Tag Archives: GBD French made pipes

Reworking a Damaged French Made GBD Speciale Standard 9465 Liverpool


Blog by Steve Laug

Jeff and I purchased the lovely long shank GBD Liverpool from a fellow in Brazil, Indiana, USA. The grain on the pipe is a nice mix of flame, swirled and birdseye that works well with the brown stains of the briar and the black of the saddle stem. The rim top is crowned with a bevel inward and has some significant damage on the front right outer edge and top. The repeated burning of that area with a lighter flame has left behind a deep dip and burn that will need to be dealt with. It was hard to see with the thick cake in the bowl and the veritable eruption of lava over the top of the rim but it was very present. The finish was quite dirty with grit, grime and oils ground into the surface of the bowl and shank. The shank is stamped on both sides and on the left it reads GBD in an oval [over] Speciale [over] Standard. On the right side it reads France [over] the shape number 9465. The vulcanite stem was lightly oxidized and well dented with tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. The button area was worn as well. There is a GBD brass oval roundel on the left side of the saddle stem. Jeff took photos of the pipe to capture its condition when it arrived at his place. It was going to take some work to bring this one back to life. But both of us thought that it would be worth it. Jeff took photos of the rim top and bowl that show the cake and overflowing lava on the top and edges of the bowl. It is really hard to know what it looks like under all of that. We have learned that it with either be badly damaged or it will have been well protected. Only cleaning it off would reveal which result was on this pipe. You can also see the burn damage on the right front outer edge. The stem had a lot of tooth chatter and marks that are clear in the photos that follow. There is some oxidation and the calcification on the stem surface. He took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show condition of the briar. You can see the dust and debris ground into the bowl. The burn damage on the outer rim edge of the right front is more apparent from the side view in the first photo. The grain is still quite nice. He took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It was faint but was still was clear and readable as noted above. The brass GBD roundel looked good as well. I always like to be able to set the pipe I am working on in its historical setting so I turn to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD) and read through the brand history. Toward the middle of the article I found what I was looking for. I quote below:

The Paris factory moved to Saint-Claude in 1952. Since 1981 the majority of GBD pipes come from the English factory.

The premium lines of GBD offered very good values, and are considered amongst the most affordable high end pipe of the 1960’s and earlier and a rival in quality, design, and price to Dunhill. Smokers’ Haven was the main retail supplier for GBD’s in the US until the early 1980’s.

GBD produced consistently well made pipes, almost entirely of Algerian or Grecian briar. In the late 1960’s to late 1970’s, they introduced the “Collector” and “Unique” lines, made primarily by Horry Jamieson, who had carved for Barling for many years, and was skilled in freehand design. Older GBD pieces are excellent smokers and unique in design. They did an excellent executions of classic pipe shapes, as well as some beautiful freehands in the “Unique” line. [2]

The following list comprises the better grades in descending order:

Pedigree, Pedigree I, Pedigree II, Straight Grain, Prodigy, Bronze Velvet, Virgin, Varichrome, Prestige, Jubilee, New Era, Prehistoric, International, Universe, Speciale Standard, Ebony, Tapestry, New Standard, Granitan, Sauvage, Sierra, Penthouse, Legacy, Concorde.

Since the pipe I was working on was made in France I knew that it was made either in Paris before 1952 or in St. Claude after that date and before 1981 when production moved to England. I also new that I was dealing with one of the better grade pipes with the Speciale Standard stamp.

