Tag Archives: Barlings Pipes

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!!

 

New Life for a Barling’s Make Ye Olde Wood “Fossil” EL 437 Canadian


Blog by Steve Laug

Not too long ago I received an email from a fellow in California who I have repaired a few pipes for over the years. He said he was sending me a couple of pipes to work on. The box arrived a few weeks ago and when I opened it I found this message in the box.

Hi Steve — Here are the two pipes as promised. The Dunhill Shell should be an easy resto, but the Barling’s Fossil is another story. This pipe appears to have been someone’s favorite and smoked pretty hard. Might involve a little reconstructive surgery as the inside of the rim has been chipped due to knocking on a hard surface. Looks like the cake has held it together. The stem is upside down and seized into the shank as well. Would like to keep the original finish on the stummels and shanks of both if possible… thanks — Scott

I decided to take a break from Bob Kerr’s Estate for a bit and work on Scott’s pipes. I took the Dunhill out first and did the restoration on it. It was pretty straight forward and cleaned up nicely. Give that blog a read if you are interested (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/08/28/new-life-for-a-1964-dunhill-shell-briar-250f-t-2s-billiard/). But now it was time to work on the second pipe – the Barling’s Make Fossil Canadian. I looked it over to check out its condition and what needed to be done with it. The finish was dirty but underneath all of the grime it appeared to be in decent condition. The edges of the rim top were virtually ruined on the front right side of the bowl. There were chips on the inner edge and damage on the outer edge. The rim top itself was scratched and nicked as if it had been knocked about.  The bowl had a thick hard cake inside and remnants of tobacco stuck to the walls. I could not even put my little finger in the bowl it was so clogged. The stem was stuck in the shank and was upside down. It was unmovable. I could still see the Barlings Cross on the top of the stem and Regd number on the underside. There was some calcification on the first inch of the stem on both sides. The stem was also oxidized and dirty. The stamping on the stem is very faint. The slot in the button was almost clogged up with tars and debris. There were tooth marks and chatter on both sides and the button. There was a worn notch on the top right side of the stem just ahead of the button. I took photos of the pipe before I started my cleanup work. I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show the condition of the bowl and rim before I started working on it. The rim top was a disaster – it looked as if it was ruined and destroyed. There is some thick lava filling in the sandblast of the rim. The inner edges were very rough with large chips out of the right front. The outer edge was worn from being beaten against something hard knocking out dottle. The cake in the bowl is quite thick and hard so the bowl walls should be in good condition. I also took close up photos of the stem surface before I did the cleanup. You can see the faint stamping on the topside – a Barling Cross. On the underside it was also stamped and was faint – Regd over 98046 . The stamping on the underside of the shank is in great shape. It reads Barling’s arced over Make and underneath that it reads Ye Olde Wood with the shape number 437 on the heel of the bowl. That is followed by EL “Fossil” in script. That is followed Made in England and T.V.F. When I received the pipe the stem was stuck in the shank and was upside down. I put the pipe in the freezer for 30 minutes and when I removed it the stem turned easily in the shank. I removed it so that I could work on the bowl and soak the stem.I put the stem in a bath of Before & After Deoxidizer and left it to soak while I turned my attention to the bowl.I turned to Pipedia’s article on Barling pipes (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Barling) and specifically read the section on the “Ye Olde Wood Stamp”. I quote as follows:

Sometime around 1913, the “Ye Olde Wood” stamp made its appearance on selected pipes. An example exists stamped on a 1913 date hallmarked pipe.

This logo will continue to be used in the decades to come. Initially it was used to designate a higher grade than the average, much as the “Special” grade would after the Second World War. Price lists show the “Ye Olde Wood” pipes as a separate grade from the basic BARLING’S MAKE pipe. Eventually, “Ye Olde Wood” came to represent the company to the world. The use of “YE OLD WOOD” as a stamp prior to 1940 was haphazard, at best, although the company used the slogan in advertising materials from the early teens onward. (Gage)

I also did further reading to understand the 3 digit model numbers which were designated on the site as Nichols Numbers. The article had this information:

Pipes intended for the US Market have a 3 digit model number. However, Family Era Barlings may have two numbers, not just three, and they may also have a letter following the model numbers. For example, the letter “M” following a model number would indicate that the bowl is meerschaum lined.

To further define the time period of the pipe I looked further in the article to the COM stamping on the pipes. This pipe is stamped MADE IN ENGLAND with a period at the end. Here is what the article said.

