Tag Archives: Barling pipes

New Life for a Barling’s Garnet Grain Oval Shank 9001 Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table was purchased on Ebay in 2017 and came to us from Latgale, Latvia. The pipe is smooth, nicely grained Bent Billiard pipe with an oval shank and an acrylic, saddle stem. The pipe is stamped on left side of the shank and reads Garnet Grain. On the right side of the shank it is stamped England. On the underside of the shank it is stamped with the shape number 9001. The stem has the Barling Cross logo on the top of the saddle. There was a lot of grime and dust ground into the smooth finish. The bowl had been reamed before we bought and to be honest if had been smoked at all it had maybe had a half a bowl run through it. The inside and outside edges of the crowned rim top looked to be in excellent condition other than the grit and grime of the years. The acrylic stem was in excellent condition with minor scratches but no tooth marks. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work.   He took a photo of the rim top, bowl and stem to give a clear picture of the condition of the pipe. The condition of the rim top and edges is very visible. The photos of the stem show that other than the light scratches in the acrylic it was in excellent condition. He took a photo of the heel of the bowl to give a clear picture of the condition of the pipe and the grain that was shining through. He took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above.  He removed the stem from the shank and revealed several issues. The first is that the stem and tenon is drilled for a filter. The second issues is that there is a large piece of acrylic missing on the top side of the tenon.  I turned to Pipephil’s site (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-barling.html) to see if I could find a listing that had the same or similar stamping on the pipe. The stamping is similar to the one I am working on other than the shape number. The pipe that I am working on has the shape number 9001 on the underside shank. Garnet Grain and on the right side England. I am pretty sure that the one I have is significantly newer and does not have the Barling stamp on the shank and merely reads England. It does have the Barling cross on the stem top.Pipedia gives a great history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Barling) that is well worth reading. I am pretty sure that it is newer but I have no way of proving that for certain but that is my guess. Now it was time to work on the pipe itself.

This one has a back story that is a bit embarrassing. This morning on Facetime, Jeff and I sorted through some bowls that we had in Idaho and here in Vancouver. Between us we had around 50-70 stemless bowls. The majority of them were here in Vancouver. My box had 50+ bowls that I have accumulated over the years. Going through them with Jeff, I was not sure why I had kept most of them. They really were worthless and in varying degrees of disrepair. Some of them had broken shanks and others had cracked bowls and shanks. We pitched the majority of them (which is very hard for us to do if you have known us for very long!). Here is where the story gets dicey for us! We had pitched this bowl into the garbage. It had a large shank and was without a stem. Later in the morning I was going through my assortment of stems trying to find stems for the bowls that we had kept. In the bottom of one of the bags I came across an oval Barling stem that was made for a filter and had a chip out of the tenon. I wrote Jeff and asked if he had any photos of a Barling Garnet Grain with a stem. He immediately sent me the above photos that linked the stem I had found with the bowl. I took the bowl out of the trash and tried the stem on it. They fit together perfectly. I  was a bit embarrassed and was totally unclear how the parts had been separated. With that background I decided to work on it.

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet pipe reamer and removed the rest of it with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. 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 soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe once I received it. The stamping on the right and left topside of the shank is clear and readable and reads as noted above.  I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped down the bowl after each sanding pad.  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 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Balm did its magic and the grain stood out.   I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I started by rebuilding the chipped and damaged tenon. I greased a pencil with Vaseline and inserted it in the tenon. I mixed a batch of charcoal powder and black super glue to great a paste.  I applied the paste to the chipped tenon using a dental spatula to fill in the damaged area. I sprayed the repair with an accelerator and once it was cured I used a rasp to remove the excess repair. I reshaped the tenon on the outside with a Dremel and sanding drum and on the inside with a small round needle file. I also created an adapter to convert the stem from a filter stem to a regular stem. It was removable so that it could still be smoked with a filter.Once the reshaping was complete on the tenon I inserted the adapter in place and smooth out the tenon repair to make the tenon round once more.  The acrylic stem was in great condition so I did not need to polish it with micromesh pads. I did a quick buff on the Blue Diamond wheel and the shine came alive. I touched up the Barling Cross logo on the stem with Liquid Paper and worked it into the stamping. I buffed it off with a cotton pad. The product brought the stamping that remained to clear readability. This beautifully grained Barling’s Garnet Grain 9001 Bent Oval Shank Bent Billiard is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The briar is clean and really came alive. The rich reddish brown coloured stain gave the grain a sense of depth with the polishing and waxing. The grain really popped. I put the acrylic 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. 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 Barling’s Bent Oval Shank Bent Billiard is a beauty and feels great in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 53grams/1.90oz.Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

 

Refurbishing And Replacing an Aluminum Tenon on a Barling # 4809, T.V.F Zulu Pipe


Blog by Paresh

The next pipe that I decided to work on is a classic Zulu shaped pipe with beautiful bird’s eye grain to the sides of the stummel and cross grains to the front, back and over the shank surfaces. This pipe is stamped on the left shank surface as “Barling” in running hand over “4809” over “LONDON ENGLAND” in block capital letters. On the flat top right side of the shank is stamped “T.V.F”. The stampings are all crisp and deep. The trademark Barling cross has been completely buffed off from the saddle top of the Barling styled vulcanite stem. The size, shape and feel of the pipe is solid to the touch.  Barling’s pipe brand has been well researched and chronicled on pipedia.org and by Steve when he worked on many of Barling’s pipes over decades and thus, shall not waste time in repeating the information that is available. I too have carefully read and researched this brand as I do have many pipes that I have inherited and tentatively date this pipe as being an Early Corporate Era pipe. I have based my conclusions based on the following facts that I have read on pipedia.org (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Barling)

Early Corporate Era Nomenclature
A script Barling logo replaces the block “Barling’s Make” logo. Makes sense, no Barlings are making pipes.

The pipes retain the 4 digit model number introduced in mid 1962, but they also introduce a size 1, which means that there are 4 digit numbers beginning with a 1. The model number is placed right below the Barling logo.

The words LONDON ENGLAND are stamped below the model number. The “MADE IN ENGLAND.” Stamp is discontinued. Ye Olde Wood and TVF have both been discontinued. They will return in the mid 1960’s.

Thus, even though it is not a pre-transition piece, this pipe from after mid 1960s, still has the classic shape, draw and feels nice in the hand that Barling’s pipes are so famous for.

Initial Visual Inspection
This pipe has a decent medium bowl size with chamber depth of about 1 7/8 inches. The stummel boasts of some beautiful cross grains to the front and back of the bowl and all around the shank and loosely packed Bird’s Eye to the right side of the stummel. The stummel is covered in dirt and grime of the overflowed lava and dirt accumulated over the years of heavy smoking and uncared for attention to cleaning and maintenance. There is a thick layer of cake in the chamber and few severe chips and dings to the rim edges. The stem is heavily oxidized with a perceptible gap between the stem and shank end face. The pipe’s appearance, as it sits on my work table, does not present an encouraging picture. Detailed Inspection Of The Pipe And Observations
The first thing I noticed was the perceptible gap (indicated with red arrows) between the stem and the shank end face with the stem completely seated in the mortise. I attempted to separate the stem from the shank, but the stem wouldn’t budge. I chucked the pipe in the freezer for about four hours. I tried again and this time the stem turned but with a sinking feeling, I realized that it was not the tenon that was turning but it was the rest of the stem that turned. It dawned on me that the original tenon had been replaced with a threaded one. After a few careful turns, the stem separated from the shank end. The original tenon had been replaced with an aluminum one and the tenon remained firmly embedded in to the shank.A closer look at the embedded tenon showed prominent outwards protruding shoulders (indicated with yellow arrows) while a matching bevel (indicated with green arrows) had been carved in the saddle at the tenon end of the stem face to accommodate the tenon shoulders. Threads had been tapped in to the saddle for seating the threaded tenon. The gap between the aluminum tenon and the shank face (indicated by pastel pink arrows) is too large. These repairs are well done and have been done by a professional. However, even though the repairs are solid and neatly done, I would rather prefer to have a Delrin tenon over a metal tenon for the reasons of hygiene and ease of maintenance, not to mention the aesthetics of the pipe. The bowl has a wide rim that slightly tapers down towards the heel and has a chamber depth of about 1 7/8 inches. The draught hole is at the bottom and center of the chamber and this construction should make it a great smoke. The chamber has an even layer of thick hard cake with a strong ghost smell. The rim top surface is covered with thick lava overflow and has max accumulation in the lower half of the rim top. Through this layer of lava, a few dings can be seen over the rim top surface. The inner rim edge appears dark and worn out all around, however the damage seems to be severe in 8 o’clock and 3 o’clock directions (encircled in blue). The outer rim edge is equally damaged all along the periphery. There are a number of dents/ dings and chipped areas over the outer rim edge but most severe in 6 o’clock, 12 o’clock and 10 o’clock direction (encircled in yellow). The condition of the inner walls of the chamber can be commented upon after the cake has been taken down to the bare briar. The stummel appears solid to the touch all around and hence I do not foresee any serious damage to the walls in the form of burnout/ deep heat fissures/ lines or pits. The dark inner rim edge, in 8 o’ clock and 3 o’clock direction, may be charred further than anticipated and the same will be confirmed after the surface has been thoroughly cleaned. I need to resort to topping the rim top in order to address the damage to the rim top surface. The ghost smells should reduce once the cake from the chamber is removed and the shank has been cleaned. The smooth stummel has a forward cant in a classic Dublin shape that is broad at the rim that narrows at the bottom/ foot. The shank is oval making it a Zulu shaped pipe. The surface is covered in dust, lava overflow and grime through which one can make out the beautiful cross grains to the front and back of the bowl and shank. There is not a single fill in the briar surface and points to high quality of briar selection for which Barling is renowned. The briar is looking lifeless and bone dry. For a pipe that has been so heavily smoked, there are surprisingly no dents and ding over the stummel surface. Once the stummel has been thoroughly cleaned, any other damage or flaws (which I think there will be none) will come to the fore. Thorough cleaning and rising of the stummel under warm water will highlight the grain patterns. Micromesh polishing will help in imparting a nice shine to the briar. The entrenched aluminum tenon makes it impossible to observe the insides of the shank and the mortise. However, the overall condition of the pipe in general and the chamber in particular, makes me believe the shank internals will be filthy with dried oils, tars and gunk. The restricted airflow is another pointer to a messy shank internals.

