Daily Archives: March 10, 2020

Refurbishing A Peterson’s Old English Collection Pipe.


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

In the last couple of weeks, I have worked on four Peterson’s pipe, two from my inherited lot (DONEGAL ROCKY # 999 and KAPMEER # 120S) and two that I had purchased on eBay, a PETERSON’S SYSTEM # 31 just so that I could include it in my rotation and a Peterson’s BARREL. Continuing with my work on Peterson’s in my collection, the next and fifth pipe that is now on my work table is a smooth Peterson’s “OLD ENGLISH COLLECTION” pipe with a thin delicate and long stem.

The smooth stummel of this pipe has beautiful mix of densely packed Bird’s eye grain on the sides and cross grain on the front and back of the stummel. The Duke shape (or more akin to the Tankard pipe from Peterson’s!!!) captures these grains beautifully for a stunning visual experience. A tallish stummel, short shank with a gold plated silver ferrule at the end and a long, tapered delicate stem makes it a visually appealing pipe. It is stamped on the bottom flat smooth surface at the foot of the stummel as “PETERSON’S” over “OLD ENGLISH” over “COLLECTION” in capital letters over “MADE IN THE” over “REPUBLIC” over “OF IRELAND” in capital letters. The shank end is adorned with a gold plated silver ferule that is stamped as “Peterson’s” in a cursive hand over “DUBLIN”. Further to the right there are three hallmarks in a cartouche, which unfortunately are worn off to the extent that I am unable to identify and make use of them for dating this pipe. Rest of the stamping on this pipe is crisp and easily readable. I would really be glad if any of the readers are able to make out these hallmarks and either share the same with us or describe them and help in dating this pipe. Since I have been working on Peterson’s pipes in my collection, I knew that these stampings identified this pipe as being from Republic era i.e. 1949 to until the present, making it a newer generation pipe. Also during my search on Peterson’s Barrel pipe that I had researched earlier, I knew that OLD ENGLISH COLLECTION belonged to the Collection Series of pipes from Peterson’s. Given below are snippets of relevant information that I had learned from pipedia.org;

Collections: Usually these popular themed collections of pipes are boxed.

They vary in price from the Ebony and Ivory at around $300 and up to $1000 for the River, 6 pipe set.

The Old English Collection: The old English Collection is no longer in production. It featured a set of 12 pipes, recreated using original classic designs from the 1930s and 1940s. Each pipe is handmade and mounted with gold plated sterling silver bands.With this information, I now know that this pipe is a pipe from the newer generation that is handmade and part of set of 12 pipes and I move ahead with my initial visual inspection. I would once again like to request readers of this blog to help me in pinning the exact date for this pipe.

