Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe I have chosen is a smooth Peterson’s pipe, a straight, saddle stem Billiard. It was also incredibly dirty. This Billiard is a real beauty under the grime with some great grain around the bowl. The grime was ground into the finish on the bowl sides. The contrast of the brown stains gave the grain a sense of depth. It was stamped on the left side of the shank and read Peterson’s [over] Kapet. The right side had the shape number 14S stamped near the bowl. Centered on the right side of the shank is stamped Made in the Republic of Ireland (in three lines). Neither Jeff nor I remember where we got the pipe or when. So we have no photos of the pipe before clean up. Judging from the damage on the rim top and edges I would guess it had been a mess. The stem had tooth marks and some oxidation. But Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet reamer and cut back the cake back to the bare briar. He cleaned up the walls with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime from the finish. He worked on the rim top lava and darkening with the soap and tooth brush. He scrubbed the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior with Soft Scrub and then soaked it in Before & After Deoxidizer. He washed it off with warm water to remove the Deoxidizer. The pipe looked far better when it arrived. I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show how well it had cleaned up. The rim top photo looks good but there is some burn damage on the inner edge at the back of the bowl and all around the inner edge there is darkening. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the light tooth marks and chatter on the surface near the button. I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. You can see that it is stamped as noted above. It is clear and readable. He took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It is clear and readable and reads as noted above. I took the pipe apart and took a photo of the pipe. It is a good looking pipe and has some great cross grain on the sides of the bowl. I am including the link to the Pipedia’s article on Peterson pipes. It is a great read in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Peterson). There was a short note toward the bottom of the page about the series. It is definitely referring to the newer line that came out later. I quote:
I turned to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Peterson) to first pin down a date that the pipe was made. I knew that the Made in Ireland stamp would give me that. I quote:
As usual when trying to get accurate facts in regard to Peterson history, something will jump up and get in the way. They are missing many of their records. The following is the best that we can do for a guide to the myriad markings during the period 1922 – 1949. Prior to 1920 it was rare for a country of origin to be stamped on the pipe, just Peterson’s Dublin on the band. After 1921/22, if it is stamped “MADE IN IRELAND” and the “Made in” is stacked over “Ireland” or “MADE IN EIRE” or several other forms, it was made between 1922 and 1938. A considerable number of Peterson pipes were stamped “Irish Free State”. From about 1930 to 1949, most of the pipes (those which were stamped) were stamped “Made in Ireland”.” If the stamp reads “MADE IN IRELAND” in a circle, the pipe was made between 1939 and 1948. These are all “Pre-Republic” pipes. I can tell you that the mark “Irish Free State” was adopted in 1922; and replaced by “Eire” in 1937 and then by “Republic of Ireland” in 1949.
That gave me a date for the pipe – it was made between 1922 and 1938 as can be proved by the Made in Ireland stamp on the right side of the shank.
I turned to “The Peterson Pipe” by Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg to get some background on the Kapet line. On page 305 it had the following information.
Kapet (1925-87) Line first described in 1925 brochure and featured in occasional catalogs through ’87. Early specimens will be stamped IRISH over FREE STATE. Described in 1937 catalog as available in dark plum or natural finish. Featured an aluminum “inner tube” or stinger until ’45. Mid-century specimens may be stamped MADE IN over IRELAND. Specimens from 1970 on may have mounts with hallmarks.
I knew that I was dealing with a Late Republic Era Kapet. Now it was time to work on the pipe.
I decided to address the rim top damage first. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to give the edge a slight bevel to further minimize the damage to the rim. I then used a piece of sandpaper and a wooden ball to even the bevel and give the rim a uniform look. I think that it is definitely better once I finished. I wiped down the bowl and rim top with acetone on a cotton pad to remove the spotty finish on the bowl and make blending in the sanded rim top simpler. I polished the briar rim top and edges along with the rest of the briar with micromesh sanding pads –dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and using a damp cloth after each pad. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the tooth marks with the flame of a lighter to lift them. They came up significantly. I filled in the tooth marks that remained on both sides with clear super glue. I let the repairs cure. Once they had cured I recut the edge and flattened the repairs with a flat file. I sanded them with 220 grit sandpaper. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I wiped it down with some Obsidian Oil. I touched up the “P” stamp on the stem with an acrylic white fingernail polish. I worked it into the stamp with a toothpick. I let it sit for a few minutes then scraped off the excess.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I am always excited to finish a restoration and this Peterson’s Kapet 14S Saddle Stem Billiard is no exception. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the polished black vulcanite stem. This Classic looking Peterson’s Kapet 14S Billiard feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 30 grams/1.09 ounces. It is a beautiful pipe and one that will be on the Irish Pipe Makers Section of the rebornpipes store soon. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.