Tag Archives: Articles by Al Jones

Comoys Supreme Grain Bent Billiard Restoration

By Al Jones

This is the 2nd Comoys that I restored this weekend.  And, the first “Supreme Grain” that I’ve ever seen.  I found a few examples on the web.  The pipe was in very solid condition.  Unfortunately, I also lost the before pictures of this pipe and only have the sellers.  As you can see, it is aptly named, and better grain than some Blue Ribands that I’ve seen.

The pipe had very light oxidation and a few dings and bruises in the briar.  The shape 42 is the larger of the two Comoy’s bent billiards.

I initially thought it had a drilled C and started restoration the restoration with my usual regiment, which involves sanding right over the very durable logo.  I was horrified on closer examination to find out that the logo was not drilled.  However, it is seemingly quite deep and almost looks like an insert of sorts.  I’ve done a lot of Comoys pipes from every era, but not yet encountered one quite like this one.

I removed the very light oxidation with 800, 1,500 and 2,000 grit wet paper, this was followed by 8,000 and 12,000 micromesh. The stem was then buffed with White Diamond and Meguiars Plastic Polish.

The bowl was reamed and soaked with alcohol and sea salt.  I used an electric iron on high with a wet cloth to steam out most of the dings around the bowl.  The bowl was then buffed with White Diamond and several coats of Carnuba wax.

Below is the finished pipe.

Comoys 184 Golden Grain Restoration

By Al Jones

This looked like an easy restoration, but once in hand, it presented a few challenges.  I somehow deleted the “before” pictures, so I can’t share them.  This sellers picture shows that it was in pretty decent shape.  The shape 184 is listed as a Bent Apple on the Comoys shape chart and catalogs.

There was a white piece of the drilled, C stem logo and the button had what appeared to be a very poorly done hole repair.

The briar only needed to be reamed and soaked.  There were a few dents that I steamed out with an electric iron and cloth.

For the C logo fix, I entered a local beauty shop for the first time in my life and they recommended a white gel nail polish.  I applied the polish,let it sit overnight, than sanded smooth with 800 grit paper, it worked quite well and to the naked eye, is invisible.

I removed the very light oxidation with 800, 1,500 and 2,000  grit wet paper, this was followed by 8,000 and 12,000 micromesh.  This removed the poor repair job to a tiny pin hole underneath the bottom. I used the black superglue and accelerator to make that repair.  I cut a small v-shaped piece from an old credit card, coated that in grease and inserted it into the button to keep glue from sealing the draft hole.  Once the glue set, the plastic card is removed.

The stem was buffed with White Diamond and Meguiars Plastic Polish.

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

Below is the finished pipe.

The Guildhall Shape 256 Restoration

By Al Jones

The Comoy’s Author shape, the 256 is one of my favorites and quite rare.  I’ve never been able to find this shape in any Comoy’s catalog, perhaps that contributes to it’s rarity. Three years ago, I was fortunate to find an Old Bruyere finish 256, and detailed that restoration here:


This pipe, is a Comoy’s second-line “The Guildhall”, instantly recognizable by the metal strats stem logo, which always captivates me.   The pipe arrived, with a one surprise, there were some deep circular marks in the briar, right around the shank.  I can’t imagine what created those marks, but I knew it was going to be a challenge to remove or minimize them.    Otherwise, it looked like a straightforward restoration.  There was minimal build-up on the bowl top and the stem was in very good condition.  Below is the pipe as it was received.

I used a piece of worn 2,000 grit wet paper to remove the build-up on the bowl top.  The bowl was then reamed and treated to an alcohol and sea salt soak.  While the bowl was soaking, I soaked the stem in a mild solution of Oxy-Clean.  Following the bowl soak, I cleaned the shank with a bristle brush dipped in alcohol and worked in some twisted paper towel, until it came out clean.

The stem was mounted and I used a lighter to lift the slight dents around the button.  The slight oxidation was removed with 800, 1,500 and 2,000 grit wet paper, followed by 8,000 and 12,000 micromesh sheets.  The stem was then buffed with White Diamond and Meguiars Plastic Polish.

