Tag Archives: finishing

Restoring a Peterson’s Dunmore 70 Bent Apple Sitter from Bob Kerr’s Estate


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen to work on from Bob Kerr’s estate is another one of his unique Peterson’s. I have restored two of the Canadian Imports from his estate – a Kapruf 54 sandblast bent billiard (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/08/09/back-to-bob-kerrs-estate-another-canadian-import-petersons-kapruf-a-54/) and a Kapruf 9BC 56 (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/08/09/back-to-bob-kerrs-estate-linking-petersons-kapruf-9bc-with-the-56-shape-number/). These were interesting in that they both had a unique numbering system for Peterson’s pipes that were specifically brought to Canada by the Canadian importer, Genin, Trudeau & Co. of Montreal, Quebec (https://rebornpipes.com/2016/09/13/petersons-pipes-brochure-from-genin-trudeau-co-montreal-quebec/). I restored an English Made Peterson’s System ‘0’ 1307 bent billiard a  (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/08/17/an-english-made-petersons-system-0-1307-bent-billiard-from-bob-kerrs-estate/) and a Republic Era Peterson’s Flame Grain Bent billiard with a fishtail stem (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/08/16/a-petersons-flame-grain-x220s-bent-billiard-from-bob-kerrs-estate/).

The next one on the table is of interest because it is a uniquely shaped Dunmore Bent Apple Sitter. It is part of the estate that I am cleaning up for the family and moving them out into the hands of pipemen and women who will carry on the trust that began with their father, Bob. In the collection there were 19 Peterson’s pipes along with a bevy of Dunhills, some Comoy’s and Barlings as well as a lot of other pipes – a total of 125 pipes along with a box of parts. This is the largest estate that I have had the opportunity to work on. I put together a spread sheet of the pipes and stampings to create an invoice. I was taking on what would take me a fair amount of time to clean up. I could not pass up the opportunity to work on these pipes though. They were just too tempting.

I really am enjoying working on the Peterson’s in the estate. This was another unique one. When I took it out of the box of cleaned up pipes that Jeff sent back I could see that it was stamped Peterson’s over Dunmore on the left side of the shank and Made in the Republic of Ireland followed by the shape number 70 on the right shank. It has some stunning grain around the bowl and shank under the thick grime and tarry spots. The shank is quite thick and the finish is probably the dirtiest of Bob’s pipes so far. There was a thick cake in the bowl with remnants of tobacco stuck on the walls. There was a fair lava overflow on the rim. The top and edges of the rim are dirty. I think that there was a beautiful pipe underneath all of the grime and buildup of years of use. The stem was oxidized and calcified toward the end with some hack marks on the left side mid stem. Again, surprisingly did not have the deep tooth marks that I have come to expect from Bob’s pipes but the button edges were worn. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work on it.   Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the thick, hard cake in the bowl and the lava build up on the top of the rim and the edges of the bowl. It was hard to tell if there was any damage to the inner edge of the rim as it had a thick cake lining it. Hopefully it protected it. The lava flows down the outer edges so it will need to be cleaned in order to assess their condition.  Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the finish. You can see the beautiful mix of swirled, flame and birdseye grain underneath the dirt and debris of the years. The cross grain on the heel was beautiful.    Jeff took photos of the stamping on both sides of the bowl and shank. The stamping on the left side was faint but readable as you can see from the photos. It read Peterson’s over Dunmore. The stamp on the right side read Made in the Republic of Ireland followed by the shape number 70. You can see that the beading around the shank end is almost filled in with the grime on the briar. Jeff took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the tooth chatter, scratching and oxidation on the stem surface and wear on the edges of the button.    I turned first to Pipephil’s site to remind myself of the background of the Dunmore line. Unfortunately there was no information to be found there. I then turned to Pipedia’s article on Peterson pipes to see what I could garner from that information. It is a great read in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Peterson) but nothing specific to the Dunmore line of pipes.

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

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

On page 268 there is a shape chart that does comparison of the shapes in the various lines. There I found the following information:

In the Standard and Premier System it was shape 302. In the De Luxe System it was shape 25. In the Dunmore System (1977-1983) it was shape 70. In the Classic Lines it was shape 02/XL02. The production still continues. It is a Peterson Extra Large Size and was named an Extra Large Apple.

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

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

With that information in hand I knew what I was dealing with in terms of the stamping on the pipe. It is a Late Republic era pipe. It showed up in Peterson Catalogue in 1973 and from what I have learned about Bob’s other pipes this date fits well. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

With over 125 pipes to clean from Bob’s estate I am very glad for Jeff’s help cleaning them. He cleaned this filthy pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness that I really appreciate. This one was a real mess and I did not know what to expect when I unwrapped it from his box. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. The finish looks very good with great looking grain around the bowl and shank. Jeff soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour I was amazed it looked so good. I took photos before I started my part of the work.     I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show what an amazing job Jeff did in the cleanup of the rim top. I also wanted to show that the damage to the rim top was more extensive than I had originally thought. The rim top was burned and darkened with nicks and notches around the inner edge. There was some darkening that ran down the front of the bowl as well. The rim top was a nightmare of issues. The outer edge of the bowl looks very good other than the burning and darkening. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the lack of tooth marks and the light oxidation on the stem surface. You can also see the wear to the button. The third stem photo shows the hatch marks on the left side of the stem. One of the things I appreciate about Jeff’s cleanup is that he works to protect and preserve the nomenclature on the shank of the pipes that he works on. The stamping on this one was very faint to start with so I was worried that it would disappear altogether with the cleanup. He was not only able to preserve it but it is clearer than shown in the earlier photos. I took some photos to show the clarity of the stamping. I have noticed that many restorers are not careful to protect the stamping in their cleaning process and often by the end of the restoration the nomenclature is almost destroyed. I would like to encourage all of us to be careful in our work to preserve this as it is a critical piece of pipe restoration! Since this is another pipe Bob’s estate I am sure that some of you have read at least some of the other restoration work that has been done on the previous pipes. You have also read what I have included about Bob Kerr, the pipeman who held these pipes in trust before I came to work on them (see photo to the left). Also, if you have followed the blog for long you will already know that I like to include background information on the pipeman whose pipes I am restoring. For me, when I am working on an estate I really like to have a sense of the person who held the pipes in trust before I worked on them. It gives me another dimension of the restoration work. I asked Brian if he or his wife would like to write a brief biographical tribute to her father, Bob. His daughter worked on it and I received the following short write up on him and some pictures to go along with the words including one of Bob’s carvings. Once again I thank you Brian and tell your wife thank you as well.

I am delighted to pass on these beloved pipes of my father’s. I hope each user gets many hours of contemplative pleasure as he did. I remember the aroma of tobacco in the rec room, as he put up his feet on his lazy boy. He’d be first at the paper then, no one could touch it before him. Maybe there would be a movie on with an actor smoking a pipe. He would have very definite opinions on whether the performer was a ‘real’ smoker or not, a distinction which I could never see but it would be very clear to him. He worked by day as a sales manager of a paper products company, a job he hated. What he longed for was the life of an artist, so on the weekends and sometimes mid-week evenings he would journey to his workshop and come out with wood sculptures, all of which he declared as crap but every one of them treasured by my sister and myself. Enjoy the pipes, and maybe a little of his creative spirit will enter you!

Now, on to the rest of the restoration of this beautifully grained Peterson’s Dunmore 70 Large Bent Apple. It was great that I did not need to clean the pipe. I decided to start the process by addressing the damage to rim top and the inner edge. From the extent of damage to the inner edge of the rim and the top of the bowl I decided I would need to top the bowl to remove as much of this damage as possible to restore the rim top back to a more pristine condition and bring the bowl back to round. I topped it on a topping board using 220 grit sandpaper. I took photos to show the slow process of repairing that damage. The photos show the topping process and the rim top after I had topped it to an acceptable point where the condition of the top and edges was good.    With the top cleaned up and repaired I moved on to address the inner edge surface itself. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage and bring the bowl back to round. I followed that by sanding the rim top and edge with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.  I also sanded the darkening on the front of the bowl edge.   The bowl surface was quite smooth so I decided to forego polishing it with micromesh sanding pads. I cleaned the briar with Mark Hoover’s Before & After Briar Cleaner to remove the debris left behind by the sanding of the rim top and to blend the repairs into the briar. I rubbed it into the surface of the briar and let it sit for 10 minutes. I rinsed the bowl off with warm running water to remove the product and the grime. The grain really began to stand out clearly. It was a beautiful piece of briar. I stained the rim top and edges with an Oak Stain pen to match the colour of the stain on the bowl. Once it was polished with the Before & After Balm and buffed with a microfiber cloth the stain would blend perfectly.After the stain had cured, I rubbed it down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. Mark Hoover’s Balm is a product that I have come to appreciate and one I use on every pipe I have been working on. I decided to touch up the “P” stamp on the left side of the shank. I use PaperMate liquid paper for doing this. I worked it into the stamp with a tooth pick. Once the material had hardened I used the tooth pick to scrape off the excess material.  I reshaped the edge of the button and top of the P-Lip with a needle file to get a more defined shape and edge. Once I had the shape more defined I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to break up the remaining oxidation and smooth out the file marks. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to remove the scratching. It is starting to look good.   I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. Once I had finished the polishing I gave it final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. As usual at this point in the restoration process I am excited to be on the homestretch. I look forward to the final look when it is put back together, polished and waxed. I put the bowl and stem back together. I polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the briar and the vulcanite. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The grain really pops with the wax and polish. The bead around the shank looks very good. The shiny black vulcanite stem is a beautiful contrast to the browns of the bowl. This Peterson’s Dunmore 70 Large Bent Apple was another fun pipe to work on thanks to Jeff’s cleanup work. The beading around the shank gives this Peterson’s “Unmounted System” a unique look without the silver or nickel ferrule. It really is a quite stunning piece of briar whose shape follows the flow of the briar. The thick/chubby shank makes it a very comfortable pipe to hold in the hand. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. This beautiful large pipe will be going on the rebornpipes store if you would like to add it to your collection and carry on Bob’s legacy. If not, I have a lot more of Bob’s estate to work on of various brands. Perhaps one of those will catch your attention. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. This is an interesting estate to bring back to life.