Initial Visual Inspection
The pipe, as it sits on my work table, is dirty with an uneven layer of cake in the chamber, a stummel that is covered in dust and grime and a military mount tapered vulcanite stem that is heavily oxidized. Here are a few pictures of the pipe before I proceed with a detailed visual inspection of each part of the pipe.The smooth stummel on this pipe is covered in a thick layer of dust and grime giving it a dull and lackluster appearance. Through all the grime, beautiful Bird’s eye and cross grains can be still seen on the sides and front/ back of the stummel respectively. The rim top surface is also covered in dust, lava overflow, grime and will need to be cleaned and polished. The stummel has developed a nice patina which I shall endeavor to preserve. There are a few negligible scratches on the left side of the stummel which will be addressed during polishing the stummel with micromesh pads. There is one tiny but a slightly deep chip on the left side of the stummel, any repairs of which I shall take a call on subsequently. The chamber has a thin layer of uneven cake with lava overflow over the rim top surface. This overflow of lava is significantly more on the back of the rim top, in the direction of 6 ‘O’ clock. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber will be ascertained once the existing cake has been taken down to the bare briar. The inner and outer rim edges appear to be in good condition, however, the same will be ascertained once the cake and lava overflow from the chamber and rim top is entirely removed. There is a very strong smell to the cake which, perhaps, may reduce appreciably after the chamber has been cleaned. The mortise is filled with oils and tars and specks of dried ash are seen on the walls of the mortise. The walls, however, are intact and well protected under the gold plated silver ferrule.The gold plated silver ferrule at the shank end appears dull due to oxidation. It shows patches of heavy oxidation over the lower surface. The saving grace is that it is intact and undamaged.The slotted and slightly bent vulcanite stem is heavily and deeply oxidized with significant tooth indentations on the button edge and chatter on either surfaces of the stem in the bite zone. The tenon end shows traces of dried oils and tars. It’s going to take some elbow grease to clean up this stem to a nice deep and shining black. The Process
I began the process of refurbishing this pipe by using my fabricated knife to remove the thin layer of cake. I further took the cake down to the bare briar with a folded piece of 150 grit sand paper. Once the walls of the chamber were rid of all the remnants of the cake, chamber walls were found to be smooth and without any damage. With my modified and straightened cloth hanger, I cleaned the grime and cake that covered the draught hole at the heel of the stummel. I further wiped the chamber with a cotton swab wetted with isopropyl alcohol to completely remove the sanding dust. I scraped the shank internals with a fabricated tool to remove all the crud that had accumulated along the shank walls and further cleaned it with bristled and regular pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol. I shall further draw out all the residual oils, tars and gunk by subjecting the chamber and the shank to a salt and alcohol bath.I continued the cleaning of the chamber and shank internals with a salt and alcohol bath. I use cotton balls which is an at par substitute as I have realized over the years. I draw out a wick from the cotton and along with a folded regular pipe cleaner; insert it in to the mortise and through the draught hole in to the chamber. Thereafter, I packed the chamber with cotton balls to about quarter of an inch below the rim inner edge and soaked the cotton balls with isopropyl alcohol up to the brim. About half an hour later, the level of alcohol had gone down, having being absorbed by the cotton. I topped it up once again and set it aside overnight. By next afternoon, the cotton and alcohol had drawn out all the remaining oils and tars from the chamber and mortise, fulfilling its intended task. I removed the cotton balls and ran pipe cleaners through the mortise to clean out all the loosened tars and gunk. Using my fabricated tool, I scraped out the entire loosed gunk from the sump and further cleaned it with alcohol and q-tips. The chamber now smells clean and fresh. I set the stummel to dry out naturally. Now that the internals of the stummel were cleaned, I scrubbed the external surface of the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s oil soap and hard bristled tooth brush. I deliberately cleaned the rim top surface with Scotch Brite and a soft bristled brass wire brush to remove the entire lava overflow and dried it using paper towels and soft cotton cloth. The rim darkening that I had observed over the rim top in 6 o’clock direction, was completely addressed. The inner and outer rim edges are in pristine condition. Thereafter, I polished the entire stummel with micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 pads. I wiped the surface with a soft moist cloth at the end of the micromesh cycle. The stummel looks amazing with a deep shine and beautiful grains popping over the stummel surface. The rim top surface looks pristine with the issue of darkened inner edge entirely addressed. The second issue that was addressed to a great extent was that of the minor scratches and nicks that were observed on the left side of the stummel. One small nick can still be seen but to address it, I would have to compromise on the patina, which I did not desire. This minor nick is a part of the journey of this beautiful pipe and I shall let it be.  I am very happy with the appearance of the rim top and stummel at this stage. I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to briar and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the dark hues of the grain contrasting with the rest of the stummel surface. I further buff it with a horse hair shoe brush. With the stummel refurbishing completed, I turned my attention to the stem. The stem air way was filthy to say the least. Using a shank brush and dish washing soap, I cleaned the stem air way. I further cleaned the stem internals with hard and regular pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. A lot of elbow grease and a pile of pipe cleaners later, when the pipe cleaners emerged white I knew that the stem internals are now clean and fresh.With the stem internals now clean, I moved to external cleaning of the stem surface by sanding the surface with a piece of 220 grit sand paper and thereafter dunking the stem in to “Before and After Deoxidizer” solution developed by my friend Mark Hoover. The solution helps to draw out heavy oxidation to the surface making its further removal a breeze, while the minor oxidation is eliminated to a very great extent. I usually dunk stems of 5-7 pipes that are in-line for restoration and the OLD ENGLISH COLLECTION is marked in green arrow. I generally allow the stems to soak in this solution overnight for the solution to do its work.Next day, I remove the stems from the deoxidizer solution and clean it under warm running tap water to remove all the solution. I scrubbed the stem surface first with scotch brite pad followed by a piece of 0000 grade steel wool. This helps in removing all the raised oxidation from the stem surface.  The deeper tooth indentations and chatter were raised to the surface by heating the damaged area with the flame of a lighter. I further sand the entire stem surface with a folded piece of a 220 grit sand paper to remove the raised tooth chatter and even out the stem surface. With the same piece of sand paper, I sharpened the button edges on both the upper and lower surface. I wiped the stem with a cotton swab and Murphy’s oil soap to further remove the oxidation. I rubbed some extra virgin olive oil in to the stem and set it aside to be absorbed in to stem. I polished the stem with micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. I rubbed a little extra virgin olive oil in to the stem at the end of all the micromesh pads. I finish the polishing of the stem by rubbing a small quantity of Paragon wax and giving it a final polish with a soft cotton cloth. The stem is now nice, smooth and shiny. I cleaned the gold plated sterling silver shank band with a local compound that Abha, my wife, uses to polish her silver and gold jewelry and cutlery. This compound is a very fine powder and is least abrasive with fantastic results. The results were appreciated by Steve during his visit to India. The band is now a nice shining piece of gold and provides a nice contrast to the shining black stem and the dark brown stummel. The patches of deep oxidation that were observed on the lower surface of the band were also completely eliminated. Unfortunately, I missed out on taking pictures as I was keen to finish this pipe and enjoy a bowl!

