Tag Archives: restaining

Rebirthing a Lovely Late Republic Era Peterson’s Kapet 14S Saddle Stem Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen is a smooth Peterson’s pipe, a straight, saddle stem Billiard. It was also incredibly dirty. This Billiard is a real beauty under the grime with some great grain around the bowl. The grime was ground into the finish on the bowl sides. The contrast of the brown stains gave the grain a sense of depth. It was stamped on the left side of the shank and read Peterson’s [over] Kapet. The right side had the shape number 14S stamped near the bowl. Centered on the right side of the shank is stamped Made in the Republic of Ireland (in three lines). Neither Jeff nor I remember where we got the pipe or when. So we have no photos of the pipe before clean up. Judging from the damage on the rim top and edges I would guess it had been a mess. The stem had tooth marks and some oxidation. But Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet reamer and cut back the cake back to the bare briar. He cleaned up the walls with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime from the finish. He worked on the rim top lava and darkening with the soap and tooth brush. He scrubbed the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior with Soft Scrub and then soaked it in Before & After Deoxidizer. He washed it off with warm water to remove the Deoxidizer. The pipe looked far better when it arrived. I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show how well it had cleaned up. The rim top photo looks good but there is some burn damage on the inner edge at the back of the bowl and all around the inner edge there is darkening. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the light tooth marks and chatter on the surface near the button. I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. You can see that it is stamped as noted above. It is clear and readable. He took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It is clear and readable and reads as noted above. I took the pipe apart and took a photo of the pipe. It is a good looking pipe and has some great cross grain on the sides of 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). There was a short note toward the bottom of the page about the series. It is definitely referring to the newer line that came out later. I quote:

I turned to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Peterson) to first pin down a date that the pipe was made. I knew that the Made in Ireland stamp would give me that. I quote:

As usual when trying to get accurate facts in regard to Peterson history, something will jump up and get in the way. They are missing many of their records. The following is the best that we can do for a guide to the myriad markings during the period 1922 – 1949. Prior to 1920 it was rare for a country of origin to be stamped on the pipe, just Peterson’s Dublin on the band. After 1921/22, if it is stamped “MADE IN IRELAND” and the “Made in” is stacked over “Ireland” or “MADE IN EIRE” or several other forms, it was made between 1922 and 1938. A considerable number of Peterson pipes were stamped “Irish Free State”. From about 1930 to 1949, most of the pipes (those which were stamped) were stamped “Made in Ireland”.” If the stamp reads “MADE IN IRELAND” in a circle, the pipe was made between 1939 and 1948. These are all “Pre-Republic” pipes. I can tell you that the mark “Irish Free State” was adopted in 1922; and replaced by “Eire” in 1937 and then by “Republic of Ireland” in 1949.

That gave me a date for the pipe – it was made between 1922 and 1938 as can be proved by the Made in Ireland stamp on the right side of the shank.

I turned to “The Peterson Pipe” by Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg to get some background on the Kapet line. On page 305 it had the following information.

Kapet (1925-87) Line first described in 1925 brochure and featured in occasional catalogs through ’87. Early specimens will be stamped IRISH over FREE STATE. Described in 1937 catalog as available in dark plum or natural finish. Featured an aluminum “inner tube” or stinger until ’45. Mid-century specimens may be stamped MADE IN over IRELAND. Specimens from 1970 on may have mounts with hallmarks.

I knew that I was dealing with a Late Republic Era Kapet. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

I decided to address the rim top damage first. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to give the edge a slight bevel to further minimize the damage to the rim. I then used a piece of sandpaper and a wooden ball to even the bevel and give the rim a uniform look. I think that it is definitely better once I finished. I wiped down the bowl and rim top with acetone on a cotton pad to remove the spotty finish on the bowl and make blending in the sanded rim top simpler. I polished the briar rim top and edges along with the rest of the briar with micromesh sanding pads –dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and using a damp cloth after each 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 set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the tooth marks with the flame of a lighter to lift them. They came up significantly. I filled in the tooth marks that remained on both sides with clear super glue. I let the repairs cure. Once they had cured I recut the edge and flattened the repairs with a flat file. I sanded them with 220 grit sandpaper. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I wiped it down with some Obsidian Oil. I touched up the “P” stamp on the stem with an acrylic white fingernail polish. I worked it into the stamp with a toothpick. I let it sit for a few minutes then scraped off the excess.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I am always excited to finish a restoration and this Peterson’s Kapet 14S Saddle Stem Billiard is no exception. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the polished black vulcanite stem. This Classic looking Peterson’s Kapet 14S Billiard 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 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 30 grams/1.09 ounces. It is a beautiful pipe and one that will be on the Irish Pipe Makers Section of the rebornpipes store soon. If you are interested in adding 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.

