Tag Archives: GBD pipes

Paresh’s Grandfather’s Pipe #1 – An Early GBD Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

I have repaired several pipes for Paresh in India over the past four months or so and not long ago he sent me a box of seven of his Grandfather’s pipes. There is an interesting assortment of older pipes that come from the time period of 1937-1950s. His Grandfather worked for the Indian Railroad for many years and was a pipeman. Paresh follows in his love of the pipe and just recently found out that his Grandfather smoked a pipe as well. The first of the pipes I am working on for him is a GBD. It is an older one that has a silver band on the shank that is stamped with a GBD oval over four individual boxes – each is worn and hard to read. It is possible that it reads MRCLtd like the one in the first photo below which would identify the pipe as a French made GBD by Marechal, Ruchon & Co. Ltd. It could also be silver hallmarks with a lion (925 silver) and anchor (Birmingham) and two unreadable marks (one of which could give a date). Underneath them AO is stamped. AO could mean Alfred Oppenheimer which would date the pipe as after the Oppenheimer bought the brand in 1902 from MR&C Ltd. This would make it an early English made GBD pipe. The shank is stamped with a GBD Oval. There are no other stampings on the shank sides or the band. There is also a GBD Oval stamped on the left side of the saddle portion of the stem.Paresh’s wife Abha cleaned the pipes before she sent them to me here in Canada and did an amazing job cleaning them up. She reamed the bowl, cleaned the rim and scrubbed the exterior of the pipe and the stem with Murphy’s Oil Soap and cleaned off the buildup on the stem. She also cleaned off the silver band. The finish on the bowl is in very good condition and the GBD oval logo on the bowl was very readable. The silver band was scratched and worn. The GBD oval on the silver was faint but readable. The four hallmarks were very worn but it is possible that the first two are a lion and anchor but not certain. The stem was lightly oxidized on the underside and there was a GBD oval on the left side of the saddle portion of the stem. Interestingly for a stem that purports to be bite proof there is a deep tooth mark on the left side of the top near the button over the left twin bore and on the underside near the button on the right side. Both are directly over the twin bore airways.

The stem is unique and one that I have not come across before. From researching on the internet a bit it appears that the twin bore stem could be an early edition of the Tuskan Series that was London Made. Underneath the movable end cap diffuser it has something like the Tuskana Insertion with the twin bore stem. In the pipe I am working on it has the insert between the twin airways but it also has a diffuser cap at the end of the button. It is an amber coloured piece that covers the end of the button. There is a slight gap between the edge of the button and the cap that functions to diffuse the smoke. The end piece can be turned vertically to reveal the twin bore stem underneath. Like I said it is quite unique and I have not been able to find any other examples of this system on the internet. If any of you have any insight or information on this particular feature on GBD pipes please let me know. Thanks.I found an advertisement on the Pipedia link above which explains the Tuskana Insert. I have included that below.I took photos of the pipe before I started to work on it. It is a beautiful pipe that has some age on it. It has some very great looking grain on the bowl and shank. The rim top is worn, damaged on the surface and also has nicks around the inner edge of the bowl. The bowl was slightly out of round and there was still a light cake on the walls.I took a close up photo of the rim top and both sides of the stem. You can see the damage to the top and inner edge of the rim top in the first photo below. The second and third photo shows the top and underside of the stem. I have circled the tooth marks on both sides of the stem with red.I always enjoy getting some background information on the pipeman whose pipes I am restoring when I am working estate pipes from the family members. If you have followed rebornpipes for a while you have read a few of these summaries from estates like Kathy’s Dad, Barry’s Dad and Farida’s Dad. Each of them did a great job summarizing their fathers’ estates. Since the next group of seven pipes that I will be working came to from India and belonged to the Grandfather of Paresh, I asked him to write a short tribute to his Grandfather. What follows is his writeup.

Respected Sir,

Now that the first batch of my Grandfather’s pipes has reached you, I would like to share my memories of him with you, the aim being to provide you with an insight to his personality, the era in which he lived, and a brief history associated with the pipes that I have inherited from him.

My Grandfather, Ananta (named after an exotic seasonal white flower having lovely fragrance), was born in a small coastal town of Konkan region of Maharashtra, India, in 1918. These were very turbulent times when India’s freedom struggle against British rule was gathering momentum and the atmosphere was charged with “Quit India Movement”. Having completed his graduation from Bombay, he joined Railways in 1937. This also marked the beginning of his journey into the world of pipe smoking!!!!!

Having seen his potential, in 1945, he was sponsored by the Government to visit England, for gaining further experience and expertise in his profession. This was a period when India’s Independence was round the corner and efforts were being made to train Indians for various administrative appointments in future Independent India. He returned back to India after a year, in 1946 and with him came some pipes that he had purchased in England. I believe a few of his Petes, Barlings, Charatans and GBDs are from this visit.

In 1947, when the British finally left India for good, my Grandfather was gifted pipes by his British peers, subordinates and Superior Officers as a parting gift. He stayed in touch with a few of them over all these years, even visiting them in 1959-60. Some of his later era Charatans and Barlings and Pete are from this trip. He quit smoking in early 1970s (before I was even born!!!!) and his pipes were packed up. There were a number of pipes which were used as TINDER for lighting fires (CAN”T BELIEVE IT…… I have not overcome my grief of this loss till date!!!!!) due to ignorance!!!!!!

My Grandfather was a very strict disciplinarian and temperamental (I did not know this as he was neither when dealing with me as I am the youngest of all his grandchildren!!!!!! He was always the most understanding and loving person in my life). I later learned that in his office, he was not to be disturbed when his pipe was lit, as he would be in his thinking/ contemplating mode while it was just the opposite as he lit his pipe in the evening while at home, when he would be at his relaxed best!!!!.

