Tag Archives: bite marks

Rebirthing a Lovely Late Republic Era Peterson’s Kapet 14S Saddle Stem Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen is a smooth Peterson’s pipe, a straight, saddle stem Billiard. It was also incredibly dirty. This Billiard is a real beauty under the grime with some great grain around the bowl. The grime was ground into the finish on the bowl sides. The contrast of the brown stains gave the grain a sense of depth. It was stamped on the left side of the shank and read Peterson’s [over] Kapet. The right side had the shape number 14S stamped near the bowl. Centered on the right side of the shank is stamped Made in the Republic of Ireland (in three lines). Neither Jeff nor I remember where we got the pipe or when. So we have no photos of the pipe before clean up. Judging from the damage on the rim top and edges I would guess it had been a mess. The stem had tooth marks and some oxidation. But Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet reamer and cut back the cake back to the bare briar. He cleaned up the walls with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime from the finish. He worked on the rim top lava and darkening with the soap and tooth brush. He scrubbed the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior with Soft Scrub and then soaked it in Before & After Deoxidizer. He washed it off with warm water to remove the Deoxidizer. The pipe looked far better when it arrived. I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show how well it had cleaned up. The rim top photo looks good but there is some burn damage on the inner edge at the back of the bowl and all around the inner edge there is darkening. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the light tooth marks and chatter on the surface near the button. I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. You can see that it is stamped as noted above. It is clear and readable. He took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It is clear and readable and reads as noted above. I took the pipe apart and took a photo of the pipe. It is a good looking pipe and has some great cross grain on the sides of the bowl. I am including the link to the Pipedia’s article on Peterson pipes. It is a great read in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Peterson). There was a short note toward the bottom of the page about the series. It is definitely referring to the newer line that came out later. I quote:

I turned to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Peterson) to first pin down a date that the pipe was made. I knew that the Made in Ireland stamp would give me that. I quote:

As usual when trying to get accurate facts in regard to Peterson history, something will jump up and get in the way. They are missing many of their records. The following is the best that we can do for a guide to the myriad markings during the period 1922 – 1949. Prior to 1920 it was rare for a country of origin to be stamped on the pipe, just Peterson’s Dublin on the band. After 1921/22, if it is stamped “MADE IN IRELAND” and the “Made in” is stacked over “Ireland” or “MADE IN EIRE” or several other forms, it was made between 1922 and 1938. A considerable number of Peterson pipes were stamped “Irish Free State”. From about 1930 to 1949, most of the pipes (those which were stamped) were stamped “Made in Ireland”.” If the stamp reads “MADE IN IRELAND” in a circle, the pipe was made between 1939 and 1948. These are all “Pre-Republic” pipes. I can tell you that the mark “Irish Free State” was adopted in 1922; and replaced by “Eire” in 1937 and then by “Republic of Ireland” in 1949.

That gave me a date for the pipe – it was made between 1922 and 1938 as can be proved by the Made in Ireland stamp on the right side of the shank.

I turned to “The Peterson Pipe” by Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg to get some background on the Kapet line. On page 305 it had the following information.

Kapet (1925-87) Line first described in 1925 brochure and featured in occasional catalogs through ’87. Early specimens will be stamped IRISH over FREE STATE. Described in 1937 catalog as available in dark plum or natural finish. Featured an aluminum “inner tube” or stinger until ’45. Mid-century specimens may be stamped MADE IN over IRELAND. Specimens from 1970 on may have mounts with hallmarks.

I knew that I was dealing with a Late Republic Era Kapet. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

I decided to address the rim top damage first. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to give the edge a slight bevel to further minimize the damage to the rim. I then used a piece of sandpaper and a wooden ball to even the bevel and give the rim a uniform look. I think that it is definitely better once I finished. I wiped down the bowl and rim top with acetone on a cotton pad to remove the spotty finish on the bowl and make blending in the sanded rim top simpler. I polished the briar rim top and edges along with the rest of the briar with micromesh sanding pads –dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and using a damp cloth after each pad. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the tooth marks with the flame of a lighter to lift them. They came up significantly. I filled in the tooth marks that remained on both sides with clear super glue. I let the repairs cure. Once they had cured I recut the edge and flattened the repairs with a flat file. I sanded them with 220 grit sandpaper. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I wiped it down with some Obsidian Oil. I touched up the “P” stamp on the stem with an acrylic white fingernail polish. I worked it into the stamp with a toothpick. I let it sit for a few minutes then scraped off the excess.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I am always excited to finish a restoration and this Peterson’s Kapet 14S Saddle Stem Billiard is no exception. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the polished black vulcanite stem. This Classic looking Peterson’s Kapet 14S Billiard feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 30 grams/1.09 ounces. It is a beautiful pipe and one that will be on the Irish Pipe Makers Section of the rebornpipes store soon. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.

New Life for a Republic Era Peterson’s Emerald 150 Bulldog


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen is smooth finished Peterson’s Emerald pipe. This one is a smooth 150 Straight Bulldog. It has a triple band on the shank – 2 thinner brass bands separated by and emerald green acrylic band. This pipe was purchased off eBay on 03/01/17 from Rochester, New York, USA. The pipe was very dirty with grit and grime on the bowl and shank. The mix of brown stains gives depth to the grain around the bowl. It was stamped on the top left side of the shank and read Peterson’s [over] Emerald. On the right side it reads Made in the Republic of Ireland in three lines and the shape number 150. The bowl was heavily caked with a thick overflow of lava on the rim top. The edges of the bowl appeared to be in good condition under the lava. The stem was oxidized, calcified and had tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside on and near the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before his cleanup work. They tell the story and give a glimpse of the pipe.Jeff took photos of the rim top and stem to show the general condition of the pipe. The bowl is heavily caked with a thick overflow of lava on the top and edges. The stem is calcified, oxidized and has tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside near the button. Jeff took photos of the bowl sides and heel to show the grain around this bowl and shank. Underneath all the grime it is a nice looking pipe. He took photos of the underside of the shank to show the stamping. The stamping is readable in the photos below and is as noted above. I am including the information from Pipedia’s article on Peterson pipes. It is a great read in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Peterson). I have included a bit of the pertinent history here.

