Monthly Archives: December 2020

Another Christmas Vacation Restoration – A GBD London Made in London England C789 Pot


Blog by Dal Stanton

With Christmas behind us and with New Years before us, I’m thankful to be with family during these holidays.  This was the first Christmas with my mother in Florida in many years – it has been great!  It has also been great on her second floor screened-in balcony which has served as The Pipe Steward worktable.  My wife caught me in action!

I remember acquiring this GBD Pot a few years back from an eBay seller from Cave City, Arkansas.  She had a few different pipes on the auction block and in the end, we were able to work out a bundled agreement which was mutually beneficial.  The bundle included GBD London Made, Selection Italy, GBD Americana, Dr. Grabow Omega and  No Name Algerian Briar.  I was attracted to the GBD Americana included in the bundle which joined my personal collection.  The unique grain is amazing (See: The Striking Grain of a GBD Americana – Made in London England Bent Billiard).  The other GBD in the bundled deal caught Chris’ attention in the online For “Pipe Dreamers” Only! collection where he also found the Fratelli Rossi ‘Century Old Briar’ (See: A Mobile Christmas Vacation Restoration of an Exquisite Fratelli Rossi Century Old Briar Billiard) which was last on the work table and soon to join Chris in Alabama.  The GBD London Made Pot now on the table also shows great potential.  Here are a few of the pictures of this GBD. The nomenclature is Cadogan era markings.  On the left shank flank is stamped the GBD set in an oval.  Beneath the oval, the arched text LONDON MADE is stamped.  The Cadogan era stem stamp is the GBD in and an oval repeated.  The right side of the stem is stamped in circular fashion, MADE IN LONDON – with the ‘IN’ occupying the center of the oval.  Beneath the circular text is stamped the COM, ENGLAND.  Beneath the COM is the shape number, C789, the designation for a Pot shape.  However, after some searching and finding nothing to explain it, I was flummoxed by the ‘C’ affixed to the shape number.  I decided to send a quick note to rebornpipes contributor, Al Jones, to see if he can shed some light.  Al’s response confirmed the ‘C’ as being a ‘rogue’ letter.  After the merger in the early 80s, differing letters would appear on GBD pipes with no clear understanding what they referenced.

The dating of the GBD on my table I’ve described as a ‘Cadogan Era’ pipe.   Pipephil records that GBD’s metal stem rondels were discontinued after 1981 when GBD merged with Comoys.  The absence of this brass rondel on the stem places this pipe post ’81 and later.  The rounded COM designation rather than a straight lettering (London England), also points to a post-merger GBD.  The GBD also has a random letter, ‘J’ on the underside of the shank.  I’ve seen these letters before on Cadogan era pipes and it seems that Comoy’s used several letters for what are perhaps part numbers, but this isn’t confirmed.I have researched other GBD pipes that have been on my worktable and I always enjoy a refresher from the fruit of that research.  The story of GBD pipes is an interesting one starting in France in 1850 with an unexpected partnership, not coming from businessmen, but fellow pipe makers who felt they could make a go of it.  This excellent article, Finding Out Who Created GBD – Story of a Pipe Brand – Jaques Cole was reposted on rebornpipes and is an excellent read for framing a historical appreciation for a pipe name and its development – GBD.

Who were these creators? Ganneval, Bondier and Donninger were three ‘Master Pipemakers’ who got together in Paris in 1850 to manufacture meerschaum pipes. It was a bold decision as these were troubled times in France. Charles Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte has returned after the 1848 revolution and become President of the Republic. Following a coup d’etat in 1851, he made himself Emperor Napoleon III in 1852. He was incidentally a keen pipesmoker and may well have owned one or more early GBDs.

The focus of the ‘GBD’ enterprise in the late 1800s was primarily the production of meerschaum pipes but in the 1850s, with Saint-Claude’s discovery of briar and its special qualities for making lasting, heat-resistant pipes, GBD adapted and added briar to its list of materials.  GBD boasted in the end of the 19th Century as having 1500 models that customers could choose from – though Pipedia’s article on GBD clarifies this unbelievable number as counting each shape three times due to three different stem materials used.  GBD straddled its French identity and its adopted English identity through various acquisitions and changes in ownership, yet, keeping the initials of the founders firmly in place.  Pipedia’s history is helpful to understand these historical iterations:

There is a very simple explanation for GBD’s program to turn more “British”: GBD became a British company soon after the turn of the century! In 1902 Marechal and Ruchon sold GBD to A. Oppenheimer & Co. in London. Charles Oppenheimer had founded this successful trade business in 1860 as an import-/export house. His brothers David and Adolphe and brother-in-law Louis Adler soon joined him. Adolphe took over when Charles went to Germany as British ambassador. Briar pipes were among the first products traded. The business relation to GBD in Paris began as early as 1870. Being the most important customer in the English-speaking world, Oppenheimer & Co. were designated as sole distributor for Great Britain, the USA and Canada in 1897.

Though English owned, pipe production continued in Paris and soon Oppenheimer acquired two factories in Saint-Claude in 1906, increasing its production.  Also, during this period, Oppenheimer continuing to expand, built a pipe factory in London, but this operation failed to live up to expectations until the genesis of WW I when demand for pipes increased for the front line and production fell in the French factories as men were called to the front lines.  The shift of GBD being identified more distinctly as a British pipe emerged after the close of the war even though production continued in London and France through the 1920s.  I find the next Pipedia excerpt interesting because it marks well how GBD had fully transitioned from its origins, the handshake of 3 French pipe makers, to a macro-business continuing through the 1900s.

In 1920 Oppenheimer had purchased BBB (Blumfeld’s Best Briar, formerly A. Frankau) and little later Loewe & Co. and large shares of Comoy’s of London. The economic crisis in the early 1920s induced the foundation of Cadogan Investments Ltd., named for its seat at Cadogan Square in London. The Cadogan group was a superordinated holding company, in order to tune all activities of Oppenheimer’s brands in the pipe industry. Whereby an extensive independence of the single brands was preserved. Remember, the Oppenheimers and Adlers weren’t pipe specialists, but rather sales people who depended on their experts in the British and French plants.

In 1952 the Paris factory moved to Saint-Claude and since the 1980s most GBD pipes come from London.  The higher-end GBD pipe lines are of good quality and many feel they stack up well against the array of Dunhill offerings yet more affordable.  The Pipephil.eu history of GBD says that the Saint-Claude pipe factory closed in 1981 leaving only London as the producer of GBD pipes.

