Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe I have chosen is another smooth finished Peterson’s Bulldog pipe. This one is a smooth straight Bulldog that has a rich coloured finish around the bowl sides and shank. It came to us from a fellow in Los Angeles, California, USA. The finish is dark and dirty but there is some great grain around the bowl sides and cap. There are chips and damaged fills on the underside of the bowl, shank on both sides and on the heel. It was stamped on the left side of the shank and read SHAMROCK. It was stamped to the right of the shank with COM circle that read MADE IN IRELAND with the shape number 493 next to the bowl. It was filthy when Jeff brought it to the table. There was a thick cake in the bowl and a thick overflow of lava on the rim top and the inner edge of the bowl. It was hard to know what the condition of the rim top and bowl were under that thick lava coat. The nickel band is tarnished and had wear marks on both sides and a small nick on the underside at the stem end. The unstamped stem was lightly 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 heavily caked and the rim top and edges have some lava overflow. The stem is oxidized and has tooth marks on the top and underside near the button. Jeff took photos of the bowl sides and heel to show the grain that was around this bowl. It is a nice looking pipe. The photos show the damage around the bowl and on the twin rings around the bull cap. Jeff took a closeup photos of some of the damaged fills around the bowl. 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 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. It reads Made in Ireland in a circle which narrows the date to between approximately 1945-1965. It is just stamped SHAMROCK with no brand name as an inexpensive a P-Lip stem. 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 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. 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 looked to be in good condition with some darkening on the inner edges around the bowl. The edges themselves appeared to be in good condition. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the tooth marks on the surface near the button.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 decided to work on the damage to the fills around the bowl and the twin rings around the bull cap. I filled them in with clear CA and briar dust. Once they cured I sanded them with a piece of 220 grit sandpaper to 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 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 sanded out the tooth marks and chatter with 220 grit sandpaper and started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil.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 gave it a final rubdown with Obsidian Oil. I am excited to finish this Nickel Banded Older Peterson’s Shamrock 493 Squat Bulldog. 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 straight and flame grain all around it. Added to that the polished nickle band and the black vulcanite stem was beautiful. This smooth Classic Shamrock 493 Bulldog 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 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 45grams/1.59oz. It is a beautiful pipe and one that is already sold, or as Dal calls it “commissioned”. The gentleman who asked for it has the first right of refusal. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.