The high quality vulcanite tapered saddle stem is typical Barling with a narrow saddle at the end of a proportionately broad stem. The stem is so heavily oxidized that it appears brownish green in color! The saddle has been widened to house the threaded end of the tenon, is blocked with accumulated ash and oils/ tars that have dried out on the inside. The horizontal slot end is chock-a-block with gunk. The trademark stem logo of BARLING CROSS is completely buffed out. For a pipe that has seen such heavy usage, the stem is in pristine condition with no tooth chatter or bite marks or deformed button edges. Replacing the aluminum tenon with a Delrin tenon is one challenge that will have to be dealt with great care and caution. The Process
The first issue that I decided to address was that of the tenon replacement. I heated the tenon with the flame of a lighter and thereafter, with nose pliers I carefully dislodged the aluminum tenon from the shank. I selected a Delrin tenon that roughly matched the shank and stem opening. I cleaned the stem opening that housed the threaded end of the tenon using shank brush, pipe cleaners, q- tips and alcohol. With a sharp dental tool, I scraped out all the dried oils and tars and gunk from the stem opening. With the stem opening cleaned up nicely, I shall next check the seating of the new tenon in to the stem. I tried the seating of the new tenon by threading it in to the widened saddle of the stem and, as rarely as it happens, the fitting was perfect. The tenon, however, would need a bit of work for achieving a snug fit in to the shank. The gap (indicated with blue arrows) between the replacement tenon and the stem face bevel will have to be filled and sealed with CA superglue.Next I wound a piece of scotch tape around the tapered end of a pipe cleaner and insert it through the tenon in to the stem airway. I applied clear CA superglue to the threaded end of the replacement Delrin tenon and also over the threaded stem opening and turned the tenon in to the stem. I lightly tapped the tenon to seat flush with the base of the wide saddle end wall. I applied superglue in to the gap that was formed between the stem bevel and the tenon and set the stem aside for the glue to cure. The scotch tape wound pipe cleaner prevents the superglue from seeping in to the stem airway and clogging it and also helps in guiding and aligning the airway of the new tenon with that of the stem. While the stem repairs were set aside to cure, I worked on the stummel by first reaming the chamber with size 1 followed by size 2 head of a PipNet pipe reamer. I further scraped the chamber walls with my fabricated knife to remove the remaining carbon deposits where the reamer head could not reach. I scraped out the lava overflow from the rim top surface. Once the cake was reamed back to the bare briar, I used a 150 grit sand paper followed by 220 grit sand paper to remove all the traces of remaining cake and also to smooth out the inner walls of the chamber surface. Finally, to remove the residual carbon dust, I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with 99.9% pure isopropyl alcohol. The inner rim edge was charred in 8 o’clock and 3 o’clock direction which have been encircled in red. I scrapped off the charred briar from these areas and now the chamber is out of round. The chamber walls show a web of minor heat lines which would need to be protected from developing in to major heat fissures that would eventually lead to a burnout. I shall give the inner rim edge a slight bevel to get the bowl back to a perfect round and mask the damage. The ghost smells are considerably reduced and should be eliminated once the shank and mortise internals are cleaned. The rim top surface is still considerably darkened and would need to be thoroughly cleaned to know the exact damage to the surface.   I followed up the reaming of the chamber with cleaning the mortise using cue tips, pipe cleaners and shank brush dipped in isopropyl alcohol. I scraped the walls of the mortise with dental tool to remove the dried oils and tars. The ghost smells are further reduced and should be eliminated completely when the shank internals are cleaned with shank brush and dish washing soap. With the bowl internals clean, I move to clean the exterior of the stummel. I used a hard bristled tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to scrub the stummel and rim top. I washed the stummel under running warm water with anti oil dish washing detergent till the stummel surface was clean. I simultaneously cleaned the shank internals with the detergent and hard bristled shank brush and dried it using paper towels and soft cotton cloth. I set the stummel aside to dry out naturally. As anticipated, this thorough cleaning of the shank eliminated the strong ghost smells from the chamber and now the pipe smells clean and fresh. The stummel surface has cleaned up nicely and the beautiful grain patterns are now on full display. The charring over the rim top surface in 8 o’ clock and 3 o’ clock direction (encircled in red) is significantly deeper than anticipated and the chipped areas (encircled in blue) are far deeper than I thought them to be. I shall have to resort to topping to address these damages. With the stem repairs still set aside to cure, I continued with the stummel repairs. I topped the rim top over a piece of 220 grit sand paper till I had a smooth even surface and the charred surface in 8 o’clock and  3 o’clock direction as well as the chipped areas on the outer rim edge (encircled in red) were greatly reduced. I am very happy with the appearance of the rim top and rim edges at this stage of restoration. The chipped surfaces over the outer edges that still remain will be filled with a mix of superglue and briar dust. The charred surfaces will be addressed by creating a nice bevel over the inner rim edge.   With a folded piece of worn out 180 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and forefinger, I carefully gave a bevel to the inner rim edge and addressed the issue of charred inner rim edge. After I was done with the inner rim edge repairs, I filled up the chipped areas on the outer rim edge with a mix of superglue and briar dust and set the stummel aside for the fills to cure and harden. The rim top surface and the edges look very neat at this stage with the bowl in a nice round shape. Once the fills over the outer edges are completely cured, I shall sand and match them with the rest of the edge and if need be, create a slight bevel to further even out these repairs. While the rim edge fills were set aside to cure, I turned my attention back to the stem. The new tenon was firmly attached with the stem and the glue had hardened completely. With a folded piece of 180 grit sand paper, I sand the excess glue from the stem face. With the same piece of sandpaper, I sand the tenon till I had achieved a snug fit of the tenon in to the mortise. One of the important lessons that I have learned in tenon replacement is that one should sand less and check more frequently!! I did just that and checked the seating after every circular cycle of sanding the tenon. Once the seating was snug and perfect, I seated the tenon inside the mortise and realized that the length of the tenon was more than the depth of the mortise. Thus back to sanding board, but this time I sand the tenon face on a piece of 180 grit sandpaper. Checking ever so frequently, I stopped the sanding process when I had a neat and seamless seating of the tenon in to the mortise. I am really very happy with this tenon replacement and the seating is as flush as when it was new!! With the tenon replacement completed to my satisfaction, I moved on to the cosmetic refurbishing of the stem. I wiped the stem surface with Murphy’s Oil soap and a cotton swab. The oil soap removes the loose surface oxidation and leaves behind the deep seated oxidation over the stem surface. Thereafter began the arduous and time consuming process of sanding the stem with 220, 400, 600 and finally 800 grit sandpapers. I rubbed a generous quantity of EVO deep in to the vulcanite and set the stem aside for the oil to be absorbed in to the surface. Did I mention the tons of elbow grease that I had to spend on getting the stem to the state that is seen below? Well, the long and short of removal of oxidation from the stem is that I had to invest about 7 long back breaking hours of efforts. How I miss Abha’s help and the magic of Mark Hoover’s stem oxidation removing solution!! While I cleaned up the stem, the outer rim edge had cured and with a flat head needle file I sand the fills to achieve a rough match with the rest of the rim edge. I further blend in the fills with a folded piece of 180 grit sand paper. To address the minor dings that remained over the outer rim edge, I created a slight bevel to the outer rim edge with a folded piece of worn out 180 grit sand paper. The repairs have blended in nicely with the outer edge and the the outer rim edge looks nice.Next, I sand the entire stummel with a piece of 220 grit sand paper to address the minor scratches and dings that would otherwise show after micromesh polishing cycle. I followed it by wet sanding the stummel with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads, wiping frequently with a moist cloth to check the progress. Next, I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” deep in to the briar with my finger tips and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful grain patterns displayed in their complete splendor. I further buffed it with a horse hair brush and gave a vigorous buff with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The dark browns of the bird’s eye and cross grains spread across the stummel makes for a visual treat. It really is a nice piece of briar. To bring a deep shine to the vulcanite stem, I polished the stem by wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. I wiped the stem with moist cloth after each pad. I rubbed a little quantity of “Before and After Fine/ Extra Fine” stem polish. This product developed by Mark Hoover helps to remove minor scratches from the stem surface while further eliminating what little oxidation that remained on the stem surface. I rubbed it down with Extra Virgin Olive oil to rejuvenate the vulcanite. The finished stem is shown below. I am pretty pleased with this appearance of the stem.I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and polished the stummel and stem with Blue Diamond compound. This compound helps to remove the minor scratch marks that remain from the sanding.Next, I mount another cotton buffing wheel that I have earmarked for carnauba wax and applied several coats of the wax. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The finished pipe looks amazingly beautiful and coupled with the size, heft and the hand feel, makes it quite a desirable pipe. P.S. I sincerely apologize for the poor quality of pictures that I have clicked of the finished pipe. I am still experimenting with my props, light setting and camera settings to take better quality of pictures to highlight the grains and finish of the completed pipe.

I wish to thank each one for sparing their valuable time to read through this write up and each one is my prayers. Stay home…stay safe!!

Refurbishing a Third Pipe From a Lot Of Six Pipes: a Barling That Has Had It’s Shank Repaired


Blog by Paresh

I had picked up a job lot of six pipes from a Curio Store on eBay. This lot contained brands like Barling’s, Parker and Orlik and other English make pipes. These are some of my favorite brands and I couldn’t pass them over even though they were in a hopelessly beat up condition. Here are pictures of the pipe lot that the seller had posted. This lot contained a variety of nicely shaped and grained pipes which I had been looking forward to work on. The two pipes from this pipe lot that I have completed are indicated in red and indigo arrow. The third pipe that I had selected to work on is shown in brown arrow. The third pipe that I decided to work on from this lot is a small sized classic Dublin shaped pipe. This pipe sometime during its period of existence has had its shank repaired, thus obliterating any stampings that would have been stamped on it when it came out of the factory. However, the quality of the briar, shape and the stem style all scream BARLING!! A couple of years ago I had restored a quaint little Billiard pipe from my inherited pipe lot and this pipe does remind me of it. I visited rebornpipes.com and went through the write up (https://rebornpipes.com/2018/12/10/decking-out-my-grandfathers-battered-pre-transition-barling-1354/) to compare these two pipes. The more I saw the pre-transition Barling, the more I was convinced that this pipe had to be a Barling. The partially visible stamping on the left side of the shank shows the start of the letter B in cursive hand over LO in block letters. Having just recently worked on an Early Corporate Era Barling pipe and the shape of the stem that tapers from the broader slot end in to a narrow saddle portion is typical of Barling. The tapered vulcanite stem too has its stampings completely buffed out!With no clues whatsoever to pursue and me being convinced about this pipe being a Barling, I proceed with my initial visual inspection.

