The next pipe on the worktable came to me in what I have named the St. Louis Lot of 26 in December of 2018. My son Josiah was instrumental in finding this Lot in a local antique shop in St. Louis where he was living and studying at Covenant Theological Seminary. We were still living in Bulgaria at the time and Josiah sent a text with the pictures of the Lot that he had come upon with a proposition: that we would split the purchase of the Lot and that I would choose one pipe from the St. Louis Lot to be my Christmas present from Josiah. The rest of the Lot would go into the ‘For “Pipe Dreamers” ONLY!’ collection to benefit the Daughters of Bulgaria. As I have relayed this story several times before, the St. Louis Lot of 26 has produced many treasures that are already with new stewards. Here’s a picture of the Lot that I unwrapped from beneath the tree with family in Colorado, where we celebrated Christmas in 2018. The French made Champion House Pipe dominating the center of the picture remains in my personal collection as an heirloom from Josiah. The Dr. Grabow Regal is just above it with the arrow pointing.Pipe man Robert reached out to me about the Dr. Grabow. I asked Robert my usual questions to get to know potential new stewards and here is what he wrote:
We’re friends on Facebook and share a couple of pipe groups together. I think I found your website before we became friends as I am always looking for quality restorers. You come VERY highly regarded and I love that your work helps the Daughters of Bulgaria.
Yes, I have plenty of patience and would love to commission the Grabow. I really love Grabows and I have some that smoke just as well as my high end pipes. I’m always on the lookout for Grabow Emperor and Eldorado pipes.
I’m a Respiratory Therapist and am glad that you and wife are doing well despite the covid infection. I’ve been very lucky in my line of work to have avoided it.
So happy to finally commission one of your pipes!
All my best, Robert
I found out later that Robert is from the Scottsdale, Arizona, area and that he also has a passion for metal pipes. I discovered this after he also commissioned a Curtis PAT. PEND to join the Grabow. One of the things I appreciate so much and enjoy immensely is getting to know other pipe men in the broad and diverse pipe community. Robert is no exception to this. Here are pictures of the Dr. Grabow Regal Ajustomatic Dublin that whispered to Robert initially and got his attention. The nomenclature is found stamped on the upper and lower shank. On the upper is stamped, REGAL [over] Dr. Grabow. The lower shank is stamped, IMPORTED BRIAR [over, in fancy cursive] Ajustomatic [over] PAT. 2461905.The stem also has the well-known Dr. Grabow inlaid spade logo on the left side.The Dr. Grabow pipe name is iconic in the American pipe story and well-known. I enjoy refreshing my mind to more fully appreciate the story of the pipe on the worktable. The story of the ‘Dr. Grabow’ name started in Chicago from this Pipedia’s account:
Dr. Paul E. Grabow was a general physician in Chicago, located at 2348 N. Seminary Ave. Some doors north at No. 2400 was the drug store owned by Mr. Brown, a personal friend of Dr. Grabow. Grabow and Brown, both fond of fly-fishing, would often sit together in the early evening hours in a back room of the drug shop talking to one another and enjoying their pipes. Before long, they were joined by Mr. Linkman, owner of M. Linkman & Co., a large pipe factory located one block west on W. Fullerton Ave., at the corner of Racine Ave. These three gentlemen shared common interests and became fast friends.
During one of their evening get-togethers in 1930, Linkman mentioned he would introduce a new type of pipe soon that exhibited what he felt were fine improvements that greatly improved the pipe smoking experience. He was still looking for a good name and believed his pipes would sell better if they bore the name of a physician. (1) Linkman asked his friend Dr. Grabow if he would permit him to use his name. The good doctor felt flattered by the idea a pipe should be designated for him and consented. A formal agreement was not made, nor were there any contracts signed or royalties paid to Dr. Grabow for the use of his name; it was, according to one of Dr. Paul Grabow’s sons, Milford, a “friendly understanding” and Linkman expressed his thanks by sending Dr. Grabow numerous pipes throughout Dr. Grabow’s lifetime. (see The Legend of Dr. Grabow). Also interesting of note are the various instances where Dr. Paul Grabow stated that he developed, or helped develop, the Dr. Grabow brand of pipes. This was a tactic used to convince people that a pipe developed, endorsed, and used by a medical physician would be ‘more healthful’ than a pipe that was not developed by someone in the medical community.