I then turned my attention to the briar and marks.  I used a wet cloth and an electric iron set on high to steam out some of the deep marks on the bowl.  I had some success, lifting nearly all on the bottom of the bowl but some remain on the other areas.    The bowl was then buffed with White Diamond and several coats of Carnuba wax.

Below is the finished pipe.


GBD Originale 569M Restoration

This was one of two GBD’s I recently acquired thru the Smokers Haven in Ohio. Back in the day, that shop sold quite a few GBD’s. I normally collect only GBD’s made in England, but I made an exception for this Originale which is stamped “Paris, France”. I knew only a few tidbits about the Original line, from a GL Pease comment in a pipe forum thread on a $500 GBD Originale. I wondered what made that one so special and GLP commented:

“The Originale is an uncommon grade of GBD, sought after by more than a few collectors. I’ve seen very few of them, and in my years of collecting GBDs”.

I also found a reference to the Originale series on Jack Thompkins home page and attributed to John Tolle. The briar definitely has an unusual sheen and depth to it, similar to an older Comoys

The GBD Originals came out in the 60s and were made in Paris Fr.
All were rather small in size and came from older briar dating
to pre/during WWII. Not many were made and very few shapes.
Thanks John Tolle

This pipe was already restored by the shop, but I thought some of the bowl top dents and scorch marks might come out.


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Using a propane torch, a wet rag and an old kitchen knife, I was able to work out many of the dents on the bowl top and one seam on the side of the bowl. The scorch marks still remained, so using some worn micromesh sheets, I was able to get down to the briar without disturbing the stain. I was tempted to let well enough alone, but I’m very pleased with these results and it was worth the additional effort.

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The oxidiation had already been removed, so the stem only required a polish with 8000 and 12000 grit micromesh and a light buff with White Diamond rouge. Under magnification, it looked like there was a small crack near the button. I added a few layers of black superglue to strengthen the area.

I’m very pleased to add this one to my collection of GBD Rhodesians.

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Comoys 284 Tradition Restored

As a fan of the Rhodesian pipe shape, the Comoys Shape 284 is one of my favorites and in the top 5 of my “Holy Grail” list. Last week, this Tradition grade pipe showed up for auction. I made an offer to the buyer and surprised to find it accepted. As this is a hotly sought after shape on the market, I couldn’t believe my good fortune until I opened the package and held it in my hand.

The pipe was in excellent condition, bowl and stem. There were only the slightest handling marks and the bowl top was not scorched. The stem, while oxidized only had two tiny teeth marks on the button. The three piece “C” logo was in perfect condition. I love working on Comoys stems, they just seem to shine more brilliantly than other British made vulcanite stems of that era.

The stamping of “Comoy’s” with the slightly larger “C” and the apostrophe was started in the 1950’s and the round “Made In London” with England below was also used in that era. The pipe could have been made from the 1950’s to the end of the Cadogan era in 1982 (give or take!).


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I soaked the bowl in salt and Isopropyl alcohol. Here the pipe is shown along with another project, a GBD 9438 Century. I put a dab of grease on the stem logo and soaked the stem for several hours in a mild Oxyclean/water solution to loosen the oxidation.



The bowl only required a light buff with white diamond and then a few coats of Carnuba wax. The nomenclature is quite strong and I didn’t want to damage it.

I started removing the stem oxidation with 800 grit wet paper and then moved thru 1000, 1500 and 2000 grades. I used the 8000 and 12000 grade Micromesh papers before going to the buffing wheel. The stem was buffed lightly with White Diamond and then Meguiars Plastic Polish.

Below is the finished pipe. I’m thrilled to add this one to my collection of Rhodesian pipes and look forward to breaking it in later this evening.

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Sasieni “Viscount Lascelles” XS Restoration

Blog by Al Jones

I picked up this Sasieni Four Dot Natural at the NYC show yesterday. It looked to be in very good condition, requiring only a mild clean-up. I knew from the “Four Dot” “London Made” stamping that it was made between 1946 and 1979. The pipe has the football shaped “Made In London” stamp on the other side and “XS”. Curiously, it was missing the name of a London town. At home, I could see some additional stamping and with a magnifying glass, I could read “Viscount Lascelles”. I googled that name and discovered that according to the Stephen Smith article, the Viscount Lascelles was the model name and a rare model.


