Peterson Smokes Bad No Matter What. How To Fix It?

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cersono

Might Stick Around
Feb 11, 2016
79
41
Vallis Lacrimarum
Sorry for a silly question but I feel like I have little options other than to turn to the collective wisdom of the forum.

For some years already, I have an estate Peterson Limerick 80s Bent Bulldog (probably, from the 1970s) which just smokes bad. Nothing wrong with the pipe itself, no ghosts, no manufacturing flaws. Just smokes flat and produces sharp flavourless smoke, whatever the blend. It's not because of the bowl shape I'm sure as I have other pipes with very similar chambers, low and wide, which smoke nice and sweet.
I've checked all variables I could imagine, trying different blends and cuts, wet and dry, filling tight and loose, puffing fast and slow, smoking hot and cool, all to no avail. It must be something about engineering or I don't know what.
I don't want to discard or sell the pipe as it's good otherwise and I like its look and feel. I just want to make it enjoyable.

How do you tame you stubborn suckers? What are the options you employ?
Growing a thick layer of cake?
Opening the draft?
Widening the bore?
Please share your experience.
 
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cersono

Might Stick Around
Feb 11, 2016
79
41
Vallis Lacrimarum
The pipe is clean and even disinfected thoroughly. That's what I do firsthand upon acquiring an estate.
All my other Petersons smoke just fine. Which makes me to suspect there might be something about engineering of this particular pipe (although I find no obvious flaws, visually).

I'm asking here just in case it's a common issue and there's some common way to repair it.
If not, I'll experiment with the repairs.
 
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Hillcrest

Lifer
Dec 3, 2021
1,378
6,680
Bagshot Row, Hobbiton
Just hazarding a guess since you said "probably from the seventies' ... that you got one of those with the infamous Peterson chamber coating that ruins flavor... one person referred to it as the Peterson tarpit ...
I have an Erica second from the same period that had a similar coating. Ok House pipe, but just blah. I sanded the inside coating off, did a salt and alcohol cleaning, then coated the chamber with some liqour and a couple drops of honey and maple syrup. Now smokes beautifully and tasty and sweet no matter the tobacco. So, I suspect you need to remove the chamber coating and start over. Also clean the stem ... if its vulcanite you might have some oxidation inside that is tainting the flavor - alcohol on pipe cleaners 'till clean. Most of this advice is from this forum when I had that problem and researched what to do ... then did what worked for others.
 
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cersono

Might Stick Around
Feb 11, 2016
79
41
Vallis Lacrimarum
Salt & Alcohol treatment sounds like a good idea!
I doubt there's any original coating left (I scraped the chamber down to the wood when I was preparing the pipe for the first smoke) but I recall Salt and Alco did wonders to my other (ghosted) pipes. It didn't just remove the ghosting, it made them smoking better overall.
Probably, I'll have to try it first before I reach for the Dremel and Drill.
 

Hillcrest

Lifer
Dec 3, 2021
1,378
6,680
Bagshot Row, Hobbiton
Salt & Alcohol treatment sounds like a good idea!
I doubt there's any original coating left (I scraped the chamber down to the wood when I was preparing the pipe for the first smoke) but I recall Salt and Alco did wonders to my other (ghosted) pipes. It didn't just removed the ghosting, it made them smoking better overall.
Probably, I'll have to try it first before I reach for the Dremel and Drill.
Don't forget to salt inside the shank as well so you get the airway ... I do that on any pipe with a chamber in shank ... I rest it for 24 hours in a clean yogurt cup lined with a folded paper towel to hold it upright. The salt absorbs the tannins out of wood. Works for me. Wipe out and toss all in recycling and garbage.
 

cersono

Might Stick Around
Feb 11, 2016
79
41
Vallis Lacrimarum
I'd gladly provide the pipe for an expert inspection but my Vallis Lacrimarum in Patribus Infidelium is unfortunately a place too far away from the civilized world.
That's why no option of binning any pipes, despite some Brilliantly Smart suggestions above. Here in the bush, you fix and repair what you have.
 

cersono

Might Stick Around
Feb 11, 2016
79
41
Vallis Lacrimarum
Frankly, my curent location is not what I'd like to concentrate on while discussing the pipe question.
I mentioned that just for explaining why I don't take the Brilliant Smart "bin it" suggestions.
Thank you for helping answers!
 
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Hillcrest

Lifer
Dec 3, 2021
1,378
6,680
Bagshot Row, Hobbiton
Frankly, my curent location is not what I'd like to concentrate on while discussing the pipe question.
I mentioned that just for explaining why I don't take the Brilliant Smart "bin it" suggestions.
Thank you for helping answers!
Sorry... was not prying ...I was referring to Patribus Infidelium source (G the G or psalms). Nevermind. Probably not appropriate in open forum. Disregard. Thanks. Good Luck.
 
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cersono

Might Stick Around
Feb 11, 2016
79
41
Vallis Lacrimarum
No problem!
I just mean I'm currently in a remote place that doesn't offer too much possibilities to discard bad pipes and buy good new ones, so I have to try to fix what I have. Actually, I'd do the same if I were back home as
it's a nice pipe, no way to toss it whether in the bush or at home.
I hoped some wise guy would come and say "Man I've got the same Schitt with my 70s Pete, just open the drawhole and do this and that and you're golden!" :)
 

cersono

Might Stick Around
Feb 11, 2016
79
41
Vallis Lacrimarum
Thank you. I like you posts on this forum which I've been lurking for years, they are usually helpful and informative.
Actually, not everything. I haven't tried the Salt&Alco and Boiling-Spirit-Bulb treatments and also I haven't tried the Re-Boring and Drafthole-Opening. Which I'll probably try if no other suggestions appear.
 

Hillcrest

Lifer
Dec 3, 2021
1,378
6,680
Bagshot Row, Hobbiton
smYou're fretting over a pipe that you say that you've tried everything... life is too short to waste time on a reluctant pipe. Toss it. There are millions of pipes out there screaming for a good owner.
I think the problem is 'tried everything' is a huge generality ... There really is no such thing as a bad Peterson. Sometimes you have to clean a couple of times. He did say originally that it was an 'estate Peterson' so we don't know if the last guy maintained his pipes. He also said he had to ream the bowl down to wood so clearly a well used pipe. I say keep cleaning until it works. If then it still is terrible then send out for professional restoration or sell or donate or toss. Unfortunately, there are no quick and easy solutions with estate pipes.
 
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Hillcrest

Lifer
Dec 3, 2021
1,378
6,680
Bagshot Row, Hobbiton
Thank you. I like you posts on this forum which I've been lurking for years, they are usually helpful and informative.
Actually, not everything. I haven't tried the Salt&Alco and Boiling-Spirit-Bulb treatments and also I haven't tried the Re-Boring and Drafthole-Opening. Which I'll probably try if no other suggestions appear.
Its up to you ... obviously... but I would try cleaning multiple times before drilling and re-boring which will open airway but not solve bland flavor issues ... just give you more bland flavor faster. Good Luck.
 
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cersono

Might Stick Around
Feb 11, 2016
79
41
Vallis Lacrimarum
There really is no such thing as a bad Peterson.
That's what I believe in too.
And that's why I don't take the silly simple "toss it" suggestions.
It COULD be fixed, I'm sure. It's a 70's Irish Peterson, after all, not a 2022 Chinese "rosewood". I believe I've excluded all variables that depended on the previous owner, the pipe is perfectly clean and ghost-free. Still, it smokes suboptimally. Which is a mistery I'm trying to solve.
 
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cersono

Might Stick Around
Feb 11, 2016
79
41
Vallis Lacrimarum
drilling and re-boring which will open airway but not solve bland flavor issues ... just give you more bland flavor faster
Theoretically, what do you think, why a clean pipe might give bland flavours?
I've met several opinions that that could be because of a too large chamber and too narrow borehole.
I don't know if that's true.