James Upshall pipes

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alexj52

Starting to Get Obsessed
Sep 26, 2018
177
19
I've recently learned about JU, and quickly became fascinated. So, I'm looking for one now. I've mostly heard about grades above the "P", but my budget would only allow a grade A, S, or a sandblast. Will they have the same smoking qualities, with the difference solely in the beauty of grain? Also, since I greatly prefer unsmoked pieces, I'm conducting the majority of my hunt in jamesupshallpipeco of eBay. I've learned that they have a rather controversial reputation, should I still give it a go? I would really appreciate any experiences with this seller as well.

Thank you in advance for all responses!

 

saltedplug

Lifer
Aug 20, 2013
5,207
5,078
If the Ebay seller has an iffy rep, I would not do business with them. A lot more places to run and hide than a B&M. At this point new is going to be occasional. I wouldn't be in a hurry to get one. Buy when you're sure of what you're getting. You may find that in the end pipes are just pipes and that you've misspent. But I wouldn't have believed that at the beginning as there any number of guys that gush about their mid-grade or high-end pipes. See what works for you.

 

Briar Baron

Can't Leave
Sep 30, 2016
436
540
Sydney
Yes, be a bit cautious, "controversial reputation". I have two from there bought about 3-4 years ago. The pipes are good but don't overpay and occasionally the engineering may have a hiccup. To be fair though, I had to send back a high end Castello for a similar issue to another vendor.

 
Oct 7, 2016
2,377
4,960
The present owner of the eBay seller is the widow of the man who gained a controversial reputation. While I have not won any of her auctions, she was very responsive to an inquiry about one item. Some of the Upshalls she has look very nice, others strike me as kind of mundane

 

alexj52

Starting to Get Obsessed
Sep 26, 2018
177
19
Thanks everyone! Didn't know Mr. Barnes was a member, I should definitely contact him.

 

cigrmaster

Lifer
May 26, 2012
18,985
47,420
64
Sarasota Florida
At one time I owned half a dozen Upshalls and they were all P grades. The only Upshall left in my collection is an older sandblased Apple. It smokes very nicely and as good as any of my P grades. The one bitch I have about my last Upshall is the fact that the stem is made from the older sulfur laden vulcanite and it oxidizes as soon as I look at it.

 

ssjones

Moderator
Staff member
May 11, 2011
16,627
6,221
Maryland
postimg.cc
Upshalls were known for their grain, and not their stems. So, if you are picky about a stem, that aspect can disappoint (and as mentioned, they oxidize like mad). I have had P's, A, S and B grades. They all smoked consistently well for me. Occasionally you can get a nice deal on a B on Ebay, sometimes they go under the radar. G's rarely go unnoticed.

 
May 8, 2017
1,465
1,099
Sugar Grove, IL, USA
Keep an eye out for a Tilshead pipe, which is a James Upshall pipe that didn't make the grade for a JU stamp. Be careful, too, of listings touting a James Upshall that's really a Tilshead. Tilshead was the parent company, so James Upshall pipes were stamped with both "James Upshall" and Tilshead.
I have grades P,B,G, and E. The differences are purely cosmetic. All smoke great. S grade pipes were made for the German market and had a different red stain. My practice is to stick with the older pipes which are not stamped FH.

 

jpmcwjr

Moderator
Staff member
May 12, 2015
21,897
20,362
Carmel Valley, CA
The one bitch I have about my last Upshall is the fact that the stem is made from the older sulfur laden vulcanite and it oxidizes as soon as I look at it.
Try a real quick and very thin coating with mineral oil. Voilà!

 

alexj52

Starting to Get Obsessed
Sep 26, 2018
177
19
Craig, does the "FH" indicate that they are rather recent productions and therefore of lower quality? Also, where can I find the stamp in a Upshall, in case they exist.

 
May 8, 2017
1,465
1,099
Sugar Grove, IL, USA
The FH stamp was a carryover from Barry Jones' experience at Charatan, where the FH stamp was often used. He didn't use it though, until sometime after Ken Barnes left the company. The pipes without FH, then, were earlier production. Those were the best and most reliable years. That's not to say that the later production wasn't good, but all things being equal, I'd take a Barnes era pipe over a post-Barnes era pipe. The FH stamp will be on the shank.

 
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