1950 – 1989 The Republic Era – From 1950 to the present time, the stamp for this era is “Made in the Republic of Ireland” in a block format generally in three lines but two lines have been used with or without Republic being abbreviated.

During the 1950’s and 60’s the Kapp & Peterson Company was still in the ownership of the Kapp family. However 1964 saw the retiral of the company Managing Director Frederick Henry(Harry) Kapp.

I knew that I was dealing with a Republic Era pipe made between 1950 and the present. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

I turned to The Peterson Pipe book by Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg for more information. On page 299 there was a summary of the Emerald Pipe. I quote

Emerald (1987-) Moderate-priced  line in Bordeaux and black rustic finish with a shank band of green acrylic between brass rings, P-lip mouthpiece; smooth walnut version added in ’91. Fishtail mouthpiece added in ’97. Identical line and finishes named Jade from early eighties until ’87.

This information narrowed down the date even further. The smooth walnut finish was added in 1991 so this one came out before 1991 and has a P-lip style mouth piece.

Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet reamer and cut back the cake back to the bare briar. He cleaned up the walls with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime from the finish. He worked on the rim top lava with the soap and tooth brush. He scrubbed the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior with Soft Scrub and then soaked it in Before & After Stem Deoxidizer. He rinsed it off with warm water to remove the Deoxidizer. It looked very good when I brought it to the worktable. The briar was very clean with some darkening on the rim top and inner edge. The stem had light oxidation and tooth marks. I took close up photos of the rim top and the stem surface. I wanted to show how well it had cleaned up. The rim top looked very good. The beveled inner edge and top had some darkening that would need to be cleaned up in the next steps of the process. I took photos of the stem to show the tooth marks on the surface ahead of the button and the light oxidation on the stem surface.I took a photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. You can see that it is stamped as noted above. It is clear and readable.I took the pipe apart and took a photo of the pipe. It is a good looking pipe and has beautiful grain around the bowl and shank.I began my work on the pipe by dealing with the rim top and beveled inner edge of the bowl. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth it our and lessen the darkening. It cleaned up well and looked very good. I  polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping the bowl down after each sanding pad. The grain really began to shine through. It is a beautiful pipe. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem. I sanded out the tooth marks and chatter in the surface and the button edges with 200 grit sandpaper. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I am excited to finish this Republic Era Peterson’s Emerald 150 Straight Bulldog.  I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the rugged rustication all around it. Added to that the polished triple brass and emerald acrylic band and the black vulcanite stem was beautiful. This Classic Peterson’s Emerald is nice looking and the pipe feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 42 grams/1.48 ounces. It is a beautiful pipe and one that will be on the Irish Pipe Makers Section of the rebornpipes store soon. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.

Breathing New Life into a Late Republic Era Peterson’s System Standard 309


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I removed from box of Peterson’s Pipes that I have to work on was a Peterson’s System Standard pipe. Once again we are getting into pipes that have been here for a long time and pipes that neither Jeff or I have any memory of where it came or when we found it. It was stamped on both sides of the shank. On the left side it read Peterson’s [over] System [over] Standard. On the right side it was stamped Made in the Republic of Ireland (3 lines) and under that was the shape number 309. The shape is one of the most familiar of Peterson’s shapes, taking the Irish maker’s signature shank stoutness to an extreme: the shank here is nearly as wide across as the bowl itself. The nickel ferrule was in great condition and was stamped K&P [over] Petersons. Judging from the look of the rim top and inner edge I would guess that it had a thick cake when we bought it and the top was heavily coated in lava. The rim was out of round a bit. The vulcanite stem had been oxidized and had tooth marks and chatter near the button on both sides. Obviously we did not have pictures of the pipe before Jeff’s clean up so I took these photos of the pipe when I brought it to my work table. I took close up photos of the bowl, rim and the new stem. You can see the reamed bowl and the darkening, remaining lava and damage on the rim top and the inner edge. The new stem is in perfect condition and will only need to be polished.I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank and the nickel ferrule. All are clear and readable as noted above. I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo to give a sense of the proportions of the pipe. It is really quite nice looking.I am including the information from Pipedia’s article on Peterson pipes. It is a great read in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Peterson). I have included a bit of the pertinent history here.

1950 – 1989 The Republic Era – From 1950 to the present time, the stamp for this era is “Made in the Republic of Ireland” in a block format generally in three lines but two lines have been used with or without Republic being abbreviated.

During the 1950’s and 60’s the Kapp & Peterson company was still in the ownership of the Kapp family. However 1964 saw the retiral of the company Managing Director Frederick Henry(Harry) Kapp.

Pipedia also included a section of information on the System pipes including a diagram of the sytems look (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Peterson#Republic_Era_Pipes). I quote a section of the article in part and include a link to another article on Pipedia on the System pipe.