To apply the finishing touches, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and apply a coat of Blue Diamond to the stem to polish out the minor scratches. With a cotton buffing wheel that I use for carnauba wax, I apply a coat of carnauba wax to the stummel and stem and continued to work on it till the complete coat of wax had been polished out. I mount a clean cotton cloth buffing wheel and gave the entire pipe a once over buff. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The finished pipe is shown below. P.S. – This is indeed a beautiful piece of briar that exudes excellent craftsmanship and quality. Now I have set myself a target to acquire all the remaining 11 pipes to complete my personal collection. Thanks for your patience and looking forward to inputs about the write up. Cheers…

A Simple Refurbishing Of A Peterson’s System 31 Billiard Pipe.


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

Two years ago, I had restored a rusticated Peterson’s “System 31, Made in Eire”, from my inherited pipes. Here is the link to the write up, my first post on Reborn pipes!!

https://rebornpipes.com/2018/06/01/restoring-my-grandfathers-petersons-system-31-made-in-eire-billiard/

Being from 1938-41 time period, I could never get myself around to enjoy a smoke in this pipe. However, I always wanted to try out the system # 31 pipes and thus when I came across one on eBay at an attractive price point, I made it a point to purchase it.

The smooth stummel of this pipe has beautiful mixed grain all round with distinct cross grain to the side and on the shank. It is stamped to the left on the shank as “PETERSON’S” over “SYSTEM” in capital letters with a forked P in Peterson’s. The right side of the shank is stamped as “MADE IN THE” over “REPUBLIC” over “OF IRELAND” in capital letters with the numeral “31” towards the stummel shank junction. The shank end is adorned with a nickel ferule that is stamped as “K & P” over three faux hallmarks a Shamrock, a Prone Fox, and a Stone Tower. Further to the right, it is stamped as “PETERSON’S”. The stampings are crisp and easily readable. Having researched and worked on a few early Peterson’s pipes, I knew that the stampings identified this pipe as being from Republic era i.e. 1949 to until the present, making it a newer generation pipe. This fact is further authenticated by the article I found on pipedia.org on Peterson’s System pipes;

https://pipedia.org/wiki/A_closer_look_at_the_famous_Peterson_Standard_System_Pipe

For the Peterson System pipes to work properly, the stem/tenon has to have an extension, the tip of which will pass by the draft hole from the bowl and into the sump. Upon the smoker drawing in smoke, this extension then directs the smoke down and around the sump to dispense a lot of the moisture before the smoke enters the extension and stem. On the System Standards and other less expensive systems, this extension with be made of Vulcanite turned integrally with the stem. On the more expensive System pipes this extension will be made of metal which screws into the Vulcanite stem. This extension on the earlier pipes will be of brass and the newer pipes will be of aluminum.

With this information, I now know that this pipe is an expensive system pipe from the newer generation and now that my curiosity is satiated, I move ahead with my initial visual inspection.

