1938 BBB Silver-Mounted Poker Restoration [Pic Heavy]

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piffyr

Preferred Member
Apr 24, 2015
782
44
Sometimes, a pipe can be loved too much. Take this 1938 BBB poker for example. It appears that the previous owner was so proud of it that he displayed it prominently in an area exposed to direct sunlight. That’s great for public viewing, but not so good for wood finishes and vulcanite stems. The stummel was extremely sun-bleached. The only areas that held their original color were the bottoms of the bowl and shank. Since I had been asked to restore the pipe to as like new condition as possible, those would areas would function as my color swatches to match the original finish.














 

piffyr

Preferred Member
Apr 24, 2015
782
44
The only structural damage was beneath the silver cap where there were significant cracks at approximately the 4, 6, and 8 o’clock positions.

The cap had done a fair enough job of holding everything together thus far, but it was obvious that the it wasn’t form fitting at the very end. The space between the cap and the shank had allowed the wood to flex too far and fracture. So, two different types of adhesive were required to stabilize the cracks. The first was a thin epoxy that I could work into the fissures before clamping them together to bring the shank back into shape. The second was a gap-filling epoxy paste that was applied between the cap and shank. That would fill in the void and prevent any flex and stress in the future.

 

piffyr

Preferred Member
Apr 24, 2015
782
44
When all was said and done, this was the pipe…













This pipe was part of a batch of four that came in for some restoration work and, believe it or not, it’s probably the runt of the litter. I’ll try to get the other three posted within the next few days.

 

nevadablue

Preferred Member
Jun 5, 2017
1,193
1
I will say WOW! Beautiful work.
Thank you so much for illustrating your repair methods too. This newbie is learning by looking at the pictures.

 

didimauw

Moderator
Staff member
Jul 28, 2013
3,703
1,155
30
WI
:clap:
This makes me happy. I love what you did with that pipe!
However, I enjoyed the before pictures better! Muahahaha

 

pitchfork

Preferred Member
May 25, 2012
3,840
11
BTW, I'm almost certain that's a 1913/1914 BBB, not 1938/1939. The Birmingham O's and P's can be really hard to tell apart sometimes, but given the nomenclature, the color of the stain, and the design, I think that's an older one. Theoretically, the inside of the O should have straight sides on the 1913/14 letter and a more oval shaped middle on the 1938/9 O, but that's not always the case.
This BBB with Glokar stem, for example, dates to 1913/14, but the O looks an awful lot like the later 1938/9 O. However, I've never seen a Glokar stem from that late and I think it went out of production sometime in the 20s.


 

georged

Preferred Member
Mar 7, 2013
2,608
36
:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:
^ standing ovation :D

 

piffyr

Preferred Member
Apr 24, 2015
782
44
@didimauw -- No worries, man. I like "before" photos too. I also like "cleaning" photos...

Both can have a sort of dissonant beauty.

 

piffyr

Preferred Member
Apr 24, 2015
782
44
BTW, I'm almost certain that's a 1913/1914 BBB, not 1938/1939. The Birmingham O's and P's can be really hard to tell apart sometimes, but given the nomenclature, the color of the stain, and the design, I think that's an older one. Theoretically, the inside of the O should have straight sides on the 1913/14 letter and a more oval shaped middle on the 1938/9 O, but that's not always the case.
Thanks for that, Wes! I had originally pegged the date as 1913, but when I looked at the date hallmark for 1938 I changed my mind. You're right, the hallmarks are very similar for those years. The other three pipes in the batch came from the same source and they are all late pre-war or early post-war pipes. So, I thought 1938 to be the most likely of the two, but now I'm not so sure.

 

pitchfork

Preferred Member
May 25, 2012
3,840
11
The other three pipes in the batch came from the same source and they are all late pre-war or early post-war pipes. So, I thought 1938 to be the most likely of the two, but now I'm not so sure.
Hmm... that would give one pause. Still, the only "Own Makes" I've seen with that style of nomenclature that could be from the later period have had O's and Ps, which makes me think they're actually the older date letters that happen to be ambiguous, whether from wear or from the actual stamp used.
Anyway, still just marveling at the transformation on this one.

 

dmcmtk

Preferred Member
Aug 23, 2013
2,993
142
Wes, the cartouche for AF&Co on your pipe looks a little smaller, and rounded at the corners maybe...? I'm also looking at the distance between the bottom of the O and the edge of the it's cartouche on both set of marks...? Thoughts? I might consider the relative positions of the BBB and AF& Co, but that would entail expecting consistency :rofl: of the markings on British pipes...
:)

 

pitchfork

Preferred Member
May 25, 2012
3,840
11
Wes, the cartouche for AF&Co on your pipe looks a little smaller, and rounded at the corners maybe...? I'm also looking at the distance between the bottom of the O and the edge of the it's cartouche on both set of marks...? Thoughts?
They look straight-edged to me. The cartouche is supposed to be the same for both sets of letters, though. As for the distance between the letter and the edge of the cartouche, I just never can tell. Your eyes are usually sharper than mine, though!
I've seen so many look-alikes for Os and Ps, that I tend to go with what I think is the age of the particular design. Here's another Birmingham O that I'm fairly certain is an older pipe (i.e. 1913/14). I don't believe that BBB was making amber-stemmed, cased meers as late as 1938, but can't be sure. To my eyes, it just looks like it's an older pipe.


 

saltedplug

Preferred Member
Jul 24, 2016
1,908
6
The integrity of these pipes for enduring the degradations of time and their resurrection is truly to be admired.

 
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