Another L.J. Peretti of Boston: A Hefty Half Bent Billiard with a Saddle Stem


Blog by Dal Stanton

I have been placing several L. J. Peretti pipes in the hands of new stewards which brings me much satisfaction!  The others were all Oom Pauls – classic Oom Paul’s and some slightly modified by Peretti to serve as Oom Paul sitters.  After I was introduced to L. J. Peretti pipes and restored some that I added to my own collection, I started keeping my eyes open for these pipes because I discovered they were pretty good smokers and that the briar used to make them was not bad – actually, was quite good.  When I saw the Peretti Lot of 10 on the eBay auction block with the seller’s location nearby Peretti’s home of Boston, I figured (correctly) that these all came from a Peretti collector who lived in Boston or near enough to know the Peretti story.  The L. J. Peretti Co. is the 2nd oldest Tobacconist shop in the US – where custom blends are still created by hand.  Here is the picture I saw on eBay. The Peretti on my worktable now is the Billiard Half Bent Saddle on the right, center in the picture above.  Two things stood out when I cradled this Billiard in my palm for the first time.  First, the stem has the classy cursive Peretti ‘P’ stamped on it.  Only a few in the Lot of 10 had this stamp.  Only hazarding a guess, but this may indicate a higher-grade line in the Peretti offerings – though I haven’t laid my eyes on anything that could confirm this, catalogues, etc.  It is a classy touch to have the ‘P’ embedded on the stem.  Secondly, this Billiard is a big boy!  Just comparing him to the hefty Oom Pauls in the photograph above shows that this Billiard is not shrinking away in embarrassment! The bowl is full and the shank is long and broad.  His dimensions are Length: 5 7/8 inches, Height: 2 inches, Rim Diameter: 1 5/16 inches, Chamber Diameter: 1 7/8 inches, Bowl depth: 1 3/4 inches.  I also put him on the scale and he weighs 57 grams.

Our cousin, Stephen, who my wife and I visited while we were in the US some months ago, saw the Peretti Lot of 10 when I posted a picture of the 10 offering the Oom Pauls to new stewards to be commissioned.  He responded but he wasn’t interested in an Oom Paul.  He was drawn to the Half Bent Billiard because it reminded him of a pipe he had earlier in life.  I was glad to restore the Billiard for Stephen because I remembered that during our visit to his home in Alabama, he saw my restored L. J. Peretti HUGE Bent Egg in my pipe pouch – also from the Lot of 10 pictured above – center, left and pictured below after being restored (See LINK for restoration), and Stephen tried to barter him away from me!  Who could blame him?!  I held firm and my Peretti Egg and I continue to have regular fellowship here in Bulgaria!  Thank you, Stephen! Since Stephen commissioned this Peretti, he will have first dibs on it when I put it in The Pipe Steward Store.  This pipe benefits our work here in Bulgaria helping trafficked and sexually exploited women and girls (and their children!) – the Daughters of Bulgaria.Bringing the Half Bent Billiard on my worktable here in Sofia, Bulgaria, I take some pictures to take a closer look as well as to assess what this Billiard’s challenges are. As with all his Peretti cousins in the Lot of 10, the L. P. Peretti Co. is stamped on the left side of the shank.  Some of the other Perettis are without the ‘Co.’  As noted above, this Peretti also has the cursive ‘P’ stamped nicely on the stem.  Only a few of the Perettis had this stamp in the Lot.  This Billiard shares with all his cousins the thick cake in the chamber.  It also has very thick lava flow on the rim.  It is also most likely, as with the other Perettis, that there will be scorching damage underneath the lava.  The briar surface is dirty – lots of grime, but this should clean up nicely, as with the other Perettis, this large patch of Billiard briar shows great promise.  The stem is also showing deep oxidation and calcification on the stem – especially on the bit.  As with all his cousins, the bit and button show a good bit of biting, clenching and the subsequent dents, chatter and button damage.