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Working on a GBD Popular 233 Straight Bulldog from Bob Kerr’s Estate


Blog by Steve Laug

I am continuing to work through Bob Kerr’s estate. The next pipe on the table is a GBD Popular 233 sand blast bulldog. I am cleaning up Bob’s estate for his family and moving them out into the hands of pipemen and women who will carry on the trust that began with Bob and in some pipes was carried on by Bob. In the collection there were 19 Peterson’s pipes along with a bevy of Dunhills, some Comoy’s and Barlings as well as a lot of other pipes – a total of 125 pipes along with a box of parts. This is the largest estate that I have had the opportunity to work on. I put together a spread sheet of the pipes and stampings to create an invoice. I was taking on what would take me a fair amount of time to clean up. I could not pass up the opportunity to work on these pipes though. They were just too tempting.

I have been collecting and restoring GBD pipes for as long as I have worked on pipes. This one also has some beautiful mixed grain underneath the sandblast finish. It is quite beautiful! The pipe is stamped GBD over Popular on the left underside of the shank. It is stamped with GBD in an oval over Popular. Underneath that it is stamped Made in England followed by the shape number 233. It had a rich oxblood stain that does not look too bad. There was a thick cake in the bowl with remnants of tobacco stuck on the walls. There was a light lava overflow on the rim. The inner beveled edge of the rim and top are dirty and had a thick lava coat. The edges look pretty pristine under the grime. It was a beautiful pipe that was dirty and tired looking. The stem was oxidized and calcified toward the end. Again, surprisingly did not have the tooth marks that I have come to expect from Bob’s pipes. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work on it.   Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the lava build up on the edges of the bowl. It was thick and hard but hopefully it had protected the rim and edges from damage. The edges look pretty good.    Jeff took a photo of the side and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the finish. You can see the beautiful grain. The finish was very dirty. Jeff took photos of the stamping on the smooth panel on the underside of the shank. The stamping was readable as you can see from the photos. On the left underside it read GBD in an oval over Popular. Under that it read Made In England over the shape number 233. On the left side of the saddle stem was an inlaid GBD roundel.  Jeff took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the tooth chatter, scratching and oxidation on the stem surface and wear on the edges of the button.   I turned to Pipedia’s article on GBD to see if I could find any information on the Popular. It was a line of GBD pipes that was new to me. The article gives a lot in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD).

I also turned to the reference page on the site for GBD shapes and numbers and found the one for the straight bulldog that I was working on (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD_Shapes/Numbers). I did a screen capture of the section.I had also worked on a similar pipe (2331) that was a smooth bulldog. I went back and reread the blog I had written on that restoration (https://rebornpipes.com/tag/gbd-popular-pipes/). I read about the pipe there but I had not found any information in that blog that helped to date the line.

I had exhausted the information available to me on the Popular line and was no closer to a date or time period for this pipe. I am guessing that it fits in with the late 50s to late 60s of Bob’s other pipes but I cannot know for sure. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

With over 125 pipes to clean from Bob’s estate I took a batch of them to the states with me on a recent visit and left them with Jeff so he could help me out. Jeff cleaned the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness that I really appreciate. This one was a real mess and I did not know what to expect when I unwrapped it from his box. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. The finish looks very good with good looking grain around the bowl and shank. Jeff soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked very good. I took photos before I started my part of the work. I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show what an amazing job Jeff did in the cleanup of the rim top. The rim top looks very good. The sandblast finish is very nice. The bowl looked very good. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the scratches and lack of tooth marks on the stem. You can also see the remaining oxidation on the stem surface.Since this is another pipe Bob’s estate I am sure that some of you have read at least some of the other restoration work that has been done on the previous pipes. You have also read what I have included about Bob Kerr, the pipeman who held these pipes in trust before I came to work on them (see photo to the left). Also, if you have followed the blog for long you will already know that I like to include background information on the pipeman whose pipes I am restoring. For me, when I am working on an estate I really like to have a sense of the person who held the pipes in trust before I worked on them. It gives me another dimension of the restoration work. I asked Brian if he or his wife would like to write a brief biographical tribute to her father, Bob. His daughter worked on it and I received the following short write up on him and some pictures to go along with the words including one of Bob’s carvings. Once again I thank you Brian and tell your wife thank you as well.

I am delighted to pass on these beloved pipes of my father’s. I hope each user gets many hours of contemplative pleasure as he did. I remember the aroma of tobacco in the rec room, as he put up his feet on his lazy boy. He’d be first at the paper then, no one could touch it before him. Maybe there would be a movie on with an actor smoking a pipe. He would have very definite opinions on whether the performer was a ‘real’ smoker or not, a distinction which I could never see but it would be very clear to him. He worked by day as a sales manager of a paper products company, a job he hated. What he longed for was the life of an artist, so on the weekends and sometimes mid-week evenings he would journey to his workshop and come out with wood sculptures, all of which he declared as crap but every one of them treasured by my sister and myself. Enjoy the pipes, and maybe a little of his creative spirit will enter you!

Now on to the rest of the restoration on this GBD Popular Straight Bulldog. Since Jeff had done such an amazing clean up job on the bowl it was very easy for me. There was some darkening on the inner beveled edge of the rim that needed to be addressed. I sanded it with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to remove and minimize the damage to the bevel. I continued by starting to polish it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I wiped the rim edge down with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust on the briar. The finished rim top looked much better than when I started.I decided to clean the briar with Mark Hoover’s Before & After Briar Cleaner to clean up the sanded surface of the briar and blend sanded rim edge. I rubbed it into the surface of the briar and let it sit for 10 minutes. I rinsed the bowl off with warm running water to remove the product and the grime.   I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth and shoe brush to raise the shine. Mark Hoover’s Balm is a product that I have come to appreciate and one I use on every pipe I have been working on.    I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to break up the oxidation. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to remove the scratching. It is starting to look good.   I have one more tin of Denicare Mouthpiece Polish left from a few that I have picked up over the years. It is a coarse red pasted that serves to help remove oxidation. I polished the stem with that to further smooth out the surface of the vulcanite (and to be honest – to use it up). I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. Once I had finished the polishing I gave it final coat of oil and set it aside to dry.    I am excited to be on the homestretch of another one of Bob Kerr’s Estate pipes and I look forward to the final look when it is put back together, polished and waxed. I put the bowl and stem back together. I polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the briar and the vulcanite. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The sand blast finish really popped with buffing showing the contrast colours of reds and black stain on the finish. The polished black vulcanite stem went really well with the multi-faceted colours of the sand blast on the bowl. This old GBD Popular straight Bulldog was another fun pipe to work on thanks to Jeff’s cleanup work. It really has a shape that catches the eye. The combination of various stains really makes the pipe look attractive. It is a comfortable pipe to hold in the hand. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. If you are interested in carrying on Bob’s legacy with this pipe send me a message or an email. I have a lot more to work on of various brands. Perhaps one of those will catch your attention. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. This is an interesting estate to bring back to life.

 

An English Made Peterson’s System “0” 1307 Bent Billiard from Bob Kerr’s Estate


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen to work on from Bob Kerr’s estate is another one of his unique Petersons. I have restored two of the Canadian Imports from his estate – a Kapruf 54 sandblast bent billiard (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/08/09/back-to-bob-kerrs-estate-another-canadian-import-petersons-kapruf-a-54/) and a Kapruf 9BC 56 (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/08/09/back-to-bob-kerrs-estate-linking-petersons-kapruf-9bc-with-the-56-shape-number/). These were interesting in that they both had a unique numbering system for Petersons pipes that were specifically brought to Canada by the Canadian importer, Genin, Trudeau & Co. of Montreal, Quebec (https://rebornpipes.com/2016/09/13/petersons-pipes-brochure-from-genin-trudeau-co-montreal-quebec/). I also finished restoring a Flame Grain X220S that was very nice https://rebornpipes.com/2019/08/16/a-petersons-flame-grain-x220s-bent-billiard-from-bob-kerrs-estate/). This next one is of interest because it is a large System 0 1307 bent billiard with a fishtail stem. It is part of the estate that I am cleaning up for the family and moving them out into the hands of pipemen and women who will carry on the trust that began with their father, Bob. In the collection there were 19 Peterson’s pipes along with a bevy of Dunhills, some Comoy’s and Barlings as well as a lot of other pipes – a total of 125 pipes along with a box of parts. This is the largest estate that I have had the opportunity to work on. I put together a spread sheet of the pipes and stampings to create an invoice. I was taking on what would take me a fair amount of time to clean up. I could not pass up the opportunity to work on these pipes though. They were just too tempting.

