Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe was a mess and one that obviously had been “ridden hard and put away wet”. The finish and condition was abysmal. It was definitely a stranger to any cleaning! This one is a smooth Prince that has a rich coloured finish around the bowl sides and shank under the grit and grime of years. This pipe was purchased from an antique mall on 08/27/21 in Bozeman, Montana, 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 MADE IN IRELAND (in a circle) with the shape number 106 lower and next to the bowl. It was filthy when Jeff brought it to the table. There was a thick cake in the bowl and lava on the rim top and the inner edge of the bowl. There were nicks in the outer edge all the way around. The replacement stem was chewed and damaged on the top and underside on and near the button. It did not appear to be vulcanite. 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 heavily caked so it is hard to know the condition of the edges under the lava overflow. The stem was a replacement and had been heavily gnawed. The way the bit marks are on the surface of the stem makes me think that it is not vulcanite. The pipe is a real mess and I would probably have to restem the bowl. 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 a photo of the left side of the shank to show the stamping. The stamping is faint but readable in the photo below and is as noted above. He did not take a photo of the circular stamp Made In Ireland and the shape number on the right side of the shank. I will try to capture that later in the blog.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 IRELAND9c1948-1998). 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. Made in Ireland in a circle which narrows the date to between approximately 1945-1965. It is just stamped SHAMROCK with no brand name and no stamping on the stem.
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. When I examined the stem I knew it would need to be replaced. The pipe looked far better when it arrived. The cleaned up rim top revealed very damaged inner and outer edges and the top. There were nicks in the surface of the rim and the edges. I took some close up photos of the rim top and edges to show how well it had cleaned up and the damage to the 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. The stem would be replaced. You can see the deep tooth marks and damage to the button edges on both sides. The diameter of the stem is smaller than that of the shank as can be seen in the photos.I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It is faint but still readable. 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 removed the stem from the shank and went through my stems to find one that matched the length and shape of the previous stem. I was pleased to see that it was slightly larger in diameter than the previous one. The tenon was almost the same size as the other one. It was bent more than the previous one but once straightened out it was only 1/8 of an inch shorter. I thought it would look very good.I used a small folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to reduce the tenon enough that it would fit the mortise on the bowl. It did not take too much work and it fit perfectly. The diameter of the stem was slightly larger than the shank and would need some work to fit it properly. I took photos of the pipe with its new stem. I needed to reduce the diameter of the stem and also straighten it a bit to fit correctly. I used a flat file to take off as much of the excess as I could without damaging the briar ahead of it.I cleaned up the fit of the stem to the shank with folded 220 grit sandpaper. I worked over the flow of the stem into the shank to make the transition smooth. It was looking very good. I also heated the stem with the flame of a lighter to soften the vulcanite and straighten it. I repaired the damaged spots on the rim top with briar dust and clear superglue. Once it cured I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the inside edge of the bowl and smooth out the damage. I gave it a slight bevel to minimize the damage. 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 restained the rim top with a Walnut and a Maple stain pen to match it to the surrounding bowl colour. It looked pretty good. It will blend well once the pipe is polished and buffed. 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 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 Made in Ireland Shamrock 106 Prince. 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, looks great with the new black vulcanite stem. This smooth Classic Shamrock 106 Prince 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: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 36 grams/1.27 ounces. It turned out to be a beautiful pipe. I will be putting on the rebornpipes store in the Irish Pipe Makers Section. Thanks for your time and as Paresh says each time – Stay Safe.