Author Archives: Greg

About Greg

I am medically retired from my 'career', have been for about 5 years now. For quite some time I missed my old job a lot. I enjoyed it, I was good at it and didn't have any desire to do anything else. But the Lord had other plans for me. Now He has called me to work for Him. He has graciously given me some talent to work with words. He has also seen fit to guide me with the Holy Spirit to study and comprehend His Word. Don't misunderstand; I am no scholar nor a pastor. I'm just trying to be obedient to my Lord and Savior and do what He asks me, in a way that would please and bring glory to His holy Name.

A Pre-Republic Peterson System Standard Reborn


A month or so ago I was trolling eBay and ran across what I thought might be a Pre-Republic Peterson System 313.  I am not very learned in the different eras of many pipe companies but was fairly certain if I read the no-so-clear nomenclature right this was indeed a Pre-Republic era Peterson. Here are the photos the seller provided:

The pipe looked to be in pretty good shape so I thought I would take a shot at it. The seller had a Buy It Now or best offer price on it so I submitted my offer and went to do some research on the nomenclature in case my offer was accepted.After searching on Pipepedia and Pipephil I was sure that the pipe was indeed a Pre-Republic model. (The following photo shows the nomenclature and the small defect in the briar that probably kept it from being a higher grade pipe. The stamping reads “Made” on the top of the circle, “Ireland” in the bottom, and “in” in the center. These photos were taken by me after the restoration.)

A few hours later I received a counteroffer from the seller which I accepted. The seller was in Peru so now it was time for the dreaded wait.

When the pipe finally arrived I was eager to tear into the box to see what I had! When I took the pipe out of the protective wrapping my first thought was “Wow, this thing is tiny!”. I have one over System pipe that is an XL315, a pretty large pipe. I didn’t realize the 313 was going to be comparatively diminutive in size! I was pleased to see that the nomenclature was stronger than I expected it to be and that the pipe was in pretty well as-shown condition; there was a deep burn on the front, inside of the bowl that I didn’t make out in the photos. Here are a few pictures I took upon getting the pipe unpacked.

I dropped the stem in a warm Oxiclean bath while I began to clean the dirt and grime from the stummel. As I removed years worth of crud with cotton pads and both alcohol and acetone I began to really like what I was seeing! There were a few issues showing up now, but not anything too major: the rim cleaned up well but was burned worse than I thought, the nickle band had loosened over time and move up a little and was stained with tars (I think). All of these things were in my mind a good trade-off for the better than expected stamping though.

When I took the stem from the Oxiclean bath I scrubbed it down with a magic eraser to take off the loosened oxidation. Here’s what the pipe looked like at his stage; you can see the line where the band has moved over time.img_0207It was now time to start cleaning the internals of both the stem and stummel.

As I mentioned, this pipe has a rather small bowl; my smallest cutter on my PipNet set wouldn’t fit inside the bowl to ream it! The cake was hard but not terribly thick so I used the blade on my Sheffield pipe tool and some 320 wet/dry paper to ream back to bare briar. while I was doing the reaming I found was the burn on the rim was soft and would require more than just topping it. I decided to finish the internals before turning my attention to this problem.

I took a cotton swab soaked in alcohol and ran it through the stem; the P-Lip stem has a graduated airway, starting out very open and narrowing as it get closer to the button. As I turned the stem over to scrub the inside with the cotton swab a horrible goo ran out of the P-Lip!img_0200Needless to say, the pile of cotton swabs and pipe cleaners were only a representative sample of what it took to get the stem clean. And the well/mortise and airway of the pipe was equally nasty’ I really hadn’t expected this given the maintained cake in the bowl. I stuffed a cotton ball in the bowl and a cotton swab in the air hole, filled the bowl with alcohol and left it to sit over night. I completed cleaning inside the stem before going to bed.

The next day I removed the tar-stained cotton ball and swab from the stummel and  began to work on the burned rim issue after the pipe had dried an hour or two. I began by topping the bowl with 320 wet/dry sandpaper, checking my progress often. There was another smaller darkened area I wanted to remove, too, if I could, but I didn’t want to remove more briar than I had to.When the smaller spot was gone and the worse spot was improved I wiped the bowl down with alcohol to clean any remaining dust from it’s surface and began to polish it with micro mesh. I got up to about 2400, I think, and decided the burn was still too noticeable. I went back to work on the rim with a folded piece of 320 grit paper and worked a bevel on the inner edge of the bowl, then repeated polishing with micro mesh as before. The results were much better to my eye.