Bringing a Dunhill Shell Briar Back to Its Best


Blog by Kenneth Lieblich

Ah, Dunhill. It is a name that inspires awe and warms the cockles of the hearts of many pipe smokers worldwide. Today, I am pleased to show the restoration of a wonderful shell briar. I acquired it in an auction on the Canadian Prairies. Other than that, I don’t know much of its provenance. What I can say definitively is that this must have been a great smoker and a much-loved pipe – it had been very thoroughly used. Rightly or wrongly, I instinctively have a certain respect for Dunhill pipes, and I am especially keen to restore this one so that the next smoker can enjoy it. As I mentioned this is a Dunhill Shell Briar and the markings confirm this. It is a beautiful, classic billiard shape. One of the ways I can tell that this was a much-loved pipe is that the markings on the underside of the shank were quite worn. As you can see, I can only make out so much. On the left-hand side is the model number, 39. Immediately to the right of this is Dunhill [over] Shell Briar. Then, to the right of that, is Made in [over] England. I cannot make out the year suffix, but my instincts tell me that it’s probably from the 1960s. Steve concurs with this. Additionally, this is a size three pipe. Normally, there would be an encircled 3, followed by an S. In this case, these marks are not visible, but I compared it with other Dunhills of size three and they are identical.The image below from Pipephil seems to confirm my suspicions about this pipe. The history of Dunhill’s shell briar pipes is fascinating. If you are interested in learning more, have a read of this article from Pipedia.This pipe was pretty darn filthy. As you can see, the stem had the usual wear-and-tear – some scratches, etc. There were no notable tooth dents, which pleasantly surprised me. There was some calcification, but not much oxidation. I figured the inside would be dirty because the inner tube certainly was!Meanwhile, the stummel was in lovely condition, but very dirty inside. The shank was dark and dank, and the bowl had lots of cake and lava. Who knows what horrors I might find inside? Spoiler alert: it wasn’t good. The inner tube was first on my list. It was being quite stubborn about coming out of the tenon, so I opted to warm the stem and inner tube with my heat gun. This provided just enough softening of the internal goo to allow me to pull it out. It then went for a soak in some lemon-infused isopropyl alcohol. I let it sit for several hours and then cleaned it off and it looked much improved. I then finished it with a quick polish and moved on. I wiped the stem with Murphy’s Oil Soap on some cotton pads. There was calcification there and I needed to remove it. Fortunately, although the stem was pretty dirty inside, it was not as bad as I had feared. I had no problem cleaning out the inside with pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol.I then wiped down the stem with SoftScrub cleaner to remove some surface oxidation. Once this process was done, the stem went for an overnight soak in the Pipe Stem Oxidation Remover. As the name suggests, this liquid removes oxidation, but, more than anything, it helps draw oxidation to the surface of the vulcanite. This allows me to clean the oxidation off in a couple of ways: both by applying a mild abrasive cleaner to the surface, then by sanding the stem. The following day, I cleaned all of the de-oxidizing mess off with alcohol, pipe cleaners, et cetera. The oxidation had migrated to the surface and would be fairly straightforward to remove. I scrubbed with SoftScrub on some cotton pads to remove the leftover oxidation.Then I used a set of nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) which gradually erased the ravages of time and brought out the stem’s lovely black lustre. For the last five pads, I also lightly coated the stem with Obsidian Pipe Stem Oil in between each scrubbing. At last, I set the finished stem aside. Off to work on the stummel! It was pretty dirty after all these years, so I used cotton rounds and some Murphy’s Oil Soap to scrub the outside of the stummel and a toothbrush with Murphy’s for the lava on the rim of the pipe. This had the benefit of revealing a bit more of the markings on the underside of the shank.  The bowl needed a thorough reaming, so I used the KleenReem to scrape off the built-up cake and I followed that with 220-grit sandpaper taped to a dowel to eliminate as much as possible. Generally, I prefer to sand the chamber down to bare briar. When restoring, it is important to ensure that there is no damage to the briar in the bowl, under the cake. Normally, there is none, but today…The walls of the pipe were just fine, but – horror of horrors! – the previous owner had clearly cleaned the bottom of the bowl with a jackhammer. There were some deep gouges in the heel. The gouges are hard to make out in the photos, so take my word for it. This is a straightforward fix, just time-consuming.However, before I addressed that issue, I needed to clean the shank and bowl thoroughly. I proceeded to use Q-tips, pipe cleaners, and lemon-infused isopropyl alcohol. Holy moly – this was an incredibly dirty pipe. Not sure it had ever seen a pipe cleaner before. Just look at the pile of Q-tips and pipe cleaners below!Then, to further clean the inside of the pipe, I put the stem and stummel back together and used my pipe retort system. This system uses boiling isopropyl alcohol and a vacuum (i.e. a void, not the household appliance) to clean the interior of a pipe. As you can see by the brownish colour of the alcohol, the retort worked well. I managed to extract lots of otherwise inaccessible filth from inside the pipe. Once I followed that up by cleaning the insides with some Castile soap and tube brushes. Now for the reconstructive surgery. I prepared some J.B. Weld epoxy for the purposes of filling the gouges in the briar. The great thing about J.B. Weld is that, once cured, it is totally inert, heat resistant to well beyond pipe temperatures, and hard as rock. I used a folded pipe cleaner and awkwardly smeared the stuff into the breach – then left it to cure overnight. On the morrow, I needed to remove all the excess epoxy from the bowl. I only wanted epoxy in the repair and nowhere else. This is a tricky and tedious exercise, but I used a combination of techniques to accomplish it. First, I used my Dremel (with different attachments) to remove most of the excess material. Second, I went back to my 200-grit sandpaper on a dowel to sand it down to where I wanted it. Naturally, the bottom of the bowl was much narrower than the top, so I acquired a couple of thinner dowels in order to sand where I needed to. I am very pleased with the results. The repair is exactly as big as it needs to be – and no bigger. After the pipe’s use over the years (and my restoration), the rim had lost some of its colour. I opted to use my furniture stain pens to match the colour of the rest of the stummel. Voilà! Looks terrific.At this point, I rubbed some Before & After Restoration Balm into the briar and left it to sit for 15 minutes or so. I brushed it with a horsehair brush and buffed it with a microfibre cloth. The BARB does wonderful things to the wood, and I really like the sheen on the sandblast. I then coated the entire inside of the bowl with a thin coat of a mixture of activated charcoal and my wife’s homemade yogurt. It hardens overnight and provides a good, slightly rough surface for a new cake to build. Now, the bowl can be used again as if nothing happened. Then it was off for a trip to the bench polisher. A few coats of Conservator’s Wax (from Lee Valley) were just what this pipe needed. Boy – that wax really makes this pipe pop! The lovely shine made the wood look absolutely beautiful. The sandblast looks fantastic and is ready to be enjoyed again by the next owner. I thoroughly enjoyed bringing this Dunhill Shell Briar 39 Billiard back to life and I am pleased to announce that this pipe is for sale! If you are interested in acquiring it for your collection, please have a look in the “British” Pipe Section of the store here on Steve’s website. You can also email me directly at kenneth@knightsofthepipe.com. The approximate dimensions of the Dunhill are as follows: length 5 in. (125 mm); height 1¾ in. (43 mm); bowl diameter 1⅛ in. (29 mm); chamber diameter ¾ in. (19 mm). The weight of the pipe is ⅞ oz. (25 g). I hope you enjoyed reading the story of this restoration as much as I enjoyed restoring it. If you are interested in more of my work, please follow me here on Steve’s website or send me an email. Thank you very much for reading and, as always, I welcome and encourage your comments.

Restoring & Restemming the last the 8 Peterson Bowls – Republic Era System Standard 314


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. Awhile ago Jeff and I were sorting through the bowls in our collection and pulled out eight Peterson’s bowls that were dirty and stemless. A friend referred us to a contact named Silas Walls, of Walls Pipe Repair in Wallace, Idaho, USA as he seems to have a good supply of original Peterson’s stems. Our friend has had him fit stems for some of his Petes and was very happy with the work. We made contact with him and sent him eight bowls for restemming.

In the photo above I show the 8 restemmed pipes. I have marked the 7 I have worked on already with a red X). This eighth one that we cleaned up before mailing them out was a bowl that we received on 06/05/21 from a friend in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Peterson’s [arched over] System [over] Standard. On the right side of the shank it is stamped Made in the Republic of Ireland (three lines) over the shape number 314. The ferrule is stamped K&P [over] Peterson’s. The before photos of this bowl were on a corrupted memory card and are gone. But needless to say the pipe was just as bad as the rest of this lot.

As with the others before this one I turned to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Peterson) and read through the article before starting on my work. I found an interesting note in the middle of the page. I quote the pertinent section below and have highlights some important information in red below.

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.

