Tag Archives: GBD pipes

Revitalizing a GBD Colossus International London Made 1759 London England


Blog by Dal Stanton

This is the second pipe I’ve restored that was commissioned by Paresh.  Like the first, a Tom Howard Jumbo Rustified Squat Tomato, this is a large pipe and the name reflects this – a GBD Colossus International.  It truly is a ‘Colossus’ with a huge stylish stummel that is cut with angles that makes one think of a ‘dinner’ pipe.  With the clear, acrylic stem and canted, sharp angled stummel – and his sheer size, sets this pipe on an upper shelf.  Paresh commissioned the GBD from the For‘Pipe Dreamers’ Only! section and this pipe, along with the Tom Howard, benefit the Daughters of Bulgaria.  Here are the pictures that got Paresh’s attention.The left side of the stummel encases the nomenclature, Colossus (in cursive script) [over] GBD (in oval) [over] INTERNATIONAL [over] LONDON MADE.  A classic brass GBD rondel is embedded in the acrylic stem, placing the dating of the pipe as pre-Cadogan.  On the right shank side is stamped LONDON ENGLAND [over] 1759, the GBD shape number.  I also see a ‘D’ stamped on the lower side of the shank which I have no information on!

Based upon the straight COM LONDON ENGLAND and the brass rondel, this GBD is dated pre-Cadogan which is 1981 and earlier.  In the GBD Pipedia article, this reference places the pipe in the 60s or 70s naming the lines that GBD had during that time.  ‘International’ is nestled in the middle of the list.

The following list comprises the better grades in descending order:

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

This is confirmed by information sent to me from Al Jones, who knows more than most about GBD pipes.  Al sent me a PDF of Jerry Hannah’s finish guide and one reference for an ‘International’ comes from the 1976 catalog. Unfortunately, I found no listing for a shape number of 1759, but the shape is most definitely at least a 3/4 bent – not sure I would call it a Billiard but the sharp canted stummel reminds one of a Dublin! Looking more at the pipe’s condition, it bears normal scratches and nicks from normal use.  The rim is darkened with some lava flow.  There are a few light fills on the side of the stummel that need to be examined.  The acrylic stem has tooth chatter that needs addressing.  The amber colored airway should clean nicely.  I take some additional shots to show the issues. Starting with the basic cleaning, I ream the chamber of the light cake using the Pipnet Reaming kit revealing fresh briar.  The depth of the chamber becomes evident at almost 2 1/2 inches (2 7/16 to be exact) as it swallows the 3 blade heads I use to clean the carbon cake!  This chamber will pack a good bit of tobacco!  Following the Pipnet blades, I use the Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Tool to fine tune and clean the chamber further reaching the depths.  Finally, I sand the chamber by wrapping 240 grit paper around a Sharpie Pen.  I finish the clean up of the chamber by wiping out the carbon dust using a cotton cloth wetted with isopropyl 95% and inspection of the chamber shows no problems.  The pictures show the progress. To clean the externals, I use undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a cotton pad to scrub the briar and darkened rim. I also use a brass wire brush to work on the rim.  Pictures show before and after.Continuing with the stummel cleaning, I work on the internals with pipe cleaners and cotton buds dipped in isopropyl 95%. I also utilize a shank brush to work through the draft hole as well as a dental spatula to scrape the mortise wall.  The pipe cleaners and cotton buds start coming clean, but later, at the close of my work day, I’ll also utilize a kosher salt and alcohol soak to clean and freshen the internals further.Now, looking at the acrylic stem, it’s difficult to see with the pictures I’ve taken, but the button has some compression dents and the bit is clouded from tooth chatter.   The pictures show the starting point.   I first run a bristled pipe cleaner dipped with isopropyl 95% to clean the airway.Then, using a flat needle file and 240 grit paper I sand the bit and button to work out the tooth marks and compression dents on the button lip.  Following this, to erase the scratches of the filing and 240 grit paper, I sand using 600 grade paper and 0000 grade steel wool. Moving from the steel wool, I wet sand the stem using micromesh pads 1500 to 2400 and dry sand from 3200 to 12000 to bring out the glassy shine of the acrylic stem. I then mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel onto the Dremel with speed set at about 40% and apply Tripoli compound to the entire stem.  I follow this using another buffing wheel, same speed, and apply White Diamond compound.  To remove the compound dust, I buff the stem with a felt cloth.  Acrylic stems love to be buffed up and this GBD Colossus International’s stem is looking great!  The acrylic is like glass. Looking now at the stummel, to address the dents and scratches on the surface, I wet sand using micromesh pads 1500 to 2400 followed by dry sanding with the remaining pads, 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000. I enjoy watching the grain emerge during the micromesh cycles.  This GBD stummel has a lot of briar real estate and the grain is beautifully showcased.  The pictures show the emerging grain. With my work day closing, I continue the cleaning of the internals of the stummel using a kosher salt and alcohol soak.  To do this I create a wick by pulling and twisting a cotton ball and stuffing it down the mortise and airway as far as I can manage with a rigid straight wire.  I then place the stummel in an egg crate for stability and fill the huge chamber with kosher salt which leave no after taste as its iodized cousin.  I give the stummel a shake capping the bowl and then fill the chamber with isopropyl 95% until it surfaces over the salt.  After a few minutes and the alcohol has been absorbed, I top off the chamber again.  Then, I set it aside until the morning.  The following morning the salt has discolored and the wick has an ink-like color on the top – not sure what that is.  I clear out the expended salt and use paper towel to clean the chamber.  I also blow through the mortise to dislodge used salt.  I then use a pipe cleaner and cotton bud dipped in isopropyl 95% to make sure all was clean, and it was. With the sanding of the GBD stummel with micromesh pads, the briar grain naturally darkens and deepens through the process.  I look again at the fills I identified earlier which are solid but they had lightened.  I want to darken and blend these fills at this point in the process.  I use a maple dye stick and gently color the fills.  To blend, I feather wipe the fills with a cotton pad wetted with a bit of alcohol.  The result looks good. Before proceeding to apply compound to the stummel surface, I apply Before & After Restoration Balm to deepen and enrich the briar.  I apply some Balm to my finger and work the Balm in to the briar.  As I’ve noted on previous restorations, the Balm begins with a light oil texture and thickens as it is applied.  I like the Balm because it treats the natural briar hue and deepens and enriches the look.  I take a picture after applying the Balm and before wipe/buffing it off after a few minutes standing. I now mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel, with speed set at approximately 40% full power and apply Blue Diamond compound to the briar surface.  After this is completed, I reunite the GBD Colossus International acrylic stem with the stummel and apply coats of carnauba wax.  I do this after changing cotton cloth buffing wheels on the Dremel – at the same speed.  I finish the restoration by giving the pipe a rigorous hand buffing with a microfiber cloth.This GBD Colossus International lives up to its name.  The stummel is huge and the grain showcased is a beautiful labyrinth of swirls.  Completing the ensemble is the glass-like acrylic stem with an amber vein dissecting the 3/4 bent orientation.  Paresh commissioned the GBD Colossus International from For ‘Pipe Dreamers’ Only! and will have the first opportunity to acquire the GBD in the The Pipe Steward Store.  This pipe benefits the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks for joining me!

Advertisements

Restoration of a GBD Rockroot # 1345 Sitter


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

The next pipe that caught my fancy for restoration was a GBD ROCKROOT # 1345. This pipe has beaten Kriswill “Chief”  # 20 and Kriswill “ Golden Clipper” to the finish line, though not decisively since I do not have stain pens and I had to leave the rim top duly sanded to remove all the oils and tars and burn marks. Personally though, I rather liked the look of the contrast the rim provided to the dark coloured pipe bowl, shank and stem. But I have seen other similar GBDs and they all had the nice bowl coloured rim top which also looked beautiful!!!! Hence, my attempt at darkening the rim top. Without darkened rim top!! You decide and suggest please!!!

