Revitalizing a Dr. Grabow Omega


It’s been a while since my last posting. I’ve not acquired many pipes during the past year and those that I have have not been too bad off. This is a Dr Grabow Omega I was able to get cheaply on eBay.

‘Tis was an easy cleanup and not in bad shape at all. There was some grime on the rim and the rear side was covered in a thick layer of dust.


I uesed an old toothbrush and some Murphys Oil Soap to clean up the briar. It came up nicely  and I immeresed it into my rice bucket to hold it upright. It was then filled with kosher salt, a cotton ball and added Everclear to sanitize the bowl. The carbon was almost none existant in the bowl so it did not need a ream.


Setting the bowl asside to soak, I turned my attention to the stem. It had some minor chatter on the “P” style bit end. Using a worn piece of 320 grit sandpaper I was able to clear out the chatter easily. Then using sanding sponges from 1200 – 12000 brought it to a polished state.

Like I said earlier, I have not posted in a while and failed to photograph the transition of the stem. As I would say through my alter ego, PyrateMate, ARGH! LOL…

I did see that the bowl when it was done, that it had a bit of “broken” shellac around the smooth surfaces. Using Acetone and cotton balls to remove the old finish and then wiping it down with isopropryl alcohol I was satisfied that the color was not damaged. I setteled down to looking the briar over and decided that it looked like it was thirsty. Using Obsidian Oil I wiped the bowl with cotton tipped sticks to get deep into the grooves of the Omega cuts. Then using an old tee shirt I rubbed it out and polished the briar and stem to a very nice shine.

I am by no way a pipe master, guru or any other adjective that may be used to describe what pipe makers do to make the pipes we all enjoy so much. This being said I do not understand why the Dr. Grabow folks use the shellac to put shine on their pipes. Once I removed it and added the oil to the briar, the color and shine came up in a much richer fashon. More like the old school of pipe makers come to mind when I see some of the pipes pipers smoke and the richness of their finishes. Seeing great grain and birdseye come through is always better in my humble opinion than the shine falsely created by shellacs and lacqures.