I really am enjoying working on the Peterson’s in the estate. This was another unique one. When I first looked at it when it came I wondered if the stem was a replacement. However, the shape and the fit of the stem makes me wonder if it was not original. When I took it out of the box of cleaned up pipes that Jeff sent back I could see that it was stamped Peterson’s System 0 on the left side of the shank and Made in England in a circular shaped stamp on the right side. The shape number 1307 is stamped on the underside of the shank just next to the nickel ferrule. It has some interesting grain around the bowl and shank under what appears to be a thick varnish coat. The shank is quite thick and the finish very dirty.  There was a thick cake in the bowl with remnants of tobacco stuck on the walls. There was a fair lava overflow filling in the blast on the rim. The edges of the rim and top are dirty but they looked pretty good under the grime. It was another beautiful pipe that was dirty and tired looking. The stem was oxidized and calcified toward the end. Again, surprisingly did not have the deep tooth marks that I have come to expect from Bob’s pipes. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work on it. Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the lava build up on the edges of the bowl. It was thick and hard but it was hard to tell how the inner edge looked under the lava. The outer edges looked okay but there were some nicks there as well.   Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the finish. You can see the beautiful mix of grain underneath the varnish, dirt and debris of the years.    Jeff took photos of the stamping on both sides of the bowl and shank. The stamping on the left side was readable as you can see from the photos. It read Peterson’s arched over System over 0. The stamp on the right side read Made in England. The nickel ferrule was stamped K& P Peterson’s of Dublin with three hallmarks. Jeff took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the tooth chatter, scratching and oxidation on the stem surface.   I turned first to Pipephil’s site to get a quick idea of the Flame Grain line. Unfortunately there was no information to be found there. I then turned to Pipedia’s article on Peterson pipes to see what I could garner from that information. It is a great read in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Peterson). I quote a pertinent portion of the article below:

1969/70 – The ‘Made in England’ stamp was discontinued with the closing down of the London based factory. Although Peterson has always prided itself in being an Irish made pipe, Peterson had also maintained a pipe factory in London since 1899.

English made Peterson pipes actually spanned the period between the pre Republic and Republic eras.

In 1899, Peterson opened the first in a series of several successive shops in London, England, that lasted until the late 1960’s/70s.

  • 1899 – 53, New Broad St. E.C.
  • 1910 – 7, Hills Pl., Oxford St. W.
  • 1915 – 21, Mortimer St. W.
  • Finally moving to 74/77 White Lion Street until 1970.

So the English Era, for a simplified date, will be from 1899 through to around 1970. The stamps Peterson used in London are:

  • Made in England block format
  • Made in England circle format
  • Made in London
  • Made in London England
  • Simply, London England
  • London Made over England block format
  • Great Britain

I also looked at the article that the late Mike Leverette wrote on pipedia to see if the above information matched (https://pipedia.org/wiki/A_Peterson_Dating_Guide;_A_Rule_of_Thumb). I quote a portion of that as well.

 English made Peterson pipes actually spans between the pre-Republic and Republic eras. In 1895, Peterson opened a shop in London England that lasted until the late 1950s or early 1960s. So the English Era, for a simplified date, will be from 1895 through 1959. The stamps Peterson used in London and that we have seen are;

  • Made in England – block format
  • Made in England – circle format
  • Made in London
  • Made in London England
  • Simply, London England.
  • Great Britain

Though there are a couple of more, the above will give one the general idea. We believe the earliest stamp of this era was the “Made in England” in a block format since Peterson was using the “Made in Ireland” block format at about the same time on their Irish production pipes. The “Made in England” circle format was used during the same time frame as the “Made in Eire” and “Made in Ireland” circle formats.

I looked also on pipesmagazine forum to see if I could find any information on the 0 grade stamp on the shank (http://pipesmagazine.com/forums/topic/petersons). Here is what I found in a quote from Chuck.

On to your query about grading.

  • A System 0 would be the same as today’s Supreme grade.
  • A 1 would be a Deluxe.
  • A 2 would be a Premier.
  • A 3 would be a Standard.

I have a 4 and a 5 grade which I assume were lesser grades and have been discontinued or will simply have re-graded as Standards in today’s market.

With that information in hand I knew what I was dealing with in terms of the stamping on the pipe. It is an English made Peterson and was made before the factory closed in 1969 or early 1970. The System 0 stamp would be the same as a current Supreme grade System pipe. From what I have learned about Bob’s other pipes this fits well. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

With over 125 pipes to clean from Bob’s estate I took a batch of them to the states with me on a recent visit and left them with Jeff so he could help me out. Jeff cleaned the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness that I really appreciate. This one was a real mess and I did not know what to expect when I unwrapped it from his box. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. Wiping it down with acetone on a cotton pad enabled him to get rid of the varnish top coat. The finish looks very good with great looking grain around the bowl and shank. Jeff soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked very good. I took photos before I started my part of the work.   I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. Jeff did a great cleaning job on the rim top. The inner edge looked pretty good. There is a small burn mark on the right front inner edge of the bowl but it is minor. The outer edge of the bowl looks very good. I also took close up photos of the fishtail stem to show the lack of tooth marks and the remaining oxidation on the stem surface.    Since this is another pipe Bob’s estate I am sure that some of you have read at least some of the other restoration work that has been done on the previous pipes. You have also read what I have included about Bob Kerr, the pipeman who held these pipes in trust before I came to work on them (see photo to the left). Also, if you have followed the blog for long you will already know that I like to include background information on the pipeman whose pipes I am restoring. For me, when I am working on an estate I really like to have a sense of the person who held the pipes in trust before I worked on them. It gives me another dimension of the restoration work. I asked Brian if he or his wife would like to write a brief biographical tribute to her father, Bob. His daughter worked on it and I received the following short write up on him and some pictures to go along with the words including one of Bob’s carvings. Once again I thank you Brian and tell your wife thank you as well.

I am delighted to pass on these beloved pipes of my father’s. I hope each user gets many hours of contemplative pleasure as he did. I remember the aroma of tobacco in the rec room, as he put up his feet on his lazy boy. He’d be first at the paper then, no one could touch it before him. Maybe there would be a movie on with an actor smoking a pipe. He would have very definite opinions on whether the performer was a ‘real’ smoker or not, a distinction which I could never see but it would be very clear to him. He worked by day as a sales manager of a paper products company, a job he hated. What he longed for was the life of an artist, so on the weekends and sometimes mid-week evenings he would journey to his workshop and come out with wood sculptures, all of which he declared as crap but every one of them treasured by my sister and myself. Enjoy the pipes, and maybe a little of his creative spirit will enter you!

Now on to the rest of the restoration on this English Made Peterson’s System 0 1307 bent billiard. I did not need to clean the pipe. I decided to start the process by addressing the damage to the inner edge of the rim. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage and bring the bowl back to round. I followed that by sanding the rim top and edge with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. The photos below show the process and the results of the sanding. I polished the bowl and rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth.   I decided to clean the briar with Mark Hoover’s Before & After Briar Cleaner to clean up the sanded surface of the briar and blend the repairs into the briar. I rubbed it into the surface of the briar and let it sit for 10 minutes. I rinsed the bowl off with warm running water to remove the product and the grime.   After I dried the bowl off, I rubbed it down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. Mark Hoover’s Balm is a product that I have come to appreciate and one I use on every pipe I have been working on.   I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I decided to give the stem a proper bend first. I heated the stem with a heat gun until the vulcanite was flexible and then bent it to match the angle of the bowl. The photos tell the story.   I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to break up the remaining oxidation. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to remove some of the scratching. It is starting to look good.     I have one more tin of Denicare Mouthpiece Polish left from a few that I have picked up over the years. It is a coarse red pasted that serves to help remove oxidation. I polished the stem with that to further smooth out the surface of the vulcanite (and to be honest – to use it up).    I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. Once I had finished the polishing I gave it final coat of oil and set it aside to dry.    I am excited to be on the homestretch with yet another one of Bob’s pipes and I look forward to the final look when it is put back together, polished and waxed. I put the bowl and stem back together. I polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the briar and the vulcanite. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The grain really pops with the wax and polish. The shiny black vulcanite stem is a beautiful contrast to the rich reds and browns of the bowl. This Peterson’s “System 0” 1307 shaped bent billiard was another fun pipe to work on thanks to Jeff’s cleanup work. It really has the stunning look of a well-made Peterson’s System pipe with the polished nickel ferrule. The thick/chubby shank makes it a very comfortable pipe to hold in the hand. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. If you want to carry on Bob’s legacy by adding this pipe to your collection let me know as it will soon be on the rebornpipes store. I have a lot more of Bob’s estate to work on of various brands. Perhaps one of those will catch your attention. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. This is an interesting estate to bring back to life.

A Peterson’s Flame Grain X220S Bent Billiard from Bob Kerr’s Estate


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen to work on from Bob Kerr’s estate is another one of his unique Petersons. I have restored two of the Canadian Imports from his estate – a Kapruf 54 sandblast bent billiard (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/08/09/back-to-bob-kerrs-estate-another-canadian-import-petersons-kapruf-a-54/) and a Kapruf 9BC 56 (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/08/09/back-to-bob-kerrs-estate-linking-petersons-kapruf-9bc-with-the-56-shape-number/). These were interesting in that they both had a unique numbering system for Petersons pipes that were specifically brought to Canada by the Canadian importer, Genin, Trudeau & Co. of Montreal, Quebec (https://rebornpipes.com/2016/09/13/petersons-pipes-brochure-from-genin-trudeau-co-montreal-quebec/). This next one is of interest because it is not one that I have seen before – a smooth fish tail stemmed nicely grained bent billiard. It is part of the estate that I am cleaning up for the family and moving them out into the hands of pipemen and women who will carry on the trust that began with their father, Bob. In the collection there were 19 Peterson’s pipes along with a bevy of Dunhills, some Comoy’s and Barlings as well as a lot of other pipes – a total of 125 pipes along with a box of parts. This is the largest estate that I have had the opportunity to work on. I put together a spread sheet of the pipes and stampings to create an invoice. I was taking on what would take me a fair amount of time to clean up. I could not pass up the opportunity to work on these pipes though. They were just too tempting.

I really am enjoying working on the Peterson’s in the estate. This was a bit of a unique one. When I first looked at it when it came it noted that it was a Shamrock but I was very wrong. When I took it out of the box of cleaned up pipes that Jeff sent back I could see that actually it was stamped Peterson’s over Flame Grain on the left side of the shank and Made in the Republic of Ireland followed by the shape number X220S on the right shank. It has some stunning grain around the bowl and shank. The shank is quite thick and the finish very dirty.  There was a thick cake in the bowl with remnants of tobacco stuck on the walls. There was a fair lava overflow filling in the blast on the rim. The edges of the rim and top are dirty and there appeared to be some deep burn damage on the rear side of the bowl. It was a beautiful pipe that was dirty and tired looking. The stem was oxidized and calcified toward the end. Again, surprisingly did not have the deep tooth marks that I have come to expect from Bob’s pipes. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work on it.   Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the lava build up on the edges of the bowl. It was thick and hard but there was some burn damage on the inner edge at the back of the bowl. The outer edges looked okay but there were some nicks there as well.  Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the finish. You can see the beautiful flame grain underneath the dirt and debris of the years. The birdseye grain on the heel was beautiful.Jeff took photos of the stamping on both sides of the bowl and shank. The stamping on the left side was faint but readable as you can see from the photos. It read Peterson’s Flame Grain. The stamp on the right side read Made in the Republic of Ireland followed by the shape number X220S.  There was a P stamped on the left side of the saddle stem. Jeff took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the tooth chatter, scratching and oxidation on the stem surface and wear on the edges of the button.   I turned first to Pipephil’s site to get a quick idea of the Flame Grain line. Unfortunately there was no information to be found there. I then turned to Pipedia’s article on Peterson pipes to see what I could garner from that information. It is a great read in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Peterson). I quote a pertinent portion of the article below:

At the start of the 1950’s, all pipes at Kapp & Peterson were stamped with “Made in the Republic of Ireland” stamp and also starting off the decade with the hallmark letter I on any silverware. Apparently nickel was scarce in those days, just after the war and the company tried to use aluminium instead. Needless to say It was not very successful!

I have adapted this section concentrating on the period following 1950,the made in the Irish Republic era and the different near modern Peterson grades and series, which should bring us up to the time period from the 1990’s onward.

Again this was a time of great change for the brand, the company having changed ownership on several occasions. However it was also one of great creativity, with the introduction of several commemorative series and some new literary character series of pipes that would leave a very lasting impression on the pipe smoking fraternity.

I found a discussion on pipesmagazine online forum on the line and I have included a portion of that below (http://pipesmagazine.com/forums/topic/petersons-80-flame-grain).

The Flame Grain line by Peterson’s are not high grades but the briars are singled out for their exceptional grain patterns. A flaw or two might keep them from becoming a pipe costing hundreds of dollars more….

With that information in hand I knew what I was dealing with in terms of the stamping on the pipe. It is a Republic era pipe and from what I have learned about Bob’s other pipes this is probably from the 60s to the early 70s. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

With over 125 pipes to clean from Bob’s estate I took a batch of them to the states with me on a recent visit and left them with Jeff so he could help me out. Jeff cleaned the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness that I really appreciate. This one was a real mess and I did not know what to expect when I unwrapped it from his box. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. The finish looks very good with great looking grain around the bowl and shank. Jeff soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked very good. I took photos before I started my part of the work. I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show what an amazing job Jeff did in the cleanup of the rim top. The damage to the rim top was more extensive than I had originally thought. The burned area extends on the inner edge around the back, the left side and front of the bowl. It is rounded over besides being burned. The outer edge of the bowl looks very good. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the lack of tooth marks and the remaining oxidation on the stem surface.   One of the things I appreciate about Jeff’s cleanup work is that he works to protect and preserve the nomenclature on the shank of the pipes that he works on. I took some photos to show the clarity of the stamping. I have noticed that many restorers are not careful to protect the stamping in their cleaning process and often by the end of the restoration the nomenclature is almost destroyed. I would like to encourage all of us to be careful in our work to preserve this! Since this is another pipe Bob’s estate I am sure that some of you have read at least some of the other restoration work that has been done on the previous pipes. You have also read what I have included about Bob Kerr, the pipeman who held these pipes in trust before I came to work on them (see photo to the left). Also, if you have followed the blog for long you will already know that I like to include background information on the pipeman whose pipes I am restoring. For me, when I am working on an estate I really like to have a sense of the person who held the pipes in trust before I worked on them. It gives me another dimension of the restoration work. I asked Brian if he or his wife would like to write a brief biographical tribute to her father, Bob. His daughter worked on it and I received the following short write up on him and some pictures to go along with the words including one of Bob’s carvings. Once again I thank you Brian and tell your wife thank you as well.

I am delighted to pass on these beloved pipes of my father’s. I hope each user gets many hours of contemplative pleasure as he did. I remember the aroma of tobacco in the rec room, as he put up his feet on his lazy boy. He’d be first at the paper then, no one could touch it before him. Maybe there would be a movie on with an actor smoking a pipe. He would have very definite opinions on whether the performer was a ‘real’ smoker or not, a distinction which I could never see but it would be very clear to him. He worked by day as a sales manager of a paper products company, a job he hated. What he longed for was the life of an artist, so on the weekends and sometimes mid-week evenings he would journey to his workshop and come out with wood sculptures, all of which he declared as crap but every one of them treasured by my sister and myself. Enjoy the pipes, and maybe a little of his creative spirit will enter you!

Now on to the rest of the restoration on this beautiful Flame Grain Peterson X220S bent billiard I did not need to clean the pipe. I decided to start the process by addressing the damage to the inner edge of the rim. From the extent of damage to the inner edge of the rim and the top of the bowl I decided I would need to top the bowl to remove as much of this damage as possible to restore the rim top back to a more pristine condition and bring the bowl back to round. I topped it on a topping board using 220 grit sandpaper. I took photos along the way to show the extent of the damage and the slow process of repairing that damage. Each photo shows a little more of the damage has been removed until the final one that shows the smooth rim top. With the top cleaned up and repaired I moved on to address the inner edge surface itself. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage and bring the bowl back to round. I followed that by sanding the rim top and edge with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.   I polished the bowl and rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1400-12000 grit pads and wiping the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth. You can see some of the small sandpits in the surface of the bowl in the photos below. I have chosen to leave those and not fill them in as they are really part of the character of this pipe.   I decided to clean the briar with Mark Hoover’s Before & After Briar Cleaner to clean up the sanded surface of the briar and blend the repairs into the briar. I rubbed it into the surface of the briar and let it sit for 10 minutes. I rinsed the bowl off with warm running water to remove the product and the grime. After I dried the bowl off I rubbed it down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. Mark Hoover’s Balm is a product that I have come to appreciate and one I use on every pipe I have been working on.   I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to break up the remaining oxidation. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to remove the scratching. It is starting to look good.   I decided to touch up the “P” stamp on the left side of the shank. I use PaperMate liquid paper for doing this. I worked it into the stamp with a tooth pick. Once the material had hardened I used the tooth pick to scrape off the excess material.   I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. Once I had finished the polishing I gave it final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. I am excited to be on the homestretch of another one of Bob’s pipes and I look forward to the final look when it is put back together, polished and waxed. I put the bowl and stem back together. I polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the briar and the vulcanite. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The grain really pops with the wax and polish. The shiny black vulcanite stem is a beautiful contrast to the reds and browns of the bowl. This Peterson’s Flame Grain X220S bent billiard was another fun pipe to work on thanks to Jeff’s cleanup work. It really has the unique look of a Peterson’s finish without the silver or nickel ferrule. It really is quite stunning even with the small pits in the briar. The thick/chubby shank makes it a very comfortable pipe to hold in the hand. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. I am still not sure what I am going to do with this pipe. There is something about it that makes me want to hang on to it but time will tell. I have a lot more of Bob’s estate to work on of various brands. Perhaps one of those will catch your attention. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. This is an interesting estate to bring back to life.

Restoring a “Made in England” Peterson’s System 3 # 357 from the Mumbai Bonanza Lot


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

I have quite a few inherited Peterson’s System pipes ranging from the period 1915 to 1947 to present!!! I also have these pipes in System Standard, System 0 and System 3. So when Abha, my wife, sent me pictures of pipes that I had purchased from a Mumbai trash collector, I saw two distinct Peterson’s System pipes, one large and the other very small!! When Abha confirmed the COM stamping on both these pipes, I knew that I had Peterson’s System pipes from the 1930s-40s. Another two vintage Peterson’s System pipes added to my collection, I say. And I am not complaining, mind you readers!!

I was fortunate enough to have heeded the advice of my dear friend and mentor, Steve, and struck a deal with a junk collector from Mumbai. He did not know what he was selling and I did not know what I was buying as we reside in different cities!!!!! The argument that Mr. Steve presented was that if not anything, I shall at least have some spares and this was logical. I struck a deal and here are pictures of the pipes that I received in this lot.       This lot contains some very nice collectible pipes, a few well known brands and some mediocre brands. Overall, with seven Dunhill pipes, a Preben Holm #1 FH, a couple of “Made in England” Pete System pipes, a couple of  Charatan’s Belvedere, Custom-Bilt, Stanwell and other assorted pipes, I would say that I had struck a decent haul!!! This is indeed my “Mumbai Bonanza”.