This pipe has a relatively smaller sized bowl with wire rustications running vertically along the bowl with circular wire rustications run around the shank. This wire rustication runs along the entire rim top. The bottom of the bowl is flat, smooth and bears crisp stampings with ‘GBD’ in oval over ‘ROCKROOT’ over ‘LONDON ENGLAND’ in a straight line over # ‘1345’. The saddle stem has a very subtle and delicate bend with just the lip touching the table top which coupled with the flat bottom of the bowl, makes it a perfectly balanced sitter. A brass oval roundel rim with embossed GBD is embedded in the saddle. This should polish up very nicely. INITIAL INSPECTION
The initial visual inspection of the pipe revealed the following:

The bowl was heavily caked with oils, tars and grime overflowing onto the rim top and down the bowl along the vertical wire rustications. There appears to be some deep charring along the inner edge of the rim on the right hand side in 1’o’clock direction and on the left side in 7’o’clock direction. The extent of the damage to the rim can only be determined after reaming the bowl.The thin wire rustication on the rim top is worn out at certain places. The rest of the rustications along the bowl and shank is filled with dust, oils, gunk and dirt which has been accumulating over the years. Air did not pass through the stem. When the stem was removed from the shank, visual inspection revealed a completely blocked mortise and airway. The stem, too, was slightly blocked.The stem was heavily oxidized with heavy calcification near the lip. There was heavy tooth chatter extending up to an inch from the lip towards the saddle on both sides of the pipe. But thankfully there were no deep bite marks or holes. The lip on both sides has also been chewed out of shape.Dimensions:
Length – 5 inches
Bowl height – 1.5 inches
Bowl depth – 1 1/8th inches
Bowl inner diameter – 7/8  inch
Bowl outer diameter – 1.5 inches

THE PROCESS
As usual Abha, my wife, started work on the bowl while I addressed the stem. Using a Kleen Reem reamer and British Buttner pipe reaming tool, Abha removed most of the thick cake in no time. The reason being a 1 inch deep bowl!!! She had been very careful in avoiding the edges which had the charred marks. While Abha was working her magic on the bowl, I painted the stem with the flame of a Bic lighter to try to lift the light tooth chatter. The lightest of the tooth chatter evened out and the remaining ones were lifted to the surface. I had to sand out the stem to smooth out the tooth chatter. At this point, using a 220 grit paper, I sanded down the stem till the surface felt even and smooth to the touch. I tightly folded a piece of the grit paper and using its edge tried to shape the edges of the lip. Then I applied Extra virgin olive oil to the stem and kept it aside to be absorbed by the stem. And as usual, I just forgot to take pictures of the stem at this stage!!!

Thereafter, I turned my attention to the bowl with hesitation. This was so because the reaming had revealed that the issue of charring was something I had not handled before. I immediately Facetimed  Mr. Steve and sought his advice. It was decided that a smooth surfaced rim, akin to the smooth bottom of the bowl, will add an interesting character to the pipe and will also take care of the charred inner edge of the bowl.

