Restoring a Peterson’s of Dublin System Standard 303 from a Zippo gift set.

Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from an antique store on one of Jeff’s pipe hunts in Utah, USA. It is a smooth Peterson’s Apple shaped System pipe with a saddle vulcanite stem. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Peterson’s [over] of Dublin [over] System [over] Standard followed by the shape number 303. The nickel ferrule is stamped on the left side and reads ZIPPO and on the right side it reads K & P Peterson. That was interesting information so I did a bit of hunting on the web and found photos of a gift set that was issued by Peterson and Zippo together. I wrote them and asked about when it was first issued. In the mean time I also found a link on where the gift set was discussed and some photos shared of the original ( I have included the photos below as they provide a context for the pipe I am working on. I only wish I had the Zippo lighter that it came with originally! It appears from the photos that the set sold for at least $99.00US.

The pipe on the desk before me now was similar to the one in the above photos. It had different grain but the shape and stamping was identical. The finish had a lot of grime ground into it and it was very dirty. The bowl was moderately caked and there was a lava coat on the flat rim top and the beveled inner edge of the rim. The edges looked okay but we would know more after the cleanup.. The nickel ferrule was undamaged and did not have dents of nicks in the surface. It was oxidized a bit but would clean up very well. It is stamped K&P [over] Peterson on the right side of the ferrule and had the ZIPPO logo on the left side of the ferrule. The stem was oxidized, calcified and had tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the P-lip style button. It also had a unique style stem in terms of fitting to the ferrule. The pipe seems petite to me but I do not have another 303 to compare it to so it is only a feeling. 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 a photo of the side and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar around the pipe looked like.   He took photos of the stamping on the shank and the nickel ferrule. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable.   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 a bit of damage on the inner bevel of the rim surface. The stem surface looked very good with some 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 a fancy saddle version. The pipe was in such good condition that I started by rubbing it down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips. The product works 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 sanded the tooth chatter and marks with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth them out and blend them into the surface. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.   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 of Dublin System Standard 303 Bent Apple originally made in partnership with Zippo with a vulcanite saddle stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The beautiful grain that shines through the polished finish is stunning. As the pipe is smoked the patina should develop and look even better. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. 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 Peterson’s System Standard 303 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 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 47gr/1.66oz. 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!

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