Tag Archives: GBD pipes

Reworking one of my Early Restorations – a GBD New Standard 91327 Lovat


Blog by Steve Laug

I restored this older GBD New Standard Lovat probably 15-20 years ago. I had not been working on pipes for too long – maybe a year or two. I really had no idea about staining or reshaping a stem or how to make the grain on the pipe like it must have when the pipe first came out. I was going through a box of pipes that I was getting rid of and came across this one in the bottom of the box. Looking at it closely I decided to take it on again and rework it. The finish was worn, the outer edge of the rim was in rough condition with chips out of it and the rim top had been topped but I had not even bothered to polish out the scratches from the sandpaper. The bowl was out of round and the inner edges were worn and had some nicks and gouges. The shank end was lighter in colour than the rest of the bowl. I had not even bothered to match the colours… good to see that I have still been learning. The bowl and shank were very clean so at least I had done that well back then. The stem still had some oxidation around the button. It had a lot of potential and I really wanted to see if I could bring it out with a bit more work. Time would tell!

The petite pipe is stamped GBD in an oval [over] New Standard on the left side of the shank and on the right side of the shank it reads London England [over] 91327 (shape number). I found that the New Standard was made in  England. It originally had a smooth finish with brown staining in what was called a “tobacco brown” finish. The shape number is one that I cannot find listed anywhere so I am not sure what to make of that but it is a neat little pipe. I have often found shape numbers on GBD pipes that are not on the list of known shape I did a quick look on Pipedia and found the flyer to the left that described the New Standard London Made Pipe (https://pipedia.org/images/b/b8/GBD_1961Flyer_NewStandard_Shape9447.jpg)

I took photos of the pipe when I took it out of the box before I started reworking it. You can see the overall look of the pipe at this point in the process. As you look at the photos of the pipe pay attention to the flaws in the previous restoration of this pipe. What do you see? As I work over the pipe let me know if I caught the things that you saw. Thanks for reading through this chronicle of a reworked restoration.

I took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the damage to the rim top and edges of the bowl that I had not dealt with before. There were large nicks out the inner edge on the front and the rear of the bowl. There was also a chip out of the outer edge on the right rear of the bowl. You cannot see it from these photos but the rim top is not smooth and has a lot of sanding scratches that I did not bother removing. I took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the remaining oxidation on the topside and underside near the button and at the saddle.  The stamping on both sides was faint but readable. It read as noted above.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe.I reworked and reshaped the edges of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage and to bring it back to round. I gave it a slight bevel that will become obvious in the photos of the polishing process. (I forgot to take a photo of the rim top before I started the process of polishing it.)To even the stain colour around the bowl and make the grain stand out more clearly I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad. Note the rim top and you can see the change to the inner edge worked above. I used a Cherry stain pen to touch up the sanded edges and top of the rim and blend them into the rest of the bowl.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 and then buffed it with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The grain came alive and the finish looked rich. 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.  I am pretty happy with the upgrade to this GBD New Standard 91327 Lovat. The rim top looks far better and the finish is now uniform and reveals the grain really well. The stem is clean and no longer has residual oxidation in the crease at the button or the saddle.  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 small GBD Lovat fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe was 29g/1.02oz. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store shortly. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!  

Fresh Breath for a GBD Century 2871 M Zulu


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from an online auction from Ottawa, Illinois, USA. It is a nice looking Zulu shaped pipe with a taper stem. The bowl has a rich reddish brown colour combination that highlights grain. The pipe has some paint spatters on the surface of the briar. This pipe is stamped on the top and underside of the shank. On the top it reads GBD in an oval [over] Century. On the underside it is stamped Champaign’s Finest [over] London England followed by the shape number 2871. There is a small upper M at the shank stem junction. The taper stem has a GBD Brass roundel on the top side. There is a moderate cake in the bowl and a a thin overflow of lava on the edges of the rim top. The rim top and the inner and the outer edges of the bowl are in good condition. There were some tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the vulcanite stem near the button. The pipe looks to be in good condition under the grime. This is a nice looking pipe and in a well-loved shape. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup. He took photos of the rim top to show the cake and the lava coat. The inner edge of the bowl looks good under the grime. The top and outer edge also look okay. It is an incredibly dirty pipe but obviously one that was a great smoker. He also captured the shape of the stem and the tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside of the stem near the button.    He took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the grain around the bowl and the condition of the pipe. You can see the grime and paint flecks on the surface of the briar. There is also a noticeable fill on the front of the bowl. He took a photo of the stamping on the top and underside of the shank and stem. It is clear and readable as noted above.  The stem has the typical GBD Brass roundel stamp. I looked up the Century Model on Pipedia and found a little information. There was not a lot of info there but I have included it below (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD_Model_Information).

Century — England, unknown if also made in France: Introduced 1950.

I was unable to figure out the stamping Champaign’s Finest. I think it is probably a pipe shop and since the pipe came to us from Illinois that would make sense. Potentially, it could have come from Champaign, Illinois.

It was time to work on the pipe. As usual Jeff had done a thorough 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 exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. 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 Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water and cleaned out the airway in the stem with alcohol. Other than the damaged rim top the pipe looked good.     I took a photo of the rim top and stem to show the condition. The rim top looked very good. There was some darkening on the back top. The inner edge of the bowl showed also looked good. The vulcanite taper stem had light tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button and on the button edges.    The stamping on the top and underside of the shank is clear and readable as noted above. I removed the stem and the extension from the shank and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. It is a Zulu that should be very nice once it is all cleaned up.   I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped down the bowl after each sanding pad.  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. The Balm did its magic and the grain stood out.    I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the tooth marks on the stem with the flame of a Bic lighter and was able to lift them quite a bit. I filled in the remaining tooth marks with black super glue. When the repairs cured I recut the button and flattened the repairs with a needle file. I followed that by sanding out the tooth marks on the stem with 220 grit sandpaper and started the polishing process with 400 grit wet dry 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. The photo below shows the polished stem. This nicely grained GBD Century Champaign’s Finest 2871 Zulu with a vulcanite taper stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The briar around the bowl is clean and really came alive. The rich brown stains took on 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 Century Zulu is a beauty and feels 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 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