I began with cautiously sanding the inner edges of the bowl to remove as much of the charring as possible. Using Murphy’s oil soap and a hard bristled toothbrush I removed as much of the accumulated tars and lava from the rim top as I could. I lightly topped the bowl on a 220 grit sand paper. The charred portion of the briar came apart in chunks during the topping process. Thereafter, I tried to round off the inner edges of the bowl as much as I possibly could, by creating an inner bevel to cover up and address the charred portion. However, the bowl still remains out of shape.As can be seen, the bowl edge in the 1 o’clock (front right) and 7 o’clock (rear left) directions has moved out too far. I was not too inclined to sand down the other edges to merge with the moved out edges for fear of losing too much briar and further thinning the rim top. Any suggestions whether I should go all out with the inner edge to completely round it or leave it as is are welcome.  Once the bevel was made and I had sanded out as much of the charring as I was comfortable with, I sanded down the rim with micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 – 2400 grit and dry sanding with 3200 – 12000 grit. Using a brush and Murphy’s Oil soap, I cleaned the exteriors of the bowl, rim top and shank and rinsed it under running water. The bowl was wiped dry using a cotton cloth and left to dry out overnight. Turning my attention back to the stem, I wiped it down with a soft cotton cloth. On close inspection, I realized that there was one bite mark on both sides which was not raised and also that the lip edge was not defined/sharp. I mixed up activated charcoal powder with clear CA glue (the glue that was available to me here, has a tendency to come off in lumps. Hence I was skeptical about its function in this process) and applied it on both sides of the stem to fill in the bite mark as well as on the tip edge to define it further and set it aside to cure overnight. Next morning, I rubbed some “Before and After Restoration Balm” into the thin wire rustications of the dried out bowl. Every time I use this balm, I cannot help but appreciate how effectively it works to enliven and refresh an old briar bowl. I rubbed a small quantity of balm with my fingers into the thin wire rustications on the bowl and shank and kept it aside for a few seconds. Using a horse hair brush, I buffed the bowl and shank and worked the balm deeper into the closely packed rustication. I rubbed it down with a soft cloth to a bright shine. I had to use a lot of muscle power and time to get the desired shine since I do not have a wheel. I was satisfied with the way the bowl had turned out up to this point in the restoration.Thereafter I turned my attention to the stem. The fill of CA super glue and charcoal powder had cured sufficiently. Using needle files, I started filling away carefully and cautiously restricting the filing only to the filled areas. Using a flat head needle file, I filed away the excess filling and was satisfied with the end result. I used a 220 grit sand paper to further blend in the fill. I further polished the stem using micromesh sanding pads. Wet sanding with 1500 – 2400 grit pads helped reduce the sanding marks left behind by 220 grit papers to a great extent. I wiped it clean and coated the stem with extra virgin olive oil and let it rest for some time. This allows the vulcanite to absorb the oil. Thereafter I dry sanded the stem with 3200 – 12000 grit micromesh pads and applying olive oil after every third pad. The stem is now nice, smooth and shiny. I shared the pictures of the bowl and stem with Mr. Steve for his opinion and advice for further improvement. As is his style, Mr. Steve first appreciated the effort and suggested that a darker stain would look good. Since he was well aware that the stain pens I had ordered did not reach me, he suggested an ingenious and practical way of staining using local and readily available material. He suggested boiling black tea leaves in a little water and making a very strong and thick brew, letting it sit overnight. Using cotton swab/cue tip dipped in this brew, gently apply onto the area that is to be stained.

I followed his advice and applied it to the rim top of the Rockroot. After allowing it to rest for a few minutes, I gently wiped it off with a soft cotton cloth. The results are truly amazing. Mr. Steve further advised me to use regular black boot polish to further stain and bring back the shine to the rim top. The results of this can be seen in the following pictures of the finished pipe.This restoration has been a fantastic journey of learning, trials and frustrations which I enjoyed to the fullest. I cannot thank Mr. Steve enough for his wise, practical and timely advice and sharing his immense wealth of experience so readily with a novice like me. Thanks Steve!!!

