Baccy Pipes


Easy Refurbish & Sticky Adjustomatic Fix on a Dr.Grabow Belvedere #36

I have been looking for a nice example of a Dr.Grabow Belvedere wirecarved  #36 billiard for a while . I just recently found this one on Ebay and was very reasonably priced. I have passed on a few mostly because the rims were too beat up. I try to find the best examples i can on wirecarved pipes , as the wirecarving is hard to fix. It can be done but requires A LOT of work.

Belvedere was a line of Dr.Grabow produced from 1955-1964/65. They came in two finishes, smooth and wirecarved. Like the Starfire line all wirecarved pipes were stained black. The five Belvedere’s i currently own smoke extremely well and cool.

The Ebay pictures i saw looked like it had superb wirecarving so i bid and luckily won it as only bidder.The pipe arrived and it looked like it was lightly smoked or well taken care of. Then likely put in storage for many years.

Notice the corrosion around the stem and tenon?  That’s a sign that the stem has sit for a long time with moisture around the tenon and adjustomatic. The stem was likely stuck when the Ebay seller got it. I noticed some slight marring around the collar and stem. The seller most likely used a rag and pliar’s to unstick it. At least he used a rag. Most don’t and it leaves a mess to repair.
I mention this as i broke one of my Grabow adjustomatic rules and tried the adjustomatic stem before doing some basic matienance on it . It nearly stuck on me . Luckily i was able to apply downward pressure while unscrewing it and get the adjustomatic to grab and unlock. If that dosen’t work than a suck adjusto can be a nerve racking problem at times. I have seen stems eat up with plier marks as someone tried to get one unstuck.
The adjustomatic stem is a excellent feature on a Dr. Grabow ,if you take care of them and do a little preventive maintenance .If you ever had to deal with a overclocked Kaywoodie or the like, then you will appreciate a adjustomatic stem.

I will address the sticky adjustomatic a little later in the post . I will show you some simple steps to fix one that’s sticky and to prevent one in the future. I have refurbished at least sixty Dr.Grabow’s with adjustomatic stems and picked up a few tricks dealing with them along the way.

I started the refurbish by giving the bowl a light cleaning ,as it did not need much. I gave the wirecarving a good brush with water and mild soap to clean the dust and dirt from the wirecarving  .The stem is getting a soak in alcohol.

I then cleaned the metal collar and female threads with steel wool. Keeping the female threads clean will aid in the stem not getting stuck as well.

I pulled the stem out of the alcohol bath and gave it a good cleaning to remove any grease or tar build up.

Its hard to tell from the pictures but there is some deep dark brown oxidation in the stem so i soaked in in some Oxy Clean and warm water. I pulled the stem out about every 20-30 minutes and gave it a good scrub with a green pad.

After about 3-4 times i then pulled the stem out ,dried it off and gave it a wipe with mineral oil. I then took a bic lighter and heated the stem and oil to remove any stubborn oxidation left .

Be VERY careful around the spade as too much heat it will pop out.

Now its time to work on the sticky adjustomatic.
After running some pipe cleaners through the stem with alcohol to get rid of any Oxy Clean residue i dipped the adjusto in some mineral oil and turned the stem on its end. I let it sit for about 30 minutes to allow the oil to get into the adjusto and lubricate it.

I then stuck the cleaner/stinger back into stem and heated it allowing the heat to move back to the adjusto and oil. The heat will make the adjusto work like new.

After letting the stem cool for a couple of minutes, i  put the stem in a old shank i have and gave the stem a clockwise turn. It works flawlessly now.

Every once in a while its a good idea to oil the adjusto and give it a few turns .Always clean the pipe after every smoke with a pipe cleaner. Its 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 adjustomatic 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.

Proceeding on with the refurbish, I  gave the light chatter on the stem a good sanding with 500 grit. Then sanded whole stem with 600-2500 grit

I then cleaned the screw in tenon with steel wool and replaced the stinger with a correct rook stinger that came with the Belvedere’s. The seller most likely put a Grabow scoop stinger in it as the original was lost and they did not know a Belvedere takes a rook type or have one handy.