New Life for another GBD London Made Lumberman 256


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to me from one of our estate purchases. We picked up a second GBD 256 Lumberman early in 2019.  I wrote about the previous one in an earlier blog (https://rebornpipes.com/2020/08/05/this-is-one-i-have-not-seen-before-a-gbd-london-made-lumberman-256-with-an-unusual-stamp-on-the-shank/). I had been stamped Ed’d Golden Era on the underside of the shank. The stamping on this one is more regular than that. It is stamped on the top side and reads GBD in an oval with London Made arched around the underside of the oval. On the underside it is stamped London England [over] shape number 256. Next to the stem/shank junction it is stamped with the number J. The finish had a lot of grime ground into the smooth finish on the bowl and some darkening around the sides of the bowl. The grain however could not be hidden on this gem. The bowl was moderately caked and had an overflow of light lava on the top of the rim. The rim edges looked pretty good. The stem was calcified, oxidized and had tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside and on the surface of the button. There was a faint GBD stamp on the topside of the saddle stem. The pipe had promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the overflow of lava on the rim top. It appears that there is also some damage to the front inner edge of the bowl in the next two photos. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the oxidation, calcification, chatter and tooth marks. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar around the pipe looked like. There is some stunning grain under the grime.     He took photos of the stamping on both sides of the shank. They are numerous and are faint but read as noted above. He also included a photo of the stamping on the top of the saddle stem.    I turned to Pipedia and followed a link to the GBD Model Information article to see if there was some help there (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD_Model_Information). I wanted some information on the London Made line. I include what I found below.

London Made — Factory unknown: Some might not be marked with GBD logo and some with additional “house” stampings. Introduced in 1978(?) plain wax finished branded pipes” available in at least six stains. -catalog (1981).

That article gave me some helpful information. I knew that the pipe line was often marked with additional “house” stampings. This one did not have any! I also knew that the 256 shape number tied back to a Canadian. Since Lumberman pipes were in essence Canadians with a saddle stem I was in the right ballpark. Still I had no idea what the J stamp referred to. Now to work on the pipe.

Since Jeff follows the same pattern of work in his cleanup we do not include photos but rather just a simple summary. Jeff 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 exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He was able to remove the lava build up on the rim top and you could see the damages to the top and edges of the rim. I think this pipe may well been before we worked with Mark Hoover’s Before & After Deoxidizer so he cleaned the internals and externals. The stem was clean but oxidized. I took photos of what the pipe looked like when I brought to my worktable. The rim top cleaned up really well with the lava coat removed. The inner edge of the rim showed some damage and burning on the front and back edges. There was also some damage on the rim top at the front.. The stem surface looked very good with some light oxidation remaining and a few tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button and on the button surface itself.    I took photos of the stamping on the top and underside of the shank. It read as noted above.I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. It is a well shaped Canadian.Now it was time to do my work on the pipe. I polished the bowl and the rim top, sides and shank with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with a damp cloth. I carefully avoided the stamping on the top and underside of the shank so as not to damage the already faint stamping. 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.   While I was working on the bowl the stem was soaking in a new product I received from Briarville Pipe Repair – Pipe Stem Oxidation Remover. It is a liquid of about the same consistency as apple juice. The stem sat in the mixture for 2 ½ -3 hours. I removed the stem from the bath, scrubbed lightly with a tooth brush and dried if off with a paper towel. There was some oxidation on the top of the saddle and on the edges of the stem remaining. The bath was dark with the removed oxidation of the previous 9 stems. I cleaned out the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. The nice thing about this new product is that it significantly softens the oxidation that is left behind making it easier to remove. I scrubbed the stem surface of the stem with Soft Scrub All Purpose cleanser to remove the remaining oxidation.  I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.     I touched up the remnants of the GBD oval stamped logo on the stem top with Rub’N Buff Antique Gold. I rubbed the product on the top of the stem and pressed it in the stamping with a tooth pick. This gorgeously grained GBD London Made 256 Lumberman with a vulcanite saddle stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The rich browns of the contrasting stains came 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 GBD Lumberman 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 ¾ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. 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!

Another GBD on the table – a GBD International London Made Square Shank Apple 9487


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to me from one of our estate purchases. We picked up two GBD pipes from this seller that needed restoration. This second one is a nicely grained Square Shank Apple shaped pipe with a vulcanite saddle stem. It has been here since the Spring of 2017. This pipe is more straightforward than the first one – the Lumberman 256 – that I wrote about in the previous blog (https://rebornpipes.com/2020/08/05/this-is-one-i-have-not-seen-before-a-gbd-london-made-lumberman-256-with-an-unusual-stamp-on-the-shank/). It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads GBD in an oval [over] International [over] London Made. On the right side it is stamped London England [over] shape number 9487. On the underside next to the stem/shank junction it is stamped with upper case letter I. I would guess that the “I” is for International which is the line. The finish had a lot of grime ground into the smooth finish on the bowl and some darkening around the sides of the bowl. The bowl was heavily caked and had an overflow of thick lava on the top of the rim. It was hard to know what the rim top and inner edge of the bowl looked like under the grime. The stem was calcified, oxidized and had tooth chatter and large deep tooth marks on the top and underside but the surface of the button was surprisingly free of damage. There was a faint GBD oval stamp on the left of the saddle stem. The pipe had promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the overflow of lava on the rim top. It is hard to know if there is damage to the inner edge of the bowl because of the lava coat. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the oxidation, calcification, chatter and deep tooth marks.     Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar around the pipe looked like. There is some stunning grain under the grime. You can also see some of the fills in the bowl sides.   He took photos of the stamping on both sides of the shank. They are numerous and are faint but read as noted above. He also included a photo of the stamping on the top of the saddle stem.I looked on Pipephil’s site for information on the particular International Line and found the following screen capture listed (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-gbd.html). It is interesting in that the second pipe pictured below stamped the same was as the one I am working on. The difference is that it has a stamped GBD logo on the stem rather than the brass rondelle.I also went to the the GBD article on Pipedia and found nothing in the great historical article that was pertinent. I did follow a link to the GBD Model Information article to see if there was some help there (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD_Model_Information). The article listed the following information on the line.

International — France, unknown if also made in England: medium brown smooth, carved top rim, rim stained black. -TH: Matte take off finish “with just a hint of surface waxing” – catalog    (1976)

That article gave me some helpful information. I knew that the pipe line often had a carved rim top stained black. The one I was working on was smooth and stained the same at the rest of the pipe. I also knew that the 9487 shape number tied back to a Square Shank Apple. Now to work on the pipe.

