New Life for a Peterson’s Republic Era “Donegal” Rocky 411 Rhodesian


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen is a rusticated Peterson’s “Donegal” Rocky 411 Petite Rhodesian that was incredibly dirty. It came to us from an 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 little Rhodesian had a silver band on the shank that was badly oxidized. The grime on the finish was ground into the rustication on the bowl sides. The contrast of the dark stains gave the bowl a sense of depth. It was stamped on the underside of the shank. The stamping was readable. It read “Donegal” [over] Rocky [over] A Peterson Product [over] Made in the Rep. of Ireland. To the left of that last line the shape number 411 was stamped. The band is stamped with K&P in shields [over] Sterling Silver. Unfortunately there were no silver hallmarks on the band that I could see. 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 were two thin bands around the cap on the bowl which led me to call it a Rhodesian. There was a thin cake in the bowl but no overflow 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 were clean. The stem is 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 rugged 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 photos below and is as noted above. He also took a photo of the band. (There is some slight damage to the outer edge of the band on the left side at the stem joint.)    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 knew that I was dealing with a Republic Era pipe made between 1950-1989. The K&P mark on the silver band ties to Kapp & Peterson brings the date to the time between 1950-1964. 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 and edges look quite good.  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 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 rugged rustication around the bowl. You can also see the twin rings at the cap on the bowl.I polished the Sterling Silver band on the shank with a jeweler’s cloth to remove the tarnish and polish it. 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 a little while 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 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 “Donegal” Rocky 411 Straight Rhodesian. 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 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 rusticated Peterson’s Petite Rhodesian 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: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 5/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 28grams/.99oz. 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.

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