The interesting part is that neither of us knew that we each smoked a pipe until after his demise in Jan 2018!!!! In our culture, to this day, smoking or alcohol consumption is socially never talked about (mute acceptance!!!). It was during his last rites that absent mindedly I lighted my pipe and looking into the flickering flames of his funeral pyre, remembered and recollected all the wonderful memories and talks that we had shared. No one said a word to me about my lighting up a pipe!!!!!! Immediately thereafter, I rejoined my duty station. A few days later, my wife, Abha, received a box from my Uncle with a note that said “Grandfather would have loved Paresh to have these”. This box contained a collection of his fountain pens and 8-10 of his pipes (since then as my folks are winding up his belongings, I have received 2-3 packets and a large number of pipes, some in decent condition and some in unspeakable state). Abha immediately messaged me with pictures of these pipes and pens. I had been collecting and restoring (no major repairs, though) fountain pens since long and immediately recognized some of them as highly collectibles, however, pipes were a totally different ball game! I was inexperienced with no knowledge/ information regarding various brands/ pipe makers, shapes and materials. I knew nothing about the value of these pipes, nothing about pipe restorations, nothing about caring for them; I mean zero knowledge about collecting pipes. I smoked some real cheap Chinese pipes which were readily and unfortunately, the only ones, available in India and some inexpensive pipes from eBay India!!!!! Also regular pipe cleaning, pipe rotation, pipe cleaners and such things were unknown to me.

Thus, to know more about the REAL pipes, I embarked upon the journey of exploring finer nuances of pipe brands/ makers, their history and watching “How to videos” on packing a pipe, cleaning, repairing and caring for ones pipes. I found it extremely interesting and satisfying. It was while meandering through this confusing quagmire of pipe world that I came across rebornpipes.com website and eventually established contact with you, Mr Steve, who has since been my mentor, guide and GURU, making this journey a wonderful and satisfying experience.

Sir, there is one more thing that I need to thank you for and that is when you asked me to write a brief about my grandfather and his pipes, I realized how little I knew about him, in fact, knew nothing, as I was not even aware that he was a “pipeman” as no one in my family ever spoke about it being taboo subject and since he had quit a long time before I was even born!!!! This led me to ask the elders in my family, questions on the subject and came to know the above details. I cannot thank you enough for prodding me to get to know my grandfather and his pipes a lot better. Sir, these pipes of his, with your help and guidance, will remain with me forever in mint condition……

Thanks Paresh for this great descriptive take of your Grandfather. It really gives me a sense of the pipes that you have sent me and what they meant to him. It is obvious from the variety of pipes that you sent and the overall condition that he knew how to choose good quality pipes and obviously enjoyed smoking them throughout most of his life.

I removed the stem from the shank and started my work on the bowl itself. I cleaned up the reaming in the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife and took the slight remnant of cake back to the bare briar. I wanted to check out the condition of the interior of the bowl. The inside looked very good once it was cleaned off. There was no checking or cracking on the bowl walls. There was no sign of burn out inside.To remove the damage on the rim top and to minimize the damage to the inner edge of the rim I lightly topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I carefully removed the damage without changing the shape of the bowl. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the inside edge of the bowl. I was able to remove much of the damage to the edge with the sandpaper and smooth out the bevel.  I polished the rim top and bevel with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust and the scratches. I stained the rim with a Cherry stain pen to match the colour of the rest of the bowl and shank.I worked Before & After Restoration Balm deep into the briar to clean, enliven and protect it. I worked it into the finish with my fingertips. I worked it into the rim and shank end. I set it aside for a few minutes to let the balm work. I wiped it off and buffed it with a soft cloth to polish it. The briar really began to have a deep shine. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. The grain on the bowl is really beginning to stand out and will only do so more as the pipe is waxed.  I polished the silver band with a jeweler’s cloth to remove the tarnish from the silver and give it a shine. It worked pretty well to bring it back to life. The second photo below shows the stamping on the left side.I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem. I cleaned the deep tooth marks on both sides of the stem with a cotton swab and alcohol and dried it off with a cotton pad. I filled in the tooth marks with clear super glue. I set it aside to cure and called it night.In the morning I sanded out the repairs with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface of the vulcanite. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit sanding pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I finished polishing the stem with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish both Fine and Extra Fine to remove the last of the scratches. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. With the stem polished I put it back on the pipe and lightly buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond. I gave them both multiple coats of carnauba wax and 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 finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I have six more of Paresh’s Grandfather’s pipes to finish and then I will pack them up and send across the sea to India where he can carry on the legacy. I know that he is looking forward to having them in hand and enjoying a bowl of his favourite tobacco in memory of his Grandfather. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked this pipe over.

 

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Finishing the last of Mark’s Challenges – this one a GBD Bulldog 2331


Blog by Steve Laug

I finished the restoration work on Mark’s uncle’s pipes and a few of his own and sent them back to him in late January of this year. I wrote a blog on each of the restorations. They were a fun batch of pipes to restore for him. He sent me another package a few weeks ago that had just three pipes in it – A GBD 2331 Popular Straight Bulldog, a GBD 9242 Rhodesian (one of my holy grail pipes) and a long Churchwarden pipe. Each pipe had a different set of issues that would provide a variety of challenges. The GBD 9242 had suffered much at the hands of a hack repair person. The Churchwarden had a broken tenon stuck in the shank. I am finally working on the last of the pipes – the little classic shaped GBD Bulldog. The Bulldog was in excellent condition other than the first ½ inch of the stem missing in chunks. This pipe was by far in the best condition of the lot. The finish has spots of varnish on the sides of the bowl and shank. Most of it was gone but there were still flecks of it present. The finish underneath was in decent shape and the oxblood stain looked very good with the mixed grain patterns around the bowl. The bowl was clean and looked like it had been recently reamed. The rim top was free of lava and though it had some light rim darkening on the top. The edges of the bowl – both inner and outer were in good shape. The stem looked really good other than the missing chunks. There was little oxidation and after the damaged part was removed it was pretty clean. The stem had enough length on it that I thought I might be able to cut it off and reshape it. Time would tell. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the general condition of the pipe. You can see how clean the bowl, rim top and edges are. You can see the broken end of the stem with the missing chunks. It appeared as if someone had tried to glue the pieces on the stem and affect a repair. The repair had not worked but the glue was left behind.I took some close up photos of the shank to show the stamping on both sides. The left side shows the GBD oval over the Brand Popular. The right side is stamped London England in a straight line over 2331 which is the shape number. The stamping is faint in some places but it is still readable. The GBD brass oval rondel is in good condition on the left side of the saddle stem.I decided to start working on this pipe by addressing the issue with the damaged stem. I removed the stem and set the bowl aside. I used a Dremel and sanding drum to remove the damaged portions of the stem on both sides. I cut off as much as the damage as necessary to remove the broken and chipped edges and still leave behind enough stem to work with in shaping the new button.I used a  mixture of black super glue and charcoal powder to build up a button edge on both sides of the stem. I set it over a lighter so that it could dry on both sides.Once the repair had dried/cured I reshaped the stem and button. I cut a sharp edge on both sides of the stem with a needle file. I shaped the taper of the stem surface on both sides with the blade of the file.I sanded out the file marks on the stem with 220 grit sandpaper and reshaped the button and slot with the sandpaper. I cleaned up the sanding marks with 400 wet dry sandpaper. I sanded the entire stem to clean up all of the scratches and marks in the vulcanite.I followed the sanding by polishing the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I finished polishing it with Before & After Pipe Polish – using both the Fine and the Extra Fine polish. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I was happy with the new look of the button and stem. I rubbed down the surface of the briar with a cotton pad and acetone. I was able to remove the entire patchy varnish coat. The briar looked far better with that removed. The photos below show the bowl after the acetone wash. I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm to deep clean the briar and the smooth rim. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I hand rubbed it with my fingers and wiped it off with a soft cloth and buffed it with a shoe brush to polish it. The briar really began to have a rich shine. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave it several coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise a shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The new button and reshaping of the stem looks really good. Now that I have finished the last of Mark’s pipes I will be packing them up soon to send back to him. It won’t be long before Mark gets to enjoy them with their inaugural smokes. With the damage removed I think the pipe looks a lot better. Thanks for walking with me through the process of the reshaping.

