Daily Archives: December 8, 2020

New Life for a Barling’s Garnet Grain Oval Shank 9001 Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table was purchased on Ebay in 2017 and came to us from Latgale, Latvia. The pipe is smooth, nicely grained Bent Billiard pipe with an oval shank and an acrylic, saddle stem. The pipe is stamped on left side of the shank and reads Garnet Grain. On the right side of the shank it is stamped England. On the underside of the shank it is stamped with the shape number 9001. The stem has the Barling Cross logo on the top of the saddle. There was a lot of grime and dust ground into the smooth finish. The bowl had been reamed before we bought and to be honest if had been smoked at all it had maybe had a half a bowl run through it. The inside and outside edges of the crowned rim top looked to be in excellent condition other than the grit and grime of the years. The acrylic stem was in excellent condition with minor scratches but no tooth marks. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work.   He took a photo of the rim top, bowl and stem to give a clear picture of the condition of the pipe. The condition of the rim top and edges is very visible. The photos of the stem show that other than the light scratches in the acrylic it was in excellent condition. He took a photo of the heel of the bowl to give a clear picture of the condition of the pipe and the grain that was shining through. He took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above.  He removed the stem from the shank and revealed several issues. The first is that the stem and tenon is drilled for a filter. The second issues is that there is a large piece of acrylic missing on the top side of the tenon.  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 9001 on the underside shank. Garnet Grain and on the right side England. I am pretty sure that the one I have is significantly newer and does not have the Barling stamp on the shank and merely reads England. It does have the Barling cross on the stem top.Pipedia gives a great history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Barling) that is well worth reading. I am pretty sure that it is newer but I have no way of proving that for certain but that is my guess. Now it was time to work on the pipe itself.

This one has a back story that is a bit embarrassing. This morning on Facetime, Jeff and I sorted through some bowls that we had in Idaho and here in Vancouver. Between us we had around 50-70 stemless bowls. The majority of them were here in Vancouver. My box had 50+ bowls that I have accumulated over the years. Going through them with Jeff, I was not sure why I had kept most of them. They really were worthless and in varying degrees of disrepair. Some of them had broken shanks and others had cracked bowls and shanks. We pitched the majority of them (which is very hard for us to do if you have known us for very long!). Here is where the story gets dicey for us! We had pitched this bowl into the garbage. It had a large shank and was without a stem. Later in the morning I was going through my assortment of stems trying to find stems for the bowls that we had kept. In the bottom of one of the bags I came across an oval Barling stem that was made for a filter and had a chip out of the tenon. I wrote Jeff and asked if he had any photos of a Barling Garnet Grain with a stem. He immediately sent me the above photos that linked the stem I had found with the bowl. I took the bowl out of the trash and tried the stem on it. They fit together perfectly. I  was a bit embarrassed and was totally unclear how the parts had been separated. With that background I decided to work on it.

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 stamping on the right and left topside of the shank is clear and readable and reads as noted above.  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 started by rebuilding the chipped and damaged tenon. I greased a pencil with Vaseline and inserted it in the tenon. I mixed a batch of charcoal powder and black super glue to great a paste.  I applied the paste to the chipped tenon using a dental spatula to fill in the damaged area. I sprayed the repair with an accelerator and once it was cured I used a rasp to remove the excess repair. I reshaped the tenon on the outside with a Dremel and sanding drum and on the inside with a small round needle file. I also created an adapter to convert the stem from a filter stem to a regular stem. It was removable so that it could still be smoked with a filter.Once the reshaping was complete on the tenon I inserted the adapter in place and smooth out the tenon repair to make the tenon round once more.  The acrylic stem was in great condition so I did not need to polish it with micromesh pads. I did a quick buff on the Blue Diamond wheel and the shine came alive. I touched up the Barling Cross logo on the stem with Liquid Paper and worked it into the stamping. I buffed it off with a cotton pad. The product brought the stamping that remained to clear readability. This beautifully grained Barling’s Garnet Grain 9001 Bent Oval Shank Bent Billiard is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The briar is clean and really came alive. The rich reddish brown coloured stain gave the grain a sense of depth with the polishing and waxing. The grain really popped. I put the acrylic 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 Bent Oval Shank Bent Billiard 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 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 53grams/1.90oz.Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

 

Breathing Life into a 1960 Dunhill Bruyere 251 Group 3 Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table came to us in a group of pipes that we purchased from an Antique Mall on the Oregon Coast, Oregon, USA. It is a Dunhill Bruyere Straight Billiard that is in good condition. It is stamped both sides of the shank. On the left side it is stamped with the shape number 251 followed by Dunhill [over] Bruyere. On the right side it is stamped with 3 in a circle followed by A for Bruyere next to the bowl. That is followed by Made in [over] England0. Interpreting that stamp it is as follows: The 251 is the shape for a straight billiard. The Dunhill Bruyere is the finish which is corroborated the A at the end of the stamping. The 0 following the D of England gives the date the pipe was made and identifies it as 1960. The stamping is clear and readable. The age of the pipe and the oils in the finish has given the pipe a rich reddish brown finish. There is also some amazing grain that the shape follows well. The finish was dirty with dust ground into the surface of the bowl and shank. There was a thick cake in the bowl and tobacco debris stuck to the walls of the bowl. The rim top showed darkening and some lava on the surface. The vulcanite taper stem was oxidized, calcified and had light tooth marks and chatter ahead of the button on both sides.  Jeff took photos of the pipe to show what it looked like before he started working on it.  He took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the thickness of the cake and the darkening and lava overflow on the rim top. There were also nicks around the outer edge of the bowl. The photos of the stem show the oxidation, calcification and tooth marks and chatter on the surface on both sides.  The photos of the sides and heel of the bowl show the great grain on the pipe. It is a beauty under the grime and dust.   The stamping on the underside of the shank is shown in the photos below. It looks very good and readable. It reads as noted and explained above. The fourth photo shows the white spot on the stem.   I turned to Pipedia’s section on Dunhill Root Briar Pipes to get a bit of background on the Dunhill finishes (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Dunhill#Root_Briar). I quote:

Bruyere

The original finish produced (usually made using Calabrian briar), and a big part of developing and marketing the brand. It was the only finish from 1910 until 1917. A dark reddish-brown stain. Before the 1950s, there were three possible finishes for Dunhill pipes. The Bruyere was a smooth finish with a deep red stain, obtained through two coats, a brown understain followed by a deep red.

There was a link on the above site to a section specifically written regarding the Bruyere finish (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Dunhill_Bruyere). I turned there and have included the information from that short article below.

Initially, made from over century-old briar burls, classified by a “B” (denoted highest quality pipe); “DR” (denoted straight-grained) and an “A” (denoted first quality), until early 1915. After that, they became a high-end subset to the Dunhill ‘Bruyere’. The DR and B pipes, a limited production, they should be distinguished as hand-cut in London from burls as opposed to the Bruyere line which was generally finished from French turned bowls until 1917, when the Calabrian briar started to be used, but not completely. Only in 1920 Dunhill took the final step in its pipe making operation and began sourcing and cutting all of its own bowls, proudly announcing thereafter that “no French briar was employed”.

Bruyere pipes were usually made using Calabrian briar, a very dense and hardy briar that has a modest grain but does very well with the deep red stain.

“Before the 1950s, there were three possible finishes for Dunhill pipes. The Bruyere was a smooth finish with a deep red stain, obtained through two coats, a brown understain followed by a deep red. The Shell finish was the original sandblast with a near-black stain (though the degree to which it is truly black has varied over the years). Lastly, the Root finish was smooth also but with a light brown finish. Early Dunhill used different briars with different stains, resulting in more distinct and identifiable creations… Over the years, to these traditional styles were added four new finishes: Cumberland, Dress, Chestnut and Amber Root, plus some now-defunct finishes, such as County, Russet and Red Bark.”

There was also a link to a catalogue page that gave examples and dates that the various finishes were introduced (https://pipedia.org/wiki/File:Dunnypipescatalog-1.png). I turned to Pipephil’s dating guide to show how I arrived at the date of manufacture for this pipe (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/dunhill/cledat-en1a.html). I am including the chart that is provided there for the dating a pipe. I have drawn a red box around the section. Since the pipe I am working on has a suffix 0 that is raised superscript it points to the 1960 line on the chart below.I now knew that I was working on a Bruyere that came out in 1960. The shape of the pipe was one of many Billiards that Dunhill put out and that the #251 was a normal billiard shape with a taper stem.

I turned to work on the pipe itself. Jeff had carried out his usual thorough cleanup of the pipe. He had reamed it with a PipNet reamer to remove the cake and cleaned the reaming up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the internals of the bowl and stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the externals with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and rinsed the bowl off with running water. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and once it had soaked rinsed it off with warm water to remove the residual solution. He dried it off and scrubbed it down with Soft Scrub All-Purpose cleaner to remove any oxidation that was still on the stem. The pipe looked very clean when I received it. I took a photo of the rim top to show the condition. You can see the darkening on the rim top. It is roughened and slightly out of round. The stem came out looking quite good. There are light tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button but the oxidation was gone.  I took photos of the sides of the shank to show the stamping. It is clear and readable as noted above.  I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe parts to show what I was working with. It is a nice looking pipe.I decided to start the restoration on this one by working on the damage on the inner edge of the bowl. It had darkening and some damage to the edge. There were burn and reaming damage marks on the edge from a previous pipeman. I worked it over with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to give the edge a light bevel and remove and minimize the damage on the edge. When I finished with it, the bowl and the rim top looked much better. I polished the rim top and bowl with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. The briar began to take on a shine.   With the repair completed I rubbed the briar down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the briar with my fingertips. The product works to clean, enliven and preserve the briar. I let it sit for 15 minutes while I worked on the stem. After the time passed I buffed it with a cotton cloth to deepen the shine. The briar really comes alive with the balm.   I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I polished the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.   This Dunhill Bruyere 251 Group 3 Billiard from 1960 is a beautiful looking piece of briar that has a shape that follows grain. It is a great looking pipe that came out looking even better after the cleanup. The Bruyere is an early finish that Dunhill specialized in making. The finish on the pipe is in excellent condition. The red and brown stain on the bowl works well to highlight the grain. The polished black vulcanite taper stem adds to the mix. With the grime gone from the finish and the bowl it was a beauty and is eye-catching. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel being careful to not buff the stamping. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing it with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Bruyere 251 Billiard is quite nice and feels great in the hand. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. I can only tell you that like the other pipes I am working that it is much prettier in person than the photos capture. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 29grams/1.02oz. It will soon be added to the British Pipe Makers section on the rebornpipes store. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next generation.