Tag Archives: bowl topping

Restoring a Nino Rossi 1886 Shape 138


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table is another that caught my eye when I was going through my boxes of pipes to be refurbished. It was purchased off eBay from a seller in Spearville, Kansas, USA in March of 2017. So, it is another that has been sitting here for over five years now. I sent a message to Jeff to see if he had some before photos of the pipe to show the condition when he received it. He did and sent them to me via Messenger. The pipe is a unique shape but it was a real mess. It is stamped on the left side of the shank with the signature of Nino Rossi [over] 1886. On the right side it is stamped with the shape number 138 and on the underside near the stem it read ITALY. The stem had the brand logo stamped on the left side as well and though fade it was readable. The finish was filthy with dirt and grime ground into the briar. There was some fading near the ride top of the bowl. The was some tarnish on the mid-shank brass band sandwiched between two white acrylic spacers. The bowl was heavily caked and there was a lava overflow on the rim top and the inner edge of the bowl. It appeared to me that the bowl edges were damaged but I would not know for sure until the pipe was cleaned up. The stem had tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. The inside of the stem and shank was also filthy with heavy tars and oils to the point it was almost clogged. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his clean up and I include those now. He took photos of the rim top to show the condition of the pipe and the cake in the bowl. You can see the potential damage on the inner edge. He also took photos of the stem to show the bite marks and chatter on both sides. Jeff captured the grain around the bowl sides and heel in the next photos. It really shines through even the grime. There are worn spots in the finish and numerous fills in the bowl and heel. They blend pretty well and I think after the clean up it will be a beautiful pipe. He took photos of the stamping on the shank sides and stem. He was able to capture them very well. Before I started to work on the pipe I wanted to remind myself of the background and history of the company. I find that when I do that it gives me another level of appreciation for the pipe that I am working on. I remembered that I had worked on a Nino Rossi 1886 pipe before so I turned to the blog I had written on the brand when I did that pipe and reread the history. Here is the link to the blog (https://rebornpipes.com/2022/01/04/a-fun-restore-of-a-nino-rossi-1886-classico-in-shape-992/). While the shape is slightly different it was informative. I quote from the information I found on the blog below.

I turned first to Pipephil’s site to see what I could learn about the brand as generally the site gives a good summary (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-n1.html#ninorossi). I quote the information from the side bar below and a screen capture of the pertinent section on the site. I drew a red box around the pipe in the photo below with the same stamping as the one I am working on.

Brand founded in 1886 by Ferdinando Rossi senior. He established a factory in Barasso, 5 miles away from Varese. The pipes production by the 850 employees reached 50,000 pipes/day in 1936. Ferdinando Rossi junior headed the company from 1946 until close down in 1985.I turned to Pipedia to read the more complete history of the brand and learn what I could about a possible date for this pipe (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Rossi). First, I wanted to understand the 1886 stamp on the shank under the signature stamp. I found that it was the year that the company acquired land and opened Fabbrica di Pipe di Radica Rossi.

Rossi acquired a large area of land in Barasso in the province of Varese and founded the Fabbrica di Pipe di Radica Rossi in 1886. For sure there was no lack of skilled workers and Rossi personally recruited 30 craftsmen of different occupations from the environment to get started. After a few years the enterprise had developed well and entered into export trades. In 1892 e.g., the ledgers registered the first pipes shipped to Brazil.

I quote a summary section of the article below.

From, approximately, Twenties, Rossi pipes were marked with “FRB” (Fratelli Rossi Barasso) or “MFRB” (Manifattura Fratelli Rossi Barasso), into an oval and above “OLD BRIAR” (or similar – sometimes, there was also “MFD. BY ROSSI”, as “Manufactured by Rossi”); on the stem, there was generally the “R” letter in circle. However, “FRB OLD BRIAR” was maintained for the “traditional pipes” (for cheap models – see below), surely, to Sixties.

From, approximately, the fiftieth anniversary (1936), pipes were marked with “Rossi” (in cursive font), with model name just under it; on the stem, there was “ROSSI” (for expensive models like “extra”, which had the best quality; “racine”, which was rusticated by hand; “extra grain”, which was accurately sandblasted; “super”, which had the best briar selection, and a limited production; “fiamma”, which was the best selection of Sardinia and Greece briar, and a very limited production) or “R” in circle (for inexpensive models like “standard”, “grana” and “FRB”).

From, approximately, Seventies, until 1985, Rossi pipes were marked with “ROSSI”, in an oval (sometimes there was also “ITALY” on the shank); on the stem, there was “ROSSI”. In these years, appeared the signature “Nino Rossi” (in cursive font): he was the last heir of the factory.

With that information, 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. There was some darkening on the inner edge of the rim and top that would need to be dealt with. 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 as possible. He soaked it in Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and rinsed it with warm water. The acrylic stem was clean but had tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. There was an N logo on the left side of the stem. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it.  I took photos of the rim top and bowl as well as the stem to give a sense of the condition of both. The rim top had some damage and darkening to the inner edge and rim top on the right front and back side. The bowl was out of round and need some work. The stem cleaned up well and there were tooth marks on the top and underside ahead of the button.I took photos of the stamping on the sides and underside of the shank. They are readable as noted above.I took the stem out of the shank and took a photo of the overall look of the pipe.I decided to start my work on the pipe by addressing the darkening and damage on the inside edge of the bowl and the rim top. I used a piece of 220 grit sandpaper and a wooden ball to clean up the bevel on the inner edge and the top of the bowl. I touched it up with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I wiped the top and edges down with a damp cloth and the rim top and edges looked much better. I wrapped a piece of dowel with 220 grit sandpaper and sanded the inside walls of the bowl to smooth them out. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth. I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips. The product works 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 set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I filled I the deep tooth mark on the top and underside of the stem with black CA glue. Once it cured I used a small file to flatten the repair and shape the button edge. I sanded the repair smooth to blend it into the surface of the stem with the 220 grit sandpaper to smooth them out. I started the polishing of the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. The stem was looking better with the repairs and polishing. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. I gave it a final rub down with Obsidian Oil. I used some Rub’n Buff Antique Gold to touch up the N stamp on the left side of the saddle. I applied it and worked it into the stamp with a tooth pick. I buffed it off with a soft towel. The resultant stamp looked very good.This Nino Rossi 1886 Shape 138 ¼ Bent Stack with a briar shank extension and a short saddle stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The beautiful grain on the briar and the briar shank extension that shines through the polished finish is stunning. There is a brass spacer with a white acrylic space on each side between the shank and the extension. It looks great. 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 Nino Rossi 138 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 56 grams/1.98 ounces. I will soon be adding it to the rebornpipes store in the Italian Pipe Makers Section. If you are interested in 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. There are many more to come!

Reviving a Vauen Luxus


Blog by Kenneth Lieblich

Next on the chopping block is a handsome Vauen, which I acquired from a Craigslist pipe lot. Although not an old pipe, it is a handsome one. It’s rather big and hefty, but not heavy, and feels good in the hand. I’m really glad that my customer picked out this pipe, as it has been sitting around unused for far too long. I’m happy that it has found a new home.This pipe is a Vauen Luxus 2013 chunky, bent billiard with a beautiful horn ferrule, It also takes a 9 mm filter. The stem has the traditional Vauen white dot (not unlike Dunhill’s) and, most interestingly, it has a P-lip, very reminiscent of Peterson’s. The ‘2013’ does not refer to the year of manufacture, rather, it refers to the shape number. The markings on the pipe are as follows: on the left side of the shank, it reads Vauen [over] Luxus. The underside of the shank shows the model number 2013, and the top of the stem shows the classic white Vauen dot.I searched on Pipedia for some history of the Vauen brand. Here’s what I found:

In 1848 Karl Ellenberger and his partner Carl August Ziener turned an idea into reality in Nuremberg. In the first German pipe manufacturing company they produced tobacco pipes from selected woods for connoisseurs throughout the world.

The Vereinigte Pfeifenfabriken in Nuremberg (known in short as VPFN) was brought into being in 1901 with the amalgamation with the Gebhard Ott pipe factory founded in 1866, also in Nuremberg. In this way, a business was created under the management of Ernst Eckert, a scion of the founding family Ott, and its products and services were to attend and shape the culture of tobacco and smoking in Europe and overseas for a long time – for 150 years now.

