Blog by Steve Laug
Today is another interesting day for me to work on pipes. It is Boxing Day and the sprained wrist is better than it was yesterday and the wrist brace really helps. I am slowed down a bit by it, but I have not stopped. The next pipe I have chosen is another Peterson’s of Dublin Calabash. It is a great looking pipe. It came to us from an EBay auction in 2017 from Riverton, Utah, USA. The grime was ground into the smooth finish on the bowl sides. The contrast of the brown stains gave the grain a sense of depth. It was stamped on the left side of the shank and read Peterson’s [arched over] of Dublin [over] Shannon. On the right side of the shank it bore the stamp 05 which is the shape number. This pipe must have been another favourite as it had been well smoked. There was a moderate cake in the bowl a light overflow of lava and darkening on the rim top. The edge of the bowl looked very good. The stem was acrylic and had light tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside on and near the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before his cleanup work. They tell the story and give a glimpse of the promise that we see in this pipe. Jeff took photos of the rim top and stem to show the general condition of the pipe. The bowl is moderately caked and the smooth rim top and edges have a lava overflow obscuring the inner edge. The photos of the acrylic stem show the light tooth marks on the top and underside near the button. Jeff took a photo of the bowl sides and heel to show the blast that was around this bowl. There were some nicks in the sides but overall it is a nice looking pipe. He took photos of the stamping on the shank. It is clear and readable and reads as noted above. From what I could find online on a variety of sites that sell the Shannon line they all seem to agree that it was designed for those who prefer classic shapes free from adornments. The line is among Peterson’s most reserved finishes, defined by a familiar walnut stain and a jet-black acrylic stem. (This perfectly matches the pipe I am working on.)
Now to see what else I could learn and verify that information I turned to Pipedia and found a section on the Shannon line (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Peterson). I quote the section in full below.
During the 1970’s Peterson had a large display of pipes in the Shannon Airport Duty Free Shop for passengers. These were on display in a ﬂoor cabinet measuring approximately 6 ‘x 3’. Shannon airport outlet sold a considerable amount of pipes during its period of existence, covering all qualities, from the basic entry level Aran series up to the De Luxe Systems. They also stamped some mid range pipes with the mark ‘SHANNON’. This was only for pipes issued and sold from Shannon airport and was not the same as the present day Shannon series.
The last sentence left me with a question about the pipe in hand. Was it part of the Shannon Airport pipes or was it part of the present day Shannon Series? I turned to “The Peterson Pipe” by Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg to get some background on the Shannon line. On page 312 it had the following information.
Shannon (1969-c1987) – First offered as an entry-grade line in walnut or black sandblast. In 1969-c1970, offered through Iwan Ries as Shannon Meerschaum Lined, middle-grade sandblast and higher grade brown sandblast finish, P-lip mouthpiece. From 2005 as polished tan-and-black stain, unmounted, P-lip or fishtail mouthpiece with stamped gold P on vulcanite mouthpiece.
There was also a listing on page 299 for Shannon Airport. It read as follows:
For Shannon Airport (c.d1947-c1983) – Stamp on shank of pipes in several grades, indicated that the pipe was designated to be sold by Duty Free Shops at the Shannon Airport.
It is interesting that most of the info on the Shannon pipe and the Shannon Airport pipe seems to be parallel. It also seems to me that Mark and Gary do not make the distinction very clear on the two. They also note that the pipe had a black vulcanite stem with a gold “P” stamped on it as this one does but the pipe I am working on has an acrylic stem as noted in the opening paragraph of this section.
I wrote to Mark for some clarity about the pipe I had in my hand. Here is his response
Merry Christmas to you, too, good sir! The SHANNON AIRPORT stamp refers to an agreement K&P had for duty-free export pipes at the airport, which had to have that stamp to qualify for whatever tax-free status they had. SHANNON, on the other hand, was a distinct line of Classic Range pipes. The SHANNON AIRPORT pipes could be any K&P pipe–System, Classic Range, whatever. The SHANNON was strictly a Classic Range, following the guidelines on p. 312.
Hope that helps, and joy to you in this Christmas Season–
In a follow up email to Mark with photos he responded as follows:
This shape was introduced in 1984, by the way. The beauty of the grain would indicate an earlier release, as K&P always culled their best bowls right out of the box, saving lesser grain for later on. I know it has at least one fill, or it would have been a De Luxe.
I knew that I was dealing with a Shannon that was part of the Classic Line made between 1984 and 1987. Now it was time to work on the pipe.
Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet reamer and cut back the cake back to the bare briar. He cleaned up the walls with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime from the finish. He worked on the rim top lava and darkening with the soap and tooth brush. He scrubbed the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior with Soft Scrub and washed it off with warm water to remove the debris and soap. The pipe looked very good when it arrived. I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show how well it had cleaned up. The rim top looks very good in the photo with only one small sandpit on the right side of the top mid rim. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the light tooth marks on the surface near the button. I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. You can see that it is stamped as noted above. I took the pipe apart and took a photo of the pipe. It is a good looking pipe and has a great grain pattern on the bowl. I polished the bowl and the rim top with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped down the briar between each pad to remove the sanding debris. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I am excited to finish this Peterson’s of Dublin Shannon 05 Calabash. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished smooth rim top and the sandblast bowl looks like with the black acrylic taper stem. This Classic looking Peterson’s of Dublin Shannon Calabash feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 44grams/1.52oz. It is a beautiful pipe and one that has already been claimed by a good friend. I will be shipping it to him on Tuesday. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.