I moved on to the stem now, setting the bowl aside for later. The stem wasn’t in particularly bad shape, mostly just oxidized, as some of the previous photos show.There was a couple of deeper tooth marks on the bottom and top near the button that had to be filled. I sanded the oxidation off using 320 grit paper then cleaned the stem well with alcohol on a cotton pad. I picked at the deepest dents and the button “steps” with a small “toothpick” knife I have to make sure all the oxidation was out of the dents and grooves. After giving the areas a spray of CA glue accelerator I applied clear CA glue to both spots, gave it another spray and then let it sit a few hours to cure well; I didn’t want the glue to run while it cured or I might have skipped the accelerator altogether. (I didn’t remember to take many photos during this process.) After the glue cured I used needle files and sandpaper to smooth and better blend the patches, after which I polished the stem with the full range of micro mesh pads, 1500-12000.

Now that the stem and stummel were fully ready, I moved to the downstairs workshop for the finishing touches on everything. I began with my heat gun, warming the band to expand it and press it back in place; I pressed it into an old buffing wheel, using the center hole to help fix the slight out-or-roundness that had gotten in the band, too.

Next I used a dark brown stain pen to re-stain the bowl. I covered it entirely, as evenly as possible, twice and let it dry for a little while before using another alcohol dampened cotton pad to wipe off some of the excess to allow the grain to shine through. Next up was buffing with the Dremel. I used brown Tripoli on the stummel and nickle band first and then white diamond and blue compound on both the stummel and stem. I finished up with a few coats of carnauba wax on the entire pipe and a hand buff with a micro fiber clothe to raise a nice shine. I am really pleased with how the pipe came out overall and think the beveled rim idea to fix the burned area blended in very well. Before you see the finished pipe I must confess the first bowl I smoked in it was horrid! I had to go back and do a second alcohol treatment and I soaked the stem in alcohol and cleaned it again, too. The second cotton ball was even more tar-stained than the first! I had to re-wax and buff the whole pipe, too. But the next bowls proved it was well worth the effort as the pipe now smokes dry and sweet!

Advertisements

Polishing a Chair Leg/Fancy Stem


I have a GBD Tapestry that I am restoring, hopefully it will be done in the next day or so. I really like the Tapestry line; this makes my second one in different shapes. They have a fancy “chair leg” stem that while attractive are a pain to polish, especially if they are heavily oxidized, as this one was. 


You can see the “problem” areas in the photos. Unfortunately I forgot to take photos before beginning to remove the oxidation and calcification, which were quite thick. 

Remembering back to the first one I restored, I thought that sharing the method I use on this type of stem would be helpful to others. It’s not a fast process but it is pretty well foolproof because no machines are used, only “you power” and buffing compound on a piece of thin leather lace. 

I use 3/32″ lace but it also comes in 1/4″. I imagine other materials would work, too. I drag the lace across the bar of compound to load it after putting the stem in a hobby vise. (I use this table top vise with only my hand for holding the vise in place – it has rubbed coated jaws – so I don’t put too much stress on the stem and possibly break it.) I take one end of the lace in each hand and rub it using a “sawing” motion (pull the lace toward me with my right hand, then my left, repeat) in the crevices, reloading the compound as needed, until the oxidation is gone. 

It does require some time and effort but there’s almost no chance of getting the stem out of shape, ruining the graceful lines, or breaking it. 

Peterson Kildare Marathon Restoration


This year has been a roller coaster ride for me; between added responsibilities of watching our new grandson, health issues, and a flair up of my spinal stenosis that put me down for almost two months, I have been unable to do any of my hobbies. Unfortunately this has put a couple of friends that I have pipes to work on in a state of limbo waiting on me. They are not easy clean-ups and they knew going in I am slow – but still I feel badly about it.

This Peterson Kildare 106 billiard had been in my possession for ages it seems to me at least. I have worked on it off and on, loosing track if my progress (and many of my notes and photos) of the process. It went out in the mail today I am happy to say (and the owner is probably happier to hear!).

I knew the pipe needed stem work mostly but when it arrived at my home it was in worse condition than I had anticipated. The stem was really badly gnawed on, with an extra hole bitten through on the bottom. The pipe was very dirty and there was a fill that had partly fallen out; that didn’t really bother the owner, as I recall, but it made me nuts! Here is a look at what the pipe looked like when I got it.

