Tag Archives: GBD pipes

Working on a GBD Historic 115 Sandblast Billiard from Bob Kerr’s Estate


Blog by Steve Laug

I am continuing to work through Bob Kerr’s estate. The next pipe on the table is a GBD Historic Billiard, sandblasted bowl and shank and a smooth panel on the underside of the shank with the stamping. It is a Prehistoric with a black vulcanite stem. I am continuing to cleanup Bob’s estate for his family and moving them out into the hands of pipemen and women who will carry on the trust that began with Bob and in some pipes was carried on by Bob. In the collection there were a total of 125 pipes along with a box of parts. This is the largest estate that I have had the opportunity to work on. I put together a spread sheet of the pipes and stampings to create an invoice. I was taking on what would take me a fair amount of time to clean up. I could not pass up the opportunity to work on these pipes though. They were just too tempting.

I have been collecting and restoring GBD pipes for as long as I have worked on pipes. This one also has a beautiful mix of grain under the grime on the sandblast finish. It is quite beautiful! The pipe is stamped GBD in an oval over Historic on the underside of the shank. That is followed by stamping London, England and the shape number 115. It had a rich mix of black and dark brown stain that does not look too bad. There was a thick cake in the bowl with remnants of tobacco stuck on the walls. There was a lava overflow on the rim. The inner edge of the rim and top are dirty and had a thick lava coat. The edges appear to have a bit of burn damage on the front inner edge and the front outer edge has a bit of wear damage. It was a beautiful pipe that was dirty and tired looking. The stem was oxidized and calcified toward the end. Again, surprisingly did not have the tooth marks that I have come to expect from Bob’s pipes. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work on it. Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the lava build up on the edges of the bowl. It was thick and hard but hopefully it had protected the rim and edges from damage. There appears to be a little damage on the left front inner and outer edges of the bowl. Otherwise it looks pretty good. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the finish. You can see the beautiful grain through the sandblast – both birdseye and cross grain. The finish was very dirty.   Jeff took photos of the stamping on the smooth panel on the underside of the shank. The stamping was readable as you can see from the photos. On the underside it read GBD in an oval over Historic. That was followed by London, England over the shape number 115. On the left side of the saddle stem was an inlaid GBD rondel.Jeff took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the tooth chatter, scratching and oxidation on the stem surface and wear on the edges of the button.       I turned to Pipedia’s article on GBD to see if I could find any information on the Historic line. I have heard of Prehistoric pipes but I have never seen one stamped Historic. It is another one that is a mystery in terms of the line. The article gives a lot in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD). There is nothing specific on the Historic line.

I also turned to the reference page on the site for GBD shapes and numbers and found the one for the 115 shape but it called it a Prince of Wales and said that the saddle stem had a 1/8 bend. To me a Prince of Wales is a Prince shape pipe and the one that I was working on is definitely a billiard (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD_Shapes/Numbers). The vagaries of clearly pinning down GBD Shapes is evident in this seeming contradiction. I also did a screen capture of the section and from the various Model information. That also was an interesting conundrum in that the pipe in my hand was not smooth but had a sandblast finish like the Prehistoric with a smooth beveled rim top. I combined the screen captures in one picture below (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD_Model_Information).  All of my research did not really help pin anything down. The shape number was a dead end contradiction as was the line description. I was dealing with a bit of anomaly – a Sandblast Billiard stamped Historic not Prehistoric with a straight thin bit stem. In terms of dating the pipe I can only guess that it fits in with the late 50s to late 60s of Bob’s other pipes but I cannot know for sure. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

With over 125 pipes to clean from Bob’s estate I took a batch of them to the states with me on a recent visit and left them with Jeff so he could help me out. 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 good. The stem still sported some deep oxidation but otherwise it was clean. I took photos before I started my part of the work. I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show what an amazing job Jeff did in the cleanup of the rim top. The rim top looks pretty good. There is some darkening on the top edge and a burn mark on the inner edge at the front. There is also some damage on the outer rim on the rim. The photos show a few small dents on the surface of the stem. You can also see the remaining oxidation on the stem surface.    I am going to keep posting the next paragraph because of the importance of protecting the stamping/nomenclature.

One of the things I appreciate about Jeff’s cleanup is that he works to protect and preserve the nomenclature on the shank of the pipes that he works on. The stamping on this one was very faint to start with so I was worried that it would disappear altogether with the cleanup. He was not only able to preserve it but it is clearer than shown in the earlier photos. I took some photos to show the clarity of the stamping. I have noticed that many restorers are not careful to protect the stamping in their cleaning process and often by the end of the restoration the nomenclature is almost destroyed. I would like to encourage all of us to be careful in our work to preserve this as it is a critical piece of pipe restoration!   Since this is another pipe Bob’s estate I am sure that some of you have read at least some of the other restoration work that has been done on the previous pipes. You have also read what I have included about Bob Kerr, the pipeman who held these pipes in trust before I came to work on them (see photo to the left). Also, if you have followed the blog for long you will already know that I like to include background information on the pipeman whose pipes I am restoring. For me, when I am working on an estate I really like to have a sense of the person who held the pipes in trust before I worked on them. It gives me another dimension of the restoration work. I asked Brian if he or his wife would like to write a brief biographical tribute to her father, Bob. His daughter worked on it and I received the following short write up on him and some pictures to go along with the words including one of Bob’s carvings. Once again I thank you Brian and tell your wife thank you as well.

