Daily Archives: August 26, 2018

Breathing New Life into a Brakner Antique Hand Cut 807

Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table is a Brakner Antique Hand Cut. It has a very interesting shape that is unique to Brakner. It has an eye shape bowl with a rim top that is smooth. The finish is rusticated in a unique style that he developed that I have never seen before seeing this pipe. There is a smooth band around the end of the shank and a smooth panel on the underside of the shank that is stamped. It came to me from a friend who is having me work on and sell some of his pipes. This one is a beauty and it comes in its own brown leather case that I will show once I have finished the pipe. I have included the photos of the pipe before I cleaned it up. This pipe was well cared for by the previous pipeman who owned it. The finish on the sides and shank was in excellent condition but dusty. The rim top was dull and had a film of tobacco oils on it but was otherwise undamaged on the inner and outer edge. It has some interesting grain. The contrast of dark and medium brown stains highlighted the beautiful grain on the briar and went well with the rusticated finish on the bowl and shank. The bowl was lightly caked and would need to be reamed but otherwise good condition. The stem was oxidized and lightly pitted from the oxidation. There was some light tooth chatter on both sides of the stem near the button as well as some calcification. The next close up photos of the rim top and both sides of the stem show the overall condition of the pipe.I took three photos of the stamping on the underside of the shank to capture the stamping that flows on the curves of the shank. They all give various angles of the stamping as it is quite wide and cannot be contained in one photo. The top line of the stamping reads BRAKNER ANTIQUE. The second photo shows the second line of the stamp – it reads HAND – CUT 807. The third photo shows the third line of the stamp – it reads DENMARK 37152. The stamping follows the curve of the shank band.I took the stem off the pipe and dropped it in the Before & After Deoxidizer Bath to soak over night.If you have been following the blog for any length of time you have come to know that when I am working on interesting old pipes (even sometimes those not so interesting) I like to know a bit about the background of the brand. I like to “meet” the carver to get a feel for their work and style. This is the first Brakner I have worked on so I felt compelled to do a bit of reading before I started the cleanup of the pipe.

I looked first on the Pipephil website (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-b7.html) to see what I could find. I have found through the years that it gives me a good summary of the information available and some pictures of some of the pipes from the brand. I have included a screen capture of the first pipe in the listing as it shows the logo on the stem and a bit of the stamping that is on the underside of the shank. There was not much information on the site regarding the history of the maker. It did tell me that most Brakner’s pipes had the carver’s “micro-rustication” finish. He made few smooth pipes. Next I turned to Pipedia for more information and detail (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Brakner). I quote in part:

Peter Micklson (†) started his career at the Teofil Suhr workshop, Suhr’s Pibemageri, in Copenhagen, where Sixten Ivarsson was the foreman. He brought in Poul Rasmussen and taught him the two or three important things about pipemaking in a six weeks crash course, before he went off to join Poul Nielsen, the later Mr. Stanwell.

Micklson, who later changed his last name to Brakner,can not have worked under Rasmussen too long before he felt to be good enough to go off on his own. Indeed he carved himself quite a good name as it was proudly announced 1955’s World Championship of Pipe Smoking was won by a smoker who employed a Peter Brakner pipe. His fame based fairly on developing a unique and very special “micro-rustication” he called Antique. According to Kai Nielsen, Brakner kept this technique as a secret and only once he showed it to one person – Kai’s mother. Both have passed away, so this secret technique is lost. Kent Rasmussen was recently inspired by Brakner’s Antique finish when he created his new technique of rustication. Brakner was a close friend of Ole Larsen, the proprietor of the famous W.Ø. Larsen tobacco shop and sold a lot of his pipes there, before Larsen hired his own indoor carvers…

The pipes came in three different series.

Antique series. Antique finish in tan or black. Smooth pipes also. Each pipe 7.50 $.
Bella Danica series. Antique finish in tan or black. Each pipe 10.00 $.
Royal Danois series. Antique finish in tan or black. Each pipe 12.50 $.\
The latter were named after the Royal Danish Guard Regiment, founded in 1689.

Brakner was one of the first high-end carvers from Denmark to enter the US market and was considerably successful there in the early 1970’s. After his sudden death Peter Brakner’s name faded back from the forefront, but his pipes speak to the injustice of that. His body of work has earned him a place in the important history of Danish pipemaking.