I then followed the links included to a listing of the shapes and numbers on the GBD pipes (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD_Shapes/Numbers). The pipe I was working on was labeled by GBD as a 9465 which is a Liverpool with a round shank. Now it was time to work on the pipe itself. Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual focus on detail. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet pipe reamer and removed the rest of the cake with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush and was able to remove the thick lava build up on the rim top. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He soaked the stem in Briarville’s Stem Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe once I received it. The rim top cleaned up really well. The rim top, inner and outer edges of the bowl other than the burn damage on the front right were in good condition. The crowned inner edge also has some rim darkening and burn damage on the front right as well. The stem surface looked good with some large and deep tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.  He took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It was faint but readable as noted above.I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole.  Now it was time to do my work on the pipe. I decided to begin by dealing with the damage on the front of the rim top and bowl. I sanded it slightly to give a clear picture of the damage in the photo below. I have marked it in red to help identify the damaged area.Now I had a decision to make on this repair. I could top the bowl and shorten the height of the entire bowl to accommodate the damage on the front of the rim. To me this would look awkward as the dip is quite deep. The other option to me was to build up the dip in the rim top and edge with briar dust and clear CA glue (super glue) to the same height as the rest of the bowl. I decided to build up the bowl top. To begin the process I topped the bowl to give me a flat surface and to remove the other damage to the rim top.I wiped off the burned area with alcohol on a cotton pad to clean off any debris. I layered on the first batch of CA glue and then used a dental spatula to put briar dust on top of the glue. I repeated the process until I had the rim top level. Once the repair cured I topped it once again to make sure that the repaired area matched the rest of the rim top. I used a topping board and 220 grit sandpaper.I took photos of the rim top and bowl front to show the repair. It is dark and still needs a lot of work but it is at least the right height and is smooth. You can also see the slight bevel that was on the inner edge of the rim on the rest of the bowl. I would need to continue that on the repaired area to match.I worked on the inner beveled edge with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to give it a deep bevel. I also sanded the rim top repair to further smooth it out. The repair is starting to look good at this point.  I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding debris and dust.   I restained the rim edge and top with a combination of Maple and Walnut stain pens to blend the colour to the rest of the bowl. The rim top looked darker but it looked much better than when I started the repair.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 a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.    I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the surface of the stem with the flame of a lighter to lift the tooth marks. It worked very well and many of the marks lifted. I filled in the remaining marks with clear CA glue and let the repairs cure. I used a small file to flatten out the repairs. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to blend the repairs into the stem surface. I started the polishing with 400 grit sandpaper.     I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.  This French Made GBD Speciale Standard 9465 Liverpool is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The rich contrasting brown stained finish around the bowl is quite beautiful and highlights the a finish that works well with the polished vulcanite stem. 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 Conservator’s Wax and buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished GBD Speciale Standard Liverpool sits nicely on the desk top and in the hand. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¾ of an inch, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inch, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 35 grams/1.23 ounces. I will be putting it on the French Pipe Maker section of the rebornpipes store shortly. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

There is something about this French Made 9465 Liverpool that just grabs me


Blog by Steve Laug

Sometimes when you are pipe hunting there is one that just grabs you. That was the case with this pipe as well as several of the previous pipes. It is a classic Liverpool shaped pipe with a clear Perspex stem. We have picked up a lot of pipes over the years, whether GBD or others that have had either the clear Perspex stem or a clear acrylic stem we obviously are attracted to the unique look of them. We picked this little pipe up from a fellow in Brazil, Indiana, USA early in 2020 and are finally getting around to working on it. The pipe was stamped on the right side of the shank and reads France [over] the shape number 9465. The shape number points to a French Made GBD pipe as does the stem but there is no GBD logo on either the stem of the shank of the pipe. It was in filthy condition. The bowl was thickly caked and there was a thick lava overflow in the rim top. It was easy to assume there was some darkening and burn damage under the grime but the cleaning would reveal the full story. The briar was very dirty with grit and grime ground into the surface. The clear Perspex stem was dirty and had darkening from tobacco stains in the airway from the tenon to the button. There were light deep tooth marks and chatter on the top and the underside of the stem near the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he did his clean up on it. Jeff took photos of the rim top and the stem to show the condition of the pipe when we received it. You can see the cake in the bowl and the lava on the rim top. It is hard to know the condition of the rim edges with certainty until the pipe is clean. The stem is Perspex and has staining from the tobacco in the airway in the tenon and stem. There is chatter and light tooth marks on both sides near the button. He took photos of the sides of the bowl and the heel to give an idea of the shape and the condition of the briar around the bowl. It really is a nicely shaped pipe that has classic charm and elegance.The pipe is stamped solely on the right hand side of the shank and does not appear to have any buffed out or partial stamping anywhere else on the pipe. It clearly reads France [over] 9465 as noted above. I am still thinking it is a French GBD but the research that follows will tell.I turned first to Pipedia to read about the time frame when GBD moved from Paris/St. Claude France to England (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD). That would help to narrow down the date the pipe was made. I quote the pertinent information from the article below.

