Tag Archives: Dal Stanton article

A Tale of Three Churchwardens


Blog by Dal Stanton

The first of the 3 was true born, but of hobbit stature.  He dreamed of walking in the world of men and of wizards seeing eye to eye but anxious to serve.  The second was bound to the first but he held no claim to royal lineage. He stood proud in the best sense of the word and cherished his Green Lands heritage and history.  The third of the 3, was free and bound to no man.  He was born into humbler circumstances but found favor in the Maker’s eye and the Maker dubbed him The Wise a valuable gift to any man.  All 3 strong, bound together in one tale, bring hope to the Daughters of men. 

I am sure that if J.R.R. Tolkien were to write this blog about the restoration and creation of 3 Churchwardens, he might begin the tale something like this.  Every pipe man and pipe women, if they do not have a Churchwarden in their collections, are hoping one day to find one – each looking for that special bond.  Why?  Simply stated, Churchwardens are cool.  I have a Churchwarden that I’ve named, Gandalf – there are probably many Churchwardens out there bearing that name.  Why?  Simply stated, Gandalf the Wizard – first The Grey then The White – is cool.  He smoked a Churchwarden like no one else, packed with ‘Old Toby’ and who doesn’t want to be like Gandalf?

There’s A LOT of information on the internet easily obtained by a simple search of ‘Churchwarden’ and I don’t want to repeat what’s easily found.  The short of it is this – ‘Churchwarden’ is an old shape as far as pipes go.  Of course, they were prevalent throughout Middle Earth.  As the story goes, there were men back in the days when they didn’t lock churches at night, who were employed as ‘wardens’ of the church – whose responsibility was to guard the premises.  To be faithful to their charge, they were not allowed to leave the walls of the church.  That created an unusual dilemma between guarding the holy confines and the desire to enjoy one’s evening smoke.  The moral dilemma was creatively solved by a stem.  The length of the stem enabled the church wardens to tend to their evening bowls as they stood vigilantly inside the church walls while the stems extended through the windows…so the story goes (see Pipedia’s article).

Another very interesting factoid about Churchwardens comes from Bill Burney’s Pipedia description of the Churchwarden that it is unique among all pipes:

I want to include one other interesting link for those of you who are Middle Earth and Churchwarden enthusiast.  The question has always been asked by discerning folk, while Gandalf was smoking his Warden, or Bilbo, Merry and Pippen were puffing on theirs, what exactly was packed in their bowls??  Of course, we all know that the bowls had ‘Old Toby’ packed in them – or simply, ‘Pipeweed’.  This link goes to a fun site that explores the minutia of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth including the story of pipe smoking and the mystery of what exactly inhabited the bowls of Middle Earth!  Enjoy!

The first of the 3 was true born, but of hobbit stature.  He dreamed of walking in the world of men and of wizards seeing eye to eye but anxious to serve.

My ‘Tolkienesque’ opening, like Tolkien’s ‘Lord of the Rings’, holds some truth in the telling.  The ‘Tale of the Three Churchwardens’ started when I received an email from Toby – yes, I’m not making this up!  Gandalf smoked ‘Old Toby’ and a younger Toby from Germany wrote me about commissioning the “Imperial Churchwarden” (the ‘true born’ Churchwarden with royalty) as a birthday gift for a friend which he discovered in my website’s section, For ‘Pipe Dreamers’ Only.  We came to an accord and I put the Imperial Churchwarden from France in the queue to be restored in time for his friend’s birthday celebration. Later, when I found the Imperial in the “Help Me!” Basket, I was a little concerned.  The stem was shorter than I had originally thought – it was more of ‘Hobbit stature’ – a miniature Warden.  The stem was 5 ¾ inches beyond the shank or the total length of the pipe was about 8 ¾ inches or 22 cm – not really the coveted ‘Gandalf’ size.  I wrote to Toby with a proposal of adding some stature to the Imperial with a longer Churchwarden stem I had on hand – it would be more of a ‘Gandalf statured’ Churchwarden as a result.  I sent this picture with the proposed stem giving a total length of 11 inches or 28 ½ cm.  My Gandalf was on top for comparison.  Toby liked the idea and said that his friend was a huge ‘Lord of the Rings’ fan and that an extra 5 cms was a good investment for his friend to have a ‘Gandalf’ pipe.  

The second was bound to the first but he held no claim to royal lineage.  He stood proud in the best sense of the word and cherished his Green Lands heritage and history.

Then Toby asked if I might have another long warden stem in my stores – he thought it might be good for him to add a Churchwarden to his collection – perhaps that both he and his friend could blow smoke rings into the air in proper wizard fashion on his friend’s day of celebration!  I ordered 3 more 8.5” Churchwarden stems from Tim West at http://www.jhlowe.com and they arrived in Bulgaria from the US with a returning colleague.  At this point I moved from restoring a Churchwarden (true born) to creating a Churchwarden with re-purposed bowls.  I went through my stores to find potential bowls to be wedded to a Warden stem and transformed to a Churchwarden (thank you Bill Burney!).  I sent two options next to the Imperial – a Dublin and a Rhodesian.  Toby chose the Dublin with the canted bowl which to him was more ‘Gandalf-like’.  And so, the Dublin will mast the Churchwarden stem – representing a strong and resilient people proud of their ‘Green’ heritage and history.

The third of the 3, was free and bound to no man.  He was born into humbler circumstances but found favor in the Maker’s eye and the Maker dubbed him ‘The Wise’ a valuable gift to any man.                     

All 3 strong, bound together in one tale, bring hope to the Daughters of men.