Since Jeff follows the same pattern of work in his cleanup we do not include photos but rather just a simple summary. Jeff 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 exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He was able to remove the lava build up on the rim top and you could see the damages to the top and edges of the rim. I think this pipe may well been before we worked with Mark Hoover’s Before & After Deoxidizer so he cleaned the internals and externals. The stem was clean but oxidized. I took photos of what the pipe looked like when I brought to my worktable. (Unfortunately I was in a hurry and heated the dents in the stem to lift them and filled them in with black Loctite 380 CA. It had cured before I remembered to take photos of the pipe.) The rim top cleaned up really well with the lava coat removed. The inner edge of the rim showed some damage and burning on the front and back edges. There was also some damage on the rim top at the front. The stem surface looked very good with some light oxidation remaining but I had heated and filled in the stem surface with black Locktite.      I took photos of the stamping on the shank sides and underside. It reads as noted above.  I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. It is a well shaped square shank apple pipe.Now it was time to do my work on the pipe. I started by dealing with the rim top and edge damage. I reworked the rim edge smoothing out the bevel and the damaged areas. The rim top looks very good.   I polished the bowl and the rim top, sides and shank with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with a damp cloth. I carefully avoided the stamping on the top and underside of the shank so as not to damage the already faint stamping.   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 stem surface to raise the tooth marks and the small ones lifted some. You can see what they looked like in the photos below. I filled in the dents and built up the edge of the button on both sides with black Loctite 380 CA. I set the stem aside to let the repairs cure.     Once the repairs cured I recut the button edge and flattened out the repaired areas with a needle file to begin to blend them into the surface.      I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to further blend them in and followed that by starting the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.  I touched up the remnants of the GBD oval logo on the stem top with Rub’n Buff Antique Gold. I rubbed the product on the top of the stem and pressed it in the stamping with a tooth pick.   I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.      This interestingly stamped GBD International London Made 9487 Square Shank Apple with a vulcanite saddle stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The rich browns and blacks of the contrasting stains came 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 GBD Apple 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 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. 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!

This is one I have not seen before – a GBD London Made Lumberman 256 with an unusual stamp on the shank


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to me from one of our estate purchases. We picked up two GBD pipes from this seller that needed restoration. This first one is a nicely grained Lumberman shaped pipe with a vulcanite saddle stem. It has been here since the Spring of 2017. The pipe is a bit of a mystery in terms of the additional stamping but not the maker. It is stamped on the top side and reads GBD in an oval with London Made arched around the underside of the oval. On the underside it is stamped with stampings that I have not seen before on a GBD pipe. It reads Ed’s [over] Golden Era [over] London England [over] shape number 256. Next to the stem/shank junction it is stamped with the number 90. The combination of numbers and names is new to me. I am wondering if the pipe was not made by GBD for a pipe shop “Ed’s” and given the name Golden Era. I wonder if the second number 90 is the number of pipes made for the shop. I may never know! The finish had a lot of grime ground into the smooth finish on the bowl and some darkening around the sides of the bowl. The bowl was heavily caked and had an overflow of thick lava on the top of the rim. It was hard to know what the rim top and inner edge of the bowl looked like under the grime. The stem was calcified, oxidized and had tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside and on the surface of the button. There was a faint GBD stamp on the topside of the saddle stem. The pipe had promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the overflow of lava on the rim top. It appears that there is also some damage to the front inner edge of the bowl in the next two photos. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the oxidation, calcification, chatter and tooth marks. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar around the pipe looked like. There is some stunning grain under the grime. He took photos of the stamping on both sides of the shank. They are numerous and are faint but read as noted above. He also included a photo of the stamping on the top of the saddle stem.   I looked on Pipephil’s site for information on the particular Golden Era Line and found nothing listed. I also went to the the GBD article on Pipedia and found nothing in the great historical article that was pertinent. I did follow a link to the GBD Model Information article to see if there was some help there (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD_Model_Information). It dawned on me then to look not at the Golden Era name but at the stamp on the top of the shank – London Made. With that flash or “insight” I found something helpful. I include it below.

London Made — Factory unknown: Some might not be marked with GBD logo and some with additional “house” stampings. Introduced in 1978(?) plain wax finished branded pipes” available in at least six stains. -catalog (1981).

That article gave me some helpful information. I knew that the pipe line was often marked with additional “house” stamping. So my initial think in the introduction were correct. The pipe was made for Ed’s and the shop gave it the Golden Era name. I also knew that the 256 shape number tied back to a Canadian. Since Lumberman pipe were in essence Canadians with a saddle stem I was in the right ballpark. Still no idea what the 80 stamp referred to. Since the pipe was introduced in 1978 could it be the year stamp? Ah well, I am not sure I will know. Now to work on the pipe.

Since Jeff follows the same pattern of work in his cleanup we do not include photos but rather just a simple summary. Jeff 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 exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He was able to remove the lava build up on the rim top and you could see the damages to the top and edges of the rim. I think this pipe may well been before we worked with Mark Hoover’s Before & After Deoxidizer so he cleaned the internals and externals. The stem was clean but oxidized. I took photos of what the pipe looked like when I brought to my worktable. The rim top cleaned up really well with the lava coat removed. The inner edge of the rim showed some damage and burning on the front and back edges. There was also some damage on the rim top at the front.. The stem surface looked very good with some light oxidation remaining and a few tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button and on the button surface itself.    I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. It is a well shaped tall apple shaped pipe.Now it was time to do my work on the pipe. I started by dealing with the rim top and edge damage. I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage on the rim top and minimize the inner edge damage. I reworked the rim edge giving it a bit of a bevel to smooth out the damaged areas. I polished the bowl and the rim top, sides and shank with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with a damp cloth. I carefully avoided the stamping on the top and underside of the shank so as not to damage the already faint stamping. 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 wiped off the stem surface with alcohol on a cotton pad and filled in the dents and built up the edge of the button on both sides with black Loctite 380 CA. I set the stem aside to let the repairs cure.     Once the repairs cured I recut the button edge and flattened out the repaired areas with a needle file to begin to blend them into the surface.     I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to further blend them in and followed that by starting the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I touched up the remnants of the GBD oval logo on the stem top with Rub’n Buff Antique Gold. I rubbed the product on the top of the stem and pressed it in the stamping with a tooth pick.      I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.      This interestingly stamped GBD London Made 256 Lumberman with a vulcanite saddle stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The golden colours of the contrasting stains came 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 GBD Lumberman 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 ¾ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. 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!

