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.
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.
I cleaned the inside of the shank and the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol until they came out clean. 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. After the deep dent was cleaned I filled it with a few drops of clear super glue. Once the glue dried I sanded the repair to make it flush with the stem surface using 220 grit sandpaper. I sanded the entire stem with medium and fine grit sanding sponges. The repair spot is beginning to blend in very well.
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.
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.