With two Churchwardens bound to Toby – one for his friend and one for himself, I was thinking, while I’m working on restoring and creating these Churchwardens, why not fashion another to put in The Pipe Steward Store for another steward to add to their collection.  I found a small bowl that I really liked – a Yello Bole ‘Air-control’ Imported Briar.  I looked at the Air-Control stem mechanism and my thought was that no one will ever want this Yelo Bole as he is now attached to his ‘high-tech’ stem, but I really liked the Apple shaped bowl.  I think he’ll look great mounted on a long-bent stem – a third Churchwarden, a wise choice for anyone wanting to add a Churchwarden to his collection!  All three Churchwardens will benefit the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls, the ‘Daughters of men’ who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.I want to thank Charles Lemon of https://dadspipes.com  up front for his input that led me to add two new tools to my tool box and expanding my ‘restorative reach’ with pipes.  The first is a PIMO Tenon Turning Tool that I ordered at Vermont Freehand after seeing the tool on Charles’ Worktable and Man Cave blog.  Charles’ later restoration, Re-Stemming a Butz-Choquin Marigny Deluxe Hand-Made Calabash was very helpful providing a step by step description of its use in replacing a tenon and the use of the tool.  The other wonderful tool that I coveted reading the same ‘Re-Stemming’ blog was the electronic caliper which Charles uses hand in hand with his many stem repairs.  I hadn’t seen an electronic caliper in Bulgaria, but then, I had never looked for one either!  Joy of joys, I found a German made electronic caliper in the local ‘Bricolage’ – I was a happy camper!  My new toys – that is, tools 😊 pictured next. As I approach the restoration and creation of the 3 Churchwardens, I will try to work in the reverse – starting with the ‘Free Born’ Yello Bole, then the ‘Green Land’ Dublin and finally, the ‘True Born’ French made Imperial.  Why this order?  As I get used to my new tools, I would rather start with the ‘non-commissioned’ pipe first to hone in on the techniques, working toward the most important Churchwarden, the Imperial, destined to be a gift.  To experiment and practice, I have already turned one stem with the PIMO tenon turning tool – a French Jeantet Jumbo which came to me without a matching stem and has been waiting patiently.  Without description, this is what I did last night while watching the World Cup match between Sweden and Mexico (my wife rooted for Mexico where she grew up!).  Sweden prevailed.  The Jeantet Jumbo will be completed sometime in the future – he’s a ‘big boy’ pipe! Turning now to cleaning the stummels of the Churchwardens, I start first by reaming each with the Pipnet Reaming Kit.  Each stummel uses only the smallest of the 4 blade heads available.  I then fine tuning each with the Savinelli Fitsall tool, followed by sanding the chambers with 240 grade paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen.  Finally, each is cleaned with a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95%.  After clearing the light to moderate cake in each bowl getting down to the briar for a fresh start, the chambers look good in each – no problems I can see. Turning now to the external surface I use undiluted Murphy’s Oil soap and cotton pads to scrub each.  The Dublin (center above) has the most lava over the rim, while the other two, not as much.  In addition to cotton pads, I utilize a brass wire brush for the rims and use a knife blade carefully to scrape the Dublin rim.  The Dublin and the Imperial will both need some sanding on the rim to clean them up.  All 3 stummels’ finishes reveal that they are thin and worn.  Murphy’s took much of the finish off but not all with the Yello Bole and Imperial bowls.  The Dublin’s finish is gone.  During the cleaning, I discover that I missed the remains of a broken off tenon in the mortise of the Dublin.  I keep screws of different sizes on hand for just these occasions.  Using a small diameter screw, I screw into the airway hole of the tenon just enough to grab some vulcanite and gently pull out.  I don’t want to insert it too far into the broken tenon to not expand it and crack the shank.  As hoped, a little pressure and thankfully, the tenon comes loose. With the mortise cleared in the Dublin, I proceed to clean the internals of all 3.  I use pipe cleaners and cotton buds dipped in isopropyl 95% to do the dirty work.  Here is a truism: Just because you’re cleaning a smaller stummel doesn’t mean it’s a smaller mess!  Each stummel required boocoos of cotton buds, pipe cleaners – I also scrape the sides with a sharp dental probe as well as hand-turning drill bits down the mortises to excavate the tars and oils.  The pictures show the finish line of sorts – later, before I turn out the lights, I’ll give each a kosher salt/alcohol soak through the night to provide more stealth cleaning.To remove the old finish from the stummels I wipe them down with isopropyl 95% and cotton pads.  The alcohol fully removes the old tired finish off the Imperial and the Dublin, but the Yello Bole’s old finish is persistent.  The first picture below reveals the sheen left on the Yello Bole but the others are dull.  To deal with the ‘Candie Apple’ finish that remains on the Yello Bole stummel I use acetone on a cotton pad.  This does the trick and now we’re down to the briar on all the stummels.With the stummels clean inside and out, the next step is fashioning the Churchwarden stems from the precast stems I acquired for the job.  I start with the Yello Bole by making an outside measurement of the original stem’s tenon which, of course, fits perfectly.  The measurement with the electronic caliper is 6.83mm.  From Charles Lemon’s blog that I noted above, Re-Stemming a Butz-Choquin Marigny Deluxe Hand-Made Calabash, Charles recommended a conservative approach to using the PIMO tenon turning tool which I employed on my first run with the Jeantet Jumbo, to first do a test cut of the tenon at approximately 40mm more than the target measurement.  This allows a more conservative sanding of the tenon to gradually bring it down to a good fit – not too snug and not too loose.  The Pimo tool comes with a drill bit to pre-drill the tenon airway on the precast stem to serve as a guide for the guide pin on the tool.  Adding my margin of error of 40mm to 6.83mm target size leaves me a practice cut of about 7.23mm to aim at for the conservative approach.  The pictures move through the steps. The tenon turning tool is in the drill shock and when powered rotates at high speed. With the cast stem’s airway guided by the guide pin, I push the stem steadily against the revolving blade of the tool and it peels away the vulcanite.  The blade peels the vulcanite in spaghetti-type curls.  My first practice cut is measured, and it is 8.45.  Another 1.20 mm can come off.  With the enclosed allen wrench, I adjust the Pimo tool to remove more vulcanite and the next measurement is 7.34mm.  That is a .51mm difference and places me in the conservative sanding zone.  Now, I complete the cut of the entire tenon – all the way to the face of the stem.  I haven’t figured out how to minimize the vulcanite shavings that spew out everywhere!  I note that the original stem’s tenon is shorter.  I use a sanding drum on the Dremel and take off the excess. The cut looks good and now it’s time to take file and sanding papers to gradually bring the tenon to size. Now, as I watch several episodes of Grimm which I discovered on Netflix here in Bulgaria, I gradually sand the tenon to a snug but not too tight fit.  I use coarse 120 grade paper to start – always sanding around the tenon to maintain proper round.  Then, using a flat needle file and 240 grit paper, I fine tune the tenon sanding – again, maintaining proper round by sanding around the tenon evenly.  I must admit, when the tenon gets down to the target size – when it starts to marginally slide into the mortise, my stress level increases!  I know how easily one can crack a shank by rushing the tenon’s entry into the mortise.  It takes ‘100s’ of sanding cycles followed by testing the fit (carefully!) before the tenon safely and fully engages and finds a new home!  Success!The tenon is snug and secure, and now I take some pictures to show the ridges that need to be removed and tapered through the shank and stem.  Also, the precast stem has casting ridges down the length on both sides and the button is in very rough form.  The entire Churchwarden stem needs to be sanded, smoothed and shaped along with the shank/stem transition.One picture to show the growth in stature this Yello Bole stummel now enjoys before retiring the old stem to the stem bucket.Several episodes of Grimm later, I’m satisfied with the rough sanding and shaping of the stem.  I show the full length and then some closeups of the shank/stem transition and the button shaping.  I like what I see. The next step is to introduce a gentle bend to the stem.  This will aid the future steward of this ‘Free Born’ to know which way the stem is properly positioned – there is an up and down after the custom sanding and fit – there is no standard stem fit – echoing the words of Charles Lemon’s blog!  To give me an idea of where and how much the bend should be, I used my Gandalf as a template on a piece of paper.  I also draw an outline of the original, smaller Imperial stem for comparison.  I mark the stem at the point that Gandalf’s stem’s bend began.  Bends are very subjective, but this gives me an idea what to shoot for.  After I insert pipe cleaners in both ends of the stem to guard the airway integrity during the bending, I heat the target area of the stem with a hot air gun and bend it when it becomes supple.  I take the bend to the faucet with cool tap water to set the curve.  At the start, I found that I was bending too much.  Thankfully, vulcanite is very forgiving – to correct the bend all I do is re-heat the stem and it straightens on its own.  After a few tries, I find a bend I’m happy with – a compromise between Gandalf’s slightly longer stem and the shorter, original Imperial. I put the Yello Bole ‘Free Born’ aside and now turn to the Dublin.   The following pictures are lacking my standard background working mat – it needed to be cleaned!  I start by doing an inside measurement of the mortise – 7.19mm.  That is the target width of the tenon that is shaped.  I use the drill bit provided and drill the airway to receive the PIMO guide pin.  I then bring the blade down to just touching the tenon and cut a test like before and measure – 8.15mm.  That leaves .96mm to the target size.  I make a quarter turn of the wrench, closing the blade that much and take another cut – 7.46.  The quarter turn took .69mm off the tenon.  I now have .27 mm of ‘fat’ left on the tenon.  Again, the pictures show the steps. Now, well within the conservative sanding zone, I use a flat needle file and 240 grit paper and sand the tenon down to fit with appropriate snugness.  I then sand down the stem and button as before with the Yello Bole.  I’m aiming for a fluid transition from shank to stem.  The Dublin shapes up nicely!I use the same template to give the Dublin’s new fitted stem a gentle bend over the hot air gun. Now to the Imperial.  The same methodology is employed as with the former 2.  I fast track describing the process with each picture.I drill the airway to guide the Pimo guide pin.The mortise is measured for the target tenon size – 7.56mm.With the PIMO tool I cut a ‘fat’ initial tenon that measures about 40mm larger than the target – conservative sanding zone. I measure the length of the original Imperial stem tenon and shorten the precast Churchwarden tenon to match using the flat needle file as a saw.After sanding the tenon down to a snug fit, I’m left with filing and sanding the ridge and tapering the warden stem.  I cover the Imperial’s nomenclature with masking tape to protect it from the shank sanding.After some filing with a flat needle file and sanding with 240 grit paper, the transition from the shank to the Warden stem is shaped and the button is shaped from the rough precast stem. As with the other two, I heated the Warden stem with a hot gun and when it became supple I give it a slight, gentle flowing bend and seal the bend under cool tap water.The 3 are looking good and the transformation is taking shape!I then take each of the Warden stems through a wet sanding with 600 grit paper and then used 0000 grade steel wool to continue the sanding but also buffing up the fresh vulcanite.  To hydrate each of the 3 Wardens I wipe the stems and stummels with light paraffin oil (mineral oil in Bulgaria), which serves to give me a sneak peak at the finished Churchwarden pipes.  I like what I see!With my day coming to a close, I utilize the night by allowing the stummels to clean further by using a kosher salt and alcohol soak.  I fashion cotton ‘wicks’ from cotton balls and insert them down the mortises into the airways.  They act to draw the additional tars and oils out of the briar.  I then fill each bowl with kosher salt which leaves no aftertaste as iodized salt does.  I then fill the bowls with isopropyl 95% until the alcohol surfaces over the salt.  I top each stummel off in a few minutes and I turn out the lights.The next morning, I wasn’t disappointed.  The salt in each bowl had darkened and each of the wicks had discolored indicating further extraction of the tars and oils.  The salt went into the waste basket and I cleared the excess salt by wiping the bowls with paper towel and blowing with some force through the mortises.  I also follow with pipe cleaners and cotton buds to make sure all was clean.  Only the Dublin resisted further but soon pipe cleaners and cotton buds were coming out clean.  Stummels are cleaned and ready for their future stewards!  The picture shows the final carnage.Now, turning from the labor-intensive stem work, I look at the stummels.  Starting with the ‘Free Born’ Yello Bole that drew my attention.  The small Apple shape fits well the classic Churchwarden motif.  The grain is active with lateral grain expressing in bird’s eye perspective on the sides.  There are some fills in the stummel – one larger one on the right side of the stummel then a few pocket fills.  The fills all seem solid, but I will keep my eye on them as I sand. The rim is darkened from tobacco lighting and the inner edge of the rim is scorched.  I decide to give the rim a very light topping using 600 grade paper – more of a clean up to reestablish crisp lines and to remove the charring.  I use a kitchen chopping board and put the 600 paper on it for the topping.  It doesn’t take much. To address the normal nicks and dents on the stummel I use micromesh pads 1500 to 2400 and wet sand the stummel.  After the wet sanding I again look at the old fills that caught my attention before to see if they softened.  They remain solid, but I can see very small pockets that might benefit from repair.  I do not dig out the fills but simply painted the fills with a very thin layer of thin CA glue with a tooth pick – like the repair to miniscule air pockets that emerge with a CA glue/charcoal patch on vulcanite stems.  The painting is thin, so it cures very quickly, and I focus sand the spots again starting with the 1500 micromesh pad to the present was sufficient.  There is no impact on the surrounding briar.  I complete the micromesh cycles by dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  I keep the Warden stem mounted on the stummel to guard against shouldering the shank face – keeping a nice seamless transition from shank to Warden stem.Here I picture the right side of the stummel to show the results of the ‘paint patching’ the larger fill and a few on the shank.  It blended well. Now, the Dublin is next in line.  This Dublin has ‘Selected Briar’ stamped on the left side of the shank.  It has nice looking briar, but the finish has lost its luster – it’s dull, tired and bored.  The rim is dark and has several dings on the edge.  There is one noticeable fill on the right front of the Dublin stummel.  The canted bowl of a Dublin has always attracted me and when Toby chose the Dublin to mast the Warden stem, I agreed it was a good choice – it will be an impressive looking Churchwarden.  I take a few pictures to get a closer look. I start by taking the Dublin to the topping board using 240 grit paper.  Removing the tired finish and re-establishing the lines of the rim will go a long way in sharpening this stummel.  After turning the inverted stummel on the 240 paper a few revolutions, I switch too 600 grade paper and smooth out the scratches of the 240.  Then, using 120 grit paper I cut an internal bevel on the rim followed by 240 and 600 grade papers.  I also cut a very small bevel on the external edge of the rim with the 240 and 600 papers.  I create the bevels to soften the look of the stummel and to me, it’s a classy touch.Next, I take the stummel through the full micromesh pad cycle by wet sanding with 1500 to 2400, followed by dry sanding using pads 3200 to 4000 and then 6000 to 12000.  The Dublin’s attitude is shaping up nicely! Turning now to the ‘True Born’ Churchwarden, the nomenclature stamped on the left side of the shank is a cursive, ‘Imperial’ over ‘CHURCHWARDEN’ in full block letters.  ‘Algerian Briar’ is stamped on the right.  The COM is France, stamped in very small block letters on the lower shank along the shank face.  These pictures show what I see. It did not take long to match the unique ‘Imperial’ nomenclature found in Pipedia’s very short article about the Imperial Tobacco Co. referencing Lopes:

From Pipes, Artisans and Trademarks, by Jose Manuel Lopés’

The Imerial Tobacco Co. (Imperial Tobacco Ltd.) was founded in 1901 through the merger of several British tobacco companies. In 1902 it went into partnership with the American Tobacco Company to found the British American Tobacco Company.

Brands involved: Comoy’sBewlayNordingOgden’sSalmon & Gluckstein, and Steel’s

This example was provided by the courtesy Doug Valitchka to let me know that I had locked into the right company.Pipedia’s article on Imperial Brands goes into more of the history of the multitude of acquisitions that happened in the early 1900s to maintain competitive edge.  Today, Imperial Brands is an international consortium primarily involved in cigarette sales and is based in the UK.  I found only one reference in the article to a French-based connection referencing the closure of a factory in Nantes, France, in 2016.  The company website, http://www.imperialbrandsplc.com contains an extensive history of the company, but I found no references to pipe productions in France!  In Pipedia and in Pipephil – Imperial, references to Imperial, the country of manufacturing is consistently the UK and no mention of France.  So, the French connection to this True Born will remain shrouded in mystery!