Initial Visual Inspection
This pipe has a quaint little bowl size with a chamber depth of about 1 inch. The stummel boasts of some beautiful cross grains to the sides and back of the bowl and all around the shank and tight Bird’s Eye to the front of the stummel. The stummel is covered in dirt and grime of the overflowed lava and dirt accumulated over the years of heavy smoking and uncared attention to cleaning. The stummel has a dull and lifeless appearance to it. The stem repair, though clearly visible, the repairs are solid and seem to have been done by a professional. There is a thick layer of cake in the chamber and some damage is likely to the front of the rim top surface. The stem is heavily oxidized with a few deep bite marks to the button edge in the bite zone. The pipe’s appearance, as it sits on my work table, does not present an encouraging picture. The condition and state of this pipe including the damages are identical to the last two pipes that I had worked on. I think all these pipes are from the same estate and the previous piper was set in his ways of smoking and handling his pipes.Detailed Inspection Of The Pipe And Observations
This is a small sized pipe with a chamber depth of about I inch. The bowl rim slightly tapers down towards the heel giving it a classic Dublin shape. The draught hole dead center and at the bottom of the heel. The chamber has an even layer of very thick hard cake with remnants of un-burnt tobacco seen at the heel of the chamber. The rim top surface is covered with thick lava overflow and has max accumulation in the 6 o’ clock direction. The layer of lava overflow is so thick that the rim top surface is just not visible. The inner rim edge is charred and damaged in the 10 o’ clock direction (encircled in yellow) which makes the chamber appear out of round. The outer rim edge has dents and dings all around but is most severely damaged in the 6 o’clock direction (encircled in green), a damage that can result only due to repeated strikes against a hard edged surface. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber can be commented upon after the cake has been taken down to the bare briar. There is a strong ghost smell in the chamber which is all pervading. The stummel appears solid to the touch all around and hence I do not foresee any serious damage to the walls in the form of burnout/ deep heat fissures/ lines or pits. The dark inner rim edge, in the 10 o’clock direction, may be charred further than anticipated and the same will be confirmed after the surface has been thoroughly cleaned. I need to resort to topping the rim top in order to address the damage to the surface. The ghost smells should reduce once the cake from the chamber is removed and the shank has been cleaned.  The smooth stummel surface is covered in dust, lava overflow and grime through which one can make out the beautiful cross grains to the sides and back of the bowl and all around the shank and tight Bird’s Eye to the front of the stummel. There are no fills in the stummel signifying the use of a very high quality piece of briar.  The briar is looking lifeless and bone dry. For a pipe that has been so heavily smoked, there are surprisingly no dents and dings over the stummel surface save for the outer rim edge. Once the stummel has been thoroughly cleaned, dents and dings to the stummel surface, if any, will be apparent. Thorough cleaning and rising of the stummel under warm water will highlight the grain patterns. Micromesh polishing will help in imparting a nice shine to the briar. The shank was spliced but the joint is one that is seamless and smooth transition between the old shank and the spliced shank piece (indicated by pastel blue arrows). The repairman had even ensured that the seating of the stem in to the mortise is factory perfect. The repairs are solid and speak highly of the competence of the repairman and his skill sets. I shall not be tinkering with the shank repairs as it is professionally well executed and in excellent solid shape.The mortise shows accumulation of oils, tars and gunk and the air flow is not full and smooth. The shank end face is a perfect round pointing to excellent craftsmanship and attention to quality. The seating of the stem is flush and aligned perfectly and precisely. The air flow will smooth and the draw full once the mortise is cleaned out. The ghost smells should further reduce after the mortise and shank walls are thoroughly cleaned. The high quality vulcanite tapered saddle stem is typical Barling with a narrow saddle at the end of a proportionately broad stem. The stem is so heavily oxidized that it appears brownish green in color! Deep calcification is seen in the bite zone probably from prolonged use of rubber bit. Some heavy tooth chatter and deep bite marks in the bite zone are seen on both the upper and lower surfaces of the stem. The button edges on either surface have been completely flattened with the lip edges seen as mere straight thin edges with no shape and sharpness at all. The tenon air opening is completely blocked with accumulated ash and oils/ tars that have dried out on the inside as well as on the outside. The horizontal slot end is completely deformed and the slot itself is chock-a-block with gunk. The bite marks will be raised to the surface by heating to the extent possible and further will be filled using charcoal and CA superglue mix. The button end, including the button itself on either surface will have to be completely rebuilt and reshaped. The tooth chatter and the calcified deposits will be removed by sanding with a piece of 220 grit sand paper.I am convinced that all the pipes in this lot is from one estate as the damage to the rim, damage to the stem and general condition of each is exactly the same.

The Process
Abha, my wife, first cleaned the internals of the stem with stem brush, bristled/ regular pipe cleaners and 99.9% pure isopropyl alcohol. She scraped out the dried oils and tars from the tenon end with my fabricated knife and also removed the dried oils and tars from the slot end. She followed it up by sanding the entire stem with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper to remove the surface oxidation. The amount of gunk that has been scraped out of the stem surface just to get to the black vulcanite shows that the oxidation was very deep and heavy over the stem surface. It has been our experience that sanding a stem before dunking it in to the deoxidizer solution helps in bringing the deep seated oxidation to the surface which in turn make further cleaning a breeze with fantastic result. She, thereafter, dropped the stem in to “Before and After Deoxidizer” solution developed by my friend Mark Hoover. The solution helps to draw out heavy oxidation to the surface, making its further removal a breeze, while the minor oxidation is eliminated to a very great extent. The initial sanding helps to draw out the complete oxidation as the sanding opens up the stem surface that has been initially covered with oxidation. We usually dunk stems of 4-5 pipes that are in-line for restoration and this pipe is marked in green arrow. We generally allow the stems to soak in this solution overnight to do its work.While the stem was soaking in the deoxidizer solution, I worked on the stummel by first reaming the chamber with size 1 followed by size 2 Castleford reamer head. I further scraped the chamber walls with my fabricated knife to remove the remaining carbon deposits where the reamer head could not reach. I scraped out the lava overflow from the rim top surface, especially from the area in the 6 o’clock direction. Once the cake was reamed back to the bare briar, I used a 150 grit sand paper followed by 220 grit sand paper to remove all the traces of remaining cake and also to smooth out the inner walls of the chamber surface. Finally, to remove the residual carbon dust, I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with 99.9% pure isopropyl alcohol. The inner rim edge was charred in 10 ‘O’ clock and 2 o’clock direction which have been encircled in red. I scrapped off the charred briar from these areas and now the chamber is seriously out of round. The outer rim edge damage is significantly deeper than I had anticipated (marked in green circle). The chamber walls are pristine without any damage. The inner rim charring in the 10 o’clock is very deep and creating a bevel to mask it will result in a very thin rim top surface. I may consider rebuilding both the damaged inner and outer rim edge with superglue and briar dust after I have topped the rim surface. The ghost smells are still very strong and may reduce after the shank/ mortise are thoroughly cleaned. The rim top surface is still considerably darkened and would need to be thoroughly cleaned to know the exact damage to the surface. I followed up the reaming with cleaning the mortise using cue tips, pipe cleaners and shank brush dipped in isopropyl alcohol. I scraped the walls of the mortise with my fabricated knife to remove the dried oils and tars. The end of the mortise now shows the shiny end of a metal tubing which has been inserted to strengthen the spiced joint, another pointer to an excellent and solid repair job. The ghost smells are still very strong and would require a salt and alcohol treatment.I continued the internal cleaning of the chamber and shank with a salt and alcohol bath. I use cotton balls which is an at par substitute as I have realized over the years. I draw out a wick from the cotton and along with a folded regular pipe cleaner; insert it in to the mortise and through the draught hole in to the chamber. Thereafter, I packed the chamber with cotton balls to about quarter of an inch below the inner rim edge and soaked the cotton balls with isopropyl alcohol up to the brim. About half an hour later, the level of alcohol had gone down, having being absorbed by the cotton. I topped it up once again and set it aside overnight. By next afternoon, the cotton and alcohol had drawn out all the remaining oils and tars from the chamber and mortise, fulfilling its intended task. I removed the cotton balls and ran pipe cleaners through the mortise to clean out all the loosened tars and gunk and further cleaned it with alcohol and q-tips. The chamber now smells clean and fresh. I set the stummel aside to dry out naturally.With the bowl internals clean, I move to clean the exterior of the stummel. I used a hard bristled tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil soap to scrub the stummel and rim top. I set the stummel aside for 10 minutes for the oil soap to draw out all the grime from the briar surface. After 10 minutes, I washed the stummel under running warm water with anti oil dish washing detergent till the stummel surface was clean and dried it using paper towels and soft cotton cloth. I simultaneously cleaned the shank internals with the detergent and hard bristled shank brush and set the stummel aside to dry out naturally. The stummel surface has cleaned up nicely and the beautiful grain patterns are now on full display. The charring to the inner rim edge in 10 o’clock direction is significantly deeper than anticipated. The outer rim edge chipping too is significant. I shall have to resort to topping to address this damage and also the issue of chipped outer rim edge to some extent. To completely address these issues, I shall have to resort to a rebuild the damaged portion of outer and inner rim edge using briar dust and superglue. Continuing with the stummel repairs, I topped the rim top over a piece of 220 grit sand paper till I had a smooth even surface and the charred surface in the 2 o’clock direction was completely eliminated. However the out of round chamber in the 10 o’clock direction and the chipped outer rim edge damage is still significant and would necessitate a rebuild. These damages are highlighted in the last two pictures below. Further repairs to the stummel is being put on hold as I did not have briar dust in required quantity and neither did I have any superglue at home. I shall complete these repairs once I rejoin my place of work once the lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic is lifted.

While the stummel repairs were being put on hold, the next morning Abha removed the stem that had been soaking in the deoxidizer solution overnight. She cleaned the stem under running warm water and scrubbed the raised oxidation from the stem surface using a Scotch Brite pad and cleaned the airway with a thin shank brush. She further removed the oxidation by scrubbing the stem with 0000 grade steel wool and applied a little EVO to rehydrate the stem. This now gives a clearer picture of the extent of depth of the bite marks as can be seen in the pictures below. These will definitely require a fill even after I have heated and raised the vulcanite. The buttons on either surface will have to be reconstructed and reshaped. I need to further sand the stem to completely remove the oxidation. The deep tooth indentations are now clearly visible and I decided to address these issues at this stage. Since I did not have a lighter (I generally prefer to use it for this purpose), I used a lit candle instead. The result is equally good; however, one has to be doubly careful as the heat from a candle flame is more intense as compared to a lighter. These tooth indentations were raised to the surface to some extent due to the heating; however, it would require a fill to complete the repairs.I prepared a mix of CA superglue and activated charcoal and carefully applied it over the damaged bite zone on both surfaces and lip and set it aside for curing over night. I applied this mix in sufficient thickness as it would help during the filing and sanding to match the fills with the stem surface and reshaping the button.Using a flat head needle file, I reshaped the button and followed it up by sanding the stem with a folded piece of 220 grit sand papers. I followed it up by further sanding the stem with 320, 600 and 800 grit sand papers. Once I was satisfied that the fills had perfectly matched with the rest of the stem surface, using micromesh pads, I completed the polishing cycle by wet sanding the surface with 1500 and 2000 grit sand papers and further dry sanding with 3200 to 12000 grit pads. The stem looks great with the fills nicely matched with the rest of the surface. I rub a little quantity of Extra Virgin Olive oil into the stem surface. I have since rejoined back at my place of work and necessary tools, equipment and materials are now available to me to complete my pending projects that I have carried back from home to my work place. I had noted the issues that needed to be addressed on each pipe that I had carried and this pipe needed the rim inner as well as outer rim edge rebuilt, micromesh polishing of the stummel and final carnauba wax polish.

