Tag Archives: Peterson Pipes

Refurbishing A Peterson’s Old English Collection Pipe.


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

In the last couple of weeks, I have worked on four Peterson’s pipe, two from my inherited lot (DONEGAL ROCKY # 999 and KAPMEER # 120S) and two that I had purchased on eBay, a PETERSON’S SYSTEM # 31 just so that I could include it in my rotation and a Peterson’s BARREL. Continuing with my work on Peterson’s in my collection, the next and fifth pipe that is now on my work table is a smooth Peterson’s “OLD ENGLISH COLLECTION” pipe with a thin delicate and long stem.

The smooth stummel of this pipe has beautiful mix of densely packed Bird’s eye grain on the sides and cross grain on the front and back of the stummel. The Duke shape (or more akin to the Tankard pipe from Peterson’s!!!) captures these grains beautifully for a stunning visual experience. A tallish stummel, short shank with a gold plated silver ferrule at the end and a long, tapered delicate stem makes it a visually appealing pipe. It is stamped on the bottom flat smooth surface at the foot of the stummel as “PETERSON’S” over “OLD ENGLISH” over “COLLECTION” in capital letters over “MADE IN THE” over “REPUBLIC” over “OF IRELAND” in capital letters. The shank end is adorned with a gold plated silver ferule that is stamped as “Peterson’s” in a cursive hand over “DUBLIN”. Further to the right there are three hallmarks in a cartouche, which unfortunately are worn off to the extent that I am unable to identify and make use of them for dating this pipe. Rest of the stamping on this pipe is crisp and easily readable. I would really be glad if any of the readers are able to make out these hallmarks and either share the same with us or describe them and help in dating this pipe. Since I have been working on Peterson’s pipes in my collection, I knew that these stampings identified this pipe as being from Republic era i.e. 1949 to until the present, making it a newer generation pipe. Also during my search on Peterson’s Barrel pipe that I had researched earlier, I knew that OLD ENGLISH COLLECTION belonged to the Collection Series of pipes from Peterson’s. Given below are snippets of relevant information that I had learned from pipedia.org;

Collections: Usually these popular themed collections of pipes are boxed.

They vary in price from the Ebony and Ivory at around $300 and up to $1000 for the River, 6 pipe set.

The Old English Collection: The old English Collection is no longer in production. It featured a set of 12 pipes, recreated using original classic designs from the 1930s and 1940s. Each pipe is handmade and mounted with gold plated sterling silver bands.With this information, I now know that this pipe is a pipe from the newer generation that is handmade and part of set of 12 pipes and I move ahead with my initial visual inspection. I would once again like to request readers of this blog to help me in pinning the exact date for this pipe.

Initial Visual Inspection
The pipe, as it sits on my work table, is dirty with an uneven layer of cake in the chamber, a stummel that is covered in dust and grime and a military mount tapered vulcanite stem that is heavily oxidized. Here are a few pictures of the pipe before I proceed with a detailed visual inspection of each part of the pipe.The smooth stummel on this pipe is covered in a thick layer of dust and grime giving it a dull and lackluster appearance. Through all the grime, beautiful Bird’s eye and cross grains can be still seen on the sides and front/ back of the stummel respectively. The rim top surface is also covered in dust, lava overflow, grime and will need to be cleaned and polished. The stummel has developed a nice patina which I shall endeavor to preserve. There are a few negligible scratches on the left side of the stummel which will be addressed during polishing the stummel with micromesh pads. There is one tiny but a slightly deep chip on the left side of the stummel, any repairs of which I shall take a call on subsequently. The chamber has a thin layer of uneven cake with lava overflow over the rim top surface. This overflow of lava is significantly more on the back of the rim top, in the direction of 6 ‘O’ clock. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber will be ascertained once the existing cake has been taken down to the bare briar. The inner and outer rim edges appear to be in good condition, however, the same will be ascertained once the cake and lava overflow from the chamber and rim top is entirely removed. There is a very strong smell to the cake which, perhaps, may reduce appreciably after the chamber has been cleaned. The mortise is filled with oils and tars and specks of dried ash are seen on the walls of the mortise. The walls, however, are intact and well protected under the gold plated silver ferrule.The gold plated silver ferrule at the shank end appears dull due to oxidation. It shows patches of heavy oxidation over the lower surface. The saving grace is that it is intact and undamaged.The slotted and slightly bent vulcanite stem is heavily and deeply oxidized with significant tooth indentations on the button edge and chatter on either surfaces of the stem in the bite zone. The tenon end shows traces of dried oils and tars. It’s going to take some elbow grease to clean up this stem to a nice deep and shining black. The Process
I began the process of refurbishing this pipe by using my fabricated knife to remove the thin layer of cake. I further took the cake down to the bare briar with a folded piece of 150 grit sand paper. Once the walls of the chamber were rid of all the remnants of the cake, chamber walls were found to be smooth and without any damage. With my modified and straightened cloth hanger, I cleaned the grime and cake that covered the draught hole at the heel of the stummel. I further wiped the chamber with a cotton swab wetted with isopropyl alcohol to completely remove the sanding dust. I scraped the shank internals with a fabricated tool to remove all the crud that had accumulated along the shank walls and further cleaned it with bristled and regular pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol. I shall further draw out all the residual oils, tars and gunk by subjecting the chamber and the shank to a salt and alcohol bath.I continued the cleaning of the chamber and shank internals with a salt and alcohol bath. I use cotton balls which is an at par substitute as I have realized over the years. I draw out a wick from the cotton and along with a folded regular pipe cleaner; insert it in to the mortise and through the draught hole in to the chamber. Thereafter, I packed the chamber with cotton balls to about quarter of an inch below the rim inner edge and soaked the cotton balls with isopropyl alcohol up to the brim. About half an hour later, the level of alcohol had gone down, having being absorbed by the cotton. I topped it up once again and set it aside overnight. By next afternoon, the cotton and alcohol had drawn out all the remaining oils and tars from the chamber and mortise, fulfilling its intended task. I removed the cotton balls and ran pipe cleaners through the mortise to clean out all the loosened tars and gunk. Using my fabricated tool, I scraped out the entire loosed gunk from the sump and further cleaned it with alcohol and q-tips. The chamber now smells clean and fresh. I set the stummel to dry out naturally. Now that the internals of the stummel were cleaned, I scrubbed the external surface of the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s oil soap and hard bristled tooth brush. I deliberately cleaned the rim top surface with Scotch Brite and a soft bristled brass wire brush to remove the entire lava overflow and dried it using paper towels and soft cotton cloth. The rim darkening that I had observed over the rim top in 6 o’clock direction, was completely addressed. The inner and outer rim edges are in pristine condition. Thereafter, I polished the entire stummel with micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 pads. I wiped the surface with a soft moist cloth at the end of the micromesh cycle. The stummel looks amazing with a deep shine and beautiful grains popping over the stummel surface. The rim top surface looks pristine with the issue of darkened inner edge entirely addressed. The second issue that was addressed to a great extent was that of the minor scratches and nicks that were observed on the left side of the stummel. One small nick can still be seen but to address it, I would have to compromise on the patina, which I did not desire. This minor nick is a part of the journey of this beautiful pipe and I shall let it be.  I am very happy with the appearance of the rim top and stummel at this stage. I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to briar 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 dark hues of the grain contrasting with the rest of the stummel surface. I further buff it with a horse hair shoe brush. With the stummel refurbishing completed, I turned my attention to the stem. The stem air way was filthy to say the least. Using a shank brush and dish washing soap, I cleaned the stem air way. I further cleaned the stem internals with hard and regular pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. A lot of elbow grease and a pile of pipe cleaners later, when the pipe cleaners emerged white I knew that the stem internals are now clean and fresh.With the stem internals now clean, I moved to external cleaning of the stem surface by sanding the surface with a piece of 220 grit sand paper and thereafter dunking the stem in to “Before and After Deoxidizer” solution developed by my friend Mark Hoover. The solution helps to draw out heavy oxidation to the surface making its further removal a breeze, while the minor oxidation is eliminated to a very great extent. I usually dunk stems of 5-7 pipes that are in-line for restoration and the OLD ENGLISH COLLECTION is marked in green arrow. I generally allow the stems to soak in this solution overnight for the solution to do its work.Next day, I remove the stems from the deoxidizer solution and clean it under warm running tap water to remove all the solution. I scrubbed the stem surface first with scotch brite pad followed by a piece of 0000 grade steel wool. This helps in removing all the raised oxidation from the stem surface.  The deeper tooth indentations and chatter were raised to the surface by heating the damaged area with the flame of a lighter. I further sand the entire stem surface with a folded piece of a 220 grit sand paper to remove the raised tooth chatter and even out the stem surface. With the same piece of sand paper, I sharpened the button edges on both the upper and lower surface. I wiped the stem with a cotton swab and Murphy’s oil soap to further remove the oxidation. I rubbed some extra virgin olive oil in to the stem and set it aside to be absorbed in to stem. I polished the stem with micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. I rubbed a little extra virgin olive oil in to the stem at the end of all the micromesh pads. I finish the polishing of the stem by rubbing a small quantity of Paragon wax and giving it a final polish with a soft cotton cloth. The stem is now nice, smooth and shiny. I cleaned the gold plated sterling silver shank band with a local compound that Abha, my wife, uses to polish her silver and gold jewelry and cutlery. This compound is a very fine powder and is least abrasive with fantastic results. The results were appreciated by Steve during his visit to India. The band is now a nice shining piece of gold and provides a nice contrast to the shining black stem and the dark brown stummel. The patches of deep oxidation that were observed on the lower surface of the band were also completely eliminated. Unfortunately, I missed out on taking pictures as I was keen to finish this pipe and enjoy a bowl!

To apply the finishing touches, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and apply a coat of Blue Diamond to the stem to polish out the minor scratches. With a cotton buffing wheel that I use for carnauba wax, I apply a coat of carnauba wax to the stummel and stem and continued to work on it till the complete coat of wax had been polished out. I mount a clean cotton cloth buffing wheel and gave the entire pipe a once over buff. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The finished pipe is shown below. P.S. – This is indeed a beautiful piece of briar that exudes excellent craftsmanship and quality. Now I have set myself a target to acquire all the remaining 11 pipes to complete my personal collection. Thanks for your patience and looking forward to inputs about the write up. Cheers…

Refurbishing An Inherited Pete Donegal Rocky # 999 Rhodesian Pipe.


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

Having just completed the refurbishing of S & R Rhodesian pipe with a chubby shank, I decided to work on another classic iconic shaped pipe from Peterson’s; a Donegal Rocky # 999. This pipe came to me from a huge lot of inherited pipes that were once loved by my beloved Grandfather. I selected to line up this pipe for restoration as this time around I wanted to add Rhodesian shaped pipes to my rotation and preferably with a small chamber as I am slightly low on my stock of tobacco what with the government banning import of all forms of tobacco!!