Since I found a new stem it was now it was time to work on this final bowl of the lot. Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet reamer and cut back the cake back to the bare briar. He cleaned up the walls with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime from the finish. He worked on the rim top lava and darkening with the soap and tooth brush. It looked much better. I took pictures of the bowl without the new stem. It is a great looking piece of briar even with the gouges and marks on sides, top and heel of the bowl. The nickel ferrule has a few dents but otherwise looks very good. When the pipes came back to Jeff with their new stems they looked great. When the pipes arrived here I checked them out. Here is what I found. The first six pipes from the lot were flawless and quite beautiful. The last two – this 314 and a 313 I reworked previously, looked great at first glance but upon further examination it was clear that the stems were not Peterson’s style stems. The draught on the P-lip portion of the stem is on the top of the stem, but in the case of these two stems the airway came straight out the end of the stem like a Wellington pipe. I was not happy with them. I have already replaced the stem on the 313 and this 314 was the only one I still needed a stem for. Today I was gifted some Peterson’s P-lip stems and one was what I was looking for. It fit well but I would need to give it a bit more of a bend for a perfect look. With the new stem chosen, I turned to work on the damage on the top and the inner edge of the bowl. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the inner bevel of the rim and remove the damage on the rim top. Once I had finished I think that it looked much better. I filled in the deep gouges in the bowl on the right heel and the underside of the heel with CA glue and also briar dust. I sanded them smooth with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them in. They looked significantly better. I stained the sanded areas with a Cherry stain pen to match the surrounding area around the rest of the bowl sides, top and heel.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 my attention to the stem. Since it was a new stem I did not need to polish it. The stem was looking very good. I heated the stem with a lighter to soften the vulcanite and bent it to the shape that it needed to be for the shape of the bowl. I held it in place to let it cool and set the shape. It looked very good.  This Republic Era Ireland Peterson’s System Standard Bent 314 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 314 Bent Billiard 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: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 44 grams/1.55 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.

Fresh Life for a Beautiful Butz-Choquin Maitre Pipier Flamme Extra Horn


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe in the queue came from a group of pipes a friend here in Vancouver passed on to me to restore and sell for him. The pipe is a beautiful Butz Choquin Maitre Pipier Flamme Extra pipe. It is almost a Danish shaped horn/scoop with a triangular shank and a uniquely shaped bowl. The entire pipe had some beautiful flame grain around the bowl and birdseye grain on bottom and top of the shank. The rim top was clean other than some burn or darkening damage on the back inner edge of the bowl. I could see that the carver had done an amazing job utilizing the block of briar to maximize the grain. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Butz-Choquin [over] Maitre Pipier [over] Flame [over] Extra. On the right side of the shank it is stamped Fait Main over St. Claude France. On the underside of the shank it is stamped J Berrod. The stem is vulcanite and has the inset BC circle on the left side of the uniquely fit triangular taper stem. I took photos of the rim top and edges and the stem surfaces. The rim top looked very good with some great birdseye. The inner edge had some burn damage and some darkening on the back inner edge. The stem had some oxidation, calcification and tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It read as noted above and is very clear. I removed the stem from the bowl and took a picture of the pipe to show the general look and proportion of the pipe. It is quite pretty in terms of grain and shape. The stem is definitely a fitted blank rather than a hand cut one. I have worked on another Maitre Pipier not too long ago and wrote up a blog on it. It was a nice looking Calabash (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/02/14/a-butz-choquin-maitre-pipier-hand-made-calabash/). On that blog I included some overall information on the brand and I will repeat it here to set the stage.

Butz-Choquin was a brand that I was familiar with having worked on quite a few of them over the years. I decided to check on a few sites to refresh the memory of the brand. I turned first to Pipephil and as usual the site gives a great summary (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-butzchoquin.html). I quote:

The origin of the brand reaches back to 1858 when Jean-Baptiste Choquin in collaboration with his son-in-law Gustave Butz created their first pipe in Metz (France). Since 1951 Butz-Choquin Site officiel Butz Choquin, pipes de Saint-Claude jura. BC pipe de bruyere luxe is a brand of the Berrod-Regad group (Saint-Claude, France).

I also found the line of Fait Main Maitre Pipier pipes listed. The pipe I am working on is stamped the same way as the one in the screen capture below. The shape is different but the rest is the same. The capture has a small paragraph on the line that reads as follows: Pipes of the “Maitre Pipier” séries were crafted by Paul Lanier until he retired and after him by Alain Albuisson.I turned then to Pipedia to see what I could find out there (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Butz-Choquin). I quote the article in its entirety as it gives a clear history.

The pipe, from Metz to Saint-Claude. Jean-Baptiste Choquin of Metz started out as a tobacconist. This enterprise was prosperous; he had several employees. Among those, there was a certain Gustave Butz who was its first workman and who became his son-in-law by marrying Choquin’s daughter Marie in 1858.

In 1858 Jean-Baptiste Choquin created, in collaboration with Gustave Butz, the Choquin pipe. This bent pipe with a flat-bottomed bowl was finished with an albatross-bone mouthpiece, fixed with silver rings.

In 1858, still in Metz, Gustave Butz built an establishment for the manufacture of the Choquin pipe which took the name of . In 1951, the Berrod-Regad company bought the trademark, continuing manufacture until 2002. Departing from Metz, the workshop was relocated to Saint-Claude, then also called “the world capital of the briar pipe,” under the Berrod-Regad group. The Berrod-Regad group would go on to completely rebuild the network of representatives until finally entering the export market in 1960 and has since won several prizes, as well as the Gold Cup of French good taste.

In a few years, the brand’s collection increased from ten to seventy series. 135 years after it was founded, the pipe is still well-known not only in France but throughout the world. In 2002, the Berrod family, wishing to preserve manufacture of pipes in Saint-Claude, handed over the company to Fabien Guichon, a native of the area, who will continue to develop the brand during the 21st century.

I reamed the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to scrape out the thin cake in the bowl. There was not much there but enough that it had to go. I also sanded the bowl walls with a piece of 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel. The bowl walls were smooth when I finished the work.  I wiped the bowl down with acetone to remove the shiny varnish coat as it was spotty on the sides and rim top. With it removed the grain really stood out clearly. It is a great looking piece of briar. I cleaned out the shank and the airway in the mortise and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and isopropyl alcohol. It was quite a bit dirtier than I expected from just the appearance. With the cleaning the pipe smelled cleaner. I worked over the inner edge with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the damage and to give the edge a slight bevel to remove the burn damage. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – polishing it with 1500-12000 grit pads. By the time I was finished the briar had a great shine. The grain on the pipe is quite beautiful.  I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm to deep clean the finish on the bowl and shank. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I worked it into the finish with my fingers. After it sat for 15 minutes I wiped it off with a soft cloth. The briar really began to have a rich shine. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. It is a beautiful bowl.  I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the surface with the flame of a lighter to lift the tooth marks and chatter. It worked very well and I sanded out the remnants and oxidation on the top and underside with 220 grit sandpaper and started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.   I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust. I used the Before & After Pipe Polish to remove the small minute scratches left in the vulcanite. I finished by wiping the stem down with a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry.   As usual at this point in the restoration process I am excited to be on the homestretch. I look forward to the final look when it is put back together, polished and waxed. I put the bowl and stem back together. I polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the briar and the vulcanite. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The grain really pops with the wax and polish. The shiny black vulcanite stem is a beautiful contrast to the browns of the bowl and thick shank. This Butz-Choquin Maitrie Pipier Flamme Extra Scoop was another fun pipe to work on. It is a nice piece of briar whose shape follows the flow of the briar. The pipe is comfortable pipe to hold in the hand. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.45 ounces/41 grams. I will be putting this pipe on the rebornpipes store in the French Pipe Makers section. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.

