Author Archives: upshallfan

GBD 269 Virgin Bulldog Restoration


By Al Jones

This is the second GBD 269 shape that I have had on my workbench. The first, a Prehistoric model, was completed in 2016. So, I knew that the shape 269 was GBD’s oversized bulldog shape, but curiously it does not have any of the three oversize stamps (Collector, Conquest or Colossus). This one is a Virgin grade pipe, which I enjoy collecting. The pipe had some build-up on the rim and a heavily oxidized stem. The rest of the briar appeared to be free of any dings, etc. and the bead lines were perfect. Interestingly, this one weighs 51 grams, compared to 46 for the Prehistoric model.

I was able to exchange some communication with the seller, who said that he has owned the pipe for 45 years.

I used my Pipenet reamer to remove the mild cake. To finish the bowl clean-up, I wrap a small piece of 320 grit sandpaper around a suitable bit and remove the remaining carbon in that manner. I used a wet rag to rub of the worst of the build-up, then 8000 and 12000 grade micromesh. I was able to remove nearly all of the build-up without altering the bowl profile or breaking the stain. The bowl was then filled with sea salt and alcohol to soak for several hours. The shank was very clean, a surprise. While the bowl was soaking, I put a dab of grease on the rondell and soaked it in a mild Oxy-Clean solution.

I removed the salt and alcohol from the bowl and used a series of paper towels and a small bristle brush to clean the shank. The stem was mounted and the heavy oxidation removed first with 800 grit paper, followed by 1,500 and 2,000 grades. 8,000 and 12,000 micromesh sheets were used next, followed by buffing with White Diamond and Meguiars Plastic Polish.

Below is the finished pipe.

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Donegel Rocky 999


By Al Jones

I have a hard time passing up any Peterson 999 shape. This one is a Donegal Rocky with a Sterling silver band. The nomenclature showed it was a Republic era pipe, but it appeared to be from an earlier era. The sellers pictures didn’t reveal the hallmark detail, but the rugged and random rustification style is significantly different than the machine-created marks of a modern era pipe. My hunch was right. On receipt of the pipe, I cleaned the band, which revealed a stylized “E” for 1972.

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The pipe as it was received. The stem was only mildly oxidized and there was minimal cake in the bowl.

I cleaned the bowl with some warm, soapy water and the polished it by hand with Halycon wax. The cake was reamed and the bowl soaked with sea salt and alcohol.

When the bowl was finished soaking, the stem was mounted and the oxidation removed with 800, 1500 and 2000 grit wet paper. This was followed by 8,000 and 12,000 grade micromesh sheets. The stem was then buffed with White Diamond and Meguiars Plastic Polish. The Sterling band was polished with silver polish.

Below is the finished pipe.

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Author Challenge – Bruyere “Extra” Restoration


By Al Jones

This Author was posted on Ebay at a reasonable price and I found the shape very alluring. The pipe was definitely going to require a good deal more work than projects that I typically undertake, but it looked solid enough to take the risk.

I found plenty of Bruyere labeled pipes, but most were of the Tyrolean or Hunter style sold in Europe. “Who Made That Pipe” only shows “many” as to those using that name. Curiously, I found this pipe, which sold recently on Ebay that has the Bruyere Extra stamp but a stem with the BC stamp.(Butz-Choquin)

As can see, the strummel was well abused, and apparently the previous owner had wanted to make sure that he knocked out all of the tobacco remains. The bowl top would require either a rebuild using briar dust and CA glue or topped. Gratefully, the stem was only oxidized with minimal teeth marks. The band, which appears to be nickel was tarnished and loose. The stem did not fit all the way into the shank. There were numerous gouges in the briar and several spots where fills had fallen out.

The first step was to ream the bowl which revealed it to be in very good condition, with no hidden issues. I removed the loose band and soaked the strummel in a alcohol bath for several hours. Following the soak, the strummel was scrubbed with a mild Oxy-Clean solution and a worn piece of Scotch-Brite. During this time, the stem was also soaked in the Oxy-Clean solution.