The Pipedia article also showed pages from a W.Ø. Larsen Catalog from 1961-1962. I have included the pages from the site. The catalog showed the variety of shapes that pipe came in as well as the unique finish of the micro-rustication. I have circled the shape of the pipe I am working on in red. That gives a good picture of the history and development of the Brakner brand and the connection to some of the great carvers of Danish pipe history. Armed with that information I turned to work on the pipe in hand. I started my cleanup of this pipe by working on the internals. I reamed out the cake with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife and took the cake back to the bare briar. I sanded the walls in the bowl with a piece of dowel wrapped with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth the walls.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the micro-rusticated briar with my fingers and with a shoe brush. I use the Balm to enliven, clean and preserve the briar. I set it aside for a little while to let the balm do its work. I buffed it off with a cotton cloth and then buffed it with a microfiber cloth. The photos below show the pipe at this point in the restoration process. I took the stem out of the Before & After Deoxidizer Bath and rinsed it under runner warm water. I blew air through the stem and then ran water through it as well to rinse out the inside of the airway. The bath removed the oxidation and left the stem in clean condition. I took photos of it at this point to show how it looked. The Deoxidizer did its work well.I cleaned out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and alcohol. It was dirty but I was surprised it was as clean as it was all things considered.The stem was in excellent condition when it came out of the Deoxidizer so I did not have to sand it with any of the usual 220 grit folded pieces. I was able to immediately move on to polishing it with micromesh sanding pads. So under the watchful eye of my shop supervisor, Spencer (my 14 year old Cocker Spaniel) I polished the stem using micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. After each pad I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil to protect and enliven the stem.

Spencer sits next to my desk/work table whenever I am working on pipes. Periodically he will knock me on the leg for a treat I keep on top of the desk just for these occasions. Mostly though he just watches me work and when I get up for a break he follows me like a shadow. I am sure going to miss his presence once he is gone but for now he continues to go strong. Back to the pipe, I polished it further with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. When I finished with the polish I gave it a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. The pipe came with its own case. I was told that the previous pipeman purchased this pipe directly from Peter Brakner himself when he visited Peter in Denmark. The case is in great condition. There are some scuff marks in the leather but it is solid and well made. The lining is also in good condition. I have included a photo below of the restored pipe in the case to give a sense of the fit. I am sure the case was made for this pipe.This is the first Brakner Antique Danish Hand Cut that I have worked on. The micro-rustication process that he developed is really quite beautiful and leaves an almost sandblasted pattern behind on the briar. It swirls and undulates around the bowl almost as if it is living. The smooth rim with contrasting stain and the thin band around the shank end and on the underside  is quite nice and has some swirls of grain in the briar. The contrast browns of the bowl look really good with the black of the polished vulcanite stem. I carefully buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel so as not to have the polish build up in the rustication. I buffed the stem with Blue Diamond polish to raise the shine in the vulcanite. I was careful to not buff the stamping and damage it. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are: Length: 7 inches, Height: 2 1/4 inches, Outside Diameter: width is 1 1/2 inches and length is 2 inches, Diameter of the chamber: ¾ of an inch. This Brakner is a well-made pipe with a beautiful finish and a comfortable stem. I am waiting to hear from the fellow who asked me to clean up the pipe so that I can get a price set that he wants for it. Once I have that I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store shortly if you are interested in adding it to your rack. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

Transforming a Dr. Grabow “Omega”

Blog by Paresh Deshpande

“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the prettiest of them all?” asked this “Omega”, looking deeply into my eyes!!!!! How I wish I could have promptly replied that it was “YOU”…. but I could not get myself to say so!!!!! It was then that I decided to work on this pipe and make an attempt at its transformation.

This bent billiards has “OMEGA” stamped on the left side of the shank over “DR. GRABOW” in block capital letters while on the right side it is stamped “IMPORTED BRIAR”. A nickel ferrule adorns the end of the shank and is devoid of any stampings. An “ACE OF SPADES” on the left side breaks the monotonous black of the stem. I searched pipedia.com for information about the brand and try to place the period when this model was introduced by Dr. Grabow. The site has very detailed information about the brand and various models and is a highly recommended read. I have extracted only the relevant portions here:-

Dr. Grabow pipes are the quintessential American brand. Made with care in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, this 60-year-old line of inexpensive tobacco pipes is a favorite among new pipe smokers for its consistency and good taste. The famous smoking pipe brand gets its name from the owner Dr Grabow, a general physician who lived in Chicago.

Made in America since the 1930’s, Dr. Grabow tobacco pipes were named after “the good doctor” to help polish the smudged image of smoking a pipe to newly tobacco-leery American public. The line of pipes bearing Dr. Grabow’s name have become one of the best known pipe brands in North America.

The Dr Grabow pipes first began with Louis B Linkman of the M.Linkman and Co of Chicago. The trademark “Dr Grabow” itself actually begun at about 1932 and had the US patent number 1.896,800.