I placed the stem and bowl back together and using a black sharpie i touched up some small spots on the wirecarving where the color had become thin or knocked off. All were as small or smaller than the tip of the sharpie.Then i gave it one more rub down with mineral oil to give it a look over before buff and wax.

Finished pipe

I try to collect at least one example of a # 36 Billiard and a #85 Poker in all finishes offered by Dr.Grabow in my favorite lines. I have had a wirecarved Belvedere poker for a while now. It finally has a billiard mate to hang out with.

I hope my tips on keeping a adjustomatic stem working properly will aid some of you and you will not have to go through some of the trial and errors i have been through. If you run into any problems with one and need some advice please feel free to contact me.


A Simple Carter Hall Home Blend

I thought i would share one of my favorite and simplest home blends.

Carter Hall is one of the most beloved of all the OTC blends there is, with countless pipe smokes who use it as a all day smoke. I for one am one of those pipe smokers.


Like all OTC’s though it can be a little light for my taste and i like a little more nicotine in my pipe blends . I came up with this very simple home blend that is surprisingly good and adds a little kick to Carter Hall.

Get yourself a tub of Carter Hall  of course (you can use smaller amounts if you like but i always buy it buy the tub). I always dump my tub on a large tray i have and spread it out before i smoke it . Let it air dry for about at least two hours. This let’s the chemicals OTC’s use for preserving the taste and moisture evaporate out of it. Now you want have that chemical background taste.

Next add 10-20% cigar leaf .Roughly 1-3 ounces . Two ounces is about the sweet spot for me .

I prefer Maduro . You can pick up Maduro leaf from any online retailer in bulk or you can finely chop up a favorite cigar you prefer .

Mix the tobacco thoroughly and stuff  it back in the tub and let it sit for at least a couple of days to allow the tobacco’s too mingle.

That’s it.

Now this wont make Carter Hall taste like a cigar it just adds a smokey , creamy layer to it with a little nicotine boost as well as a little depth.

This is one of my favorite home blends that i never tire of .Everyone i know who has tried this and are Carter Hall fans has been very positive about it.

If you ever tried John Patton’s Storm Front and like it then you will like this home blend. To me they are almost identical.

Well i hope you give this a try sometime and let me know what you think of it .


A Workingman’s Nosewarmer

I have a couple of nosewarmer’s and i very much like smoking them but there are small bowls. The length of the smokes i get from them has always been a sort of disappointment.
I like a nosewarmer for a work pipe as i don’t bang them into stuff and jar my teeth silly with them.
Going through my Yello Bole parts box i found some parts that would be just the ticket for what i was wanting in a larger bowl nosewarmer.
A nice pre -1955  KB&B Yello Bole large billiard sandblast bowl with a short shank.

The bowl ive had for a while . Other than having a broken shank ,its very clean and all i did was give it a dusting . I think it was broke right after someone did a good cleaning on it .The little saddle bit and yellow collar came off a couple of other parts pipes

Since im going to dye the repair back black i went ahead to colored in the break with a black sharpie .It should help hide the repair. I did swab the repair area with alcohol to make sure there was no contaminants too hinder the bond of the glue.

I then glued the broken piece back on the shank with some CA glue picked up at Harbor Freight. I find it a excellent glue and a good value. It is a watery type non- gel and dries very fast but bonds extremely well.

I then applied some glue in the inner shank , overlapping the cracks to help give it a secure repair.

Sanded the repair following the edge of the sandblast with 600 -1000 grit .

Then i applied some black dye to the repair area .

While the dye was drying i went to work on the stem . I started by filling the chatter.

There was a deep tooth mark on the bottom of saddle bit.

The tooth dent went up into airway of the bit so i filled it down and opened up the slot some for a better draw.

I then filled the dent with a little carbon and glue. Then gave the stem a good sanding with 500- 2000 grit.

The tenon fit  the bowl perfect but the stem is not a perfect register.

Adding the yellow collar will help rectify that problem .

I sanded the collar for a better fit .

Pipe is now ready for a little buff and wax.

Finished pipe

The pipe ended up being 4 inches long. The bowl is a good 1 3/4 inches tall.

