Reworking a Pete 999

Yet another in my project basket was a beautiful Peterson Dublin and London 999 bent Rhodesian with factory P-lip stem. This pipe dates no later than 1970 when the London factory closed. It was a beautiful specimen with gorgeous grain, the stem was jet black with only minor tooth dents. I wondered why this pipe was relegated to the junk box. The rim was in good shape, minimal char in the bowl. There was some surface cracks running almost the entire length of the stummel!  

I drilled a hole to stop the cracks from spreading and filled the cracks with clear superglue. I sanded the glue off and was left with long thin black lines.

I applied black stain to the warmed up briar and flamed it to set in. The repair line is still visible.

The next day I wiped it down with alcohol and buffed with green Tripoli to take most of it off. Then I did the same with dark brown and a third time with yellow to really make it pop. 

I filled the stem depressions with black superglue when heating wouldn’t lift them. I filed and sanded them smooth, restored the white P and ran the pipe through all the buffing wheels for maximum shine. The crack repairs are barely noticeable if you look hard enough. Ready for another 50 years of service. Thanks for looking!

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Restoring an 1898 Hall & Fitzgerald horn stem pipe

Another project pulled from my box, this horn stem pipe had some worm damage on the oval horn which was STUCK in the shank. It is a Hall & Fitzgerald hallmarked Birmingham 1898 on some beautiful scrollwork on the silver. The pipe was dry (might of been sitting in a drawer for 100 years), there was slight lava buildup on the rim and little cake in the bowl. The top of the stem near the bit had a large round hole but had an inner layer that was not bitten through. The worm holes on the bend area of the stem did not get into the airway. Plus some chatter on the bottom of the bit area.

I used the heat gun on low, rotating the pipe about 8″ above it. Slowly warmed up the tar gunk inside and after several minutes, tried unscrewing it. Repeated this several times until it finally broke free.

Amber superglue filled the holes and when filed and sanded, are as smooth as glass. The pics show the holes visible at certain angles and the camera makes them look far worse than they are.



I removed the lava from the rim, cleaned the internals and wiped the bowl down with olive oil to restore the rich luster to the briar. A pass through all the buffing wheels and it looks near new. Definitely doesn’t look 119! Thanks for looking.

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Reworking a Pete 980 stubby bulldog

With a lull in customers, I had time to dig in my box of projects. This was in a Ziploc bag because the tenon had snapped off inside the shank. At first glance I assumed it was a simple tenon replacement on an old Peterson bulldog. Well you know what happens when you assume something! This was marked Peterson over Dublin with only the shape number 980 on the other side of the shank. It has the faux hallmarks on the nickel band. It measures 5″ long with a saddle stem with P-lip bit. 

After cleaning the stummel with alcohol to see what I was getting into, I discovered several small cracks on the briar and tooth dents on the bit end of the oxidized P-lip stem. 

I cleaned the rim and did an alcohol/cotton ball soak while I worked on the stem. After removing the oxidation, I filled the dents with black CA glue and filed the repairs smooth. I also had to build up the bottom of the bit as it had worn down. 

I used a micro drill bit to stop the cracks from spreading. I applied clear CA glue with a toothpick along the cracks. After sanding smooth, I used a dark brown stain on the briar which had been warmed up with my heat gun. A wipe down with an alcohol soaked pad, and run through all the buffing wheels to get this short beauty back in service! 

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Tenon replacement

Here’s my method of replacing a broken tenon. Sorry I forgot to include more photos but maybe these will illustrate my work. 

First remove the broken tenon from the shank with a screw and pliers. 

Now the work begins. I drill out the tenon remnant in the stem by hand using progressively larger drill bits until it’s 1/4″ opening. When I use the 1/4″ bit, I put it in the drill press and use a vise clamp that I made with guidance from Tim West. I cut a 90° groove various depths on 2 pieces of wood to hold rods or even premolded stems square. This would also be the time to use a Forstner bit to make the face of the stem square and flush. 

Now I need to drill out the delrin rod. I put a 3/32″ drill bit loosely in the drill press upside down. Then I lower it into the vise, tighten the vise and release the drill press, keeping the bit perfectly centered.  Then I put a piece of delrin up to 1/2″ dia. into the drill press and lower it onto the bit in stages. This prepares the delrin for turning with the tenon turning tool. 