A Challenging Makeover for a GBD New Standard 9242 Rhodesian


Blog by Steve Laug

I finished the restoration work on Mark’s uncle’s pipes and a few of his own and sent them back to him in late January of this year. I wrote a blog on each of the restorations. They were a fun batch of pipes to restore for him. He sent me another package a few weeks ago that had just three pipes in it – A GBD Classic Straight Bulldog, a GBD 9242 Rhodesian (one of my holy grail pipes) and a long Churchwarden pipe. Each pipe had a different set of issues that would provide a variety of challenges. The Bulldog was in excellent condition other than the first ½ inch of the stem missing in chunks. The Churchwarden had a broken tenon stuck in the shank. By far the worst of the lot was the 9242 pipe. When I saw it in the bag I was excited. When I took it out of the bag I was saddened at the condition of the pipe. The bowl was dirty and there was some lava and rim darkening on the top. There were a few nicks in the edges of the bowl. The finish was dirty but the grain on the pipe was really nice. If I had stopped my observation at this point I would have been quite happy.

But to stop there would not begin to tell the story of the abuse carried out on this pipe. Someone (I cannot call them other than a hacker) had taken upon themselves to do a stem repair for a broken tenon and in doing so almost destroyed an otherwise nice looking stem. I think that it had a broken tenon so the hacker had pulled out the broken tenon from the shank. He had drilled out the end of the stem – so far so good right. If he had quit then it would have been good. But he did not. He found a piece of steel tubing and drilled out the mortise to fit it – but did so at an angle and hacked up the inside of the mortise. The stem itself was not only drilled but had been opened up even more to accommodate the tube. In fitting it in the stem he had cracked the stem on one side. Fortunately it appeared that it did not go all the way through. He then slopped glue – an amber looking goop, all around the sides of the scored tube and shoved it into the airway on the stem. It was not even close to straight. Then he smeared some of the same glue on top of the crack, wiped it off a bit and called it good. This poor pipe really was in awful condition.

When I wrote Mark to give him my assessment I laid out the issues on this pipe I think he must have laughed. He knew that once I saw it, because it was a shape that is on my hunt list, I would be hooked and have to try to fix it. He as much as said so in his email back to me. Sooo… here we go on that restoration project. The photos show the look of the pipe when it arrived in all of its tattered splendour. Note the beautiful grain on the bowl. It was a beautiful looking piece of briar. Note the stem damage and obvious angle of the stem in the shank. Note the repaired split in the stem. Note the tooth marks on the stem on both the top and underside on and in front of the button. This was a project for certain and I figured I could not really make things worse… but then again who knows. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the general condition of the pipe. You can see the nicks in the briar rim top and on the inner edge. You can also see the fit of the stem to the shank as well as the tooth marks and damage to the stem from the “repair” that had been done to the stem.I took the stem off the bowl to show the metal tubular tenon on the stem end. It looks to me that the drilling out of the stem and the moving the tenon around in the stem caused the damage in the stem surface.I took photos of the end of the stem showing the tenon and the drilled out mortise in the shank. You can see the damage to both. The metal tenon is not totally round and it is heavily scored and damaged. The fit in the stem is crooked so there is no way to align the stem and the shank.I smoothed out the light damage on the rim top with 220 grit sandpaper and then with 1500-4000 grit micromesh sanding pads. I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm to deep clean the briar and the smooth rim. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I hand rubbed it with my fingers and wiped it off with a soft cloth and buffed it with a shoe brush to polish it. The briar really began to have a rich shine. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem. I used a cotton swab to dribble acetone around the stem/tenon joint. I repeated that process for several weeks on a daily basis. I wanted to dissolve the epoxy that held the metal tenon in place in the stem. While it sat I filled in the damaged areas on the stem surface and the deep tooth marks in the top and underside of the stem at the button with black super glue and set the stem aside to dry. Once the glue had cured I sanded the repairs smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and blended them into the surface of the stem. There were still some small spots that needed work but overall it was starting to look better. I dribbled acetone into the area around the metal tenon every morning and evening after work. I was pretty certain that after a matter of time the epoxy would give way and I would be able to remove the tenon. I wiggled it daily with a pair of pliers to loosen it. This afternoon it finally came loose and I was able to remove it from the stem.With the metal tenon removed from the stem I was able to clean out the airway in the stem and the drilled out area of the stem. I used pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to clean out the debris and tobacco oils.The replacement tenon was a little larger than the mortise and needed to be sanded down. I used a Dremel and sanding drum to reduce the diameter of the tenon. I also carefully sanded the face of the stem to smooth out the damage there, Once I had the fit correct in the shank I worked on anchoring it in the drilled out stem. I coated the threaded tenon with some thick gel glue and inserted it in the hole in the stem. I lined things up with a pipe cleaner in the airway and set the stem aside to dry. While the glue on the new tenon cured I cleaned up the inside of the mortise. I hand turned a drill bit that was the same size as the tenon slowly into the mortise to clean up the jagged drilling on the inside of the mortise. I turned it into the mortise to smooth out the misdrilling that had been done to fit the metal tenon. Once I was finished I sanded it lightly and then put the stem in the shank to have a look. The fit was pretty good at this point. Once the tenon had cured I worked on the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each micromesh pad. After I finished with the 12000 grit pad I gave it another coat of oil. I polished the stem down with Before & After Pipe Polish – Fine and Extra Fine. I finished by giving it one more coat of Obsidian Oil and put it aside. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave it several coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise a shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The repair on the right side of the stem is still visible and I will need to work on that a little bit more but the overall look and fit of the stem is far better than when I began on this project. It won’t take too much more work before it is ready to head back to Mark for his smoking pleasure. This is one of those pipes that suffered much at the hands of someone trying to repair something and actually making it worse. I think it is better than it was… thanks for looking.

