Tag Archives: Comoys The Guildhall pipe

Pipe #19 from Bob Kerr’s Estate – The Guildhall London Pipe 214 Bent Billiard

Blog by Steve Laug

The fourth pipe, #19 of Bob Kerr’s Estate is part of my continuing desire to change things up a bit with my restoration of the pipes in the estate. This pipe is a well-made “The Guildhall London Pipe” bent billiard. I think this one was one of Bob’s favourite shop pipes. It is the perfect shape to have hanging out of your mouth while your hands are busy with something else – like wood carving. It was one of the dirtiest pipes I have worked on from the estate but underneath the grime and the lava on the rim there was something redeeming about it. I will be going back to Bob’s Dunhill collection eventually. I wanted to continue the change and nice bent Comoy’s Made Guildhall pipe fit the bill for me. It is stamped with The Guildhall over London Pipe on the left side of the shank. On the right side of the shank it is stamped with the familiar Comoy’s COM stamp Made in London in a circle over England. The shape number is at the bowl shank union and reads 214. The stem is a tapered bent with the three silver bars on the right side. These are often on The Guildhall pipes and the Everyman pipes. The grain looks good under the dirt and shape on this one is well done. I took photos of the pipe before I started my cleanup on it. I turned to Pipephil’s site to get a quick summary of the brand. The photo of the stamping on the pipe and the three bars on the stem came from that site (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-g6.html#guildhall). It confirmed what I already knew regarding the Comoy’s connection on the brand. The shape number on the pipe in the photo above is different from the one on my table but the placement of the stamp is the same.

I turned to Pipedia to gather some background on the pipe and to see if I could possibly arrive at a date for its crafting (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Comoy’s). The site states clearly that The Guildhall London Pipe was a seconds line made by Comoy’s. The picture below comes from the site and gives a good sense of what this pipe looked like when it left the factory as well as linking it to the Comoy’s brand.I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem to show what I was dealing with. It appeared to me that the Guildhall London Pipe was actually in pretty good condition underneath all of the grime and lava. The photo shows the cake in the bowl and the thick buildup of lava on the back side of the rim top. You can see the cake in the bowl in the first photo below. The stem was dirty and oxidized with tooth mark and chatter on the top and underside for about an inch ahead of the button. There is also calcification up the stem about an inch.I took a photo of the stamping on both sides of the shank so you can see what it looked like when I examined it. It is clearer and more readable on the left side than the right but with a light the stamping is visible.With the identification of the pipe as a Comoy’s made second I was not going to get any help dating it. My guess is that it came from the same era as the rest of Bob’s pipes – sometime  in the 60s or 70s.. I thought it would be good to read about Bob again just to keep his memory alive as you read about his pipes.

I asked his son in law, Brian if he or his wife would like to write a brief biographical tribute to her father, Bob. His daughter wrote the following tribute to her Dad and it really goes well with the belief of rebornpipes that we carry on the trust of the pipe man who first bought the pipe we hold in our hands as we use it and when it is new we hold it in trust for the next person who will enjoy the beauty and functionality of the pipe.

Brian and his wife included the great photo of Bob with a pipe in his mouth. Thank you Bob for the great collection of pipes you provided for me to work on and get out to other pipemen and women who can enjoy them And thank you Brian and your wife for not only this fitting tribute but also for entrusting us with the pipes. Here is his daughter’s tribute to her Dad.

I am delighted to pass on these beloved pipes of my father’s. I hope each user gets many hours of contemplative pleasure as he did. I remember the aroma of tobacco in the rec room, as he put up his feet on his lazy boy. He’d be first at the paper then, no one could touch it before him. Maybe there would be a movie on with an actor smoking a pipe. He would have very definite opinions on whether the performer was a ‘real’ smoker or not, a distinction which I could never see but it would be very clear to him. He worked by day as a sales manager of a paper products company, a job he hated. What he longed for was the life of an artist, so on the weekends and sometimes mid-week evenings he would journey to his workshop and come out with wood sculptures, all of which he declared as crap but every one of them treasured by my sister and myself. Enjoy the pipes, and maybe a little of his creative spirit will enter you!

