Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe is a really neat looking tall Comoy’s Made Stack with a vulcanite taper stem. The classic Bulldog bowl with twin rings and the diamond shank was made to hold in your hand. The flat bottom on the bowl and shank make it a sitter as well. It is quite light weight for its size and the saddle stem is thin and looks comfortable. We picked up this The Guildhall London Pipe from the same antique dealer in 2018 from Naples, Florida, USA as The Everyman London Pipe that I restored earlier (https://rebornpipes.com/2021/07/10/a-truly-stunning-comoys-made-the-everyman-london-pipe-188-stack/). Like that one we have also had this one a long time. Jeff cleaned the pipe in 2019 and now I am working on it in 2021. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads The [over] Guildhall [over] London Pipe. On the right side it is stamped with the Comoy’s circular COM Stamp – Made in London[over] England, followed by the shape number 9. The exterior of the bowl looked surprisingly clean and shiny. There was a heavy cake in the bowl and an eruption of thick lava on the rim top and beveled inner edge of the bowl. It was hard to know the condition of the rim top and rim edges because of the grime and thickness of the cake and lava. The cleaning would make it very clear! The stem was oxidized, calcified and had tooth marks and chatter on both sides but nothing like what I was expecting from the condition of the bowl. Jeff took photos of the pipe to give a clear picture of what we were up against with this pipe. He captured the cake in the bowl and the thick eruption of lava on the rim top and edges exceptionally well in the next photos. It was very clear that it was an exceptional smoker! The stem is oxidized, calcified and shows the tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. Jeff captured some of the beauty of the shape and the grain in the next photos. The mix of grains and the way in which the stain highlights them is quite stunning. He took a photo of the stamping on the top left side of the diamond shank. It is clear and readable as noted above. You can also see the three silver bars on the top left side of the stem. There is not a photo of the right side of the shank but it reads Made In London in a circle over England (Comoy’s COM stamp) followed by the shape number 9. I turned to Pipephil’s site (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-g6.html) to confirm what I knew about the brand being made by Comoy’s. It did but did not give a whole lot of other information.I turned then to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/images/d/d7/Shape_Chart_1975_1.jpg). I found a shape chart that had the shape 9 listed. I have drawn a box around it on the picture below. It is identified as a Flat Bottom Bulldog with a saddle stem.There was also a catalogue that had a page including The Guildhall London Pipe and describing it (https://pipedia.org/wiki/File:Comoy%27s_Sunrise.jpg). I quote from the page: “Many smokers say the Guildhall is amongst the most beautiful pipes in the world. Guildhall pipes are especially selected for distinctive grains.”Now it was time to work on the pipe. It is really a beautiful piece. Jeff had done a great cleanup on the pipe. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the bowl exterior with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the grime on the finish of the bowl and the lava from the rim top. He rinsed it under running water. One of the benefits of this scrub is that it also tends to lift some of the scratches and nicks in the surface of the briar. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He cleaned the internals and externals of the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. He soaked the stem in Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water and cleaned out the airway in the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. I took photos of the pipe as I saw it when I put it on the table. I took photos of the rim top and stem to show the condition. The rim top and beveled edge looked amazing. The stem was vulcanite and there were tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. The stamping on the left and right sides of the shank are clear and readable. It reads as noted above. The three silver coloured inset bars on the left side of the taper stem are also visible.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the proportions of the bowl and stem.I started my work on pipe by polishing the briar with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down between pads with a damp cloth to remove the debris. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 10 minutes, then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Balm did its magic and the grain stood out on the briar. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the tooth marks with the flame of a lighter and was able to lift them significantly. I filled in the remaining marks with clear CA glue. Once it cured I sanded out the repairs with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper and then started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I finished the polishing with Before & After Polishes – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final rub down with Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. This Comoy’s Made The Guildhall London Pipe 9 Straight Bulldog with a vulcanite saddle stem is a beautifully grained pipe with a flowing shape that looks great . The rich browns and blacks of the contrasting stain makes the grain come alive with the polishing and waxing. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished The Guildhall London Pipe Bulldog really is a beauty and fits nicely in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¼ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.27oz./36 grams. This pipe will soon be on the British Pipe Makers section of the rebornpipes store if you would like to add it to your collection. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!