In the 1920s, VAUEN had taken out a trademark on a white dot on the mouthpiece for Germany and Austria, at the same time that Dunhill had done the same for the international market. The companies ended up in court with the result that Dunhill may use the white dot internationally, whereas VAUEN may use it only in Germany and Austria and has to use a differently-coloured dot for all other markets. They have used light blue and grey dots internationally since then. The white or coloured dot denotes the higher quality pipes of VAUEN; the lower-end pipes are only marked by the VAUEN imprint on the stem.

In the search for a term which would be easy for all pipe friends to remember and not confuse with anything else, Ernst Eckert’s son, Adolf Eckert coined a new name for the business in 1909.

VAUEN, consisting of the initial letters V (pronounced VAU) from Vereinigte Pfeifenfabriken and the N (pronounced EN) of Nuremberg. A brand name for the future had been created.

After 1945 Ernst Eckert, son of Adolf Eckert, succeeded in overcoming the destructive effects of the war with an unshakeable pioneering spirit. VAUEN grew to become a business with a worldwide reputation once more.

Alexander Eckert, now the fifth generation of pipemakers, has been at the head of the oldest German pipe-manufacturing company since 1982. The company, which has been in the hands of the founder’s family since it was established, is expanding again in importance as a result of increased international commitment.

Over at Pipephil.eu, they note that “Some of the pipes in Vauen’s Dr. Perl line (Germany) are equipped with a conventional P-lip stem.” In this context, the word ‘conventional’ is referring to the same P-lip invented by Peterson in 1898.

On to the pipe: given that it wasn’t very old, the pipe was in pretty good shape, but as usual, there were a couple of issues. The rim on the stummel was blackened and a bit burnt – that would need to be addressed. The insides were fairly dirty and would need some work to clean out. There were also some small fills in the wood, and they had ever-so-slightly expanded so that you could feel them when rubbing your finger over the surface. My customer didn’t want the fills dug out and replaced, so I would need to stain the fills instead. Mercifully, the beautiful horn was in good shape and wouldn’t need anything other than a polish. The stem needed some work. It was definitely dirty inside and the cavity that holds the filter would need a thorough cleaning. The stem also had some calcification and tooth marks/dents that would need addressing. In addition, the button would need to be reshaped. The stem was first on my list. I wiped down the outside of the stem with Murphy’s Oil Soap on some cotton pads. I also took a BIC lighter and ‘painted’ the stem with its flame in order to lift the bite marks and dents. Unfortunately, this didn’t really work, but I have ways of sorting this problem out.

Then, I cleaned out the inside with pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. It was pretty dirty and required quite a few pipe cleaners. Once this process was done, the stem went for an overnight soak in the Pipe Stem Oxidation Remover.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 on the stem.The bite marks on and around the button had to be dealt with, so I whipped out my black cyanoacrylate adhesive to fill those in and let them fully cure. 

I then sanded the adhesive down with 220-, 400-, and 600-grit sandpapers to meld seamlessly into the stem. Next, I used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to bring out the lovely black lustre on the stem. I also used Obsidian Pipe Stem Oil in between each pad scrubbing. On to the stummel, and the usual cleaning procedures were in order. The bowl really needed reaming so I used the KleenReem to remove the built-up cake and followed that with 220-grit sandpaper on a dowel to eliminate as much as possible. I took the chamber down to bare briar, as I wanted to ensure there were no hidden flaws. Fortunately, there were none. I then proceeded to clean out the insides of the shank with Q-tips, pipe cleaners, and isopropyl alcohol. There was quite a bit of filth inside these stummels and it took a lot of cotton to get them clean. I followed that up by cleaning the insides with some dish soap and tube brushes.I used a toothbrush and some Murphy’s Oil Soap to scrub the outside of the stummel and then the lava on the rim of the pipe.The burn marks remained, so in order to remove the remaining burns and nicks on the rim, I “topped” the pipe – that is to say, I gently and evenly sanded down the rim on a piece of 220-grit sandpaper. This effectively removed the damage, without altering the look of the pipe.A de-ghosting session also seemed in order, so I thrust cotton balls into the bowl and the shank and saturated them with 99% isopropyl alcohol. I let the stummel sit overnight. This caused the oils, tars and smells to leach out into the cotton. The bowl was nice and clean after this. Just before sanding, I covered the horn with painter’s tape to prevent any damage to it. I then used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) on the stummel to make it lovely and smooth. After that, a light application of Before & After Restoration Balm brought out the best in the wood.In order to minimize the appearance of the fills, I opted to apply some stain to the wood. First, however, I used some furniture pens on the fills and the newly sanded rim to darken them a bit. I began by applying a layer of Fiebing’s Light Brown Leather Dye to the pipe. After applying the dye, flaming it with a BIC, and letting it set for a few hours, I wiped the stummel down with isopropyl alcohol to remove much of the dye. Then it was time for the second round of staining, following the same steps as before. Finally, it was off for a trip to the bench polisher. A dose of White Diamond and a few coats of carnauba wax were just what it needed. The lovely shine made the wood look absolutely beautiful. This Vauen Luxus looks fantastic and arise ready to be enjoyed again by the next owner. I know that the new owner will enjoy smoking it for many years to come. I hope you enjoyed reading the story of this pipe as much I 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. The approximate dimensions of the pipe are as follows: length 6 in. (150 mm); height 2.3 in. (59 mm); bowl diameter 1.4 in. (35 mm); chamber diameter 0.8 in. (20 mm). The weight of the pipe is 2.5 oz. (72 g). Thank you very much for reading and, as always, I welcome and encourage your comments.

New Life for a Hard Smoked Older Bewlay Popular 127 Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table was dropped off by a local pipe shop that I do repair and restoration work for. It is an older pipe that the shop wanted me to do a full restoration on and properly fit the stem. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Bewlay in script [over] Popular. On the right side it was stamped London Made and lower on the shank it read 127 (shape number) [over] 0. The shank had an oxidized silver band (stamped on the underside Sterling Silver) on the shank and under examination with a bright light it was a repair for a cracked shank. The poor pipe was another one that had obviously been someone’s favourite and must have been a grand smoker. The finish appears to have some nice grain around the bowl and shank that even stands out with the grime on the finish. The bowl is heavily caked with a thick lava overflow on the rim top. The inner edge looked good under the grime but a clean up would tell the full story. The stem is quite oxidized, calcified and had a lot of tooth chatter on the top and underside near the button. The diameter of the stem is larger than the diameter of the shank. I would need to reduce it for a proper fit. The pipe showed a lot of promise but it was a mess. I took photos of it before starting my work on it. I took photos of the rim top and bowl as well as the stem surfaces to show the condition of the well smoked pipe. You can see the thick cake in the bowl and the heavy lava on the inner edge and rim. The stem was oxidized, calcified and had tooth chatter on both sides ahead of the button.I tried to capture the stamping on the sides of the shank. It is faint in spots but is readable as noted above. You can also see the diameter variation in the stem and the shank in the photos. I am pretty certain that somewhere along the way the original stem broke and cracked the shank. The pipe was banded and a new stem put on the pipe. Whoever did the work did not adjust the fit of the stem.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo to give a sense of the beauty of the pipe. Look at the grain on the left side of the bowl.I have worked quite a few Bewlay pipes over the years but wanted a reminder of the background of the brand. I turned first to Pipephil’s site (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-b4.html).  I got a quick summary there. I have included a screen capture below. The second pipe in the photograph below is stamped similarly to the one I have. It is also a Bewlay Popular. The shape number is different but that stamp also looks like this one. I have also included the information that was in the sidebar below photos below.Brand distributed by Bewlay & Co (chain of pipe stores) until the 50s, taken over by Imperial Tobacco & Co.

