Daily Archives: September 14, 2015

Repairing a hole in the stem of Dr. Grabow 36

Blog by J.D. Dohrer

I am glad to be able to post this first blog by JD Dohrer. He has done a masterful job in repairing this stem. I am hoping he continues to submit blogs to rebornpipes and we can continue to enjoy and learn from his work.– Steve

This is a Dr. Grabow Starfire wire carved large billiard #36. DG Starfires are one of my favorite lines/styles of pipes. I am quite keen on the models that have the metal shank extension. I snagged this one off of ebay for 10 dollars, delivered. I bought it specifically for the hole in the stem. I had been wanting to try my hand at a stem rebuild, especially after seeing the results that Steve and some others here on Reborn had completed.

The following pics are how I received it in the mail. It was actually in quite good condition. The stummel was in nice shape, with just some minor chips on the rim and the typical grime in the wire carving. The stamping was still nice, sharp and deep. The cleaner was even still in the tenon. The stem was in rather good condition even considering the hole that was chewed through the button. The hole was on the underside of the button. Which gave me hope, that if I mucked this up terribly, it would be on the less than visible side of the pipe.JD1



JD4 The first thing I did was give the stem a good soaking in ISO 91% alcohol. I then cleaned the interior of the stem with pipe cleaners. Amazingly it only took a couple of pipe cleaners to get rid of the gunk in the stem. I then did some filing around the hole and inside the button. I also cleaned up the edges of the hole and expanded its size a bit.JD5 I let the stem soak in oxyclean for a few minutes. I then scrubbed the stem with a scotch brite pad and oxyclean. I wet sanded the stem from 400, 600, 800 and 1500 and got rid of all the oxidation. I took care of some other minor tooth chatter also at this time. I then finished with a good scrubbing and a magic eraser. I then re-cleaned the stem and hole area with 91% and scuffed up the hole.JD6

JD7 At this point I made a cardboard backer that I wrapped in scotch tape. I made sure it was a nice and tight fit. As a precaution I also inserted a pipe cleaner in the airway just to cover my butt.JD8 Next I opened up a 250mg capsule of activated charcoal. I crushed up the AC as finely as I could, using a medicine measuring cup and a small wax carving spoon type tool. Next I poured a small puddle of black CA glue on a piece of scrap and mixed in some AC. I got it to a pretty thick consistency that didnt drip off my mini trowel tool. I applied in 3 quick layers. The last layer was pretty messy as it was starting to set up but, I got it smoothed out and set it off to the side to dry. The total amount of AC used was probably less than 100 mg. You can see the glue puddle next to the dime. The puddle is smeared around a bit, as this was when I was done applying the glue.JD9 Here is dried glue after 16 hours.JD10 I filed down the area and then did the same steps again with the wet sanding. The filings were very fine and powdery and the glue sanded very nicely.JD11 Now it was onto the easy part. I cleaned/reamed the chamber with a small round blade pocket knife and some 100 grit sandpaper wrapped lengthwise over a Sharpie pen. The caking was very light and I took it down just enough to leave the walls blackened.JD12 Now it was time for the draft hole and mortise/shank extension. I figured since the stem was such a breeze, this should be just as easy. I was dead wrong. I used ISO 91%, quite a few pipe cleaners, qtips, shank brush and a small bladed wax carving tool. It was definitely the worse job to do on this pipe. I cleaned the threads and exterior of the shank extension with 0000 steel wool.JD13 I then moved onto the cleaning of the exterior of the stummel itself. I used oxyclean and a scotchbrite pad to scrub the exterior. I removed a lot of grime and some of the dye on the higher points of the wire carving.JD14 I smoothed out and blended some of the smaller chips in the rim and redyed the stummel. I used 2 parts Fiebings Oxblood and 1 part Fiebings Cordovan. I gave it a couple of good quick coats of dye. I let dry for a few minutes and wiped off any excess.JD15 With all the heavy lifting done, it was time for the buffing and waxing. I used tripoli, white diamond and carnauba on the stem. I hit the shank extension with a bit of white diamond. I used a couple coats of Halcyon 2 on the stummel. I then finished up by buffing with a microfiber cloth. Below is the finished product with as good of a close up as I could get with my iphone.JD16




JD20 I am pretty dang pleased with myself on how this pipe came out looking. When I started working on pipes, I always made sure that the pipe I was bidding on had a stem that was in good shape. But, after this project, I will seek those pipes out that need some stem work. In fact, I have 3 pipes on their way that need some intense TLC and stem work. I again thank Steve and all the rest on here and DGCF for their postings, tips and ideas. Truly appreciated.

I fired ‘er up last night and ran a bowl of Carter Hall, Chatham Manor and a burley/cavendish blend through it. It smokes just as well as my other Starfires. Its a keeper and it will join with my other 6 Grabow Starfires.

