Tag Archives: Linkman’s Pipes

Restoring a Second Linkman’s Dr. Grabow 9771 De Luxe Bruyere Acorn


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 Linkman’s I took out of the box and restored was a 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 (https://rebornpipes.com/2020/05/20/113190/). It was time to work on the second Linkman’s pipe – an Acorn shaped pipe. It was stamped the same way as the first on both sides of the shank – Linkman’s Dr. Grabow on the left and with a different shape number 9771 De Luxe Bruyere on the left side.  On the underside it bears a Patent Number 1896800. The pipe was dirty and there was some lava and burn marks 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 was scratched and wearing off. The stem 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 thick 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 and scratched 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. Jeff removed the stem from the shank and took a picture of the stinger apparatus. This time it is not missing and it is not removable but is an integral part of the tenon. Is it and earlier or a later edition of the pipe? Who knows! The stem was oxidized and calcified and the photos below show the tooth marks and chatter on the surface. They do not look deep but there a lot of them.   I have included the same information that I included in the previous restoration of the first Linkman’s Dr. Grabow for ease of reference.

I turned to Pipephil to pin down the dates of the pipe (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-l4.html). 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. The stem looks very good – light tooth marks near the button.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 filled in the deep tooth marks on each side of the stem just ahead of the button with clear super glue. Once the repairs cured I sanded them out 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 9771 De Luxe Bruyere straight Acorn 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 Bruyere 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 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.

An interesting “The Nuvo” MLC Italian Briar hidden in a WDC Case


Blog by Steve Laug

When we saw this older case and pipe for sale on eBay we were under the assumption that the pipe in the case was an older WDC pipe. The age of the case and the pipe appeared to match in the photos posted by the eBay seller. The case was in decent shape on the left side and the right side had a ripped part missing near the stem end. The covering on the case was leather. The hinge and clasp mechanism were in good condition. The green velvet lining looked worn. The stamp on the inside the top of the case was readable but worn. It read WDC in the triangle and over Genuine Briar. mlc1The finish on the briar was worn looking and the stem looked like it was covered with white calcification over the length of the stem all the way around.mlc2 mlc3The bowl was thickly caked with a thick coat of lava overflowing onto the rim. It was so thick that it was hard to tell if the outer and the inner edges of the rim were in good condition. Underneath it may well have a lot of nicks and the bowl could easily be out of round.mlc4The seller included some close up photos of the stamp on the inside cover of the case. You can see the WDC triangle logo over Genuine Briar. They also included close up photos of the stamping on the left and right sides of the shank. It is very hard to read the lettering in the photos. It looks like the left side is stamped with something over Special Pat. On the right side what is readable is Italian Briar. The rest of the stamping was not readable in the photos.

mlc5 mlc6When the pipe arrived in Idaho my brother took photos of the pipe before he cleaned it up. The finish was certainly a mess and there was a lot of grime and build up on the bowl and the shank. There also appeared to be some nice grain peering through the grime.mlc7He took some close up photos of the rim and the front of the pipe. The overflow of lava and the cake in the bowl was very thick. The outer edge of the rim was rounded and showed some damage. The frontal photo shows a dent at the front top of the bowl that goes diagonally across the bowl. I have circled it in red to show the location of the dent.mlc8He also took photos of the stamping for me. On the right side of the shank there appeared to be an oval with the letters stamped MLC in the centre. On the left side it seems to read “The Nuvo” over Special Pat.mlc9The closes up photos of the white substance on the stem surface show the condition of the stem and looks almost crystalline.mlc10I took some photos of the pipe when it arrived in Vancouver and I brought it to the work table to begin the restoration. My brother had done an amazing job cleaning up the dirty finish and the white on the stem. He had reamed the bowl clean of the thick cake. He also removed the thick lava on the rim top.mlc11 mlc12 mlc13I took a close up photo of the bowl and rim to show the condition. My brother had been able to remove all of the cake and the tar. The outer edge of the rim was rounded and had dents. The inner edge was missing chunks and the bowl was out of round. The top of the rim had nicks and dents and was also in rough shape.mlc14The stem looked to be in decent condition. The high quality rubber of the stem was pitted and lightly oxidized. The style of the button added to my idea that I was dealing with an older pipe.mlc15I was able to clearly read the stamping on the pipe once I had it in hand. It read “The Nuvo” over Special Pat. on the left side of the shank. On the right side it was stamped with an MLC in an oval over Italian Briar. I was not familiar with th name on the pipe or the Oval MLC stamp. I looked my copy of “Who Made that Pipe” and found that The Nuvo was made by M. Linkman Company in 1914. The MLC logo in the oval stood for M. Linkman Company.

I looked the brand up on Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/M._Linkman_%26_Co) and found that M. Linkman Company name was said to stand for Mary Linkman & Company. Mary Linkman was the mother of Louis B. Linkman, originator of the Dr. Grabow pipe. This Chicago company produced both meerschaums and briars. I also looked on the PipePhil Logos and Stampings site (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-l4.html) and found that 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. There was also a note that early Linkman’s pipes were stamped MLC in an oval.

I now knew that the pipe I had in hand was an early Linkman’s pipe rather than one made by WDC. That meant that the case and the pipe did not match.

I decided to try to clean up the inside edge of the bowl before I topped it. I wanted to remove as much of the damage to the inner rim as I could to better see how much of the rim top I would need to remove with the topping action. I used a rolled piece of 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around my finger to sand the inner edge of the bowl.mlc16When I finished sanding the edge there were still some deep gouges in the edge of the rim at the back and the front of the bowl. The bowl was also out of round and seemed to be thinner on the right side than the rest of the bowl.mlc17I topped the bowl rim on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I worked on it until I had removed all of the damage to the rim top and also removed the damage to the outer edge of the rim and also what was on the inner edge. In the second photo you can see that much of the damage to the inner edge of the rim was removed. I still needed to bevel that edge to smooth out the damage.mlc18I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to sand the edge of the bowl. I worked it over until I had removed the damaged areas on the front and the back side of the rim edge. I also worked to make the bowl round once again.mlc19I sanded the rim edges and the top of the rim with 1500-4000 grit micromesh sanding pads once i had the bowl in round. I scraped the inside of the mortise with a dental pick to remove the hard chunks of tar that were collected on the inside walls of shank. Once I had removed all of the hardened buildup I scrubbed out the mortise and the airways in the shank and the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol until the oils and tars were gone.mlc20I wiped down the exterior of the briar with acetone on a cotton pad to remove all of the residual dirt and grime from the topping and cleaning. I wanted the surface to be clean and oil free in preparation for the new stain coat that I would give it.mlc21 mlc22I thinned some dark brown aniline stain by 50% with isopropyl alcohol (need to put in an order for more stain). I applied it to the bowl with a folded pipe cleaner. I flamed the stain to set it and repeated the process until the coverage on the bowl and shank were an even medium brown colour.mlc23 mlc24I set the bowl aside to let the stain cure and turned my attention to working on the stem. I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the light oxidation and smooth out the pitted surface of the stem. I polished it with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each set of three sanding pads. I gave it a final coat of oil after the third set of pads and set it aside to dry.mlc25 mlc26 mlc27I put the stem back on the pipe and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I took precaution to not buff the stamping on the shank sides. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax to protect it. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise a shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I am happy with the way it turned out. The look and finish of the pipe turned out very well. Thanks for walking with me through the process.mlc28 mlc29 mlc30 mlc31 mlc32 mlc33 mlc34 mlc35