There is a very simple explanation for GBD’s program to turn more “British”: GBD became a British company soon after the turn of the century! In 1902 Marechal and Ruchon sold GBD to A. Oppenheimer & Co. in London. Charles Oppenheimer had founded this successful trade business in 1860 as an import-/export house. His brothers David and Adolphe and brother-in-law Louis Adler soon joined him. Adolphe took over when Charles went to Germany as British ambassador. Briar pipes were among the first products traded. The business relation to GBD in Paris began as early as 1870. Being the most important customer in the English speaking world, Oppenheimer & Co. were designated as sole distributor for Great Britain, the USA and Canada in 1897. Especially Adolphe Oppenheimer had a burning interest in the pipe business, and Louis’ son James Adler shared that. He should play the most important role in the amicable merger of GBD. A. Marechal, Ruchon and Cie. in Paris was now Marechal, Ruchon & Co. Ltd. (see Marechal Ruchon & Cie. page) – a British firm with four directors: Adolphe Oppenheimer and James Adler had their seat in the head office in London while Auguste Marechal and Ferdinand Ruchon went on leading the GBD factory in the Rue des Balkan in Paris, which was considerably extended and modernised. Ruchon acted as CEO.

At the same time when the negotiatios with GBD started Oppenheimer also acquired two pipe factories in Saint-Claude: Sina & Cie. and C.J. Verguet Freres. Merging them a huge plant came into being that was thoroughly reconstructed and reorganized. The management was headed by Lucien Verguet. This new Saint-Claude factory was ready to operate in 1906. Beside it’s very own commercial activities in pipe production it’s main task was to supply prefabricated bowls.

Simultaneously Oppenheimer started to build a pipe factory in London. It was opened in 1903, but the forecasts had been over-optimistic for it’s capacity could not be utilized to the full until World War I. Things changed as the French pipe factories lacked more and more workers who were called to the front. In 1916 the ledgers registered that 18,000 of 27,000 dozens bowls manufactured in Saint-Claude were determined via GBD Paris for GBD London. Wherewith London had become the more important location.

After the war, GBD continued production both in London and in Paris. London GBDs mainly went into the national trade and as well into the British Empire and the USA. Paris on the other hand served the French and the other European markets. The location of the factories influenced the GBD history furthermore in the future although later on the products of both countries occasionally were marketed side to side to match special market requests.

Now I knew that it probably came post WWI when the French side of the company served the European Markets. There is no indication of the pipe being made in St. Claude so my thinking it is a French made pipe that at least entered the market through Paris.

