Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe I have chosen to work on from Bob Kerr’s estate is another one of his unique Peterson’s. I have restored two of the Canadian Imports from his estate – a Kapruf 54 sandblast bent billiard (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/08/09/back-to-bob-kerrs-estate-another-canadian-import-petersons-kapruf-a-54/) and a Kapruf 9BC 56 (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/08/09/back-to-bob-kerrs-estate-linking-petersons-kapruf-9bc-with-the-56-shape-number/). These were interesting in that they both had a unique numbering system for Peterson’s pipes that were specifically brought to Canada by the Canadian importer, Genin, Trudeau & Co. of Montreal, Quebec (https://rebornpipes.com/2016/09/13/petersons-pipes-brochure-from-genin-trudeau-co-montreal-quebec/). I restored an English Made Peterson’s System ‘0’ 1307 bent billiard a (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/08/17/an-english-made-petersons-system-0-1307-bent-billiard-from-bob-kerrs-estate/) and a Republic Era Peterson’s Flame Grain Bent billiard with a fishtail stem (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/08/16/a-petersons-flame-grain-x220s-bent-billiard-from-bob-kerrs-estate/).
The next one on the table is of interest because it is a uniquely shaped Dunmore Bent Apple Sitter. It is part of the estate that I am cleaning up for the family and moving them out into the hands of pipemen and women who will carry on the trust that began with their father, 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 really am enjoying working on the Peterson’s in the estate. This was another unique one. When I took it out of the box of cleaned up pipes that Jeff sent back I could see that it was stamped Peterson’s over Dunmore on the left side of the shank and Made in the Republic of Ireland followed by the shape number 70 on the right shank. It has some stunning grain around the bowl and shank under the thick grime and tarry spots. The shank is quite thick and the finish is probably the dirtiest of Bob’s pipes so far. There was a thick cake in the bowl with remnants of tobacco stuck on the walls. There was a fair lava overflow on the rim. The top and edges of the rim are dirty. I think that there was a beautiful pipe underneath all of the grime and buildup of years of use. The stem was oxidized and calcified toward the end with some hack marks on the left side mid stem. Again, surprisingly did not have the deep tooth marks that I have come to expect from Bob’s pipes but the button edges were worn. 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 thick, hard cake in the bowl and the lava build up on the top of the rim and the edges of the bowl. It was hard to tell if there was any damage to the inner edge of the rim as it had a thick cake lining it. Hopefully it protected it. The lava flows down the outer edges so it will need to be cleaned in order to assess their condition. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the finish. You can see the beautiful mix of swirled, flame and birdseye grain underneath the dirt and debris of the years. The cross grain on the heel was beautiful. Jeff took photos of the stamping on both sides of the bowl and shank. The stamping on the left side was faint but readable as you can see from the photos. It read Peterson’s over Dunmore. The stamp on the right side read Made in the Republic of Ireland followed by the shape number 70. You can see that the beading around the shank end is almost filled in with the grime on the briar. 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. I turned first to Pipephil’s site to remind myself of the background of the Dunmore line. Unfortunately there was no information to be found there. I then turned to Pipedia’s article on Peterson pipes to see what I could garner from that information. It is a great read in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Peterson) but nothing specific to the Dunmore line of pipes.
I then turned to the book I should have consulted first, The Peterson Pipe, by Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg. On page 298 there is an entry for Dunmore pipes. It reads as follows:
Dunmore (1971-c.1984 2006-10). Appeared first as Iwan Ries & Co. exclusive line “Dunmoor,” a Premier-grade in light-brown smooth or rustic red in all System shapes, with beading at the shank. Documented in the Associated Imports Catalog from 1973. Classic Range Dunmore shapes from ’78. A third Dunmore line (’06-10) featured standard and some B shapes, with beading around bowl instead of at shank-face, produced for European market.
On page 268 there is a shape chart that does comparison of the shapes in the various lines. There I found the following information:
In the Standard and Premier System it was shape 302. In the De Luxe System it was shape 25. In the Dunmore System (1977-1983) it was shape 70. In the Classic Lines it was shape 02/XL02. The production still continues. It is a Peterson Extra Large Size and was named an Extra Large Apple.
On page 165 there were also photos of pages from a catalogue with the description: The unmounted Dunmore Premier debuted in both System and Classic Range shapes circa 1973 with a final appearance in the 1981 catalogue.