The Imperial stummel has a dulled finish as the Dublin but promises a very nice briar grain beneath.  The bowl and rim have normal wear nicks and dents.  I also detect residue shininess of old finish that didn’t come off when I cleaned with Murphy’s Oil Soap. I quickly dispatch this using a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95%.Inspecting the surface I find on the left side of the shank, near the ‘Imperial’ stamping, a chip that needs patching. I mix a small batch of CA glue and briar dust to patch the chip – this will blend well after sanded down.  I put a small mound of briar dust on an index card and place next to it a drop of regular CA glue.  I mix a small bit of the briar dust into the glue and when I find the resulting putty about the consistency of molasses, I apply it to the chip and put the stummel aside to cure. While the patch is curing, the large job of continuing the sanding of the Churchwarden stems jumps to the fore.  I decide to do all 3 Wardens together by first wet sanding using micromesh pads 1500 to 2400.  I follow by dry sanding using pads 3200 to 4000 and then 6000 to 12000.  After each set of three pads, I apply Obsidian Oil to each stem to vitalize the vulcanite.  There’s a LOT of vulcanite real estate to sand with a Churchwarden stem!  It’s also not easy taking pictures of the long Warden stems. Turning again to the bowls, and the Imperial’s cured patch of CA glue and briar dust, I carefully file the mound/excess down toward the briar surface.  I’m careful to stay on the excess patch material so not to damage the nearby briar and nomenclature.  I then switch to 240 paper, rolled tightly and then 600.  The patch looks great. As I take a closer look at the Imperial stummel, the rim is blackened on the internal edge.  I start by giving the bowl a very light topping with 600 grade sanding paper to clean it and to reestablish lines.  I then bevel the internal rim edge enough to clean it up as well as giving the external rim edge a bevel to soften the rim and to ‘class it up’ a bit. I like how it’s shaping up. With the rim restoration complete at this level, I use micromesh pads 1500 to 2400 and wet sand the entire stummel.  I follow with dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and finish with 6000 to 12000. I have noticed on the shank a lightened area that was a result of the stem/shank fitting process where more sanding was necessary.  To darken and blend this area, I use an oak Furniture stain stick to do the job and it looks good.  I take a picture.Now, to deepen and enrich the briar of the French made Imperial Churchwarden, I apply Before and After Restoration Balm to the briar surface.  I put some on my fingers and work it into the surface.  The Balm does an amazing job bringing out the richness and the luster of the briar grain that is already beautiful.  After about 20 minutes, I wipe the Balm off the stummel with a clean cotton cloth.  It buffs up nicely.  I take a picture of the stummel with the Balm on it.Next in line is the Dublin bowl.  As with the French Imperial, I take the Dublin through the full 9 micromesh pads, 1500 to 12000.  I show the progress after each set of three pads – the first three wet sanding, the last 6, dry. As with the Imperial, I apply Before and After Restoration Balm to the Dublin bowl.  I put some Balm on my fingers and work it into the briar.  The Balm starts with the texture of light oil then as I rub it into the briar, is thickens into the texture of a thicker wax.  After I work it in I set the stummel aside to absorb the Balm.  After a time, I wipe off the Balm using a cotton cloth – it buffs up as I wipe the stummel.The final stummel is the Free Born Yello Bole.  Since the stummel has already gone through the full micromesh pad sanding process, it is ready to receive the Before and After Restoration Balm to deepen and enrich the nicely emerging briar grain.  As with the others, I apply the Balm with my fingers and after setting is aside for about 20 minutes, I wipe/buff off the Balm.  I take a picture of the Balm on the stummel and afterwards. At this point, using the Dremel mounted with dedicated cotton cloth buffing wheels set at the slowest speed, each of the three bowls I apply Blue Diamond compound and White Diamond compound is applied to the stems.  After the application of the compounds, I buff each Churchwarden with a felt cloth to remove the compound dust before applying wax.  I then mount another cotton cloth wheel on to the Dremel, increase the speed to about 40% full power and apply carnauba wax to stems and stummels.  After applying a few coats of wax, I give each Churchwarden a rigorous hand buffing with a microfiber cloth to raise the shine.

The Tale of the Three Churchwardens is now beginning.  I am pleased with the results.  Each bowl responded well displaying a myriad of grains and patterns.  Each now displays that classic, long, graceful, wise aura of the Churchwarden genre.  It is true, only one of the Churchwardens started has a Churchwarden – the True Born.  He is now no longer of Hobbit stature and will walk with men and wizards.  The other two re-purposed bowls look great – I’m pleased.  Tobias of Germany commissioned the French made Imperial Churchwarden and the Dublin.  He will have the first opportunity to secure these Churchwardens for his friend’s birthday present and for his own collection in The Pipe Steward Store.  As ‘fate’ would have it, the third Churchwarden bound to no man, was claimed also by a person also living in Germany!  A colleague was visiting Bulgaria and saw the 3 Churchwardens on my worktable.  Thankfully, I was able to finish ‘The Wise’ to return with his new steward to Germany.  I declare that Germany receives the Middle Earth Award!  Each of these Churchwardens benefits the Daughters of Bulgaria – a noble cause of helping women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thank you for joining me in the telling of the Tale of Three Churchwardens!

The first True Born Imperial Churchwarden of France The second was bound to the first, the proud Dublin Green Land Churchwarden The Third ‘Free Born’ Churchwarden

Advertisements

Recommissioning a Bulldog: Amphora X-tra 724-644 of Amphora Holland


Blog by Dal Stanton

Last year, while in the US for several months, I landed the largest haul of pipes in my pipe collecting history – which isn’t that ancient!  It was called the Lot of 66 by the eBay seller who represented a non-profit in Texas that sold donated items to help people in need.  Just by the cursory look in the picture below I was very interested in turning these pipes around to benefit our very precious people in need, the Daughters of Bulgaria.  The world is full of broken people experiencing a plethora of painful and often, dehumanizing conditions.  Sometimes all of our efforts seem like a drop in the bucket, but I suppose if a lot of people added their ‘drops’ it might, and often does make a difference, one life at a time.  Well, I won the Lot of 66 on the eBay auction block and thanks to a very patient wife, the Lot of 66 made it back home to Bulgaria where each pipe, one pipe at a time, makes it to my worktable and is recommissioned – hopefully, better than new!   The Amphora X-tra, quarter bent Bulldog of Holland is the next pipe on my worktable.In Bulgaria, I took the Amphora Bent Bulldog out of the ‘Help Me!’ Basket when Taylor saw this pipe, along with two others that he commissioned already restored, a Savinelli Oscar and an Italian Custom Shape.  I allow pipe people to commission pipes from my ‘Help Me!’ Basket which I have listed on The Pipe Steward website in the section, For ‘Pipe Dreamers’ Only!   I’m amazed how many ‘Pipe Dreamers’ there are out there!  This Bent Bulldog is the last of three Taylor has commissioned and is destined as a gift for a friend who is to be married!  Here are the pictures. There is precious little information in my usual go-to sites on the internet about Amphora.  Pipedia’s small article said this:

Amphora pipes are made in Holland by the Jos. Gubbels organization, the same company which makes the very well known and loved Amphora Pipe Tobaccos. The pipes are produced in relatively small numbers to a high standard and not commonly found.

The Royal Dutch Pipe Factory Elbert Gubbels & Sons B.V. is the only manufacturer of briarroot tobacco pipes in the Benelux countries where pipes of high quality are made under the brands Big Ben, Hilson, Royal Dutch and Amphora. They also supply numerous smokers’ accessories of high quality.

There also was pictured an Amphora Bulldog with the same nomenclature as the one on my worktable but of the blasted variety (courtesy of Doug Valitchka):What I see in this picture above is that there is an ‘A’ stamping on the stem.  The Amphora before me now has a fading whisper of an Amphora ‘A’ stamping.  It is very weak and I’m doubtful if I can save it let alone improve it.The only additional information added by PipePhil.eu about Amphora was that it’s mother company, The Royal Dutch Pipe Factory, referenced above, went bankrupt in 2012.

The Bulldog before me has the nomenclature on the left shank, ‘AMPHORA’ over ‘X – tra 724-644’. On the right side of the shank it reads, ‘GENUINE BRIAR’ over ‘AMPHORA HOLLAND’.  The general condition of the pipe is dirty and it has a lot of nicks, bumps and dents.  The cake in the chamber is moderate.  The dome of the Bulldog is in good shape, but the double rings separating the dome and the lower bowl has some chips and dents.  There are also several small fills isolated on the left, lower side of the bowl that need a closer look.  The stem has oxidation, but the bit has little tooth chatter.  I begin the restoration of this Amphora X-tra quarter bent Bulldog by adding the stem to the Before and After Deoxidizer along with other stems in queue.   I leave the stems in the bath for several hours and then I fish the Bulldog’s stem out.I wipe the Deoxidizer off (didn’t take pictures of this!) with a cotton pad and light paraffin oil (mineral oil in Bulgaria).  The deoxidizer did a good job.  After the stem dries, I look for the ‘A’ stamping on the stem.  It remains only a phantom and I’m afraid it will disappear into oblivion.  It is impossible to see without a strong light and glare.  I’m afraid it’s a lost cause.Turning now to the stummel, I ream the chamber to remove the layer of cake to go down to fresh briar.  To do this I use the Pipnet Reaming Kit.  I start with the smallest blade and use only 2 blades of the 4 available to me.  I then switch to the Savinelli Fitsall Tool to scrape the chamber walls to fine-tune the reaming job.  Finally, I sand the chamber removing additional carbon left over and getting down to the fresh briar.  To do this I wrap a piece of 240 sanding paper around a Sharpie Pen.  I finish by wiping the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95%.  The chamber walls look good – I don’t see any cracks or heat fissures.  The pictures show the progress. Now, to clean the external briar surface I use undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a cotton pad.  I also employ a tooth brush to scrub the surface around the dome rings and I use a sharp dental probe to scrape the muck out of the twin dome rings going around the circumference.  There is some light lava on the slanted rim which I scrub with a brass brush and scrape with a pin knife.  It cleans up well.  There remains darkened briar around the rim which I will need to sand.After the cleaning the stummel, I again check the fills that riddle the left side of the stummel.  I use a dental probe to test the fills.  The larger ones are soft from the moisture and I dig the fills out with the probe.  The smaller fills seem to be good, so I’ll leave them.  There’s a lot of patching to do.  To do all the stummel patching together, I look at the damaged areas of briar that have been chipped from the dome ring ridges.  I take pictures focusing on these areas to get a better look.  The first picture is the front of the stummel – a large chip is taken out of half of the center ring.  The next picture shows that there are two chips on the left side of the stummel.  I’ll patch the dome ring chips and the fills together using a putty mixture of CA glue and briar dust.  While I think about how best to approach these patches, I first clean the internals of the stummel using pipe cleaners and cotton buds dipped in isopropyl 95%.  It gave some resistance, but eventually the pipe cleaners and cotton buds prevail.  Later, I’ll also do a kosher salt and alcohol soak to clean more thoroughly.To patch the chips in the ring, after wiping the area with alcohol, I apply a thick CA glue and briar dust putty to damaged areas.  I mix thick CA glue and briar dust together until the putty reaches the viscosity of molasses and then I use a toothpick and a dental spatula to apply the putty. With the help of the dental spatula I make sure the troughs of the dome rings stay clear of putty – not an easy task!  With the fills, I apply putty to the holes as mounds and let the putty cure. It looks like a mess now, but I’m hoping it cleans up nicely when I sand the patches down tomorrow!  I let the patches cure overnight. Before I turn out the lights, the patches have set enough to handle.  I clean the stummel internals further with a kosher salt and alcohol soak.  I form a wick by twisting and pulling a cotton ball and then pushing it down the mortise and airway using a stiff straight piece of wire.  I then set the stummel in an egg crate to stabilize it and fill the bowl with kosher salt which leaves no taste.  I then fill the bowl with isopropyl 95% until is surfaces over the salt.  I now turn out the lights.