Recommissioning a GBD International Carved Rim Bent Bulldog London Made


Blog by Dal Stanton

This Bulldog is simply cool.  It was one of those wonderful surprises one hopes for when you buy many pipes in one fell swoop on eBay.  In many of my restoration blogs I’ve mentioned the Lot of 66 which I landed last year while back in the US.  What can I say – God knew that I was restoring pipes to benefit the Daughters of Bulgaria and this Lot of 66 has been a gift that keeps on giving.  It isn’t possible to see all the pipes in the landscape pictures provided and one hopes in the percentages – there has to be some good pipes in the Lot!  Here is the Lot of 66 that I saw then and have pictured several times before.  I’m not positive, but the GBD Rustified Rim Bulldog is on the extreme lower right below – only his bowl showing.Many of my restorations for the Daughters come from people seeing a pipe in my “For ‘Pipe Dreamers’ Only” section on The Pipe Steward blog.  I came up with the idea of this ‘before restoration offerings’ when I found that when people visited us here in Bulgaria, they would know about our work with the Daughters of Bulgaria and that I restored pipes that benefited that cause.  Almost always they wanted to see what pipes I had in the “Help Me! Basket” and they would choose one to be restored.  The interesting thing I discovered was that people live in hope for what something can become.  Estate pipes can be pretty nasty, but people know the amazing wonders of what the restorative processes can produce and so they see the potential and trust me to realize that hope as I bring a pipe to The Pipe Steward worktable on the 10th floor of a former Communist apartment block in Sofia, Bulgaria!  What a story!  I’m living the dream 😊.

Chris, a dedicated pipe man and regular contributor on the Facebook group, ‘The Gentlemen’s Pipe Smoking Society’ was ‘Pipe Dreaming’ while tooling around looking at the offerings and saw the GBD International Bulldog.  What attracted him to the Bulldog was the unique rustified rim with hearty agreement from me.  It adds a flair that you don’t often see on a London Made Bulldog.  The bent stem is cool, too, adding a bit more flare.  Here are some of the pictures Chris saw in the “For ‘Pipe Dreamers’ Only” page: Chris commissioned the GBD Bulldog, which put it in the queue for restoration.  After the restoration is completed and published, I then place a value on the pipe resulting from my research.  The commissioner has the first opportunity to claim the pipe from The Pipe Steward Store.  Chris will have first dibs on this Bulldog when completed.

GBD (Pipedia’s article on GBD), was the handshake enterprise started by three French ‘Master Pipemakers’, Ganneval, Bondier and Donninger in Paris in 1850 to manufacture Meerschaum pipes, which was the primary material used in manufacturing pipes along with clay.  This was true until the discovery of briar in Saint Claude, France, a discovery that changed the pipe manufacturing world.  In 1902 Marechal and Ruchon sold GBD to A. Oppenheimer & Co. in London, which began the shift of GBD to being primarily a British enterprise, even though GBD pipes continued to be produced in Paris and Saint Claude, until 1981, with the closing of the French operation when the name, GBD, was merged with the Cadogan Group.  I enjoy rehearsing the historical developments of pipe names and companies because they add to the enjoyment and appreciation of restoring pipes.

I take some additional pictures of the GBD International Bulldog on my worktable. The nomenclature has on the left side of the shank, a GBD circled with an oval over INTERNATIONAL over LONDON MADE.  The right side has LONDON ENGLAND over 546, the shape number.  The shape number lines up as a Bulldog, ¼ bent, Diamond shank according to Jerry Hanna’s GBD shapes chart listings in Pipedia.  The dating of the pipe is pre-1980s.  The stem’s brass rondel along with the “London, England” stamp indicates a pre-Cadogan era GBD.  The merger was 1981.  This information is clear.