Life for a Long Shank GBD Premier Colossus 264 T Lumberman


Blog by Steve Laug

A fellow Vancouver Pipeman named Alex has been keeping me busy with working on the pipes he is picking up. He has picked up some interesting American and English made pipes. The next of those pipes is a long shank pipe that is a part of the Canadian family of pipes. The shank is oval and the stem is a saddle shaped one which makes it a Lumberman rather than a Canadian. I did a screen capture of the shapes from Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Canadian). It is the second pipe in the picture below.This long shank GBD Lumberman is quite a stunning pipe. The pipe is one large piece of briar with no joints on the shank. From what I can see there is one flaw on the top of the shank near the end. There are some small fills around the bowl that are blended in quite well. The pipe is stamped on the top and the underside of the shank. On the topside it reads GBD in an oval [over] Premier [over] Colossus. On the underside it has a circular COM stamp that reads Made in London in a circle [over] England. That is followed by the shape number 264 with some space and then the upper case letter “T”. There was a thick cake in the bowl and lava overflowing onto the rim top. The rim top has some scratching and dents that will be more visible once the lava coat is gone. It is hard to know what the beveled inner edge looks like because of the lava. The finish was very dirty with grime and oils ground into the smooth finish. The vulcanite saddle GBD Oval logo stamped on the topside of the saddle stem. The stem was calcified, oxidized, dirty and had tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. Here are some photos of the pipe when I first received it.  I took a close-up photo of the rim to show the condition of the rim top, bowl and the inner edge of the bowl. It was hard to know what was going on with the rim and edges because of the cake and lava overflow. The stem was a mess with tooth damage and chatter on the button edges and the stem ahead of the button.       The stamping on the topside and the underside of the shank are shown in the photos below. It reads as noted above.  I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the flow of the pipe. The pipe was really going to look great once it was cleaned and polished. The long, oval shank Lumberman is a beauty.The history of GBD pipes is very well spelled out in multiple articles on Pipedia. I would encourage you to give them a read as they are well written and very readable. It is truly a grand old brand spanning France and England. I turned instead to Pipedias article on GBD’s various models (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD_Model_Information). I did a screen capture of the write up on the Premier Line.The pipe is a Premier which is noted above as a flagship to their pipes. It says that it is stained with a unique fiery Autumn colour combination that has a hand finished mouthpiece.

The second stamping on the top of the shank was Colossus. I knew that this stamp was used on larger or what GBD called “plus sized pipes”. I read through the above link and found the information below.

Plus Sized Pipes

In addition to the pipe line and shape information stamped on the pipe GBD also had codes for plus sized pipes. These codes in ascending order of size were…

  • Conquest
  • Collector
  • Colossus

Perspex refers to the lucite/acrylic bit material GBD used, the clear bits used on various models are Perspex. Metal rondelles were discontinued after the merger with Comoy.

From this I know that the pipe is a larger, plus sized pipe that was at the top of the plus sizes – a Colossus. The Premier was the high in the hierarchy as well. I also knew that because of the circular COM stamp and the lack of a metal rondelle that the pipe was made after the merger with Comoy.

Now it was time to work on the pipe itself. I reamed the thick cake back to the walls with a PipNet pipe reamer using the first two cutting heads. I followed up – cleaning the remnants of cake on the walls with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. The final step for me to assess the condition of the walls of the bowl is to sand it with 220 grit sandpaper on a piece of dowel. I sanded the walls smooth. I was happy with the condition of the inside walls of the chamber.     I scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with a tooth brush and undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap to get the grime and debris out of the briar. I rinsed it with running water and dried it off with a towel. With that the outside was clean… progress!     I cleaned out the mortise, shank in the briar and airway in the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and 99% isopropyl alcohol. The pipe was dirty with lots of tars and oils.   I worked on the damage to the rim top to remove the darkening, charring and dents and nicks. I topped it on with 220 grit sandpaper to remove as much of the damage as possible. There was still some damage to the front edge of the rim. I filled in the damaged bevel with briar dust and super glue. I took a photo of the rim top after the cleanup and then worked on the beveled rim with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper.    I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad. The grain is really beginning to stand out and the rim top is blending in quite well. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The following photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I am very happy with the results.             I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I repaired the tooth marks in the vulcanite and rebuilt the edge of the button with Black Loctite 380 Adhesive. Once the repairs had cured I used a needle file to recut the edges of the button and flatten out the repairs. I sanded the stem surface and button with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the repairs and blend them into the surface. I also worked to remove the remaining oxidation on the stem surface. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.    I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads and wiping it down after each pad with a damp cloth.     This GBD Long Shank Premier Colossus Lumberman with a vulcanite saddle stem turned out to be a real beauty. The long shank and bowl is a single unit that speaks of nice, large piece of briar. GBD really maximized the grain with the shape of the pipe. Everything about the pipe – the finish, the crowned rim top and the cut of the briar work well to highlight the grain around the bowl. I polished stem and the bowl with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel and the finish just popped and came alive. 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 pipe took on life with the buffing. The rich brown finish works well with the polished vulcanite stem. The finished pipe has a rich look that is quite catching. Have a look at it with the photos below. The shape, finish and flow of the pipe and stem are very well done. The dimensions are Length: 7 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The Premier Colossus GBD Lumberman will back in the box of pipes that I am working on for Alex. I am looking forward to what he will think of this one. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another estate pipe.

An Interesting Pipe To Work On – a GBD Prehistoric Xtra Horn


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

This pipe has attracted the attention of my wife, Abha, since the time I had received three huge boxes of pipes that once belonged to my Grandfather. So when she took the plunge of helping me in restoring all these inherited pipes, this was one of the first she had earmarked for cleaning up. After she had done the initial cleaning up, this pipe languished at the bottom of the pile of around 50 plus pipes that she had cleaned up. And it was during the period of my stay at home on compulsory leave due to the countrywide lockdown to contain the spread of CORONA VIRUS (COVID-19) that this pipe came up for restoration.