I decided to use briar dust and CA glue to rebuild the bowl edge and fill the gouges and fills. I smooth the repairs first with 320 grit paper and then 1500 and 2000 grade paper. The bowl still needed to be topped slightly to sharpen the edge. Below, those repairs are nearly complete, with final sanding to come, using 800 and 1500 grit papers.

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I restained the bowl with Fieblings Medium Brown stain. That color blended in the repairs nicely, without making the pipe too dark. The bowl was then buffed with White Diamond and several coats of carnuba wax. I re-glued the band with some wood glue. I lightly buffed the band with White Diamond rouge. Cleaning the shank with a series of bristle brushes allowed the stem to be fully inserted into the shank.

With the stem mounted, I removed the heavy layer of oxidation with 400 grit paper, than moving through 800, 1500 and 2000 grades. This was followed by 8000 and 12000 grade micromesh. The stem was then buffed with White Diamond and Meguiars Plastic polish.

I bought this pipe for the challenge and to ultimately resell it. However at this time, I’m too enamored with the shape and for now, it will remain on my rack. Below is the finished pipe.

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Finally: Comoy’s Old Bruyere 256 Restoration


By Al Jones

If you follow my contributions to this blog, you’ve heard me mention my “Holy Grail” list. I started this list six years ago and it was made up of specific brand shapes. Most were Rhodesians, Authors or Bulldogs. The list grew to fifteen pipes, with all British marquees, save for two Castellos. I’ves slowly but surely been able to find all but one piece. A few years ago, it appeared that securing a Comoy’s shape 256, the Author; was going to be challenging. Several shape 256 Comoy’s seconds were sold last year, but I was holding out for a Comoy’s with the beautiful 3-piece drilled “C” stem logo. The last Comoys 256 I can find on Ebay appears to have been sold in 2013.

The Comoy’s logo and the country of manufacture mark indicate that the pipe was made between the early 1920’s and the 1930’s. Pipepedia describes the football (rugby) shaped COM as:

Made in England

This is stamped in a circle with “MADE” at the top, “IN” in the middle, and “ENGLAND” forming the bottom of the circle. This can be seen on a Cecil as early as 1910 and on an Old Bruyere of 1921 and more frequent from the 1930s. It can also appear as “MADE” arched, “IN” below, and “ENGLAND” arched the other way. These stamps are in an oval rugby-ball shape rather than a circle round shape.

In the Pipedia article on Comoy’s, the Old Bruyere finish is described as:

Old Bruyere. I have two Old Bruyeres dated 1921 and a 1931 sales leaflet that states, “Out of every gross of Bruyere pipe bowls made, only 4 are good enough to be called Comoy’s Old Bruyere.” At this time, therefore, it was definitely a high grade.

The pipe was heavy oxidized, but the stem looked to be in pretty decent shape. There was some build-up on the rim and a mild cake build-up. The briar was covered in grime but the nomenclature was legible. The pipe appeared to have been left in direct sunlight, as portions of the stain were faded.

Using my Pipenet reamer, I carefully removed the cake. To finish, I wrapped a piece of 320 grit paper around a suitable bit, which is my preferred method of finishing a bowl. The bowl was in excellent shape, with no damage. I used a cloth with warm, mildy soapy water to remove the grime from the exterior of the briar. 6000 grade micromesh was used to remove the build-up on the bowl top. The bowl was filled with sea salt and alcohol, and left to soak for several hours.

While the bowl was soaking, I put a dab of grease on the “C” stem logo and soaked it in a mild Oxy-Clean solution.

Following the soaks, I used a bristle brush to clean the shank and then mounted the stem to begin to use oxidation. I used a plastic colllar to get close to the stem edge and also to keep too much water from leaking over to the briar, which could further lighten the stain. There were a few teeth indentions and nearly all responded to heat from a lighter to raise them. I then used 400 grade wet paper to remove the heavy oxidation, then 800 grade, followed by 1500 and 2000 grade paper. 8,000 and 12,000 micromesh was then used as a final prep. The stem was then buffed with White Diamond and Meguiars Plastic polish. The briar was buffed with White Diamond, being careful to stay away from the nomenclature. This was followed by several coats of Carnuba wax.