I turned to Pipedia next and include a screen shot of a photo there and a short history of the brand and who made pipes for them (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Bewlay).The English brand of Bewlay & Co. Ltd. (formerly Salmon & Gluckstein Ltd.), was in business from the early 20th century until the 1950s. The brand ended up being sold and taken over by Imperial Tobacco Co.. The shop chain closed in the 1980s but there seems to be one shop still in business on Carr Lane in the city of Hull.

Bewlay pipes were made by prestigious firms. Notably Barling, Charatan, Loewe & Co., Sasieni, Huybrecht, and Orlik. So understandably, the English considered a Bewlay pipe a quality pipe.

The information highlighted in red above is very interesting. Key English pipe making firms made pipes for Bewlay. I did a bit of searching for the shape number 127 under those company’s but did not find anything conclusive.

I started my work on the pipe by doing the cleanup work. I reamed the bowl with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I took the cake back to bare briar and sanded the walls with a piece of 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel. I checked the walls of the bowl for damage. It looked very good. I scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime on the bowl and rim and was able to remove much of the lava and dirt. The inner edge of the bowl looked good and the rim top had some darkening but otherwise was in good shape. I cleaned out the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol until they came out clean. I cleaned out the airway with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners.I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth the rim top and remove the darkening in and damage. I went over the inner edge of the rim to smooth out any roughness. Once I was finished I liked the way it looked.I decided to deghost the bowl and stuffed with cotton bolls and twisted a paper towel into the shank end. I used an ear syringe to fill the bowl with 99% isopropyl alcohol to wick out the oils in the bowl and shank walls. I let it sit for 5 hours and worked on the stem and took my wife to lunch. When we came back the cotton had turned amber coloured. I pulled it out and cleaned out the shank once more. The pipe smelled significantly better.I polished the Sterling Silver band with some silver polish to remove the tarnish and protect it from further tarnish. With it polished the Sterling Silver stamp is visible and readable on the underside.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I worked over the inner and outer edge of the rim as well. After each pad I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth to remove the sanding debris. It really took on a shine by the last three sanding pads.  I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips where it works to clean, restore and preserve the briar. I let it do its magic for 15 minutes then buffed it off with a cotton cloth. The pipe looks incredibly good at this point in the process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I used 220 grit sandpaper to reduce the diameter of the stem to match that of the shank. It took a lot of sanding to get there. I also sanded the oxidation, calcification and chatter at the same time. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. It is starting to look very good. (The first two photos show the size of the stem diameter in comparison with the shank.) I continued to polish the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it further with Before & After Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to cure. I am excited to finish this Bewlay Popular 127 Billiard. Who made this pipe for Bewlay? My guess, and it is just that, is that the pipe was made by Loewe & Co. Whoever made it the pipe is a beauty. 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 grain all around it and the birdseye on the rim top. The polished grain on the pipe looks great with the black vulcanite stem. This smooth Bewlay Popular 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 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inch, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 35 grams/1.23 ounces. It turned out to be a beautiful pipe. Once I finish the second pipe the pipe shop brought for repair I will be giving them a call for pickup. I hope that the owner will get great enjoyment from the pipes. Remember we are the next in a long line of pipe men and women who will carry on the trust of our pipes until we pass them on to the next trustee. Thanks for your time reading this blog.

New Life for a Tired Republic Era Peterson’s System Standard 314


Blog by Steve Laug

We picked this older Peterson’s System Standard purchased from a seller on 11/17/21 in San Marcos, Texas, USA. It was stamped on the left side of the shank and read Peterson’s [over] System [over] Standard. On the right side it is stamped and reads Made in the Republic of Ireland (three lines) with the shape number 314 underneath. The pipe was another tired old workhorse with lots of grime ground into the finish and a thick cake in the bowl. There was a heavy lava over flow on the rim top and some burn damage on the left front and side of the top and edges. The nickel ferrule was tired by undamaged. The sump and mortise were black with tars and oils. The stem was lightly oxidized and a lot of heavy calcification build up on the P-lip button and underside. There were some tooth marks and chatter on both sides just ahead of the button. Jeff took these photos before he did his clean up work to give an idea of the condition of the pipe. Jeff captured the thick cake in the bowl and the lava overflow onto the rim top in his photo below. There really was no way of knowing what the edges looked like under the thick cake and lava. You can also see the lava flowing down the sides of the bowl in the photos. The burn marks on the left side are also visible in the photo. The stem surface appears to have a lot of tooth chatter and marks but perhaps the calcification and grime on the bowl protected it a bit. There is also some oxidation. He took photos of the sides and the heel of the bowl to show the interesting grain patterns in the briar. It was quite beautiful. He took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank and on the ferrule and stem. It is readable but faint in places. The stamping on the nickel ferrule is very clear and readable. I remembered that Paresh had restored a Peterson’s System Standard (his was a 314) earlier this year and as usual had done good work on the research. I turned to his blog and read through his work on the pipe (https://rebornpipes.com/2021/07/24/helping-a-fellow-piper-with-his-dream-pipea-petersons-system-pipe/). I quote below from the section on his blog regarding the dating of the pipe.

While dating a Peterson’s pipe, I always fall back to my under mentioned favorite site; http://thepetersonpipeproject.blogspot.com/2007/07/dating-peterons-pipes.html

I quote from the above site.

Stamping of Bowl:

During the years of Kapp and Peterson’s business operations, the country of Ireland has undergone several name changes and K&P’s stamping on their pipes reflects these changes. Knowing these changes, a Peterson pipe can be roughly dated and placed in “eras.”

  • The Republic Era is from 1949 until the present. The Republic of Ireland was formed on 17 April 1949. From 1949 to present 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.

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 as possible. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. (You can see the burn damage on the left edge mid bowl.) I took photos of the rim top and bowl as well as the stem to give a sense of the condition of both. The rim top had some scratching on the top and damage to the outer edge and rim top on the side. The stem cleaned up well and the tooth marks on the top and underside ahead of the button are light and should clean up easily.I took photos of the stamping on the shank sides. The are clear and readable as noted above. There is some faintness on parts of the stamping but it is still readable.I took the stem out of the shank and took a photo of the overall look of the pipe. I decided to start my work on the pipe by addressing the damage on the outer left edge of the bowl and the rim top.  I lightly topped the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper on a topping board. I wiped the top and edges down with a damp cloth and the rim top damage and burn marks on the outer edges were gone.I polished the top with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to prepare it for staining. I stained the rim top and edges with a Walnut stain pen. I let it dry and repeated it until the stain matched.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth. I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips. The product works 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 sanded the tooth marks and chatter smooth with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to begin blending them into the stem surface. I started the polishing with some 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I set the bowl aside and turned to work on the stem. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. This Republic Era Peterson’s System Standard 314 Bent Billiard with a vulcanite 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 darken 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 314 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: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 inch, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 41 grams/1.41 ounces. I will soon be adding it to the rebornpipe store in the Irish Pipe Makers Section. If you are interested in 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. There are many more to come!

New Life for a Worn and Tired Republic Era Peterson’s System Standard 303


Blog by Steve Laug

We picked this older Peterson’s System Standard on a Facebook auction on 02/02/22 from Cottage Grove, Minnesota, USA. It was stamped on the left side of the shank and read Peterson’s [over] System [over] Standard. On the right side it is stamped and reads Made in the Republic of Ireland (three lines) with the shape number 303 underneath. The pipe was a tired old workhorse with lots of grime ground into the finish and a thick cake in the bowl. There was a heavy lava over flow on the rim top and some serious burn damage on the right front of the top and edges from repeated burning with a flame lighter. The nickel ferrule was tired but undamaged and stamped K&P [over] Peterson. The sump and mortise were black with tars and oils. The stem was a mess with oxidation and a lot of heavy calcification build up on the P-lip button and underside. There were some light tooth marks and chatter on both sides just ahead of the button. Jeff took these photos before he did his clean up work to give an idea of the condition of the pipe. Jeff captured the thick cake in the bowl and the heavy lava overflow onto the rim top in his photos. It looks like there is some damage to the inner edge on the right front of the bowl. There really was no way of knowing for sure what the edges looked like under the thick cake. You can also see the lava flowing down the sides of the bowl in the photos. The stem surface appears to have a lot of tooth chatter and marks but perhaps the calcification and grime on the bowl protected it a bit. There is also some oxidation.He took photos of the sides and the heel of the bowl to show the interesting grain patterns in the briar. It was quite beautiful. He took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank and on the ferrule and stem. It is readable but faint in places. I remembered that Paresh had restored a Peterson’s System Standard (his was a 314) earlier this year and as usual had done good work on the research. I turned to his blog and read through his work on the pipe (https://rebornpipes.com/2021/07/24/helping-a-fellow-piper-with-his-dream-pipea-petersons-system-pipe/). I quote below from the section on his blog regarding the dating of the pipe.