Breathing New Life into a Peterson of Dublin Dalkey 221 Chunky Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I brought to the table was another Peterson that Jeff purchased off eBay on 11/19/17 from Fort Meyers, Florida, USA. It has been sitting here in Vancouver awaiting my contribution to the restoration. It is a nicely shaped pipe with a chunky shank and feel in the hand. The finish is a walnut stain that gives a sense of rich brown. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Peterson [arched over] of Dublin [over] Dalkey (in block print). On the right side there is the shape number 221 in the center of the and no other stamping. The bowl had a thick cake and a heavy overflow of lava on the rim top. The front outer edge of the rim had been beat against a hard surface and had a lot of damage and roughness across the bowl front. The rim top was also damaged with scratches and nicks in the surface that looked like it had been used as a hammer. The rest of the finish on the bowl was quite clean. The twin silver bands separated by an orange acrylic band on the stem is dirty but in good condition. The fishtail stem was oxidized, calcified and had light tooth chatter on both sides ahead of the button. The “P” stamp on the side of the saddle stem and readable and painted white. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his clean up work. He captured the cake in the bowl and the debris and lava on the rim top and edges in the next photos. It was very clear that it was an exceptional smoker! The damage on the front of the rim edge and the rim top is visible even under the heavy lava on the top and edges. The stem is oxidized, calcified and shows the tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. Jeff captured some of the beauty of the shape and the grain in the next photo. The mix of grains on the front of the bowl and heel are quite lovely as can be seen in the photo below.He took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above. He also took a photo of the  P logo stamp on the left side of the stem. I decided to check out both the Pipephil and the Pipedia sites for information on the Dalkey line. Both sites did not have any specific information. I then did a quick Google search for the Peterson Dalkey. The first link took me to smokingpipes.com (https://www.smokingpipes.com/pipes/estate/ireland/moreinfo.cfm?product_id=332074) to a pipe that had been sold there. I have included the information I found below:

While the bent Billiard is a classic shape, rendered by countless companies, Peterson’s “221” iteration is readily recognized as the work of the Irish marque because of the added visual weight attributed to the shank and transition. Such extra heft stretches the heel and provides more palm-filling substance. It makes for an eye-catching, muscular form in profile yet remains well balanced thanks to the curled transition and bent stem out back. Here it’s presented in the Dalkey finish, with a warm hazelnut stain and nickel-and-acrylic band.

The second link took me to pipesandcigars.com (https://www.pipesandcigars.com/p/peterson-dalkey-pipes/2000657/).I quote the following from the introduction to the line:

Peterson Dalkey Pipes come in an assortment of classic Peterson shapes. The finish is a warm brown tone, mated to black stems, and finished with a gold and orange triple trim ring. These pipes are not only handsome, but they’re among the most affordable smooth finished pipes that Peterson makes.

I then turned to The Peterson Pipe by Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg and looked up the listing in the book for Dalkey. I quote what I found there.

Dalkey (2010-) Dark stained smooth finish line with a band of orange acrylic sandwiched between nickel bands, white P stamped on a fishtail mouthpiece.

Now I knew I was dealing with a pipe made after 2010 and the dark stained finish (to me it is a dark walnut). The shank band looks amazing with the stain on the finish. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff had done a great cleanup on the pipe. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the bowl exterior with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the grime on the finish of the bowl and the lava from the rim top. He rinsed it under running water. One of the benefits of this scrub is that it also tends to lift some of the scratches and nicks in the surface of the briar. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He cleaned the internals of the shank/mortise and stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. He soaked the stem in Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water and cleaned out the airway in the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. I took photos of the pipe as I saw it when I finally brought it to my work table.   I took photos of the rim top and stem to show the condition. The rim top and edges were in very rough condition. You can see the damage to the top all the way around and to the outer edge on the bowl front. It really very rough to the touch. The stem was vulcanite and there were light tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. They are clear and readable as noted above. The “P” logo on the stem is faint but is still quite readable.   I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the proportions of the bowl and stem.I took photos of the damage on the rim top and the front edge to show how beat up it was. The roughness is very tangible when I touched it. I dripped some clear CA glue on the front edge of the bowl so I could rebuild it. I then dipped it into some briar dust to build it up. I cleaned up and reshaped the edge with 220 grit sandpaper. I topped the bowl with a topping board and 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the damage to the rim top. When I was finished it looked much better. With the rim top smooth it was now time to give the inner edge a bevel. I used a wooden ball and 220 grit sandpaper to shape the edge. I wrapped the ball with the sandpaper and worked on the edge. It took a bit of work to smooth it out and give it a bevel. I smoothed out the bevel with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. The rim top came out looking very good at this point. I stained the rim top and the inner and front outer edges with an oak stain pen to match the colour of the stain around the bowl and shank.I decided to start with polishing the briar with micromesh sanding pads. I dry sanded it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth. The bowl began to take on a rich shine and grain was beginning to stand out.   At this point the bowl was polished and clean. I rubbed down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 10 minutes, then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Balm did its magic and the grain stood out on the briar.   I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I finished the polishing with Before & After Polishes – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final rub down with Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I repainted the “P” logo stamp on the left side of the saddle stem with some white acrylic nail polish. I worked it into the stamp with a tooth pick. Once it dried I scraped of the excess and lightly polished it with a 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pad. This Peterson of Dublin Dalkey 221 Bent Billiard with a vulcanite taper stem has a smooth reddish finish. The rich browns of the stain make the grain come alive with the polishing and waxing. I put the vulcanite stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. 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 Dalkey 221 Bent Billiard really is a great looking and fits nicely in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.62 oz./46 grams. This pipe will soon be on the Irish Pipe Makers Section of the rebornpipes store if you would like to add it to your collection. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.

Who made this La Torre Personal N1 Freehand?


Blog Steve Laug

A friend of mine sent me a link to this pipe on EBay US and thought I might be interested. He said he thought it was made by a fellow who carved for Castello but was not certain. The pipe was in decent condition and the seller said it had been thoroughly cleaned and restored. It had some amazing grain around the bowl and shank with some rugged plateau on the rim top. There were remnants of a black stain in the grooves around the plateau and some darkening and lava still in the grooves on the back side of the rim top. I sent the photos to Jeff and he put a bid on the pipe and we made the winning bid. The pipe was sent to Jeff who forwarded it to me. I am including the photos that were included by the Ebay seller below. I found a picture online of the stamping that is on the pipe I am working on. On the left it is stamped with Tower logo followed by La Torre [over] Personal (both in script). On the right side it is stamped with an N1.

