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333. Gary Hamilton’s St. Patrick’s Day Tampers are Here!

10:41am CST /  UTC-6 or GMT-6: The SPD Tampers have sold out. Many, many thanks to all the PGs for participating in this event. Mel Bud will begin sending out invoices Monday.

 Banner: All 42 SPD Tampers – Divided Into 7 “Groups”

In anticipation of St. Patrick’s Day, CPG Gary Hamilton has been working long and hard on this special CPG event, a group of unique St. Patrick’s Day tampers created for the Pete Geek community. He began thinking about it seriously not long after the Texas Pipe Show back in October. Not long afterwards, we began talking about the possibility of creating some Irish flag tampers for the 25th anniversary of the SPD pipes. He’s been more-or-less in continual thought or work on the project ever since. Each tamper, he told me, takes about three hours from start to finish, so these are what I’d call artisan quality. You can read about how he makes them further below. If, like me, you’re not a craftsman but find how things are made to be endlessly fascinating, you’re in for a treat!

This was one of the prototypes Gary brought to the Texas Pipe Show last October

To expedite getting the SPD Tamper to you, Gary’s turned over the shipping to our favorite tech, Mel Bud. It took some considerable head-scratching to figure out how to do this, but of course, she’s not called Gigi around here for nothing (that’s Girl Genius).  She’s got a Google Form for you to fill out if you decide you want one or more. Do familiarize yourself with the process before you fill out the form:

  • The GROUPS with more than 5 tampers available have been divided into sub-groups (A, B, C). When all tampers in each sub-group have been sold, that subgroup will display This option is no longer available.
  • Orders are time-stamped. You may want to include a 2nd choice in the Comments section, as everything is strictly first-come, first served.
  • US price including first class shipping: $50 each.
  • International price including USPS First-class Package International Service Shipping: $60 each.
  • I will ship out the first batch on Wednesday, March 8th.
  • If there are remaining tampers, they will be advertised in the March 12th post & shipped Wednesday, March 15th.
  • Gary will bring remaining inventory and a few specials to the Chicago Pipe Show.
  • Payment will be made through PayPal. Please watch for a PayPal request from Mark Irwin.
  • Deadline for payment: Friday, March10, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. CST (GMT-6). Tampers not paid for by deadline will be released for sale on March 12th.
  • Questions? Send email to petegeek1896@gmail.com.

You must fill out this Google Form:  TAMPER ORDER FORM

 

THE ST. PATRICK’S DAY TAMPERS

 

GROUP #1:  11 Total / Top Flag Design
100mm (4”) Tall – Tamper Head Diameter 12-13mm (1/2” approximate)

The shank handle is European beech wood and the tamp head is Gabon Ebony wood, separated by an aluminum accent ring.  The top set Tri-Color flag is laminated acrylic, with a shamrock medallion of aluminum set in the top.  The overall length is 100mm (4”)  and the tamper head diameter is approximately 12-13mm (1/2”).

 

 

GROUP #2: 9 Total / Top Flag Design
115mm (4 1/2”) Tall – Tamper Head Diameter 12-13mm (1/2” approximate)

The shank handle is European beech wood and the tamp head is Gabon Ebony wood, separated by an aluminum accent ring.  The top set Tri-Color flag is laminated acrylic, with a shamrock medallion of aluminum set in the top.  The overall length is 115mm (4 1/2”)  and the tamper head diameter is approximately 12-13mm (1/2”).

 

 

GROUP #3: 2 Total / Top Flag Design
110mm (4 1/4”) Tall – Tamper Head Diameter 11-12mm (1/2” approximate)

The shank handle is European beech wood and the tamp head is Gabon Ebony wood, separated by an aluminum accent ring.  The top set Tri-Color flag is laminated acrylic, with a shamrock medallion of aluminum set in the top.  The overall length is 110mm (4 1/4”)  and the tamper head diameter is approximately 11-12mm (1/2”).