Now looking more closely at the GBD Pot on my worktable, the bowl has thick cake buildup in the chamber.  This will need removing to inspect the chamber walls for heating problems.  The stummel finish is dark and bears the grime of years of service. The stem has heavy oxidation and a good amount of tooth chatter.  To begin, I clean the airway of the stem with pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 99%.This is followed by then adding the GBD stem to a soak of Before & After Deoxidizer to address the oxidation issues.After several hours soaking in the solution, I fish the stem out and squeegee the excess liquid from the stem with my fingers and run pipe cleaners wetted with alcohol through the airway to clear away the Deoxidizer.  Cotton pads are also used to wipe off the raised oxidation.The stem is then treated with paraffin oil to help condition and rejuvenate the vulcanite.Turning now to the stummel, I take another look at the chamber. The cake is thick, and the lava flow is substantive over the rim.  There is little doubt that the former steward enjoyed his GBD and that this indicates a good smoker on the table. After putting down paper towel to minimize cleanup, I go to work on removing the carbon buildup to allow the briar beneath to have a new start and to inspect for problems.  I use all 4 of the Pipnet Reaming Kit blades heads and this is indicative of the large chamber of this GBD Pot.  I follow the reaming with the Savinelli Fitsall tool to further scrape the walls and finish by sanding with 240 paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen.  A pocketknife is also employed to scrap the lava crust off the rim.  This reveals a smart internal rim bevel which is nice. With the cake cleared out, working on the balcony of my mother’s condominium where my Christmas Vacation mobile work desk is located, I use the natural sunlight to inspect the chamber.  Not surprising, I can see some heating veins on the chamber wall.  The thick cake on the GBD contributed to this heating problem.  A carbon cake needs only to be the width of a US dime.  When the cake is too thick, its expansion and contraction during the service of the pipe causes undo stress and heating on the briar.  The worst-case scenario is an eventual burn-through or a severely cracked bowl.  These veins are minor, thankfully, and will be addressed by applying pipe mud later. Pipe mud helps the formation of a protective cake. The scraping of the rim reveals some dings on the edge from normal wear. Continuing the cleaning process, I use undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap to clean the darkened, grimy briar surface. I take a few pictures to mark the start. A cotton pad did the scrubbing with Murphy’s and a brass bristled brush helps with the rim.  Using brass brushes is less intrusive and a softer approach to cleaning.After this, the stummel is taken to the sink and using anti-oil liquid dishwashing soap and warm water, the mortise is scrubbed with shank brushes.  After the stummel is rinsed thoroughly, I bring it back to the table.Doing a quick survey of the stummel, the chips on the rim are evident along with scratching on the briar surface on the aft quadrant of the bowl.Next, focusing more on the internals, cotton buds and pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 99% are used to do the job.  I also use the small dental spoon to scrape the mortise walls.  The previous cleaning in the sink did a good job.  It doesn’t take a lot of effort and the buds and cleaners are coming out lighter.  I’ll continue the internal refreshing later using a kosher salt and alcohol soak. Continuing with the stummel, the rim is not in good condition and coupled with the scratching and fill on the stummel surface, sanding will be necessary.  I start from the top and work my way down. I begin by topping the stummel to refresh the rim.  I use 240 grade paper to begin on a chopping board.  After inverting the stummel, I give it several rotations.I stop to check the progress not wanting to remove more rim briar real estate than is necessary. While I’m at it, I also refresh the rim with 240 paper using a hard surface to press the paper.  I do the same with 600 grade paper and after changing the topping paper to 600, I give the rim several more rotations to further smooth the rim and remove the imperfections.  The picture below shows a much-improved rim.  A knot can be seen on the shank-side of the rim.  It doesn’t appear to be a fill.The spot on the rim has an indentation and is not smooth to the touch.  I decide to fill it so that the rim surface is smooth.Using a sharp dental probe, I dig out any loose material.After cleaning off the area with alcohol, I then apply a drop of clear CA glue to the pit and put the stummel aside for the patch to cure.It doesn’t take long for the patch to cure.  I use a flat needle file and a tightly rolled piece of 240 paper to do some precision filing and sanding to remove the excess patch mound. The rim patch is completed after again returning the stummel to the topping board with 600 grade paper.  After a few more revolutions to blend the patch, the patch looks good and is smooth to the touch.To address the dents on the shank-side of the rim lip and the multitude of scratches over the stummel, I use sanding sponges.  Starting with the rough grade, I sand over the entire stummel, carefully maneuvering around the nomenclature on both sides of the shank.  I follow the roughest grade with a medium grade then a fine grade.  The results are good.  Sanding sponges help to cleanup the blemishes on the briar surface less invasive than sanding paper. On a roll, I continue the stummel sanding with the full set of micromesh pads.  Using pads 1500 to 2400 grade, the stummel is wet sanded.  Following this, dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000 complete the job. Wow!  The grain on this GBD is active and expressive.  This is looking good.  Before continuing with the stummel, I decide to continue the internal cleaning using a kosher salt and alcohol soak.  This process continues the cleaning of the internal briar as the salt and alcohol draw out the tars and oils.  I start by stretching and twisting a cotton ball to form a ‘wick’ that helps draw out the oils.  Using a stiff hanger wire, I guide the wick down the mortise and through the airway to the draft hole.  I then fill the bowl with kosher salt and place the stummel in an egg carton to provide the stability and necessary angle for the stummel.  Kosher salt is used rather than regular iodized salt because unlike the latter, kosher salt leaves no undesirable aftertaste. Then, using a large eye dropper, isopropyl 99% is put in the chamber slowly until the alcohol surfaces over the salt.  After waiting a few minutes, the alcohol is absorbed into the salt and cotton and is then topped off with a little more alcohol.  I put the stummel aside for several hours to allow the soak to do its thing.  With the stummel soaking, I return to the stem.  The earlier Before & After Deoxidizer soak did a good job.  A few pictures are taken of the upper and lower bit to look at the damage.  The bit has been chewed and mauled.  The button, upper and lower, shows bite compressions. The process of heating the vulcanite, a rubber compound, causes expansion of the material helping it to regain its original condition.  After several Bic lighter painting sessions, I take two more pictures to compare.  The heating method does not seem to have helped too much this time around.  Perhaps, but only marginally. To address the residual tooth chatter and compression, I apply black CA glue to both sides of the bit filling the compressions and building the button.  To hold the CA glue in place, I use an accelerator that cures the glue more rapidly holding the glue in place.    After the CA patch thoroughly cures, I go to work with a flat needle file bringing the patch mound down to the stem surface level – upper and lower. The button lip is also refreshed during the filing process.Following the filing, 240 sanding paper erases of the rough scratches of the filing and further shapes the button.  To remove the roughness, the sanding is expanded to the entire stem – upper and lower. Following the 240 sanding, I transition to wet sanding with 600 grade steel wool.  It was going so well until it wasn’t.  Oh my.  Restoration of pipes has as a goal returning a pipe to its new, and often, better than new state.  Yet, with all the efforts to do this, mistakes happen that diminish this goal.  While wet sanding with 600 grade paper, the paper inadvertently swept over part of the GBD stem stamping and it disintegrated.  One of the sad realities of the merger was the loss of the brass stem rondel.  Replacing it was more of a press of paint on the stem surface which has little compression or indentation into the vulcanite.  It is this indentation that protects the paint and gives it purchase or hold power.  After I did the carnage, the sick feeling in my gut continued as I vainly tried to repair the damage with the application of white acrylic paint.  I launched an email with the picture to Steve to see if he had any ideas how to salvage the situation.  His reply came quickly:

Hey Dal

I have that happen as well… it is not reparable. I just left mine half missing to give an idea of what it looked like originally. It happens and nothing can change that

Steve

Such is life….  I move on.I complete the wet sanding with 600 grade paper and finish this phase by applying 0000 grade steel wool.  Other than the stamping carnage, the stem looks great – repairs to the bit turned out very well – upper and lower.Next, the stem receives sanding from the full regimen of micromesh pads starting with wet sanding with pads 1500 to 2400.  Following the wet sanding, dry sanding is used with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  Between each set of 3 pads, Obsidian Oil is applied to protect the stem from oxidation and to rejuvenate it.     The kosher salt and alcohol soak worked through the night.  It continued the cleaning and refreshes the stummel.  The salt is soiled as well as the wick indicating that oils were drawn out during the process.  After removing the expended salt and wiping the chamber with paper towel, I also blow through the mortise to make sure salt crystals are dislodged. To make sure that all is clean, one cotton bud and one pipe cleaner dipped in isopropyl 99% were the proof of a clean and fresh pipe.Next, I attempted to reunite the stem and stummel to apply Blue Diamond compound, but discovered that through the cleaning process, the fit of the tenon into the mortise had tightened and was a bit too tight for comfort.  To remedy this, I use 470 grade paper to sand the tenon down.  To do this I wrap a piece of the sanding paper around the tenon and while pinching the paper tightly around the tenon, the stem is rotated to create the abrasion.  I did this a few times and tested after each.  When the fit was good, I finish by applying 0000 steel wool to the tenon to smooth it after the sanding paper.Next, after mounting a cotton cloth buffing wheel to the rotary tool, with the speed set about 40% full power, Blue Diamond compound is applied to the stem and stummel.  It takes some time for the process to methodically apply the compound around the pipe.  After completion, a felt towel is used to wipe/buff the pipe to remove excess compound dust. Before applying wax, I apply Before & After Restoration Balm to the stummel. I like how this product enhances and brings out the subtle natural hues of the briar.  After applying some to my finger, I work the Balm into the surface of the briar.  It thickens and it’s applied and once all is covered, the stummel is put aside for 20 minutes or so for the Balm to do what it does.After the time is complete, the stummel is wiped with a microfiber cloth to remove the excess Balm and then it buffs up with the cloth.  Nice.I have two steps left.  First, to apply the wax and then to apply pipe mud to the chamber.  Another cotton buffing wheel is mounted on the rotary tool with the speed remaining at about 40%, and carnauba wax is applied to the pipe – stem and stummel.  After several rotations over the briar with the buffing wheel, I then give the pipe a rigorous hand buffing to raise the shine and to remove excess wax.As noted, because of some heating veins in the chamber, I decided to apply a layer of pipe mud over the chamber wall to help start a protective layer of carbon.  Pipe mud consists of cigar ash and water.  I have already filtered and sifted the ash to clean out chunks of stuff not wanted.  Using a pipe nail tool, I scoop some ash into a shot glass where I will do the mixing.A pipe cleaner is inserted through the draft hole to guard it from being blocked during the process.I use a large eye dropper to introduce small amounts of water and then mix with pipe nail.  It’s easy to get too much water in the mix and it becomes too runny.  If this happens, more ash is added to dry and firm up the mixture.  This I had to do a few times until the mud was the consistency of mud – yep.  Firm enough to hold shape and not drip off the nail.With the consistency good, I scoop some mud with the pipe nail and deposit it at the floor of the chamber and then spread it out like putting peanut butter on bread.  Starting from the floor and working up to the rim, adding mud as I go.  I use my thumb fingernail to run along the inner lip of the rim to create a straight edge of mud around the circumference. I let the mud cure through the night.  When it cures, it will lighten a good bit.  The next morning, the pipe mud was cured and the pipe was given another hearty hand buffing to raise the shine.

