Blog by Steve Laug
With this Peterson’s “Kapruf” 54 I am continuing my work on a few more pipes from Bob Kerr’s estate. This is the second of the Peterson’s that I am working on. I am cleaning them for the family and moving them out into the hands of pipemen and women who will carry on the trust that began with Bob and in some pipes was carried on by Bob. In the collection there were 19 Peterson’s pipes along with a bevy of Dunhills, some Comoy’s and Barlings as well as a lot of other pipes – a total of 125 pipes along with a box of parts. This is the largest estate that I have had the opportunity to work on. I put together a spread sheet of the pipes and stampings to create an invoice. I was taking on what would take me a fair amount of time to clean up. I could not pass up the opportunity to work on these pipes though. They were just too tempting. I decided to take a break from working on his Dunhills to work on a few of the other pipes. The second of them is another really nice Peterson. It is a shape that is interesting and unique. It will go on the rebornpipes store.
It is a shape 54 with a sandblast that makes it a favourite of mine. This one also has a rugged sandblast finish with lots of nooks and crannies in the briar. It is a beauty! The pipe is stamped Peterson’s “Kapruf” over Made in the Republic of Ireland. That is followed by the shape number 54. The valleys and ridges of the sandblasted grain showing through the grime and dirt are a mixture that leaves a rich texture. It had a rich reddish brown stain that does not look too bad. There was a thick cake in the bowl and lava overflow filling in the blast on the rim. The edges of the rim and top are dirty but look pretty pristine under the grime. It was a beautiful pipe that was dirty and tired looking. The stem was lightly oxidized and surprisingly did not have the tooth marks that I have come to expect from Bob’s pipes. He obviously loved the Peterson’s as much as he did his Dunhills.Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work on it. Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the lava build up on the edges of the bowl. It was thick and hard but hopefully it had protected the rim and edges from damage. The edges look pretty good. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the finish. You can see the beautiful undulations of the sandblast. There is a lot of dust and grime filling in the valleys. Jeff took photos of the stamping on the smooth panel on the underside of the bowl and shank. The stamping was faint but readable as you can see from the photos. It took three separate photos from different angles to capture the totality of the stamp. It read Peterson’s “Kapruf” as can be seen below. The pipe also bears the Made in the Republic of Ireland stamp and the shape stamp 54. I think that the clue to the Montreal based Peterson’s Importer is clear with the number but I will check that as I work on the pipe. Jeff took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the tooth chatter, scratching and oxidation on the stem surface and wear on the edges of the button. The “P” on the stem was washed out but present and the P-lip button is in very good condition. Once again I turned to the blogs that Al Jones wrote on the Peterson’s Kapruf on rebornpipes to refresh my memory through Al’s blogs written specifically on the 9BC Kapruf pipe. The first blog contained some helpful information was still pertinent to this pipe (https://rebornpipes.com/2015/06/03/peterson-9bc-kapruf-pre-59/). I quote from there and also include some of the catalogue pages from the blog.
I didn’t know much about the Kapruf line. It is described in a 1960’s catalog as: “A fine sandblast finish distinguishes this range of light natural grained pipes with their distinctive red colouring. Very popular with sportsmen.”
Al had also written a second blog about another “Kapruf” 9BC he had picked up that was not stamped with the 9BC stamp but with a shape number 56. The pipe I am working on while not a 9BC or a 56 has the shape number 54 that is a mystery as well if you go by the standard Peterson’s numbers (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/07/25/peterson-shape-56-mystery/). I am quoting the portion where Al resolves the 56 shape number because that will also cover this 54 pipe.
Well, the Shape 56 mystery is now resolved…Well, further sleuthing from the world’s foremost Peterson authority yielded an answer – which came directly from a blog entry here on rebornpipes, by our very own Steven Laug. In 2015, Steve posted a catalog from Canadian importer, Genin, Trudeau & Co. which shows their unique numbering system. I even comment that the Shape 56 looks like a 9BC! So, all the while, the answer was hiding on this blog! Below is that brochure page showing the Shape 56. Steve comments that the postal code used in the address dates the brochure to between 1962 and 1969. I guess not many Canadians appreciated the shape, so they are pretty uncommon. Thanks to Mark Irwin for his superior memory and to Steve for making this type of ephemera available, you never know when it will come in handy.
I have included both the link to the document for you to check out and a page from it that shows the 54 shape number (https://rebornpipes.com/2016/09/13/petersons-pipes-brochure-from-genin-trudeau-co-montreal-quebec/). I have put a blue box around the shape number to make identifying it simpler (the red box shows the 56 that Al refers to above). Be sure to check out the document as it is very informative.I turned to an article on Pipedia by a good friend, the late Mike Leverette entitled A Peterson Dating Guide (https://pipedia.org/wiki/A_Peterson_Dating_Guide;_A_Rule_of_Thumb). I quote from the section by Mike on the Republic Era pipes.