I began cleaning the internals which weren’t bad as it turns out. I cleaned the stummel with alcohol and cotton pads, removing the grime, exposing the missing fill even worse; I knew I had to deal with that as I went along. But first I began to ream the bowl while the stem soaked in an OxiClean bath. img_5027

The OxiClean bath and a scrubbing in clean, warm water with a green Scotch pad left the stem clean and free of oxidation. The amount of work the stem needed was even more apparent now; not only did the bit need a lot of work, there were some very large dents in the stem. I tried to raise the dents with heat but that really made no difference. So I decided to start the process of building the bit up (P-lip, a new for me repair) and filling in the dents with black CA glue and charcoal powder. This took many layers over many days (which turned into months); I had to raise, shape, repeat, over and over to get the P-lip back and to fill the extra hole in the bottom of the stem and the deep divots.

During the interim times I worked on the fill that was partly gone and one other dent that stream wouldn’t raise. I used coarse briar dust from filing not sanding (which I think takes dye better and is less apt to just be a black spot) and CA glue to fill the two spots (the worst one is visible in the very first photo in this post). I accidentally over did the fill, costing myself a lot of extra time. However the patch ended up blending in great in the end. After a lot of working the patch to blend I stained the pipe with a diluted Brown Fiebing’s leather dye, two coats, flamed on, if I remember right. After buffing with brown-Tripoli the stummel looked nice but too dark to see the really nice grain (birds eye and flame) so I wiped it down with alcohol on a cotton pad until it let the gain show through and re-buffed with brown-Tripoli. Now the stummel looked good to me. Back to the stem…

This P-lip drove me to the brink of insanity! Not having a P-lip on hand to compare it to made it more difficult. Filling the bottom hole (that wasn’t supposed to be there) was easy but shaping that top and bottom lip/ridge was a chore. The deep divot just did not want to be filled; the patch shrunk over and over. The huge, dented  draft hole on the top of the stem was a bother, too; I can’t tell you how many times I glued it shut trying to get that button rebuilt! In the end it came out pretty good; there are some tiny scratches visible if you look real close. But all things given, the owner was happy with that, especially since with the holidays and even more babysitting duties for me on the horizon, who knows when I would be able to finish it (again).

After finally getting the work done I finished the pipe off with a few coats of carnauba wax. I want to mention that I followed the instructions, more or less, for Dremel buffing for the stem and the waxing of the stummel. I currently can’t use my buffer so I wanted to give this option a try and am very pleased with the results. Mine is a variable speed Dremel and I used 5,000 RPM for the compounds and 10,000 RPM for the wax.

Hopefully with the new Dremel techniques I’ve learned (thanks again, Dal and Steve) and with some luck (and no small amount of “okay” from my wife) I will find a way to down size my work-needs to be able to work from my kitchen instead of my basement workshop, allowing me to work more when my mobility issues keep me from the stairs.

Day Trips and Memories


Family day trips were always popular in our family. Many is the time I remember going for day-long rides with my Papaw in his pick-up truck – Granny was usually at work since they worked opposite shifts – out country roads many of which don’t exist today. We would stop at mom & pop stores and get our lunch. Papaw would tell the old man behind the counter he wanted whatever lunch meat he was in the mood for that day, cut about half an inch thick, on bread (white bread was a given) with mayonnaise and then asked what I wanted; I always wanted the same thing he’d ordered – even when I had no idea what the lunch meant I was getting was. The old man would get the items from the deli case and start making our sandwiches while we picked out a pop, soda for you northerners, which was usually a Hire’s Rootbeer. Papaw would toss a bag of chips on the counter and we’d set our rootbeers up there, too. He’s then dig out his billfold, as he always called his wallet, and tell the man, “Put it all in a poke for us, please.” (That’s a paper bag, again for you younger and/or norther folks.)

We’d load into the truck, always a Chevy or GMC and usually orange or red in color, and drive down the road a few miles until we found just the right spot, where we’d pull off the side of the road in the shade and park. The tailgate served as both our picnic table and benches. Occasionally Papaw would light up his pipe; he only had one that I know of. More often he would get a jaw-full of Redman or Levi Garrett afree we ate and we would talk – for hours some days. I honestly can’t remember most of the conversations we had on those drives. But the memories I do have are vivid and very dear to me.

Now I am the “Papaw” and we still carry on this tradition, granted, in a slightly modified version; we usually pack a lunch (there aren’t many mom & pop shops that fix you a sandwich anymore) or hit a restaurant. And there’s always at least three of us: Papaw, Granny, and grandson. Occasionally our son goes along too, if he’s not working.