The birth of the Dr Grabow smoking pipe is simple enough. It started off when Dr Grabow himself and his acquaintance Dr Linkman regularly visited the local pharmacist at Brown’s Drug Store in Lincoln Park Chicago.

Dr Linkman was on the lookout for a doctor’s name to Christian an innovative line of pipes in order to mellow out the smoking apparel’s smoggy image. He asked Dr Grabow to allow him to use his name to which he agreed and the name has stuck since then. Linkman continued to manufacture his Dr Grabow pipes until 1953. 

The earliest of these exclusive pipes were stamped both with Linkman’s and Dr Grabow. They included a propeller emblem that was white in color at the top of the mouthpiece.

In 1944 the white propeller emblem was replaced with a white spade, a move that heralded the introduction of Linkman’s new Dr Grabow pipes. All of the newer entries included most of the earlier favorites as well as “TRU-GRAIN” and “SELECT”. Later models of Dr Grabow pipes were described as Imported Briar.

I further searched pipedia.com and found detailed and comprehensive information on the various lines and models of Dr. Grabow through the years and was able to date this Omega to 1975. Here is the link; https://pipedia.org/wiki/Dr._Grabow_Models_(Series,Line)_Names_Through_the_Years


The first thing that struck me like a jolt was the reddish brown/ very dark reddish purple, OMG!!!! I cannot even describe the color of the stain on this pipe; it was that unappealing to the eye to say the least. It just surprises me as to why my grand old man even bought it, if he had indeed bought it. You just feel like turning away from it. To add to its color woes, the stummel is covered in dust and grime of storage from all these years. The stummel has Custombilt like rustication emanating from the joint where the shank and stummel meet and move away from the bottom towards the rim top. Within this rustication we have very fine thin lines. The raised portion of these rustication have the same reddish brown coloration while within these rustication, it has dark color. The shank is plain and devoid of any rustication. There appears to be some kind of coat covering the entire stummel. All said and done, this coloration has to go!!!!! How am I going to do it, I really do not know, but IT HAS TO GO!!!!!! The chamber is lightly caked and has overflow of lava on the rim top. This will have to be cleaned and sanded down if the rim top surface is damaged underneath the overflowing lava. The inner and outer edge has minor dents and dings.The stem appears to be ebonite and has a plastic feel to it. The stem is a copy of the famed Peterson’s P-Lip button with the difference in the bore being dead center on the end of the button as opposed to being on the top surface. It has extensive damage to the upper and lower surface of the lip. It is peppered with tooth chatter and has one deep bite mark each on both the surfaces. This will have to be addressed.The mortise is relatively clean and air flows freely through the airway in the pipe and shank.The nickel ferrule has lost its shine and shows minor spots of corrosion. I think it will polish up nicely.THE PROCESS

I had made a promise to this pipe that I shall make it “the prettiest of them all…” (Well, actually it was like “TRY” really) and thus the first and most logical start point was to address the color of the stummel. To make this pipe attractive, I felt that I should attempt to do the following:-

(a) Highlight the rustications.

(b) Get some shine on the stummel.

(c) Attempt to reveal the grains on the smooth shank.

(d) Highlight the contrast between the raised portions of the rustication with that of within the rustication.

Having identified what needs to be done, I turned my attention to how it could be done. SWOT analysis dictated that I needed to adopt processes which did not require any stains or coatings of lacquer as I did not have any. Also since I do not have any mechanical equipment, I had to adopt simpler and manual techniques. I decided that the best and easiest course of action for me would be to get rid of the original stain.

I started by reaming the chamber with a Kleen Reem pipe reamer and fabricated knife. I removed the complete cake from the chamber. I further sanded down the walls of the chamber with a 220 grit sand paper to smooth the walls and took the cake back down to the bare briar. I gently scraped out the little overflow of lava from the rim top. I also cleaned out the mortise and the shank with cue tips and pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol.Once the chamber was cleaned, I turned my attention to the stummel and tried to get rid of the lacquer coating. I started by wet sanding with a 1500 grit micromesh pad and soon realized that it would not work. I tried sanding with 800 grit sand paper without any success. Soon I found myself sanding the stummel with 150 grit sand paper. The lacquer was very difficult to get rid off and after a considerable time, I was finally able to completely remove the lacquer coating. Believe you me, my fingers had started to hurt and sitting at the table for 3-4 hours at a stretch caused cramps in my back. But the end result was pleasing.