Now the pipe is no show pipe by any means but will be excellent for a pocket pipe to carry while outside , working on projects or even on a fishing or hunting trip.

I just wanted to show that you can make you a good everyday pipe for very little cost while keeping those rare, cherished and expensive pipes at home where they are safe and secure .
I got to try out this pipe today after i got home from my job and needed to do a little work on our small family farm . It smoked wonderful and just what i was looking for. It fits perfect in a shirt pocket and provides a good long cool smoke.


1930’s -1940’s KB&B Yello Bole Premier Propeller Refinish

I have been looking for a older pot shape for a very good online friend of mine that hails from Kentucky ( hes a ol Hillbilly like me ) as a present for him . He likes pot shapes quite a bit and smokes them often .I wanted to find him one that wasn’t too fancy and would make a good daily smoker . Something that he can throw in his shirt pocket and take with him when hes out puttering around his property or maybe messing with his hunting dogs.

I found this 1930’s to early 1940’s Yello Bole Pot Propeller (nothing smokes like old briar ) on Ebay as a “Buy It Now ” for a few bucks.

Even came with some tobacco….. free of charge!

The finish was flaking and showing the fills that was hiding behind it .One thing i’ve learned from working on old Yello Boles is that one that has the bright orange thick finish and the ones that are a real dark purple are hiding fills and defects .Still very good briar though and they smoke very well .
Well the finish was too far gone so knew i had to strip it and knew what to expect under it.
First i gave the bowl a good reaming and cleaning while putting the stem in for a alcohol bath.

I then stripped off old finish with a sanding and scrubbing using warm water and Oxy Clean . Then gave it a good wipe with 91% alcohol. Other than the fills the briar looked pretty decent .There was two large fills and about four or five small ones .

Instead of trying to give it back a bright orange finish i decided to give a darker look . I wanted it to look like it had darkened patina from years of smoking. So i mixed up some very thin orange dye  to give it some depth and to help make it easier to hide the fills .

After the dye dried i then mixed up some acrylic color match to help camouflage the fills .I applied the acrylic with a small paint brush .

After the acrylic dried i gave the bowl a rub down with mineral oil and gave it a VERY  light rub with 000 steel wool to feather out the paint edges . Then i added some black spots on top of the painted fills to simulate dark grain .

The fills will darken up some more after some wax is applied .

As the bowl is drying out for the mineral oil i took out the stem and gave it a good scrubbing and cleaning . Then filled out some minor teeth marks .

Then a good wet  sanding with 500 on up to 2500 grit  sand paper.

The stem was fitting really tigh so i gave the tenon a little bee’s wax.

Pipe back together and ready for some buffing and waxing .

The rim on the pipe is a cross grain so i could not get it to stain like the rest of the bowl. So it looks lighter in the pictures. I could not fix this without making it look muddy . After a few bowls it should darken up some .

Finished pipe

Well Kentuck i hope you like this old  Yello Bole Pot and it brings you many fine smoke’s of Prince Albert . It will be in the mail coming your way shortly.Enjoy it my friend.


Refurbished KB&B Yello Bole Imperial Large Billiard

Since my last  KB&B Yello Bole 07 Billiard ended up being a odd and unique prototype (i know whoa is me) i ended up looking for another for my regular smoking rotation. I really like the Kaywoodie/Yello Bole 07 shape and size of the classic billiard .Every one i own is a great smoking pipe and can be found for a song most of the time .To me its a workhorse of a pipe and a American classic .

I was able to pick this pre 1955 Imperial 07 up. It looked like it was a good example and had very decent grain.

Other than a rim being banged up slightly and a few teeth marks on the button , it just needed a good cleaning and some elbow grease .

After a slight reaming and cleaning of the shank i put the stem in for a good soak in 91% alcohol .
I then gave the outside of the bowl a good wipe down. The rim  got a good scrubbing with warm water/Oxy Clean soulutin and green pad to remove the the residue and charring .

Then i went on to sand the bowl with 1200 – 2500 grit and mineral oil to remove a few slight dings . Most of the them was around the rim .