Dr. Paul E. Grabow passed away in 1965 at 97. The pipes that bear his name became one of the most popular, and one of the most well-known, pipe brands in North America.
I enjoy recounting this story even though I have a number of times before while working on Dr. Grabow pipes. What I appreciate so much about the story is the ‘back room’ comradery at Mr. Brown’s Drug Store on N. Seminary Avenue. If one looks at a map of Chicago, these addresses are at the heart of DePaul University neighborhood. The history of Dr. Grabow pipes continues in the Pipedia article.
The production of the pipes started in 1930/31. In 1937 Linkman began calling his pipes “Pre-Smoked”. An ad dating from 1946 celebrates it as “America’s Most Wanted Pipes” and the text announced that each Dr. Grabow was broken in on the Linkman’s Automatic Smoking Machine with fine Edgeworth tobacco, reducing the need for the new owner to spend time breaking in his pipe. In 1949 the official name read Dr. Grabow Pipe Company Inc. with seat at W. Fullerton Avenue 1150, Chicago 14, Illinois. (Thus, the Linkman factory.) Series: Special, De Luxe, Supreme, Tru’ Grain, Select Grain.
In 1952, the 80 year old Linkman retired as president of M. Linkman & Co. and until 1955 the company was purchased and owned by Henry Leonard & Thomas Inc., P.O. box 375, Greensboro, North Carolina. Five series were offered: Dr. Grabow Standard, De Luxe, Supreme, Tru’ Grain, Select.
1969 it was Dr. Grabow Pre Smoked Pipes, P.O. box 21888, Greensboro, NC 27420. The program had been enlarged: Lark, Duke, Grand Duke, Riviera, Crown Duke, Savoy, Royal Duke, Viking, Regal, Silver Duke, Golden Duke, Starfire, Viscount, Commodore, Eldorado. (Prices margin in the given order 1.50 – 10.00 $.)
In 1969, United States Tobacco acquired Henry, Leonard & Thomas Inc., which manufactured Dr. Grabow Pre-Smoked pipes. (2)
The catalog page below is from the now defunct Chris Keene Pages website (Chris Keene Pages). The Regal is described and is priced at $2.50. This catalog page was printed sometime in the 1960s. It boasts a ‘highly polished rich bowl’ and an ‘imported hard rubber mouthpiece’.Also from the now defunct Chris Keene Pages, the Tobacco Retailers’ Almanac 1969, page 109 shows a Dr. Grabow ad and current prices of the various lines. Here the Regal line is priced with a jump to $4.95. This would place the Regal on the middle shelf of the various Dr. Grabow lines according to this later listing from the catalogue above. I enjoy reading the hyped-up sales pitch to potential retailers of Dr. Grabow pipes – ‘…pipes that will move off your shelf faster than any other!’ The ad also promotes one of the most well-known of Dr. Grabow’s inventions – the ‘pre-smoked pipe’.In the Pipedia article, the ‘Regal’ line is later mentioned in a 1969 context as part of the ‘new’ roll out after the company was sold and moved its operations from Chicago to North Carolina. However, additional information on Pipedia called, Dr. Grabow Models (Series,Line) Names Through the Years, is from the work of Russell McKay (his website is listed but appears to be now defunct). This article was helpful in that he divides Grabow pipes between ‘Old’ and ‘New’ – roughly those made in Chicago and then in North Carolina. ‘Regal’ is listed in the ‘New’ category. The factoid that Russel McKay shares to introduce the ‘New’ groupings, is that the lines were related to car production:
- Eldorado— Cadillac
- Viscount— Dodge (Car built by Chrysler Corporation of Canada Ltd, for Canadian Markets only ca1959.)
- Starfire— Oldsmobile (The original Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Starfire, named after the Lockheed F9413 Starfire fighter jet, was first introduced as a show car in 1953 at GM’s Motorama along with the Buick Skylark and the Cadillac Eldorado.)