The pipe with its forward canted Horn shape with a long military mount vulcanite stem has a delicate feel and look to it. It has beautiful and deep sandblast with some astonishing grain patterns that are seen over the stummel surface. The shank end is adorned with a gold ferrule that adds a touch of classy bling to the appearance of the pipe. It is stamped at the foot of the stummel as “PREHISTORIC” in Gothic hand followed by “GBD” in an oval over “XTRA”. The gold ferrule is stamped as “GBD” in an oval over four different shaped cartouches bearing the stampings, from left to right, numeral “6 (or is it 9 ?) in a rhombus followed by purity grade number “.375” in a rectangle followed by date code letter “F” and lastly the symbol of the city Assay Office that has worn out but I guess it appears like a LION HEAD with protruding lines from the four corners. The vulcanite stem is stamped, not very deeply, on the left side as “GBD” in an oval over “XTRA” in a slight upturned arch. The stampings, save for the Assay Office, is crisp and clear. There is plenty of material available on pipedia.org on the brand GBD that makes for an interesting read. The link below should take you to the relevant page on pipedia.org. For the sake of brevity, I have reproduced only the relevant portions that are related and of interest with respect to the pipe that I am working on (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD).

Early GBDs were made only in one single grade concerning the wood’s quality, later supplemented by a second one, and there was only a very limited number of finishes. But toward the end of the 19th century, the demand changed. For example the Britons preferred darker stainings. More differentiated customer’s wishes made the introduction of additional markings necessary. GBD Xtra and GBD Special were very early models who’s names indicated special final treatments and / or fitments. The standard quality was stamped simply with GBD.

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.

The claims after the 1st World War demanded further distinctions. First of all was the London Made, which became the Standard London Made, followed by the New Era— in 1931 the top model asking 12½ Shilling. The Pedigree, although sketched around 1926, was not produced until the later 1930s. The New Standard was introduced in order to give the popular Standard of the 20s a higher rank in value. The Prehistoric, a deeply sandblasted black pipe, that still carried the small GBD Xtra stamp, was entirely new and unusual.

Dating GBDs
Xtras haven’t been made since the 1930’s.

That this pipe currently on my work table was made from 1918 to 1930s can be inferred from the information gleaned above:

(a) GBD Xtra and GBD Special were very early models whose names indicated special final treatments and / or fitments.

(b) The ferrule stamping of AO points to the fact that the pipe is post 1902 as Marechal and Ruchon sold GBD to A. Oppenheimer & Co. in London in 1902.

(c) The Prehistoric, an entirely new and unusual line that still carried the small GBD Xtra stamp, was introduced after WW I.

(d) Xtra hasn’t been made since 1930s.

To pinpoint the year of make of this pipe, I decided to follow the stampings on the ferrule. Here, I was not very sure about the Assay Office hallmark as it was pretty buffed out and the numeral could have been a 6 or a 9. But having worked and researched a few silver hallmarked pipes, I guessed that the Assay Office hallmark should be a lion head. I visited https://www.gold-traders.co.uk/hallmarks/

This site is a step-by-step guide to help identify the carat/ purity, Assay Office and year of hallmark on all things gold. All things matched up perfectly and I have included a screen shot of the final result.From the above, it can be conclusively indentified that this GBD Prehistoric Xtra was made in England (London Assay Office) in 1921, give or take a year as the ferrules were always sent to the Assay Office in bulk to be used over a period of time, usually a year.

Initial Visual Inspection
As I have mentioned above, this pipe was initially handled by Abha and she is not in a habit of taking many pictures as she works on each piece of briar. There are not many pictures to give the readers an idea about the condition of the pipe before she had worked her magic and presented me with a nice clean canvas to carry forward my repair and refurbishing tasks. I have included a description of the initial condition of the pipe as documented by her.

This pipe has a rather small and narrow bowl in a classic Dublin shape with a pronounced forward cant. The chamber tapers towards the foot and has a chamber depth of about 1 ¼ inches. The chamber had an even layer of thick hard cake. There was a heavy overflow of lava over the rim top surface. Through this thick layer of lava, a crack is clearly visible over the rim top (marked with yellow arrows) that extends over both the inner and outer stummel surface on the right side in the 5 o’clock direction. The rim top was darkened considerably and I had suspected a charred inner rim edge in 6 o’clock direction (marked in green). The condition of the inner walls of the chamber can be commented upon after the cake has been taken down to the bare briar. The ghost smells in the chamber are not very strong.The deeply sandblasted stummel surface has very beautiful grain patterns and is covered in dust and grime. The fact that the sandblasted patterns are dusty and filled with dirt is accentuated more due to the contrast of dark and medium brown stains on the stummel and the shank. The briar was looking lifeless and bone dry and had taken on black dull hues. The mortise was full of oils, tars and gunk and air flow was restricted.

The high quality vulcanite stem was deeply oxidized. Some minor tooth chatter and calcified deposit were seen on both the upper and lower stem surfaces in the bite zone and at the bottom of the button edge respectively. The tenon end had accumulated ash and oils/ tars that had dried out on the inside as well as on the outside. The horizontal slot has scratch marks which will have to be addressed.    Initial Cleaning By Abha…
The initial cleaning on this pipe was done by Abha, my wife (she has cleaned up around 40-50 pipes and these have now reached me for further restoration). She reamed out the complete cake and further smoothed out the chamber walls with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. She cleaned out the internals of the shank with pipe cleaners and alcohol and cotton buds. She followed the internal cleaning of the shank with external cleaning of the stummel using Murphy’s Oil soap and hard bristled tooth brush and dried it with paper napkins and cotton cloth.

Next she cleaned out the internals of the stem air way and immersed it in “Before and After Deoxidizer” solution along with the stem of other pipes in line for restoration. Once the stem had soaked overnight, she cleaned the stem under running warm water and scrubbed the raised oxidation from the stem surface using scotch brite pad. She further removed the oxidation by scrubbing the stem with 0000 grade steel wool and applied a little olive oil to rehydrate the stem.

The Process
The stummel crack was something that would essentially require materials and equipment that are available to me at my work place; therefore, I had no option but to relegate the stummel repairs to a later date.