That gave me what I needed to do some searching on the brand. But before I do that here are some more photos of the pipe from the seller. They really show its beauty and from them you can see why we were interested in this pipe. The next two photos show the front and the right and left sides of the pipe. The grain is quite stunning. He also included some close up photos of the bowl sides and rim top that really capture the condition of the pipe. The briar is very nice. The plateau on this one is beautiful but has some lava on the back edge and inner edge of the bowl. There is some remnants of black stain in some of the grooves around the bowl top that I can replicate in the cleanup. He also included a photo of the bowl with the stem removed that shows the well made and shaped tenon and stem. The fit on the shank is perfect.I wanted to verify my friend’s thoughts about the connectin to Castello so I did some searching online to see what I could find out about the brand. I turned first to Pipephil’s site as he generally has a good brief summary regarding most brands (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-l1.html). I found a short listing and did a screen capture of the section. I have included it below. In the side bar it included this information:
Artisan: Ernesto Ossola, pipemaker between 1970 and 1990

I also turned to Pipedia to see if there was more information. There was a bit more but still no link to Castello (https://pipedia.org/wiki/La_Torre). There was also a link to an article by an Italian Bloger Gusto Tobacco that was very helpful. I quote both below:

La Torre pipes were made by Ernesto Ossola, a pipemaker about the 1970’s.

Stamping: Tower logo + “La Torre” + “Personal” (both in script) + (usually) “N1”. Or “La Torre” + “DIAMANTE”

Mr. ERNESTO OSSOLA WAS A CRAFTSMAN THAT MADE PIPES WITH HIS “LA TORRE” LOGO UNTIL HIS DEATH IN 2010.

Italian pipe blogger, Gusto Tobacco, did some fairly detailed original research into Ernesto Ossola and La Torre pipes, which is available here: Ernesto Ossola’s tower: a story to remember. This is the Google translation, which leaves a bit to be desired, but it’s readable. Contributors, it would be great to expand our article here on Pipedia based on this research. Please feel free to dive in and do that if you are interested.

https://www-gustotabacco-it.translate.goog/storia/2652-la-torre-di-ernesto-ossola-una-storia-da-ricordare/?_x_tr_sl=it&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=en&_x_tr_pto=sc

…On Pipedia, but also on the Fumare la Pipa forum, it is claimed that Ossola would have been a worker from Castello, set up on his own in 1978, but nothing else was reported, if not the year of his death, 2010: unfortunately, these data would soon prove completely wrong…  (NOW I KNEW THE CASTELLO INFORMATION WAS INCORRECT)

The first step in my research was to consult the Castello di Cantù company: Franco Coppo has categorically denied having had a working relationship with Ossola. So I contacted the very kind Luigi Radice, who told me he had never heard of him: my little investigation was getting unexpectedly complex. So I started to annoy friends and acquaintances of the sector all over Italy: Damiano and Dorelio Rovera have no memory of it; Bollito, Fincato and Musicò, while remembering the brand, have no idea who the owner was; the very courteous Amorelli either, as well as Mauro Cosmo and Ascorti. Indeed, I have lost count of all the unfortunates I have bothered to find out something: I even wrote to the linguist Carlo Ossola who, with unusual kindness, told me that the name Ernesto is not part of his family branch. On the tower depicted in the trademark , assuming it is a realistic representation, to identify at least one geographical area on which to focus the investigations? Many hypotheses, but no certainty. In the end, it was my friend Gerti (former admin of Fumare la Pipa) who helped me: according to him, Ernesto Ossola was certainly Lombard, a conviction also supported by the map of the spread of the surname in Italy. At least I was able to narrow the field, but since Lombardy is big I had to get better…

So I thought of consulting the Paronellis, in the hope that they could be of help and, in fact, they put me on the right path: Ariberto explained to me that in Groppello di Gavirate he remembered someone, with the surname Ossola, who for a certain period of time had produced their own brand pipes. At his suggestion, therefore, I tried to write and call other historical artisans in the area: in the end, Stefano Santambrogio finally managed to tear the veil of oblivion that had fallen on the pipemaker career of the mysterious Ernesto Ossola .

I hope to contribute with this paper to finally shed light on the short history of this brand and to do justice to the work of a craftsman who, albeit for a short time, has contributed to enrich the world of the pipe that I love so much.

Santambrogio told me that he knew Ossola well, but he is absolutely certain that her first name was not Ernesto at all, but Oreste! This curious circumstance is confirmed by a notarial document in the possession of the Gavirate craftsman and dating back to 1995. Most likely, Ossola began to be called Ernesto later, perhaps by way of a nickname: the fact is that his adoptive parents lived right in front of Santambrogio’s workshop, who therefore knew them quite well. From the same document it is clear that Oreste was born on 5 February 1943 in Varese: grew up in the pipe district, like many of his peers he had begun to work the briar on behalf of third parties, in particular collaborating with Gardesana Pipe (a circumstance, this, confirmed by Fiorenzo Rovera). Oreste is described as a good person, but very original and of a very restless nature: precisely this restlessness of his drove him to frequent wanderings.

At the end of the 1960s, Ossola moved to Livorno with his French-born wife and two children, Pierrick and Letizia, and Santambrogio lost track of him: we know, however, that in the Tuscan city he first worked as a subcontractor (probably for Barontini) and then he set up on his own, creating the brand La Torre di Ernesto Ossola . Friends who tried to identify it together with me say that the tower reproduced in the logo, in all probability, is the 16th century Torre del Marzocco from Livorno. here, gradually, all the pieces of the puzzle were finding their right place. While attempting the way of the artisanal pipe, Oreste (now evidently known as Ernesto) presumably began to cultivate another passion, thanks to which he would have acquired greater notoriety among the professionals: the research and trade of minerals. In 1969, in Livorno, his third son, Gianclaudio, was born, destined to follow in his father’s footsteps in the world of mineralogy. After trying with little luck to make his way as a pipemaker, at the end of the seventies Ernesto decided to throw in the towel and devote himself only to minerals: he abandoned the briar and moved permanently to France, perhaps consenting to a wish of his wife. He returned for a short period to Gavirate only at the end of the nineties, when he put up for sale some properties of the adoptive parents, who had recently passed away. In love with North Africa, he went there quite often in search of minerals and, due to a mocking fate, precisely in Morocco, in 2007, he met his death in a completely accidental way.(appears to be due to fumes from a faulty heater). His legacy was collected by his son Gianclaudio, who unfortunately also tragically died last year, at the age of 45, due to an accident. Thus ends this story made of passions, travels and pipes.

I conclude my writing while I am about to re-light my La Torre , which died out of distraction, and I realize that the smoke has become strangely bittersweet: a taste that is certainly not due to tobacco, nor to the pipe.

