Tag Archives: article by Mike Belarde

Cleaning up a GBD Prehistoric 133 Medium Billiard


Blog by Mike Belarde

Hello, I hope everyone is doing well.  I finally had a nice low-key weekend and was able to work on another pipe. I have had this GBD Prehistoric Billiard for a while and have been looking for a chance to work on it.  The pipe itself is a nice jaunty saddle stemmed Billiard with GBDs Prehistoric sandblast finish.

When I received the pipe, it was in a very dirty condition.  The surface of the stummel was caked with grime. The rim of the bowl had a good amount of carbon overflow, and the chamber was heavily caked.   The stem was in pretty fair condition.  It had light oxidation and took chatter, but the button was buffed down from years of use. The stamping was still legible on this pipe, and read GBD in an oval with the Prehistoric stamp and a 133-shape number. Below is an advertisement found on Pipedia describing the Prehistoric line. Even in its grimy condition, the pipe had an attractive rugged look, and I hoped that it turned out to be a fun workhorse pipe that I could take with me on a fishing trip or some other outdoor adventure. A link to the Pipedia web page has been provided below. Now to work on the pipe.  https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD_Model_InformationThe first step in the process is to address the internals of both the briar and stem, and then clean up the grime on the stummel, and the carbon build up on the rim.   I started by reaming the chamber and then lightly sanding it with a piece of 220 grit sandpaper.  I took bristled pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol to clean the shank.  As you can see from the pictures this pipe was loved and used often.  Cleaning the internals of this pipe took a long time. Once I had that completed, I moved on to addressing the dirt and grime on the exterior of the stummel. I scrubbed the stummel with Murphy’s Oil Soap and an old toothbrush, rinsed it under warm water. I then scrubbed the rim with an old green scouring pad and some more Murphy’s Oil Soap. During this process a large amount of dirt lifted from the surface of the pipe and exposed some really great surface texture. The rim and the chamber cleaned up well and appeared to be in good condition.  I took the rest of the charring or darkening on the rim and inner rim with a folded piece of 320 grit sandpaper. The stummel seemed to be fairly clean but I decided to de-ghost the piped further.  I inserted two folded fluffy pipe cleaners through the shank and down into the chamber to act as a wick.  I have found that using fluffy pipe cleaners is easier for me than trying to fish an elongated cotton ball down the shank.  I then placed a cotton ball in the chamber and saturated it with isopropyl alcohol.While the stummel was de-ghosting. I placed the stem in a small Tupperware container to soak in Briarville’s Oxidation Remover solution.  I left both the stummel and stem to soak overnight.

Both the alcohol and the Briarville solution further cleaned the pipe.  I took the stem out of the solution and rinsed it and then ran some alcohol dipped pipe cleaners through it.  I then scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub and the scouring pad to clean it up further.

After this was done I filled the tooth chatter in with super glue. Once the clue was dry I sanded down the patch with a piece of folded 220 grit sandpaper.Once I had the patch sanded down flush to the surface of the stem, I turned to the micromesh pads. I took the stem through the progression of micromesh pads (1500-12000). I polished the stem with each pad and wiped the stem down with a cotton pad soaked in Obsidian Oil in between the use of each pad. In the last step, I polished the stem with Before and After’s Extra Fine Polish. Satisfied with the progress on the stem, I turned my attention to the stummel. I polished the briar with the progression of micromesh pads (1500-12000) wiping it i with a damp paper towel.   Once this step was done, I mixed some dye up to touch up the stain. I’m not sure if the cleaning process removed some of the old stain, but I liked the highlights that had been exposed on the ridges of the sandblast.  I decided to heighten this effect.

I mixed a one-to-3 ratio of Light Brown and Russet leather dye with alcohol to thin the dye down.  I like to apply the stain with a small hobby brush. I find that the brush helps me to coat the stummel evenly. Once the stain was applied, I used a small tea candle to fire the briar and set the dye.  I let the stummel sit for a couple of hours and then removed some of the excess stain with a cotton pad soaked in acetone. After removing some of the excess stain with acetone I began to polish the stummel with the micromesh pad series (1500-12000). I wiped the briar down with a damp paper towel between each pad. Once I was finished with the micro pads, I worked some Before and After Restoration Balm into the stummel. The pipe was really looking nice at this point!  I let the balm sit for about 10 minutes and then buffed the stummel with a cotton cloth. In the last step of the process, I buffed both the stummel and stem with Red Tripoli and Blue Diamond.  I then gave both several coats of Carnauba wax and buffed them with a cotton cloth.

