Restoring an L.J. Perretti Deluxe Prince

I learned from the last Perretti pipe that I worked on and subsequent replies that the Straight Grain was the top of the line of Perretti pipes. I have no idea where in the hierarchy this one sits but it is stamped L.J. PERRETTI over Imported Briar on the left side and DELUXE on the right side of the shank. It has a factory installed band that is stamped Sterling Silver in an arch. This pipe was a bit of a mess. Like some of the others I have had this one was marked with a swatch of paint – this time red paint. In the first photo below you can see it on the left side of the bowl near the shank bowl junction. The finish was rough but underneath was some great grain. Again there were no fills visible in this piece of briar. The bowl was caked and the lava had erupted over the edges of the rim leaving a thick hard cake on the rim of the bowl. The silver was badly tarnished and the stamping on the silver was not readable. The L.J. Perretti stamping on the left side of the shank ends with the “I” stamped on the silver band. The stem was oxidized and also had a buildup of calcification from the button up the stem about ½ inches. The stem was about a ¼ inch out of the shank and could not be pushed in from the buildup on tars in the shank. The first three photos show the state of the pipe when I brought it to the work table.


I wiped down the bowl with acetone on a cotton cloth. I find that the acetone quickly dispenses with paint spots and splashes on the briar. It seems to go beneath the paint and it easily is scrubbed off. It also removes grime and buildup on the finish and removes the remaining stain on the briar. I wiped down the caked rim to soften the hard surface before I moved on to top the bowl. The next four photos show the pipe after I had scrubbed it with acetone.




I set up my sanding board and placed the medium grit emery paper on the board. I rotated the bowl on the sandpaper in a circular motion to remove the grime on the rim. I also had seen that there was some burn damage on the rim that needed to be removed. I place the pipe with the rim firmly against the sandpaper and work it until the rim is clean and the damage is minimized. Photos 1 & 2 show the process of sanding on the emery paper. Once I had finished the rough work I moved on to use a medium grit sanding sponge in the same way. I place the sponge flat on the board and work the bowl in a circular motion on the flat surface of the sponge (Photo 3). I then used a fine grit sanding sponge to do the same (Photo 4). Each progressive sanding grit smoothed the scratches and marks left by the previous grit.



When I had finished topping the bowl I reamed the bowl and cleaned out the shank with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and Everclear. I also polished the silver band with some tarnish remover applied with a cloth and rubbed into the band. I finished by wiping down the pipe again using Everclear on a cotton pad. This removed the sanding dust and also the overrun of the silver polish on the briar. I reinserted the stem to make sure the fit was correct. The next two photos show the pipe at this point in the process.

The next series of six photos show the progressive work on the stem using 1500-12,000 grit micromesh sanding pads. Each degree of grit gave the stem a deeper shine and removed any remaining oxidation. Once I had finished with the micromesh pads I wiped down the stem with Obsidian Oil and then when dry I put the stem on the pipe and buffed it with White Diamond.





I stained the bowl with two different stains – dark brown aniline thinned 2:1 with isopropyl alcohol (Photos 1 – 3 below) and then followed up with an oxblood aniline stain. I flamed the stain, restained, reflamed and then gave the rim a third coat of the brown stain.


The final four photos show the finished pipe. I buffed the entirety a final time with White Diamond and then gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax. I finished by buffing it with a clean flannel buff to bring out the shine.




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