Daily Archives: December 3, 2021

Repairing and Restoring a 2 Star BBB 504 Canadian


Blog by Steve Laug

I received an email on the blog from Tim in Eastern Canada about a pipe he had that he was working on. He wanted some advice regarding how to proceed with the restoration. He had dropped it on his floor and a chip of briar had come out and disappeared. He was uncertain how to proceed next. Here is his first email:

I have an estate BBB 504 Canadian nearly identical to the one currently in your store. It unfortunately has a chipped shank directly where the stem meets it. I was attempting to restore it to a smokeable condition when it slipped out of my hands onto the linoleum. I was so disappointed. I don’t know what to do with it now. Next to a Brigham two dot 214, it’s the best estate pipe I’ve found. Any advice or help would be appreciated.
Thanks,
Tim

I wrote him back and asked him for some photos of the damage so that I could assess how to address the issues on it. Here is my email to Tim.

Hi Tim                                                                                                                                                        Send me a photo please and let me have a look at it.                                                                  Steve

He sent some to me to show me that damages and give me a sense of what had happened. He mentioned that his photos were not the best and did not show the grain very well. Here are the photos that Tim sent to me. Have a look at the damages. After looking it over and reflecting on all the issues, I gave him some options on how to address the issues. The shank was chipped on the top and the underside. The underside was far work with a large chunk of briar missing and a cracking extending up the shank about ½ inch. I suggested that he rebuild the chipped areas with briar dust and super glue. He then could add a band to strengthen the repair and protect it from further cracking. I wrote him back with those options and he responded with the following email.

Hi Steve,

Thanks for the tips. I haven’t got the chipped piece of briar, unfortunately. I was never able to locate it. Also much of this work is beyond my woodworking skill. Maybe some enterprising restorer on a forum wants a challenge and I can trade hum for some leaf. Who knows?   Thanks,

Tim

I responded to Tim and told him to send it my way and I would do the repair for him. This week I received it and today I was able to start working on it. It is indeed a BBB Canadian that is stamped on the top of the shank and reads BBB in a diamond logo [over] **. On the underside of the shank it is stamped Made In England [over] 504. Tim had started his reaming on the pipe but had not progressed to the exterior of the bowl or rim. There was still a lava coat on the rim top and the bowl was slightly out of round. The pipe smelled clean but I would need to clean it further before and after I did the repairs. The chip on the underside of the shank was quite large and included a crack that ran ½ up the shank. The chip on the top side was smaller and more of a dent. The stem was slightly oxidized and there were light tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. I took a photo of the rim top to show the lava coat on the top and the slightly out of round bowl. The cake had been taken back by Tim. It looked good internally. I took photos of the stem and shank surface that show the chips and damage to the shank end. You can also see tooth chatter and marks on the stem surface ahead of the button.I took photos of the stamping on the top and underside of the shank. It was faint but readable as noted above.I lightly flattened the face of the shank with 220 grit sandpaper on a topping board. I did not remove much briar just a little bit to flatten it out.With that done I cleaned out the shank area with cotton swabs and isopropyl alcohol to remove the oils so that the repair would stick. I layered in clear super glue and briar dust with a dental spatula to build up the large chunk of briar that was missing on the underside of the shank. I used a small pen knife with a sharp blade to scrape out the inside of the shank. I would need to used a round file to open up the airway to receive the tenon once again but the repair was solid. I smoothed out the repair on the underside of the shank with 220 grit sandpaper to bring it to the same level as the rest of the shank. I also cleaned up the shank end with the sandpaper at the same time. It was solid and it certainly looked better.I flattened the bottom and top of the shank with files to prepare it for banding.I checked the Sterling Silver band for the fit and once I was happy with the fit I heated it with a lighter flame and pressed it onto the shank. With the band fitted in place I used small needle files to smooth out the inside of the shank. I worked with the files to bring it back into round.I took photos of the bowl an shank with the band fitted in place. It looked very good at this point. The shank looked good both internally and externally. With the band and shank repair finished I turned my attention to the rim top lava build up. I scraped it off with a sharp blade to remove the heavy build up. I topped the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper on a topping board and then worked over the inside of the rim edge with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I also worked on the outer edge of the bowl to smooth out the damage. 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 paused the polishing and stained the rim top with an Oak Stain Pen to match the rest of the briar. It blended in really well.I went back to polishing the briar with the last three grits of micromesh – 4000, 6000 and 12000 grit pads. 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 stopped and cleaned out the dust and debris from my repair that was in the shank. I used alcohol and pipe cleaners to clean out the debris and a folded pipe cleaner to swab out the bowl.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 repair on a BBB 2 Star 504 Canadian. 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 English Made BBB 2 Start Canadian 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 1/8 inch, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 29 grams/1.02 ounces. It is a beautiful pipe and one that I soon send back to Tim in Eastern Canada. I am hoping he enjoys the new look of his pipe. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.

Breathing Life into a Peterson’s Republic Era ¼ Bent “Wicklow” 405S Saddle Stem Apple


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen is smooth finished Peterson’s Saddle Stem Apple with a filter stem. This Apple has a medium brown finish around the bowl sides and rim top. It also came to us from the estate of Anglican minister that was a great friend of mine here in Canada. The Apple had a great grain on the shank that was in great condition. The finish on the bowl sides 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 405S. There was a thick cake in the bowl and light spattering of lava on the rim top and the inner edge of the bowl. There was darkening on the back side of the rim top. The stem was lightly oxidized and had light tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside on and near the button. There were some deep hash marks on the underside of the stem next to the saddle. The “P” stamp on the left side of the saddle stem is clear. 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 thickly caked and the rim top and edges have some light lava overflow and some darkening on the back side of the rim top. The stem is lightly oxidized and there are some hash marks near the saddle on the underside of the stem. There are 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 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. It also has a tenon drilled to receive a 6mm filter. 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. There was some darkening on the back of the rim top and some damage on the inner edge of the bowl at the back. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the light tooth marks on the surface near the button and the hash marks near the saddle on the underside.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 photos of the pipe. It is a good looking pipe and has some great grain around the bowl. In the second photo you can see the drilled tenon made to receive a filter.   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 set the bowl aside and turned my attentions to the stem. I filled in the hash marks on the underside of the stem with clear CA glue and set it aside for the repair to cure.Once the repair had cured I sanded it smooth with 220 grit sandpaper. I also sanded out the tooth chatter and marks on the stem surface near the button. I started the polishing of the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I touched up the gold stamping on the “P” with Rub’n Buff Antique Gold. 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 that gold foil look to the 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” 405S Saddle Stem Apple with a filter stem. 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 Apple 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 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inch, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 37 grams/1.31 ounces. It is a beautiful pipe and one that I soon put on the rebornpipes store in the Irish Pipe Makers section if 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.