I followed the links on the article to the GBD shape numbers article to link the shape stamp to GBD (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD_Shapes/Numbers). Sure enough the 9465 was a GBD shape number and it matches the pipe I am working on. I have included a screen capture of the section on the shape chart below.I have to say that once again I was looking forward to what Jeff had done to this French Made GBD Liverpool pipe when I took it out of the box. It had shown such beauty through the grime so I was quite sure it would be stunning. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned the remnants of cake back with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and oils. He cleaned the internals of the shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove all of the tars and oils there. He scrubbed the interior and the exterior of the stem with Soft Scrub. He was able to remove much of the tobacco darkening on the inside of the stem. There is still some on the tenon and the middle of the airway that I will need to work on. He rinsed off the cleaner with warm water and wiped the bowl and stem down with a light coat of olive oil to rehydrate both. The pipe really was quite stunning. You can see the burn mark/charring on the front top and inner edge of the bowl but it does not lessen the beauty of the pipe. I took close up photos of the stem and the rim top to show both how clean they were and what needed to be addressed with both. The bowl had some burn damage on the front top and inner edge. The stem looked better but the tobacco staining in the airway and tenon were bothersome to me. The tooth chatter on both sides was still present. I would need to work on those issues with the stem to bring it back.I took another photo of the stamping on the shank side. You can see how clear and readable it is.I decided to addressing the burn damage to the front inner edge and rim top. I used a folded piece of 180 grit sandpaper to smooth out the damage and work on the inner edge bevel to minimize the burn damage.There was a deep gouge on the right side of the bowl. I filled it in with some clear CA glue and when the repair cured I sanded it smooth with 220 grit sandpaper to blend it into the surface. I polished the repair and the rest of the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the briar down after each pad. The grain began to really come alive through the polishing. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar of the bowl with my finger tips. The product is incredible and the way it brings the grain to the fore is unique. It works to clean, protect and invigorate the wood. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. The stem had quite a bit of residual stain in the airway and on the tenon interior. The picture to the left shows the remainder in the airway. I forgot to take a photo of the tenon before I started working on it.
I used small round and oval needle files to work over the inside of the airway. I entered from the tenon end and worked the back and forth and around to remove the remnant and smooth out the walls of the airway. I have found that often the drilling on the stem is rough on the inside and it collects this debris and even if it looks clean there is tar trapped in the valleys of the drilling. The files smoothed it out very well. I followed that with pipe cleaners and warm water to remove the dust from the filing. The photos below show the files and the stem as I worked on it.I sanded out the tooth marks and chatter on the stem surface with 220 grit sandpaper and started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.As I sanded the stem I found a tooth mark mid stem on the underside. I filled it in with clear CA glue and when it cured sanded it smooth with 220 and 400 grit sandpaper. Once it was polished it would blend in perfectly.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it 1500-12000 pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each pad to protect it and preserve it. I polished it with Before After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I finished the polishing with a final coat of Obsidian Oil. I am really happy with the way that this GBD French Made Liverpool 9465 turned out. It really is a great looking pipe with character. The Perspex mouthpiece is a unique feature of this pipe and I was able to remove much of the staining on the inside of the airway. The grain really came alive with the buffing. The rich brown stains of the finish gave the grain a sense of depth with the polishing and waxing. The grain really popped. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished GBD Made Liverpool really is a beauty and feels great 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 33 grams/1.16 oz. The pipe will be going on the rebornpipes store soon. It will be in the section on French Pipe Makers 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. It was a fun one to work on!

Not sure what to call this strange St. Claude, France GBD Coronet 753


Blog by Steve Laug

Sometimes when you are pipe hunting there is one that just grabs you. That was the case with this interestingly shaped GBD. Neither Jeff nor I had seen a GBD 753 shape before and never one with this style stem. The stamping on the bowl and the logo on the stem all seem to point to a later date for this one but the St. Claude stamp bring questions to that assumption. It is a bit of a mystery and was just one of those that spoke to us. We picked it up from an auction early in 2020 in Noberly, Maryland, USA. The pipe was stamped on the top of the shank and read GBD in an oval [over] Coronet. On the underside it read St. Claude [over] the shape number 753. The pipe itself was in filthy condition. The bowl was thickly caked and there was a thick lava overflow on the beveled rim top. The briar was very dirty with grit and grime ground into the surface. The stem was dirty and oxidized with calcification on the stem end. There were light tooth marks and chatter on both sides. There was a faintly stamped GBD logo in a rectangle that was very worn. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he did his clean up on it. He took some photos of the bowl and rim top to show their condition. The cake is thick and there is debris on the walls of the bowl. The rim top has a thick coat of lava and between that and the cake it is hard to know the condition of the rim edges. Clean up will reveal the condition. The stem looks pretty good with light tooth marks on both sides. The oxidation and calcification is present and clear. The logo stamp on the top of the stem is worn and light. It may not survive clean up. Jeff took photos of the sides of the bowl and the heel to give as sense of the shape and condition of the briar. It is a beautifully shaped pipe with some nice grain. He took photos of the stamping on the top and underside of the shank. The stamping is clear and readable as noted above. He also captured the logo on the stem top. You can see how faintly it is stamped and how it is fading. The line as new to me though I have worked on a lot of GBD pipes over the years. I turned to Pipephil’s site (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-gbd.html) to see what I could find. Sadly there was not any information on the Coronet line from France.