Initial Visual Inspection
The pipe, as it sits on my work table, is dirty with a thick layer of cake covered in dust and grime with many scratches and a lightly oxidized stem. Here are a few pictures of the pipe before I proceed with a detailed visual inspection of each part of the pipe. The smooth stummel on this pipe is covered in a thick layer of dust and grime giving it a dull and lackluster appearance. Through all the grime, beautiful grains can be still seen. The rim top surface is also covered in dust, lava overflow, grime and will need to be cleaned and polished. The stummel has developed a nice patina which I shall endeavor to preserve. The stummel surface is peppered with many minor scratches and nicks, notably over the foot of the stummel. The chamber has a thick cake with lava overflow over the rim top surface. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber will be ascertained once the existing cake has been taken down to the bare briar. The inner and outer rim edges appear to be in good condition, however, the same will be ascertained once the cake and lava overflow from the chamber and rim top is entirely removed. There is a very strong smell to the cake which, perhaps, may reduce appreciably after the chamber has been cleaned. The draught hole has reduced considerably in diameter causing air flow through it to being restricted. The mortise is filled with oils and tars and specks of dried ash are seen on the walls of the mortise. The sump is filled with dried oils, tars and gunk. The walls, however, are intact and well protected under the nickel ferule. The nickel ferule at the shank end appears dull due to oxidation. The saving grace is that it is intact and undamaged.The P-Lip straight vulcanite stem is lightly oxidized with few tooth indentations on the button edge and chatter on either surfaces of the stem in the bite zone. The aluminum tenon extension shows traces of dried oils and tars and remnants of black color at the base. This should be a relatively simple cleaning up job of the stem. The Process
I began the process of refurbishing this pipe by reaming the chamber with a Castleford reamer tool, using the second head. Using my fabricated knife; I further took the cake down to the bare briar. With a 150 grit sand paper, the walls of the chamber were rid of all the remnants of the cake, revealing smooth chamber walls. With my modified and straightened cloth hanger, I cleaned the grime and cake that covered the draught hole at the heel of the stummel. I further wiped the chamber with a cotton swab wetted with isopropyl alcohol to completely remove the sanding dust. I gently scraped the lava overflow from the rim top. The inner and outer rim edge is in good condition. I scraped the shank internals with a fabricated tool to remove all the crud that had accumulated along the shank walls and further cleaned it with bristled and regular pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol. The sump was cleaned using q-tips wetted with isopropyl alcohol. I also cleaned the sump with rolled paper napkins. A few hours later and after a lot of patience, elbow grease and q-tips, the sump is finally cleaned to a great extent. I shall further draw out all the residual oils, tars and gunk by subjecting the chamber and the shank to a salt and alcohol bath.I continued the cleaning of the chamber and shank internals with a salt and alcohol bath. I use cotton balls which is an at par substitute as I have realized over the years. I draw out a wick from the cotton and along with a folded regular pipe cleaner; insert it in to the mortise and through the draught hole in to the chamber. Thereafter, I packed the chamber with cotton balls to about quarter of an inch below the rim inner edge and soaked the cotton balls with isopropyl alcohol up to the brim. About half an hour later, the level of alcohol had gone down, having being absorbed by the cotton. I topped it up once again and set it aside overnight. By next afternoon, the cotton and alcohol had drawn out all the remaining oils and tars from the chamber and mortise, fulfilling its intended task. I removed the cotton balls and ran pipe cleaners through the mortise to clean out all the loosened tars and gunk. Using my fabricated tool, I scraped out the entire loosed gunk from the sump and further cleaned it with alcohol and q-tips. The chamber now smells clean and fresh. I set the stummel to dry out naturally. Now that the internals of the stummel were cleaned, I scrubbed the external surface of the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s oil soap and hard bristled tooth brush. I deliberately cleaned the rim top surface with Scotch Brite and a soft bristled brass wire brush to remove the entire lava overflow and dried it using paper towels and soft cotton cloth. On close inspection of the stummel, I noticed a superficial and light burn mark on the front of the bowl in 11 o’clock direction and darkened inner rim edge at 12 o’clock. The saving grace was that the briar at both these places was solid. I shall decide if I would need to resort to more invasive processes like topping after I have polished the stummel with micromesh pads. To address the issue of the light superficial burn mark to the front of the stummel, I lightly sanded the burn mark with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. Thereafter, I polished the entire stummel with micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 pads. I wiped the surface with a soft moist cloth at the end of the micromesh cycle. The stummel looks amazing with a deep shine and beautiful grains popping over the stummel surface. The burn mark, though lightened considerably, is still visible. The rim top surface, however, looks pristine with the issue of darkened inner edge entirely addressed. The third issue that was addressed to a great extent was that of the numerous scratches and nicks that were observed on the foot and on the sides of the stummel. A few minor nicks can still be seen but to address them, I would have to compromise on the patina, which I did not desire. These minor nicks are a part of the journey of this beautiful pipe and I shall let them be.  I am very happy with the appearance of the rim top and stummel at this stage. I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to briar and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the dark hues of the grain contrasting with the rest of the stummel surface. I further buff it with a horse hair shoe brush. With the stummel refurbishing completed, I turned my attention to the stem. The stem air way was filthy to say the least. Using a shank brush and dish washing soap, I cleaned the stem air way. I further cleaned the stem internals with hard bristled and regular pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. A lot of elbow grease and a pile of pipe cleaners later, the pipe cleaners emerged white and I knew that the stem internals were now clean and fresh. I wiped the aluminum tenon extension with alcohol and cotton swabs.I sand the entire stem surface with a folded piece of a 220 grit sand paper to remove the tooth chatter and minor oxidation from the stem surface. With the same piece of sand paper, I sharpened the button edges on both the upper and lower surface. I wiped the stem with a cotton swab and Murphy’s oil soap to further remove the oxidation. I further sand the stem with 600 and 800 grit sand paper. I wiped the stem with cotton pad dipped in alcohol to remove the resultant dust. I rubbed some extra virgin olive oil in to the stem and set it aside to be absorbed in to stem. I polished the stem with micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. I rubbed a little extra virgin olive oil in to the stem at the end of all the micromesh pads. I finish the polishing of the stem by rubbing a small quantity of Paragon wax and giving it a final polish with a soft cotton cloth. The stem is now nice, smooth and shiny. I cleaned the Sterling Silver shank band with a local compound that Abha, my wife, uses to polish her silver and gold jewelry and cutlery. This compound is a very fine powder and least abrasive with fantastic results. The results were appreciated by Steve during his visit to India. The band is now a nice shining piece of nickel and provides a nice contrast to the shining black stem and the dark brown stummel. Unfortunately, I missed out on taking pictures as I was keen to finish this pipe and enjoy a bowl!

