Blog by Steve Laug
My brother Jeff and I were looking through Ebay and came upon this old Briarlee Scoop. The stem was badly overturned as these old pipes had a threaded metal tenon and shank insert. This one was turned upside down. Something about these 1960s era chunky pipes grabs my attention. They are very Minceresque, strongly resembling Custombilts. They have anice vintage look. Briarlee pipes were made by the Arlington Pipe Company.
I wanted to refresh my memory of the brand since it had been a while since I had worked on an Arlington made pipe. I checked my usual sources and found that Pipedia had some quick and helpful reminders for me https://pipedia.org/wiki/Arlington. The next photo came from that site and is a great advertisement for the brand. I quote from Pipedia: “Arlington Briar Pipes Corporation was founded in 1919 in Brooklyn, New York, and produced the Arlington, Briarlee, Firethorn, Krona and Olde London brands among dozens of others, primarily acting as a subcontractor making pipes to be sold under other brand names. Among others, in the 1950’s, Arlington turned pipes for the famed Wilke Pipe Shop in New York City. The corporation was dissolved by the State of New York as inactive on December 6, 1978. Arlington Briar Pipe Corporation, located at 200 Kosciusko Street, Brooklyn, New York, registered only a single brand trademark, the Arlington brand, the trademark for which was applied for on November 13, 1962 and granted on February 25, 1964. Jack Kaye, of Arlington Briar, was also granted a patent for a combined mirror and stand in 1967.”
Pipedia also quotes José Manuel Lopes, Pipes Artisans and Trademarks; “Arlington is a North American brand that belonged to Arlington Briar Pipes Corp., Brooklyn, New York, founded in 1919. In the 1940s, Ludwig Rosenberger gave the company new life, and it continued until the 70s. His son, Mel Rosenberger, has recently launched the DiMonte brand. Jack Uhle was also linked to Arlington.” Arlington, as far as known, mainly operated as a sub-contractor for other brands. The Jobey pipes are said to be made by Arlington at an unknown point of time. Arlington’s own pipes are seldom seen.”
I unscrewed the stem and heated the stinger and tenon with a lighter until the glue softened in the stem. Once it was warm the stem was quite easy to turn and align. I took the next two close-up photos to show the size of the pink putty fills on both the right and left side of the bowl. These pink fills would have to go as they are very hard to stain or mask.
I reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer using the largest cutting head. I was able to ream back the cake to briar and at the same time clean up the inner edge of the rim. The edge was not as damaged as I thought it might have been.
I lightly sanded the rim to remove the hard tars on the surface while not scratching or damaging the bowl. I also sanded the inner edge of the rim to clean up the rough edges.
I removed the pink putty fills with a dental pick and refilled them with briar dust and clear super glue.
I sanded the repairs smooth and then used a black Sharpie permanent marker to stain the grooves on the sides and top of the bowl.
I stained the bowl with a dark brown aniline stain for a top coat to contrast with the black trails in the briar.
I buffed the bowl with White Diamond to give it a shine and get a feel for the coverage of the stains.
Now it was time to work on the stem. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sand paper to remove the tooth chatter and bite marks on the underside near the button. I followed up by sanding with a medium grit sanding sponge.
The inside of the shank was a mess as is often the case with these pipes with metal mortise fitments. It took a lot of scrubbing before I could remove the oils. The pile of cotton swabs is about half of what I used to clean out the shank. Cleaning the stem was a challenge as the stinger was not removable. I fit pipe cleaners through the slot in the stinger and drew them through the airway in the stem until it was clean. I scrubbed the stinger with alcohol and a brass bristle brush to remove the hardened tars that had collected and dried there. I wet sanded the stem with 1500-2400 grit micromesh pads but forgot to take a picture of the stem after the sanding. The effect of that sanding can be seen in the second photo below.
With the internals clean I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads. I dry sanded with 3200-4000 grit pads and then rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil. I continued sanding with 6000-12000 grit pads and gave the stem a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry.
I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond on the wheel and then gave them both multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed them with a clean flannel buff and then hand buffed them with a microfibre cloth to raise the shine in the briar and the stem. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The old warrior is ready for ongoing service. Once again, thanks for looking.