Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe on the work table came to us in a group of pipe that we purchased from a fellow in Los Angeles, Californa, USA. The pipe is smooth, nicely grained Canadian shaped pipe with an oval shank and taper stem. The pipe is stamped on top left side of the shank and reads Barling’s [arched over] Make [over] Ye Olde Wood [over] the shape number 1488. That is followed by T.V.F. near the shank. On the right topside of the shank it is stamped Made In [over] England. In the center of the top of the shank is a large upper case R. There was a lot of grime and dust ground into the smooth finish. The bowl was thickly caked with a thick lava coat flowing onto the rim top and the inner edge of the rim. The inside and outside edges looked to be in good condition but we would know more once Jeff had cleaned it. The stem was oxidized, calcified and had tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the button. The stem was stamped on the topside with the Barling Cross. The stamping was readable but damaged. It had promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top, bowl and stem to give a clear picture of the condition of the pipe. The thickness of the cake and tobacco debris as well as the lava on the rim top and inner edge is visible. The photos of the stem show the oxidation, calcification and the chatter and tooth marks on the top and underside. He took some photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a clear picture of the condition of the pipe and the grain that was shining through the grime. He took photos of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above. I turned to Pipephil’s site (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-barling.html) to see if I could find a listing that had the same or similar stamping on the pipe. The stamping is similar to the one I am working on other than the shape number. The pipe that I am working on has the shape number 1488 on the shank. Barling’s [Arched], Make, Ye Olde Wood, T.V.F. and on the right side Made in England. Pipedia gives a great history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Barling) that is well worth reading.
I worked through the different eras of the Barling pipes. I found a section on redefining the eras and quote from that section as followed:
Family Era 1912 – 1962: Pipes made by the Barling family while it either owned or managed B. Barling & Sons.
Corporate Era 1962 – the Present: Pipes made after the family left off managing the company, beginning with the revised product grades and revised nomenclature that were introduced in the 1962 Dealers’ Catalog.
The Family Era pipes are highly sought after by collectors and have excellent smoking and aesthetic qualities. These pipes are famous for the “old wood” from which they were made. I’m including the 1962 “Barling’s Make” pipes in this category because, initially, they were made while the Family still ran the business. Montague Barling was still President, and Williamson-Barling was still General Manager.
These 1962 pipes were made by the same craftsman from the same materials, as the earlier product. Some of them are stamped with both the old and new model numbers.
…The “BARLING’S MAKE” has the word “BARLING’S” arched over the word “MAKE” in capital block letters. Barling used this block letter logo until late 1962.
… Ye Olde Wood Stamp: Sometime around 1913, the “Ye Olde Wood” stamp made its appearance on selected pipes. An example exists stamped on a 1913 date hallmarked pipe.
This logo will continue to be used in the decades to come. Initially it was used to designate a higher grade than the average, much as the “Special” grade would after the Second World War. Price lists show the “Ye Olde Wood” pipes as a separate grade from the basic BARLING’S MAKE pipe. Eventually, “Ye Olde Wood” came to represent the company to the world. The use of “YE OLD WOOD” as a stamp prior to 1940 was haphazard, at best, although the company used the slogan in advertising materials from the early teens onward. (Gage)
Crossed Barling Stem Logo: It is not known when the crossed Barling stem logo first appeared, but an example exists on a pipe with a 1923 date hallmark. And several of the mid 1920’s pipes added in this update also feature the crossed Barling stem logo.
Size Stampings: Up to 1926 and possibly beyond, Barling used specific, completely unrelated, model numbers to designate the various sizes of a specific shape. They produced pipes in three sizes, small, medium, and large.
Barling’s published price lists show that they continued to offer pipes in only three sizes, small, medium, and large until 1941. That’s it, small, medium, and large. So when someone claims that they have a 1930’s EL, EXEL, or other size, they are mistaken.
In 1941 the published range of sizes expanded. Going from the smallest to the largest, they are SS, S, S-M, L, EL, EXEL, and EXEXEL. There is no “G” for giant. Giant pipes, or magnums, which are oversized standard billiards, were not stamped “G” but are commonly identified by collectors as such because they are obviously large relative to even EXEXEL pipes, and carried no size stampings (Gage).
Now I knew a bit about the pipe I was working on. The Barling’s Make stamp gave me an end date of 1962. The fact that there is no size stamp on the pipe puts the end date for it at 1941 when the sizes expanded and the pipes were stamped with the size as noted above. So the odds were very good that the pipe I was working on was pre-1941.
Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet pipe reamer and removed the rest of it with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe once I received it. The rim top cleaned up really well. The rim top has some darkening and inner edge shows some damage and is slightly out of round with rough nicks. The stem surface looked good with tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. The stamping on the right and left topside of the shank is clear and readable and reads as noted above. (Note the upper case R stamped on the top of the shank on the second photo above.) I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. It would clean up and be a gorgeous pipe.I started working on the pipe by cleaning up the damaged inner edge of the rim with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped down the bowl after each sanding pad. 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 to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Balm did its magic and the grain stood out. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the tooth marks in the vulcanite with the flame of a Bic lighter. I was able to lift almost all of them. The ones on the underside disappeared except for one next to the button edge. The ones on the top side lifted considerably. I filled in the remaining marks with clear super glue and set the stem aside to let the repairs cure. Once the repairs cured I sanded them out with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surrounding vulcanite. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. 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. The photo below shows the polished stem. I touched up the Barling Cross logo on the stem with white paint and Liquid Paper and neither worked. I cleaned the stem off and used some Antique Gold Rub’n Buff. I rubbed it onto the stem top and worked it into the stamping. I buffed it off with a cotton pad. The product brought the stamping that remained to clear readability. I keep trying to find Rub’n Buff White but it seems to be out of stock everywhere. This beautifully grained Barling’s Make Ye Olde Wood 1488 T.V.F. Canadian is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The briar is clean and really came alive. The rich brown coloured stain gave the grain a sense of depth with the polishing and waxing. The grain really popped. I put the vulcanite 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 and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Barling’s Make Ye Olde Wood Canadian is a beauty and feels great 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: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: 5/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 35grams/1.12oz.Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!