Restoring Barry’s Dad’s Pipes #5 – a French GBD Speciale Canadian


Blog by Steve Laug

I have been including some of the back story in each of the restorations of these pipes because to me the story gives colour to the pipe as I work on it. I am including it once again. Skip over it if you want to. Late in the summer of 2017 I received an email on rebornpipes blog from Barry in Portland, Oregon. He wanted to know if I would be interested in purchasing his Dad’s pipes. I have finished three of them so far, a 1939 Dunhill Patent Shell Bulldog, a Comoy’s Grand Slam Zulu and a Comoy’s London Pride Liverpool. After I finished the second pipe Barry wrote me an email that gave me a little more information on his Dad and incidentally on himself as this pipe was one of his own. Here is what he wrote me.

Steve, — Another great restoration and writing to go with it. I appreciate these pipes more watching the work it takes to get them in good condition.

Your (mine?) floral words about my father are perhaps a little deceptive. Inside that man was a lifelong Bolshevik. Who yearned for the revolution and settled for the party of Roosevelt. His parents were born in the Russian Empire (Ukraine), his father having escaped after brief detention during the 1905 failed uprising and to avoid conscription. His father was gruff, a bit crude and all politics. Given those origins he made the best of himself, had tons of friends and would have been a great social worker.

I misled you on the origin of his pipe conversion. It seems clear based on the 1939 pipe that he smoked a pipe in college, returning to them after the 1964 Surgeon General ‘s report on the danger of cigarettes. After that he only reverted to cigarettes at moments of great stress, a death, business setback or a fight with his wife.

He gave me two pipes in college – the GBD bulldog and a “Parker”. The latter I used to smoke a few times but found I was allergic to it, fortunately. The GBD was to get girls with an MGB, a Harris Tweed sport coat with leather elbow patches and jug wine. Didn’t work. Stanford women were in revolt and saw through the pretense. I put both pipes away for nearly fifty years and now they are in your good hands. — Barry

Barry and I corresponded back and forth and concluded our deal. I became the proud owner of his Dad’s pipes. The inventory of the pipes he would be sending included some real beauties – Comoy’s, Parkers, Dunhills and some no name brands. They were beautiful and I could not wait to see them. I had him send them to Jeff where he would clean them up before I received them. Jeff took some photos of the lot as he opened the box. Each pipe was individually wrapped with bubble wrap and taped to protect them. There were 25 bubble wrapped packages and a lot of pipe accessories included – pipe racks, reamers, scrapers and Comoy’s filters and washers. There were pipe pouches and a wooden cigar box that held all of the accessories and reamers. There was a boxed KleenReem pipe reamer that was virtually unused. Jeff unwrapped the pipes and took pictures of the estate showing both the pipes and the accessories. Barry had labeled each pipe with a sticky note. It was an amazing addition to my pipe and tool collection. The next pipe I chose to work on from the collection was GBD Canadian with a cracked shank. The shank had been repaired with a piece of tape. In the photo above it is the pipe on the bottom of the three GBD pipes. I have no idea once again if this is an original stem. I do not think it is as there is no rondel on the stem top. It was stamped on the top side of the shank vertically near the shank bowl union and reads GBD in an oval over Speciale. On the underside of the shank it reads Paris over France. There is no shape number present on this pipe. I was unfamiliar with the  Speciale line and had never seen a GBD stamped in this manner. I looked it up on Pipedia to check out the various GBD Lines and found that it was not listed on the charts that I could access on the web.