The stummel of this pipe has beautiful scraggy rustications and it sure does feel good to run your fingers over the surface of the stummel. There is a patch of smooth briar surface starting at the foot of the bowl and ending half way off the shank end and bears the stampings on this pipe. It is stamped towards the foot end as “DONEGAL” over “ROCKY” over “A PETERSON’S PRODUCT” over “MADE IN THE REPUBLIC” over “OF IRELAND” and finally in the right hand top corner towards the shank end is the shape code “999”. The shank end is adorned with a sterling silver band. The silver band bears a group of three hallmarks marks, each in an escutcheon; the first is a seated Hibernia denoting Dublin Ireland, the second is a harp denoting the silver fineness, and the third is a fancy letter “S” denoting the year. The hallmarks are slightly worn out but discernible under high magnification under bright white light. Further to the left of these hallmarks are three cartouche each bearing, from left to right, letters “K” “&” and “P” over “STERLING” over “SILVER”Having had the good fortune of researching and working on a few early Peterson’s pipes, I had read that the Donegal Rocky is Peterson’s classic range, primarily the basic entry level pipes from the brand. However, what interested me was the letter denoting the year of production. I forwarded a picture of the hallmarks to my friend and mentor, Steve Laug who promptly confirmed that the letter denotes the year 1960!!

Knowing the fact that the K & P factory sends hundreds of such sterling silver bands to the Dublin essay office for hallmarking that are to be used over a period, still dates this pipe to early 1960s.

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
The pipe, as it sits on my work table, is dirty with a thick layer of cake in the chamber while the stummel is covered in dust and grime with a heavily oxidized stem. Here are a few pictures of the pipe before I proceed with a detailed visual inspection of each part of the pipe. The rusticated stummel on this pipe is covered in a thick layer of dust and grime of nearly 58 years of use and uncared storage. The stummel appears dull and lackluster. The rusticated rim top surface is also covered in dust, lava overflow and will need to be cleaned and polished. The rich brown hues of the raised portions of the rustications contrast beautifully with the darker hues of the stummel. The stummel has a very subtle, yet discernible outward flaring rim cap which lends it its classical shape. There is a very strong smell to the cake which, perhaps, may reduce appreciably after the chamber has been cleaned. The chamber has a thick cake, which I have come to expect from all my inherited pipes, with lava overflow on the rusticated rim top surface. The cake is thick enough to prevent my little finger from going in to the chamber. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber will be ascertained once the existing cake has been taken down to the bare briar. The rusticated rim top surface has thick, dried and crumbling overflow of lava. The inner and outer rim edges appear to be in good condition, however, the same will be ascertained once the cake and lava overflow from the chamber and rim top is removed. The mortise is filled with oils and tars and specks of dried ash and tobacco is seen on the walls of the mortise. The sump is filled with dried oils, tars and gunk. Though the draught hole is open, the draw is restricted and should improve further once the shank internals and the mortise is thoroughly cleaned out. The shank face shows some nicks and chips. I shall subsequently take a call on its repairs since this damage does not, in anyway, affect the aesthetics and functionality of the pipe.The sterling silver band at the shank end is, characteristically blackened due to heavy oxidation. The saving grace is that it is intact and undamaged.The fishtailed smooth vulcanite stem is heavily oxidized with hardened calcification in the bite zone. Surprisingly, there are only a few tooth indentations on the button edge and chatter on either surfaces of the stem. The horizontal slot end of the stem is heavily oxidized to a dark brown coloration while the tenon end is covered in dried oils and tars. The tenon end also shows a number of mysterious nicks which do not affect the seating of the tenon in to the mortise and as such will be left as it is. This should be a relatively simple cleaning up job of the stem. THE PROCESS
I began the process of refurbishing this pipe by reaming the chamber with a Castleford reamer tool, using the first, second and third head. Using my fabricated knife; I further took the cake down to the bare briar. With a 150 grit sand paper, the walls of the chamber were rid of all the remnants of the cake, revealing smooth chamber walls. I further wiped the chamber with a cotton swab wetted with isopropyl alcohol to completely remove the residual carbon dust. The inner rim edge is in good condition. I scraped the shank internals with a fabricated tool to remove all the crud that had accumulated along the shank walls and further cleaned it with bristled and regular pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol. The sump was cleaned using q-tips wetted with isopropyl alcohol. I also cleaned the sump with rolled paper napkins. A few hours later and after a lot of patience, elbow grease and q-tips, the sump is finally cleaned to a great extent. I shall further draw out all the residual oils, tars and gunk by subjecting the chamber and the shank to a salt and alcohol bath.I continued the cleaning of the chamber and shank internals with a salt and alcohol bath. I use cotton balls which is an at par substitute as I have realized over the years. I draw out a wick from the cotton and along with a folded regular pipe cleaner; insert it in to the mortise and through the draught hole in to the chamber. Thereafter, I packed the chamber with cotton balls to about quarter of an inch below the rim inner edge and soaked the cotton balls with isopropyl alcohol up to the brim. About half an hour later, the level of alcohol had gone down, having being absorbed by the cotton. I topped it up once again and set it aside overnight. By next afternoon, the cotton and alcohol had drawn out all the remaining oils and tars from the chamber and mortise, fulfilling its intended task. I removed the cotton balls and ran pipe cleaners through the mortise to clean out all the loosened tars and gunk. Using my fabricated tool, I scraped out the entire loosed gunk from the sump and further cleaned it with alcohol and q-tips. The chamber now smells clean and fresh. I set the stummel to dry out naturally. While the chamber was soaking in the salt and alcohol bath, I worked the stem, starting with cleaning the internals of the stem using pipe cleaners with isopropyl alcohol (99.9% pure) and dunking the stem in to “Before and After Deoxidizer” solution developed by my friend Mark Hoover. The solution helps to draw out heavy oxidation to the surface making its subsequent removal a breeze, while minor oxidation is eliminated to a very great extent. I usually dunk stems of 5-7 pipes that are in-line for restoration and this Donegal Rocky #999 is marked in red arrow. I generally allow the stems to soak in this solution overnight for the solution to do its work.Now that the internals of the stummel were cleaned, I scrubbed the external surface of the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s oil soap and hard bristled tooth brush. I deliberately cleaned the rim top surface with a soft bristled brass wire brush to remove the entire lava overflow and dried it using paper towels and soft cotton cloth. The light brown hues of the raised rustications contrast beautifully with the rest of the dark stummel. I set the stummel aside to dry out naturally. I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to briar. I rubbed this balm deep in to the sandblasts with my fingers 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 light brown hues of the raised rustications contrasting with the dark stummel surface. I further buff it with a horse hair shoe brush. As mentioned in the write up on refurbishing S & R, I had worked on the stems that had been soaking in the deoxidizer solution overnight. I fished out all the stems and cleaned them under running warm water and scrubbed the raised oxidation from the stem surface using Scotch Brite pad. I further removed the oxidation by scrubbing the stems with 0000 grade steel wool and applied a little olive oil to rehydrate the stems and set them aside for the oil to be absorbed. Unfortunately, I did not click any pictures of these stems at this stage.

This is how the stem of this pipe came out after the stem cleaning described above. Some traces of oxidation are still visible at the base of the button edges on both surfaces which needs to be removed using more invasive methods. A few minor tooth indentations are visible on the top button edge and at the base of the button edge on the lower surface. I painted both surfaces of the stem with the flame of a lighter to raise the tooth chatter and bite marks to the surface. This also helps in loosening minor oxidation from the stem surface. I sand the entire stem surface with a folded piece of a 220 grit sand paper to remove the loosened oxidation. I wiped the stem with a cotton swab and Murphy’s oil soap to further remove the oxidation. Even though the most of the tooth indentations have been eliminated by heating the damaged stem portion with the flame of a lighter, one deep indention is seen on upper and lower surface in the bite zone. However, I am happy with the way this stem appears at this stage and also with the deoxidizer solution. I filled the tooth indentation in the button edge on lower and upper stem surface with a mix of activated charcoal and CA superglue and set it aside for the fill to cure. Once the fill had cured sufficiently, with a tightly folded piece of 220 grit sand paper, I sanded down the fill to match with rest of the stem surface. With the same piece of sand paper, I sharpened the button edge on the upper surface.I further sand the stem with 600 and 800 grit sand paper. I wiped the stem with cotton pad dipped in alcohol to remove the resultant dust. I rubbed some extra virgin olive oil in to the stem and set it aside to be absorbed in to stem. I polished the stem with micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. I rubbed a little extra virgin olive oil in to the stem at the end of all the micromesh pads. I finish the polishing of the stem by rubbing a small quantity of Paragon wax and giving it a final polish with a soft cotton cloth. The stem is now nice, smooth and shiny. I cleaned the Sterling Silver shank band with a local compound that Abha, my wife, uses to polish her silver and gold jewelry and cutlery. This compound is a very fine powder and is least abrasive with fantastic results. The results were appreciated by Steve during his visit to India. The band is now a nice shining piece of silver and provides a nice contrast to the shining black stem and the dark brown stummel. Unfortunately, I missed out on taking pictures as I was keen to finish this pipe and enjoy a bowl!

To apply the finishing touches, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and apply a coat of Blue Diamond to the stem to polish out the minor scratches. With a cotton buffing wheel that I use for carnauba wax, I apply a coat of carnauba wax to the stummel and stem and continued to work on it till the complete coat of wax had been polished out. I mount a clean cotton cloth buffing wheel and gave the entire pipe a once over buff. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The finished pipe is shown below. P.S. – Since the completion of this restoration, I have smoked this pipe and included it in my rotation. Believe you me; this pipe smokes perfect with a nice, smooth draw right to the end. No wonder then that this pipe would have been one of my grandfather’s favorite given the thick cake and calcified stem!! I am really privileged to have had an opportunity to carry forward the trust that my grandfather had posed in his pipes. Thanks for your patience and looking forward to inputs about the write up. Cheers…

Restoring your own Petersons Pipes – Part 1


Mark Irwin sent me two pipes from the late Mike Leverette’s estate. He had been tasked with selling some of Mike’s pipes for his wife Jeanette. I asked him to pick out a pipe or pipes for restoration that covered the gamut of restoration issues for this article. Mark chose well – a reproduction 1910 Straight Bulldog and Deluxe 11S. He emailed me the descriptions of the pipes (Mark’s description of Pipe #1 is included in italics below and the description of Pipe #2 is in italics in Part 2 of this article) before I actually had the pipes in hand.

