Bringing New Life to a Yello-Bole Metal

Blog by Steve Laug

My brother found this older Yello-Bole metal pipe. It is a lot like the older Grabow Vikings but the bottom of the bowl is different from the Grabow. Between the bowl and the metal base there is a flat perforated screen or disk that the tobacco sits on. It acts as the bottom of the bowl. The wooden bowl itself is a threaded tube that screws into the base. There are two pin holes on the sides of the base (one on each side about mid base below the bowl). These serve as openings to draw air into the bowl. This one was in decent shape and would take a little work to clean up. The photos below were provided by the eBay seller and show the state of the pipe. From the first two photos below you can see the wear on the stem and the white calcification that generally builds up under a rubber softee bit. The finish on the bowl is shot. There is nothing but bare briar showing. The outer edge of the rim looks good. YB1 YB2The next two photos give a top and underside view of the pipe. You can see the ring of cake in the bowl around the middle and lighter on the top and bottom edges. You can see the metal disk in the bottom of the bowl. I have purchased a few of these over the years and almost all of them were missing the metal disk that sat in the base between the bowl and base. The stem shows some tooth marks on the top and underside.YB3 YB4The final photo included by the seller showed the stamping on the underside of the base. It read Yello-Bole horizontally along the bottom of the shank. It also gave the patent number on the bottom of the base. It read PAT. over 2467002 over PAT. PEND. That was enough data to do a patent search on the US Patent Information site. From there I copied the patent drawing and included it below.YB5The diagram and the accompanying documents show the conceptual and descriptive narrative of what the pipe was about and what its maker hoped to achieve with his design. The inventor was a Samuel Laurence Atkins of New York. He filed his patent application on July 14, 1945. The patent was granted April 12, 1949. The pipe that I have is stamped Patent Pending thus it is easy to extrapolate that it was made between the dates July 14, 1945 and April 11, 1949 which are the dates before the patent was granted. That makes this pipe between 67-71 years old. It is in pretty decent shape for a pipe of that age.YB6 YB7I took the following photos when the pipe arrived. The seller’s photos were pretty good at showing the issues with the pipe. All the things noted above were correct.YB8 YB9 YB10 YB11The pipe was quite easy to take apart. I unscrewed the bowl and tapped out the disk in the base. The stem came out of the shank with little effort. I took the photo below to show the parts. The second photo shows the cake in the bowl.YB12 YB13I started the clean up with reaming the bowl. I used the PipNet reamer and the largest cutting head to ream from the top of the bowl. I used the second head to ream the bowl from the bottom. I reamed it back to bare briar. There was still some of the signature Yello-Bole bowl coating showing near the top just below the rim.YB14 YB15I scrubbed the bowl base with a brass bristle brush to loosen up the dried tars and oils in the base. I used a dental pick to clean out the threads. I also scrubbed the disk with the brush. YB16 YB17I used pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to clean the surface of the disk and the inside of the base and airway.YB18 YB19

I scrubbed the interior and exterior of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners to remove the build up on the outside and the oils on the inside.YB20With the cleanup finished I set the parts on the table and took a few photos of the cleaned up pipe. Now it was time to restore it.YB21 YB22I wiped down the bowl with cotton pads and acetone to remove the grime and the remaining finish on the bowl.YB23

I stained the bowl with a dark brown stain pen.YB24 YB25I buffed the bowl with red Tripoli to spread and polish the stain. I buffed it with Blue Diamond and rubbed the bowl down with a light coat of olive oil. At this point in the process the bowl and the metal base was complete. I took the following photos to show the state of the progress thus far.YB26 YB27 YB28 YB29 YB30I cleaned the stem and used a clear super glue to repair the deep tooth marks in the top and underside of the stem near the button.YB31 YB32I sanded the repairs with 220 grit sandpaper to blend it into the surface of the stem. YB33 YB34I worked on the stem with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded with 1500-2400 grit sanding pads and then rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil. I wet sanded with 3200-4000 grit pads and gave it another coat of oil. I finished by dry sanding with 6000-12000 grit pads. I gave it a final coat of oil and let it dry.YB35 YB36 YB37I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond on the wheel and then gave both multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad and then by hand with a microfiber cloth. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. Thanks for looking.YB38 YB39 YB40 YB41 YB42 YB43


5 thoughts on “Bringing New Life to a Yello-Bole Metal

  1. Arnold

    Looks great Steve. I bought a small collection which included one of these. It is in great shape, and am in the middle of cleaning it. The only problem is the 7/8″ screen is shot. Are they available to buy? If not, any alternatives? Thanks


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