To start the restoration of this hefty Peretti Billiard Half Bent Saddle, I add the stem to a bath of Before and After Deoxidizer.  This was the first time I used the Before and After product and I was testing it to see how it worked.  The Peretti Billiard joined several pipes and their stems in the queue.  After soaking for several hours, I fished out the Billiard’s stem and allowed the Deoxidizer to drain.  I then wiped off the oxidation with a cotton pad wetted with light paraffin oil, Bulgaria’s mineral oil.  One of the attributes of Before and After Deoxidizer is that it is stamp friendly, which proves to be the case with the Peretti ‘P’.   With the stummel now in hand, I use the Pipnet Reaming Kit to remove the very thick cake resident in the chamber.  By removing the cake down to the briar gives it a fresh start and enables me to examine the chamber wall for damage.  After putting down paper towel for easier cleanup, I start with the smallest blade.  I use 3 of the 4 blades available in the Pipnet Kit.  I then fine tune the reaming by using the Savinelli Fitsall Tool to scrape the chamber walls removing more carbon cake left behind.  Wrapping a piece of 240 grit paper around a Sharpie Pen, I sand the chamber.  Finally, I clean the chamber of the carbon dust using cotton pads with isopropyl 95%.  The chamber walls look great – no problems.  The pictures show the steps in the process. Now to the external surface.  I use undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and cotton pads to scrub the grime – and there’s plenty of it.  I also work on the crusty rim surface utilizing a brass brush and scraping with my thumb nail.  I also employ a pin knife to help scrape the crust.  What emerges is beautiful grain on the stummel – large swirling bird’s eye catches my eye. Surprisingly, a nice looking, slightly rounded rim emerges from underneath all the crust!  The briar on the rim reveals that this was a nice-looking pipe at one time – I’m thinking it was on Peretti’s upper scale shelf.  The scorching on the inside of the rim is significant and will need to be addressed. Next, the dirty job.  Using pipe cleaners and cotton buds dipped in isopropyl 95% I attack the internals of the stummel.  I also utilize a dental spatula to scrape the mortise walls.  With a little effort the buds and pipe cleaners started coming clean.  As I usually do with all my restorations, I follow this cleaning with a kosher salt/alcohol soak.  I find that this additionally cleans the internal briar and freshens the internals.  After putting the stummel in an egg carton to keep it upright and stable, I fill the bowl with kosher salt which leaves no aftertaste (as iodized salt does).  I then fashion a ‘wick’ by stretching and twisting a cotton ball which is inserted down into the draft hole and mortise – as far down as I can manage.  I then fill the bowl with isopropyl 95% alcohol until it surfaces over the salt.  After a few minutes, after the alcohol has been absorbed, I will top the alcohol off again.  I put the stummel aside and let it soak through the work day until I return home this evening. Later, when I arrive home from work, I’m always pleased to see the nasty results of the salt/alcohol bath.  The salt has discolored, and the wick has absorbed the grunge.  I thump the old salt into the waste, wipe the bowl with paper towel and blow through the mortise to dislodge any remnants of salt from the soak.  To make sure all was clean, I ran a pipe cleaner through the draft hole and plunged a cotton bud in the mortise – both dipped in isopropyl 95%, and both came out clean.  Done – always a nice place to be.I turn now to the chewed up and dented stem – oh my.  The entire Peretti Lot of 10 I determined came from one steward.  One of the ways I determined this was that all the stems were clenched the same way and therefore reveal the same forensics!  I take a few pictures to show the problems with upper and lower bit and button.  The first step I use is using flame to heat the vulcanite which expands it making the dents less severe and more easily sanded.  I use a Bic lighter and paint the upper and lower bit areas.  I concentrate on the button as well.  After several cycles of ‘painting’ I have come to the point where the vulcanite is no longer expanding.  It has helped but there remains some denting and bite marks.  I pair the before and after ‘flame painting`’ pictures to let you compare. I think the button benefited most. Using 240 sanding paper, I sand both upper and lower bit and the button to see how much of the damage can be sanded out.  The heating technique helped more than I realized – good news.  The upper bit sanded out completely.  The lower bit still shows two dents.  Using the flat needle file, I worked on the button and refreshed the upper and lower button lips.  The draft hole was dented too.  I pull out the topping board with 240 paper on it and ‘top’ the button to flatten it out.  I smooth out the draft hole using a rounded needle file.  I take a picture to show the progress of the 240 paper and file work.  When I look at the stem I see something I didn’t see before.  A hole in the stem on the right at the base of the saddle.  I’ve never seen this before.  I’ll need to patch it as well.  I wipe the stem with alcohol to clean the area where I will apply black CA glue to fill the dents.  After clean, using a toothpick, I spot drop black CA glue on both dents on the lower bit.  The toothpick allows me to control where and how much glue I apply.  I wait an hour or so for the glue to set and then turn over the stem and spot drop glue on the ‘saddle’ hole.  I set the stem aside for the patches to cure for several hours.  With the stem patch curing, I turn again to the stummel and the rim.  The scorched briar needs to be removed and topping the stummel will move in that direction. Like all the Peretti Billiard’s cousins in the Lot of 10, the left side seems to have borne the brunt. I’m hoping I only need to top a small amount and remove the remaining scorched wood on the internal rim edge by introducing a bevel.  That’s the plan.   Placing 240 grit paper on the chopping block, I top by moving the inverted stummel in a circular motion and evenly as possible.I stop to check a number of times how much progress has been made on removing the scorched briar.At this point, I’ve removed enough damaged surface via topping leaving a manageable internal ring of charred material that can be removed without taking more healthy briar.  I use a rolled piece of 120 coarse sanding paper to cut an internal bevel and remove the scorched area.  I also aim at balancing the round of the rim – it is slightly out of round because of the greater damage on the left side of the bowl where the former steward lit his tobacco.  After cutting the bevel with 120, I give another very light topping with 240 grit paper to restate the rim line after the bevel.I follow the 240 topping board and 120 paper beveling by using 240 grade paper to erase the scratches of the 120 beveling.  Then, I use 600 grade both to erase the scratches of the 240 on the bevel, but to top again lightly the stummel with the 600 grade paper to erase 240 scratches and to smooth.Finally, I introduce a very gentle external bevel around the rim using 240 then 600.  I do this to soften the look of the rim and to give it more of a rounded appearance.  I’m pleased with the rim repair.  This Peretti Big Boy Billiard has already come a long way from the caked, scorched condition he arrived in!  He’s looking good.Now to the briar surface – and there’s a lot of briar real estate on this stummel!  I begin by wet sanding with micromesh pads 1500 to 2400.  Then dry sanding, I use 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  I take a picture after each set of three. I enjoy watching the grain emerge on the Peretti Billiard through the micromesh pad cycles – it’s an amazing transformation.  Along with most of his Peretti cousins, the briar seems to be a higher grade – no fills and the grain is beautiful. To maintain the rich natural briar look consistent with the Peretti hue template, yet to deepen and make the briar grain richer, I use Before and After Restoration Balm. I apply the Balm to my finger and then spread it over the stummel and work it in to the briar.  The Balm begins as an oily liquid and then gradually grows firmer until it takes on the characteristics of a thick wax.  After I work the Balm in well, I put the stummel on the stand to absorb the Balm for several minutes and take a picture.  I then wipe the stummel with a clean cotton cloth to remove the Balm residue and buff up the surface.  I put the stummel to the side and turn my focus again to the stem.After the black CA glue patches have thoroughly cured, I first use 240 sanding paper to do the initial removal of excess patch and blending. I continue to shape and fine tune the button lips with the 240 as well as remove the patch excess and smooth the saddle hole on the side.  Then, to erase the tracks of the 240, I use 600 grade paper. To erase the scratches of the 600, I buff the entire stem with 0000 grade steel wool which leaves a good evenly prepared surface to begin the micromesh pad cycles.  I like the way the chewed bit came out.Now, using micromesh pads 1500 to 2400 grade, I wet sand the stem.  It was going so well until it wasn’t! After starting the second cycle dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000, I see what I didn’t see before.  As the lower bit was glossing up because of the micromesh sanding, a small dimple remnant of the lower bit dent became visible to me – ugh.  When it comes to restoring pipes (and with many things in life 😊) I’m a stickler for detail and even though I’m well advanced in the stem finishing process, this dimple will not stand!  I wipe the spot with alcohol to assure that it is clean and I spot-drop Special T CA glue on the dent. This glue is extra thick because I want the drop to stop on the spot and not run over the stem as thinner CA glue tends to do.  I’ll spare you all the pictures of starting over filing, sanding, steel wooling and micromeshing pads catching this dimple patch up, so let it suffice to show the before and after, and then we move on.  Starting with the completion of pads 1500 to 2400:The discovery.  Before….And after….Now moving on to dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  To revitalize the vulcanite, after each cycle of three I apply Obsidian Oil.  The stem looks great even though I encountered a significant detour along the way.  I love the pop of vulcanite that has been fine-tuned with micromesh pads!The home stretch!  As I reunite the half-bent saddle with the stummel to begin the compound buffing cycle I discover that the union between stem and stummel has loosened.  As sometimes can happen during the cleaning process, the mortise can be opened, and the result is that the tenon is not as snug. To remedy this and to tighten the mortise/tenon union a bit, I use the flat end of a drill bit just a little larger than the diameter of the tenon draft hole.  I heat the vulcanite tenon with a small flame and as it warms the vulcanite it becomes pliable and gradually I insert the drill bit into the airway.  This expands the mortise a bit and hopefully, creates a better fit. The approach works perfectly even though it required two enlarging drill bits to provide a snug union. With stem and stummel reunited with a good fit, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel and set the speed to the slowest.  Using Blue Diamond compound, I apply it to the stummel and stem using a slow, methodical, circular approach, not applying too much pressure to the buffing wheel, but allowing the speed of the Dremel and compound to do the work.  With my wife’s assistance, I include a picture showing this below.  After completing the Blue Diamond application, I mount another cotton cloth buffing wheel dedicated to the application of wax.  After increasing the speed to about 40% of full power, I apply the carnauba wax in the same way as the compound.  Afterwards, I use a microfiber cloth and give the pipe a brisk hand buffing to raise the shine.None of the Peretti pipes that I’ve restored thus far have disappointed.  They arrived on my worktable in rough shape with scorching and chewed bits.  This L. J. Peretti Co. Billiard Half Bent Saddle was no exception.  The briar grain showcased in the large bowl reveals swirls of large bird’s eye pattern and horizontal straight grain in a whimsical contrast.  The grain flow reminds me of pictures of Jupiter’s atmosphere intermingling!  The distinctive Peretti “P” stamping stands out nicely imbedded in the glassy shine of the half bent saddle stem.  Cousin Stephen commissioned this hefty Peretti Billiard and will have first dibs on it in The Pipe Steward Store.  This pipe benefits women and girls (and their children) that we work with here in Bulgaria, who have been trafficked and sexually exploited – the Daughters of Bulgaria.  Thank you for joining me!

