Blog by Steve Laug
This older Dr. Grabow Viking came to me as a gift from a Facebook friend. He gave it to me along with some other pipes for me to enjoy restoring. This one is stamped next to the heel of the metal base – Viking Pat. Pend. The metal is sparkling metallic silver. It has flecks throughout the paint that make it sparkle and shine. When it came it was together in a plastic sandwich bag. The base unit was tired and dirty. The bowl on the base was caked with an over flow of lava onto the rim. The other two bowls had been reamed and cleaned. The finishes on all three were dirty and dull. The rims on all three bowls show damage from burns or being knocked out on a hard surface. When I removed the bowl the interior of the base was caked with the thick lacquer of the juices of tobacco as it burns. It looked to me like it had not been cleaned in a long time and the black thick oils had hardened like rock in the base. The airway was clogged with debris. The stem had collapsed from being bitten on. The tooth marks were deep but did not go through into the airway. The sharp edge of the button was worn almost smooth. I was not able to push a pipe cleaner through the airway from the button or from the airway in the bottom of the base.
I took a few close-up photos. The first shows the inside of the base and the build up there. The second and third show the bite marks on the stem. The second photo shows the top of the stem and the bite mark on that surface, though not looking bad in the photo, collapsed the airway and made it impossible for a pipe cleaner to pass through. The fourth photo below shows the stamping on the bottom of the base.
I scrubbed out the inside of the base with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. I also used a brass bristle brush. I opened the slot and airway in the stem with a flat needle file. I inserted the needle file and pushed the indentation on the top of the stem upward to clear the airway. It took a lot of fiddling with the file to open the slot completely. I cleaned the airway and stem with pipe cleaners and alcohol.
I repaired the tooth marks with black super glue and set the pipe aside for the evening to allow the glue to cure. I have not had good luck with this kind of fill using the accelerator as it tends to cause air bubbles in the dried glue.
I reamed the cake in the one bowl with a Pipnet reamer and took the cake back to bare briar.
In the morning I sanded the repairs on the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth the surface of the repair and blend it with the stem. I used a needle file to sharpen the edges on the button.
Once I had the surface smooth I sanded the stem with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded the stem with 1500-2400 grit pads and then rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil. I dry sanded the stem with 3200-4000 grit pads and gave it another coat of oil. I finished dry sanding it with 6000-12000 grit pads and gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. I set it aside to dry.
With the base finished I set it aside and turned my attention to the bowls. I topped all three bowls on the topping board. The short bowl that I reamed had some dents and rim damage. The other two had burn marks and rounded edges that needed to be cleaned up.
I wiped the bowls down with acetone on cotton pads to remove the finish and the grime.
I stained all three rims with the light brown stain pen for the first coat. I then gave all three bowls several coats of Cherry stain Danish Oil and buffed them to a shine.
I finished the restoration by buffing the bowls with Blue Diamond and then giving the bowls and the stem several coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the whole pipe with a clean buff and then with a microfibre cloth to raise the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. Each photo shows a different angle and includes the base with all of the bowls in place.