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295. Mark Hunt’s Flat-Bottom PUB Pipe

Mark Hunt, CPG, recently sent me a photo of a PUB Pipe modification he’d done and it’s so cool I thought everyone might enjoy hearing about it. Those new to the Peterson world may wonder about the mods some Pete Geeks enjoy doing on their pipes. Mark’s rationale bears quoting and is my own as well: “By seeking to further personalize the smoking experience, I think modifications like this can demonstrate the love a Peterson smoker has for his pipe.” Amen.  

Like many Pete Geeks, I own a number of System pipes in a variety of shapes, bowl sizes and finishes. One recent evening, reading a book outside under a shady tree, I was struck by the thought of how I very much enjoy the setting aspect of my ebony Peterson System 304.

When I get up to refresh my beverage I find tending to the pipe, a drink and a book is certainly made simpler by being able to set the pipe down and return to it in a minute. Of course, any length of time will require more fussing with the pipe before I can get back into my book. “Hmm,” I think, “larger bowl, longer smoke …maybe I need a 306? Or a pipe holder?”

Birth of a Notion.  Sunset, then twilight. I’m finishing things up and return to the shop to clean my pipe before retiring. And then—cue dramatic music—I spy my rusticated PUB Pipe. “Oh?” I immediately think, wondering about making it into what K&P calls a “setter” in the 1906 catalog and what Paddy Larrigan, who created the 304 and 306 shapes dubbed a “flat bottom.”  I chuckle at the idea and go to bed.

I awake to find this thought burrowing deep into my subconscious, then soon realize I am seriously thinking about modifying the largest pipe I own. And yet—how nice it would be to have a really large setter. Something to ponder.

Returning to the shop later in day, I begin scoping out the situation. I place the PUB Pipe on a flat surface and see that it leans a bit to one side. I take a picture to zoom in better see the “legs” created by the rustication.

Nubby little legs that I will soon amputate—cue evil villain laughter. Looking at the pipe from front to back, it seems pretty level.

So I put on the goggles and quickly move to my one inch belt sander to practice. The sacrificial victim is an inexpensive nose warmer I acquired years back.

I make some light pencil marks and begin the process of evenly removing wood from the bottom of the bowl. After a few passes, I check my work and make a few adjustments, and soon I have a nose setter in front of me.

I fire up a quick bowl to ensure I haven’t ruined this little pipe, but it smokes fine. I am encouraged enough to think I might just do the same sort of surgery on my PUB.

I say to myself: “Go slow—then then slow down even more.”

Again I go to the little belt sander, moving carefully into this second surgical modification. I take it down little by little. Just a bit. Check it to make sure it’s level. I place it on a flat, level surface. Success. I put the stem back on.  Uh oh.

With the stem in, the pipe is out of balance and falls over. So I carefully adjust what I’m doing and sand some more. I put the stem on again and the pipe begins to lean over but almost stays upright. I want it to sit level. So I think further and then make a few more passes on the sander to get it right. I put the stem back in and it sets levelcue superhero soundtrack:  Behold the PUB Setter!

Fantastic, of course, for any time I’ll be doing several things at once and need to set it down.

It smokes great and I do like puffing away on C. S. Lewis’s preferred blend while reading one of his works.

Photos by Mark Hunt
Stock photos courtesy SPC

 

Quality Reading Material

 

 

More Catch & Release

Some fun pipes this week on eBay, including a rare Mark Twain dome-mount System with ALL its ephemera, the amazing 1905 Antique Reproduction billiard from 1995 and a smooth Port Dublin bell from the Iceberg 1912 Collection.

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Paul Schmolke
Paul Schmolke
11 days ago

So, off to the store for a rusticated 315 and a tin of Black House, it’ll be here mid week. I’ve been wringing my hands all day over which Pete to purchase this week and the Blog finally tipped me over. The 315 isn’t quite as large as a Pub or House pipe but it’s a bit more affordable for an old retired guy and plenty large too. I’ve recently acquired a Pete 304 sitter and a Ropp 354 sitter and I like them both. The Pete is better finished but the 354 is from an old stock of wood… Read more »

Nevaditude
Nevaditude
10 days ago
Reply to  Paul Schmolke

Irish Seconds have very affordable Petes that smoke great & might be possible future projects for you. One never knows, I certainly never had give it thought until that evening. Glad Mark Irwin’s hunch about this being a good blog idea was correct. I had. XL315 sent to me by mistake. Gorgeous pipe, but too similar to my Pub Pipe and my 313. So I contacted Smoking Pipes Europe, they held the one I had ordered, apologized for human error, instructed me to send it back. I did so. They were great to deal with. Debora, Federica & Adam all… Read more »

Bob Cuccaro/TLIP
Bob Cuccaro/TLIP
10 days ago

Wow! That is really cool and he may have given Peterson an idea for future releases!

