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Briarville Bulldog Restoration

(60 posts)
  • Started 3 months ago by mikethompson
  • Latest reply from tenton
  1. mikethompson

    mikethompson

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    Well after humming and hawwing for a long time, I decided to get this old guy redone. I emailed Ric back and forth based on some reccomendations on here, and sent it off this morning. Godspeed little bulldog. I can't wait to see it when its all done.







    Posted 3 months ago #
  2. redglow

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    Awweome Pipe sir!

    Posted 3 months ago #
  3. weezell

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    Ric will take good care of it! I have 100% faith in the guy...

    "the weez"...
    Posted 3 months ago #
  4. dmcmtk

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    Nice looking old pre-war Comoy's made pipe, we await the results.

    Dave
    Duke Street Irregular
    Posted 3 months ago #
  5. mikethompson

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    Thanks guys, I couldn't seem to let go of it.

    The pipe itself is all clogged and caked, and Ric has already said it needs a new stem. Should be good as new when it returns.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  6. mikethompson

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    Just got an email that it has been received. I can't wait to see it post-Ric.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  7. scloyd

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    Nice pipe Mike. Looking forward to the after pics.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  8. paulie66scandinavian

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    That'll be a stunning looking pipe for sure,love this today seldom seen a shape,I have just one similar Genod Fr.

    Paul The Scandinavian'
    Posted 3 months ago #
  9. eaglewriter1

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    The Grain already seems very nice, cant wait to see some Pics of the cleaned and restored pipe.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  10. kcghost

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    What was the first clue about the stem needing to be replaced?

    Posted 3 months ago #
  11. ssjones

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    Make sure he doesn't discard that stem - it can be repaired (and with care, used).

    Al

    Posted 3 months ago #
  12. mikethompson

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    Other than the big tooth hole in it, it was a little chewed up. I think that is to be expected from a 70+ year old pipe. I'm just going by what Ric told me over email.

    I've asked to have the original stem included when it gets sent back, but I doubt I'd be able to repair it.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  13. hoosierpipeguy

    hoosierpipeguy

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    I've got 4 that Ric just sent back today. Looking forward to seeing the magic he performed. I will post photos when I get them back.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  14. mikethompson

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    Still being worked on. Not impatient, just eager to see it done.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  15. mikethompson

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    Its on its way back as we speak. Can't wait to see it all fixed up.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  16. wbradk

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    I just got back the latest two pipes that I picked up on Ebay and sent to Ric at Briarville, which happily is only a few miles from me here in Florida, so I often stop by and chat with the folks instead of mailing the pipes. One pipe was in such bad shape that I could not even pull out the stem; about 75 years old and had really taken a beating. It came back not like new, but better than new, because the shine was just a bit better than one usually sees on new briars. It was just unbelievable how nice these were, not just the exterior, but the interior was just perfect on both. I cannot emphasize enough how strong my recommendation is for Briarville. They just do unbelievable work, and they are nice folks, as well.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  17. hoosierpipeguy

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    Briarville is exceptional all the way around. I'm extremely pleased with the work they did on the 4 I sent them. I'm certain I'll send more in the future.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  18. mikethompson

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    Posted 2 months ago #
  19. ashdigger

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    Sweet!! Ric has done numerous repairs for me and I've been impressed....top to bottom. I'm sending two more out shortly.

    Ubi Ignis Est?
    Posted 2 months ago #
  20. mikethompson

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    I'm hoping its at the shorter end of that window, but I'm sure it will be worth the wait.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  21. mikethompson

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    Any day now, as it has cleared customs.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  22. jaytex969

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    Even with the tobacco ban?

    Gunner, Black Frigate. Say "Hello" to my little friend!
    Posted 2 months ago #
  23. mikethompson

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    I got it back yesterday. I will take some decent pictures of it today and post them. He did an incredible job. The pipe looks great.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  24. mikethompson

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    Terrible, terrible, terrible pictures that do not do justice to the repair work. The bowl is all cleaned up, and the new stem fits perfectly. Very nice work by Ric, and I can see why he is so highly recommended.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  25. hoosierpipeguy

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    Very nice, you have yourself a new pipe there. Congrats to you and good work, once again, by Briarville!

    Posted 2 months ago #
  26. mso489

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    The age and history on this pipe, and the excellent restoration, make it far better than new. That one will be a pleasure to light up for years and years to come.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  27. ophiuchus

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    Thanks for sharing the I'm-sending-my-pipe-for repair trip with us. This one turned out very well; that pipe sure is pretty now.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  28. weezell

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    Posted 2 months ago #
  29. scloyd

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    Looks great. Congrats Mike.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  30. cortezattic

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    Sorry, to me, the stem doesn't look like it's fitted to the shank very closely.

    I find myself sitting idly on the line dividing past and future,
    as if I could kill time without injuring eternity. -- Thoreau
    Posted 2 months ago #
  31. ssjones

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    Uh....that shank transition does not look good. Hopefully just not inserted correctly.
    Send me the original stem, I can fix that hole for you.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  32. mikethompson

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    Well now its all I can look at. I will post some closer pictures later. The stem is all the way in.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  33. jpmcwjr

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    Just a tip or two: LINK to the thread.