I start this project by addressing the tooth chatter on either surface in the bite zone. Since vulcanite has a property to expand and regain its original shape when heated, I heat the bite zone with a candle flame to raise the tooth chatter to the surface. The deeper bite marks were filled with a mix of CA superglue and activated charcoal and set aside to cure. Once the fills had cured, using a flat needle file, I reshaped the button and roughly matched the fills with the rest of the stem surface. I further fine tuned the match by sanding the filled area with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and forefinger. I followed it up by sanding the entire stem surface using 400, 600, 800 grit sand papers and finally with a piece of 0000 grade steel wool. This serves to remove the deep seated oxidation and also reduces the sanding marks of the more abrasive sand papers. I also sharpened the button edges while sanding. I wiped the stem with a cotton swab and alcohol to remove all the oxidation and sanding dust from the surface. I applied a little Extra Virgin Olive oil over the stem and set it aside to be absorbed by the vulcanite. To bring a deep shine to the vulcanite stem, Abha polished it by wet sanding with 1500 to 2000 grit sandpapers followed by further wet sanding with 3200 to 12000 grit pads. She wiped the stem with a moist cloth after each pad and rubbed it down with Extra Virgin Olive oil to rejuvenate the vulcanite. The finished stem is shown below.  Further repair and refurbishing work would have to be put on hold till I rejoin my work place.

Part II
Finally back at my work place…… After enjoying a compulsorily extended leave of three months with family and having honed my culinary and domestic chores skill set, I was happy to rejoin my duty and get back to completing the pending pipe restorations.

I took a closer look at the crack on the right side of the stummel in the 5 ‘O’ clock direction. This crack extends over the rim top surface and in to the chamber. With my sharp dental pick, I probed and removed all the charred briar wood from the crack and also dislodged the entire lava overflow that had embedded itself in to the crack over the rim top. It was a big relief to note that the crack did not go all the way to the outside of the stummel. Here are a couple of close up pictures of the crack to the chamber wall and outer stummel surface at this stage. I conferred with my Guru and mentor, Steve, over Face Time video call and after seeing the crack, he concurred that it was best to fill just the crack inside the chamber with J B Weld followed by a coating of activated charcoal and yogurt to the entire chamber for further protection. Before proceeding with further repairs, I decided to thoroughly clean the rim top and the stummel again to remove all the dirt and dust that had accumulated since last one year and also to completely remove the lava overflow from the rim top surface. I cleaned the stummel using Murphy’s Oil soap and a hard bristled tooth brush. With a brass wired brush, I cleaned the rim top to remove the lava overflow. The stummel and the rim top have cleaned up nicely.   Next I decided to address the crack to the stummel surface. I marked the end point of the crack on with a sharp dental tool under magnification. This helps to identify the end point later with naked eye and also provides initial traction for the drill bit to bite in. With a 1 mm drill bit mounted on to my hand held rotary machine, I drilled a counter hole at the end of the crack, taking care not to go too deep and end up drilling a through-hole. I had to mark and drill a second counter hole as I later realized that the crack extended slightly below the first one that I had drilled. I ran the sharp dental tool along the crack to remove the dirt and debris that may have been lodged in the crack. I filled the drilled holes and the crack to the stummel surface with a mix of CA superglue and briar dust. I also filled the crack at the rim top surface with the mix of superglue and briar dust and set the stummel aside for the fills to cure. A few hours later, the fills had hardened completely. I sand them down with a flat head needle file to achieve a rough match with the rest of the stummel. I fine tuned the match with the rest of the surface by further sanding with a piece of 180 grit sandpaper. I used a tightly folded 180 grit sand paper to sand the fills and had carefully moved along the ridges of the sandblast to achieve a near perfect match. I vigorously brushed the rim top with a hard bristled brass wired brush to further blend the fill with the rest of the rim top surface.    Now that the external repairs are done, I decided to address the crack to the wall of the chamber. To protect the crack from coming in to direct contact with the burning tobacco and also to prevent the heat from reaching the external crack to the stummel and causing a burnout, I plan, firstly, to fill only the crack of the chamber with J B Weld followed by a second coat of activated charcoal and yogurt to the entire chamber which would assist in faster cake formation. J B Weld is a two-part epoxy Cold Weld that consists of two parts; hardener and steel which are mixed in equal parts in a ratio of 1:1 with hardening time of 5-6 minutes and complete curing time of 6-8 hours. I poured the contents of the two tubes and mixed it well. With a flat bamboo frond, I applied this mix and filled the intended crack. I worked fast to ensure a complete and even filling of the crack and set the stummel aside for the J B Weld to harden.By the next afternoon when I got back to working on this pipe, the J B Weld coat had completely cured and hardened considerably. With a folded piece of 150 grit sandpaper, I sand the weld coating to a smooth surface till I had as thin a coat as was essential to protect and insulate the crack from the direct heat of the burning tobacco. The Weld coat has completely covered only the crack which can be seen as a thin line. I am very pleased with the repairs at this stage.I refreshed the stem logo by first coating the logo with a white correction liquid and once it had dried, I wiped it lightly with a cloth. I polished the stem surface with “Before and After Extra fine” stem polish developed by Mark Hoover. This polish helps in removing the minor scratches left behind due to sanding while imparting a nice shine to the stem.   Next, I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” deep in to the briar with my finger tips and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful grain patterns displayed in their complete splendor. I further buffed it with a horse hair brush. The dark browns of the raised portions of the sandblast contrasts beautifully with the rest of the dark stummel and makes for a visual treat. It really is a nice piece of briar. Now that the cosmetic aspects of this pipe have been dealt with, all that remained was the functional aspect that needs to be taken care of. The J B Weld coated crack needs to be protected from the direct heat of the burning tobacco and for this; I coat the complete chamber walls with a mix of activated charcoal and yogurt and set it aside to harden naturally. The mix has to be of the right consistency; neither too thick nor too runny. It should be of a consistency that is thick enough to spread easily, evenly and stick to the walls. Also the coating should not be very thick. A thin film is all that is required. Another important aspect to remember is that it is essential to insert a pipe cleaner in to the mortise and through the draught hole for two reasons; first is obviously to keep the draught hole from getting clogged and secondly, the pipe cleaner absorbs all the moisture from the mix and helps in faster and even drying of the coat.To put the finishing touches, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and polished the stem with Blue Diamond compound. This compound helps to remove the minor scratch marks that remain from the sanding.  Next, I mount another cotton buffing wheel that I have earmarked for carnauba wax and applied several coats of the wax. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. Lastly, I polish the 9 carat gold ferrule with a jeweler’s cloth to a nice and radiant shine. The blast pattern on this finished pipe looks amazingly beautiful and coupled with the vintage, shape rarity and the contrast that the gold ferrule imparts, makes it quite a desirable pipe. This pipe shall be joining my small collection of GBDs to be admired and be happy that I have restored it to its former beauty and functionality. P.S. In one of my previous blogs, I wrote that the question “Why do I enjoy bringing these old battered and discarded pipes back to life?” had popped up in my mind. I gave my third reason in my last write up and in all my subsequent write ups I intend to share with you, my readers my reasons as to why I really love this hobby.