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An Amazing Craggy Briar Freehand Stamped Wathen Reflection


Blog by Steve Laug

Jeff picked up this beautiful craggy rustic briar freehand pipe guy in Maryland. It was very rusticated and craggy. There were rustications on the rim, around the rim, around various parts of the bowl and on the shank top. There was a rusticated bridge from the rim on the back of the bowl all the way to the end of the rusticated and craggy looking shank. The rustication on the exterior was filthy with lots of dust and debris deep in the crevices. There was a thick cake in the bowl and the airway in the twisted saddle, amber coloured stem was filthy with tars and oils. The inside of the shank must have been very dirty as well. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he cleaned it. I have included them here to give an idea of the rough condition of this pipe when it arrived in Idaho and Jeff started his magic. It is really quite unique with a rustic carving around the rim top and down the bowl part way. It is also rustic around the bottom edge of the bowl. There is a rustic bridge from the bowl to the end of the shank. The back of the bowl and the top of the shank is also rustic. The end of the shank slightly flared and rustic with the mortise drilled in the center. The underside of the shank is stamped Wathen over Reflection over the numbers 80 over #002. I am sure these numbers will help me date the pipe once I figure out who the carver is and where he lived and worked. It is a uniquely carved pipe that has smooth portions on the bowl front, sides and shank. The stem was an amber acrylic saddle with a twist in the saddle. The overall look of the pipe reminds me of a Micoli. Jeff had outdone himself in the cleanup of this worn and weary old pipe. It looked really good when you see where it was when he started. I took some photos to show the condition of the pipe when I brought to the worktable today. Jeff scrubbed the exterior with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to clean up the rustication around the bowl and rim. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Knife. He cleaned the interior of the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. The pipe came to me clean and ready to do some light restoration on it. The briar appeared to be very dry. The stem had a twist in the saddle that spiraled around the top and underside the length of the saddle. The surface was clean but had tooth chatter on the top and underside near the button and on the surface of the button itself. I took close up photos of the rim top and the bridge to the shank end to show the condition of the rustication. There was some darkening on the rim top that would need to be addressed but it was clean. I also took photos of the stem to give a clear picture of what I had when I started.I took a photo of the underside of the shank to show the stamping there. It read Wathen in script over Reflection also in script. Under that was stamped the number 80 over #002. It was etched in script into the briar and had been darkened with a black stain to make it legible. Not sure what the numbering means and the brand is unfamiliar to me. I decided to do some research on the brand. It appears that today is my day for digging up information on the freehand pipes that I am restoring. I searched for the brand, Wathen to see if I could figure out any connections. The first link I found took me to Pipedia and the following link, https://pipedia.org/wiki/Wathen. I found a sample of the stamping on the shank similar to the one I am working on and some of the history of the brand. I quote it in full.

Kerry S. Wathen was a pipemaker who worked for a small pipe shop in south Kansas City called “The Briar Patch” in the 1970’s. Tending to larger sized pipes his centerpiece was a huge briar calabash shape. When the Briar Patch closed he probably moved to Iowa where his pipes were available at David’s Briar Shop in Des Moines (ca. 1977 – 1980/81).

Wathen was having some problems with his hands at that time and was finally forced to give up his talented carving. He usually inscribed his pipes with his name and two digits for the year of production like “Wathen ’75”. The best pieces were named “Reflection”. Kerry S. Wathen, Sr. passed away on April 1, 1985 in his hometown of Topeka, Kansas.

The article on Pipedia gave me some interesting information on the pipe and the maker. The maker appears to have been Kerry S. Wathen. He carved pipes for a shop called The Briar Patch in Kansas City in the 1970s. It also said that he move to Iowa and sold his pipes through David’s Briar Shop from 1977-1981. It also helped me understand the stamping. The number 80 was the year in which the pipe was made. The #002 evidently was the second pipe made in that year. The stamping Reflection was how he marked his best pieces. According to the article he died in 1985.

I found another link for the sale of three Wathen Reflections through Cigar and Tabac shop. Here is the link, https://www.cigarandtabacltd.com/kerry-wathen-reflections-pipes-on-sale/. I quote the information from there that confirms the other information and adds some more. The first part of the quote said that the pipe were on sale for $250 each. Then it pretty much quoted the information from Pipedia. The second part of the article gave the following new information.

Wathen was having some problems with his hands at that time and was finally forced to give up his talented carving. He usually inscribed his pipes with his name and two digits for the year of production like “Wathen ’75”. The best pieces were named “Reflection”.

The last piece I found was from pipes.org and confirmed the Des Moines, Iowa connection that is noted in both of the above articles. Here is the link to the pertinent part of the discussion on the forums, http://pipes.org/forums/messages/23/5570.html?1099700064.

I have ten Wathen pipes that were purchased between 1977 and 1980 from a shop in Des Moines, Iowa. The shop name was David’s Briar Shop and the Wathens were pretty popular there.

Armed with that information I was pretty certain that the pipe I was working on was made by Kerry Wathen and with the 1980 date stamp it pretty well placed as one of the Des Moines, Iowa pipes made just five years before Kerry Wathen died. I turned my attention to restoring the pipe. I started with cleaning up the remnants of cake on the inside of the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife. I sanded out the inside of the bowl with a rolled piece of 220 grit sandpaper until the inside of the bowl was smooth and clean. I scrubbed the rim top rustication with a brass bristle tire brush to remove the carbon and debris in the rustication. I scrubbed it until the surface was clean. The photos below show the progress.I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm to deep clean the smooth briar bowl and worked it into the rusticated portions around the bowl, rim and shank including the bridge. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I hand rubbed it with my fingers, working it into the exterior of the rustication with a horsehair shoe brush. I wiped it off and buffed it with a soft cloth to polish it. The pipe really began to have a rich shine. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded the surface to remove the tooth chatter and filled in the deeper tooth marks on both sides of the stem near the button with clear super glue.When the repairs had dried I sanded them with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth and blend it into the rest of the acrylic stem. Once it was sanded smooth the stem looked really good.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust on the acrylic. I polished the stem and the smooth parts of the bowl with Blue Diamond to polish out the remaining small scratches. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and buffed it with a shoe brush. I gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the bowl and the stem with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The rustication around the bowl, the rim, the bridge to the shank end, the shank and shank end and the smooth brown finish all work very well with the amber coloured acrylic stem. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I have never worked on a Wathen pipe before and the unique shape and rustication pattern made it a challenge that was fun to tackle. The shape, finish and flow of the pipe and stem are very well done. The dimensions are Length: 6 1/2 inches, Height: 2 1/2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 inches wide and 2 inches long, Chamber diameter: 3/4 inches. This one will be added to the rebornpipes store soon. If you are interested in adding it to your collection send me an email to slaug@uniserve.com or send me a message on Facebook. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this unique, interesting and challenging Wathen freehand. I still have other freehands that I will be working on in a variety of shapes and sizes in upcoming blogs. 

