Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe I have chosen is smooth finished Peterson’s “Sterling” pipe. This one is a classic Peterson’s Pot shaped pipe with a saddle P-lip stem. It has a medium brown coloured finish with amazing grain around the bowl sides and shank. It is also incredibly dirty. This Pot 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 left side of the shank and read Peterson’s [over] Sterling. It was stamped on the left side and read Made in Ireland in a circle. Next to the bowl it is stamped 606S. The heavily tarnished band is stamped with K&P in shields [over] Sterling Silver [over] Peterson [over] Dublin. It was in filthy condition when Jeff brought it to the table. There was a thick cake in the bowl and a spattering of lava on the rim top and the inner edge of the bowl. The stem was 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. 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 on the back of the rim top. 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 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. The stamping on the Sterling Silver band is also readable through the oxidation. 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 turned to “The Peterson Pipe” by Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg to get some background on the Sterling Pipe. On page 314 it had the following information on the line.
Sterling (1949-c1957; 1978-) – Higher grade line with sterling band. Early example, 1949-57, with COM of Made in Ireland forming a circle, were offered to the US market through Rogers Imports and have no hallmark, although until recent years the line carried Peterson’s maker’s mark, the K&P is in separate shields. Models beginning in ’78 with hallmarked dates and a COM stamp of Made in [over] the Republic [over] of Ireland.
I knew that I was dealing with a pipe made between 1949-1957 as shown by the Made in Ireland Circle format stamp. I am working on another older 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 Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer. He washed it off with warm water to remove the deoxidizer. The pipe looked very good when it arrived here. 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. It also had some nicks and scratch on the rim top at the back and on the right. The silver cleaned up well on the band. The stem was clean and the tooth marks and chatter were minimal. 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.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 nicks on the rim top and smooth out the inner edge of the bowl. I used a Maple stain pen to match the rim top to the rest of the surrounding briar.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 polished the Sterling Silver band on the shank with a jeweler’s cloth to remove the tarnish and polish it. I sanded out the tooth marks on the top and underside of the stem ahead of the button with 220 grit sandpaper and started polishing 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 Sterling 606S Pot. 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 saddle stem was beautiful. This smooth Classic Peterson’s Pot 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 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 42grams/1.48oz. 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.