Tag Archives: Pipes and Tobacco in San Francisco California

Bringing a Square Shank  Benaderet’s Coral Pot Back to Life

Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table is a sandblasted square shank pot. The pipe is a real mess with dust and grime in all of the valleys of the sandblast and the rim top is covered in lava. The inner edge of the bowl is very dirty and darkened and there is a thick cake in the bowl. The cake was so thick in parts of the bowl that it was hard to guess the condition of the rim edge. The finish appears to be a reddish brown or oxblood colour with dark highlights underneath. On the heel of the bowl and shank it is stamped Benaderet’s Coral followed by London Made and the shape number 9488. The stem was oxidized, calcified and there were tooth marks and chatter on both sides just ahead of the button. There was not any stamping on the stem so it did not have any identifying marks. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started working on it. I include those below. Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the lava build up on the rim top and dust and grime in the rustication. It was thick and hard and heavier toward the front of the bowl. Hopefully it had protected the rim and edges from damage. The lava is deep in the rustication and there is a buildup on the inner edge of the bowl. Jeff took a photo of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the finish – the grime and grit all over the sides and bottom of the bowl. The grooves in the sandblast are full of grime but it is interesting. This is a very tactile finish and one that I enjoy.      Jeff took two photos of the stamping on the underside of the shank to capture all of it. It is very clear and readable other than the edge of the shank where the London Made and 9488 number are stamped.   Jeff took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the scratching, oxidation, calcification and tooth marks on the stem surface and button. Some of the tooth marks are quite deep on both sides of the stem. From the shape number on the shank I was pretty certain I was dealing with a GBD pipe. The stamping Benaderet’s Coral was a dead end but the shape number hit the mark. I turned to Pipedia’s shape number listing and found it (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD_Shapes/Numbers). I have included a screen capture of the listing below.I did a quick google search for a Benaderet’s Pipe Shop and came on two good links. The first is from a post on reddit that included a quick bit of information on the shop being located in San Franscisco, California that closed in the 1970s. (https://www.reddit.com/r/PipeTobacco/comments/dzg3y8/any_info_on_a_benaderet_pipe_year_etc/ ). I quote:

Benaderet’s was a pipe shop in San Francisco that closed in the 70’s. Their house pipes were made by comoys or sasieni although smokingpipes had one made by gbd once. Good find.

The other link was to a blog (http://theothersideofthelizard.blogspot.com/2018/11/benaderets-pipe-shop.html). That blog gave the original address of the shop in San Francisco and the names of the owners of the shop.

Benaderet’s Cigarette, Pipe and Tobacco Shop

215 Sutter Street [Formerly at 566 California Street],San Francisco.

Owners: Robert and Edith Rashaw (Robert Rashaw: born 1916. Edith Edna Rashaw: born 1916.)

Store still extant in the late seventies. No longer there by the eighties.

At one point, they had Egyptian cigarettes made for them.

Their house pipes were usually by Comoys. There are also Benaderet Sasienis. More research required.

Quote: “Benaderet’s Inc., was California’s oldest pipe and tobacco store when it went out of business in 1980. Sam Benaderet was a tobacconist from New York City who came to San Francisco in 1915 to work at the Panama Pacific International Exposition. An immigrant to the United States from Turkey, Mr. Benaderet decided that he liked the West Coast’s Mediterranean like climate. After the Exposition closed, he stayed to open his own tobacco business. This new firm produced custom private-label cigarettes for men’s clubs. A lavish retail store was opened in the late 1920’s that quickly became a mecca for tobacco connoisseurs.”

So what I could find out about the pipe is that it is a pipe made by GBD (Shape number confirms this). It turns out that the pipe was a GBD pipe made for Benadert’s Cigarette, Pipe and Tobacco Shop in San Francisco, California. Since the shop went out of business in 1980 I now knew that the pipe was made before that time. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

This pipe was a real mess like many of the pipes we work on. I was curious to see what it would look like when I unpacked it. I was surprised at how good it looked. Jeff reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. The finish on the bowl looked really good when I got it. The rim top looked much better and the inner and outer edges were looking good. He had cleaned the internals and scrubbed the exterior of the stem and soaked them in Before & After Deoxidizer bath to remove the oxidation. The stem looked very good other than the tooth marks and chatter in the surface. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked very good. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it.   I took photos of the condition of the rim top and stem before I started working. The rim top looks very good. The crevices and valleys of the sandblast and the beveled inner edge of the rim are clean and look great. The bowl is spotless. The stem is lightly oxidized and has some tooth marks and tooth chatter.   I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the heel and the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the finish of the bowl and the rim top and shank with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect it. I find that the balm really makes the briar come alive again. The contrasts in the layers of stain and the separate finishes really made the grain stand out. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The bowl really looks good at this point. I tried to lift the tooth marks with a flame but they did not come up. I filled in the deeper ones on each side with clear super glue. Once the repairs cured I used a needle file to flatten the filed in areas in preparation for sanding.    I sanded the stem to remove the oxidation that was on the surface and to smooth out the repaired areas. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper and a piece of 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. At this point the stem is looking better and the tooth marks are gone.  I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I polished it further with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both fine and extra fine.    Once again I am the part of the restoration that I always look forward to – the moment when all the pieces are put back together. I put the Benaderet’s Coral 9488 pipe back together and lightly buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond. I buffed the stem with a heavier touch with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the combination of rustication and smooth finishes. The black vulcanite stem stands out as a shiny black contrast to the colours of the bowl. The reddish brown stain on the Benaderet’s Coral Pot looks absolutely great. It is nice to know that it has a west coast tie to the San Francisco area and a long gone pipe shop. It must have been a fine smoking pipe judging from the condition it was when we received it. Have a look at it in the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. This is one that will go on the British Pipemakers section of the rebornpipes online store shortly. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next generation.