Author Archives: upshallfan

The Guildhall 284 Rhodesian Restoration


By Al Jones

This is the 2nd “The Guildhall” shape that I’ve restored in the past few years. Fans of Comoy’s pipes will instantly recognize that very rare shape number. When a shape 284 Comoy’s pops up on Ebay or elsewhere, it is usually very hotly contested. This one failed to sell twice on Ebay, I believe because the shape number was inverted (248). It appeared to be in decent shape, with mint nomenclature, but it also could have help some hidden issues. I took the gamble and received the pipe in the condition below.

The stem was in great shape and it fit snugly. There was one tiny tooth indention, some chatter and it was lightly oxidized. The bowl had a moderate cake and the typical build-up on the bowl top. The briar had numerous marks on the bowl that I hoped could be steamed out.

The cake was removed with my Pipenet reamer and I found the bowl to be in excellent shape. I used a worn piece of worn Scotch-brite to remove the top layer of build-up on the bowl top, followed by 6,000 micromesh sheet and finally 2,000 grade paper. Using an electric iron and a wet cloth, folded twice over, I steamed out the dents. Most of them came out nicely, the steam really works miracles. The bowl was soaked with alcohol and sea salt. After the soak, the briar was buffed with White Diamond and several coats of Carnuba wax.

The stem was mounted and oxidation removed with 800, 1,500 and 2,000 grade papers, followed by 8,000 and 12,000 micromesh sheets. The stem was then buffed with White Diamond and Meguiars Plastic polish.

Below is the finished pipe.

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Charatan Special Bulldog Restoration (1955-1960)


By Al Jones

I don’t purchase many Charatans because most of them are simply too large and I’m more of a “classic shape” guy versus freehands. To be honest, I also don’t look forward to dealing with the stamped “CP” stem logo, which are usually very lightly stamped. This shape 08 bulldog caught my attention as it is one of only two Charatan bulldog shapes, the other being the 109 (which is listed as a Rhodesian). This one is stamped a “Special” but like many Charatans, it seems undergraded to my eye.

I can date the pipe to being made from between 1955 and 1960. The circled “L” logo stamp was first used in 1955 and all Charatans received double-comfort stems starting in 1960.

Another plus for this pipe, in my collection is the size – despite being a solid Group 4 (or maybe even a Group 5), it only weighs 38 grams. That is diminutive by Charatan standards.

Beside the oxidized logo, this one had other challenges. The diamond shank bulldog stem had several facets that I typically don’t see on a bulldog stem, including the flat sides of the stem. The top of the bowl had some rim darkening as well.

The bowl had numerous marks around the bowl, including these peck marks.

The pipe had a very slight cake and after reaming, I found the bowl was in great shape. I used an electric iron on high to steam out most of the marks. As I thought, the peck marks on the front of the bowl proved problematic. I was able to remove a few marks in that area and slightly diminished the others, but they could not be removed completely.

I used 6,000 and 8,000 grade micromesh on the bowl top to remove a lot of the darkening. To remove it any further would have required topping the pipe and restaining it. I thought it had greater value keeping it as original as possible.

I removed the outer layer of oxidation on the stem with 400 and 800 grit paper, then moving thru the 1,500 and 2,000 grades. Finally, 8,000 and 12,000 grades micromesh were used. Working around the faintly stamped logo was of course a big challenge. The stem was then buffed with White Diamond and Meguiars Plastic polish.

Below is the completed pipe.

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Update Jan 17, 2018:

We are fortunate at the PipesMagazine.com forum to have the participation of Ken Barnes. Ken is the son of Colonel Kenneth Barnes, who was a managing director for Charatan. Ken himself started working at Charatan when he was 14 years old and is a wealth of information on that brand as well as James Upshall. Ken added this information about the pipe brand and these two catalog pages.