This petite Canadian was interesting to me in that it was a GBD line that I had not seen before and because it had some beautiful grain on the bowl and shank. The shank had two cracks on the underside and the cracks met and a small piece of briar was loose. The classic Canadian shape has an oval shank. The finish was dirty and filled with the detritus of years of use followed by sitting unused. The bowl was thickly caked and had an overflow of lava on the rim top. The outer edges of the rim were rough from knocking the pipe against something hard. There was some burning on the top front of the rim. Even through the grime and grit the amazing birdseye on the sides and cross grain on the front and back of the bowl. The crack in the shank has been glued and taped back together with a piece of black electrical tape. The stem is a short oval shape and fits in the shank very well. It is most likely not the original stem as it does not have a brass rondel on the top side. It could certainly be a well-made replacement stem that his father had paid a great craftsman to make for the pipe as he had for several of his other pipes. It was lightly oxidized and had tooth chatter and deep tooth marks on both sides of the stem at the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he cleaned it up. As usual the photos tell the story better than my words can. He took some close up photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake and the condition. The outer edges of the rim show damage. The top of the rim had some lava build up and had scratches and nicks in the surface. He also took a photo of the underside of the bowl to show the grain. It is a really nice piece of briar and should clean up well. He also photographed the stamping on both sides of the shank to show what it read and the condition of the stamping. The topside of the shank is stamped with the GBD oval over Speciale and on the underside it is stamped Paris over France. Someone had taped the cracked shank and stem together with black electrical tape. Jeff removed the tape and took photos of the shank repair. The stem was made of hard rubber and was oxidized as mentioned above and had tooth chatter and marks. There was also some calcification on the stem surfaces. Jeff took photos of both sides of the stem to capture their condition before he cleaned the pipe.Jeff once again did his usual great job on cleaning this pipe, leaving it pristine and without damage to the finish. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the remnants with the Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. 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 and shank with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the grime of the smooth finish on the bowl and shank. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. Once the dust and debris were removed the finish looked very good.  He soaked the stem in Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer to remove the light oxidation, rinsed it with warm water and dried it off. I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work on it. I took some close up photos of the bowl, rim top and damaged areas around the outer edge of the bowl. The front edge was rounded over. The bowl was very clean and the rim top had some nicks on both the inner and outer, some scorching and general darkening. Jeff had been able to remove the lava from the finish. The inner edge was in good condition and the roughness of the outer edge was visible. The stem is lightly oxidized as can be seen in the photos and has small tooth marks near the button on both sides.I took some photos of the cracked shank to show the damage. I put the stem back in place to show how the crack opened when the stem was present.I took out the broken chip of briar and glued the edges and pressed in place in the shank. I held it in place until it dried. Once the glue had dried I took a band out of the box that would work on the shank. I pressed it into an oval. I heated it and pressed it onto the shank by pressing it against the desk pad. The photos show the process of banding the shank. I put the stem back in the shank and took photos of the pipe with the stem in place. The band actually looks really good on the pipe and works well with the briar and vulcanite. I took close up photos of the fit of the stem against the band.I started working on the stem next. The photos show the process of the stem work. I used a Bic lighter to “paint” the tooth marks on the surface of the stem to raise the dents in the vulcanite. I was able to raise them quite a bit. I sanded out the tooth chatter and the lighter tooth marks next to the button on both sides with 220 grit sandpaper. I wiped the stem surface clean with a damp cloth. I dried if off and filled in the dents with clear super glue. Once the glue had cured I sanded it with 220 and 400 grit sandpaper to blend the repairs into the surface of the vulcanite. I polished stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish, both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. To remove the damage on the rim I decided to top the bowl. I used 220 grit sandpaper on a topping board to remove the damage. I worked on it until the top was smooth and the damage on the outer edge of the bowl was minimized. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the damages along the outer rim. I used it to also work on the inner edge of the bowl. I gave the inner edge a slight bevel like it original had before I started.I polished the rim with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads. I wiped it down after each pad to check on the progress. I worked Before & After Restoration Balm deep into the briar on the smooth finish to clean, enliven and protect it. I wiped it off with a soft cloth. I buffed the bowl with a cotton cloth to polish it. It really began to have a deep shine in the briar. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. The grain on the bowl is really beginning to stand out and will only do so more as the pipe is waxed. This GBD Speciale Canadian is a beauty. The grain on the bowl and shank is really stunning. The rim top looks much better. The nickel band works well with the briar and the black vulcanite. I am not sure the stem is original or a replacement but it is definitely older. Once again I would guess that Barry’s Dad replaced the stem somewhere along the journey of its life. I suppose we will never know. The vulcanite is high quality and shined up well. I buffed the bowl and the stem with Blue Diamond polish to raise the shine on the briar and the vulcanite. I was careful to not buff the stamping and damage it. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The rich brown stain allows the grain to really stand out on this little pipe and it works well with the polished nickel band and the rich black of the vulcanite stem. This GBD Speciale Canadian, Paris, France is a beautiful looking pipe. The dimensions of the pipe are: Length: 5 1/2 inches, Height: 1 5/8 inches, Outside Diameter: 1 1/4 inches, Diameter of the chamber: 3/4 inches. This old pipe will fit really well in someone’s collection. The richness of the grain, the band and the polished will stand out as a nice smaller Canadian. There is something about these older GBDs that add a touch of real class to a collection. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store shortly. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

Restoring Barry’s Dad’s Pipes #4 – a very old GBD Squat Bulldog R9019


Blog by Steve Laug

Late in the summer of 2017 I received an email on rebornpipes blog from Barry in Portland, Oregon. He wanted to know if I would be interested in purchasing his Dad’s pipes. I have finished three of them so far, a 1939 Dunhill Patent Shell Bulldog, a Comoy’s Grand Slam Zulu and a Comoy’s London Pride Liverpool. After I finished the second pipe Barry wrote me an email that gave me a little more information on his Dad and incidentally on himself as this pipe was one of his own. Here is what he wrote me.

Steve, — Another great restoration and writing to go with it. I appreciate these pipes more watching the work it takes to get them in good condition.

Your (mine?) floral words about my father are perhaps a little deceptive. Inside that man was a lifelong Bolshevik. Who yearned for the revolution and settled for the party of Roosevelt. His parents were born in the Russian Empire (Ukraine), his father having escaped after brief detention during the 1905 failed uprising and to avoid conscription. His father was gruff, a bit crude and all politics. Given those origins he made the best of himself, had tons of friends and would have been a great social worker.

I misled you on the origin of his pipe conversion. It seems clear based on the 1939 pipe that he smoked a pipe in college, returning to them after the 1964 Surgeon General ‘s report on the danger of cigarettes. After that he only reverted to cigarettes at moments of great stress, a death, business setback or a fight with his wife.

He gave me two pipes in college – the GBD bulldog and a “Parker”. The latter I used to smoke a few times but found I was allergic to it, fortunately. The GBD was to get girls with an MGB, a Harris Tweed sport coat with leather elbow patches and jug wine. Didn’t work. Stanford women were in revolt and saw through the pretense. I put both pipes away for nearly fifty years and now they are in your good hands. — Barry

Barry and I corresponded back and forth and concluded our deal. I became the proud owner of his Dad’s pipes. The inventory of the pipes he would be sending included some real beauties – Comoy’s, Parkers, Dunhills and some no name brands. They were beautiful and I could not wait to see them. I had him send them to Jeff where he would clean them up before I received them. Jeff took some photos of the lot as he opened the box. Each pipe was individually wrapped with bubble wrap and taped to protect them. There were 25 bubble wrapped packages and a lot of pipe accessories included – pipe racks, reamers, scrapers and Comoy’s filters and washers. There were pipe pouches and a wooden cigar box that held all of the accessories and reamers. There was a boxed KleenReem pipe reamer that was virtually unused. Jeff unwrapped the pipes and took pictures of the estate showing both the pipes and the accessories. Barry had labeled each pipe with a sticky note. It was an amazing addition to my pipe and tool collection. The next pipe I chose to work on from the collection was GBD Squat Bulldog, the first of three GBD pipes. This pipe had the original stem and was in good condition. It was stamped on the left side of the shank GBD in an oval. On the right side of the shank it read London over England with shape number R9019. I was unfamiliar with the / shape number designation so I looked it up on a GBD Shape Number Chart and found that it was not listed on the charts that I could access on the web.  I would call it a squat Bulldog.

I wrote an email to Al Jones (upshallfan) to see if he could throw any light on the shape number on the pipe. Al loves GBD pipes as much as I do and is compiling a shape chart so I thought he might give some insight on the R shape and potentially on the 9019. Here is what he wrote back.