Pipe #1 –A Reproduction 1910 straight Bulldog (from the Antique Collection) that looks like it has either been left out in the sun or someone has attempted to remove the original stain. In addition, it has been poorly reamed, with what looks like a pocket knife. Stem and ferrule oxidation, no real dental damage to button.

When the pipes arrived I was excited to open the box and see them in person. It is my habit to spend time looking over a pipe very carefully before I start working on them. In this case I wanted to see the issues that Mark noted firsthand and to note others as well. I decided to work on the two pipes separately. I began with the little Reproduction 1910 Straight Bulldog.  I recorded my observations to give a clear idea of the work that needed to be done. They were as follows:

Photo 1 Bottom side of the pipe and stem

Pipe #1. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank Peterson’s over Dublin. On the right side it is stamped Made in Ireland. The stamp has classic Pre-Republic era stampings (the forked tail on the P and “Made in Ireland”). The silver ferrule/end cap is stamped K&P over three hallmarks, the last is a cursive capital “J” which dates the pipe as having been made in 1995. These are stamped above Peterson’s of Dublin on the left side and on the right side of the cap it is stamped 1910 which indicates the year this Bulldog shape first appeared in Peterson’s offer. A first pass over the pipe showed that the finish was as Mark had noted – very faded. The stain was virtually gone and the briar was a dull grey brown in colour. The silver was dented and tarnished; so much so that it was hard to read the hallmarks. The double ring around the bowl was packed with grit and grime as well as some older stain that had bunched up in balls in the grooves. Moving to the rim I could see what Mark had noted regarding the poor reaming. It was very roughly reamed and the nicks from the knife blade were many. This left the bowl out of round. The cake was hard and the surface of the rim had a build up on it that was also quite thick. Removing the stem I could see that the upper right edge of the mortise had a large crack/gap in it where a chunk of briar was missing. The mortise was tarry and dark. The chamber/sump region in the mortise was also quite full of tarry build up and grit. The stem itself was good at the insert end. There were no cracks or missing pieces, which I expected after the chip in the shank. The top side and underside of the stem were dented with tooth marks that had been worked on. The surface had deep scratches and pits in it from the previous work. It looked like the stem had been treated with bleach to deal with the oxidation which leaves the surface pitted. The top 90 degree edge of the button had a divot taken out of it. The hole in the top also was out of round with several small divots removed from the surface. On the underside of the button the ridge/shelf that goes across the bottom of the P-lip had a divot missing as well – a tooth dent that was very evident. The portion of the tenon that sat in the shank was dark and black while the rest of the stem was oxidized and had slight brown tints. The five photos below highlight the areas of concern that would need to be addressed in a restoration/refurbishment.

Photo 1 Bottom side of the pipe and stem

Photo 2 Right side view

Photo 3 Top view

Photo 4 Looking into the shank

Photo 5 Top view of the bowl and shank

After completing my observation of the pipe, I decided to begin the work by cleaning up the inside before dealing with the externals. I reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer – a T handle with four different sized cutting heads (Photo 6). I started with the smallest head and worked up to the size that fit the internals of the bowl (Photos 8 – 10). My objective was to take the cake out completely bringing the bowl back to briar so that I could reshape the inner edge of the rim and clean up the mess left by the knife reaming job.

Photo 6 PipNet Reamer set

Photo 7 Reaming with the second cutting head

Photo 8 Second Cutting head

Photo 9 Reaming with the third cutting head

Photo 10 Third cutting head

The finished bowl, after reaming with the various cutting heads, is shown in Photo 11 below. Once the cake was gone from the inside of the bowl I could clearly see what needed to be done to bring the bowl back into round and repair the damage to the inner rim. It was at this point I decided to top the bowl. Photo 12 below shows the process of setting up a piece of sandpaper on a hard, flat surface and sanding the bowl top by pressing it into the sandpaper and rotating it to slowly remove damaged briar from the top of the bowl. For this particular bowl I used 220 grit sandpaper. I did not want to leave deep scratches in the rim, but I wanted to smooth out the surface and remove the damaged material. Photo 13 shows the finished bowl top. I removed enough of the surface to get rid of the knife cut angles on the inner edge. Photos14 – 16 show how I sanded the inside edge of the rim using a folded piece of medium grit emery paper. The idea was to work on the inner edge and slowly and carefully bring it back to round and remove the remaining damage left by the knife. After the cleanup I used a fine grit sanding sponge to remove the remaining scratch marks left in the surface of the rim (Photo 17).

Photo 11 After reaming

Photo 12 Topping the bowl

Photo 13 Topped bowl

Photo 14 Smoothing the inner edge

Photo 15 Inner edge after smoothing

Photo 16 Close up of the inner edge

Photo 17 Sanding with a fine sanding sponge

With the bowl back in shape and the rim cleaned and sanded it was time to remove the remnants of the finish on the bowl. I wiped the bowl down with acetone on a soft cotton makeup removal pad (Photos 18 – 20). For the acetone I use fingernail polish remover. I have found that it removes the grit and oils that have ground into the bowl as well as the finish. I wiped the bowl down until I was satisfied that I had removed the finish. The best way to tell this is when the pads come back clean and fresh after wiping the bowl down.

Photo 18 Acetone and cotton pads

Photo 19 Acetone and cotton pads

Photo 20 The bowl and cotton pads after being wiped down

In Photo 21 below, the bowl is dry and clean. The finish is gone. At this point I used the drill bit in the handle of the KleenReem tool to clean out the airway in the shank and bowl. I find that this tool quickly removes the buildup in the airway and is the best way to minimize the number of pipe cleaners used to clean out the shank. I carefully twist the bit into the airway making sure not to twist it through the airway and into the other side of the bowl bottom (Photos 22 – 23).

Photo 21 Clean bowl with KleenReem Pipe Cleaner

Photo 22 Drill bit from the handle

Photo 23 Drill bit inserted into the airway

I cleaned out the double rings around the bowl using a dental pick. I wiped the bowl down with Everclear as I ran the dental pick in the grooves on the bowl. The amount of dried stain and grit that comes out of the rings makes me always take this step when I am cleaning a bulldog or Rhodesian shaped bowl (Photos 24 – 25).

Photo 24 Cleaning the rings

Photo 25 Rings cleaned

Now it was time to turn my attention to the internals of the shank – both the airway and the condensation chamber in the Peterson pipes. In the bents this is the area I call the sump. It collects a lot of tar and oils from the smoke that is drawn through it. It takes detailed work to remove all of the grime. In this case I used many pipe cleaners – both bristle and fluffy as well as cotton swabs to clean out the area. I folded the pipe cleaners in half to give me the area needed to clean out the walls of the shank. Photos 26 – 28 show the work and the resultant pile of cleaners. I cleaned out the area until the pipe cleaners came out clean and the pipe smelled clean.

Photo 26 Time to clean the shank

Photo 27 Folded and inserted

Photo 28 Many pipe cleaners later

For the silver ferrule/cap on the shank I used a jeweler’s cloth that I purchased at a local jewelry shop. It is impregnated with a cleaning solution that effectively removes the level of tarnish found on this cap. I wiped down the cap with the cloth repeatedly until the tarnish was gone and the silver gleamed. Photos 29 – 31 show the polished cap and the cleaned bowl.

Photo 29 Polished cap

Photo 30 Polished cap

Photo 31 Polished cap

With the bowl ready to restain, it was time to turn my attention to the stem. As mentioned above there were some dents and divots in the stem and button area. These would take some work. There are several different procedures that I used in addressing the issues in this stem. I always begin by sanding the area around the dents with 220 grit sandpaper to better assess the damaged areas. If the dents are merely dents then heat will lift them and the stem will return to its smooth surface. If however the dents have edges that are cut then no amount of heat will lift the areas and other methods will need to be employed. In this case the dents were indeed just dents and heat would lift those (Photos 32 – 33). The divots out of the top side of the button and the underside ridge were another matter. To reshape the 90 degree angle on the top side of the button I used a square needle file. I cleaned up the edge of the button and the place it met the surface of the stem (Photos 34 – 35). I used the same file on the bottom side of the button ridge/shelf as well. Again the idea was to clean up the edges and sharpen them the angles (Photo 36). These areas needed to be redefined in order to have the sharp and distinct edges that were originally there.

Photo 32 Topside after sanding

Photo 33 Bottom side after sanding

Photo 34 Reshaping the angles on the button topside

Photo 35 Angles reshaped with files

Photo 36 Reshaping the angles on the button bottom side

I used a Bic lighter to heat the stem surface. The key to this is to quickly move the flame across the surface of the dented areas. Do not leave it in one place too long as it will burn the vulcanite. Quickly passing it over the surface repeatedly and checking often I was able to lift the dents from both the topside and underside of the stem (Photos 37 – 39).

Photo 37 Using a Bic Lighter to lift the dents on the underside of the stem

Photo 39 Underside of the stem after heating

Photo 38 Using a Bic Lighter to lift the dents on the top side of the stem

I sanded the newly smoothed surface with a medium grit sanding sponge. When I finish heating a stem, whether I use a Bic lighter or a heat gun, I sand it to ensure that I have finished lifting the dents. It is easy to be fooled when removing it from the heat. If it needs a bit more heat after the sanding it is a simple task and best done before progressing to the next steps of sanding the stems (Photos 40-41).

Photo 40 Top side sanded with a sanding sponge

Photo 41 Underside sanded with a sanding sponge

To repair the missing chunk of briar from the inside of the shank I used some Weldbond wood glue and briar dust. It is water soluble until it dries and then is hard and impermeable. I cleaned the surface area of the shank and then put the glue in place. I moved it around the area, pressed briar dust into the glue and cleaned up the surrounding area with a dental pick (Photo 42). I set it aside to dry while I returned to the stem cleanup.

Photo 42 Shank repair

For several years now I have been using black superglue (cyanoacrylate) to repair divots from the button and stem areas. It is glue that has been used medically in the field by medics to repair tears in the skin so I believe it is safe. It dries very hard and shiny black and does not disintegrate with cleaning once it is cured. Once the stem is buffed and polished the repair is virtually invisible. On this pipe I needed to build up the divots on the edge of the button on the topside and the ridge on the underside. I purchased the black superglue from Stewart Macdonald, a supplier of repair products for musical instruments (http://www.stewmac.com/). It is slow drying so you may want to consider purchasing an accelerator product from them as well. I apply the glue to the areas I am repairing and set it aside overnight (Photos 43 – 45). It dries hard in about 6-8 hours and cures in just over twelve hours. I find that once it is dry to touch I can sand the surface and blend it into the stem.

Photo 43 Black Superglue on the ridge of the button

Photo 44 Black Superglue on the topside divot on the button

Photo 46 Superglue dried on the underside ridge

Photo 47 Glue dried on the topside

The next series of photos show the progressive sanding of the stem with 1500-12,000 grit micromesh sanding pads (Photos 48 – 59). These are also available through Steward Macdonald as well as other fine woodworking stores or can be ordered online.