While dating a Peterson’s pipe, I always fall back to my under mentioned favorite site; http://thepetersonpipeproject.blogspot.com/2007/07/dating-peterons-pipes.html

I quote from the above site.

Stamping of Bowl:

During the years of Kapp and Peterson’s business operations, the country of Ireland has undergone several name changes and K&P’s stamping on their pipes reflects these changes. Knowing these changes, a Peterson pipe can be roughly dated and placed in “eras.”

  • The Republic Era is from 1949 until the present. The Republic of Ireland was formed on 17 April 1949. From 1949 to present 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.

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 Scrubb to remove as much of the oxidation as possible. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. (You can see the burn damage on the right top edge of the bowl.) I took photos of the rim top and bowl as well as the stem to give a sense of the condition of both. The rim top had some scratching on the top and damage to the inner edge and rim top on the right front as I had guessed when I saw the photos before the cleanup. The stem cleaned up well and the tooth marks on the top and underside ahead of the button are light and should clean up easily.I took photos of the stamping on the shank sides. The are clear and readable as noted above. There is some faintness on parts of the stamping but it is still readable.I took the stem out of the shank and took a photo of the overall look of the pipe. I decided to start my work on the pipe by addressing the damage on the inside edge of the bowl and the rim top.  I topped the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper on a topping board. I then used a wooden ball and 220 grit sandpaper to give the inner edge a slight bevel to remove the burn damage on the right front. I wiped the top and edges down with a damp cloth and the rim top damage and burn marks on the outer edges were gone. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth. I did not need to restain the rim top and edge because with polishing the match is very good. I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips. The product works 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 sanded the repairs smooth with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to begin blending them into the stem surface. I started the polishing with some 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I set the bowl aside and turned to work on the stem. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. I touched up the “P” logo on the stem with white acrylic fingernail polish. I worked it into the tails on the “P” with a tooth pick and scraped off the excess with my fingernail. I used a worn piece of 1500 and 1800 grit micromesh to polish off the excess, then buffed it with a soft cloth. This Republic Era Peterson’s System Standard 303 Bent Apple with a vulcanite 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 darken 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 303 Apple 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: 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 49 grams/1.73 ounces. I will soon be adding it to the rebornpipe store in the Irish Pipe Makers Section. If you are interested in 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. There are many more to come!

Restoring and Restemming a Made in Ireland Shamrock 106 Prince


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe was a mess and one that obviously had been “ridden hard and put away wet”. The finish and condition was abysmal. It was definitely a stranger to any cleaning! This one is a smooth Prince that has a rich coloured finish around the bowl sides and shank under the grit and grime of years. This pipe was purchased from an antique mall on 08/27/21 in Bozeman, Montana, USA. The finish is almost bland looking it is so dirty it was hard to know what to expect once it was cleaned. It was stamped on the  left side of the shank and read SHAMROCK. It was stamped to the right of the shank and reads MADE IN IRELAND (in a circle) with the shape number 106 lower and next to the bowl. It was filthy when Jeff brought it to the table. There was a thick cake in the bowl and lava on the rim top and the inner edge of the bowl. There were nicks in the outer edge all the way around. The replacement stem was chewed and damaged on the top and underside on and near the button. It did not appear to be vulcanite. Jeff took photos of the pipe before his cleanup work. Jeff took photos of the rim top and stem to show the general condition of the pipe. The bowl is heavily caked so it is hard to know the condition of the edges under the lava overflow. The stem was a replacement and had been heavily gnawed. The way the bit marks are on the surface of the stem makes me think that it is not vulcanite. The pipe is a real mess and I would probably have to restem the bowl. Jeff took photos of the bowl sides and heel to show the grain that was around this bowl. You can see the sandpits and nicks in the briar in the photos below. Even so, it is a nice looking pipe. He took a photo of the left side of the shank to show the stamping. The stamping is faint but readable in the photo below and is as noted above. He did not take a photo of the circular stamp Made In Ireland and the shape number on the right side of the shank. I will try to capture that later in the blog.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 Shamrock Pipe. On page 312 it had the following information.

Shamrock (c1941-2009) Originally stamped SHAMROCK with no brand name, an inexpensive line first described in George Yale (New York) mail order booklet in 1941, imported by Rogers Import. The line was actively promoted beginning in ’45, aggressively promoted in US by Rogers from early ‘50s when they registered the Shamrock logo with US Patent Office, claiming propriety since ’38. Over the years offered with P-lip or fishtail mouthpiece, with or without nickel band, with or without Shamrock logo on the band, with or without S stamped in white or later in gold on mouthpiece. Appearing in 2008 as unstained smooth and rustic, fishtail mouthpiece with gold impressed P on the stem. COMS of MADE IN over IRELAND (C1945-1965), MADE IN IRELAND forming a circle (c1945-1965), “A PETERSON’S PRODUCT” over MADE IN IRELAND (c1945-1965), MADE IN THE over REPUBLIC over OF IRELAND9c1948-1998). Model is always difficult or impossible to date.

Judging from the description above, the pipe I am working on is stamped with the stamp noted in red above. Made in Ireland in a circle which narrows the date to between approximately 1945-1965. It is just stamped SHAMROCK with no brand name and no stamping on the stem.

I was utterly surprised when I took this pipe out of the box and compared it to the before photos. 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. Surprisingly the walls looked unscathed from the heavy cake. 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 of the stem with Soft Scrub and then soaked it in Briarville’s Deoxidizer. He washed it off with warm water to remove the Deoxidizer. When I examined the stem I knew it would need to be replaced. The pipe looked far better when it arrived. The cleaned up rim top revealed very damaged inner and outer edges and the top. There were nicks in the surface of the rim and the edges. I took some close up photos of the rim top and edges to show how well it had cleaned up and the damage to the edges around the bowl. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the tooth marks on the surface near and on the button itself. The stem would be replaced. You can see the deep tooth marks and damage to the button edges on both sides. The diameter of the stem is smaller than that of the shank as can be seen in the photos.I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It is faint but still readable. It reads as noted above.I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to have a look at the parts and overall look.I removed the stem from the shank and went through my stems to find one that matched the length and shape of the previous stem. I was pleased to see that it was slightly larger in diameter than the previous one. The tenon was almost the same size as the other one. It was bent more than the previous one but once straightened out it was only 1/8 of an inch shorter. I thought it would look very good.I used a small folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to reduce the tenon enough that it would fit the mortise on the bowl. It did not take too much work and it fit perfectly. The diameter of the stem was slightly larger than the shank and would need some work to fit it properly. I took photos of the pipe with its new stem. I needed to reduce the diameter of the stem and also straighten it a bit to fit correctly. I used a flat file to take off as much of the excess as I could without damaging the briar ahead of it.I cleaned up the fit of the stem to the shank with folded 220 grit sandpaper. I worked over the flow of the stem into the shank to make the transition smooth. It was looking very good. I also heated the stem with the flame of a lighter to soften the vulcanite and straighten it. I repaired the damaged spots on the rim top with briar dust and clear superglue. Once it cured I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the inside edge of the bowl and smooth out the damage. I gave it a slight bevel to minimize the damage. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I restained the rim top with a Walnut and a Maple stain pen to match it to the surrounding bowl colour. It looked pretty good. It will blend well once the pipe is polished and buffed. 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 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 Older Made in Ireland Shamrock 106 Prince. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with beautiful mixed grain all around it, looks great with the new black vulcanite stem. This smooth Classic Shamrock 106 Prince is great looking and the pipe feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 36 grams/1.27 ounces. It turned out to be a beautiful pipe. I will be putting on the rebornpipes store in the Irish Pipe Makers Section. Thanks for your time and as Paresh says each time – Stay Safe.

