Blog by Steve Laug
The seller of this pipe identified it as a Malaga made pipe but in all of my searching on the web I was unable to find verification for that. There was nothing to suggest that it was made by Malaga Pipes. The only stamping that the pipe bore was M-2. I just finished restoring a Malaga Pipe and wrote about it in a previous blog https://rebornpipes.com/2016/02/27/a-beautiful-malaga-lovat-came-my-way/. In the comments that were posted in response to this blog there was an exchange of comments between me and John Lawitzke. In them he gave a lot of information on the brand. I figured John might well be able to solve my mystery pipe. I wrote a comment in that blog and asked him about the M-2 stamping. He wrote back with the following information.
Yes, M-2 is a Malaga second. Malaga seconds were marked either M-2 or MALAGA SECOND. Some Malaga seconds, you look at and really wonder why they are a second. A single fill or bad pit was enough to make it a second. Some seconds are really seconds. I have one Malaga second with a severely misdrilled airway. It was drilled half way at a bad angle and then re-drilled at the correct angle.
I have included the photos included by the Ebay seller. They give a pretty clear picture of the condition of the pipe and show the stamping on the side of the shank. Some pretty nice grain shown through the grime that covered the bowl. The M-2 stamping is also clearly visible in the photos.
Given the state of the pipe in the photos I could not wait to get it in hand and give it a closer examination. When it arrived, I put is in the refurbishing waiting box and it sat for a few weeks. This morning I took it out of the box and gave it a closer look. The pipe was in decent shape though dirty. The grain shown through the grime but it was pretty muted. There was a thicker cake than I had imagined and the lava on the rim thickly covered the inner edge hiding damage that certainly lay beneath. There were several nicks or gouges on the right side of the bowl – almost a road rash that can happen from dropping the pipe on concrete. There was also what appeared to be a spot on the right side of the bowl where a sticker had been left and left behind its imprint in the finish. The overall finish was worn to the point of not being visible. In my earlier post I found that Malaga rarely stained their pipes so this one wore the patina of age under the grime. The stem was oxidized and the button had a few tooth marks on the top and bottom. The next four photos show the pipe before I started working on it this morning.
To prepare for my beveling work on the inner edge of the rim I topped the bowl on the topping board to remove the damage to the rim top. Once I had done that I found the only fill on the entire bowl that I can find. It was on the rim top at the left rear. It is right on the outer edge of the rim. I worked on beveling the inner edge of the rim with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. My goal was to work on that edge until the bowl appeared to be round once more. I think it worked pretty well from the photos below.
I scrubbed the bowl and the end of the shank with acetone on cotton pads to remove the grime and the wax on the bowl. From what I read Malaga did not stain their bowls but oil cured them. I wanted to get this one back to natural with the patina of age still in place.
The stem was very tight in the shank and with a little scrubbing with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs I could see why. There were a lot of tars and oils lining the walls of the mortise. I also cleaned out the stem and found that it was nowhere near as dirty as the shank.
With all of the internals cleaned it was time to begin working on the oxidized stem. This particular style of stem is a hard clean up. The beveled edges on the blade from the saddle to the button on the right and left, upper and lower are hard to clean up without rounding them. I worked the stem over with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the oxidation and the build-up around the button. These stems take more time than others so once I had the oxidation beat, I decided to work some more on the bowl. I wanted to address the road rash on the right side of the bowl. I cleaned out the area with alcohol and then filled the many sharp edged nicks and gouges with clear super glue.
From the photo above you can see how many of these there were on this side of the bowl. Once the glue dried I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper. The sanding removed some of the darkening on the bowl and I liked the way the grain showed through the sanded areas. I sanded the entire bowl with 1500 grit micromesh sanding pads. I wanted to smooth out the repaired area and blend it in and also remove more of the darkening on the rest of the bowl. A benefit of sanding the bowl was being able to really see the beautiful grain and contrast on this pipe.
I wet sanded the stem with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads. I rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil and then dry sanded with 3200-4000 grit pads. I gave it another coat of oil and then finished sanding with 6000-12000 grit pads. I gave it a final coat of oil and let it dry.
I buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the wheel and then gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad and then with a microfibre cloth. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. Not a bad looking pipe for a Malaga second. Thanks for looking.