Then began the arduous and time consuming process of sanding the stummel with micromesh pads. I proceeded to sand the stummel with micromesh pads, going through wet sanding with 1500-2400 pads and dry sanding with 3200- 12000 grit pads. I was very pleased with the way the stummel had turned out. I decided that I liked this finish and after further cleaning and polishing, the stummel would look just beautiful. Once I was through with micromesh pads, I cleaned the stummel with undiluted Murphy’s oil soap and tooth brush. I paid special attention to the deep areas of the rustication, thoroughly cleaning it with the brush. I dried the bowl with cotton cloth and paper towels.I rubbed “Before and After Restoration balm” in to the stummel with fingers deep into the rustications and let it rest for a few minutes before I buffed it with a horse hair brush. Finally, I polished the stummel with a soft cotton cloth and muscle power!!!! I also polished the nickel ferrule with a jeweler’s cloth. Luckily, the corrosion was superficial and polished up nicely. Turning my attention to the badly damaged stem, I start by cleaning it with cotton pads dipped in isopropyl alcohol. I flamed the stem surface with a Bic lighter to raise the tooth chatter. The deeper tooth chatter and bite marks were filled with clear CA superglue. Thereafter began the time consuming process of curing, sanding with flat head needle file, 220 grit sand paper and finally by micromesh pads. In all, I had to repeat the fill and sand procedure thrice before resorting to final polish using micromesh pads. I also cleaned out the internals of the stem with pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol. To finish the pipe, I rubbed a small quantity of Halcyon wax II on to the stummel and gave it a nice polish. The pipe now does look stunning. I love the way the pipe has turned out and I can proudly reply back to this Omega “IT’S YOU!!!!!!” The finished pipe is shown below.

Stem Repair on a Savinelli Silver

Blog by Paresh Deshpande

I have been simultaneously working on the stem repair of CHACOM PANACHE #44 (https://rebornpipes.com/2018/08/26/chacom-panache-44/) and this SAVINELLI SILVER. Both the pipes had similar damage to their stems; a gaping hole in the stem exposing airway of the stem. As stated in my write up on the former, I had primarily purchased these pipes to gain hands down experience in major stem repairs and stem reconstruction. That both these pipes were beautiful was an added bonus!!!!!

This fancy Dublin Sav has beautiful mixed grain on the right side of the bowl while the left side has lovely birdseye grain. The front and back of the bowl, lower and upper surface of the shank has nicely packed cross grains. A sterling silver band adorns this Sav and is stamped on the upper surface with “925” in an elongated hexagon over “SAVINELLI”. On the lower surface, this band is stamped as “STERLING” over “MOUNTED”. All stampings are in block capital letters. On top of the oval shank, towards the shank end, it bears the stamp “SAVINELLI” over “SILVER” while at the bottom, it is stamped with Savinelli shield, followed by “915”, followed by size “KS” over “ITALY” in block capital letters. The saddle stem bears the Sav Shield logo on top of the saddle. History of Savinelli pipes is very well documented on pipedia.com, however, due to a very large line up, frequent changes to models, shapes and finishes, I came to a halt when I tried to date this Savinelli. I earnestly request all the knowledgeable veterans of pipe world to share any bits and pieces of information on this pipe.


The stummel is covered in oils and tars giving a dull and lifeless appearance to the pipe. There is no heavy build up of cake in the chamber and also overflow of lava on the rim top. However, a slight darkening is seen on the right side of the rim. Some scratches are also seen on the rim top which will need to be addressed. It is the stem which has the maximum damage. A large hole can be seen on the upper surface of the stem near the button end, exposing that portion of the airway. There are two deep bite marks on the upper surface of the stem. The button on both surfaces of the stem has been chewed and will need to be reconstructed.The mortise shows some accumulation of previously smoked tobacco oils and tars, but it is nothing as compared to some pipes which I have seen.The airway is not clogged and will only require minor cleaning.


Since I had worked on the stem of the CHACOM simultaneously with that of this Sav, the process and difficulties were the same. I would request those interested in knowing the travesties I encountered and overcoming these, to please read the write up on the stem repair of CHACOM PANACHE #44 (https://rebornpipes.com/2018/08/26/chacom-panache-44/). Here are the progressive pictures of the restoration process. Having finished the stem repair (some imperfections are seen, but cannot be discerned in person), I turn my attention to the stummel. I reamed out the chamber using a Kleen Reem pipe reamer and fabricated knife. I removed the complete cake from the chamber. I further sanded down the walls of the chamber with a 220 grit sand paper to smooth the walls and took the cake back down to the bare briar. I gently scraped out the little overflow of lava from the rim top.I cleaned out the internals of the shank with pipe cleaners and cue tips dipped in isopropyl alcohol. I wiped the inside of the chamber with cotton swabs dipped in alcohol. There was very little amount of cake and the shank was pretty clean too. It appears that though the pipe was well smoked as is apparent from the stem condition, it was well cared for.I cleaned the stummel with undiluted Murphy’s oil soap and a tooth brush. I washed the stummel under running water and dried it using paper towels and soft absorbent cotton cloth. Once the stummel had dried, I felt that the bowl was still appearing dull and lackluster. The grains, though visible, needed to be highlighted. To achieve the desired results, I sanded the stummel with micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200 to 12000 grit pads. The rim top was also sanded down with micromesh pads to remove/ reduce the darkened areas. I wiped the bowl with a moist soft cotton cloth to remove the sanding dust after each pad. The stummel now looks beautiful with the grains on full display. I finished the bowl by rubbing “Before and After Restoration Balm” with my hands and polished it with a soft cotton cloth. The bowl now appears to be alive and the grains pop out and are on display to be enjoyed. This pipe, along with the CHACOM, will always find a place of pride in my collection for being first major stem repair project. The finished pipe is shown below.