Other than the stem marking carnage I inflicted, this GBD came out exceptionally well.  The grain is lively and expressive with large swirls of bird’s eye on both sides of the bowl and horizontal straight grain on both the fore and aft sections of the bowl.  The grain also sweeps across the heel laterally.  Without doubt, the grain of this GBD Pot will hold one’s attention.  The bowl is ample for a good, long time of reflection packed with one’s favorite blend.  This is the second of 2 pipes that Chris commissioned, and he will have the first opportunity to claim this GBD in The Pipe Store benefiting the Daughters of Bulgaria.  Thanks for joining me from my Christmas Vacation in sunny Florida!  Have a great New Year!

 

 

 

 

New Life for a Peterson’s Product Kilarney X86 Sandblast Apple


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen is sandblasted Peterson’s Kilarney. This Apple has a medium brown finish around the bowl sides and shank. It also came to us from the estate of Anglican minister that was a great friend of mine here in Canada. The Apple has a great on the bowl and shank that was in great condition. The finish on the bowl sides was dirty. It was stamped on the underside of the shank and read X86 on the heel of the bowl followed by Kilarney in a flowery script. That is followed by “Peterson” [over] “Product” [over] Made in Ireland. There was a moderate cake in the bowl and light spattering of lava on the rim top and the inner edge of the bowl. The stem was once of the worst in this estate in terms of tooth marks. It lightly oxidized but there were heavy tooth marks on the top and underside and on the button. There was a faint “K” stamp on the left side of the taper stem. Jeff took photos of the pipe before his cleanup work. They tell the story and give a glimpse of the promise that we see in this pipe. Jeff took photos of the rim top and stem to show the general condition of the pipe. The bowl is caked and the rim top and edges have some lava overflow. The stem is lightly oxidized and the photos clearly show the deep tooth marks on the top and underside near and on the button.  Jeff took some photos of the bowl sides and heel to show the grain that was around this bowl. It is a nice looking pipe.  He took photos of the underside of the bowl and shank to show the stamping. The stamping is readable in the photos below and is as noted above.     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 turned to “The Peterson Pipe” by Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg to get some background on the Kilarney Pipe. On page 306 it had the following information on the pipe.

Kilarney (1949-) Entry line with smooth finish and P-Lip mouthpiece. May have either a K or P stamped on the mouthpiece; may have aluminum singer (not to be confused with the tenon extension tube found on straight System pipes). 1949-c.1957 examples made for the US market may have any of the following COM stamps: MADE IN IRELAND (forming a circle), “A PETERSON’S PRODUCT” over MADE IN IRELAND or LONDON MADE over ENGLAND. Some early specimens stamped KILLARNEY over NATURAL (a higher grade) have MADE IN IRELAND (forming a circle). Examples c. 1986-90 feature a nickel band, which was replaced in ’91 with a shank extension of nickel band with black acrylic inlay. Fishtail  mouthpiece from ’86 although P-Lip is sometimes seen. For the current German market, the Killarney is stamped CONNEMARA

I knew that I was dealing with a pipe made between 1949-c.1957 due to the stamping on the underside of the shank. It has the “K” stamp on the stem side and a P-lip mouthpiece. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. 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 worked on the rim top lava and darkening with the soap and tooth brush. He scrubbed the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. 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 when it arrived.   I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show how well it had cleaned up. There was some darkening on the back of the rim top but the edges looked very good. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the tooth marks on the surface of the stem and button.    I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. You can see that it is stamped as noted above. It is clear and readable.     I took the pipe apart and took a photo of the pipe. It is a good looking pipe and has a great looking sandblast. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process.   I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the stem and button surface with the flame of a lighter to lift the tooth marks. It worked amazingly well and the majority of them lifted completely or significantly. I filled in the remaining marks with clear super glue. Once the repairs had cured I flattened them out with a file and then sanded them smooth with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface of the vulcanite. I started polishing the stem by wet sanding it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I touched up the faint “K” stamp with Rub’n Buff Antique Gold to try to make it more clear. While it is still faint it is clearer as can be seen in the second photo below.   I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I am excited to finish this Peterson’s Product Made in Ireland Kilarney X86 Sandblast Apple. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the colours popping through the sandblast. Added to that the polished  black vulcanite taper stem was beautiful. This shapely Classic Peterson’s Sandblast Apple is nice looking and the pipe feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inch, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 31grams/1.06oz. It is a beautiful pipe and one that I soon put on the rebornpipes store I you are interested in carrying on the pipeman’s legacy. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.    

 

Breathing Life into a Peterson’s Republic Era “Wicklow” 6S Saddle Stem Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen is smooth finished Peterson’s Saddle Stem Billiard. This Billiard has a medium brown finish around the bowl sides and shank. It also came to us from the estate of Anglican minister that was a great friend of mine here in Canada. The Billiard had a great grain on the bowl and shank and was in great condition. The finish on the bowl sides was dirty. It was stamped on the left side of the shank and read Peterson’s [over] “Wicklow”. On the right side of the shank it is stamped Made in the Republic of Ireland in three lines. Next to the bowl it was stamped with the shape number 6S.  There was a moderate cake in the bowl and light spattering of lava on the rim top and the inner edge of the bowl. The stem was lightly oxidized and had light tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside on and near the button. The “P” stamp on the left side of the saddle stem is clear but faint. Jeff took photos of the pipe before his cleanup work. They tell the story and give a glimpse of the promise that we see in this pipe. Jeff took photos of the rim top and stem to show the general condition of the pipe. The bowl is lightly caked and the rim top and edges have some light lava overflow. The stem is lightly oxidized and has light tooth marks on the top and underside near the button. Jeff took some photos of the bowl sides and heel to show the grain that was around this bowl. It is a nice looking pipe.     He took photos of the underside of the shank to show the stamping. The stamping is readable in the photos below and is as noted above.    

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 Pipe” by Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg to get some background on the Wicklow Pipe. On page 315 it had the following information on the Wicklow pipe.

Wicklow (1969-) First appearance of this line exclusive to Iwan Ries, handmade black sandblast finish with twin bore mouthpiece. In 1987 offered with a matte-brown finish, nickel band and P-lip mouthpiece; in 2011 as a custom line from Smokingpipes.com in a deep-red sandblast finish with a nickel band. In 2014 released for Italy in brown with a sterling band, vulcanite mouthpiece in fishtail or P-lip, hot-foil P.

I knew that I was dealing with a Republic Era pipe made between 1969 and the present. It is bit of anomaly in that it does not match any of the descriptions above. The one I have has a matte-brown finish but does not have a band. It does have a P-lip mouthpiece. It is also a smooth finished pipe and not sandblast. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. 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 worked on the rim top lava and darkening with the soap and tooth brush. He scrubbed the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. 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 when it arrived. I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show how well it had cleaned up. There was some darkening on the back of the rim top and some damage on the inner edge of the bowl at the back. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the light tooth marks on the surface near the button.    I took a photo of the stamping on the sides of the shank. You can see that it is stamped as noted above. It is clear and readable.     I took the pipe apart and took a photo of the pipe. It is a good looking pipe and has some great grain around the bowl. I cleaned up the darkening on the rim top and the damage to the inside edge of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. It looked much better.   I polished the briar bowl and shank with micromesh sanding pads. I dry sanded it with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped it down with a damp cloth after each pad.      I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I touched up the gold stamping on the “P” with Rub’n Buff Antique Gold. I pressed it into the stamping with a tooth pick and buffed it off with a soft cotton pad. The product works very well to give that gold foil look to the stamp.I polished out the light tooth marks on the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine.   I am excited to finish this Republic Era Peterson’s “Wicklow” 6S Saddle Stem Billiard. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I also hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the grain popping all around it. Added to that the polished  black vulcanite saddle stem was beautiful. This shapely Classic Peterson’s Billiard is nice looking and the pipe feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inch, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 35grams/1.23oz. It is a beautiful pipe and one that I soon put on the rebornpipes store I you are interested in carrying on the pipeman’s legacy. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.

