Restoring the Last of the Eight Barclay-Rex Pipes – A Large Bent Billiard

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 seven of the eight Barclay-Rex pipes from this collection now and I am turning next to the last one – a large graceful looking Bent Billiard. 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 readable and there is no shape number evident.

Jeff took some photos of the BARCLAY-REX Bent Billiard 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 around the bowl. 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. 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. In the last photo above and the one below you can see the fills in the briar. All of them were on the right side of the bowl and shank. These would need to be repaired.Jeff took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank to capture the readable stamping there.As before, I quote from Pipephil’s site ( 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 (

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

Email: Website: Toll Free: (888) 278-6222 Fax: (212) 962-3372

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 and outer edge of the rim and the rim top was damaged and showed some chips around the edges. I took close up photos of the stem to show the condition of the surface and button. The stem top had tooth marks along the button edge on both sides. 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 topped the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper on a topping board to minimize the damage to the inner and outer edges of the bowl and to smooth out the rim top.I used a Maple Stain Pen to stain the inside of all of the shrunken pits and divots in the side of the bowl and shank. I filled in the stained areas with clear CA glue to even them out with the surrounding briar. I sanded them smooth with a folded piece 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the briar. The stained pits worked better than my previous uses of just briar dust and glue. That normally turns black where this seems to allow the brown to come through the clear glue. I polished the areas with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I stained the repaired areas with a blend of Maple and Cherry stain pens to match colour of the surrounding briar. Once I was finished with polishing the bowl with micromesh sanding pads and rubbing it with Restoration Balm it would match very well.With the repairs on the rim and the fills 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 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 vulcanite on both sides. I sanded what remained 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 final graceful Barclay-Rex New York Swan Neck Bent Billiard 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: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of this large pipe is 1.59 ounces /44 grams. This Barclay-Rex Swan Neck Bent Billiard is another great find in this collection. It is much more beautiful in person than these photos can capture. The reworked fills have blended into the finish very well. 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.

2 thoughts on “Restoring the Last of the Eight Barclay-Rex Pipes – A Large Bent Billiard

  1. Scott Forrest

    Gorgeous pipe. I like the way you stained the pits then added glue – seemed to work like a charm.

    1. rebornpipes Post author

      trial and error Scott… it worked well. I have another one I will try it on today and see if it was just a fluke! Thanks! How is the cracked Dunhill coming that you are working on?


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