Chacom Panache #44

Blog by Paresh Deshpande

I have embarked on a journey into the wonderful, invigorating and leisurely world of pipe restoration and want to try out and address as many issues that one may encounter when dealing with an old, used and also abused pipes. Though there are a large number of old and vintage pipes that I have inherited, I went ahead and purchased two pipes, one is a CHACOM PANACHE # 44 and the other is a SAVINELLI SILVER, for gaining hands-on experience in stem repair. The stems on both these pipes have large gaping hole near the button end, exposing the stem’s airway. I shall be working on the stems of both these pipes simultaneously while the stummel will be worked on separately. The write up on both, though separate, is being uploaded at the same time so as to maintain continuity.

Even though I had purchased this pipe to practice repairing a stem bite-through, what really caught my attention was the beautiful coral like rustication on the bowl and shank which could be seen on some high end pipes from equally higher end brands. Through all the dust and grime, the beautiful contrasting stains between the lighter brown raised rustication and darker hued depressions makes for an eye catching finish. On the smooth surface at the bottom of the shank, it is stamped “CHACOM” in an artistic hand over “PANACHE” in block capital letters. This is followed by the shape number # “44” at the edge of the shank where it meets the stem. The stem bears the double “C” logo stamped on the left side of the stem towards the tenon end.I gleaned following info from Pipedia to know more about the brand of this pipe. It is reproduced below (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Chacom):

1825 : Well before the discovery of briarwood the COMOY family manufactured pipes in the small village of Avignon, near to Saint-Claude, mostly in boxwood for the “Grumblers” of the Army of Napoleon. 1850 : Birth of Henry COMOY, founder of the brand.
1856 : Discovery of briarwood and particularly the special treatment it required for the making of pipes. Saint-Claude becomes the birthplace of briar pipe manufactures and the world capital of pipe-making.
1870 : Henri COMOY, prisoner of war in Switzerland meets his cousins the Chapuis and ruminates the idea of an association.
1879 : Henry COMOY emigrates to London with some of his technicians from Saint-Claude and establishes the first English pipe factory in England H. COMOY & C° LTD. The Saint-Claude factory supplies them with briarwood and pipe bowls.
1922 : After the First World War the association COMOY and CHAPUIS is realised and the Saint-Claude factory becomes CHAPUIS COMOY & Cie.
1924 : Death of Henri COMOY. His sons Paul and Adrien assume the direction of the factories in Saint-Claude and London assisted by their cousins Emile and Louis Chapuis.
1928 : London now able to produce their own pipes, and in order to develop the Saint-Claude factory, the brand CHACOM is created, using the first three letters of the COMOY and CHAPUIS families. Up till 1939 CHACOM was offered only in France, Belgium and Switzerland in order not to embarrass the COMOY pipes which had the same shapes and qualities.
1932 : The world economic crisis reaches Saint-Claude. To weather this problem Chapuis Comoy & Cie joins with another company under the name of LA BRUYERE, forming the biggest pipe concern in the world with 450 workpeople. Big trucks were needed to transfer the briar blocks from the drying shed to the factory.
1945 : After the Second World War CHACOM assumes its entire commercial liberty and launches a complete and modern range of pipes.
1946 : Chacom becomes the principal brand in France and Belgium.
1947 – 1948 : CHACOM, number one in Scandinavia, Germany, then United States…
1957 : In face of the commercial preponderance of the brand CHACOM the company La Bruyère returns to the name of CHAPUIS COMOY & Cie.
1964 : Death of Adrien COMOY. His son Pierre succeeds to him in London. Mr REED is the Chairman and Managing Director in Saint-Claude.
1965 : First French brand named pipe in JAPAN
1971 : Having recovered its independence from COMOYS of London, Yves GRENARD, second cousin of Pierre COMOY, takes over the Direction of Chapuis Comoy & Cie and at the same time the exclusive sale of H. COMOY & Ltd, in France.

