New Life for a Republic Era Peterson’s Special 87S Apple

Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen is smooth finished Peterson’s saddle stem Apple pipe. This smooth Apple has a rich coloured 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 contrast of the brown stains makes the mixed grain really pop. It was stamped on the  left side of the shank and read Peterson’s [over] Special. It was stamped to the right of the shank and reads Made in the Republic of Ireland (3 lines) with the shape number 87S next to the bowl. It was filthy when he brought it to the table. The finish was dirty with grime ground into the finish around the sides and rim. There was a thick cake in the bowl and light spattering of lava on the rim top and the inner edge of the bowl. The rim top showed some darkening on the crowned top. The stem was oxidized, calcified and had 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 heavily caked and the rim top and edges have some light lava overflow and some darkening. The stem is oxidized, calcified and has 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 sides of the shank to show the stamping. The stamping is readable in the photos below and is as noted above.   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 (

I turned to “The Peterson Pipe” by Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg to get some background on the Peterson’s System Line. On page 313 it had the following information.

Special Model Name on shank (1975) High grade, very rare, unmounted smooth, walnut stain, P-Lip or fishtail mouthpiece, stamped PETERSON’S over SPECIAL (in script). Brass P in the stem occurs often, but seen on pipes in companion cases earlier in the twentieth century.

Judging from the description above I believe that I am working on one of these high grade rare pipe. It is a late Republic Era Classic Shaped pipe with a walnut finish and a P-Lip stem. 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 to be in good condition with some darkening on the back side and some damage to the inner at that point as well. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the tooth marks on the surface near the button.  I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It reads as noted above.   I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to have a look at the parts and overall look.I decided to address the damage to the back edge of the bowl and the rim top 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 also worked over the darkening on the rim top with the sandpaper.    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 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 stamped “P” on the top of the stem with Rub’n Buff Antique Gold. I pressed it into the stamping with a tooth pick and buffed it off with a soft cloth. It looks much better that when I started.  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 I was able to lift most of them completely or significantly. I sanded what remained 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 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 Special 87S Apple. 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 beautiful flame grain all around it. Added to that the polished Sterling Silver band and the black vulcanite stem was beautiful. This smooth Classic Peterson’s Special 87S Apple is great 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 ¼ 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 39grams/1.38oz. It is a beautiful pipe and one that I will be putting on the rebornpipes store shortly. It will be in the Irish Pipe Maker Section on the store if you would like to add it to your collection. 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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