Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe on the work table was a bit of a surprise. I was sorting through the bowls that had accumulated over the past 20+ years with Jeff and pitching the worthless ones. You have to understand the drive that made me keep them around this long was still strong but I need to clean up things here so I asked Jeff to walk through the box of around 50-60 bowls and thin them down. As we went through them we came across a smooth Peterson’s System Standard 313 bowl. It had some interesting grain around the bowl but it also had a lot of damage. The right outer edge of the bowl was burned and damaged and the bowl was completely out of round. It had a thick cake and it was a mess. But there was something about it that caught our eye. The pipe is faintly stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Peterson’s [over] System [over] Standard. On the right side it is faintly stamped Made in the Republic of Ireland and underneath that is the shape number 313. The nickel ferrule is stamped K & P [over] Peterson. The nickel ferrule was also heavily discoloured by oils and tars and the glue holding it in place had long since dried and it was loose. The finish had a lot of grime ground into it and it was very dirty.
I remembered that I had a stem that would fit it perfectly that I had found recently. I found it and fit it on the shank and it was perfect. The stem was oxidized, calcified and had tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the P-lip style button. The “P” stamp on the left side of the saddle was undamaged. After putting it all together, the pipe showed promise but it was very dirty. I took these photos before I started my work on it. I took a photo of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the condition of the rim top and edges. I also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the oxidation, calcification and chatter and tooth marks. He took photos of the stamping on the shank and the nickel ferrule. It reads as noted above and is faint but readable. I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe as a whole. It showed a lot of promise.I am including the information from Pipedia’s article on Peterson pipes. It is a great read in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Peterson). I have included a bit of the pertinent history here.
1950 – 1989 The Republic Era – From 1950 to the present time, the stamp for this era is “Made in the Republic of Ireland” in a block format generally in three lines but two lines have been used with or without Republic being abbreviated.
I knew that I was dealing with a Republic Era pipe made between 1950-1989. It was a smooth Peterson’s System Standard 313 Bent Billiard with nice grain. The finish was stained with a combination of brown stains. Now it was time to work on the pipe.
To start my work on the pipe I reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and took the cake back to bare briar. I followed that by scraping the wall clear of remaining debris with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife. I finished the bowl by sanding the walls with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel. The ferrule was loose so I removed it while I worked on cleaning the internals and externals of the pipe.I cleaned out the shank and the sump in the mortise as well as the airway into the bowl and in the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. It came out quite clean and smelled significantly better.I set the stem aside and decided to address the damage on the rim top and edges before I scrubbed the exterior of the pipe. I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper and started reshaping the inner edge of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I scrubbed the pipe with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime on the bowl and shank. I rinsed it off with warm running water and dried it off with a soft towel. The pictures show the grain around the sides of the pipe. With the briar clean I smeared the shank end with all-purpose glue. I aligned the stamping on the ferrule with the left side of the shank and pressed it on to the shank end. With the ferrule in place and the briar clean it was time to take photos of the pipe. While the rim top still shows damage on the right outer edge and inner edge it is significantly better than it was when I started. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth. I restained the front of the bowl and the rim top with a combination of Walnut and Maple stain pens to blend in the colour of those areas to the rest of the bowl.I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. Earlier in the day I had dropped the stem in a Deoxidizer Bath from Briarville and let it sit most of the day. Once I removed it from the bath it had soaked for about 5-6 hours. I removed it and wiped it down with a paper towel. I worked it over pretty roughly to remove the calcification and oxidation that sat on top of the vulcanite. It came out looking very good. I sanded out the damage on the shank end of the stem where the previous pipe bowl and ferrule had cut a groove. I also sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I touched up the “P” stamp on the left side of the stem with Paper Mate Liquid Paper. I applied it with the sponge in the bottle and worked it into the stamp with a tooth pick. Once it dried I scraped off the excess with the tooth pick. The stamp looks very good. I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. This Peterson’s System Standard 313 Bent Billiard with a vulcanite stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The beautiful grain that shines through the polished finish is stunning. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The grain just popped with the wax and the buffing. It is a beauty! The finished Peterson’s System Standard Billiard 313 fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 45gr/1.55oz. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!