The Peterson System pipes are the standard bearers of the Peterson pipe family, famous for the excellent smoking pleasure they provide. Often imitated but never equaled, the Peterson System smokes dry, cool and sweet, thanks to the scientific effectiveness of the original design. The heart of the System is the unique graduated bore in the mouthpiece. This makes the suction applied by the smoker 15 times weaker by the time it reaches the tobacco chamber. The result is that all the moisture flows into the reservoir and, thus cannot reach the smoker’s mouth. The Peterson Lip further enhances the effectiveness of the graduated bore by directing the flow of smoke upwards and away from the tongue. This achieves a uniquely even distribution of smoke and virtually eliminates any chance of tonguebite or bitterness. Furthermore, the shape is contoured so that the tongue rests comfortably in the depression under the opening. Each “PLip” mouthpiece is made from Vulcanite. For the Peterson System pipes to work properly, the stem/tenon has to have an extension, the tip of which will pass by the draft hole from the bowl and into the sump. Upon the smoker drawing in smoke, this extension then directs the smoke down and around the sump to dispense a lot of the moisture before the smoke enters the extension and stem. On the System Standards and other less expensive systems, this extension with be made of Vulcanite turned integrally with the stem. On the more expensive System pipes this extension will be made of metal which screws into the Vulcanite stem. This extension on the earlier pipes will be of brass and the newer pipes will be of aluminium. Most smokers not knowing this function of the metal extension, assumes that it is a condenser/stinger and will remove it as they do with the metal condensers of Kaywoodie, etc. Should you have a System pipe with this metal extension, do not remove it for it will make the System function properly and give you a dryer smoke (https://pipedia.org/wiki/A_closer_look_at_the_famous_Peterson_Standard_System_Pipe).

With that information in hand I knew what I was dealing with in terms of the stamping and the age of this pipe. I knew from the information that the pipe was made during the Late Republic Era between 1950 and the present day. Personally I think this is probably a 60s-70s pipe. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff had thoroughly cleaned up the pipe. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the sump in the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the stem with Soft Scrub to remove as much of the oxidation and calcification as possible. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water.

I decided to work on the damage on the top and the inner edge of the bowl first. I started the work with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the inner bevel of the rim. Then moved on to using a wooden ball and a piece of 220 grit sandpaper to give the edge a uniform bevel and smooth out the rim top. Once I had finished I think that it looked much better. I wiped off the varnish coat with acetone and a cotton pad to remove the spotty finish and to also blend in the sanded rim top. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each  pad to remove the grit. The bowl began to take on a rich shine. It is going to be a beauty. I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the briar with my finger tips. I let it sit for 10 minutes and the Balm did its magic. It enlivens, cleans and preserves the briar. It certainly brought this bowl back to life. I buffed it off with a clean cloth and took the following photos.  I set the bowl aside and turned to work on the stem. I “painted” the tooth marks on the stem with the flame of a Bic Lighter to lift them. I was able to lift them all to some degree. I filled in those that remained with clear CA glue. I used a small file to flatten the repairs. I sanded them smooth with 220 grit sandpaper. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. This Republic Era Ireland Peterson’s System Standard Bent 309 with a Nickel Ferrule and a vulcanite P-lip stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The beautiful grain that shines through the polished finish is stunning. As the pipe is smoked the patina should develop and look even better. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Peterson’s System Standard 309 Bent fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 53 grams/1.83 ounces. I will be adding the pipe to the Irish Pipe Makers Section of the rebornpipes store. If you are interested in purchasing this pipe send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.

Restoring a Sandblast Republic Era Peterson’s System Standard 301


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table was purchased from an antique store on 09/09/2017 in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. It is stamped on the underside of the shank and reads Peterson’s [over] System [over] Standard. That is followed by Made in the Republic of Ireland (3 lines) over the shape number 301. It was someone’s favourite pipe as could be seen from the thick cake in the bowl and the lava build up on the rim top. The sandblast finish looked good underneath all of the grime and debris that was ground into the bowl sides and heel. The polished nickel ferrule was in excellent condition. The stem was in excellent condition with some deep tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the p-lip. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his clean up work on it. It is a pretty pipe! The next photos show the bowl and rim top as well as the stem condition. The bowl was lightly caked and there was lava build up in the blast on the rim top. The edges of the bowl looked very good. The stem had some tooth marks and tooth chatter on both sides ahead of the button. Jeff took photos of the side and the heel of the bowl to show the swirling patterns of the grain in the briar. It is unique and quite beautiful. I can’t wait to see it once it is cleaned and polished. The stamping on the underside of the shank was very readable and read as noted above. It had been buffed but was not overly damaged. I am including the link to the Pipedia’s article on Peterson pipes. It is a great read in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Peterson).

I turned to “The Peterson Pipe” by Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg to get some background on the Peterson’s System Line. On page 314 it had the following information.

Peterson’s over System – Pipes stamped Peterson’s System have been documented as early as 1920. A ’20 brochure is the earliest printed reference to the Peterson System. The pipe came in three quality grades (no mark, 2, or 3) until 1959, thereafter as De Luxe (no mark), Premier (the old 2) and Standard (the old 3).

Peterson’s over System over Standard (c1945-)

I learned previously that the shape 301 was not introduced until 1975. Considering the Republic stamp, this one would likely date between 1975 and 2000. My guess is that the pipe was made somewhere between 1975 and mid-80s. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