…The R code pipes are oddballs with shape numbers I’ve never seen duplicated elsewhere.  Like my 1937 R9249. It’s clearly the 9242 shape, who knows what the R code means. I’ve never seen R code shapes in any literature, so they may have been one-off’s. They all seem to have silver hallmarked bands. I speculate that perhaps the R shapes were given to special pipes pulled from the production line for silver work. Sadly, that is all lost to time… – Al

It seems that the information on the shape and R code is not to be found at this time so I decided to move ahead with the shank band. It was a Sterling Silver Band with the GBD oval logo over three hallmarks over MR&Cie. I looked up the history of GBD pipes on Pipedia and found this (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD) information.

In 1850 three gentlemen got together in Paris to establish a firm dedicated to the fabrication of Meerschaum pipes – a courageous step in politically restless times. Ganneval probably came from the area of Saint-Claude where he had learned making wooden pipes. Bondier’s family obviously came from Paris and had immigrated in 1789 to Geneva. He himself had worked as a wood turner in the clay and china pipe industry in and around Saint-Claude making stem extensions etc. Donninger was an Austrian or Swiss and had worked in Vienna, the world’s center of the Meerschaum pipe. They agreed on the acronym GBD selecting the initials of their surnames. Bondier survived his partners for nearly 30 years. Their places were taken by others. Hence the property of GBD and therewith the company’s official name changed several times.

Ganneval, Bondier & Donninger

Bondier, Ulrich & Cie.

Bine, Marechal & Cie. and finally

A. Marechal, Ruchon & Cie.

Meanwhile the GBD name was well established and thus retained. August Marechal and Ferdinand Ruchon led the firm into the 20th century. They were in charge of the company for more than 50 years…

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

I knew from the above history that the pipe was made before 1902 in that Marechal and Ruchon sold GBD to Oppenheimer & Co. in London at that time (I have marked that part of the text in bold Red above). Now I needed to see if I could narrow down the date on the pipe. Since there was a Sterling Silver Band on the shank I figured that close examination would give me clues in the form of hallmarks in the silver. This particular band had three hallmarks that helped to identify the city of manufacture, the composition of the band and the date of the pipe. From left to right the hallmarks are as follows: the first is an “A”, followed by a prancing Lion, and the final one is what looks like the head of leopard. Here is a closeup photo of the hallmarks.

I did some research on the British Silver Hallmarks website to see if I could pin down a date and information on the meaning of the hallmarks (http://www.925-1000.com/british_marks.html). The first thing I learned was that the Lion (the second hallmark) indicated that the band was .925 Sterling Silver (See A in the photo below).The last hallmark is a city mark and in this case is identical to the second leopard’s head in the photo below. That told me that the band was made in London and since it was the crownless leopard’s head I knew that the pipe was made between 1822- and the present.Now I knew that the band identified the pipe as made in London and the band was .925 Sterling Silver. I still needed to identify the date from the first hallmark – the letter “A”. I clicked on the link in the above photo that took me to a chart with the date letters. I have included that here for your use. It appears that the year that the pipe was made was 1876 as the letter “A” looks the most like that particular hallmark. I have put a red box around the date and hallmark in the photo below.So Barry’s Dad had given him this little 1876 Squat Bulldog to take to college with him. That is pretty remarkable. This beautiful little Bulldog has a double ring below the cap. There is a small piece missing between the rings on the front of the bowl. The pipe has a diamond shaped shank. The finish was dirty and filled with the detritus of years of use followed by sitting unused. The bowl was thickly caked and had an overflow of lava on the rounded rim top. Even through the grime and grit you can still see the amazing birdseye on the sides and cross grain on the front and back of the bowl. The Sterling Silver was oxidized and almost black but the marking was readable. The stem is a diamond shanked saddle with an older style button and slot. It is most likely the original stem but does not have a brass rondel on the side. (Although it could also certainly be a well-made replacement stem that his father had paid a great craftsman to make for the pipe as he had for several of the Comoy’s pipes.) It was lightly oxidized and had tooth chatter and marks on both sides of the stem at the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he cleaned it up. The photos tell the story better than my words can. He took some close up photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake and the condition. He also took photos to show the grain on the side, front and underside of the bowl. There was a fairly large piece of briar missing on the ring between the two bands toward the front of the bowl (seen in the second photo below). The third photo shows some road rash on the cap at the front of the bowl above the missing piece of briar. I would need to make a decision about how far to go in restoring this one. Did I remove the marks on the rim cap? Did I repair the chip out of the spacer between the two rings? That would need to be decided. He also photographed the stamping on both sides of the shank to show what it read and the condition of the stamping. The left side of the shank is stamped with the GBD oval and on the silver band the same oval is over the three hallmarks as spoken of above and underneath that is stamped MR&Cie. On the right side it is stamped London over England with the shape number R9019. The stem was made of hard rubber and was oxidized as mentioned above and had tooth chatter and marks. Jeff took photos of both sides of the stem to capture their condition before he cleaned the pipe.Jeff once again did his usual great job on cleaning this pipe, leaving it pristine and without damage to the finish. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the remnants with the Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. 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 and shank with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the grime of the smooth finish on the bowl and shank. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. Once the dust and debris were removed the finish looked very good.  He soaked the stem in Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer to remove the light oxidation, rinsed it with warm water and dried it off. I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work on it. I took some close up photos of the bowl, rim top and damaged area on the front as well as both sides of the stem to show their condition. The bowl was very clean and the rim top had some nicks on both the inner and outer, some scorching and general darkening. He had been able to remove the lava from the finish. The inner edge was in excellent condition and the roughness of the outer edge was visible. I also took a photo of the damaged area between the double rings toward the front right side of the bowl. The stem is lightly oxidized as can be seen in the photos and has small tooth marks near the button on both sides. I started with the stem on this one. I sanded out the tooth chatter and the tooth marks next to the button on both sides and the repair on the top of the button with 220 grit sandpaper followed by 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I polished stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish, both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I worked on the damaged rim top, edges, bevel and the small marks and nicks on it 200 grit sandpaper to smooth out the damage and blend it with the rest of the rim. The rounded edges of the rim cap needed to be cleaned up. I polished the rim with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads. I wiped it down after each pad to check on the progress. I worked Before & After Restoration Balm deep into the briar on the smooth finish to clean, enliven and protect it. I wiped it off with a soft cloth. I buffed the bowl with a cotton cloth to polish it. It really began to have a deep shine in the briar. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. The grain on the bowl is really beginning to stand out and will only do so more as the pipe is waxed. This is one of the oldest GBD pipes that I have worked on. I am not sure the stem is original or a replacement but it is definitely older. I wonder if Barry’s Dad did not have a replace done for this old pipe the same time he did for the 1939 Dunhill Patent Shell. I suppose we will never know. The vulcanite is high quality and shined up well. I decided to leave the small nicks and the damage to the ring as it tells the story of this old timer. I put the stem back on the bowl and worked the pipe over on the buffing wheel using Blue Diamond to polish the stem. I buffed the bowl and the stem to raise the shine on the briar and the vulcanite. I was careful to not buff the stamping and damage it. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The rich brown stain allows the grain to really stand out on this little pipe and it works well with the rich black of the polished vulcanite stem. This GBD Squat Bulldog is a beautiful looking pipe. The dimensions of the pipe are: Length: 5 1/2 inches, Height: 1 1/2 inches, Outside Diameter: 1 3/4 inches, Diameter of the chamber: 3/4 inches. This 1876 GBD is one that fits well in my collection of older pipes. There is something about these older GBDs that add a touch of real class. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