The bowl had some build-up on the top which I thought might be some scorching. The stem had the faintest of teeth marks and was in overall excellent shape and only lightly oxidized.


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I reamed the cake from the bowl and I could see despite the thick cake, the bowl was in very good condition. Most of the build-up on the bowl top rubbed off with some distilled water and a soft cloth. I soaked the bowl with some 91 proof alcohol and sea salt. The shank was cleaned with a bristle brush and alcohol.

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The bowl didn’t need much else and was buffed lightly with White Diamond and then carnuba wax. I stayed away from the nomenclature to preserve it.

The stem was sanded with 1500 and 2000 grit paper, then 8000 and 12,000 grade micromesh sheets. I buffed it lightly with white diamond and then a plastic polish.

I hand waxed the briar with some Paragon wax.

Here is the finished pipe.


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Barling’s Guinea Grain Restoration

A member on the Pipe Smokers Forum recently acquired this Barling’s “Guinea Grain” pipe and I jumped at the opportunity to restore it for him. I don’t currently own a Barling’s pipe, but recent posts by brand authority, Jesse Silver, had piqued my interest. In conversation with Jesse about the pipe, he shared that “Guinea Grains are a higher grade designation and distinctive for several reasons. They’re the only Family Era pipes with a cursive “Barling’s” logo and they’re the only pipes that Barling also used oil in the curing process to bring out the contrast of the grain.” I enjoyed learning more about this fabled British pipe maker as much as working on it. I need to thank Jesse for his input and information. It is really wonderful to have such a brand authority available for comment. Since the pipe is stamped “Barling’s” in the possessive, Jesse dates the pipe to the 1940’s as a pre-Transition piece. The pipe is stamped EXEXEL, a size grade started in 1940. It also has a very faint “Reg” stamp and the letter “E”. Jesse tells me this is most likely the remnant of EB WB (Edward and William Barling), whose initials form the Barling sterling makers stamp and were used as part of the company nomenclature. Their initials were used on 1940’s era Guinea Grain pipes.

The pipe as I received it.


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When the pipe arrived, it had heavy tar build-up on the bowl top and many dings and cuts in the briar. The stem was in relatively good condition with only surface teeth abrasions and no dents. Curiously, there was what appeared to be a pinhole near where the Barling’s Cross stem logo would be placed. There was no remnant left of the logo, even under magnification. At first, I thought the stem might be a replacement, but the button ends appears to have the distinctive ovalized and funneled button.

The bowl had a heavy caked which was reamed and then soaked with alcohol and sea salt. While the bowl was reamed a little out of round, the interior of the bowl was in relatively good condition. The bowl top had a number of scars and dings. I have been using Mike Gluklers method of soaking the tar covered bowl tops in just a millimeter or two of distilled water to soften the build-up. I removed it with a cotton cloth using the distilled water. There is some rim darkening, but I didn’t want to sand the rim and restain and think the patina fits the pipe

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Using a dinner knife heated by a propane torch and a wet cloth, I went to work on the numerous dents and cuts. Some lifted out completely, others were minimized. I wasn’t able to do much about the chatter around the bowl rim. I suspect the previous owner knocked ash out of the bowl. Staying away from the valuable nomenclature, the bowl and rim was buffed with white diamond and several coats of carnuba wax. I gave the nomenclature area a hand-wax with Halycon pipe wax.

I put a drop of black superglue on the hole in the briar. After it was dry, I sanded off the worst of the oxidation with some 800 grit wet paper. I then moved to 1500 and 2000 grades wet paper and finally 8000 and 12000 grades of micromesh. I used a slim knife blade to hold the paper into the button crease to remove that oxidation. Then the stem was buffed lightly with white diamond and finally a plastic polish. The Barling’s stem has a unique feel to it, unlike my similar era Comoys or Charatan stems. The button air hole shapiong shows a lot of care was shown making the stem. (and also makes me think it is an original Barling’s stem).

And finally, the finished pipe.