With that information at hand I turned to work on the pipe itself. Jeff had thoroughly cleaned up the pipe. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the stem with Soft Scrub to remove as much of the oxidation and calcification as possible. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe once I started to work on it.  I took close up photos of the bowl and the stem. You can see the reamed bowl and the darkening and damage on the rim top and the edges. The stem surface was clean but there are light tooth marks and chatter on both sides on and ahead of the button. I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above. I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo to give a sense of the proportions of the pipe. It is really quite nice looking. The briar was in such good condition that I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.  I “painted” the tooth marks on the stem with the flame of a Bic lighter to lift them. I was able to lift them a lot. I filled in what remained with clear CA glue. Once the repairs cured I used a small file to flatten them and sanded them smooth with 220 grit sandpaper. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.  I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.  This nice looking Peterson’s System Standard 301 Sandblast Bent Pot with a classic Peterson’s P-lip vulcanite stem looks much better now that it has been restored. The rim top and edges cleaned up very well. The dark brown stains on the bowl came alive with the polishing and waxing. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Peterson’s System Standard is a beauty and fits nicely in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inch, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 50 grams/1.76 ounces. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Restoring a Republic Era Peterson’s “Dunmore” 79 Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table was purchased from an antique store on 10/20/2017 in Pocatello, Idaho, USA. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Peterson’s [over] “Dunmore”. On the right side it is stamped Made in the Republic of Ireland followed by the shape number 79. It was someone’s favourite pipe as could be seen from the thick cake in the bowl and the lava build up on the rim top. The finish looked good underneath all of the grime that was ground into the bowl sides and heel. The beaded decoration on the shank end is in excellent condition. Like other Dunmore’s I have worked on it had a flattened shank and the pipe functioned as a sitter. The stem was in excellent condition with some very light tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the p-lip. The “P” stamp on the left side of the stem was clear and just needed to be touched up otherwise it looked good. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his clean up work on it. It is a pretty pipe! The next photos show the bowl and rim top as well as the stem condition. The bowl was clean and ready to fire up. The rim edge was out of round and showed some damage and darkening. The rim top also had some darkening. The stem looked very good with some light tooth chatter and scratches. Jeff took a photo of the heel of the bowl and shank to show the swirling patterns of the grain in the briar. It is unique and quite beautiful. I can’t wait to see it once it is cleaned and polished.The stamping on the shank sides was very readable and read as noted above. It had been buffed but was not overly damaged. I turned to a previous blog on the Dunmore I had worked on and reread it before starting my work (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/08/18/restoring-a-petersons-dunmore-70-bent-apple-sitter-from-bob-kerrs-estate/). I quote from the blog on the Dunmore line below.

I then turned to the book I should have consulted first, The Peterson Pipe, by Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg. On page 298 there is an entry for Dunmore pipes. It reads as follows:

Dunmore (1971-c.1984 2006-10). Appeared first as Iwan Ries & Co. exclusive line “Dunmoor,” a Premier-grade in light-brown smooth or rustic red in all System shapes, with beading at the shank. Documented in the Associated Imports Catalog from 1973. Classic Range Dunmore shapes from ’78. A third Dunmore line (’06-10) featured standard and some B shapes, with beading around bowl instead of at shank-face, produced for European market.

On page 165 there were also photos of pages from a catalogue with the  description: The unmounted Dunmore Premier debuted in both System and Classic Range shapes circa 1973 with a final appearance in the 1981 catalogue.

The information blurb on each page read: “Dunmore Briars.” Beautifully grained best quality briar in light-brown, matt or rustic finish. Often described as “Petersons Unmounted System” has all the advantages of the system range. Ten models each fitted with the Peterson Lip mouthpiece.

With that information in hand I knew what I was dealing with in terms of the stamping on the pipe. It is a Late Republic era pipe. It showed up in Peterson Catalogue in 1973. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

With that information at hand I turned to work on the pipe itself. Jeff had thoroughly cleaned up the pipe. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the stem with Soft Scrub to remove as much of the oxidation and calcification as possible. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe once I started to work on it.  I took close up photos of the bowl and the stem. You can see the reamed bowl and the darkening and damage on the rim top and the edges. The stem surface was clean but there are light tooth marks and chatter on both sides on and ahead of the button. I took a photo of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above. There is also a “P” stamp on the right side of the stem.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo to give a sense of the proportions of the pipe. It is really quite nice looking. I decided to start my work on this one by reworking the inner edge of the rim with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I wanted to try and bring it back into round and smooth out the jagged condition.I polished the briar and the rim top with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth. You can see a few of the flaws in the sides of the bowl and shank in the photos below. The bowl looks great though. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. I touched up the “P” stamp on the left side of the flared saddle stem with white acrylic fingernail polish. I applied it and worked it into the stamp with a tooth pick. Once it cured I scraped off the excess. It is definitely better though the stamp is faint in some spots.  I “painted” the tooth marks on the stem with the flame of a Bic lighter to lift them. I was able to lift them a lot. I filled in what remained with clear CA glue. Once the repairs cured I used a small file to flatten them and sanded them smooth with 220 grit sandpaper. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. This nice looking Peterson’s Dunmore 79 Bent Billiard and a classic Peterson’s P-lip vulcanite stem looks much better now that it has been restored. The rim top and edges cleaned up very well. The rich brown stains on the bowl came alive with the polishing and waxing. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Peterson’s Dunmore is a beauty and fits nicely in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inch, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 59 grams/2.08 ounces. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Restoring a Peterson of Dublin Aran 01 Bent Pot


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen is a smooth Peterson’s Bent Pot. I am not sure where it came from or when we might have picked it up. This Bent Pot came with a nice nickel band on the shank end that was factory fitted to the stamping on the shank. The grime was ground into the finish on the bowl sides. The contrast of the brown stains gave the grain a sense of depth. It was stamped on the left side of the shank and read Peterson [over] of Dublin [over] Aran. The right side had the shape number 01 stamped toward the bowl. The nickel band was stamped Peterson [over] a stylized P [over] Of Dublin. There was a moderate cake in the bowl and a light overflow of lava on the rim top. The stem was oxidized, calcified and had tooth marks, chatter on the top and underside on and near the button. I took photos of the pipe before I started my cleanup work. They tell the story and give a glimpse of the promise that we see in this pipe. I took photos of the rim top and stem to show the general condition of the pipe. The bowl is moderately caked and the rim top and back edges have a thick lava overflow. The photos of the stem show that it was oxidized, calcified and has light tooth marks on the top and underside near the button. I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank and the band. It is faint but readable and reads as noted above. The right side stamping is also faint but readable. The photo of the band shows how it was stamped on the nickel – centered and clean. There was some oxidation and sticky substance on the underside of the band next to the shank. I took the stem off the shank and took a photo of the look of the pipe to show the relation of the size of the parts. It is a nice looking pipe.I turned to “The Peterson Pipe” by Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg to get some background on the Aran line. On page 294 it had the following information.