Breathing Life into a Peterson’s of Dublin Rusticated Barrel


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen is a Peterson’s Rusticated Barrel pipe. This Barrel has a mix of reds and dark coloured stains on a very rustic finish around the bowl sides and short shank. It is also incredibly dirty. It also came to us from the estate of Anglican minister that was a great friend of mine here in Canada. The Barrel had a nickel band on the shank that was in great condition. The finish on the bowl sides was dirty. It was stamped on the heel of the bowl and read Peterson’s [over] of Dublin [over] Barrel. The nickel band does not have any stamping on it. There was a moderate cake in the bowl and light spattering of lava on the rim top and the inner edge of the bowl. The stem was lightly oxidized and had light tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside on and near the button. The “P” stamp on the left side of the taper stem is in excellent condition. Jeff took photos of the pipe before his cleanup work. They tell the story and give a glimpse of the promise that we see in this pipe. Jeff took photos of the rim top and stem to show the general condition of the pipe. The bowl is lightly caked and the rim top and edges have some light lava overflow. The stem is lightly oxidized and has light tooth marks on the top and underside near the button. Jeff took some photos of the bowl sides and heel to show the amazing grain that was around this bowl. It is a nice looking pipe.   He took a photo of the underside of the shank to show the stamping. The stamping reads as noted above. He also took a photo of the P on the stem. It is in excellent condition.    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 Pipe” by Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg to get some background on the Barrel Pipe. On page 313 it had the following information what they called the Specialty Briars. I have summarized the various pipes that were part of the Specialty Briars below and have also included the description of the Barrel itself.

The Barrel pipe was part of a line of Specialty Briars (1945-) which was a term used to describe the following lines: Lightweight, Junior, Churchwarden, Barrel, Tankard, Calabash, Belgique  and Giant.

Barrel (1945-) P-lip or fishtail mouthpiece, smooth or rustic finish, sandblast offered in 1970

I knew that I was dealing with a pipe from the Specialty Line of Briars made between 1945 and the present. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. 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 worked on the rim top lava and darkening with the soap and tooth brush. He scrubbed the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. 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 when it arrived.     I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show how well it had cleaned up. The rim top looked very good. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the light tooth marks on the surface near the button. I took a photo of the stamping on the heel of the bowl. You can see that it is stamped as noted above. It is clear and readable.  I took the pipe apart and took a photo of the pipe. It is a good looking pipe and has a rugged rustication around the bowl. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process.     I polished out the light tooth marks on the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine.     I am excited to finish this Peterson’s of Dublin Special Series Rusticated Barrel. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I also hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the rugged rustication all around it. Added to that the polished nickel ferrule and the black vulcanite stem was beautiful. This rugged Classic Peterson’s Rusticated Barrel is nice looking and the pipe feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 inch, Chamber diameter: 5/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 26grams/.92oz. It is a beautiful pipe and one that I am going to hold on to in memory of my good friend and smoke in his memory. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. This is another beautiful pipe that will join the Tankard in my collection. I plan on holding on to the pair of them in memory of my good friend and every time I smoke them they will remind me of him.

Breathing Life a Peterson’s Republic Era Rusticated Tankard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen is a Peterson’s Rusticated Tankard pipe. This Tankard has a dark coloured stain on a very rustic finish around the bowl sides and short shank. It is also incredibly dirty. It also came to us from the estate of Anglican minister that was a great friend of mine here in Canada. The Tankard had a nickel ferrule on the shank that was in great condition. The finish on the bowl sides was dirty. It was stamped on the heel of the bowl and read Peterson’s [over] Tankard. Under that it is stamped Made in the Republic of Ireland in three lines. The nickel ferrule does not have any stamping on it. There was a moderate cake in the bowl and light spattering of lava on the rim top and the inner edge of the bowl. The stem was lightly oxidized and had light tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside on and near the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before his cleanup work. They tell the story and give a glimpse of the promise that we see in this pipe. Jeff took photos of the rim top and stem to show the general condition of the pipe. The bowl is lightly caked and the rim top and edges have some light lava overflow. The stem is lightly oxidized and has light tooth marks on the top and underside near the button.  Jeff took some photos of the bowl sides and heel to show the amazing rustication that was around this bowl. It is a nice looking pipe.    He took photos of the underside of the shank to show the stamping. The stamping is readable in the photo below and is as noted above. He also took a photo of the band. 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 Pipe” by Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg to get some background on the Tankard Pipe. On page 313 it had the following information what they called the Specialty Briars. I have summarized the various pipes that were part of the Specialty Briars below and have also included the description of the Tankard itself.

The Tankard pipe was part of a line of Specialty Briars (1945-) which was a term used to describe the following lines: Lightweight, Junior, Churchwarden, Barrel, Tankard, Calabash, Belgique  and Giant.

Tankard (1945-) P-lip or fishtail mouthpiece, smooth or rustic finish, sandblast offered in 1970

I knew that I was dealing with a Republic Era pipe made between 1950 and the present. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

 Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. 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 worked on the rim top lava and darkening with the soap and tooth brush. He scrubbed the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. 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 when it arrived.     I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show how well it had cleaned up. The rim top looked very good. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the light tooth marks on the surface near the button.    I took a photo of the stamping on the heel of the bowl. You can see that it is stamped as noted above. It is clear and readable.  I took the pipe apart and took a photo of the pipe. It is a good looking pipe and has a rugged rustication around the bowl. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process.     I polished out the light tooth marks on the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I am excited to finish this Republic Era Peterson’s Special Series Tankard. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I also hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the rugged rustication all around it. Added to that the polished nickel ferrule and the thin black vulcanite stem was beautiful. This rugged Classic Peterson’s Tankard is nice looking and the pipe feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 inch, Chamber diameter: 5/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 25grams/.85oz. It is a beautiful pipe and one that I am going to hold on to in memory of my good friend and smoke in his memory. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.

Breathing Life a Peterson’s of Dublin 2001 “Sterling Silver” 53 Lovat


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen is smooth finished Peterson’s “Sterling Silver” pipe. This one is a 53 Lovat that has a rich coloured finish with amazing grain around the bowl sides and shank. It is also incredibly dirty. It also came to us from the estate of Anglican minister that was a great friend of mine here in Canada. I was in the airport in Hong Kong when his daughter contacted me to tell me of his death and asked if I wanted to take on his pipes. I told her that I was sad to hear of his death but would gladly take on his pipes to restore and sell.

This Lovat had a badly oxidized silver band on the shank. The grime on the finish was ground into the finish on the bowl sides. The contrast of the brown stains the grain really pop. It was stamped on the left side of the shank and read Peterson’s [over] of Dublin [over] Sterling [over] Silver. It was stamped on the right side with the shape number 53. The tarnished band is stamped with K&P in shields [over] Sterling Silver. That was followed by three hallmarks – the seated woman, the harp and the italic letter Q. It was in filthy when he brought it to the table. The finish was dirty with grime ground into the briar sides and rim. There was a moderate cake in the bowl and light spattering of lava on the rim top and the inner edge of the bowl. The stem was lightly oxidized and had light tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside on and near the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before his cleanup work. They tell the story and give a glimpse of the promise that we see in this pipe. Jeff took photos of the rim top and stem to show the general condition of the pipe. The bowl is moderately caked and the rim top and edges have some light lava overflow. The stem is lightly oxidized and has light tooth marks on the top and underside near the button.    Jeff took some photos of the bowl sides and heel to show the amazing grain that was around this bowl. It is a nice looking pipe.  He took photos of the sides of the shank to show the stamping. The stamping is readable in the photos below and is as noted above. He also took a photo of the band.     I am including the link to the 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 always like to date the year a pipe was made while I am working on it. In the process of working on a pipe if I can pin down a date that it was made that it adds another dimension to the restoration process. Once I have identified the hallmarks on the pipe then I use a Hallmark chart to pin the date down. In the case of Peterson’s pipe with a silver band I use a hallmarking chart that Peterson included in their catalogs and on their website

I have a copy of the hallmark charts in one of the Peterson catalogs that I have uploaded to the blog on rebornpipes. I turned to that chart to lock down the date letter for the Sterling Silver Lovat that I am working on. Here is the link to the site (https://rebornpipes.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/peterson-cataloguecomp_page_27.jpg).

The chart defines the meaning of each hallmark on the silver band. The first one is of a seated woman with a harp is known as the Hibernia stamp and identifies the pipe as made in Ireland. The second stamp is a crowned harp which is a fineness mark denoting the high quality of silver that was used. The third stamp is the italic letter Q. I have included a larger screen capture of the section on the third column of the chart in the photo below.

I have drawn a square around the date letter below. It identifies the date of this Peterson’s pipe to 2001.I knew that I was dealing with a pipe that the hallmarks date to 2001. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. 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 worked on the rim top lava and darkening with the soap and tooth brush. He scrubbed the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. 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 when it arrived. It has been sitting here for 2 years so the silver tarnished once again and would need to be polished.  I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show how well it had cleaned up. The rim top had some looked quite good and the inner edge had damage on the back. It should clean up really well. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the light tooth marks on the surface near the button.  I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. You can see that it is stamped as noted above. It is clear and readable.  I polished the Sterling Silver band on the shank with some Silver Polish and a jeweler’s cloth to remove the tarnish and polish it.I took the pipe apart and took a photo of the pipe. It is a good looking pipe and has a rugged rustication around the bowl. I decided to address the out of round bowl first. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to give the inner edge of the bowl a slight bevel to accommodate the burned areas and blend them into the surrounding briar.    I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad.     I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process.      I set the bowl aside to turn my attention to the stem. The stem was in excellent condition other than a deep tooth mark in the underside near the button. I filled it in with some clear super glue to repair it. I sanded out the repair on the underside of the stem next to the button and the chatter on the topside with 220 grit sandpaper until they were smooth. I started   polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.   I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine.  I am excited to finish this Peterson’s of Dublin “Sterling Silver” 53 Lovat. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the rugged rustication all around it. Added to that the polished Sterling Silver band and the black vulcanite stem was beautiful. This smooth Classic Peterson’s Lovat is nice looking and the pipe feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 34grams/1.20oz. It is a beautiful pipe and one that will be on the Irish Pipe Makers section of the rebornpipes store soon. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.