Another Large and Unique Freehand pipe – a Granhill Signature 1 100


Blog by Steve Laug

My brother Jeff picked up some amazing freehand pipes lately. When I was in Idaho for my mom’s funeral I packed them to come back to Canada with me. There was a Soren Hand Carved, a Granhill Signature 1 100, a Ben Wade Golden Walnut Hand Made, a Veeja 900 C6 and a Viggo Nielsen Hand Finished Freehand. All of them were hand crafted and had interesting shapes and finishes. Some had full plateau rim tops, some partial plateau rim. I put them in my restoration box and tonight brought them to the work table. The pipe I chose to work on next was the Granhill Signature Freehand. My brother had done all of the cleanup work – reaming, scrubbing the exterior and cleaning the mortise and the airway in the bowl and shank. That left me the finishing work on it. The bowl has a smooth finish and plateau on the rim top and shank end. The shank flares toward the stem which is a swirled freehand style acrylic stem. The bowl is quite small in diameter and is very clean. The finish on the pipe was in excellent condition. The acrylic stem had tooth marks and chatter on both the top and bottom of the stem at the button. Jeff had cleaned the rim top and removed the debris in the plateau. He had scrubbed the exterior with Murphy’s Oil soap and removed the dust and grime that had accumulated there. He lightly reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer and cleaned it up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He cleaned the interior of the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. The pipe came to me clean and ready to do some light touch ups and polishing. The stem was cleaned but had tooth chatter on the top and underside near the button and on the surface of the button itself. I took close up photos of the rim top and the shank end to show the condition of the plateau. I also took photos of the stem to give a clear picture of what I had when I started. I took a photo of the underside of the shank to show the stamping there. It read GRANHILL in an oval shape over Signature. Under that was stamped the number 1 over 100. Not sure what that means and the brand is unfamiliar to me.The Granhill brand was unfamiliar to me. I had never heard of it before so I did some searching on Pipedia to see if I could find any information at all. I found two potential makers of the brand though they separated the name into two parts Gran Hill. The first possible maker was Michael V. Kabik with some of them stamped Made in Denmark. The spelling of the name was noted to come in other versions: Granhill, Gran-Hill. The second possibility comes from Lopes book where he states that the brand also was used by a Fargo Tobacconist, Lonnie Fay, who made freehands bearing this stamp in the 1970s. To me the similarity of the pipe to other Kabik pipes that I have worked on made me go with him as the maker of this particular pipe. I went back to Pipedia and spent time reading about Michael Kabik (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Kabik). Here is a summary of what I found.

Michael Victor Kabik or Michael J. Kabik, now retired artisan and pipe repairman, was born in Annapolis, Maryland in 1950. As a student he was fascinated by science, but finally turned to the arts. In the early 1970s he started working as an artisan and designer for Hollyday Pipes Ltd., and when the company closed he set up in his own right.

Kabik writes as follows:

…In the 1960s, I had helped Jay build Jay’s Smoke Shop and was his first employee. Since that time, he had set up one of the very first freehand pipe-making operations in the U.S. along with his partner, Chuck Holiday, called CHP-X Pipes. The staff consisted of four full-timers actually making the pipes and perhaps another four in sales and office work. Chuck, who did the actual design and carving, had long since had serious disagreements with Jay and split. Chuck’s replacement from the staff was quitting, and Jay was in a bind. Jay offered me the job, and I gladly accepted. The fellow quitting was supposed to train me for two months but left after two weeks, leaving me with an awesome responsibility. I felt as though the future employment of all these people depended on me as the designer and cutter…and it did.

…Sadly, CHP-X closed its doors two years after my arrival, due primarily to distribution, sales force problems, and other issues to which I was not privy…In love with a medium that satisfied my creative impulses while, pretty much, paying the bills, I bought up the essential equipment and produced pipes on my own. I did this from a farm house my wife and I rented in Phoenix, Maryland. I produced pipes under the name KANE, Gran Hill and others I can’t remember as well as a private label line for a store in, I believe, South Dakota.

…In 1973, I was approached by Mel Baker, the owner of a chain in Virginia Beach called Tobak Ltd. Mel was interested in producing a freehand pipe line and was alerted to my product by Al Saxon, one of his managers and a former CHP-X employee. Mel wanted to relocate me to Virginia Beach, give me carte blanche, and recreate the CHP-X studio with, of course, a new name for the product. I’m sure my answer came very quickly.

…We decided on the name Sven-Lar. Why? Well, when I bought out CHP-X, I also got a small drawer full of metal stamps that were created for private-label work. The Sven-Lar name was conceived but never realized. Aside from having the stamp already made, there were other reasons we chose Sven-Lar. First, we were making a line of pipes in the Danish freehand tradition and also, sadly, we knew the difficulty American pipe makers had breaking the foreign market mystique barrier. The latter certainly played a big part in the demise of CHP-X.

Armed with that information I was pretty certain that the pipe I was working on was made by Kabik. I turned my attention to restoring the pipe. I started with the clean bowl, I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm to deep clean the briar bowl and the rim top as well as the briar shank with the exotic insert. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I hand rubbed it with my fingers, working it into the exterior of the pipe. I wiped it off  and buffed it with a soft cloth to polish it. The pipe really began to have a rich shine. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth marks out of both sides of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper. I worked over the surface with sandpaper to remove the tooth chatter, marks and to smooth out the surface.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust on the acrylic. I polished stem and bowl with Blue Diamond to polish out the remaining small scratches. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The plateau on the rim top and shank end and the smooth brown finish work very well with the swirled brown acrylic stem.The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. While I have worked on other Michael Kabik pipes (a CHIP-X) this is the first Granhill pipe of his that I have restored. It is well crafted and is very similar to the CHIP-X that I worked on in the past. The shape, finish and flow of the pipe and stem are very well done. The dimensions are Length: 8 inches, Height: 3 1/2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 ¼ inches wide and 3 1/2 inches long, Chamber diameter: 3/4 inches. This one will be added to the rebornpipes store soon. If you are interested in adding it to your collection send me an email to slaug@uniserve.com or send me a message on Facebook. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this Granhill freehand. I have other freehands that I will be working on in a variety of shapes and sizes in upcoming blogs.

What an interesting Freehand pipe – a Veeja 900 C6


Blog by Steve Laug

Earlier this year I took some pipes in trade from a fellow in Alabama. He wanted some pipes that I would be adding to the rebornpipes store and wanted to trade me for some of his own. The first of these that I chose to work on today was one that is an interestingly shaped pipe with a wavy rim top, a long shank split by some exotic wood set off on each side with a thin band of dark wood and red wood. The bowl and shank are briar and the insert of exotic wood actually looks good. The shank flares toward the stem which is an amber acrylic saddle stem. The rim has some darkening and a little damage on the back side of the inner edge of the rim. The bowl had a light cake and smelled of aromatic tobacco. The finish on the pipe was in excellent condition. The acrylic stem had some tooth marks on both the top and bottom of the stem at the button. The slot in the button was missing and the button end appeared to be unfinished. It had the round hold drilled in the acrylic but the slot had not been shaped. Jeff had been able to clean up the rim top and remove much of the light lava on the surface. He had scrubbed the exterior with Murphy’s Oil soap and removed the dust and grime that had accumulated there. He lightly reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer and cleaned it up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He cleaned the interior of the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. The pipe came to me clean and ready to do some light touch ups and polishing. The stem was cleaned but it had minor tooth chatter on the top and underside near the button and on the surface of the button itself. I took close up photos of the rim top and the shank end to show the condition of the plateau. I also took photos of the stem to give a clear picture of what I had when I started.I took a photo of the left side of the shank to show the junction of the exotic wood inserta nd the wood bands on either side of it. It splits the long briar shank and gives the pipe an exotic flair. The photo also shows the stamping on the left side of the shank. It reads Veeja over 900 C6 or Cb.The Veeja brand was unfamiliar to me. I had never heard of it before so I did some searching on Google to see if I could find any information at all. I found a photo of nine Veeja pipes on Worthpoint that were being sold. They have similarities to the one I am working on but were also very different. There was no information on the brand. So other than seeing other pipes by the maker I was no further ahead. Here is the photo and the link to the sale listing on Worthpoint. https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/lot-veeja-original-tobacco-pipes-1796762187  

I did some further digging and found a listing on Pipedia for the brand. Here is the link to that information https://pipedia.org/wiki/Veeja. Once again it did not include much information. I include the article in full below.

