Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe on the work table came to me from one of our estate purchases. Between us we pick up quite a few pipes for restoration. I try to work them into the restoration queue so that I can keep them moving. This next one is from our ongoing hunt – a beautifully grained bent apple with a thick shank and a tapered vulcanite stem. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Irish Seconds and on the right side reads Made in the Republic of Ireland. It is obviously a Peterson’s second. In the photos you can see the large fills on the lower left side of the bowl. The finish had a lot of grime ground into the finish on the bowl. The bowl was thickly caked with an overflowing lava coat on the top of the rim. The edges looked to be in good condition though there is some possible damage under the lava. The stem was oxidized, calcified, dirty and had tooth chatter and some deep marks on the top and underside near the button. There were not markings or a logo on the taper stem. It had promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the overflow of lava on the rim top. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the oxidation and the chatter and tooth marks. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar around the pipe looked like. There is some stunning grain under the grime. He also took a photo of the large fill on the front left side of the bowl. Lots of putty in that area.He took photos of the stamping on the left side of the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable. I turned to Pipedia to read the article on Irish Seconds (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Irish_Seconds). I quote it below in full.
Irish Second pipes begin life alongside Peterson pipes in Dublin, but at some point a flaw appears making future life as one of those celebrated pipes impossible. At this point the pipes were roughly finished, given a standard vulcanite stem instead of a P-Lip, and stamped only with “Irish Second” and “Made in the Republic of Ireland”. These pipes were sold at a far more affordable rate than Peterson pipes, but are believed to no longer be sold new.
I knew from previous research that the pipe was made in the Republic Era – the years between 1950 – 1989 because of the Republic of Ireland stamp. Now it was time to work on the pipe.
Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe once I received it. The bowl and rim top cleaned up really well with the lava coat removed. The inner edge of the rim was in good condition. The stem surface had some oxidation and some tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. I took photos of the stamping (though a little out of focus) are clear and read the same as noted above.I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. The stem is tapered and narrow.Now it was time to do my work on the pipe. I decided to address the damaged fills on the lower left side of the bowl first. I took a photo of the area before I began my work. The fill was actually quite solid with some damaged areas and some shrinkage. I sanded the areas and wiped them down with alcohol to clean up any loose fill material. I filled in those areas with a clear super glue. Once the patches cured I sanded them smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and began polishing them with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. It really made a difference in that they were smooth and no longer pink in colour! I wiped the bowl down with acetone to remove the stain around the bowl and prepare it for a new stain coat. I restained it with Light Brown aniline stain. I applied the stain and lit it with a Bic lighter to flame the stain. It burns the alcohol off the surface and sets the stain in the grain. I wiped the bowl down with alcohol and cotton pads to gain some transparency on the stained bowl. I also wanted the grain to stand out. I buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to raise a shine on the bowl. The grain really stands out now that it is polished. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The stain brings the rich reddish brown tone to life. It is a nice looking pipe. I set the bowl aside and turned to work on the stem. I “painted” the surface of the stem with the flame of a Bic lighter to lift the tooth marks in the stem surface. The flame did an excellent job of raising the marks to the surface. I would only need to polish out the oxidation on the stem and not need to do a lot of sanding. Because the oxidation was mostly on the surface and the tooth damage had been minimized I could immediately move ahead to polishing the stem. I polished the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. This Peterson’s Made Republic Era Irish Second Bent Apple vulcanite stem is turned out to be a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel. I buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Irish Second Bent Apple fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!