Blog by Steve Laug
I did a pipe repair on an old cased Bulldog for a fellow in Australia, Ray Choy. He sent the pipe and I repaired it and sent it back to him. He replied that he had a few pipes that were just too small for his liking anymore and he wanted to clean and ream them and send them to me. His email said that he would clean them up with the reamer and cleaning equipment he had. Once he had them cleaned and reamed he would send them to me for the finishing touches. The box arrived and I set them aside so that I could finish the clean up later. I decided to tackle the two small Peterson’s Pocket pipes that Ray had sent me. The first one is a Peterson’s of Dublin Belgique military mount and the second is a Peterson’s of Dublin Calabash military mount. Both pipes are stamped on the left side of the shank with the words Peterson’s Dublin. On the right side of the shank both are stamped Made in the Republic of Ireland. Neither one has a shape number on them and both have a vulcanite shank extension bearing the Peterson’s “P”. The stems were in good condition with no chatter or tooth marks. Both had some light oxidation.
Ray had done a great job on the reaming and the cleaning of the bowl and shank so I could literally just start with the finishing touches. The rim tops on both pipes had some darkening on the flat tops. The inner edges of both were damaged and slightly out of round. The outer edges were in great condition. There was some light oxidation on the vulcanite shank extensions. I took some photos of the pipe before I started putting the finishing touches on them. I took some photos of the rim top and bowl to show the condition of the pipes when they arrived. The bowls were very clean. Both rims had some darkening and the inner edge of both had some damage to them. The photos of the stems show the condition of both of them. They both are in excellent condition. I took photos of the stamping on both pipes. The first is the Belgique with straight shank and the second is the Calabash with the bent shank. You can see the clear stamping on both pipes. The left side shows the arched Peterson’s Dublin with a forked P and the right side shows Made in the Republic of Ireland. I have a 2010 Peterson Catalogue on rebornpipes that shows the various shapes that Peterson made. There is a page there on Specialty Pipes that shows the pipes that I am working on. The pipes pictured are different from the two that I am working on in that both of these are military mount stem. It states that the Belgique and Calabash are two petite and lightweight Peterson crafted with all the care and know how of century old pipe makers, from finest quality briar in red polish and rustic finishes with Fishtail mouthpieces only. However they are described in the catalogue the two shapes that are extremely lightweight. These two are not red polish but actually a rich matte brown finish. The fishtail mouthpieces are classic military mounts that can easily be removed to fit in the pocket. They represent the best micro-pocket pipe within the Peterson portfolio. I have included the noted page below (https://rebornpipes.com/2015/05/15/).I did a bit more digging on the Peterson Pipe Notes blog. There I found that Mark had included a photo of the various Speciality pipes. Peterson’s first put these four small pipes on the market in 1945 – Tankard & Barrel, Calabash & Belgique seen in the photo below. Here is the link to Mark’s Blog (https://www.petersonpipenotes.org/tag/peterson-valentia-pipe/).I did a bit more digging and found some descriptions of the two shapes that I am working on. The various descriptions of the Belgique come from a variety of sites and the final one is quoted on the Brothers of Briar site.
…The Belgique is yet another extremely lightweight, petit pipe. It can be described as a tulip shape, and is fitted… and fishtail mouthpiece. A rich brown hue adorns the briar and makes for an attractive finish to this pocket companion.
…The Peterson Belgique Pipe is a straight cutty, which is a traditional shape derived from the old clay pipes. It is a small un-filtered pipe made from the finest Briar that Peterson have become renowned for. It has a smooth polished finish with a rich Brown stain to show of the natural grain pattern of the Briar.
…I have a pre rep Belgique love it. As you know the bowl is pretty large for the small pipe measuring 5/8″ ID and 1 1/4″ deep. My pipe is just shy of 6″ long and only weighs 11.7 grams. the bowl is not tapered which makes the capacity rather nice. Depending on what tobacco you load you will get a 30- 45 min smoke. The Belgique has thin walls so you have to sip very slowly and tamp more than usuall. The newer models hava a fishtail stem which i believe makes the newer pipes not as delicate as my military p lip. If you decide to get the Belgique I am sure you will not be disappointed. (http://www.brothersofbriar.com/t16010-anybody-familiar-with-peterson-s-belgique-model).
…The Belgique is one of our favorite shapes in the Peterson line up. Interestingly, while it was a serious mainstay of the brand in decades past, it sort of faded into obscurity for a few years there, before being seriously revived in the past decade. A particularly small shape, and sort of an oddity in Peterson’s shaping lexicon (a bit like Native American loan words in English), it nonetheless fits the timeless, elegant style for which Peterson is known and loved.
I also found this description of the Calabash.
This particular Calabash represents the smallest pipe within the Peterson portfolio making it a perfect pocket pipe for a short smoke. Finished here with a rich brown finish together with a… fishtail mouthpiece.
I started working on the pipes by cleaning up the rim top and the inner edge on the bowl of both of them. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean off the rim darkening. I used the folded edge to clean up the inner edge. I was able to bring the bowl back into round. I polished it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to take out the scratches. The rim tops were looking really good. I polished exterior of the bowl and the vulcanite shank extensions with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad to wipe of the dust and polish it. I rubbed the bowls down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the briar and into the vulcanite shank extension to preserve, protect and enliven it. I let it sit on the surface of the bowls for about 10 minutes and then buffed the pipe with a cotton cloth. The photos tell the story. These pipes had some stunning grain on the bowls. I polished the vulcanite shank extensions with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish from a tin of it I have in the drawer here. It is a gritty red paste that I rub on with my finger tips and work into the surface of the stem and button and buff off with a cotton pad. It gives me a bit of a head start on the polishing work plus I have a tin to use up! I touched up the “P” stamp on the shank extensions with PaperMate liquid paper. I filled in the stamping with the liquid applying it with a dauber and a tooth pick. Once it dried I rubbed it off with a cotton cloth. The second photo shows the stem before the polishing on the buffing wheel.I polished the stem with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish from a tin of it I have in the drawer here. It is a gritty red paste that I rub on with my finger tips and work into the surface of the stem and button and buff off with a cotton pad. It gives me a bit of a head start on the polishing work plus I have a tin to use up!I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and buffed it off with a final coat of Obsidian Oil. This pair of Peterson’s Speciality Pipes is a great addition. The Belgique and the Calabash shapes are classic in every way. They are petite, lightweight and comfortable in the hand. They will be a short smoke. The briar is beautifully grained and the black vulcanite military/stick Fishtail stems go well with the briar and the vulcanite shank extension. I polished stems and the bowls with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowls multiple coats of stems multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipes with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed them with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipes polished up pretty nicely. The rich stained briar on both bowls took on life with the buffing. The rich brown colour of the briar bowls work well with the polished vulcanite stems. The finished pipes have a rich look that is quite catching. Have a look at it with the photos below. The shape, finish and flow of the pipe and stem are very well done.
The dimensions of the Belgique are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 inches, Chamber diameter: 9/16 of an inch. The dimensions of the Calabash are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/16 inches, Chamber diameter: 9/16 of an inch. I am pleased with how the pipes turned out. They look very good and show some signs of age. I am uncertain of the dates on either of them but am pretty sure they hold some age. I send my appreciation to Ray for these pipes. I think that these two will stay with me for a while and I will have to at least give them a smoke. We shall see what the future holds for them. Thanks for reading the blog.