Blog by Steve Laug
A while back I received a small box of pipes from a fellow pipeman who wanted to donate them to support the non-profit organization I work for – the SA Foundation (www.safoundation.com). The organization has been providing long term recovery, housing and job training for women who have escaped sexual exploitation and trafficking. For over thirty years the work has gone on and thousands of young women and their children have been empowered to start over with skills and options. The work is currently in 7 countries and 12 cities around the world. If you are interested give the website a look.
Now back to the pipes. The first one I restored was a large Irish Second 05 Calabash that will be going to the fellow I repaired the cracked one for. This will give him another option to smoke should that one give him further issues. Today I took on a second pipe from the lot. It is a very unique looking Peterson’s Kapet pipe in a shape 124 – a shape I have not seen or worked on before and one that I want to learn about as I worked on it. All of the pipes were in clean condition and had been reamed. This long canted looking pipe that is kind of a cutty had some burn marks on the front and back outer edge of the rim. The bowl was quite clean but I could smell the tobacco. The pipe was stamped on the left side and read Peterson’s [over] Kapet and on the right side it read Made in the Republic of Ireland. There was a silver band on the shank that was oxidized but otherwise in good condition and bears a Sterling Silver stamp on the top side. I think it is an after market band but I do not see any cracks in the shank that would say it was a repair. The stem was lightly oxidized and had tooth chatter on both sides ahead of the P-lip. The gold P stamp on the left side of the stem was faded.
I took some photos of the pipe before I started my clean up work on it. It is a very unique and interesting looking pipe. The bowl is forward canted and has a pencil shank. It is similar in terms of shank and style to the line of Specialty Briars that Peterson put out – the Tankard, the Barrel, the Calabash and the Belgique. It could easily fit in that line of pipes but I would need to do a bit of research to see where it fit. I took photos of the bowl and rim top as well as the stem to show the condition of the pipe. The rim top had burn damage on the top and also damage on the inner and outer edge of the bowl. The stem itself were in good condition other than a few light tooth marks and some chatter.I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It was clear and readable as noted above. The photo of the silver band shows the Sterling Silver Stamp on the top of the band.I removed the stem from the shank and took photos of the look of the pipe. The long pencil stem and shank are really well done and quite stunning. The grain around the bowl is very nice.I turned to an article that Mark Irwin had written on his Petersonpipenotes.org blog on the shape number 124 (https://petersonpipenotes.org/tag/peterson-shape-124/). I have included the first few paragraphs from Mark’s site and encourage you to read it further. Mark also included a shape chart that I have also included below.
This is the short story of a small, pencil-shanked shape that’s peculiarly Irish yet rarely seen, even in the Peterson catalog. The shape’s name seems to depend on what type of stem is attached to the end of the bowl—zulu, churchwarden or dublin.
After World War II, or “The Emergency” as it was known in Ireland, Peterson re-established their trade ties and, like other pipe-makers, found the demand for their pipes even greater than it had been seven years before. At some level of consciousness in the Irish spirit there was a nostalgia for something older and more secure, something that spoke of home, stillness, and rest.
Charles Peterson’s favorite Oversize house pipes, with their 7 and 12-inch mouthpieces, were a thing of distant memory. The smaller-bowled straight “reading pipes” of the Patent Era, which also symbolized a leisurely evening’s smoke at home, were also forgotten. But the ache for what they represented must have returned, eventuating in Peterson’s first batch of Specialty Briars “church wardens,” illustrated in the 1945 catalog and 1947 shape chart with the iconic 124, which Peterson dubbed a “dublin.”From Mark’s article it seemed that the shape came and went over the years. There were long periods where it was not made. Then periodically it came out in the mid 1960s, 1983, 1993-2018. I really think that this pipe is either the mid 1960s era or the 1983 period pipe. Both would fit in the Republic Era. Even the 1993-2018 would also fit that time frame. Now it was time to work on the pipe.
I started my work on the pipe with the interior of the pipe. I cleaned the bowl, the shank and the airway in both the stem and shank with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the interior of the pipe was very clean.I polished the tarnished silver band with a tarnish preventive silver polish until the tarnish was gone and the band shone! It is a pretty addition to this charming pipe.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the briar down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. The briar really began to take on a deep shine by the end of the cycle of pads. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for ten minutes then buffed the bowl with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. I used some Rub’n Buff Antique Gold to touch up the P stamp on the left side of the taper stem. The stamping is faint but still very readable and the gold made it stand out better. I rubbed it into the stamp with a piece of paper clip and then buffed it off with a cotton pad.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. This Republic Era Peterson’s Kapet 124 is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored, whatever you call the shape. The rich, brown stained finish around the bowl is quite beautiful and highlights grain very well. The finish works well with the Sterling Silver shank band and the polished vulcanite taper stem. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Peterson’s Kapet 124 is very light and sits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 ¼ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ inch. The weight of the pipe is 24 grams/.85 ounces. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store shortly in the Irish Pipe Makers Section. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!