Tag Archives: Hardcastle’s Pipes

Breathing Life into a Badly Damaged Hardcastle Cased Meerschaum Egg


Blog by Steve Laug

I have finished restoring all two pipes from the collection of pipes that we purchased from the older gentleman. He sent me the photos and I was amazed at what I saw. You have seen many of the pipes that he had. These included Dunhill, BBB, Orlik, Barclay Rex, a cased Ben Wade, an H. Simmons all briar, Hardcastles and some Meerschaums. There were also some assorted others that I will get to in the days ahead. It was a great collection.

The next pipe I have chosen is a worn and damaged cased Hardscastle’s Meerschaum Egg. It had a flume around the top and down the outer edges of the bowl. It is the bottom pipe of the three meerschaum pipes in the photo above. There was a thick cake in the bowl and the rim top and edges were buried under a thick coat of lava. It was filthy both inside and out. The edges of the bowl on the top and down the sides was chipped and damaged leaving large gouges out of the sides of the bowl. The shape probably caught my eye because it is quite lovely even under the grime and wear. I think that the Hardcastle’s name made me want to try to redeem this old pipe. I have never worked on a meer like this one with this kind of damage. The stem is vulcanite and was in far better shape than the bowl. It had tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. This was another well loved pipe that obviously been a good smoker!

Jeff took some photos of the Hardcastle’s Case and Meerschaum egg with the lovely patina  before he worked his magic in cleaning up the pipe. It is a an interesting pipe with a lot of potential and what appears to be some great grain under the grime and debris of the years. The first three photos show the case, the pipe in the case and the stamp/logo decal on the inside of the lid that read Hardcastle’s Made In London.         Jeff took the pipe out of the case and took photos of it to show the damage to the bowl sides.Jeff took photos of the bowl, rim top to show the thickness of the cake in the bowl and the thick lava on the rim top. The rim top and inner edge are thickly covered with lava and there are large chips in the meerschaum on the rim top and on the outer edges and sides of the bowl. It really is a mess and it will be a challenge. He took photos of the top and underside of the vulcanite military bit stem showing the tooth marks and chatter on both sides. Jeff also took some photos of the Sterling Silver ferrule on the shank end to show the oxidation and condition.Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the bowl and damages around the top edges. You can see the beautiful shape of the bowl and some interesting patterns in the meerschaum even through the damage, dirt and debris of many years. This Cased Hardcastle Meerschaum Egg is an interesting looking pipe. Because the old gentleman that we bought the pipes from intimated that he purchased his pipes at the Manhattan Barclay-Rex store I would imagine that he may have purchased this one from them as well. I was unable to pin down any information regarding the date this pipe so it was time to move on and work on the pipe.

Jeff carefully cleaned the pipe so as not to damage it further. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and then cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals of the shank, stem and shank extension with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He carefully scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the exterior of the bowl and rim top and lava on the rim top. The finish looks much better and has a deep richness in the colour that highlights the patina in the meerschaum. The damaged edges and rim top looked rough and will need some special attention. He soaked the stem in Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and after a soak of several hours rinsed it off. He scrubbed the vulcanite military bit with Soft Scrub to remove the residual oxidation. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver I was amazed that it looked so good. Here are some photos of what I saw. I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem surface. The top and inner and outer edge of the rim showed some darkening/heavy tars and damage. The stem had tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.I took some photos of the cleaned damaged areas around the rim top and sides to show how they looked when I received it. I would need to figure out a way to address this in my restoration. I needed time to think through the options. I set the pipe aside for a few days to ruminate on the process I would use.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the parts of the pipe. After thinking through my options I decided to try to fill in the chipped and damaged areas with a mixture of Plaster of  Paris. It dries hard so once it was applied I set it aside to let the repairs harden and cure. I was not sure if it would work but I thought it was worth a try. I mixed the mud and filled in the chipped areas with a dental spatula. I apologize for the mess I made in the mixing process but it really was a pain to manage it. I let it sit for 48 hours to cure. Once the repairs cured I sanded it lightly with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth it out and blend it in. While I worked on it chunks of plaster fell out. The repair had not bonded to the meerschaum so I had to come up with a different plan. I topped the bowl and collected the sanding dust. I filled in the chipped areas with clear CA glue and sanding dust from the topping. Once it cured I sanded the repairs smooth and blended them in around the top edges of the bowl all around the top.Once I have the edges smoothed out and the rim top also smoothed out I decided to stain the rim top and the flumed area around the top outer edges of the bowl with a combination of Black and Walnut stains. It did a great job masking the repaired areas. I still needed to sand the flume to make it less uniform. I polished the smooth rim top with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding debris. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the bowl 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 photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. It looks significantly better and is smooth but the repairs show! With the bowl and the stem finished I put the beautiful Hardcastle’s Straight Egg with a military bit back together and buffed it lightly on the wheel using Blue Diamond to give it a shine. I gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel. I buffed the pipe with a horsehair shoe brush to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The smooth and rusticated finish is a great looking. The dimensions of the pipe are – Length: 5 ¼ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inch, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of this large pipe is 1.09 ounces /31 grams. This Hardcastle’s Straight Egg is another great find from this collection. It is much more beautiful in person than these photos can capture. I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store soon. If you want to add it to your collection it will make a fine smoking addition. This is another pipe that has the possibility of transporting the pipe man or woman back to a slower paced time in history where you can enjoy a respite. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