Veeja Pipes were apparently made in New York, but we have been unable to establish any further details about them.

From that I could determine that the pipe was made in New York. No city is mentioned and no information is given about the pipemaker. I wanted to know more about the pipe so I kept looking. I found a discussion on the pipesmagazine forum and include the comment that started the discussion. http://pipesmagazine.com/forums/topic/veeja-and-appia-stanwell-pipes-1. It was posted in 2014 and there was no response to his question. I quote:

I picked up two pipes… One of them is marked ‘Veeja original 1985’ which I bought in New York sometime around the early 2000s. The only online reference I can find is that this a one line reference to Veeja being a NY hand made pipe maker. Does anyone know anything about the person/company who made this?

I spent some more time digging to find more information but there was nothing else that I could find. Do any of you who are reading this have further information on the brand or the maker? Do you know where in New York it was made? Thanks for any help that you can give me on this.

I called it quits and moved on to start working on the pipe itself. I started with the damage to the rim. I sanded out the damage on the rim top as well as to the inner edge until I had minimized the damage and reshaped edge and the top of the rim.I polished the sanded rim top and edge with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I polished it until the scratches were removed from the briar. I cleaned out the remnants of the cake with the Savinelli Fitsall Knife. I wanted to remove all the reminders of the previous tobacco and give the pipe a new smell. I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the inside of the bowl.I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm to deep clean the briar bowl and the rim top as well as the briar shank with the exotic insert. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I hand rubbed it with my fingers, working it into the exterior of the pipe. I wiped it off  and buffed it with a soft cloth to polish it. The pipe really began to have a rich shine. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. I wiped down the rim top so that it was clean. I used an oak coloured stain pen to match the rim top to the rest of the bowl. Once it dried I buffed the piep with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. (I picked a set of these stain pens up at Canadian Tire recently. The assortment of colours really makes them useful as I match them to the colours of the pipes I work on. I included this second photo to show what I am using to stain the pipes.)I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I cleaned up the area around the end of the tenon where it joined the stem. When the tenon had been turned this area had been left a bit rough. I scraped away the excess with a pen knife to leave it smooth. I sanded the tooth marks out of both sides of the stem to smooth out the surface.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust on the acrylic. I decided to finish up the end of the button and cut a slot into the acrylic. I took photos of the process from the original opening to the finished slot. I used needle files, sand paper and sanding sticks to open the slot and polish it.I the polished stem and bowl with Blue Diamond to polish out the remaining small scratches. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. This is the first Veeja pipe that I have worked on and judging by the craftsmanship on this one I will keep an eye for more of them in the future. The shape, finish and flow of the pipe and stem are very well done and the joints and fitting of the shank band mid stem were flawless. The dimensions are Length: 7 1/4 inches, Height: 2 1/4 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/2 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 inches. This one will be added to the rebornpipes store soon. If you are interested in adding it to your collection send me an email to slaug@uniserve.com or send me a message on Facebook. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this great freehand. I have other free hands that I will be working on in a variety of shapes and sizes in upcoming blogs.

Restoring a Viggo Nielsen Hand Finished Freehand


Blog by Steve Laug

My brother Jeff picked up some amazing freehand pipes lately and when I was in Idaho for my mother’s funeral I went through them and packed them to come back to Canada with me. There was a Soren Hand Carved, a Granhill Signature 1 100, a Ben Wade Golden Walnut Hand Made, a Veeja 900 C6 and a Viggo Nielsen Hand Finished Freehand. All of them were hand crafted and had interesting shapes and finishes. Some had full plateau rim tops, some partial plateau rim tops and one had a smooth rim top. I put them in my restoration box and tonight was going through them again. I had worked on a Viggo Nielsen freehand before and done a blog on it so I thought I would start with that one. Here is the link to that blog: https://rebornpipes.com/2016/07/09/a-clean-and-restore-of-a-viggo-nielsen-handmade-freehand/. I took photos of it this evening when I started to work on it. My brother had done all of the cleanup work – reaming, scrubbing the exterior and cleaning the mortise and the airway in the bowl and shank. That left me with the finishing work on the pipe. I took some photos of it before I started. Jeff had been able to clean up the plateau on both the shank end and the rim top. It was clean and did not have a shine. There was no dust, grime or lava in the plateau finish. The bowl was reamed and very clean. The stem was lightly oxidized with minor tooth chatter on the top and underside near the button and on the surface of the button itself. I took close up photos of the rim top and the shank end to show the condition of the plateau. I also took photos of the stem to give a clear picture of what I had when I started. I rotated the shank of the pipe and took photos of the stamping. The first photo shows the Viggo arched over Nielsen forming a football shaped stamp. The second photo shows the stamping directly below that and reads Hand Finished. Under that in the third photo is stamped Made in Denmark.

I reread my previous blog on Viggo Nielsen pipe that I had restored earlier this year. I went back and reread the entry in Pipedia on the brand to refresh my memory. I include key portions of the passage from my previous blog as a quick reminder. I include a photo of Viggo Nielsen to give it the pipemaker a face as I find that helpful.

I turned to Pipedia to learn about Viggo Nielsen. I had memory about him being somehow connected to Kai Nielsen but I was not sure of the relationship of the two. In Pipedia I learned that Viggo, now deceased, was born in 1927. I believe that during World War II he worked for Stanwell making pipes out of birch due to a shortage of briar. In 1948 he opened the Bari pipe factory and in 1951 began to make briar pipes. He carved both classic and freehand pipes.

In 1978 Bari was sold to a company in Germany and he and his two sons, Jorgen and Kai started making Faaborg pipes. Now I knew the connection between the two names that I remembered. https://pipedia.org/wiki/Nielsen,_Viggo

I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm to deep clean the briar and the plateau areas on the shank end and the rim top. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I hand rubbed it with my fingers, working it into the rim top and shank end plateau. I wiped it off with a soft cloth. I buffed the bowl with a horsehair shoe brush to polish it. The briar really began to have a rich shine. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded the tooth chatter and the tooth marks in the button top out with 220 grit sandpaper. I sanded the oxidation areas as well with the sandpaper to remove all of the remnants of light oxidation. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil and dried it off. I cleaned out the inside of the stem with pipe cleaners and alcohol.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust. I used the Before & After Pipe Polish to remove the small minute scratches left in the vulcanite. I finished by wiping the stem down with a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I the polished stem and bowl with Blue Diamond to polish out the remaining small scratches. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. This is the second Viggo Nielsen pipe that I have restored and I am amazed at the craftsmanship and the shapes that he achieves. The shape, finish and flow of the pipe and stem are uniquely his and he does a great job following the flow of the briar. The dimensions are Length: 7 inches, Height: 2 1/2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 inches. This one will be added to the rebornpipes store soon. If you are interested in adding it to your collection send me an email to slaug@uniserve.com or send me a message on Facebook. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this great freehand. More of the other freehands I mention above will follow in a variety of shapes and sizes in upcoming blogs.

