Tag Archives: Bari Freehand pipes made by Viggo Nielsen

A Simple Refurbishing of a Bari “Matador”

Blog by Paresh Deshpande

During one of the many crib sessions with my mentor, Mr. Steve, I lamented on a couple of failed deals when he suggested me a couple of sellers on eBay with whom he has been dealing without any problems. I tried them out and they have delivered every time spot on!!!! From one of the sellers I had purchased this beautiful and nicely shaped Free Hand pipe. Now, to be honest, I am always fascinated by “Free Hand” pipes. I feel these freehand shapes let the creativity and imaginations of a carver run riot without the bindings of the exacting demands of a classical shape and finish and he has the freedom to allow the grain to dictate the shape of the pipe.

This beautiful free hand pipe has a very interesting shape and I think the following pictures will do more justice rather than my SORRY attempt at its description. The plateau rim top and shank end add a unique dimension to the overall appearance of this pipe. The left side of the stummel is sandblasted with beautiful wavy pattern of straight and cross grains and is the mirror image of the smooth surface on the right side of the stummel. The short shank is smooth surfaced and bears the stamping on the left side. It is stamped as “BARI” over “MATADOR” like a football over “HANDMADE” over “IN DENMARK”. The fancy vulcanite stem is devoid of any logo. I searched the net for information about this brand and its creator. I first turned to pipedia.org and learned that “Bari Piber was founded by Viggo Nielsen in Kolding around the turn of 1950/51. Viggo’s sons Kai Nielsen and Jørgen Nielsen both grew into their father’s business from a very young age and worked there till 1975. Bari had very successfully adapted the new Danish design that had been started mainly by Stanwell for its own models. When Viggo Nielsen sold Bari in 1978 to Van Eicken Tobaccos in Hamburg Bari counted 33 employees”, detailed read is available at this link; https://pipedia.org/wiki/Bari

I further searched other sites, including my go to site, rebornpipes.com, to know about this particular “MATADOR” series, including dating of this model. However, there is no mention of this particular line of BARI pipes. I hope some of the learned and experienced readers would be kind to share their knowledge with me and other readers.