The next morning the soak has done the job.  The salt and wick are discolored showing the further absorption of tars and oils from the internal briar.  I dump the expended salt in the waste and clean the salt using paper towel.  I then finish by wetting a pipe cleaner and cotton bud with alcohol and run them through one more time.  Internals are clean for the next steward! Now working on a clean pipe, I look at the cured patches.  I start with the front chip on the dome ring.  Using a flat needle file, I go to work on filing down the patches to the briar surface.  I’m careful to keep the file on the patch mounds and not to impact surrounding briar.  Then switching to 240 grit, I lightly feather sand the area bringing the patch to the briar surface.  To sharpen the trough and remove excess patch, I fold a piece of 240 paper and fit it in the groove of the trough and sand (first picture below).  I then use a sharp dental probe to clean the debris out of the trough.  It looks good.  I then move to the left side of the dome ring and do the same with the two chip patches.  I take pictures of the process.  Next, I go to work on the fill patches on the side of the stummel.  With these many patches, it looks like a construction zone!  I use the flat needle file to bring the patches down to the briar surface.  Then, using 240 grade paper, I continue to sand and blend the patches with the briar surface.  I move from patch to patch until they are all down to the briar surface.  Again, I chronicle the filing and the 240 grade paper patch sanding.  Now I switch to 600 grade paper focusing first on the dome ring chips – first in the front.  I sand the area and I also, like with 240 paper, fold it in half and insert the fold into the trough of the ring and sand back and forth like a hand saw.  This addresses smoothing of the sides of the troughs which form the center dome ring.  Next, I move to the left side dome ring patches and do the same. Again, I use a sharp dental probe to ‘plow out’ the troughs removing the left-over debris.  I travel the entire circumference of the dome ring troughs.  I sand the entire ‘construction zone’ of patches with 600 grade paper which erases the scratches left by the 240 grit paper and blends the patches. Looking again at the beveled rim which angles toward the chamber.  It is darkened from minor scorching and I use a rolled piece of 240 grit paper to clean it.  I follow using a rolled piece of 600 paper to smooth and erase the 240 grit scratching.  Now, looking to the stummel, it has many scratches and dents, especially on the dome – I take a few pictures to get a closer look.  The question in my mind is, do I go the path of more disruption to the briar, starting with sanding sponges or do I start more conservatively using the micromesh pads?  I decide conservatively – I can always strategically back track if I see too many dents and scratches being left behind.  For now, I start with wet sanding using micromesh pads 1500 to 2400.  I follow this by dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 then 6000 to 12000.  Throughout, I’m careful to avoid the nomenclature on both upper, diamond shank sides.  After completing the micromesh sanding, I again take the sharp dental probe and carefully scrape out the dome rings to remove any debris that has collected – and there is some!  I move around the dome in both troughs and then follow by sweeping the rings out with a bristled tooth brush.I now need to catch the stem up with the stummel.  I take a few pictures of the upper and lower bit area and there are minor dents on it and the button has some compression.  I’ll heat the vulcanite to raise these dents which should result in easier sanding.  To start, I use a cheap Bic lighter and paint the bit and button with flame to heat and to expand the vulcanite.   This works well.  I then use 240 grit paper to sand the dents.  I use the flat needle file as well to sharpen the button – to make it crisper.  After using the 240 paper, I employ 600 grade paper to erase the scratches of the 240 paper.  Finally, I sand/buff the entire stem with 0000 steel wool. Looking back to the stummel, I have been thinking about how to proceed. From the earlier pictures, the original color motif on this Amphora X-tra Bulldog was lighter – tending toward natural briar but not quite.  With the fill patches I’ve done, I want to darken the color to mask these.  When I look at the patches again, I notice that the smaller fills that I did not deal with earlier – thinking that they were ok, had hollowed out.  Ugh.  I get the dental probe and excavate additional older fill material.  I’ve had detours before, and I’ve just started another.  With three additional holes to fill, the good news is that it is localized and shouldn’t take too long.  After cleaning the new holes, I spot drop regular CA glue into each and utilize an accelerator to quicken the process. To shorten this description, suffice it to say, I filed/sanded the patches down and I repeated the full micromesh pad process of 9 pads to complete the detour pictured next!To mask the orchard of patches on the left side of the stummel and shank, I will use Fiebing’s Dark Brown Leather Dye to darken the hue.  As an aniline dye, alcohol based, I can and plan to wipe the stummel down with alcohol to lighten the dye if I choose.  I will start darker and lighten if needed so that the patch of patches will be masked.  Even so, I like the look of a darker Bulldog – it has more of an ‘Olde World’ feel to it.  I transform my worktable to the stain table, bringing out the tools necessary.  I mount the Bulldog’s stummel on a cork to act as a handle.  I wipe the stummel down with alcohol to make sure it’s clean.  I then heat the stummel with a hot air gun which acts to expand the grain and making the grain more receptive of the dye.  After the stummel is heated well, I use a folded pipe cleaner to apply the dye to the stummel.  After thoroughly covered, I light or flame the wet aniline dye and the alcohol immediately flames off setting the dye in the briar.  After a few minutes, I repeat the process again by applying another coating of dye and then flaming it.   I set the stummel aside to rest for several hours. Turning to the stem, using micromesh pads 1500 to 2400 I wet sand the stem.  I follow by dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  After each set of 3 pads I apply a coat of Obsidian Oil to revitalize the vulcanite stem.  The ‘A’ stem marking that was existent before is no longer.  There was nothing left to salvage by the time it reached my worktable. Now, time to unwrap the dye-flamed stummel.  It’s been resting for several hours after applying Fiebing’s Dark Brown Leather Dye.  To unwrap the crust to reveal the grain, I mount a new felt buffing wheel on the Dremel and set it almost to the slowest speed.  I apply the coarser compound, Red Tripoli to the stummel using a methodical section by section approach – not applying too much pressure on the wheel but allowing the speed, the felt wheel and the Tripoli to do the work.  With my wife’s help, because I don’t have three hands, she took a few pictures to show the Tripoli at work unwrapping.  To finish up the Tripoli, to get to the tight places next to the shank, I changed over to a cotton cloth buffing wheel which was able to reach into the crook.  The ‘unwrapping’ is pretty amazing to see the grain emerge and to discover how the leather dye was received.After completing the Tripoli, I wet a cotton pad with alcohol and lightly wipe the stummel.  I do this not so much to lighten the dyed finish, because I like the brown hue a lot, but to blend the fresh dye on the briar surface.I then mount the cotton cloth buffing wheel dedicated to Blue Diamond compound and increase the Dremel to 40% full power.  I join stem and stummel and apply Blue Diamond compound to the entire pipe.  When finished, I wipe the pipe with a felt cloth not so much to buff but to remove the compound dust from the surface in preparation for the carnauba wax.  Changing to another cotton cloth wheel, leaving the speed the same, I apply a few coats of carnauba wax to stem and stummel.  I then give the pipe a rigorous hand buffing with a microfiber cloth to raise the shine.

Oh my, he looks good!  The iconic Bulldog shape reminds one of the small, stout four-legged friend from whence this name comes.  This quarter bent Amphora X-tra 724-644 of Holland came out very well.  The dome ring repairs are invisible and the patch of patches on the lower left side of the bowl has blended well with the darker leather dye.  The briar grain is nice.  The straight grain seems to pour out over the Bulldog’s dome and is joined by bird’s eye grain bubbling like foam on a frosted mug – the dome is eye catching and pulls one’s attention to the pipe.  This Amphora X-tra is ready for a new steward!  Taylor saw the potential of this Bulldog when he commissioned it for his friend’s wedding gift (see For ‘Pipe Dreamers’ Only).  He will have first dibs on it when it goes into The Pipe Steward Store.  This pipe along with the other 2 that Taylor commissioned and acquired benefit the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thank you for joining me!

An Interesting Shape and an Amazing Transformation – An Italian Custom Shape


Blog by Dal Stanton

There are times a pipe gets your attention just because it has an interesting twist, a surprising shape, or it is just different.  This one falls under this category.  I remember acquiring this pipe when my wife and I were in the US for several months and we joined our son and daughter-in-law for Christmas in Dearborn, Michigan – just a stone throw from Detroit, a new, vibrant city in many ways.  It was December 30th and I was sitting next to the blazing fireplace in their beautiful home that was built by well-known icon, Henry Ford.  From this home, back during those turbulent years, Henry Ford and his press secretary would air their radio broadcasts that reached the entire country.  A very nice place to celebrate Christmas.  I was tooling through the eBay offering on the app in my iPhone and saw this interesting looking pipe. I think what attracted me to the pipe was the stout, get-a-hold-of-me bowl and the shank/stem shape.  The shank flared out from the bowl and rose to the fancy stem, and then the stem tapered away with a gentle bend.  It was marked with a non-descript ‘Italian’ over ‘Import’ and to the right ‘Italy’.  The pipe looked newer and the seller said it had been lightly smoked.  I won the auction and with free shipping, I was pleased with my unique looking acquisition.  The Italian Custom Shaped pipe made it back to Bulgaria with me and waited patiently in my ‘Help Me!’ basket until a fellow colleague saw him along with two other pipes.  The shape also attracted Taylor’s attention.  Taylor commissioned the Italian Custom along with another Italian, a Savinelli Oscar which I found in Athens, Greece.  I already restored the Oscar and Taylor and I enjoyed a few bowls together for that inaugural smoke on my Man Cave – 10th floor balcony!  In queue also for Taylor is an Amphora Bent Bulldog of Holland.  Taylor has started his collection of pipes and I’m glad to add to it!  Of course, each pipe I restore for Taylor benefits the Daughters of Bulgaria, women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks Taylor!  When I get the Italian Custom on my worktable, I take a few more pictures to take a closer look. The pipe is in good condition.  There is very little cake in the chamber and little tooth chatter.  I do detect some oxidation on the upper side of the stem.  The finish on the briar stummel is dark and cloudy.  The question that comes to mind is the dark finish hiding fills in the briar – what is being intentionally masked?  I look and see one apparent fill on the front of the bowl, but no others are obvious.  I’ll look forward to simply cleaning the bowl and to see if removing the grime will brighten up the finish.  There are normal nicks and small dents on the briar surface.  I begin the restoration of the Italian Custom for Taylor by putting the stem in an OxiClean bath to rise the light oxidation from the vulcanite.  I leave it in the bath overnight.While the stem is soaking, I turn to the stummel.  The cake is very light, but I want to clean it out for a fresh start.  I use the Pipnet Reaming Kit to do the job.  I only use two blades and follow with using the Savinelli Fitsall tool to scrape the walls of the chamber.  I then sand the chamber using a piece of 240 grit paper wrapped around the Sharpie Pen.  Finally, I wipe the fire chamber using a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95%.  The chamber looks good – no problems detected. Now, to clean the external briar I use undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap to clean using a cotton pad.  I take a couple of pictures to mark the beginning point – I want to compare before and after the cleaning.  I clean with Murphy’s and a cotton pad and when finished I rinse the stummel with tap water.  Well, I can tell that the surface is cleaner, but the finish is not improved.  It remains a dull and not very exciting, and I wonder again if the briar underneath the finish is in bad shape and if the dark stain was intentional to cover the imperfections… I switch now to the internals of the stummel.  Using pipe cleaners and cotton buds I clean the mortise and the airway.  As I was cleaning the mortise and airway, I began to take note that the pipe cleaners and cotton buds were coming out with a reddish hue.  It appears that the stain used to color the stummel was also in the internals – that I don’t think is a good situation.  I wouldn’t want to be smoking a pipe with the normal moisture that happens in the pipe mixing with the heated stain….  Not on my watch!  I decide to put the entire stummel into an alcohol soak to clean and to remove the stain residing in the mortise and airway walls.  Time to turn out the lights.The next morning early, I get up with the birds and look at the two bottles on my workbench – one an alcohol bath and the other an OxiClean bath.  I decide to fish the stummel out of the alcohol bath and have a look.  The dark stain on the stummel weathered the alcohol bath and I run a cotton bud in the mortise to see if there was any color.  There wasn’t.  The primary purpose of the alcohol bath was accomplished.  Next, I fish the stem out of the OxiClean bath and take a few pictures to show the raised oxidation.  I adjust the aperture on the second picture to reveal better what I can see with the naked eye.  I then take the stem to the sink and wet sand the raised oxidation with 600 grit paper and following this with 0000 grade steel wool.  The minor tooth chatter I detected earlier on the bit was removed during the process of removing the oxidation.  The fancy stem looks good.I look back to the stummel.  The overnight alcohol bath lightened the finish slightly, but it is not to my liking. The fogginess of the finish is the problem – I like to view the grain not fuzz.  The stummel also has normal signs of wear – bumps, small scratches and some small dents.To remove the finish and nicks and dents I use sanding sponges.  Starting first with a coarser sponge I sand the stummel staying clear of the nomenclature stamping on the shank.  To guard the stamping from the sanding, I apply acetone with cotton pads to remove the finish.  It takes a while to break down the finish, but it eventually does the job.  I follow the coarse sponge with a mid-range sponge and then finish with a light grade sponge.   The pictures show the sponge sanding process. With the use of micromesh pads, I then wet sand the stummel using pads 1500 to 2400. Following this, I dry sand using pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  Pray tell!  Look what was hiding beneath all the fuzzy, foggy finish!  The grain is coming out nicely!  I feel like I’m on a roll with this pipe – just a makeover, no major issues!  These easier projects are nice when they come.  I have been thinking about the finish.  I want to bend the tint of the stummel to the original darker brown, but I don’t want to go real dark.  I’ve been going back and forth in my mind about using Fiebing’s Saddle Tan Pro Dye, which would keep it closer to the natural briar color I’m seeing now.  Or, I’ve also considered Fiebing’s Light Brown Leather Dye that would cast the hue in a brown direction.  Both dyes are aniline based, or alcohol, and gives the flexibility of lightening either dye by wiping the dyed surface with an alcohol wetted cotton pad.  I decide on Fiebing’s Light Brown because it will be in the same scheme as the original color. After getting all the setup tools out and mounting the stummel on a cork to serve as a handle, I wipe the bowl down with alcohol to assure that it is clean.  I then heat the stummel over a hot air gun which expands the briar grain thus making it more receptive to the dye.  I then apply Fiebing’s Light Brown Leather Dye to the stummel using a folded pipe cleaner.  I make sure that the entire surface is covered.  I then flame the wet aniline dye which combusts the alcohol in the dye setting the pigment in the grain.  After a few minutes, I repeat applying more dye to the stummel and then firing it.  I set the stummel aside to allow it to rest – thus helping to ensure that the dye will not later come off on the hands when the newly restored stummel is heated up during use.  The pictures show the staining progress. While the newly stained bowl rests, I return to the stem.  Using micromesh pads 1500 to 2400 I wet sand the stem.  Following this, I dry sand using pads 3200 to 4000 then 6000 to 12000.  After each set of three pads, I apply a coat of Obsidian Oil to reinvigorate the vulcanite.  The stem looks great!  It’s been several hours since I dyed the Italian Custom’s stummel and it’s time to unwrap the bowl!  I like this part because it is always a question as to how the grain receives the dye.  I mount a felt buffing wheel onto the Dremel dedicated for use with Red Tripoli compound.  I set the speed to the slowest and I first purge the buffing wheel with the Dremel’s adjustment wrench – cleaning the wheel of old compound.  I then use the Tripoli and the felt wheel to ‘unwrap’ the fired dye crust revealing the briar beneath. I take a picture of the ‘unwrapping’ – and my, what a kaleidoscope of grain is revealed!  I’m amazed at what I see!  After I complete the ‘unwrapping’ with Tripoli compound, I wet a cotton pad with alcohol and lightly wipe the dyed surface of the stummel.  My goal is not so much to lighten, because I like the shade of browns I’m seeing.  The purpose is to blend the dye more evenly over the surface and remove any excess dye on the surface. I follow by applying Blue Diamond to the reunited stem and stummel.  To do this I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel and increase the speed of the Dremel to about 40% full power.  After the compounds are completed, I give the pipe a wipe down with a felt cloth to remove the compound dust from the surface.  I then finish by applying a few coats of carnauba wax with another cotton cloth buffing wheel mounted to the Dremel at the same speed.  Then I give the entire pipe a brisk hand buffing with a microfiber cloth to raise the shine more.