- Regal— Buick
- Savoy— Plymouth (by the way, my friend at Dr. Grabow didn’t say, but there was also a Plymouth BELVEDERE!)
- Riviera— Buick, I think first produced for model year 1963, which would have made it known in 1962. The pipe name precedes that, but maybe I missed something.
- Lark— Studebaker
Fascinated with the idea of seeing what a 1969 Buick Regal looked like, I searched for a photo. I was a bit flummoxed by the information I discovered. Buick did not start marketing a Regal line until 1973 – hmmm. I found this 1973 Buick Century Regal Colonnade Hardtop Coupe pictured in Wikipedia.Later in the Pipedia article the Regal line is described with more detail:
REGAL (c1956) — First appears in a magazine ad for $2.50 as early as November 1956. #3 grade of briar (needs filling) was used in this line.
Interestingly, this earlier genesis dating seems to contradict the reference above that placed the Regal line in the category of ‘New Grabows’ produced after leaving Chicago in North Carolina. In the main Dr. Grabow Pipedia article, it described that as of April 2011, Dr. Grabow offered the following lines:
Big Pipe, Cardinal, Duke, Freehand, Golden Duke, Grand Duke, Lark, Omega, Riviera, Royal Duke, Royalton, and Savoy tobacco pipes. These pipes are offered in both a smooth and rustic finish. Here are pictures of the different Dr Grabow tobacco pipes.
It appears from this information that the Regal line existed between 1956 and sometime before 2011. I could find no reference in my reading stating when the Regal line went off-line.
One more bit of research is necessary for this Dr. Grabow Regal. It is also designated as having a patented Ajustomatic system. Pipesbywhitney commented in a thread from February 2018, from The Dr. Grabow Collector’s Forum and describes what the Ajustomatic stem does:
My Claridge pipe also has an Ajustomatic stem, a stem that can be turned continuously clockwise until positioned in the proper manner for the smoker. Ajustomatics were developed originally in New York by Henry, Leonard and Thomas – HLT brand – and taken to North Carolina when they moved there in the late 1940s and early 1950s and became part of Sparta Industries.
It was helpful to receive this information. For the life of me, I was not quite sure exactly what the Ajustomatic was or did. We’ll see if I can coax the Regal Ajustomatic stem on the worktable to function again. At this point, it’s not moving at all.
One of the problems of trolling in forums like Dr. Grabow Collector’s Forum, is that one can get lost in the tidbits of information here and there from pipe men who live and breathe Dr. Grabow pipes – my thimble full of understanding turns red with embarrassment when I read these threads! I was starting to drown in the plethora of information as I was researching Dr. Grabow pipes and the Ajustomatic. I’ll post one more vein of information I mined from a thread in February of 2017 in the same DG forum. The thread started with a question by ‘Troy_nov1965’, who I have interacted with personally on some of my projects. Troy’s website is BACCY PIPES (https://baccypipes.wordpress.com/) which I have found to be very helpful especially for new ideas (or old ideas that are new to me!). Troy’s question was which pipe used the Ajustomatic stem first – Royalton or Van Roy? The course of the thread discussion concurred that Van Roy was the first and this was a precursor to Dr. Grabow pipes, that eventually became the sole (or maybe predominant) company using the Ajustomatic design.
bosun1 contributed a great deal in the thread and the next paragraphs are from him. First, he summarized very nicely the confluence of companies from New York and Chicago that based in North Carolina:
Capsulized, here’s what I think I know about Van Roys off the top of my head. Originally, they were their own pipe company in New York. At that time, they were Ajustomatics. About the time that HL&T moved from NY to Sparta (1953) and acquired the Dr. Grabow line from Chicago, they merged or took over a couple of other New York pipe manufacturing companies, one of them being Van Roy. After moving to Sparta, at some point the Van Roy name was revived and produced as a line of cheaper made Dr. Grabow pipes, BUT IT LOST IT’S ADJUSTOMATIC STEM in favor of a push stem. The two Sparta-made Van Roy examples I had were actually made in ITALY, perhaps as part of the same deal that produced the Italian-made little DUKEs.
