I scored this not-so-old estate BBB Luton billiard on eBay last week. It was listed as having been reamed and cleaned on the exterior, and looked pretty good in the listing pics. I took a gamble on an unfamiliar seller, and lo and behold, I won it.
In due course, the pipe arrived and I popped it out of the box for a first once-over. It’s a pretty pipe, with some nice straight grain on the right side of the bowl and birdseye on the bottom and rim. The stummel is stamped with the BBB diamond logo over “Luton” on the left shank, and “London, England” over “651S” on the right. The stem carries a brass BBB diamond logo as well as a brass spacer washer at the tenon for a bit of bling.
There was a thin layer of cake in the bowl, which I reamed out with 80-grit sandpaper and a dowel so I could make sure there were no hidden issue. There were not (hurrah!), so I moved on to the internals, which according to the eBay listing had not been cleaned before sale. It took only a few pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol to tidy up the airway of both shank and stem. This was a well-kept pipe, a decided first among my estate purchases!
The rim had a dark spot at about the five o’clock position, so I worked on the rim for a bit with cotton pads and saliva. This lifted most of the dark patch. I removed the rest with a very judicious topping using 1000-grit wet paper.
I wiped the rest of the stummel down lightly with a cotton pad and isopropyl alcohol to remove the small amount of grime on the outside of the briar, and then touched up the stain on the rim to match the sides of the bowl.
Annoyingly, as I was reassembling the pipe to bring to the buffer, the brass washer came loose on the stem tenon. Rather than chance losing it every time I removed the stem, I put a tiny dab of CA glue onto the washer and then replaced it on the stem. The CA must have started to set before I got the washer properly oriented, because the washer refused to sit exactly flush against the face of the stem. It’s 99% there, but that 1% bugs me. Pooh!
Not wanting to mess the stem face up trying for a 1% better fit, I continued on my way to the buffer, where the entire pipe was lightly polished with White Diamond before getting multiple coats of Carnauba wax.
This was by far the cleanest and most issue-free estate pipe I’ve worked on in quite a while. It was nice to get a good one, but if Murphy’s Law has anything to say about it, the next pipe will be a doozie! Until then, though, I’ll enjoy adding this BBB to my rack and rotation. Here’s the finished pipe.