Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe was an absolute mess and one that obviously had been “ridden hard and put away wet”. There was little room in the bowl for tobacco and the finish and condition was abysmal. I am pretty sure it came from a classic old time pipeman who smoked a pipe until it was no longer usable and then pitched it for a new on. It was definitely a stranger to any cleaning! This one is a smooth Billiard that has a rich coloured finish around the bowl sides and shank. It came to us on 07/24/18 from a sale in Lickingville, Pennsylvania, USA. The finish is almost bland looking it is so dirty it was hard to know what to expect once it was cleaned. It was stamped on the left side of the shank and read SHAMROCK. It was stamped to the right of the shank and reads “A PETERSON’S PRODUCT” over MADE IN THE REP. [over] OF IRELAND (3 lines) with the shape number 15 next to the bowl. It was filthy when Jeff brought it to the table. There was a very thick cake in the bowl and lava on the rim top and the inner edge of the bowl. The cake was thick and overflowing so much it was hard to know what the edge looked like. The stem was stamped with the letter S on the left side. It was oxidized and had tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside on and near the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before his cleanup work. Jeff took photos of the rim top and stem to show the general condition of the pipe. The bowl is so heavily caked it is impossible to know the condition of the edges under the lava overflow. There was still dottle in the bowl from the last smoke of the pipe. The stem is oxidized and grimy. It has some tooth marks on the top and underside near and on the surface of the button itself. Jeff took photos of the bowl sides and heel to show the grain that was around this bowl. You can see the sandpits and nicks in the briar in the photos below. Even so, it is a nice looking pipe.He took photos of the sides of the shank to show the stamping. The stamping is readable in the photos below and is as noted above. I am including the link to the Pipedia’s article on Peterson pipes. It is a great read in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Peterson).
I turned to “The Peterson Pipe” by Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg to get some background on the Peterson’s Shamrock Pipe. On page 312 it had the following information.
Shamrock (c1941-2009) Originally stamped SHAMROCK with no brand name, an inexpensive line first described in George Yale (New York) mail order booklet in 1941, imported by Rogers Import. The line was actively promoted beginning in ’45, aggressively promoted in US by Rogers from early ‘50s when they registered the Shamrock logo with US Patent Office, claiming propriety since ’38. Over the years offered with P-lip or fishtail mouthpiece, with or without nickel band, with or without shamrock logo on the band, with or without S stamped in white or later in gold on mouthpiece. Appearing in 2008 as unstained smooth and rustic, fishtail mouthpiece with gold impressed P on the stem. COMS of MADE IN over IRELAND (C1945-1965), MADE IN IRELAND forming a circle (c1945-1965), “A PETERSON’S PRODUCT” over MADE IN IRELAND (c1945-1965), MADE IN THE over REPUBLIC over OF IRELAND (c1948-1998). Model is always difficult or impossible to date.
Judging from the description above, the pipe I am working on is stamped with the stamp noted in red above. It reads “A Peterson’s Product” over Made in Ireland which narrows the date to between approximately 1948-1998. It is just stamped SHAMROCK with no brand name as an inexpensive a fish tail stem. Now it was time to work on the pipe.
I was utterly surprised when I took this pipe out of the box and compared it to the before photos. 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. Surprisingly the walls looked unscathed from the heavy cake. 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 of the stem with Soft Scrub and then soaked it in Briarville’s Deoxidizer. He washed it off with warm water to remove the Deoxidizer. The pipe looked far better when it arrived. The cleaned up rim top revealed a very damaged inner edge and top. It was both burned and nicked from what appeared to be a quick ream somewhere in its life with a knife. I took some close up photos of the rim top to show how well it had cleaned up and the damage to the inner edges around the bowl. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the tooth marks on the surface near and on the button itself. I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It reads as noted above. I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to have a look at the parts and overall look.I started my work on this pipe by topping the bowl and reworking the damage to the inner edge. I topped the bowl on a piece of 220 grit sandpaper on a topping board. Once I had it smooth I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to give the inner edge of the bowl a slight bevel to accommodate the burned areas and blend them into the surrounding briar.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad.I interrupted the polishing with the micromesh pads after the 2400 grit pad. I stained the rim top with a Maple, Cherry and Walnut stain pen to blend it into the surrounding briar. Then I continued on my polishing of the briar with 3200-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads. 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 “painted” the stem surface with flame of a lighter to lift the tooth marks in the surface. It worked well. I filled in the remaining tooth marks with clear CA glue and set the stem aside to cure. Once it had cured I sanded them smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.From the description I read and quoted above I knew that the stem stamp could well have been gold. I used some Rub’n Buff Antique Gold to fill in the stamp. I worked it into the stamp with a tooth pick. I buffed it off with a soft cloth.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 Older “A Peterson’s Product” Shamrock 15 Straight Billiard. 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 hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with beautiful mixed grain all around it. Added to that the black vulcanite fish tail stem was beautiful. This smooth Classic Shamrock 15 Billiard is great looking and the pipe 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 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 34grams/1.20oz. It is a beautiful pipe and one will end up on the rebornpipes store in the Irish Pipe makers section. Check there if you want to add it to your collection. Let me know via email or message. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.