Daily Archives: December 29, 2015

2015 in review


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 260,000 times in 2015. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 11 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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A Dr. Grabow Color Duke Billiard Renewed


Blog by Steve Laug

Most of the Dr. Grabow Color Duke pipes that have come across my worktable have been in rough shape. The paint has been chipped and the finish ruined. This is the second one lately that I have worked on. The first was the Cherry Apple Red Dr. Grabow Viscount that my brother found for me. This second one is a White Billiard with a saddle stem. It is one that was made for a paper filter rather than a stinger/spoon apparatus. The pipe is stamped Color Duke over Dr. Grabow on the left side of the shank and Imported Briar over Adjustomatic over Pat. 2461905. The Patent Number is for the Adjustomatic tenon.

The pipe came to me from a friend quite awhile ago and I just got around to working on it. It was in pretty decent shape other than being dirty. The finish has some dents in the bottom of the bowl on the right side. There was some staining on the right side of the shank at the stem/shank junction. The rim was dirty and had some darkening and a few spots where the finish was worn off. The bowl had a cake that would need to be removed. The screw in tenon was dirty but the stem aligned with the shank perfectly. The stem itself was dirty inside and out. There was tooth chatter on the top and underside of the stem near the button. On the underside was a deep tooth mark in the center about ½ inches from the button. The next photos show the pipe when I brought it to the work table.Duke1

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Duke4 I took some close-up pictures of the rim and the dents on the bottom of the bowl to give a clear picture of the issues with this pipe.Duke5

Duke6 I reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer and took the cake back to the bare briar. I used a pen knife to clean up remaining cake that the reamer left behind.Duke7

Duke8 I scrubbed the finish with cotton pads and Murphy’s Oil Soap as I did not want to use anything that potentially would damage the painted finish on the bowl. My intent was to get the grime off the finish and to remove as much of the rim darkening as possible without compromising the paint on the rim or edges.Duke9

Duke10 I rinsed the bowl with warm water and dried it off with a towel. Here are some photos of the cleaned bowl.Duke11

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Duke14 I cleaned the inside of the shank and the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol until they came out clean.Duke15 With the bowl cleaned inside and out it was time to address the stem. I sanded the surface of the stem to clean off the dirt and tooth chatter. I wiped it down with a cotton swab and alcohol to remove the dust and to examine the dent on the underside.Duke16 After the deep dent was cleaned I filled it with a few drops of clear super glue.Duke17 Once the glue dried I sanded the repair to make it flush with the stem surface using 220 grit sandpaper.Duke18 I sanded the entire stem with medium and fine grit sanding sponges. The repair spot is beginning to blend in very well.Duke19

Duke20 I sanded the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and then rubbing it down with Obsidian Oil. I dry sanded with 3200-4000 grit pads and gave it another coat of oil. I finished by dry sanding it with 6000-12000 grit pads. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and let it dry.Duke21

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Duke23 In the past buffing the painted bowls and the Grabow stems has caused me a lot of grief. I have found that these stems can take very little heat that the buffing pads generate so I hand buff them with Paragon Wax and a shoe buffer. I buff the bowls the same way using the shoe buffing brush and a microfibre cloth. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. If you are interested in this pipe email or message me and make an offer. It could easily join your rack. Thanks for looking.Duke24

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The Love of “Old Briar”


Dutch Holland

I wrote and asked Dutch for an introductory Bio to give us a feel for who he is as a pipe smoker and also as a refurbisher. I posted an earlier piece he sent me on a stem repair on a Dunhill Rhodesian and thought it would be great to know more about him. He wrote back with this marvelous piece that shows that he not only does a great job in pipe refurbishing but writes well also. I have posted it on the contributors page but also wanted to put it here as it summarizes pretty much my life as a pipe man as well. Thanks Dutch and welcome to rebornpipes. – Steve@rebornpipes

I’ve smoked pipes since I was a teen, more years ago now than I care to admit to. For most of that time my collection consisted of a set of six Peretti house brand pipes and a basket Lovat, full of fills, I just loved. I had the good fortune to know Mr. Peretti and his brand of pipes were not fancy but they were always great smokers and after all, I had a pipe for each day of the week and thought myself to be “living large”. As the father of five the budget didn’t always have a surplus of disposable income and what there was of it wasn’t seen by the bride as resources to be squandered on fancy pipes. I can’t complain, she always made the money go a lot further than I ever could have. About ten years ago we became empty nesters but old ways die-hard and even now that I could, spending big money on pipes was something I couldn’t entertain. I did want to finally be able to expand my collection but just couldn’t justify spending a lot of money to accomplish it. That’s when I stumbled onto Ebay. Right in front of my eyes was the most wonderful selection of old classic shapes in need of some TLC. That would allow me to expand the collection at a modest cost if I could develop the skills to restore them. The quest was on.

My father did wood working and at an early age I was introduced to those skills but pipe restoration has its own special requirements so I set about mastering them. The internet is a wonderful thing; on it you can find like-minded people who are willing to exchange ideas and techniques. A few practice pipes and the right tools of the trade and I was hooked. Now time on Ebay can be something akin to being a kid in a candy store, I’ll have one of everything. My collection needed a focus and just about then I encountered the GBD 9438 Bent Rhodesian. It was love at first sight. I carefully restored that old Sauvage and when I finally put a match to the bowl I understood why I wanted to restore pipes. Rhodies and Dogs became my passion and with each restoration the skill set improves and the satisfaction increases. Now retired, my days are never without a project. When I have caught up with the seemingly endless “Honey Do” list, I retire to the bench, pick an interesting prospect and idle away a few hours or sometimes days bring it back to life. There are always a few pipes in the “Awaiting Action” box just so I never run out. I do on occasion treat myself to a new pipe. There are so many great artists making them today and every once in a while a pipe will just speak to me but something special happens when you light up a pipe that most thought had seen better days but you saw through the dirt and abuse and took the time and effort to return its beauty. It becomes a passion. All it requires is commitment, a few inexpensive special tools and the relentless desire to continuously improve your technique. A truly modest investment for such big rewards.

The collection now blossoms with Rhodies and Dogs of all types and makers. Most pipes others had passed on because they bore the scars of misuse. I acquired them at a cost far below their true value and with modest effort returned them to what they had once been. On occasion, when another package arrives on the doorstep, the wife will ask “do you really need another pipe”? No, I answer, but I do need the challenge. She smiles; glad I think that my passion isn’t golf.