This 15th pipe that I decided to work on from this find is a large Peterson’s System 3 pipe with a nickel ferrule and is indicated in indigo color arrow. It is stamped on the left of the shank towards the shank end as “PETERSON’S” in an arch in block capital letters over arched “SYSTEM” in block capital over “# 3”. The tail of the P in Peterson’s is forked. The right side of the shank is stamped with COM stamp “MADE IN ENGLAND” in a circle format with “Made” and “England” in a circle with the “in” located in the center of the circle. Stamped at the bottom of the shank, very close to the ferrule is the shape number “357”. All the stampings are crisp and easily readable. The ferrule has the usual three cartouche with first having Shamrock, the second a Prone Fox and lastly a Stone Tower. Stamped above the cartouche are the letters “K & P” followed by “PETERSON’S” all in a straight line. The stem is devoid of any logo.In my earlier restoration of my inherited Peterson’s System 31, I had extensively researched the dating of these old Peterson’s and I can say with certainty that this pipe is from the period 1938 to 1940/ 41. Also the forked tail of “P” in Peterson’s with the inward coiling upper part corroborates the vintage of this pipe.

I reconfirmed and refreshed my learning by visiting pipedia.org and my memory has served me right. Here is the link to dating Peterson’s pipes: https://pipedia.org/wiki/A_Peterson_Dating_Guide;_A_Rule_of_Thumb

For further understanding of System Standard/ 0/ 3 etc, I referred to the main article on Peterson’s, but came out cropper. There is nothing substantive and clear information about this grading of these System pipes. Any source of information may please be shared with us on rebornpipes.com.

But nonetheless this is a Peterson’s System pipe from the 1938-40/41 vintage and sure is staying with me.

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
The first and foremost thing that struck me as awful was that the smooth stummel is coated with a coat of lacquer!!! To top it, the coat has disintegrated in patches giving it a very sorry appearance. The icing on the cake is that half way up towards the rim, the stummel is stained black!! Why would they do that?  Well, the long and short of the above is that both the lacquer and the black stain will be removed and whether the finish is to be kept natural or be stained will be decided later. To be honest with you, being a grade 3 System pipe, there is nothing much to boast about the grains on the stummel. It has a smattering of cross grains and swirls all around the shank and stummel. The stummel surface is covered in grime giving the stummel a dirty appearance which is further accentuated by the patches of peeled lacquer coat. The stummel surface is peppered with a number of dents and ding on the foot and front of the stummel. A couple of fills are noticeable on either side near the shank and stummel junction and shown with yellow arrows. These will be clear when the stummel is cleaned of all the grime. In spite of all these flaws, the pipe has a nice size, heft and feel in the hand. It does have a quality which is seen on vintage pipes, but difficult to explain in words. And not to forget, this is nearly an 80 year old pipe!! A thick and uneven layer of cake can be seen in the chamber. The rim top surface has suffered the maximum damage and is uneven. It is covered in thick overflow of lava, dirt, dust and grime. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber and rim top surface will be known once the cake has been taken down to bare briar and the rim top crud has been scraped off completely. The bowl is out of round with the left half being thinner than the rest of the rim top. The inner rim is uneven with suspected burn/ charred surfaces in 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock direction (marked in yellow circle). Only once the stummel has been thoroughly cleaned that I can be sure of my initial appreciation. The outer rim edge too has dents, chips and dings, but not very severe, likely caused due to knocking against the hard surface. In spite of the thick cake, the chamber odor is, surprisingly, not strong and should be addressed once the cake has been taken down to the bare briar and the shank internals have been thoroughly cleaned The shank end is adorned with a nickel ferrule. The ferrule has oxidized a fair bit but should polish up nicely. The sump shows a heavy deposition of accumulated dried gunk, adversely affecting the airflow.The P-lip vulcanite stem is heavily oxidized and has calcification deposits towards the button end. There are deep tooth marks on the lower and upper stem surface in the bite zone and appears that the previous owner has literally chomped on the bite zone of the stem. The button edges also have bite marks, in fact, they are badly worn out. The tenon end has a major chunk missing and shows heavy accumulation of oils and tars. The part of the stem that seats in to the mortise is heavily scratched. Along with the stems of other pipes in line for restoration, I immersed the stem of this Peterson’s System 3 pipe in a mix of one part Hydrogen Peroxide 20% with one part hot water after I ran a couple of pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol through the stem air way. A couple of hours later, the stem oxidation on all these stems were raised to the surface.After I had fished out the stem from the Hydrogen Peroxide bath, I scrubbed it with Magiclean sponge and followed it up with a wipe of cotton swab and alcohol. I further scrubbed the stem surface with 0000 grade steel wool. The loosened and superficial layer of oxidation was easily removed and revealed the condition of the stem. There are deep bite marks in both the upper and lower bite zone. The bite marks are deep enough to cause significant thinning of the surface and complete disfigurement of the button edges. The deeper oxidation that was pulled to the surface would require more abrasive techniques.

THE PROCESS
I started the restoration with the stem repairs as this would take the maximum of my time to clean, repair and spruce up the stem. I flamed the damaged button edge and the nicks and dents with the flame of a lighter. This helps the vulcanite to rise to the surface as it has an inherent property to regain its original shape when heated. At this stage, I could clearly make out the extent of damage to the lower surface and the extent of the crack in the bite zone. This was further accentuated due to heating with the flame of a lighter. The upper surface too has a couple of deep tooth marks. I cleaned the internals of the stem using hard and normal bristled pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. The heap of pipe cleaners tells the sordid tale of the stem condition. With a pointed dental tool, I scraped out the entire dried gunk from the tenon end. I addressed the deeper oxidation by sanding the entire stem with a folded piece of 150 and followed by 220 grit sand paper. This also helps to address minor tooth chatter and prevents the fills turning brown once polished. Once the oxidation was completely removed, I wiped the surface clean with a cotton swab and alcohol and rubbed a little Extra Virgin Olive oil to hydrate the stem. Just for the information of statistically oriented reader, to get the stem to this stage it took better part of the afternoon and well past mid night!! Continuing with the stem repair, I tightly wrapped a scotch tape around one end of a pipe cleaner so that I had achieved a snug fit of the pipe cleaner in the small rounded slot of the P-lip stem. At the tenon end, I folded a pipe cleaner till the fit was snug in to the wide tenon and after applying generous coat of petroleum jelly, I inserted it in to the tenon end of the stem. Both the scotch tape and petroleum jelly prevents the mix of charcoal and superglue from sticking over the pipe cleaners and keeps the slot and tenon open. Thereafter, I mixed superglue and activated charcoal powder and generously applied it over the bite zone on either side, including over the button, over the chipped tenon end and set it aside to cure.  With the stem fill set aside to cure, I started with cleaning of the stummel as I was keen to know the condition of the walls of the chamber. With size 1 head followed by head size 2 and 3 of a PipNet pipe reamer, I took the cake down to bare briar. With my sharp fabricated knife, I removed the cake from the chamber where the reamer head could not reach and thereafter, using a folded piece of 180 grit sand paper, I sand out the last traces of cake and expose the walls of the chamber. I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad dipped in isopropyl alcohol to remove the carbon dust left behind by all the reaming and sanding process. Once the chamber walls were cleaned out, I was pleased to note a pristine chamber with no signs of heat fissures/ lines/ pits. With the same sharp knife, I gently scraped off the lava overflow from the rim top surface. The charred and uneven rim surface and damaged inner and outer rim edges is now clearly seen and should be addressed with simple topping of the bowl. Next, I cleaned out the internals of the shank and mortise. Using my dental tool, I scraped out all the dried oils, tars and gunk that had accumulated in the draught hole, airway and sump. The amount of crud that was scrapped out and the condition of the pipe cleaners that were used leaves no surprise why air flow through it was restricted. I finished the cleaning by running a few pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol. I also wiped the sump with cotton buds and alcohol. I gave a final cleaning to the sump with a paper napkin moistened with isopropyl alcohol. With this cleaning, all old smells in the pipe are history. The pipe now smells clean and fresh.  All this time that I was handling cleaning of the internals of this pipe, the patchy lacquer coating and the black stain to the upper half of the stummel was irritating me no end. The more I looked at it, the more convinced I was that this needs to be removed completely. Using cotton balls dipped in pure acetone; I worked the entire stummel and got rid of the lacquer as well as the black stain. The cleaned stummel revealed a couple of more flaws in the briar, but that is fine by me. I was prepared to handle a couple of fills and a couple more does not perturb me.  Next, I cleaned the external surface using a hard bristled toothbrush and Murphy’s Oil Soap. With a soft bristled brass wired brush, I removed the overflowing lava from the rim top surface and cleaned the internals of the shank with a shank brush and dish washing soap to remove what little crud remained in the shank. I rinsed it under running tap water and wiped the stummel dry with an absorbent soft cotton cloth.   Once I had wiped the stummel dry with paper towels and soft cotton cloth, the exact extent of damage to the rim top and edges could be clearly gauged. Now I had a fair idea of the extent of topping the rim surface. I top the rim on a piece of 220 grit sand paper to even out the rim surface dents and dings and also to reduce the charred rim surface. I addressed the out of round inner edge by creating a light bevel to inner edge with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and index finger. With a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper, I sand the entire stummel surface and addressed the minor pits and flaws that were revealed when the lacquer coat was removed. To further smooth out the scratches left behind by the abrasive 220 girt sand paper, I top the rim surface on a piece of 400 grit sand paper. I had hoped that further sanding with a 400 grit paper will address the minor dings that remained on the outer edge, but that was not to be. Thus, with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and index finger, I created a light bevel over the outer edge. I am very happy at the way the chamber and rim top surface appears at this in restoration. The old fills observed earlier during initial inspection and those revealed once the lacquer coat was removed, were next that I addressed. Very carefully and painstakingly, I completely removed the old fill with a pointed dental pick. I cleaned the fill of all the debris of old fill material, wiped it with alcohol and refreshed the fill with a mix of briar dust and CA superglue in each fill and set it aside to cure overnight.By next day, the fill was nice, hard and well set. Using a flat head needle file, I sand these fills to achieve a rough match with the stummel surface. With a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper, I worked the fill till I had achieved a nice blend with the rest of the stummel surface. At this stage, the dreaded air pockets revealed itself (marked with red arrows) in one of the fills. I spot fill these air pockets with CA superglue. I repeated the sanding with a piece of 220 grit sand paper again once the glue had hardened. It turned out much better than I had anticipated. I further sand the entire stummel surface again with the same grit sand paper to further smooth the stummel surface in preparation for a polish by micromesh pads. I subjected the stummel to a complete cycle of micromesh polish, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. I paid greater attention to polish the rim top surface and the bevels created on the inner and outer rim edges. I wiped the stummel with a moist cloth after every grit pad to remove the sanding dust left behind by the pads. This also helps in monitoring the progress being made and provides an opportunity to take early corrective action, if required. I am happy with the progress being made till now. Next, I rub a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to the briar with my finger tips and worked it deep in to the surface and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful swirl grain patterns on full display. The contrast of the dark browns of the grain with the light hues of the rest of the stummel adds an interesting dimension to the appearance of the stummel. I further buffed it with a horse hair brush to further deepen the shine. Turning my attention to the stem repairs in my home stretch, using a flat head needle file, I reshaped the button and roughly matched the fills with the rest of the stem surface. I sand the tenon end on a piece of I sand the fill with a piece of folded 220 grit sandpaper to even it out. With a round needle file, I smooth out the jagged tenon opening. A sanding with a flat head needle file of the buttons and bite zone to achieve a rough match, revealed air pockets on the upper and lower portions of the P-lip. I painted these air pockets with a permanent marker and spot filled it with clear superglue. Once the fill had cured, I sand the fills with a piece of folded 220 grit sand paper and followed it up by further sanding the stem with 320, 600 and 800 grit sand papers to achieve a perfect blending of the fills with the stem surface and a build a crisp button edge on either side of the P-lip. The repairs look good and the stem should polish up nicely. In my exuberance to cross the finish line and start on the new project, I completely missed out on taking pictures of this last step in stem restoration. My sincere apologies for this miss…. Using the micromesh pads, I completed the polishing cycle by wet sanding the surface with 1500 to 3200 girt pads. I had read that White diamond polish is between 3600 and 4000 grit of micromesh pads and best used between these two. I decided to give this a try to see if there is any difference in the final stem finish. I mount a fresh cotton buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and apply white diamond polish and buffed the stem. I wiped the stem with microfiber cloth and go through the remaining pads, dry sanding with 4000 to 12000 grit pads. The stem looks great with the fills nicely matched with the rest of the surface. I gave a final rub with “Before and After Extra Fine” stem polish compound from Mark to remove fine scratches from the stem surface. I rub a little quantity of Extra Virgin Olive oil in to the stem surface and set it aside to be absorbed by the vulcanite. The stem polished up nicely and appears as good as when new. To complete the restoration, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and applied several coats of carnauba wax. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. I vigorously buff the nickel ferrule with a jeweler’s cloth and bring it to a nice shine.I mount a clean cotton cloth buffing wheel and give the entire pipe a once over buff. The finished pipe with a natural finish to the briar looks amazingly beautiful and is now ready for its long second innings with me. The dark spots of the fills, though visible, are not addressed as the pipe looks beautiful as it is. I only wish it could share with me its life story of the past years while I enjoy smoking my favorite Virginia blend in it or maybe an English blend!! P.S. I earnestly would like to request all the readers to help me with information as to what does Standard/ 0/ 3 on these System pipes denote/ signify. The only thing that is confirmed is that this is definitely not one of the high grade System pipes from Peterson’s what with the fills that were seen on the stummel, but nevertheless, it’s a vintage Peterson’s!!