 

 

 

Another Athens find: Renewing a Stout Peterson System Standard 313 Republic of Ireland


Blog by Dal Stanton

Athens, Greece, has been fertile ground for me in landing some nice pipes in the Athenian ‘wild’.  An area very close to the well-known Acropolis summit and near-by Mars Hill, where the Apostle Paul gave his defense of the Christian faith, is the Monastiraki market area. I have found several keepers in this area. I was drawn to one antique shop that spilled out onto the sidewalk of a typically narrow, crowded street.  As I looked over the plethora of paraphernalia in the shop, my eye caught sight of two lonely pipes among statuettes, ash trays, jars and lamps.  Immediately I knew one was a definite possibility – a Pete.  I looked quickly to determine if it was Pre-Republic or Republic of Ireland.  It was a Republic, but seemed to carry some weight of years.  What also caught my attention was that it was on the smaller side as far as I’ve seen of Petersons.  The shape number on the right side of the shank was 313.  The other pipe keeping company with the Pete was a Bewlay London Made ‘Reject’.  Interesting.  I’m always interested in pipes with the mark, ‘Reject’. The shop owner was all business and I wasn’t as happy with the bundled deal as I had wished, but I wanted the Pete and he’s now with me here in Sofia, Bulgaria. This Peterson System Standard 313 has been in my ‘Help Me!’ basket for some time until my brother-in-law, Greg, commissioned it to be restored along with a Comoy’s Pebble Grain Modern Poker.  He and his wife, Sarah, my wife’s sister, were visiting us here in Bulgaria, and Greg trolled through my buckets of pipes until he found these two – he commissioned both when he couldn’t decide!  The Pete and the Comoy’s both benefit the Daughters of Bulgaria, helping women and girls that have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks, Greg!

With this being the first Peterson System Pipe on my worktable, I’m looking forward to learning what I can.  The first thing I did was to identify the shape number of this Peterson.  Not long-ago Steve posted on rebornpipes a very interesting Peterson of Dublin Pipe Catalogue which he thought was dated about 2010.  I enjoyed looking through it then and tucked it away in my mind for when I would bring a Peterson to the worktable.  I found the shape 313 in the Standard Quality Smooth section of the catalogue which I included below.  It’s on the far right of the first row.  The description of the Standard Quality was helpful.What I also found interesting and helpful was the description of the Peterson System Pipe.  When this design hit the market in the late 1800s it was innovative then and continues to be popular today. Two design innovations were the focus: a trap (or sump) that collected the moisture in the mortise and the well-known ‘P-Lip’ stem, which stands for ‘Peterson’.  This design was supposed to be superior by directing the smoke to the upper part of the mouth rather than burning the tongue.  It is also engineered to compress the air as it moves toward the button.  I’ve included the description and a cutout showing the design from the same catalogue.I love working on vintage pipes – I only wish they could talk and tell their stories while I restore them!  With this Peterson now on my work table, I take some pictures to chronicle his condition and to get a closer look. The nomenclature is clear.  On the left side of the shank is stamped in arched fashion, ‘PETERSON’S’ over ‘SYSTEM’ over ‘STANDARD’ in straight letters.  Above this stamp, on the nickel ferule is ‘K&P PETERSON’S’.  The right side of the shank bears the ‘MADE IN THE REPUBLIC OF IRELAND’ placing it in the Republic Era – from 1949 until the present (from the Pipedia article:  A Peterson Dating Guide; A Rule of Thumb, by Mike Leverette).I’ve also been curious about the ‘faux’ hallmarks stamped under the K&P on the ferrule.  From the same helpful Pipedia article I read this:

Before we close this section on silver hallmarks, we must address the marks that many people refer to as hallmarks. Peterson uses three marks on some of their pipes that are not silver hallmarks but are rather another Peterson logo (See Enclosure 4).

These marks are:

  • A Shamrock for the many shamrocks found in Ireland
  • A Prone Fox representing the famous fox hunts in Ireland’s history, and
  • A Stone Tower for the many hundreds of stone towers spotted throughout Ireland

Again, these are not genuine silver hallmarks. I’m indulging in a bit of history to better appreciate the K&P Peterson’s on my worktable.  Another question, “K&P”?  Again, Mike Leverette’s Dating Guide article helps with a concise history along with pictures from Pipedia’s main Peterson article:

The history of Ireland is an old and honorable one; steeped in warfare, family, racial and religious traditions. No other country can compete in comparison. However, the first couple of millennia of Irish history have no relevance to this dating guide. Should you wish to read more on the history of the Irish, I recommend “The Story of the Irish Race” by Seamus MacManus who gives a very vivid, and near as we can tell, an accurate portrayal of their history.

History pertinent to our purposes began in the year 1865; the year Charles Peterson opened a small tobacco shop in Dublin. Later in 1875, Charles Peterson approached the Kapp brothers, Friedrich and Heinrich, with a new pipe design and with this, a very long-lived partnership was formed, Kapp & Peterson. This new pipe design is the now famous Peterson Patented System Smoking Pipe. By 1890, Kapp & Peterson was the most respected pipe and tobacco manufacturer in Ireland and rapidly gaining followers in England and America. In 1898 another of Peterson’s remarkable inventions became available, the Peterson-Lip (P-Lip) mouthpiece, also known as the Steck mouthpiece. So, for the purpose of this dating guide, we will study Irish history, relevant to our pipe dating needs, from 1870s until now.

Before we start with this Peterson dating guide, an observation; the Kapp Brothers originally came from Nuremberg, Germany. They were making pipes at least as early as the 1850s (their Dublin shop opened in 1855) and in many of the shapes we now associate with Peterson since the Kapp Brothers simply took their existing shapes and incorporated Charles Peterson’ s patented design into them. From their inception, Kapp & Peterson’s goal was to make a good smoking pipe that the ordinary, common working man could afford, and we believe they have, very admirably, lived up to this.