Now I had the background I was lacking on the brand and a clear picture of the pipe maker Ernesto Ossola. Timing could not have been better as the pipe arrived in the mail that afternoon. It is a real beauty with some stunning grain. The internals and the stem are very clean but the rim top has some lava and darkening in the plateau and some of the black stain in the grooves has washed out. The bowl had been coated with a thin varnish coat that in my opinion needed to go so I could enjoy the briar itself. I took photos of the pipe to give a sense of the whole before I started my work on it.  I took a photo of the rim top to show the lava on the plateau on the back side and the general darkening around the edges. This will take some work to remove the darkening and the lava. I took a photo of the stamping on both sides of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of pipe to give a sense of the proportion of the pipe and its parts. It is a beauty. You can also see the heavy varnish coat on the briar.I worked over the plateau briar with a brass bristle wire brush to remove the lava in the grooves of the finish. I then washed down the rim top and the rest of the briar with acetone and cotton pads to further remove the grime in the plateau as well as remove the varnish on the bowl and shank. Once I had removed the varnish 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 and into the plateau rim top with a horse hair shoe brush. 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 polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.  This Italian Made La Torre Personal N-1 Freehand by Ernesto Ossola is a better looking pipe now that it has been restored. The beautiful grain that shines through the cleaned and 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 Ossola Made La Torre Personal 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: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 57 grams/ 2.01 ounces. It is a beauty and still one I am deciding on what to do with – keep it or sell it! Keep an eye on the store. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.

Restoring a Republic Era Peterson’s System 31 Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

This is another one of those pipes that has been here for a long time and I have no memory where it came from. I had not been cleaned so it is not one that ever went to Jeff for clean up. It was a dirty but appeared to have some great grain under the grime. The bowl had been reamed somewhere in the journey and was quite clean inside. The smooth rim top was damaged and had some darkening. The edges – both inner and outer had some damages by burning and the bowl was out of round. The smooth finish is dirty with grime and grit deep ground into the sides of the bowl and shank. There were some deep nicks in the briar on the right side and heal of the bowl. The pipe stinks like heavily cased aromatics. The stamping on the shank is clear and readable. The left side is stamped Peterson’s [arched over] System. On the right side it was stamped Made in the Republic of Ireland (3 lines). To the right of that stamp is the shape number 31. The nickel band is oxidized and dirty but it has the K & P stamp over three symbols. Next to that it was stamped Peterson’s. It had some nicks and dents around shank end of the ferrule. The stem was quite clean and has deep tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button and on the topside of the button. I took some photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. I took close up photos of the bowl and the stem. You can see the reamed bowl and the darkening and light lava on the rim top. The bowl reeked of aromatic tobaccos. The stem surface was clean but there are deep tooth marks and chatter on both sides on and ahead of the button.I took a photo of the stamping on the sides of the bowl and shank. It is 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.

I found a great description of the System 31 shape on smokingpipes.com (https://www.smokingpipes.com/pipes/new/peterson/moreinfo.cfm?product_id=192182). I am including a portion of that below.

Peterson’s “31” shape is the only straight pipe featured in the System Standard line, yet it still features system drilling. Featuring a push-style tenon and a long, tapering metal tube, it houses a condensation chamber just under the bowl itself — providing the same gurgle free smoke you’d expect of a bent System configuration.

I did a search on Google about the Peterson System 31 Straight Billiard to see if I could learn any specific information on the shape. I found a link to a pipe for sale on Smokingpipes.com. I quote:

Paresh had worked on System 31 pipe so I went back and reread his work on that smooth pipe. It was very helpful for the background information included (https://rebornpipes.com/tag/peterson-system-31-pipe/).

I knew that I was dealing with a Republic Era pipe made between 1950-1989. The K&P mark on the nickel band ties to Kapp & Peterson brings the date to the time between 1950-1964. It was a smooth Straight billiard with a unique shape and chamber beneath the bottom of the bowl. The finish was stained with a combination of rich reddish brown stains. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

The bowl had been reamed and cleaned. I started working on the pipe by cleaning out the inside of the shank and the airway into the bowl and the stem. I scraped the shank out with a small pen knife to remove the thick tars. I then cleaned it with a isopropyl alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners until it was clean.  I topped the damaged rim top on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage on the rim top and edges of the bowl. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the inner edge of the bowl. I gave the inner edge of the bowl a slight bevel. I filled in some of the deep gouges in the briar on the right side and heel of the bowl with some clear CA glue. Once the repairs cured I sanded the briar surface with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth it out and blend it into the surrounding briar.I stained the sanded area on the bowl side and the rim top with a Cherry stain pen to lay a base coat and then did a top coat of Mahogany stain pen. I polished the rim top and edges with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads to raise a shine. I wiped it down with a damp cotton pad to wipe off the debris after each sanding pad.   I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips. It works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let it sit for 15 minutes then buffed it off with a soft cloth and raised the shine. The bowl looks great at this point.   The nickel ferrule was out of round and dented. It was solidly connected to the shank end so I did not want to removed it. Instead I fit a dowel into the end of the ferrule that was round and heated the nickel with a lighter to soften it. Once it was softened I used a small furniture hammer to bring the ferrule end back to round. I repeated the process until the opening in the ferrule was round and the stem fit well. It was not perfect but it was better than when I started. I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem. I “painted” the stem with the flame of a Bic lighter to lift the tooth marks in the stem. I was able to raise them slightly. I filled in the remaining marks with Black CA glue. Once the repairs cured I sanded it smooth with 120 grit sandpaper and started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I unscrewed the extension tube from the end of the stem. I cleaned up the threads on the extension and inside the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and isopropyl alcohol. It did not take long to clean it. I coated the threads on the extension with Vaseline and screwed the extension back into the stem. I worked on the stem to further smooth and reshape the button and stem with the 220 grit sandpaper and the 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.  I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and gave it a final coat and set it aside to dry.  I put the stem back on the Peterson’s System 31 Straight Billiard and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I polished the briar and the vulcanite of the stem until there was a rich shine. This classic Peterson’s shape and finish really highlights a proportionally well carved pipe. Once I buffed the pipe the briar came alive and popped with polishing. The black vulcanite stem has a rich glow. This Peterson’s System Straight Billiard fits well in the hand and sits right in the mouth. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of and inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.23 ounces/35 grams. This beauty will be going on the rebornpipes online store in the Irish Pipemakers Section. If you are interested let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as it was a pleasure to work on.