Aran (1965-) First issue of line described as “handhewn” (rusticated) with black semi-matte finish, in P-lip and fishtail mouthpiece. Second issue 1975, red sandblast, XL shapes. Third issue circa ’97, gold hot-foil P stamped on the mouthpiece, brown semi-matte smooth finish, no band. Fourth issue after 2010, with nickel band, no P stamped on the mouthpiece. Mounted and unmounted versions are available concurrently.

I knew that I was dealing with an Aran from the Fourth Issue of the Aran line that came out after 2010 because of the nickel band and unstamped stem. As such it was a newer pipe. Now it was time to work on the pipe. (Applicable information noted in red above.)

I started my work on the pipe by reaming it with a PipNet reamer and cut back the cake back to the bare briar. I cleaned up the walls with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I sanded the bowl walls with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel.I scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime from the finish. I worked on the rim top lava and darkening with the soap and tooth brush. I used a shank brush to clean out the inside. I rinsed the pipe with warm water and dried it off. I scraped out the inside of the shank with a dental spatula to remove the thick build up of tars and oils. Once I had removed that I scrubbed the inside of  the shank with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I cleaned the airway in the stem at the same time. I cleaned up the darkening on the rim top and the inner edge with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper until it was clean and undamaged. I polished the briar bowl and shank with micromesh sanding pads. I dry sanded it with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped it down with a damp cloth after each pad. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I polished the nickel band with a jeweler’s cloth to remove the tarnish and oxidation as well as add some protection to the band. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I rebuilt the button with black super glue. I flattened and reshaped it with a small flat file. I finished reshaping the button surface and end and sanded out some tooth marks on the stem surface with 220 grit sandpaper. I started the polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I wiped it down with some Obsidian Oil.  I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I am excited to finish this Peterson of Dublin Aran 01 Bent Pot. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the polished nickel band and the black vulcanite stem. This Classic looking Peterson’s Aran Bent Pot is one of my favourite shapes and it feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 52 grams/1.83 ounces. It is a beautiful pipe and one that will be on the Irish Pipe Makers Section of the rebornpipes store soon. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.

Restoring an Amphora Sandblasted Bent Billiard


Blog by Kenneth Lieblich

Next on the chopping block is a pipe which was selected by a customer of mine in the prime of his youth. Understandably, this very young fellow wanted a handsome and inexpensive pipe and chose this Amphora sandblasted bent billiard. I acquired it in a lot of pipes from a gentleman living on Vancouver Island. It was quite an assortment of pipes, as they ranged from horrible to beautiful. The selected pipe looked like a handsome, solid pipe that would smoke well and my young customer took a liking to it immediately. So did I – the sandblast is really quite attractive and I felt that he had made a good choice. The underside of the shank had the pipe’s markings. They read as follows: Genuine Briar [over] Amphora-Holland. Next to that was Amphora [over] X-tra-845. Secondarily, the Amphora logo (and encircled ‘A’) was on the left side of the stem. This logo was quite worn and I was unsure if I could restore it. Clearly, this pipe had been well-loved, as it arrived with some marks and general wear, and the stem was pretty nasty. There were also a couple of fills, but I was confident that those would be easy to handle. Amphora is a Dutch pipe brand of long-standing and they are perhaps best known because of their pipe tobacco. I must admit that whenever I heard the word “amphora”, I immediately think of this:I have cobbled together the brief bits of information from Pipedia, Pipephil, and the forums of PipesMagazine. Amphora was a brand of the Royal Dutch Pipe Factory, owned by Elbert Gubbels & Sons B.V. They produced several other brands, such as Douwe Egberts and Royal Dutch. Dr Grabow also produced bowls for them for some time and I have reason to believe that this particular pipe was from the Grabow factory. The Royal Dutch Pipe Factory went bankrupt in 2012. For some further speculative information about Amphora, please read Robert M. Boughton’s article here. Off to work! First, I wiped the filthy stem with Murphy’s Oil Soap on some cotton pads. There was oxidation and calcification there and I needed to remove it.The bore in the mouthpiece was clogged with debris (yuck!) and I used a dental pick to remove it. I feared that this might hint at the filthy horrors awaiting me in the stem. Fortunately, although the stem was pretty dirty, it was not as bad as I had feared. I had no problem cleaning out the inside with pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. Before the stem went for an overnight soak in the Pipe Stem Oxidation Remover, I used some SoftScrub to remove the first layer of filth and give the soak the best chance of working. It then went into the bath overnight. The following day, I cleaned all of the de-oxidizing mess off with alcohol, pipe cleaners, et cetera. The oxidation had migrated to the surface and would be fairly straightforward to remove. I scrubbed with SoftScrub on some cotton pads to remove the leftover oxidation. Once clean, I took a BIC lighter and ‘painted’ the stem with its flame to lift the bite marks. This did very little, but I built up the bite marks on the stem with black cyanoacrylate adhesive and let them fully cure. Following that, I sanded the adhesive down with 220- and 400-grit sandpapers to meld seamlessly into the stem. I then used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to bring out the lovely black lustre on the stem, with some Obsidian Pipe Stem Oil in between each pad scrubbing. Now for the stummel. Firstly, I decided to ream out the bowl. I used the KleenReem to remove the built-up cake and followed that with 220-grit sandpaper taped to a dowel to eliminate as much as I could. I took the chamber down to bare briar to ensure there were no hidden flaws in the wall. Following this, I cleaned the insides with the requisite pipe cleaners, Q-tips and isopropyl alcohol. As the stack of cleaning materials show, it was a mess! I also took this opportunity to wash the stummel with Murphy’s Oil Soap and remove as much grime as I could. The pipe’s rim was so caked with filth that I opted to soak it in a jar-lid of Murphy’s to soften it. Then I used a wire brush to dig out all the gunk. As the pictures show, the rim was badly worn and had lost a fair amount of colour. So, I took one of my furniture pens and touched it up. A bit later, you’ll see how much the rim improved. I decided the pipe needed some additional TLC and I chose to de-ghost it. I thrust cotton balls in the bowl (and plugged up the shank) and saturated it with isopropyl alcohol. I left it overnight and let all the evil spirits in the pipe leech into the cotton. Once complete, the pipe looked great and smelled even better.   I really liked the colour of the pipe and felt that it didn’t need any stain, so I applied some Before & After Restoration Balm which I massaged into the wood and let sit for 15-20 minutes. After that, I rubbed it with a microfiber cloth. The balm brings out the best in the beautiful wood. It makes things shine and really shows the lustre. Finally, it was off for a trip to the buffer. I used neither White Diamond nor carnauba wax because I didn’t want to lose any of the beautiful sandblast. Also, carnauba wax gets gummed up in the grooves. Instead, I used Conservator’s Wax and my bench buffer. One of the pictures below shows me holding two stems, but the stem in question is the one on the left (with the arrow). All finished! This is a handsome pipe with a beautiful sandblast and a classic look. I know the new owner will enjoy smoking it for many years to come and he’s already told me that he’s thoroughly enjoyed several bowls with it. I hope you enjoyed reading the story of this pipe as much as I did restoring it. If you are interested in more of my work, please follow me here on Steve’s website or email me directly at kenneth@knightsofthepipe.com. Thank you very much for reading and, as always, I welcome and encourage your comments.