When I began the restoration of the Italian Custom Shape, my expectations of what this pipe might look like at the end in no way matched the result.  The briar on this pipe is a brilliant kaleidoscope of grain swirls, circles and tunnels.  It is mesmerizing to look at what was hidden underneath the old finish – God’s beauty in creation.  Not an old pipe, it appears that the manufacture simply aimed to produce an interesting shape without an appreciation for what this pipe could be and what it now has become.  This Italian Custom was commissioned by Taylor and he will have first dibs on it when I place it in The Pipe Steward Store.  This pipe will benefit the Daughters of Bulgaria – helping women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  This pipe earns a ‘before and after’ shot – what a transformation! Thanks for joining me!   

Rescuing Another L. J. Peretti Oom Paul: An Upside-Down Stem and Other Hurdles!


Blog by Dal Stanton

As with people, when you look at pipes, the way you look at them can be cursory – like walking down the sidewalk in the city center of Sofia.  You see colors, fashions, groupings of people, a quick intake of information and not much of the information reaches longer term memory in our brains.  I’ve been looking at the Peretti Lot of 10 that has been my focus over the past weeks as I’ve recommissioned each, one by one.  Interestingly though, not until a pipe reaches the status as “the one” on the worktable do you really start seeing it. The difference might be like walking the city sidewalk as I described above and then comparing this to looking at your new granddaughters for the first time just after their births – which I’ve had the pleasure of in the past several months!  Oh my, you look at toes, each one, fingers, how the ears hang and curl…. There is no end to the enjoyment of taking in the fulness of the detail!  When looking at the ‘the one’ close-up – the detail of an estate pipe in need of restoration, the detail will not be tented with the rose-colored glasses affixed when looking at grandchildren!  Here are the pictures I took from the city ‘side walk’ of the next Peretti Oom Paul now on my worktable when I was cataloging the Peretti Lot of 10 when they arrived here in Bulgaria together. After restoring several of these Perettis, all having the same steward, I’ve become familiar with what to expect.  Each Peretti has the former steward’s ‘MO’.  This Peretti falls in line.  It has thick cake in the chamber and thick, crusty lava covering the rim.  The left side of the chamber/rim is scorched and charred from the tobacco lighting habit of excessively pulling the fire over the side and damaging the briar.  Even as I do what I can to correct it, this Peretti will also leave the worktable with the same limp as his 9 brothers and cousins did in different degrees – an imbalanced and out of round rim/chamber.  Additionally, this Peretti Oom Paul’s stem is dented and chewed with almost the same ‘finger prints’ as the others.  These are the issues stemming from the former steward’s pipe smoking practices.  And yet, the stummel shows great potential – like the others, the grain on this large Oom Paul stummel is quite eye catching under the dirt and grime.  I see normal nicks and bumps of being a faithful servant in the rotation – the briar will clean up well, I’m sure of this.

Unfortunately, there’s more to the story.  In my previous write ups of the other Perettis, I had commented that some of the Oom Pauls’ stems were not aligned well with the shanks due to less than ideal drilling precision.  I have never made a pipe and my hat is off to those whose interests and creativity take them in this direction – there are many beautifully done Free Style pipes I see all the time posted by fellow pipe men and women.  I understand that the drilling of a stummel is one of the more complex parts of making pipes – especially when sharp angles require multiple drillings.  When I took a closer look at the pipe my eyes focused on the fact that there was a huge ridge overhanging the shank.  As I turned the pipe over looking at it from different angles, it appeared that somehow the wrong stem was mistakenly joined with this shank!  I looked at the other Oom Paul I have left in the basket to restore, in the queue for a new steward, and it was obvious that the other stem was not matching this stummel.  I came to the sad conclusion that this drilling job simply was shoddy.  Here’s what I see of ‘the one’ on my work table: No matter which angle I chose or how I squinted my eyes it didn’t make what I was looking at any better!  Oh my.  The next thought I had was of Abraham, a Californian and fellow pipe man and member of the Facebook group, ‘The Gentlemen’s Pipe Smoking Society’.  What would he think when he reads this blog after having commissioned this pipe, waiting patiently over the weeks as it slowly moved up in the queue!  Fortunate for him, I AM a man of prayer and this pipe WILL benefit the Daughters of Bulgaria!  I’m already wondering what I will do to rescue this ailing Oom Paul!  I remembered my research on Peretti for my first Peretti restoration a few years ago.  I wondered where the Boston-based L. J. Peretti Co., manufactured their pipes.  I sent an email to the Peretti Tobacconist in Boston and was amazed that I received a response. Here is what I learned:

Hello Dal,

We have been sourcing our proprietary pipes from a number of different manufacturers. That said, it is most likely that Arlington Briars made the pipe you have in your possession. Photos would help us identify the pipe further. I will have to look through some of our old content and see what I can find.

Hope this helps, Tom  LJP

Per Pipedia: Arlington Briar Pipes Corporation was founded in 1919 in Brooklyn, New York, and produced the Arlington, Briarlee, Firethorn, Krona and Olde London brands among dozens of others, primarily acting as a subcontractor making pipes to be sold under other brand names. Among others, in the 1950’s, Arlington turned pipes for the famed Wilke Pipe Shop in New York City. The corporation was dissolved by the State of New York as inactive on December 6, 1978. 

I don’t know for certain that Arlington Briar Pipes produced the Peretti Lot of 10, but when I looked at the Pipedia page, this picture of Arlington’s own brand, this Oom Paul was staring at me.  He looks very familiar!  Well, we won’t know for sure, but the history of L. J. Peretti and the drilling of this Oom Paul interests me!  In the back of my mind as I begin restoring this pipe, is the huge misalignment of the stem and stummel.

