Breathing New Life into a Parker Super Briar Bark 345 Bulldog


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to me from either a trade I made (pipes for labour) or a find on one of my pipe hunts. I honestly don’t remember where it came from. It has been around for a while waiting to be worked on. It is a ruggedly sandblasted Parker Super Bark Bulldog that really looks quite nice. The stamping is clear and readable. It is stamped on the underside of the shank and reads Parker [over] Super in a Diamond [over] Briar Bark that is followed by Made in London [over] England. To the right of that stamping is a 3 in a circle followed by the shape number 345. The circle 3 is the size number that matches the Dunhill group size 3. The pipe had a lot of grime ground into the grooves of the sandblast on the bowl and some wear on the finish around the sides of the bowl. The bowl was heavily caked and had an overflow of thick lava on the plateau rim top. It was hard to know what the rim top and inner edge of the bowl looked like under the grime. The stem was calcified, oxidized and had light tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside and the top surface of the button had a tooth mark. There stamped P in a diamond on the top left side of the saddle stem. The pipe had promise but it was very dirty. I took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work.   I took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the overflow of lava on the rim top. It is hard to know for sure how extensive the damage was to the inner edge of the bowl because of the thickness of the lava coat. I also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the oxidation, calcification, light chatter and tooth marks.       I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable. I took the stem off the bowl and took a photo of the parts. There was also an inner-tube inserted in the tenon and it was unmovable.I looked on Pipephil’s site for information on the Parker Super Briar Bark line and found the following information (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-parker.html). The screen capture below has quite a bit of information on the line from Parker. The one that I am working on definitely has the inner tube but does not have a patent number nor does it have a date stamp following the D in England.I also went to Pipedia and read the article on the Parker brand. It is a great read and worth the time to read it (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Parker). I picked up the following piece of information that was helpful.

After 1957 on pipes Parker ceased to put patent number and the code with definition of date.

That tells me that my pipe was made after 1957 when the numbers were no longer added to the stamping on the pipe.

Now it was time to work on the pipe. I started the process by heating the inner tube and removing it from the tenon. I wrapped a paper towel around the tube and wiggled it free of the tenon. It came out easily.I have to say it once again that I am really spoiled having Jeff clean up the pipes for me. Having to start with them in this condition adds time. I reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer using the first two cutting heads. I followed up by scraping the remaining cake with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I finished cleaning up the cake in the bowl with a piece of dowel wrapped in 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the walls of the bowl.  I cleaned up the rim top and the inner edge of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I gave the inner edge of the rim a slight bevel. I smoothed out the top of the rim with the sandpaper in preparation for rusticating it with a series of burrs and the Dremel.    I scrubbed the exterior of the bowl and rim top with a tooth brush and undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the debris from the finish. I rinsed the bowl with warm water to remove the grime and soap and dried it off with a soft towel. I touched up the rim top rustication with a Walnut stain pen and a Black Sharpie pen to blend the top into the rest of the bowl colour. I also touched up the faded spots on the heel of the bowl and around the edges of the bowl.I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to get into the nooks and crannies of the blast. The balm works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.   While I was working on the bowl the stem was soaking in Briarville Pipe Repair’s – Pipe Stem Oxidation Remover. The stem sat in the mixture for 2 ½ -3 hours. I removed the stem from the bath, scrubbed lightly with a tooth brush and dried if off with a paper towel. I was surprised that it was quite clean. Just some light tooth marks on the button and underside of the stem near the button. The Diamond P stamp on the stem remained and was not damaged by the deoxidizer. I cleaned out the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners to remove the tars and oils in the airways of both. Once they were clean the pipe smelled better.I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. This beautiful sandblasted Parker Super Briar Bark 345 Bulldog with a vulcanite saddle stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The rich browns and blacks of the contrasting stains in the sandblast came alive with the polishing and waxing. The newly rusticated rim top blended in very well. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Parker Super Briar Bark Bulldog is a beauty and fits nicely in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

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