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”.

I also read the section on the size stampings and quote the pertinent part.

…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).

There was a further section on Family Era Grades and Lines. This pipe was stamped Ye Olde Wood – sometimes referred to by collectors as YOW, which the article says may have a dark or plum stain. It is also stamped “Fossil” which denoted a sandblast finish. Most likely this stamping came into existence after WW2. The 1943 product line lists “sandblast” not “Fossil”.

This pipe was definitely made in the Family Era which ran from 1912 – 1962 and included pipes made by the Barling family while it either owned or managed B. Barling & Sons. I know that it was made after WW2 because of the “Fossil” stamp and before the close of the era in 1962. That appears to be as close as I can get to a date on this old timer.

Armed with that information I turned to work on this pipe. The cake was very hard and took a lot of elbow grease to ream it. I started by reaming the bowl to remove as much of the cake on the walls and the debris of tobacco shards as possible. I switched back and forth between that PipNet reamer with the first two cutting heads and the Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to break away more of the rock hard cake. Once I finally got the thick cake removed I sanded the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel and also a Sharpie Pen to smooth out the walls and clean up some of the  damage to the inner edge of the bowl. I used a brass bristle wire brush to clean off the debris on the damaged rim top in preparation for rebuilding the damaged edge on the front right side. There were chips on the inner and outer edge of the rim as well as burn damage on the top at that point. Once I had it cleaned up I wiped the rim down with a cotton pad and alcohol to remove the remaining debris. I layered on a bit of clear super glue and used a dental spatula to add briar dust to the top of the glued areas. I pushed the dust deep in the chipped areas with a dental pick. I repeated the process until the damage rim top matched the height of the remaining rim top. The photos look far more intrusive than they really were. Once the repair had cured I wiped the excess dust off with a cloth (the dust in the bowl is just that dust and was cleaned out upon completion of the repair). I used a little more of the clear super glue to even out the top inner edge of the bowl. Once it had cured it was time to clean up the surface of the bowl. I continued my ongoing experiment with Mark Hoover’s Before & After Briar Cleaner to remove the dust and debris in the grooves of the blast on the bowl and the rim top. I rubbed it into the surface of the briar and let it sit for 10 minutes. I rinsed the bowl off with warm running water to remove the product and the grime. The grain really began to stand out clearly. It was a beautiful piece of briar. I used a Dremel with some sharp and round burrs to match the repaired rimtop to the rest of the rim. The key was to not do too much but just enough to blend it into the sandblast that remained on the rest of the rim top. Once I had finished I used a brass bristle wire brush to clean off the debris left behind by the Dremel.I used a Walnut and a Mahogany stain pen to touch up the stain on the worn outer edges of the bowl and the rim top. I mixed in some black Sharpie pen to blend it to match the bowl colour. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the finish of the bowl and the rim top. I worked it into the surface with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the wood. I let the balm sit for about 10 minutes and buffed it off with a soft cotton cloth. I took photos of the pipe at this point in the process to show what the bowl looked like at this point. I am happy with the blend of the stain on the right side and the overall look of the bowl at this point. Now the bowl was finished except for the final polishing. I took the stem out of the Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it under warm water. I ran a pipe cleaner through the airway to remove the deoxidizer from the airway in the stem. The deoxidizer had done a good job removing the oxidized stem surface. You can see that the stamping is quite weak on the top and underside of the saddle. There is were on the edge of the button on the top side and few tooth dents. On the underside the edge of the stem there was a notch on the side of the stem near the button. There was also wear on the button surface.Once the externals of the stem were cleaned I turned my attention to the internals. I cleaned out the mortise and airway to the bowl and in the stem with 99% isopropyl alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I cleaned both until the cleaners came out white. It was a dirty pipe.I set the bowl aside and turned my attention back to the stem. I built up the deep dents and gouges in the button and the edge of the stem with clear super glue. I set it aside to cure.Once the repairs had cured I used a needle file to recut the edge of the button and smooth out the button edges.I also sanded out the tooth marks and chatter on the surface of the vulcanite and removed the rest of the oxidation on the vulcanite with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I followed the 220 grit sandpaper with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to minimize the scratching. I polished the stem with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish to take out the oxidation at the button edge and on the end of the mouthpiece. I buffed the stem with a microfiber cloth.I polished out the scratches with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. Once I had finished the polishing I gave it final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. Scott was correct in his note that this was a more difficult restoration. Even so, I am finally on the homestretch with this pipe as well and I really look forward to the final look when it is put back together and polished and waxed. I put the bowl and stem back together. I polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish to begin the shine. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The deeply blasted grain on this old Barling’s Make Ye Olde Wood “Fossil” Canadian looked good with the polished black vulcanite. This Family Era “Fossil”sandblast Canadian shape 437 was a challenging pipe to work on. I really like the look of the Barling Sandblast finish on this one and will need to keep an eye out for one for me. The combination of red and black stains really makes the pipe look attractive. It is a comfortable pipe to hold in the hand and I think that as it heats with smoking that over time the finish will develop even a darker patina as Scott smokes it and it will look even better. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 ¼ inches, Height: 1 7/8 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. I look forward to hearing what Scott thinks of it once he receives it. I now will need to pack up the two pipes and get them in the mail to him. 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.

