Refreshing a Peterson Belgique Pipe

The last restoration of this lot is this wee little pipe made by Peterson of Dublin from their Specialty line called Belgique. Steve Laug wrote a very thorough write up on this shape here—> https://rebornpipes.com/tag/petersons-of-dublin-belgique/ .

Originally released as one of four Specialty shapes in 1945, the Belgique is our signature take on the traditional Belge, its Egg-like bowl and forward cant reminiscent of the clay tavern pipes of yesteryear.” Source; Peterson Pipes

I’m not exactly certain of the age of this pipe, however; the rest of this lot came from the same individual, pipes from their collection ranged from the 1950’s to the late 1970’s. It’s likely safe to conclude that they purchased this pipe in that time-frame.

First Impressions

Size comparison between Group 4 Dunhill and Peterson Belgique

The pipe was in good condition overall. This pipe has a military mount stem. Both the stem and vulcanite shank extension had some mild oxidation. There are no visible fills on the bowl which is a bonus on a smooth pipe and there was minimal amount of carbon buildup in the tobacco chamber and the rim of the bowl.

Step 1: Ream and Clean

I removed the carbon buildup in the bowl relatively quickly and cleaned up the rim with some 0000 Steel wool.

Once I started cleaning the internals with pipe cleaners I realized that the pipe was going to require a more thorough cleaning.I plugged the mortise and the tobacco chamber with cotton batting then saturated it with alcohol. I use food grade alcohol called Alcool which can be purchased from the LCBO (Ontario). You can use 99% Isopropyl Alcohol as well. In my experience it evaporates so you’re not leaving any in the bowl, but just to be safe I use food grade alcohol. As you can see the alcohol did the trick as it absorbed a lot extra matter from the bowl and shank. (that is an upside down bear holding the pipe lol)

Lastly I scrubbed the exterior of the stummel with Murphy’s Oil soap which does a great job of removing dirt and oils from the previous owners hands that may have transferred to the bowl as well as any deleterious matter from the restoration process.

Step 2: Clean and Deoxidize the stem

There are multiple methods used in removing oxidation on vulcanite stems that work well. One such method is using a soft flame from a butane lighter or a Bic lighter. The process involves passing the flame over the stem which seems to burn off mild surface oxidation. You must be very careful not to overheat the vulcanite otherwise it will burn. This process is also useful for tooth chatter as vulcanite has “memory” and the heat will lift the indents.

I used the same process to remove the oxidation from the vulcanite shank extension. Now…..you must also very be careful around stamps pressed in the vulcanite, like the Peterson “P”. As I mentioned, the heat will lift out tooth chatter…..and in this case it also lifted out the stamped “P”.

After removing the oxidation, I polished the shank extension and the stem with Micro Mesh sanding pads. They come in grit sets from 1500 – 12000. I buy mine from Lee Valley. Once completed, I applied a generous coating of Mineral oil to the entire pipe.

Step 3: Stem and stummel polishing

I leave the mineral oil to absorb into the stem and stummel before polishing with red tripoli, white diamond and lastly carnauba wax.

Here is the finished pipe!