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

Now, on to the rest of the restoration on this GBD Historic 115 Billiard. Since Jeff had done such an amazing clean up job on the bowl it was going to be a very easy job for me. There was some darkening and damage on the inner edge of the rim that needed to be addressed. I sanded it with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to remove and minimize the damage to the edge. I continued by starting to polish it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I wiped the rim edge down with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust on the briar. The finished rim top looked much better than when I started. I was able to minimize the damage on the front inner edge of the rim. It is still damaged but it looks considerably better. Once I clean it and stain it the rim edge will look better.  I stained the rim top and edges with a Walnut and Black stain pen. I blended the colours to match the rest of the bowl colour. I also stained the shank end with the two pens to blend them into the flow of the colour on the shank and bowl.     I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth and shoe brush to raise the shine. Mark Hoover’s Balm is a product that I have come to appreciate and one I use on every pipe I have been working on.      I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to break up the oxidation. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to remove the scratching. It is starting to look good.       I have one more tin of Denicare Mouthpiece Polish left from a few that I have picked up over the years. It is a coarse red pasted that serves to help remove oxidation. I polished the stem with that to further smooth out the surface of the vulcanite (and to be honest – to use it up).      I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. Once I had finished the polishing I gave it final coat of oil and set it aside to dry.    I can’t tell you how great it feels to be moving through these 125 pipes – about 35 done so far! It seemed like an overwhelming task that can only be achieved one pipe at a time. So each time I finish one of the pipes from Bob Kerr’s Estate I look forward to what it will look like when it is put back together, polished and waxed. I put the bowl and stem back together. I polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the briar and the vulcanite. I gave the bowl and 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 rich dark brown and black sandblast finish really popped with buffing showing the contrast colours of stain on the pipe. The polished thin black vulcanite stem went really well with the colours of the bowl. The sandblast rim top, though slightly damaged looked very good. This old GBD Historic Sandblast 115 Billiard was another fun pipe to work on thanks to Jeff’s cleanup work. It really has the classic GBD Billiard shape that is very recognizable. The combination of various stains really makes the pipe look attractive. It is another comfortable pipe to hold in the hand. The finished pipe is shown 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 carrying on Bob’s legacy with this pipe send me a message or an email. I have a lot more to work on of various brands. 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.

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Working on a GBD Original 115 Beveled Rim Billiard from Bob Kerr’s Estate


Blog by Steve Laug

I am continuing to work through Bob Kerr’s estate. The next pipe on the table is a GBD Original Billiard, sandblasted bowl and shank with a smooth beveled rim and a smooth panel on the underside of the shank with the stamping. I am continuing to cleanup Bob’s estate for his family and moving them out into the hands of pipemen and women who will carry on the trust that began with Bob and in some pipes was carried on by Bob. In the collection there were a total of 125 pipes along with a box of parts. This is the largest estate that I have had the opportunity to work on. I put together a spread sheet of the pipes and stampings to create an invoice. I was taking on what would take me a fair amount of time to clean up. I could not pass up the opportunity to work on these pipes though. They were just too tempting.

I have been collecting and restoring GBD pipes for as long as I have worked on pipes. This one also has a beautiful mix of grain under the grime on the sandblast finish. It is quite beautiful! The pipe is stamped GBD in an oval over Original on the underside of the shank. That is followed by stamping London, England and the shape number 115. It had a rich mix of black and dark brown stain that does not look too bad. There was a thick cake in the bowl with remnants of tobacco stuck on the walls. There was a lava overflow on the rim. The inner beveled edge of the rim and top are dirty and had a thick lava coat. The edges look pretty pristine under the grime. It was a beautiful pipe that was dirty and tired looking. The stem was oxidized and calcified toward the end. Again, surprisingly did not have the tooth marks that I have come to expect from Bob’s pipes. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work on it. Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the lava build up on the edges of the bowl. It was thick and hard but hopefully it had protected the rim and edges from damage. The edges look pretty good.     Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the finish. You can see the beautiful grain through the sandblast – both birdseye and cross grain. The finish was very dirty.     Jeff took photos of the stamping on the smooth panel on the underside of the shank. The stamping was readable as you can see from the photos. On the underside it read GBD in an oval over Original. That was followed by London, England over the shape number 115. On the left side of the saddle stem was an inlaid GBD rondel.  Jeff took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the tooth chatter, scratching and oxidation on the stem surface and wear on the edges of the button. I turned to Pipedia’s article on GBD to see if I could find any information on the Original. It was a line of GBD pipes that was new to me. The article gives a lot in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD). There is nothing specific on the Original line.

I also turned to the reference page on the site for GBD shapes and numbers and found the one for the 115 shape but it called it a Prince of Wales and said that the saddle stem had a 1/8 bend. To me a Prince of Wales is a Prince shape pipe and the one that I was working on is definitely a billiard (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD_Shapes/Numbers). The vagaries of clearly pinning down GBD Shapes is evident in this seeming contradiction. I also did a screen capture of the section and from the various Model information. That also was an interesting conundrum in that the pipe in my hand was not smooth but had a sandblast finish like the Prehistoric with a smooth beveled rim top. I combined the screen captures in one picture below (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD_Model_Information).     All of my research did not really help pin anything down. The shape number was a dead end contradiction as was the line description. I was dealing with a bit of anomaly – a Sandblast Original Billiard with a straight thin bit stem. In terms of dating the pipe I can only guess that it fits in with the late 50s to late 60s of Bob’s other pipes but I cannot know for sure. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

With over 125 pipes to clean from Bob’s estate I took a batch of them to the states with me on a recent visit and left them with Jeff so he could help me out. 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 good. The stem still sported some deep oxidation but otherwise it was clean. I took photos before I started my part of the work.    I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show what an amazing job Jeff did in the cleanup of the rim top. The rim top looks good. There is some darkening on the top edge and a few light nicks and scratches on the surface. The bowl looked very good. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the few small dents on the surface of the stem. You can also see the remaining oxidation on the stem surface.       I am going to keep posting the next paragraph because of the importance of protecting the stamping/nomenclature.