There was a couple of sand pits still on the rim but i decided to leave them alone . If the Yello Bole did not have sand pits it would have been a Kaywoodie , so they stay for authenticity.

I then removed the stem from  the alcohol soak  and gave it a good scrubbing. Followed by some slight filing of some teeth marks around the button . Then a wet sand of 400 grit on up to 2500.

I then gave the stinger a good scrubbing with a green pad and alcohol to remove the residue and tar. Followed by a rub down of steel wool.

I then gave the whole pipe a rub down with mineral oil before buffing and waxing.

After a couple of coats the rim looked a little light to me so i colored the rim with a red sharpie to tone it up . I then buffed off excess and proceeded to give it a few more coats of wax.

Pipe after buff and wax .

I have smoked this old billiard for a couple of days now since the refurbish  and i must say i have not been disappointed. It smokes my favorite burley’s wonderfully. A true American classic .


Showcasing a couple of my old Marxman’s

This Sunday i thought i would break out a couple of my old Marxman’s and smoke them . I figured that since i had them out i would take some pictures and share them.

This apple was my first Marxman . I picked it up off Ebay and instantly fell in love with its looks . It was very lightly smoked and all original . Luckily for me the seller listed it under Markman instead of Marxman so i won the bid with little effort . All i did was give it a light cleaning and wax to preserve it .

It has taken on a darker, warmer color and patina from smoking since i acquired it .

I can honestly say its the best smoking apple shape i have .

The only stamping on the pipe is the Marxman logo with imported brair under it .

The Marxman booklet is pretty interesting i think , so  here is a few pages out of it .

For Men of ACTION !!

Marxman used to package its own brand tobacco.

Some neat pictures of the Marxman employees at work in the factory

On the back a money back guarantee.

What really caught my eye in the booklet was this page .

I had just started collecting American made factory pokers and up in the right corner low and behold there was a poker . I did not think Marxman made pokers because i had never seen one .
Well the search was on for one ! I looked and looked and only found one picture and reference on one web page , a rusticated Deluxe . That was it . So i was a little disheartened and i figured this might take some time .

Well luck was with me , In a short time i found  a obscure  thrift/antique store online located in Los Angeles  that had a Deluxe Marxman poker for sale . It was more price wise that i usually spend on a estate pipe but i decided not to be cheap and buy it as i did not know when i would see another .It was all original and lightly smoked ,a perfect example .

The seller did tell me that there was a good chance the pipe was owned by actor Glenn Ford ( a well known pipe smoker and collector ). She could not promise it but the person’s estate sale ( he was a pipe smoker as well ) she got it from used to work for Glenn Ford  on his property as a grounds keeper or some such . Glenn Ford  had  given him a pipe from time to time over the years and this might have been one of them . There is no way to prove it other than finding a picture of him ( Glenn Ford ) smoking this exact pipe . I have been a Glenn Ford fan for many years and enjoy watching his old movies so it is a pleasant thought that he may have owned it , but i take that information with a grain of salt .
When it arrived  i was very pleased with it . A light cleaning and wax was all it needed . It also came with original box and a plain pipe sock  .

Now let me tell you this is one big hunk of briar .The bowl is almost 2 1/4 inches tall , 1 1/2 wide with a 1 inch diameter  chamber . It provides a very long smoke .
It has the Marxman logo on one side with Deluxe stamped on other

This rare old poker has become one of my pride and joy’s of my pipe collection .

I have seen one other for sale online since my purchase of this one and it was a smooth like mine . The stem had been replaced with a horrible looking silver stem and the stamping’s were all but gone from over buffing .

Im going to smoke and enjoy these old American classics today and i hope everyone enjoys looking at them here on Baccy Pipes .


A BIC lighter and Oxidation

I thought i would share this tip i use often . I picked this up from rebornpipes:

Here is the original post

I use it mostly around buttons on pipes that i  have restored and smoke often .When the dreaded oxidation starts to reappear around the button i use the” lighter trick ” as ive come to call it .