 I further searched pipephil.eu for additional information and the same is reproduced below:

The brand Chacom turned up (1934) after fusion of Chapuis-Comoy with La Bruyère. Yves Grenard (†2012), second cousin of Pierre Comoy headed the company from 1971. He was responsible for Chapuis Comoy’s recovering its independance from Comoy. His son Antoine Grenard took over the direction of the company in 2007. Chacom is a brand of Cuty-Fort Entreprises (Jeantet, Vuillard, Jean Lacroix, Ropp …).


The bowl is caked but not heavily. The rustication on the rim top is filled with tars oils and grime. The finish is dull with dirt and dust filling the rustication. This will be cleaned with Murphy’s oil soap and hard bristled tooth brush.The mortise is filled with gunk and debris. This will need to need to be cleaned.The stem is heavily oxidized with heavy calcification towards the button end in the bit area. There is tooth chatter and bite marks on the top surface of the stem near the button end. However, the biggest damage can be seen on the lower surface of the stem. There is a large through and through hole in the stem exposing the airway. Thankfully, the top surface is complete with only tooth marks and tooth chatter. This reconstruction will be the biggest challenge since I have never attempted this restoration before. The button is badly damaged and will need to be reconstructed.THE PROCESS

In this restoration project the stem repair posed the biggest challenge. I searched the net, viewed YouTube videos and my most reliable website “rebornpipes.com” and read over each and every blog available on the website on stem repairs and took down notes and the steps involved. I even discussed with Mr. Steve. Now armed with this acquired knowledge, I embarked on my quest to gain knowledge through personal experience.

The first thing I did was to paint the upper and lower surfaces of the stem with the flame of a Bic lighter to raise the tooth chatter to the surface and also raise the edges of the hole to create an even surface. Next, I cleaned the surface of the stem with isopropyl alcohol to get rid of all the dirt, oils and tars from the surface. I also had the internals of the stem thoroughly cleaned using pipe cleaners, cue tips and alcohol.

Once I was satisfied with the cleaning, I smeared a generous amount of Vaseline onto regular pipe cleaners and inserted it into the airway, ensuring the pipe cleaners are fully underneath the hole. This helps in ensuring that the airway remains open. Vaseline coated pipe cleaners prevents the mixture of CA superglue and activated charcoal from percolating down into the airway and clogging the airway.The next step in the process of this repair is mixing of CA superglue and activated charcoal to the consistency of putty filler. Suffice to say that the consistency should be such that it should not be too runny but just sufficient to spread smoothly and evenly over the intended surface. First timers like me, do not worry too much, even I did not understand what should be the ideal consistency (LoL). From the pictures below, it is amply evident that I did not achieve the exact consistency I desired, but no issues, it still worked!!! Since the beginning of my journey into the beautiful and challenging world of pipe refurnishing, I am being faced with problem relating to glue. Maybe the hot temperate climate prevalent here is causing issues or the quality of glue itself is an issue. However notwithstanding the issues of glue, I was able to prepare a mixture of CA superglue and activated charcoal and applied it to the surface. I set it aside to cure overnight.I began by sanding the repaired/ filled areas using a flat needle head. It was not as easy as it seemed because when I began the process, as I sanded down the stem, I observed that the filling crumbled and dislodged from hole. Apparently, the filling was too dry.

I prepared a fresh mixture of CA glue and activated charcoal and applied it to area to be filled. After curing, when I tried to file it down, I realized that shiny dots were visible. On close observation, these tiny dots were air pockets which were trapped during application and subsequent curing. I discussed with Mr. Steve who advised me to fill the spots with glue only. I did so and let it cure for 2 days.I sanded down the fill and realized bigger air pockets were now exposed. It is unfortunate that I did not take pictures of these issues and processes as I was too engrossed and concentrating on getting the filling right.