With a great admiration for the pioneering businessmen and pipe men, Kapp and Peterson, I now turn to the Peterson System Standard 313 on my table – really a quintessential working man’s pipe. It gives that kind of persona. The chamber is still loaded with the former steward’s tobacco!  Whenever I see this I wonder if this was the last bowl enjoyed on this side of life.  I’ll never know, and the Pete still isn’t talking!  The chamber has moderate cake build-up and the rim has some lava flow and some scorching.  The stummel generally is in good shape with typical marks of wear, but nothing too serious, and it is darkened with grime.  There is one fill I detect on the front, right of the stummel which I record with a picture.  The nickel ferrule has some dark areas on it which will hopefully clean up and shine up.  The System P-Lip stem has a good collection of tooth chatter, but I don’t detect any clench dents.  I begin the restoration of this Peterson by first adding the stem to a soak of Before and After Deoxidizer along with a Peretti and Comoy’s stem that are in the queue along with their respective stummels.  Before I place the stem in the Deoxidizer, I clean the internals of the System Stem P-Lip for the first time, and I now understand some of what I’ve read about the difficulty in cleaning these stems!  They are engineered to narrow down toward the button and the P-Lip draft hole is smaller than usual.  I read from the Pipedia Peterson article above that Falcon pipe cleaners are thinner and can be used well with these stems.  Good to know!  With pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl 95% I clean the stem and this keeps the Deoxidizer from becoming soiled as quickly. I let the stem soak for several hours.  After removing the stem, I let it drain of the Deoxidizer and then wipe off the raised oxidation using cotton pads wetted with light paraffin oil.  The oxidation wipes off as a nasty brown goo.  The System stem looks good after it is wiped down well.Putting the stem to the side, with the stummel now in hand, I clean the old baccy out of the chamber.  The tobacco still has a sweet aroma to it – I’m not a tobacco blend expert or else I might hazard a guess!  Using the Pipnet Reaming Kit, I start with the smallest blade and ream the chamber removing the carbon cake down to the fresh briar.  Since the bowl diameter is smaller, I only use the first blade.  I then utilize my Savinelli Fitsall Tool, which I find to be very handy. It can remove some carbon at the floor of the chamber missed by the Pipnet blade and it scrapes the walls more closely giving me greater control.  Wrapping a piece of 240 grit sanding paper around the Sharpie Pen, I sand the chamber walls removing even more carbon residue and getting down to the briar for a fresh start. Finally, I use a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95% and clean the chamber of the carbon dust.  Looking at the chamber, I see no problems – it looks great. Turning to the externals, I use undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with cotton pads to scrub the grime off the bowl and rim.  I also use a brass brush on the rim which is dark from some scorching.  After this, I rinse the stummel with tap water.  While I was doing this, I allowed the water to run over the nickel ferrule and rubbed it with cloth to see if this would help clean it up.  There is still what looks like corrosion on the nickel-plated surface.  I’ll do some Google research later to see what the next step might be to clean the nickel safely.  I also am not able to remove the darkened briar on the rim.  I’ll need to give it a gentle topping to remove it.  While I think about these challenges, I clean the internals of the stummel.  Using pipe cleaners, cotton-buds and shank brushes dipped in isopropyl 95%, I go to work.  Well…, some time later, I’m still not 100% satisfied with the cleaning of the Peterson ‘sump’ and draft hole.  The old tar and oil gunk is thick and only after employing many weapons in the arsenal is it starting to shape up.  The sump has collected the moisturized gunk as designed.  Along with pipe cleaners, cotton buds and different sized shank brushes, I also use both a dental spatula and probe to stir up and scrape the mortise and sump walls.  I take a picture to show this frontal attack – it isn’t pretty.  Now, to continue the cleaning I’ll use the kosher salt and alcohol approach.  Using kosher salt, which does not leave a taste as iodized salt does, I fill the chamber with salt, cup the top of the bowl with my palm and give it a shake to displace the salt.  I then set it in an egg crate to keep it stable.  Using a cotton ball, I create a wick to stuff down the mortise to act as a wick drawing more of the oils and tars out of the briar.  I make the wick by stretching and twisting the cotton ball and then guiding the end down into the draft hole as far as I can get it – I use a piece of thin metal coat hanger wire to push the cotton through the draft hole.  I also push the cotton down into the sump.   Once that is done, using a large eye dropper, I fill the bowl with alcohol until it surfaces over the salt.  After a few minutes – after it’s been absorbed, I top it off again.  I set the stummel aside to soak through the night. The next morning, the salt-alcohol soak did the job!  The salt is soiled, and the cotton wick is full of tars and oils.  After dumping the expended salt in the waste basket, I wipe the bowl out with a paper towel and blow through the mortise to loosen and left-over salt.  I run a pipe cleaner and alcohol through the draft hole and a cotton bud as well in the sump and the mortise walls to make sure all is clean and I’m happy to report that it is!  From this cleaning, I think a wise practice for any Pete steward would be to clean your pipe often!  Don’t allow too much gunk to collect in the sump.Turning to the Peterson-Lip stem, I use 240 grit paper to sand focusing on the tooth chatter on P-Lip button and the upper and lower bit.  I also refresh the lines of the button contours using a flat needle file.  To erase the scratches made by the file and 240 paper, I use 470 paper.   I then employ 600 grade paper sanding the entire stem and follow this with 0000 steel wool which begins the buffing up of the vulcanite. Before moving on to using micromesh pads on the stem, I use Before and After Fine and Extra Fine Polish on the stem to enrich the vulcanite.  For each polish successively, I place a bit on my finger and work it into the vulcanite.  I then wait a few minutes and wipe each successive polish off with a cotton cloth which also buffs up the vulcanite gloss.I put the stem aside and look again at the Peterson stummel.  I have two initial challenges to solve.  The rim’s dark ring from it being scorched.  Secondly, the small fill on the right-front quadrant of the stummel.  I use a dental probe and dig at it a bit to see how solid the fill is.  Some of the fill material flaked off and left a small indentation as a result. This needs to be filled again and masked. I will patch it before moving ahead with the stummel surface.  But first, I work on the rim.  I use a chopping board with 240 grade paper on it.  To top the inverted stummel, I use uniform, easy circular motions and I don’t need to take much off – just enough to remove the scorched wood.  Switching the paper on the chopping board to 600 grade paper, I top the stummel a bit more to smooth out the 240 scratches.  I take pictures to show the progress.   I notice that there is still a bit of dark wood on the outer rim lip. I’ll take care of that when I’m sanding the stummel rounding off the edge slightly.  I’ll stain the rim’s bare briar a bit later to match the stummel’s surface. Now, to address the fill. I again use a dental probe to scrape the old fill and to remove what is not solid.  To darken the old, remaining fill, I use a cherry stain stick to darken and color the fill so that it will blend with the briar grain better – I hope!  I then apply a small drop of clear super glue to the hole.  I use a toothpick to guide the super glue to the patch – while I was doing this, the power went out and I had to finish using the sunlight coming into the open window!  I put the stummel aside and wait for the CA glue to cure and the lights and internet to come back on! I decide to work on the stem using the micromesh pads. Starting with pads 1500 to 2400 grade, I wet sand the System stem. Then, using 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000 I dry sand the stem.  Following each set of 3 pads, I apply Obsidian Oil to revitalize the vulcanite.  I never grow tired of watching the pop in the vulcanite when it turns to that glassy gloss!  The Peterson-Lip System stem is looking good.  I put it aside to dry and absorb the Obsidian Oil. I turn back to the stummel.  The CA glue has cured on the patch and I begin the process of removing the patch mound by using a flat needle file.  The most important part of this process is to keep the file on the hardened glue and not slide off and to impact needlessly the neighboring briar.  I want to keep the area needing repair and refinishing as small as possible!  I file the glue mound down until it’s almost at the level of the briar surface.  Then, using a tightly rolled piece of 240 grit paper, I sand the mound further, so it is flush with the briar.  Finally, I use 600 grade paper to smooth the patch out preparing it for dye stick to blend the patch.  I think its going to blend very well with the briar. Now, to the rim.  I use 240 grit paper rolled tightly and I run it around the outer rim edge to give it a slight rounding to remove the remnants of damage on the rim.  I gently pinch the rolled paper over the rim edge with my thumb, so I create the slight bevel.  I also do the same, very lightly, to the inside rim edge.  I follow by doing the same with a rolled piece of 600 grade paper.  Finally, I take the stummel back to the topping board once more on 600 grade paper simply to redefine a crisp line around the rim after the beveling.  I think it looks great and ready for the next step. I’m hoping that I can match the dye stick color correctly!  I read on rebornpipes, Steve was restoring a Peterson System Standard and needed to use a dye stick on the rim.  He used cherry and said that it matched the Peterson schema well.  I’ll do the same and see how it goes!  I apply dye to the both the fill patch and the rim.  I wait a while for the dye to thoroughly dry before proceeding.I then sand the stummel with micromesh pads.  I wet sand using pads 1500 to 2400, and then dry sand with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000. To protect the Peterson’s nomenclature, I stay clear of the until the later pads – and even then, a very light touch. As you can see in the pictures above and the focused one immediately below, the nickel ferule of this Pete needs help dealing with the corrosion – it is an eyesore.  Care must be given because metals can be a bit tricky.  One approach that works for silver might turn another metal black!  After doing some quick ‘How to clean/polish nickel plating’ searching on Google, the approaches I found were helpful.  The general theme is to start conservatively and then to work more aggressively – that is, simply washing the nickel with warm water (every source warned about the need to use warm water with nickel – not hot nor cold) and a mild liquid dish detergent.  I do this to begin, and it does brighten the ferule but does not help with the corrosion.  The next step is to make a paste using baking powder (a mild abrasive and acidic) with water.  This I do next with better results.  At first, I have too much water, but eventually I find the ratio to create a thicker paste.  I then apply the paste with my thumb and work it in around the entire ferule but concentrating on the corrosive spots – the main one being over the ‘Peterson’s’ stamp. Afterwards, I gently rinse the ferule with warm water.  I like the progress, but I return to the paste and this time use a cotton pad dipped a bit into the paste and use it in a circular motion over the spot and then rinse.  I buff the ferule with a cloth and I like the results! The corrosion on the nickel is greatly reduced and the ferule looks shinier – but not pristine, still holding some scuffs from life.  I think this is good because he is an older Pete after all! The Pete is looking great.  Before moving to the final stages using abrasive compounds on the stem and stummel, I apply Before and After Restoration Balm to the stummel which has a way of enriching and deepening the briar. In keeping with the product’s name, I take some before pictures to compare with the after pictures – that always interests me.  I put some on my finger and work the Balm into the briar.  The Balm starts more liquidy and gradually firms up into a thicker, wax-like consistency.  After applying, I prop the stummel on an egg crate and let it sit for some minutes to absorb the Balm.  Then, after about 20 minutes, I wipe the Balm off, buffing up the shine with a cloth.  Then I take the ‘after’ pictures which are below for comparison.  I like the results. Because of the military style stem, I leave the stummel and stem separated as I apply compounds and wax.  I begin by mounting a cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel dedicated to the application of Blue Diamond compound.  With the Dremel set to the slowest speed, I apply the compound to the stummel in a slow, patient, methodical manner.  I use the sheen created on the briar by the overhead lamp to see the compound as I move it and direct it over the surface.  For the System stem, I switch cotton cloth buffing wheels and apply White Diamond, which is a finer abrasive than Blue Diamond.  For both compounds, I don’t apply much pressure to the wheel but allow the speed and the abrasive compounds to do the work.  After the compounds, I wipe stummel and stem with a felt cloth to remove compound dust before applying the wax. Then, again changing to another cotton cloth buffing wheel, and increasing the Dremel to about 40% power, I apply a few coats of carnauba wax to both stummel and stem and complete the process with a rigorous hand buffing with a micromesh cloth to raise the shine.