The information blurb on each page read: “Dunmore Briars.” Beautifully grained best quality briar in light-brown, matt or rustic finish. Often described as “Petersons Unmounted System” has all the advantages of the system range. Ten models each fitted with the Peterson Lip mouthpiece.
With that information in hand I knew what I was dealing with in terms of the stamping on the pipe. It is a Late Republic era pipe. It showed up in Peterson Catalogue in 1973 and from what I have learned about Bob’s other pipes this date fits well. Now it was time to work on the pipe.
With over 125 pipes to clean from Bob’s estate I am very glad for Jeff’s help cleaning them. He cleaned this filthy 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 great 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 I was amazed it looked so 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. I also wanted to show that the damage to the rim top was more extensive than I had originally thought. The rim top was burned and darkened with nicks and notches around the inner edge. There was some darkening that ran down the front of the bowl as well. The rim top was a nightmare of issues. The outer edge of the bowl looks very good other than the burning and darkening. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the lack of tooth marks and the light oxidation on the stem surface. You can also see the wear to the button. The third stem photo shows the hatch marks on the left side of the stem. One of the things I appreciate about Jeff’s cleanup is that he works to protect and preserve the nomenclature on the shank of the pipes that he works on. The stamping on this one was very faint to start with so I was worried that it would disappear altogether with the cleanup. He was not only able to preserve it but it is clearer than shown in the earlier photos. I took some photos to show the clarity of the stamping. I have noticed that many restorers are not careful to protect the stamping in their cleaning process and often by the end of the restoration the nomenclature is almost destroyed. I would like to encourage all of us to be careful in our work to preserve this as it is a critical piece of pipe restoration! 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 of this beautifully grained Peterson’s Dunmore 70 Large Bent Apple. It was great that I did not need to clean the pipe. I decided to start the process by addressing the damage to rim top and the inner edge. From the extent of damage to the inner edge of the rim and the top of the bowl I decided I would need to top the bowl to remove as much of this damage as possible to restore the rim top back to a more pristine condition and bring the bowl back to round. I topped it on a topping board using 220 grit sandpaper. I took photos to show the slow process of repairing that damage. The photos show the topping process and the rim top after I had topped it to an acceptable point where the condition of the top and edges was good. With the top cleaned up and repaired I moved on to address the inner edge surface itself. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage and bring the bowl back to round. I followed that by sanding the rim top and edge with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I also sanded the darkening on the front of the bowl edge. The bowl surface was quite smooth so I decided to forego polishing it with micromesh sanding pads. I cleaned the briar with Mark Hoover’s Before & After Briar Cleaner to remove the debris left behind by the sanding of the rim top and to blend the repairs into the briar. I rubbed it into the surface of the briar and let it sit for 10 minutes. I rinsed the bowl off with warm running water to remove the product and the grime. The grain really began to stand out clearly. It was a beautiful piece of briar. I stained the rim top and edges with an Oak Stain pen to match the colour of the stain on the bowl. Once it was polished with the Before & After Balm and buffed with a microfiber cloth the stain would blend perfectly.After the stain had cured, I rubbed it down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth 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 decided to touch up the “P” stamp on the left side of the shank. I use PaperMate liquid paper for doing this. I worked it into the stamp with a tooth pick. Once the material had hardened I used the tooth pick to scrape off the excess material. I reshaped the edge of the button and top of the P-Lip with a needle file to get a more defined shape and edge. Once I had the shape more defined I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to break up the remaining oxidation and smooth out the file marks. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to remove the scratching. It is starting to look good. 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. As usual at this point in the restoration process I am excited to be on the homestretch. I look forward to the final look when it is put back together, 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 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 grain really pops with the wax and polish. The bead around the shank looks very good. The shiny black vulcanite stem is a beautiful contrast to the browns of the bowl. This Peterson’s Dunmore 70 Large Bent Apple was another fun pipe to work on thanks to Jeff’s cleanup work. The beading around the shank gives this Peterson’s “Unmounted System” a unique look without the silver or nickel ferrule. It really is a quite stunning piece of briar whose shape follows the flow of the briar. The thick/chubby shank makes it a very comfortable pipe to hold in the hand. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. This beautiful large pipe will be going on the rebornpipes store if you would like to add it to your collection and carry on Bob’s legacy. If not, I have a lot more of Bob’s estate to work on of various brands. 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.