Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe on the table came to us from one of Jeff’s pipe hunts or auctions. It is a smaller nicely grained and I would say classic Peterson’s “Donegal” Rocky 407 Prince with a bent P-lip stem. The rusticated finish is quite rugged and has an instantly recognizable Peterson’s look. The pipe was dirty, with grime and dust ground into the finish. The bowl had a thick cake in the bowl and a lava overflow on the inner edge of the rim and spilling onto the rim top and filling in the rustication there. The pipe is stamped on underside of the shank and reads Peterson’s “Donegal” Rocky. It is stamped Made in the Republic of Ireland followed by the shape number 407. The silver band is stamped K&P over Sterling Silver. There are also silver hallmarks. The first is the mark for the city of Dublin (woman on a throne). The second mark is the mark for the quality of silver (Irish harp). The third mark looks like an “I” (the date stamp). The stamping is clear and readable on the pipe and ferrule. The stem was dirty, oxidized and calcified. There were light tooth marks and chatter on the stem near the button on both sides and some on the surface of the button as well. There was a Peterson’s “P” on the left side of the taper stem. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he cleaned it up. Jeff took photos of the rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the overflow of lava onto the rim top and filling in the rustication. The photos show the rim top and bowl from various angles.He took some photos of the bowl sides and heel to show the tight rustication pattern that was on this bowl. It is a dirty but quite beautifully crafted pipe. The stamping on the underside of the shank read as noted above. It took a few photos to show the entirety of the stamping. The stamping is faint but readable. He also took photos of the Sterling Silver band on the shank. The P on the left side of the stem is clear and the stamping on the stem side is in good condition. The stem was a poor fit to the shank. It was oxidized, calcified and had debris stuck to the surface of the vulcanite. There were tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the stem. I am including the information from Pipedia’s article on Peterson pipes. 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.
1950 – 1989 The Republic Era – From 1950 to the present time, the stamp for this era is “Made in the Republic of Ireland” in a block format generally in three lines but two lines have been used with or without Republic being abbreviated.
During the 1950’s and 60’s the Kapp & Peterson company was still in the ownership of the Kapp family. However 1964 saw the retiral of the company Managing Director Frederick Henry(Harry) Kapp.
I turned to the Peterson’s pipe notes site to have a look at the hallmark chart and see if I can identify the stamping (https://petersonpipenotes.org/tag/peterson-pipe-hallmarks/). I have included the chart below. It looks to me like it is stamped with the letter I that looks like the letter stamp for 1976.With that information in hand I knew what I was dealing with in terms of the stamping and the age of this pipe. I knew from the information that the pipe was made during the Republic Era between 1950 and 1989. Pipedia then qualifies the dating as follows: From 1950 to the present time, the stamp for this era is “Made in the Republic of Ireland”. The date stamp on the Sterling Silver cued it to 1976. Now it was time to work on the pipe.
Armed with that information I turned to work on the pipe itself. Jeff had done an amazing job cleaning up the pipe. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet reamer and cut back the cake back to the bare briar. He cleaned up the walls with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime from the finish. He scrubbed the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. He cleaned the oxidized silver with Soft Scrub and buffed it off with a soft pad. He scrubbed the exterior with Soft Scrub and then soaked it in Before & After Deoxidizer. He washed it off with warm water to remove the Deoxidizer. The pipe looked far better. I took photos of the pipe when I received it before I started working on it. I took photos of the bowl and rim top to show how clean it was. The rustication on the rim top is very clean and there is darkening that will be hidden by the contrast stains. The stem looks clean of oxidation and there are some deep tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the stem.The stamping on the underside of the shank was faint but readable as noted above. The second photo shows the P stamp on the left side of stem.I took a photo of the pipe with the stem removed to show the overall look of stem, tenon and profile of the pipe. It is a great looking pipe.I rubbed the briar down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the rustication with my fingertips and a shoe brush to get it into the deep briar. The product works to clean, enliven and preserve the briar. I let it sit for 10 minutes while I worked on the stem. After the time passed I buffed it with a cotton cloth to deepen the shine. The rustication came alive with the balm. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I heated the vulcanite to lift the dents but they had sharp edges so they did not lift at all. I filled in the deeper tooth marks with clear super glue and set it aside to cure.Once the repairs cured I sanded them smooth with 220 grit sandpaper. I usually file them first with a needle file but last night my daughters were using my desk top and that is where the files were so I just sanded them smooth. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I touched up the P stamp on the left side of the stem with Paper Mate Liquid Paper and once it dried I scraped off the excess. The P stamp is far from perfect but it definitely looks better.This stem was in great condition so I polished it with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. This Republic Era Peterson’s “Donegal” Rocky 407 Prince is a nice looking rusticated pipe. The combination of brown stains really makes the rustication almost sparkle around the bowl sides and shank. They begin to really stand out with the polishing. The finish on the pipe is in excellent condition and the contrasting stains work well to give some contrast to the pipe. The polished black vulcanite P-lip taper stem and the Sterling Silver band just add to the mix. With the grime and debris gone from the finish and the bowl it is really is eye-catching. I put the stem back on the bowl and lightly buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel, carefully avoiding the stamping on the shank. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing it with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Peterson’s “Donegal” Rocky Prince is quite nice and feels great in the hand. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inch, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another interesting pipe. This Peterson’s “Donegal” Rocky will be added to the Irish Pipe Makers section of the rebornpipes store soon. If you want to add it to your collection send me an email or a message! Thanks for your time.