Photo 48 Sanding the topside with 1500 grit micromesh

Photo 49 Sanding the underside with 1500 grit micromesh

Photo 50 Sanding the topside with 1800 grit micromesh

Photo 51 sanding the underside with 1800 grit micromesh

Photo 52 Sanding the topside with 2400 grit micromesh

Photo 53 Sanding the underside with 2400 grit micromesh

Photo 54 Sanding the topside with 3200 and 3600 grit micromesh

Photo 55 Sanding the underside with 3200 and 3600 grit micromesh

Photo 56 Sanding the topside with 4000 and 6000 grit micromesh

Photo 57 Sanding the underside with 4000 and 6000 grit micromesh

Photo 58 Sanding the topside with 8000 and 12,000 grit micromesh

Photo 59 Sanding the underside with 8000 and 12,000 grit micromesh

By this time the shank repair was dry. Photos 60 and 61 show the dried and finished repair. I used a small piece of folded 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the repaired area.

Photo 60 Finished shank repair

Photo 61 Finished shank repair

I wanted to match the stain on the pipe to the original stain on this line of pipes so I researched the line on the internet and found the picture below (Photo 62) that gave me a good idea of what the stain colour should be. In studying the photo I could see both brown and red stains were used to bring out this colouration. For me this would be a two step staining process.

Photo 62 Correct stain colour

I started with a dark brown aniline stain. I have used Feibing’s Leather Dye for years as it is an aniline based stain and works very well. I thinned it 2:1 with Isopropyl alcohol to get the brown I wanted in the undercoat (2 parts stain to 1 part alcohol). I remove the stem for the staining and insert a dental pick in the shank for a handle to hold while I turn the bowl in my hands during the staining. I applied it to the bowl with a folded pipe cleaner. Once the bowl was covered with stain and while it is wet I light it on fire with a lighter. This is called flaming. It burns off the alcohol and sets the stain more deeply into the grain of the briar. Generally I start by staining the bottom of the pipe first as the stain runs toward the top naturally and then follow up with the side, back and front of the bowl. I stain the rim last and am careful to not get stain inside the bowl. I repeat the process of staining and flaming the bowl until I am happy with the coverage. Photos 63 – 66 show the bowl after it has been stained, flamed, and stained and flamed again.

Photo 63 Stained bowl topside view

Photo 64 Stained bowl right side

Photo 65 Stained bowl left side

Photo 66 Stained bowl underside

I hand buffed the newly stained pipe with a soft cotton terry cloth (old piece of bath towel) until the finish had a shine. I do this to check the coverage of the undercoat. I want to make sure that the coverage is even and that there are no heavy spots or weak spots before I give the pipe the next coat of stain (Photos 67-68).

Photo 67 Right side after hand buffing

Photo 68 Left side after hand buffing

I applied the second stain to the bowl. For this I used an oxblood coloured aniline paste stain. I don’t worry about getting it on the stem as it is thicker and does not run when applied. I start at the bottom of the bowl out of habit with this stain. I work my way around the bowl, making sure to get an even coverage of stain and finish the process by carefully staining the rim (Photos 69 – 70). Once it is applied I let it dry for about 3 minutes and then wipe it off with a soft cloth and cotton pads. I want the colour to stay in the briar but not be wet on the surface (Photos 71 – 73). Again I check for coverage to make sure I have an even colour over the entire bowl. I reapply stain to weak spots to blend them into the colour. I want an even stain coat on the entire bowl. I hand buffed the bowl a second time to check on the colour and compare it against the photograph that I had found online (Photos 74 – 77).

Photo 69 Oxblood stain applied

Photo 70 Oxblood stain applied

Photo 71 Right side after being wiped down

Photo 72 Leftside after being wiped down

Photo 73 Top side after being wiped down.

Photo 74 Right side after hand buffing

Photo 75 Leftside after hand buffing

Photo 76 Top side after hand buffing

Photo 77 Underside after hand buffing

While I liked the colour of the bowl I found that it was too dark to really match the photo colour. I wet a cotton pad with acetone and wiped the bowl down to reduce the opacity of the stain and lighten it slightly. I only wiped it down once and carefully covered the whole bowl in one detailed wipe down to keep the coverage even. The new colour look lighter and almost appears to be too light but I have learned that after I buff it and give it several coats of wax it will be a match.

Photo 78 Right side after being wiped down with acetone

Photo 79 Leftside after being wiped down with acetone

Photo 80 Underside after being wiped down with acetone

Photo 81 Topside after being wiped down with acetone

I took the bowl to the buffer and gave it a quick buff with White Diamond on the buffing wheel. It gave the bowl a good shine. I brought it back to my work table and applied a coat of Conservator’s Wax which is a microcrystalline wax and cleaner. I have found that this gives the bowl a deeper polish and shine. After that I generally take it to the buffing wheel and give it multiple coats of carnauba wax (Photos 82 – 83).

Photo 82 After buffing and waxing

Photo 83 After buffing and waxing

At this point in the process of refurbishing the work is just about finished. The cleanup and restoration work is done and all that remains is to apply the final coats of carnauba wax to polish and protect the “new” look of your pipe.

The final photos show the finished pipe. It has had several coats of carnauba wax and was buffed with a clean flannel buffing pad on the buffer. The shine is deep and rich. The stem looks new and the rich dark shine reflects light well.The tooth marks are gone and there is no sign of their earlier presence. The bowl is back in round and ready to load up and smoke.

Photo 84 Right side view of the finished pipe.

Photo 85 Left side view of the finished pipe

Photo 86 Bottom side view of the finished pipe

Photo 87 Top view of the finished pipe

Photo 88 Top view of the finished pipe

Restoring a Beautiful K&P Dublin Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

This is another pipe from the fellow here in Vancouver that he dropped off for me to work on. There were 8 pipes in the lot – I have finished six and this is the seventh. It is a bent billiard shaped bowl that is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads K&P over DUBLIN. On the right side of the shank is the COM stamp Made in Ireland in a circle with the “in” in the centre of the circle. Next to that is the shape number 217. The silver band is marked K&P over Sterling Silver. The stem was the original and was in fair condition. It was another one of his pipe finds on a recent pipe hunt in Vancouver. There was some really nice grain showing through the dirt and debris of the tired pipe. The rim top was damaged with a burn mark on the front right and the back outer edge was rounded over. The finish was very dirty and there was a thick cake in the bowl. The stem was oxidized and had tooth marks on the top side near the P-lip and on the underside near the shelf. I took close up photos of the rim top and the stem to show the condition they were in when I received the pipe. The first photo shows the damage to the rim top – there is a nick out of the front inner edge of the bowl and a few other nicks and chips that make it appear to be out of round. The back outer edge on the shank end is worn down at an angle but it is not rough. The inside of the bowl has some uneven cake around the bowl and some tar and oil on the top of the rim. The sterling silver band – with K&P  and Sterling Silver stamped on it is oxidized and tarnished but otherwise in good condition. The photos of the stem show the tooth damage on the top and underside of near the P-lip button. There is a deep tooth mark on the top side ahead of the button and some wearing down of the button edge on the left and right. The underside of the stem also has tooth chatter and some wear on the sharp ledge. The airway on the top of the stem is still in good condition. I took a photo of the pipe with the stem removed to give an idea of the style of the tenon on the stem and the look of the pipe sans stem.I took a photo of the stamping on the both the right and left side of the shank. It is very clear and readable. The stamping left reads K&P over Dublin and the stamping on the right reads shape number 217 and the COM stamp as mentioned above – Made in Ireland in a circle.I started my clean up on the bowl with reaming and then cleaning out the airway to the bowl and the inside of the mortise as well as the airway in the stem. I reamed the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to remove the cake on the walls. I used a dowel wrapped with sandpaper to sand down the walls on the bowl. I cleaned out the airway in both the bowl and stem with alcohol (99% isopropyl), pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until they were clean on the inside. To remove the damage from the rim top I lightly topped the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper on the topping board. I checked it repeatedly as I did the topping to make sure I had removed just enough to suffice to remove the damage. The second photo shows the topped bowl. You will note that I left a little of the damage on the rear outer edge so as not to top too much of the briar.I wiped the rim top down with alcohol on a cotton pad to remove the dust then stained it with an Oak coloured stain pen. I buffed it lightly with a soft cloth to even out the stain.I wiped down the bowl alcohol on a cotton pad to remove the dust and grime on the surface of the bowl. I polished the briar finish with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit micromesh pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down after each pad with a damp cloth. The grain began to shine through with both flame and birdseye showing up on the sides of the bowl. I rubbed down the briar with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the finish with my fingertips and finished working it in with a shoe brush. The balm worked to clean, preserve and enliven the surface of the finish on the small bowl. The briar was coming alive so I took some photos of the pipe at this point. I polished the silver band with Hagerty’s Silver Polish to remove the tarnish. It is a soft scrub that is put on the band and buffed off with a cloth afterwards. I used a cotton pad to remove the tarnish. I polished it further with a jeweler’s cloth to protect and give it a shine. I set the bowl aside and began to work on the dents in the stem surface. I “painted” the vulcanite with a Bic lighter flame to try to raise the dents. I was able to get those on the underside completely removed. The deep one on the top surface of the stem and sides of the button needed to be addressed differently. I cleaned the areas around the button and filled in the dents with black super glue. When the repair cured I sanded the repairs and the oxidation with 220 grit sandpaper. I folded the paper and worked in the edges of the button. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil between each sanding pad. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I carefully avoided the stamping on the both sides of the shank. I gave both the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and 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 finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I have one more pipe to finish for him – it is the last of the pipes he found while pipe hunting. This has been a fun bunch of pipes to work on. I look forward to moving through the rest of them. Thanks for looking. 

 

Restoring My Grandfather’s Peterson’s System “31” Made in Eire Billiard


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

Over the past few months I have restored quite a few of Paresh’s Grandfather’s pipes. They have been both fun and challenging with the variety of issues each one presented. Throughout the process Paresh and I have corresponded and talked about procedures and methodology of the restorations and I encouraged him to give it a try. His family had passed on a large collection of his Grandfather’s pipes to him so it seemed to be a natural thing in my mind that he does the cleanup work on as many of them as he could. It just seemed fitting that the grandson does the restoration and then enjoy the pipes. He took me up on it and asked that I walk him through the process. We have talked a few times via FaceTime, linking India and Canada, to assess and plan the restoration. I asked Paresh to write some blogs on the work he is doing. Here is the first of those blogs. Welcome to rebornpipes Paresh. It is great to have you here. We look forward to seeing more of your work. — SteveWork had come to a halt on the WDC with the gold band “Bulldog” due to an extended curing time on the repairs to the stem as well as non-availability of Steve till 28 May ’18 to further guide me  on the complicated (…by my standards!!) stem restoration. I decided to tackle a relatively straight forward restoration, as it appeared to my untrained eye, of a Pete system “31”, Made in Eire.