 

Rebirthing a Barling Manx Made Meerschaum Bent Apple


Blog by Steve Laug

I wanted to work on something a little different before getting back to more briar. I chose a Barling Meerschaum pipe that I have had in the “to do” box for a while now. My brother picked this one up in an online auction or sale somewhere along the way in his hunting. It is an interesting pipe. There is no stamping on the pipe or the “gold” band but the stem has the Barling cross logo on top of the saddle. It is also stamped England on the underside of the stem. Many of the pipe companies in Great Britain seemed to have meerschaum pipes somewhere in their history. I have seen GBD and Peterson’s and Barlings. I believe they are all made on the Isle of Man by the Laxey Pipe Factory which closed in 2002. This bent apple with the Barling cross is in decent condition. It has a flume finish – darkened at the top of the rim and partway down the bowl sides. This one is a brownish/red in colour on the rest of the bowl. The band on the shank is Gold in colour. The bowl is very clean – in fact I wonder if it has been smoked more than a few times. There is a Delrin insert in the shank for strengthening of the meer. The stem is in decent condition with oxidation on the top surfaces of the saddle and stem and on the underside of the stem.  Jeff took photos of the pipe before he cleaned it up. The bowl was pretty clean, though the top portion had some cake and there was light lava on the surface of the rim top. Jeff took some photos that give a clear picture. The first is a close up that shows the lava on the rim. The second gives a feel for the colour of the rim and the flumed edge of the bowl. He also took a photo of the underside and side of the bowl. The finish on the meer is in excellent condition. The stem was oxidized on both the top and underside but otherwise clean. There was no tooth chatter or bite marks in the rubber.The stamping on the top and underside of the saddle stem were very clear and readable. The Barling cross was clear and there was a remnant of white in the stamp. The England on the underside also was very clear. The gold band was dirty and showed grime.Jeff follows his cleaning regime to a letter each time he works on the pipes. This pipe was no exception. He cleaned out the internals of the shank and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. He cleaned the top of the rim and the bowl with a tooth brush and mild soap. The stem was in decent condition so he put it in a bath of Before & After Deoxidizer and let it soak for an hour or so and it did the work on removing the oxidation. The band looked pretty good when he polished it. It looked like some of the dust had rubbed off of the band on the top side of the saddle stem as it had a gold dusting to the surface of the rubber that I first took to be oxidation. I took some photos of the pipe when it arrived to show the condition.  I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem to show how good the condition was on this pipe. It is really quite amazing. The rim top and bowl looked really good. There was some scratching and marks on the rim that should be able to be buffed out. The stem was in great condition. The dusting on the top of the saddle looks like oxidation but it was not and came off really easily.I took a photo of the stamping on the top and underside of the shank. It was very sharp and readable. The photos also show the gold dusting on the top side and in the Barling cross. The England stamp on the underside was perfect.The bowl was in such good condition I did not need to do any work on it. Jeff had done all that needed to be done on the bowl. I decided to polish the rim top and see if I could remove some of the scratches and light build up there. I polished the rim top with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. The pictures tell the story and show the increasing shine of the briar after each set of pads. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. My hope was that it would remove the gold dust on the top of the saddle. I rubbed it onto the stem with my finger and buffed it off with a cotton pad. The polish removed the gold tint and left the stem shiny. I would need to polish it a bit with the micromesh sanding pads and touch up the stamping but it looked very good.I polished the rest of the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil. When the oil dried I touched up the stamping on the saddle with a white correction pen. I cleaned off the excess white correction pen with a 2400 grit micromesh sanding pad. I continued to polish the stem with 3200-1200 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I once again polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. When I finished I gave it another wipe down with Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I polished the bowl by hand and gave it several coats of Conservator’s wax to protect it. I buffed the stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the vulcanite and gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The flume finish with the dark rim top and edges of the bowl and the reddish brown colour of the meerschaum works well with the gold band and the polished vulcanite stem. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 1/2 inches, Height: 1 3/4 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/4 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 of an inch. I will be putting this one on the rebornpipes store shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection.Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.

