Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe in the queue is yet another interesting pipe from the Michigan lot – a canted, square shanked Dublin with a smooth and rusticated finish. The bowl and rim are smooth and the shank is rusticated with a smooth band at the end of the shank. It is another totally unique pipe and different from any of the other Malaga pipes that I have worked on. It is not a large pipe – probably a Group 4 sized bowl. The grain on the bowl is a combination of swirls, flame and birdseye. The rim top has a bevel on the outer edge culminating in a flat rim top. The pipe appears to be oil cured like the other pipes from the brand. The shank is square and is rusticated in a very tight pattern. The right side of the shank has a smooth patch that is stamped MALAGA. The stem is Lucite and has a square saddle followed by twin rings and a tapered blade. This is another nice looking piece much like the rest of those in this 21 pipe Michigan pipe lot. This Malaga joins the other two Malaga pipes I have worked on – the rusticated billiard and the twisted billiard that I worked on earlier. The Malaga I am working on now is on the first shelf of the rack. It is the fourth pipe on the left and I put a red box around it to make it easy to identify. Jeff took some photos of the pipe when he received them to show the general condition of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. Like the rest of the pipes from the Michigan collection this pipe was dirty and well used. There was a thick cake in the bowl and lava overflowing onto the rim top. The inner edge of the bowl in pretty good condition. The combination of rusticated shank and smooth bowl made an interesting tactile pip. It is another pipe that is unlike any of the Malaga pipes that I have worked on. The vulcanite stem is carved in the same manner as the bowl and carries on the twist. There are deep tooth marks on both sides of the stem at the button edge and some wear on the button edge itself. The photos below tell the story and give a glimpse of the carved canted Dublin. Jeff took a close up photo of the bowl and rim to capture the condition of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. The rim top had some thick lava overflow and some darkening. There was a thick cake in the bowl but the inner and outer edges of the bowl were in great condition. There is also a general accumulation of dust in the finish on the rest of the bowl and shank.He also took photo of the right, left and underside of the bowl and shank to show the interesting grain on the smooth part of the bowl and the carving in the rustication on the shank. The shape is unique and the pipe fits well in either left or right hand. The finish is very dirty but this is another beautiful pipe. Jeff took a photo to capture the stamping on the underside of the shank. The photo shows stamping MALAGA. The stamping on this pipe does not have quotation marks that I have seen on some of the pipes. I have yet to figure out what the quotation marks mean as they are not on all of the pipes. Perhaps some of you might know. Once again how about posting a comment about this? The next two photos show the stem surface. They show the tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. There are also some marks on the sharp edge of the button. On the underside there is a deep tooth mark that appears to be a bite through but I won’t be certain until I have the pipe in hand.Once again I am including the link to a blog that I wrote that gives some of the history of the Malaga brand and the Malaga Pipe Shop in Royal Oak, Michigan in the USA. Here is the link – https://rebornpipes.com/tag/malaga-pipes/. That blog also includes links to a catalogue and the history of the pipemaker George Khoubesser. Follow the link to get a feel for the brand and the pipemaker.
Jeff reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He was able to remove the lava build up on the rim top and you could see the great condition of the bowl top and edges of the rim. I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work on it. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the darkening on the surface of the rim toward the back of the bowl. The inner edge and the outer edge of the rim look really good. The stem photos show the tooth marks and the wear on the button surface on both sides. The final close up photos shows the MALAGA stamping on the right side of the shank.The bowl and shank of this particular Malaga pipe was in very good condition. I did not need to sand it with sandpapers or do any repairs to the briar. I could move right into the polishing process. I started by polishing the bowl and the rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the rim down after each pad with a damp cloth. With the rim top and bowl polished, I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The following photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. The bowl and the rim top look really good and the darkening and lava are gone. The finish looks very good with the swirling grain on the bowl and the rustication the shank. I am very happy with the results. With the bowl finished I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I cleaned out the tooth marks on both sides of the stem with a cotton swab and alcohol. Once the repairs had cured I used a needle file to flatten out the repaired areas. I filed it until the patches were smooth with the surface of the stem. I used a folded piece of 240 grit sandpaper to blend the repairs into the surface of the stem. Once the surface was smooth I sanded out the scratch marks and started the polishing of the stem with a folded piece of 400 grit sandpaper. I wiped the stem down with a damp cloth and took the following photos.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wetsanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with a damp cloth after each pad. I further polished it with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I wiped it down with a coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I polished stem with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The contrasting smooth grain and rusticated shank came alive with the buffing. The rich browns work well with the polished variegated/swirled Lucite stem. The finished pipe is a beauty and feels great in the hand. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 ½ inches, Height: 1 3/4 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 inches, Chamber diameter: 15/16 of an inch. I am going to hang on to this pipe for a bit while I decide what to do with it. It is just too stunning a pipe for me to let go of right away. Thanks for walking through the restoration of this beautiful Canted Dublin with me it was a pleasure to work on.