The Special quality was around in 1951 as shown, and this was the largest size of the Bulldog shape no. 8

I think that the mouthpiece is hand-cut. I have learnt that the clue is that the saddle ‘step’ is sharp and 90 degrees rather than curved (a photo of the bite opening would confirm this).
I was thinking that there may be someone out there who could etch the Cp a little deeper and then fill the stamp with Crayola white wax and wipe away the surplus. I think that Reubin Charatan first used Crayola wax for the logos in 1910. I do know that the Crayola company was founded in 1903.

Kaywoodie Four Pipe “Matched Grain” Set


By Al Jones

Steve’s recent blog entry on the his 7-pipe Kaywoodie Matched Grain set reminded me to get off my duff and write up the story on this set. My buddy Dave picked this up at the 2017 Kansas City show.

I found no other four pipe Kaywoodie sets for comparison. There are numerous five and seven pipe sets that I found. The only reference that I can find is a 1955 price listing of $50.00, from the Pipepedia site. Unfortunately, there are no pictures to accompany that price listing.

The set came in a fitted, triangular shaped case with these four shape models:

86B – Large Apple
11 – Extra Large Billiard
69 – Pot
12B – Saddle Bulldog

Unfortunately when I was working on this set in December, I was in a rush to get it done before the holiday and accidentally deleted my “before” pictures. The pipes were in very good shape, with two exceptions. The stem on the 86B was damaged, on the button and sides, almost like it was filed down to be more narrow. The shape 69 Pot also had some minor damage to the bottom of the button.

The other pipes only had mile oxidation. The briar didn’t need any attention, but I gave them a light buff with White Diamond and several coats of Carnuba wax. The stems were all polished using 800, 1500 and 2000 grade paper, followed by Micromesh sheets of 8,000 and 12,000 grades. The stems were then buffed with White Diamond and Meguiars Plastic Polish.

The two pipes with damaged stems were repaired with the Stew-Mac Black superglue and accelerator. Getting the shape back to the 86B was very challenging and I’m not completely satisfied with the result.

All four pipes had a “Drinkless” stamped, four-hole stingers. Dating via the nomenclature and stinger isn’t an exact science, so the following is my assumption. The details are:
– smaller, four hole ball
– “Drinkless” only stamp, no Patent or Reg. info

From just after WWII, Kaywoodie transitioned to four hole, smaller ball stinger, which was used into the mid 1950’s.

The finished set and case.

The individual pipes are shown below.

86B – This one had the strange damage to the stem, as shown in these two “before” photos. Getting the shape back on the sides was quite challenging.

And the finished pipe.

69 Pot – this one had minor damage to the bottom of the button, with the repair shown below.

11 – Extra Large Billiard

And finally, my favorite of the set, the 12B – Bulldog.

Comoy’s Golden Grain Apple Restoration


By Al Jones

Comoy’s with the drilled, 3-piece “C” stem logo always catch my eye. This one is a Shape 483 in the Golden Grain finish.  The stem was oxidized with a few bite marks. There was some build-upon the bowl top. The stem wasn’t inserted all the way into the shank, but that is typically due to build-up in the shank. Here is the pipe as it was received.

The shape 483 is listed as a Large Apple on the Comoy’s shape chart.

I reamed the cake and found the bowl to be on very good condition. I used a worn piece of scotchbrite to clean up the bowl top. The pipe was soaked with alcohol and sea salt. While the bowl was soaking, I put a dab of grease on the C logo and soaked it in a mild Oxy-Clean solution. After the soak, I used a bristle brush and then a scrunched up paper towel to clean the inside of the shank. Once that was done, the stem fit properly.

I raised a few tooth dents on the stem with flame from a lighter. One dent remained underneath, and I decided to let well enough alone as it was structurally sound. I used 800, 1,500 and 2,000 grade sandpaper to remove the oxidation. That was followed with 8,000 and 12,000 grade micromesh followed by White Diamond and Meguiars Plastic polish on the buffer.

The briar was lightly buffed with White Diamond and several coats of Canuba wax.

Below is the finished pipe, now being enjoyed by a member of the SmokersForums.uk forum.

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.

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.