Restoring a Made in Ireland Shamrock +69 Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe was a mess and one that obviously had been “ridden hard and put away wet”. The finish and condition was abysmal. It was definitely a stranger to any cleaning! This one is a smooth Bent Billiard that has a rich coloured finish and great grain around the bowl sides and shank under the grit and grime of years. This pipe was purchased on 06/05/21 from a fellow in Brazil, Indiana, USA. The finish is almost bland looking it is so dirty it was hard to know what to expect once it was cleaned. It was stamped on the  left side of the shank and read SHAMROCK. It was stamped to the right of the shank and reads MADE IN IRELAND (in a circle) with the shape number +69 next to the bowl. It was filthy when Jeff brought it to the table. There was a thick cake in the bowl and lava on the rim top and the inner edge of the bowl. There were nicks in the outer edge all the way around. There were burn marks on the outer edge on the right and left front of the bowl. The stem was oxidized and had light tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside on and near the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before his cleanup work. Jeff took photos of the rim top and stem to show the general condition of the pipe. The bowl is heavily caked so it is hard to know the condition of the edges under the lava overflow. The burn marks are also visible on the outer edge of the bowl. The stem is oxidized, calcified and grimy. It has some tooth marks on the top and underside near and on the surface of the button itself. Jeff took photos of the bowl sides and heel to show the grain that was around this bowl. You can see the sandpits and nicks in the briar in the photos below. Even so, it is a nice looking pipe. He took photos of the sides of the shank to show the stamping. The stamping is readable in the photos below and is as noted above. 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 Shamrock Pipe. On page 312 it had the following information.

Shamrock (c1941-2009) Originally stamped SHAMROCK with no brand name, an inexpensive line first described in George Yale (New York) mail order booklet in 1941, imported by Rogers Import. The line was actively promoted beginning in ’45, aggressively promoted in US by Rogers from early ‘50s when they registered the Shamrock logo with US Patent Office, claiming propriety since ’38. Over the years offered with P-lip or fishtail mouthpiece, with or without nickel band, with or without shamrock logo on the band, with or without S stamped in white or later in gold on mouthpiece. Appearing in 2008 as unstained smooth and rustic, fishtail mouthpiece with gold impressed P on the stem. COMS of MADE IN over IRELAND (C1945-1965), MADE IN IRELAND forming a circle (c1945-1965), “A PETERSON’S PRODUCT” over MADE IN IRELAND (c1945-1965), MADE IN THE over REPUBLIC over OF IRELAND9c1948-1998). Model is always difficult or impossible to date.

Judging from the description above, the pipe I am working on is stamped with the stamp noted in red above. Made in Ireland in a circle which narrows the date to between approximately 1945-1965. It is just stamped SHAMROCK with no brand name and no stamping on the stem.

On page 302 there was a listing on the nickel mounted markings such as those used on the band on the shank of this pipe. I quote:

Nickel-Mount Markings. Often called faux hallmarks or faux marks by Peterson collectors, this set of three little images of a shamrock, an Irish wolfhound and a round tower appear within rectangular shapes as decorations on nickel mountings. Very early nickel mounts (1891-c. 1920) had no such decorations, only the same stamps used on sterling but without the hallmarks. As a stamp, the set of decorations began to appear at the beginning of the Irish Free State era, sometimes alone but often under K&P and over block lettered PETERSON over DUBLIN, although the  three emblems appeared on K&P’s Irish Carving Shamrocks pipes since 1896. The stamp was used until about 1963, when hand soldered nickel bands and ferrules were replaced by pressed ferrules and premade bands…The shamrock is the emblem of Ireland; the Irish wolfhound has long been used for both hunting and protection, and is an emblem of strength; the round tower a symbol of Ireland’s early religious power. These decorations were stamped at the factory on non-sterling mounts only, and the assay office has nothing to do with them…

I was utterly surprised when I took this pipe out of the box and compared it to the before photos. 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. Surprisingly the walls looked unscathed from the heavy cake. 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 of the stem with Soft Scrub and then soaked it in Briarville’s Deoxidizer. He washed it off with warm water to remove the Deoxidizer. The pipe looked far better when it arrived. The cleaned up rim top revealed very damaged inner and outer edges and the top. It was both burned and nicked from being knocked out on a hard surface. I took some close up photos of the rim top and edges to show how well it had cleaned up and the damage to the edges around the bowl. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the tooth marks on the surface near and on the button itself.I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It reads as noted above.I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to have a look at the parts and overall look. I started my work on this pipe by topping the bowl and reworking the damage to the inner edge. I topped the bowl on a piece of 220 grit sandpaper on a topping board. Once I had it smooth I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to give the inner edge of the bowl a slight bevel to accommodate the burned areas and blend them into the surrounding briar. There was a large flaw in the briar near the rim top on the right side of the bowl. I filled it in with clear super glue and briar dust. Once the repair cured I sanded it smooth with 220 grit sandpaper to blend it into the surrounding briar.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I restained the rim top with a Walnut stain pen to match it to the surrounding bowl colour. It looked pretty good. I also touched up the repaired flaw on the right side of the bowl toward the top. They will both blend well once the pipe is polished and buffed.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 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 Nickel Banded Older Made in Ireland Shamrock 69+ Bent 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 mixed grain all around it. The polished nickel band is losing some of the plating but it still looks great with the black vulcanite stem. This smooth Classic Shamrock 69+ Bent 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: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 59 grams/2.08  oz. It turned out to be a beautiful pipe. I will be putting on the rebornpipes store in the Irish Pipe Makers Section. Thanks for your time and as Paresh says each time – Stay Safe.

Restoring and Restemming a Republic Era Peterson’s Mark Twain Bent


Blog by Steve Laug

Jeff and I often purchase pipe bowl/stummels of brands that we like and want to restore. These have included a lot of different bowls. If you have followed us for long you know that some of these have included Peterson’s, Dunhill’s, and a wide range of Danish and English pipes. Awhile ago Jeff and I were sorting through the bowls in our collection and pulled out eight Peterson’s bowls that were dirty and stemless. A friend referred us to a contact named Silas Walls, of Walls Pipe Repair in Wallace, Idaho, USA as he seems to have a good supply of original Peterson’s stems. Our friend has had him fit stems for some of his Petes and was very happy with the work. We made contact with him and sent him eight bowls for restemming.

This fourth of them that we cleaned up before mailing them out was a bowl that we purchased on 09/04/2020 from Gonzales, Louisiana, USA. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Peterson’s [over] Mark Twain. On the right side of the shank it is stamped Made in the Republic of Ireland (three lines). It has a tarnished silver ferrule on the shank that is stamped Peterson’s [over] Dublin. Further down the ferrule it is stamped Sterling [over] Silver. Below that are three silver hallmarks – a Hibernia symbol, a harp, and the letter P. This gives the information that it is Irish made, the harp is sign of the quality of silver and the P is the date code. (I will explore that  more below). The bowl was dirty with lava on the rim top, darkening on the edge and a moderate cake in the bowl. The finish had a lot of grime ground into the surface of the finish but some nice grain peeked through. The silver ferrule was heavily oxidized. Jeff took photos of the bowl before he did his cleanup work in preparation for sending them to Walls Pipe Repair for their new stem. The photos of the thick cake in the bowl and the lava build up and nicks/scratches in the surface and edges of the rim top. It showed a lot of promise.Jeff took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above. There is also some great grain around the bowl and shank. As is my habit I turned to Pipephil (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-peterson-ser.html) to get a quick overview of the Mark Twain pipe.When I clicked on the photo of the second pipe above it took me to a photo of the hallmarks that looked identical to the ones on the pipe I am working on. It made me question the date mark and dig further. The note below the photo said, “Peterson Mark Twain (not from the two numbered editions). That photo has a red arrow pointing to the P date stamp. Now to dig a little deeper.I turned to Pipedia and there was nothing specific about that stamping. 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 then to the definitive pipe book, The Peterson Pipe by Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg to find more information on the pipe and the stamping on it. I turned first to the short entries and on page 308 found the following information.