To apply the finishing touches, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and apply a coat of Blue Diamond to the stem to polish out the minor scratches. With a cotton buffing wheel that I use for carnauba wax, I apply a coat of carnauba wax to the stummel and stem and continued to work on it till the complete coat of wax had been polished out. I mount a clean cotton cloth buffing wheel and gave the entire pipe a once over buff. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The finished pipe is shown below. P.S. – Since the completion of this restoration, I have smoked this pipe and included it in my rotation. Believe you me; this pipe smokes perfect with a nice, smooth draw right to the end. No wonder then that the System pipes from Peterson’s are so much preferred amongst pipers. I am really privileged to have had an opportunity to carry forward the trust that the previous owner had posed in his pipes. Thanks for your patience and looking forward to inputs about the write up. Cheers…

Refurbishing A Preben Holm # 3 Freehand Pipe


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

The first ever Preben Holm in my collection was from eBay about two years back. It came to me with a broken stem and tenon stuck in to the mortise. This pipe received a new lease on life in the month of May last year when Steve, Jeff and Dal Stanton visited me here in India. I learned the process of tenon replacement along with many other tips and processes in pipe restoration. Here is the link to the informative write up by Steve on this pipe; https://rebornpipes.com/2019/05/14/restoring-a-preben-holm-hand-cut-sandblast-freehand-in-pune-india/

The second Preben Holm in my collection came from my Mumbai Bonanza, which I really enjoyed working on; (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/08/12/refurbishing-a-tired-preben-holm-1-from-the-mumbai-bonanza-lot/) .

The Preben Holm, currently on my work table, came to me from a seller on eBay along with another Preben Holm. Both these pipes had some serious stem issues which really kept other buyers away from placing their bids and lucky me, I got both these pipes for a really good price. Even though both pipes came to me together, I shall be working on them separately since they each have different set of issues involved.