The first step in the restoration of this L. J. Peretti Oom Paul is to add the stem to a bath of Before and After Deoxidizer.  After several hours in the bath with other stems, I take out the stem and drain it of Deoxidizer and wipe it down with a cotton pad wetted with light paraffin oil (mineral oil) to remove the oxidation that was raised during the soak. I then use Before and After Fine Polish followed by Extra Fine Polish to further condition the vulcanite and remove oxidation.  I work the polishes in with my fingers and after a time, wipe them with a cotton cloth.Turning to the Oom Paul stummel, I see that there is still tobacco at the floor of the chamber.  I clear that, and I ream the thick cake using the Pipnet Reaming Kit.  I start with the smallest blade and working to the larger blades as the cake is incrementally removed.  I use three of the four blades in the Pipnet Kit.I then turn to the Savinelli Fitsall Tool to fine tune the reaming job.  This is the most painful part for me – carefully removing the charred briar on the rim and watching the rim grow thinner on the damaged side and out of round!  The good news is that the chamber itself looks stellar. To clean the chamber further I use 240 grit paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen and sand the chamber.  Finally, I wipe the chamber out with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol to remove the carbon dust for all the reaming.  The pictures show the process. With all the other Perettis, the basic cleaning of the external surface and the rim revealed beautiful grain underneath the grime.  I have the same expectations for this Oom Paul stummel.  Using undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a cotton pad I go to work on the briar surface and the lava on the rim.  I also use a brass brush to work at removing the lava on the rim.  To carefully scrape the rim, I utilize the flat sharp edge of the Savinelli Fitsall Tool.  I rinse the stummel with tap water.  The pictures show the progress, before and after.  Quite a difference!  My eye is drawn to a spider web grain pattern on the stummel’s left side – shown in the first two pictures – very nice! I turn now to clean the internals and it doesn’t take too much. I use pipe cleaners, cotton buds and a shank brush to work on the draft hole and mortise.  Even though the internals are cleaning up nicely, I like to utilize a kosher salt and alcohol soak to freshen and clean even more thoroughly preparing the pipe for a new steward.To prepare the soak, I form a wick using a cotton ball.  I stretch and twist it and then push it down the mortise and draft hole. I use a straight piece of an old wire clothes hanger to push and guide the wick. This wick acts to draw out the residual tars and oils as the salt and isopropyl 95% do their job.  I then position the stummel in an egg carton for stability and fill the chamber with kosher salt.  I asked the question when I first saw this method used, why kosher?  The answer I received was that it didn’t leave an aftertaste as does iodized salt.  Sounded reasonable to me.  I then give the stummel a shake with the chamber cupped to displace the salt.  Then, using a large eye dropper I fill the chamber with isopropyl 95% till it surfaces over the salt.  After a few minutes I top it off with a bit more alcohol because it has absorbed into the fresh cotton wick and salt.  I put the stummel aside and let the soak do its thing. The next morning as expected, the darkening of the salt and wick indicate that more tars and oils were pulled out of the internals.  I thump the stummel on my palm releasing the expended salt in the waste.  I wipe the bowl with paper towel, blowing through the mortise to dislodge remaining salt.  I also use a multi-sized shank brush to do this.  Finally, I run another pipe cleaner and cotton bud dipped in isopropyl 95% in the mortise and draft hole to finalize the cleaning.   After reuniting the stem and stummel again, I take another long, hard look at the goblin stem that was lurking in my subconscious!  I have been mulling over the stem/shank junction and what it would take to repair –  counting the cost in sanding and lost briar.  As I fiddled with the stem, twisting it around checking the looseness of the fit, I stumbled onto the solution to the alignment conundrum!  When I reversed the stem, so that it was upside down, the saddle of the stem and the shank lined up almost perfectly!  The old 70s song came to mind, “Oh happy day!” I have absolutely no idea what was going on in the production line of the Arlington Briar Pipes factory that day, if indeed it was there, but there was a breakdown in communication between the drill man and the stem bending man (or women!).  My mind wonders whether they had a few beers over lunch….  I’m scratching my head, but this restoration was just made a little less difficult!  The junction between the end of the shank and saddle stem shows a bit of gap (daylight) but that can be addressed.  My plan: re-bend the upside-down stem, thereby turning the upside-down stem to right-side up!  Did you follow that? The pictures show the discovery! To make sure I retain the same angle of bend, which seems to be on the money, I trace the stem’s angle on a piece of paper which I’ll use as a template for the reversing bend.  I use a narrow-rounded glass bottle to provide the back-board for the bending.  I then insert a pipe cleaner through the draft hole to help to maintain the stem’s integrity during the heating and bending.  Using a heat gun, I gradually heat the stem in the bend area and when the vulcanite becomes pliable I bend it over the glass and size it up on the template.  When I think I have it right, I place the stem under cool tap water to cool the vulcanite and set the bend.  The first time through, I’m not satisfied that I create enough bend.  I repeat the process again.  The second time was the charm.  I like the bend – the fit is now much, much better in the shank. While I’m on the stem adjustment, I now address the gaps or ‘daylight’ I can see between the shank base and the stem saddle.  I start using by 600 grade paper on the topping board and I VERY gently top the shank base primarily to clean and start with a flat surface.  I then use a piece of 600 grade paper, folded over once, inserting it between the shank base and saddle of the stem as a two-side sanding pad.  I work on sanding down the high spots so that the gaps close.  After a while, I’m not making progress too quickly, so I switch to 470 grade paper – a little coarser, and it does the trick.  It takes quite a while sanding and testing repeatedly and making sure the stem stays in proper straight alignment during the sanding. I’m able to sand the high spots and achieve a much better, not perfect(!) union between the stem and shank. Another adjustment is needed with the fit of the tenon and mortise.  The fit now is looser than I prefer.  I will tighten the fit hopefully by heating the tenon while inserting a slight larger drill bit into the tenon’s airway and expanding it.  I heat the tenon with a Bic lighter and gradually work the smooth end of the drill bit down the airway.  I cool the vulcanite with tap water to hold the expansion and withdraw the bit and test in the mortise.  The fit is now snugger and that is good.  That completes the mechanical adjustments to the stem – its working well!  Even after the stem was turned ‘upside down’ to achieve better alignment, the saddle of the stem is enlarged over the shank at different places creating a ridge as I move my finger toward the stem over the junction.  To correct this, I use 240 sanding paper to work on these ridges of vulcanite.  I keep the stem inserted into the shank to do this.  As I sand at the edge, dealing with the ridge, I’m also sanding up the saddle to taper the angle.  I don’t want a mound of vulcanite to circle the saddle, so I blend the angle through the entire saddle – rounding it as well.  The first picture shows the evidence of a ridge with the vulcanite dust collecting.  The rest of the pictures show the stem flush with the shank and the tapering work on the saddle.  Of course, the ‘L. J. Peretti Co.’, stamping on the shank is carefully safe-guarded during the sanding. After the 240 grade paper, I go over the same area with 470 grit paper followed by 600 which goes much faster because the purpose is to erase the scratches of the previous sanding paper.  I am truly amazed at the recovery of this Oom Paul’s shank/stem alignment issues.  The entire structure of the pipe is now tighter and sharper.  The pictures show the completion of this part of the restoration for which I am thankful!  Now I remove the stem from the stummel and flip the stem over to the bit area to repair the tooth chatter and dents.  I take pictures of the upper and lower bit as well as a severe dent on the lower button lip to mark the starting point.  The first step is to employ the heating method. I use a Bic lighter and paint the vulcanite with the flame.  As a rubber composite, the vulcanite expands with the heating and so the dents will rise reclaiming their original place in the whole – or almost.  The dents have been lessened but not removed.  The lower bit’s dents have almost vanished and will probably only need sanding.  The upper bit and the button lip still have quite a bit of damage. I then take 240 grit paper and sand the bit and button to see what is left to patch. While I’m at it I sand the entire stem since it was re-bent in the extreme opposite, I want to remove any residual ripples in the vulcanite.  The lower bit dents sanded out completely.  The upper bit and button need to be patched.  Pictures show the progress – first, upper then lower bit and button after sanding with 240 grit paper. Now I will patch the upper bit using BSI Maxi-Cure Extra Thick CA glue mixed with activated charcoal dust. I will patch the two dents as well as the left side of the button lip.  It needs to be rebuilt.  After I put a small amount of charcoal dust on an index card, I drop a little CA glue next to the activated charcoal dust.  Then, using a tooth pick, I draw charcoal dust into the dollop of glue mixing it as I go.  Gradually, as I draw more charcoal dust into the CA glue it begins to form a thicker putty.  When it reaches the right consistency – like molasses, I use the tooth pick as a trowel and apply the patch putty to both dents and to the left side of the lower button lip to rebuild it.    I put the stem aside to allow the patches to cure.With the stem patches curing, I now look to the rim damage.  I take another close-up to get another look….  It’s amazing how things jump out – when I took the picture of the rim to begin working on cleaning it up, in the picture I notice what I hadn’t seen before – look beyond the rim to the shank….When I first saw it, I thought it might simply be a wet line left over from cleaning the stummel.  But after closer examination with a magnifying glass it confirmed what I was hoping against!  A crack in the shank emanating from the ‘crook’ or where the shank and bowl join.  I had almost the same thing in a previous Peretti Oom Paul restoration (See: Two of Boston’s L. J. Peretti Oom Pauls Recommissioned) – a shank crack that came from the crook and worked up toward the stem but did not reach the shank end.  I closely inspect the mortise for evidence of an internal crack and I see none.  I really don’t know how this crack started – it appears to be trauma created from the inserted tenon pushing forcefully toward the top of the mortise because of a drop which forced the stem down – my guess.  I would think if this were the case, you would expect more trauma on the back of the shank – as a reaction force.  But I see no indication of this.  I take a few close-ups of the crack to see it more clearly.The good news is that the crack is localized in the briar and has not crept all the way to the end of the shank.  As I did before, to block the ‘crack creep’ I drill small holes at both ends of the crack which will arrest its growth.  Drilling in the crook is not easy!  With the aid of a magnifying glass, I mark the ends of the crack with the sharp point of a dental probe.  I use these as a drill guide (first picture below). I then mount a 1mm drill bit into the Dremel and I VERY carefully drill the holes – not an easy feat holding the Dremel free hand!  I wipe off the area with a cotton pad this apply thin CA glue to both holes as well as along the line of the crack.  The thin CA glue will seep more deeply into the crack helping to seal it.  I then sprinkle briar dust on the entire repair area to help blending later when I sand.  I set the stummel aside to let the crack repair cure. While I’m working on the stummel, I also detect two places that have very small gaps in the briar that I want to fill.  I apply a drop of regular CA glue to each gap.  After applying the first drop, I wait an hour or so for the glue to set so that I can flip the stummel and apply the other patch.  After the first patch sets, I apply the drop of glue on the other side and set the stummel aside to allow the CA glue patches to cure. With stummel patches curing I turn again to the stem and the charcoal dust and CA glue patches are ready to be filed and sanded on the bit and to reshape the button.  I start by using a flat needle file to bring the patch mounds down to the vulcanite surface level.  I also shape the new button with the file.  The pictures show the filing progress.  Switching to sanding paper, I first use 240 grit to bring the patch mounds down to the vulcanite surface and to blend, erasing the file scratches.  I continue to shape and blend the button profile.  Then I switch to 600 grade paper and sand the entire stem to erase the scratches left by the 240 grade paper.  Finally, I use 0000 grade steel wool to sand/buff the entire stem to smooth out the scratches left by the 600 grade paper.  I like the results.  The reformed button looks good.  With a closer look at one of the patches, I detect very small air pocket cavities in the patch which is common.  To rectify this, using a tooth pick, I paint both patches, to be on the safe side, with a thin layer of thin CA glue to fill the cavities.  I wait a few hours for the CA glue to cure and I sand the patch again with 600 grade paper and then again with the 0000 steel wool.   I have sanding patch projects on the stummel to address.  I start first with the crack repair on the shank.  Using 240 grit paper I sand down the patch over both holes on each side of the crack as well as the crack itself.  I then follow with 600 grit paper over the entire area.  The repair looks good and will blend well as I finish the pipe.  The main thing was to protect the pipe from a creeping crack – this is done.Turning to the patches on both sides of the stummel, I use a flat needle file, then 240 grit paper followed by 600 on both sides.  As I file/sand, I try to stay on top of the patch mound to minimize impact on surrounding briar. Patches on the stummel are finished.  Now I turn to the rim repair. I feel like I’ve been around the block a few times with the repairs to the stummel and now I’m finally looking at the rim repair.  I take another picture to get a closer look and mark the starting point.  In the picture below, the bottom of the picture is the left side of the rim that has sustained the most damage from burned briar because of the former stewards practice of lighting his tobacco over the side of the rim instead of over the tobacco. I cannot replace the lost briar but what I try to do as I remove the damaged briar is to restore the balance to the rim as much as possible.  I do this through beveling. First, I take the stummel to the topping board which for me is a chopping board covered with 240 grit paper.  After inverting the stummel, I rotate it over the board in an even, circular motion.  I check the progress often to make sure I’m not leaning in the direction of the damaged area.  It is especially a challenge topping an Oom Paul because his shank is extended beyond the plane of the rim.  So, I hang the shank off the side of the board as I top.  I utilize a flat sanding block as well to direct the topping in specific areas.  When I’ve taken enough off in topping, I switch the paper to 600 grit on the topping board to give the rim a quick smoothing by removing the 240 scratches.  You can see in the pictures below how I unintentionally nicked the shank in the process….Next, to remove the internal ring of scorched briar I use a tightly folded piece of coarse 120 grade paper to cut a bevel around the internal edge.  I increase the bevel on the ‘fat’ areas of the rim seeking to balance the roundness a bit – even though nothing will solve it completely!  The goal is to give the appearance of more balance.  After completing the main shaping of the bevel with the coarser 120 paper, I continue using a rolled piece of 240 grit paper.  I take a picture at this point to mark the progress.I take the stummel back to the topping board with 600 grit paper to define the rim lines again.One last step in the rim repair.  The external edge of the rim is sharp because of the topping.  To soften the appearance of the rim and to enhance the overall presentation of the rim, I cut a small, gentle bevel on the external edge.  I do this with 240 grit paper rolled, then follow with 600 grit paper.  I pinch the paper on the edge of the rim with my thumb and move methodically and evenly around the circumference.  We live in a broken world and many people live their lives with a limp – it reminds us of our frailty.  This Peretti Oom Paul will always have a limp of a bowl that is out of round because of the damage he sustained in the past.  Despite this, the rim looks pretty good considering from where we’ve come! Anxious to move the stummel along, I now address the briar surface.  Using micromesh pads 1500 to 2400 I wet sand the stummel.  I follow this with dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 then 6000 to 12000.  I enjoy watching the briar grain emerge through this process! With the previous Peretti restorations, and with this one, I strive to maintain the original Peretti light, natural grain motif.  I have used Before and After Restoration Balm to deepen and enrichen the natural grain color.  I’ve been more than satisfied with the previous restorations and will apply the Balm to this Peretti Oom Paul as well.  I apply Balm to my finger and then I work it into the briar surface with the ends of my fingers.  The Balm starts with an oily feel then it gradually transforms into a thicker wax-like substance.  After I work it in, I set it on the stand to allow the Balm to work.  I take a picture of this and then after several minutes I wipe/buff the Balm off with a microfiber cloth.  The results look great. With the stummel awaiting a stem to catch up, I turn to the stem.  The CA glue painting of the air pocket cavities in the bit patch is ready for sanding and I use 240 grade paper to sand down to the stem surface.  I then use 600 grade paper followed by 0000 grade steel wool to finish it out.  The bit repair is done, and it looks good.  All the air pockets have been removed.I move on to the micromesh pad cycles.  First, I wet sand using pads 1500 to 2400.  I follow by dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 then 6000 to 12000.  After each set of 3 pads I apply Obsidian Oil to the stem which rejuvenates the vulcanite.  I love the glassy shine of polished vulcanite! After reuniting stem and stummel, I mount the Dremel with a cotton cloth buffing wheel and apply Blue Diamond compound to the pipe.  I set the Dremel to its slowest speed and apply the compound in a methodical way – not applying too much pressure to the wheel but allowing the speed of the Dremel and abrasiveness of the compound to do the work.  I then wipe the pipe with a felt cloth to remove compound dust.  Then, mounting another cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel, and increasing the speed to about 40% full power, I apply a few coats of carnauba wax to the stem and stummel.  I finish the process by giving the pipe a good hand buffing with a microfiber cloth to raise the shine.