Mark Twain (1981-) System pipe design copied from a photograph of Samuel L. Clemens’s pipe held at the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum in Hannibal, Missouri. Arguably Peterson’s most famous and widely known commemorative, it was first introduced as a limited edition 400 numbered pipes in 1981 and offered in smooth and rusticated finishes to this day. Based on shape 14 from 1906 catalog…

There was also a note to turn to another chapter for further information. There is a section in the book on page 174-176 on the Mark Twain variations. There on page 176 in a paragraph entitled, “The Mark Twain System” I found some helpful information which I quote below.

The Mark Twain System. Usually known as the De Luxe, 2400 unnumbered pipes were originally released in 1981 with the hallmark P, and available in smooth as well as rusticated finishes. It is stamped PETERSON’S in script over Mark Twain on the obverse of the shank. The front side of the mouthpiece is stamped with a white P. The pipe retailed for $75 in a red oversized gift box and sometimes included a reproduction of the John Adams etching. De Luxe Quality models were released several times over the years, with later documented examples bearing hallmarks from 1982, 1984-1987, `990-1991, 1994 and 1997.

This section was extremely helpful in that it described the pipe I was working on to a T. So I knew that the pipe was a Mark Twain System known as the De Luxe. It was one of 2400 pipes that were released in 1981 with the hallmark on the silver ferrule – exactly like the one I was working on. I had no need to go further with the hallmarks in terms of dating the pipe.

Now it was time to work on the pipe. 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. It looked much better. The silver ferrule had a tarnish that I would need to deal with. When the pipes came back to Jeff with their new stems they looked great. When the pipe arrived here this week I took photos of it with its stem so you can see what I see. It is a great looking pipe and the replacement stem works well. 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 looked quite good but there was some damage and darkening around the inner edge. It should clean up really well. I also took close up photos of the new stem to show how well it is made! Thanks to Walls Pipe Repair!! 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. I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to have a look at the parts and overall look. The new stem looked really good with the bowl.Since the stem was in perfect condition and would not need work I set it aside and turned to work on the bowl. I decided to address the damage to the inner edge of the bowl and the rim top first. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to give the inner edge of the bowl a slight bevel to minimize the darkening and damage and blend it into the surrounding briar.I polished the silver ferrule with a jeweler’s cloth to remove the tarnish and slow down the tarnishing process. I steamed out the dents and road rash on the left side of the bowl and on the heel with a flat butter knife heated on my gas stove top and a wet cloth. Once finished they were gone and the pipe looked very good.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad.  The polishing of the rim top and inner edge brought the rim top colour to match the rest of the bowl. 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. Since the stem was new condition the pipe was basically finished. I am excited to put the final touches on this newly restemmed Made in the Republic of Ireland Peterson’s Mark Twain System Pipe. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with beautiful mixed grain all around it. Added to that the polished black vulcanite stem combined with the bowl and made a stunning pipe. This smooth Classic Peterson’s Mark Twain System 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 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 66 grams/2.33 ounces. I will be holding on to this one while I decide if I am going to sell it or smoke it. 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 a  Patent Era Dunhill Bruyere 40 Lovat


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table is a Dunhill Group 4 Bruyere Lovat that is proportionally well done. It has a two digit the shape number that I will define below. Jeff and I purchased a group of pipes on 04/26/2022 from a woman who contacted us from Cleveland, Ohio, USA. They had belonged to her husband’s father. We spent time chatting with her and arrived at a price and she sent the pipes to Jeff. It included 28+ pipes including this one.

This Dunhill Lovat is stamped on the left side and reads 40 followed by Dunhill over Bruyere. On the right side it is stamped Made in England2 3 (double date stamp) [over] Pat. No. 417574/34. A circle 4 followed by A is stamped on the right side next to the bowl/shank junction. The numbers and stamping tell me that the pipe is a Bruyere and the size is a Group 4. The 2 digit shape number makes it an older pipe as does the Patent No. stamp under Made in England. The double date stamp says the pipe was made one year and sold the next. The finish was very dirty with spots of grime and debris stuck on it. The bowl had a thick cake in the bowl and heavy lava overflowing onto the rim top. The rim top had burned area on the left front top and inner and outer edges. There was darkening and burn damage on the inner edge all the way around. There were burn marks toward the back of the rim top. The stem had calcification, oxidation and tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. The button itself appeared to be in good condition. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his clean up work on it. He took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the condition. You can see the thick cake in the bowl and rim top and edges. The lava is so thick that is hard to know what the edges and top look like underneath. The stem was heavily oxidized, calcified and has tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. Overall the pipe is a real mess.Jeff took photos of the grain and the finish around the bowl sides and heel. It was nice looking if you can see through the grime ground into the surface.He took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. The stamping is faint but readable. It reads as noted above. Now it was time to begin to work on the stamping on the pipe. I turned first to Pipedia as I remembered they had some great information on the Bruyere finish and dates and how the finish was made (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Dunhill#Bruyere). The first quote below give the short version of the finish. The second link goes into more detail. I quote from both below.

Bruyere – The original finish produced (usually made using Calabrian briar), and a big part of developing and marketing the brand. It was the only finish from 1910 until 1917. A dark reddish-brown stain. Before the 1950s, there were three possible finishes for Dunhill pipes. The Bruyere was a smooth finish with a deep red stain, obtained through two coats, a brown understain followed by a deep red.

https://pipedia.org/wiki/Dunhill_Bruyere

Initially, made from over century-old briar burls, classified by a “B” (denoted highest quality pipe); “DR” (denoted straight-grained) and an “A” (denoted first quality), until early 1915. After that, they became a high-end subset to the Dunhill ‘Bruyere’. The DR and B pipes, a limited production, they should be distinguished as hand-cut in London from burls as opposed to the Bruyere line which was generally finished from French turned bowls until 1917, when the Calabrian briar started to be used, but not completely. Only in 1920 Dunhill took the final step in its pipe making operation and began sourcing and cutting all of its own bowls, proudly announcing thereafter that “no French briar was employed”.

Bruyere pipes were usually made using Calabrian briar, a very dense and hardy briar that has a modest grain but does very well with the deep red stain.

“Before the 1950s, there were three possible finishes for Dunhill pipes. The Bruyere was a smooth finish with a deep red stain, obtained through two coats, a brown understain followed by a deep red. The Shell finish was the original sandblast with a near-black stain (though the degree to which it is truly black has varied over the years). Lastly, the Root finish was smooth also but with a light brown finish. Early Dunhill used different briars with different stains, resulting in more distinct and identifiable creations… Over the years, to these traditional styles were added four new finishes: Cumberland, Dress, Chestnut and Amber Root, plus some now-defunct finishes, such as County, Russet and Red Bark.”

With that information clear for me I wanted to identify the shape number and try to pin that down (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Dunhill_Shape_Chart). I turned to the section on the older 3 digit Shape Numbers and read it. I quote it below.

Early Days – 2 digits/letters – The original skus/model numbers from the 1920’s until the early 1970’s stood for very specific shapes and bowls. For example, the codes 31, 34, 59, 111, 113, 117, 196, LB, LBS… were all different types of Billiard shaped pipes and there were about 50(!), such codes for the Billiard shape alone. On top of those are a large variety of other shapes.

I knew that the pipe shape number locked in a time period between 1920-1970 – a large time span that I needed to narrow down more clearly. I turned to another link on Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Dunhill_Shapes_List) to a shape list that Eric Boehm put together for Dunhills. I copied the four 2 digit numbers on Lovats from the list. The shape 40 was in the list.

