Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe I chose to work on an interesting looking Oom Paul shaped briar pipe that Jeff picked up from an online auction on 11/08/18 in Romney, West Virginia, USA. It was an interesting Oom Paul that has some great grain around the bowl and shank. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Barling [over] 5959 [over] London England. On the right side it is stamped Regency in script [over] EXEL [over] T.V.F. So it is a Barling pipe. I will need to do a bit of work on the stamping to identify when it was made. The stem is a vulcanite saddle stem that had a rotting and cracking rubber Softee Bit on the end. The briar was very dirty and the front of the bowl had been knocked against a hard surface and was damaged and rough. There was a thick cake in the bowl and an over flow of lava covered the rim top. The stem was oxidized, calcified and the rubber Softee bit was worn. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started his clean up work on it. He took some photos of the bowl, rim top and edges to show the condition of the pipe before he started. There appeared to be some damage on the inner edge at the back of the bowl. The outer edge at the front was a real mess. He took photos of the stem with the Softee Bit in place and with it removed. It really is a mess with oxidation, calcification and tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the stem.He took photos of the stamping on the shank sides. It is clear and readable as is noted above.He took a photo of the side and heel of the bowl to show the grain that was on this particular piece of briar. It was a beauty.I checked the usual sources for information on the Barling Regency and did not come up with much. I am pretty certain it is a Post Transition Era pipe from the late 1960s to 1970s. I cannot narrow it down much further than that so I know that it is a new pipe (still over 50years old at least). Now it was time to move on to the pipe itself.
Jeff had cleaned up the pipe in his usual manner. He had reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed that up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife afterward. He took the cake back to bare briar and the bowl looked very good. He scrubbed the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs to remove the oils and tars. He scrubbed the externals with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime from the briar. He scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub and then soaked it in a bath of Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer. He rinsed it off with warm water and dried it with a coarse cloth to remove the remaining oxidation. The tooth marks are visible in the photos of the stem surfaces below. The pipe looked very good once it arrived here in Vancouver. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work. I took a photo of the rim top and bowl to show the condition of the briar. You can see the damage on the outer edge of the bowl on the front side. The top surface is scratched and marred. The inner edge of the bowl shows some burn damage on the back of the bowl. The stem looked good but the tooth marks are very visible.The next photos show the stamping on both sides of the shank. It is clear and readable though faint. The grain is also quite stunning.I took a photo of the pipe with the stem removed to give a sense of the proportion of the bowl and the stem.I decided to start by dealing with damage to the inner and outer edge of the bowl and clean up the rim top. I began with the inner edge and used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the damage there and begin a slight bevel on the edge. I topped the bowl to clean up the top and to deal with the damage on the front outer edge. I took photos of the refreshed rim top and edges. It looked much better. I polished the rim top and the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth between each pad. The bowl began to take on a shine as I went through the various pads. I stained the top of the bowl with a Maple stain pen to blend in better with the rest of the bowl colour. It will definitely blend well once the pipe is buffed and polished.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 10 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. If you look you can see the many small fills in the briar but they actually blend in surprisingly well. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the surface of the stem on both sides with the flame of a lighter. I was able to lift many of the tooth mark. I filled in the remaining tooth marks on the button surface and just ahead of it on the underside with clear super glue and set the stems aside to let the repairs cure. Once they cured I smoothed out the repairs with a small file and started blending them into the surface of the stem (I forgot to take photos of that part of the process). I sanded the repairs with 220 grit sandpaper to further blend it into the stem surface. I started polishing it 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. This Barling Regency 5959 Oom Paul with a vulcanite saddle stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The rich browns and blacks of the contrasting stains came alive with the polishing and waxing. I put the 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 and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Barling Regency Oom Paul is a beauty and fits nicely in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 4 inches, Height: 2 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 64 grams/2.26 ounces. I will be putting this Barling on the British Pipe Makers section of the rebornpipes store shortly if you want to add it to your collection. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!