Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe on the work table came to me in a group of six pipes I bought from a fellow in Eastern Canada. It included two Canadian made pipes – a Blatter of Montreal and a Trypis. In the mix was an English made Charatan second stamped Mountbatten and two Peterson’s and an Irish Second. The pipes were well used and all had been smoked. The seller sent me a photo of the pipes so that I could see what he was selling. We discussed some options together and arrived at an agreement and the pipes were on their way to me in Vancouver.There was something about the classic Zulu, the top pipe in the right column that grabbed my attention and made me want to work on it next. It arrived in its original box and sock. I brought it to the worktable and examined it before starting my work. It had an oval shank, a stamped silver band and a vulcanite taper fishtail stem. The pipe is stamped on the top side of the shank and reads Peterson’s [arched over] of Dublin [over] Kildare. On the right side of the shank is stamped the shape number 268. On the fancy silver band on the shank end it is stamped on the top and reads Peterson [over] Dublin. On the underside it is stamped Peterson over three hallmarks – a seated woman (Hibernia), an oval with 925 centered in it (quality of the silver used) and the letter D (the date letter). The finish had some grime ground into the finish on the bowl but still looked to be in good condition. The bowl was thickly caked with some light lava on the top at the back and some darkening on the top and the inner edge of the rim. The stem had some calcification and tooth chatter on the top and underside near the button. There was a “P” logo on the top of the stem. It had promise but it was dirty. I took some photos of the pipe before I started my cleanup work. I took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the overflow of lava on the rim top. I also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the oxidation and the chatter and tooth marks. I took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar around the pipe looked like. There is some stunning grain under the grime. I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank and on the band. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable. I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the proportion of this oval shank Zulu.I am including the information from Pipedia’s article on Peterson pipes. It is a great read in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Peterson).
I turned to “The Peterson Pipe” by Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg to get some background on the Peterson’s Kildare Line. On page 314 it had the following information.
Kildare (1965-) First issue of line with matte-finish in Classic Range shapes, P-Lip and fishtail mouthpiece. Second issue C.1979 as Kildare Patch, with rusticated patches on pipe surface. Third issue 2010, matte-brown, P-Lip or fishtail mouthpiece, no band. Fourth issue 2011-, burgundy sandblast finish, nickel army mount, fishtail mouthpiece, exclusive to smokingpipes.com.
The information given above has an element of confusion for me. It seems that the pipe in question is from the second issue C.1979 as this one is probably made after than date. It says that the pipes were issued as Kildare Patch with rusticated patches. However this one does not have the patches it is smooth around the bowl sides. It also has a silver band on the shank rather than a nickel one.
I wanted to be able to interpret the hallmarks on the silver band. I have captured a portion of the chart that include below that helps to clarify the meaning of each of the three hallmarks. I like the Hallmark feature on the higher end Peterson pipes with Sterling silver bands. It helps to pin down the date even further.
“Hibernia” seated, arm on harp represents Ireland (country of manufacture). There have been minor design changes over the years.
The “Harp Crowned” is the fineness mark denoting the high quality (purity) of the silver, and was used in a variety of designs until October 1992 when it was replaced by the new European Standard or Millesimal mark which gives the purity or quality of the silver in parts per thousand.
The Date Letter Code for the year in which the silver was hallmarked (see the chart below). In certain years a fourth hallmark is applied – for example 1966 – a Sword of Light for the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rising 1973. There were also other marks used for the fourth hallmark.
I turned to a blog I wrote on rebornpipes that had a Peterson’s catalogue and a hallmarking chart (https://rebornpipes.com/tag/peterson-hallmark-chart/). I have included it below. On the chart I looked for an upper case italic F in a hexagonal cartouche. I also included a enlargement of the chart and drawn a box around the “F” in blue in the second photo below showing a close up of the dates. From that I am able to date the pipe to 1991. Now I knew I was dealing with a pipe made in 1991. It really is a beautiful pipe. Now it was time to work on the pipe itself.
I started my work on the pipe by reaming the bowl the pipe with a PipNet Pipe Reamer using the first and second and third cutting heads to remove the cake. I cleaned up the remnants of the cake on the walls with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I finished by sanding the bowl smooth with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel. I scrubbed the externals of the pipe with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. I rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. The bowl and rim top cleaned up really well with the lava coat removed. The inner edge of the rim was in good condition. I cleaned up the inner edge of the rim with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I was able to remove almost all of the darkening with the sandpaper. I cleaned out the inside of the mortise, shank and the airway in the stem with isopropyl alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. The pipe had a strong aromatic smell just like the Peterson’s Lovat I just did. It smelled like a mix of fruit and vanilla so it needed to be deghosted. I filled the bowl with cotton boles and twisted a plug into the shank end. I used and ear syringe to fill the bowl with alcohol. The alcohol will eventually evaporate from the bowl wicking out the oils and tars in the briar into the cotton. I let it sit over night and in the morning pulled it out and took photos of the cotton at that point. I polished the smooth briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I sanded out the tooth marks on the stem with 220 grit sand paper and started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I polished the stem with Before and After Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I rubbed it down with some more Obsidian Oil. I touched up the P stamp on the stem with White Acrylic Fingernail polish. I worked it into the stamp with a tooth pick. Once the acrylic hardened I scraped off the excess and buffed the stem with 3000-6000 grit micromesh pads. I wiped the stem down with some Obsidian Oil.It was great to finish this 1991 Peterson’s of Dublin Kildare 268 Zulu. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with deep sandblast all around it. Added to that the polished black vulcanite stem was beautiful. This Silver Banded Petersons of Dublin Kildare 268 Zulu is great looking and the pipe feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 40 grams/1.41 ounces. It is a beautiful pipe and one that will soon be on the rebornpipes store in the Irish Pipe Makers Section of the store. If you want to add it to your collection let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.