Lovats:

37 Lovat, short, thick, saddle 1928 11

38 Lovat, long shank, saddle bit 3 4¾” 1928, 50, 60, 69 11

40 Lovat, long shank, saddle bit 4 5″ 1928, 1950, 1969 11

481 Lovat, long shank, saddle bit 1 5″ 1950, 1969 11

I turned next to dating the pipe. There is a superscript underlined 2 followed by superscript underlined 3 a little higher and to the right of the first superscript. The numbers follow the D in ENGLAND on the right side of the shank. I turned to the dating chart on Pipephil to pin down the date on this twin (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/dunhill/cledat-en1a.html). I did a screen capture of Part 1 of the Dunhill Dating Key and included it below. I drew a red box around the section dating this pipe. It is clear that the pipe was made prior to 1954 as it includes a Patent Number. I drew a red box around the pertinent section that narrows the date down to between 1921 and 1954. It also had a link to further narrow down the dating.I followed the link to narrow it down and it took me to Page 2. The pipe has the patent number listed at the top of the chart – 417574/34. I followed the tree down the yes path to the part where it reads DUNHILL stamping aligned with SHELL. My pipe has BRUYERE aligned with DUNHILL. Again I followed the yes path to two options 1950 or 1940 + suffix (2-9). Since the pipe has a superscript 2 followed by a slightly higher superscript 3 told me that the pipe was made in 1942 and later sold in 1943. It was an old timer.Armed with that information I turned to work on the pipe itself. Before he sent it to me, Jeff had done an amazing job cleaning the pipe. It almost looked like a different pipe after his work. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet pipe reamer and removed the rest of it 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 isopropyl alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He soaked the stem in Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and then rinsed it off with warm water. He scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub and a tooth brush and rinsed it off with warm water. It looked amazing when I took it out of the package of pipes he shipped me. I took photos of the pipe before I started my part of the restoration work. The rim top was cleaner and the inner edge of the bowl looked rough. The rim top was chipped and damaged with the edges carved. There was burn damage all the way around but heavier on the front and the back of the bowl on the top and inner edge. The bowl was slightly out of round. The stem surface looked good with the oxidation gone and light but visible tooth chatter on either side of the stem.  I took a photo of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It is faint but is still readable as noted above.I took the stem off the shank and took a photo of the parts of the pipe. The overall look of the pipe is quite nice.I started my portion of the work on this pipe by addressing the damage to the rim top and the inner edge of the bowl. I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage to the rim top and minimize it on the edges. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the edge and give it a slight bevel to deal with the chipping and cutting on the inner edge. It cleaned up remarkably well. With polishing and buffing it would look even better. I polished the bowl and rim top with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the briar down with a damp cloth after each pad to remove the debris and sanding dust. I used an Maple Stain Pen to restain the rim top and the inner bevel of the rim edge. With the darkening on the edges and the top still present the Maple stain worked well to mimic the stain on the rest of the bowl and shank. Once it dried I buffed it with a cotton cloth and the match was very good. It looked much better with the work on the rim edge. The bowl looked very good at this point so I rubbed it down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl and shank with my fingertips and a horse hair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for about 10-15 minutes and buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the surface of the vulcanite stem with the flame of the lighter. I was able to lift almost all of the tooth marks and chatter except one on the top side that I needed to fill in with drop of black CA glue. I sanded the repair and the remaining tooth chatter with 220 grit sandpaper. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to start the polishing. I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem and gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil to finish it. This Beautiful Patented 1942/43 Dunhill Bruyere 40 Lovat is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The rich Bruyere finish that highlights the grain and works well with the polished vulcanite stem. 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 Dunhill Bruyere 40 Lovat is a Group 4 size pipe that will be a great smoker. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 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 35 grams/1.23 ounces. I will be adding the pipe to the British Pipemakers Section of the rebornpipes store shortly. If you are interested in adding it to your collection be sure to let me know. I take a moment to remind myself and each of us that we are trustees of pipes that will outlive us and the lives of many other pipe men and women who carry on the trust of their care and use. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.

My Methods for Reworking a Bowl, Rim Top and Edges


Blog by Steve Laug

I thought it might be worth taking time to talk about my methods of cleaning and restoring a rim top and edges of the bowl. I will address the process in the blog below by starting with the least intrusive method and work my way through the options and conclude with the most intrusive. I think if you were to just read the blogs you would default to topping a bowl and beveling a rim edge to deal with damage while there are actually several other options available to you. Obviously, some of the bowls that I have to deal with have a lot of rim top and edge damage so those restorations go into quite a bit of detail on that process. So if you are ready and interested let’s work through the process together.

1. I begin with the least intrusive method for smooth rim tops. For all intents and purposes this really is a cleaning and reconditioning process.

  • Ream the bowl and clean it up while carefully paying attention to the rim edges. You do not want to add damage to the shape of the bowl or edges by the reaming. I use a PipNet pipe reamer with four different cutting heads to fit a variety of bowls. I touch up that cleaning with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.
  • Carefully scrape off the thick lava coat on the rim top and edges with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe knife. I work to get the thick coating off as gently as possible with the knife.
  • Scrub the rim top and edges using Murphy’s Oil Soap (undiluted) and a Scotch Brite pad. It works well to remove buildup on the top without scratching the rim top. I use it to also scrub the inner edge of the rim to carefully remove the darkening and build up there. The goal is to keep the rim as round as possible and still smooth out the edge.
  • Scrub the entire bowl with the Murphy’s Oil Soap (undiluted) and a tooth brush to remove any residual grime on the bowl, rim top and edges.
  • Rinse bowl exterior and top with warm water to remove residue left behind by the soap and scrubbing.
  • Dry the bowl off and check for residue on the rim top and edges. Repeat to take care of those spots as necessary. Don’t worry too much about the lightening of the stain on the rim top at this point. We just want it clean.
  • If the stain has lightened considerably from the cleaning, buff the rim top to make sure the polishing does not bring the briar to match. If not, it can be restained to match the rest of the bowl using stain pens that are available on line.

2. We will look at modifications to the above procedure to arrive at the least intrusive method for plateau/sandblast/rusticated rim tops. Again, for all intents and purposes this is a deep cleaning process of the surfaces as described.

    • Ream the bowl and clean it up while carefully paying attention to the rim edges. You do not want to add damage to the shape of the bowl or edges by the reaming. I use a PipNet pipe reamer with four different cutting heads to fit a variety of bowls. I touch up that cleaning with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.
    • Carefully work over the rim top with a brass bristle brush (brass bristle brushes are much softer than a regular wire brush and do not do damage to the finish. These are available at most Walmart stores or small auto parts stores and are used for cleaning.) I use the brush dry and carefully work over the rim top with the goal of removing the thickest and most pervasive lava. Once it is finished the finish begins to take on its original appearance.
    • Scrub the rim top and edges using Murphy’s Oil Soap (undiluted) and a Scotch Brite pad. It works well to remove the remaining buildup on the top without damaging the plateau/sand blast/rusticated finish on the rim top. I use it to also scrub the inner edge of the rim to carefully remove the darkening and build up there. The goal is to keep the rim as round as possible and still smooth out the edge.
    • Scrub the entire bowl with the Murphy’s Oil Soap (undiluted) and a tooth brush to remove any residual grime on the bowl and rim top and edges.
    • Rinse bowl exterior and top with warm water to remove residue left behind by the soap and scrubbing.
    • Dry the bowl off and check for residue on the rim top and edges. Repeat to take care of those spots as necessary. Don’t worry too much about the lightening of the stain on the rim top at this point. We just want it clean.
    • If the stain has lightened considerably from the cleaning different procedures are used for the various surfaces.

a) Plateau surfaces if lightened generally will come back alive with polishing. I tend to stain the crevices in the plateau with a black Sharpie Pen to give some contrast to the rim top when polished. I will also often use the pen to colour the inner edge of the bowl.
b) Sandblast surfaces – I have found that a good buff will often bring this back to match the bowl. If not, it can be restained. I work to find a match the rest of the bowl with a variety of stain pens are available. These can be purchase online or at hardware stores.
c) Rusticated surfaces – Buff the surface to see what the finish looks like after buffing. It may well match the rest of the bowl with just that work. If not you can restain it in the same manner as the sandblast surfaces.

If the rim top and edges look good at this point proceed as usual to buff and wax them with the rest of the bowl.

3. Let’s move on to moderate intrusion when the above procedures do not work to address the issues on a smooth rim top and there is still damage to the inner edge of the bowl. The process below carries on from where you left off above in 1.