 

 

GROUP #4: 5 Total / Mid-Flag Design
100mm (4”) Tall – Tamper Head Diameter 11-12mm (1/2” approximate)

The shank handle is European beech wood and the tamp head is Gabon Ebony wood, separated by an aluminum accent ring.  The middle set Tri-Color flag is laminated acrylic. A shamrock medallion of aluminum is set in the top of the shank.  The overall length is 100mm (4”)  and the tamper head diameter is approximately 11-12mm (1/2”).

 

 

GROUP #5: 2 Total / Mid-Flag Design
115mm (4 1/2”) Tall – Tamper Head Diameter 11-12mm (1/2” approximate)

The shank handle is European beech wood and the tamp head is Gabon Ebony wood, separated by an aluminum accent ring.  The middle set Tri-Color flag is laminated acrylic. A shamrock medallion of aluminum is set in the top of the shank.  The overall length is 115mm (4 1/2”)  and the tamper head diameter is approximately 11-12mm (1/2”).

 

 

GROUP #6: 6 Total / Emerald Pearl Acrylic – Top Flag
110mm (4 1/4”) Tall – Tamper Head Diameter 12-13mm (1/2” approximate)

The shank handle is emerald pearl acrylic and the tamp head is Gabon Ebony wood, separated by an aluminum accent ring.  The top set Tri-Color flag is laminated acrylic, with an aluminum accent ring. A shamrock medallion of aluminum is set in the top of the shank.  The overall length is 110mm (4 1/4”)  and the tamper head diameter is approximately 12-13mm (1/2”).

 

 

GROUP #7: “Odd Lots & Experiments”

As shown from Left to Right in the photo:

Ebony Top – 1 Total / Mid-Flag, 105mm (4 1/8”) Tall, 13mm Diameter Tamper Head

The shank handle is European beech wood topped with a disk of ebony and aluminum accent ring. The tamp head is of Gabon Ebony wood with an aluminum accent ring.  The middle set Tri-Color flag is laminated acrylic. A shamrock medallion of aluminum is set in the top of the shank.  The overall length is 105mm (4 1/8”)  and the tamper head diameter is approximately 13mm (1/2”).

Emerald Pearl Acrylic – 2 Total / No Flag, 105mm (4 1/8”) Tall, 12mm Diameter Tamper Head

The shank handle is emerald pearl acrylic with a tamp head of Gabon ebony, separated with an aluminum accent ring.  An aluminum accent ring is also set into the shank handle, along with the shamrock medallion. (No Tri-Color flag).  The overall length is 105mm (4 1/8”)  and the tamper head diameter is approximately 12mm (1/2”).

Stubbies – 2 Total / Top Flag, 85mm (3 ¼”) Tall, 11mm Diameter Tamper Head

The shank handle is European beech wood and the tamp head is Gabon ebony wood, separated by an aluminum accent ring. The top set Tri-Color flag is laminated acrylic.  A shamrock medallion of aluminum is set in the top of the shank.  The overall length is 85mm (3 1/4”)  and the tamper head diameter is approximately 11mm (1/2”).

 

Solid Emerald Acrylic – 1 Total / No Flag, 105mm (4 1/8”) Tall, 11mm Diameter Tamper Head

The shank handle is a solid emerald acrylic with a tamp head of Gabon ebony, separated with an aluminum accent ring.  An aluminum accent ring is also set into the shank handle, along with the shamrock medallion. (No Tri-Color flag).  The overall length is 105mm (4 1/8”)  and the tamper head diameter is approximately 11mm (1/2”).

Aluminum Top – 1 Total / Top-Flag, 100mm (4”) Tall, 12mm Diameter Tamper Head

The shank handle is European beech wood and the tamp head is Gabon ebony wood, separated by an aluminum accent ring.  The top set Tri-color flag is from laminated acrylic and is capped with an aluminum shamrock medallion.  The overall length is 100mm (4”)  and the tamper head diameter is approximately 12mm (1/2”).

