Blog by Steve Laug
Jeff and I often purchase pipe bowl/stummels of brands that we like and want to restore. These have included a lot of different bowls. If you have followed us for long you know that some of these have included Peterson’s, Dunhill’s, and a wide range of Danish and English pipes. Awhile ago Jeff and I were sorting through the bowls in our collection and pulled out eight Peterson’s bowls that were dirty and stemless. A friend referred us to a contact named Silas Walls, of Walls Pipe Repair in Wallace, Idaho, USA as he seems to have a good supply of original Peterson’s stems. Our friend has had him fit stems for some of his Petes and was very happy with the work. We made contact with him and sent him eight bowls for restemming.
In the photo above I show the 8 restemmed pipes. I have marked the 5 I have worked on already with a red X. This sixth one that we cleaned up before mailing them out was a bowl that we purchased around the same time as the others. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Peterson’s [arched over] System [over] Standard. On the right side of the shank it is a Made in the Republic of Ireland (in 4 lines) [over] the shape number 301. The ferrule is stamped K&P [over] Peterson. The bowl was dirty with lava on the rim top and a moderate cake in the bowl. The nickel ferrule was quite dirty and worn with some small dents in the surface.
The next photos I have included below are of the pipe when it arrived in Vancouver with its new stem. Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet reamer and cut 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. When the pipes came back to Jeff with their new stems they looked great. 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. The rim top had some darkening and damage on the top. The inner edge was out of round and had some damage on the front and the back of the bowl. It should clean up really well. I also took close up photos of the new stem to show how well it was fit to the shank. It is a tiny looking stem and thin shank! Thanks to Walls Pipe Repair!! I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It is readable as noted above. I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to have a look at the parts and overall look. The new stem looked really good with the bowl. I am impressed by how the stem was shaped to fit the stem.I am including the link to the 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 Peterson’s System Line. On page 314 it had the following information.
Peterson’s over System – Pipes stamped Peterson’s System have been documented as early as 1920. A ’20 brochure is the earliest printed reference to the Peterson System. The pipe came in three quality grades (no mark, 2, or 3) until 1959, thereafter as De Luxe (no mark), Premier (the old 2) and Standard (the old 3).
Peterson’s over System over Standard (c1945-)
I learned previously that the shape 301 was not introduced until 1975. Considering the Republic stamp, this one would likely date between 1975 and 2000. My guess is that the pipe was made somewhere between 1975 and mid 80s. Now it was time to work on the pipe.
I set the stem aside as it was in perfect condition and turned to work on the bowl. I decided to address the damage to the inner edge of the bowl and the rim top first. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to give the inner edge of the bowl a slight bevel to minimize the darkening and damage and blend it into 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. There was a dark spot on the top of the shank toward the bowl that appears to be a deep stain rather than a burn mark. It is solid and makes me wonder if the was just a spot on the briar that took the dark understain more deeply than the rest. The polishing of the rim top and inner edge brought the rim top colour to match the rest of the bowl. I did not need to stain the rim at all. 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 grain just came alive! Since the stem was new the pipe was basically finished. I am excited to put the final touches on this newly restemmed Made in the Republic of Ireland Peterson’s System Standard 301 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 beautiful mixed grain all around it. Added to that the polished black vulcanite stem combined with the bowl and made a stunning pipe. This smooth Classic Peterson’s System Standard 301 is great 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: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 55 grams/1.94 ounces. It is a beautiful pipe that I will soon be putting on the rebornpipes store in the Irish Pipe Makers section. If you are interested in adding it to your collection send me an email or a message. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.