Life for a Beat up Bari Senior Old Briar Pick Axe

Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe in the queue came from a pipe that Jeff purchased from an antique shop in Brookings, Oregon. He stopped by there on a trip last fall and picked up a few pipes. He picked up quite a few of his pipes and they included this interesting, Kriswill like Bari Senior. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and read Bari over Senior over Old Briar. On the right side it said Made in Denmark over the shape number 503. It is a pick axe shaped pipe with a deep pointed bowl and a narrow shank. The entire pipe had some beautiful mixed grain around the bowl but it was covered with deep cut marks on both sides and the front of the bowl. The rim top was covered with lava and darkening. The pipe was filthy but the grain underneath was rich and the finish looked like it would clean up well. The stem is vulcanite and has a pinched side on both left and right just past the saddle. The stem is oxidized and had tooth marks and chatter on both sides at the button edge. The photos below tell the story and give a glimpse of the pipe before clean up. Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim from various angles to capture the condition of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. There was a thick coat of lava on the rim and the cake in the bowl. It appeared that the beveled inner edges were in good condition. The outer edges actually appeared to be in excellent condition.He also took a series of photos of the sides of the bowl and shank to show the beautiful grain on the pipe but also the serious damage to the bowl – large gouges in the briar all around the bowl sides and front. The number of the gouges was a nightmare. Jeff took photos of the stamping on the left side of the shank. It reads as noted above. The first stamp BARI is legible. The second line that reads Senior and the third that reads Old Briar are both less legible.The next two photos show the stem surface. They show the tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. The stem is oxidized and has a thick build up around the button end. The pinched stem is a beautiful and sleek addition to the pipe.Once again, Jeff did his usual thorough clean up job on the pipe so that  when it arrived here in Vancouver it looked really good. Jeff reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl of the pipe. He rinsed it off under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He was able to remove all of the lava build up on the beveled rim top of the pipe. The rim top looked pretty good though there were scratches in the flat top and a little darkening on the inner bevel toward the front of the bowl. The grain was beautiful but there were a lot of deep gouges in the briar around the sides of the bowl. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and was able to remove the oxidation. The pipe looked very good.I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work. I took a close up photo of the bowl and rim to capture the condition of the pipe before I started my restoration of the pipe. The rim top was clean but had some nicks on the flat surface and some darkening on the inside edge of the rim at the back of the bowl. The stem was quite clean with some light tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside near the button.I took some close up photos of the sides and front of the bowl to show the deep gouges in the briar. They were cuts rather than dents so steaming would not repair them. This would take some sanding and then strategic filling and staining to blend them into the briar. Time would tell if I could achieve what I wanted to do with this one. I started my restoration of the pipe by dealing with this damage. I sanded the damage areas on the bowl sides and front with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I worked on the areas until the lighter damaged areas were removed and the deeper ones were less visible.I filled in the deeper gouges with clear super glue. You can see the repairs are almost like pock marks around the bowl. They also highlight the extent of the damage on the sides of the bowl were when I started.When the repairs had cured I sanded them smooth with folded 220 grit sandpaper until they blended in to the surrounding briar. As I sanded I also found more damage on the front of the bowl and filled it in and sanded it smooth. I wiped the bowl down with alcohol on a cotton pad to remove the sanding dust. I wanted to remove it in preparation for restaining the bowl.I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage on the rim top and edges of the bowl. It did not take too much sanding to remove the damaged areas and leave the top ready for the next step.I sanded the bowl and rim with a medium and a fine grade sanding sponge to remove the sanding marks from the briar on the bowl and rim top. It was the first step in polishing the briar to ready it for staining. I continued to polish the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I  wiped the briar down after each pad with an alcohol dampened cotton pad. I decided to stain the pipe with contrasting stains – a dark brown undercoat and a cherry top coat. My thinking was that this would minimize the visual overload of repairs. I stained the bowl with the dark brown aniline stain and flamed it to set the stain in the grain of the briar. I repeated the process until the coverage was even and then set it aside for the afternoon. My thinking was that the dark stain would highlight the grain and also hide some of the repairs to the briar bowl.I wiped down the excess stain on the bowl with a cotton pad and isopropyl alcohol. I wanted to make the stain a bit more transparent and prepare it for buffing. I buffed the pipe with Red Tripoli on the buffing wheel to remove the excess dark stain. After buffing the bowl the Tripoli the grain was darker and the contrast between the light and the dark on the grain was quite stunning. I wiped the bowl down with alcohol and then rubbed some Before & After Restoration Balm into briar to enliven and preserve it. I buffed it with a soft cloth to raise the shine at this point. Once I had buffed off the balm I gave it a top coat of Danish Oil Cherry stain. I applied it with a soft cotton pad and let it sit for about 30 minutes before buffing it off with a cloth. Here is what it looked like as it dried. With the second coat of stain finished, I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The following photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. The bowl and the rim top look really good and the darkening is lessened. The finish looks very good with the combined rich brown and cherry stain on the bowl and rim. The stem was in good enough condition that I was able to polish out the tooth chatter and marks by wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads. I then dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with a damp cloth after each pad. I further polished it with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I wiped it down with a coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. There was a spot of metal embedded in the vulcanite of the stem on the top left side ahead of the button. I have marked it with a red circle to highlight it for you as you look at the photo. It does not disappear as the stem is polish but seems to go quite deep in the rubber of the stem. Since I had finished both the bowl and stem I put them together and polished them both with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl multiple and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The grain around the sides of the bowl really began to stand out with contrast as I buff the bowl. The rich dark brown undercoat and cherry top coat finish on the briar works well with polished black vulcanite stem. Bari made some beautiful pipes and this is certainly one of them. The darker stain does the job hiding the repairs to the gouges and makes the grain really show through. This pipe is a great feeling pipe in the hand and I am sure that it will be an amazing smoker. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 1/2 inches, Height: 2 1/2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/2 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 of an inch. I will be putting this beauty on the rebornpipes store shortly and it can be added to your collection. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me on this Bari Senior Old Briar 503 Pick Axe.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.