I turned then to Pipedia to first check the section on the history of the brand and see what I could find there (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD). I found some interesting information that helped to date the pipe to the time period between 1952-1981. I quote as follows from the section.

The Paris factory moved to Saint-Claude in 1952. Since 1981 the majority of GBD pipes come from the English factory. At about that same time GBD merged with Comoys, since then all production for both GBD and Comoy comes from a single factory.

The premium lines of GBD offered very good values, and are considered amongst the most affordable high end pipe of the 1960’s and earlier and a rival in quality, design, and price to Dunhill. Smokers’ Haven was the main retail supplier for GBD’s in the US until the early 1980’s.

GBD produced consistently well made pipes, almost entirely of Algerian or Grecian briar. In the late 1960’s to late 1970’s, they introduced the “Collector” and “Unique” lines, made primarily by Horry Jamieson, who had carved for Barling for many years, and was skilled in freehand design. Older GBD pieces are excellent smokers and unique in design. They did an excellent executions of classic pipe shapes, as well as some beautiful freehands in the “Unique” line.

I then followed the links to the list of models and information that was on each of the models/ lines of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD_Model_Information). I found the listing for the Coronet there. The quote further defined the time line of the pipe. It appears that it was made between 1951 and 1976 when it appeared in a catalogue. I quote as follows below:

Coronet — France, unknown if also made in England: Lower priced GBD, “take off” brown/black stained matt finish with “recessed platform” mouthpieces. – catalog (1976). These low cost pipes were possibly not always produced in normal GBD shapes.

I followed the links to another section of the brand that listed the shape numbers for me and I was able to find the shape I was looking for (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD_Shapes/Numbers). I quote the section below.

753 author one-eighth round

From all of that information I had learned that the pipe was a French Made GBD Coronet made in St. Claude France between 1951-1976. It was made with a matte finish and a recessed platform style stem. I also learned that it was an AUTHOR shape with a 1/8th bend to the stem. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

I have to say I was really looking forward to seeing what Jeff had done to this French Made St. Claude GBD Coronet pipe when I took it out of the box. It had shown such beauty through the grime so I was quite sure it would be stunning. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned the remnants of cake back with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and oils. He cleaned the internals of the shank and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove all of the tars and oils there. He scrubbed the exterior of the stem with Soft Scrub and then soaked it in a bath of Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer. He rinsed off the deoxidizer with warm water and wiped the bowl and stem down with a light coat of olive oil to rehydrate both. The pipe really was quite stunning. You can see the nicks on the heel of the bowl but they do not lessen the beauty of the pipe. I took close up photos of the stem and the rim top to show both how clean they were and what needed to be addresses with both. The rim top had some darkening around the outer edge at the front that would need to be addressed. The stem looked better but the light tooth marks and chatter were still present. I would need to remove those to bring the stem back.I took photos of the cleaned up stamping on the top and underside of the shank. It is very clear and readable.I removed the stem from the shank and took photos to show the overall look of this beautiful pipe.I decided to work on the nicks in the underside of the bowl with clear CA glue. Once it cured I sanded them with 220 grit sandpaper blending them into the rest of the bowl.   I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the briar down after each pad. The grain began to really come alive through the polishing. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my finger tips. The product is incredible and the way it brings the grain to the fore is unique. It works to clean, protect and invigorate the wood. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it 1500-12000 pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each pad to protect it and preserve it. I polished it with Before  After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I finished the polishing with a final coat of Obsidian Oil. I am really happy with the way that this GBD Coronet 753 St. Claude Made Author turned out. It really is a beautiful looking pipe with great grain. The “recessed platform” mouthpiece is a unique feature of this pipe and sets it apart. I am not sure why this is a GBD Lower end model. To me it is a top grade pipe with great unique details. The grain really came alive with the buffing. The rich brown and black stains of the matte finish gave the grain a sense of depth with the polishing and waxing. The grain really popped. I put the vulcanite 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. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished GBD Coronet Author really is a beauty and feels great 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 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 1 inch. The weight of the pipe is 49 grams/1.73 oz. The pipe will be going on the rebornpipes store soon. It will be in the section on French Pipe Makers 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. It was a fun one to work on!

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