There’s some information that is proving to be a bit more difficult to mine in my research.  I’ve contacted Al Jones (Upshallfan), a regular contributor to rebornpipes, on a few GBDs I’ve restored in the past.  Al is a gold mine of information about GBDs and I appreciate his help.  Previously, he had sent me a PDF he had gleaned from now defunct www.perardua.net/ entitled ‘GBD Model Information’.  From that PDF I found this reference regarding the ‘International’ line of GBD.  I clipped it:I was excited to get a lead on what appears to be a GBD pipe line of “carved top rims” that were stained black.  The reference in the second line is to a 1976 catalog where I could hopefully find more about the International line.  Hopeful of finding this catalog, I went to the internet.  Unfortunately, I could find nothing.  Also disheartening, the usual go to page for catalogs, Chris’ Pipe Pages, I discovered some time ago, now seems to be defunct.  Sad.  So, again I sent Al a note with some questions.  His reply came very quickly with this picture of at least one ‘GBD International’ from the 1977 Tinderbox catalog.  The writing is not easy to make out but the “M.” example of the International line is a nice looking oval shank Volcano shape which I can make out has a carved rim like the Bulldog.  With this information, my thinking is that the GBD Bulldog I have is dated from 1976 but earlier than 1981.  Again, much thanks to Al Jones!Looking at the GBD International Bulldog itself, it is in decent condition.  There is some cake build up in the chamber and the carved rim shows some expected grime but not too much.  The twin dome grooves are full of debris and need to be cleaned.  The bowl itself looks very good – it has some expected grime, but the briar looks exceptional underneath.  It will look good when cleaned up.  The stem has some deep oxidation and the bit shows some dents and tooth chatter that will need correcting.