Working on the second of two Hardcastle’s  Straight Grain Selection No. 1 Pipes


Blog by Steve Laug

It seems like just a few weeks ago I was contacted by an older gentleman about purchasing his pipe collection. He sent me the photos and I was amazed at what I saw. He had Dunhill pipes, BBB pipes, Orlik pipes, Barclay Rex Pipes, a couple of Meerschaums and a whole lot of other pipes. All I could say as I looked at the pipes was what a collection it was. We negotiated a deal and I think we both walked away quite happy with the exchange.

You have seen the work we have done on the Dunhills and BBB pipes from the lot but there are still more. The above photo shows a pair of Hardcastle’s pipes – the top one a Liverpool and the bottom one an oval shank billiard. Both are stamped Hardcastle’s Straight Grain Selection No. 1 and both are beautiful. I have chosen to work on the first pipe pictured above – the round shank, short stemmed Liverpool.

I have worked on a lot of Hardcastle’s over the years but most of them have been Jack’O London and other lower end ones. These are the first two of this quality I have worked on – both of them are Hardcastle’s Straight Grain pipes. This pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads HARDCASTLE’S (arched over) STRAIGHT GRAIN. On the underside of the shank it is stamped SELECTION No. 1 and on the right side it reads Made in London [over] England. The stamping is clear and readable and there is no shape number evident. The taper stem also bears the Hardcastle’s “H” logo on the left side.

Jeff took some photos of the Hardcastle’s Straight Grain Liverpool before he worked his magic in cleaning up the pipe. It is a an interesting pipe with a lot of potential and what appears to be some great grain under the grime and debris of the years.Jeff took photos of the bowl, rim top to show the thickness of the cake in the bowl and the lava on the rim top. The bowl had a thick cake that overflowed in lava on the inner edge and rim top of the bowl. I am hoping that the thick lava coat protected things underneath it from damage to the edges and top. The outer edge appeared to have some significant damage that would need to be dealt with. Cleaning the pipe would make the extent of the damage clear! He took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the tooth chatter, scratching, calcification and oxidation on the stem surface and wear on the edges of the button.    Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the briar. You can see the beautiful shape and the grain on the bowl even through the dirt and debris of many years. Jeff took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. You can see that it is clear and readable.I turned to Pipedia to try and place this pipe in the timeline of the brand and was able find some helpful information which I have included below (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Hardcastle).

Hardcastle was founded in 1908 by Edmund Hardcastle and built itself a good reputation among the numerous British mid-graders. In 1935 Dunhill started to build a factory next door to Hardcastle in Forest Road, Walthamstow, London E17. The family owned Hardcastle Pipes Limited sold 49% of its equity to Dunhill In 1936.

Along with closing down its pipe factory in Notting Hill in 1946 Dunhill bought the remaining shares, turning Hardcastle into a 100% Dunhill subsidiary. As members of the Hardcastle family continued as executives in the company’s management Hardcastle retained a certain independence.

This ended in 1967. Dunhill merged Hardcastle with Parker (100% Dunhill as well). The new Parker Hardcastle Limited also absorbed the former Masta Patent Pipe Company. Hardcastle’s Forest Road plant was immediately given up and the production of Hardcastle pipes was shifted to Parker’s nearby St. Andrews Road factory – now consequently called Parker-Hardcastle factory.

In fact this put a definite end to Hardcastle as an own-standing pipe brand, and none other than Edwin Hardcastle, the last of the family executives, spoke frankly and loudly of Hardcastle pipes being degenerated to an inferior Dunhill second.

Today Hardcastle pipes use funneled down bowls that are not deemed suitable to bear the Dunhill or even the Parker name (as well as obtaining briar from other sources).