One of the things I appreciate about Jeff’s cleanup is that he works to protect and preserve the nomenclature on the shank of the pipes that he works on. The stamping on this one was very faint to start with so I was worried that it would disappear altogether with the cleanup. He was not only able to preserve it but it is clearer than shown in the earlier photos. I took some photos to show the clarity of the stamping. I have noticed that many restorers are not careful to protect the stamping in their cleaning process and often by the end of the restoration the nomenclature is almost destroyed. I would like to encourage all of us to be careful in our work to preserve this as it is a critical piece of pipe restoration!Since this is another pipe Bob’s estate I am sure that some of you have read at least some of the other restoration work that has been done on the previous pipes. You have also read what I have included about Bob Kerr, the pipeman who held these pipes in trust before I came to work on them (see photo to the left). Also, if you have followed the blog for long you will already know that I like to include background information on the pipeman whose pipes I am restoring. For me, when I am working on an estate I really like to have a sense of the person who held the pipes in trust before I worked on them. It gives me another dimension of the restoration work. I asked Brian if he or his wife would like to write a brief biographical tribute to her father, Bob. His daughter worked on it and I received the following short write up on him and some pictures to go along with the words including one of Bob’s carvings. Once again I thank you Brian and tell your wife thank you as well.

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

Now, on to the rest of the restoration on this GBD Original 115 Billiard. Since Jeff had done such an amazing clean up job on the bowl it was going to be a very easy job for me. There was some darkening on the inner beveled edge of the rim that needed to be addressed. I sanded it with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to remove and minimize the damage to the bevel. I continued by starting to polish it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I wiped the rim edge down with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust on the briar. The finished rim top looked much better than when I started.I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth and shoe brush to raise the shine. Mark Hoover’s Balm is a product that I have come to appreciate and one I use on every pipe I have been working on.     I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to break up the oxidation. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to remove the scratching. It is starting to look good.    I have one more tin of Denicare Mouthpiece Polish left from a few that I have picked up over the years. It is a coarse red pasted that serves to help remove oxidation. I polished the stem with that to further smooth out the surface of the vulcanite (and to be honest – to use it up).    I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. Once I had finished the polishing I gave it final coat of oil and set it aside to dry.   I can’t tell you how great it feels to be moving through these 125 pipes – about 35 done so far! It seemed like an overwhelming task that can only be achieved one pipe at a time. So each time I finish one of the pipes from Bob Kerr’s Estate I look forward to what it will look like when it is put back together, polished and waxed. I put the bowl and stem back together. I polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the briar and the vulcanite. I gave the bowl and 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 rich dark brown and black sandblast finish really popped with buffing showing the contrast colours of stain on the pipe. The polished thin black vulcanite stem went really well with the colours of the bowl. The smooth beveled rim top really stood out and gave the pipe a bit of class. This old GBD Original Sandblast 115 Billiard was another fun pipe to work on thanks to Jeff’s cleanup work. It really has the classic GBD Billiard shape that is very recognizable. The combination of various stains really makes the pipe look attractive. It is another comfortable pipe to hold in the hand. The finished pipe is shown 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 carrying on Bob’s legacy with this pipe send me a message or an email. I have a lot more to work on of various brands. 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.

Working on a GBD New Era 122 Beveled Rim Billiard from Bob Kerr’s Estate


Blog by Steve Laug

I am continuing to work through Bob Kerr’s estate. The next pipe on the table is a GBD New Era Billiard. I am continuing to cleanup Bob’s estate for his family and moving them out into the hands of pipemen and women who will carry on the trust that began with Bob and in some pipes was carried on by Bob. In the collection there were a total of 125 pipes along with a box of parts. This is the largest estate that I have had the opportunity to work on. I put together a spread sheet of the pipes and stampings to create an invoice. I was taking on what would take me a fair amount of time to clean up. I could not pass up the opportunity to work on these pipes though. They were just too tempting.

I have been collecting and restoring GBD pipes for as long as I have worked on pipes. This one also has some beautiful mixed grain underneath the grime. It is quite beautiful! The pipe is stamped GBD in an oval over New Era on the left side of the shank. On the right side it is stamped London, England over the shape number 122. It had a rich medium brown stain that does not look too bad. There was a thick cake in the bowl with remnants of tobacco stuck on the walls. There was a lava overflow on the rim. The inner beveled edge of the rim and top are dirty and had a thick lava coat. The edges look pretty pristine under the grime. It was a beautiful pipe that was dirty and tired looking. The stem was oxidized and calcified toward the end. Again, surprisingly did not have the tooth marks that I have come to expect from Bob’s pipes. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work on it.Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the lava build up on the edges of the bowl. It was thick and hard but hopefully it had protected the rim and edges from damage. The edges look pretty good.      Jeff took photos of the side and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the finish. You can see the beautiful grain – both birdseye and cross grain. The finish was very dirty.    Jeff took photos of the stamping on the smooth panel on the underside of the shank. The stamping was readable as you can see from the photos. On the left side it read GBD in an oval over New Era. On the right side it is stamped London, England over the shape number 122. On the left side of the tapered stem was an inlaid GBD roundel. Jeff took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the tooth chatter, scratching and oxidation on the stem surface and wear on the edges of the button.    I turned to Pipedia’s article on GBD to see if I could find any information on the Popular. It was a line of GBD pipes that was new to me. The article gives a lot in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD). I have included a paragraph from the site below as well as a page from a catalogue.

