The next blog is one that has been submitted by Clint Stacey. We “met” via email to have a look at a pipe he was working on. It was a real challenge and one that demanded a lot of labour intensive work. Give his blog a read. He did a remarkable job on the pipe. Welcome to rebornpipes Clint and I hope this is the first of many blogs that you send to us.
Blog by Clint Stacey
I grew up around all sorts of stuff- from furniture and brick-a-brac to collectables and oddities coming into the house in all states of disrepair and leaving having been restored and reborn. My dad had a good eye and a passion for salvaging lost treasures sometimes it was his job, sometimes it supplemented his job, often it helped put food on the table.
I have followed in his footsteps, in terms of picking up all sorts of bits and bobs sometimes keeping them, other times passing them on to make room for the next thing. I don’t exactly remember when I first started picking pipes up – possibly about twenty five years ago. At that time, old pipes were plentiful at car boot sales, flea markets and junk and charity shops. Whilst I have picked up one or two nice examples I dread to think of the gems I’ve missed…
Now a days finding old or estate pipes is much trickier. The internet has educated people and quite often I will pick up some over priced wreck and be given chapter and verse of what it is by the seller.
As I have learnt more about pipes and become more discerning my real interest is in Petersons. I now have about forty.
Over the years I have picked up enough know how to do basic cleaning / tidying but little beyond that. I was seriously impressed when I discovered, about eighteen months ago, ‘rebornpipes’ and I saw some of the restoration work that was being carried out.
It had been a long time aim of mine to put together the Sherlock Holmes series of Petersons. I’ve started with the first series and having picked up three I was delighted to see a ‘Professor’ going cheap on EBay. It looked a bit rough but I thought it would clean up okay. There wasn’t much bidding (perhaps others knew more than me.)
When it arrived, I saw the real extent of the damage. It looked like somebody had taken great umbrage with the pipe and had attacked it with a carving knife before setting fire to it. I put it to one side uncertain of what I intended to do with it.About eighteen months ago I had come across rebornpipes. Having an interest in both pipes and restoration I was clearly in my element. How I hadn’t come across this before I don’t know. I decided to email Steve in the hope he could give some guidance with the Peterson.
I wasn’t sure if I would get a reply – after all we’re all busy people – and I wasn’t sure what he would be able to suggest. I was more than surprised by an almost instant response asking for photos. I sent these and Steve informed me that the pipe had been the victim of a torch lighter hitting the same point.
I had already given the pipe a clean – actually it wasn’t too bad beyond the lighter damage. Either it had been previously cleaned or possibly not actually smoked that much. A few cotton buds/pipe cleaners with some alcohol gave it a basic clean and the stem I scrubbed with warm water.
Steve suggested topping out the pipe armed with 220 sandpaper, a board and patience. I took it slowly at first carefully checking at points that I was keeping the pipe level. Working on it off and on I soon began to see some progress. I continued to take it down to a point where I had something to work it and began seeing some sign of hope. I kept checking in with Steve who continued to advise working slowly and patiently and keeping the pipe flat to the board in order to keep the top level.Although at this point it was greatly improved there was still a degree of difference in the thickness of the original and the pipe is well out of round. Steve asked for some side pictures just to check the height and suggested I kept going a bit further.Eventually I reached a point where I felt I had gone down as far as possible. Whilst I was pleased with the improvement it still didn’t look quite right. Steve had suggested that once I had got it sanded down I then used the technique of a ball in sand paper. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was doing at first but as I started to use this technique I saw both a bevel and shape starting to appear. Heartened I began working on smoothing out the inside as well as the top edge using fine grade sand paper. Finally, I reached a point where I was happy and felt that I could do little better. It had reached the point of staining the pipe to get the sanded area back to match the original colour. Steve’s advised a medium brown aniline stain. I used Feibing’s leather dye and was really pleased with how well this matched in with the original.I gave the pipe two coats and allowed it to dry. I then gave it a good polish with a carnauba wax. The stem had some oxidization so I worked on this with a fine grade wet and dry paper and then finished it with some carnauba wax. This will need a couple of coats to create a nice sheen. Throughout the process of working on this pipe Steve has been on hand offering help and guidance and I am really appreciative of both his time and knowledge. Often you come across pipes that are in a poor state through being ‘well loved’. Unfortunately, this one had just been abused. From the Hallmark H design, it appears to have been issued only in 2018. I amazed at how a pipe of such little age, and one that would have been expensive to buy, ended up in such a state. I am really happy to have been able to restore it and save it!
I have really enjoyed working on this and armed now with some knowledge and know how I intend to tidy up a few of the other pipes that I own.