VISUAL EXAMINATION

The “31” is a beautiful little pipe with a lovely rusticated pattern. At the shank end, it has a nickel ferrule bearing three shields with the inscriptions ‘K ‘&’ ‘P’ respectively over “PETERSON” over “DUBLIN”.The smooth surface on the underside of the shank is stamped with the words “MADE IN EIRE” within a circle; the word “IN” being in the centre. Right of the COM stamp is “PETERSON’S” over “SYSTEM” OVER “31”.The “P” in Peterson’s is the ‘old style’ lettering that used a forked tail. This pipe can easily be dated to the 1938 – 41 period when Peterson’s stamped their pipes with COM stamp “MADE IN EIRE”. Secondly to quote from thepetersonpipeproject.blogspot.in, an authority on the dating of Peterson’s pipes states, “From the beginning of the Patent Era until somewhere in the early 1930’s Peterson used the ‘old style’ lettering that used a forked tail “P” in Peterson.

The bowl was filled with cake and overflowing lava on the rim top, though not very heavily, which was a surprise, since all my grandfather’s pipes restored by Steve and I till date were heavily caked.The rustications were filled with dirt and grime coming from being uncared for and unused in storage since the late 1960’s giving it a very dull and dusty look. The ferrule was oxidized and discoloured and came off of the shank easily, giving rise to fears of hidden surprises underneath on the shank end. However, no such surprises were in store for me this time! The stem was very heavily oxidized, giving it a dirty greenish colour. The stem has a permanently fixed long, protruding rubber tube/nozzle extending well past the draught hole. The edges of the P-lip are perfect, however, there are a few light bite marks on the stem. The only issue I foresee having to deal with is the foul smell! I hope that when the cake is removed, the smell too will disappear.

THE PROCESS OF RESTORATION

As is the un-written understanding between Abha, my wife, and myself, Abha started work on the bowl (……she hates dealing with the stems!!!!) by reaming it with a Kleen Reem tool and a vintage British Buttner pipe reamer. Within no time the cake was reamed out of the bowl and Abha proceeded to sand it down using a 220 grit to bare briar wood. In spite of removing the cake, the foul smell still persisted.While sanding down the chamber with a 220 grit sand paper, the exposed briar revealed the letter ‘P’ stamped on the bottom of the bowl near the draught hole!!I searched the internet for information since I had never read of a Peterson’s to sport such a stamp. Unable to find any related information, I sent pictures of the same to Steve of rebornpipes fame. He too had not seen such stamping before. I request, if any one has any information or knowledge to share, please do so.

Thereafter, I started work on the internals of the pipe. The draught hole was blocked to the extent that a bristled pipe cleaner could not pass through. I tried to blow through the lip of the stem, but air would not pass through. The reservoir was filled with tar, grime and gunk and so was the stem. It is amply evident from this pipe and all other pipes belonging to my grandfather that he did not like to clean his pipes and hence the large collection of Barlings, Charatan’s, WDC’s, GBD’s, Kriswills and other Danish brands.I completely cleaned the reservoir and mortise using alcohol, pipe cleaners, shank brush and qtips. Using a dental spatula, I scraped out all the accumulated tar, oils and gunk out of the reservoir till bare briar was visible under torchlight and all pipe cleaners/cue tips came out clean.To get rid of the foul smell, the bowl was treated with kosher salt and alcohol overnight. After cleaning it thoroughly, the pipe now smelt fresh.Thereafter, I cleaned the bowl with Murphy’s oil soap and a hard bristled toothbrush, thoroughly cleaned the bowl deep into its rustication and rinsed it under running tap water. I dried the pipe bowl completely using a soft cotton cloth and left it to dry completely overnight.Next morning, I rubbed a Before and After Restoration Balm with my fingers and worked it deep into the rustication. After a few minutes I cleaned and polished it using a soft cotton cloth. The briar really began to look good. I further buffed it using a horse hair shoe brush till the bowl began to shine a bit. Finally, I rubbed a tiny amount of HALYCON II WAX on the bowl and waited a few seconds. Thereafter, using a microfiber cloth and plenty of muscle power over a prolonged period of time, I was finally satisfied with the way the bowl looked at this stage (pics).With the bowl finally finished, I turned my attention to the stem. A stated earlier, the stem was clogged to such an extent that air did not pass through it. I cleaned it out using alcohol, bristled and regular pipe cleaners. I used a Bic lighter to raise the light bite marks. Using a 220 grit sand paper, I completely removed the oxidation from the vulcanite surface. Thereafter, I went through the micromesh sand papers, wet sanding it with 1500 to 3200 and dry sanding with 3600 to 12000 grit paper. I rubbed extra virgin olive oil in between each.The stem now has a nice shiny and smooth black surface which looked classy and beautiful with the rusticated bowl. The finished pipe is shown below. This will definitely find a place of pride in my collection and remind me of the memories of my GRAND OLDMAN. I  am most grateful to Steve Sir for guiding me through this project and always suggesting alternate and practical methods since I have huge handicap of materials and equipment, being either unavailable or being un-economical as I am just pursuing this as a hobby and restoring the memories of my grandfather whilst smoking these inherited pipes!

I shall be grateful and obliged to be made aware of my mistakes and scope for improvement in both, the write up as well as the procedures and methods adopted during the refurbishing of the pipe.DIMENSIONS OF THE PIPE
Length:                         5  ¾ inches
Bowl height:                1  ½ inches
Bowl depth:                 7/8 inch
Bowl inner diameter: 7/8 inch

Paresh’s Grandfather’s Pipe #6 – Peterson’s System Standard 307 Made in Eire Pipe


Blog by Steve Laug

I have repaired 5 of the 7 older pipes (1937-1950s) left to Paresh by his Grandfather. I have enjoyed working on them and researching as well. His Grandfather was a pipeman who worked for the Indian Railroad. Paresh only recently learned that his Grandfather smoked a pipe. The 6th pipe is a Peterson’s System Standard 307 Made in Eire with a bent system stem and a smooth finish. I took photos of the pipe before I stated to work on it. It was in good condition, very clean with just a thin bit of lava and tar on the top of the rim. The inner edge of the bowl had some damage and was slightly out of round. The outer edge of the bowl was in excellent condition. The stem had a deep tooth mark on the right of the top just ahead of the P-lip. The underside had a lot of tooth chatter. The tenon had a large chunk out of the extension that went into the shank. The rim top was clean and the bowl reamed. Abha had once again done a great job cleaning the finish. She had scrubbed it with Murphy’s Oil Soap and removed all of the debris and dust from the smooth finish. There was some darkening to the rim top and some light dents in the top surface. The inner edge of the bowl was slightly out of round with some damage from reaming. The bowl had a light cake and it appeared that Abha had removed a lot of the cake in her reaming. I also took a close up photos of both sides of the stem. You can see that there is light tooth chatter on the top and underside of the stem just in front of the button. There is a deep tooth mark on the topside in front of the P-lip. The surface of the stem is lightly oxidized.The stamping is faint and worn but it is readable under a light and with a lens. The stamping on the left side of the shank reads Peterson’s System Standard.  On the right side of the shank it is stamped Made in the Eire in a circle and under that is reads 307 which is the shape number. I looked up the Made in Eire stamp on Pipedia’s section on Peterson pipes to see if I could find out information (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Peterson). There I found out that the Made in Eire era stamps were from 1938 through till 1941. Peterson stamped their pipes with “Made in Eire” in a circle format with “Made” and “Eire” in a circle with the “in” located in the centre of the circle. This was used during the years of 1938 – 41. This is exactly how the pipe I am working on is stamped. I learned that the pipe was made between 1938-1941. After that Peterson stamped their pipes with “Made in Ireland” in a circle format 1945-1947 and still later with “Made in Ireland” in a block format 1947-1949. The “Made in Ireland” block format came in either one or two lines.

With that I reread Paresh’s biographical write up on his Grandfather once again. There Paresh stated that his Grandfather had visited England in 1946 and that later after 1947 the British left India for good. Many of the Superior Officers gave his Grandfather pipes as parting gifts. I am fairly confident that this was one of those gift pipes given to him around 1947. I am including his bio now as part of the background information on this pipe. Here is Paresh’s tribute.

Respected Sir,

Now that the first batch of my Grandfather’s pipes has reached you, I would like to share my memories of him with you, the aim being to provide you with an insight to his personality, the era in which he lived, and a brief history associated with the pipes that I have inherited from him.

My Grandfather, Ananta (named after an exotic seasonal white flower having lovely fragrance), was born in a small coastal town of Konkan region of Maharashtra, India, in 1918. These were very turbulent times when India’s freedom struggle against British rule was gathering momentum and the atmosphere was charged with “Quit India Movement”. Having completed his graduation from Bombay, he joined Railways in 1937. This also marked the beginning of his journey into the world of pipe smoking!!!!!

Having seen his potential, in 1945, he was sponsored by the Government to visit England, for gaining further experience and expertise in his profession. This was a period when India’s Independence was round the corner and efforts were being made to train Indians for various administrative appointments in future Independent India. He returned back to India after a year, in 1946 and with him came some pipes that he had purchased in England. I believe a few of his Petes, Barlings, Charatans and GBDs are from this visit.

In 1947, when the British finally left India for good, my Grandfather was gifted pipes by his British peers, subordinates and Superior Officers as a parting gift. He stayed in touch with a few of them over all these years, even visiting them in 1959-60. Some of his later era Charatans and Barlings and Petes are from this trip. He quit smoking in early 1970s (before I was even born!!!!) and his pipes were packed up. There were a number of pipes which were used as TINDER for lighting fires (CAN’T BELIEVE IT…… I have not overcome my grief of this loss till date!!!!!) due to ignorance!!!!!!

My Grandfather was a very strict disciplinarian and temperamental (I did not know this as he was neither when dealing with me as I am the youngest of all his grandchildren!!!!!! He was always the most understanding and loving person in my life). I later learned that in his office, he was not to be disturbed when his pipe was lit, as he would be in his thinking/ contemplating mode while it was just the opposite as he lit his pipe in the evening while at home, when he would be at his relaxed best!!!!.

