Daily Archives: November 19, 2013

Restemming and Refurbishing an Arlington Imported Briar Pot

Blog by Steve Laug

I have a box with a few pipe bowls in it that need restemming. When I get low on pipes for refurbishing I take one of these bowls and restem it. Generally they are not even midrange pipes. Rather they are an odd assortment of no name bowls or low end bowls that I have picked up along the way somewhere. Each of these provides me with something to practice on in terms of staining, bowl topping, repairing fills, rustication or restemming. The one I worked on last evening is stamped Arlington over Imported Briar on the left side of the shank and no other numbers. The bowl was dirty and tarred with a thick and crumbly cake. The rim was tarred and dented but no roughening from hitting against something. The shank was full of tars and even a few cobwebs. The rustication was deep on the bowl toward the bottom at the bowl shank junction. The finish was gone and the briar was dirty.

There is not much information available on the brand. A search on Google did not turn up much other than some information from Pipedia. The Brooklyn, New York Company known as Arlington Briar Pipe Corporation mainly operated as a sub-contractor for other brands. Jobey pipes are said to be made by Arlington at an unknown point of time. Arlington’s own pipes are seldom seen. The article also included the following advertisement from the RTDA Catalogue.

I used the PIMO tenon turning tool to fit a tenon on a stem blank that I had in my can of stems. I fine-tuned the fit with sand paper until it fit well.I took the next series of four photos to show the state of the pipe before I worked on it.




I cleaned the inside of the shank and bowl with cotton swabs and pipe cleaners dipped in Everclear. The alcohol removed the grime from the shank. I reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer. The bowl is quite large – so I used the largest cutting head on the reamer. I wiped down the tars on the rim with alcohol wetted cotton pads to clean off the buildup as much as possible.

To clean up the rim damage I lightly topped the bowl with a medium grit sanding block. I also sanded the burn spot on the side of the shank to try to minimize it and see how deeply the damage went. It was still hard and not too badly damaged but to remove it I would change the profile of the shank so I left it as a character mark.


After topping the bowl I wiped the entirety down with acetone on a cotton pad. I wanted to remove as much of the remaining finish as possible to make a match between the rim and the rest of bowl easier to achieve.

I then sanded the stem to bring the diameter to match the shank. I also wanted to remove the entire casting overflow on the sides and the end of the stem. I used a Dremel with a sanding drum to remove the initial excess and to bring the diameter close to that of the shank. Then I used 220 grit sandpaper to finish the fitting. I cleaned up the scratches left behind by the sandpaper with a medium grit sanding sponge and then finally used a sanding block to sand the shank and stem to good smooth fit and flow. The next seven photos show the progress to a proper fit of the new stem.







I stained the bowl with a medium walnut stain in a linseed oil base. I rubbed it on the bowl with a cotton pad and then wiped it off with a soft cloth. I reapplied the stain until I had good coverage to the bowl. The bowl has some great grain in places and the deep grooves looked good with the new stain coat. Once the stain was dry to touch I buffed it on the wheel with White Diamond and set it aside to work on the stem.




I sanded the stem with my usual stack of micromesh sanding pads from 1500-12,000 grit. I wet sanded with the first three grits of micromesh and dry sanded with the remaining grits. Once I had finished the sanding I gave the stem a coat of Obsidian Oil and rubbed it into the vulcanite.



When I had finished with the stem I reinserted it in the shank and took the pipe to the buffer again. I buffed the pipe and stem with White Diamond and then gave the entirety multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean flannel buff to give it a shine. The next four photos show the finished pipe.