Cleaning up a Lightly Smoked French Made Shop Pipe –  Butz-Choquin Made Pot


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table is an interesting piece of Vancouver Pipe Smoking History. It is a shop pipe that is stamped on the left side and reads R.J. Clarke [over] Straight Grain [over] St. Claude. The underside of the stem is stamped FRANCE next to the shank/stem union. For a bit of background, R.J. Clarke’s was my go to Tobacco Shop before its Gastown location closed down. To enter the shop was like a bit of time travel. It had been a Vancouver tradition for many years. The location had been a Vancouver tradition for years. Inside it looked like I imagined shops in 1800’s England must have looked. Inside, it was dark but wasn’t intimidating, fragrant but not overpowering. The owner was friendly and informative and I made it a Saturday tradition to visit there once I moved to Vancouver. There were chairs and couches in the back of the shop to sit and sip a coffee and a pipe or cigar and solve the world’s  problems with other like minded pipemen. Those memories will never leave me but the shop is long gone – closed around 2000 (give or take a year). This nicely made Pot shaped pipe has some nice mixed grain around it. There was a light cake in the bowl and some slight damage to the inner edge. The vulcanite saddle stem was lightly oxidized and had tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside ahead of the button. I took photos of the pipe before I started my clean up work on it. It is a pretty pipe with some great grain around the bowl and shank. I took photos of the rim top and edges and the stem surfaces. The rim top looked very good with some great birdseye. The inner edge had some burn damage and some darkening all the way around. There was some darker spots on the right front and the rear left edges. The stem had some oxidation and tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button.I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. It read as noted above and is very clear. I removed the stem from the bowl and took a picture of the pipe to show the general look and proportion of the pipe. It is quite pretty in terms of grain and shape. The stem is definitely a fitted blank rather than a hand cut one.I reamed the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to scrape out the thin cake in the bowl. There was not much there but enough that it had to go. I also sanded the bowl walls with a piece of 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel. The bowl walls were smooth when I finished the work.  I cleaned out the shank and the airway in the mortise and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and isopropyl alcohol. It was quite a bit dirtier than I expected from just the appearance. With the cleaning the pipe smelled cleaner.I worked over the inner edge with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the damage and to give the edge a slight bevel to remove the burn damage. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – polishing it with 1500-12000 grit pads. By the time I was finished the briar had a great shine. The grain on the pipe is quite beautiful. I wiped down the surface of the briar with acetone on a cotton pad. It cut through the thick varnish coat and with it removed the grain on the briar really shone through clearly.  I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm to deep clean the finish on the bowl and shank. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I worked it into the finish with my fingers. After it sat for 15 minutes I wiped it off with a soft cloth. 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. It is a beautiful bowl.  I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the surface with the flame of a lighter to lift the tooth marks and chatter. It worked very well and I sanded out the remnants and oxidation on the top and underside with 220 grit sandpaper and started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper (in my late night work on this stem I forgot to take photos of the sanded stem after the 220 and 400 grit papers).   I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 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.   As usual at this point in the restoration process I am excited to be on the homestretch. I look forward to the final look when it is put back together, polished and waxed. I put the bowl and stem back together. I polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the briar and the vulcanite. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I 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 grain really pops with the wax and polish. The shiny black vulcanite stem is a beautiful contrast to the browns of the bowl and thick shank. This French Made RJ Clarke Straight Grain St. Claude Pot was another fun pipe to work on. It is a nice piece of briar whose shape follows the flow of the briar. The pipe is comfortable pipe to hold in the hand. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.20 ounces/34 grams. I will be putting this pipe on the rebornpipes store in the Canadian Pipe Makers section. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.