The merging and meshing of the companies ending in Sparta, North Carolina, reminded me of the merging and meshing of pipe names and manufacturers in France (and England)! I found this summation helpful to understand the next chapter of the Dr. Grabow name as it passed from Linkman ownership in Chicago to HLT ownership in Sparta. One last bit of information coming from bosun1 in the thread addresses the patent information. The Regal on the worktable is stamped, Pat. 2461905. Here is some interesting information about the patent:
The “Ajustomatic” stem joint is US Patent #2,461,905. Patent application was filed January 25, 1946, by David P. Lavietes, of Boone, N.C. He received his patent on February 15, 1949.
The patent documents for the Ajustomatic say D. Lavietes of Boone, NC applied to patent the feature January 25, 1946. It wasn’t patented until February 15, 1949, so I expect the Ajustomatic pipes between 1946-1948 would have been stamped “Ajustomatic Pat. Pend.” The U.S. Patent Office would have assigned #2,461,905 to it in 1949. Does anyone here know patent practices for certain? I believe that is how it works.
If you have an Ajustomatic with #2,461,905 stamped on it, it would have been stamped after Feb. 1949.
So the Van Roy Pipe Co. was making pipes in 1945 using the Ajustomatic feature of D P Lavietes while he was stomping around Boone, NC looking for mountain laurel and making King David pipes.
One last factoid from bosun1 where he specifically mentions the Regal line in the context of the end of the Ajustomatic stem:
Steverino, I believe the ajustomatic feature disappeared from the DG lineup first. Well … actually the shape stamping disappeared first, in the 1980s. Then the ajustomatic disappeared. By about 1992, only the REGAL was still ajustomatic. The others either had disappeared or became MST for filters.
If I understand this information correctly, the ‘stamping’ of shape numbers was ended in the 1980s. This was followed by the Ajustomatic stems no longer being used by 1992 EXCEPT for the Regal line. In 1992, the Regal line is said to continue using the Ajustomatic stem exclusively. If my understanding is correct, this brackets the dating a bit more than what I stated earlier – between 1956 and sometime before 2011. If the shape number stamping ended in the 1980s – and our Regal has none, then the dating of this Regal would be between 1956 and sometime in the 1980s.
With a better understanding of the Dr. Grabow name and the Regal line, it’s time to take a closer look at the pipe itself. The chamber has a thick buildup of cake and the lava runover is significant on the broad Dublin rim. We’ll see if this cleans up or will it leave behind dark staining.The Dr. Grabow finish is what I call a ‘candy apple’ finish. The glossy sheen is not the glow of natural briar but a shellac type of finish. There appears to be decent looking grain beneath the old finish, but the shellac needs to be removed to allow the grain to emerge.The bit is in bad shape – oh my. It has literally been mauled. There isn’t much of a button surviving. I know that Dr. Grabow used plastic instead of rubber for stems during its history – I believe this one is rubber, but it is pretty shiny…. The 1969 catalogue referenced above indicated that the stem was fashioned from rubber. We’ll see….The stinger is missing. I first thought that the stinger had been cut off, but in the research, I discovered that this part of the Ajustomatic stem simply inserts into the threaded tenon. What remains to be seen is if I can restore the function of the Ajustomatic – the metal tenon should rotate but doesn’t at this point when I apply some force to rotate it.To start, the stem airway is cleaned with pipe cleaners moistened with isopropyl 99% alcohol.Next, at this point, I’m not sure that the stem is rubber, but I will proceed as if it is. I’ll go ahead and soak it in Mark Hoover’s ‘Before & After’ Extra Strength Deoxidizer. I do not detect any oxidation but into the soak it will go.After several hours, the stem is fished out of the soak and drained and squeegeed.The stem is then rubbed vigorously with a cotton cloth to remove what might be very minor raised oxidation. The airway is cleared of the fluid with another pipe cleaner moistened with isopropyl 99%.To condition the stem, the mineral oil, Paraffin Oil is applied to the stem.Next, the stummel chamber is cleaned. A starting picture is taken to mark the progress. The moderate carbon cake build up is addressed using the Pipnet Reaming Kit.The two smallest blade heads are used to ream. This is followed by scraping the chamber walls using the Savinelli Fitsall Tool. Finally, to remove the last