Restoring a Long Shank “Canadian” By Sasieni London Made


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I chose to work on has the characteristic rustication that I have seen on quite a few of the Sasieni Rusticated pipes that I have worked on. It is a long shank Canadian with hatch marked rim top and beveled inner edge. Jeff bought the pipe at an antique store on 10/29/2016 in Boise, Idaho, USA. It is stamped “Canadian” [over] By Sasieni [over] London Made [over] Made in England. The rustication on the bowl and shank was rugged with a tight pattern. The briar was stained with dark brown and black stains that provided depth to the finish. The finish on the pipe is dirty with a lot of dust and grime in the grooves of the rustication. There was a thick cake in the bowl and lava overflowing on to the rim top. The rim top is hatch marked and the inner edge is smooth. The outer edge of the rim has some wear from being knocked against a hard surface. There is a smooth ring around the end of the shank. The stem looked dirty but otherwise there were no tooth marks or chatter on the surface on either side. It was in good condition. Overall the pipe looked good. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his clean up work on it. Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top and the stem to give a sense of the condition they were in. You can see the cake in the bowl and lava on the rim top as well as the hatch marks scratched into the rim top in the first photo. The stem photos show a relatively clean stem. He took photos of the bowl sides and heel to give a sense of the rustication around the bowl. To me it is a classic Sasieni style rustication. He took a photo of the stamping to show how clear and readable it is. It reads as noted above.I turned to Pipephil’s site to see if there was any specific information on “Canadian” By Sasieni (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-sasieni2.html). There was a listing there under the section on Sasieni seconds that matched the pipe I was working on. The pipe I have on the table is a lot like the second pipe in the screen capture below. The finish is the same though the stamping is slightly different and the stem does not have the –S- logo stamp on the top of the taper. I also captured the additional photos of the second pipe to show the finish and shape of the pipe. I then turned to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Sasieni#Sasieni_Seconds) and clicked on a list of seconds that had been provided by Doug Valitchka. The “Canadian” line is in the list at the bottom of the second column below. I have marked it in red for ease of reference on the chart below.Now it was time to work on the pipe. It is really a beautiful piece. Jeff had done a great cleanup on the pipe. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the bowl exterior with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the grime on the finish of the bowl and the lava from the rim top. He rinsed it under running water. One of the benefits of this scrub is that it also tends to lift some of the scratches and nicks in the surface of the briar. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He cleaned the internals and externals of the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. He soaked the stem in Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water and cleaned out the airway in the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. I took photos of the pipe as I saw it when I put it on the table. I took photos of the rim top and stem to show the condition. The rim top and edge looked much better. You can see the darkening on the beveled inner edge of the bowl and the hatching marks on the top of parts of the rim top. It seems to me that those marks are not original to the pipe when it was made. The stem looked very good and was smooth on both sides. There were scratches on both sides but no tooth marks or chatter.   The stamping on underside of the shank on the smooth panel is clear and readable as noted above. I really like the rugged Sasieni style rustication on the bowl and shank. The pipe is a beauty and the long shank fascinating to me. I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the proportions of the bowl and stem.I started my work on the pipe by dealing with the darkening on the beveled inner edge of the rim and the hatch marks on the rim top. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the bevel and then stained it with a black Sharpie pen to blend it into the rest of the bowl walls. I then used the sandpaper to further flatten out the rim top. It definitely looks much better. I polished the rim top with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust and debris. I restained the rim top with a combination of Walnut and Cherry stain pens to match the stained panel on the underside of the shank and the variations in colour on the rustication. Once it is buffed it will look very good.I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 10 minutes, then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Balm did its magic and the rustication took on depth. It really looks good.  I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem. It was in great condition so I polished it with 1500-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I finished the polishing with Before & After Polishes – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final rub down with Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry.   This “Canadian” By Sasieni London Made with a vulcanite taper stem has a classic Sasieni rusticated finish that looks great. The rich dark contrasting stain gives depth to the rustication with the polishing and waxing. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel. I buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Sasieni Made Canadian really is a beauty and fits nicely in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 7 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of bowl: 1 ¼ inch, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.38 ounces /39grams. This pipe will soon be on the British Pipe Makers section of the rebornpipes store if you would like to add it to your collection. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Restoring a  Petite MARKA St. Claude France 246 Dublin for a New Pipe Smoker


Blog by Steve Laug

Yesterday I got a call from a local lady who had been directed to me by our local pipe shop. She had found a pipe at an antique store when her family was traveling and decided it was time to load a pipe and try it out. When she was at the shop she picked up some tobaccos to sample once the pipe was cleaned up. We made arrangements for her to stop by and show me the pipe and I would be able to tell her what I saw. She arrived and took a small bag out of her pocket and removed a hard shell case. She opened it and took out the small pipe that is shown in the photos below. The pipe was stamped on the left side of the shank and read MARKA in bubble style type. On the right side it was stamped St. Claude – France [over] the number 246 (shape number). The bowl had a thick cake and an overflow of thick lava on the inwardly beveled rim top and edges. The finish was very dirty and appeared to be coated with a thick varnish coat that was bubbled or peeling on the underside of the shank. The thin saddle stem was oxidized, calcified and had light tooth chatter on the top and underside of the stem ahead of the button. The stem screwed on to a threaded metal tenon that was set in the shank of the pipe. The small pipe is a nice looking delicate Dublin that should clean up very well. I took photos of the pipe before I started my clean up work.  I took a close up photo of the bowl and rim top to show the thickness of the cake in the bowl and the thick overflow of lava on the beveled rim top. It really is a mess and hard to know what it looks like under the lava. I also took photos of the stem to show the condition it was in when she dropped it off. I took photos of the stamping on the shank sides. It is clear and readable as noted above.I unscrewed the stem from the tenon and took a photo of the bowl and stem to show the delicate proportions of the pipe. Note the metal threaded tenon on the shank end.I did some work on the background for this pipe. I checked on PipePhil and Pipedia and did not find any information on the Marka brand. I checked several other French brands to see if there was a sublisting for the Marka brand. There was nothing there. I also did a search on Google for the brand but found nothing listed. I also checked the book “Who Made That Pipe” and there was nothing listed there.  I wrote to Kenneth Lieblich to see if he was familiar with the brand or had any information on it. While I waited I did some work on the shape number 246. Interestingly it is a three digit number that fits neatly into the list of Comoy’s and Chacom shape numbers. That particular number is not listed, however the number before that – 245- is listed as is the number after it. Kenneth wrote me back that he wondered if the shape number pointed to Chacom. So independently we both came to the same conclusion that the brand was connected to Chacom. I don’t know if we will ever know for certain but that is where it stands at this point.

