Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe I removed from box of Peterson’s Pipes that I have to work on was a Peterson’s System Standard pipe. Once again we are getting into pipes that have been here for a long time and pipes that neither Jeff or I have any memory of where it came or when we found it. It was stamped on both sides of the shank. On the left side it read Peterson’s [over] System [over] Standard. On the right side it was stamped Made in the Republic of Ireland (3 lines) and under that was the shape number 309. The shape is one of the most familiar of Peterson’s shapes, taking the Irish maker’s signature shank stoutness to an extreme: the shank here is nearly as wide across as the bowl itself. The nickel ferrule was in great condition and was stamped K&P [over] Petersons. Judging from the look of the rim top and inner edge I would guess that it had a thick cake when we bought it and the top was heavily coated in lava. The rim was out of round a bit. The vulcanite stem had been oxidized and had tooth marks and chatter near the button on both sides. Obviously we did not have pictures of the pipe before Jeff’s clean up so I took these photos of the pipe when I brought it to my work table. I took close up photos of the bowl, rim and the new stem. You can see the reamed bowl and the darkening, remaining lava and damage on the rim top and the inner edge. The new stem is in perfect condition and will only need to be polished.I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank and the nickel ferrule. All are clear and readable as noted above. I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo to give a sense of the proportions of the pipe. It is really quite nice looking.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 have included a bit of the pertinent history here.
1950 – 1989 The Republic Era – From 1950 to the present time, the stamp for this era is “Made in the Republic of Ireland” in a block format generally in three lines but two lines have been used with or without Republic being abbreviated.
During the 1950’s and 60’s the Kapp & Peterson company was still in the ownership of the Kapp family. However 1964 saw the retiral of the company Managing Director Frederick Henry(Harry) Kapp.
Pipedia also included a section of information on the System pipes including a diagram of the sytems look (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Peterson#Republic_Era_Pipes). I quote a section of the article in part and include a link to another article on Pipedia on the System pipe.
The Peterson System pipes are the standard bearers of the Peterson pipe family, famous for the excellent smoking pleasure they provide. Often imitated but never equaled, the Peterson System smokes dry, cool and sweet, thanks to the scientific effectiveness of the original design. The heart of the System is the unique graduated bore in the mouthpiece. This makes the suction applied by the smoker 15 times weaker by the time it reaches the tobacco chamber. The result is that all the moisture ﬂows into the reservoir and, thus cannot reach the smoker’s mouth. The Peterson Lip further enhances the effectiveness of the graduated bore by directing the ﬂow of smoke upwards and away from the tongue. This achieves a uniquely even distribution of smoke and virtually eliminates any chance of tonguebite or bitterness. Furthermore, the shape is contoured so that the tongue rests comfortably in the depression under the opening. Each “PLip” mouthpiece is made from Vulcanite. For the Peterson System pipes to work properly, the stem/tenon has to have an extension, the tip of which will pass by the draft hole from the bowl and into the sump. Upon the smoker drawing in smoke, this extension then directs the smoke down and around the sump to dispense a lot of the moisture before the smoke enters the extension and stem. On the System Standards and other less expensive systems, this extension with be made of Vulcanite turned integrally with the stem. On the more expensive System pipes this extension will be made of metal which screws into the Vulcanite stem. This extension on the earlier pipes will be of brass and the newer pipes will be of aluminium. Most smokers not knowing this function of the metal extension, assumes that it is a condenser/stinger and will remove it as they do with the metal condensers of Kaywoodie, etc. Should you have a System pipe with this metal extension, do not remove it for it will make the System function properly and give you a dryer smoke (https://pipedia.org/wiki/A_closer_look_at_the_famous_Peterson_Standard_System_Pipe).
With that information in hand I knew what I was dealing with in terms of the stamping and the age of this pipe. I knew from the information that the pipe was made during the Late Republic Era between 1950 and the present day. Personally I think this is probably a 60s-70s pipe. Now it was time to work on the pipe.
Jeff had thoroughly cleaned up the pipe. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the sump in the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the stem with Soft Scrub to remove as much of the oxidation and calcification as possible. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water.
I decided to work on the damage on the top and the inner edge of the bowl first. I started the work with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the inner bevel of the rim. Then moved on to using a wooden ball and a piece of 220 grit sandpaper to give the edge a uniform bevel and smooth out the rim top. Once I had finished I think that it looked much better. I wiped off the varnish coat with acetone and a cotton pad to remove the spotty finish and to also blend in the sanded rim top. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad to remove the grit. The bowl began to take on a rich shine. It is going to be a beauty. I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the briar with my finger tips. I let it sit for 10 minutes and the Balm did its magic. It enlivens, cleans and preserves the briar. It certainly brought this bowl back to life. I buffed it off with a clean cloth and took the following photos. I set the bowl aside and turned to work on the stem. I “painted” the tooth marks on the stem with the flame of a Bic Lighter to lift them. I was able to lift them all to some degree. I filled in those that remained with clear CA glue. I used a small file to flatten the repairs. I sanded them smooth with 220 grit sandpaper. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. This Republic Era Ireland Peterson’s System Standard Bent 309 with a Nickel Ferrule and a vulcanite P-lip stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The beautiful grain that shines through the polished finish is stunning. As the pipe is smoked the patina should develop and look even better. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Peterson’s System Standard 309 Bent fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 53 grams/1.83 ounces. I will be adding the pipe to the Irish Pipe Makers Section of the rebornpipes store. If you are interested in purchasing this pipe send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.