The interesting part is that neither of us knew that we each smoked a pipe until after his demise in Jan 2018!!!! In our culture, to this day, smoking or alcohol consumption is socially never talked about (mute acceptance!!!). It was during his last rites that absent mindedly I lighted my pipe and looking into the flickering flames of his funeral pyre, remembered and recollected all the wonderful memories and talks that we had shared. No one said a word to me about my lighting up a pipe!!!!!! Immediately thereafter, I rejoined my duty station. A few days later, my wife, Abha, received a box from my Uncle with a note that said “Grandfather would have loved Paresh to have these”. This box contained a collection of his fountain pens and 8-10 of his pipes (since then as my folks are winding up his belongings, I have received 2-3 packets and a large number of pipes, some in decent condition and some in unspeakable state). Abha immediately messaged me with pictures of these pipes and pens. I had been collecting and restoring (no major repairs, though) fountain pens since long and immediately recognized some of them as highly collectibles, however, pipes were a totally different ball game! I was inexperienced with no knowledge/ information regarding various brands/ pipe makers, shapes and materials. I knew nothing about the value of these pipes, nothing about pipe restorations, nothing about caring for them; I mean zero knowledge about collecting pipes. I smoked some real cheap Chinese pipes which were readily and unfortunately, the only ones, available in India and some inexpensive pipes from eBay India!!!!! Also regular pipe cleaning, pipe rotation, pipe cleaners and such things were unknown to me.

Thus, to know more about the REAL pipes, I embarked upon the journey of exploring finer nuances of pipe brands/ makers, their history and watching “How to videos” on packing a pipe, cleaning, repairing and caring for ones pipes. I found it extremely interesting and satisfying. It was while meandering through this confusing quagmire of pipe world that I came across rebornpipes.com website and eventually established contact with you, Mr Steve, who has since been my mentor, guide and GURU, making this journey a wonderful and satisfying experience.

Sir, there is one more thing that I need to thank you for and that is when you asked me to write a brief about my grandfather and his pipes, I realized how little I knew about him, in fact, knew nothing, as I was not even aware that he was a “pipeman” as no one in my family ever spoke about it being taboo subject and since he had quit a long time before I was even born!!!! This led me to ask the elders in my family, questions on the subject and came to know the above details. I cannot thank you enough for prodding me to get to know my grandfather and his pipes a lot better. Sir, these pipes of his, with your help and guidance, will remain with me forever in mint condition……

I began work on the pipe by cleaning up the reaming of the bowl first with a PipNet pipe reamer. I began with the smallest cutting head and worked up to the one roughly the same size as the bowl. I finished cleaning it up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to remove the remnants of cake left behind. When I examined the walls of the pipe they looked really good.  I cleaned out the internals of the mortise and shank with the Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife, pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. I scraped the walls of the sump and the mortise with the pipe knife to get rid of the hard tars and oils on the walls. Once I had removed the hardened cake I cleaned the inside with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol until the interior was clean.I worked Before & After Restoration Balm deep into the briar of the bowl and shank to clean, enliven and protect it. I worked it in with my fingertips and set it aside for a few minutes to let the balm work. I wiped it off and buffed it with a soft cloth to polish it. The briar really began to have a deep shine and the grain began to shine through. I took photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. I set the bowl aside and began the work on the stem. I cleaned up the tenon end of the stem with alcohol and cotton swabs. The first photo below shows the end of the tenon with the large chunk of vulcanite missing. I made a mixture of black super glue and charcoal powder and rebuilt the end of the tenon. I filled in the chipped area and built it up until it was roughly the same size and shape as the rest of the end. It would take several coats to fill in the rough spots in the repair but I layered it in and let it cure between coats. Once the repair had cured, I rough shaped it with a needle file to remove the excess repair. I worked it over until it was close to the right shape. I sanded it with 180 grit sandpaper and with 220 grit sandpaper. I used a half round, a round and a flat blade needle file to reshape the inside of the airway of the tenon end. I reshaped it until it matched the remainder of the existing tenon.There were some deep gouges in the surface of the stem near the tenon end. It looked as if the stem had been twisted out with a pair of pliers. The gouges were deep and visible. I cleaned the areas with alcohol and filled in the marks with super glue. I used a Bic lighter to lift the tooth mark on the right top side of the stem, filled in the tooth marks with super glue and when it dried, sanded it smooth with 220 grit sandpaper. I sanded the repairs on the tenon end of the stem at the same time.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit sanding pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad and set it aside to dry. With the stem polished I put it back on the pipe and lightly buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I have one more of Paresh’s Grandfather’s pipes to finish and then I will pack them up and send the whole lot across the sea to India where he can carry on the legacy. I know that he is looking forward to having them in hand and enjoying a bowl of his favourite tobacco in memory of his Grandfather. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked this pipe over.

Cleaning a Peterson Aran – aka The Curse of the Tar Monster


Blog by Dave Weagle

I know my sub-title sounds like a Scooby Doo episode from the 70’s but when you see the condition of the pipe when it arrived in the mail, my first thought was “The Tar Monster”.  Here’s the story of the restoration.

One Saturday afternoon while waiting to go out for supper I had a few minutes to kill so I grabbed my phone and went surfing Ebay for any new pipe listings.  My common searches are Peterson, Kaywoodie & Yello Bole.  When I typed in Peterson a listing appeared for a pipe lot that included two Peterson Aran pipes and a group of pipes.  The only other pipes in the lot other that I could identify from the photos were five Carey Magic Inch (the vents in the stems gave them away).  The sellers description was “Large Lot of Vintage Pipes in Used Condition.  I’ve learned that could be anything from cracked bowls to chewed stems.

Of the eight pictures that appeared in the Ebay listing, one showed both Peterson pipes.  A Canadian (needing a quick cleaning and a stem) and a Bent Billiard that appeared to be partially rusticated.  It looked like the rustication had been nicely done and both pipes appeared to be in good shape.   When the box arrived, I found each pipe was individually wrapped with bubble wrap and taped.  It was like Christmas.  Twenty- seven little presents to unwrap.  I quickly found the five Carey Magic Inch pipes but to my delight there was a GBD, a Wally Frank, a Weber, two Edwards, a few basket pipes and ten Kaywoodie’s (most older four-hole stingers).  The Petersons were at the bottom of the box and to my shock this was not a rusticated billiard.  This was an eruption of lava.  My stomach sank.  My first thought, with this much lava covering the bowl, the pipe must have been smoked hard and the inner bowl would be destroyed.  Between the condition of the bowl and stem I figured the first step was to soak both the stem and the bowl.  I removed the nickel band and placed the bowl to soak in isopropyl alcohol.  The stem actually had so much calcium buildup on it I figured it would take an evening of sanding and rebuilding just to save the stem. While the bowl soaked I mixed up an Oxy clean bath and soaked the stem.   When I pulled the bowl out of the isopropyl alcohol I took it to the sink and using 0000 steel wool I scrubbed the bowl attempting to remove the softened lava.  Some came off. I then removed the stem from its bath and took it to the sink as well.  I used a pot scrubber to remover the buildup on the stem and then using hot water and a sank brush I managed to clean the stem to the point that a pipe cleaner could pass through it.   Not to speak ill of a fellow pipe smoker but I couldn’t smoke a pipe in this condition.Next, I decide to gently scrape the bowl using the back side of my pipe knife.  I didn’t want to gouge the bowl, so I went at it slowly and took a few breaks during the process.  Once I had removed all traces of the lava it was on to sanding.  Using micro mesh pads, I started with 1500 and progressed to 12000.

It cleaned up beautifully. The grain was gorgeous.  I was beginning to feel a bit better about my newest Peterson.  Maybe it would be salvageable.  Maybe it would actually become a nice addition to my Peterson collection and not just another old beater pipe to hangout in the garage with me when I work on my trucks.Now that there was some light at the end of the tunnel, there was still the inner bowl and the stem to deal with. As I said before. I’m not sure how someone smoked this pipe.  The stem was plugged.  The draft hole was plugged.  There was still tobacco flakes still in the bowl.

Starting with my Hedge Hog I opened the bowl enough to move on to my Castleford reamer.  After reaming the bowl, I used a piece of 220 grit sand paper to level out the bowl (I lost the pics of this process).  To my surprise the inner bowl had no scars, no burns or cracks.  It was in excellent shape.  It smelled like an outhouse but was in excellent shape.  Using a 4mm drill bit, I opened up the draft hole. Next using cotton swabs, a shank brush, pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol I scrub the bowl and the shank.  After cleaning the bowl, it still stank.  My wife, actually came downstairs to ask me what I was working on.  She could smell the pipe all the way upstairs.  In the 300+ estate pipes I have worked on this is the first that could be smelled on another floor.  I guess reaming the bowl unleashed the funk.  It was off to the retort to remove the smell.  It took four test tubes of alcohol before it came out clear.After finishing with the retort, I flamed the bowl to remove any excess alcohol.The next step was to fix the damage to the stem.  The top of the P-lip was dented and the underside ridge was chewed.  Mixture of rubberized CA glue and charcoal powder was applied to stem and left to dry overnight.   The next evening after a long day it was nice to sit down by the woodstove with a coarse file and set about getting the rough shape of the stem back.  To remove the file marks I sanded the stem starting with 220 grit paper finishing with 800 grit.  I then switched to wet sanding finishing at 3000 grit.  Micro mesh pads were used prior to buffing the stem. Blue diamond was used on the buffing wheel.  Before waxing the stem the P stamped on the side was highlighted with Rub n Buff silver paste.  The bowl was also polished with blue diamond compound on the buffer.  Before waxing the bowl the band was fastened with white glue.  The band was polished with Autosol and the bowl was sweetened.And this is the finished pipe after a few coats of Carnauba Wax. Still blows me away how nice this pipe cleaned up.  Keep on pipe’n.

Saving a New Friend


Blog by Dave Weagle

When I saw Dave’s work on this old pipe I knew I wanted to read about the process he used in repairing this old friend. I wrote him a message on the Facebook Tobacco Pipe Restorers Group and asked him if he would be interested in putting together a blog for us here at rebornpipes. He gladly accepted the offer and today he sent along this blog. Welcome to rebornpipes Dave. It is a pleasure to have you show your work and skills here. The invitation is always open to you. With no further intro I will let Dave speak for himself. Enjoy.

Growing up I always knew that someday I would be a pipe smoker. I remember during an anti smoking discussion in grade 1 at the rip old age of 7, I told the teacher I had no interest in cigarettes but someday I would smoke a pipe. That was 1978.

Over the past 40 years I have had a few passions that have shaped my life. Recently pipe smoking and restoration has been one of them. During the 90’s while working backshifts I discovered old black and white suspense movies from the 1930’s & 1940’s. Of these the Sherlock Holmes movies starring Basil Rathbone became a favorite.

Once I decided I was ready to take up pipe smoking I knew there was one pipe brand I would have to acquire. Peterson. After some research I found that Basil Rathbone smoked a 4ab in the movies produced by Universal. Further research suggested the 4ab shape would become the 309.   I found a Peterson Patent pipe a few years ago hiding in a lot on Ebay with a bunch of old burnt cobs. With a bit of work I had a close copy of a 4ab.