A week or so ago we had one of these all too rare times when the four of us took a spontaneous road trip to Carter Caves State Park in KY. The drive isn’t too far and, while not as popular a destination as it once was, it’s a beautiful place to visit with a lot of activities if you plan for them.

We arrived around 1:00 pm I think and drove a little loop through the main part of the park to 1) get the lay of the land and 2) give Granny and the grandson a bathroom break. Once the “necessaries” were out of the way, we drove back down to the entrance of the park no began our look for the spot. My son and wife both had input on where it should be; neither agreed, to no big surprise LOL. But none of them were right in my mind. I suddenly stopped the truck, scanned the area and decided this was it! To some protest, I pulled off the road onto a parking shoulder and parked my Silverado. While the other two questioned my judgement, I asked my grandson what he thought about the spot. “If you like it it’s perfect, Papaw.” Issue settled.

We unpacked what little we had taken and set up next to a real picnic table with real benches and the dispute quickly dissipated: it was shady, comfortable, had a great view and was close to but a safe distance from he creek, perfect to hear the water gently flowing by.

My son and grandson geared up for their hiking adventure, my wife settled into a comfortable spot at the picnic table, and I got set up in my bag chair. The young ‘uns headed off on their adventure and I broke out my pipe. I loaded it up with a favorite blend; it took fire nicely, enhancing my anticipation of a nice, relaxing afternoon. As I sat there, bluish smoke gently swirling around me, listening to the gentle babbling of the creek, I was transported back in time it seemed. My wife was walking along the creek’s edge picking up interesting rocks for my grandson and me (we have 3-5 stones from everyplace we visit, another hobby/collection we share) and she seemed 20 years younger – as did I! It was a most perfect, peaceful, and serene few of hours spent just enjoying each other’s company and God’s wondrous creation.image

All too soon the sun had moved as the hours ticked by and devoured our cool shade. It was well timed though as about the same time the boys were winding up – or winding down from – their adventure. My grandson had packed back 5 stones, the same number I had collected with my wife’s help. We settled on 6 or 7 to bring home and packed them and everything else up in the bed of the truck. It had been a splendid day indeed!

The drive home was a much quieter one than the trip there; everyone had worn themselves pretty much out. As I drove with the radio softy playing, I couldn’t help but reflect on those trips with my Papaw. And wonder how much he must have enjoyed them; I often wish he was still around to talk about those and many other things. But the main thought on my mind during that drive home and in the days since was quite simply this: it’s really good to be the Papaw.

GQ Blends Classic Balkan (Izmir): an oriental delight


If you enjoy Balkan blends (and can get it) this should be on your “list”!

Smoking Jacket Magazine

This is the second blend from GQ Blends that our editor kindly sent to me for review. The last few weeks of fighting a sinus infection have been near torture with this pouch laying in wait for me to be able to try out. I am a big fan of Balkan blends, but not-so-much of Latakia bombs, so I expected I would really enjoy this blend.

I decided to totally “wing it” on this one, opting to not look up the description on Glynn’s website. I figured the name told me all I needed to know to start out. Only after smoking it, making my notes, and then preparing to write this article did I read the description of the blend. What I found explained a lot of what I tasted. I’ll go ahead and share what I found on Glynn’s websight now and I think you’ll see how it…

View original post 840 more words

Samuel Gawith’s Squadron Leader: tobacco review 


Samuel Gawith’s Squadron Leader Flies HighAfter reading more than one post singing the praises of Samuel Gawith’s Squadron Leader and learning it was more of a Balkan blend, not a Latakia-bomb, and knowing my general fondness for Samuel Gawith’s blends, I began to watch for a chance to pick some up. The description says: “Bright and Dark Virginias blended together with […]

Squadron Leader, Pipe Tobacco, Samuel Gawith, Balkan, pipe

http://smokingjacketmagazine.com/2015/12/23/samuel-gawiths-squadron-leader-flies-high/

Cerberus: a tobacco review 


Cerberus: The Three-Headed Dog without a BiteI was quite excited when I opened the package from Erin; first I had received a blend that I’d been curious    to try for some time and secondly it was dated 10/18/14, already aged over two years! The tin had traveled quite a distance and was rather cold when I opened the package so […]

Review, tobacco, Cerberus, pipe

http://smokingjacketmagazine.com/2015/12/16/cerberus-the-three-headed-dog-without-a-bite/