I’m really happy how this pipe turned out, and am looking forward to loading it up and relaxing with it in the backyard. Thanks for taking the time to read this post!

Cleaning up a GBD Speciale 9438 Rhodesian


Blog by Mike Belarde

Hello. Thank you for taking the time to read this post, and walk through a fun clean up job on a GBD 9438.

I’m pretty excited about this pipe.  Like many readers of this site, the GBD 9438 Rhodesian is one of my favorite shapes. There is just something endearing about this rendition of the bent Rhodesian. The thick walls of these pipes also seem well suited for many of the flake tobaccos that I enjoy.  I was really thrilled when I won this pipe in an online auction out of New York.  The pipe looked to be in good condition in the pictures provided for the online listing. The stummel looked to have a nice smattering of bird’s eyes and some cross grain on the right side.

When I received the pipe, I found it to be in great condition. The stain looked a little faded, but the pipe had a nice orange-ish brown or reddish-brown tint to it. The stamping was legible and crisp. The rim was grungy and blackened. The chamber had only a trace of cake. The stem looked great. It was free of tooth marks and heavy oxidation, but looked to have some sanding marks, or scratches from being over buffed. All in all, I felt very pleased with the condition of the pipe.  Here are some pictures of the pipe, prior to cleaning process. As you can see from the photos, this pipe is in great shape for its age. Now let’s proceed to the cleaning process.

The first step in the process is to address the internals of both the briar and stem, and then clean up the grime on the stummel, and the carbon build up on the rim.  For this job I only grabbed a nylon bristled shank brush, some bristled and regular pipe cleaners, 99.9% isopropyl alcohol, and a bit of folded 320 grit sandpaper.I cleaned the shank over the sink with the shank brush dipped in alcohol. After each pass through the shank, I rinsed the shank brush under running water and re- dip it in the alcohol. I repeated this process until the soiling coming out on the shank brush began to lighten.   Once this happened, I transition to bristled pipe cleaner dipped in alcohol, and then lastly, regular pipe cleaners.

I also ran both alcohol dipped bristled and regular pipes cleans through the stem.  I was happy that the pipe was fairly clean and I only ran through a small hand full of pipe cleaners.

There wasn’t enough cake in the chamber to warrant the use of the reamer, so I opted to just sand out the chamber lightly with a folded piece of sandpaper.  Once that was completed, I scrubbed out the chamber and the shank with alcohol dipped cotton swabs. With the internals cleaned, I scrubbed the stummel with Murphy’s Oil Soap and an old toothbrush. I then scrubbed the rim with an old green scouring pad. The rim and the chamber cleaned up well and appeared to be in good condition. I took the rest of the charring or darkening on the rim and inner rim with a folded piece of 320 grit sandpaper. I light sanded out the darkening on the rim and reestablished the slight bevel in the inner rim with the sandpaper. The stummel seemed to be fairly clean but I decided to de-ghost the piped further.  I inserted two folded tapered fluffy pipe cleaners through the shank and down into the chamber to act as a wick. To ensure that there was contact on all the surface of the internal walls of the shank, I add two more folded pipe cleaners into the large shank of the Rhodesian.   I have found using the fluffy pipe cleaners is easier for me than trying to fish an elongated cotton ball down the shank.  I then placed a cotton ball in the chamber and saturated it with isopropyl alcohol.