 

 

THE SPD TAMPERS AND HOW THEY’RE MADE

A few months ago, the thought came to me that it would be nice to have a larger tamper to complement some of my larger Petersons.  You know, the ones with the deeper bowls.  It shouldn’t be any old tamper though, it needed to be Irish! But how do you make a tamper “Irish”?  Then it hit me, the original Peterson SPD pipe and the representation of the Irish tricolor flag used as an adornment to the pipe’s shank.  That’s how you make it “Irish”! It wasn’t until I was well into the trial and error phase of making these tampers that I found out that for the 25th anniversary of Peterson’s SPD pipe that the tricolor shank adornment would be used again.  At this point I was definitely all in on making this happen, especially with the encouragement of Mark as a possible CPG offering.  To say the least, the workshop has been a whirlwind of activity lately, especially as SPD is fast approaching.  So now you know a bit of the back story on the idea, what follows is a little insight as to how these SPD tampers are made.  After all, you are a Peterson smoker, and thus a “Thinking Man”.

Fig. 1. “The Whole Is Greater Than The Sum Of Its Parts”

Let’s start with the ingredients.  The shank, or handle, is made from European beech wood.  The tamper “head” is a section of ebony, sourced from Gabon, Africa.  An interesting side note here is that Gabon has enacted an export ban on ebony, much in part due to over exploitation.  So far, I do have a decent supply.  The components of the tricolor flag are comprised of individual acrylic slices.  Aluminum adds just a touch of separation between the contrasting colors of the shank and tamper head.  A length of steel rod, acting much like a spine, adds strength; and assists in keeping everything in alignment during the glue up process.

At the top of the list for construction and assembly, I wanted to ensure that the glue joints were seamless.  But how to achieve this?  I knew the mating faces would need to be dead flat and parallel.   The wood components would be an easy set up using the table saw, and that turned out to be true.  However, the acrylic slices for the tricolor would be problematic on the table saw, much in part due to their small size.  Evaluating tooling options in the shop, an idea began to form.  I used a bandsaw to rough cut the acrylic slices, each being about 8 mm’s thick.  Now to make the faces flat and parallel.  Using the milling machine, and end mill cutter, the faces were machined for flatness, and holding parallelism to within two-thousandths of an inch (0.05mm).  For relative comparison purposes, that’s about the width of two human hairs.  I figure that’s close enough.

Fig. 2. Rough Cut Acrylic Slices Ready For “Flattening”

 

Using a set of parallels to support the acrylic blank in the milling vise, both sides are machined to obtain the flatness and parallelism desired.  Fortunately, the acrylic material machined very nicely, leaving a very smooth surface finish.  After both sides were machined flat, the last step on the acrylic components was to center drill a hole through the finished blank to receive the steel spine rod.  This was easily accomplished at the drill press.

 

Fig. 3. End Mill In Action

The aluminum accent piece was fabricated in much the same fashion as the acrylic slices, when flat stock was used.  I also used aluminum round bar, cutting the individual slices on the metal working lathe.

For drilling the through holes in the wooden shank and tamper head, I turned to the wood lathe fitted with a centering chuck.  This made efficient work of drilling both the blind holes, and through holes, to allow insertion of the steel spine rod.

Fig. 4. The “Through Hole” Drilling Set Up For The Shank

Now it’s time for assembly!  In the recent PPN post #326, I got a great laugh reading the interview where K&P’s Jonathan Fields talked about making the first release of the SPD pipe.  In the interview, he recalled about having to glue up the individual acrylic slices…We had glue all over our fingers gluing those little bits together one by one by one.  I too, suffered the same fate.  Thank the Lord for the invention of disposable rubber gloves!  I settled on using a slow cure set epoxy glue, being more durable than the cyanoacrylate (CA) “super glues”.  Past experience has proven to me that CA glue joints do not survive the “harshness” yet to be experienced when the glued blank is turned to shape on the lathe.  So, mixing and applying the epoxy to the parts, and assembling them together while continuously repeating out loud, “Green-White-Orange”!  To ensure the goal of a near seamless glue joint, I used the hydraulic press as a clamp to bring all the parts together with about 200 psi clamping force.