vestiges of carbon, the chamber is sanded using 220 grade paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen.After the chamber is wiped with a cotton pad, a picture is taken of the chamber and a quick inspection looks good. There are no heating problems in the chamber.Next, the stummel externals are cleaned using undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap. A few pictures are taken to mark the starting point. I’m anxious to see if the general cleaning will make a dent on the old finish. The lava over the rim is daunting as well. A cotton pad is used to scrub the surface and the rim. I also use my thumbnail to buttress the cotton pad trying to plow the lava caked on the rim.The brass brush also helps to address the rim. Brass brushes are not as invasive but add some muscle to the cleaning.From the worktable, the stummel is next taken to the sink where using hot water and liquid anti-oil dish washing soap, the internals are scrubbed with shank brushes to remove as much of the tars and oils as possible.Continuing to clean the internals, cotton buds and pipe cleaners moistened with isopropyl 99% are used to clean. After some scrubbing, the buds begin to emerge lighter. The cleaning process will continue later by giving the stummel a deep soak which helps to remove ghosting and freshen the briar for a new steward.The basic cleaning is completed and a closer look at the stummel shows residual finish. The first picture shows a nicely cleaned rim. The Dublin rim is broad, and this looks good. There still remains a hint of old finish on the rim closest to the front of the picture. These dark spots is old shellac.A survey of the stummel shows the bare spots where the finish has been removed or worn off. The interesting thing that I have learned, is often with shellac-like finishes, the scratching one sees, especially on the heel in the second picture, is actually the thick finish and not necessarily the briar itself. So, often the thick finish is acting as a protection shell.This final survey picture shows the shellac finish remaining giving off the chemically produced wet-looking sheen, not the sheen of polished natural briar.I first try scrubbing the surface with alcohol and a cotton pad to see if the old finish would budge. It did not.As I’ve had to do with other projects, I use 0000 grade steel wool wetted with a bit of acetone. The steel wool is not greatly invasive but adds some abrasion. The acetone helps to break down the finish. My goal is to simply to remove the finish without removing the patina of the wood.The results are stellar as the following pictures show. The sheen is removed and replaced by the dull reflection of briar wood, not chemical. The grain shows great potential. Next, to address the minor scratches in the briar, coarse, medium, then fine sanding sponges are used to sand the stummel. I like the results. Next, micromesh pads are used to continue sanding and polishing the briar. Pads 1500 to 2400, 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000 are used in sets of 3. Between each pad the stummel is wiped with a dampened cotton cloth to help remove dust and to give the pads more traction. After applying the micromesh pads, Mark Hoover’s excellent product, ‘Before & After’ Restoration Balm is applied to the stummel. This product does a great job bringing out and deepening the natural hues of the briar. After applying a small amount of the Balm on my finger, the Balm is worked into the briar and then set aside for about 10 minutes for the Balm to do its job.The Dr. Grabow bowl has emerged looking great. After the time elapsed, dedicated microfiber cloths are used to wipe off the excess Balm and to buff it up. The stummel goes to the side and time to turn to the stem.The first thing I address is to see if I can free up the Ajustomatic stem. Unfortunately, the stem did not arrive with the stinger that is customary with Dr. Grabow pipes. From the picture below, I’ve focused in on the missing stinger that inserts in the threaded tube.During my research at the Dr. Grabow Collector’s Forum, I came across a reference from Troy of Baccy Pipes where he described coming up with a method to unseize the Ajustomatic mechanism (Easy Refurbish & Sticky Adjustomatic Fix on a Dr.Grabow Belvedere #36). It was from Troy that I first heard of the ‘Old Recipe’ for Meerschaum repair using egg white and chalk – a really great tip that I have used to great advantage in different projects. Troy’s write up working on the Dr. Grabow Belvedere revealed another tip to put in the file. I followed Troy’s directions step by step. The method first allows the stem to soak with mineral oil. Per Troy’s