I reamed the bowl to remove the cake on the walls and the debris that still remained in the bowl. I used a PipNet pipe reamer to start the process. I followed that with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to clean up the remaining cake in the U-shaped bottom of the bowl. I sanded the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel. It smooths out the walls and also helps deal with slight damage to the inner edges of the bowl. I cleaned up the rim top and removed the thick lava coat on the back top side of the rim. I used a pen knife blade the edge of the Savinelli Fitsall knife to scrape away the high spots of lava. I used a Scotch-Brite sponge pad to scrub off the remaining lava on the top of the bowl. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to take off a stubborn spot on the left side of the rim top toward the front.I polished the rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. Each successive pad brought more shine to the rim top. I wiped the rim down with a damp cotton pad after each sanding pad. The shine develops through the polishing. I scrubbed the bowl and rim with some undiluted Murphy’s Oil soap and cotton pads. I rinsed it under running water to remove the grime and soap. The bowl looked significantly different when I had finished scrubbing it. The rim pretty well matched the rest of the pipe after scrubbing. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the finish of the bowl and shank as well as the surface of the rim top. I worked it into the surface with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the wood. I let the balm sit for about 20 minutes and buffed it off with a soft cotton cloth to polish the bowl. I took photos of the pipe at this point in the process to show what the bowl looked like at this point. I cleaned out the internals of the bowl, shank and found that the bowl had a Peterson style sump that was absolutely filthy with tars and oils. I cleaned the airway into the bowl and the one in the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until they came out clean. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the light tooth chatter on the surface of the vulcanite with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper and worked on the spotted oxidation on the surface. I followed the 220 grit sandpaper with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to minimize the scratching. The two papers combined did a pretty decent job of getting rid of the tooth marks and chatter as well as the oxidation.I polished the stem with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish to take out the oxidation at the button edge and on the end of the mouthpiece. I also worked hard to scrub it from the surface of the stem at the tenon end. I polished out the scratches with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. Once I had finished the polishing I gave it a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. I put the bowl and stem back together. I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the briar and the vulcanite. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The smooth finish on this ¾ Bent The Guildhall London Pipe 214 is very nice and I can only find a few very small fills in the surface of the briar. They blend in very well. It is quite beautiful and it has some amazing grain around the bowl – a mix of cross grain, birdseye and flame. The contrast of swirling grain looked good with the polished black vulcanite. This Guildhall will soon be joining the other pipes that are heading off to India to join Paresh’s rotation. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 1/2 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/4 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 of an inch. This is the 19th pipe from the many pipes that will be coming onto the work table from the Bob’s estate. There are a lot more pipes to work on from the Estate so keep an eye on the blog to see forthcoming restorations. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. I am having fun working on this estate.


Restoring a Comoy’s The Guildhall Twin Bore Long Shank

Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I brought to my table to work on was stamped on the left side of the shank The Guildhall over London Made and on the right side Twin Bore over Made in England. The stamping was readable with a light and a magnifier but it was faint. It was a nicely shaped long shank billiard or some would call it a Lumberman. I have worked on many Comoy’s The Guildhall pipes but never have seen one stamped like this. The stem indeed is a twin bore. It was in decent shape but it did not bear testimony to the point of the twin bore “bite proof” stem. It had a lot of tooth marks and chatter on the top and the bottom side of the stem. The tooth marks were quite deep but did not enter the airway in the stem. So I guess in that way the stem was “bite through proof”. The finish was quite nice. The pipe was in good shape with just some grime on the surface of the briar. The rim had been topped and restained sometime in its history as the stain is quite a bit lighter than the rest of the pipe. The outer and inner edges of the rim were darker than the surface of the rim. The bowl had been reamed but the cake was left uneven on the walls of the bowl.Guild1 Guild2 Guild3 Guild4I took a close-up photo of the rim to show the previous topping and the darkening of the inner and out edges. You can see that it had been touched up and the rim edges not cleaned up. I also took some close-up photos of the damage to the stem in terms of tooth marks and chatter.Guild5 Guild6I sanded the top and bottom sides of the stem to remove the tooth chatter on the surface and to clean up the area around the deeper tooth marks. I wiped the areas down with alcohol and then used black super glue to fill in the deep marks.Guild7While the stem repairs were drying I reamed the bowl with the Savinelli Pipe Knife. I took the cake back to bare briar.Guild8I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the bevel on the inner edge of the bowl. I worked slowly to make sure that the bevel maintained the roundness of the bowl. Once I had it finished I stained the rim and inner edge with a medium brown stain pen to match the colour with the rest of the pipe.Guild9I used a dental spatula to scrape out the inside of the mortise as there was a ridge of tar and oil part way down the shank. I scraped out the grime and then scrubbed the inside of the mortise and the airway in the shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol until it was clean.Guild10By the time I worked on the twin bore stem the repairs were dry. I lightly sanded them and then cleaned out the twin bore airways.Guild11I sanded the repairs on the stem with 220 grit sandpaper until the surface of the repairs was blended into the surface of the stem.Guild12I wet sanded the stem with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads. I rubbed down the stem with Obsidian Oil. I dry sanded it with 3200-4000 grit pads and gave it another coat of oil. I sanded it with the last set of three micromesh sanding pads – 6000-12000 grit pads. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry.Guild13 Guild14 Guild15I buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond and worked over the scratches that still showed up on the top surface of the stem. It did not take much to remove them and get a deep shine on the stem. I buffed the bowl as well, being careful around the stampings on the shank of the pipe. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine on the briar and vulcanite. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It shines and has depth to the finish. The stamping is faint but is my only example of a Twin Bore Comoy’s The Guildhall Pipe. It is a beauty in my opinion. Thanks for looking.Guild16 Guild17 Guild18 Guild19 Guild20 Guild21 Guild22


