Blog by Steve Laug
I am working on another pipe from Bob Kerr’s estate, another one of his Petersons. It is different than the others as it is stamped “A Petersons Product” Made in Ireland. I have restored two of his pipes that were uniquely made Peterson’s pipes made specifically for import into the Canadian market – one was 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 the other was 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 that they had a unique numbering system designed for Petersons pipes that were specifically brought to Canada by the Canadian importer, Genin, Trudeau & Co. of Montreal, Quebec. I have included the links on that company below. (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/).
I have been enjoying working on the Peterson’s in the estate. When I took it out of the box of the pipes that Jeff had cleaned up and sent back to me, I could see that it was stamped K&P over Dublin on the left side of the shank and “A Peterson’s Product” Made in Ireland followed by the shape number 213 on the right shank. It has some stunning grain around the bowl and shank under the thick grime. 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 damaged, beat up and very dirty. I think that there was a beautiful pipe underneath all of the grime and buildup of years of use. The band is stamped Sterling Silver with the K&P in chevrons above that. The stem was oxidized and calcified toward the end with some tooth chatter but surprisingly it 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. The rim top had taken a beating and was chipped and worn down. It looked like Bob or someone had used if for a hammer. The inner and outer edges of the rim also sustained damage. 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 readable as you can see from the photos. It read K&P Dublin. The stamp on the right side read A “Peterson’s Product” Made in Ireland followed by the shape number 213. You can see crack in the shank under the band on the right side. The third photo shows the crack clearly. 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 reacquaint myself with the brand. Unfortunately there was no information to be found on this specific pipe. 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). I have included a bit of the pertinent history here.
The Irish free state came into being in December 1922. The Free State Era was from 1922 through to 1937. Peterson followed with a stamp of “Irish Free State” in either one or two lines, either parallel or perpendicular to the shanks axis and extremely close to the stem.
Ireland was a republic in all but name. Eventually the Irish people voted for a new constitution in 1937 and Ireland then formally became Eire (Ireland in Irish).
The Made in Eire era stamps were from 1938 through till 1941. Peterson now stamped their pipes with “Made in Eire” in a circle format with “Made” and “Eire” in a circle with the “in” located in the centre of the circle. This was used during the years of 1938 – 41. Later they stamped their pipes with “Made in Ireland” in a circle format 1945-1947 and still later with “Made in Ireland” in a block format 1947-1949. The “Made in Ireland” block format came in either one line or two lines. The Republic of Ireland was formed on 17 April 1949.
With that information in hand I knew what I was dealing with in terms of the stamping on the pipe. It is a 1915-1949 Pre Republic Period pipe. With that dating it is one of Bob’s earlier pipes. 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 as extensive as I had originally thought. The rim top was burned and darkened with nicks and notches around the top and inner edge. There was some darkening on the back portion of the rim top and inner edge on the front. The rim top was a nightmare of issues. The outer edge of the bowl was also damaged. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the lack of tooth marks and chatter on the stem surface. You can also see the wear to the button. 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 “A Peterson Product” Made in Ireland 213 Billiard. 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. I removed the loose band from the shank before I started. From the extent of damage to the inner edge of the rim and the top of the bowl I decided to begin by filling in the damage in the deep chips on the rim top and edge with super glue. Once it cured I topped the bowl on a topping board using 220 grit sandpaper to remove as much of the damage as possible. 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. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the inner edge and give it a light bevel to take care of the damage. I polished it with 400 grit sandpaper.With the top finished I moved on to address the crack in the shank. In my examination I could see that the crack been repaired somewhere along the way. The crack itself had been filled in with glue. I topped up the filling with clear Krazy Glue to insure that the repair did not shift. I painted the surface of the shank with Weldbond all-purpose glue and made sure that the crack was covered. I pressed the silver band on the shank and aligned the stamping on the band with the stamping on the left side of the shank. I took photos of the rebanded shank. The repair looks really good. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads and I wiped the bowl down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth. The bowl began to take on a finished shine. I stained the rim top and edges with a Cherry and Walnut 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 the bowl and rim 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. I really like watching the Balm do its magic and bring the briar alive. 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 a coat of a new product I am experimenting with from Briarville Pipe Repair. It is called “No Oxy Oil” and it is made to protect the stem from oxidizing. I 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 shiny black vulcanite stem is a beautiful contrast to the browns of the bowl. This Peterson’s K&P Dublin 213 Billiard was another fun pipe to work on thanks to Jeff’s cleanup work. The repair to the rim top and edges came out well. The original Sterling Silver Band covers the shank repair well and binds it all together. It really is a quite stunning piece of briar whose shape follows the flow of the briar. The pipe is comfortable pipe to hold in the hand. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This beautiful 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.