Timeline

Jack O London (Forrest Rd. factory era) sheet, courtesy Doug Valitchka

  • 1903: Edmund Hardcastle establishes the brand
  • 1936: Family sells 49% of the Hardcastle Pipes Limited shares to Dunhill
  • 1946: Dunhill buys the remaining shares, but the family continues to manage the company
  • 1967: Dunhill merges Hardcastle with Parker. The new Parker-Hardcastle Limited company absorbs the Masta Patent Pipe Company also.
  • After 1967 it is speculated that Hardcastle became the brand for “Parker Seconds”

John Loring states in “The Dunhill Briar Pipe – ‘the patent years and after'” that in the absence of sales receipts, or other items of provenance, Hardcastles cannot be accurately dated. Loring further states that he knows of no way to distinguish the briar source when looking at Hardcastle, Parker, or Parker-Hardcastle pipes. We should not expect to find any actual Dunhill production in these lines, and while one might be there, it is doubtful we will ever be able to determine it [1].

Models & Grades – Family Period

Straight Grain, Supergrain, Leweard, Nut Bruyere, De Luxe, Royal Windsor Sandhewn, Royal Crown, The Crown, Phito Dental, Old Bruyere, Jack O’London, Dental Briar, Phito, Dental, Dryconomy, Drawel, Phithu, Telebirar, Camden, Lightweight, The Table, Dovetail, Dental, Crescent Extra, Lonsdale, Welard De Luxe

With the information from Pipedia I knew that I was working on a Family Period Pipe and it was the top grade. It appears that it can be dated between 1903-1946 when the company was sold in full to Dunhill. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff carefully cleaned the pipe. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and then cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals of the shank, stem and shank extension 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 lava on the rim top. The finish looks much better and has a deep richness in the colour that highlights grain of the briar. The rim top looked good with some darkening on the top and damage to the inner edge of the bowl. The briar on the outer edge seems to have swollen and repaired some of the damage during the scrubbing and cleaning procedure. It looked much better than it did in the previous photos.  Jeff soaked the stem in bath of Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. He worked it over with Soft Scrub All Purpose Cleaner to remove any remnants of oxidation. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver I was amazed it looked so good. Here are some photos of what I saw.  I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem surface. The inner edge of the rim was darkened and damaged. The outer rim showed some nicks and chipping. I took close up photos of the stem to show the condition of the surface and button. I took a picture of the stamping on the shank sides and it was all clear and readable as noted above.I took the pipe apart and took a photo of the pipe with the stem. It is a good looking pipe and very unique.I started my work on the pipe by addressing the darkening on the rim top and the damage on the inner and outer edges of the bowl. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to work over the inner and outer edge to smooth out the damage and to remove the darkening on the rim top as well.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. After each pad I wiped the briar down with a damp cloth.  I was able to give a shine to the bowl and remove some of the surface scratches in the process. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the bowl 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 photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” it with the flame of a Bic lighter to lift the tooth dents in the surface of the vulcanite. I was able to lift the majority of them. I filled in the remaining marks with clear CA glue. Once the repairs cured I sanded them smooth with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to blend them in the rest of the stem surface. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I used Liquid Paper White to touch up the white stamped “H” on the top of the stem. I rubbed it into the stamp with a tooth pick and buffed it off with a cotton pad and a 1500 grit micromesh pad.  I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. With the bowl and the stem finished I put the beautiful Hardcastle’s Straight Grain back together and buffed it on the wheel using Blue Diamond to give it a shine. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel and then buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. It really is an amazing piece of briar with stunning grain. 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. The weight of this large pipe is .99ounces /28 grams. This Hardcastle’s Straight Grain Selection No. 1 is another great find in this collection. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store soon. If you would like to add it to your collection let me know. This is another pipe that has the possibility of transporting the pipe man or woman back to a slower paced time in history where you can enjoy a respite. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

 

Working on the first of two Hardcastle’s Straight Grain Selection No. 1 Pipes


Blog by Steve Laug

It seems like just a few weeks ago I was contacted by an older gentleman about purchasing his pipe collection. He sent me the photos and I was amazed at what I saw. He had Dunhill pipes, BBB pipes, Orlik pipes, Barclay Rex Pipes, a couple of Meerschaums and a whole lot of other pipes. All I could say as I looked at the pipes was what a collection it was. We negotiated a deal and I think we both walked away quite happy with the exchange.

You have seen the work we have done on the Dunhills and BBB pipes from the lot but there are still more. The above photo shows a pair of Hardcastle’s pipes – the top one a Liverpool and the bottom one an oval shank billiard. Both are stamped Hardcastle’s Straight Grain Selection No. 1 and both are beautiful. I have chosen to work on the second pipe pictured above – the oval shank billiard.

I have worked on a lot of Hardcastle’s over the years but most of them have been Jack’O London and other lower end ones. These are the first two of this quality I have worked on – both of them are Hardcastle’s Straight Grain pipes. This pipe is stamped on the top of the oval shank and reads HARDCASTLE’S (arched over) STRAIGHT GRAIN. On the underside of the shank it is stamped SELECTION No. 1 [over] Made in London [over] England. The stamping is clear and readable and there is no shape number evident. The oval taper stem also bears the Hardcastle’s “H” logo on the top side.