Oh my! The image that comes to my mind as I look at this Republic of Ireland Peterson, is that of a leprechaun, smoking his newly shined up pipe, doing a jig as he dances down the street!  This is the first Peterson on The Pipe Steward worktable and I’m pleased with the results and appreciate more the history of this well-known, proud Irish pipe name.  The grain of this Peterson System is surprisingly expressive and eye catching for a ‘Standard’ grade – a workingman’s pipe.  The nickel ferule came out great providing a classy transition for the military styled P-Lip System stem.  I’m pleased with the results! Greg commissioned this Peterson System Standard 313 and he will have first dibs on it in The Pipe Steward Store.  This pipe will benefit the work of the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  The pictures start with a before and after! Thanks for joining me! 

Refreshing a Lattice Work Meerschaum Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

I really am enjoying working on the last batch of pipes that my brother sent me. He does such a great job reaming and cleaning them that I have a fun job of bringing life back to a clean pipe. The next one up on my work table came in its own black vinyl (leather-covered??) case. From the outside the case looked like it contained a large apple shaped or round shaped pipe. The brass latch on the front edge and the hinges on the back were in great shape. There was a circle on the top outside of the case that looked like it had originally had a sticker logo on the outside of the case. It had long since disappeared and left its imprint on the surface of the case. The black case looked promising and made me wonder what was going to be inside. Jeff said he had picked this one up at an auction and it was in great shape.I opened the case and inside it was lined with golden yellow coloured velour. Nestled in the base of the case was a nice looking lattice meerschaum pipe that I think some would call and egg but to me was a bent billiard. The stem was a red acrylic with a Teflon/nylon push tenon and a nylon mortise insert. There was some light tooth chatter on the top and underside of the stem near the button on both sides and a small chip mid button edge on the outside.I took the pipe out of the case and took pictures of it before I did my polishing and clean up on it. It really looks good. Other than the chatter on the stem and the chip in the top of the button the rim top had some darkening and light build up. Jeff had reamed the bowl and scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with a soft soap. He had also cleaned out the mortise and airway in the shank and the stem. It was very clean. I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem. You can see from the rim top that there was some darkening along the back edge of the bowl. There is some colouration happening on the top and underside of the shank and on the bottom and sides of the bowl. The rim is also taking on colour. It should not take too much work to clean off the darkening. The stem had some chatter than is visible around the button on both sides as well as a small chip that is visible in the photo of the top side of the stem.The thickness of the button lent itself to topping it slightly. I used the topping board and put the surface of the button face against the sanding board. I worked it against the sanding board and remove the chip that was on the face of the button. I filled in the remaining portion of the chip with clear super glue and set it aside to cure.I sanded nicks and the tooth chatter on both sides of the stem. I reshaped the button and blended the repair into the rest of the button surface with 220 grit sandpaper. With the sanding and reshaping there was sanding dust in the airway on the stem so I cleaned it with alcohol and pipe cleaners. I also cleaned off the white nylon push tenon. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit sanding pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I finished polishing it with Before & After Pipe Polish using both the fine and extra fine versions. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I polished the rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I polished the sides of the bowl and shank at the same time with the pads. I the polished stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the remaining small scratches. I buffed the bowl with a soft microfiber cloth. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Clapham’s Soft Beeswax and the stem several coats of carnauba wax and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the entire pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 ½ inches, Height: 2 1/4 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/4 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 inches. I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store shortly. If you are interested in adding it to your collection send me a message or an email to slaug@uniserve.com. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over beautiful lattice meerschaum.