Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe on the work table came to us from an online auction from Sidney, Ohio, USA. It is a nicely grained Irish Second Calabash with a tapered vulcanite stem. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads IRISH SECONDS. On the right side it is stamped Made in the Republic of Ireland. Irish Seconds were a Peterson’s second line that usually did not make the grade because of flaws in the briar or sandpits. This is a nicer piece of briar than I have seen on some of the firsts I have worked on. The finish had a lot of grime ground into the smooth finish on the bowl and some darkening around the sides of the bowl. The bowl was heavily caked in the lower half of the bowl and thinner toward the top. There was a light lava coat and darkening on the inner edge of the rim. The edges looked okay but we would know more after the cleanup. The stem was oxidized, calcified and had tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the button. There were not markings or a logo on the taper stem. There were a few sandpits and nicks around the sides of the bowl. The pipe showed promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took 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 condition of the rim top and edges. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the oxidation, calcification and 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 great grain under the grime. He took photos of the stamping on the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable. Jeff took a photo of the deep pits in the right side of the shank near the junction with the bowl.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.
I knew that I was dealing with a Republic Era pipe made between 1950-1989. It was a smooth bent Calabash with nice grain. The finish was stained with a combination of brown stains. 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 rim top and inner edge of the rim looked very good with minimal damage. The stem surface looked very good with some remaining oxidation and tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. I took a photo of the stamping on the shank. It is clear and readable 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. I started my work on the pipe by addressing the pitting in the briar on the right side. I filled in the flaws with briar dust and clear super glue. Once the repair cured I sanded it smooth with 220 grit sandpaper to blend it into the surrounding briar. I polished the bowl and the rim top, sides and shank with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with a damp cloth. 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. I set the bowl aside and turned to work on the stem. I “painted” the stem with the flame of a lighter to try and lift them. While I was able to lift many of them some still remained. I filled those in with clear super glue. Once the repairs cured I used a file to recut the button edge and flatten out the repairs. I sanded out the file marks and smoothed out the rest of the repair with 220 grit sandpaper and started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. Once again I was doing too many things at the same time and forgot to take photos of the process. I took one of each side of the stem before I polished it with micromesh. I polished the vulcanite stem 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 Irish Second Calabash with a vulcanite taper stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. There is some great grain around the bowl and shank. 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 and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Irish Second Calabash 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 ¾ inches, Height: 2 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 73gr/2.57oz. 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!