Restoring a Newer Cadogan Era GBD Marquis 411 Pot


Blog by Steve Laug

This GBD Marquis is the last of the local pipe shop pipes that I will work on for a bit. It came from the estate of the same older gentleman whose wife returned them to the shop for restoration and resale. This is a smooth finished GBD. The briar has some beautiful straight, flame and birdseye grain around the bowl. On the right side of the shank are two putty fills that have shrunk and left rough spots around the number stamp. It is stamped on the left side of the shank with the GBD oval logo next to the line stamp – Marquis. On the right side it is stamped St. Claude – France over the shape number 411. From the lack of a brass rondel on the stem and the GBD logo stamped on the left side of the saddle instead I am putting this pipe in the Cadogan era of the brand. The stem is original but is a stamped stem blank with none of the original GBD Charm. It is a pretty good looking pipe even though it is dirty. I included this little GBD pot in the box of pipes that I sent off to my brother for cleaning. This is the fourth pipe that I have brought to the work table from the lot of about 50 to rework. I can only repeat how thankful I am for his willingness to clean and ream the pipes for me. It really has allowed me to move through the repairs much more quickly. When he received the pipe he took a series of photos of it to show its condition. He took a close up photo of the beveled rim top showing the thick cake and the overflow of lava onto the top of the bowl. The lava pretty well hid the beveled rim top from view. The cake is very thick and hard. Like the rest of the pipes in this estate the cake made the bowl appear to be quite small and in this condition would hold very little tobacco. The photo of the underside of the bowl and shank shows the beautiful birdseye grain. The next photos show the stamping on the left and the right side of the shank. It is clear and readable. The GBD Oval stamped logo on the side of the stem is in very good condition.The next photo shows the two shrunken fills on the right side of the shank and on the underside edge. Other than those two the pipe is flawless.Jeff took a close up of the GBD oval logo stamped on the side of the saddle stem. It is great shape. The stem itself has some wear and tear with tooth chatter, tooth marks and oxidation but it should clean up well.Jeff cleaned the pipe up very well. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet Reamer and a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He cleaned the mortise and the airway in the stem and shank with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. He scrubbed the exterior with Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the grime and dust of time. When I received the pipe it was very clean. I took photos of it to record what it looked like before I started my work.   Jeff removed the thick hard cake and the lava buildup on the rim top and revealed a deep inward bevel to the rim. The inner and outer edges of the rim were in good condition. The top surface of the rim had some minor darkening and a few small nicks but otherwise looked very good. The vulcanite stem looked far better than when Jeff started the cleanup. There were a lot of scratches on the surface and a few tooth marks on both the top and underside if the stem. The GBD oval logo was undamaged.The stem still had some remaining oxidation in the vulcanite so I dropped it into the Before & Stem Deoxidizer bath and let it soak overnight. The photo below shows the stem before I pushed it into the bath.While the stem soaked I turned my attention to the bowl. I cleaned up the fills on the right side of the shank. I used a dark stain pen to try to blend them into the briar a little better (ineffective by the way). I filled in the dips in the fills with a few drops of clear super glue. I made sure to overfill the repairs as the glue shrinks as it dries. Once it cured I used a fold piece of sandpaper to sand the spots and blend them into the surrounding briar without damaging the stamping. That was a bit tricky because of the location of the fills. When I had the area smooth I used 1500-4000 grit micromesh sanding pads to polish those areas. I used a dark brown stain pen to blend the repaired areas into the surrounding stain. I hand buffed the shank to further blend the stain. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my finger tips to deep clean the smooth finish, enliven and protect the briar. I let it sit for a few minutes and then buffed it with a cotton cloth. The grain of the briar really had begun to show through at this point and there was a rich shine to the briar. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. I set the bowl aside and called it a night. In the morning I removed the stem from the Before & After Stem Deoxidizer and wiped it off with a paper towel to remove the remaining oxidation and bath. I cleaned out the airway with pipe cleaners and alcohol until it was clean. The stamping on the stem looked good. The stem was clean and black with the tooth marks very visible. It was ready for repairs to the tooth marks and polishing.I filled in the tooth marks with clear super glue on both sides of the stem and set it aside to allow the repairs to cure. When the repairs had dried I sanded them smooth and blended them into the surface of the stem. I reshaped the button on both sides of the stem with a needle file and sanded the stem down 220 grit sandpaper. The surface of the stem on both sides looks good. The tooth marks are gone and the surface is smooth. I carefully polished the saddle portion of the stem being careful to not damage the GBD oval stamping. Once the saddle portion was shining I applied some Antique Gold Rub’n Buff with a cotton swab to the stamped area. I made sure that it was deep in the stamp and let it sit for a few minutes before rubbing it off with the other end of the cotton swab and a cotton pad. I took all the excess away and left the stamping looking like brass. Once I buffed it the stem and logo would look like new.I worked over the stem with micromesh sanding pads. I polished out the sanding scratches and marks in the vulcanite – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads and wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each one. When I finished with the 12000 grit pad I gave it a final coat of oil and let it dry. Once it had dried, I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish Fine and Extra Fine. I rubbed it down with final coat Obsidian Oil and took the following picture. I put the stem back on the bowl and took the pipe to the buffing wheel to work it over. I buffed the bowl and stem once again with Blue Diamond to polish it. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats carnauba wax. I buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is a really nicely grained GBD pipe 411 Pot that came out in the Cadogan era of the brand. Its amazing grain is only marred by the two fills on the right side of the shank. They are blended into the shank better than before but they still show. The pipe still looks great and feels comfortable in the hand. The medium brown stain and the polished black vulcanite work together to give the classic pot shaped pipe a rich look. It will make a great pipe addition to the rack and should be a great smoker.  The dimensions of the pipe are: Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 1/2 inches, Outer Diameter of the Bowl: 1 ½ inches, Diameter of the Chamber: 7/8 inches. I will be adding this one to the rebornpipes store shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection. If you are interested email me at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.

