Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe on the work table came to us from an online auction from Front Royal, Virginia, USA. It is a smooth Peterson’s System pipe with a saddle vulcanite stem. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Peterson’s [over] System [over] Standard. On the right side it is stamped Made in the Republic of Ireland and underneath that is the shape number 312. The nickel ferrule is stamped K & P Peterson with three hallmarks underneath. The finish had a lot of grime ground into it and it was very dirty. The bowl was moderately caked and there was a light lava coat on the flat rim top and the inner edge of the rim. The inner edge had some nicks and damage and the rim top had a lot of scratches that looked like the rim top had been scraped with a knife. 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 bite through on the underside of the stem just ahead of the button. 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. The photo of the underside of the stem you can see the bite through that is present. 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. 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 Peterson’s System Standard 312 Billiard 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 a bit of damage on the inner edge and on the rim surface. The stem surface looked very good with some tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. The bite through on the underside of the stem is not huge but it is very present. 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 typical Peterson’s System stem.I started my work on the pipe by working over the rim top and the inner edge of the bowl to clean up the damage. Once finished the rim top and edge looked much better. I repaired the deep gouges on the left side of the bowl by filling them in with clear super glue. Once it cured I sanded it smooth to blend it into the surrounding briar.I polished the briar with micomesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth. I rubbed the bowl 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 coated a pipe cleaner with Vaseline and inserted it in the airway in the stem. I filled in the bite through with black Loctite 380 CA Glue. I set it aside to let the repair cure then smooth it out with a file and rasp. I smoothed out the file marks with 220 grit sandpaper and started polishing it 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 System Standard 312 Bent Billiard with a vulcanite 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 312 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: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 50gr/1.76oz. 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!