    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 2 months ago #
  34. clickklick

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    Update photos on this?

    You paid for this work and are happy with it? This doesn't look good based on the pics you've provided so far.

    Hobbyist Pipemaker - Carmette Pipes
    Posted 2 months ago #
  35. jpmcwjr

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    Lighting and esp. highlights can make shank-stem junctures look off. That's why some more photos with better lighting would be appreciated. (more even, more direct, but avoiding reflections/highlights.)

    Fine pipe, though. Enjoy!

    Posted 2 months ago #
  36. georged

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    That's not lighting. There are so many things wrong with this I won't even list them.

    Did your receiving the pipe close the book on this project, Mike? As in, both you and Ric are OK with it?

    .

    Dogs live such short lives... and spend most it waiting for us to come home
    Posted 2 months ago #
  37. mikethompson

    mikethompson

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    I suppose I should post a reply huh?

    Well it is interesting. I thought I had a pretty good eye for detail and really liked the way the pipe turned out when I got it back. The bowl is super clean and ready to go. Then I noticed the stem fitment and I honestly couldn't not notice it.

    Luckily I still had the original stem and a fellow member has offered to fix that up for me. When that is all done I will post up some better pictures.

    So overall, yes I am happy with how the bowl worked out, it can actually be used now. As for the stem, well, less so. I think I would still recommend them as the bowl was pretty gunked up with crud and tars. But like I said, the more I looked at the new stem the more little things bugged me.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  38. georged

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    Luckily I still had the original stem and a fellow member has offered to fix that up for me.

    Except now the original won't look right, either.

    The end of the shank was rounded over in an attempt to "fudge" the poor fit of the new stem---meaning wood was removed---so now the face of the original stem will be exposed for .5mm or so. The pipe's LINE (profile) will be back, in other words, but with a step or "notch" in it.

    Also, depending on how severely belled the mortise was (most diamond/square ones are), it might have been re-cut to parallel so the new stem wouldn't "wag" when fitted. Which, if it was, would mean the old one will just rattle around in there now. The pipe won't even stay together.

    I'd check before mailing it off for a second go-round of work.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  39. User has not uploaded an avatar

    bent1

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    Agree, the transition from shank to stem is not a good, flush, square fit.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  40. paulie66scandinavian

    Paul

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    And I thought the stem edges were overpuffed as it may often happen when one is attempting to remove bad oxidation,eitherway, this pipe is truly nice looking and eventually when time comes You may choose to opt for another stem.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  41. ssjones

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    I was able to repair the original stem for Mike. It's enroute back to him, hopefully delivered today, per USPS. Unfortunately, I only had the stem, so I couldn't remove all the oxidation. Hopefully Mike can do that in person. I'm pleased with the repair. It's almost invisible, out of a harsh light. The size/area of the hole made for an easy fix and it should be durable, unless Mike is Count Dracula.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  42. mikethompson

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    Hey I was just going to post in this thread (good morning Al!)

    yes the stem should be in my hand tomorrow. Thanks again for the repair Al, much appreciated! I will post pictures when it is all back together again.

    As for sending it back to Ric, that would get expensive fast. Shipping down to the States isn't as cheap as it once was. I'm very happy with how the bowl turned out, but the stem, well. As I said pictures soon.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  43. jpmcwjr

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    Actually, a new photo of the pipe, with even lighting and a neutral background would be instructive. Similar to what you took on the before pix.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  44. mikethompson

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    With apologies to John,

    Here is the pipe with the new stem:


    Here is the pipe with the Al-repaired stem:


    The old stem is a little loose in the shank now, but that can be remedied.

    Interestingly, and I hadn't noticed this before, the new stem is longer than the old one. Not significantly, but still longer.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  45. didimauw

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    Very nice, I'm glad Al got it fixed for you. It's too bad you can see where the briar was taken off during the first repair. Now the stem is accurate, but the shank is off. Beautiful pipe!

    "I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."
    Posted 1 month ago #
  46. mikethompson

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    I will just have to live with it, I just have to find some beeswax and give it a few good smokes now like it was intended for.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  47. scloyd

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    Nice pipe Mike. I would be happy with that pipe with either stem. Enjoy it.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  48. seanv

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    Very nice pipe, I too would have enjoyed it either way. Damn the internet.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  49. sablebrush52

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    I'm really sorry that you went through this. What a mess. I guess I won't be recommending Briarville anymore, except for their meerschaum work. This reminds me of the mess Norwoods made of replacing a member's custom stem a few years back. It was a monstrosity. Hence I never recommend Norwoods for anything advanced. It's like with the artists I work with on productions. I know who's got what level of expertise, their strengths and their weaknesses and recommend, or hire, accordingly.

    There are a few really excellent pro grade restorers around, but who knows for how much longer. George Dibos is one and there's Tim West. RonnieB retired a couple of years ago. An up and comer would be Anthony Cook of Cook's Fine Pipeworks. He does beautiful stem work.