Now it was time to work on the pipe. I reamed the bowl back to bare briar with a PipNet reamer with the smallest cutting head. I cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I finished the bowl work by sanding it with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a small piece of briar. Once finished I wiped out the inside. The bowl walls looked very good with no heat damage or checking.   I scrubbed the exterior of the bowl and rim with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. I scrubbed the pipe with the brush to remove the grime and the tars on the rimtop. I rinsed the bowl with warm water to remove the soap and the grime. It began to look better. There was some burn damage on the outer edge of the rim toward the back of the bowl. It was not deep damage and would probably be easily removed. I wiped down the bowl and rim with acetone on cotton pads to remove some of the darkening and the remnants of the varnish. It worked well and you can see the debris on the cotton pads. It looked much better.    Now it was time to address the damage on the rim top and the inner bevel of the chamber. I topped the pipe on a piece of 220 grit sandpaper on a topping board. I removed the damage and the top looked significantly smoother.   The beveled inner edge of the bowl still had some burn damage and darkening on the front and the back of the bowl. I used a piece of 220 grit sandpaper and a wooden ball to work on the bevel. I put the sandpaper on the ball and turned the bowl rim on the paper to remove damaged areas on the top. The rim top looked better but you can see the damage on the inner front and back of the bowl edge.     I used an Oak Stain Pen to match the sanded rim top to the rest of the bowl. It certainly looks better at this point.Now it was time to clean out the inside of the shank and stem. I used isopropyl alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners to remove the tars and oils. The shank was clogged near the entry to the bowl. I used an unfolded paper clip to poke through the airway and then worked pipe cleaners through the airway until the draught in the pipe was open and clean. I cleaned the airway in the stem at the same time using the same supplies. Once finished it smelled clean and fresh. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. The pipe took on a shine as I moved through the sanding pads.   I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 10 minutes, then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Balm did its magic and the grain stood out on the briar.     I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I finished the polishing with Before & After Polishes – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final rub down with Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry.  This St. Claude-France Marka 246 Dublin with a vulcanite saddle stem has some beautiful grain. The rich brown stain makes the grain come alive with the polishing and waxing. 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. I buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Marka 246 Dublin really is a beauty and fits nicely in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 inch, Chamber diameter: 5/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is .56 ounces/16 grams. This pipe will soon be back in the hands of the pipewoman who brought it to me to restore. I think she will enjoy smoking this petite little French Pipe. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

A Peterson’s Deluxe Zulu Brought Back to Life


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen to work on is a Peterson’s Sterling Prince. This pipe was purchased on 05/25/22 from an antique mall in Portland, Oregon, USA. The grain on the pipe is quite beautiful and follows the flow of the bowl. The bowl heavily caked with a moderate lava overflow on the rim top. The inner edge of the bowl had some damage but also had cake on the edges. The outer edge looked to be in good condition. The finish on the bowl was filthy with grime ground into the surface but the grain shone through. There were some scratches on the top of the shank near the bowl and on the underside of the shank in the middle. The stem was lightly oxidized, calcified and also has tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. The pipe was stamped on the topside of the shank and read Peterson’s [over] Deluxe. There does not appear to be any shape number or other stamping on the pipe. It is an interesting pipe that should clean up very well. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his clean up work. Jeff took photos of the rim top and stem to show the general condition of the pipe. The bowl is caked and the rim top and edges have a light lava overflow on the edges and top of the bowl. The stem is oxidized, calcified and has tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside near the button. Jeff took some photos of the bowl sides and heel to show the grain that was around this bowl. It is a nice looking pipe under the grime on the outside of the bowl.    Jeff took photos of the damage on the top and underside of the bowl and the small scratches/cracks on the top of the shank. The scratches/cracks are not deep but they are visible in close up and with a lens. He took a photo of the top side of the shank to show the stamping. It is readable in the photo below and is as noted above. You can also see the line running into the P of the top line. There were also several small lines on the underside of the shank.   I turned to Pipedia and read an article by Jim Lily called “A Closer Look at the Peterson Deluxe System pipe (https://pipedia.org/wiki/A_Closer_Look_at_The_Peterson_Deluxe_System_Pipe). While the article was focused on the System pipe there was some pertinent information on the Deluxe as a whole. I quote below:

…As far as value and cost is concerned, for the excellent quality finish, these are competitively priced at around $135 to $250 depending on size and briar grade.

For what it is worth, I reckon the Deluxes are probably the best value range of pipes that Peterson produce, both in terms of functionality and value. There is not a thing wrong with these pipes. Those who malign the brand because they’re made by the hundreds using machines, are very wrong, IMHO. I like them a lot and the bang for the buck is the best I’ve ever seen for new pipes of this quality. The Deluxes are all excellent smokers.

I then turned to the general history article on Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Peterson). Below, I quote one section that refers to the hierarchy of the brand.

Peterson initially graded their mass -produced System pipes, i.e., regular catalogue pipes (in descending order) “Deluxe,” “First Quality,” “0” grade, “2nd grade,” and “3rd grade.”

Now, on to the restoration of this beautifully grained Peterson’s Deluxe Zulu. Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet reamer and cut back the cake back to the bare briar. He cleaned up the walls with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime from the finish. He worked on the rim top lava and darkening with the soap and tooth brush. He scrubbed the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior with Soft Scrub and then soaked it in Before & After Deoxidizer. He washed it off with warm water to remove the Deoxidizer. The pipe looked far better when it  arrived. I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show how well it had cleaned up. The rim top had some darkening and there was some damage on the inner edge with burn damage and some darkening that was heavier on the front edge of the bowl. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the tooth marks and chatter on the surface near the button.    I took photos of the stamping on sides of the shank. You can see that it is stamped as noted above and is clear and readable. The stamping on the band is also visible.I took the pipe apart and took a photo of the pipe. It is a good looking pipe and has nice mixed grain around the bowl.There were a series of small scratches/cracks on the top and underside of the of the shank. The cracks are not deep but they are visible in close up and with a lens. I cleaned off the areas on the underside and the top side at the curve of the bowl and shank with some isopropyl alcohol. I smeared the surface of the cracks with clear CA glue and spread it into the cracks with a dental spatula. I set it aside to dry. Once the repairs cured I sanded the repaired surface with 220 grit sandpaper until the surface is smooth and the repairs blended in. I used the sandpaper to also smooth out the inner edge of the rim top and bowl. I sanded the rim top at the same time. The bowl edge and rim top looked significantly better.   With the sanding finished I wiped the bowl down with isopropyl alcohol on a cotton pad to remove the darkening and mixed stain around the bowl sides and rim top. I used Maple Stain Pen to restain the sanded areas of the shank (top and bottom) and the rim top. It matched the stain on the pipe quite well and would look even better once I buffed it.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust and debris left behind by the sanding. The briar took on a deep shine and the sanded portions blended in very well with the rest of the bowl.  I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. Mark Hoover’s Balm is a product that I have come to appreciate and one I use on every pipe I have been working on.  I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded the tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. Once I had finished the polishing I gave it final coat of oil and set it aside to dry.    As usual at this point in the restoration process I am excited to be on the homestretch. I look forward to the final look when it is put back together, polished and waxed. I put the Peterson’s Deluxe Zulu back together. I polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the briar and the vulcanite. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The grain really pops with the wax and polish. The shiny black vulcanite stem is a beautiful contrast to the browns of the bowl. This Peterson’s Deluxe was a great pipe to spruce up. It is a very comfortable pipe to hold in the hand. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 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 28 grams/.99 ounces. This pipe will be going on the rebornpipes store in the Irish Pipe Makers Section if you would like to add it to your collection and be the first to smoke it. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. This is an interesting estate to bring back to life.