The fourth reason is that every restoration project that I undertake is a new challenge for me. It sets my adrenaline pumping as I see the beauty of the pipe being unraveled before my eyes as I progress through each process of restoration. It helps me keep myself motivated and I wake up to each morning with enthusiasm to address the challenges that any project throws at me. Upon successful completion of repairs and refurbishing of a pipe to make it beautiful and most importantly FUNCTIONAL, gets me to a nice peaceful sleep at night… isn’t that what we all strive for?     

I wish to thank each one for sparing their valuable time to read through this write up and each one is in my prayers. Stay home…stay safe!!

 

Restoring a GBD Ebony 789 Beautifully Grained Pot


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table is another one that came to me from the estate of a Vancouver pipe smoker whose widow left them with a local Pipe Shop after he died. I was asked to clean them up and sell them for the shop as it has since closed. This GBD Pot is an interesting looking piece – great grain showing through underneath the grime. There is straight and flame grain around the bowl. The pipe is stamped on the left side and reads GBD in an oval [over] Ebony. On the right side it is stamped London England [over] 789. The finish was dull and lifeless with a lot of grime ground into the briar. The bowl was heavily caked with a lava coat on the top of the rim. It was hard to tell how the inner and outer edge of the rim actually looked until the bowl was reamed. The stem was oxidized, calcified and had tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the button. It had promise but it was very dirty. I took some photos of the pipe when I received it. I was curious about the GBD Ebony line. I turned to Pipedia’s GBD Model Information to get a bit of information on the line (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD_Model_Information). I have included a screen capture below:I turned to Pipedia’s listing of shape numbers (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD_Shapes/Numbers). I have included a screen capture below:The Ebony line was made in England and maybe France. They were stained with light to medium brown stain and muted black undertones. It was listed as appearing in 1976 catalogues with a matte finish with dual tone. Now it is was time to work on the pipe itself.

I had sent the batch of pipes from the shop to my brother Jeff in Idaho and he had cleaned them up for me. It was several years ago now that he sent them back to me and I am just now getting to finish them. He reamed them with a Pipnet Reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife.  He had scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush and rinsed it off with warm water to remove the grime in the rustication. He cleaned the internals of the shank and stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners to remove the tarry residue and oils in the shank and airway. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the stem surface. When it arrived here on my work table I took photos of the pipe before I started my part of the restoration. The bowl was a definite improvement but the stem still showed a lot of oxidation.   The rim top looked really good. The inner and outer edges were in excellent condition. There was no charring or damage to the top or edges. I was pleased. The stem look good but there was still some heavy oxidation and there were tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. The underside was worse than the topside.   I took a photo of the stamping on the sides of the shank. The stamping is clear and readable and reads as noted above. I took the stem off the pipe and took a photo of the parts to show the look of the pipe as a whole.The pipe was in great condition so I moved to polishing the bowl with micromesh sanding pads. I sanded it with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped it down between each pad with a damp cloth. By the end you can see the shine on the briar.   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. You can see the grain showing through the deep glow.   I “painted” the stem surface with the flame of a Bic lighter. I filled in the remaining tooth marks with black super glue. Once it cured I smoothed out the surface of the repair with a needle file. I sanded out the repair with 220 grit sandpaper to blend it into the surface of the surrounding vulcanite. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.     I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.   This GBD Ebony 789 Pot is another great looking pipe that came to me from the local pipe shop estate that I am restoring and selling for them. It has turned out to be a great looking pipe. The medium brown finish and dark highlights makes the grain stand out and 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 pot fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. I have a variety of brands to work on from the shop. Perhaps one of those will catch your attention. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. This is an interesting estate to bring back to life.

Fresh Life for a GBD Pedigree 254 Canadian


Blog by Steve Laug

I have always liked GBD pipes. There is just something about the brand and their take on shapes that catches my eye. This particular GBD is a really nice looking Canadian with a saddle stem – at least I would call it a Canadian because of the oval shank. It is stamped both on the topside and underside of the shank. On the top of the shank it is stamped with the GBD Oval over Pedigree. On the underside it is stamped London England 254. There is also the brass GBD oval roundel on the top of the saddle stem. It was dirty but the bowl had been reamed back to bare briar. There was a light lava coat on the inner edge. The pipe had a rich medium brown stain that highlighted nice grain on the bowl sides under the grime and the finish appeared to be in good condition. There is a band on the shank that appears to be an add on. The shank is not cracked though it is thin on the top and underside. A lot would be revealed once Jeff had worked his magic on it. The vulcanite saddle stem was in good condition with some oxidation and light tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button and on the button surface itself. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. Jeff tried to capture the condition of the bowl and rim top with the next series of photos. You can see the work that is ahead of us even though the bowl is clean. The beveled rim edge has some lava buildup. The grain around the bowl is quite stunning. Jeff took some great photos showing what is underneath the grime and debris of time and use. He captured the stamping on the left side of the shank and both sides of the half saddle acrylic stem. They are clear and readable. It read as noted above.The photos of the stem show the stem surface. It is dirty and has light tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button.I turned to Pipephil and looked to see if there was any information on the Pedigree line. There was nothing there other than a great brief history. I turned to Pipedia to the specific section on GBD to read about the line (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD). There was a page from an Oppenheimer Catalogue on the Pedigree line. I have included a screen capture of that page below.Now it was time to work on the pipe itself. Jeff had cleaned the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness that I really appreciate. This one was in decent condition with a bit of buildup on the rim top but virtually no cake in the bowl. He cleaned up the bowl walls with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the light lava on the beveled rim top. The finish looks very good with good looking grain around the bowl and shank. Jeff scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub and then soaked it in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked very good. I took photos before I started my part of the work. I took some photos of the rim top and stem. Once Jeff removed the lava on the inside bevel of the rim top. Both the inner and the outer edge of the bowl look very good. The close up photos of the stem shows that is it very clean and there is some oxidation and some minimal tooth chatter on the button and surface just ahead of the button.I took the stem off the shank and took a picture of the pipe. It really is an elegant and  delicate looking pipe with great grain.I was happy with the way the rim top and edges looked so I did not need to work on them more. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth. The grain really began to stand out and the finish took on a shine by the last sanding pad. The photos tell the story! I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for about ten minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I laid the bowl aside and turned to deal with the stem. The tooth marks and chatter on the stem were not deep. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with a cloth containing some Obsidian Oil. I finished polishing it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and buffed it off with a cotton cloth. This delicately shape classic GBD pipe came together amazingly well. Thanks to the fact that it was in pretty good condition before we started it was a clean pipe to work on. The finish on the pipe is in excellent condition and the contrasting stains work well to highlight the stunning grain on the pipe. The black vulcanite saddle stem just adds to the mix. With the grime and debris gone from the finish and the bowl it was a beauty and the grain just pops at this point. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I carefully avoided the stamping on the shank and stem during the process. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing it with a clean buffing pad on the buffer. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished GBD Pedigree Canadian is quite beautiful and is a classic Canadian shaped pipe. The finish on the bowl combines various stains to give it depth. It is very well done. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. I can only tell you that it is much prettier in person than the photos capture. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 5/8 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. I really like this delicate and elegant GBD pipe and it is a great looking pipe in great condition. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. I had a GBD pipe sock around that I have put together with the pipe. This pipe will be added to the rebornpipes store soon. If you want to add it to your collection send me an email or a message! Thanks for your time.

