Blog by Steve Laug
Jeff and I often purchase pipe bowl/stummels of brands that we like and want to restore. These have included a lot of different bowls. If you have followed us for long you know that some of these have included Peterson’s, Dunhill’s, and a wide range of Danish and English pipes. The next pipe I chose to work on is another Peterson’s System Standard. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Peterson’s [arched over] System [arched over] Standard. On the right side of the shank it is a Made in the Republic of Ireland (in 3 lines) [over] the shape number 307. The nickel ferrule is stamped K&P [over] three faux hallmarks. That is followed by the stamping Peterson’s. The bowl was a dirty with some light cake and an overflow of lava on the rim top. The inside edge of the bowl was in good condition but I would know more once I remove the cake and lava. It did not have a stem so I would go through my stock and find one that would fit. The nickel ferrule was lightly oxidized but otherwise looked pretty good. I took a close up photo of the rim top and bowl. I wanted to show how the thickness of the cake in the bowl and the lava on the rim top. You can see that somewhere recently it had been reamed and then resmoked enough to start building a new cake in the bowl. The inner edge was in good condition as was the outer edge. I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It is readable as noted above. I took some photos of the stem that I had chosen for the bowl. It is a properly shaped new Peterson’s Fishtail stem that looks great on the bowl.I am including the link to the 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 System Line. On page 314 it had the following information.
Peterson’s over System – Pipes stamped Peterson’s System have been documented as early as 1920. A ’20 brochure is the earliest printed reference to the Peterson System. The pipe came in three quality grades (no mark, 2, or 3) until 1959, thereafter as De Luxe (no mark), Premier (the old 2) and Standard (the old 3).
Peterson’s over System over Standard (c1945-)
From this I learned that I was dealing with a late Republic Era System Standard 307 that because of the stamping was made between 1945 and the present. Now it was time to work on the pipe.
I set the stem aside as it was in perfect condition and turned to work on the bowl. I decided to clean up the bowl first. I reamed it with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife and then sanded the bowl walls with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel.I scrubbed the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime around the bowl sides and top. I rinsed it off with warm water and dried if off with a towel. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to remove the lava on the rim top and smooth out the inner edge of the bowl.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. There was a dark spot on the top of the shank toward the bowl that appears to be a deep stain rather than a burn mark. It is solid and makes me wonder if the was just a spot on the briar that took the dark understain more deeply than the rest. At this point it suddenly dawned on me that I had not cleaned out the shank and sump on the bowl. Sometimes when I get captivated by the way the grain is coming alive and the pipe is coming together this can happen. Oh well! I backed up and cleaned the shank and sump with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and isopropyl alcohol. I worked on them until the cleaners showed no more tars or oils and the pipe smelled clean. I polished the nickel ferrule with a jeweler’s cloth to raise the shine and to protect the metal. The shine of the metal is a great contrast between the black of the stem and the rich browns of the briar.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. Since the stem was new condition the pipe was basically finished. I am excited to put the final touches on this Made in the Republic of Ireland Peterson’s System Standard 307 Bent Billiard with a Fishtail Stem. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with beautiful mixed grain all around it. Added to that the polished black vulcanite stem combined with the bowl and made a stunning pipe. This smooth Classic Peterson’s System Standard 307 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: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 55 grams/1.94 ounces. It is a beautiful pipe that I will soon be putting on the rebornpipes store in the Irish Pipe Makers section. If you are interested in adding it to your collection send me an email or a message. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.