This morning I’m pleased to introduce a name many will already know, Fletch Hiner, CPG, who has already graced the blog with a banner for Post #343 on the 9B. If you frequent Scott Thile’s remarkable Pipedia.org very often, you’re bound to run into something contributed by Fletch. Fletch told me, “I have more than a few entries on the Kaywoodie, KB&B, WDC, and Knickerbocker pages as well as Quinton Well’s Pipedia page. Long before my interest in Petes I was an avid early American pipe collector. I have an extensive collection of KB&B’s and Kaywoodie’s, specifically Thorn, Wellington’s and Chesterfields, which latter are what ultimately drew me to Peterson. Once Laudisi took over current production and things started improving at Peterson, I became a fan as I think many did. Much like Andy Camire and Brad Pohlmann my background is in industrial fabrication (tool & die, R&D component fab, machining, welding, etc.). So pipe repair and and restoration has always been second nature to me. I’m also lucky enough to live within spitting distance of George Dibos and Quinton Wells who are a wealth of pipe making and repair knowledge and always willing to help a guy out.”
I picked up this little 406 Roger’s Era Shamrock Prince for a song on eBay, knowing that it would need at minimum a new tenon. I had originally intended to cut a new acrylic stem for it and pitch the tired, old and already once-repaired vulcanite original. Once I had the pipe in my hands, I decided I would simply replace the tenon as opposed to cutting a new one. At some point the previous owner had the broken tenon repaired by inserting a threaded aluminum link into both stem and mortise, like an older meerschaum bone tenon. The repair had returned to the pipe to smoking service, as I assume was the owners only concern, but it left a lot to be desired in terms of fit and finish.
I started with some simple measurements to assess whether the tenon could be replaced without destroying the pipe. I found that initial repair had utilized 5/16X18 threads. Knowing that Peterson utilized 8mm (5/16”) tenons on most of the Rogers’s Era Shamrocks I surmised that the aluminum tenon had been glued or otherwise fixed into the pipe’s shank with out the need to “cut” threads. I assumed these could be removed without much damage to the shank and the original tenon size could be recreated.
I removed the aluminum tenon from the shank of the pipe by freezing the stummel in my deep freeze for about 30 minutes then afterwards I gently clamped the exposed tenon in a small vise with aluminum soft jaws and slowly unthreaded it from the pipe. With the repair tenon removed, I could set about removing the threads from the shank and truing the mortise. I reamed the shank by hand with twist drills chucked in a vise ascending in size until I reached 5/16”. I used a sliding drill collar on the 5/16” bit to insure I reamed square to the shank face.
With the shank and mortise squared away it was time to address the stem and tenon. I started by facing the stock and boring a draft-hole pilot in a ½” (12mm) piece of vulcanite rod stock on my lathe. Then I started turning the tenon down to my desired size, roughly .312” (8mm).
Once roughed to size I fine-tuned it to fit snugly in the mortise. After it was fit to the mortise I started the threading process to fit it into the stem. The previous repairman had done a decent-enough job threading the counterbore in the stem so that I was able to reuse it with minimal effort. A little thread chasing with a plug-cutting tap squared the bottom of the thread with the counterbore and I was able to fit the new tenon after a bit of tweaking to make sure the threads were fully concealed in the bore.
I glued the new tenon into the stem prior to parting it from the source material. That way I could seat it while it was still chucked up in the lathe, allowing me to apply sufficient torque to thread it in fully. Once the glue was dry I cut the tenon and stem from the rod stock with a parting tool to ensure the tenon face was square with the tenon.
When I bored the draft hole in the tenon I intentionally left it smaller than the existing draft hole in the stem. With the stem and tenon now free from the lathe, I could ream the draft hole of the tenon in line with the draft hole of the stem. This was accomplished by hand with a 2/0 pin reamer. The pin reamer recreates the original Peterson tapered bore and matches the two bore holes up.
With the bore tapered, it was time to address the end of the tenon. I funnel the ends of all my conventional tenons with a 60-degree countersink bit. In this case it was done by hand, which makes for much better airflow than a squared-off tenon face.
With the stummel and stem once again joined in a conventional manner it was time to give the pipe a proper clean and polish. The rim was covered in a fair amount of lava. I removed it by applying Carbon-Off to the affected area with a Q-tip in two applications of about 10 minutes each. This made the carbon buildup soft enough to wipe off with a paper towel.
With carbon build up removed and the pipe gently reamed it was time to work on the stem. I refined the shape of the stem a little bit in front of the button with a mill bastard file with one “dead” face. The dead face on the file allows the working surface of the file to remove material without the edges doing any damage to the button. After shape refinement was complete, the stem was given a good sanding up through 2000g with wet/dry sandpaper using a rigid backing board to prevent rounding corners off. The stem was then polished on a muslin wheel, first with Tripoli then with diamond white compound.
The nickel band was thoroughly cleaned with 0000 steel wool, then polished on a flannel wheel with Fabulustre compound while the briar was polished with Tripoli on a muslin wheel. A very light coat of carnauba wax was applied with a loose cotton wheel and polished by hand with a microfiber cloth. A coat of obsidian oil was applied to the stem and allowed to sit for 20 minutes before being wiped off and hand polished with a microfiber cloth. No wax was applied to rim of the pipe as this promotes lava buildup and rim darkening.
I know some of this may seem daunting and out of reach to those without this kind of tooling and resources, but I hope you found it informative and were able to glean some helpful information that you are able to apply to your own restorations and pipe repair projects. I love to see these old briars live to see another day. This little prince will hopefully last another 75 years and bring as much joy to its next caretaker as it brought me long after I’m gone.
SUMMER 2023 CERTIFIED PETE GEEK EVENT:
The “Pete Geek Leaf” Pocket Jar
We’re well over our quota, but there’s still time to either order your PocketJar or add more jars to your order. Our next CPG Event will be this fall when the PPN2023 commemorative appears. In the meantime, if you want to earn your CPG or simply add a merit badge to your existing one, send me a photo of your jar and a favorite Pete or your good self or both.
Remember you can mix and match colors and sizes on these jars:
less than one inch thick
holds 3-4 bowls
1.8 fl. Oz. capacity
colors: black, green, orange, purple red,
1.2 inches thick
holds 4-6 bowls
2.5 fl. Oz. capacity
colors: black, green, orange, red (no purple)
Price: $13.00 each
US Shipping: First Class Mail – $7 for orders of 1-5 PocketJars / Priority Mail – $10 for orders of 6-10 PocketJars
International Shipping: FedEx International Connect (where available, otherwise US First Class Intl) – $20 for orders of 1-5 PocketJars (this does NOT include any customs/import fees) You will invoiced through PayPal when the PocketJars are ready to ship (2-3 weeks from ordering)
Deadline for ordering: TOMORROW, Monday, 10th July, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. CST (GMT-6)
You MUST fill out the Google form below to be eligible: POCKETJAR ORDER FORM
Questions? Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org