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.

Barling’s Guinea Grain Restoration


A member on the Pipe Smokers Forum recently acquired this Barling’s “Guinea Grain” pipe and I jumped at the opportunity to restore it for him. I don’t currently own a Barling’s pipe, but recent posts by brand authority, Jesse Silver, had piqued my interest. In conversation with Jesse about the pipe, he shared that “Guinea Grains are a higher grade designation and distinctive for several reasons. They’re the only Family Era pipes with a cursive “Barling’s” logo and they’re the only pipes that Barling also used oil in the curing process to bring out the contrast of the grain.” I enjoyed learning more about this fabled British pipe maker as much as working on it. I need to thank Jesse for his input and information. It is really wonderful to have such a brand authority available for comment. Since the pipe is stamped “Barling’s” in the possessive, Jesse dates the pipe to the 1940’s as a pre-Transition piece. The pipe is stamped EXEXEL, a size grade started in 1940. It also has a very faint “Reg” stamp and the letter “E”. Jesse tells me this is most likely the remnant of EB WB (Edward and William Barling), whose initials form the Barling sterling makers stamp and were used as part of the company nomenclature. Their initials were used on 1940’s era Guinea Grain pipes.

The pipe as I received it.

Barlings_Guinea_Before

Barlings_Guinea_Before (7)

Barlings_Guinea_Before (1)

Barlings_Guinea_Before (5)

When the pipe arrived, it had heavy tar build-up on the bowl top and many dings and cuts in the briar. The stem was in relatively good condition with only surface teeth abrasions and no dents. Curiously, there was what appeared to be a pinhole near where the Barling’s Cross stem logo would be placed. There was no remnant left of the logo, even under magnification. At first, I thought the stem might be a replacement, but the button ends appears to have the distinctive ovalized and funneled button.

The bowl had a heavy caked which was reamed and then soaked with alcohol and sea salt. While the bowl was reamed a little out of round, the interior of the bowl was in relatively good condition. The bowl top had a number of scars and dings. I have been using Mike Gluklers method of soaking the tar covered bowl tops in just a millimeter or two of distilled water to soften the build-up. I removed it with a cotton cloth using the distilled water. There is some rim darkening, but I didn’t want to sand the rim and restain and think the patina fits the pipe

Barlings_Guinea_Progess (4)

Using a dinner knife heated by a propane torch and a wet cloth, I went to work on the numerous dents and cuts. Some lifted out completely, others were minimized. I wasn’t able to do much about the chatter around the bowl rim. I suspect the previous owner knocked ash out of the bowl. Staying away from the valuable nomenclature, the bowl and rim was buffed with white diamond and several coats of carnuba wax. I gave the nomenclature area a hand-wax with Halycon pipe wax.

I put a drop of black superglue on the hole in the briar. After it was dry, I sanded off the worst of the oxidation with some 800 grit wet paper. I then moved to 1500 and 2000 grades wet paper and finally 8000 and 12000 grades of micromesh. I used a slim knife blade to hold the paper into the button crease to remove that oxidation. Then the stem was buffed lightly with white diamond and finally a plastic polish. The Barling’s stem has a unique feel to it, unlike my similar era Comoys or Charatan stems. The button air hole shapiong shows a lot of care was shown making the stem. (and also makes me think it is an original Barling’s stem).

And finally, the finished pipe.

Barlings_Guinea_Grain_Finished-1

Barlings_Guinea_Grain_Finished-2

Barlings_Guinea_Grain_Finished-4

Barlings_Guinea_Grain_Finished-5

Barlings_Guinea_Grain_Finished-8

Barlings_Guinea_Grain_Finished-7

Barlings_Guinea_Grain_Finished-9

Barlings_Guinea_Grain_Finished-10