Tag Archives: GBD French made pipes

Sandblast Reveals Stunning Grain on a GBD Concorde 9438


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I brought to the table had two major attributes that piqued my interest. The first was that it has an amazing sandblast (or is it a combination blast and rustication?). The second thing was that it was a pipe in my favourite GBD shape that I think nobody does as well as they do – the 9438 Rhodesian.  The pipe is stamped on the smooth underside of the shank GBD in an oval and next to that Concorde. Running along the shank stem junction it reads 9438 and Made in France. The logo is stamped into the left side of the saddle portion of the stem. The next photos show what the pipe looked like when it arrived in Idaho before my brother started cleaning it for me.Jeff took some close up photos of the bowl, rim and stamping to show the condition and the brand of the pipe. Those of you who love the 9438 did not need to see the stamping to confirm the shape but here it is. The finish was dirty with lots of debris in the grooves and crevices on the bowl and shank. The rim had a tarry build up on the back half where the cake was overflowing the bowl. The mortise was so dirty that the stem no longer seated against the shank. The GBD oval was stamped on the side of the stem and did not have a brass roundel as some of the earlier ones did.The stem was oxidized and there was tooth chatter on both the top and bottom sides near the button.The finish was a new one to me. I have not worked on a Concorde before so I wanted to learn a bit about it. I was not sure if it was a sandblast or a rustication or both. I did some searching online and found some things about it however. The GBD Concorde was made in France and was a lower priced GBD. It sported what GBD called a “take-off” brown/black stained sandblast. The top three pipes (ABC) in the photo below are from a 1976 Tinderbox Catalog I located on Chris’ Pipepages. The weblink for the pages is shown in the link that follows: http://pipepages.com/2tinderbox3.htm

The pipe I was working on was “B” in the photo below. The finish on mine was very similar but mine did not have the brass roundel on the stem as the one in the photo does. On the second page of the catalogue there is a description of the pipe. It is a little hard to read but here is the text: “GBD Breaks with Tradition and Forges Bold New Designs. A.B.C. Concorde – This latest innovation from GBD’s French factory, the Concorde, offers exceptional value in the popular price range and features a most novel “take-off” process.” The catalogue lists the retail price in 1976 at $12.50. I have a sense of what they mean by the take of process in looking at the finish. It appears that the pipe has a dark brown stain applied to the bowl. It is buffed off the high spots on the pipe giving it a contrasting appearance. At least that is what I think is meant by the take-off process. When I received the pipe it was clean inside and out. My brother had done a great job cleaning out the grime and debris. The stem fit in the mortise perfectly and all looked good. The finish was clean and faded and the oxidation on the stem had come to the surface so it was ready for me to move ahead with the restoration. I took a few photos of the pipe so you could see what it looked like when it arrived in Vancouver. The rim looked much better but still had a bit of debris on the back side. It was nothing that a little sanding with micromesh could not cure. There is some stunning grain on the rounded rim top and on the smooth parts of the bowl. There is also some peeking through the sandblast. This is a beautiful pipe and one I may well hold onto.The oxidation on the stem had been brought to the surface by the cleanup. It definitely appears worse than it did in the earlier pictures but the difference is that the oxidation is on top now and easier to deal with. The tooth marks and chatter on the stem are visible in both photos.I polished the rim and the high surfaces of the bowl with a fine grit sanding block and with 1500-4000 grit micromesh pads to raise a shine. I gave it a coat of Conservator’s Wax and  hand buffed it with a shoe brush and cloth. The photos below show the bowl after that simple treatment. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper, carefully avoiding the area around the GBD Oval stamping. I did not want to damage that. I polished the stem with 1500-2400 grit micromesh to begin bringing the shine to the stem.I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil and did something I probably should have waited to do. I cleaned around the area of the stamp with a damp cotton pad. I applied some Rub’n Buff European Gold to the stamping and rubbed it off the surface with a cotton pad. The second photo below shows the stamp when I had finished the first application. I can justify this step by saying it is actually easier to see the stamp with a little gold in place so that I can carefully polish around it. I repeated sanding the stem with 1800-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads.I polished it with 3200-12000 grit pads and gave it a coat of Obsidian Oil after each set of three pads. The shine was beginning to come through. I gave it a final coat of oil after the 12000 grit pad and set it aside to dry. I buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond to polish the stem and remove the scratches that still remained on the stem. I lightly buffed the bowl to raise a shine. I gave the stem several coats of carnauba wax and the bowl several coats of Conservator’s Wax and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad. The pipe began to truly shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen that shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is really a beauty and one I am thinking seriously of adding to my own collection… ahh well… we shall see. Thanks for looking.