Restoring a Republic Era Peterson’s Straight Grain X105 Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen is another Peterson’s pipe that has been sitting here in Vancouver for a while. It is a nice, beautifully grained Billiard. It came to us from an online auction 08/05/19 in Westville, Indiana, USA. This pipe was obviously a favourite of the previous trustee. It had been well smoked and there was a thick cake in the bowl and lava overflowing onto the rim top. The rim top had damage on the top and outer edge of the bowl. The well grained briar was dirty with grime and dirt ground into the finish and some small dents and scratches on the bowl sides and heel. There was straight grain all around the bowl and shank with birdseye on the rim top and heel of the bowl and top and underside of the shank. The stamping on the shank is clear and readable. The left side is stamped faintly Peterson’s [over] Straight Grain. On the right side it was stamped Made in the Republic of Ireland (3 lines) and near the bowl it is stamped with the shape number X105. The number 12 is stamped on the underside of the shank. The “P” stamp on the left side of the taper stem is readable and faded. It was oxidized and had light tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. There was also a white mark on the top of the stem that looked like a repair to me. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his clean up work on it. Jeff captured the thick cake in the bowl lava overflow onto the rim top and inner edge in his photos. You can also see the damage to the outer edge of the rim in the photos. The heavily oxidized and calcified stem surface had a lot of tooth chatter and marks on the stem and on the button surface and edges. There was also a white spot on the top about an inch ahead of the button that looks like a repair. He took photos of the heel and sides of the bowl to show birds eye grain on the heel and shank and the straight grain on the sides. It was quite beautiful. He took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank and stem. It is readable but faint in places. I am including the information from Pipedia’s article on Peterson pipes. It is a great read in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Peterson). I have included a bit of the pertinent history here.

1950 – 1989 The Republic Era  – From 1950 to the present time, the stamp for this era is “Made in the Republic of Ireland” in a block format generally in three lines but two lines have been used with or without Republic being abbreviated.

During the 1950’s and 60’s the Kapp & Peterson Company was still in the ownership of the Kapp family. However 1964 saw the retiral of the company Managing Director Frederick Henry(Harry) Kapp.

There was also a section on the Straight Grains on the site:

Straight grains: Peterson’s catalogue states that these pipes have Briars which are carefully examined for imperfections and have selected Briars of exceptional grain, known as Straight Grains, they are carefully selected, hand crafted and the increasingly rare skill required to make them is unique. Craftsmen shape, turn, sand and polish 150 year old roots of the Erica arborea tree/shrub. Only a very limited quantity of Straight Grains are available in any twelve month period. To my mind the sight of a beautiful natural straight grain bowl is truly a sight to behold. Pure class, they can be spotted a mile off! When coupled to the traditional high class Peterson gold or silverwork, these pipes are in a different quality league. Considering that such quality pipes when available, can be bought for prices starting at around $400 and upwards, they are to my mind a real bargain.

I turned to “The Peterson Pipe” by Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg to get some background on the Peterson’s Straight Grain. On page 314 it had the following information.

Straight Grain Scarce premium grade stamp on models with exceptional Straight Grain, P-lip or fishtail mouthpiece as a line, appears in 1997, 2000 and ’05 catalogs. Specimen documented with bone-tenon extension indicating availability of such pipes before 1963, indeed, the ’40 catalog notes that ‘Hundreds of grosses of pipes may be made before even one STRAIGHT GRAIN bowl comes to hand.

A further reference to the line is found on Page 240 of the above book. I quote:

Grain – But what if the first choice a pipeman makes has to do with grain, if, for example he is only interested in pipes stamped STRAIGHT GRAIN? This is the top category in Peterson’s grading system, where availability is wholly dependent upon chance, with fewer than 2 percent of all bowls being so graded and stamped. While Peterson was stamping pipes STRAIGHT GRAIN as far back as the 1940s, so few of them have been made that they didn’t appear in the catalogs until 1997. Finding a Straight Grain in a desired shape can thus take years. If, however, the smoker is willing to bump his expectations down a notch to A-quality bowls, he can still find some spectacular grain choices, but his other choices are now much wider, since all current De Luxe and Natural finish pipes are made from A grade bowls, which are always free of fills.

Judging from the description above I believe that I am working on a rare Republic Era (1950 – 1989) Straight Grain Billiard with beautiful grain and a matte-finish and a fish tail stem. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

With that information at hand I turned to work on the pipe itself. Jeff had thoroughly cleaned up the pipe. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the stem with Soft Scrub to remove as much of the oxidation and calcification as possible. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe once I started to work on it.   I took close up photos of the bowl and the stem. You can see the reamed bowl and the darkening and damage on the rim top and the edges. The stem surface was clean but there are light tooth marks and chatter on both sides on and ahead of the button. There was a white spot on the top side of the stem that looked like a repair to me.I took a photo of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above. There is also a “P” stamp on the right side of the taper stem.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo to give a sense of the proportions of the pipe. It is really quite nice looking. You can also see the white spot on the top of the stem that I think is a repair.I decided to address the damage to the rim top and inner edge of the bowl first. I cleaned up the inner edge and gave it a light bevel. I lightly topped the bowl on a topping surface with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage to the rim top. The rim looks much better at this  point. I filled in the damaged areas on the outer edge of the bowl with clear CA glue. I topped the rim again and cleaned up the bevel on the inner edge and the repairs on the outer edge with 220 grit sandpaper. Once I finished the rim top looked significantly better. I stained the rim top with a Cherry stain pen.I polished the rim top and the rest of the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. The briar began to come alive. The bowl looked very good. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips. It works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let it sit for 15 minutes then buffed it off with a soft cloth and raised the shine. The bowl looks great at this point.  I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I used a dental pick to push the white repair patch out of the hole. I greased a pipe cleaner with Vaseline to keep it from sticking in the airway. I used some black CA glue to refill the hole. I sprayed it with an accelerator to harden the repair, removed the pipe cleaner and set it aside to cure. Once the repair cured I used a small needle file to flatten the surface of the stem. I sanded it smooth with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to blend it into the surface of the vulcanite. I started the polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I touched up the “P” stamp on the stem with white acrylic fingernail polish. I pushed it into the stamp with a tooth pick to get it deep in the stamp. I scraped off the excess acrylic and polished the stamped area with a 1500 grit micromesh sanding pad. The curve of the “P” is weak but the stamp looks much better.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and gave it a final coat and set it aside to dry.   I am excited to finish this Republic Era Peterson’s Straight Grain X105 Billiard. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with beautiful straight and birdseye grain all around it. Added to that the black vulcanite stem was beautiful. This Peterson’s Straight Grain X105 Billiard is great looking and the pipe feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 40 grams/1.41 ounces. It is a beautiful pipe and a rare one that I will be adding to my own collection. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.

