug.

Once I had the bowl back, I reamed the cake and soaked the bowl with alcohol and sea salt. Norwood had removed the oxidation on the stem and polished it to a nice shine. I always like to put my own finish on an estate stem, so it was finished with 800, 1,500 and 2,000 grade wet paper. Followed by 8,000 and 12,000 micromesh sheets. The stem was then buffed with White Diamond and Meguiars Plastic Polish.

I hand polished the bowl with Halycon wax.

Below is the finished pipe.

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GBD 9242 Restoration


By Al Jones

For many fans of the GBD marque, the shape 9242, a chubby Rhodesian is at the top of their wish list. As such, I can never resist them on the rare occasion where they pop up on Ebay. I estimate that 150 or so of the shape 9438 (saddle stem Rhodesian) is sold for every one shape 9242. This one was going to take some attention, but seemed solid from the sellers pictures. The pipe had the brass rondell and straight line, “London, England” stamp making if from the pre-Cadogan era (prior to 1982).

There were some darkening marks on the rim top but the bowl was solid. The stem was oxidized, with one tooth nick on the button but also otherwise, in good shape.

I reamed the cake from the bowl and soaked it with sea-salt and alcohol. The stem was soaked in a mild Oxy-clean solution with a dab of grease on the brass rondell.

I used worn pieces of 6,000 and 8,000 grit sheets of micromesh to remove the bowl top build-up and reduce the darkening. There were several small handling dings around the bowl, which were lifted with an electric iron and a wet cloth. The bowl was buffed with White diamond and several coats of Carnuba wax.

The stem had some light tooth dents, which lifted nicely with some heat from a lighter flame. One nick on the button remains. The tenon was slightly tweaked, as you can see from the initial photos, leaving a gap. I warmed the tenon carefully with a heat gun and quickly inserted it into the shank. This allowed it to go back to the flush position. Once cooled, the stem can be removed and the set takes.

The stem was re-mounted and I used 800 grit paper to remove the layer of oxidation. The stem was then polished with 1,500 and 2,000 grit wet paper, followed by 8,000 and 12,000 micromesh sheets. The stem was buffed with White Diamond and Meguiars Plastic polish. Last night, when I showed the pipe to my local Pipe Club members (Frederick MD Pipe Club), one asked me how I shine the brass rondell. My answer: “I don’t”. I stay away from the rondell when using any abrasive products and work as close to it as I can by hand. I don’t think the Megiuars Plastic Polish is abrasive enough to do any damage, so I let that get worked in close. The stem looks brilliant and I’m very pleased with this result.

Below is the finished pipe. I have another 9242 New Standard, so this one will most likely be re-sold at a later date.

Berkley Club Bulldog Restoration (Sasieni 2nd)


By Al Jones

A member of the PipesMagazine.com forum contacted me after spotting this bulldog on Ebay. He wondered if it was a Sasieni 2nd. There is a long list of Sasieni second line pipes, but I could tell from the football shaped COM (Country of Manufacture) stamp that it was made by Sasieni. The pipe is stamped with the shape number 779R, as are most Sasieni second line pipes (Sashar, etc.). I wonder what the R signified? A thread on the PipesMagazine.com forum indeed showed that the Berkley Club was indeed a Sasieni second.  This shape would have been the “Danzey” shape, 79, if it were a Sasieni.    There is a small flaw near the shank/bowl junction that was filled.  I suspect this rendered the pipe to be a second line offering.

Sasieni Seconds Thread – PipesMagazine.com

From the Ebay listing, the pipe appeared to be in good condition. I love restoring these kind of British oddities, so I volunteered to restore the pipe. When it arrived at my home, I could see that he made a good decision in buying the pipe, it was great shape. The briar stain was faded and the stem oxidized with some teeth indentions.

Curiously, the bowl has a very uniform well drilled into the bottom and the stem included an aluminum straw/stinger. I’ve not yet encountered a pipe bowl with this feature.

The stem bore a faint “B” stamp and I wasn’t sure that could be salvaged.

There was very little cake in the bowl, so I used a piece of 320 grit sandpaper to remove the minimal residue. The shank was completely clogged with debris, which I removed with the drill bit from my Senor reamer. The bowl was soaked with alcohol and sea salt. I soaked the stem in a mild solution of Oxy-Clean.

I wiped on a coat of Fieblings Medium Brown stain to freshen the briar, then hand waxed it with Halycon Wax.

Following the bowl soak, the shank was cleaned with a soft bristle brush. I used a lighter to bring up some of the tooth indentions. The initial layer of oxidation was removed with 800 grit paper, followed by 1,500 and 2,000 grades. Next up was 8,000 and 12,000 grade micromesh sheets. The stem was buffed with White Diamond and then Meguiars Plastic polish. Most of the teeth indentions were removed. I was able to save the fragile appearing “B” stem logo

Below is the finished pipe.