 

Fig 5. Hydraulic Press Used For Clamping (L) and Glued Blanks After Curing (R)

So, after waiting the prescribed 24-hours for the glue to attain its maximum strength, the creative process of shaping can begin.  Turning (yeah, that’s a pun) to the wood lathe I start the shaping process.  To me this is the really fun part because you get to let a little bit of the imagination and creativity take over.  Much akin to pipe makers “following the grain” to dictate the pipe’s shape.  However, for this first issue of the SPD tamper, I wanted then to have some sort of continuity with each other, but each still being distinctively “handmade”.  In short, they are all the same, but no two are exactly alike.  I was in for quite the surprise in turning the first one!  I quickly found out that it is not a simple task to turn a blank comprised of wood, acrylic and aluminum!  You have to approach the working of each material section a bit different than the adjacent section, and with different tooling.  But in the end, yeah you guessed it, it all turned out just fine.  There is always that trial and error learning curve to contend with!

Fig. 6. Initial Shaping Of The Blank – From Square To Round

 

Fig. 7. Roughing In The General Shape

 

Fig. 8. Fine Tuning The Shape

 

Fig. 9. Shaping Completed And Ready To Finish

Once the shaping process is completed, the finishing begins.  Various grits of sandpaper, steel wool and micro-mesh pads are used to smooth the surface for both shank and tamper head.  Stealing shamelessly from the pen turning hobby, I use their method of applying a CA glue finish to the shank.  About eight to ten coats of CA glue is applied to the shank, and then polished with the complete range of micro-mesh pads.  The tamper head is polished with micro-mesh only, no finish is applied to the “business end”.  The beautiful thing about a super hard, tight grained wood like ebony is that it can produce a brilliant shine without the need for application of any finish or sealer.  Perfect for the tamp head so as not to interfere with the burning of your tobacco.

While in the creative stage of this project another epiphany hit me.  Saint Patrick’s Day and the shamrock!  Of course, that’s what the tamper needed, a shamrock!  So, turning to the interwebs I found what I was looking for.  A traditional Irish clover with three leaves.  Seems that most offerings were for the “lucky” four leaf variety, which for this application was not even going to be a consideration.  In homage to Ireland’s patron saint, it must be a three leaf shamrock!  Persistence paid off and I found what I was looking for at the end of the proverbial “rainbow”.  To facilitate the application of the shamrock stamp into the tamper, I turned some small aluminum stamping blanks, fabricated a stamp holder and went to making the shamrock inlays to insert into the end of the shank.  Again, another process full of trial and error.  But perseverance paid off and I ended up with a repeatable method to make the imprints and get them inserted into the shank.

 

Fig. 10. The Shamrock Stamp & Holder (L); Hydraulic Press For Stamping (M); Drilling The Shank for Inlay (R)

 

And I present to you, fellow CPG’s, the SPD tamper, Slainte! [slan-cha]

Photos by Gary Hamilton
Supply Chain and Distribution by Mel Bud

THE ZIPPO 2ND BATCH HAS BEEN ORDERED

Yes! The order to Zippo has been placed for a second batch of lighters. As per usual, I’ll keep everyone updated with news from Zippo. At this point, judging from last time, it should be around the end of March when the lighters ship out.

Fathering the Flame….

Kevin Cavanagh, CPG

 

Brendan Berthold, CPG

 

Jason Waggonner, CPG

 

Bob Becker, CPG

 

 

 

 

 

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Gary Hamilton
Gary Hamilton
11 months ago

greetings fellow “Pete Geeks”. A simple “thank you” is hardly enough to express the gratitude I have for Mark & GiGi in hosting the 2023 SPD tamper drop. So, in support of PetersonPipeNotes.Org, this event is now officially a fund raiser! One-half of the proceeds from this endeavor will be going to PPN.Org to help with web operating expenses, thus ensuring we fellow “Pete Geeks” continue to enjoy our weekly read about all things Peterson.
Slainte!