Below is the finished pipe, which will see regular use on my watch.

GBD Prehistoric Paneled Billiard Restoration


By Al Jones

This Prehistoric GBD was in pretty decent shape, with some bowl-top build-up and a mildly oxidized stem. GBD Prehistorics usually have polished bowl tops that survive even the worst build-up abuse and restore beautifully.  This one is shape 9486.

I used my Pipenet reamer set to remove the cake. I used a wet cloth and then a worn piece of scotch-brite pad to remove the build-up on the bowl top. The top was finished with a worn piece of 8,000 grit micromesh. All of the build-up came off, without breaking the stain and it polished beautifully. I soaked the bowl with alcohol and sea salt. The interior of the bowl was in excellent condition.

I put a dab of grease on the GBD rondell and soaked the stem in a mild Oxy-Clean solution. Mounted to the bowl, I used 800, 1500 and 2000 grade wet paper to remove the oxidation. The stem was finished with 8,000 and 12,000 grade micromesh. I wrap the sanding papers around a popsicle stick to keep the square shank edges sharp. The stem was buffed with White Diamond and Meguiars Plastic Polish.

The bowl top was polished with White Diamond and several coats of Carnuba wax. The blasted part of the bowl was hand waxed with Halycon wax.

Below is the finished pipe.

Comoy’s 184 Pebble Grain Restoration


By Al Jones

This was a simple clean up of a classic Comoy’s bent billiard, this one in Pebble Grain finish. The 3-piece, drilled “C” stem logo is from the pre-Cadogan era (1981 or earlier). I wasn’t able to determine when the Pebble Grain finish was introduced. The pipe was in overall very good condition, with a mildy oxidized stem and some build-up on the bowl top.

The bowl was reamed of the mild cake. I used a wet cloth and then a worn piece of scotch-brite pad to remove the build-up on the bowl top. I soaked the bowl with alcohol and sea salt. The interior of the bowl was in excellent condition.

A dab of grease was applied to the C on the stem, for the soak in a mild Oxy-Clean solution. After the stem and bowl were soaked, the stem was mounted to remove the oxidation. Wet paper in 800, 1,500 and 2,000 grade were used followed by 8,000 and 12,000 grades of micromesh. The stem was then buffed with White Diamond and Meguiars Plastic Polish. The bowl was hand waxed with Halycon wax.

Below is the finished pipe.

GBD 789 New Era Restoration


By Al Jones

This New Era shape 789 grabbed my eye for several reasons:
– New Era pipes are typically a nice step up from the typical New Standard grade pipes, in the grain and finish.
– The button on this one looked like it had the shape of GBD’s “Hand Cut” stems, although that stamp wasn’t mentioned or shown

The pipe needed plenty of work, but showed promise.

Sure enough, the stem did have the “Hand Cut” stamp! The bullet style tenon was first used by GBD in the early 1950’s (per Mike Hagley)

The stem was very heavily oxidized, so I put a dab of grease on the brass rondell and soaked it in a mild Oxy-Clean solution.

The bowl was reamed of the heavy cake. I used a wet cloth and then a worn piece of scotch-brite pad to remove the build-up on the bowl top. The top was finished with a worn piece of 8,000 grit micromesh. Nearly all of the build-up came off, without breaking the stain. I soaked the bowl with alcohol and sea salt. The interior of the bowl was in excellent condition. Thank goodness for a heavy cake, right?

I mounted the stem and started to remove the heavy oxidation. I typically start with 800 grit paper, but that didn’t make much of a dent, so I dropped down to 400 grit. I decided that it would be impossible to save the Hand Cut stamp and get the oxidation, so it was removed. The button is unmistakably of the Hand cut shape, so that would have to suffice.

I worked through 800, 1,500 and 2,000 grades of wet paper, then 8,000 and 12,000 grades of micromesh. The stem was then buffed with White Diamond and Carnuba Wax.

The bowl was buffed with White Diamond and several coats of Carnuba wax.

Below is the finished pipe.

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