Working on a bit of an odd Bari Special Handcut Freehand

Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table is one that was purchased in 2020 from an auction in Salina, Kansas, USA. It has been here for a while and I am just now getting to it. Work has been demanding so it is slowing down my restoration work a bit. This pipe is a Bari Special Handcut Freehand. It has a really mix of flame and straight grain around the bowl and shank. It was stamped on the sides of the shank. On the left side it reads Bari [over] Special [over] Handcut. On the right side it reads Handmade [over] in Denmark. On the underside of the shank it is stamped with the numbers 72  00. The pipe was dirty with grime ground into the finish. There was a thick cake in the bowl and lava overflow on the plateau rim top. The inner edge of the rim was covered so thickly in lava it was hard to know what was underneath. The square saddled vulcanite stem was oxidized and had tooth marks and chatter ahead of the button on both sides. BARI was stamped on the left side of the fancy saddle stem. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his work on cleaning it up for us. Jeff took photos of the rim top and the stem to show the condition of the pipe when we received it. You can see the thick cake in the bowl and the lava on the rim top and inner edge of the bowl. The bowl is square while the chamber is round. The oxidized and calcified vulcanite stem was quite unique and picked up the square angles of the bowl and the shank. It has chatter and deep tooth marks on both sides near the button. He took photos of the sides of the bowl and the heel to give an idea of the shape and the condition of the briar around the bowl. It really is a nicely shaped pipe with some great grain. The next photos Jeff took show the stamping on the sides of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above. The stem logo is also clear. Jeff took a photo of the partial plateau on the shank end. The top two thirds of the shank end was plateau while the bottom third was smooth. It is quite nice.I worked on a Bari Special Handcut pipe previously so I looked up the blog to refresh myself on the brand a bit ( I quote from the research I did for that pipe below:

I quoted a section from Pipedia on Bari pipes ( It is good to be reminded of the fact that Viggo Nielsen was the pipe maker.

Pipedia states that Bari Piber was founded by Viggo Nielsen in Kolding, Denmark around the turn of 1950/51. His sons Kai and Jørgen both grew into their father’s business from a very young age and worked there till 1975. Both have become successful pipe makers.

Bari successfully adapted the new Danish design that had been started mainly by Stanwell for its own models. Bari was sold in 1978 to Van Eicken Tobaccos in Hamburg, Germany though the pipes were still made in Denmark. From 1978 to 1993 Åge Bogelund and Helmer Thomsen headed Bari’s pipe production.

Helmer Thomson bought the company in 1993 re-naming it to “Bari Piber Helmer Thomsen”. The workshop moved to more convenient buildings in Vejen. Bogelund, who created very respectable freehands of his own during the time at Bari got lost somehow after 1993. Bari’s basic conception fundamentally stayed the same for decades: series pipes pre-worked by machines and carefully finished by hand – thus no spectacular high grades but solid, reliable every day’s companions were what they turned out. The most famous series are the smooth “Classic Diamond” and the blasted “Wiking”.

I did a quick look at Pipephil’s site ( and did a screen capture of the section on Bari pipes.Jeff had cleaned up the pipe following his normal cleaning process. In short, he reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the smooth bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He worked over the lava and debris on the rim top and was able to remove it. 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 scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub and cotton pads to remove the debris and oils on the stem. He soaked it in a bath of Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation. He rinsed it with warm water and dried it off. I took photos of the pipe once I received it. It really looked good however, surprisingly there were a number of fills around the shank and bowl. I took close up photos of the stem and the rim top to show both how clean they were and what needed to be addresses with both. The rim top and bowl look good. The edge was clean but there was some burn damage on the rim top at the back of the bowl. The stem looked better and the tooth marks and chatter were still present.I took a photo of the stamping on the sides of the shank. You can see from the photos that it is readable. I removed the stem from the bowl and took a photo of the parts to give a sense of the beauty of the pipe. I started my work on the pipe by addressing the damage to the back of the plateau rim top. Notice that it is burned but the grooves and crevices are still present. I cleaned it up with a brass bristle wire brush to remove as much of the loose char as possible. Once it was clean I used several burrs on my Dremel to redefine the grooves and crevices in the plateau at the back of the rim top. Once I was finished I was happy with the look or the rim top. I restained the rim top with a black stain pen to match the plateau on the shank end. I polished the smooth briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with1500-4000 grit pads to smooth out the surface of the briar and the noticeable fills around the shank and bowl. I wiped the bowl down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust. The briar began to take on a shine. I paused after polishing the bowl with the 4000 grit micromesh pad to stain the fills around the sides of the shank and bowl. I used a Walnut stain pen to match the surrounding briar. Once the stain cured I finished polishing the bowl with 6000-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads. The bowl really did begin to shine. I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm working it into the briar with my finger tips and into the plateau on the shank end and rim top with a horsehair shoe brush. The product works to clean, revive and protect the briar. I let it sit on the pipe for 10 minutes then buffed it off with a soft cloth. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the stem surface with the flame of a lighter to lift the deep tooth marks in the vulcanite. Since vulcanite has “memory” I was able to lift the marks on the top and underside of the stem significantly. There were a few that did not lift completely so I filled them in with clear CA glue and set the stem aside to cure. Once the repairs cured I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface and started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it 1500-12000 pads. I wiped it down with some Obsidian Oil each pad to remove the dust and polishing debris. I polished it with Before  After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. This is another pipe that I am really happy about the finished restoration. This Odd Bari Special Handcut Freehand 72 00 turned out beautifully. It really is a great looking pipe with a great shape and rugged plateau rim top and shank end. The bowl is almost square and the shank is the same with virtually the same angles as the bowl from bottom to top. The unique vulcanite saddle stem carries on the shape to the end. The polished black of the stem works well with the briar. The briar really came alive with the buffing. The rich black and brown stains of the finish make the grain really pop with the polishing and waxing. I put the stem back on the bowl and 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 Bari Special Freehand really has a unique beauty and feels great in the hand. It looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 ½ inches, Height: 2 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches long x 1 ½ inches wide, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 70 grams/2.47 oz. The pipe will be going on the rebornpipes store soon. It will be in the section on Danish Pipe Makers if you would like to add it to your collection. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. It was a fun one to work on!

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