With this write up, I am through with all my pending works and look forward to work on my next project to restore a pipe which my dear friend and mentor, Steve, had sent me about a year back with the intention of providing me an opportunity to test my own skills. This pipe is close to my heart for other reasons too which I shall bring out in the write up after I have completed the restoration. Suffice to say at this point that this pipe is in a very very sad state and that it’s a DUNHILL!! I wish to thank each one for sparing their valuable time to read through this write up and sharing this journey with me.

 

A Black Sea Beach Pipe Project: The Third Stanwell Henley Special, Made in Denmark 57 Chimney


Blog by Dal Stanton

This Stanwell Henley Special Chimney is the last of the 3 Stanwell Henley Specials that I obtained off the eBay auction block.  Jim saw the Henley on the online ‘For “Pipe Dreamers” Only!’ and he commissioned the Oval Shank Billiard that I restored some time ago (see LINK) pictured in the middle below.  I had also taken notice of the solid craftsmanship of these 3 Danish made pipes, so I just restored the second, the Blasted Saddle Stem Billiard and put it in the Store to also benefit the Daughters of Bulgaria.   Then, I’ve claimed the third, a Chimney, to keep in my personal collection.  But I’ve thrown down the gauntlet on the Henley Chimney – I’ve developed a tradition of restoring a pipe in my personal ‘Help Me!’ basket collection to take with me to the beach on the Black Sea coast where my wife and I enjoy our summer holiday😊.

To review what I know about this Stanwell Henley line, I start with the seller’s information on eBay:

This auction is for three vintage Stanwell, Henley Line estate pipes from the 1950’s-60’s era. All are in good pre-owned condition. The stems are primarily free from teeth marks. The stems do have some fading. All of the stems fit snug and the wooden bowls are free from outstanding blemishes. As seen from top to bottom, the first pipe reads Henley Special #57, the second and third read Henley Special without any numbers seen. All of the pipes read Made in Denmark.

Here are the three Stanwell Henley Specials as I saw them on the eBay auction block.Pictured are the first and second Henley Specials after each was restored are pictured below. The transformation in these beautiful Danish pipes is unbelievable! As I expressed in the previous Stanwell Henley Special restorations, since I started collecting and restoring pipes, I’ve grown in my appreciation for Danish made pipes.  They tend to be stout, well-made pipes.  In my research on the Henley pipes, I have found no conclusive information dating them, but anecdotal information and a the feel of these pipes, I’m confident placing them in the 1950s and 60s. Pipedia’s article on Stanwell pipes simply places the Henley Special line in the list of Stanwell second brands.  The Chimney bound for my collection is identical with what Pipephil.eu provided.   It shows a Henley Chimney with the Fishtail stem slightly bent, along with the distinctive characteristic of a bulging midsection, which attracted me to this pipe!  The difference with the Pipephil listing is that it is blasted – nice.  It also shows an ‘H’ stem stamping.  The Chimney now on my worktable has no stamping on the stem – or it has worn off over time.The dating of the Henleys and this Chimney is elusive.  The only information I found in my initial research that gave any reference to dating isn’t conclusive. I found the following picture on Google images but the link to pipesmokersforum.com.  “Who made this pipe?”   I went to the pipesmokersforum site and searched ‘Henley’ and no reference or article emerged.  Having added this discussion to my research would have been helpful!  The picture I found puts a question mark in the late 50s.  Added to this the eBay seller’s description placing the pipes in the 50s or 60s and I do not know where this information originates.  Even though this information is anecdotal, the dating seems accurate to me based upon the appearance, craftmanship and feel of these pipes. I really like the Chimney stacked shape with a very nice feel in the hand.  I’m attracted to the tall Chimney and the interesting bulging of the bowl about midway.  The other thing that I like is the unique, pinched saddle fishtail stem.  Coupled with the tall bowl, the fishtail gives the pipe an overall sleekness – I like it a lot!