    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 month ago #
  50. ssjones

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    I guess some might have good and bad days.

    Norwoods absolutely nailed a new stem for my James Upshall B, Silver Spigot. But I guess a spigot duplication might be lower on the skill scale (button,shape, size all an exact match for the OEM Upshall stem). That was four years ago, so things might have changed.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  51. designatedmedia

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    This is very disappointing to read. I would hope someone would reach out to Ric at Briarville to see what happened. I’ve had a few stems replaced by him (all freehand stems) and they were great. I have also had a botched job by Norwoods as well as James Connelly over the years. While I think George and Anthony Cook are absolutely the best at what they do they are usually booked solid months in advance.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  52. sablebrush52

    sablebrush52

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    Norwoods absolutely nailed a new stem for my James Upshall B, Silver Spigot. But I guess a spigot duplication might be lower on the skill scale (button,shape, size all an exact match for the OEM Upshall stem). That was four years ago, so things might have changed.

    What I remember about the incident is that the pipe was an Italian high grade and that the stem was a non standard shape. In the end, the member sent the pipe back to the factory in Italy and they made a replacement stem for him.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  53. ssjones

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    Harry Callahan said it best.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4lvLBe6fsE

    Posted 1 month ago #
  54. mikethompson

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    Well I guess I forgot to update this situation.

    I was contacted by Ric at Briarville. He was very apologetic and took complete ownership of the situation and offered to redo the pipe again at no cost to me. I declined, but the offer stood. I have a little store credit there now.

    That happened a few weeks ago but I thought I should bring some closure to the story!

    Posted 1 week ago #
  55. georged

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    The key takeaway from this thread isn't what most people are probably thinking.

    While it's true that "shop quality" (for lack of a better term) varies, that isn't what's most important when deciding who to send a pipe to for a new stem.

    The biggest variable---by FAR---is the specimen itself. Situations and shapes are not only not equal, the difference in difficulty ranges over an order of magnitude. Even more in some cases.

    The trick is in knowing which is which.

    Keeping these truths in mind when "shop shopping" should keep you safe:

    -- Round shanks are easiest

    -- Oval shanks are significantly more difficult

    -- Square/diamond shanks are a bitch

    -- Faceted (more than 4-sided) ones are Queen Bitches From Hell

    -- Length is a difficulty multiplier for all shapes

    -- Short + large diameter + BENT (chunky author & similar) is a special case regardless of cross sectional shape

    -- When in doubt, ask on a board like this one

    Posted 1 week ago #
  56. weezell

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    I have also had a botched job by Norwoods as well as James Connelly over the years.
    Everyone has a "what the " moment. No one repairer is spot on 100% of the time. In other words "shit happens" and as long as they are stand up and attempt to make it better, they have maintained their integrity. I have ,and will trust Briarville now and in the future with no problem at all. Just my opinion FWIW...

    Posted 1 week ago #
  57. pipebaum81

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    Well I guess I forgot to update this situation

    Bravo on the update. One lackluster performance shouldn't necessarily be the end all conclusion. Nice that a redo was offered and store credit granted.

    j/B

    "I am a firm believer in the idea that who we are today is strongly influenced by the sum total of all of the individuals whom we have had the privilege of knowing."
    -huntertrw
    Posted 1 week ago #
  58. hoosierpipeguy

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    I sent 4 pipes to Briarville to be restored a few months back myself. I was quite satisfied with the results, very satisfied in fact. Were they perfect? No, if I turned my most critical Engineer's eye on them, I could pick a few things out that could have been done a bit better. At the same time, given what was charged and my expectations, I'd rate the transaction 9.5 out of 10.

    If I somehow came across an old and rare pipe that needed substantial restoration, I may, or may not, send it to Briarville. Or, I'd discuss it with Ric, let him know my expectations for perfection and ask if he wanted to take on that task. I honestly have no idea what his response would be but if he told me he was up to the task, I'd trust him with the work.

    I am going to speculate that Ric's business model is to take run of the mill pipes to be restored from Joe Sixpack, for a very reasonable price (I thought his prices were unreasonably low to be blunt) and essentially turn chicken s h i t into a reasonable bowl of chicken salad. So it may not be to the standards I might expect from George. I'm not so sure George would have even taken the 4 pipes I had for a restoration job. I'm also not sure this thread didn't evolve into identifying a problem where one really didn't exist.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  59. ashdigger

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    Return time is a factor. I'm very satisfied with Ric. It beats waiting a year and a half.

    It's all about expectations.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  60. tenton

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    I sent a Caminetto to Ric a year or so ago for a new stem. The original stem would not pass a Blitz pipe cleaner and I wanted it slightly longer anyway.

    Overall I was pleased with the work as the new stem had a nice wide open draw and it smoked great. The price and turnaround time was very reasonable.

    However if I was to nit pick, the new stem was way longer than I requested and the new stem was a slightly larger diameter than the stummel diameter and was tapered down to match the diameter of the stummel.

    Posted 1 week ago #

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