Blog by Rob Hardy and Steve Laug

A BIC lighter and Oxidation

Thanks to a serendipitous discovery by a friend of mine, Rob Hardy (incoinnu on Smokers Forums), who also does refurbishing as a hobby we have worked out a very different method of dealing with oxidation on vulcanite stems. The long term effects of the procedure are still in the process of being worked out though it is hard to imagine any long term effects as the heat is not left on the surface of the stem for a significant amount of time at all. The short term benefit is pretty astounding.

This is what he wrote regarding his new process with my additions and after thoughts. “Those of us who love refurbishing have spent too many hours trying to remove oxidation from vulcanite stems. We all longed for some magic solution that would reverse the process of oxidation. We have tried one or all of these products in our efforts to fight back the dreaded green brown, noxious discolouration of the stem – Oxyclean, sodium hypochlorite solution from 1-12%, Armorall, Armorall Tire Foam, olive oil, stem oil, automotive lens cleaner, eye of newt, toe of frog, etc. These liquids served to either soften the oxidation or disguise it. None of them remove the problem and under a strong light or magnification it was still there. Many of us have sanded using a variety of sandpaper grits both dry and wet, micromesh sanding pads or paper, and toothpaste with micro abrasives until our fingers were sore and raw. The overall effect of this process served merely to level the surface of the stem until the oxidation would be sanded away. It is very effective but also very time consuming. Over time the shape and sharp angles of the stem are changed. There had to be a better way of dealing with this that was still effective and less labour intensive. I was fortunate to be able to purchase a lot of 17 estate pipes from my local B&M, over half of them had heavily oxidized stems. After refurbishing the Savinelli Punto de Oro that was in the lot I was considering taking up refurbishing as a new hobby. I then started on the Dunhill and K&P Peterson. The Peterson was cleaned and reamed and was ready for the stem work. There was a minute tooth mark near the button that I wanted to remove so I was using Steve Laug’s technique of applying heat to the indentation to raise the dents. Usually I do this after I have removed the oxidation and work on a clean stem. This time however, for who knows what reason the stem had not been clean at all and was an oxidized mess. To raise the tooth dent I applied the heat from a BIC lighter with the flame 1/2″ from the stem. The indentation lifted…AND THE OXIDATION DISAPPEARED! Wow! I could not believe my eyes so I continued for the length of the stem and it worked – the oxidation was gone. I used short strokes with the flame of the lighter and wipes with a wet paper towel. After each wipe the paper towel came out with yellow stains. This seemed too good to be true. Out came my jewellers’ loupe for closer examination. I had to see this close up and personal. Under the magnification I could see that the heat had evened out the surface of the vulcanite and pitting and oxidation were gone. There was only BLACK vulcanite. I stayed up until one o’clock in the morning sanding the stem up through 8000 grit micromesh. I left the waxing until this morning. This stem now looks like it did when it left the factory over 60 years ago. I was and still am amazed at the results. I had to try it again this morning on a Stanwell stem. I used the same technique with the lighter and the wet paper towel. I used a lot of caution around the logo, covering it with a wet paper towel to protect it while heating with the lighter). It took only ten minutes to clean the stem of the oxidation! What a difference in the amount of time it took to clean this stem. It is cleaned and now ready for sanding and buffing. I tried it on a third stem. I moved over the stem with the lighter, six seconds per inch of stem, before wiping with a wet paper towel. Again the towel came out with the yellow colouring of the oxidation and all that remained behind was the black vulcanite. Each of the three stems took little time to clean and all that remained to finish them was to sand and smooth and then buff and polish.” Here are just a few important pointers that Rob and I have learned in the process:

  1. Do not leave the flame in one spot, keep it moving – burning vulcanite stinks and you will ruin the stem.
  2. Use a slow 1″ side to side sweep with the flame half an inch below the stem. Repeat until the stem is completely black and then sand.
  3. As the flame moves across the surface there is a light sulfur smell that is given off as the oxidation burns.
  4. In sanding the stem use a variety of grits of sandpaper (400 and 600 grit wet dry and higher grits if you choose) then micromesh pads or paper (1500, 1800, 2400, 3200, 4000, 6000) before buffing with Tripoli and White Diamond. I have also used 0000 steel wool and found that it is a good first step before the wet dry sandpaper is used.