The first PH that I selected to work on is a beautiful freehand with some great flame grains all around the stummel and shank and bird’s eye at the foot of the stummel. The shank end has a nice large outward flare with a flattened lower edge, akin to a large whale tail fin. The rim top is a nice plateau with the shank end flare showing minor plateau along the upper outer edge, similar to the scars on a tail fin of a whale that has seen a few skirmishes in its lifetime. Here are the pictures of the pipe as it sits on my work table.   The pipe is stamped on the bottom of the flared shank end as “PREBEN HOLM” in block capital letters over “Hand Cut” in a cursive artistic hand over “COPENHAGEN” over “DENMARK”, all in block capitals. The left side of the shank bears the encircled numeral “3”. All the stampings are crisp and easily readable. The fancy vulcanite stem is devoid of any stampings.There is a lot of interesting information on the carver, Preben Holm, on pipedia.org (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Holm,_Preben) which makes for an interesting read, however, as before when I had worked on a PH from my Mumbai Bonanza, I still could not find any information on dating this particular piece of briar and also the significance of the # 3!!   I had made a humble appeal to all the readers then and making one again, to please share any information on this system of numbering followed by Preben Holm and also method of dating PH pipes.

Initial Visual Inspection
I am making a slight deviation from my usual process that I follow for my write ups in that, in this case, I shall first address an issue that I was aware of from the description given by the seller and thereafter continue with my initial inspection. The seller had advertised that the stem was stuck in to the pipe (mortise) and would not budge. True enough, when the pipe arrived, the stem was firmly stuck in to the mortise and no amount of twists and turns loosened the seating of the stem. I did not wrestle too hard with it as I did not want to have another broken tenon on my hands. I chucked the complete pipe in to the freezer and let it sit for 3-4 hours. Once I removed the pipe from the freezer, I heated the shank a little with my heat gun and gave it a gentle twist and the stem came out intact quite easily. I was very pleased with this progress. I sincerely apologize for not taking any pictures of this process. Now that the stem has been separated from the mortise, I proceed to complete my initial inspection.

The chamber has a thick layer of dry and hard cake with heavy overflow of lava on to the platue rim top surface. The slightly outward flared inner rim edge is covered in oils and tars, but there are no apparent signs of charring. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber can be checked and ascertained only after the cake has been taken down to the bare briar. The stummel boasts of beautiful flame grains all around and extends over the shank surface too!! The surface is relatively clean and without any fills save for a few scratches that could have been caused during routine use. The flared end of the shank is clean with the partial plateau top edge showing accumulated dust and dirt which should be a breeze to clean. The foot of the stummel shows beautiful bird’s eye grains and is sans any damage. Overall, the stummel presents a well cared for pipe. The mortise is clogged with accumulated oils and tars. That the draw is not as smooth and full was expected, given that the stem was firmly stuck in. With a through leaning, this issue should be resolved.The fancy vulcanite stem is where maximum damage is seen on this pipe. It is heavily oxidized and is peppered with deep tooth chatter/ indentations on either surface of the stem. The lower button edge has a bite through and will need to be repaired. The horizontal slot end of the stem is heavily oxidized to a dark brown coloration while the tenon end is covered in dried oils and tars. The button edges on either surface have worn down and will need to be sharpened. The fancy stem, though looks beautiful when black and shiny, is a bear to clean with all the dips and narrow gaps between the beads and rings etc.The Process
I began the process of refurbishing this pipe with cleaning the internals of the stem using pipe cleaners with isopropyl alcohol (99.9% pure) and dunking the stem in to “Before and After Deoxidizer” solution developed by my friend Mark Hoover. The solution helps to draw out heavy oxidation to the surface making its further removal a breeze, while the minor oxidation is eliminated to a very great extent. I usually dunk stems of 5-7 pipes that are in-line for restoration and this pipe is marked in pastel pink arrow. I generally allow the stems to soak in this solution overnight for the solution to do its work.With the stem soaking in the deoxidizer solution, I worked the stummel starting with reaming the chamber with a Castleford reamer tool, using the second, third and fourth head of the tool. Using my fabricated knife; I further take the cake down to the bare briar. With a 150 grit sand paper, the walls of the chamber were rid of all the remnants of the cake, revealing smooth and solid chamber walls. I further wiped the chamber with a cotton swab wetted with isopropyl alcohol to completely remove the sanding dust. Next, I tried cleaning the mortise with hard bristled and regular pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol. However, the pipe cleaners would not pass through the draught hole and in to the chamber. I used my fabricated tool, a simple straightened cloth hanger, and pried clear the chunk of dried gunk. This was followed by cleaning the shank internals with pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. I further scrapped out the entire moistened gunk with a dental tool. The shank internals cleaned up nicely with a smooth and full draw.I scrubbed the external surface of the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s oil soap and hard bristled tooth brush and dried it using paper towels and soft cotton cloth. I deliberately cleaned the plateau rim top to clean the entire lava overflow from the surface. The entire stummel cleaned up nicely. I set the stummel aside to dry out naturally. Staying with the stummel restoration, I polished the stummel with micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 pads. I polished the raised surfaces on the plateau rim top surface. I wiped the surface with a soft cloth at the end of the micromesh cycle. The stummel looks amazing with a deep shine and beautiful grains popping over the stummel surface. However, I am not very happy with the way the rim top appears at this stage. No amount of wiping with a moist cloth could address this issue. If I wash it again with Murphy’s oil soap, it will be like going back to square one!! I would request all the esteemed readers to suggest remedial methods to this issue and help me learn. I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to briar. I rubbed this balm deep in to the nooks and crannies of the plateau rim top surface with my fingers and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the dark brown hues of the grain contrasting with the rest of the stummel surface. I further buff it with a horse hair shoe brush. The rim top has now taken on dark hues which is an eye sore at this stage. As mentioned in the write up on refurbishing S & R, Donegal Rocky # 999 and Countryman, I had worked on all the stems that had been soaking in the deoxidizer solution overnight. I fished out all the stems and cleaned them under running warm water and scrubbed the raised oxidation from the stem surface using Scotch Brite pad. I further removed the oxidation by scrubbing the stems with 0000 grade steel wool and applied a little olive oil to rehydrate the stems and set them aside for the oil to be absorbed. Unfortunately, I did not click any pictures of these stems at this stage.

