Recently through trade I received this Dr Grabow in the deal. When I received it I was unaware that the good doctor had made any metal pipes. Pleasant surprise! It came painted and plugged. The paint was a black with some glittery bits in it. It had a nice look about it . The bowl was stuck good and the stem would not pass a pipe cleaner.
You can see there is a minor scratch in the finish of the bowl end of the stem. I did that while attempting to remove the bowl. Paint is hard to affix to aluminum. I put the pipe in the freezer for several hours to attempt to free the bowl. This method worked in the past to remove stubborn stems. This time however it failed. I reached out to Steve Laug for a suggestion and he advised me to use a heat gun to try to loosen the tars inside. This is a great idea as the tars form with the heat of smoking and it worked here with no damage to the pipe.
The shank was plugged solid with tar and would not pass a pipe cleaner. I immersed it in an alcohol bath to loosen the gunk. Sorry no pic of the soak. I got called away and forgot to take it. The distraction was much longer than anticipated and I forgot to come back to get it out. The inevitable happened. The finish was severely damaged. and would need to come off. The aluminum of the shank released the painted finish and it came off in rubbery pieces.
You can see the buildup of the tars in the bottom of the bowl and remnants of the finish in the grooves of the shank. Using a rag, pipe cleaners and Q tips I was able to clear out the shank and bowl area.
The alcohol made the damaged finish appear to be rubbery. Using the wire wheel of my dremel tool in a pair of pliers to hold it and a soft wire brush I was able to remove the rest of the finish. The bristle pipe cleaners came in handy to get between the grooves to remove the rest of the stuck on finish. Then I used a plastic wire brush on the dremel to get the last bits and bring up the shine.
The stem was in really good shape and only required a good cleaning. Using Evercleafr and pipe cleaners did it up nicely.
Using some 320 grit sandpaper cleaned out the bowl. I then applied a couple of coats of bees wax to bring up the shine. Using an old toothbrush to remove the excess wax from the rustication then polish with a soft rag to complete.
Another valuable lesson learned, never forget to remove the stuff you are soaking as bad things can happen!
EDIT!! The internet forums are a great thing! I posted a before and after of this to find out it is WRONG! Ed Ozark Southpaw from the Dr Grabow forum clarified my misread on this one. Here is a link to the right Viking reference.