Blog by Steve Laug
My brother picked this pipe up for me when he was in Austin, Texas. It is actually one of my favourite Peterson shapes – the 999. This one is stamped Peterson’s over “Kildare” on the left side of the shank and Made in the Republic of Ireland 999 on the right side of the shank. It actually is in really decent shape. The bowl had grime on the finish but no real dings or gouges. The rim was tarred and dirty but otherwise in good condition. The outer and the inner edge of the rim were smooth and the bowl was round. The double ring under the cap of the bowl was also in great shape with no chips or missing parts. There were a few small fills on the underside of the bowl among the cross grain that covered that and the top and bottom of the shank. The birdseye grain on the bowl and shank sides is quite stunning. The stem had straightened out during the time the pipe had been sitting and would need to be rebent somewhere along the line. The stem was oxidized, but otherwise clean with no tooth dents or bite marks. The fit against the shank was not tight but that would probably change once the pipe had been cleaned. There was a stinger in the end of the tenon once I removed the stem from the shank. The next three photos are ones that my brother sent me when he found the pipe. The first is a side view of the pipe and the second and third show the stamping on the shank.
When I was visiting with my brother in Idaho Falls I decided to rebend the stem on this one. I used a cup of water that I boiled in the microwave and then put the stem in to heat and soften the rubber. Once it had softened I bent it to match the curve of the bowl. When I heated the stem in the water the oxidation rose to the surface of the stem and turned it an unsightly brown. That is what I expected and why at home I use a heat gun rather than water. But as the stem was oxidized already the water would bring the rest of it to the surface for an easier clean up.
I scrubbed out the bowl and shank with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and alcohol to remove the build up and oils. It did not take too long for the shank to be clean. The next photo shows the small stinger that was in the tenon when I removed the stem. It has a slot on the top of apparatus behind the ball and collects the moisture from the smoke. The shank is drilled deeper than my other 999 pipes to accommodate the stinger. I removed the stinger and cleaned out the stem with pipe cleaners and alcohol. I cleaned the stinger with the same and then polished it with 0000 steel wool.
I scrubbed the top of the rim with alcohol and a cotton pad and then used a 1500 grit micromesh sanding pad to sand the surface of the rim. I used the pad like a topping board and worked the rim around the pad in a clockwise motion. Why clockwise? I honestly don’t know other than I am right handed.
I wiped down the bowl with alcohol and a cotton pad to remove the wax and grime from the surface of the briar. The pipe was unstained or stained with a light stain so the alcohol did not remove any of the colour. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the oxidation that sat on the surface of the stem. I worked hard on the angles of the button to remove the oxidation there. I then sanded the stem with a medium and a fine grit sanding sponge to remove the scratches left behind by the sandpaper.
I wet sanded the stem with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads and rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil. I dry sanded it with 3200-4000 grit pads and rubbed it down with Oil once again. I finished by dry sanding with 6000-12000 grit pads and giving it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. I let the oil absorb into the rubber of the stem.
I buffed the stem and bowl with White Diamond and then Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax and then buffed it with a clean flannel buff on the wheel. I finished by hand buffing the pipe and stem with a microfibre cloth to give it a deep shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. Thanks for looking.