The Guildhall London Pipe Large Pot: An Account of Extreme Abuse – Robert M. Boughton

Guest Blog by Robert M. Boughton
Member, North American Society of Pipe Collectors
Photos © the Author

“Beauty is whatever gives joy.”

— Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950), U.S. poet

“Beauty of whatever kind, in its most supreme development, invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears.”
— Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849), U.S. author, poet, editor and literary critic

WARNING: Some of the images that follow are graphic and shocking and may be upsetting to pipe smokers with sensitive souls.

This is with certainty the most abused pipe I have ever restored, although, no thanks to the original owner, the damages sustained were reversible. In the event that the smoker of this Comoy’s second ever had children, I suspect their emotional baggage is far greater, but for the sole reason of their sentience, and I pity them.

I can only add that I was fortunate enough to aid in the vintage pipe’s liberation, through an intermediary agent online, by purchasing a group with similar wounds, if not inflicted with such evil spirit.

Here is the condition of the pipe, which I in fact restored some weeks ago but failed to publish the details until now, when I received it:Robert1 Robert2 Robert3 Robert4 Robert5 Robert6In my haste to restore the pipe as close to its original beauty as possible, I also did not take photos of the project’s progress, which I will of course describe in detail, as well as showing the results. Needless to say, except for a quick inspection to ensure the lack of more serious harm to the interior, I began with the chamber. I was successful in removing all of the massive and repugnant cake buildup.Robert7There must somehow, despite the overwhelming unlikelihood of the possibility, be a dozen bowls’ worth of carbon that I reamed and sanded out of the chamber before that part of the Guildhall London Pipe large pot was smooth again, and down to the briar around the top and almost as far the rest of the way. The rim also came clean with caring and determined use of 400-grit paper followed by 2400 micromesh.

The bowl, shank and stem I gave a bath with four small patches of cotton soaked in purified water. Again I wish I had a record of the grime from the dirt, sweat, body oil and other unknown unpleasantness that the wet cloth cleaned away to reveal scratches, pits and various attendant blemishes, although I think the reader of this might still not believe what he saw with his own eyes.

I used 1500 micromesh wherever possible but had to resort to 400-grit paper again in many areas. When I finished sanding, I re-stained the places on the rim, bowl and shank that needed it with a burgundy boot stain, flamed those areas and rubbed every inch of the wood with 3200 micromesh to remove the char and leave the body a nice, uniform, deep reddish color.

For the stem, I was forced to choose 220-grit paper, so horrible were the scratches, pocks and discoloration. Whoever smoked this pipe had succeeded in removing the upper ridge of the lip altogether, leaving serious teeth chatter and bite marks. Four of the bites are still present, awaiting an order of Black Super Glue to fill them.

When, an hour after all of this work described so far, I finished cleaning out the filthy stem and shank, I threw into the trash about 12 bristly cleaners, for the most part in utter black ruin and then lightening by degree to pure whiteness.

In the end, I polished the stem with red Tripoli and White Diamond waxes and the wood with the same but added white Tripoli and carnauba, to this effect:Robert8 Robert9 Robert10 Robert11 Robert12CONCLUSION
One of the recent major themes of my blogs has been abuse because I love all of the many pipes in my collection and would never, with intent, do harm to any of them.

That is the main reason I have taken up pipe restoration and am sure I will never give up that endeavor. The other is that I enjoy working with my hands on various man-made, and sometimes neglected objects of beauty.