directions, I dipped the Ajustomatic stem metal works in mineral oil – I use Paraffin Oil. After dipping it, the stem is set on end for 30 minutes to allow the oil to soak and to lubricate the Ajustomatic.Troy’s Belvedere had the stinger which was inserted into the threaded tenon. The stinger was then heated with a Bic lighter. As the stinger warmed, the heat was transferred into the threaded tenon which is what should rotate clockwise. Since the Regal lost his stinger along the way, I use an orphaned stinger to do the job. After compressing the end of the stinger to enable a fit, the stinger is in place.The Bic’s flame heats the stinger, and after a bit of time, I noticed the oil bubbling at the base of the Ajustomatic around the metal circumference. This heating is the key to unseizing the Ajusto according to Troy.After allowing the stem to cool a few minutes, I mount the stem on the Regal stummel, and it rotates clockwise allowing the alignment to be accurate. Success! The picture shows the stem rotation at 90 degrees to show the rotation. Nice! Thanks again, Troy, great tip!Troy’s write up also included some advice on how to maintain the proper functioning of the Ajustomatic which seems good to me:
Every once in a while, it’s a good idea to oil the adjusto and give it a few turns. Always clean the pipe after every smoke with a pipe cleaner. It’s also a good idea to leave the stem and bowl apart for a few minutes or so to let the pipe dry around the adjusto. Follow these simple steps and you will never have a problem with a Ajustomatic stem sticking. If you are going to store one for a long period turn the stem back about a 1/8 of a turn and do not store the pipe with stem fully tight. This will keep the metal tenon from sticking over time to the metal collar on the shank.
Great advice from Troy. Next, using 0000 grade steel wool, the metal shank collar and the female threads are cleaned and shined. The steel wool is stretched and twisted a bit and fed into the threading and rotating clockwise. This causes the steel wool to ‘screw into’ the threads. The metal threaded tenon is also cleaned and shined using 0000 steel wool.As I mentioned earlier, now I continue the internal cleaning with an alcohol and Kosher salt soak. For some time, I dispensed with using Kosher salt, or sea salt because of debates in various online pipe groups regarding the wisdom of it. I started restoring pipes using the Kosher salt method and never had any difficulties. To me it does a better job refreshing and sweetening the internal briar than simply using a cotton ball in the chamber which is the normal alternative to using salt. Yet, to each is the freedom to decide. The purpose of using specifically Kosher or sea salt is because they’re not iodized salt. Iodized salt leaves a taste in the briar that is not welcomed – a metal iodine taste. First, a cotton ball is stretched and twisted and then forced down the mortise with the help of a stiff wire to the draught hole. This cotton acts as a wick drawing out tars and oils.The chamber is then filled with Kosher salt almost to the rim and placed in the egg carton to give stability and to angle the stummel so that the rim and shank facing are roughly level. Then, isopropyl 99% alcohol fills the chamber until is surfaces over the salt.After a few minutes the alcohol is absorbed into the salt and cotton wick. The chamber is again topped off with isopropyl 99% and the pipe is set aside to soak through the night.The next morning, the salt and cotton wick are soiled from tars and oils being drawn from the internal briar. After the old salt is tossed in the waste and the chamber cleaned of left over salt crystals, a quick blowing through the mortise expels crystal in the draught hole.To make sure all is clean, a cotton bud moistened with isopropyl 99% is used to confirm all is clean. The stummel is refreshed and ready for a new steward.Well, excluding holes and cracks, it doesn’t get much worse than the condition of this Dr. Grabow bit. The bit was obviously clinched with gusto by the former steward. The bit looks like a moonscape with tooth chatter and the button has been flattened. Earlier I questioned the material with which this stem was fabricated. Was it pure rubber compound – vulcanite, or was it the plastic-like material that Dr. Grabow used at different periods of the history. After reaching out to Steve with all his Rebornpipes.com experience, I asked him about this. His response came quickly:
I believe those stems were actually made out of some nylon/rubber combo. They are a real pain to deal with as they do melt. Also, the black is not quite the same as black vulcanite. Have fun.
