Blog by Steve Laug
My brother found this old timer on eBay and made an offer for it. He showed me the pictures of the pipe when he bought it. The pipe is stamped Peer Import over Denmark on the left side of the shank and Made by Hand over 20 on the right side of the shank. It is a Danish take on a tall Dublin Stack. I believe the 20 is the shape number. The pipe was in excellent condition from the photos and showed very little wear. There was some rim darkening. Here are the photos that the seller included with the listing. It is clear that the stem is upside down which accounts for the sloppy fit of the stem at the shank. The pipe arrived while I was visiting him in Idaho. I reamed the bowl and removed the light cake that had formed around the top 1/3 of the bowl. I have found on these tall pipes that the cake usually does not goes all the way to the bottom of the bowl as it is rarely smoked to the bottom. The condition of the pipe was pretty clean. The natural briar finish was dirty and there was a lighter portion at the stem shank joint. It made me wonder if the pipe had been restemmed but once I turned it over in the shank the fit was perfect. The rim had an inward bevel that had some lava overflow on the top surface but the inner and outer edges were clean and undamaged. The stamping on the shank was readable but it was not sharp. The slightly bent stem had tooth chatter at the button but no deep tooth marks. It was oxidized and there were a few deep gouges on the surface of the stem toward the middle top. The button and slot were undamaged. The interior of the pipe and stem were relatively clean. I took a close up photo of the bowl rim and top as well as the stamping to show the condition. The rim top needed a thorough scrubbing to remove the lava buildup but it did not appear to be burned or charred. The edges were very clean. The stamping in the second and third photos shows that it was lighter on the left side than on the right but it is still readable. I did some research online to see if I could gather information about who made Peer Import pipes. All I knew was that they were Danish “Made by Hand” pipes but there was not much information on them. However, I was able to find several for sale on line. I read through each of the sale write-ups and also the etsy connection. On smokingpipes.com there was a Peer Import pipe that to my eye looked like a Kriswell Clipper was for sale. The pipe was nothing like the one that I am working on but the blurb by Adam Davidson gave some potentially helpful insight. His comment was: “This piece is a classic Danish shape from the 1950s. Possibly made by Pipe Dan or another house, it’s the lovely bowl and lean, tapered shank that makes it so popular”. Here is the link to that pipe and comment: (https://www.smokingpipes.com/pipes/estate/denmark/moreinfo.cfm?Product_ID=102766).
With that in mind I did some refined searching under the Pipe-Dan name. I put in the shape number with the name and was taken to Pipephil’s site (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-p3.html) and gleaned some more information. While I am still not sure of the absolute connection to Pipe-Dan the shape number of the Peer Import matches the brand. So I read what I could find on the brand on that site.
That link told me that the brand was created in 1943. The shop (Danish name: Pibe-Dan) which closed in 1991 was run by H. Dan Christensen. He sometimes designed pipes but he is merely renowned for having helped young artisans like Tom Eltang, Preben Holm, Jes Phillip Vigen, Hans Hartmann… Pipe-Dan let the pipe maker stamp his own name on a pipe along with the shop’s name. The line name “Shape-Reformed” means that a traditional shape had been redesigned.
While this pipe does not say that it is a Pipe-Dan pipe and it has no other stamping that would lead me to claim that I am pretty confident that the shape number connection also points to that connection. Armed with that information I went to work on the pipe. I cleaned the rim with saliva and cotton pads followed by sanding with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads. I was able to remove the lava buildup and smooth out the surface of the rim. There was still some rim darkening but no char.I scrubbed the natural finish with acetone on cotton pads to remove the oils and grime on the finish. The acetone removed all residual oils from the previous owner’s hands and the debris from the years that the pipe sat. It also cleaned up the lightening of the colour at the shank stem junction. There was a flaw in the vulcanite stem – a small, ¼ inch long pit in the top of the rubber that had collected debris. I cleaned the stem surface with alcohol and picked out the white waxes and dust that had collected in the flaw. I filled it with superglue and set the stem aside to dry.I gave the bowl a rub down with a light coat of olive oil and hand buffed the natural matte finish with a piece of soft cotton. The pipe has some beautiful grain. The tall stack and thinness of the shank and bowl give the pipe a quiet elegance. When the glue dried I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper until the patch was flush with the stem surface. I took the next two photos to show how well it blended in with the rest of the stem. This pipe was internally so clean that I almost forgot to clean out the inside. I scrubbed the airway and mortise on the bowl and airway on the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. You can see from the photos that there was not much work to be done in the internals. I wet sanded the bowl with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads and gave it a coat of Obsidian Oil. I dry sanded it with 3200-4000 grit pads and gave it another coat of oil. I finished sanding it with 6000-12000 pads and gave it a final coat of oil. I set the stem aside to dry. I buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond polish on the wheel and multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad and hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I love the elegant tall, thin bowl and shank. The 1/8th bent stem works really well with the overall flow of the pipe. It is a beauty. Thanks for looking.