The stummel is covered in dust, oils and grime giving a dull and lackluster appearance to the bowl. The sandblast rustications on the left of the stummel are, likewise, filled with dust, dirt and grime. This will need to be thoroughly cleaned. The plateau rim top and shank end too, are covered in dust, grime and lava overflow. The chamber tapers down towards the draught hole. This will pose a challenge cleaning the heel of the chamber due to the difficult reach. The cake appears to be evenly thick. The plateau rim top is covered with overflow of lava. The inner rim edge is crisp, even and intact. The chamber has a nice smell to it and is dry to the touch. The inner wall condition of the chamber will be ascertained once the chamber has been completely reamed. However, I foresee no issues at all as the bowl feels solid to the touch.The fancy stem is oxidized and came with a rubber bit. With some trepidation, I removed the rubber bit and was pleasantly surprised to find a pristine bite zone and crisp, sharp and well defined lip edges. Since there are no logo stamped on the stem surface, cleaning it should be a breeze.The shank, mortise and the airway is clogged and will only need to be cleaned and sanitized.THE PROCESS
The first step that I usually follow is the reaming of the bowl. I worked on the stummel, reaming out the cake with a Kleen Reem reamer, followed by a pipe reaming knife that I had fabricated. I brought the cake down to the bare briar. To further remove any traces of old cake and smooth the inner walls of the chamber, I sanded the inner wall surface with a 220 grit sand paper. The large mound of cake that was reamed out from the bowl far exceeded my appreciation regarding the quantity of cake in the chamber. The walls of the chamber were solid as expected; however, the old smells were still strong. I followed the reaming of the chamber with cleaning of the mortise. Using hard and regular pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol, I cleaned out the mortise and shank air way. With my fabricated spatula, I scrubbed out all the dried crud and gunk from the mortise. The amount of gunk that was scraped out from the mortise really surprised me. A number of pipe cleaners later and after a lot of scraping, the mortise is finally clean.The pipe smelled of old aromatics and even with the bowl and shank clean the smell was present. I stuffed the bowl with cotton balls and used a syringe to fill it with isopropyl alcohol. I have found that cotton balls work as well as Kosher salt does and it is not as messy. I put a cotton swab wound around a bent pipe cleaner in the shank up to the entrance of the airway into the bowl as it wicks alcohol into the shank and draws out the oils in that area. I put the pipe bowl upright in a “katori” filled with rice grains and let it sit over night to let it do its magic. The second photo shows the cotton balls, discolored with the oils after sitting overnight. Once I removed the cotton balls I scrubbed out the shank and airway with pipe cleaners and paper napkins to remove any remnants of alcohol left behind.While the stummel was air drying, I worked the stem. I started with sanding the stem with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. This was followed by sanding with 400 and 800 grit sand papers. This reduces the scratches left behind by the coarser 220 grit paper. I sharpened and refreshed the button with a folded 220 grit paper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rub a small quantity of EVO oil and set the stem aside. Next, I cleaned the external surface of the stummel with a hard bristled toothbrush and Murphy’s Oil soap. Very diligently, I scrubbed the plateau rim top and shank end to remove the entire dust and lava overflow embedded in the crevices of the plateau. Once the stummel was dried with paper napkins, I was not satisfied with the cleaning of the rim top and shank end plateau surface. Using a brass wired brush, I thoroughly scrubbed the plateau rim top and shank end. I was pleased with the way these surfaces appeared after this clean up. To bring a rich luster and highlight the beautiful straight grains on the smooth bowl and shank surfaces, I subjected these surfaces to a polish with micromesh pads. I wet sanded the surface with 1500 to 3200 grit pads and dry sanded with the remaining micromesh pads. The stummel looks really beautiful at this stage of refurbishing the pipe. I rubbed some “Before and After Restoration” balm deeply in to the stummel with my fingers. This balm helps in rejuvenating and protecting the briar wood. The immediate and incredible transformation that takes place is a worthy reward for all the efforts!!! The straight grains can now be clearly appreciated. I let the balm be absorbed by the briar for about 15-20 minutes and then buffed it with a horse hair shoe brush. The bowl now looks fresh and attractive with the grains popping out any which way you look at the briar. To complete the restoration, I re-attach the stem with the stummel. I mounted a cotton cloth buffing wheel to my local machine which is similar to the Dremel.  I set the speed at about half of the full power and applied White Diamond compound to the entire pipe. I wiped/ buffed the pipe with a soft cotton cloth to clear it of any leftover compound dust. With a cotton buffing wheel earmarked for Red Tripoli, which has a finer grit than White compound, I buffed the stem to a fine glossy finish. I then re-attach the stem to the stummel, mounted another cotton cloth wheel on to the polishing machine and applied several coats of carnauba wax. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. This one shall be added to my modest collection of free hand pipes. Thank you for your valuable time spent in reading this chronicle of my journey.


Restoring a Second Bari De Luxe Mahogany Freehand…

Blog by Steve Laug

I was emailing back and forth with a pipeman in Edmonton who wanted to sell of his pipes. He was cleaning up things and thought he would see if I was interested in them. He said that he had several Bari’s that were in the lot and he wanted to move those out. He sent me photos of the pipes he had and we soon struck a deal. Since we were both in Canada it did not take long for the package to make its way to me. I opened it and went through his pipes to see what I had to work on. There were some pipe racks and accessories in the box as well. I went through the pipes and set them aside. Today I decided it was time to start working on them. I chose a second Bari De Luxe Mahogany Freehand as the second of those Bari’s that I would work on. I have included two of the photos of the pipe that he sent to me before I purchased the lot. You can see that it was a well-loved pipe and one that he smoked often. The finish on the sides and shank was in good condition but dirty. The shank end was a nice natural plateau but not as craggy as the previous one. The rim top had an over flow of lava on the top and there was a burn mark on the back inner edge of the rim. Under the tar and lava it looked like the rim top was in good condition. The stain highlighted the beautiful grain on the briar and the plateau was stained black in stark contrast to the reddish brown of the bowl. The bowl was caked and would need to be reamed but otherwise good condition. The stem was cleaner than the previous one and did not have any sticky substance on it. There was some oxidation under the oil but there were not any tooth marks or chatter on the surface. Tenon end was chipped and broken and would need to be repaired. I took the following photos of the pipe before I began the cleanup. (The pipe came in an original Bari pipe sock.) I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem to show the condition of the pipe when I started. The rim top shows damage at the back inner edge of the bowl and on the rim top at that point as well. Other than general darkening and tar around the inner edge of the bowl the rim shows some nice grain. The plateau on the shank end is in excellent condition. The stem surface is in good condition other than some oxidation. When I took the stem out to examine the tenon and shank I found a surprise. When I spoke with John he was unaware of the issue as well and was surprised. The tenon had a large chunk out of the top side. There was almost half of the tenon missing.I took photos of the stamping on both sides of the shank. On the left it was stamped Bari over De Luxe over Mahogany and on the right side it was stamped Hand Made in Denmark. The stamping was faint toward the bowl on both sides of the shank but was still readable.In the previous blog on the Bari De Luxe Freehand I quoted a section from Pipedia on Bari pipes. Here is the link to the article on Pipedia: https://pipedia.org/wiki/Bari. I summarize the material that I found there as it gives a clear picture of the brand. I have been working on several pipes by Viggo Nielsen recently so it was a good reminder.

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 highgrades 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 started my cleanup of this pipe by working on the internals. I reamed out the cake with a PipNet pipe reamer and took the cake back to the bare briar. I scraped out the remnants in the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I sanded the walls in the bowl with a piece of dowel wrapped with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth the walls. I sanded the rim top with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to remove the burn damage on the back side of the bowl. I polished the sanded area with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the surface down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. The first photo is a reminder of where things were at when I started the cleanup. While the burn mark was not totally removed it looked much better than when I started the cleanup. I used an Oak stain pen to restain the entire rim top. I used a Mahogany stain pen to touch up the inner edge of the bowl to try to blend in the darkening around the edges. Once the stain dried I rubbed it lightly with an alcohol dampened cotton pad to blend the colours together.I rubbed some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar to enliven, clean and preserve it. I rubbed it in with my fingertips working it into the briar. I worked it into the nooks and crannies in the plateau on the rim and the shank end using a cotton swab. I brushed those areas with a shoe brush to work it in more deeply and spread it out. I set it aside for a little while to let the balm do its work. I buffed it off with a cotton cloth and then buffed it with a microfiber cloth. The photos below show the pipe at this point in the restoration process. I scraped the mortise walls with a sharp pen knife to remove the lacquer build up from tobacco juices and oils. It was thickly coated. Once I had that finished I cleaned out the mortise and the airway in the shank with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and alcohol. It was dirty but I was surprised it was as clean as it was all things considered. I cleaned the airway in the stem the same way as the shank.I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I reshaped the button with a needle file and sharpened the edge against the surface of the stem. I sanded the surface of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the light tooth chatter on the surface of the stem and to break up the oxidation that was prevalent in the grooves and spindles of the stem.  I started the process of rebuilding chipped tenon. I have done this on one other pipe and was quite happy with the results. I mixed a batch of charcoal powder and super glue to make a putty to start the rebuild. I applied it to the edge of the tenon with the sharp tip of a sanding stick. I wanted to layer the edge until the tenon was sharp and smooth. It would be a process of layering and shaping to get what was needed. The process was quite simple – set a base of the superglue and charcoal and shape the repair. Add more of the mix to the tenon and shape it again. The process would be repeated until the tenon was even all the way around. The pictures tell the story of the rebuild process. I applied another coat of the glue to fill in the airspaces left from the charcoal powder. I sanded the rebuilt tenon smooth with 220 grit sandpaper. I wiped the end down with Obsidian Oil after sanding it smooth. It is starting to look really good and once the repair cures it will be durable.I set the stem aside and let it cure overnight and worked on other pipes. When I picked it up again this morning I polished it using micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and then buffing on the wheel with red Tripoli. I dry sanded the stem with 3200-12000 grit pads to further polish it. After each pad I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil to protect and enliven the stem. I polished it further with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. When I finished with the polish I gave it a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. This second Bari De Luxe Mahogany Freehand is another beauty with swirling, straight and flame grain all around the bowl. The shank end has some interesting looking plateau that is deep and craggy. The smooth rim is quite nice and has some swirls of grain undulating in the briar. The brown of the bowl and the black of the plateau look really good with the black of the turned vulcanite stem. I buffed the bowl and the stem with Blue Diamond polish to raise the shine on the briar and the vulcanite. I lightly buffed the rim top and shank end as well. I was careful to not buff the stamping and damage it. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are: Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 1/8 inches, Outside Diameter: 1 3/4 inches, Diameter of the chamber: ¾ of an inch. This is the second Bari De Luxe that I have worked on and it more average or medium in size. The combination of smooth and rugged looking plateau on the shank end makes it an interesting pipe. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.