I can almost see Steve’s wink of the eye in his last comment 😊. Without the confidence of knowing what material is on the worktable, using the heating method to work out the chatter is dismissed. Melting a stem is not something that can be fixed. Therefore, using patches, filing, and sanding will need to be the order of the day. A couple of fresh pictures of the bit carnage marks the start for comparison.The button needs to be rebuilt and this is where I start. Using Black Medium-Thick CA glue, several layers are applied to the button lips to rebuild the button – upper and lower. Between each application of CA glue, the patch is sprayed with an accelerator. The accelerator causes the CA glue to cure and harden very quickly which keeps the patch in place – building layer by layer. Black CA glue is also used to fill the deepest compressions on the bit. The patching of the button intentionally is built to excess. The excess assists in the filing down and shaping process of the button.My approach with button rebuilds is to start by filing the button facing with a flat needle file to remove excess patch material.Next, the button shaping continues with the flat needle file by filing the tops of the button lips to shape the circumference around the upper and lower button.The rough shaping of the upper button is done.The same is done with the lower button.Next, the inner edge of the lip is filed for the hang edge. A square needle file is used for this – upper and lower.The flat needle joins in to file down the patches on the bit and to remove the moonscape tooth chatter.To continue smoothing the bit and removing the filing tracks, 220 grade paper is used. The rebuilt button has a good shape.Continuing to smooth, the sanding is expanded to the entire stem with 470 grade paper.Next, the stem is wet sanded with 600 grade paper and this is followed by applying 0000 grade steel wool. The patch is noticeable if looking on the lower bit, but overall, an amazing transformation from the moonscape tooth damage.Continuing the sanding and polishing of the stem, micromesh pads are used starting by wet sanding with pads 1500 to 2400. This is followed by dry sanding with pads 3200, 3600, 4000, and then 6000, 8000, finishing with 12000. Between each set of 3 pads, Obsidian Oil is applied to help condition the stem and to guard against oxidation. Wow! This stem has come quite a way. In Troy’s post on Baccy Pipes referenced above, after restoring the Ajustomatic stem mechanism, the screw in tenon was remounted with what Troy described as a ‘correct rook stinger’. From the picture of Troy’s Belvedere below, the ‘rook-like’ characteristics of the stinger are easy to see. Since the Regal arrived without his rook, I decided to see if I could find one.I have a can of orphaned stingers that I rummaged through and found this rook stinger. The stingers are almost identical except the helmet on Troy’s rook is rounded concave and the one I found extends outwardly to a soft point.After shining the replacement rook with 0000 steel wool, it mounted nicely on the Regal stem. I like it. The new steward can decide what he wants to do with the rook stinger.With the newly restored Ajustomatic stem rejoined to the stummel, Blue Diamond compound is applied to the entire pipe. A dedicated cotton cloth buffing wheel is mounted on the rotary tool with the speed set at about 40% full power, the compound is applied.After the application of the compound is finished, the pipe is wiped/buffed with a felt cloth to remove the compound dust which accumulated on the surface. Cleaning the compound dust off helps to prepare the surface for the application of wax.With another dedicated cotton cloth wheel mounted on the rotary tool at the same speed, carnauba wax is applied to the entire pipe. Following the application, the pipe is given a rigorous hand buffing with a microfiber cloth to remove excess wax and to raise the shine.This 1956 to 1980s Dr. Grabow Regal Ajustomatic has exceeded all my expectations. I mentioned earlier the difference between a chemically produced wet-like sheen with the sheen of polished natural briar. This Dr. Grabow Regal has emerged from a cog-factory produced pipe to an eye-catching beauty. The grain emerged from underneath the shellac and is exceptional. The lines of the slightly canted bowl of the Dublin shape track very nicely through the shank to the slightly bent stem – a nice presentation for a pipe that had been destined for the basket. I’m pleased with the resurrection of the stem from the severe clenching damage and the restoration of the Ajustomatic mechanism. Robert commissioned this Dr. Grabow and as the commissioner will have the first opportunity to claim him in the Pipe Steward Store benefitting the Daughters of Bulgaria – helping women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited. Thanks for joining me.
Please pray for the people of Ukraine