  • The rim top has been cleaned and the edges cleaned as noted above. The inner edge of the bowl is out of round and has darkening and burn damage that remains.
  • I use a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to give the edge a slight bevel and remove the damage from burning or nicks. The angle of the bevel varies depending on the depth of the damage, as the idea is to minimize it and bring the bowl back to round.
  • Sometimes that is all it takes -sand a slight bevel and bring the bowl back to round and clean up the edges.
  • Sometimes you have to decide how far to go – a bevel generally covers a lot of issues in shaping the edges of the bowl.
  • Polish the sanded rim edge with micromesh sanding pads to smooth it out.
  • Reclean the bowl and edge with a clean cloth. If the edge matches the rest of the bowl you are finished and can buff and wax the pipe.
  • If they do not blend in then use a stain pen and match the stain as much as possible to the rim top and bowl. Then buff, wax and polish on the wheel.

4. Let’s move on to moderate intrusion when the above procedures do not work to address the issues on a plateau/sandblast/rusticated rim top and there is still damage to the inner edge of the bowl. The process below carries on from where you left off in 2 above .

  • The rim top has been cleaned and the edges cleaned as noted above. The inner edge of the bowl is out of round and has darkening and burn damage that remains.
  • I use a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to bevel the rim edge inward and remove the damage from burning or nicks. The angle of the bevel varies depending on the depth of the damage and the overall structure of the bowl. The idea is to minimize the damage and bring the bowl back to round.
  • Sometimes that is all it takes – sand a slight bevel and bring the bowl back to round and clean up the edges.
  • Sometimes you have to decide how far to go – a bevel generally covers a lot of issues in shaping the edges of the bowl.
  • Polish the sanded rim edge with micromesh sanding pads to smooth it out. Remember on all three of these types of finishes a smooth inward bevel can add a real touch of finesse to the rim top that is stunning.
  • Reclean the bowl and edge with a clean cloth. If the edge matches the rest of the bowl you are finished and can buff and wax the pipe.
  • If they do not blend in then use a stain pen and match the stain as much as possible to the rim top and bowl. Then buff, wax and polish on the wheel.

If the rim top and edges look good at this point proceed as usual to buff and wax them with the rest of the bowl. If the damage is even more extensive than originally thought after proceeding through the steps and procedures above then more intrusive measures will be required to bring the bowl back to round and the rim top to undamaged condition. Once again, how far you go with this process depends on choices that only you can make. As a general rule I will not change the visual profile of the pipe regardless of the work I do and that sets the limits for the degree of work I will do.

5. Let’s move on to the most intrusive methods when the above procedures do not work to address the issues on a smooth rim top and there is still damage to the inner edge of the bowl. The process below carries on from where you left off above in 1 and 3.

  • On a smooth rim top where there is damage to the top itself as well as the inner and outer edges several methods are available to try.
  • If you have cleaned up the edges already and the top has burn damage or is dented and nicked the first step is to steam out the dents with a damp cloth and a hot knife or small steam iron. I wet the cloth and lay it on top of the dent then apply the heat source that generates steam and lifts the dents. I repeat until the surface is smooth. That leaves the burn marks to address.
  • If the steaming has left behind damage that could not addressed using the method then it is time to move forward. If the damage is on the inner edge of the bowl then I generally use a wooden ball or darning egg wrapped with a piece of sandpaper (220 grit) to give the inner edge more of a bevel (deeper bevel) to accommodate the damage and minimize it. (both the bevel and the following topping will minimize burn damage).
  • If the damage is to the rim top itself then I use a topping board and 220 grit sandpaper to top the bowl and carefully remove the damaged part. Topping does not have to be too deep or drastic. I always proceed slowly checking often to see if the surface is smoothing out. Remember it is easier to remove than to put wood back. 😉
  • If all is done and you still feel the burn damage is too intrusive you can make a wash of oxalic acid and warm water and use a cotton pad or paper towel to apply it to the burn damaged area. Repeat until you are convinced that no more damage can be removed.
  • When finished smoothing out the rim top polish it and the edges with micromesh sanding pads (1500-12000 grit pads). You can either wet sand or dry sand. As you polish the rim top it should begin to shine. That may be enough if it matches the bowl sides and you can buff and wax it.
  • If it does not match then you will need to restain the rim top and edges to match the rest of the bowl. This can be down with an aniline based stain like Feibings or even with the small Stain Pens I have referred to above.
  • Buff the bowl and rim with a buffer and a polish like Blue Diamond and then generously wax the briar with carnauba wax and buff with a clean buffing pad.
  • At this point the rim top will likely look very good and match the bowl well. The damage from burn marks or nicks and dents will have disappeared and the edges will look like they were meant to be as they are now.

6. Let’s move on to the most intrusive methods when the above procedures do not work to address the issues on a plateau, sandblast or rusticated rim top and there is still damage to the inner edge of the bowl. The process below carries on from where you left off above in 2 and 4. Each of these take slight variations to accommodate the finish.

When the damage on a plateau rim top is beyond the work listed above in sections 2 and 4. If the damage is on the plateau top itself then I proceed as follows.

  • I used the brass bristle wire brush more aggressively than I did in previous sections above to remove all of the loose char and burn damage on the plateau itself. Once all is removed I wipe it down with a damp cloth.
  • I wipe down the damaged area with a mix of oxalic acid and water on cotton swabs and pads to get deeply in the grooves. I repeat until I am not getting any coloration on the cotton pads. I wipe it off with a damp cloth.
  • I work over the inner edge with 220 git sandpaper again to remove the damage that remains and reshape it. I stain it at the same time as the plateau.
  • Generally a plateau rim is darker than the bowl colour so it can be safely stained with a black or a dark brown stain. That will take care of most of the damage on the top of the bowl.
  • Buff and wax rim top and edges with a buffing pad and Blue Diamond and then coat generously with carnauba wax. Buff the top with a clean buffing pad to deepen the shine.

When the damage on the rusticated rim top remains after the work in sections 2 and 4 above.

  • I used the brass bristle brush more aggressively than I did previously above to remove as much of the loose char as possible. If that does not make better then and even more aggressive fix is needed.
  • I top the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage and even out the rim top. Sometimes it takes removing all of the rustication but sometimes it does not. Once I have it cleaned up I wipe it down with alcohol to remove the sanding dust.
  • I even out the inner edge of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I wipe it down with alcohol.
  • I use a Dremel and burrs to replicate the rustication pattern from the bowl sides on the rim top. I used several burrs – ball, cone and cylinder to work over the rim top to match the previous rustication. When I am happy with it I use a brass bristle wire brush to knock of the high spots and any loose debris.
  • I restain the rim top with a stain pen to match the bowl. Sometimes I darken the inner edge with a black stain pen.
  • Buff and wax rim top and edges with a buffing pad and Blue Diamond and then coat generously with carnauba wax. Buff the top with a clean buffing pad to deepen the shine.

When the damage on the sandblast rim top remains after the work in sections 2 and 4 above.

  • I used the brass bristle brush more aggressively than I did previously above to remove as much of the loose char as possible. If that does not make better then and even more aggressive fix is needed.
  • I top the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage and even out the rim top as I do with the rusticated rim top. Sometimes it takes removing all of the sandblast but sometimes it does not. Once I have it cleaned up I wipe it down with alcohol to remove the sanding dust.
  • I even out the inner edge of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I wipe it down with alcohol.
  • I use a Dremel and burrs to replicate the sandblast pattern from the bowl sides on the rim top. I used several burrs – ball, cone and cylinder to work over the rim top to match the previous blast. I use smaller burrs and work to keep the pattern close and tight like a sandblast. When I am happy with it I use a brass bristle wire brush to knock of the high spots and any loose debris.
  • I restain the rim top with a stain pen to match the bowl. Sometimes I darken the inner edge with a black stain pen.
  • Buff and wax rim top and edges with a buffing pad and Blue Diamond and then coat generously with carnauba wax. Buff the top with a clean buffing pad to deepen the shine.

That is the process I generally follow. As with any restoration, refurbishing you have to make a decision how far you want to go. My goal is to minimize the damage without changing the bowl profile or shape. I want the pipe to still retain the marks of its maker not me. Have fun in the process.