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.There was a fellow on Facebook Tobacco Pipe Restorers Group who picked up some booklets and pamphlets on GBD pipes. I messaged him and asked him to send me info on the New Era line. This photo gives a pretty good description. Combined with the one above it is an interesting mystery. The first document above says that the pipe has “a rich ruby finish” while the one below says it is “accentuated by a warm brown two-tone finish.” The pipe I am working on definitely sits somewhere between these two descriptions – it has a reddish brown finish.I also turned to the reference page on the site for GBD shapes and numbers and found the one for the straight bulldog that I was working on (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD_Shapes/Numbers). I did a screen capture of the section and from the various Model information. I combined them below (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD_Model_Information).   The fellow on Facebook also included the next photo that shows the shape and description of the 122. GBD calls it a Long Billiard with a Taper Mouthpiece.I now knew I was dealing with a well-made hand chosen piece of briar that had gone through a period of long seasoning. In terms of dating the pipe I figure that it fits in with the late 50s to late 60s of Bob’s other pipes but I cannot know for sure. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

With over 125 pipes to clean from Bob’s estate I took a batch of them to the states with me on a recent visit and left them with Jeff so he could help me out. 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 close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show what an amazing job Jeff did in the cleanup of the rim top. The rim top looks good. There is some darkening on the top edge and a few light nicks and scratches on the surface. The bowl looked very good. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the scratches and lack of tooth marks on the stem. You can also see the remaining oxidation on the stem surface.     I am going to keep posting the next paragraph because of the importance of protecting the stamping/nomenclature.

One of the things I appreciate about Jeff’s cleanup is that he works to protect and preserve the nomenclature on the shank of the pipes that he works on. The stamping on this one was very faint to start with so I was worried that it would disappear altogether with the cleanup. He was not only able to preserve it but it is clearer than shown in the earlier photos. I took some photos to show the clarity of the stamping. I have noticed that many restorers are not careful to protect the stamping in their cleaning process and often by the end of the restoration the nomenclature is almost destroyed. I would like to encourage all of us to be careful in our work to preserve this as it is a critical piece of pipe restoration!Since this is another pipe Bob’s estate I am sure that some of you have read at least some of the other restoration work that has been done on the previous pipes. You have also read what I have included about Bob Kerr, the pipeman who held these pipes in trust before I came to work on them (see photo to the left). Also, if you have followed the blog for long you will already know that I like to include background information on the pipeman whose pipes I am restoring. For me, when I am working on an estate I really like to have a sense of the person who held the pipes in trust before I worked on them. It gives me another dimension of the restoration work. I asked Brian if he or his wife would like to write a brief biographical tribute to her father, Bob. His daughter worked on it and I received the following short write up on him and some pictures to go along with the words including one of Bob’s carvings. Once again I thank you Brian and tell your wife thank you as well.

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

Now on to the rest of the restoration on this GBD New Era Billiard. Since Jeff had done such an amazing clean up job on the bowl it was very easy for me. There was some darkening on the inner beveled edge of the rim that needed to be addressed. I sanded it with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to remove and minimize the damage to the bevel. I continued by starting to polish it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I wiped the rim edge down with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust on the briar. The finished rim top looked much better than when I started.There was a deep cut or groove in the briar on the left side of the bowl. It looked like someone had scratched it against hard surface leaving a deep gouge. I filled in the gouge with clear super glue. Once the glue had dried I sanded it smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and blended it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.  I used a Maple stain pen to touch up the sanded area to match the rest of the bowl. It looked very good and would completely blend once the bowl was polished with micromesh.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads to blend in the stain and to polish the briar and remove the scratches in the surface of the bowl, heel and shank. I wet sanded with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped the bowl down between each pad with a damp cloth.   I decided to clean the briar with Mark Hoover’s Before & After Briar Cleaner to clean up the sanded surface of the briar and blend sanded rim edge. I rubbed it into the surface of the briar and let it sit for 10 minutes. I rinsed the bowl off with warm running water to remove the product and the grime.       I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it 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 and shoe brush to raise the shine. Mark Hoover’s Balm is a product that I have come to appreciate and one I use on every pipe I have been working on.     I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to break up the oxidation. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to remove the scratching. It is starting to look good.    I have one more tin of Denicare Mouthpiece Polish left from a few that I have picked up over the years. It is a coarse red pasted that serves to help remove oxidation. I polished the stem with that to further smooth out the surface of the vulcanite (and to be honest – to use it up).   I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. Once I had finished the polishing I gave it final coat of oil and set it aside to dry.       I am excited to be finishing another one of Bob Kerr’s Estate pipes and as usual I look forward to what it will look like when it is put back together, polished and waxed. I put the bowl and stem back together. I polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the briar and the vulcanite. I gave the bowl and 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 rich reddish brown finish really popped with buffing showing the contrast colours of stain on the pipe. The polished black vulcanite stem went really well with the colours of the bowl. This old GBD New Era 122 Billiard was another fun pipe to work on thanks to Jeff’s cleanup work. It really has the classic GBD Billiard shape that is very recognizable. The combination of various stains really makes the pipe look attractive. It is a comfortable pipe to hold in the hand. The finished pipe is shown 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. If you are interested in carrying on Bob’s legacy with this pipe send me a message or an email. I have a lot more to work on of various brands. 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.

Working on a GBD Popular 233 Straight Bulldog from Bob Kerr’s Estate


Blog by Steve Laug

I am continuing to work through Bob Kerr’s estate. The next pipe on the table is a GBD Popular 233 sand blast bulldog. I am cleaning up Bob’s estate for his family and moving them out into the hands of pipemen and women who will carry on the trust that began with Bob and in some pipes was carried on by Bob. In the collection there were 19 Peterson’s pipes along with a bevy of Dunhills, some Comoy’s and Barlings as well as a lot of other pipes – a total of 125 pipes along with a box of parts. This is the largest estate that I have had the opportunity to work on. I put together a spread sheet of the pipes and stampings to create an invoice. I was taking on what would take me a fair amount of time to clean up. I could not pass up the opportunity to work on these pipes though. They were just too tempting.