Starting with the rebuild of the rim edges, I reconstructed the inner and outer rim edge with briar dust and CA superglue using the layering technique. I ensured that the fill was slightly above the rest of the rim top surface as this would enable me to get a correct perspective of the match with rest of the stummel surface when I file and sand these reconstructed parts with the rest of the rim top. I set the stummel aside for the mix to cure. Once the fills had sufficiently hardened, with a flat head needle file, I sand the top portion of the fill to achieve a rough match with the rim top surface. I used a flat head needle file to match reconstructed portion of the outer rim edge with the rest of the stummel surface. For matching the inner rim edge fill with the chamber walls, I resorted to a 180 grit sand paper as the needle file did not afford me the flexibility that was required to shape this portion of the fill. I am quite pleased with the progress being made so far. For a perfect match of the reconstructed portion of the rim edges and also to further reduce the darkened rim top in 2 o’ clock direction, I again topped the rim surface on a piece of 180 grit sand paper. With a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper, I created a slight bevel to both the outer and inner rim edges to blend in the fills and also to address the minor dings and charring to the outer and inner rim edges respectively. The fills are now perfectly matched and rim top now looks pristine. To protect the briar dust and superglue fill on the inner edge of the rim from coming in to direct contact with the burning tobacco and also to prevent the heat from reaching the external surface of the stummel and causing a burnout, I plan, firstly, to fill only the small reconstructed inner rim edge of the chamber with J B Weld followed by a second coat of activated charcoal and yogurt to the entire chamber which would assist in faster cake formation. J B Weld is a two-part epoxy Cold Weld that consists of two parts; hardener and steel which are mixed in equal parts in a ratio of 1:1 with hardening time of 5-6 minutes and complete curing time of 6-8 hours. I poured the contents of the two tubes and mixed it well. With a flat bamboo frond, I applied this mix and filled the intended rebuilt inner rim edge. I worked fast to ensure a complete and even filling of the inner rim edge and set the stummel aside for the J B Weld to harden.Once the J B Weld had sufficiently cured, I sand it down with a semi circular needle file to remove excess weld from the area. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper to further sand the fill and achieve a perfect blend and smooth coat of J B Weld over the reconstructed inner rim edge.At this stage, I observed a couple of air pockets over the outer rim edge rebuilt surface. I applied a coat of clear CA superglue and set the stummel aside for the coat of superglue to cure. Once the superglue had hardened, I sand the portion with a piece of 220 grit sand paper to match the rest of the rim edge. I followed it by wet sanding the stummel with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads, wiping frequently with a moist cloth to check the progress. The outer rim edge is now smooth and completely filled with no air pockets. However, the light colored patches are still visible. I shall stain the rebuilt patch with a dark brown stain pen to mask these pockets. The spliced shank with the joint is now clearly visible. With the spliced part of the shank having such beautiful Bird’s eye and cross grains over the surface, I really don’t have the heart to stain it just to mask the repairs!! Next, I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” deep in to the briar with my finger tips and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful grain patterns displayed in their complete splendor. I further buffed it with a horse hair brush and gave a vigorous buff with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The dark browns of the bird’s eye and cross grains spread across the stummel makes for a visual treat. It really is a nice piece of briar. I shared the pictures of the pipe and sought his opinion if I should stain the pipe to mask the shank repairs on leave it be? His characteristic reply was that “he would not stain it”!! With this aspect decided, I move ahead with the final polishing of the pipe. I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and polished the stummel and stem with Blue Diamond compound. This compound helps to remove the minor scratch marks that remain from the sanding. This pipe is starting to look really beautiful with the glossy dark brown through which the beautiful grains pop out over the stummel surface. I mount another cotton buffing wheel that I have earmarked for carnauba wax and applied several coats of the wax. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The finished pipe looks amazingly beautiful and coupled with the quaint size and ultra light weight makes it an ideal pipe for a quick smoke while you continue working with your hands. If you feel that this pipe calls out your name, please let Steve know and we shall make arrangements for it to reach you. P.S. To avoid the J B Weld coated minor spot, though high nearer to the rim top from coming in to direct contact with the burning tobacco and also to aid in faster cake formation, I gave the bowl a coat of yogurt and activated charcoal. Unfortunately, I missed out on taking pictures of the process.

I wish to thank each one for sparing their valuable time to read through this write up and each one is my prayers. Stay home…stay safe!!

Refurbishing A Second Pipe From A Lot Of Six Pipes: A Barling Garnet Grain # 5059.


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

I had picked up a job lot of six pipes from a Curio Store on eBay. This lot contained brands like Barling’s, Parker and Orlik and other English make pipes. These are some of my favorite brands and I couldn’t pass them over even though they were in a hopelessly beat up condition. Here are pictures of the pipe lot that the seller had posted. This lot contained a variety of nicely shaped and grained pipes which I had been looking forward to work on. The first pipe from this pipe lot that I had worked on was a classic Billiards indicated in red arrow. The second pipe that I have selected to work on is shown with an indigo arrow.The second pipe that I decided to work on from this lot is an hour glass shaped pipe with beautiful tightly packed bird’s eye grain to the sides of the stummel and cross grains to the front, back and over the shank surfaces. This pipe is stamped on the left shank surface as “Barling” in running hand over “LONDON ENGLAND” in block capital letters over the grade “GARNET GRAIN”. The right side of the shank is stamped with the shape code “5059”. The stampings are all crisp and deep. The trademark Barling styled vulcanite saddle stem bears the trademark Barling stamped in cross. The size, shape and feel of the pipe are solid in hand. Barling’s pipe brand has been well researched and chronicled on pipedia.org and by Steve when he worked on many of Barling’s pipes over decades and thus, shall not waste time in repeating the information that is available. I too have carefully read and researched this brand as I do have many pipes that I have inherited. However, to refresh my memory, I read the entire article once again and tentatively date this pipe as being an Early Corporate Era pipe, that is made between 1962/3 to prior to 1970. I have based my conclusions based on the following facts that I have read on pipedia.org (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Barling)

(a) Barling logo on the shank is stamped in script without an apostrophe and without ‘S’, as against BARLING’S MAKE that was in use during the Family Era.

(b) The revamped Early Corporate Era grade includes the GARNET GRAIN that replaced the Ye Olde Wood finish (having dark or Plum stain) from the Family Era.

(3) The presence of London England in block lettering underneath the Barling stamp in script.

(4) The absence of the T.V.F stamping since the Ye Olde Wood and TVF both were discontinued at the beginning of the Corporate Era. These were reintroduced in the mid 1960s.

I have dated this pipe tentatively as being from the Early Corporate Era when the facts are conclusive enough, is because of the stummel shape. In my reading and knowledge, early Barlings pipes have always been in classic shapes and this one is anything but a classic shape. Any insight in to this aspect is most appreciated.

Initial Visual Inspection
This pipe has a decent medium bowl size with chamber depth of about 1 7/8 inches. The stummel boasts of some beautiful cross grains to the front and back of the bowl and all around the shank and tight Bird’s Eye to the left side of the stummel. The stummel is covered in dirt and grime of the overflowed lava and dirt accumulated over the years of heavy smoking and uncared attention to cleaning. The stummel has a nice deep and dark color to it, reminiscent of the Ye Olde Wood finish. There is a thick layer of cake in the chamber and some damage is likely to the back of the rim top surface. The stem is heavily oxidized with a few deep bite marks to the button edge in the bite zone. The pipe’s appearance, as it sits on my work table, does not present an encouraging picture. Detailed Inspection Of The Pipe And Observations
The bowl has a wide rim that slightly tapers down towards the heel and has a chamber depth of about 1 7/8 inches. The draught hole is in the center and at the bottom of the chamber. The chamber has an even layer of thick hard cake with remnants of un-burnt tobacco seen at the heel of the chamber. The rim top surface is covered with thick lava overflow and has max accumulation in the 6 ‘O’ clock direction. Through this layer of lava, a few dings can be seen over the rim top surface. The inner rim edge in the 6 ‘O’ clock direction appears dark and worn out. The outer rim edge is sans any damage. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber can be commented upon after the cake has been taken down to the bare briar. There is a strong ghost smell in the chamber which is all pervading. The chamber is out of round in the 10 ‘O’ clock direction (encircled in red) due to the charred inner rim edge. There are a number of dents and chipped areas over the outer rim edge (indicated with green arrows). There are a number of dents/ dings and scratches that are visible over the rim top surface. The stummel appears solid to the touch all around and hence I do not foresee any serious damage to the walls in the form of burnout/ deep heat fissures/ lines or pits. The dark inner rim edge, in the 10 ‘O’ clock direction, may be charred further than anticipated and the same will be confirmed after the surface has been thoroughly cleaned. I need to resort to topping the rim top in order to address the damage to the surface. The ghost smells should reduce once the cake from the chamber is removed and the shank has been cleaned.   The smooth stummel has an hour glass shape (or should I call it a fancy Dublin?) that is broad at the rim, narrow in the mid region and is slightly flared at the bottom/ foot. The surface is covered in dust, lava overflow and grime through which one can make out the beautiful cross grains to the front and back of the bowl and shank. The stummel surface has two small fills, one to the right side of the stummel and the other at the front of the bowl. These fills are difficult to spot against the dark finish of the stummel and can be seen only in a bright white light. The briar is looking lifeless and bone dry. For a pipe that has been so heavily smoked, there are surprisingly no dents and ding over the stummel surface. Once the stummel has been thoroughly cleaned, these fills will be more apparent. I intend to refresh only that fill which has loosened out with a fresh fill of briar dust and superglue. Thorough cleaning and rising of the stummel under warm water will highlight the grain patterns. Micromesh polishing will help in blending these fills while imparting a nice shine to the briar. The mortise shows accumulation of oils, tars and gunk and the air flow is not full and smooth. The shank end face is not a perfect round but slightly flattened at the top. The seating of the stem is not flush with the shank face if not aligned perfectly and precisely. The out of round shank end face is another pointer that this pipe is not from the Family Era!! The ghost smells should further reduce after the mortise and shank walls are thoroughly cleaned. The high quality vulcanite tapered stem is typical Barling with a narrow saddle at the end of a proportionately broad stem. The stem is so heavily oxidized that it appears brownish green in color! Deep calcification is seen in the bite zone probably from prolonged use of rubber bit. Some heavy tooth chatter and deep bite marks in the bite zone are seen on both the upper and lower surfaces of the stem. The button edges on either surface have been completely flattened with the lip edges seen as mere straight thin edges with no shape and sharpness at all. The tenon air opening is completely blocked with accumulated ash and oils/ tars that have dried out on the inside as well as on the outside. The horizontal slot end is completely deformed and the slot itself is chock-a-block with gunk. The other fact that is noticed, if observed closely, is that the trademark stem logo of BARLING CROSS is upside down!! The bite marks will be raised to the surface by heating to the extent possible and further will be filled using charcoal and CA superglue mix. The button end, including the button itself on either surface will have to be completely rebuilt and reshaped. The tooth chatter and the calcified deposits will be removed by sanding with a piece of 220 grit sand paper. I am convinced that all the pipes in this lot is from one estate as the damage to the rim, damage to the stem and general condition of each is exactly the same.

The Process
Abha, my wife, first cleaned the internals of the stem with stem brush, bristled/ regular pipe cleaners and 99.9% pure isopropyl alcohol. She scraped out the dried oils and tars from the tenon end with my fabricated knife and also removed the dried oils and tars from the slot end. She followed it up by sanding the entire stem with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper to remove the surface oxidation. The amount of gunk that has been scraped out of the stem surface just to get to the black vulcanite shows that the oxidation was very deep and heavy over the stem surface. It has been our experience that sanding a stem before dunking it in to the deoxidizer solution helps in bringing the deep seated oxidation to the surface which in turn makes further cleaning a breeze with fantastic results.   She, thereafter, dropped the stem into “Before and After Deoxidizer” solution developed by my friend Mark Hoover. The solution helps to draw out heavy oxidation to the surface, making its further removal a breeze, while the minor oxidation is eliminated to a very great extent. The initial sanding helps to draw out the complete oxidation as the sanding opens up the stem surface that has been initially covered with oxidation. We usually dunk stems of 4-5 pipes that are in-line for restoration and this pipe is marked in green arrow. We generally allow the stems to soak in this solution overnight to do its work.While the stem was soaking in the deoxidizer solution, I worked on the stummel by first reaming the chamber with size 1 followed by size 2 Castleford reamer head. I further scraped the chamber walls with my fabricated knife to remove the remaining carbon deposits where the reamer head could not reach. I scraped out the lava overflow from the rim top surface, especially from the area in the 6 o’clock direction. Once the cake was reamed back to the bare briar, I used a 150 grit sand paper followed by 220 grit sand paper to remove all the traces of remaining cake and also to smooth out the inner walls of the chamber surface. Finally, to remove the residual carbon dust, I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with 99.9% pure isopropyl alcohol. The inner rim edge was charred in 10 o’clock and 3 o’clock direction which have been encircled in red. I scraped off the charred briar from these areas and now the chamber is out of round. The chamber walls are pristine without any damage. I shall give the inner rim edge a slight bevel to get the bowl back to a perfect round and mask the damage. The ghost smells are still very strong and may reduce after the shank/ mortise are thoroughly cleaned. The rim top surface is still considerably darkened and would need to be thoroughly cleaned to know the exact damage to the surface.    I followed up the reaming with cleaning the mortise using cue tips, pipe cleaners and shank brush dipped in isopropyl alcohol. I scraped the walls of the mortise with my fabricated knife to remove the dried oils and tars. The ghost smells are still very strong and would require a salt and alcohol treatment.   With the bowl internals clean, I move to clean the exterior of the stummel. I used a hard bristled tooth brush and Briar Cleaner, a product that has been developed by Mark Hoover, to scrub the stummel and rim top. I set the stummel aside for 10 minutes for the product to draw out all the grime from the briar surface. After 10 minutes, I washed the stummel under running warm water with anti oil dish washing detergent till the stummel surface was clean and dried it using paper towels and soft cotton cloth. I simultaneously cleaned the shank internals with the detergent and hard bristled shank brush and set the stummel aside to dry out naturally. I had anticipated that this thorough cleaning of the shank would help eliminate the strong ghost smells, but that was not to be. The stummel surface has cleaned up nicely and the beautiful grain patterns are now on full display. The fills, even the smallest ones, are now clearly discernible. I probed each of the two fills on the stummel surface with a sharp dental tool to check for solidity and thankfully, each fill was nice and solid without any give. I decided not to refresh these fills as my horrific experience while using the thin superglue that was available to me for the purpose, on my last project Bewlay “GENERAL”, still being fresh in my mind. The charring over the rim top surface in 3 o’ clock (encircled in red) is significantly deeper than anticipated. I shall have to resort to topping to address this damage and also the issue of chipped outer rim edge. The chamber and shank needs to be subjected to a salt and alcohol treatment to remove the deeply embedded ghost smells from the stummel.   I continued the cleaning of the chamber and shank internals with a salt and alcohol bath. I use cotton balls which is an at par substitute as I have realized over the years. I draw out a wick from the cotton and along with a folded regular pipe cleaner; insert it in to the mortise and through the draught hole in to the chamber. Thereafter, I packed the chamber with cotton balls to about quarter of an inch below the inner rim edge and soaked the cotton balls with isopropyl alcohol up to the brim. About half an hour later, the level of alcohol had gone down, having being absorbed by the cotton. I topped it up once again and set it aside overnight. By next afternoon, the cotton and alcohol had drawn out all the remaining oils and tars from the chamber and mortise, fulfilling its intended task. I removed the cotton balls and ran pipe cleaners through the mortise to clean out all the loosened tars and gunk and further cleaned it with alcohol and q-tips. The chamber now smells clean and fresh. I set the stummel aside to dry out naturally.While the stummel was drying, the next morning, Abha removed the stem that had been soaking in the deoxidizer solution overnight. She cleaned the stem under running warm water and scrubbed the raised oxidation from the stem surface using a Scotch Brite pad and cleaned the airway with a thin shank brush. She further removed the oxidation by scrubbing the stem with 0000 grade steel wool and applied a little EVO to rehydrate the stem. This now gives a clearer picture of the extent of depth of the bite marks as can be seen in the pictures below. These will definitely require a fill even after I have heated and raised the vulcanite. The buttons on either surface will have to be reconstructed and reshaped. I need to further sand the stem to completely remove the oxidation. Further stem repairs would have to be kept on hold till I got back to my work place where I have a couple of superglue tubes for the purpose.With further stem repairs being on hold, I turned back to the stummel repairs. I topped the rim top over a piece of 220 grit sand paper till I had a smooth even surface and the charred surface in the 3 o’clock direction was completely eliminated.    With a folded piece of worn out 180 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and forefinger, I carefully gave a bevel to the inner and outer rim edge and addressed the issues of out of round chamber and chipped outer rim edge. The rim top surface and the edges look very neat at this stage with the bowl in a nice round shape. I followed it by wet sanding the stummel with 1500 to 2000 wet & dry sand paper and further with 3200 to 12000 grit micromesh pads, wiping frequently with a moist cloth to check the progress. It was at this stage of restoration when I was taking pictures that I saw the numerous tiny fills at the bottom of the bowl and shank junction. I heaved a sigh of relief when I checked and found these fills to be solid and not requiring any work. I really like the looks of the stummel at this point in restoration. The grains and the clean lines of this piece of briar are worthy of appreciation. The topping has resulted in the rim top surface being lighter than the rest of the stummel surface. I shall darken the rim top surface with a dark brown stain pen once I reach back to my place of work. Next, I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” deep in to the briar with my finger tips and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful grain patterns displayed in their complete splendor. I further buffed it with a horse hair brush and gave a vigorous buff with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The dark browns of the bird’s eye and cross grains spread across the stummel makes for a visual treat. It really is a nice piece of briar. The dark YOW like stain elevates the beauty of this pipe to a new level.     Now, having rejoined my place of work after a hiatus of four months I need to work real fast to complete my backlogs of write ups and complete the repairs on pipes that were worked on during the lockdown period while at home. I have completed a few and now this pipe has inched forward on to my work table. While packing these pipes for its journey with me, I had noted all the issues that had to be addressed on each pipe. This one needed stem repairs to include filling of deeper tooth indentations, rebuilding/ reshaping of the buttons, stem and stummel polishing with a carnauba wax.

With the stummel rejuvenation almost complete, save for the final wax polish, I worked the stem. Here is how the damage to the stem looks as it sits on my work table. The damage to the buttons and the deep tooth indentations are also clearly visible. Once I have repaired these damages, the entire stem needs to be polished and the stem logo needs to be refreshed. That I have to use the CA Wood Superglue gives me shudders as I still am reeling under the frustrations of using this glue while I repaired the stem of the Bewlay “GENERAL” pipe, my last project!!I carefully inserted a triangle shape index card covered in transparent tape in to the slot so as not to break the bite zone. The tape prevents the mix of superglue and charcoal from sticking to the index card. I mixed superglue and activated charcoal powder and generously applied it over the bite zone, including over the buttons, on either surfaces of the stem and set it aside to cure. Once the fill has hardened, I shall file and sand the fills to match the surface of the stem and sharpen the button edges on either surface. This glue hardens immediately and allowed me only a few seconds of application whereas the all purpose CA superglue allowed me enough time to get an even spread over the damaged surface.The fill had hardened and with a flat head needle file, I worked on the filling till I had achieved a rough match with the surrounding surface and had sufficiently sharpened the button edges. As with the stem repair of my previous project, Bewlay “GENERAL”, this too had many air pockets. I filled these air pockets with clear CA superglue and set the stem aside for the superglue to harden.

While the stem repairs were curing, I stained the rim top surface with a Dark Brown stain pen and set the stummel aside for the stain to set. The rim top now blends in nicely with the rest of the dark stained stummel surface. Once polished it should match perfectly with the rest of the stummel surface.Once the fill had cured sufficiently, I sand the fills with a flat head needle file and reshaped the button, roughly blending the fills with the surrounding stem surface. For a better blending, I further sand the entire stem with 220 followed by 400, 600, 800 and 1000 grit sand paper. This helps to reduce the scratch marks left behind by the more abrasive 220 grit paper.   To bring a deep shine to the vulcanite stem, I polished the stem by wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. I wiped the stem with moist cloth after each pad and rubbed it down with Extra Virgin Olive oil to rejuvenate the vulcanite. The finished stem is shown below. The sanding with 400 to 1000 grit sand papers followed by wet sanding with micromesh pads had miraculously eliminated most of the many air pockets that were observed earlier. A few air pockets do remain but they are few and not significant at all. I am pretty pleased with this appearance of the stem.  I polished the rim top surface with a cotton cloth buffing wheel mounted on my hand held rotary tool and Red compound. I wiped the rim top with cotton swab and alcohol to increase the transparency of the stain. I am quite pleased with the match of the rim top with the rest of the stummel surface.  I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and polished the stummel and stem with Blue Diamond compound. This compound helps to remove the minor scratch marks that remain from the sanding. This pipe is starting to look really beautiful with the glossy dark plum like stain through which the beautiful grains pop out over the stummel surface.  The only cosmetic, yet important aspect that remained was to refresh the stem logo. I applied a coat of white correction ink over the logo and once dried, I gently wiped it with a cloth. The logo is now clearly visible.   I mount another cotton buffing wheel that I have earmarked for carnauba wax and applied several coats of the wax. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The finished pipe looks amazingly beautiful and coupled with the size, heft and the hand feel, makes it quite a desirable pipe. If you feel that this pipe calls out your name, please let Steve know and we shall make arrangements for it to reach you. I wish to thank each one for sparing their valuable time to read through this write up and each one is my prayers. Stay home…stay safe!!

 

Restoring a B. Barling & Sons Guinea Grain 4025 TVF Apple  from Bob Kerr’s Estate


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen from Bob Kerr’s Estate is a B. Barling & Sons Guinea Grain oval shank apple with a Barling Cross on the top of the stem. It is the first of Bob’s Barlings pipes. (Bob’s photo is to the left). If you have not “met” the man and would like to read a bit of the history of the pipeman, his daughter has written a great tribute that is worth a read. Because I have included it in most of the restorations of the estate to date I thought that I would leave it out this time. Check out some of the recent Dunhill restoration blogs (https://rebornpipes.com/2020/01/01/restoring-the-last-of-bob-kerrs-dunhills-a-1962-dunhill-bruyere-656-f-t-bent-billiard/).

This Apple is stamped Guinea Grain [over] B. Barling & Sons on the top side of the stem. On the underside it is stamped with the number 4025 T.V.F. [over] Made in Denmark. The tapered oval stem had a Barlings Cross on the top. The stem is oxidized, calcified and has light tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. The exterior of the bowl is grimy and dirty. There is a thick cake and lava overflow on the rim top. It is thick enough that it is hard to know if there is any damage on top and edges. Jeff took photos of the pipe to show its general condition before he did his cleanup. The exterior of the pipe was very dirty – grime and grit ground in from years of use and sitting. The rim top was covered with a coat of thick lava that overflowed the bowl. There was also some darkening on the rim top and inner edge of the bowl as well as a burn mark on the top front of the bowl. The bowl itself had a thick cake with flecks of tobacco stuck in the cake on the sides.  Jeff took photos of the sides and the heel of the bowl to give a better feel for the condition of the bowl. The next photos show the stamping on the sides of the shank and it is very readable. It reads as noted above. The stem was dirty and extremely oxidized, calcified and had tooth marks on both sides ahead of the button. It was not nearly as chewed the other pipes in Bob’s estate.Before doing cleanup work on the pipe I decided to do some research on the pipe. I looked first on the Pipephil website and found some information on the B. Barling & Sons Guinea Grain, Made in Denmark 4025 with an oval tapered stem. (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-barling.html#modernguineagrain). I did a screen capture of the section on the brand that fits the pipe I am working on.The pipe is identified as a Modern Guinea Grain and is stamped the same as the one pictured other than the shape number. It is also noted in a memo there as Post-Transition Period.

I turned to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Barling) and read the section on the rough outline on the history of the brand that links the brand with the English section of the company. I quote:

I’m retaining the terms Transition and Post Transition here because the following information underscores why they’re not useful designations. As stated earlier in this update, the Transition era began in October of 1960 and ended in February of 1963. During the first 20 months of the Transition Era, the pipes that the Barling Company produced under Finlay ownership are indistinguishable from the pipes that the Barling Company produced under Barling ownership. The Barling family continued to manage the company for Finlay. The constants are the quality of the product and family management. The product of the first 20 months of the Transition can’t be identified, so the distinction is meaningless.

I did a search on the stamping “Made in Denmark” and came across a discussion on Pipesmoker Unlimited Forum (http://pipesmokerunlimited.com/archive/index.php/t-5515.html). I quote a section from that forum below:

“By 1970, the range of products had expanded to such an extent that Imperial Tobacco decided to reassign the Barling operation to its Ogden branch. About the same time the two Barling factories at Park Street and Jeffrey Place were closed down and the production of Barling pipes was outsourced to independent pipemakers. After a year or so, operations were transferred to Ogden’s Liverpool factory. Production of Barling pipes was shifted to several Danish firms, amongst them Eric Nording.”

The pipe I am working on is definitely from the Corporate Period which includes the Post transition period. The four digit shape number, the block stamping Guinea Grain and B. Barling & Sons, the T. V.F. (The Very Finest) all point to the pipe being from this time period. The Made in Denmark stamp identifies the pipe as being made around 1970 when Barling pipes were made in Denmark by several Danish firms.

With over 125 pipes to clean from Bob’s estate I took a batch of them to the states with me when I visited and left them with Jeff so he could help me out. Jeff cleaned the pipes with his usual penchant for thoroughness that I really appreciate. Once he finished he shipped them back to me. This one was a real mess and I did not know what to expect when I unwrapped it from his box. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals 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 the lava on the rim top. The finish looks very good with good looking grain around the bowl and shank. Jeff scrubbed it with Soft Scrub and soaked it in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked a lot better. I took photos before I started my part of the work.  I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show what cleaned bowl and rim top looked like. The rim top shows damage and charring on the inner edge of the bowl. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the light tooth marks and the remaining oxidation on the stem surface. You can also see the hash marks on the surface of the stem.I took photos of the stamping on both sides of the shank and it is clear and readable. It is stamped as noted above.  You can see the remnants of the Barling cross on the top of the stem in the first photo below.I removed the stem for the shank and took a photo of the bowl and stem to give a picture of what it looked like. You can see scratches in the stem surface.Now, on to my part of the restoration of this Barling’s Guinea Grain pipe. I decided to start by dealing with the damage to the rim top and the inner edge of the bowl. I carefully topped the bowl on a board with 220 grit sandpaper to start removing the damage to the bowl. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the damage to the bevel of the inner edge of the rim. I polished the bowl and rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping the briar down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I stained the sanded rim top with a Maple stain pen to blend it into the surrounding briar. Once the stain cured I polished the briar to further blend it into the bowl.I rubbed the bowl 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 it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth and shoe brush to raise the shine. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the surface of the stem with the flame of a lighter. The heat lifted the majority of the dents in the stem surface. It also had the added benefit of burning off some of the oxidation.I scrubbed the surface of the stem with Soft Scrub to further remove the remaining oxidation. The product works wonders in removing the oxidation on the stem. It took a bit of scrubbing but I was able to remove the majority of the oxidation around the shank end.I sanded out the remaining tooth marks and scratches on the stem surface with 220 grit sandpaper and started polishing them with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.  Even though I avoided the faint stamping of the Barling Cross there was not enough depth to the stamp to hold white paint. It is still visible but just not deep enough to restore. This Barling Guinea Grain 4025 TVF Apple, Danish made pipe from Bob Kerr’s estate turned out to be another great looking pipe. The finish on the pipe is in excellent condition and works well with the polished vulcanite taper oval stem. 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 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 Guinea Grain oval shank Apple fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¼ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This is one of Bob’s pipes that I am holding on to for a while as I really like the Danish flair it has. I have about 10 more of Bob’ pipes to go. Perhaps one of those will catch your attention. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. This is an interesting estate to bring back to life.

A Simple Restoration of an Early Transition Era Barling 2639


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

Having worked on a few difficult projects from my Mumbai Bonanza, involving major stem reconstruction and addressing flaws in the stummel (read refreshing fills!!) taking a lot of time and heartburn and efforts which had left me drained, I decided to work on something simple and relatively quick refurbishing of pipes from my inherited collection.

The Barling pipe on my work table is an exquisite bent billiards with beautiful and very tightly packed bird’s eye grains on either side of the bowl and shank, extending over to more than half of the front of the stummel. Equally tightly packed cross grains are seen on the front left and back of the bowl and also on the upper and bottom surface of the shank. It is stamped on the left side of the shank as “BARLING” in script hand over the numeral “2639” over “LONDON ENGLAND”. There is no other stamping seen on the stummel. The double bore vulcanite saddle stem bears the trademark Barling stamped in cross on the upper surface of the saddle.Even though there are quite a few Barlings in my grandfather’s collection, this beauty is the second of the Barling’s that I shall be restoring. During my reading while working on my first Barling, I had read about this brand, its passage through times and pointers towards their dating. To refresh my memory about the brand, the lines offered by the maker and attempt to date this particular pipe, I visited Pipedia which has a wealth of neatly cataloged heading-wise information on Barling’s pipes. From the stamping seen on this pipe and correlating it with my information, it was immediately apparent that this one is definitely not a Family Era pipe, but a later era pipe. Luckily, on the same page, towards the end, there is a link to 1962 Barling catalog, courtesy Yuriy Novikov. This catalog, on page 7 shows the pipe which is on my work table, here is the link to this catalog: https://pipedia.org/images/d/d9/BARLING_CATALOG_1962.pdf

From the above information, it is conclusive that this piece is a size 2, flat bent billiard from the Transition period/ Corporate era and was made during 1962. The minimalist stamping and the double bore stem indicate that this pipe was intended to be sold in the local markets.

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
This pipe was one of the pipes that Abha, my wife had sent me after she had reamed out complete cake back to the bare briar and cleaned the stummel exterior and rim top surface with Murphy’s oil soap. She had also cleaned out the mortise and the shank using regular and hard bristled pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol. The cleaned up pipe on my work table now, can be seen in the following pictures. It really feels nice to work on a clean pipe; I must admit and cannot help but thank her for doing all the dirty work and saving me time while sharing my hobby. Unfortunately, she did not click any pictures of the condition of the pipe before she worked her magic on them. When I inquired about the condition before she had cleaned it, her one line reply was “no different from his (grandfather’s) other pipes!!!” For those who have been reading my previous write ups would recollect that my grandfather never really believed in cleaning his pipes, he would rather buy new ones when the old pipes chocked up and became unsmokable. From the present condition of the pipe, there are only two issues that I would need to address on the stummel; one is the darkened rim top surface with an uneven inner rim edge and the other is slightly deep gouges on the chamber walls. The vulcanite stem is heavily scratched and shows deep oxidation on the surface. Some heavy tooth chatter is seen on both surfaces of the stem towards the lip with few deep bite marks on the upper and lower surfaces. This issue should not be a major headache to address. The lip edge on both sides is distinct but damaged showing tooth marks. The quality of vulcanite is good.THE PROCESS
I flamed the surface of the stem with a Bic lighter to raise the tooth indentations and scratches on the stem. The heat from the flame of Bic lighter causes the vulcanite to expand and regain its natural shape, reducing the marks. I followed it up by sanding the entire stem surface with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper to reduce the tooth chatter while removing the oxidation from the area to be filled. I wiped the stem surface clean with a cotton pad dipped in alcohol to remove all the dust and dirt from the surface. The tooth marks which were visible after the flaming and sanding were filled with a mix of activated charcoal and clear CA superglue and I set it aside to cure overnight. While the stem fill was set aside for curing, I decided to address the darkened rim top surface and the uneven inner rim edge issue observed on the stummel. I did not resort to topping straight away, but decided to try scrubbing the rim top with Murphy’s oil soap and scotch brite pad. The result of this scrubbing far exceeded my expectations. The rim top is now clean and there are no traces of rim darkening. To address the issue of an uneven inner rim edges, with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper, I created a slight bevel to the inner edge. The rim top and inner edge issues are now pristine. The next step in the process was to bring out the shine and highlight the beautiful grain on the stummel. I had an option of using more abrasive 220 grit sandpaper followed by micromesh pad cycle and loose the patina or straight away go to the micromesh cycle. Using the more abrasive sand paper, minor dents and dings would be further addressed but I would lose out the old sheen which the briar has taken over the years.  I decided on keeping the old sheen and went straight for the micromesh cycle. I wet sand the stummel with 1500 to 2400 grit pads and follow it up by dry sanding with 3200 to 12000 grit pads. The stummel, at this stage, looks absolutely stunning with the grain popping out from every inch. I rub a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to briar and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance. I further buff it with a horse hair shoe brush. Turning my attention to the stem, I first covered the stamping on the stem with whitener using a whitener pen. The filling of charcoal and CA superglue had cured and using a needle file, I sand the filling to match the surface of the stem. For a better blending, I further sanded the entire stem with 220 followed by 400, 600 and 800 grit sandpapers. This helps to reduce the sanding marks left behind by the more abrasive 220 grit paper. To bring a deep shine to the vulcanite stem, I went through the complete set of micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200 to 12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem with alcohol after each pad and rubbed it down with Extra Virgin Olive oil. The internals of the stem was cleaned out using alcohol and pipe cleaners. The finished stem is shown below. To finish, I re-attach the stem with the stummel. I mounted a cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel (actually it is not the brand machine, but a local machine which is similar).  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. I then 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. The completed pipe looks lovely, fresh and vibrant; the photographs in this case, do not do justice to the appearance of this beautiful little pipe. This beautiful piece of briar, without a single blemish to the stummel, will find a place of pride in my collection. If only it could tell me stories it had witnessed and experiences, trials and tribulations and joyous moments in my grandfather’s life journey!!!! Thank you for having the patience to reach this far while reading the write up. PS: This project was a welcome break from the previous difficult stem reconstruction and stummel restoration projects that had posed a challenging obstacle at every stage in the process. I must thank my wife, Abha, who had done all the dirty work and presented a simple and quick refurbishing project.

 

Decking out my Grandfather’s Battered Pre-transition Barling # 1354.


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

In one of a first, I had decided to work on four pipes simultaneously. Well, honestly, it was a decision which was forced on me due to extraneous circumstances that I had created for me. It so happened that after having discussed with my mentor, Mr. Steve, I decided to work on a John Bessai creation from my Grandfather’s collection. As I was turning the John Bessai in my hands, I felt that there were not very many major issues involved in its restoration and the small Barling’s, also from my old man’s collection, appeared to be a straight slam dunk of a restoration. Thus, I decided to work on both simultaneously, which appeared doable. However, things turned in to a challenge when I was just surfing YouTube on pipe restoration topics. In one of the videos, Hydrogen Peroxide and water solution was used to raise the oxidation to the surface and subsequent cleaning of the same was a breeze. I decided to try out this method and in order to make max use of the solution; I dunked stems of two more pipes in to it. Now I have four pipes in line to restore. I can still manage the restorations; it is the write ups that are a huge challenge for me as Mr. Steve will vouch for the delayed submissions.

The Barling’s Make pipe on my work table is a quaint little billiards with beautiful and very tightly packed birdseye grains on either side of the bowl and shank, extending over to more than half of the front of the stummel. Equally tightly packed cross grains are seen on the front left and back of the bowl and also on the upper and bottom surface of the shank. It is stamped on the left side of the shank as “BARLING’S” in an arch with block capital letters over “MAKE” in a straight line over the numeral “1354”. The right side of the shank bears the spaced out stamp “S M” towards the bowl shank junction. The vulcanite saddle stem bears the trademark Barling stamped in cross on the upper surface of the saddle and “Barling” over “Design” in a cursive hand on the lower surface of the saddle.  Even though there are quite a few Barling’s in grandfather’s collection, this beauty is the first of the Barling’s that I am trying to restore. To know more about the brand, the lines offered by the maker and attempt to date this pipe, I visited Pipedia which has a wealth of neatly cataloged heading-wise information on Barling’s pipes. Here is the link and the snippets of relevant information that I picked up https://pipedia.org/wiki/Barling#Model_Numbers:

Model Numbers:

Also according to Tad Gage, the only four-digit number that denotes a Pre-Transition piece begins with “1,” which was used for pipes sold in England. Any other four-digit Barling pipe is a Transitional piece– (Tad Gage in P & T magazine).

Model numbers were occasionally stamped below the logo as early as the late 1920’s.

Other Nomenclature:

The “MADE IN ENGLAND.” stamp was in use in the 1930’s thru 1962. As with all things related to Barling nomenclature there are variations. Sometimes there is no “MADE IN ENGLAND.” stamp. Examples exist with a “MADE IN LONDON” over “ENGLAND” stamp. And, there are examples with “MADE IN ENGLAND” with no period after the word “ENGLAND”.

Size Stampings:

Up to 1926 and possibly beyond, Barling used specific, completely unrelated, model numbers to designate the various sizes of a specific shape. They produced pipes in three sizes, small, medium, and large.  

Barling’s published price lists show that they continued to offer pipes in only three sizes, small, medium, and large until 1941. That’s it, small, medium, and large. So when someone claims that they have a 1930’s EL, EXEL, or other size, they are mistaken.
In 1941 the published range of sizes expanded. Going from the smallest to the largest, they are SS, S, S-M, L, EL, EXEL, and EXEXEL. There is no “G” for giant. Giant pipes, or magnums, which are oversized standard billiards, were not stamped “G” but are commonly identified by collectors as such because they are obviously large relative to even EXEXEL pipes, and carried no size stampings (Gage).

Size stamps were rare before WW2, but we do an example from 1925 that we will discuss later as it is part of a forgotten class of Barling pipes.

Patent Stamps:

In addition to the stampings on the briar, Barling stems had stampings that relate to specific periods. In 1935 Barling received a patent for a stem design that radically improved airflow as well as cooling of the smoke.

Pipes made in 1934-5 may have the words “Reg’d Design” on the underside.

Following the granting of the patent in 1935, Barling stems featured the following patent numbers:

REG’D 98 046 – US patent number – 1936 – 1949 • REG’D 42/8968 – WW2 production – 1942 – 1950 • REG’D 754 068 – WW2 production • Barling Design – 1950 – 1962

 Not all pipes have this stamping on the underside of the stem, but its presence is a good indicator for the period of manufacture, assuming that the stem is original.

Throughout their history Barling continued to innovate in the area of stem and bit design.

From the above information, it is conclusively assumed that this piece is from the Family era/ Pre- transition period and was made somewhere during 1950s to 1960s. The minimalist stampings indicate that this pipe was intended to be sold in the local markets.

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
The chamber shows a nice even build up of a thick cake which makes it difficult to comment on the condition of the inner walls of the chamber. There is a thick overflow of lava and completely covers the rim top and further spills over on to the stummel surface. The condition of the inner edge of the rim and rim surface will be ascertained only after chamber has been reamed down to its bare briar. The outer rim, however, is damaged and has a number of chips and dents, probably caused due to hitting the bowl against a hard surface to remove the dottle! Criminal, to say the least! The surface of the stummel is covered by the overflowing lava, which in turn has attracted a lot of dirt and grime over a period of time. The stummel surface is peppered with numerous dents and dings, more so towards the heel of the bowl, probably caused due to careless and uncared for storage for the last 40-45 years!!!! It will be a big decision whether to address these dents and dings by abrasive sanding method and loose the patina which has developed on the surface, or let them be. Well, I shall cross the bridge when I reach it. The mortise is surprisingly clean and air flow through it is open and full. The vulcanite stem is heavily scratched, but not oxidized. Some light tooth chatter is seen on both surfaces of the stem towards the lip with one deep bite mark on the upper surface. This issue should not be a major headache to address. The lip edge on both sides is crisp but lightly damage. The quality of vulcanite is good.THE PROCESS
I did not soak the stem of this pipe in the Hydrogen Peroxide solution as I was not sure how it would affect the stamping and so decided to play it safe. I flamed the stem surface of the stem with a Bic lighter to raise the tooth indentations and scratches on the stem. The heat from the flame of Bic lighter causes the vulcanite to expand and regain its natural shape, reducing the marks. The tooth bite marks which were visible after the flaming were filled with a mix of activated charcoal and clear CA superglue and I set it aside to cure overnight. I reamed the chamber with size 1 head of a PipNet reamer and followed it with a size 2 reamer head. To reach the areas where the PipNet reamer could not reach to remove the carbon cake, I used my smaller fabricated knife and scraped out all the remaining cake. I further use a folded piece of 180 grit sandpaper to sand out the last traces of remaining cake and expose the walls of the chamber to ascertain that there are no cracks/ heat fissures. I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad dipped in isopropyl alcohol to remove the carbon dust left behind by all the reaming and sanding process. The walls of the chamber were solid with no damage. I gently scraped the rim top surface with a sharp knife to remove the lava overflow. This was followed by cleaning the mortise with cue tips, pipe cleaners and shank brush dipped in isopropyl alcohol. This further eliminated traces of old smells from previous usage. The old smell was still prevalent, though greatly reduced. To completely eliminate the smell, I decided to resort to alcohol bath. I packed the chamber, just below the rim, with cotton balls. I stretched a cotton ball into a thick wick, tapering at one end, and inserted it in to the shank and pushed it as far inside as I could using a straightened paper clip. I topped the bowl with isopropyl alcohol using a syringe. I know that it is generally a practice to use Kosher salt for this procedure, but since Kosher salt is not easily available here, and when available, it’s very expensive, I use cotton balls. I find that cotton balls work just fine in drawing out all the tars and smells from the mortise and the bowl. I topped the bowl with alcohol again after 20 minutes when the alcohol level had gone down and set it aside overnight for the cotton and alcohol to do its intended job.The next day, the cotton and alcohol had fulfilled its intended task. I removed the cotton balls and ran pipe cleaners through the mortise to clean out all the loosened tars and gunk. The internals of the stummel is now clean and fresh. Now, it was the turn of the stummel to get cleaned up. Using a hard bristled tooth brush dipped in undiluted Murphy’s oil soap, I very deliberately scrubbed the surface of the stummel. I cleaned the rim too. The stummel and rim top was dried using paper napkins and soft cotton cloth. I am not very happy the way the rim top appears at this stage with all the charring and uneven inner and outer rim edges. This needs to be addressed. I set the stummel aside to dry out naturally. While the stummel was drying, I worked the stem. I covered the stampings on the stem with whitener using a whitener pen. The filling of charcoal and CA superglue had cured and using a needle file, I sand the filling to match the surface of the stem. For a better blending, I further sanded the entire stem with 220 followed by 400 and 800 grit sand paper. This helps to reduce the sanding marks left behind by the more abrasive 220 grit paper. To bring a deep shine to the vulcanite stem, I went through the complete set of micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200 to 12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem with alcohol after each pad and rubbed it down with Extra Virgin Olive oil. The internals of the stem was cleaned out using alcohol and pipe cleaners. The finished stem is shown below. After cleaning the rim top with Murphy’s oil soap, I had observed that the rim top surface was charred and the inner edge was uneven, presenting a very sorry appearance. I topped the rim on a 220 grit sand paper, checking frequently till I was satisfied that the charred surface was greatly reduced. The inner edge is still uneven, though much better than before topping, it will need to be addressed.Next, I decided to address the dents and dings on the stummel surface and on the rim outer edge. Using a whitener pen, I marked all the major areas with dents and dings as I had decided to leave the minor ones as they were. I heated my fabricated knife over the flame of a candle, placed a wet Turkish hand towel over the marked areas and steamed out the dents by placing the heated knife over the towel. Though some dents were still observed, these were greatly reduced when compared to before steaming.The steaming method had raised to the surface all the major dents and dings. However, the outer and inner edges of the rim were still uneven. I took a piece of used and worn 180 grit sand paper, folded it and pinching it between my thumb and forefinger, created a slight inner bevel on the inner edge of the rim. Using the same technique, I created a light bevel on the outer edge. Now the rim surface and both its edges appear clean, even and well rounded.Steaming out the dents and dings from the stummel surface had necessitated that the surface of the stummel be evened out by sanding. I had an option of using more abrasive 220 grit sand paper followed by micromesh pad cycle and loose the patina or straight away go to the micromesh cycle. Using the more abrasive sand paper, minor dents and dings would be further addressed but I would lose the old sheen which the briar has taken over the years.  I decided on keeping the old sheen and went straight for the micromesh cycle. The old patina and the minor dents and dings would add to the vintage look of the pipe, which it was. I wet sand the stummel with 1500 to 2400 grit pads and follow it up by dry sanding with 3200 to 12000 grit pads. I rub a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to briar and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance. I further buff it with a horse hair shoe brush. To finish, I re-attach the stem with the stummel. I mounted a cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel (actually it is not the brand machine, but a local machine which is similar).  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. I then 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.The completed pipe looks lovely, fresh and vibrant; the photographs in this case, do not do justice to the appearance of this beautiful little pipe. Thank you for having the patience to reach this far while reading the write up.

Restoring a beautiful Barling Vintage 6279 Pot


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe from the estate lot my brother found and sent to me was a Barling Pot. It is stamped on the left side of the shank Barling over London England there is a thin line and under that it reads Vintage. On the underside of the shank it is stamped 6279 which is the shape number. My brother took the following photos of the pipe when he got home from the estate sale. These document the state of the pipe before he started his cleanup.Jeff took some photos of the rim top and the condition of the bowl. The bowl had a thick cake in it and it had overflowed onto the beveled rim top with a thick coat of lava.The next two photos show the grain on the pipe. There was one small sandpit on the bottom front of the bowl and another on the right side of the bowl. Both have been filled with tan putty that blends in really well with the stain on the briar.The next two photos show the stamping on the pipe. The first shows the left side and the second shows the underside of the shank. My brother had also turned the stem over to show the Barling cross on the stem. It had faded and the white paint that is usually in it was gone.The last two photos showed the now familiar tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside of the stem next to the button. Fortunately these were not too deep in the vulcanite either and should be able to be cleaned up quite easily.Dating Barling pipes always proves interesting to me. I get all of the eras confused and find that pinning down some dates is difficult if not nigh on impossible (at least for me). The four digit shape number was the first thing I checked out. I found a catalogue page from a 1962 Barling Catalogue on Pipedia’s post on Barling Pipes that gave me a listing of shape numbers. The 6279 shape is a Pot Bevel with a flat stem according to the chart. The pipe I have indeed a Pot shape with a beveled rim top. However, it did not have a flat stem. It had a taper stem. That was the first anomaly I found regarding this pipe. I like the taper stem on this one. It works well with the shape. (I have outlined the shape of this pipe with a blue box in the photo below.)I did some more work on the internet to try to figure out when the Vintage finish pipes were made and sold. I read several articles but found nothing specific until I found another article on Pipedia under the following heading. I quote that section of the article in full.

Lines and Nomenclature (https://pipedia.org/index.php?title=Barling)

During the late 1970’s additional lines of pipes were introduced and the Company was restyled as Barling of England. In the late 1970’s production of Barling pipes was shifted to Denmark where Eric Nording manufactured Barling pipes for Imperial. There may have been other factories, but as of this writing, none has been identified. Nording stated that he made approximately 100.000 pipes for Imperial.

It was at this point that Ronald Harden, general manager of Barling, stepped in to attempt to save the brand from extinction. Through the efforts of Mr. Harden, Bucktrout and Company bought the rights to the Barling name and at this point operations were moved to the Isle of Man with Mr. Harden as chairman. The company was renamed Barling Pipes Ltd. From that point on, the goal was to restore the old tradition of pipemaking from the family era. New equipment was installed and pipes were made following the Pre-Transition patterns. In 1980, rather than becoming a footnote in pipemaking history, the new line of Barling pipes was introduced.

Some of the Pre-Transition nomenclature was restored, such as the old SS thru EXEXEL size system even though the pipes continued to be stamped with a 4-digit number that also included a size designation. The use of a “Barling’s Make” block letter logo was reintroduced on the 1978 series of pipes, though the logo is on one line with no arched lettering. And both the “Ye Olde Wood” and “TVF” stamping was brought back.

Barling was established as a mid market level pipe and remained such through a portion of the 1990’s. Most recently inexpensive pipes bearing the Barling name, but made by Peterson have been available for sale in the US.

The first highlighted box above gives the information on the Vintage finish Barling in the part of the quoted article that notes the four ranges. The one I had was found in Number 2 above. The information included there gave me a starting date of the late 1970’s for the manufacture of the Barling that I was working on. In the second highlighted box I found a date of 1980 when Imperial closed down Barling operations entirely. This gives a 5-7 year window when the pipe could have been made. So I am working on either a 40-42 year old pipe or a 30-32 year old pipe. I was actually successful in finding the information on the little Barling Vintage Pot that was on my work table. Better informed than when I began, I could turn my attention to working on the pipe itself.

I took the next four photos of the pipe when it arrived in Vancouver. My brother had done an exceptional job cleaning it up. The pipe looked really good. The finish was clean and the rim was spotless. I took a close up photo of the rim to show the condition it was in when it came. Jeff had reamed it really well and had cleaned off all of the lava on the rim. Somehow the lava had protected the beveled rim from damage or burn marks. It was in excellent shape.The stem showed oxidation as well as tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the button. The Barling cross on the stem was faded but it was well stamped and could be repainted.I ran a pipe cleaner and alcohol through the airway in the stem and the shank and cleaned out the mortise with a cotton swab and alcohol to remove any remaining tars or oils in those areas. The pipe was really clean as I expected.I buffed the stem with red Tripoli and wiped it down with a damp cotton pad to remove the dust and grit that remained in the Barling Cross. I painted that area on the stem with white acrylic paint to fill in the vertical and horizontal Barling name that was crossed on the top side of the stem near the tenon end. I pushed the paint into the letters and wiped off the excess with a soft, dry cotton pad.I buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to polish the briar. You can see the three small filled sandpits in the first photo and the one toward the bottom of the bowl in the second photo. The fourth photo shows three small fills on the bottom of the bowl. I circled the fills in red in the photos. These fills showed me what I was expecting in a pipe from this era. In the second highlighted portion of the Pipedia article that spoke of closing the pipe, it noted that:“Despite these attempts to diversify the line, Barling lost its market. These pipes just weren’t equivalent to the family era pipes.” I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to working on the stem. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit pads and rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil. I buffed the stem with red Tripoli to further remove the oxidation on the stem. I dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads to polish it further. I rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad to enliven the vulcanite. I gave it a final coat after the 12000 grit pad and set it aside to dry. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads as well. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit sanding pads and wiped it down with a damp cotton pad. I dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads and wiped it down after each set of three sanding pads. The more I polished the briar the more the fills on the right side and the front began to blend into the briar. Notice how they are disappearing in the following photos. After polishing with the final three pads (6000-12000 grit) the briar really shined and the fills though still present did not stick out so much. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave both multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise a shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is a beautiful pipe. Even the small fills that are around the sides and bottom of the bowl do not detract from the great shape and look of the pipe. This Barling Vintage pipe will soon be on sale on the rebornpipes store. It will make a great addition to someone’s rack and should be a good smoker as the mechanics are really well done. The dimensions are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside bowl diameter: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 inches. Check it out there and if you are interested email me at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a message on Facebook and the pipe can be yours. Thanks for looking.

A Pair of Barling Canadians – The Trust Continues


Quite a few years ago I received a pair of Barlings Canadian bowls from the late Mike Leverette. We had exchanged quite a few pipes and tobaccos over the years and one day I received an email from him saying that he had sent me a pair of Canadians that needed stems but were otherwise in great shape. They were clean and ready except for a lack of stems. When they arrived they were beautiful the top on had a stunning sandblast – deep and rugged. The other had a good sandblast but not nearly as rugged. The two were oval shank pipes but one was slightly smaller and shorter than the other. The stamping on them was also different. The top pipe (below) is stamped in a line across the underside of the shank, Barling in script over London England, EXEL 5574 T.V.F. The bottom pipe is stamped slightly different. It begins with Barling in script over London England. That is followed by EXEL over 5579 and then it is followed by T.V.F.

I cleaned them and gave them a polish and sent them to Dave Wolf at Walker Briar Works for restemming. I wanted replacement stems that had the Barling cross stamp on them and new that Dave had the stamps to do that. Once I sent them to him the wait was not very long and they came back polished and stemmed. The photo below shows the pipes as they looked when they arrived and I took them out of the package.
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I took them out of the pipe cupboard the other evening to polish them and remind myself of the story behind them. For me, part of the joy of being a pipe man is to remember/know the stories attached to my pipes. Some of them the stories begin with me as I can find no information on them. Others come to me with a long history that makes them very interesting. This pair comes with that history. Mike bought them in a lot on EBay and figured I would enjoy them. He took the time to ream and clean them before he sent them my way. My story with the pipes is at least 12 years old if not more. Add to that Mike’s history with them and I can trace their story back 15 or more years. I enjoy that kind of thing. The only thing that would make it even better is to be able to know a bit more of the back story. Ah well, as I smoke them I raise a bowl in memory of Mike. I took the next three photos this evening to show the pair as they look now. Both have a few more years and smokes on them but they remain in great shape and have many more years left in them.
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I also decided to take a few pictures of each of the pipes separately to give you a better picture of their individual characteristics. The next series of four photos show the 5579, the bottom pipe in the photos above. It has a lighter blast and the stain took to the briar in a different way than it did on the deeper blasted 5574. Interestingly it is the same colour stain on both pipes – the variation is caused by the briar.
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There is gracefulness to this Canadian shape. Barling makes the shape like no one else does and I think it epitomizes the English version of the shape. The blast is well done showing both the ring grain and the vertical lines on both the shank and the bowl. The taper from bowl to button on the stems is very graceful as well. Dave was able to capture the look of the original stem very well.
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The blast carries on to the rim as well and ends as the inner edge of the rim bevels inward toward the bowl. The bevel is smooth as is the strip on the bottom of the shank where the stamping is located. There is also a smooth band at the stem shank union.
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The stamping is clear but faint on the Barling portion. The T.V.F. stamp is tight against the end of the shank.
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The second pipe, the 5574 is a different pipe. The look of the shape is not nearly as refined as the first pipe. The craggy blast and the shape of the bowl make the look more rugged and not nearly as elegant looking. The tactile nature of the blast though is amazing as bowl heats up during a smoke. The stain is also variegated on the pipe. It gives the pipe a mottled look that is even clearer in person. I like the look of the mottled appearance as combined with the texture it makes a very interesting pipe to look at and observe while I am smoking it. There are times when I am holding this pipe that I find myself drawn to just sit and examine it, turning it from side to side to look at the texture and finish.
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The craggy texture of the blast is carried through on both sides of the bowl while the shank is much more reserved and smoother. I am not sure whether it came this way originally or is that way from wear. I tend to think it was originally not as blasted as the bowl as the stamping in quite sharp on the bottom of the shank. I have found that a blast does not take as well on hard portions of the briar.
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The blast carries through to the top of the bowl and to the inner bevel on the rim. The bevel is smooth like the previous pipe as is the bottom of the shank and a small band at the stem shank union. I find that the taper on the shank to the stem is more dramatic than the previous pipe. If the blast was not unharmed I would attribute that to the restemming. It appears to have been like this when it left the Barling factory unless somewhere in its history it was previously restemmed and then repaired to look original.
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The stamping on this is very sharp from mid shank back toward the stem. The Barling script and London England stamping is not as sharp, though still very readable.
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I am pleased to have these two old pipes in my collection. Perhaps one of you who read this article can explain the difference in the shape numbers – 5574 and 5579 as I am unable to find any information online. It would be great to add that to the story. I will maintain the trust with them until the day comes that they pass into the hands of the next pipeman. They will then pass from my companioning to another’s and my story will be added to that of Mike’s. That is the thing I love about this hobby – the adding to the story of a pipe that occurs with each successive pipeman’s receipt of the trust. Until that day I will continue to fire them up and enjoy the great smoke that they deliver.

Refurb – Barling Garnet Grain Lovat


One of the classic shapes that I refurbished lately was this little Barling Lovat. It is stamped Barling in script (Post Trans I believe) then London England in block text under that and a third line – Garnet Grain. The bottom of the shank is stamped with the four digit shape number – 4189. The classic lines of this little pipe, to me show what Barling could do with these shapes. The reddish stain on the Garnet Grain pipes is one of the attractive features of this line of Barlings.

This one came to me in a lot of pipes I picked up along the way and it had obviously been sitting for a long time. The bowl had cobwebs deep inside and a musty smell to it. There was a crumbling cake though it was not thick, just soft. I reamed the bowl and cleaned out the bowl and shank with the usual pile of pipe cleaners and a shank brush with lots of Isopropyl alcohol. The outside of the bowl was spattered with white paint all around and some especially ground in along the shank so I scrubbed it with an alcohol cloth and put it in the alcohol bath.

While the bowl was soaking I worked on the stem. It had tooth chatter and a few light tooth marks that needed to be lifted and sanded out. The stem was badly oxidized and also smelled musty like the bowl. I scrubbed the interior with a lot of pipe cleaners and alcohol until they came out clean. I then tacked the bite marks and chatter with 240 grit sandpaper to smooth them out and followed that with 400 and 600 grit wet dry sandpaper and water. I finished sanding the stem with my usual regimen of micromesh pads from 1500-6000 grit. Each progressively higher  grit polished the stem more. I then took it to the buffer and buffed it with Tripoli and White Diamond being careful around the area that it meets the shank. I would give it a more thorough buffing and polishing with carnauba wax once I put it back on the finished bowl.

After I finished the stem I took the bowl out of the bath and dried it off. I sanded it with micromesh 2400 to 6000 grit to polish and remove any scratching and then restained it with an oxblood aniline stain that matched the colour that it had before. Once dry I put the stem on it and took it to the buffer and gave it a light buff with White Diamond and then multiple coats of carnauba wax. It is a perfect sized little Lovat in my opinion and spots a classic shape and look. Here are some pictures of the pipe after cleaning. I forgot to take pictures before I started cleaning it. Sometimes I get into a space and just work at them before I suddenly stop and remember that I did not take photos before starting.ImageImageImage