Jeff took some photos of the Hardcastle’s Straight Grain oval billiard before he worked his magic in cleaning up the pipe. It is a an interesting pipe with a lot of potential and what appears to be some great grain under the grime and debris of the years.Jeff took photos of the bowl, rim top to show the thickness of the cake in the bowl and the lava on the rim top. The bowl had a thick cake that overflowed in lava on the inner edge and rim top of the bowl. I am hoping that the thick lava coat protected things underneath it from damage to the edges and top. Cleaning it would make that clear! He took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the tooth chatter, scratching and oxidation on the stem surface and wear on the edges of the button.    Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the briar. You can see the beautiful shape and the grain on the bowl even through the dirt and debris of many years. Jeff took photos of the stamping on the top and underside of the shank. You can see that it is clear and readable. He also captured the white “H” logo on the top of the stem.I turned to Pipedia to try and place this pipe in the timeline of the brand and was able find some helpful information which I have included below (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Hardcastle).

Hardcastle was founded in 1908 by Edmund Hardcastle and built itself a good reputation among the numerous British mid-graders. In 1935 Dunhill started to build a factory next door to Hardcastle in Forest Road, Walthamstow, London E17. The family owned Hardcastle Pipes Limited sold 49% of its equity to Dunhill In 1936.

Along with closing down its pipe factory in Notting Hill in 1946 Dunhill bought the remaining shares, turning Hardcastle into a 100% Dunhill subsidiary. As members of the Hardcastle family continued as executives in the company’s management Hardcastle retained a certain independence.

This ended in 1967. Dunhill merged Hardcastle with Parker (100% Dunhill as well). The new Parker Hardcastle Limited also absorbed the former Masta Patent Pipe Company. Hardcastle’s Forest Road plant was immediately given up and the production of Hardcastle pipes was shifted to Parker’s nearby St. Andrews Road factory – now consequently called Parker-Hardcastle factory.

In fact this put a definite end to Hardcastle as an own-standing pipe brand, and none other than Edwin Hardcastle, the last of the family executives, spoke frankly and loudly of Hardcastle pipes being degenerated to an inferior Dunhill second.

Today Hardcastle pipes use funneled down bowls that are not deemed suitable to bear the Dunhill or even the Parker name (as well as obtaining briar from other sources).

Timeline

Jack O London (Forrest Rd. factory era) sheet, courtesy Doug Valitchka

  • 1903: Edmund Hardcastle establishes the brand
  • 1936: Family sells 49% of the Hardcastle Pipes Limited shares to Dunhill
  • 1946: Dunhill buys the remaining shares, but the family continues to manage the company
  • 1967: Dunhill merges Hardcastle with Parker. The new Parker-Hardcastle Limited company absorbs the Masta Patent Pipe Company also.
  • After 1967 it is speculated that Hardcastle became the brand for “Parker Seconds”

John Loring states in “The Dunhill Briar Pipe – ‘the patent years and after'” that in the absence of sales receipts, or other items of provenance, Hardcastles cannot be accurately dated. Loring further states that he knows of no way to distinguish the briar source when looking at Hardcastle, Parker, or Parker-Hardcastle pipes. We should not expect to find any actual Dunhill production in these lines, and while one might be there, it is doubtful we will ever be able to determine it [1].

Models & Grades – Family Period

Straight Grain, Supergrain, Leweard, Nut Bruyere, De Luxe, Royal Windsor Sandhewn, Royal Crown, The Crown, Phito Dental, Old Bruyere, Jack O’London, Dental Briar, Phito, Dental, Dryconomy, Drawel, Phithu, Telebirar, Camden, Lightweight, The Table, Dovetail, Dental, Crescent Extra, Lonsdale, Welard De Luxe