This is how the stem of this pipe came out after the stem cleaning described above. Deep tooth indentations are visible at the base of upper and lower button edges with heavy tooth chatter visible in the bite zone on the lower surface. Complete oxidation was removed on this stem by the process described above.

I painted both surfaces of the stem with the flame of a lighter to raise the tooth indentations to the surface. This also helps in loosening minor oxidation from the stem surface. I sand the entire stem surface with a folded piece of a 220 grit sand paper to even out the raised tooth chatter and the tooth indentations to a degree and also to remove the loosened oxidation. I wiped the stem with a cotton swab and Murphy’s oil soap to further remove the oxidation. Even though the most of the tooth chatter has been addressed by heating the damaged stem portion with the flame of a lighter, couple of deeper indentations and bite marks/ deformation to the button edges is still visible on both upper and lower surface in the bite zone. At this stage in stem repairs, I now had a clear idea as to the extent of the through hole in the bottom surface of the stem. I also realized that the surrounding stem surface around the hole has thinned out and is brittle. However, I am happy with the way this stem appears at this stage and also with the deoxidizer solution. I filled the tooth indentation in the button edge on both lower and upper stem surfaces with a mix of activated charcoal and CA superglue and set it aside for the fill to cure. Once the fill had cured sufficiently, with flat needle file I sanded the fills to match with rest of the stem surface. With the same file, I sharpened the button edge on both the upper and lower surface. I fine tuned the blending of the fill with the rest of the stem surface using a 220 grit sand paper and also sanded down the entire stem to remove the stubborn residual oxidation. I further sand the stem with 600 and 800 grit sand paper and wiped the stem with cotton pad dipped in alcohol to remove the resultant dust. I rubbed some extra virgin olive oil in to the stem and set it aside to be absorbed in to stem. I polished the stem with micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. I rubbed a little extra virgin olive oil in to the stem at the end of the micromesh pads polishing cycle. I completed the polishing regime of the stem by rubbing a small quantity of Paragon wax and giving it a final polish with a soft cotton cloth. The stem is now nice, smooth and shiny.To apply the finishing touches, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and apply a coat of Blue Diamond to the stem to polish out the minor scratches. With a cotton buffing wheel that I use for carnauba wax, I apply a coat of carnauba wax to the stummel and stem and continued to work on it till the complete coat of wax had been polished out. I mount a clean cotton cloth buffing wheel and gave the entire pipe a once over buff. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine further. The finished pipe is shown below. P.S. – This was an indeed an easy restoration. The issue of the stem being stuck inside the mortise had driven bidders away from this beautiful pipe and it proved to be my gain. I am really fortunate to be in the process of learning the nuances of pipe restoration and cannot thank Steve enough for his support and guidance.

I wish to request all the experienced readers to shed some light on the numbering system followed on Preben Holm pipes and also on dating these pipes for the larger good of our fraternity.

Thanks for your patience and looking forward to input about the write up. Cheers…