 

Restoring and repairing a stem on a GBD Golden Blue 119 Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table is another one from a local pipe shop. It is a pipe from the estate of the same older gentleman whose wife returned them to the shop for restoration and resale. This one is a smooth finished GBD with a Blue Perspex stem. The smooth finish shows mixed grain around the bowl. It has a rim top that is beveled inward to the inner edge of the bowl. It is stamped on the left side of the shank GBD in the oval over Golden Blue. On the right side it reads London, England over the shape number 119. The finish on the pipe was dirty and dull. The beveled rim top had lava built up that extended up and over the outer edge. The bowl had a thick, hard cake filling the bowl. The stem had deep tooth marks on the top and a bite through on the underside at the button. The bite through was repairable but it would be visible. I sent the pipes off to my brother for cleaning. This is the second pipe that I have brought to the work table from the lot of about 50 to rework. I really appreciate his willingness to clean and ream the pipes for me. When he received the pipe he took a series of photos of it to show its condition. He took a close up photo of the rim top showing the cake and the overflow of lava on the beveled top of the bowl. The cake is quite thick and the lava has almost leveled the bevel in many spots around the bowl. He also took photos of the bowl sides and underside to show some of the nicks and dents in the finish. The next photos show the stamping on the left and the right side of the shank. It is clear and readable. The brass rondel on the left side of the saddle stem is in very good condition and is undamaged.The stem was Blue Perspex and had some deep tooth marks on the top side near the button. They were deep but did not go all the way through the stem. There were scratches and nicks in the surface of the stem all the way around the stem. The button was worn down on both sides. On the underside of the stem there was a large bite through. With the stem being blue it was going to be a challenge to repair. The repair on the bite through would be hard to blend in as there was not a blue super glue or epoxy that I could match.As I have come to expect, Jeff did his usual thorough cleanup on the bowl and stem. He carefully reamed the bowl back to bare briar with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He cleaned the internals of the bowl with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs – scrubbing out the mortise as it was dirty. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipes with Murphy’s Oil soap and a tooth brush and was able to remove all of the oils and dust in the smooth finish on the briar. He was able to remove all of the lava and grime from the beveled rim top and left it looking very clean. The inner edges of the bowl were in excellent condition and outer edges have many small nicks. He soaked the stem in an Oxyclean bath remove the grime in the bite through and the edges of the stem. He cleaned out the blue Perspex with soapy water to remove the tarry oils and grime in the airway. He was able to remove much of the internal grime. When the pipe arrived I took some photos to show how it looked before I did the restoration. Jeff was able to remove the lava buildup on the beveled rim top and clean off the inner and outer edges of the rim. The inner edge looked very good but the outer edge had nicks and scratches. The top surface of the bevel had some minor darkening but otherwise looked very good. The Blue Perspex stem was in rough condition. There were a lot of scratches and nicks in the surface, tooth marks on the top side and a bite through on the underside. The airway still showed darkening from the tars and oils of the tobacco.I took a close up photo of the bite through to show the size and shape of the damaged area on the underside of the stem.I folded a pipe cleaner and flattened it to fit in the funnel of the airway. I greased it with Vaseline so that it would prevent the glue from sticking to the inside and anchoring the pipe cleaner in the airway. I worked my way inward building up the edges of the hole. I filled in the tooth marks on the top side of the stem and sprayed it with an accelerator. I filled in the remaining hole in the underside of the stem with clear super glue. Once it was filled in I sprayed it with accelerator and removed the pipe cleaner. Filling in the hole with the glue was a messy proposition as the glue was thin and ran up the stem surface.I used a needle file to remove all of the excess glue on the surface of the stem and blend the repairs into the surface. I also reshaped the button on both sides of the stem. I sanded the stem down with 180 grit and 220 grit sandpaper. The photos below show the stem at this point in the process. The top side is in excellent condition now. The tooth marks are gone and the surface is smooth. The underside where the bite through was filled in is solid but visible.I worked over the stem with micromesh sanding pads. I polished out the sanding scratches and marks in the Blue Perspex – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads and wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each one. When I finished with the 12000 grit pad I gave it a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. I polished it with Before & After Stem Fine Polish and wiped it down. I followed that by polishing it with the Extra Fine Polish. I buffed it with a microfiber cloth to raise the shine. I sanded the inner edge of the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the surface and remove the darkening. I used a 1500 grit micromesh pad to smooth out the outer edge of the bowl. I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm to deep clean the smooth finish, enliven and protect the briar. I hand rubbed it with my fingers to get it deep into the briar. I let it sit for a few minutes and then wiped it off with a soft cloth and buffed it with a cotton cloth. The briar really began to have a deep shine. The smooth surface showed some nice grain patterns and begun to look really good. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. I put the stem back on the bowl and took the pipe to the buffing wheel to work it over. I buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond to polish the briar. I buffed the stem at the same time to raise the gloss on the Blue Perspex. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats carnauba wax. I buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is a beautiful GBD pipe that looks great and feels comfortable in the hand. The reddish brown stain and the Blue Perspex work really well together. Though the repaired area on the bite through is visible it is solid. Thankfully it is on the underside of the stem. It will make a great pipe addition to the rack and should smoke dry and cool.  The dimensions of the pipe are: Length: 5 1/2 inches, Height: 1 3/4 inches, Outer Diameter of the Bowl: 1 1/4 inches, Diameter of the Chamber: 3/4 inches. I will be adding this one to the rebornpipes store shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection. If you are interested email me at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.