With the information from Pipedia I knew that I was working on a Family Period Pipe and it was the top grade. It appears that it can be dated between 1903-1946 when the company was sold in full to Dunhill. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff carefully cleaned the pipe. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and then cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals of the shank, stem and shank extension 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 tarnish and lava on the rim top. The finish looks much better and has a deep richness in the colour that highlights grain of the briar. The rim top looked good with some darkening on the top and inner edge of the bowl. Jeff soaked the stem in bath of Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. He worked it over with Soft Scrub All Purpose Cleaner to remove any remnants of oxidation. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver I was amazed it looked so good. Here are some photos of what I saw.  I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem surface. The inner edge of the rim was darkened and lightly damaged. I took close up photos of the stem to show the condition of the surface and button. I took a picture of the stamping on the shank. The reflection on the silver did not capture the clarity of the stamping on the band but it was all clear and readable as noted above.I took the pipe apart and took a photo of the pipe with the stem. It is a good looking pipe and very unique. I started my work on the pipe by addressing the darkening on the edges and rim top. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to work over the inner edge to smooth out the damage and to remove the darkening. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. After each pad I wiped the briar down with a damp cloth.  I was able to give a shine to the bowl and remove some of the surface scratches in the process. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the bowl 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 photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” it with the flame of a Bic lighter to lift the tooth dents in the surface of the vulcanite. I was able to lift the majority of them. I filled in the remaining marks with clear CA glue. Once the repairs cured I sanded them smooth with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to blend them in the rest of the stem surface. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I used Liquid Paper White to touch up the white stamped “H” on the top of the stem. I rubbed it into the stamp with a tooth pick and buffed it off with a cotton pad and a 1500 grit micromesh pad.   I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. With the bowl and the stem finished I put the beautiful Hardcastle’s Straight Grain back together and buffed it on the wheel using Blue Diamond to give it a shine. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel and then buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. It really is an amazing piece of briar with stunning grain. The dimensions of the pipe are – Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of this large pipe is 1.02ounces /29 grams. This Hardcastle’s Straight Grain Selection No. 1 is another great find in this collection. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store soon. If you would like to add it to your collection let me know. This is another pipe that has the possibility of transporting the pipe man or woman back to a slower paced time in history where you can enjoy a respite. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

Restoring a Hardcastle’s British Made Jack O’London


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to me from the estate of a Vancouver pipe smoker whose widow left them with a local Pipe Shop after he died. I was asked to clean them up and sell them for the shop as it has since closed. This is another interesting looking piece – great grain showing through underneath the grime. There is cross grain and birdseye grain around the bowl. The pipe is stamped on the left side and reads Hardcastle’s [over] British Made [over] Jack O’London. On the underside of the shank it is stamped with the number 85. The finish was dull and lifeless with a lot of grime ground into the briar. The bowl was heavily caked with a lava coat on the top of the rim. It was hard to tell how the inner and outer edge of the rim actually looked until the bowl was reamed. The stem was oxidized, calcified and had tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the button. It had promise but it was very dirty. I took some photos of the pipe when I received it. I was curious about the particular line of Hardcastle’s pipes that I was working on. I wanted some more information on the Hardcastle’s Jack O’London line so I did some searching on Pipephil (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-hardcastle.html). I including the following screen capture below.I turned to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Hardcastle) to try to gather more information on the line. The quote below links it to the Family Period of Hardcastle’s.

Models & Grades – Family Period

Straight Grain, Supergrain, Leweard, Nut Bruyere, De Luxe, Royal Windsor Sandhewn, Royal Crown, The Crown, Phito Dental, Old Bruyere, Jack O’London, Dental Briar, Phito, Dental, Dryconomy, Drawel, Phithu, Telebirar, Camden, Lightweight, The Table, Dovetail, Dental, Crescent Extra, Lonsdale, Welard De Luxe

That could make sense as there is a Henry Birks and Sons Ltd. in Vancouver. Since the pipe came through a Vancouver based pipe shop there could be a connection. It is one of those mysteries that I am not sure will be solved.

I had sent the batch of pipes from the shop to my brother Jeff in Idaho and he had cleaned them up for me. It was several years ago now that he sent them back to me and I am just now getting to finish them. He reamed them with a Pipnet Reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife.  He had scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush and rinsed it off with warm water to remove the grime in the rustication. He cleaned the internals of the shank and stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners to remove the tarry residue and oils in the shank and airway. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the stem surface. When it arrived here on my work table I took photos of the pipe before I started my part of the restoration. The bowl was a definite improvement but the stem still showed some oxidation.     The inner and outer edges were in excellent condition. There were nicks and damaged areas on the rim top. There was also some darkening on the top. The stem look good but there was still some oxidation and there were tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. The underside was worse than the topside.      I took a photo of the stamping on the sides of the shank. The stamping is clear and readable and reads as noted above.      I took the stem off the pipe and took a photo of the parts to show the look of the pipe as a whole.I polished the rim top and bowl with 1500-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads to polish the briar.      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 a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. You can see the grain showing through the deep glow.       I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the stem surface with the flame of a Bic lighter. I was able to lift the majority of the dents but there were two on the underside and a dent along the button on the top side. I filled them in with clear super glue and set it aside to cure. Once the repair cured I smoothed out the repairs with a needle file.    I sanded out the repair with 220 grit sandpaper to blend it into the surface of the surrounding vulcanite. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.     I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.       This Hardcastle’s British Made Jack O’London Bent Billiard is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. This great looking pipe that came to me from the local pipe shop estate that I am restoring and selling for them. The medium brown stain highlights the grain and works well with the polished vulcanite taper 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 the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Hardcastle’s Bent Billiard 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: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. I have a variety of brands to work on from the shop. 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.