While the stummel was de-ghosting. I placed the stem in a small Tupperware container to soak in Briarville’s Oxidation Remover solution.  This pipe was very clean and I only let both the stummel and stem to soak for about eight hours.Both the alcohol and the Briarville solution further cleaned the pipe. I took the stem out of the solution and rinsed it and then ran some alcohol dipped pipe cleaners through it. I then scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub and the scouring pad to clean it up further. I then worked on the stem. There appeared to be light scratches and a bit of pitting near the button. I took a folded piece of 400 grit sandpaper and sanded out the damage the best I could. The sanding seemed to have taken care of most of the flaws in the stem.In the next step I took the stem through the progression of micromesh pads (1500-12000). I polished the stem with each pad and wiped the stem down with a cotton pad soaked in Obsidian Oil in between each pad. In the last step, I polished the stem with Before and After’s Extra Fine Polish. Satisfied with the progress on the stem, I turned my attention to the stummel. I polished the briar with the progression of micromesh pads (1500-12000) wiping it down with a damp paper towel. Once this step was done, I mixed some dye up to touch up the stain.I really liked the light orange or red tint that this pipe had, so I decided to try and re-stain it with British Tan. I mixed a one-to-one ratio of British Tan with alcohol to thin the leather dye down a bit. I like to apply the stain with a small hobby brush. I find that the brush helps me to coat the stummel evenly. Once the stain was applied, I used a small tea candle to fire the briar and set the dye. I let the stummel sit for a couple of hours and then removed some of the excess stain with a cotton pad soaked in acetone. After removing some of the excess stain with acetone I began to polish the stummel with the micromesh pad series (1500-12000). I wiped the briar down with a damp paper towel between each pad.

Once I was finished with the micro pads, I worked some Before and After Restoration Balm into the stummel. The pipe was really looking nice at this point! I let the balm sit for about 10 minutes and then buffed the stummel with a cotton cloth. In the last step of the process, I buffed both the stummel and stem with Red Tripoli and Blue Diamond.  I then gave both several coats of Carnauba wax and buffed them with a cotton cloth.

I’m really happy how this pipe turned out, and am looking forward to loading it up and relaxing with it in the backyard. Thanks for taking the time to read this post!

Refreshing A Guildhall 250 Straight Stemmed Dublin by Comoy’s


Post by Mike Belarde

Hello. Thank you for taking the time to read this post, and walk with me through a fun and enjoyable restoration project.

Pipe restoration has become a recent hobby for me, and I’ve been restoring estate pipes for my personal collection over the last year and a half.  Most of the techniques I use, I have gleaned from the Reborn Pipes and The Pipe Steward websites.  Both Steve and Dal have been a great source of info. Steve has also been very gracious, and has let me share a post on the site.

I have had this nice Dublin for several months now, and am finally getting a weekend to work on it and clean it up.  I purchased it through an online auction from a seller out of Minnesota. What caught my eye with this pipe was the interesting looking grain, and the shape.  I have several bent Dublins, but did not own a straight stemmed version.  The fact that the pipe was a Guildhall also caught my attention.  I own several Everyman Pipes, which are also Comoy’s seconds, and seem to be of good quality.

This pipe is marked with the Guildhall, and made in England stamps, and a shape number of 250.

I have provided a link to the Comoy’s article from Pipedia here, which lists Guildhall as a Comoy’s second.  https://pipedia.org/wiki/Comoy%27s.  Also, on the Pipedia site there is an interesting example of a Comoy’s advertisement briefly describing the Guildhall line, and I have included it below.According the Pipedia site’s shape chart reference, the shape number 250 corresponds to a straight stemmed, oval shanked, Dublin. This matches the pipe that I’m working on. When I received the pipe, it was in fairly good condition. The stummel had a light shine, but still looked slightly grimy. The rim had a light coating of carbon/lava overflow, and the chamber was lightly caked. From what I could see, the shank and draft seemed to be in good condition without a lot of tar and carbon build up. As you can see from the pictures, the pipe has some interesting cross grain and perhaps small birds’ eyes. Once the cleanup process is complete, I’m expecting that this will be a very attractive pipe, and a nice addition to my collection. The stamping on the pipe was in good condition and easily legible. The stem looked to also be in great condition. The stem was only lightly oxidized. There didn’t seem to be any tooth marks or chatter, but there was a small area of calcification around the button portion of the stem. Perhaps the prior owner had utilized softy bits? All in all, the pipe looked to be in great shape! The first step in the process is to address the internals of both the briar and stem, and then clean up the grime on the stummel, and the carbon build up on the rim.   Recently, I’ve been trying to clean the shank with a shank reamer and nylon shank brush dipped in alcohol first in order to save on the amount of pipe cleaners that I have been going through. My first step is to ream the bowl and clear as much of the cake that I can. I used two head sizes on the reamer, and gently cleared out the majority of the carbon. I transitioned next to a piece of 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a small dowel to further sand out the chamber.I then turned my attention to the shank. I first run the shank reamer through the shank and gently turn it in a clockwise motion to remove any of the buildup in the airway.  This particular reamer is 3.5mm in diameter. I only want to remove the build up without removing any of the actual briar. I don’t want to alter and widen the draft on this pipe. On Steve’s advice, I have also attached a similar sized drill bit to a cordless drill and have gently turned other stummels by hand to clear the airways.I run a shank brush several times through the shank and rinse it under running water, then dip the bristles about half way up the brush. I found out the hard way that if you dip the entire brush in alcohol, you can inadvertently sprits the stummel with alcohol on the backstock, potentially damaging a good stain and finish.