I have been collecting and restoring GBD pipes for as long as I have worked on pipes. This one also has some beautiful mixed grain underneath the sandblast finish. It is quite beautiful! The pipe is stamped GBD over Popular on the left underside of the shank. It is stamped with GBD in an oval over Popular. Underneath that it is stamped Made in England followed by the shape number 233. It had a rich oxblood stain that does not look too bad. There was a thick cake in the bowl with remnants of tobacco stuck on the walls. There was a light lava overflow on the rim. The inner beveled edge of the rim and top are dirty and had a thick lava coat. The edges look pretty pristine under the grime. It was a beautiful pipe that was dirty and tired looking. The stem was oxidized and calcified toward the end. Again, surprisingly did not have the tooth marks that I have come to expect from Bob’s pipes. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work on it.   Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the lava build up on the edges of the bowl. It was thick and hard but hopefully it had protected the rim and edges from damage. The edges look pretty good.    Jeff took a photo of the side and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the finish. You can see the beautiful grain. The finish was very dirty. Jeff took photos of the stamping on the smooth panel on the underside of the shank. The stamping was readable as you can see from the photos. On the left underside it read GBD in an oval over Popular. Under that it read Made In England over the shape number 233. On the left side of the saddle stem was an inlaid GBD roundel.  Jeff took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the tooth chatter, scratching and oxidation on the stem surface and wear on the edges of the button.   I turned to Pipedia’s article on GBD to see if I could find any information on the Popular. It was a line of GBD pipes that was new to me. The article gives a lot in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD).

I also turned to the reference page on the site for GBD shapes and numbers and found the one for the straight bulldog that I was working on (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD_Shapes/Numbers). I did a screen capture of the section.I had also worked on a similar pipe (2331) that was a smooth bulldog. I went back and reread the blog I had written on that restoration (https://rebornpipes.com/tag/gbd-popular-pipes/). I read about the pipe there but I had not found any information in that blog that helped to date the line.

I had exhausted the information available to me on the Popular line and was no closer to a date or time period for this pipe. I am guessing that it fits in with the late 50s to late 60s of Bob’s other pipes but I cannot know for sure. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

With over 125 pipes to clean from Bob’s estate I took a batch of them to the states with me on a recent visit and left them with Jeff so he could help me out. 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 close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show what an amazing job Jeff did in the cleanup of the rim top. The rim top looks very good. The sandblast finish is very nice. The bowl looked very good. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the scratches and lack of tooth marks on the stem. You can also see the remaining oxidation on the stem surface.Since this is another pipe Bob’s estate I am sure that some of you have read at least some of the other restoration work that has been done on the previous pipes. You have also read what I have included about Bob Kerr, the pipeman who held these pipes in trust before I came to work on them (see photo to the left). Also, if you have followed the blog for long you will already know that I like to include background information on the pipeman whose pipes I am restoring. For me, when I am working on an estate I really like to have a sense of the person who held the pipes in trust before I worked on them. It gives me another dimension of the restoration work. I asked Brian if he or his wife would like to write a brief biographical tribute to her father, Bob. His daughter worked on it and I received the following short write up on him and some pictures to go along with the words including one of Bob’s carvings. Once again I thank you Brian and tell your wife thank you as well.

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

Now on to the rest of the restoration on this GBD Popular Straight Bulldog. Since Jeff had done such an amazing clean up job on the bowl it was very easy for me. There was some darkening on the inner beveled edge of the rim that needed to be addressed. I sanded it with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to remove and minimize the damage to the bevel. I continued by starting to polish it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I wiped the rim edge down with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust on the briar. The finished rim top looked much better than when I started.I decided to clean the briar with Mark Hoover’s Before & After Briar Cleaner to clean up the sanded surface of the briar and blend sanded rim edge. I rubbed it into the surface of the briar and let it sit for 10 minutes. I rinsed the bowl off with warm running water to remove the product and the grime.   I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth and shoe brush to raise the shine. Mark Hoover’s Balm is a product that I have come to appreciate and one I use on every pipe I have been working on.    I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to break up the oxidation. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to remove the scratching. It is starting to look good.   I have one more tin of Denicare Mouthpiece Polish left from a few that I have picked up over the years. It is a coarse red pasted that serves to help remove oxidation. I polished the stem with that to further smooth out the surface of the vulcanite (and to be honest – to use it up). I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. Once I had finished the polishing I gave it final coat of oil and set it aside to dry.    I am excited to be on the homestretch of another one of Bob Kerr’s Estate pipes and I look forward to the final look when it is put back together, polished and waxed. I put the bowl and stem back together. I polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the briar and the vulcanite. I gave the bowl and 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 sand blast finish really popped with buffing showing the contrast colours of reds and black stain on the finish. The polished black vulcanite stem went really well with the multi-faceted colours of the sand blast on the bowl. This old GBD Popular straight Bulldog was another fun pipe to work on thanks to Jeff’s cleanup work. It really has a shape that catches the eye. The combination of various stains really makes the pipe look attractive. It is a comfortable pipe to hold in the hand. The finished pipe is shown 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 carrying on Bob’s legacy with this pipe send me a message or an email. I have a lot more to work on of various brands. 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.