New Life for a Hardcastle’s London Made Reject Pot


Blog by Steve Laug

This perfectly shaped little Hardcastle’s sandblast pot was the next pipe to my worktable. It is a small almost pencil shank pot. It is stamped Hardcastle’s London Made and across that it is stamped Reject. It has a rich blast on the sides of the bowl and shank. There is a smooth portion on the bottom of the bowl and shank for the stamping and allowing it to be a sitter. My brother took the next photos to show the condition of the pipe before he cleaned it up.hard1He took some close up photos of the bowl and stamping. The bowl had a thick cake and a large overflow of lava on the rim. The lava covered the light blast finish on the rim completely and it was hard to tell the condition of the bowl at this point. The finish was worn and dirty but there were no chips or dents marring the finish. The stem is oxidized and you can see the Hardcastle’s H stamp on the left side near the shank. You can see the stamping on the shank and clearly see the REJECT stamp across the initial stamping. I am not sure why this pipe was rejected. It appears to be a decent piece of briar. There were two small sandpits on the sides of the bowl that I suppose may have caused it to be a reject but that is not clear to me.hard2 hard3My brother did his usual great clean up on the exterior of the pipe. He scrubbed it with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush and was able to remove the finish. He reamed the bowl and removed the lava build up on the rim and left a slightly darkened rim with no burns or damage to the edges. I took the next set of photos to show what the pipe looked like when it arrived in Vancouver.hard4 hard5I took a close up photo of the rim to show the darkening on the back side of the top. It was clean but darkened. There were no burn marks or damaged briar on the edges of the bowl. The stamping is also shown and it remains sharp and distinct.hard6The stem was lightly oxidized and there were tooth dents and chatter on the top and underside near the button. The button had some flattening and wear as well.hard7I used a brass bristle tire brush to scrub the top of the rim and try to clean out some of the darkening on the rim. I was able to remove some of it and make it less pronounced.hard8I wiped the bowl down with acetone on cotton pads to clean of any remnants of the old finish and to remove the debris from the brass brush work on the rim.hard9 hard10 hard11With the bowl cleaned I stained it with a dark brown aniline stain mixed 50/50 with isopropyl alcohol. I flamed the stain and repeated the process until the coverage was even on the bowl and in the deep pits of the sandblast finish.hard12I took some photos of the pipe at this point in the process. The stain had covered well. The colour was a little dark for my liking and would need to be lightened a bit before I was finished. You can see the sand pits on both sides of the bowl that may have made this pipe a reject. I have circled them in red.hard13 hard14I cleaned the mortise with a dental spatula and then cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and alcohol. I also cleaned out the airway into the bowl and in the stem.hard15To lighten the colour of the stain I washed it down with some alcohol on cotton pads until the colour was more to my liking. The finished colour is shown in the photos below.hard17 hard18I painted the dents in the stem with the flame of a Bic lighter and was able to raise them almost smooth. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the slight dimples that remained in the surface. I wet sanded the stem with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads and rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil. I dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads and rubbed it down with the oil after each set of three pads. After the final 12000 grit sanding I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry.hard19 hard20 hard21I buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffer and gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand waxed the bowl with Conservator’s Wax. I buffed the bowl and stem with a clean buffing pad and again by hand with a microfibre cloth to raise and deepen the shine on the briar. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I am pretty happy with the finished pipe. Thanks for looking.hard22 hard23 hard24 hard25 hard26 hard27 hard28 hard29

A Unique Piece of Pipe History Almost Lost – A Hardcastle’s Dental Briar Reg. Design No. 857327


I was gifted a little Hardcastle Apple by a friend on Pipe Smokers Unlimited and a reader of the blog, Bill Tonge. It had the most unusual stem that I think I have ever seen on a pipe. In some ways it looked like a classic dental bit like those seen on other pipes. It had the higher curved upper edge of the button that worked to hang behind an upper plate and the grooves on the under and upper side of the stem for the plate to hook into. But that was all it had in common. The end of the stem, viewed from the button end had a single orific opening rather than a slot. It was a flat upright wall of vulcanite with a single hole in the middle. On the flat surface of the stem just ahead of the button was a large open area where it looked as if a piece of the vulcanite had broken or been removed. The airway was exposed. The gap between the dental end and the open end of the airway was a good ¼ inch. Both Bill and I were convinced it was a candidate for a stem replacement, cutback and reshaped button or as a guinea pig for me to practice on using Jacek’s stem splicing procedure.
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I can’t tell you how many times I took it out of the repair box to have a look. I would turn it over in my hands and think about the three ways to repair what appeared to be damage. I even sketched out a splice on paper at work on my lunch hour. Then last evening I was looking it over thinking the time had come for the work. As I looked it over I noticed that everything was just too evenly cut. The grooves on the top and bottom did not line up. The top one made allowances for the open area. The open area was also very clean and regular. There were no jagged edges on the area. It was clearly cut that way on purpose. So before I started doing anything with the stem I decided to do a bit of digging.I have included some photos of the stem taken from two different Ebay sales of a Dental Briar Pipe. The first two are a top view of the stem and the last two are of the underside. These show the design of the stem and what I commented on above. The pipe on my table has exactly the same stem and stamping at the ones pictured below.
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I looked it over and here is what I found. The pipe was stamped on the left side of the stem HARDCASTLE’S over DENTAL BRIAR over Reg. Design No.857327. On the right side it was stamped MADE IN LONDON ENGLAND. On the underside of the shank it is marked with the number 678, a shape number. Stamped on the vulcanite saddle stem is the Hardcastle’s H. The Reg. Design No. was a clue for me to start my hunt. (See the photo below of a pipe that is stamped identically to the one I have.)
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I Googled for information on how to find out about a Registered Design Number. I figured that it would be like finding out patent information. One of the first links came up was to the National Archives. http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/records/research-guides/reg-design-trademark.htm I read through the various pages and put in the design number. I found that the designs having number beginning with 857,000 numbers come from 1949. This number was 857,327 so it was pretty clear to me that the design was registered in 1949. At least I had found that the pipe was a made during the time the Hardcastle family owned the brand. At first I thought the design was solely for the stem but when I removed the stem I found that it was far more than that. It included an inserted metal tube deep in the shank that rested against the airway in the bowl. It extended into the shank where it was met by a metal stinger like apparatus in the tenon. This apparatus was set in the tenon. It was a ball on the end of a short tube – the difference being that it was hollow. The end of the ball that rested against the tube in the shank was open thus connecting the airway in the bowl to the airway in the stem through a metal tube that gave a cool material to wick out the moisture in the smoke before it was delivered to the wide open end of the dental bit.
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From there I went to the link for the British Intellectual Property Office. Now the problems arose for me. I could not find the Registered Design Number on that site. Nothing came back listed with that number on any British patent or registration sites. I was hoping to find at least a diagram of the pipe stem and internals as well as a patent/registration application. But there were none to be found on the sites. I wrote an email to the BIPO in hopes that they respond with some information. They wrote back saying that the design was too old and not in their records. They suggested the National Archives. I searched there again and could not access the files on this number. A dead end? Potentially but I would see if I could go at it from a different route.

I searched and read some of the history of the brand. One of the sites I turned to was Pipedia because I have found that they generally have good concise summaries of a particular brand or the lines in a brand. I found some helpful information on the different time periods of Hardcastle’s production. http://pipedia.org/index.php?title=hardcastle. I quote in part below:

“Hardcastle was founded in 1908 by Edmund Hardcastle and built itself a good reputation among the numerous British mid-graders. In 1935 Dunhill started to build a factory next door to Hardcastle in Forest Road, Walthamstow, London E17. The family owned Hardcastle Pipes Limited sold 49% of its equity to Dunhill in 1936.

Along with closing down its pipe factory in Notting Hill in 1946 Dunhill bought the remaining shares turning Hardcastle into a 100% Dunhill subsidiary. As members of the Hardcastle family continued as executives in the company’s management Hardcastle retained a certain independence.

This ended in 1967. Dunhill merged Hardcastle with Parker (100% Dunhill as well). The new Parker Hardcastle Limited also absorbed the former Masta Patent Pipe Company. Hardcastle’s Forest Road plant was immediately given up and the production of Hardcastle pipes was shifted to Parker’s nearby St. Andrews Road factory – now consequently called Parker-Hardcastle factory.

In fact this put a definite end to Hardcastle as an independent pipe brand and no one other than Edwin Hardcastle, the last of the family executives, spoke frankly and loudly of Hardcastle pipes being degenerated to an inferior Dunhill second. Today Hardcastle pipes use funneled down bowls that are not deemed suitable to bear the Dunhill or even the Parker name as well as obtaining briar from other sources.”

Now that I had a bit of a timeline for the brand it was time to see if I could find information on the various models & grades of Hardcastle pipes before the takeover by Dunhill – a time known as the Family Period. On the Pipedia site they listed that during that time the following models/lines were produced. Straight Grain, Supergrain, Leweard, Nut Bruyere, De Luxe, Royal Windsor Sandhewn, Royal Crown, The Crown, Phito Dental, Old Bruyere, Jack O’London, Dental Briar, Phito, Dental, Dryconomy, Drawel, Phithu, Telebirar, Camden, Lightweight, The Table, Dovetail, Dental, Crescent Extra, Lonsdale, Welard De Luxe . I have marked the Dental Briar in bold in the list above to make it stand out in the list. It was produced during this time. It appears that the Hardcastle was taken over by Dunhill in 1946. At that time, family still retained some control but the brand changed. In 1967 the brand was merged with Parker and became Parker/Hardcastle. With this merger Hardcastle as a distinct brand disappeared and the pipe became a line of seconds for Dunhill.

That information at least gives something of a timeline for my pipe. I know that it was made between the year that Registered Design Number gave of 1949 and the merger date of 1967. That is as close a date as I can ascertain at this time.

It seemed that I had found all I would find out about this pipe for the moment. It was time to work on the pipe itself and do the cleanup and restoration. I took the pipe to my worktable and quickly looked it over to see what I needed to address in this refurb. The bowl had an uneven cake in it – heavy in the middle and light at the top and the bottom of the bowl. The briar had several fills that had fallen out or somehow been dislodged along the way – one on the shank visible in the photo below next to the stem, one on the back side of the bowl and one on the bottom of the bowl. The rim was undamaged and quite clean other than a slight build up of tars and oils. The next series of three photos give a good picture of the state of the pipe when I began the work on it.
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I removed the stem and cleaned out the shank and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and isopropyl alcohol. I scrubbed until they came out clean and unblemished. Then I reamed the bowl and wiped down the inside of the bowl with cotton swabs and alcohol and ran several more pipe cleaners through the shank to remove any carbon dust.
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I cleaned out the damaged fills in the briar on the shank, back of the bowl and the bottom of the bowl with a dental pick. I wiped the bowl down with alcohol to clean off the dust and give the glue a clean surface to stick. I then packed briar dust into the crevices and dripped super glue onto the briar dust. I quickly put more briar dust on top of the glue before it dried. I have found that sandwiching the glue between briar dust enables the stain to have a better chance of taking on the patch.
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I sanded the patches with 220 grit sandpaper, medium and fine grit sanding sponges and then with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads to smooth out the patches and blend them into the surface of the bowl.
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When I had finished sanding the bowl I wiped it down with acetone to break down the finish and remove the waxes on the bowl to prepare it for restaining. When I do this kind of patches on a bowl I restain the entirety of the bowl rather than trying to match the stain in the spots to the whole.
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I stained the bowl with a dark brown aniline stain. I heated the briar, applied the stain, flamed it and repeated the process to get a good solid, even coverage on the briar.
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When it dried I wiped it down with a cotton pad and alcohol to lighten the stain and make the grain more visible.
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At this point in the process I buffed the bowl and stem with red Tripoli and then White Diamond to even out the stain and make it flow better on the bowl. The briar dust and superglue patches blended in quite well on the bottom and back side of the bowl. The one on the shank was visible but at least it was smooth and dark. With some work on the finish I would be able to get it blend better.
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I sanded the bowl with 1500-2400 grit micromesh pads to smooth out the finish and to lighten the stain on the bowl. I was aiming to bring it back as close as possible to the original finish which had red highlights. When I had finished sanding the bowl I gave it a second buff with White Diamond to see where I stood. At this point the work on the bowl was finished and I was pleased with the results. The grain showed clearly and the stain gave a pleasant contrast of dark and light. The patches looked much better and though visible blended in far better with the stain and the grain patterns. The rim and the inner bevel looked excellent.

Now it was time to address the stem. I scrubbed it down with Brebbia Pipe and Mouthpiece Polish. It has a fine grit in the paste and when it is rubbed into the stem works quite well to remove the surface oxidation and buildup. I worked it into the grooves and the dip on the end of the stem with a soft bristle tooth brush. I let it dry for a short time and then rubbed it down with cotton pads. The photos below show the stem after this initial polishing with the Brebbia Polish.
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I scrubbed the stem with Meguiar’s Scratch X2.0 and when it dry buffed it off with a cotton pad. I repeated this process several times, scrubbing the grooves and dip on the end of the stem with the same tooth brush. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil and when dry took it the buffer for another buff with White Diamond. I gave it several coats of carnauba wax, buffing it with a soft flannel buff between coats. I found it very hard to remove some of the oxidation from the channels/grooves on the top and bottom of the stem. Under the flash it is clear that there is still some oxidation at that point. I rubbed it down with another coat of Obsidian Oil being careful to get deep into the edges of the grooves and the dip on the top of the stem.
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The finished pipe is shown in the last series of photos below. I am happy with how this old timer turned out. I am so glad I did my research before cutting off the stem and recutting a new button or splicing in a new button. I would have ruined a unique piece of pipe history and lost the opportunity to learn yet another piece of the history of our fascinating hobby. Now instead it is a restored piece that shows the creativity of those seeking to create a more comfortable pipe. Now I have to load a bowl and give it a try.
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