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


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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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