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.
I recently found this little jewel on eBay. It was listed as a French Briar, but it had a unique charm to it that no one else seemed to see. I got it for not even a song, just a clearing of the throat.
It came with this case which also needs attention. The case was marked with French Briar inside which, while it fits the pipe I don’t think came with the pipe originally.
The top of the rim had what appeared to be mold on it. Inside was not too bad as there was hardly any cake built up in it. The stem has nicks in it and the brass / gold sleeve was very dirty.
I gave the stem a bath in the Oxyclean for a couple of hours and the bowl after reaming with my Castleford reamer set of the lower three sizes, an alcohol bath over night. The Oxyclean did a great job of removing the tar and stains from the inside and outsides of the stem. The texture of the stem was rough. I had hoped to bring it up by sanding it first then buffing it. I saw the real amber structure come alive as I attempted to polish the amber with sanding sponges from 1200 to 6000 grits. Under a magnifying glass I could see very small bubbles and imperfections in the amber. As I sanded these imperfections were exposed and became open divots, though small, visible on the stem. As I was able to completely clean the inside of the stem I decided to just try to put some shine on the outside by using the buffing wheel. This worked very well and put a good shine to it.
The white specks are the opened bubbles. Not wanting to deteriorate the condition further I settled for the polishing wheel.
Next up was to clean out the bowl. I was happy to see that the spot that looked like mold disappeared after the alcohol bath. Using an old tooth brush I went over it with more alcohol and was able to remove all of the grime that the bath loosened and clear the grooves. They are very crisp all the way around. While the surface of the pipe is very good there is an underlying dark area round the front that looked like it was deep within the briar. When the bowl was wet it showed some very nice birdseye on one side and flame grain on the other. Leaving it alone I let it dry, then using OxBlood Red leather stain gave it several coats and flamed it to set.
I gave it a coat of beeswax and a buff.
In researching the Real Amber WDC connection I was able to find an identical shank sleeve on a straight Real Amber WDC that they dated at 1890. I would like to believe that this is one from the same time but before I claim it I will continue to research the dating wherever I can.
A friend of mine had me Reserect another of his old pipes and this one is similar to one of the last I did for him, a Savinelli Punto Oro poker. This, he said, was his favorite pipe and by the condition it was in I would agree. it was the most smoked of the four by far.
In looking at the chip in the rim I had the thought to try to taper the rest of the rim. But, after I reamed it out I found a slight crack that I worried may effect the integrity of the pipe if I removed material near it. The stem had several very deep tooth marks in both the top and bottom of the stem that I have not attempted to work on before and was unsure as to the outcome.
I did ask Steve Laug of Reborn Pipes how to best approach this. Thanks Steve for the advise. He suggested that I use a small heat source such as a lighter to gently raise the divots and not to get it too hot as to melt the vulcanite. Well… That part scared me so I delayed in getting this done (I was asked in May to do this…). I did not want to ruin a friends pipe!
Next thing I did was to finish cleaning the bowl and stem. I soaked the stem in a mild Oxyclean solution and used Everclear and pipe cleaners on the stem to complete the cleaning. The bowl was given an alcohol and salt bath for about 2 hours and the outside was washed with alcohol and cotton to clean the grime off.
The next thing I needed to overcome my fear of the flame and get the tooth marks out of the stem. I inserted a pipe cleaner into it and held a flame briefly under it. Several of the divots raised a good bit. Not wanting to risk damage to the vulcanite I stopped and sanded with sponges from 1200 to 12000 grit.
I used beeswax on the bowl and Brebbia pipe and stem cleaner on the stem to bring up the shine. Then using a flannel rag I polished the entire pipe.