Author Archives: upshallfan

1952 Dunhill Tanshell LBS Restoration

By Al Jones

This pipe belongs to a friend of mine who is a member of the Lehigh Valley Pipe Club (Allentown PA area). The pipe is a 1952 Dunhill Tanshell, which is his birth-year pipe. I’ve done several pipes for John but this one was special and I was honored to be entrusted with its care.

The pipe was in terrific condition, with the typical bowl-top build-up and an oxidized stem. The nomenclature panel was in fantastic condition. The panel serves to make the pipe a sitter, which extends to the profile on the bottom of the stem. The original owner must have never set the pipe down on that panel. There was a gap between the stem and shank, I assumed due to build-up inside the shank.

The pipe has Patent No9417574/34 with an underlined 2, which according to the dating guide at the Pipephil site, dates it to 1952. The LBS apparently stands for “Large Billiard Slim” and the pipe is a Group 4 size.

The pipe had a mild cake, which was removed with my Pipenet reamer. The interior of the bowl was in very good shape and protected by the cake. The draft hole was completely plugged. I soaked the pipe with alcohol and sea salt for several hours. While the pipe was soaking, the stem was soaked in a mild Oxy-clean solution.

Cleaning the bowl top was going to take some care, I didn’t want to damage the sandblast or the stain. I used a piece of worn Scotch-Brite and water to remove the heaviest build-up and then a water-soaked cloth. This left only some darkening on the rim top. The briar only need to be hand waxed with Halycon wax and a soft cloth.

The draft hole was cleaned with a soft shank brush dipped in alcohol. I cleaned the interior of the shank with a paper towel dipped in alcohol. Once the shank was clean, the stem fit perfectly.

The stem had several mild teeth indentions. I used the flame from a lighter to raise all but two. I used 800 grit paper to remove the oxidation on the stem, followed with 1,500 and 2,000 grades. I finished with 8,000 and 12,000 grade micromesh sheets. The stem was finished on the buffer with White Diamond and then Meguiars Plastic Polish. The two remaining tooth indentions are hardly noticeable. The button work is outstanding, truly a hand cut stem.

Below is the finished pipe, ready to be enjoyed.

BBB Centenary Bullcap Restored

By Al Jones

I had never had a BBB pipe on work bench, but in the last month, I’ve acquired two. This one is a real curiosity. It is stamped as a “1847-1947 Centenary” pipe. Very little is written about BBB brand pipes. Steve posted a history of the brand to the blog several years ago, which can be seen in the link below. Beyond this piece, there is not much else available on the brand.

History of BBB Pipes – Reborn Pipes

BBB celebrated their 100th anniversary in 1947. They released a book on the brand, but it is rare. Someone shared with me that Vermont Freehand had reprints for sale. However I cannot find any reference to these “Centenary” pipes. I’ve found two or three that have been sold on Ebay, but the ads are old enough that the photos are no longer available. I posted the pipe to several pipe boards, but to date, I’ve received no answers on the history of this anniversary edition pipe. They did appear to come in different shapes. This one looks like the classic “Bullcap” shape. The pipe is a featherweight at 25 grams.

As you can see, the pipe was in relatively good condition. The sellers pictures were not very good and the pipe was advertised as having a box. Unfortunately, the seller made a mistake and there was no box. That was too bad, as the box may have contained some helpful information. The stamping is crystal clear. The stem has a “Hand Cut” stamp but no metal rhombus was shown. On receiving the pipe, there is a BBB rhombus stamp on the opposite side of the stem. The pipe came with a push fit stinger.

I used a worn piece of Scotch-Brite to remove the build-up on the bowl top, then finished it lightly with a piece of 2000 grit paper. After the build-up was removed, a nicely beveled bowl top was revealed. The rest of the briar was just about perfect. I reamed the pipe and soaked it with sea salt and alcohol. Following the soak, the briar was buffed lightly with White Diamond and several coats of Carnuba wax.

The stem had no bite marks, but was oxidized. Working around the stamping was going to be tricky. I cut two tiny pieces of masking tape to cover and protect them during this process. I started with 800 grit paper, than 1500 and 2000 grades. The then buffed with White Diamond and Meguiars Plastic Polish. I put some white, acrylic model paint over the logos. I let it dry for several days and then removed the excess. Unfortunately, the stamping is so shallow, that the white paint didn’t have much, if any effect. The beautifully shaped and detailed button definitely earn the “Hand Cut” stamp.

I’m not happy with the oxidized stamp sections, but I’m not sure there is much else that can be done.

If anyone has information about these “Centenary” edition pipes, please let me know.

Comoy’s Shape 17 Guildhall Restoration

By Al Jones

This bent billiard, shape 17 was in pretty decent shape. There was build-up on the bowl top and the stem had the typical layer of oxidation. The Guildhall finish should not be mistaken with the Comoy’s 2nd line called “The Guildhall” (the stem logo on those pipes has three slim slats). The Guildhall pipes, with drilled, 3 piece “C” stem logos have all had matte, contrast staining.

The pipe as it was delivered.

I used a piece of worn Scotch-Brite to remove the build-up from the bowl top, than lightly finished it with 2,000 grit wet paper. the beveled bowl top was in very good condition and seemingly protected by the build-up. The briar was then reamed with alcohol and sea salt. While the pipe was soaking, the stem was soaked in a mild oxy-clean solution.

Following the soaking process, the briar bowl was cleaned with brushes and paper towels (screwed into the shank). The stem was mounted and oxidation removed first with 800 grit paper, than 1500 and 2000 grades. 8,000 and 12,000 grade micromesh was used next. The oxidation hid a few teeth marks. I used the flame from a lighter to raise some of them. A few stubborn dents remained on the bottom side of the stem. I decided to let well enough alone. The stem was then buffed lightly with white diamond and Meguiars Plastic Polish. The stem was buffed with White Diamond and several coats of Carnuba wax.

This one was a relatively easy restoration. Below is the finished pipe.


GBD New Era Bent Billiard (510F)

By Al Jones

I thought that I had seen all of the GBD shapes, particularly those in the Bent Billiard, Bulldog and Rhodesian family. But this is the first 510 shape that I have encountered. I was surprised to find the shape number listed on Jerry Hannah’s old shape list, but Google yielded no other examples. The shape is very similar to the Dunhill 120 and a bit more elegant than the shape 508, a more common GBD bent billiard. This one has the brass rondell and straight line “London, England” stamping of a pre-Cadogan pipe. However the rondell is smaller than typical and similar to the rondells on my hallmarked 1930’s era GBD’s. The button is also shaped differently than later model GBD’s. Like many New Era grade pipes, this one has the bullet style tenon. Mike Hagley tells me that this tenon was introduced in the late 1940’s, but I was never able to determine when it was discontinued.

The pipe was in fairly decent shape as received. The bowl had some dings, particularly on the bowl top. The stem was mildly oxidzied and the bowl had a mild cake.

I reamed the bowl and soaked it with alcohol and sea salt. While the bowl was soaking, I used 400, 800, 1500 and 2000 grit paper to remove the oxidation on the stem, then followed with 8,000 and 12,000 grade micromesh. The stem was then buffed with white diamond and Meguiars Plastic polish.

I used an iron and a wet cloth to stem out the dents, most of which came up nicely. I was able to minimize the others with some 2,000 grit wet paper, followed by a white diamond buff. Some handling marks were near the nomenclature, but those couldn’t be fixed. The nomenclature is worn and I didn’t want to risk damaging it further.

Below is the finished pipe. I’m curious if anyone else has encountered this GBD shape.



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.

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.


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.


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.



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.