Nevaditude
Nevaditude
10 days ago

Hey Bob, thank you for the comment. 🙂

Martin
Martin
10 days ago

Great modification.

Nevaditude
Nevaditude
10 days ago
Reply to  Martin

I appreciate that Martin, thank you.

Eric B
Eric B
10 days ago

What a brilliant idea! I’m glad it turned out well. Now about C.S. Lewis’s favorite tobacco: I’ve read that it was either Capstan or Three Nuns. What has your research determined???

Chris Streeper
10 days ago
Reply to  Eric B

I am involved with the C.S. Lewis Institute in NE Ohio. Several of us there have concluded Lewis’ preferred blend was Three Nuns. I keep a tin readily available when we meet up.

Eric B
Eric B
10 days ago
Reply to  Chris Streeper

Thanks!

Nevaditude
Nevaditude
10 days ago
Reply to  Eric B

I had this conversation with Doug Owen of the Cargo Hold Tobacco Shop in Washington state. We spoke of Lewis & Tolkien favorite blends. He spoke of his shared love of Capstan with Tolkien and how Lewis preferred the Three Nuns. Having read of that blends change of ownership, I asked Doug if the remastered was close to what Lewis smoked. Great detailed answer, on the changes in ingredients and why. He also said to look for the “hard to find” green & yellow ring circles on label as they are different than the orange. I know Doug reads this… Read more »

Douglas Owen
Douglas Owen
2 days ago
Reply to  Nevaditude

glad to join the discussion on Three Nuns, the original back in the 70’s and earlier I recall was simply Virginia and Perique, no other ingredients, my recollection may be faulty but if so someone please clarify, I can tell you for sure though that in those days there was very little if any, dark fired Kentucky being used in blends. Then when Macbaren re introduced Three Nuns a few years ago for some reason they left out the perique altogether and substituted dark fired Kentucky, (???) Obviously old timers like me complained so they then introduced Three Nuns gold… Read more »

Nevaditude
Nevaditude
10 days ago
Reply to  Eric B

Thanks Eric!

Richard Roberts
Richard Roberts
10 days ago

I really like this idea and the look of the finished modification and share, with Bob Cuccaro, the hope that Peterson will take the hint and act upon it. I, too, have a rusticated Pub pipe and find that, short of growing a third arm, reading the newspaper or a book, smoking and (quite possibly) having something to drink requires no little dexterity. I have a Peterson leather loop pipe-stand but find it not quite large enough to balance a Pub. Perhaps a larger version could be made? Finally, and most telling is that I know that I lack the… Read more »

Gary Hamilton
Gary Hamilton
10 days ago

Hi Richard, don’t forget that “The Peterson Pipe is The Piper’s Favourite Pipe”!

Nevaditude
Nevaditude
10 days ago

Thank you Richard!

Chris Streeper
10 days ago

What a practical modification. I admire the passion & creativity.

Nevaditude
Nevaditude
10 days ago
Reply to  Chris Streeper

Thank you!

Nevaditude
Nevaditude
10 days ago
Reply to  Chris Streeper

Thank you Chris for the kind words. I’m glad it turned out as well as it did. So easily could have been episode of foolhardiness & stupidity.
I am grateful.

Scott
Scott
10 days ago

Nice modification, well done. I like to set my pipes down on occasion.

Nevaditude
Nevaditude
10 days ago
Reply to  Scott

Thanks!

Nevaditude
Nevaditude
10 days ago
Reply to  Scott

Agreed!

John Schantz
John Schantz
10 days ago

Personally I have always disliked the look of the Peterson FB pipes, but I am drawn to them slightly by their perceived usefulness. I still do not posses one however. I have not made it past the aesthetics. Mark Hunt’s modification to his pub pipe looks “right” and it works as intended. Excellent!
I have a Smooth Founders Edition and a couple of belt sanders 🤔 . Nope, I don’t need a “big irish setter” that badly 😬

Nevaditude
Nevaditude
10 days ago
Reply to  John Schantz

Thank you John!
I am really happy with how it turned out. Had a bit of a scare when I placed the stem on. “Timber” …
Yikes! Thought I had ruined Big Pete. Luckily, was able to make a couple more passes & it worked out fine.

John Schantz
John Schantz
10 days ago
Reply to  Nevaditude

I have an angled bottom poker Nizza De Luxe by Jean Lacroix that I decided to add a wide deep chamfered bowl rim to…just because. Oops, the briar I removed was enough to offset the balance😖. I think I taper bored the stem, deep chamfered the stem, reduced the stem profile slightly, and re-bent the stem to get it to set again…whew.