 

Cleaning up a GBD London Made 9664


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I chose to work on has been sitting on my desk for a few weeks and since I just finished an older GBD Standard I decided to pick this GBD London Made up and work on it. It came in a recent box from my brother Jeff. He picked it up in one of the online auctions he frequents. It is interestingly shaped GBD – not even sure what I would call the shape as it is a bit of a Dublin and a bit of a pick axe. Very unique. The pipe is stamped on the top of the oval shank GBD in and oval London Made. On the underside of the shank it is stamped London, England over 9664 with a letter “E” stamped near the stem shank junction. The grain showing through the grime is a mix of swirls, cross grain and birdseye around the bowl sides and shank. It had a rich reddish brown stain but the finish was dirty and hard to see the colour well. There was a thick cake in the bowl and a light overflow of lava on the rim top. There was some darkening around the inner edge of the bowl and what looked like some damage toward the back edge. The stem was oxidized with light tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside near the button. The button was in excellent condition. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work on it. Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the lava build up on the edges of the bowl. The cake and edge speak to this being a good smoking pipe.Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the finish – the pipe was dirty but the finish appeared to be in very good condition.  Jeff took photos of the stamping on the topside of the oval shank. The stamping was very readable – it read GBD in an oval over London Made. On the underside it read London, England over the shape number 9664 with the letter “E” near the shank/stem union.  Jeff took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the scratching, oxidation and light tooth damage to the stem surface and slight wear to the edges of the button. 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 close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show the clean top and the damage to the inner edge. The back of the bowl had been charred and there was some roughening and darkening around the rest of the inner edge of the bowl. The inside of the bowl looked very good. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the remaining oxidation and the lack of tooth marks and chatter in front of the button on both sides. There is also a faint remnant of the GBD oval stamp on the top of the saddle.I also took photos of the stamping on the pipe on the top underside of the shank. It read as noted above.  I started my work on the pipe by addressing the burned area on the inner edge of the rim. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the damage and give the edge a very slight bevel to remove the damage.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the finish of the bowl and the rim top with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I find that the balm really makes the briar come alive again. The contrasts in the layers of stain really made the grain stand out. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The pipe really looks good at this point. I am very happy with the results.  I set the bowl aside and started working on the stem. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to blend the chatter and remaining marks into the surface of the stem. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I wiped the stem off with Obsidian Oil to remove the dust and see where I was at with the stem. I rubbed the stem down with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish. I have a few tins of this laying around so I am trying to use them up. It does a pretty good job polishing the stem. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped it down with Obsidian Oil. I polished it further with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both fine and extra fine. I finished by wiping it down with Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem back on the bowl and polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. 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 shine on it makes the variations of colour really pop. The pipe polished up really well. The polished black vulcanite stem seemed to truly come alive with the buffing. This uniquely shaped pipe feels great in my hand and when it warms with smoking I think it will be about perfect. It must have been a fine smoking pipe judging from the condition it was when we received it. There should be a lot of life left in this GBD London Made 9664E.  Have a look at it in the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This is one that will go on the rebornpipes online store shortly. If you want to carry on the pipe trust of this unique GBD London Made let me know. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners, we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next pipeman or woman.

Back to Bob Kerr’s Estate – Working on a GBD Standard 9136 Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

I am changing up my work on Bob Kerr’s estate again by taking on this GBD Standard 9136 bent billiard. This is the first of his GBD pipes that I am working on. I am cleaning them for the family and moving them out into the hands of pipemen and women who will carry on the trust that began with Bob and in some pipes was carried on by Bob. In the collection there were 19 Peterson’s pipes along with a bevy of Dunhills, some Comoy’s and Barlings as well as a lot of other pipes – a total of 125 pipes along with a box of parts. This is the largest estate that I have had the opportunity to work on. I put together a spread sheet of the pipes and stampings to create an invoice. I was taking on what would take me a fair amount of time to clean up. I could not pass up the opportunity to work on these pipes though. They were just too tempting. This lovely GBD Standard is a great break. It is a shape that is interesting and unique. It will go on the rebornpipes store.

I have been collecting and restoring GBD pipes for as long as I have worked on pipes. This one also has some beautiful mixed grain – birdseye, cross and flame grain. It is a beauty! The pipe is stamped GBD over Standard on the left side of the shank. On the right side it is stamped London, England followed by the shape number, 9136. The swirls of grain poking through the grime and dirt are a mixture that leaves a rich look and feel. It had a rich brown stain that does not look too bad. There are nicks in the briar on the sides and heel of the bowl. There was a thick cake in the bowl with remnants of tobacco stuck on the walls. There was a light lava overflow on the rim. The edges of the rim and top are dirty but look pretty pristine under the grime. It was a beautiful pipe that was dirty and tired looking. The stem was oxidized and calcified toward the end. Again, surprisingly did not have the tooth marks that I have come to expect from Bob’s pipes. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work on it. Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the lava build up on the edges of the bowl. It was thick and hard but hopefully it had protected the rim and edges from damage. The edges look pretty good. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the finish. You can see the beautiful grain. The front of the bowl had some deep nicks toward the bottom of the bowl as seen in the first photo. The finish was very dirty.   Jeff took photos of the stamping on the smooth panel on the underside of the bowl and shank. The stamping was readable as you can see from the photos. On the left side it read GBD in an oval over Standard. On the right side it read London, England over 9136. On the left side of the stem was an inlaid GBD roundel.  Jeff took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the tooth chatter, scratching and oxidation on the stem surface and wear on the edges of the button.I turned to Pipedia’s article on GBD to see if I could find any information on the Standard. I was familiar with the New Standard but not the Standard. The article gives a lot in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD). I quote the section where I found the reference to the Standard.

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.

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 Standard originally came out in the 20s. In the late 1930s the New Standard was introduced after the war. So this is one of Bob’s older pipes – late 1920s to early 30s. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

With over 125 pipes to clean from Bob’s estate I took a batch of them to the states with me on a recent visit and left them with Jeff so he could help me out. 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 close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show what an amazing job Jeff did in the cleanup of the rim top. The rim top looks very good. The sandblast finish is very nice. The bowl looked very good. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the lack of tooth marks and the remaining oxidation on the stem surface. Since this is another pipe Bob’s estate I am sure that some of you have read at least some of the other restoration work that has been done on the previous pipes. You have also read what I have included about Bob Kerr, the pipeman who held these pipes in trust before I came to work on them (see photo to the left). Also, if you have followed the blog for long you will already know that I like to include background information on the pipeman whose pipes I am restoring. For me, when I am working on an estate I really like to have a sense of the person who held the pipes in trust before I worked on them. It gives me another dimension of the restoration work. I asked Brian if he or his wife would like to write a brief biographical tribute to her father, Bob. His daughter worked on it and I received the following short write up on him and some pictures to go along with the words including one of Bob’s carvings. Once again I thank you Brian and tell your wife thank you as well.