The Republic Era is from 1949 until the present. The Republic of Ireland was formed on 17 April 1949. From 1949 to present the stamp for this era is “Made in the Republic of Ireland” in a block format generally in three lines but two lines have been used with or without Republic being abbreviated.
I went to the full article on Peterson pipes after this to try to pin things down a bit more clearly (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Peterson). I believe the pipe is from the Republic Era – 1950 – 1989. I quote the pertinent section of that article below:
From 1950 to the present time, the stamp for this era is “Made in the Republic of Ireland” in a block format generally in three lines but two lines have been used with or without Republic being abbreviated.
With that information in hand I knew what I was dealing with in terms of the stamping and the age of this pipe. I knew from the information from both Mike’s Pipedia article and the longer article that the pipe was made during the Republic Era between 1950 and 1989. Most of Bob’s pipes were purchased in the 60s so my guess is that this is also a 60’s era pipe. I also knew that the pipe was brought into Canada by the Canadian importer, Genin, Trudeau & Co. in Montreal, Quebec. Noting above that the catalogue postal code puts it in the late 60s early 70s which also fits the story. Now it was time to work on the pipe.
With over 125 pipes to clean from Bob’s estate I took a batch of them to the states with me on a recent visit and left them with Jeff so he could help me out. Jeff cleaned the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness that I really appreciate. This one was a real mess and I did not know what to expect when I unwrapped it from his box. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. The finish looks very good with good looking grain around the bowl and shank. Jeff soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked very good. I took photos before I started my part of the work. I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show what an amazing job Jeff did in the cleanup of the rim top. The rim top looks very good. The sandblast finish is very nice. The bowl looked very good. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the deep tooth marks on the top and underside.I took a photo of the stamping and was able to capture most of it. I also captured the P stamp on the left side of the saddle stem. Since this is another pipe Bob’s estate I am sure that some of you have read at least some of the other restoration work that has been done on the previous pipes. You have also read what I have included about Bob Kerr, the pipeman who held these pipes in trust before I came to work on them (see photo to the left). Also, if you have followed the blog for long you will already know that I like to include background information on the pipeman whose pipes I am restoring. For me, when I am working on an estate I really like to have a sense of the person who held the pipes in trust before I worked on them. It gives me another dimension of the restoration work. I asked Brian if he or his wife would like to write a brief biographical tribute to her father, Bob. His daughter worked on it and I received the following short write up on him and some pictures to go along with the words including one of Bob’s carvings. Once again I thank you Brian and tell your wife thank you as well.
I am delighted to pass on these beloved pipes of my father’s. I hope each user gets many hours of contemplative pleasure as he did. I remember the aroma of tobacco in the rec room, as he put up his feet on his lazy boy. He’d be first at the paper then, no one could touch it before him. Maybe there would be a movie on with an actor smoking a pipe. He would have very definite opinions on whether the performer was a ‘real’ smoker or not, a distinction which I could never see but it would be very clear to him. He worked by day as a sales manager of a paper products company, a job he hated. What he longed for was the life of an artist, so on the weekends and sometimes mid-week evenings he would journey to his workshop and come out with wood sculptures, all of which he declared as crap but every one of them treasured by my sister and myself. Enjoy the pipes, and maybe a little of his creative spirit will enter you!
Now on to the rest of the restoration on this pipe that come from the Canadian Importer of Peterson pipes – a 54 Kapruf. Since Jeff had done such an amazing clean up job on the bowl it was very easy for me. I only had to rub the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth and shoe brush to raise the shine. Mark Hoover’s Balm is a product that I have come to appreciate and one I use on every pipe I have been working on. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. This stem was in such good condition it made me wonder if Bob had smoked it much. However the cake in the bowl said he had. He had not chomped on the stem at all so there were no tooth marks in the surface. When I removed the stem I was a little surprised that there was an aluminum inner tube in the tenon that was obviously original. It was in good condition so I left it alone. I decided to touch up the “P” stamp before I polished the stem. I used some Papermate Liquid Paper to paint the stamped “P” and when it dried I scraped it off with my fingernail and lightly polished it with a 1500 grit micromesh pad.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. Once I had finished the polishing I gave it final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. Once again I am on the homestretch with this pipe and I really look forward to the final look when it is put back together and polished and waxed. I put the bowl and stem back together. I polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the briar and the vulcanite. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The valleys and ridges of the sandblast looked good with the polished black vulcanite. This second 1969/70 Peterson’s “Kapruf” a 54 Bent billiard was another fun pipe to work on thanks to Jeff’s cleanup work. It really has that classic Peterson look in a sandblast “Kapruf” finish that catches the eye. The combination of various brown stains really makes the pipe look attractive. It is a comfortable pipe to hold in the hand and I think that as it heats with smoking that over time the finish will darken and look even better. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. If you are interested in carrying on Bob’s legacy with this pipe send me a message or an email. I have a lot more to work on include 17 more Petersons. Perhaps one of those will catch your attention. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. This is an interesting estate to bring back to life.