The dimensions of the Henley Chimney are: Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 3/16 inches, Rim width: 1 1/4 inches, Chamber width: 13/16 inches, Chamber depth: 2 inches. With the third Stanwell Henley Special Chimney on the worktable, I take some pictures to get a closer look. Of the 3 Stanwell Henleys I acquired, the nomenclature on this pipe is the clearest.  The left shank flank is stamped in cursive ‘Henley’ [over] SPECIAL.  The right shank side is stamped, MADE IN DENMARK [over] 57.  I assume this to be the shape number.The general condition of the Henley Chimney is good.  The chamber has thick cake buildup – but not has heavy as the other Henleys.  The rim has caked gunk and the smooth briar surface has grime and dirt and needs cleaning.  The one aspect of the stummel that is strange,  are the dark areas on the upper and lower shank.  These spots look like they’ve been scorched, but a shank usually isn’t the source of high temperatures.  I’ll have to wait to see what the cleaning does with these spots.  I take a few pictures to show what I see.The Pinched Saddle Fishtail stem has oxidation and some tooth compression – mainly on the lower bit.  To begin the restoration of the Stanwell Henley Special Chimney, I add it to a bath of Before & After Deoxidizer along with other pipes in the queue to deal with the oxidation in the vulcanite stem.  To keep the Deoxidizer as clean as possible, I first clean the airway using pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl 95%.I then put the stem in the bath and allow it to soak for several hours.When I fish out the Pinched Fishtail stem, I run another pipe cleaner dipped in alcohol through the stem to clear away the excess Deoxidizer.  I then wipe down the stem with a cotton pad also wet with isopropyl 95% to remove the raised oxidation.  The B&A Deoxidizer does a good job.To begin the process of revitalizing the stem, I apply a coat of paraffin oil and rub it into the vulcanite.  I set the stem aside for the oil to absorb.Turning back to the stummel, I begin the cleaning process by reaming the chamber.  I take a starting picture and the last unsmoked baccy is seen on the floor of the chamber. Like the other Henleys, this one has thick cake.  I’m wondering if this Henley will have as much heating damage as the Blasted Saddle Stem Billiard I just restored.  I use the Pipnet Reaming Kit to ream starting with the smallest blade head.  The cake is hard, but the blade eventually works through.  I then use 2 more of the blade heads and then switch to the Savinelli Fitsall Tool to do the fine tuning by scraping the chamber walls.  Finally, after wrapping a piece of 240 grit paper around a Sharpie Pen, I sand the chamber walls.  Then, after wiping the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95%, I inspect the chamber and I see some minor cracks in the chamber, but nothing requiring major attention. Transitioning now to the external surface, I take a few pictures to mark the start and then using undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap, I begin scrubbing.  I’m anxious to see what the cleaning does! I use a cotton pad to scrub the stummel using Murphy’s.  I also use a pocketknife blade to scrape the rim and then I apply a brass wire brush to the rim.  I work on the dark spots on the shank and nothing subdues the discoloration.  I continue the cleaning by taking the stummel to the sink and rinsing it with warm water.  I continue to scrub the briar surface with a bristled toothbrush and using anti-oil liquid dish soap.  I transition to the internals using a shank brush with the liquid dish soap.  I look at the shank and the dark spots are holding on, but they have changed – the spot has roughened in texture.  This gave me the idea – I used the anti-oil dish soap and put a plastic dish scrubby and I apply it to the shank and voila!I’m not sure what the substance was, but it dissolved for which I’m thankful!  I finish by fully rinsing the stummel and bringing it back to the worktable.  I take some ‘after’ pictures showing the cleaned stummel and the areas of the shank.  There still appears to be a discoloration after the stummel dries, but this should dissipate through the further stages of the restoration. I continue the cleaning procedure using cotton buds and pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 95% to clean the internals of the Henley.  I also use a small dental spoon to scrape the mortise walls to remove old tars and oils.  Through the narrowing of the airway, I also hand turn a drill bit to aid in the excavation of gunk.  After some time, the buds and pipe cleaners are lightening, and I halt this phase of cleaning.To further clean the internals, I use a soak with kosher salt and isopropyl 95%.  I like utilizing this soak as it freshens the stummel and removes old odors.  I begin by pulling and twisting a cotton ball to serve as a ‘wick’ to draw out the old tars and oils that are further expunged from the internal briar.  I insert it into the mortise with a straight wire and then fill the bowl with kosher salt and place the stummel in an egg crate for stability.  I then fill the bowl with isopropyl 95% until it surfaces over the salt.  I wait several minutes and after the alcohol has receded, I then top off the alcohol.  Turning off the lights I let the soak work through the night. The next morning, I remove the wick and it has soiled through the night absorbing the tars and oils.  The salt is also discolored showing it has done the job.  I thump the expended salt into the waste basket and clean the salt out of the stummel by wiping with paper towel and blowing through the mortise.  To make sure the cleaning is thorough; I follow by using cotton buds and pipe cleaners again.  After two pipe cleaners and one bud, it is clear the soak did the job.  I move on.Looking now at the rim, there remains a darkened discoloration as a remnant of the lava.  I do not want to top the stummel in order to retain the original patina.  Using a piece of 240 grade I lightly sand the rim, more to clean than to remove briar.  I also lightly sand the inside rim edge to remove darkened briar on the edge. Looking at the stummel, there are very small scratches expected with normal wear. To address this, I use sanding sponges.  A start with a coarse grade sponge, follow with medium grade, and then with the light grade.  Sanding sponges are effective in cleaning the surface in a less invasive way.After the sanding sponges, I move straight away to the full regimen of micromesh pads.  I first wet sand with pads 1500 to 2400, then dry sand with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  The grain emerges very nicely through the process. Next, I apply Before & After Restoration Balm to the Henley Chimney stummel. I’ve been looking forward to this part of the process.  The Restoration Balm does a great job bringing out the subtle tones of the natural briar grain hues. I put some of the Balm on my finger and I rub it in to the briar surface.  It starts with a creamy consistency andthen thickens like a wax.  After applying it thoroughly, I put the stummel aside for about 20 minutes to allow the Balm to do what it does then I use a cloth to wipe the excess Balm and buff up the stummel with a microfiber cloth.The Pinched saddle fishtail stem is waiting to catch up with the stummel.  There are some tooth compressions on the bit, one on the upper and a few on the lower.  I take a fresh picture of these to mark the start.  I will first use the heating method to raise these compressions by painting them with the flame of a Bic lighter.  When heated, the vulcanite expands to reclaim its original shape or closer to it.  After applying the flame, there is a difference that I’ve pictured, before and after of the upper and lower bit. The heating minimized the compressions but did not fully erase them.  I dispatch what is left by sanding the bit with 240 grade paper and I use a needle file on the bit and button.  I refresh the button as well with the file.I wet sand the entire stem with 600 grade paper followed by applying 000 steel wool.Next, the micromesh process.  Using first pads 1500 to 2400, I wet sand followed by dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 go 12000.  Between each set of 3 I apply Obsidian Oil to the pinched saddle fishtail stem.  The stem looks great! After reuniting stem and stummel, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel set at 40% of full power and apply Blue Diamond compound to the pipe.  When completed, using a felt cloth, I hand buff the pipe to remove the leftover compound dust in preparation for applying the wax.Again, after changing to another buffing wheel and maintaining the same speed, I apply a few coats of carnauba wax to the Henley.  I finish the restoration after applying the wax with a rigorous hand buffing with a microfiber cloth to raise the shine and to blend any excess wax into the surface.The butterscotch hue of this Chimney shaped stummel has a very warm draw to it.  I’m pleased with the plethora of grain movement that provides the kind of visual beauty that I appreciate in a pipe that I add to my collection.  I especially like the Chimney’s midriff bulge that is unique bringing attention to the shape.  The Pinched Saddle Fishtail stem also is a sleek and classy touch that completes the ensemble.  My goal was to finish this Stanwell Henley Special to take with me to the Black Sea Coast for our time of R&R enjoying the beach as well as the cuisine in the evenings. A little respite from our work with the Daughters of Bulgaria.  The Stanwell Henley Special performed well on the beach as well as in a classy, relaxed evening meal – the pictures tell the story.  I tell people that, I believe I’m living the dream – some would agree!  Thanks for joining me!  (www.ThePipeSteward.com)

Refurbishing a Tired Preben Holm #1 from the Mumbai Bonanza Lot


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

I am a big fan of Free Hand pipes!!! I love the way these pipes fit in to the hand and the creativity of the carver can be really appreciated in these pipes. And a freehand pipe made by the renowned Danish pipe carver, Preben Holm, is my dream come true. To be very honest to you all, the PH estate pipes that are available nowadays on eBay are very expensive and well nigh out of my reach. So when Abha, my wife, sent me pictures of the Mumbai Bonanza lot, I was immediately attracted to one free hand pipe that screamed PREBEN HOLM and when she confirmed that it was indeed one, I knew I was lucky. I say lucky because of the circumstances in which I made a purchase of this lot of 30 pipes and thereafter, the pipes that I received in this lot. I have given a gist of this purchase in the paragraph below. Well, the PREBEN HOLM is finally on my work table now!

I was fortunate enough to have heeded the advice of my dear friend and mentor, Steve, and struck a deal with a junk collector from Mumbai. He did not know what he was selling and I did not know what I was buying as we reside in different cities!! The argument that Mr. Steve presented was that if not anything, I shall at least have some spares and this was logical. I struck a deal and here are pictures of the pipes that I received in this lot. This lot contains some very nice collectible pipes, a few well known brands and some mediocre brands. Overall, with seven Dunhill pipes, a Preben Holm #1 FH, a couple of “Made in England” Pete System pipes, a couple of  Charatan’s Belvedere, Custom-Bilt, Stanwell and other assorted pipes, I would say that I had struck a decent haul!!! This is indeed my “Mumbai Bonanza”.

This 14th pipe that I decided to work on from this find, is a smallish Free Hand pipe with a bone shank extension and is indicated in yellow colored arrow in the picture below. It is stamped on the bottom of the shank towards the shank end as “PREBEN HOLM” in block capital letters over “HAND CUT” in a fancy script over “COPENHAGEN” over “DENMARK” again in block capital letters. The left side of the shank is stamped with an encircled numeral “1”. All the stampings are crisp and easily readable. The stem is devoid of any logo.To research this brand and line/ model in specific, I referred to pipedia.org in an attempt to date this pipe and understand the significance of the numeral # 1, if it was a shape code or grading code. However, there is nothing on this numbering system, except on Preben Holm “Private Collection” where the grading system starts with 101, 202 up to 808 in ascending order. And this is definitely not from “Private Collection” line!! I even visited rebornpipes.com in the hope that I would be able to unravel the mystery shrouding this pipe, but to no avail.

But nonetheless this is a PREBEN HOLM and is staying with me. Any reader who has any information or knowledge about this pipe is earnestly requested to share it with us on rebornpipes!