I must admit, I was so occupied with the technical aspects of this restoration that I didn’t fully appreciate the beauty of this pipes color and grain until now.  I especially like the ‘burst’ on the left side of the large Oom Paul stummel.  Earlier I called it a spider web effect – now it looks more like a center of clustered circles, the bird’s eye grain, and sunburst expanding out from it.  Very striking grain showcased on this classic Oom Paul shape. He’s overcome an upside-down stem, a crack in the crook of the shank, a chewed up bit and a burned up rim – I would say he’s looking good now for what he’s been through!  This Peretti was commissioned by Abraham in California and he will have first dips on this L. J. Peretti Oom Paul when he goes into The Pipe Steward Store.  This pipe benefits the work of the Daughters of Bulgaria – helping women and girls (and their children!) who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thank you for joining me!

Another L. J. Peretti Oom Paul Sitter Recommissioned


Blog by Dal Stanton

I’m almost finished working through the Peretti Lot of 10 I acquired off the eBay auction block.  I’m amazed at the interest in these pipes since I posted a picture of the Peretti Lot on several of my favorite Facebook pipe groups.  I also enjoy posting on Instagram and Facebook giving updates of the restorations on my worktable here in Sofia, Bulgaria.  One of the best things I enjoy about ‘Pipedom’ and social media are the relationships developed around the world with pipe men and women whose love of pipes – their names and their histories, trust people like me who restore these friends enabling them to be passed on to the next generation of pipe men and women.  That’s why I named my pipe space, The Pipe Steward.  We are stewards when we understand that we don’t own, but we merely take care of something special for a time, add our histories then pass it on.  I met Tim via social media when I posted the picture below.  He was drawn to the Oom Pauls and commissioned one of the Sitters potentially to add to his already large collection – I see the plethora of posts and pipes he has on Instagram!  So, adding this Peretti Oom Paul Sitter to his collection is special and appreciated.  When one of my pipes is commissioned, the final decision to keep it is made after its restored and I publish the write up and a price is set.  So, Tim has first dibs on this Oom Paul Sitter when it goes to The Pipe Steward Store.  As with the other Perettis, this Sitter will benefit the Daughters of Bulgaria – our work here in Bulgaria helping women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.

Of the Peretti Lot of 10, there are two Oom Pauls yet to be restored that have been commissioned.  Two other pipes above are joining my collection of Perettis when I finally get to restoring them!  The Calabash on the top, left, and the COLOSSUS Billiard on the bottom.  The Oom Paul Sitter before me now is distinctive and stands out even in the picture above – bottom right.  The vertical straight flame grain is distinctive even in its present state.  Here are pictures chronicling the Oom Paul Sitter’s condition and challenges. The condition of this Sitter resembles all his brother Oom Pauls and the cousins.  The former steward of these Perettis seemed to have a scorched earth policy.  All of them, this one included, have thick cake in the chamber and thick, crusty lava flowing over the rim. As with the others, the left side of the rim has taken the brunt of the tobacco lighting and the briar is charcoal where the flame was pulled over the side, burning the rim.  The unfortunate result of this is that when the charred wood is cleaned away, the rim/bowl is thinner on that edge and therefore out of round.  The stummel surface is dirty but will clean up well showing the beautiful vertical grain.  I see no fills in this briar.  The stem carries with it the bites and dents that all the other Perettis received as well.  The stem is moderately oxidized and has a little calcification on the bit.  The one critical observation I have made about the Peretti Oom Pauls is that the drilling of the mortises for the tenon/stem fit hasn’t been the best.  This Sitter’s stem does not sit evenly with the shank.  The shank has a lip over the upper part of the saddle stem and the stem has a lip over the lower shank.  The drilling has left something to be desired!  The tenon fit is also loose. I have plenty of hurdles to address as this Oom Paul Sitter is recommissioned!

