Blog by Steve Laug
I have been working on a lot of different estate pipes and selling them for different families. I am continuing to work on the Malaga pipes that Alex put aside for restoration. He also brought other pipes to add to his box. I have a box of pipes from Alex that I am always working away at. He periodically drops more Malaga pipes into his box. There are quite a few of them to work on so I decided work on a few of them. The next one of these was another Malaga pipe. It is a beautiful Egg shaped Oom Paul that has a very tight grain pattern. It also has a fancy turned vulcanite stem. The pipe was dirty and caked when arrived. The rim top has a little lava and some small nicks on the left and front of the outer edge of the bowl. The bowl had a thin cake in it that was hard and dense. The exterior of the bowl and shank are very dirty with grime and oils from prolonged use. The stamping on the underside of the shank below the shank/stem junction was faint but readable and read MALAGA. The vulcanite stem was had tooth chatter on the top and the underside of the stem. There were tooth marks on both sides as well and the button was worn. I took photos of the pipe before I started the cleanup work. I took close up photos of the bowl and rim to capture the condition of the pipe before I started my cleanup work. The rim top had some lava and a few nicks on the outer front and left edge. The inner edge was slightly worn on the right inner edge where the rest of the inner edges was smooth and unbeveled. Other than being so dirty it was in great condition. The stem was dirty and there was tooth chatter on the top and underside near the button. There were tooth marks on the topside and underside ahead of the button and the sharp edge of the button was worn and damaged. The stem was also lightly oxidized.I took a photo to capture the stamping on a smooth panel on the underside of the shank near the stem/shank joint. The photo shows the stamping MALAGA on the underside of the shank is very readable.If this is the first of the Malaga restorations that you have read about then you should know the backstory of the brand. 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. I have written an earlier blog to give a little history of the Malaga Brand and the pipemaker, George Khoubesser. 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.
I decided to start with the issues with the rim top first. I wiped down the rim top of the bowl with a damp cloth to remove the tars and lava. I topped the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper on a topping board to remove the damaged areas. Once the top was smoothed out I filled in the holes on the front and left outer edge with clear super glue. Once the repairs cured I sanded the top and edge smooth with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper and 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I followed our regular regimen for cleaning estates. I reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. I sanded the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel to smooth out the inside walls of the bowl. I scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I restained the top of the rim and inner edge with an oak coloured stain pen to match the colour of the rest of the bowl. Once it had dried the match was very good.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth to wipe of the dust. I scrubbed the briar with Before & After Briar Cleaner. I rubbed it into the surface of the briar with my finger tips and let it sit for about 10 minutes then rinsed it off with running water. I dried it off with a soft cloth. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush 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 photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I wiped down the stem with alcohol and cleaned out the tooth marks and deep dents in the vulcanite. I filled them in with clear super glue and also built up the surface of the button on the top and underside. I set it aside and let the repair cure.Once the repairs had cured I used a needle file to cut button edge, reshape the button and also smooth out the repaired areas. I sanded out the tooth chatter with 220 grit sand paper and started to polish it with a folded piece of 400 wet dry sandpaper. Once it was finished it began to shine.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and buffed it off with a cotton cloth. This is a beautiful Malaga Egg shaped Oom Paul with a fancy black vulcanite turned stem. It has a great look and feel. The shape is very tactile and is a beauty. I polished stem and the bowl 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 rich oil cured briar took on life with the buffing. The rich brown colour of the briar works well with the polished vulcanite stem. The finished pipe has a rich look that is quite catching. Have a look at it with the photos below. The shape, finish and flow of the pipe and stem are very well done. The dimensions are Length: 6 ½ inches, Height: 2 1/8 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 of an inch. I will be adding the pipe to the finished Malaga pipes that I have set aside for Alex. This will be a great addition to his collection of Malaga pipe. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another Malaga.