A New Start for a GBD London Made 2871 Zulu


Blog by Steve Laug

One thing about having so many boxes of pipes to work on surrounding my work table is that I can always find one that grabs my attention to work on now! I had passed over this one a few times in the past weeks but this morning I decided it would join the days queue. It is a great looking Zulu shape pipe made by GBD. It is a newer, post Cadogan GBD I believe as it does not have the brass roundel on the stem but just a stamped GBD oval. It was a really dirty and well-loved pipe when we received it. The bowl had a thick cake and the lava overflow on the rim made it impossible to see in the inner edge of the bowl. It had some nice grain on the bowl sides under the grime and the finish appeared to be in good condition. A lot would be revealed once Jeff had worked his magic on it. The stem was oxidized and had tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button. The button surface appeared to be unharmed. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. Jeff tried to capture the condition of the bowl and rim top with the next series of photos. You can see the work that is ahead of us there. It was obviously a well-loved and oft enjoyed pipe!The grain around the bowl is quite stunning. Jeff took some great photos showing what is underneath the grime and debris of time and use. He captured the stamping on both sides of the shank and the top of the tapered stem. They are clear and readable. The topside has the GBD Oval logo over London Made. On the underside of the shank it reads London England over the shape number 2871 and a P next to the shank/stem junction. The last photo below shows the GBD oval stamped on the top of the oval tapered stem.The photos of the stem show the oxidation on the stem surface as well as the tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button.I have worked on quite a few GBD London Made pipes over the years so I turned to the rebornpipes and did a quick search to see what I had in terms of a bit of background and some dating information on the line. I found a blog on a 9664 shaped London Made that gave me the background information I was looking for (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/08/10/cleaning-up-a-gbd-london-made-9664/). I quote:

I turned to Pipedia’s article on GBD to see if I could find any information on the London Made. The article gives a lot in terms of the history of the brand and a list of various lines of GBD pipes (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD_Model_Information). I quote the section where I found the reference to the London Made.

London Made — Factory unknown: Some might not be marked with GBD logo and some with additional “house” stampings. Introduced in 1978(?) plain wax finished branded pipes” available in at least six stains. – catalog (1981)

With that information in hand I knew what I was dealing with in terms of the stamping and the age of this pipe. I knew from the information from the section quoted that the London Made originally came out in 1978 in a variety of colours. Now I had an idea of the age of the pipe and it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff cleaned the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness that I really appreciate. This one was a real mess and I did not know what to expect when I unwrapped it from his box. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. The finish looks very good with good looking grain around the bowl and shank. Jeff soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked very good. I took photos before I started my part of the work. I took some photos of the rim top and stem. The inner edge shows some damage on the back right side and a bit on the left side. The close up photos of the stem shows that is it very clean.I took the stem off the shank and took a picture of the pipe. It really is a nice looking pipe with great lines.I started my restoration work on the pipe by addressing the damage to the inner edges of the rim. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the inner edge and bring the bowl back to round. It did not take too much work.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth. The grain really began to stand out and the finish took on a shine by the last sanding pad. The photos tell the story! I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for about ten minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I laid the bowl aside and turned to deal with the stem. I sanded the tooth marks and chatter on the stem with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface of the stem and started polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.   I polished the stem with some Denicare Mouthpiece polish – a red gritty paste that feels a lot like the texture of red Tripoli. It works well to polish out some of the scratches. I find that it does a great job preparing the stem for polishing with micromesh sanding pads.From the information I could find online the stamping on the stem was white. I have successfully used Paper Mate Liquid Paper to restore/replace the white fill in the stamp. I apply it with the dauber included and scrape off the excess with a tooth pick and finger nail. In this case some of the oval stamping was faint but the GBD was sufficient to look better.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with a cloth containing some Obsidian Oil. I finished polishing it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and buffed it off with a cotton cloth. This was a pipe I was looking forward to seeing what it looked like when I put it back together. The change in condition and appearance of the pipe was remarkable. With the grime and debris gone from the finish and the bowl it was a beauty and the grain just pops at this point. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I carefully avoided the stamping on the shank and stem during the process. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing it with a clean buffing pad on the buffer. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is quite beautiful and is a lovely Zulu shaped pipe. The finish on the bowl combines various stains to give it depth. It is very well done. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. I can only tell you that it is much prettier in person than the photos capture. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. I really like the way that GBD makes the Zulu shape. They have made their Zulu very recognizable. This is a great looking pipe in great condition. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store soon. If you want to add it to your collection send me an email or a message! Thanks for your time.