Blog by Steve Laug
It was not that long ago that I was contacted by an older gentleman about purchasing his pipe collection. He sent me the photos and I was amazed at what I saw. You have seen many of the pipes that he had. These included Dunhill, BBB, Orlik, Barclay Rex, a cased Ben Wade, an H. Simmons all briar, Hardcastles and some Meerschaums. There were also some assorted others that I will get to in the days ahead. It was a great collection. We negotiated a deal and I think we both walked away quite happy with the exchange.
I have worked on six of the Barclay-Rex pipes from this collection now and I am turning next to a classic Pot Sitter. It really is a beauty in terms of shape and grain. I have circled it in red in the photo above. This pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads BARCLAY-REX [over] New York. The stamping is faint but still readable and there is no shape number evident.
Jeff took some photos of the BARCLAY-REX Classic Pot Sitter before he worked his magic in cleaning up the pipe. It is a an interesting pipe with a lot of potential and what appears to be some great grain under the grime and debris of the years.Jeff took photos of the bowl, rim top to show the thickness of the cake in the bowl and the thick lava on the rim top. It is hard to know the condition of the rim edges and top with the thick cake and lava in place. The outer edge of the rim is chipped and damaged on the back side above the shank. He took photos of the top and underside of the vulcanite stem showing the oxidation, calcification, tooth marks, chatter and wear on the stem and button. There is a bite through on the underside of the stem near the button. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the briar. You can see the beautiful shape and the grain on the bowl even through the dirt and debris of many years. There is damage to the outer edge of the rim and also deep gouges in lower right portion of the bowl. Jeff took a photo of the stamping on the top of the shank to capture the faint but readable stamping there.As before, I quote from Pipephil’s site (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-b1.html) on the Barclay-Rex brand. I have included a screen capture of the information that is shown there. I quote from the sidebar on the site below as it gives a good summary of information.
Brand created in 1910. The shop was situated on Maiden Lane. Three addresses now (2010): 75 Broad Street, 70 East 42nd Street, 570 Lexington Avenue. See also: André
I also quote from what I found previously on Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Barclay_Rex).
Barclay-Rex, a downtown Manhattan tobacconist, was founded in 1910 by Vincent Nastri, a pipemaker from Salerno, Italy. The store was originally located at Barclay and Church Street, and the name was taken from that location and Nastri’s beloved Great Dane, Rex. The business is still run by Vincent Nastri, III and owned by Vincent Nastri, Jr.. They have several locations in New York City. The store has carried pipes from all fine makers, and the Barclay-Rex line of pipes is also much sought after, in that pipes were made in a range from the very inexpensive into the several hundreds of dollars. The pipes were, at least into the 1960’s, made of Algerian briar.
In addition to pipes made by Mr. Nastri over the years, Mr. Nastri, III, has been quoted as stating that a pipemaker just leaving Dunhill made pipes with a small off-white dot on the stem for a time for the shop. As was discovered by Steve Laug of Reborn Pipes, they were evidently made by a pipemaker whose initials were HGP, and stamped on the pipe as such. These pipes were made for a single run only, and then never made again.
In addition, Sasieni at least for a time made private label pipes stamped with the Barclay-Rex name, but with their own shapes and shape numbers.
Locations: (Flagship Store) 75 Broad Street, New York, New York 10004 Telephone: (212) 962-3355
70 East 42nd Street, New York, New York 10165 Telephone: (212) 692-9680
570 Lexington Avenue, New York, New York 10022 Telephone: (212) 888-1015
With the information from Pipedia I knew that I was working on a pipe from the Barclay-Rex Tobacconist in New York City. The fellow we bought them from intimated that he purchased them at the Manhattan store. I was unable to pin down any information regarding the date this pipe was made. Now it was time to work on the pipe.
Jeff carefully cleaned the pipe. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and then cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals of the shank, stem and shank extension with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and lava on the rim top. The finish looks much better and has a deep richness in the colour that highlights grain of the briar. The rim top looked good with some darkening on the top and damage to the back outer edge of the bowl. He soaked the stem in Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and scrubbed it with Soft Scrub to remove the remnants of oxidation. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver I was amazed it looked so good. Here are some photos of what I saw. I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem surface. The top and inner edge of the rim had some darkening. The back outer edge of the rim top was damaged from a large chip that extended across the back of the bowl. I took close up photos of the stem to show the condition of the surface and button. The stem top had deep tooth marks along the button edge and the underside had a bite through that would need to be repaired. I took a picture of the stamping on the left side of the shank and it was faint but readable as noted above.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the parts of the pipe. I started my work on the pipe by addressing the damage to rim top and edges of the bowl – inner and outer. I worked over the rim top, the inner and outer edge with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to remove the darkening and to assess the damage to the back outer edge. Once it was clean I layered CA glue and briar dust on the damage at the back of the rim top and outer edge to bring it back even with the bowl sides and the rim top. Once it was complete I sanded the outer edge to blend it into the side of the bowl. The repairs are darker than the rim top but they are smooth. They are a part of the story of the pipe.The stain on the bowl was quite opaque from the oils of the smoker’s hands so I wiped it down with acetone on a cotton pad to make the grain more visible. The deep gouges in the briar on the lower right side of the bowl needed to be addressed. They had sharp edges so they would not lift with steam. I have found that the stem works great on dents but if the edges of the gouge are sharp steaming does very little. I filled them in with clear CA glue and once it cured sanded them smooth with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surrounding briar.With the repairs on the rim and the gouges on the bowl finished it was time to move on. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the briar down with a damp cloth after each pad. I paused in the polishing with micromesh to restain the rim top and repair on the right side with a cherry stain pen. I have found that when I do this I can blend it in better when I polish with the higher grades of micromesh.I returned to polishing the bowl with 3200-12000 grit micromesh pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad. The bowl began to shine and the stained areas blended in well. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the bowl 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 photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” it with the flame of a Bic lighter to lift the tooth dents in the top surface of the vulcanite. I lifted the edges around the bite through on the underside. I filled in the remaining marks on the top with Loctite 380 Rubberized CA glue. I greased a pipe cleaner and inserted it in the airway in the button then repaired the bite through with the Rubberized CA glue. Once the repairs cured I filed them flat with some small files. I sanded them smooth with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to blend them in the rest of the stem surface. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. With the bowl and the stem finished I put the beautiful Barclay-Rex New York Pot Sitter back together and buffed it on the wheel using Blue Diamond to give it a shine. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. It really is a great looking sandblast. The dimensions of the pipe are – Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 1 inch. The weight of this large pipe is 1.45 ounces /41 grams. This Barclay-Rex Pot Sitter is another great find in this collection. It is much more beautiful in person than these photos can capture. The burn mark on the back of the bowl is visible but it in no way affects the smoking ability of this pipe. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store soon. If you would like to add it to your collection let me know. This is another pipe that has the possibility of transporting the pipe man or woman back to a slower paced time in history where you can enjoy a respite. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.