Rebirthing a Lovely Peterson’s Kapet 264 Canadian


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen is another smooth Peterson’s Canadian. It was also incredibly dirty. It came to us from the same estate of Anglican minister that was a great friend of mine here in Canada. I was in the airport in Hong Kong when his daughter contacted me to tell me of his death and asked if I wanted to take on his pipes. I told her that I was sad to hear of his death but would gladly take on his pipes to restore and sell.

This Canadian is a real beauty with some great grain around the bowl. The grime was ground into the finish on the bowl sides. The contrast of the brown stains gave the grain a sense of depth. It was stamped on the topside of the shank and read Peterson’s [over] Kapet. The right side had the shape number 264 stamped near the bowl. The underside of the shank is stamped Made in the Republic of Ireland (in three lines). There was a moderate cake in the bowl and a light overflow of lava on the inner edge of the rim at the back. The stem was lightly oxidized, calcified and had light tooth marks, chatter and scratches on the top and underside on and near the button. There is a faint P stamped on the top near the shank/stem junction. Jeff took photos of the pipe before his cleanup work. They tell the story and give a glimpse of the promise that we see in this pipe. Jeff took photos of the rim top and stem to show the general condition of the pipe. The bowl is moderately caked and the rim top and edges have a thick lava overflow. The photos of the stem show that it was oxidized and has light tooth marks on the top and underside near the button.   Jeff took a photo of the bowl sides and heel to show the grain that was around this bowl. It is a nice looking pipe.     He took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It is clear and readable and reads as noted above.   I turned to “The Peterson Pipe” by Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg to get some background on the Kapet line. On page 305 it had the following information.

Kapet (1925-87) Line first described in 1925 brochure and featured in occasional catalogs through ’87. Early specimens will be stamped IRISH over FREE STATE. Described in 1937 catalog as available in dark plum or natural finish. Featured an aluminum “inner tube” or stinger until ’45. Mid-century specimens may be stamped MADE IN over IRELAND. Specimens from 1970 on may have mounts with hallmarks.

I knew that I was dealing with a Republic Era Kapet. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. 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 worked on the rim top lava and darkening with the soap and tooth brush. He scrubbed the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. 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 when it arrived. I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show how well it had cleaned up. The rim top photo looks very good and there is some slight darkening on the back top and beveled edge. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the light tooth marks and scratching on the surface near the button.      I took photos of the stamping on the top and underside of the shank. You can see that it is stamped as noted above. It is clear and readable.       I took the pipe apart and took a photo of the pipe. It is a good looking pipe and has some great cross grain on the front and back of the bowl. I polished the briar bowl and shank with micromesh sanding pads. I dry sanded it with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped it down with a damp cloth after each pad.      I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I filled in the tooth marks on both sides of the stem with clear super glue. I let the repairs cure. Once they had cured I sanded out some tooth marks on the underside of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I wiped it down with some Obsidian Oil.      I touched up the “P” stamp on the stem with Rub’n Buff Antique Gold. I worked it into the stamp with a toothpick. I let it sit for a few minutes then buffed it off with a cotton pad. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine.     I am excited to finish this Peterson’s Kapet 264 Canadian. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the polished nickel band and the black vulcanite stem. This Classic looking Peterson’s Kapet Canadian feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼  inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 33grams/1.16oz. It is a beautiful pipe and one that will be on the Irish Pipe Makers section of the rebornpipes store soon. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.

Breathing Life a Peterson’s of Dublin, “Dublin Castle” 03 Bent Apple


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen is smooth finished Peterson’s Sandblast Bent apple pipe. This one is a 03 Bent Apple that has a medium coloured finish with a great sandblast around the bowl sides and shank. It is another of those pipes that neither Jeff nor I remember where we picked it up. It is a bit of a mystery pipe. This apple has a silver band on the shank that was badly oxidized. It was stamped on the underside of the shank and read Peterson’s [over] of Dublin [over] Dublin Castle followed by the shape number 03. The tarnished band is stamped with Peterson’s [over] of Dublin. That was followed by three hallmarks – the seated woman, .925 and the upper case italic letter B. Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual which generally means it came to me in a box of cleaned pipes. 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 worked on the rim top lava and darkening with the soap and tooth brush. He scrubbed the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. 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 good when it arrived. I took the following photos.  I took photos of the rim top and stem to show the general condition of the pipe. The bowl is very clean and the rim top and edges look to be in excellent condition. The stem is clean with some light tooth marks on the top and underside near the button. The P stamp on the stem is washed out but it is visible.  I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. You can see that it is stamped as noted above. It is clear and readable. I took the pipe apart and took a photo of the pipe. It is a good looking pipe and has a rugged rustication around the bowl. I polished the Sterling Silver band on the shank with a jeweler’s silver polish to remove the tarnish so that I could read the hallmarks that were present. Before I start working on the pipe I wanted to gather some information on the brand and on the silver hallmarks. I am also 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 turned to “The Peterson Pipe” by Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg to get some background on the Dublin Castle line. On page 298 it had the following information.

Dublin Castle (2012- ) Walnut-contrast line, sandblast with a sterling band, hot-foil P on the mouthpiece.

I turned to the hallmarking chart on one of the blogs on rebornpipes to lock down the date for the pipe           ( Petersons Hallmarking Chart). The chart defines the meaning of each hallmark. The first one of the seated woman with a harp is known as the Hibernia stamp and identifies the pipe as made in Ireland. The second stamp is a fineness mark denoting the high quality  of silver that was used. In October of 1992 the stamp was replaced by the new European Standard or Millesimal mark which gives the purity or quality of the silver in parts per thousand. The third stamp is the italic letter B. I have included a larger screen capture of the chart in the lower left of the photo below. I have drawn a square around the date letter below. It identifies the date of this Peterson’s pipe to 1987.I knew that I was dealing with a Peterson’s Dublin Castle pipe made in 1987 as noted by the hallmarks on the silver. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth marks on the stem next to the button with 220 grit sandpaper until they were smooth. I started   polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I touched up the “P” stamp on the stem with Rub’n Buff Antique Gold. I worked it into the stamp with a toothpick. I let it sit for a few minutes then buffed it off with a cotton pad.    I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine.  I am excited to finish this Peterson’s of Dublin, Dublin Castle 03 Bent Apple. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it on the wheel with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfibre cloth to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with colours of the sandblast all around it. Added to that the polished Sterling Silver band and the black vulcanite stem made it beautiful. This sandblast Classic Peterson’s Apple is nice looking and the pipe feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions 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 48grams/1.69oz. It is a beautiful pipe and one that will be on the Irish Pipe Makers section of the rebornpipes store soon. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.

 

Rebirthing a Peterson’s of Dublin Shannon 05 Calabash


Blog by Steve Laug

Today is another interesting day for me to work on pipes. It is Boxing Day and the sprained wrist is better than it was yesterday and the wrist brace really helps. I am slowed down a bit by it, but I have not stopped. The next pipe I have chosen is another Peterson’s of Dublin Calabash. It is a great looking pipe. It came to us from an EBay auction in 2017 from Riverton, Utah, USA. The grime was ground into the smooth finish on the bowl sides. The contrast of the brown stains gave the grain a sense of depth. It was stamped on the left side of the shank and read Peterson’s [arched over] of Dublin [over] Shannon. On the right side of the shank it bore the stamp 05 which is the shape number. This pipe must have been another favourite as it had been well smoked. There was a moderate cake in the bowl a light overflow of lava and darkening on the rim top. The edge of the bowl looked very good. The stem was acrylic and had light tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside on and near the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before his cleanup work. They tell the story and give a glimpse of the promise that we see in this pipe.   Jeff took photos of the rim top and stem to show the general condition of the pipe. The bowl is moderately caked and the smooth rim top and edges have a lava overflow obscuring the inner edge. The photos of the acrylic stem show the light tooth marks on the top and underside near the button.   Jeff took a photo of the bowl sides and heel to show the blast that was around this bowl. There were some nicks in the sides but overall it is a nice looking pipe.    He took photos of the stamping on the shank. It is clear and readable and reads as noted above.   From what I could find online on a variety of sites that sell the Shannon line they all seem to agree that it was designed for those who prefer classic shapes free from adornments. The line is among Peterson’s most reserved finishes, defined by a familiar walnut stain and a jet-black acrylic stem. (This perfectly matches the pipe I am working on.)

