Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe I have chosen is smooth finished Peterson’s “Sterling” pipe. This one is part of the Canadian shape family and is what I would call a Lumberman as it has an oval shank and a saddle stem. It is shown as the second pipe in the photo to the left. It has a medium brown 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 Lumberman has a silver band on the shank that was badly oxidized. 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 topside of the shank and read Peterson’s [over] “Sterling”. It was stamped on the underside and read Made in Ireland. The shape number 264 is next to the bowl on the right side. The tarnished band is stamped with K&P in shields [over] Sterling Silver [over] Peterson [over] Dublin. It was in filthy when Jeff brought it to the table. He remembers that the finish was dirty with grime ground into the briar sides and rim. There was a thin 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 but cannot find them. I am including the photos of the pipe as it was when it arrived here. 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.
The Made in Eire era stamps were from 1938 through till 1941. Peterson now stamped their pipes with “Made in Eire” in a circle format with “Made” and “Eire” in a circle with the “in” located in the centre of the circle. This was used during the years of 1938 – 41. Later they stamped their pipes with “Made in Ireland” in a circle format 1945-1947 and still later with “Made in Ireland” in a block format 1947-1949. The “Made in Ireland” block format came in either one line or two lines.
I knew that I was dealing with a Pre-Republic Era pipe made between 1938-1949. The pipe is stamped with the Made in Ireland Block format stamp dating it between 1947-1949 so I am working on an old one. 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. I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. The rim top had some darkening on the back top and the inner edge had burn damage on the front right and back. It was in rough condition. I 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 top and underside of the shank. You can see that it is stamped as noted above. It is faint and readable. I took the pipe apart and took a photo of the pipe. It is a good looking pipe and has some nice looking grain around the bowl. The band was loose on the shank so I removed it and cleaned up the glue that had dried on the shank with alcohol. I applied some all-purpose glue on the shank with a dental spatula and pressed on the band and aligned it with the shank end. I wiped off the excess glue with a damp cloth and set it aside for the glue to cure.I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage to the rim top and smooth out the damage on the bowl edges. Once I finished the rim top and edges looked much better. I polished the Sterling Silver band on the shank with a jeweler’s cloth to remove the tarnish and polish it. I decided to address the darkening around the rim top and the inner edge of the bowl next. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to minimize the darkening and smooth out the inner and outer edges of the bowl. 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 blended a Maple, Cherry and Walnut stain pen to match the rim top to the rest of the surrounding briar. 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 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 Pre-Republic Era Peterson’s “Sterling” 264 Lumberman. 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 grain popping all around it. Added to that the polished Sterling Silver band and the black vulcanite stem was beautiful. This smooth Classic Peterson’s Lumberman 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 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 35grams/1.27oz. 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.