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Barling -- my experience and yours

(24 posts)
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    mngslvs

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    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.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  2. cigrmaster

    cigrmaster

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    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.

    Harris
    Posted 1 week ago #
  3. dmcmtk

    dmcmtk

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    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.

    Dave
    Duke Street Irregular
    Posted 1 week ago #
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    paulfg

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    So its a sixty plus year old pipe and you blame it on the maker. Every one of there pipes is bad

    as Dave said it sounds like a ghost or in need of a good clean

    Posted 1 week ago #
  5. jpmcwjr

    jpmcwjr

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    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.

    I know that you believe you understood what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
    Posted 1 week ago #
  6. rigmedic1

    rigmedic1

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    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.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  7. sablebrush52

    sablebrush52

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    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.

    It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt. - Mark Twain

    It is pointless to argue with a fanatic since a dim bulb can't be converted into a searchlight. - Jesse Silver
    Posted 1 week ago #
  8. greeneyes

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    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.

    Posted 1 week ago #
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    oldgeezersmoker

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    A lot of badness collects in the mortise.

    Truer words were never spoken. The rest of Jesse’s advice is also solid.

    Posted 1 week ago #
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    mngslvs

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    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.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  11. donjgiles

    donjgiles

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    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

    Posted 1 week ago #
  12. mikethompson

    mikethompson

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    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.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  13. donjgiles

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  14. ssjones

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    Sometimes, no matter the cleaning method, an old pipe will still have a ghost. Smoke though it with a strong blend.

    Al

    Posted 1 week ago #
  15. pitchfork

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    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!

    Posted 1 week ago #
  16. pitchfork

    pitchfork

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    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!

    Posted 1 week ago #
  17. sablebrush52

    sablebrush52

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    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.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  18. paulie66scandinavian

    Paul

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    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

    Paul The Scandinavian'
    Posted 1 week ago #
  19. dcon

    dcon

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    I agree with sable. I always give estate purchases a thorough cleaning and the salt and alcohol treatment.

    Duane
    (Not Embers)
    Posted 1 week ago #
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    mngslvs

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    Thanks again to all of you.
    Boatloads of wisdom in these forums, it seems.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  21. greeneyes

    greeneyes

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    There's the booze and salt trick. There's the reflux gadget, which I've never used. But once I did actually resort to baking my briars after packing them in activated charcoal. Worked fairly well, although the pipe should be completely clean before doing this to it.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  22. jpmcwjr

    jpmcwjr

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    I think you meant retort.... Reflux would be gross!

    Always use the least harsh treatment first. Later, you can double down on the more extreme cleaning methods. Alcohol can remove some of the properties of briar that make it a great chamber for smoking.

    Posted 1 week ago #
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    instymp

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    I have just smoked the Ghost out on most of mine that were.
    I keep forgetting the coffee method, or too lazy or bull headed.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  24. greeneyes

    greeneyes

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    For the record, reflux is gross, it's true. I have a habit of eating this damn apple pie ice cream before going to bed and I never learn my damn lesson.

    Posted 1 week ago #

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