Breathing Life into a Peterson’s Republic Era “Wicklow” 24S Saddle Stem Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen is smooth finished Peterson’s Saddle Stem Billiard. This Billiard has a medium brown finish around the bowl sides and shank. The pipe has great grain on the bowl and shank but was dirty. It was stamped on the left side of the shank and read Peterson’s [over] “Wicklow”. On the right side of the shank it is stamped Made in the Republic of Ireland in three lines. Next to the bowl it was stamped with the shape number 24S.  There was a thick cake in the bowl and 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. The “P” stamp on the left side of the saddle stem is clear but had lost colour. 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 a thick lava overflow. The stem is lightly oxidized and has light tooth marks on the top and underside near the button.  It obviously had a Softee Bit on the stem during its lifetime as it left a mark on the stem surface. Jeff took some photos 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 underside of the shank to show the stamping. The stamping is readable in the photos below and is as noted above.     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 turned to “The Peterson Pipe” by Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg to get some background on the Wicklow Pipe. On page 315 it had the following information on the Wicklow pipe.

Wicklow (1969-) First appearance of this line exclusive to Iwan Ries, handmade black sandblast finish with twin bore mouthpiece. In 1987 offered with a matte-brown finish, nickel band and P-lip mouthpiece; in 2011 as a custom line from Smokingpipes.com in a deep-red sandblast finish with a nickel band. In 2014 released for Italy in brown with a sterling band, vulcanite mouthpiece in fishtail or P-lip, hot-foil P.

I knew that I was dealing with a Republic Era pipe made between 1969 and the present. It is bit of anomaly in that it does not match any of the descriptions above. The one I have has a matte-brown finish but does not have a band. It does have a P-lip mouthpiece. It is also a smooth finished pipe and not sandblast. 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 Briarville’s Pipe Stem 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. There was some darkening on the front of the rim top and on the back as 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 sides 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 grain around the bowl. I cleaned up the darkening on the rim top and the damage to the inside edge of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. It looked much better.   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 wiped the stem down with a cotton pad and alcohol and filled in the tooth marks on both sides with clear CA glue. Once the glue dried I sanded the repair with 220 grit sandpaper to blend it into the vulcanite and then started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I touched up the stamping on the “P” with PaperMate Liquid Paper. I pressed it into the stamping with a tooth pick and buffed it off with a soft cotton pad. The product works very well to give new life to the original white stamp. I polished out the light tooth marks on 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 “Wicklow” 24S Saddle Stem Billiard. 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 buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I also hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen 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  black vulcanite saddle stem was beautiful. This shapely Classic Peterson’s Billiard 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: 5 inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inch, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 21grams/.74oz. It is a beautiful pipe and one that I soon put on the rebornpipes store I you are interested in carrying on the pipeman’s legacy. 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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