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
The smooth stummel has some beautiful straight grains on the front, back and sides of the stummel. On either side of the stummel, is an elegantly contoured elevation which makes for a nice and comfortable hold with the thumb and the middle finger while smoking. The front of the stummel rises above the back making for a downward sloping rim top surface. The upper portion of the rim top flares out in a typical PH design and adds a distinct feature to the appearance of the pipe. The stummel surface is covered in dirt and grime giving the stummel a dull and lackluster appearance. There are a one/ two likely fills, noticeably on either side near the shank and stummel junction and another couple near the foot. These will be clear when the stummel is cleaned of all the grime. A thick layer of cake can be seen in the chamber. The backwards sloping plateau rim top surface has nice knobby raised portions and the portion of crevices formed, is covered in thick overflow of lava, dirt, dust and grime. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber and rim top surface will be known once the cake has been taken down to bare briar and the rim top crud has been scraped off completely. The inner rim condition appears to be in good condition with no burn/ charred surfaces. Only once the stummel has been thoroughly cleaned that I can be sure of my initial appreciation. In spite of the thick cake, the chamber odor is, surprisingly, not strong and should be addressed once the cake has been taken down to the bare briar and the shank internals have been thoroughly cleaned. The draught hole is dead center at the bottom of the chamber and should be a great smoker. The shank end is adorned with a horn shank end extension which is pinched in the middle and then flares outwards matching in profile with the rim top. The shank extension is dry and has darkened nicely due to absorption of all the oils over the years of smoking. This will add a nice classy touch to the overall appearance of the pipe once cleaned and hydrated. The shank extension end and mortise are blocked with accumulated dried gunk, adversely affecting the airflow. The fancy vulcanite stem is heavily oxidized and has calcification deposits towards the button end. There are deep tooth marks on the lower and upper stem surface in the bite zone and appears that the previous owner has literally chomped on the bite zone of the stem. The lower stem surface is cracked near the button edge and is circled in red. The button edges also have bite marks, in fact, they are badly worn out. The tenon and horizontal slot shows accumulated oils and tars. The oxidation in the space between the three squares, in descending size from the tenon end to slot end, is going to be a bear to get rid of but once nice and shiny will elevate the appearance of the overall pipe manifold times. Along with the stems of other pipes in line for restoration, I immersed the stem of this Preben Holm in a mix of one part Hydrogen Peroxide 20% with one part hot water after I ran a couple of pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol through the stem air way. A couple of hours later, the stem oxidation on all these stems were raised to the surface. The pictures below show the stem after it was removed from this bath. The appearance is definitely not for the fainthearted, to say the least!!After I had fished out the stem from the Hydrogen Peroxide bath, I scrubbed it with Magiclean sponge and followed it up with a wipe of cotton swab and alcohol. I further scrubbed the stem surface with 0000 grade steel wool. The loosened and superficial layer of oxidation was easily removed and revealed the condition of the stem.. There are deep bite marks in both the upper and lower bite zone. The bite marks are deep enough to cause significant thinning of the surface and complete disfigurement of the button edges. The deeper oxidation that was pulled to the surface would require more abrasive techniques.

THE PROCESS
I started the restoration with the stem repairs as this would take the maximum of my time to clean, repair and spruce up the stem. I cleaned the internals of the stem using hard and normal bristled pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. The heap of pipe cleaners tells the sordid tale of the stem condition. With a pointed dental tool, I scraped out the entire dried gunk from the slot. I addressed the deeper oxidation by sanding the entire stem with a folded piece of 150 and followed by 220 grit sand paper. Once the oxidation was completely removed, I wiped the surface clean with a cotton swab and alcohol and rubbed a little Extra Virigin Olive oil to hydrate the stem. I flamed the damaged button edge and the nicks and dents with the flame of a lighter. This helps the vulcanite to rise to the surface as it has an inherent property to regain its original shape when heated. At this stage, I could clearly make out the extent of damage to the lower surface and the extent of the crack in the bite zone. This was further accentuated due to heating with the flame of a lighter. The upper surface too has a couple of deep tooth marks. Just for the information of statistically oriented reader, to get the stem to this stage it took better part of the afternoon and well past mid night!! Continuing with the stem repair, with a dental spatula, I probed the area around crack from inside the slot end with the aim of dislodging only the thin and loosened stem surface. Once the thin and loose stem surface was removed, I was certain that the rest of the stem surface around the crack was solid. I inserted a triangulated index card covered in transparent tape in to the slot. The tape prevents the mix of superglue and charcoal from sticking to the index card. I mixed superglue and activated charcoal powder and generously applied it over the bite zone on either side, including over the button and set it aside to cure.While the stem fill was set aside to cure, I started with cleaning of the stummel as I was keen to know the condition of the walls of the chamber. With size 1 head followed by head size 2 of a PipNet pipe reamer, I took the cake down to bare briar. Using a folded piece of 180 grit sand paper, I sand out the last traces of cake and expose the walls of the chamber. I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad dipped in isopropyl alcohol to remove the carbon dust left behind by all the reaming and sanding process. Once the chamber walls were cleaned out, I was pleased to note a pristine chamber with no signs of heat fissures/lines/pits. Next, I cleaned out the internals of the shank and mortise. Using my dental tool, I scraped out all the dried oils, tars and gunk that had accumulated in the shank airway and mortise. The amount of crud that was scrapped out and the condition of the pipe cleaners that were used leaves no surprise why air flow through it was restricted. I finished the cleaning by running a few pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol. I also wiped the shank with cotton buds and alcohol. With this cleaning, all old smells in the pipe are history. The pipe now smells clean and fresh.With the internals of the stummel now clean, I cleaned the external surface using a hard bristled toothbrush and Murphy’s Oil Soap. I diligently scrubbed the rim top surface to remove the entire dust, dirt and lava overflow that was embedded in the crevices of the plateau rim top surface. With a soft bristled brass wired brush, I removed the overflowing lava from the rim top surface and cleaned the internals of the shank with a shank brush and dish washing soap to remove what little crud remained in the shank. I rinsed it under running tap water and wiped the stummel dry with an absorbent soft cotton cloth. Once I had wiped the stummel dry with paper towels and soft cotton cloth, I saw a couple of small and superficial fills on the left side of the bowl, near the bowl and shank joint and one at the foot of the stummel. These fills are marked in yellow circle. Very carefully and painstakingly, I completely removed the old fill with a pointed dental pick. I cleaned the fill of all the debris of old fill material, wiped it with alcohol and refreshed the fill with a drop of clear CA superglue in each fill and set it aside to cure overnight. By next day, the fill was nice, hard and well set. With a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper, I worked the fill till I had achieved a nice blend with the rest of the stummel surface. It turned out much better than I had anticipated. I further sand the entire stummel surface with the same grit sand paper to address the minor scratches and further smooth the stummel surface in preparation for a polish by micromesh pads. The plateau rim top surface still did show areas where the overflow of lava was still embedded in the crevices. With a dental pick, I diligently scraped each and every spot to remove the deposit of lava. I am now pleased with the cleaning of the rim top surface.I subjected the stummel, including the bone shank extension, to a complete cycle of micromesh polish, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. I wiped the stummel with a moist cloth after every grit pad to remove the sanding dust left behind by the pads. This also helps in monitoring the progress being made and ensures early corrective action. I am happy with the progress being made till now. Next, I rub a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to the briar, the bone shank extension and the plateau rim top surface with my finger tips and work it deep in to the surface and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful straight grain patterns on full display. The contrast of the dark browns of the grain with the light hues of the rest of the stummel adds an interesting dimension to the appearance of the stummel. I further buffed it with a horse hair brush to further deepen the shine. I was slightly perturbed by the dark coloration taken on by the bone shank extension and shared pictures of the same with my mentor, Steve, who reassured me that this phenomenon is normal and should be good when the balm has been completely absorbed and polished subsequently. With this assurance, I move ahead with the stem repairs.

Using a flat head needle file, I reshaped the button and roughly matched the fills with the rest of the stem surface. I sanded the fills with a folded piece of 180 grit sand paper and followed it up by further sanding the stem with 320, 600 and 800 grit sand papers to achieve a perfect blending of the fills with the stem surface and a crisp button edge on either side of the stem. In my exuberance to cross the finish line, I completely missed out on taking pictures of this stage in restoration. My sincere apologies for this miss….

Using the micromesh pads, I completed the polishing cycle by wet sanding the surface with 1500 to 3200 girt pads. I had read that White diamond polish is between 3600 and 4000 grit of micromesh pads and best used between these two. I decided to give this a try to see if there is any difference in the final stem finish. I mount a fresh cotton buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and apply white diamond polish and buffed the stem. I wiped the stem with microfiber cloth and go through the remaining pads, dry sanding with 4000 to 12000 grit pads. The stem looks great with the fills nicely matched with the rest of the surface. I rub a little quantity of Extra Virgin Olive oil in to the stem surface and set it aside to be absorbed by the vulcanite.To complete the restoration, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and applied several coats of carnauba wax. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further and remove any residual wax from in between the plateaus of the rim top surface. The finished pipe looks amazingly beautiful and is now ready for its long second innings with me. I only wish it could share with me its life story of the past years while I enjoy smoking my favorite Virginia blend in it or maybe an English blend!! P.S. I earnestly would like to request all the readers to help me with the grading and dating this pipe. The only thing that is confirmed is that this is definitely not one of the high grade pipes from Preben Holm what with the fills that were seen on the stummel, but nevertheless, it’s a PH!!!!

There is only one more pending write ups which I shall be tackling before I undertake to restore a pipe which my dear friend and mentor, Steve, had sent me about a year back with the intention of providing me an opportunity to test my own skills. I wish to thank each one for sparing their valuable time to read through this write up and sharing this journey with me.