Nevaditude
Nevaditude
10 days ago
Reply to  John Schantz

Nice save! Scary moment for certain!!!

Gary Hamilton
Gary Hamilton
10 days ago

Very nicely done modification, and functional too!

I say to myself: “Go slow—then then slow down even more.”
How true those words!

Sébastien Canévet
Sébastien Canévet
10 days ago
Reply to  Gary Hamilton

Another motto : “measure twice, cut one” 🙂

Nevaditude
Nevaditude
10 days ago

True indeed.

Nevaditude
Nevaditude
10 days ago
Reply to  Gary Hamilton

Thanks Gary!

Nevaditude
Nevaditude
10 days ago
Reply to  Gary Hamilton

AND I need to apply those words to additional parts of
my life.

Nevaditude
Nevaditude
10 days ago

Thanks!  I am gratified by the positive responses to my  “personalization  modification experimentation”  with the nose warmer & PubPipe.   When I emailed Mark what I had done, I was perhaps seeking an answer to, “ummm, am I CRAZY for doing so?”  His response was overwhelmingly encouraging AND he asked if he could use it as blog post, thinking others might enjoy. He was right!https://s.w.org/images/core/emoji/14.0.0/svg/1f603.svg I hope anyone else has previously made a change so their Pete works a little bit better for them will share with the rest of us. I’m guessing the possibilities are boundless. Would love to see & learn… Read more »

Gregory
Gregory
10 days ago

Nicely done and to each their own and everything…. but part of me screams out blasphemy! sacrilege! vandalism! 😄 I have an Aran B11 that doesn’t sit. It just falls over. Any idea what I can to balance it? It’s a really nice pipe with grain way above its pay grade.

Nevaditude
Nevaditude
10 days ago
Reply to  Gregory

Thanks for kind wordsGregory. I am not sure at all. I love the shape, but do not own one. I am sure someone has a clue what can be done and maybe they will reply.

Nevaditude
Nevaditude
10 days ago
Reply to  Mark Irwin

Thanks Mark, that sounds amazing & I’ll look forward to seeing the end result. Would you take much off while ripping it to change the shape? Or is it to keep shape integrity and add artistic interest to the pipe? Either way sounds fascinating. That is exactly the sort of thing I have wondered about. I know there are people who restore pipes, but I wondered if like cars, there were those who restore & those who modify or kind of “hot-rod” their Petes. I really enjoy reading the Peterson Pipe book, as well as the blogs. I find the… Read more »

Nevaditude
Nevaditude
10 days ago
Reply to  Mark Irwin

Excellent! 🇮🇪
Appreciate the elaboration. Long live the celebrating!

Marlowe
Marlowe
10 days ago

Fun read on the pipe mod. I’m curious about how others may have modified their Pete’s. I’m also intrigued with the C. S Lewis favourite tobacco thread. My Dad smoked 3 nuns back in the 70’s and I wonder if it’s the ghost I smell in his old pipes I now have. He also smoked St. Bruno and occasionly Sail blends so who knows? By the time I began with the pipe I’d read that the recipe had changed with ownership and never tried it. Is it still a good smoke? What’s that about the “green and yellow ring circles”… Read more »

Nevaditude
Nevaditude
10 days ago
Reply to  Marlowe

Thanks Marlowe! I’m with you, I wonder what ideas can be accomplished for ones every day smoke pipes. Not the rare collectibles or the like. I think what Mark share about rusticated pub pipe top sanded flat to create contrast sounds brilliant. It will make that pipe stand out and will NOT affect the smoke at all. He has me wondering about the possibilities. I will have to contact contact Doug Owen and ask him again. Apparently an original component was/is no longer available and some early attempts were “closer” to what Lewis smoked back in the day? I’m a… Read more »

Nevaditude
Nevaditude
10 days ago
Reply to  Nevaditude

Oh yeah, Marlowe… Read it! I had re-read Bunyan’s Pilgim’s Progress earlier during the pandemic- both volumes- his and then his wife & children. Not needed to be read for the Lewis book though. It is an allegorical and a type of tribute to the genre that Bunyan began. It truly was fun to follow all that by again revisiting Pilgrim’s Regress. As the title implies it is a similar yet different tale than the great Puritan author. It is from 1932 & the first book CS Lewis wrote after he converted to Christianity. AND rather than only an individual’s… Read more »

Marlowe
Marlowe
8 days ago
Reply to  Nevaditude

Thanks for the reply on PR. I’m intrigued even more.