Now to see what else I could learn and verify that information I turned to Pipedia and found a section on the Shannon line (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Peterson). I quote the section in full below.

During the 1970’s Peterson had a large display of pipes in the Shannon Airport Duty Free Shop for passengers. These were on display in a floor cabinet measuring approximately 6 ‘x 3’. Shannon airport outlet sold a considerable amount of pipes during its period of existence, covering all qualities, from the basic entry level Aran series up to the De Luxe Systems. They also stamped some mid range pipes with the mark ‘SHANNON’. This was only for pipes issued and sold from Shannon airport and was not the same as the present day Shannon series.

The last sentence left me with a question about the pipe in hand. Was it part of the Shannon Airport pipes or was it part of the present day Shannon Series? I turned to “The Peterson Pipe” by Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg to get some background on the Shannon line. On page 312 it had the following information.

Shannon (1969-c1987) – First offered as an entry-grade line in walnut or black sandblast. In 1969-c1970, offered through Iwan Ries as Shannon Meerschaum Lined, middle-grade sandblast and higher grade brown sandblast finish, P-lip mouthpiece. From 2005 as polished tan-and-black stain, unmounted, P-lip or fishtail mouthpiece with stamped gold P on vulcanite mouthpiece.

There was also a listing on page 299 for Shannon Airport. It read as follows:

For Shannon Airport (c.d1947-c1983) – Stamp on shank of pipes in several grades, indicated that the pipe was designated to be sold by Duty Free Shops at the Shannon Airport.

It is interesting that most of the info on the Shannon pipe and the Shannon Airport pipe seems to be parallel. It also seems to me that Mark and Gary do not make the distinction very clear on the two. They also note that the pipe had a black vulcanite stem with a gold “P” stamped on it as this one does but the pipe I am working on has an acrylic stem as noted in the opening paragraph of this section.

I wrote to Mark for some clarity about the pipe I had in my hand. Here is his response

Hey Steve,

Merry Christmas to you, too, good sir! The SHANNON AIRPORT stamp refers to an agreement K&P had for duty-free export pipes at the airport, which had to have that stamp to qualify for whatever tax-free status they had. SHANNON, on the other hand, was a distinct line of Classic Range pipes. The SHANNON AIRPORT pipes could be any K&P pipe–System, Classic Range, whatever. The SHANNON was strictly a Classic Range, following the guidelines on p. 312.

Hope that helps, and joy to you in this Christmas Season–

Mark

In a follow up email to Mark with photos he responded as follows:

This shape was introduced in 1984, by the way. The beauty of the grain would indicate an earlier release, as K&P always culled their best bowls right out of the box, saving lesser grain for later on. I know it has at least one fill, or it would have been a De Luxe.

I knew that I was dealing with a Shannon that was part of the Classic Line made between 1984 and 1987. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. 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 worked on the rim top lava and darkening with the soap and tooth brush. He scrubbed the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior with Soft Scrub and washed it off with warm water to remove the debris and soap. The pipe looked very good when it arrived. I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show how well it had cleaned up. The rim top looks very good in the photo with only one small sandpit on the right side of the top mid rim. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the light tooth marks on the surface near the button.   I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. You can see that it is stamped as noted above.     I took the pipe apart and took a photo of the pipe. It is a good looking pipe and has a great grain pattern on the bowl. I polished the bowl and the rim top with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped down the briar between each pad to remove the sanding debris.  I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process.   I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I am excited to finish this Peterson’s of Dublin Shannon 05 Calabash. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished smooth rim top and the sandblast bowl looks like with the black acrylic taper stem. This Classic looking Peterson’s of Dublin Shannon Calabash feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 44grams/1.52oz. It is a beautiful pipe and one that has already been claimed by a good friend. I will be shipping it to him on Tuesday. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.

A Mobile Christmas Vacation Restoration of an Exquisite Fratelli Rossi Century Old Briar Billiard


Blog by Dal Stanton

This Rossi of Italy, along with several other pipes, were donated to The Pipe Steward from a good friend and pipe man, Dave Shain, who I worked with in Ukraine several years ago.   Dave also restores pipes and has a great website, http://www.ThePipery.com and regularly produces live podcasts opining the latest tobaccos, pipes and also critiques on cigars he’s tried out.  In 2017, Dave won the Master of Pipes award from the Chicago Pipe Collectors Club for his restoration work and charitable activities through The Free Pipe Project where Dave spearheads a program to send quality restored pipes to servicemen serving their country.  A few years ago, I visited Dave where he lives near Atlanta, Georgia, and we had a great time renewing our relationship.  He showed me his workshop, pipes and tobacco collection, and of course, we settled down in the ‘Barn’ flanked by a vintage Ford pickup – his Man Cave, to share a bowl or two.  It was a great reunion!  I left with a tin of his aged Escudo which continues to age today and several pipes he wanted me to restore for the Daughters of Bulgaria, which I was more than happy to do.  Thanks again, Dave!

The pipe now on my Christmas Vacation mobile worktable in Port St. Lucie, Florida, is a Fratelli Rossi.  Chris, a pipe man from Argo, Alabama, saw some of my other restorations posted on a popular FB Group,  Pipe Lifestyle, and decided to take a look at the For “Pipe Dreamers” Only! collection.  He reached out to me with 4 contenders that he desired to commission.  In the end, he commissioned the Rossi now on the table and a Cadogan era GBD London Made – Made in London England C789 Pot.  Without a doubt, Chris has learned the meaning of patience that I ask of all commissioners when they commission pipes!  He commissioned them before my wife and I moved from Sofia, Bulgaria, to Golden, Colorado, and so he’s been waiting a while for his pipes to work up the queue to the worktable.  Thanks, Chris!

When I first received this lot of pipes from Dave during that visit to the Atlanta, Georgia, area, I took pictures of each.  Here are the pictures of an attractive Fratelli Rossi Billiard now on the table with a make-shift rustic cardboard backing!   The nomenclature is crisp and clear on the shank.  On the left is stamped FRATELLI [over] *ROSSI*.  The text is old world print and stars flank both sides of Rossi.  The inlaid ‘Rossi’ brass stem rondel is reminiscent of GBD’s pre-Cadogan era rondels.   The right flank of the shank is stamped, CENTURY OLD BRIAR [over] ITALY.  The pipe itself is an attractive pipe with distinctive briar grain.  It is a medium sized classic Billiard shape with the dimensions: Length: 5 1/2 inches, Height: 1 11/16 inches, Rim width: 1 3/16 inches, Chamber width: 3/4 inches, and a Chamber depth: 1 1/2 inches.   When I read this part of the nomenclature after the pipe finally made it to the worktable, I did a double-take.  It reminded me of another pipe that made a similar claim on the nomenclature and my first response was to write it off as hype.  That pipe turned out to be a diamond in the rough – a Gasparini M.G.M. Rock Italy Briar 1912 – 25 FreehandThe claim was that the briar on this Gasparini was harvested in 1912 which turned out not to be hype, but the reality.  The Rossi claim is similar, the briar being used to fashion this pipe, at whatever point it was manufactured by Rossi, was from briar that was in the curing process for at least 100 years.  That is not only a great claim that points to a nice piece of briar but increases the collectibility value of this Billiard. 

With the question of the “claim” of Century Old Briar, I turn my focus to finding out more about the Rossi name and hope that I can find out more about the claim.  This is the first Rossi that I’ve worked on so doing some research on the origins of the name deepens my appreciation for the pipe on my worktable.  It doesn’t take much effort to uncover a plethora of information about the Rossi name.  I am fascinated by the story and I decide to repeat the somewhat lengthy but interesting and thorough historical focused Pipedia Rossi article here:

In the years around 1870 and still later the bulk of Italian pipes was made by time taking and laboriously manual work. Mainly based on families who sold their pipes to travelling purchasers handing them on to some wholesaler. Most pipes were still made of box or olive wood.

 Ferdinando Rossi from Milan was one of the most important wholesalers for tobacco related goods of northern Italy. When he attended one of his pipe suppliers in Saint-Claude in 1880 he got hooked on the idea to establish this manner of industrialized briar pipe production in Italy as well. Rossi went abroad several times to buy the hardware here and there because the special features of machines for pipe making were secrets – well kept by the French in those days. Many machines and tools had to be modified on Rossi’s defaults.

He acquired a large area of land in Barasso in the province of Varese and founded the Fabbrica di Pipe di Radica Rossi in 1886. For sure there was no lack of skilled workers and Rossi personally recruited 30 craftsmen of different occupations from the environment to get started. After a few years the enterprise had developed well and entered into export trades. In 1892 e.g. the ledgers registered the first pipes shipped to Brazil.

One reason of success was the ultramodern conception of the factory and its equipment at the given time. To give an example: a system of canals invented by Rossi drove water to turbines propelling downstream generators, which supplied the entire machinery with electricity. Also lighting and heating were already electrically operated.

In the first years after 1900 Rossi grew steadily and became one of the ten biggest pipe manufacturers of the world. Rossi’s rapid ascent produced further foundations of pipemaking firms in the area around the Lake of Varese.

  • 1897 Gerolamo Ceresa (starting as subcontractor for Rossi) in Cassano Magnano
  • 1900 Fratelli Lana in Gallarate (bought by Tagliabue in 1922)
  • 1910 Stefano Santambrogio (working with Lana and with Rossi before) in Groppello di Gavirate
  • 1911 Federico, Carlo, Cornelio and Francesco Rovera (all working for Rossi before) even there.

 So, the province of Varese became the most important center of Italy’s pipemaking industry after the turn of the century. Still going strong today along with the brands in the provinces of Como and of Pesaro.

From 1918 on Leonida Rossi supported his father in the management of the company. Later he was designated as chairman and joined by his brothers. Rossi now firmed as Fratelli Rossi Barasso shortly FRB.

Between the world wars Rossi finally promoted to be the biggest pipe factory in the entire world. Next to the domestic market in Italy the United States were the most important client.

The factory was systematically and consequently modernized and extended. The briar was stored in 18 sheds, which were arranged six by six in three rows. There was a power plant, a sawing mill, a department for ebonite mouthpieces as well as a department for horn mouthpieces, a department for filter tubes and one for fittings made of metal etc. Taken for its size practically any of these individual departments outmatched any other complete pipe factory in Italy! At the end of the production line stood a warehouse for the finished pipes featuring the dimensions of a big a department store.

The absolute peak of production was reached in 1936, the year of Rossi’s 50th anniversary. Rossi employed 860 persons – 95% of them were women – who turned out more than 50,000 pipes per day. Per day!

(Remember, those were the days when good restaurants offered a free pipe to the gentleman to end a fine meal with a fine smoke!) These numbers were never reached by any other manufacturer. Even not approximately.

Rossi is also credited with exemplary social features. The company maintained a well equipped hospital ward, the employees enjoyed large dining rooms and showers after work. There were shops where they could buy the products of some Rossi owned farms from the environment at subsidized prices. For the youngest children there was a kindergarten and the elder ones could spend their school vacations in a holiday camp named after the founder’s wife Marisa.

From appr. 1946 up to the end Ferdinando Rossi II, a grandchild of the founder, headed the company. But after World War II the world of the pipe changed dramatically. Especially in Italy, where those big pipe factories mainly turned out pipes for the lower priced segments of the international mass markets. The demand for these pipes shrunk considerably as more and more smokers turned to cigarettes. Rossi got into this vortex as well. Little by little the number of pipes produced sank. This evolution was accelerated by the upcoming fame of pipes from Denmark. As well, new Italian brands established after the war like Castello, Brebbia or little later Savinelli operated cleverer and thus were more successful.

So, the decline went on through the 1960’s and 1970’s, even though Rossi offered more than 800 possible shapes in dozens of lines and uncounted finishes. Besides the completely machine-made pipes there were also some lines of semi-freehands and even quite considerable freehands were made. But all these efforts could not stop the fall anyway. Due to increasing financial difficulties Rossi closed down in 1985, just one year before the 100th anniversary.

“Ferdinando Rossi was one of the pioneers in bringing the production of briar pipes to Italy, a contemporary of Achille Savinelli. And though the two were competitors in business, in their private lives they enjoyed a close friendship. So it came to be that, just shy of a century after its founding, the Rossi family’s marque came into the caretaking of Savinelli, after the former found itself unable to adapt to the changes in the post-WWII tobacciana market. This same old friendship is also one of the reasons why Savinelli has been keen to give the Rossi name new life, as Rossi by Savinelli, focusing on quality, affordable Italian pipes.” Courtesy, smokingpipes.com

The heights to which the Italian pipe manufacturing enterprise of Rossi reached in 1936, of a workforce of 860 and a production pace of 50,000 pipes per day is astounding.  The decline of the company, especially in the 60s and 70s, is in stark contrast to the earlier entrepreneurial vision of Ferdinando Rossi who built the company into an empire.  The last paragraph above is important.  It references from Smokingpipes.com, what seems like the epitaph of the Rossi Company that closed its doors in 1985 – “unable to adapt to the changes in the post-WWII tobacciana market”.  The Rossi name was taken over by Savinelli because of the friendship of the founders of these two competing Italian enterprises and Savinelli’s respect for Rossi motivated the continued production of pipes with the Rossi name.   I find this factoid not only to be interesting but quite remarkable.

The same Pipedia article concludes with a section on the dating of Rossi pipes which draws my attention with the focus on the Fratelli Rossi ‘Century Old Briar’ on my table.  I include what is described in Pipedia only the later periods of the Rossi evolution:

From, approximately, Seventies, until 1985, Rossi pipes were marked with “ROSSI”, into an oval (sometimes there was also “ITALY” on the shank); on the stem, there was “ROSSI”. In these years, appeared the signature “Nino Rossi” (in cursive font): he was the last heir of the factory.

When Savinelli took back the production, it is said that first pipes had a twinbore mouthpiece, with “ROSSI” on the stem, and they were marked with “ROSSI” on the shank. Today most of them had 6 mm or 9 mm adapter (also, for the most part, the stem was made by methacrylate, always with “Rossi” on the side).

The lack of a twinbore mouthpiece and what appears to be an older tenon/stinger setup would suggest that the pipe on my table is pre-Savinelli – pre-1985.  There is no mention of a period when ‘Fratelli Rossi’ was used as the nomenclature marking by either Rossi or Savinelli.  In the history above, ‘Fratelli Rossi’ was a son of the founder, Ferdinando Rossi, who in 1918 joined the company with his brother, ‘Leonida’, at which time the new labeling became ‘Fratelli Rossi Barasso’ or abbreviated as, FRB.

Looking to Pipephil.eu’s information about Rossi, it is added that ‘Ferdinando Rossi Junior’ (Nino), was also among the brothers of 1918 and headed the company from 1946 until its closing in 1985.  Pipephil.eu’s panel below shows the evolution or uses of several differing stamping styles and stem displays over the years and 1000s of different lines that were offered by Rossi.  Of interest is the very first example.  The pipe is very similar to the Rossi on the worktable, but the nomenclature is different.  Yet, what is exact is the brass rondel on the stem with ‘Rossi’ in a cursive-like text.  The comment beneath says, “Rossi’s first logo: an inlaid metallic oval disc.”

It’s difficult without more direct information to place a date on the Fratelli Rossi Century Old Briar.  My efforts to find more than anecdotal information about the ‘Century Old Briar’ were unsuccessful.  I found a few Rossi pipes marked ‘Century Old Briar’ for sale on different platforms such as Etsy and eBay.  Much of the ‘info’ given about the pipe on the block was incorrect and someone guessing.  One seller placed the pipe in the 1960s and described the ‘Century Old Briar’ as coming from the warehouse of the famous Savinelli company… Savinelli didn’t come into the Rossi picture until the mid-1980s.

I looked through old catalog listings and searched but found very little information about this specific Rossi nomenclature.  With no more than an informed guess, I would say that the pipe comes from the 60s or 70s based upon the stem’s nickel screw in tenon/stinger.  It predates Savinelli’s involvement it would seem to me.  The information that the brass rondel was the ‘first’ model, doesn’t provide a definite dating, but would confirm a pre-Savinelli dating. Yet, the overall ‘feel’ of the pipe is that it wasn’t manufactured during or before WW2.  The claim to have been produced with ‘Century Old Briar’, I’m inclined to believe based upon the integrity and history of the Rossi name.  So, my sense is that this pipe was produced during the declining years of the Rossi name – 60s, 70s, and perhaps the early 80s before Rossi closed its factory, but was perhaps a special line of high quality briar that included the ‘Fratelli’ name with Rossi and the claim of ‘Century Old Briar’.