My Peterson Patent pipe with a stem I modified.Now for the back story. 

Now for the back story.  Since March of 2016 I have started chasing pre- republic pipes. This past Christmas (2017) with a little cash burning a hole in my pocket, I went surfing my usual online pipe haunts for older Petes. I found a seller on Etsy that had some interesting older pipes. One was a Pete. There was no shape number in the listing so I emailed the seller. It turned out to be a 313. I have three 313 already, so I thanked the seller but declined the pipe. To my surprise he emailed me back and asked if I’d be interested in some older unrestored Petersons. We emailed back and forth and came up with an arrangement that both were happy with. I bought 8 pipes. A Peterson calabash with a silver hallmark dated 1908 and a S17 sealed the deal (those will be future restorations). The other 6 pipes where all Republic era pipes. My favorite shape 309 was there so I was very pleased with my purchase.

This is where my restoration story begins. When the pipes arrived from England I was surprised to find how well loved the 309 was. The shank was actually worn crooked. The stem was worn and the nickel cap had a crack and 11 dents. I contacted Peterson about getting a new cap on the 309. When I found out how expensive it was I decided this was a lot of money to restore a well used 309. I started looking for a donor 309. It didn’t take long to find a cracked 309 (a cracked Chacom and Nording came with it) which would be a great parts pipe for about half the price of shipping my original 309 back to the factory to be fixed.

The donor 309 came from EBay. It took two weeks for the pipe to travel from California to Nova Scotia. During the two weeks, I kept going back to the original listing and night after night I keep thinking I can’t send this donor 309 to the scrap pile without at least attempting to save it. This is how the pipe arrived.Not sure how to approach this repair I decided to gently ream it to see the extent of the inner bowl damage. I didn’t want to just start filling the crack with CA glue and briar dust. This was the result of reaming. Some people might have been upset by the result but I knew it was a good thing. I now knew the extent of the damage. Also, I could clean up the cracked surfaces to remove any loose char or ash. Using cotton swabs and isopropyl alcohol I cleaned all the damaged area before reattachment. I now had two pieces of the bowl which I glued together and let them set. Once they dried I fit them back in place and set to gluing and pinning.I started by drilling several vertical holes and then drilled the horizontal holes making sure that the two broken pieces were pinned to each other and into the remaining bowl. I used several types of CA glue in this process. I used a thinned glue designed to flow into cracks. The pins were cut to fit and glued with a thicker gap filling gel CA. When it came time to fill the cracks and the drilled holes I used a standard CA and briar dust. I used several coats of glue and dust to fill everything in, brushing the bowl between coats with a brass bristled bush to remove any loose dust and checked each coat with my jeweler’s lope for coverage. Once I was happy with the surface coverage, using my jewelers lope and a rotary tool I tried to copy the rustification as close to the original as possible. I always wear a dust mask when I attempt surface repairs using a jeweler’s lope and a rotary tool. The pipe is right about nose level and the tool blows the dust right in your face.This is the outer surface after about two hours of work. Now it was time to fix up the inner bowl.  After the outer repair was complete it was evident that a burnt out was the cause of the crack.  There was an indent which need to be filled. Usually I use fireplace cement (a paste I make out of hardwood ash that I collect from my woodstove) to patch small burns in a bowl but this was going to be a large patch ,so I wanted something stronger. JB Weld was what I used. After wiping out the bowl with cotton swabs and isopropyl alcohol to remove any loose char and ash I mixed up some JB Weld and applied it to the inner bowl. After let it dry overnight I turned again to my rotary tool with a sanding drum to even out the walls. Again, wear a mask if using when this method because it throws a lot of dust in the air, and you’ll be sneezing for a few days (past experience). With the inner bowl smooth and round it was on to cleaning the draft hole and the shank. Using a 4mm drill bit I redrilled the draft hole. With cotton swabs, isopropyl alcohol and a dental tool I cleaned the shank and draft hole. After cleaning and drilling I didn’t like the depth of the bowl reverses the position of the draft hole so I added a bit more JB Weld to the bottom of the bowl. Using a small piece of 220 grit sand paper I sanded the inner bowl again so there were no rough seams. With the repairs to the bowl it was time to refinish. Using my brass bristle brush and a 3M autobody scuff pad I gently buffed the outer bowl. I carefully polished the stamping using micro mesh pads starting at 3200, finishing with 12000.

When it came to the staining I used Fiebing’s leather dye. USMC black was the base coat and Ox Blood was the finish coat. Both colours where flamed to set the dye into the grain. I then hand buffed the bowl before coating the bowl with Halcyon II wax. Once the wax had dried I hand buffed the bowl again. While staining the bowl I got some red stain on the cap which I removed with Autosol polish (I use it to polish the chrome bumpers on my Dodge Ram) which also cleans up the oxidation. With the outside finished it was time to finish the inside. For this I decided a coating of maple syrup and charcoal would be the best to help rebuild the new cake as the pipe is smoked. With a pipe cleaner placed in the draft hole the inner bowl was lined with maple syrup. Then the bowl was filled with charcoal. I gently tapped the top of the bowl with a spoon to remove any air gaps (not unlike how I may tap a bowl when I fill it with tobacco). I let the bowl dry before removing the excess charcoal. This was the finish of the work on the bowl. All that was left to finish was the stem. The stem was heavily oxidized so a soak in Oxiclean for a few hours. After removing the stem from its Oxi bath I cleaned the inner stem with bristle pipe cleaners and Isopropyl alcohol. There was a lot of chatter on the tip including some dents on the P lip. I heated the stem with a heat gun to raise the dents with some success. A quick sanding with 220 grit sand paper and a wipe with isopropyl alcohol I was ready to repair the dents that didn’t raise. Rubberized CA glue and charcoal powder were mixed and used to patch the dents. With a coarse file I reshaped the P lip. Starting with 220 grit sand paper I dry sanded the stem removing the excess glue. From there I dry sanded the stem with 600 grit. I then changed to wet sanding with 1000, 2000, and 3000 sand paper. I switch to dry sanding with 4000 – 12000 grit micro mesh pads. Once I was happy with the sanding, I polished the stem with blue diamond compound on a buffing wheel. To finish, I applied several coats of carnauba wax on a soft buffing wheel. A hand buff finished the stem work. All that was left was to assemble the stem and the bowl. Here is a shot of the two 309’s involved in this project. The donor being in the front. With guidance from certain pipe repair blogs, I have used their techniques and developed some of my own. A few years ago starting out buying estate pipes I never thought I’d be able to do repair work like this.

Just for the record, I have decided to just send the other 309 to Peterson to have a new cap installed. My attempt to save money ended up costing me more, but one can never have too many pipes. Right?

 

 

Cleaning up another new one for me – A Peterson’s Laxiom Apple


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table is Peterson’s Laxiom Apple with a Military bit and a vulcanite shank extension. My brother, Jeff picked this one up in Montana on a trip there is October. He was drawn to it because he had never seen a Peterson pipe like it before. It has a heavily rusticated finish on the bowl and shank and is stained a dark brown colour. There is a little translucency in the stain and you can see the wood underneath. While the finish is rough it has been buffed to take off the sharp edges so it has a very tactile finish on the bowl. There is a smooth band of unrusticated wood at the shank end next to the vulcanite shank extension. The pipe is stamped on a smooth portion of the underside of the shank with the words Peterson’s over Laxiom. The bowl had a light cake build up and light lava on the thin rim edge but was in great condition overall. The extension and the military style bit were both oxidized. On the left side of the stem it is stamped with the characteristic Peterson’s P and on the underside it is stamped Great Britain. There were some tooth marks on the stem and button on both sides. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he did his cleanup work. He took this close up photo of the bowl to show its condition. I am amazed that the pipe is in excellent condition overall with little wear or tear to the bowl and rim top. He also took some photos of the bowl from various angles to show the finish on the bowl. It is a unique and pretty little pipe. The next two photos show the stamping on the underside of the shank and the underside of the stem. Both are very clear and readable.The stem and shank extension/ferrule were oxidized with a deep oxidation that would take some time to remove. The condition is very clear in the photos below. The second photo shows tooth marks on the button itself and the third photo shows tooth marks and chatter next to the button.I did some hunting on-line to see if I could find any information on the brand and found a link on the pipesmagazine.com forum (http://pipesmagazine.com/forums/topic/peterson-laxiom-pipes). I did not find it too helpful in that the pipe I had in hand was not meerschaum but definitely wood. I quote it below in full because the one thing that was a clue was the Peterson Manx link that I knew was a fact.

I just picked up a couple Peterson Laxiom pipes that are quite unusual. Both are stamped “Great Britain” on the stem. Both are black rusticated models which reminded me of a black Pioneer Block Meerschaum in my collection, in large part due to their similar stem and ferrule design. The Petes are relatively lighter in weight and are not labeled as meerschaum.

I noticed that Laxey Pipes Ltd made African meerschaum bowls for Peterson and that it was a Peterson Manx partnership with a factory on the Isle of Man, which closed in 1981 when Peterson’s meerschaum production was moved to Dublin.

Putting two and two together, I’m guessing that Peterson Laxiom pipes are East African meerschaum, but it’s gnawing at me that they might be some sort of wild composite, like Brylon. I can say with almost 100% certainty that the draft hole was drilled and not molded, as one of the two is obviously off-center.

A post from a number of years ago regarding Laxiom pipes came up empty, even after inquiring with three longtime Peterson employees.

Now I had a link to Manx but I was pretty certain the pipe was not meerschaum. It felt and looked like briar. I wrote to a good friend and go to Peterson’s aficionado, Mark Irwin to see if he could help me with information. He wrote back with his usual great information and a couple of photos from a catalogue showing the brand. I quote Mark’s answer in part.

Hi Steve,

… let’s look at the Laxiom…Thanks for these great photos, first of all. I have never seen one with the vulcanite shank extension unscrewed, and did not know it worked that way.

When you complete your restoration, if you have time, would you send me a photo for the Encyclopedia chapter with the pipe broken down this way? One picture goes a long way in understanding how something is put together, and I want readers to see how the Laxiom worked.

Laxiom: 1971-1975 A briar line produced for Iwan Ries, black rustic or walnut smooth or sculpted finish with acrylic threaded (removable) ferrule and vulcanite Laxi P-Lip or fishtail mouthpiece, made at the Peterson-Manxman factory in seven shapes. See Laxi. 

…Laxi 1971-1975 Easy-push mouthpiece for Iwan Ries, often with ferrule, P-Lip or fishtail. Military stem extended into mortise of removable (threaded) acrylic ferrule. Stem could be re-ordered if broken.