Cleaning up a Chuck Whitmore Hand Cut Whidbey Freehand for a friend


Blog by Steve Laug

I have a few pipes that I am working on for local folks who either have dropped them off or who are friends that I am catching up with. The next pipe on the worktable is another one that belongs to an old friend of mine who is in the process of moving. He stopped by and asked me to clean up a few more of his favourite pipes. The next one is an interesting full bent freehand with plateau rim top and shank end. I use the term shank end loosely as rim top and shank are side by side and the plateau carries across them. There is also plateau on the heel of the bowl. The stamping, or rather etching on the back of the bowl under the shank is clear and readable. It reads Whidbey [over] Hand Cut. To the right of that it is signed C.W. ’76. Underneath that near the heel of the bowl it is stamped with my friends name. The bowl is an octagonal cone with almost fluted sides. The shank is literally a part of the back wall of the bowl. It has some stunning grain around the bowl and shank even in its unpolished condition. There was a thin cake in the bowl and the top and edges of the rim had some darkening on the left back edge. The freehand vulcanite stem is square at the shank end then has a twist that was interesting. It was lightly oxidized and had some calcification ahead of the button on both sides. There were light tooth marks on the surface. I took some photos of the pipe before I started my work. I took close up photos of the bowl and the stem. You can see the light cake in the bowl and the darkening on the rim top and the left and back edge. The stem surface was lightly oxidized and had some calcification on the end ahead of the button. There were light tooth marks and chatter on both sides on and ahead of the button.I took a photo of the back of the bowl to show the stamping. I have purposely left off the name of the person the pipe was made for as my friend asked to remain anonymous. You get the idea of the etched stamp on the pipe. It is clear and readable.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo to give a sense of what the pipe looks like. It is an interesting looking piece.Before working on it I decided to see what I could learn about the brand. I found a listing on Pipedia for Whidbey Islander Pipes (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Whidbey_Islander_Pipes). I quote the information from that site below. It is brief but quite interesting to read. I quote it in full.

Whidbey Islander Pipes are high-praised, but very rarely seen freehand pipes. Hand-cut Briars by Master Pipe Maker Travers LaRue were made and sold in his shop “Virginia Tobacco and Pipe Shoppe ” in Langley on Whidbey Island, Washington between 1972-1983. LaRue died in 1983. He used 125 year old Sardinian briar and 150 year old Grecian Plateau briar with or without burl top. Trav custom designed ” free-hands ” or classic shapes. A sterling dot on the shank along with his signature marked his one of a kind designs and possibly one of the best smoking pipes around. Trav taught his son-in-law Charles Whitmore the trade and soon he became a pipe maker too. The shop produced a hand-cut from 75 year old Italian briar known as the ” Whidbey Islander “. These were mostly made by Chuck Whitmore that could be ordered with your own name inscribed. The shop was also known for hand blended pipe tobacco that was 100% pure premium quality American and imported tobaccos. The most famous being ” Brown Crock “. The 1936 Hollywood Pipe Shop recipe that Bing Crosby smoked exclusively and loved by many. The family still owns the recipe. Travers pipes are few and precious. You’re lucky if you own one.

Judging from the description above I believe that I am working on a pipe made on Whidbey Island, Washington made by Chuck Whitmore between 1972-1983. It is a very interesting hand cut Freehand pipe with great straight grain and a fancy vulcanite stem. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

I decided to address the damage to the inner edge of the bowl first. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to give the inner edge of the bowl a slight bevel on the inner edge to remove burned areas and blend them into the surrounding briar. It began to really look better.I reamed the light cake from the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife and then cleaned the internals of the shank and airway in the stem with isopropyl alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I polished the rim top, the repaired areas and the rest of the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. The briar began to come alive. The repairs looked better than I expected and would not need to be stained. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and into the plateau with a horsehair shoe brush polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and gave it a final coat and set it aside to dry. . It works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let it sit for 15 minutes then buffed it off with a soft cloth and raised the shine. The bowl looks great at this point. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded the oxidation and calcification on the stem end with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface of the vulcanite. I started polishing the stem by wet sanding it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and gave it a final coat and set it aside to dry. I am excited to finish this Chuck Whitmore made Whidbey Hand Cut Freehand. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with beautiful flame grain all around it. Added to that the black vulcanite stem was beautiful. This smooth Whidbey Hand Cut Freehand is great looking and the pipe feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 70 grams/2.47 ounces. It is a beautiful pipe and I will giving it back to my friend once I clean up his second pipe. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.