Rebirthing a Lovely Peterson’s Aran 268 Zulu

Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen is smooth Peterson’s Zulu. 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 Zulu came with a nice nickel band on the shank end that was factory fitted to the stamping on the shank. 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] of Dublin [over] Aran. The right side had the shape number 268 stamped mid shank. The nickel band was stamped Peterson [over] a stylized P [over] Of Dublin. There was a thick cake in the bowl a light overflow of lava on the rim top. The bowl was slightly out of round on the inner edge. The stem was oxidized, calcified 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 a thick lava overflow. The photos of the stem show that it was oxidized, calcified 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. The photo of the band shows how it was stamped on the nickel and how part of the “P” of Petersons and the “O” from OF is cut off. I turned to “The Peterson Pipe” by Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg to get some background on the Aran line. On page 294 it had the following information.

Aran (1965-) First issue of line described as “handhewn” (rusticated) with black semi-matte finish, in P-lip and fishtail mouthpiece. Second issue 1975, red sandblast, XL shapes. Third issue circa ’97, gold hot-foil P stamped on the mouthpiece, brown semi-matte smooth finish, no band. Fourth issue after 2010, with nickel band, no P stamped on the mouthpiece. Mounted and unmounted versions are available concurrently.

I knew that I was dealing with an Aran from the Fourth Issue of the Aran line that came out after 2010 because of the nickel band and unstamped stem. As such it was one of my friend’s newer pipes. 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 shows some damage on the back side of the rim top and inner edge. 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 top and right side 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 sides of the bowl. I started my work on the pipe by cleaning up the damage on the back of the inner edge and rim top. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the damage. I gave the rim edge a slight bevel to take care of the damage and blend it into the rest of the rim edge.    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 rebuilt area around the air hole in the top of the button with clear super glue. Once the repair cured I sanded out the repair to blend it into the surface of the surrounding area on the P-lip. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I wiped it down with some Obsidian Oil.    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 Aran 268 Zulu. 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 Aran Zulu 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 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.

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