I have included 2 pages for your use in the blog from the 1971 Iwan Ries catalog. I’m beginning a series of articles on the Peterson – IRC connection, but I don’t mind a bit if you print these before I do! … Best, Mark The first page above describes the pipes and the second shows the variety of offerings. I have enclosed the description in a red box. Here is what it says:

Laxiom, a giant step ahead. Select briar, fine vulcanite stem. Another Peterson’s of Dublin, from their Manxman Division in the Isle of Man. Our exclusive mind-opening model – once again brings pipes out of exile. No longer relegated to a drab, drag world. Sensible, bigger bowl capacity disproves the old thick-bowled concept that left a thimble sized tobacco chamber! Stems aren’t shackled either by stem repair traumas. They’re delivered, at last, by the great new Laxi stem – a 71 Instant-Replace, the bit worth its weight in gold. Evidence is convincing – this IRC pipe escapes yesterday’s uniformityisms into today’s land of self-expression. Both regular and Peterson Lip are interchangeable, instantly substituted. Here’s more unconventionalism that makes it – everywhere. Yesterday’s experienced knowledge + Today’s awareness and vision = a pipe with a lot of smoking to do! Only in shapes shown – prince, apple, Dublin, billiard, pot, full bowl design carved apple.

I8J1913 Walnut $11.50

I8J1914 Black Sandblast $9.50

I8J1913s Instant-Replace Stem, reg. $2.50

I8J1913sp Instant-Replace stem, Peterson’s Lip $3.50

I am almost feel I don’t need to say this anymore as you all know by now that my brother Jeff does the cleanup on the pipes that we get. It is amazing to start with pipes that are already cleaned and reamed. In fact on the local repairs I do I have to do all the work and I really miss his work. He did the work on this one as usual. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the last bit of cake with a Savinelli Fitsall reamer. He cleaned the internals of the shank and the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil soap and a tooth brush and was able to remove all of the dust, tars and oils built up on the briar. He was able to remove all of the tars and lava on the rim top and leave it looking very clean. He soaked the stem in an Oxyclean bath to raise the oxidation to the surface of the vulcanite. When it arrived it looked very clean. I took photos of the pipe before I started my restoration work. I took a photo of the bowl and rim to show its condition after his cleanup work. It looked really good.The Oyclean brought the oxidation to the surface of the stem and the tooth marks were very visible on both sides. This is when I wish I could order one of those Insta-Replace Lax stems and just put this one aside. But there are none available so it is a cleanup job.I pulled the stem off and put it in a bath of Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and left it to soak overnight. In the morning I removed the stem from the deoxidizer and wiped off the excess deoxidizer from the surface of the stem with a paper towel. I cleaned out the airway in the stem with pipe cleaners and alcohol to remove any remnants of the bath from that part of the stem. The photos below show the stem after the soak and rub down. It was still lightly oxidized but the oxidation was significantly less than when I started. I decided to work on it without further soaking. It would be a stem that I would have to hand work to get rid of all the oxidation. The tooth marks are visible on the top and underside of the stem in the photos.I noticed that while I was wiped the shank extension down with some Obsidian Oil there was a bit of give in the extension. Since I could find little information on the brand I had no idea what to expect in this case. I carefully turned the shank extension and it came unscrewed from the shank of the pipe. I was pleased in that it would be easier to work on with it separated. I took photos to show the parts of the pipe. With the shank extension removed I scrubbed out the airway with a pipe cleaner and alcohol to double check if there was debris in this section of the shank with the threaded tenon removed. It was very clean. I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm to deep clean the smooth finish, enliven and protect the briar. I hand rubbed it with my fingers and wiped it off with a soft cloth. I buffed the bowl with a horsehair shoe brush to raise the shine. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. I rubbed some Vaseline Petroleum Jelly on the threads of the shank extension to make it easier to turn into the shank and protect the threads in the process.I screwed the extension part way into the shank and polished it to remove the oxidation. I sanded it with 1500-4000 grit micromesh sanding pads and rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I buffed the shank extension with Red Tripoli and Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to polish it further and remove the stubborn oxidation that was still present. I took it back to the work table and sanded it with 6000-12000 grit micromesh pads, once again rubbing it down with oil after each pad. After the final pad I gave it a final coat of oil and let it dry. I repaired the deep bite marks in the surface of the button and the underside of the stem near the button. I cleaned up the surrounding area and wiped it down with alcohol. I filled them in with black superglue.After the repairs had dried I sanded them to blend them into the surface of the stem. I used 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the repaired areas and reshaped the top of the button.I polished out the sanding scratches and marks in the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-4000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I buffed the stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I brought it back to the table and sanded it with the final three 6000-12000 grit pads. After the final pad I gave it a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem back on the bowl and worked the pipe over on the buffing wheel using Blue Diamond to polish the bowl and shank. I lightly buffed the bowl so as not to leave behind polishing compound in the rustication. I used more pressure on the stem to raise the gloss on the vulcanite. The P stamp on the side of the stem was not deep enough to hold a repaint so I left it. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dark brown stain on the rustication of the apple shaped bowl works well with the rich black of the vulcanite stem. This is a unique pipe the likes of which I have never before seen. It is a beautiful and well-made pipe. The dimensions of the pipe are: Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 3/4 inches, Diameter of the bowl: 1 inches, Diameter of the chamber: 3/4 inches. Thanks for looking.

A Great Find – Peterson’s Mark Twain Rustic XL Boxed pipe


Blog by Steve Laug

My brother Jeff found this Peterson on one of his trips. He showed me the box and then the end of the box first. The end of the box said it was a Peterson Mark Twain XL Rustic. I could not wait to see what was inside. I am slow to get my hopes up because often what the box says and what is inside are very different. He opened the box and inside was a Peterson black satin pipe sock and the factory brochure. This was definitely looking up. He took the pipe out and it was exactly what the box said it was – a Peterson’s Mark Twain Rustic XL. Jeff took pictures of the pipe to show the overall condition of the find before he started his cleanup work on it. The pipe was dirty with a lot of dust and debris in the crevices of the rustic finish and dull looking on the high spots. The bowl had a thick, hard cake and there was a heavy lava overflow on the rim top filling in the beveled area and the crevices in the finish. The inner and outer edges of the bowl looked to be in good condition.The underside of the bowl had a smooth spot that was stamped Peterson’s over Mark Twain. Next to that it was stamped Made in the Republic of Ireland.The pipe had a silver band/ferrule on the end of the shank that bore the typical Peterson’s of Dublin stamping and was stamped Sterling Silver. On the underside it had three hallmarks. The Irish sterling silver hallmarks are first a Hibernia mark (looks like a seated woman facing left) second a fineness mark (an Irish harp) finally the date code comes after those, in the form of a letter. In this case it is the upper case italic B.The hallmarks gave a good indication of the age of the pipe. I turned to Pipedia to have a look at the article by my old friend Mike Leverette to get a feel for the dating of the Mark Twain series. I knew there were several releases of the series but could not remember the dates. Here is the link to the article: (https://pipedia.org/wiki/A_Peterson_Dating_Guide;_A_Rule_of_Thumb). I have enclosed the section of the article pertaining in a red box in the pic below.I found a Peterson Sterling Hallmark chart on the web to help pin down the date associated with the Italic uppercase B. I have circled the letter on the chart to the left with a red circle. The pipe is clearly identified as a 1987 Mark Twain. That and the fact that it did not have any number on the shank puts it squarely in the Un-numbered Edition noted above from Mike’s article. That edition of the series was made between 1983 and 1989 so this one falls squarely in the middle of the series release.

The stem was lightly oxidized but the P stamp was very clear and deeply stamped in the vulcanite material. There were light tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the stem near the button and shelf.I could not wait to see the pipe after Jeff cleaned it up. He did his usual thorough clean up on the bowl and stem. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the last bit of cake with a Savinelli Fitsall reamer. He cleaned the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs – scrubbing out the sump area that is generally very dirty. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil soap and a tooth brush and was able to remove all of the dust and debris in the nooks and crannies of the rustication. He was able to remove all of the tars and lava on the rim top and leave it looking very clean. He soaked the stem in an Oxyclean bath to raise the oxidation to the surface of the vulcanite. I took photos of the pipe when it arrived. I opened the box that the pipe came in like a kid on Christmas morning. I wanted to see what he had been able to do with this pipe.I took the pipe out of the box and took photos of it before I did my part of the restoration work on the old Peterson. Other than the oxidized stem it looked pretty good.He did an amazing job on the rim top. It had come entirely clean under his workmanship on it. The inner bevel on the rim was flawless and the lava was gone leaving a clean bowl and rim. The underside of the bowl looked good and the stamping was very clear as I had surmised in the pre-cleaning photos.I took some photos of the stem to show the oxidation and the tooth chatter and marks.I put the stem to soak in the Before & After Stem Deoxidizer and left it overnight so that it could work its magic on the oxidation. I worked on the bowl while it soaked.I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm to clean out the deep pits and crevices of the finish and enliven and protect the briar. I hand rubbed it with my fingers and used a shoe brush to get deep into the grooves. I rubbed it off with a soft cloth and buffed it with a microfiber cloth to give it a bit of a shine. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. In the morning I removed the stem from the deoxidizer and wiped off the excess deoxidizer from the surface of the stem with a paper towel. I cleaned out the airway in the stem with pipe cleaners and alcohol to remove any remnants of the bath from that part of the stem. The photos below show the stem after the soak and rub down.I sanded out the tooth chatter and tooth marks on both sides of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper and was able to remove all of the damaged areas.I polished out the sanding scratches and marks in the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-4000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I buffed the stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I brought it back to the table and sanded it with the final three 6000-12000 grit pads. After the final pad I gave it a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. I used some acrylic paint to touch up the stamping on the stem. I puddled the paint over the stamping with small paint brush. Once the paint dried I polished it off with a cotton pad and 6000-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads.  I polished the silver band with a jeweler’s cloth to remove any tarnish and polish the band to a rich shine. The stamping really stood out with the polishing. I put the stem back on the bowl and worked the pipe over on the buffing wheel using Blue Diamond to polish the bowl and shank. I used a gentle touch on the rusticated briar when I was buffing it so that the nooks and crannies of the rustication would not be filled in and make more work for me. I buffed the stem with a harder touch to raise the gloss on the rubber. I gave the bowl multiple coats Conservator’s Wax and buffed it with a shoe brush. I gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The combination of brown and red stain on the rustication and smooth rim and base of the pipe along with the rich black of the vulcanite stem make this an interesting and beautiful pipe. The dimensions of the pipe are: Length: 6 1/2 inches, Height: 2 inches, Diameter of the bowl: 1 3/8 inches, Diameter of the chamber: 7/8 inches. I will be adding this one to the rebornpipes store shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection. It will make a fine addition to the rack. If you are interested email me at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.