356. Fletch Hiner: Turning A Replacement Chimney (+ the 2023 System Day Challenge)

PSA: See 2023 System Day Challenge
at end of post

Not being overly enthusiastic about Dunhill pipes and the online fervor they can create in an online auction, coupled with the fact that the early 1980s were a dark time in pipe manufacturing, I never bought into the whole birth year pipe fad. I always passively looked for a decent 1982 Peterson, but hallmarks from this year don’t show up too often. My search had been fruitless for some time when much to my surprise, a pipe showed up on eBay by a well-known and respected estate seller and fellow Pipedia contributor. So I submitted a bid, one I thought was not overly enthusiastic but a respectable contender. I ended up winning the auction with $1 dollar on my max bid to spare.

A week later this beautiful little 1982 Deluxe System smooth, 1982 showed up at my doorstep. The only thing wrong with the pipe was it was missing its chimney, which I had known prior to bidding because I asked the seller. Knowing that the typically out of stock chimneys sold online as replacements were made with the current M6.3X1 threads rather than the M7X1 threads used in the early 80s and that the new chimneys also lack the cross vents typically drilled in condensers of the earlier era I elected to turn my own replacement, not a problem for a man with a lathe.

I started by measuring the threads in the tenon to determine whether they were M6.3X1 or M7X1 and determined that they were in fact M7X1. I made a drawing to establish some rough dimensions based on a condenser from a new Pub pipe and the known details of older cross-vented chimneys. Once I had a set of dimensions to work from, I could select an appropriate piece of stock. In this case a .5″ (12mm) piece of aluminum rod stock fit the bill. After selecting my stock, I laid out all the tools I would need to complete the task.

The first order of business was to turn a chucking holder for the treaded condenser blank. This would be used to hold the threaded blank in the lathe chuck and as a depth stop for cross vent drilling later in the process. I started by turning the holder down to my desired OD and drilling a pilot hole for the female M7X1 threads. I then tapped the holder with an M7X1 plug cutting tap.

With the holder all sorted it was time to start working on the condenser itself. I started by facing the stock and drilling the 3.5mm bore of the condenser and chamfering the thread side bore to 60d.

A quick look in the Machineries Handbook told me the major OD for M7X1 external threads should be 6.9mm, so I turned down the threaded portion to 6.9mm in preparation for thread cutting.

Once the major OD was established, I cut the threads by hand with a die and then relieved the threads with a parting tool. After chasing the threads in the stem with a tap to clean out any debris I test fitted it to the condenser blank before parting it to continue shaping.

With the blank now parted from its source stock and off the lathe it was time to tackle the cross vents while the condenser sides were still parallel. This was done by using the holder turned earlier as a depth stop to locate both holes in the same circumference plane. The blank was clamped in a V-block drill guide and two holes drilled 120d apart.

Final shaping of the chimney was done on the lathe with a 5/16″ corner radius cutter and the taper was cut to roughly 3 degrees.  All holes and bores were deburred with a tri-blade burnishing tool and the bore was reamed with the 3.5mm bit again. And just like that, this 1982 20S Deluxe System was back in the fight smoking just as well as it did the day it was made.

Above: My repaired 20S shown with my “Custom Deluxe” Nov 2015 Craftsman, a PPN-CPG Zippo, bone scale Rogers pipe knife and a hand-cut camel bone chimney for another project.


Keep it Geeky Pete fans,
Fletch Hiner



125th Anniversary System Day Challenge

Yes, it’s true! This is the 125th anniversary of the third and final patent of the System pipe. This year’s  challenge takes it cue from a passage in my pipe-smoking novel The X-Pipe (which is in the editing and book design process):

“The Smoker is incomplete without the body of the pipe; the pipe is incomplete without the soul of the tobacco; smoke from the tobacco is incomplete without the censing spirit of its transformative power. These four are united yet distinct; in community, yet one.”

To receive your CPG certificate or the new merit badge, address these four elements in a sentence or two accompanied by an illustrative photo and email them to petegeek1896@gmail.com:

  • The “Smoker”—your name and global location as you want it to appear in  the post;
  • The System Pipe—your chosen System pipe;
  • The Tobacco—the tobacco you will most likely smoke on System Day 2023;
  • The “Transformative Power”—your most probable hour and locale for celebrating System Day.

Your entry must be received by Saturday, September 2nd, 5pm CDT, to be included in the  System Day 2023 blog post for Sunday, September 3rd.





Continue Reading356. Fletch Hiner: Turning A Replacement Chimney (+ the 2023 System Day Challenge)