Gary

Nevaditude
Nevaditude
11 months ago
Reply to  Gary Hamilton

WOW! Gary, AMAZING work! Thank you for all you. did to make this happen. I have been looking forward to it and then was flummoxed by the quality and quantity of choices. That are ALL so beautiful. I first chose the aluminum top in group 7, but not available, so I quickly chose the Ebony Top – 1 Total / Mid-Flag, 105mm (4 1/8”) Tall, 13mm Diameter Tamper Head also in group 7. INCREDIBLE, and how kind of you to make this a fundraiser to help underwrite all the fantastic work done by MnM Irwin. We Pete Geeks are so… Read more »

Last edited 11 months ago by Nevaditude
Gary Hamilton
Gary Hamilton
11 months ago
Reply to  Nevaditude

Hey Mark (Nevaditude) – I’m glad you got a tamper, I told you I’d have one for you!
You think you were flummoxed by the selection, I think I double flummoxed Mel Bud with having to cope with all the options for distribution! Slainte!

John Schantz
John Schantz
11 months ago
Reply to  Gary Hamilton

Gary, The tampers are really nice, beautiful designs and machining. Alas, I’m late to the party. The tamper with the Ebony top and bottom caught my eye, so the others just won’t do. Oh well. I have the machines and “sorta skills” to try one. I don’t have a press though…or a punch setup. Question? Would you be willing to punch a few of the aluminum shamrocks for me? Also, if you have any left, a few sets of the rough cut acrylic squares (in case I screw up). If so, let me know how much you would be willing… Read more »

Gary Hamilton
Gary Hamilton
11 months ago
Reply to  John Schantz

Hey John, so a “DIY” type parts kit, huh? OK, let me think on it for a bit and we will see what we can work out. It may be a “few” days. I’m talking a bit of a break from the shop work to get caught up on other neglected “chores” over the past few months.

John Schantz
John Schantz
11 months ago
Reply to  Gary Hamilton

Great, yes, a DIY kit. I can source the acrylic myself also if I need to. Since I don’t require a whole block, some cutoffs would be the “easy button”. I have an idea for the shamrock also. I can use a brass top, then solder a copper cutout clover onto it 🙂
Thanks Gary.

John Schantz
John Schantz
11 months ago
Reply to  Gary Hamilton

I have an idea to add a screw-in pick. Similar to my vintage “Handy Andy Pipe Tool”.

Christopher Lauer
Christopher Lauer
11 months ago

Gary, what an amazing piece of craftmanship!!! Thank you for offering these one of a kind tampers and at a 50/50 fundraiser no less!!! I loved reading about the process on how these wonderful tools were made. Thank you Mark and GiGi for making another back to back offering happen.

Gary Hamilton
Gary Hamilton
11 months ago

Hi Christopher, I’m glad that you enjoyed reading about the “how it’s made”. After making a few of the tampers, taking photos, making a few notes, etc. the story of how they are a made essentially just materialized. Maybe the shop Leprechaun had some hand it, I’m still not sure.

Nevaditude
Nevaditude
11 months ago

I just re-read again how you made these wonderful tampers, AND had to get a second one. I just grabbed a stubby from group 7 as well for my smaller system pipes. All of them are Outstanding! (the prototype too!)
Thanks Gary, Mark & GG! be well…

Last edited 11 months ago by Nevaditude
Gary Hamilton
Gary Hamilton
11 months ago
Reply to  Nevaditude

Wow, a repeat customer, THANKS! Actually I told Mark, I have two concerns with the project. First concern being that no one was going to be interested, and I’m left with a sack full of tampers. Second concern being that everyone wants one. I was in the “first” concern camp. Mark, and others, were steadfast in the “second” camp.