Sykes Wilford
9 days ago

Can I offer some warnings, caveats and thoughts? Obviously this worked out; kudos to Mark for making the pipe his own. But the people with pipe factories (and retailers and such) kinda worry out when people modify stuff after the fact (sort of like how GM doesn’t like you to go jacking with the fuel mix in your truck). So, I’ll try to offer some guidance without getting all big-company on this: 1) Keep in mind that these shapes weren’t designed to have 5mm of wood shaved from the bottom. You’re probably safe-ish on the Pub pipe, depending on how… Read more »

Nevaditude
Nevaditude
9 days ago
Reply to  Sykes Wilford

Hi Sykes, Thank you so much for joining the discussion. I am glad you wanted to share your perspective & some helpful hints. As I wrote to Mark, I only smoke Petersons. My grandparents were named Peterson, and I attended a Peterson High School. So… smoking a pipe for me had to be Peterson. Thanks for your kudos. I appreciate them! I think you show what makes Peterson special. The head of GM wouldn’t respond to a blog. So, thank you for doing so and demonstrating again part of what makes the Peterson community so great. Differing voices are respected… Read more »

Nevaditude
Nevaditude
9 days ago
Reply to  Nevaditude

Oh yeah, let me try and add a pic of the 4 gorgeous Pete’s that arrived today from Ireland. A Sherlock Holmes sandblasted Lestrade, a 303 system, a 314 system and a sandblasted Prince Spigot! All beautiful and no… none will be modified!

Although, 🤔 the Lestrade WOULD be a beautiful system pipe shape. 👍🏼

G’nite & be well…
Mark

Satu
Satu
7 days ago

Mark, not sure where I should pose this question, but a discussion of a flat bottom/setter pipe is probably close. I just picked up an estate 302 that reminds me for all the world of the shaved-shank Dunmores. I’m sure it’s just happenstance, the pipe is deeply rusticated, and the smooth area where Peterson stamping is located, has that Dunmore angle. The result is a perfectly centered, perfectly balanced pipe, with an elevated p-lip that hovers a centimeter above any surface.

Just dumb-luck? Or were some releases as setters? It is a charming feature!

Nevaditude
Nevaditude
4 days ago
Reply to  Satu

Satu, yay! That is wonderful AND a very helpful feature of a great pipe shape. Thanks!

Richard Roberts
Richard Roberts
6 days ago

Good day Mark (and Mark!) I have tried out Mark (Hunt’s) idea on a pipe of similar shape to the pub pipe but rather smaller. It is not a Peterson, being marked Adsorba, but it is a good smoker. If, as I feared, I made a mess of it it would not have broken my heart, but If I tried straight away on of my Petes then I would not have been happy. So, under the watchful eye of my neighbour, and using his sander, I tried and it proved surprisingly successful. I should, however, confess my neighbour took over… Read more »

Richard Roberts
Richard Roberts
5 days ago

Thanks one and all for the advice about what to do, once having flattened the base of a pipe, in order to allow it to ‘sit’. .Carnauba wax is not, in so far as I know, widely available in the UK, but I welcome any advice and will ask the paltry number of serious tobacconists here about their pipe accessories. I am still unsure whether I have the nerve to take a sander to one of my ‘Petes’, but the experience and helpful advice of others in our community lend me modicum of hope. It is the final step of… Read more »

Nevaditude
Nevaditude
5 days ago

Hopefully no Kleenex will be necessary. I have know idea what pipe you are thinking of working on, but keep in mind what Sykes shared about measuring etc…. I know that I wouldn’t try & make a setter out of anything but a PubPipe as it’s size allows for the greater margin of “safely” removing wood. The rusticated knubs were what I first tried to “level” so it could set. I had to take more, but it turned out. If you go ahead, remember to go slow and then slow down even more- think though your steps and all possible… Read more »

Nevaditude
Nevaditude
4 days ago

I have no idea what Pete shape you are thing of working on. Regardless, I wish you success in every way possible.

Nevaditude
Nevaditude
4 days ago
Reply to  Nevaditude

Re-reading – house pipe, the one larger than pub pipe or the larger billiard style straight pipe?

Sykes spoke of most room being with a pup( would think similarly for larger house).
Again, if you do it, go slow and take as little as possible for what you are trying to accomplish.
If it happens, let us know how it turns out.

Oh, does the Adsorba continue to smoke well? No concerns? I should think any sort of wax on base would protect in the meantime until you get something more permanent.

Luca Garzino Demo
Luca Garzino Demo
4 days ago

Hi Mark!

Great article, as always. I’m a big fan 🙂

Sorry to bother you. I have a particular question regarding a modified stem on my ’85 Mark Twain, and some advice to ask. May you please contact me via email at luca.garzino@gmail.com? I would be very grateful for that.

Thanks again!
Luca