Author Archives: upshallfan

Comoy’s 286 London Made – Discovered!


By Al Jones

As a Comoy’s fan and someone who loves the Rhodesian pipe shape, this one came out of left field. It was advertised as having nomenclature too faded to read, but from the sellers pictures, I could see that it had a three digit shape number. This was a Comoy’s shape that I had never seen before. I was pretty anxious until it was delivered, and with my naked eye, I could see the shape number was 286. This puzzled me, as this shape number was not listed on any Comoy’s chart that I could find, nor was it in any of my scanned catalog library. A Google search yielded two results, one a Blue Riband sold on Ebay and the other on an Asian collectors side. This one must be a the saddle stem version of the coveted shape 284.

Update: a member of the PipesMagazine.com forum, found this catalog page, showing the 286 shape.

With magnification, I can see a partial name under the straight-line “Comoy’s” logo. It appears to be a London Pride grade. The 3 piece logo denotes a pipe made before the merger in 1981, along with the round Country-of-Manufacture mark, I know it was made between 1946 and the merger point. The tenon on the pipe has the reinforced steel ring. I could no determine an era where that ring was discontinued.

The pipe as delivered presented some challenges. There was a scorch mark on the shank that extended to the vulcanite stem. Luckily, it was underneath the C stem logo. There were a few dents in the stem, and the button had wear, and of course it was heavily oxidized. The stem fitment was quite snug. The bowl had a heavy cake build-up, that extended over the bowl top and there were some dings on the top and sides of the briar.

The stem was removed and soak in an mild Oxy-clean solution. I used a worn piece of Scotch-brite to remove the build-up on the bowl top, followed with an 8,000 micromesh sheet. I was able to raise a few of the bowl dents and dings with a damp cloth, and heat from an electric iron. The bowl was then soaked with sea salt and alcohol.

After the soaks, the stem was mounted. I used the flame from a lighter to raise several, but not all of the dents on the stem. The oxidation was removed with 800, 1500 and 2000 grade sandpaper, followed by 8,000 and 12,000 grade micromesh sheets. The scorched section of the stem took some more work 800 grit paper. These kind of marks are impossible to remove completely, as they go deep into the material At some point, you have to stop trying, before creating a flat or uneven spot on the stem. The stem was then buffed with White Diamond rouge and Meguiars Plastic Polish

Below is the finished pipe, which includes a pictures along side it’s tapered stem brother, a 284 Tradition. Curiously, the 284 does not have the metal reinforcement ring on the tenon.

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GBD 548 Virgin Restoration


By Al Jones

The 548 is a tall bulldog shape in the GBD catalog. This one is odd in that it has the brass rondell used prior to 1981 (pre-Cadogan merger) and the round “Made in London, England” COM used in the Cadogan era. I’ve occasionally come across this combination, but never with a “Virgin” grade pipe. I suspect it was made early in the merger era, where they were still using up the inventory of brass rondells.

The pipe had some build-up on the bowl top, an oxidized stem and various dints and dings.

The pipe was reamed and soaked with sea salt and alcohol. The build-up on the bowl top was removed with a worn piece of scotch-brite, followed by polishing with an 8000 grade micromesh sheet. I steamed out a few dings around the bowl and top with an electric iron and a wet cloth. There is a nick on the bottom of the stem, but the steam didn’t bring that back. The bowl was buffed with white diamond rouge, followed by several coats of carnuba wax.

The stem was mounted and oxidation removed using 800,1500 and 2000 grade wet paper. Next up was 8000 and 12000 grade micromesh sheets. The stem was then buffed with white diamond rouge and Meguiars Plastic polish. The bowl was finished by buffing with White Diamond and several coats of carnuba wax.

Below is the finished pipe. Despite the deep bend, the pipe passes a cleaner. Suprisingly, even with the tall bowl, the pipe only weighs 38 grams.

