A couple of months ago I bought an Ehrilch Canadian on eBay and left it off to the side waiting for the summer temps to drop to be able to work in the garage at my bench. Now that we are back down to the 80’s I decided to get it done. It got a good ream, followed by a good retort before starting on the real work.
It took about six times with new ever clear each time to get it to come out clear. I then used several clean pipe cleaners to make sure I got all I could out. Once satisfied that it was clean I then put the stem into an Oxyclean bath to loosen up the oxidization.
Next it was time to get into the sanding of the stem to bring it back. Using the micro sanding sponges I wet sanded from 1200-6000 grit and finished by moving through the range to the 12000 sponge and finishing up with Brebbia’s pipe and stem polish.
The bowl was in good shape. After a salt and alcohol bath I used everclear and several makeup pads to wipe down the bowl and assess the color to use. I wanted to stay true to the original brown, so using Fibbing’s Leather Dye in the Dark Brown color, it got several coats that was flamed to set each time. Once satisfied with the color it was on to the buffer to complete the look.
It’s a little bit hard to date this pipe. In looking a pipephil.com and pipedia.com I wound up more confused than educated. The stem is stamped with the E in a circle and just the name Ehrlich on the left side of the shank. Having seen a number of them in the forums I wanted to make sure to do this one proud!
Thanks for looking.
I was asked to clean up this Dr. Grabow “Regal” and provide any information on it that I could find. It belongs to one of my coworkers that was handed down from his father which he said he remembers his dad having 60 years ago.
He asked that I not do a full restoration but only shine it up for him to display in his home. You can see that there was very little cake in the bowl. With the exception of the tar on the rim the rest of the pipe just needed some TLC.
I soaked the stem in a mild Oxyclean solution and put the bowl in my rice box to get the salt and alcohol treatment. Using the rice allows me to put any pipe in any position be held without worry it will fall over.
When I removed the stem it was white and I was shocked! I’ve never had this happen before and I was worried I damage it.
Using the micro sanding pads I started with 1200 through 4000 and wet sanded the stem being careful not to damage the white spade emblem.
This knocked off the white residue very nicely. I continued through the rest of the range up to 12000 grit and followed this up with some Brebbia Pipe Stem Polish.
I then went to work on the bowl. Using Murphy’s oil soap I wiped down the bowl. I failed to document this part as I was in a zone to get it done. (Sorry). The tar on the rim was moderately thick and I used saliva and elbow grease and a soft brass brush to clean it up. As my friend did not want it to look like new I did not top it to get it clear. It was left as if the owner had just put it down after enjoying his last smoke. Next was to buff it with beeswax and wipe with a soft cloth.
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.
I’ve been looking roundabouts on eBay for some pipes to be had a cheap prices that may need some work to bring back to good form and get some practice in learning the rework craft.
This is one that I won. I will say that when bidding on a pipe it is best to read the WHOLE description! I skimmed this one and got a good laugh when it arrived.
When it arrived it was in very good condition. Lightly smoked and not abused. All it was going to need was just a light cleaning and it would be ready to go. I gave it a short alcohol bath, ran pipe cleaners through the stem and wiped the bowl inside with Q tips. Using Dark Brown Leather Stain I gave it a couple of light coats and flamed it to set. Wiped it down with a soft rag and took it to the buffer to apply beeswax.
And now for the punchline. Remember I said to read the WHOLE description. I missed something in the size area.
Just a bit on the small side! Ha, ha,ha… Well I did get some practice in! Hope I made you smile at least!
Looking forward to the New Year, I anticipate to be able to post more often than in the past. My quest for neglected, abused and discarded pipes has begun in earnest. Several trips to the local antique shops and flea markets has netted none at this time, but, I will be branching out to the estate sales soon as they should be a better resource.
There was a time when you could get a pipe lot on eBay at a reasonable price, but, seems like those days have passed. I watch each day to see about new listings and am disappointed in the prices folks start asking for cracked and broken pipes, bowls only (why break apart the bowl and stem to be sold separately?), and various “collections” available.
As the next chapter in my quest for ReserectedPipes opens, I hope to learn the hows and ways to rusticate, repair badly damaged stems, remove and refill old fills, repair the Bulldog / Rhodesian rings, repair burnouts and cracks. After reading Steve Laug of Reborn Pipes, Charles Lemon of Dad’s Pipes and Al Jones and Greg Wolford and those that have written and published their restoration techniques and processes, I have gained the confidence to take on more adventurous projects. If I missed your name in my listing please do not take it personally, I am grateful for all the information I have been able to glean and hate to leave anyone out.
Now to go find them needy pipes!!
Have a Happy New Year All, and Thanks for reading my blatherings!
Source: Opening the rebornpipes store.
I’m posting this from Steve Laug’s Reborn Pipes Blog. Check out his work and pick up a nice pipe in the bargain as well.