I again prepared a fresh mixture of activated charcoal and superglue and reapplied it to the stem surface and let it cure for 3 days since I was traveling.For this sanding, I took unusually long time taking frequent breaks to check the progress. I was very deliberate and used light hands. I used less of flat head needle file and more of 180 grit sandpaper. Finally, I was able to achieve a satisfactory fill. I further evened out the fill using 220 grit sandpaper, followed by 440, 600 and 800 grit papers. Now I am satisfied with the results of the fill.With the fill now evened out, I proceeded to sand the stem with micromesh pads, going through wet sanding with 1500-2400 pads and dry sanding with 3200- 12000 grit pads. I rubbed in Extra Virgin Olive oil after every three pads. The stem now has a nice shine to it and No Hole!! However, the finish is not as refined and minor imperfection can be seen in the finish, though not as glaring in person.With the issue of the stem now addressed, I turned my attention to the stummel. Using a Kleen Reem pipe reamer and fabricated knife, I removed the complete cake from the chamber. I further sanded down the walls of the chamber with a 220 grit sand paper to smooth the walls and took the cake back down to the bare briar.I cleaned the internals of the shank and mortise using regular and bristled pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol and cue tips. I also wiped the internal walls of the chamber with cotton pads dipped in 99.9 % isopropyl alcohol. I use high proof isopropyl alcohol as it evaporates very rapidly and leaves no traces of odor or liquid behind to ghost your pipe.I cleaned the externals of the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and tooth brush. Thereafter, the stummel was washed under running water and dried using a paper towel. I observed that the thin, delicate wire rustication on the rim top was still filled with oils and tars. To clean the rim top, I used a 000 grade steel wool with Murphy’s Oil soap to gently scrub out the dirt. I dried it with paper towels and a soft cotton cloth. Once the stummel had dried out, I rubbed a little “Before and After Restoration Balm “deeply into the coral rustication and also into the wire rustication of the rim top. I worked it deep into the rustication with a horse hair shoe brush. I polished the stummel to a deep shine by rubbing it down with a microfiber cloth. The raised portion of the rustication has a light reddish hue which contrasts beautifully with the dark brown coloration of the rest of the stummel. The completed pipe is shown below. Thanks for your valuable time spent in reading my amateurish attempt at pipe restoration.


Peterson’s System #314 Limited Edition

Blog by Paresh Deshpande

Having restored my grandfather’s Pete System # 31, Made in Eire, a few months back (for those who would be interested in reading the write up, here is the link: https://rebornpipes.com/2018/06/01/restoring-my-grandfathers-petersons-system-31-made-in-eire-billiard/), and after I had received my Pete System #307, Made in Eire, duly restored and in pristine condition from Mr. Steve Laug, I have been fascinated by Peterson System pipes. So while surfing eBay, I came across this Peterson System #314. What I found most interesting was the “LIMITED EDITION” stamp under the shank and the sterling silver ferrule!!!!

This Pete is a medium sized pipe with beautiful cross grains extending from the front and back of the bowl along the underside and top of the shank right up to the Sterling Silver ferrule at the shank end. Densely packed, beautiful birdseye adorn the sides of the pipe. The sterling silver ferrule is stamped “Peterson’s” in cursive hand over “DUBLIN” followed by “STERLING” over “SILVER” in block letters. This is followed by three hallmarks. The bowl is stamped on the left side as “PETERSON’S” with a forked “P” over “SYSTEM” in an arch while the right side is stamped with COM stamp of “MADE IN THE” over “REPUBLIC” over “OF IRELAND” in three lines followed by shape number “314”. The bottom of the shank is stamped “LIMITED” over “EDITION”. Yes, there are a large number of stampings on this pipe and all are clear and crisp. However, the stamping on the stem is conspicuous by its absence. It is felt that the more detailed the stampings on a pipe; the easier it is to accurately date it. But believe you me, Gentlemen and Ladies; this set of stampings set me on a wild goose chase!!! The reason for this was that the era of forked “P” in Peterson’s did not correspond with the COM stamp. Also the letter “K” in the silver hallmark date did not match with either the forked P or the COM stamp. Thus, I was unsure about dating this pipe when I spoke to my mentor, Mr. Steve of rebornpipes and he clarified the issue. I was informed that Petersons came out with limited edition pipes to commemorate a particular pipe and this particular specimen was to commemorate the System pipe. He further advised that the Hallmarks would help me date this piece.

With this input, I channeled my energies in that direction. The first thing I did was to check the Hallmarks that were seen on the silver ferrule. The same were as seen in the picture below and I have highlighted the letter “K” which will help in dating.Thereafter, I searched for hallmark charts and the Dublin Assay Office in particular and chanced upon a chart which I found most relevant and have highlighted the letter “K”. Thus, I can safely say that the pipe dates from 1997. It is also pertinent to mention that the now famous “P-LIP” invention by Peterson was in 1898!!!! Thus, could it be possible that this pipe was made by Petersons to commemorate 100 years of this revolutionary invention????? I don’t know!!!!Now that the issue of dating was settled, the forked “P” was still haunting me and led me to search for further inputs on this issue. I came across the under mentioned site and have extracted relevant portion from this site: http://thepetersoncollector.blogspot.com/2010/07/welcome-to-my-new-blog.html

The “Made in Ireland” block format (above) can be another headache in dating Peterson pipes since this stamp was used in the late Patent Era as well as the late 1940s. So for a guide we must take into consideration the style of lettering Peterson used on their pipes. From the start of the Patent Era until somewhere in the early 1930s, Peterson used the “Old Style” lettering that used a forked tail “P” in Peterson.