Beginning with the stem, it joins 4 other stems in a bath of Before and After Deoxidizer.  The stem soaks for several hours and when I fish it out, I let it drain and then wipe it down with cotton pads and light paraffin oil – this removes the Deoxidizer and the raised oxidation which wipes off as a very nasty brown.  The Deoxidizer has done a good job.Before proceeding further with the stem, I turn to the stummel cleanup.  I start by reaming the thick, crusted cake in the chamber.  Using my Pipnet Reaming Kit, I start with the smallest blade – first laying paper towel down to minimize cleanup!  I use 3 of the 4 blades available in the Pipnet Kit. The cake is hard causing the reaming tool to seize at times and I’m careful not bear down through stops in the turning of the blades but draw out the blades and go at it again.  I follow the Pipnet blades by employing the Savinelli Fitsall Tool which scrapes the walls more closely giving me more control.  I remove more cake on the top rim charring.  The goal is to find solid, healthy briar – which I do, but I can see the narrowing of the rim a bit due to the removal of the damaged wood. I then sand the chamber with 240 paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen to give leverage.  This process clears the remnants of carbon cake and brings out a freshened briar to allow the new steward to restart a proper cake development – the thickness of an American dime is sufficient and helpful to protect the briar.  Thicker than that and the carbon cake can damage the bowl as the cake heats and expands. Finally, I wipe the chamber with cotton pads wetted with isopropyl 95% – ridding the chamber of the carbon dust.The bottom of the picture below represents the left side of the stummel where the rim damage is greatest.  You can see the narrowing of the rim on the bottom (left) compared to the opposite side.Now to attack the lava flow on the rim and to clean the stummel surface.  I take a few pictures of the stummel grime to show the progress.  I’m looking forward to seeing what Murphy’s will do!  Using undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap, I go to work using cotton pads.  I also use a brass brush on the rim – brass brushes do not scratch the wood.  The hard crust is not easily moved.  I use the Savinelli Fitsall tool’s flat straight edge and carefully scrape the crust off the rim.  After getting the rim and stummel as clean as I can, I rinse the stummel with cool tap water and wow!  I’m not disappointed.  The beauty of this block of briar is shouting from the housetop!  I’m liking this a lot.  The downside is the rim.  As with all the other brothers and cousins, this stummel will be topped to restore fresh briar to the rim.  I love doing ‘before & after’ comparisons.  Who says that a good cleaning doesn’t help!? Now, to clean the internals of the stummel I use pipe cleaners and cotton buds dipped in isopropyl 95%.  I’m amazed that the internals, mortise and draft hole, are not terribly dirty.  With only a few pipe cleaners and cotton buds expended, I turn to the stealth approach.  To freshen the internals even more, I use the kosher salt and alcohol soak.  I fashion a wick using a cotton ball by pulling and twisting it.  I then push it down into the mortise into the draft hole using a straight hard wire.  I fill the bowl with kosher salt which will not leave an aftertaste as iodized salt and I cover the bowl and give the stummel a shake to displace the salt.  I then fill the bowl with isopropyl 95% until it surfaces over the salt.  In a few minutes the alcohol has been absorbed so I top if off again.  I put the stummel aside for the night, I turn out the light and my day is finished.The sun has risen on a new day in Bulgaria and the kosher salt and alcohol soak has done the job.  The salt and wick are discolored showing that the oils and tars were absorbed through the night.  I thump the stummel on my palm to dislodge the salt into the waste and I wipe the chamber out with paper towel as well as blowing through the mortise.  I dislodge any leftover salt crystals.  To make sure all is clean I run a pipe cleaner through the draft hole and a cotton bud in the mortise and all is clean and fresh.  I wonderful thing to behold!Before proceeding any further with stummel or stem restoration, I work on the issue of the junction between the two.  The upper half of the shank is extending over the stem so that when I run my fingers over the area there is an obvious ridge.  I take a close-up to show this.  Also, on the bottom of the shank, the stem extends over the shank – not as much, but I still detect a ridge in the opposite direction with the touch.  The mortise drilling was too low creating the offset.Leaving stem and stummel joined, I carefully sand the higher areas on both shank and stem to form a smooth transition from shank to saddle stem.  Of course, much care is given in the sanding so that I don’t inadvertently erase the ‘TI’ at the end of the L. J. Peretti nomenclature on the shank!  In the immediate picture below, you can see the sanded alignment transitioning into what has yet to be sanded on the top of the shank. The hope is to remove the ridge, but also to taper the sanding down the shank a bit to avoid the ‘stuffed pants’ look – a bulge of briar paralleling the ridge sanding.  The goal is a smooth, tapered transition. I like the results.  The ridges are removed and tapered.  Now, switching to 600 grade paper I erase the scratches left by the 240 sanding. After the 600 grade sanding is completed, I take a look at the junction.  Through the cleaning process, I have noticed that the stem has loosened in the mortise.  I’ll need to address the tenon/mortise junction. …AND IT WAS GOING SO WELL, until it wasn’t.  As I was surveying the stem, my eye caught sight of what looked like a hole on the upper side of the stem, mid-way through the bend.  Oh my!  Well, I first thought my eyes were not seeing what they were obviously seeing.  My initial reaction was, “How did I do that?”  Then, my next inclination was to look at earlier pictures of the stem to see if it was there and if so, how is it possible to have missed something so obvious?!?!  I’m glad you couldn’t hear the conversation floating through my mind at that point!  I found a picture before the restoration began, and yes, it was there.  The pictures reveal the source my current frustrations which is part and parcel of pipe restorations – and life….  I put a dental probe in the hole, and yes, it did go through. I then ran a pipe cleaner through to see how thin the vulcanite was at the stem’s bend where the hole broke through.  It appears thin, but salvageable.  To test the integrity of the surrounding vulcanite I pinch it hard to see if it would break.  It didn’t and that is good. I decide to patch it like a typical hole in a bit scenario but perhaps leave the patch a little ‘fat’ to add some reinforcement to the area.So, the projects are mounting for this stem.  First, to address the stem’s looseness – the tenon/mortise junction. Second, repair to the hole in the bend.  Third, repair the chewed bit and button – upper and lower.  Then, the sanding and preparations for the finishing phase.  I begin with the tenon expansion to tighten the stem’s fit.  I do this first because it’s the easiest and least time consuming.  I find a drill bit just a little larger than the existing tenon draft hole to act as the ‘expander’.  I use a Bic lighter and heat the vulcanite tenon by painting it with the lighter’s flame.  As the vulcanite heats, as a rubber composite, it softens and becomes pliable.  When heated sufficiently, gently I push the smooth end of the bit into the hole and the tenon expands as a result.  It works like a charm.  After heating the tenon, inserting the bit by twisting it, and retracting it, I test the fit.  It is good and snug, but not too tight that one is afraid of cracking the shank – which I’ve had experience in! I decide to do the prep work on the bit next so that at the conclusion, I can apply patch material to the bit area as needed as well as to the bend hole.  Looking at the bit and button first, I take a few more pictures to get a closer look.  I notice that there was something on the side of the draft hole and I began digging with a dental probe.  One hunk of something dislodged like it was hanging on for dear life.  I stuck the probe in deeper…there’s more….  I was incredulous!  How could so much stuff hide in the button draft hole!  I took pictures – it is an event!Addressing the dents first, I paint the dents with the flame of a Bic lighter to expand the vulcanite as it heats.  As it expands, the dents tend to dissipate in their severity.  Often, after flaming dents one is able simply to sand out the remaining damage – or much of it.  I also flame the button hoping to minimize the dents on the lip.  It did help, but sanding is still necessary. With a flat needle file and 240 grade sanding paper, I go to work on the upper and lower bit.  I use the file to refine the button and remove the dents where possible. The sanding removes much except for one dimple on the top and one on the lower bit. The button sanded out nicely.  I also employ a round sharp needle file to sharpen the edges of the draft hole. For the upper and lower dimples, I spot drop Special ‘T’ CA glue which is thicker. First, I clean off the areas with alcohol and cotton pads to clean it. I start with applying glue on the lower dimple and wait for an hour or so for the glue to set, and I flip the stem over and apply glue to the upper bit dimple. Now to the bend hole.  I use 240 grit paper and lightly rough up the area around the hole.  I then wipe it with isopropyl 95% to clean the area.  Instead of applying CA glue, I’ll use a putty created out of mixing CA glue and activated charcoal dust. I believe this will give me more texture for blending if I leave a larger area of patch to reinforce the area.  I don’t know if this will work in the end, but I can start with this intention and if it doesn’t work, I can always sand the excess.  First, I put petroleum jelly on the end of a pipe cleaner and I insert it to where I see it has reached the hole.  The pipe cleaner will hopefully keep the glue/charcoal in place and the petroleum jelly will keep the putty from sticking to the pipe cleaner, so I can pull it out!  Next, I place some charcoal dust on an index card.  I then place a bit of regular super glue next to the charcoal.  I use a tooth pick to draw the charcoal into the glue so that it’s gradually added.  In this way I can judge what the thickness should be – not too thin so it runs – not so thick that it doesn’t penetrate the hole. I mix the activated charcoal and superglue and when it seems to be the right consistency, I apply it to the hole using the toothpick as a trowel.  I tamp the putty down so that it fills the hole and I spread the patch around the surface.  I give a few movement tugs on the pipe cleaner and it is not stuck.  I put the stem aside to allow all the patches to cure. Turning again to the stummel, I focus on the rim repair.  I start by topping the Oom Paul Sitter.  Using 240 grade paper on a chopping board I rotate the inverted stummel on the paper in a circular motion.  I will remove enough on the rim trying to minimize the internal bevel which will remove the remainder of the charred wood.  I’ll have to be careful.  When placing the inverted stummel on the chopping block before putting the 240 paper down, I test how level the top is – the stummel rocks a bit.  This tells me that the rim is not level and most likely the left side, where most of the damaged wood is, has deteriorated.  Charred wood is softer and therefore probably dipped. I start topping and check often to see where things are going.  I also use a sanding block to help direct the topping to areas to try to bring about an evenly rounded rim – a challenge with the charring damage on the left side of the stummel – depicted on the bottom in the pictures below.  The pictures show the process. I’ve removed enough top briar real estate at this point and I will try to bring more balance to the rim as I remove the internal charring as I introduce a bevel.  Using a coarser 120 grade paper, I cut the initial bevel removing the charring.  I follow the 120 beveling using a rolled piece of 240 grade paper which smooths and continues to clean the char.  I then take the stummel back to the topping board again to reestablish the lines of the rim.  I do this a few more times, as I try to create a more balanced looking rim. I then top the stummel again with 600 grade paper and beveling as well.  The pictures show the rim cleaning and balancing process. One last step.  To soften the entire look of the rim, I introduce a gentle bevel on the external rim edge by cutting it with 120, following with 240 then 600 rolled pieces of sanding paper.  Considering from where we’ve come, I’m satisfied with the appearance of the rim!  It’s not perfect and this Peretti will carry the rim imbalance with it the ‘limp’ but he’s moving!Next, to prepare the stummel surface for the finishing phase, I use micromesh pads 1500 to 2400 to wet sand the stummel.  Then I follow this by dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000, then 6000 to 12000. The grain on this Peretti Oom Paul Sitter is exceptional.  I watch it emerge through each micromesh cycle. This is going to be a beautiful pipe. With most of the Peretti Oom Paul restorations I have done (and the Peretti Half Bent Billiard) I was very pleased with the results of applying Before and After Restoration Balm on the stummels.  Keeping the light, natural original motifs of these Perettis has been my goal and the use of the Balm has helped maintain this desire.  I do the same with this Peretti.  I put some Balm on my finger and I work the Balm into the briar surface.  As I work it in, it starts as more liquid – with the consistency of light oil, but then gradually firms up until it is wax-like.  After I work it in thoroughly with my fingers, I set the stummel on the clothespin stand to allow the Balm to do what it does for a while. I take a picture of the Balm on the stummel.  After several minutes, I wipe the Balm off by buffing it out with a clean microfiber cloth.  It looks great – as I was expecting.With the Sitter’s stummel waiting in the wings for the stem to catch up, I pick up the stem.  Having had a night to thoroughly cure, the patches are ready to be filed and sanded down.  Before I forget it, since I had a pipe cleaner with petroleum jelly on it in the stem’s airway, I want to clean the airway so I run a pipe cleaner through the stem dipped with isopropyl 95%. Also, the thought in the back of my mind is the putty in the hole patch, did it push through and harden in the airway and form an obstruction.  Unfortunately, this was the case.  With the pipe cleaner coming from the tenon side, there seems to be a ridge at the patch site just entering the bend.  The pipe cleaner hung up there.  Coming from the button end, there is no problem with an obstruction.  As I test repeatedly, I discover that coming in from the tenon side, if I put a slight downward bend to the end of the pipe cleaner, the pipe cleaner would successfully navigate past the patch down to the button draft hole.  This is not a perfect situation, but it could be much worse with no passage through the airway.  Yet, the bright side of the scenario is that the patch is a bit stronger as a result, though the new steward will need to be aware of this bump in the road.  So, we move on. I begin the filing on the bend hole patch using a flat needle file.  I focus on keeping the file on the patch mound to not impact the vulcanite around the patch.To help me see what the patch would look like if I left it a bit ‘fat’ on the surface, I take a little detour.  My thinking is that it might help strengthen the area to leave the patch fatter on the surface.  To get a preview of the patch area, I ran the patch through the entire sanding process to get a better idea how visible it would be.  It didn’t take long to go from the filing to 240, 600 then 0000 steel wool focusing only on the patch area. Then I ran the patch spot through all the micromesh pads 1500 to 12000, applied Obsidian Oil and I look at the patch area. I take two pictures to show the future.  I decide I didn’t like the future!  Actually, the patch isn’t that bad, but I know it’s there and it seems unfinished….  I decide to continue to blend the patch by sanding.This is the bend patch after continuing with 240 and 600 grade papers.  That’s much better.I move on to the upper and then lower bit.  I use the flat needle file, 240 then 600 on both upper and lower sanding the patches and blending them.I follow by sanding/buffing the entire stem with 0000 steel wool before starting the micromesh pad process.Now to the fine-tuning sanding process.  I wet sand the stem using micromesh pads 1500 to 2400.  I then follow this by dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 then 6000 to 12000.  After each set of three pads, I apply Obsidian Oil to revitalize the vulcanite.  The Peretti’s stem is looking good even with all the repairs that were done.  I love the glassy pop of the vulcanite!  The patch work blended well. Now the home stretch.  I reunite the Peretti Oom Paul Sitters stem and stummel and mount the felt buffing wheel to the Dremel, set it at the slowest speed and apply Tripoli compound to the stummel.  Tripoli is a coarser compound I apply using a circular pattern over the stummel in a methodical way to cover the entire stummel.  I do not put too much pressure on the wheel, but allow the speed, compound and the felt to do the work.  When the Tripoli is complete, I mount a cotton cloth wheel to the Dremel, remaining at the same speed and I apply Blue Diamond compound to both stummel and stem.  I do it in the same way as the Tripoli. Finally, I change cotton cloth buffing wheels and apply White Diamond compound to the stem alone.  When the compounds are completed, I buff the pipe with a felt cloth to remove the compound dust from the surface of the briar.  I mount yet another cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel, increase the speed to about 40% of full power and I apply a few coats of carnauba wax to stem and stummel.  Finally, I complete the restoration of this Peretti Oom Paul Sitter by giving it a brisk hand buffing using a microfiber cloth.

The vertical flame grain on this large Oom Paul Sitter stummel is striking and it is complemented by bird’s eye on the heel as well as the shank. It is unique in the Peretti Lot of 10 where the pipes showcased mainly horizontal and bird’s eye grain.  This Peretti will provide much visual pleasure to his new steward and with the size of the bowl, he will pack enough favorite blend for a nice long reflective time.  The stem and rim gave some challenges which I think have worked out well.  He carries with him some marks from his former life – as we all do!  Tim lives in Missouri and is the pipe man who commissioned this Oom Paul Sitter and has first dibs on the pipe when I put it in The Pipe Steward Store.  This pipe will benefit the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks for joining me!

 

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


Blog by Dal Stanton

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

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

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

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


Blog by Dal Stanton

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

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

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

These marks are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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