Daily Archives: October 16, 2022

Restoring a Peterson’s of Dublin Donegal Rocky 999 Rhodesian

Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table came to us from one of our pipe hunts or a trade I just cannot remember. It is a rusticated Peterson’s Donegal Rocky 999 Bent Rhodesian. The finish is quite nice with at that classic Peterson’s rustication pattern. The pipe was filthy with the rusticated exterior filled in in spots with grime and debris. The bowl had a light cake and some roughening on the inner edge of the rim. There was darkening on the rim top but otherwise it looked good. The pipe is stamped on a smooth panel on the underside of the shank and reads Peterson’s [arched over] of Dublin [over] Donegal [over] Rocky with the shape number 999 to the right of that. On the oxidized Sterling Silver band it is stamped K&P in shields over Sterling Silver on the left side. On the right side there are three hallmarks: 1. a seated woman (Hibernia) – the city stamp for Dublin, 2. .926 for the quality of the silver, 3. An upper case “Y” – the date identification of the pipe. The stamping is clear and readable on the pipe and band. The stem was dirty, calcified and oxidized. There were light tooth marks and chatter on the stem near the button on both sides and some on the surface of the button as well. There was the Peterson’s “P” on the left side of the taper stem. I took photos of the pipe before I worked on it.  I took photos of the rim top to show the cake in the bowl, the lava rim top and the damage to the inner edge. The stem was dirty, oxidized, calcified and had chatter and marks on both sides. The stamping on the underside of the shank read as noted above. The photo shows that they are faint but clear and readable. The stamping on the silver is also readable. The P on the left side of the stem is faint but in good condition. I took a photo of the pipe with the stem removed to show the overall look of stem, tenon and profile of the pipe. It is a great looking pipe.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.

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.

In 1966 a “Jubilee ” fourth hallmark was introduced, only for that year, to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Easter Rising of 1916. Designed as a hand holding a flaming sword in Irish “an cláiomh solais” or “sword of light” the mark bears the date 1916 to the right above and 1966 to the left below. An Claidheamh Soluis (Old Irish spelling), this was hallmarked with the letter Y. This very unusual and special date mark has in recent years become very scarce, mainly because it was only used for that year. Pipes that were marked thus, are much sought after by Peterson pipe collectors.

The stamping on the band was different than what I had seen before it is three marks as noted above. I do not see the “Sword of Light” stamp though perhaps that is what is in the left stamp in the threesome before the .926 stamp.

I turned then to deal with the Hallmarks. I turned to Pipephil’s site for his quick reference charts on the Peterson’s Hallmarks (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/infos/hallmark-dublin.html). I have included the pertinent charts below. The first chart defines the first two hallmarks on the Sterling Silver Band. The Hibernia/Lady is the Dublin Town Mark. The Harp identifies the fineness of the metal.The second chart pins down the date that this particular pipe was made. The upper case “Y” mark identifies the pipe as being made in 1966. I have drawn a red box around the “Y” on the chart below. With that information in hand I knew what I was dealing with in terms of the stamping and the age of this pipe. I knew from the information that the pipe was made during the Republic Era between 1950 and 1989. Pipedia then qualifies the dating as follows: From 1950 to the present time, the stamp for this era is “Made in the Republic of Ireland”. The “Y” hallmark sets the date at 1966 in the center of the time period. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

The Sterling Silver Band was upside down and would need to be corrected. I used some acetone on a folded pipe cleaner to soak the glue between the band and the briar. I repeated the process until it suddenly came free. I cleaned off the shank with acetone and reset the band on the shank with the stamping on the correct sides of the shank. I reamed the pipe with a PipNet reamer and cut back the cake back to the bare briar. I cleaned up the walls with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I finished it by sanding the walls smooth with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of briar. I cleaned up the debris and lava on the rim top rustication with a brass bristle wire brush. It looked better than before.I scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime from the finish. I rinsed it off with warm running water to remove the soap and the grime from the finish of the bowl.  I worked over the inner edge of the rim top with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I gave it a slight bevel and was able to blend in the damaged areas. It looked much better.  I scraped the inside of the shank with a dental spatula and was able to take out a large amount of this build up in the shank. It was a real mess. I then scrubbed the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to further remove the tars and oils. I polished the Sterling Silver band on the shank with a jeweler’s cloth to remove the tarnish and protect it.   I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush 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 decided to deghost the pipe while I worked on the stem. I filled the bowl with cotton boles and twisted one into the shank. I filled the bowl with 99% isopropyl alcohol using an ear syringe. I set the bowl aside for 5-6 hours while I worked on the stem. After 6 hours the cotton was stained with oils and with some purple stain from the inside of the bowl. The pipe smells clean and fresh. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I scrubbed it with Soft Scrub to remove the oxidation on the stem surface. I worked it over the surface of the stem with cotton pads and removed the deep oxidation on the top side of the stem. I sanded the tooth marks and the remaining oxidation with 220 grit sandpaper and started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I used white acrylic nail polish to touch up the “P” stamp on the left side of the stem. It came out looking very good.  I polished 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 “Donegal” Rocky 999 Rhodesian. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax 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 the rugged rustication all around it. Added to that the polished Sterling Silver band and the black vulcanite stem was beautiful. This rusticated Classic Peterson’s 999 shape 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: 6 inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 51 grams/ 1.80 ounces. It is a beautiful pipe and one that will be on the Irish Pipe Makers section of the rebornpipes store soon. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.