A Simple Refurbishing Of Peterson’s Barrel Pipe


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

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

The rusticated stummel of this pipe has beautiful texture and feels tactile in the hand. A short shank with a nickel ferrule at the end and a long, tapered delicate P-lip stem makes it a visually stunning pipe. It is stamped on the bottom flat smooth surface at the foot of the stummel as “Peterson’s” in a cursive hand over “BARREL” in capital letters over “MADE IN THE” over “REPUBLIC” over “OF IRELAND” in capital letters. 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 less the Shamrock hallmark which has been slightly rubbed off.  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. Also during my search on Donegal Rocky # 999 pipe that I had researched earlier, I knew that BARREL belonged to the Group 4 basic entry level pipes from Peterson’s. Given below are snippets of relevant information that I had learned from pipedia.org:

Group 4, Basic Entry Level Pipes

In this group you will find the basic entry level pipes which many smokers desire and are most comfortable with for every day and rotation use. The two most famous and popular issues probably being the System and the Classic shape pipes. All of the pipes in this group can be purchased for relatively little cost and probably accounts for the majority of Petersons worldwide pipe sales

Tankard & Barrel: Two attractively shaped pipes finished in red polish or rustic. A quality briar fitted with a nickel mount. Available with Peterson lip or fishtail mouthpiece. Prices start from $45.With this information, I now know that this pipe is a pipe from the newer generation that is most comfortable and desired and 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 in the chamber, a stummel that is covered in dust and grime and a military mount tapered vulcanite stem that is lightly oxidized. Here are a few pictures of the pipe before I proceed with a detailed visual inspection of each part of the pipe. 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 respectively, is entirely removed. There is a very strong smell to the cake which, perhaps, may reduce appreciably after the chamber and the shank has been cleaned. The draught hole is right at the bottom and center of the wide and rounded heel of the stummel, making it an excellent smoker. The mortise is filled with oils and tars and specks of dried ash are seen on the walls of the mortise. The mortise is filled with dried oils, tars and gunk. The walls, however, are intact and well protected under the nickel ferule.  The rusticated stummel on this pipe is covered in a thick layer of dust and grime giving it a dull and lackluster appearance. The rim top surface is also covered in dust, lava overflow, grime and will need to be cleaned and polished. The nickel ferule at the shank end appears dull due to oxidation. The bottom of the ferrule has a patch that is heavily oxidized. The saving grace is that it is intact and undamaged.The tapered, thin and long slightly bent vulcanite P-lip stem is lightly oxidized with negligible, but visible on close inspection, scratches on either surfaces of the stem in the bite zone and over the P-lip. The shank end opening on the stem is constricted with dried oils and gunk. 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 size 2 followed by size 3 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. 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 with a brass bristled brush. 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. 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 the short 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 pack 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 shank walls 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 a soft bristled brass wire brush to remove the entire lava overflow and dried it using paper towels and soft cotton cloth. 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 reddish brown hues of the raised rustications contrasting with the dark 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 were clean and fresh.With the stem internals now clean, I moved to external cleaning of the stem surface by 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 BARREL is marked in yellow arrow. I generally allow the stems to soak in this solution overnight for the solution to do its work.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 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 finished 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 nickel ferrule at the shank end 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 nickle 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!

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 was one of the easiest and most straight forward refurbishing works that I have undertaken till date. It was also a nice change from restoring pipes only from my inheritance. 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…

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