Blog by Paresh Deshpande
Over the past few months I have restored quite a few of Paresh’s Grandfather’s pipes. They have been both fun and challenging with the variety of issues each one presented. Throughout the process Paresh and I have corresponded and talked about procedures and methodology of the restorations and I encouraged him to give it a try. His family had passed on a large collection of his Grandfather’s pipes to him so it seemed to be a natural thing in my mind that he does the cleanup work on as many of them as he could. It just seemed fitting that the grandson does the restoration and then enjoy the pipes. He took me up on it and asked that I walk him through the process. We have talked a few times via FaceTime, linking India and Canada, to assess and plan the restoration. I asked Paresh to write some blogs on the work he is doing. Here is the first of those blogs. Welcome to rebornpipes Paresh. It is great to have you here. We look forward to seeing more of your work. — SteveWork had come to a halt on the WDC with the gold band “Bulldog” due to an extended curing time on the repairs to the stem as well as non-availability of Steve till 28 May ’18 to further guide me on the complicated (…by my standards!!) stem restoration. I decided to tackle a relatively straight forward restoration, as it appeared to my untrained eye, of a Pete system “31”, Made in Eire.
The “31” is a beautiful little pipe with a lovely rusticated pattern. At the shank end, it has a nickel ferrule bearing three shields with the inscriptions ‘K ‘&’ ‘P’ respectively over “PETERSON” over “DUBLIN”.The smooth surface on the underside of the shank is stamped with the words “MADE IN EIRE” within a circle; the word “IN” being in the centre. Right of the COM stamp is “PETERSON’S” over “SYSTEM” OVER “31”.The “P” in Peterson’s is the ‘old style’ lettering that used a forked tail. This pipe can easily be dated to the 1938 – 41 period when Peterson’s stamped their pipes with COM stamp “MADE IN EIRE”. Secondly to quote from thepetersonpipeproject.blogspot.in, an authority on the dating of Peterson’s pipes states, “From the beginning of the Patent Era until somewhere in the early 1930’s Peterson used the ‘old style’ lettering that used a forked tail “P” in Peterson.
The bowl was filled with cake and overflowing lava on the rim top, though not very heavily, which was a surprise, since all my grandfather’s pipes restored by Steve and I till date were heavily caked.The rustications were filled with dirt and grime coming from being uncared for and unused in storage since the late 1960’s giving it a very dull and dusty look. The ferrule was oxidized and discoloured and came off of the shank easily, giving rise to fears of hidden surprises underneath on the shank end. However, no such surprises were in store for me this time! The stem was very heavily oxidized, giving it a dirty greenish colour. The stem has a permanently fixed long, protruding rubber tube/nozzle extending well past the draught hole. The edges of the P-lip are perfect, however, there are a few light bite marks on the stem. The only issue I foresee having to deal with is the foul smell! I hope that when the cake is removed, the smell too will disappear.
THE PROCESS OF RESTORATION
As is the un-written understanding between Abha, my wife, and myself, Abha started work on the bowl (……she hates dealing with the stems!!!!) by reaming it with a Kleen Reem tool and a vintage British Buttner pipe reamer. Within no time the cake was reamed out of the bowl and Abha proceeded to sand it down using a 220 grit to bare briar wood. In spite of removing the cake, the foul smell still persisted.While sanding down the chamber with a 220 grit sand paper, the exposed briar revealed the letter ‘P’ stamped on the bottom of the bowl near the draught hole!!I searched the internet for information since I had never read of a Peterson’s to sport such a stamp. Unable to find any related information, I sent pictures of the same to Steve of rebornpipes fame. He too had not seen such stamping before. I request, if any one has any information or knowledge to share, please do so.
Thereafter, I started work on the internals of the pipe. The draught hole was blocked to the extent that a bristled pipe cleaner could not pass through. I tried to blow through the lip of the stem, but air would not pass through. The reservoir was filled with tar, grime and gunk and so was the stem. It is amply evident from this pipe and all other pipes belonging to my grandfather that he did not like to clean his pipes and hence the large collection of Barlings, Charatan’s, WDC’s, GBD’s, Kriswills and other Danish brands.I completely cleaned the reservoir and mortise using alcohol, pipe cleaners, shank brush and qtips. Using a dental spatula, I scraped out all the accumulated tar, oils and gunk out of the reservoir till bare briar was visible under torchlight and all pipe cleaners/cue tips came out clean.To get rid of the foul smell, the bowl was treated with kosher salt and alcohol overnight. After cleaning it thoroughly, the pipe now smelt fresh.Thereafter, I cleaned the bowl with Murphy’s oil soap and a hard bristled toothbrush, thoroughly cleaned the bowl deep into its rustication and rinsed it under running tap water. I dried the pipe bowl completely using a soft cotton cloth and left it to dry completely overnight.Next morning, I rubbed a Before and After Restoration Balm with my fingers and worked it deep into the rustication. After a few minutes I cleaned and polished it using a soft cotton cloth. The briar really began to look good. I further buffed it using a horse hair shoe brush till the bowl began to shine a bit. Finally, I rubbed a tiny amount of HALYCON II WAX on the bowl and waited a few seconds. Thereafter, using a microfiber cloth and plenty of muscle power over a prolonged period of time, I was finally satisfied with the way the bowl looked at this stage (pics).With the bowl finally finished, I turned my attention to the stem. A stated earlier, the stem was clogged to such an extent that air did not pass through it. I cleaned it out using alcohol, bristled and regular pipe cleaners. I used a Bic lighter to raise the light bite marks. Using a 220 grit sand paper, I completely removed the oxidation from the vulcanite surface. Thereafter, I went through the micromesh sand papers, wet sanding it with 1500 to 3200 and dry sanding with 3600 to 12000 grit paper. I rubbed extra virgin olive oil in between each.The stem now has a nice shiny and smooth black surface which looked classy and beautiful with the rusticated bowl. The finished pipe is shown below. This will definitely find a place of pride in my collection and remind me of the memories of my GRAND OLDMAN. I am most grateful to Steve Sir for guiding me through this project and always suggesting alternate and practical methods since I have huge handicap of materials and equipment, being either unavailable or being un-economical as I am just pursuing this as a hobby and restoring the memories of my grandfather whilst smoking these inherited pipes!
I shall be grateful and obliged to be made aware of my mistakes and scope for improvement in both, the write up as well as the procedures and methods adopted during the refurbishing of the pipe.DIMENSIONS OF THE PIPE
Length: 5 ¾ inches
Bowl height: 1 ½ inches
Bowl depth: 7/8 inch
Bowl inner diameter: 7/8 inch