Thanks in advance for checking it out. My picture taking skills are a bit lacking and my iphone does not take the best close up pics. W

Now I’ve Seen Everything

Guest Blog by Robert M. Boughton
Member, North American Society of Pipe Collectors

“What will they think of next?”
― From “What Will They Think of Next?” Canadian science TV series (1976-1979), with Joseph Campanella and guest hosts

On tonight’s episode, we’ll look at some of the most unusual smoking pipes ever conceived by innovative inventors whose lives have been committed to making the world the place we now know it to be! First from Langley, Virginia in the United States, a pipe that was, for many years during the Cold War, classified “Top Secret” by the intelligence community there; then to the United Kingdom for a glance at a pipe even children can enjoy, however illicitly; next to another U.K. company, originally headquartered in the U.S., known best for its metal pipes that have sold 44,000,000 and counting, but which also holds the distinction of having introduced this “unbreakable” pipe; back to the U.S., in San Marcos, Texas, for a pipe you can literally stick almost anywhere you find yourself…and more!



For those James Bond fans who think his gadgets are cool enough to die for, created by the ingenious Q in his ever-clever if not always quite perfected lab full of spy toys for Her Majesty’s secret agents with a 00-series license to kill clearance, we offer this glimpse of real-life tradecraft brought to you by the brilliant though perhaps somewhat sociopathic inventors at the Central Intelligence Agency: the meerschaum small billiard pipe, c. 1950s, complete with a screw-in tenon that can be removed for the open shank to act as a gun barrel. Capable of firing a single .22-caliber bullet by simply pressing the tiny ventilation-like system “trigger” on the underside of the shank, this is one tobacco pipe that would indeed be deadly to use.Rob1 Although this petite, gorgeous beauty of a meerschaum, very similar to the women in Bond thrillers, was capable of being enjoyed in the usual sense of the term (with a nice bowl of tobacco), in this case the word smoked takes on a more sinister meaning. Note the somewhat creepy, lightly used condition of the bit just below the lip, indicating the pipe’s actual use at least once by an actual non-official cover (NOC), or deep-cover and fully-deniable, CIA agent.

Now, onto our next amazing variation from the norm in the world of tobacco pipes: the Puff Pop Lollipop Pipe! That’s right – Lollipop Pipe! Distributed by everyonedoesit.com, these unique candy pipes are fashioned with clear, hollow, plastic combination shanks/bits leading into the same old lollipops enjoyed by generations of children – except that one side of the round ball of candy is hollowed out to add real pipe tobacco, and the other is flat.Rob2 Although there is a clear drawback here – the pipe shapes are limited to the one shown above – they are designed as sitters. The Puff Pop Pipes, cutting-edge versions of the old-fashioned candy on a stick, create an “original, cool, easily usable, tasty smoking accessory.” And that leaves out the obvious, disposable. Conceived by the “think tank that is Pitara, who are all about dual purpose,” they are available to order only online at a site that requires anyone who wishes to enter to certify he is 18 or older. That certainly ensures that potential underage smokers will be weeded out. The real draw of this great new pipe variety is that the tobacco taste and aroma are sweetened and flavored and “come in a number of different mind crackling flavors and colors, for all to enjoy.” Now, there’s a great idea!

Now onto a pipe – “The Pipe” – invented by Super Temp in 1963 with sales beginning in 1965, during the height of the Hippie movement, by Tar Gard. Not until 1971 did The Pipe become part of Falcon family, the renowned inventor of the metal pipe. Constructed of virtually unbreakable materials that led Falcon to drop this line quietly in 1972, due to the very nature of The Pipe’s unconventional construction, their manufacture passed to yet another pipe interest. Responsibility for making The Pipe moved for the last time to RJ Reynolds in 1973, the final year of its short period of manufacture but seemingly permanent existence. They remain available to collectors to this day, perhaps due to their all but indestructible nature.Rob3 At last we come to the last but not least of this evening’s scientific wonders: Grabber Pipes! Available in two great traditional shapes and made of the usual briar, with one major difference, these pipes are modernized with the insertion of magnets to allow pipe enjoyers on-the go, or those who don’t have a pipe rack, to set the finished Grabber on almost anything metallic!Rob4

Rob5 And that concludes tonight’s episode. Thank you for joining us, and look forward to the next account of scientific breakthroughs.

What can I add other than…now I’ve seen everything! Anyone with an account of any tobacco pipe odder than these, please, do tell.

For those of you who are interested, here are the websites to visit for more information.

http://www.popularmechanics.com/culture/movies/g985/23-most-memorable-james-bond-gadgets/?slide=1 23 Most Memorable Bond Gadgets – Popular Mechanics
http://www.ebaumsworld.com/pictures/view/81348090/ CIA pipe-gun
https://www.cia.gov/news-information/featured-story-archive/2007-featured-story-archive/cia-museum.html CIA Museum
http://www.everyonedoesit.com/online_headshop/puff-pops-lollipop-pipes.cfm# Puff Pop – Lollipop Pipes
http://www.pipetobacco.com/grabber.html Magnet pipes
http://www.thepipe.info/info/anatomy.html Anatomy of The Pipe
http://www.thepipe.info/history/index.html#Timeline The Pipe Timeline