Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe on the table is one that came to us from an online auction in 2019 from Vanceburg, Kentucky, USA. The shape is very nice, with the rich red finish that highlights the grain around the bowl and shank. It is a great shape with a taper vulcanite stem with a GBD roundel on the left side. The finish was dirty with grime ground into the finish around the bowl sides. There was a thick cake in the bowl and lava overflow on the beveled top of the rim – heavy around the entire rim top. The edges – inner and outer both appeared to be okay under the lava coat. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads GBD in an oval [over] New Standard. On the right side it reads London England [over] the shape number 124. The stem was lightly oxidized and there were tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. The taper stem also has a brass GBD roundel on the left side that was oxidized and dirty. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started the clean up work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and well as the nicks, lava and darkening on the rim top. The inner edges showed some burn damage on the inner bevel of the bowl. The outer edges of the bowl appeared to be in great condition. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the oxidation, calcification and the chatter and tooth marks. Jeff took a photo the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of the beautiful grain around the bowl and shank. There were also shiny spots of varnish around the bowl and shank sides.The stamping on the sides of the shank is clear and readable and read as noted above. There is also GBD Brass roundel on the left side of the stem.I turned to Pipephil’s site and looked for information on the GBD New Standard I was working on (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-gbd.html). As always there was a good, brief description of the history of the brand.
Brand created in 1850 in Paris by Ganneval, Bondier and Donninger. Marechal & Ruchon Cie first, then C.J. Verguet Frères (closed in 1970) owned GBD from 1903 to 1970 and manufactured these pipes in the St Claude (Fr) plant.
Sometime in the 1970s Cadogan company (Oppenheimer group) took over GBD. Prior to this time, the pipes were stamped “London England” in a straight line, even if they were sometimes crafted in France.
I turned to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD) to see what I could find on the GBD Brand and the New Standard Line. There was a few tidbits scattered in the body of the material.
The New Standard was introduced in order to give the popular Standard of the 20s a higher rank in value…
… 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.
I also found two advertising fliers on the brand – one with the variety of shapes for the New Standard London Made and the other with a saddle billiard and a longer description of the pipe. I also found a shape chart that had the 124 pictured and described as a Medium Billiard with a taper mouthpiece.Now it was time to work on the pipe. Jeff had cleaned up the pipe following his usual procedures. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with 99% isopropyl alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He soaked the stem in Before & After 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. But the cleaning revealed some nicks and dings on the inwardly beveled rim top but the edges looked quite good. The stem surface looked good and the light tooth marks and chatter would be easy to address. The stamping on the sides of the shank is readable and reads as noted above. I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the shape and the grain on the bowl and shank. It was a great looking shape and would be a beautiful pipe when I was finished. I worked on the rim top marks and polished the bowl and rim with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. It was beginning to look good to my eyes.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 ten minutes then buffed the bowl with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” both sides of the stem with the flame of a lighter to lift the tooth marks (forgot to take photos). It did a great job and left only one deep mark on the topside and on the underside ahead of the button. I filled them in with clear CA glue and once it cured I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the repairs. I started polishing it with 400 grit 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 used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. This GBD New Standard 124 Billiard is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The ruby coloured wash/stain around the bowl is quite beautiful and highlights grain very well. The ruby coloured finish works well with the polished vulcanite taper 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 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 GBD New Standard Billiard sits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ inch. The weight of the pipe is 39 grams/1.41 ounces. I will be putting it on the British Pipemakers 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!