Blog by Steve Laug
The friend who dropped off the Peterson 1994 POY 999 for repair also dropped off this interesting looking Neerup. [I have written about the restoration of the Peterson POY 999 previously (https://rebornpipes.com/2021/08/12/restoring-a-petersons-of-dublin-1994-pipe-of-the-year-in-a-999-shape/)]. I have several Neerup pipes in my collection but none of them had this thick varnish or urethane coat on them. It was a bit odd in that the top did not have a coat and the top outer edge was also devoid of the shiny coat. There are some odd nicks in the sides of the bowl but they only seem to be in the plastic coat rather than the briar. The pipe has a light cake in the bowl. The rim top has some darkening and lava build up that will need to go. The pipe is stamped on the underside of the shank and reads 3 [over] Neerup in script with a gold foil fill [over] Denmark with gold [over] Structure. The shank end has a acrylic band that matches the stem. The stem has a polished nickel band on the stem and the tenon is Delrin. The acrylic stem has tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. I took close up photos of the rim top and bowl as well as the surfaces of the stem to show their condition. You will see what I noted above.I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above. The number 3 is the only portion of the stamping that does not have gold in the stamp.I removed the stem from the bowl to give a sense of the proportion of the pipe. It really is a nice piece of briar that is well shaped. The acrylic shank adornment and the stem match are a feature that has grown on me as I have worked on it.Even though I have several Neerup pipes I have not spent much time learning about them and their maker. I turned to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Neerup) and read about the maker, Peder Jeppesen. I quote the article that he wrote on Pipedia below and have included the photo of him that was there.
My name is Peder Jeppesen (full name Peder Christian Jeppesen) and my pipemaker name is Neerup, which is an old family name. (Neerup is the family name of one of his grandmothers.) I live with my family in Lejre, near one of the oldest city’s in Denmark called Roskilde.
It has always been my dream of the future to make pipes in my own name and design. (The dream came true when Jeppesen could buy some machinery and other equipment from the closed down pipe factory of Georg Jensen.) Now that this is a reality, I would like to introduce my pipes to all pipe smokers.
Pipe production, together with rock music, is to me a kind of therapy, which gives me good inspiration. I also get great ideas and inspiration when I am fishing, running or biking in the beautiful nature around me.
My pipes are produced in briar from Corsica, Greece or at rare times Morocco. The stems are made in black acrylic, sometimes in Cumberland or amber.
When I am designing a model, I concentrate on the proportions between the bowl, shank and mouthpiece. It’s important that the pipe has a perfect balance
The smoke-qualities in a Neerup pipe are given by a deep and well finished tobacco chamber, the perfectly drilled and centered smoke channel, the stem tenon fit to it’s mortise, and a mouthpiece with plenty of air and a pleasant bit.
To meet my costumer’s demands, I use a lot of time to get ideas for decorations that make my pipes interesting and unique. Nearly all the pipes I make have some kind of decoration on the shank, the stem or at the top of the bowl.
The silver-work I use are made in registered 925 sterling silver, and are hand made by a competent silver and jewel smith. I also use different kinds of exotic wood, that I mix with black rings and art amber, but it’s important to me that the decorations are well fitted and make the pipe beautiful and harmonic.
The finish of the pipes is done by concentrated grinding, sanding, buffing and polishing, that keep the pipe and its colors nice and shiny for a long time.
I hope my pipes will have your attention – all comments are welcome.
Today, working as an independent pipemaker, Jeppesen feels obligated to the art of his instructors and tries to develop this further. Truely in the spirit of Karl Erik Ottendahl and Nørding he is one of these few Danish pipemakers, who, despite of high skills and great experience, offer fine pipes, which can be afforded by average wage-earners. Meanwhile his pipes also found acknowledgment in the United States and Japan.
Now that I had a clear idea about the background to the pipe and the pipemaker I turned my attention to the pipe itself. I decided to remove the thick shiny coat. I broke the shine with 1500 grit micromesh. Once I had broken the finish I wiped the bowl down with acetone on a cotton pad. I was careful not to damage the gold stamping on the underside of the shank or the acrylic shank end. I used the acetone to remove the tar and lava on the rim top at the same time. With the shine removed the grain really is quite stunning. I polished the briar further to remove remnants of the shiny finish. I used micromesh sanding pads and dry sanded with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each bad to check and make sure there was progress. By the end the bowl was taking on a natural shine and the grain really stood out. Sometimes I get so focused on what is in front of me that I can forget some steps! Sheesh!! I finished the polishing then looked at the bowl and smelled it. The pipe was quite dirty. I reamed out the thin cake in the bowl as it was quite crumbly. I used a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife and scraped it back to the walls. I cleaned out the mortise and the airway in the shank and stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. It was a dirty pipe. Man I am glad I remembered when I did. It smells much better at this point. 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 10 minutes, then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Balm did its magic and the grain stood out on the briar.I polished out the tooth marks and chatter with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. It really is a nice looking piece of acrylic. This Neerup Denmark Structure 3 Bent Pot carved by Peder Jeppesen combines a great looking piece of briar with a swirled mix of brown/cream/ivory acrylic stem to make a beautiful pipe. The removal of the thick shiny coat allows the grain to come alive with the polishing and waxing. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. 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 Neerup Structure Bent Pot really is a beauty and fits nicely in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 2.05oz./58grams. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!