Cleaning up an Erik Nording Freehand

Blog by Steve Laug

This is yet another interesting pipe from the latest box of pipes that my brother Jeff sent to me. It is a hand carved Erik Nording Freehand. It has a hand rusticated rough finish on the shank and the bowl. In looking at Erik’s website I am pretty sure that the pipe is from the Vahalla series as it has the same rustication. The difference is in the small bit of plateau left behind on the rim and the shank.The rim has some plateau with smooth areas around the edges and top of the bowl. The shank end was also smooth with a tiny spot of plateau there as well. There is a contrast stain on the bowl and shank with dark reddish undertones and a light/medium brown top stain. The stem is turned with a ring and ball after it insert into the shank. There is a cursive N on the stem that is the Nording stamp. erik1 erik2The stamping on the underside of the shank is readable but double stamped on the smooth portion of the flared shank. It reads Handmade by Erik Nording.erik3The rim is quite dirty with tars and oils built up in the plateau. It is heavily clogged with tars and oils and there are some burn marks on the inner edge of the rim top. The inner edge was originally smooth tapering into the bowl and rising to a ring of plateau on the top. The outer edge also flows from the plateau toward the bowl edge and is shaped like a cap. The underside of the bowl and shank shows the rustication pattern. The finish is in very good shape.erik4My brother cleaned the bowl and the internals of the pipe. He scrubbed the finish with Murphy’s Oil Soap and reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer. He cleaned out the shank and airways with alcohol and pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. I took the next photos when the pipe arrived at my work table.erik5 erik6I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the caking and damage that had filled in the grooves in the plateau and darkened the inner edge of the bowl.erik7I took photos of the stem to show the tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the stem near the button. The stem was otherwise quite clean.erik8I sanded out the tooth marks and chatter with 220 grit sandpaper until they were gone. With the surface of the stem smooth it was ready to polish with the micromesh sanding pads.erik9I wet sanded the stem with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after sanding it with each pad.erik10 erik11 erik12I did a quick clean on the mortise, airway in the shank and the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. It was pretty clean.erik13The bowl top was actually quite a mess. I used a brass bristle wire brush to clean out the grooves. As I cleaned it I noticed that the inner edge of the rim was originally smooth. I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damaged areas and smooth it out. I worked to blend it into the plateau areas.erik14I polished the rim edge with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wanted to get the inner edge of the rim smooth and clean. I bleached it using a cotton swab and bleach to remove some of the darkening. I sanded it until it was smooth and polished and looked like it must have when the pipe was new.erik15 erik16 erik17I buffed the pipe and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to polish it. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. This one will certainly be on the store soon. If you are interested in purchasing it ahead of time send me an email at or send me a message on Facebook or here. Thanks for looking.erik18 erik19 erik20 erik21 erik22 erik23 erik24 erik25


5 thoughts on “Cleaning up an Erik Nording Freehand

  1. herschelpayne herschelpayne

    Hi Steve, I've been smoking pipes for over 50 years and I have all kinds of pipes from Grabow's to Dunhill's. I like them all but my later Grabow's have plastic stems that have cracked. What's the fix for this type of problem? Thanks and I really enjoy reading Reborn Pipes.

    1. rebornpipes Post author

      Hi Herschel, thanks for the message. I have found those plastic stems problematic. I generally give a call or an email to Dr. Grabow and ask them to send me replacement stems. Sometimes they charge and sometimes they don’t depends on the age of the pipe and the nature of the issue.


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