Martin
Martin
11 months ago

Beautiful tampers you have made. I orderd asap, great choice to make 50/50.
A pleasure to own.

Gary Hamilton
Gary Hamilton
11 months ago
Reply to  Martin

Martin, thanks for the kind words. Slainte!

Bob Cuccaro/TLIP
Bob Cuccaro/TLIP
11 months ago

These look beautiful! Ordered and can’t wait to use SPD weekend!

Gary Hamilton
Gary Hamilton
11 months ago

Hi Bob, please send in your SPD pipe & tamp photos for SPD! Slainte!

Andrew Moultrie
Andrew Moultrie
11 months ago

Fantastic work Mr. Hamilton. Thank you for putting this together and I quite enjoyed reading about the manufacturing process. I’m so appreciative of all the incredible work put into this community by everyone involved.

Gary Hamilton
Gary Hamilton
11 months ago

Hi Andrew, and thank you so much for the kind words, I’m glad you enjoyed the write up on the “manufacturing process”. It was a bit of a learning curve along the way, and I had a bit of help from the shop Leprechaun in taking notes so I don’t forget some of the finer points in making these.

Kevin C
Kevin C
11 months ago

Those look great it’s a shame I missed them. Still filled out an order incase someone backs out

Gary Hamilton
Gary Hamilton
11 months ago
Reply to  Kevin C

Hi Kevin, I’m sorry that you missed out on the initial offering. Fingers crossed??? I wish that I would have started much sooner on this project. While I was working on the tampers, SPD kept creeping closer and closer at what soon turned out to be at an exponential rate. The shop Leprechaun has made a note of that for the future! Slainte!

Marlowe
Marlowe
11 months ago

Wow Gary, nice work and a generous gesture to help with website costs! Awesome.

Gary Hamilton
Gary Hamilton
11 months ago
Reply to  Marlowe

Hello Marlowe, thank you for the comments on the handiwork, I do find it enjoyable in creating something like this, and for the “Pete Geek” community. The gesture for the website was the least I could do for all the distribution help that was offered. The staff (C. Mundungus, Mel Bud, and Gigi) at PPN is just fabulous! Besides, I want to ensure future Sunday morning “reads” are going to be there as I enjoy my first cup of coffee and pipe! Slainte!

Paul Combs
Paul Combs
11 months ago

Beautiful work Gary, really nice! Sorry I missed out. Please count me in if you make another batch or offer a DIY version. Maybe you could bring some DIYs to Chicago? ?

Gary Hamilton
Gary Hamilton
11 months ago
Reply to  Paul Combs

Hi Paul, sorry you missed out, dang. Hindsight as it is, I wished that I would have had started the project much sooner than I did. And who knows, with a few additional “shop Leprechauns” around to help out, I possibly could have made more of them. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Turns out shop “Leprechauns” are scarce in my part of the world. I do hope to see you at the Chicago show, and hopefully I will have a few more tampers to bring…and consider yourself “counted in”. Slainte!

Rick Myerscough
Rick Myerscough
11 months ago

Thanks for sharing the process of making these tampers… I have never seen any like this before. From the photos… I can tell they were made with lot’s of love… This seems to be the not so secret… secret ingredient for most things that are worth eating or keeping.
Thanks for sharing another great story.
Blessings,
Rick

Aaron W
Aaron W
11 months ago

Sorry to post in The wrong place…
I had a Peterson MT pipe question.
I have two MT pipes. The difference between them is that one has a “P” on the front of the stem and the band says “sterling silver” with no hallmark; the other has no P on the stem but has “sterling silver” with a hallmark. I bought both as estate pipes. Can you tell me the reason for their difference? Thanks!

Robert Terry
Robert Terry
11 months ago

Beautiful work Gary! Truly sorry I missed these. If you make a batch to take to Chicago and one falls out of the box… count me in!!