Once that shank brush starts to come out only lightly soiled, I move on to cleaning the shank with bristled pipe cleaners, and then soft pipe cleaners. Thankfully this pipe was fairly clean, and I only ran through a handful of cleaners on the stummel and stem.Once that step is completed, I moved on to cleaning the shank and the chamber with cotton swabs dipped in alcohol. As you can see by the swabs, the pipe cleaners still left some tar in the shank. With the internals cleaned, I scrubbed the stummel with Oil Soap and an old toothbrush. I gently sanded some of the lava build up on the rim with a piece of 220 grit sandpaper, and removed the rest of the build up with a green scouring pad. Now that everything is clean, it looks like the rim and chamber are in great shape! I decided to de-ghost and clean the stummel further.  I inserted two tapered fluffy pipe cleaners through the shank and down into the chamber to act as a wick.  I have found using the fluffy pipe cleaners is easier for me than trying to fish an elongated cotton ball down the shank.  I then placed a cotton ball in the chamber and saturated it with isopropyl alcohol.   I resaturated the cotton ball every couple of hours and then left the stummel to sit overnight.

While the stummel was de-ghosting. I placed the stem in a small Tupperware container to soak overnight in Briarville’s Oxidation Remover solution.  After soaking overnight more of the tar build up was removed from the stummel. The stem also looked good. The light oxidation and calcium build up was removed, and this revealed a few light toothmarks on the underside of the stem. I decided to work on the stem first. I tried lifting some of the toothmarks with a Bic lighter. It raised the indentations some. I sanded the rest of the marks out with a small piece of 320 grit sandpaper.  After the toothmarks were dealt with I began to polish the stem. I took the stem through the progression of micromesh pads. After each pad I wiped down the stem with a cotton pad soaked in Obsidian Oil.  In the last step I polished the stem with Before and After’s Extra Fine Polish. The stem seemed to have come out pretty well. I moved on to the stummel. I started to polish the stummel with the micromesh pads and about halfway through the process decided that the stain looked a little worn and washed out. So, I decided to touch up the stain.

I mixed a one-to-one ratio of Cordovan Leather with alcohol to thin the leather dye down a bit.  Recently I have been finding that my dye jobs have been darkening the briar too much, and hiding a lot of grain. I wanted to see how this would turnout.  I like to apply the stain with a small hobby brush. I find it helps me to coat the stummel evenly. Once the stain was applied, I used a small tea candle to fire the briar and set the dye.  I let the stummel sit for a couple of hours and then removed some of the excess stain with a cotton pad soaked in acetone. After removing some of the excess stain with acetone I began to polish the stummel with the micromesh pad series. I wiped the briar down with a damp paper towel between each pad.Once I was finished with the micro pads, I worked some Before and After Restoration Balm into the stummel. It is always encouraging to see the grain come to life after applying the balm! I let the balm sit for about 10 minutes and then buffed the stummel with a cotton cloth. The last step in the process, I buffed both the stummel and stem with Red Tripoli and Blue Diamond.  I then gave both several coats of Carnauba wax and buffed them with a cotton cloth.

I am pretty please with how the pipe turned out.  Thanks for taking the time to read this post!