Restoring a Linkman’s Dr. Grabow 9708 De Luxe Billiard

Blog by Steve Laug

I am getting to the bottom of the current box of pipes for restoration. I think there were probably 40+ pipes in the box when I started. I am down to the last four. Two of them are Linkman’s Dr. Grabow pipes. The first one I took out of the box was the billiard. It is stamped Linkman’s Dr. Grabow on the left side of the shank and 9708 De Luxe on the right side of the shank. On the underside it bears a Patent Number 1896800. The pipe was dirty and there was some lava on the inwardly beveled rim top and inner edge. There was a thick cake in the bowl. The exterior of the pipe was varnished and almost looked like it had been done over the grime on the briar as a sales ploy. The stem was slightly underturned but would be fine once cleaned up. It was lightly oxidized and had tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his work on it. Jeff took some photos of the rim top from various angles to show the condition. You can see the lava on the top and the dust and debris. The varnish coat is crackling and will need to be removed. There is a thick cake in the bowl and lava on the inner edge. The varnish coat was crackling on the exterior of the bowl but there was great grain shining through. This would be a beautiful pipe once the varnish coat and grime was removed. The next photos capture the stamping around the sides of the shank. They read as noted above and they are clear and very readable. I forgot to note above that there was a worn silver chevron on the top side of the shank at the end. The topside of the stem had the propeller logo that was always associated with the Linkman brand.The stem was lightly oxidized that the photos below show the tooth marks and chatter on the surface. They do not look deep but there a lot of them.I turned to Pipephil to pin down the dates of the pipe ( I have included the screen capture of the section on the brand below.The M. Linkman and Co. was established by Louis B. Linkman and August Fisher in 1898. The company closed down in the 1950s and the Dr Grabow branch was sold to Henry Leonard and Thomas Inc. Early Linkman’s pipes were stamped MLC in an oval.

I then did a patent search on the US Government Patent site using the patent number on the underside of the shank. I found the following Patent information. It specifically refers to the stinger apparatus that is attached to the tenon. It was filed in April 11, 1932 by L.B. Linkman. I am including the full patent information below. I knew that I was working on a pipe made after Feb. 7, 1933 when the patent was granted and prior to the early 1950s when the company was closed. Armed with that information and a clearer picture of the original pipe I turned to work on the pipe on my work table. Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet reamer and cut back the cake back to the bare briar. He cleaned up the walls with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime from the finish. He worked on the rim top lava and darkening with the soap and tooth brush. He scrubbed the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior with Soft Scrub and then soaked it in Before & After Deoxidizer. He washed it off with warm water to remove the Deoxidizer. The pipe looked far better. I took photos of the pipe when I received it before I started working on it.  I took a photo of the rim top showing the damage to the inward bevel on the rim and the damage on the inner edge of the bowl. There was some darkening and nicks around the out edge of the bowl and some burn areas on the inner edge.I took a photo of the stamping on the shank. The stamping is clean and still readable.I took the stem off and took a photo of the appearance of the pipe. It is missing the stinger. It is not cut off but it is a removable one. It is missing but the draught is much better without it.I decided to address the damage to the beveled rim and the edges of the bowl – both outer and inner. I sanded it with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to remove them and to remove the damages. Once it was finished it looked a lot better.I polished the rim top and bowl with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped the bowl down after each sanding pad. I rubbed the briar down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the briar with my fingertips. The product works to clean, enliven and preserve the briar. I let it sit for 10 minutes while I worked on the stem. After the time passed I buffed it with a cotton cloth to deepen the shine. The briar really comes alive with the balm.  I set the bowl aside and turn to address the issues with the stem. I sanded out the tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper and started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down after each pad with some Obsidian Oil to preserve the stem and to give some bite to the sanding. I finished the polishing with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine polishes. I rubbed the stem down with the polishes and buffed it with a cotton pad. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. This older Linkman’s Dr. Grabow 9708 De Luxe straight Billiard is another interesting piece of pipe history. The mix of brown stains highlights the mix of nice grain around the bowl – sides, top and heel. With the varnish removed the finish on the pipe is in excellent condition and the contrasting stains work well with the polished black vulcanite saddle stem. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Linkman’s Dr. Grabow De Luxe Billiard is quite nice and feels great in the hand. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. This pipe will be added to the American Pipe Makers section of the rebornpipes store soon. If you want to add it to your collection send me an email or a message! Thanks for your time.


2 thoughts on “Restoring a Linkman’s Dr. Grabow 9708 De Luxe Billiard

  1. plasticmask

    What, no lacquer? LOL That’s what I really like, “watching” you take that darned varnish OFF of those things and showing us how it is so un-needed in order to make a pipe a work of art. Thanks as usual for sharing how it’s done, Boss!

  2. Pingback: Restoring a Second Linkman’s Dr. Grabow 9771 De Luxe Bruyere Acorn | rebornpipes

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