Then I mount the turning tool in the drill press and set it to take off just a bit at a time. After lubing the tool’s guide pin, I turn down the delrin until it fits the hole in the stem. I forgot to mention I tap threads into the stem. This helps when I put the tenon in, giving more area for the epoxy to adhere to. I scar up the part of the tenon going into the stem, also increasing bonding surface. This isn’t the safest way but I hold the delrin with some pliers and feed it onto the tool, until i have it turned down to fit. Here’s some examples of when I either turned the small part too small or turned the main tenon too loose into the shank. 

After gluing the tenon in the stem, I can turn it down to fit the shank. I always bevel both sides of the tenon for smooth airflow. 

Here are 3 I finished this week. Minor tweaks were needed for a perfect fit. Some sanding and touch up staining and here they are.

Thanks for reading about my methods, comments welcome!

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New look for a no-name pipe

Here was a tired meer lined no name pipe from Italy. The only reason I know the country of origin is the stem has Italy stamped on the bottom. The pipe was clean, just dull and tired. The vulcanite had a few tooth marks which I lifted with the flame of a lighter.

Sorry for the lack of pics. I think the above is after receiving the pipe and finding an acrylic stem to match the shank. This was sent to me for a replacement stem because the vulcanite was worn.I didn’t think a new stem was necessary especially after restoring the original stem to new condition.  But after seeing the finished product,  it definitely adds a lot to the pipe. 

Here is a pre-drilled acrylic stem blank. 

I had to drill out and insert a tenon then dremel and sand it flush with the shank. It was too long for the stummel when compared to the original stem. 

So with the owners permission. ..

I cut it with a dremel cutting wheel.

I cut a line for the bit and used files and sandpaper to shape the end. Slot funneling tool made quick work of creating and opening the new slot.

I sanded and buffed the stem to a nice shine. Next I stained the stummel with black and wiped off most with alcohol. Then a coat of dark brown which j let sit for several hours. Then a rubdown with alcohol and buffed with green and red tripoli, white diamond and carnauba wax followed up with a clean flannel buff. 

The new length and taper of the stem fits so much better and looks awesome. I never would have put an acrylic stem on because the original was perfect, why spend money needlessly? I’ll admit the cost of a new stem changes the pipe from okay to wow! Seems  like the customer is always right rings true for sure!

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Irish Made 999

Here is a repair all too common on these Rhodesian pipes. The owner bangs it to tap out the ash and the briar chips off on the thin rings. This one also had a large burn mark on the rim from a cigar torch lighter but not as bad as some I’ve run across.

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I lightly topped the rim and sanded as much as possible without changing the profile. After wiping down the stummel with alcohol, I filled the missing piece with CA and briar chips, ending with chips on top.

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After drying, I filed and sanded down flush with the surface, then used a serrated knife to cut the grooves back in. A wipedown of olive oil and off to the buffers: green and red tripoli, white diamond, carnauba wax and a final clean buff. The stem had minor tooth marks which were removed with a little heat and sanded/buffed to a mirror finish. Thanks for looking!

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Peterson’s Emerald 80s

This Emerald 80s by Peterson’s had seen better days. Maybe I could turn back the hands of time to an age where this pipe was new and never subjected to the horrific abuse it has seen.

The 2 main issues were some briar knocked out of the rings on the left side and the stem. The stem. Wow, one of the worst I’ve ever seen. It was heavily calcified and the top had been chewed enough to where the airway was exposed. The bottom had a trench cut across also. Oh yeah, the rim was out of round from a careless hack job reaming it.

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I almost forgot the band was loose, the front of the bowl had some scratches and the loose tenon was fixed with a bunch of dental floss.

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The stem went into extensive repeated oxyclean soak/scrub until it could be sanded with 100 grit sandpaper, 150 and 220. I wrapped a pipecleaner with tape and ran it through the stem to where the tape was in the repair area and wouldn’t let the glue stick to the pipecleaner.

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I used black CA glue mixed with powdered charcoal to layer up enough to fill the holes and sand smooth. This took several layers obviously.

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I used tape to keep the edge sharp during one glue session.

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After more layers to fill minute airholes, it was done. Sanding and buffing finished the stem. Also heated the tenon and expanded it with a tapered wooden dowel to fit tight. Refreshed the P with grout whitener to put the icing on the cake.

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Alternating with the stem work, I worked on the bowl. The grooves were cleaned out after wiping the bowl with alcohol. I filled the area with clear CA glue and briar chips.

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After drying,  I used files to cut the lines and sanded it smooth.

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The rim was lightly sanded to try to bring it back into round. Buffed the pipe and stem and glad this beast is beaten!

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Thanks for looking!

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