I found this pipe at an antique store close to the mountains in
Georgia. It’s rather unique because of the rustication that had been done to it. According to a fellow pipe lover, he thinks he remembers this pipe being sold as a special package deal with a tobacco blend. Sort of like how there’s a Peterson pipe set with a Zippo lighter. With some further research, I’ve been told that this pipe may be what’s called a Manx Meerschaum, or African meerschaum, which is generally harder and cured a little different than Turkish meerschaum.
When I purchased this pipe, the stem was heavily oxidized. I sanded it down a little, trying to be very careful since the highest grade of sandpaper I have is 600 grit. It worked wonderfully, though. I then soaked the stem in some Everclear alcohol for about 4-6 hours. After the soaking, I used some bristled pipe cleaners with some of the alcohol to make sure that the stem was cleaned thoroughly. Once done with the cleaning process, I used some Brebbia pipe and stem polish and a microfiber towel to polish the stem. It came out beautifully! I do need to repeat the sanding and polishing again, since I’ve noticed that I missed some of the oxidation.
I did a salt and alcohol treatment on the bowl and shank, making sure that all the previous tobacco residue was removed. There were no scorching in the bowl and the pipe took to the S/A quite well. Once I finished the S/A treatment, I used some of the polish on the silver and around the rim of the bowl. I didn’t think I would get some of the tarnishing off, since it looked like it went deeper than the surface, but it all came off easily and shined up wonderfully.
I smoked this pipe for the first time the other night and was moderately rewarded for my time cleaning it up. I think I packed the tobacco a little too much and had to relight more than a few times. It was a little frustrating, but this is my first Peterson pipe. While I can already tell it’s not as good of a smoker as my Rinaldo, I’m hoping a good cake build will make this pipe better soon. I’m also sure that a better packing for the tobacco will help.
Edited 3/19/2008 ~ Due to a couple of comments from a good fellow and research I had done after fully confirming that this pipe is in fact a manx (African) meer, I’ve needed to come in and update this entry. In after-thought, the S/A treatment wasn’t a good decision. Meerschaum pipes do not take to the treatment like briar does and you can pretty much bet on ruining a great pipe. This said, I will say that I got extremely lucky. The pipe did not degrade, or ruin. I think that has a lot to do with the type of meerschaum it is and the fact that I didn’t do a major S/A treatment like I have done with several briars since I got this one. Turkish meerschaum is much softer and not near as dense as this pipe. Without being fully aware of the characteristics of this kind of meerschaum, it can be easily mistaken for briar. I have a few meers that I smoke rarely. I’d never do an S/A treatment on them and with this Peterson, I was impatient, didn’t confirm its material, and didn’t know there were other kinds of meerschaum to look out for. I’ve smoked this pipe several times since this post and it gets better and better as I work through my own ignorance. For the comments made below, thank you for your insight and bringing this back to my attention to make a follow-up. As I’ve said in my bio, I’m new to this and I’m learning as I go, hence the name BootlegBonVivant.