From then until now, Peterson used the more familiar script “P” (above) intermixed with a plain block letter “P.” Later in the 1970s, Peterson began production of “commemorative” pipes, often referred to as “replica” or “retro” pipes and these will also have the old style lettering but according to the pipes that we own and have seen, most of these will have a small difference in the original forked tail “P”. Again, there appears to be a cross-over with the old style forked tail and the later forked tail P’s (below). However, these commemorative pipes generally have a silver band with hallmarks so one can date these pipes by the hallmark.

Thus, my curiosity regarding the issue of COM stamp, forked P and hallmarks seen on this pipe were all tied up together and I proceeded to the next stage of my restoration process.


The bowl is not very dirty but the beautiful grains are all dull and lackluster. However, all the stampings are very distinct, clear and crisp. The bowl has a decent build up of cake inside while the reservoir is completely clogged and filled with tar and gunk. The smell from the bowl was very strong, though sweet and will have to be addressed. Draught hole is clogged and air does not pass freely through it. The rim of the bowl has some overflowed tars, oils and grime but it’s not heavy. This should be easily addressed. However, the inner edge of the bowl has taken some serious beating and needs to be addressed.The stem is heavily oxidized with light bite marks near the lip on both surfaces. Air does not flow easily through the airway and will have to be cleaned. THE PROCESS

Abha started her work of cleaning the chamber by reaming it with a Kleen Reem pipe cleaner and followed it up with my own fabricated pipe knife, scrapping all the cake from the bottom and walls of the chamber. Once she reached the bare briar, she further scrapped the cake from the walls by sanding the chamber with a 220 grit sand paper. This also helps to even out the wall surfaces.Once the bowl was reamed down to its bare briar, it was evidenced that the inner edge of the rim was damaged and also there was a burn mark on the left side of the bowl in the 7 o’clock direction.The best way to tackle this issue was to lightly top the rim on a 220 grit sand paper and create a slight bevel on the inner edge of the rim. I was very deliberate and cautious while working the burn mark and scrapped the burnt briar to expose the solid wood. Once the topping was done and bevel created, I polished the rim top with the micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 2400 pads and dry sanding it with 3200 to 12000 grit pads. I was very satisfied with the result of this process. I turned my attention to cleaning the internals of the bowl. With regular and hard bristled pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol, I attempted to clean the draught hole and the reservoir. I soon realized that there is a lot more gunk and tars accumulated in the reservoir and hence used a spatula to dig out the oils and tars from it. I gave a thorough wipe down to the insides of the bowl and shank with cotton swabs dipped in isopropyl alcohol.The smell in the bowl was addressed by a salt and alcohol bath. I filled the bowl and shank with kosher salt keeping it slightly below the rim level. I filled it with isopropyl alcohol and left it overnight to do its magic. I usually seal the shank end with a plastic sheet tightly wrapped around a cue tip to avoid the alcohol from oozing out, but in this case since the shank is upturned, there was no need to do so. By next morning the salt is dark colored, more so the shank. I removed all the salt and with a pipe cleaner cleaned the bowl and shank of any residual salts. I blew through the draught hole to dislodge the trapped salts. I wiped the bowl clean and dried the shank and bowl with paper napkins and set it aside to dry for an entire day. By evening, the pipe was nice and dry and all the smells were history.While the bowl was drying, I worked on the stem. I started by flaming the surface of the stem with a Bic lighter. This helps to raise the minor tooth chatter and deeper bite marks to the surface to a great extent. I followed it up with sanding it down with a 220 grit sand paper. I took special care and efforts to enhance the lip and lip edges on both surfaces. To finish the stem restoration, I it with micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 2400 pads and dry sanding it with 3200 to 12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Extra Virgin Olive oil in between the pads. The stem is now nice, shining and glossy black.I cleaned the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s oil soap and toothbrush and thereafter rinsed it under warm running water. I took care that water does not enter into the chamber and the mortise. Thereafter I dried the stummel with a paper napkin and a soft cotton cloth. Once the bowl had dried, I rubbed some “Before and After Restoration” balm in to the surface. The transformation is almost immediate. The bowl now has a nice lively sheen to it. I left it to rest for a few moments and then polished it with a soft cotton cloth. To finish, I rubbed a small quantity of PARAGON WAX in to the stummel and polished it by hand using a soft cotton cloth and reattached the stem. This wax was also rubbed on to the stem and polished again. The finished pipe is shown below. I sincerely hope that you have enjoyed reading this write up as much as I enjoyed working on it and writing and researching this pipe.