Restoring a Burned Beveled Rim on an Algerian Briar Pot


Blog by Steve Laug

This morning I finished working on the second pipe from my recent pipe hunt – the small pot shaped pipe on the right in the two photos below. It is a natural finish, virgin pot shaped pipe. The left side of the shank has no stamping and the right side is stamped Algerian Briar over Made in France. It is a pretty decent piece of briar and had a beveled/chamferred rim that caught my eye. Not a bad pickup for $10USD.MC1

MC2 When I took it to the work table to examine it I found that the stem was very tight and would not go all the way into the shank. There was no oxidation on it and not a bite mark on the stem. The finish was clean and there were no fills or dents in the bowl. The left side had some great birdseye grain and the right side had a mix of grains. The rim was dirty and had a buildup of tars and oils that would need to be removed. There was also a burn mark on the outer edge at the front of the bowl and potential inner edge burn damage at the back side of the bowl.AB1

AB2

AB3

AB4

AB5 I removed the stem carefully as it was very tight in the shank. It is a delicate stem so I did not want to snap the blade. I reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer to remove the light cake that was buildup in the bowl. I was surprised to see that the bowl was almost unsmoked from midway down to the bottom of the bowl. The briar did not show any burn or darkening in the bottom of the bowl.AB6 The shank was very clean. I scrubbed it down with isopropyl alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs to remove the little debris that was in the shank and made the tenon fit so tight.AB7 Once the shank was clean, I waxed the tenon with beeswax and it fit the shank with no problems. That was a very simple fix.

The burned area on the front of the rim was another story. I have detailed the repairs on the rim in a separate blog. If you want to read the details have a look at this link https://rebornpipes.com/2015/01/04/repairing-and-minimizing-a-burn-mark-on-a-bowl-rim/ After sanding, reshaping and polishing the rim I rubbed the natural finish down with a light coat of olive oil to blend it with the bowl. I buffed it by hand and then gave the bowl several coats of carnauba wax to seal and protect the briar. The finished rim is shown in the photo below. At this point I still needed to buff the pipe on the buffer and give it a final polish but the reworked rim is visible.AB8

AB9

AB10

AB11 The stem was one of the simplest I have worked on in a long time. There were no bite marks, tooth chatter or even oxidation. I lightly sanded it with a fine grit sanding sponge and wiped it down with a soft cloth to remove the debris that was stuck on the surface of the stem. I then sanded it with my usual array of micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12,000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil between each set of three pads and then gave the stem a final coat of oil and let it dry before buffing and applying the wax.AB12

AB13

AB14 I buffed the bowl and stem with White Diamond and gave them multiple coats of carnauba wax. I gave it a final buff with a soft flannel buff to raise the shine and polish the pipe. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below.AB15

AB16

AB17

AB18

AB19

AB20

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.

GBD_569M_Originale

GBD_569M_Originale (1)

GBD_569M_Originale (2)

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.

GBD_569M_Originale_Finish (3)

GBD_569M_Originale_Finish (4)

GBD_569M_Originale_Finish (2)

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.

GBD_569M_Originale_Finish (1)

GBD_569M_Originale_Finish (6)

GBD_569M_Originale_Gallery