I begin the restoration of this GBD International Bulldog by adding the stem to a soak using Before & After Deoxidizer.  After running pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl 95% through the internals of the stem, it joins 5 other pipe stems in queue for restoration.  I leave the stem in the soak for a few hours then fishing the GBD stem out, I wipe it off with a cotton pad wetted with light paraffin oil.  I also put a pipe cleaner through the stem to push the fluid out and follow with a pipe cleaner dipped in isopropyl 95% to assure that the airway is clear. After cleaning the stem of the Deoxidizer, I can still detect oxidation in the vulcanite.  I take another picture of the stem with the aperture open more to show what I’m seeing.I decide to give the stem another soak in an OxiClean solution.  After covering the rondel with petroleum jelly, I put it in the soak. I’m not sure if the brass rondel will react or not to the OxiClean, but I take no chances.While the stem is in the OxiClean cooker, I turn to the stummel.  First, I use the Pipnet Reaming Kit to remove the carbon cake from the Bulldog’s chamber.  It takes 2 of the 4 blade heads available in the kit.  I follow this using the Savinelli Fitsall Tool to fine tune more by scraping the chamber walls removing more carbon.  To get down to fresh briar, I then wrap a 240 grit piece of sanding paper around a Sharpie Pen and sand the chamber.  To clean up, I wipe out the carbon dust with a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95%.  The pictures show the progress. Moving along with the stummel, I use undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a cotton pad to scrub the surface of the briar.  To clean the rim, I use a bristled tooth brush with Murphy’s to clean the carved angles and valleys.  I then rinse the bowl with cool tap water.  The last thing I do is take a sharp dental probe and run it through the twin dome grooves to remove the small debris that had lodged in the grooves.  With my wife’s help, I record a picture of this surgery.Since I like working on clean pipes and I know new stewards like smoking with clean pipes, I turn to the internals of the stummel.  Using cotton buds and pipe cleaners with isopropyl 95%, I go to work.  I’m thankful to discover that there is little resistance.  Later, at the end of the day, I’ll clean the internals further by using a kosher salt and alcohol soak.With the internals clean, I turn again to the briar surface.  To enliven the tired finish and to remove the small nicks and cuts that come from wear, I wet sand with micromesh pads 1500 to 2400, then dry sand with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  With each cycle, I enjoyed watching the grain emerge.  This GBD International Bulldog has nice grain – nice vertical flames rising to the carved plateau.  I’m liking this. I also want to freshen the carved black plateau – rim.  I use a black furniture dye stick to apply to the rim.  Later, when I apply compound, I’ll blend the black more, so it has more textured matte depth. Now, back to the stem.  The GBD stem has been soaking in OxiClean as a second salvo against the oxidation in the vulcanite.  After taking it out of the OxiClean bath, I use 600 grade paper and I wet sand the stem.  I work on the areas that show the deeper oxidation.  I then use 0000 steel wool and work over the entire stem, paying close attention to the area around the rondel.  I’m not 100% satisfied, but I may do more after I work on the bit. I take a picture of the upper bit and the lower bit to show the tooth dents.  The upper is not bad but the lower has two significant clinch bites and some damage to the button lip.To lessen the severity of the dents I heat the vulcanite using a Bic lighter by painting the dented areas with a flame.  As the vulcanite heats, it naturally expands and retakes some of the original ‘foot print’ of the dent.  I heat both upper and lower.  The upper will easily sand out but the lower still has work to do.To fill the dents and rebuild a little of the button, I use Starbond Black Medium CA glue.  I spot drop the black CA glue on the dents and then I use an accelerator to quicken the curing time.I then use a flat needle file and 240 grade sanding paper to sand down the patches.  I use the file to freshen the button – to reestablish crisp button edges.The following two pictures show the lower bit/button work – first in progress then completed with filing and 240 paper.I continue the smoothing and erasing of the 240 scratches by using 600 grade paper and then finishing with 0000 grade steel wool.  The patches look good, oxidation seems to be abated and the button shaping will be greatly appreciated by a new steward!I now turn to micromesh pads by first wet sanding with pads 1500 to 2400, then dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 then 6000 to 12000.  After each set of three I apply Obsidian Oil to revitalize the vulcanite.  The stem looks good. Turning now to the stummel, to enrich the briar grain I apply Before & After Restoration Balm.  I put a little on my finger and work it into the briar surface.  As I work it in, the liquid thickens into a wax-like substance.  After some minutes, I wipe off the Balm using a clean cloth.  As the Balm comes off, the surface buffs up nicely.With my day ending, I continue cleaning the internals of the stummel.  I use a kosher salt and alcohol soak.  I fashion a wick by stretching and twisting a cotton ball. I insert the ‘wick’ down the mortise into the airway.  I then fill the chamber with Kosher salt which, unlike iodized salt, leaves no aftertaste.  I then situate the stummel in an egg crate giving it stability and then add isopropyl 95% with a large eye dropper until it surfaces over the salt.  After a few minutes I top the alcohol once again and then turn out the lights.The next morning the soak had produced results with soiled salt and the wick absorbed more oils and tars.  I remove the expended salt to the waste and wipe the chamber with paper towel.  I also blow through the mortise to remove any remaining salt particles.  I then expend a few more pipe cleaners and cotton buds to clean up left overs from the soak.  The internals are as fresh as I can make them.I reunite stem and stummel and mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel, setting the speed at the slowest.  I then apply Blue Diamond compound to the entire pipe.  I also work on blending the black matte plateaued rim.  What I discover regarding the rim is that when I simply buff it with the Blue Diamond compound, is shines it up!  The exact opposite than dulling it down to a matte, charcoal look.  Then I came up with the idea of simply wetting a cotton pad with alcohol and dabbing it over the rim to dull the finish.  It worked like I was hoping.  I take a picture of before and after.  It’s difficult to see different shades of black in a photo!  But it does look good – the effect is striking. After completing the compound application and blending the rim, I wipe the pipe with a felt cloth to remove residue compound dust in preparation for the wax.  I then switch to another cotton cloth wheel on the Dremel, increase the speed to about 40% full power and apply a few coats of carnauba wax to both stummel and stem.  After application of the carnauba, I give the pipe a rigorous hand buffing to raise the shine.

Oh my.  The grain on this GBD International London Made shouts for attention!  I’m pleased with the results.  The flame grain emerges from the heel of the bowl – out of densely populated bird’s eye and swirls to reach toward the dome of the stummel, culminating in the craggy plateau of the rim.  There’s a lot going on with this bent Bulldog. It is headed to The Pipe Steward Store and since Chris saw the potential of this GBD International, he will have first dibs on bringing the Bulldog home.  The sale of this pipe benefits the Daughters of Bulgaria – helping women and girls (and their children) who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thank you for joining me!  I can’t resist starting off with a before and after picture lest we forget!

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.

 

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.