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

Now on to the rest of the restoration on this GBD Standard Bent Billiard. Since Jeff had done such an amazing clean up job on the bowl it was very easy for me. There was some small damage on the front of the bowl that needed to be address. It was surrounded by a shiny ring that looked like someone had tried to repair it before. I wiped it down with acetone and filled in the damaged area with clear super glue. When the glue dried I sanded the repaired area down with 220 grit sandpaper and polished it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust. I touched up the sanded area with an oak stain pen. I carefully blended it into the surrounding surface of the briar.I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth and shoe brush to raise the shine. Mark Hoover’s Balm is a product that I have come to appreciate and one I use on every pipe I have been working on. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to break up the oxidation. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to remove the scratching. It is starting to look good. I rubbed the stem down with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish. I have a few tins of this laying around so I am trying to use them up. It does a pretty good job polishing the stem. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. Once I had finished the polishing I gave it final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. I am excited to be on the homestretch with this pipe and I look forward to the final look when it is put back together, polished and waxed. I put the bowl and stem back together. I polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the briar and the vulcanite. I gave the bowl and 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 grain really popped with the polished black vulcanite. This old GBD Standard bent billiard was another fun pipe to work on thanks to Jeff’s cleanup work. It really has a shape that catches the eye. The combination of various brown stains really makes the pipe look attractive. It is a comfortable pipe to hold in the hand. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. If you are interested in carrying on Bob’s legacy with this pipe send me a message or an email. I have a lot more to work on of various brands. 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.

Cleaning up a Striking GBD Constitution Made in London England, 1978 Calabash


Blog by Dal Stanton

This beautiful GBD came into my collection from the eBay auction block from a seller located in Cocoa, Florida, USA.  When I saw it, I decided I wanted it, thinking I would add it to my own personal collection, but in the end I added it to the ‘For “Pipe Dreamers” Only!’ collection where Lowell saw it.  Lowell became the very happy steward of a striking Poker, what I called, Refreshing a ‘Faux’ Mastro de Paja Poker in the write-up.  It was not actually a Mastro de Paja, but the Poker was absolutely striking and Lowell has expressed his appreciation for this addition to his collection on several occasions.I’ve communicated with Lowell now and again on various FaceBook pipe man groups and when he messaged me about the GBD Constitution, it didn’t surprise me that it got his attention!  He commissioned it and I’m thankful for his patience as the GBD worked its way up the queue and now is on my worktable, and it benefits the Daughters of Bulgaria – our work here in Bulgaria helping women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Here are pictures of the GBD Constitution now on my worktable which I would call a briar Calabash shape. A very short history of GBD by Jerry Hannah is in a PDF file that Rebornpipes contributor, Al Jones, shared with me.  The PDF is entitled ‘GBD Pipe Shape & Model Listings’.

The company was founded in Paris France in the 19th century by Ganeval, Boundier and Donninger who were no longer associated with the company by the turn of the century. By the time they left the GBD name was well established and thus retained. In 1903 an additional factory was built in England and ran by Oppenheimer. 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.

Based upon information I’ve gleaned from communications with Al, this GBD is like others that I’ve restored that straddle the transition when the Cadogan takeover happened.  From a previous communication I had with Al discussing the GBD Americana I previously restored (See LINK), he wrote:

Typically, the stamping used on pre-Cadogan pipes is the straight line COM, “London, England” stamp (see attached) combine with the brass rondell stem logo. Cadogan era pipes (made after 1981) have the round “Made in London” (with England under) COM, as shown on your pipe.  But, they typically have stamped stem logos. I see these pipes occasionally, and my assumption is they were made after the merger, until the brass rondell inventory was exhausted.  One common denominator on these pipes is a single letter.  I have no idea as to what it may mean, but M is frequently used.

These pipes also had many more finish names, like your Americana, that were not scene before. Comoy’s started doing the same thing, adding lines and letters just after the merger. I’ll look forward to seeing the restored pipe, it looks like a good candidate.

The GBD Constitution falls into the early 80s most likely since it still carries the brass rondel on the stem, which was used pre-Cadogan, but shows the post-Cadogan rounded MADE IN LONDON over ENGLAND.  Al’s guess is that they used the brass rondels until the inventory was eventually exhausted after 1981.  As Al said, GBD had many line names after 1981 and ‘Constitution’ is one of them.  The one on my worktable doesn’t have the rogue ‘M’ but a rogue ‘L’ – I’m not sure what it signifies either.  I’m open to input on this!  I could not find the shape number 1978 in any of the random lists of GBD shape charts that I have.  Even so, I’m calling this GBD a briar Calabash.

Looking at the pipe itself, the chamber has a light cake build-up with lava covering the rim.  The briar on this stummel is beautiful and needs cleaning from usual wear.  The acrylic stem is beautiful but has been scuffed up with some with minor tooth chatter.  It also shows interesting looking sub-surface imperfections just above the GBD brass rondell.  I call them imperfections – they look like cracks or bubbles.  Perhaps sanding will address these….

I begin the cleanup of the GBD by reaming the chamber using the Pipnet Reaming Kit.  I use 3 of the 4 blade heads available and then switch to using the Savinelli Fitsall Tool.  I scrape the chamber walls further and then finish the chamber cake removal by sanding using 240 grade paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen.  Finally, I wipe the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95% to remove the remaining carbon dust.  After inspection of the chamber, I see no heating problems.  I move on. Moving directly to cleaning the external surface, using undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a cotton pad, I begin work on the stummel surface as well as the thick lava on the rim.  I also use a bristled toothbrush and a brass bristled brush on the rim.  I then take the stummel to the sink and continue to clean using anti-oil dish liquid soap with the bristled toothbrush to scrub the rim and shank brushes through the mortise and airway.  After rinsing I go back to the table and take some pictures.  The rim cleaned up beautifully. Next, to further clean the mortise, I use isopropyl 95% with cotton buds and pipe cleaners.  It doesn’t take much and the buds and pipe cleaners are coming out clean.Looking now at the rim, it has a tight, classy internal bevel that looks good.  I use both 470 and 600 grade papers to freshen it with crisper lines.  I also lightly sand the rim with both grades of paper to freshen it.  It’s in good shape and the grain will be looking good over the rim. The stummel is generally in good shape, but inspecting it closely, as expected with normal wear, there are fine scratches scattered over the surface.  I take a picture of one such scratch below to understand what I see.To address these light scratches and to clean up the surface, I like using sanding sponges which are great for cleaning the surface but not very invasive.  I use 3 sponges, from a coarser and medium grade to a light grade to sponge sand the surface.  The results are good.Working now on the acrylic stem, I had a question about the kind of acrylic this GBD stem was.  Being in the early 80s I didn’t think it was Perspex, the earlier clear acrylic that GBD utilized.  If this is the earlier Perspex, then I would not use alcohol or isopropyl 95% to clean the airway which can craze or shatter the acrylic.  After shooting a quick question to Steve, I was confirmed by him in my use of isopropyl 95% to work on this 80s vintage acrylic stem.  It didn’t take a lot of work and pipe cleaners emerged clean.The bit has very mild tooth chatter, mainly on the lower side.I use 240 grade sanding paper first to sand out the tooth chatter on the upper and lower bit.I then use 470 and 600 grade papers to smooth the acrylic bit further.  I expand the sanding by wet sanding the entire stem with 600 grade paper followed by applying 000 grade steel wool.I press forward using the full regimen of 9 micromesh pads on the acrylic stem.  First, I wet sand using pads 1500 to 2400 then follow by dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and then with pads 6000 to 12000.  After each set of 3, as with vulcanite stems, I apply a coat of Obsidian Oil.  The rich, swirling honey colored acrylic looks great, but something is bothering me. I saw this acrylic imperfection around the brass rondel previously but decided to let it go because I thought the sanding I applied would work it out.  True, the coarser 240 grade sanding paper was only applied to the bit, not to this area.  The problem with these imperfections is that it’s not clear that they are on the surface of the acrylic.  I look at the area with a magnifying glass and probe lightly with a sharp dental probe to see if I can feel a surface disturbance and I don’t.  The reality is that I could detour here and sand and be left with the same problems because they are deeper in the acrylic.  How much sanding would it take and what is sacrificed in the rounding of the stem around the GBD roundel?  Sometimes being somewhat of a perfectionist is a problem – not being able to let go of an imperfection!  The following pictures shows the source of my consternation.I decide to do a compromise detour.  I suspect that the bubbling or cracking in the acrylic is deeper than sanding can address, but I will test the impact of sanding with a light strategic sanding of this area above the rondell using 240 grade paper.  I want to see if it makes a difference.  If not, I will move on.  The first picture shows some strategic sanding with 240 grade paper.Using the spittle approach to clean the area, I can see residual imperfections.  After sanding a little more, I come to the quick decision that sanding will not fully address these imperfections.  To remove them would require more sanding than this stem can muster.I’ll spare you the pictures,  that resulted in the final picture below after again applying 600 grade paper, 000 steel wool and 9 micromesh pads 1500 to 12000 and Obsidian Oil.  The result is that the detoured sanding may have reduced the presentation of the imperfections in the acrylic, but they are not fully removed.  As with life and our imperfections, they go with us!  I move on.The GBD Constitution stummel is waiting for attention.  To further clean the briar surface and coax out the beautiful vertical flame grain, I take the stummel through the full regimen of micromesh pads.  Sanding with pads 1500 to 2400 the process begins with wet sanding.  This is followed by dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and then with pads 6000 to 12000.  The pictures show the progression – I like what I see!  There is no doubt in my mind that this GBD Constitution Calabash comes off an upper shelf.  The grain emerges through the micromesh process with no shyness! Next, to bring out the subtle natural briar hues in this already striking grain, I apply Before & After Restoration Balm to the stummel.  I apply it on my fingers and work the Balm into the briar grain.  It starts off having a thinner viscosity, like cream then gradually thickens into a waxier texture as it’s worked in.  After applying it thoroughly, I set it aside to allow the Balm to absorb and do its thing – the picture below captures this. I let it set for 20 minutes or so and then wipe the excess Balm off with a cloth and then buff up the stummel with a micromesh cloth.After reuniting the stem and stummel, I apply Blue Diamond to the pipe.  I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel, set the speed to 40% full power and apply the compound.After finishing with the compound, I wipe the pipe with a felt cloth to remove the compound dust in preparation for applying the wax.  I change to another cotton cloth buffing wheel and keeping the speed the same, I apply Carnauba wax to the GBD Constitution Calabash.  After applying the wax, I hand buff the pipe with a microfiber cloth to raise the shine.My, oh my!  This GBD Constitution Made in London England was eye catching before I began the restoration, now its simply amazing.  I can’t get over the grain on this stummel.  The flame of the grain is beautiful as it rises vertically toward the rim.  The gentle sweep of the Calabash as it transitions from bowl, to shank, to stem, and to button, is very nice and cradles well in the hand.  The only imperfection in this pipe are the small specks in the acrylic stem next to the rondell.  Notwithstanding, a very nice pipe to add to the collection!  Lowell commissioned the GBD Constitution Calabash benefiting the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  As the ‘commissioner’, Lowell will have the first opportunity to acquire the pipe from ThePipeSteward Store.  Thanks for joining me!