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Irwin’s (GBD) 9438 Restoration


By Al Jones

Here’s yet another 9438 model, this one is stamped “Irwin’s” and adds London Made. Not much is written about Irwin’s stamped pipes but they were assumed to be a GBD 2nd’s line, like Dr. Plumb, etc. This pipe also has the pre-Cadogan, straight line “London, England” COM and 9438 shape number stamped on the other side.

Below is the pipe as it was received.

The pipe arrived in very good condition, requiring only a mild restoration effort. The stem was lightly oxidized, but the bowl was very clean. I soaked the stem in a mild Oxy-Clean solution. I worked a few dents out of the briar with an electric iron and a wet cloth. I reamed the bowl only with 320 sandpaper wrapped around a reamer bit.

The stem was mounted and oxidation removed using 800,1500 and 2000 grade wet paper. Next up was 8000 and 12000 grade micromesh sheets. The stem was then buffed with white diamond rouge and Meguiars Plastic polish. The bowl was finished by buffing with White Diamond and several coats of carnuba wax.

I used a “Magic Eraser” around the stamped “I” stem logo, which worked very well in removing the oxidation, without damaging the stamp.

Below is the finished pipe.

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Peterson Rocky Donegal 999 Restoration


By Al Jones

This Peterson 999 was the 2nd Rocky Donegal that I’ve encountered. Several years, ago, a buddy traded me for an identical pipe. That pipe came with the box and paperwork, which Mark Irwin used to date the pipe to the early 1960’s. I assume this pipe would be of the same era. The silver band is stamped K&P and Sterling Silver. The rusticated finish is very rugged and much more handsome than the modern version of that finish. This one also came with the straight aluminum stinger that was on the earlier pipe. Mark has this to say about the the first pipe:

Mark said the pipe is a Rogers import pipe which were distributed only in the US. The date hallmark, required in Ireland, wasn’t required here. According to Mark, the pamphlet was introduced in 1955 and the box design was used until 1961, when it was changed. So, Mark says the pipe is definitely from the ’55 – ’61 era. He suspects due to the stinger design in the late 50’s, but he has nothing concrete to back up that hunch. ’55 to ’61 is close enough for me. I shared this with Chuck W and he agrees with Mark. Mark added this was a “Sterling” line of US Petersons, and he doesn’t encounter many, certainly not in that nearly unsmoked condition. Having the box and Peterson pamphlet to help date the pipe were certainly rare and important factors.

The stem had some very mild teeth marks and fit perfectly. The briar was unmarked and the bowl interior was also in great shape. The silver band was mildy tarnished. Below is the pipe as it was received.

I used some silver polish to remove the tarnish on the band. The bowl was soaked with sea salt and alcohol. After the soak, the stem was mounted and teeth marks removed with 800, 1000, 1500 and 2000 grade wet paper, followed by 8000 and 12000 micromesh sheets. The stem was then polished with White Diamond and Meguiars Plastic Polish.

The briar was hand waxed with Halycon wax.

Below is the finished pipe, which is enroute to a new owner on the island of Cyprus.

Penthouse (GBD) 9438 Restoration


By Al Jones

We’ve seen a few “Penthouse” brand pipes in this blog over the years, but this is the first one that has been on my workbench. “Penthouse” was a GBD 2nd line pipe. In a 1977 Tinderbox catalog, they were priced at $11, while a Prehistoric was $23. This line came with the “Chair-Leg” stem that was also seen on the Tapestry and Fantasty GBD lines. These are a challenge to restore and every time I work on one, I say it will be my last.

Below is a Tinderbox catalog page.

The 9438 is GBD’s iconic Rhodesian shape, of which I am a fan. So, when this one popped up on Ebay, I grabbed it. The stem was heavily oxidized, but overall it looked to be in decent shape. This was the first time I’ve seen the 9438 shape on a Penthouse pipe.

After opening the package, I could see that the stem had several teeth marks, but there were no other surprises. There were a few dings around the bowl that would have to be addressed. Below is the pipe as it was received.

The country of manufacture mark (COM) shows the “London,England” stamp that was used prior to the 1981 merger. There was a faint “PH” stamp on the top of the stem, where the GBD brass rondell would reside.

The bowl had a very slight cake built-up, which was removed with various reamer inserts. I finish the bowl interior with a piece of 320 grit paper, wrapped around a reamer insert. The bowl was then soaked with sea salt and alcohol. While working on the bowl, the stem was soaked in a mild Oxy-Clean solution.

Following the two soaks, the stem was mounted. The were one deeper tooth mark on the top of the stem. Heat from a lighter lifted it slightly, but I decided to fill it with black superglue and accelerator was used to speed the process. The glue fill was smoothed with 400 grit wet paper, then finished when the oxidation was removed. To remove the oxidation, I used 400, 800, 1000, 1500 and 2000 grade wet papers. To clean out the creases in the turned stem, I wrapped each paper around a thin needle file. The stem was then buffed with White Diamond and Meguiars Plastic Polish.

I used an electric iron set on high with a wet cloth to steam out many of the dings around the bowl. A piece of worn scotchbrite was used to remove the bowl-top build up. The bowl was then buffed with White Diamond and several coats of carnuba wax.

Below is the finished pipe. There were some minor teeth marks on the bottom of the stem, near the button, so left those alone.

Comoy’s 331C Grand Slam Restoration


By Al Jones

This I stumbled across this Comoy’s 331C Grand Slam on Ebay and it didn’t get much bid action, so a last second bid won the pipe. Pipepedia describes the Grand Slam as below. The 331C is their Squat Bulldog with a 1/8th bent stem.

Grand Slam. Introduced in 1933 with the patented (Patent Number 2001612) metal filter system and still in production until the 1970s. The “Grand Slam” was priced at $5 in 1936 and $20 in 1965

The round, “Made in London England” stamp was used in the 1950’s, thru 1981 when the merger occurred. The stinger apparatus used in the Grand Slam was missing, which is typical as most were discarded. This one also had the wonderfully intricate, 3 piece C stem logo also used to the merger point.

Here is the pipe as it was received.

The stem had the usual oxidation and some mild teeth ripples. Otherwise it was in great shape. The bowl had some mild cake and a few dings around the bowl. I used the flame from a lighter to lift most of the teeth ripples. I removed the oxidation on the stem with 800, 1000, 1500 and 2000 grade 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. I love working on vintage Comoy’s stems, the vulcanite has a great shine to it when finished.

The cake was reamed and the bowl was soaked with alcohol and sea salt. The bowl was in very good shape, with the exception of one nick on the inside. I was able to steam out a few of the dings, but a few remain, which I think adds to the patina. The grain has a very nice depth to it.

I buffed the briar with White Diamond and a few coats of carnuba wax.

Below is the finished pipe.

Old England (Sasieni) 771R Restoration


By Al Jones

Sasieni second line pipes pop up occasionally on Ebay and I find them to be a great value. My experience with many second line pipes (Comoy’s, etc.) is that the stem material and construction choices are inferior to their first line offerings. Sasieni second line stems seem to be first rate.

This pipe was in very good condition as found. The bowl interior was well cared for and oxidation on the stem was minimal. This one has the arched, “Made in England” Country-Of-Manufacture mark (COM) as used by Sasieni between 1946 and 1979. There isn’t much else available on the Old England line, as to when manufacture would began and ceased.

Sasieni second line pipes appear to be rusticated in a unique way, different from their Four Dot “Rustic” finish.

I used a worn piece of scotch-brite pad to touch up the bowl top. That lightened the stain, so I used some Feiblings Medium Brown to color match it to the bowl. The bowl was soaked with alcohol and sea salt.

The oxidation on the stem was removed with 800 grit wet paper, followed by 1,500 and 2,000 grades. 8,000 and 12,000 grade micromesh sheets were next, followed by a buff with White Diamond rouge and Meguiars Plastic Polish.

I used Halycon wax to hand finish the bowl.

Below is the finished pipe.

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