Refurbishing a Pair of 1990s Vintage Peterson D Shape Pipes

A few weeks ago I posted the cleanup of a Peterson Aran 80S Bulldog. In that post I made mention of a pair of Peterson D shape pipes I had acquired at the same time.

Like the Aran 80S, the D pipes, a D2 and a D4, arrived in very good estate condition. They had obviously been cleaned on the exterior and buffed before being put up for sale. There was none of the typical estate pipe dirt, lava or oxidation to take care of, though both pipes would need a bit of rim work to remove some darkening. Also like the Aran bulldog, both D-shape pipes proved to be quite dirty on the inside. These had obviously been well enjoyed, though equally well cared for by their previous owner.

Here are both pipes together. The D2 is on top, the D4 below.

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Though the staining is the same for both pipes (a light honey/natural colour I quite like), the pipes come from different series. The D2 (left, below) is stamped “Peterson’s” over “Deluxe” on the right shank, while the D4 (right, below) is stamped “Peterson’s” over “Dublin” on top of its oval shank.

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Both pipes are also marked with their respective shape numbers and a three-line “Made in the Republic of Ireland” stamp. The pipes also share an attractive silver band stamped with the “K&P” three-shield logo over “Sterling Silver” as well as the expected Assay Office silver hallmarks.

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The stem of the D2 carries an inlaid silver Peterson “P” on its left side. The D4’s stem is missing the logo inlay, though you can just see where it used to be on top of the stem.

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The D4 pipe is easily dated, both by its hallmarks and the “1998” stamped into the underside of the band. The hallmarks on the D2 have unfortunately been worn away and I was unable to identify the exact year of manufacture for it, although it is clearly of similar vintage to the D4.

I contacted Mark Irwin, Peterson guru and author of the Peterson Pipe Notes blog to see if he could fill me in on the history of the D series shapes. From his reply and his photo-heavy blog post on the D Series from 2015, I was able to compile this short summary. Dates in square brackets are my edits:

“D shapes began appearing in the mid 1990s … mostly in Europe … but aside from their occasional appearance in the Outdoor Series and the new Churchwardens, they have disappeared from the catalog [as of 2015].

The 1998 is a 10-year anniversary of the D line for the Danish distributor who commissioned them from Peterson…. After D15 or so – I forget which number – Peterson has begun using the D shape line for general release [2017].” – Mark Irwin

With an improved understanding of the pipes in front of me, I set about preparing them for new pipers. The process I followed is identical for both pipes, so I’ll use the D2 as our example today, and bring both pipes together again at the end for closing pictures.

The tobacco chambers had been lightly reamed when I received the pipes, but I prefer to take the cake all the way back to briar to get rid of the last guy’s tobacco and allow the new owner to build a new cake.

The bowl on the D2 is relatively tall and narrow, so I used the two smallest reamer heads in my Castleford set to clear the cake, followed by a bit of sandpaper wrapped around a Sharpie to finish up the job.

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The pic above shows the rim darkening as well as a slight out-of-roundness to the chamber. I remedied both in one shot by gently sanding the rim with 220 and 320 grit sandpapers to remove the darkened briar and smooth out the knife gouge on the inner rim. I worked carefully to avoid flattening the slight crown on the rim. When I was happy with its shape and appearance, I polished the rim with 0000 steel wool and 6000-grit micromesh.

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I gave the rest of the stummel a close visual inspection and found a blob of hardened glue that had squeezed out from under the silver band. Clearly the band had come loose at some point and had been hastily re-glued. I used a dental pick to scrape the glue off the shank, but created a few scratches in the process.

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Similar to the rim work, I used 320-grit sandpaper and 0000 steel wool to remove the scratches and polish the briar.

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From here I moved on to cleaning the pipe’s internals with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. I collected a good pipe of cleaners as I worked to remove the heavy deposit of tar and debris from the shank and airway. I’m coming to expect this sort of build-up from fans of Irish tobaccos. They may be tasty blends, but they sure do make a mess of the pipe.

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Thankfully the stem proved much easier to clean – I only needed a few pipe cleaners to clear the airway.

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As a final touch, I prepared to give the sterling band a light polishing with a jeweller’s cloth, but after only a few twists of the cloth the band slid off the shank into my hand.Oh well, better to repair this properly now than to have it fall off later.

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I scrubbed the remnants of the old glue from the shank and ran a thin line of CA glue in its place before spinning the silver band back into place. I took the opportunity to properly orient the band, with the K&P logo on top of the shank.

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A salt and alcohol treatment removed the last traces of tars and odour from the stummel and prepped the pipe for a new owner. Here are Before and After pics of that process.

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With the refurbishment nearly complete, I gave the entire pipe a wipe of mineral oil to revitalize both stummel and stem.

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Both pipes needed only a very light run on the buffing wheels as most of the external work had been done for me before purchase. A quick buff with White Diamond compound smoothed out my repairs and a few coats of Carnauba wax gave the finish a deep shine that really shows off the honey-toned finish.

I’m really quite taken with this pair of D shapes from Peterson, but I’m told I “don’t have room” for both of them in my rack. I am, however, holding onto the 1998 D4 as a commemorative pipe of sorts, as it was made the same year I became a father. A good year deserves a good pipe, don’t you think?

The D2, a beauty in its own right, is ready and waiting for a new home with an appreciative piper. If you’d like to add it to your rack, it is available on the DadsPipes Store now.

Here is the finished D2 pipe, with a few shots of both pipes together at the end.

Thanks for looking, and until next time, Happy Piping!

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