Restorations and Repairs

Is restoring an old pipe worth the money or effort?

One question that we get at the shop frequently is “Is it worth the time or money to have my old estate pipe restored?”. This is a great question and honestly each pipe could have a different answer. There is a difference between having your pipe professionally cleaned and having your pipe restored. Today, we will focus on restoration. Let me share the store of this Peterson System Standard Pipe to help you find the best answer.

We received this Peterson pipe in the shop in a large lot of estate pipes that we purchased. We are used to getting pipes in that need to be cleaned and repaired, but this one was in horrible shape! I am sure that this pipe had to be the smoker’s favorite pipe and had been smoked thousands of times…….unfortunately without every being cleaned. The cake was so thick that we could not get a #2 pencil in the bowl, the stummel and stem were completely clogged with tobacco and grime. The bow exterior was solid black from years of build up. Needless to say, this pipe was put in the damaged box to use for parts.

One day, while looking through the parts box, I decided to take on this pipe as a personal project to see if it could live again. It took several hours to clean the pipe, ream out the cake, remove all of the tobacco and grime from the stummel and to clean the inside of the stem. After cleaning the pipe, the bowl was sanded to the bare briar and restained, buffed, and polish. WOW! under all of that buildup and grime was a beautiful birds eye grain pattern.

Excited about the new possibility for this pipe, we restored the silver collar, stamps and logos, and the P lip stem. After a day of work, this “throw away” pipe came to life. Not only was the pipe cleaned and able to be smoked again, but it turned out beautiful and in very nice shape considering how it came in.

This pipe sold within a few days and has new life and will be enjoyed for many more years by another generation of pipe smokers. So, was the money and effort worth the restoration?

Yes. To have this pipe restored, it would cost you around $50.00. You would then have a very nice, vintage Peterson’s System Standard Pipe that was made from briar that is now over at least 60 years old and that has been well broken in. If you buy the same pipe new today, you would spend around $100 to $150.

There is also the sentimental value that many pipes hold that cannot be replaced or a price put on. For me, when I am working on an estate pipe, I always think about who may have owned the pipe. What decisions were made while this pipe was being smoked? What history took place that this pipe was part of? Was the pipe smoked by an influential leader or just a normal husband taking care of his family? These are not just smoking devices, but part of history and pieces of art.

If you would like to see if your old pipes or current pipes would benefit from being restored or just professionally cleaned, take a look at our Restoration and Repairs page here: or send us an email at

Until next time…….”may your bowl be full and your mind at ease”.

Briar Fox

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *