Barling -- my experience and yours

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mngslvs

New member
Jan 24, 2019
37
2
I just ordered a Barling pre transition from a reputable vendor, had all the right markings, nice looking pipe, comes with legendary Barling reputation. Smoked a straight Va flake, three times, and have to say I've never smoked a worse tasting pipe. Just plain bitter. Nothing at all to do with my technique.....been smoking pipes for several decades, decent quality pipes and good quality tobacco. This experience short on the heels from another pre-trans Barling. That one not quite as bad, but still pretty bad.

I have know idea how this pipe could have ended up tasting the way it did, especially as I've been told that a pipe should last forever, with proper care.

After years of smoking pipes of mixed quality, in the past year have been expending considerable sums on highly reputed pipes, trying to maximize my pleasure. Barling ? Never again. Apparently this has not been the experience of most, so I am somewhat baffled.

 

cigrmaster

Preferred Member
May 26, 2012
13,543
151
United States
It sounds like your Barling has a nasty ghost. It could be a Lakeland ghost or an English one. I own 6 Pre Transi Barlings and 4 of the 6 had a nasty ghost to them. I tried ozone treatments but they didn't get rid of it all. I ended up doing the moist coffee grounds and it got rid of the ghost.

 

dmcmtk

Preferred Member
Aug 23, 2013
2,896
19
I have know [no] idea how this pipe could have ended up tasting the way it did, especially as I've been told that a pipe should last forever, with proper care.
How clean was the stummel's airway, mortise, and the stem's airway...usually good places to pay some attention to. Also, even a properly cleaned estate pipe can need breaking in ~ 10 to a dozen smokes.
:)

 

paulfg

Senior Member
Feb 21, 2016
372
14
Corfu Greece
So its a sixty plus year old pipe and you blame it on the maker. Every one of there pipes is bad 8O
as Dave said it sounds like a ghost or in need of a good clean

 

jpmcwjr

Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
13,551
160
Monterey Peninsula
I'd try this: Flush out the pipe with 60 seconds of hot running tap water. Run a couple of pipe cleaners through the airway. Take the stem out and clean the mortise with Q-tips or paper towel. Add damp coffee ground to the chamber and let dry for 2-3 days. Remove grounds, flush again with hot water, towel dry. You can smoke it right then to test.

 

rigmedic1

Preferred Member
May 29, 2011
3,893
3
I have a Barling's Guinea Grain with a spectacular straight grain, a full bent that I am pretty sure was made during the transition period. It smokes well, and I can get an hour out of a smoke without a relight. The problem with any estate pipe is that you can never be sure what tobaccos were smoked in it before you got it, and some ghosts are truly difficult to exorcize. I have had good luck with removing as much cake as possible and then applying the salt and alcohol technique. Make sure that you check the mortise, as that area is often overlooked during routine cleaning, and can really make a pipe taste bad if not scraped clean.

 

sablebrush52

Preferred Member
Jun 15, 2013
9,616
118
I own over 100 Family Era Barlings ranging from 1882 to the 1960's. I've only had one that failed to please.
While it's possible that you got a couple of stinkers, that seems unlikely. Give the pipe a thorough clean out, paying attention to the airway. A lot of badness collects in the mortise.
Remove any old cake, trimming it carefully back to the wood. Scrub out the airway with bristle pipe cleaners or a nylon shank brush dipped in alcohol, until they come out clean. Get every bit of gunk out of the mortise. Scrub out the stem thoroughly.
A warm water flush and more scrubbing can really brighten up the pipe after the alcohol has done most of the heavy lifting.
When you buy an estate, you're buying its former owners habits as well, and sometimes it takes a bit of doing to erase these ghosts.

 

greeneyes

Member
Jun 5, 2018
101
8
Often a bristled pipe cleaner just won't adequately clean the passage. The aforementioned nylon brush, dipped in a strong alcohol, does wonders with vigorous scrubbing. It's also wise to remove the stem from the pipe and ensure that the junction where the mortise receives the stem is clean (Q-tips with alcohol). Everything you're saying suggests that there is a vestige of untouched filth that remains to sour your smoke.

 

mngslvs

New member
Jan 24, 2019
37
2
Thanks all.

The source I bought it from is known to give great care in cleaning to his pipes before sale. However, I will go to work on it. Will admit that the coffee grounds trick is new to me.

 

donjgiles

Preferred Member
Apr 14, 2018
865
23
I use ear wax cleaning tools to scrape out the shank, it amazes how much dried tars and nastiness come out of old estate pipes. Clean is never clean enough for old estates...
Don

 

mikethompson

Preferred Member
Jun 26, 2016
3,971
86
Don, you've mentioned the earwax tools before. Care to post a link of what you have?
As for the coffee grounds trick, I've used it on a few estates and was amazed by how clean the pipes came out afterwards. I don't have many tricks in my bag, but that is definitely one of them.

 

donjgiles

Preferred Member
Apr 14, 2018
865
23
Sure

https://www.amazon.com/Curette-Removal-Stainless-Hygiene-Storage/dp/B07BWDH68M/ref=asc_df_B07BWDH68M/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=343161321564&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=1961434171260826881&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=1024922&hvtargid=pla-726393814556&psc=1&tag=&ref=&adgrpid=71833457274&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvadid=343161321564&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=1961434171260826881&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=1024922&hvtargid=pla-726393814556

 

ssjones

Moderator
Staff member
May 11, 2011
14,104
88
Maryland
Sometimes, no matter the cleaning method, an old pipe will still have a ghost. Smoke though it with a strong blend.

 

pitchfork

Preferred Member
May 25, 2012
3,800
2
I'm with Don -- I hate it when my pipe gets clogged with earwax.
For the OP, I highly recommend a quick flush with warm/hot water. Who knows what kind of ghosts are in the bowl? If there's still a bitterness after that, you might try sanding out all the "cake" inside the bowl and flushing it with water again -- ghosts don't usually seep deep into the wood, so there's a good chance the water flush will work.
Good luck!

 

pitchfork

Preferred Member
May 25, 2012
3,800
2
I'm with Don -- I hate it when my pipe gets clogged with earwax.
For the OP, I highly recommend a quick flush with warm/hot water. Who knows what kind of ghosts are in the bowl? If there's still a bitterness after that, you might try sanding out all the "cake" inside the bowl and flushing it with water again -- ghosts don't usually seep deep into the wood, so there's a good chance the water flush will work.
Good luck!

 

sablebrush52

Preferred Member
Jun 15, 2013
9,616
118
The source I bought it from is known to give great care in cleaning to his pipes before sale.
I learned to never rely on that. I've bought estates from several top ranked sellers, and all of them needed work, sometimes considerable work, to get the pipes actually clean. A seller has only so much time to put into each pipe. One of those "ready to smoke" pipes needed another 80 pipe cleaners to finally be in "ready to smoke" condition.

 

paulie66scandinavian

Preferred Member
Jul 28, 2016
3,248
37
Finland-Scandinavia-EU
Not long ago I got me one older Stanwell which had this fairly strong Lakeland ghost in it and now after Booze&salt treatment and several bowls of plain burley tobaccoes the pipe starts showing signs of stabilization

 

dcon

Preferred Member
Mar 16, 2019
598
12
I agree with sable. I always give estate purchases a thorough cleaning and the salt and alcohol treatment.