With a deeper appreciation for the history of the Rossi name and the heritage that this Fratelli Rossi brings to my table, I take a closer look at what is needed to recommission this pipe for Chris.  The pipe is in good condition.  The stummel shows no fills or major issues.  The only issue I see is what looks like an acrylic-candy apple finish that needs to be removed.  The chamber has moderate cake buildup, and the stem is rough and with moderate oxidation.  I start with the stem. I take a couple additional pictures of the upper and lower stem to show the fuzzy haze of oxidation and wear and tear.  The bit has minor tooth chatter and some marks on the button.    I start by cleaning the airway using pipe cleaners and the smaller diameter shank brushes to clean the airway.  Using isopropyl 99% the airway is cleaned as well as the tight quarters of the nickel screw in stinger.  After a bit of effort, the airway is cleaned up.Next, to address the oxidation in the stem, the Rossi stem joins other pipes in the queue for a soak in Mark Hoover’s Before & After Deoxidizer (www.lbepen.com).  I leave the stem in the soak for several hours to achieve the full benefit of the Deoxidizer.With the stem in the soak, I now address the cake buildup in the chamber.  I take a starting picture showing the moderate cake buildup.The chamber is cleared of the carbon buildup first using 2 of the 4 blade heads of the Pipnet Reaming Kit.  This is followed first by scraping the chamber walls with the Savinelli Fitsall Tool which does a great job cleaning the angles of the chamber floor.  Next, the chamber is sanded with 220 grade sanding paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen.  This gives more leverage and pressure as I sand away the remaining vestiges of carbon.After wiping the bowl with a cotton pad, an inspection of the chamber reveals no problems – all looks great.With the chamber cleared, I use undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap to clean the external briar.  I’m hopeful that the cleaning will possibly make a dent in the sheen of the candy apple finish.  Murphy’s does a good job cleaning the grunge off the surface, but the sheen remains.  I transition the stummel to the sink and continue the cleaning with shank brushes to work on the internal mortise.  With liquid anti-oil dishwashing soap on the brushes, warm water is used to scrub.After thoroughly rinsing the stummel, I go back to the worktable and take these additional pictures to get a closer look.The glossy sheen is now clean, but the sheen continues unabated.  The cleaning does show some thinning in the finish where the raw briar is peeking through.  The first picture shows a gap in the finish on the heel of the bowl and the next pictures show the finish wearing away on the shank.     The rim lip also shows a bit of roughness that should be rectified through minor sanding.My next step is to address the ‘cotton candy’ finish.  It needs to be stripped so that the finish is even and revealing the natural briar underneath the shell.  My personal preference regarding finishes on pipes that create the high glossy shell is that the gloss is fake.  It is not the natural briar showing off but a shell of sorts which does protect the briar, but the sacrifice is an artificial gloss.  My goal is to remove the gloss and hopefully retain the patina of the ‘Century Old Briar’ which can stand on its own.  It is a beautiful block of wood!   I first attempt, which I’m not hopeful of from the outset, is simply to wipe the bowl surface with a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 99%.  This does not phase the finish.The next step is to place the stummel in a soak of isopropyl 99%.  My experience is that this will also not do the job, but I do not have on hand acetone in the supplies of my mobile Christmas worktable in Port St. Lucie.  Acetone will probably be the only thing that will break down the finish.  I decide to soak the stummel overnight in isopropyl 99% to see if it does the job, but I plan to go to the store tomorrow morning to pick up acetone.The stem has been soaking in Before & After Deoxidizer now for several hours. After fishing out the stem and letting it drain off – using my fingers to squeegee the remaining Deoxidizer, I use pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 99% to clear the airway of Deoxidizer.  While the stem was draining, I noticed for the first time that the nickel stinger was in fact inserted into the metal barrel and not one piece!  After wrapping the stinger with paper towel, I gently gripped the stinger with needle nosed pliers and coaxed the stinger out!  What a wonder and thankfulness for small things.  With the airway now clear of the stinger, the cleaning of the airway is more productive and easier!  I also wipe off the stem with cotton pads and alcohol to clear away the raised oxidation.I wasn’t satisfied with the results of the deoxidation process after a closer look.  There remains deep oxidation that I can see with the eye and only visible with the aperture open on the camera.After just perusing Steve’s latest posting of a very nice blasted No Name Danish, (See: The Sandblast on this No Name Hand Made in Denmark Freehand is Incredible) I noticed that Steve used Soft Scrub with cotton pads to address the oxidation with the fancy stem he was working on.  Taking his cue, I did the same and I like the results.  It took some intensive scrubbing, but the results are better.I finish the stem clean up by applying paraffin oil to the vulcanite to rejuvenate and condition it.The next morning, the brownish hue floating in the alcohol indicates that some progress has happened through the night soak.After fishing out the stummel and inspecting, with the sheen still shining and with patches of bare briar still silhouetted against old finish, I grab the keys and head to the store to purchase acetone.Having the right tools and supplies is key to any job – not just pipe restoration!  When arriving home, I open the acetone and place a small amount on 0000 grade steel wool.  I then gently apply the acetone-wetted steel wool over the stummel with the hope that the shiny shell will break down allowing the unadorned briar patina to be exposed.I was able to observe immediately the removal of the finish as the wood dulled.  I apply the steel wool over the entire stem removing the shell as I go.  I complete the project by wiping the stummel with a cotton pad wetted with acetone.  I’m pleased with the results.  The basic hue of the briar’s patina remains intact.  Sometimes, after using acetone, the briar seems bleached which probably indicates that the stummel was colored with a dye.  This stummel looks like it received a hot oil treatment and was then covered with the shellac-like shell to protect it.   A quick picture of my Christmas Vacation worktable on the balcony of my mother’s condo in Florida, with a bit of Plum Cake in the bowl is very enjoyable!Continuing with the Fratelli Rossi stummel.  It’s time to let the grain make an appearance.  Using the full regimen of micromesh pads, I begin by wet sanding with pads 1500 to 2400.  Following this, dry sanding is done with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  With each 3-set picture, the briar is teased out and without doubt, this is an exquisite piece of briar.  It appears to be a very high-grade briar with absolutely no fills and displaying beautiful vertical flame grain and bird’s eye on the heel of the stummel as one would expect.   The next step, before again turning to the stem, is to apply Before & After Restoration Balm to the stummel.  Mark Hoover’s product (www.lbepen.com) does a great job bringing out the natural hues of the briar.  After putting a small amount on my finger, the Balm is worked into the briar surface. The initial viscosity of the Balm is cream-like, and it gradually thickens as the Balm is worked.  After applied, I place it aside for about 20 minutes.After 20 minutes, a microfiber cloth is used to wipe off the excess Balm and to buff the surface.  I’m loving the quality of this Rossi stummel.With the stummel on the sideline, the stem is ready to catch up.  I take a few pictures looking closely at the bit.  There is little in the way of tooth chatter, but the vulcanite is rough.     I begin by doing a quick sanding using 240 sanding paper and refreshing the button with the flat needle file. The button lips over time have rounded.  I like a crisp lip to allow the free hang function of the button to work.  A plastic disc I fabricated is used to guard against shouldering the edge of the stem facing during the 240 sanding.  The 240 sanding is followed by first wet sanding with 600 grade paper and then applying 0000 grade steel wool to the entire stem.   With the heavier duty sanding completed, the stem is sanded with micromesh pads.  From pads 1500 to 2400 the stem is wet sanded and then dry sanded with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 120000.  Between each set of 3 pads, Obsidian Oil is applied to guard against future oxidation and to rejuvenate the stem.  I love the newly micromeshed ‘pop’ that emerges with this Rossi stem.  Now, in the home stretch.  The Fratelli Rossi stem and stummel are reunited to see how things are going.  I find that through the cleaning that the stem is now somewhat overclocked.  I take a picture to show the few degrees out of alignment it is. To remedy this, I use a Bic lighter to heat the nickel screw in tenon which in turn, heats the vulcanite in which it is seated.  As the metal heats, gradually the vulcanite loosens its grip on the tenon.  When this happens, the stem is rejoined with the stummel and as it screws in, I continue to rotate the stem after the tenon tightens with its threads.  I continue to rotate the now loosened stem around the fixed tenon almost 360 degrees until it is aligned properly with the stummel.  The heat and rotate method works like a charm!   Next, Blue Diamond compound is applied to the entire pipe (minus nickel shank facing) with a cotton cloth buffing wheel mounted on the rotary tool at about 40% full power.After the compound is applied, a felt cloth is used to buff the pipe removing vestiges of compound residue left behind.  I do this to prepare for the next step, application of the wax.Another cotton cloth wheel dedicated to application of carnauba wax is mounted onto the rotary tool maintaining 40% full power.  The wax application I treat as frosting on the cake after the primary shining process results from the sanding processes – papers, steel wool, micromesh pads and compound.After application of the wax over the entire pipe, the pipe receives a vigorous hand buffing with a microfiber cloth not only to raise the shine, but to remove excess wax that was not absorbed.

The grain on this Fratelli Rossi is, as I described before, exquisite.  The classic lines of this medium sized Billiard are timeless and will serve his next steward well.  The exact dating of the pipe remains obscure and the claim of ‘Century Old Briar’ is not to be doubted as I look at the pipe’s overall presentation.  Chris had the vision to commission this Rossi and will have the first opportunity to claim him from The Pipe Steward Store benefitting the Daughters of Bulgaria – helping women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks for joining me!