An easy step back in: Peterson System 312 refurbishment

After almost two years of hard looking, my wife and I are finally in a new house. The new place has no stairs, one of our biggest “have to haves” on the home-buying list and a decent size room for me to work in, among other things. After having most of my pipes and tools packed up for an extended period, I have almost got my new work area all set up. I have had to make a few concessions – no room for my buffer, for instance – but it sure is good to have an accessible work area again!

I dug out a few pipes to get started back on: two GBDs (a Virgin billiard and a French made Rhodesian), a well-smoked Dr. Grabow Omega, and a dirty but in good shape Peterson System Standard 312. I started on all four at once, jumping from pipe-to-pipe over the course of a week or so. Being out of practice, I forgot to take many pictures but do have before and after shots. For this post I will focus on the Peterson.

The pipe was in good condition overall, just very dirty. I took a few photos along side the Omega before I got started on it.

The nomenclature is very readable, showing I have a Republic Era System Standard 312. The faux hallmarks on the shank cap tell us that it dates from 1949-1963. The stummel has beautiful old-style rustication, which I much prefer. The stem was is very good shape, too, with very little oxidation or dents; the P-logo was very strong to my surprise.

I began by reaming the bowl with my PipNet reamer with the smallest cutter then progressed to a Decatur pipe knife (very similar to a Savinelli FitsAll) and 220-grit sandpaper to smooth out the inner walls. The bowl was in good condition and needed no extra attention.

I moved to cleaning out the internals with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. The stem was very clean, needing only a couple of pipe cleaners to finish it up. The stummel was a different story. The sump and airway were caked with oils and tar. I scraped out what I could with a wax-carving tool, similar to a dental pick, and cotton swabs dipped in alcohol. I then put a cotton ball in the bowl and filled it with alcohol from the sump-side and left it overnight. The next day the cotton ball was thick with funk drawn from the briar and the inside of the bowl still somewhat sticky. I decided to give it another treatment and left it until the next day, periodically adding alcohol through the day.

The next day the cotton ball was equally dirty but the interior of the bowl was no longer gunky. I returned to cotton swabs dipped in alcohol, cleaning the airway and sump unit they were clean.

I moved to the stem and some 400-grit wet/dry paper to remove the light oxidation. After that was cleaned off I put a drop or so of CA glue on the small tooth dents and set the stem aside for the glue to cure until the next day.

In the morning I cleaned the stummel with cotton pads and swabs with a bit of alcohol to remove the grime in the bowl and the lava build up on the rim. I was slow and careful because the finish was in good condition and I didn’t wasn’t to strip it or the stain. The rim was the most time consuming but after a good bit of elbow grease it and the stummel came clean. With the stummel clean I gave it a rub down with Before and After Restoration Balm, rubbing it in the rustication well and sitting it aside to penetrate for a bit.

I checked the stem to see if the CA glue was cured and it was so I began smoothing the patch. I used a needle file and sandpaper files to blend the patch into the stem. I then used 1″ buffing wheels on my Dremel to buff the stem with brown and then blue compounds at about 12,000 rpms. I feel that the Dremel actually gives me more precise control than the full size buffer … and I don’t shoot anything across the room with it! I applied acrylic Titanium White paint to the logo to highlight it as it should be. Then I used the Before and After Restoration stem polish, both fine and extra-fine, before applying Carnuba wax with the Dremel.

It was time to remove the restoration balm from the stummel now; I used an old cotton shirt for this. I applied two coats of Renaissance Wax to the rusticated surface, buffing it off by hand with an old flannel rag. To finish up the stummel I buffed it lightly with Carnuba wax which really raised the shine to the high points. The finished pipe is below.

I am smoking the second “short bowl” of C&D Haunted Bookshop in it as I finish typing this post. I’m extremely pleased with how it turned out and, so far, it seems it will smoke as good as it looks. Not a bad start back into this wonderful hobby if I do say so myself.

This entry was posted in Pipe Refurbishing Essays and tagged on by .

About Greg

I am medically retired from my 'career', have been since 1999. For quite some time I missed my old job a lot. I enjoyed it, I was good at it and didn't have any desire to do anything else. But the Lord had other plans for me. Now He has called me to work for Him. He has graciously given me some talent to work with words. He has also seen fit to guide me with the Holy Spirit to study and comprehend His Word. Don't misunderstand; I am no scholar nor a pastor. I'm just trying to be obedient to my Lord and Savior and do what He asks me, in a way that would please and bring glory to His holy Name.

7 thoughts on “An easy step back in: Peterson System 312 refurbishment

  1. ThePipeSteward - Dal in Bulgaria

    I wondered why we hadn’t heard anything from you! Welcome back, Greg, and so glad you found a house that meets your needs.

  2. Dave

    Congratulations on your new home and getting back to restoring pipes. No better place to start than with a Peterson. Well done.


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