Daily Archives: August 23, 2020

New Life for a Malaga Second M-2 Author

Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from a fellow in Michigan, USA. It is a nicely shaped author. It has a taper vulcanite stem and beautiful grain showing through the grime around the bowl. It has the usual Malaga Oil Curing. I have worked on quite a few Malaga pipes throughout the years and have always found the fit and finish very well done. This pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads M-2 which is the stamp or a Malaga Second. There is a thick cake in the bowl and a thick overflow of lava on the back rim top. It appears that there is some damage to the inner edge of the rim in that area as well. The outer edge of the bowl looks very good. The taper vulcanite stem was oxidized, calcified and had light tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the stem near the button. The pipe looks to be in decent condition under the grime. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup. He took photos of the rim top to show the cake and the lava coat. It is another dirty pipe. He also captured the shape of the stem and the deep tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside of the stem near the button.   He took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the beautiful grain around the bowl and the amount of grime ground into the surface of the briar.  He took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank and it is clear and readable as noted above.I am also 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.

Jeff had done his usual thorough cleanup on the pipe. He 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 cleaned the internals and externals of the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water and cleaned out the airway in the stem with alcohol. The pipe looked very good. I took a photo of the rim top and stem to show the condition. They cleaned up really well and the top of the rim looked very good. The inner edge of the bowl showed chipping and burn damage on the back inner edge. The vulcanite stem had light tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button and on the button edges.      I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. It read as noted above.  I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. It is a well shaped Author that looks great. Now it was time to do my work on the pipe. I started by working over the damage from the burn on the inside rim. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to give the inner edge a bevel to take care of the burn and clean up the edges of bowl. I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the damage to the rim surface. (I took a photo of the cleaned up rim top but it was too blurry to include. The bevel will be very visible in the polishing photos.)   I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped down the bowl after each sanding pad.  I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Balm did its magic and the grain stood out.  I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. The photo below shows the polished stem.  This nicely grained Malaga Second M-2 Author with a vulcanite taper stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The rich oil cured finish came alive with the polishing and waxing. The grain really popped. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished M-2 Author is a beauty and fits nicely in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

A Dr Grabow Grand Duke Prince

I received an email from Kevin in Australia asking if he could share some of his work with us on rebornpipes. This Dr. Grabow restoration and photos not only tell the story of the pipe but also give some information on Kevin. Thanks Kevin and welcome to rebornpipes!

Story and photos by Kevin Pallett — Australia.

I have a few favourite pipe shapes, one of them being the Prince. There are a few variations on that theme but for me the standard shape will always take the prize. A friend of mine who is also a pipe maker was selling a bunch of estate pipes that he purchased from Ebay (The American Ebay. We live in Australia) and was looking to sell some of them. He sent me a few pics of what he had and one of them was a Dr Grabow Prince. A Grand Duke in particular. It was in bad shape with the ubiquitous bite marks and chocked up bowl. The end of the stem was horrible and how anyone would put it in their mouth was beyond me. After deciding how I was going to start on this Grand Duke, I put Vaseline on the little blue spade on the stem and put the stem into a diluted bleach bath and let it do its thing. While that was going on, I turned my attention to the stummel. It was in a bad way. Not the worst I have seen but pretty funky and in need of some de caking. Believe it or not I soaked the whole stummel in alcohol for almost 6 hours. The cake was like glass when I tried to ream it and the harder I tried the harder it got. After being soaked the cake practically fell out as I used a small picking tool to remove it. I then sanded the inside of the bowl back with a few different grades of sandpaper and then sanded the outside of the stummel to the bare briar. I was happy with the way it looked and there were no major divots to replace and it looked even better when I sanded the top of the bowl flat. A lot of the grime on top of the rim came off in the alcohol and made it easier to sand it back to the way it should look. Whoever owned it would, by the look of it bang the rim on something hard to remove old tobacco but never cleaned it out thoroughly. No cracks either, always a good sign.This was followed with a salt and alcohol treatment. Then onto the stem again. It had what look like saliva stains on the end of it. Like it had sat in someone’s mouth for hours, hence the chew marks I would guess.  After it came out of the bleach Bath, I started to clean and reshape the air hole. Although it was more of a small rectangle, and once I started to file it out, I found that it was still full of all the original swarf (or filings). It took a bit of mucking around but eventually a small bundle of vulcanite filing came out. I now knew why I couldn’t get a pipe cleaner through it, so I don’t know how the owner ever smoked it properly, or if they cleaned it out at all. It’s always nice to work with vulcanite. I know that acrylic is durable and harder to mark with teeth, but vulcanite is so easy to file, sand, buff and generally work with.

The inside of the stem was quite gross and took a lot of pipe cleaners to eventually come out clean. Perhaps these were the first pipe cleaners to go through it. As a youngster and teenager, back in the 1960’s and early to mid-1970’s, I can clearly remember the older men (Grandfather, uncles and my Dad’s friends) smoking pipes that looked like they’d been used to build a house. And if they weren’t constantly dropping out of their shirt pocket when not being used, they were hooked into the belt loop of their trousers. Thinking back now pipes didn’t have quite the collectable want or care factor back then. They were just a replaceable method of enjoying tobacco. So why would you bother going to the extreme of cleaning them on a regular basis. I first began enjoying pipe smoking as a late teen and I have to say I had the one pipe for years (a Dr Plumb full bent billiard) although I was pretty meticulous when it came to keeping it functional.

Anyway, I continued making the air hole more to my liking. You can see in the accompanying photo what I mean.  I find this shape opening makes it easier to keep clean, get a pipe cleaner through and I think it just looks and feels better. After that I put some drops of CA glue into the chew marks and filed them down. Wet and dry paper got the surface back to smooth and I buffed the surface with micro mesh pads. I love using these little pads. The tenon on these Grabow stems is a metal arrangement to house the Grabow filters which I’ve not used as they are not readily available if at all in Australia and not worth the effort of ordering. Just a little information on tobacco in Australia. For pipe smokers down here, it is not an easy hobby to pursue. 50 grams of any tobacco is $100 and higher and there is no such thing as tobacconists anymore. We have tobacco shops, but they are more like a bank of lockable cupboards. It’s illegal to display anything that might imply that the contents contain a tobacco product and the packaging itself is covered in pictures of photo shopped diseased body parts. All very charming. It’s illegal to order any tobacco product from overseas. If it’s intercepted by boarder control, it is confiscated and apparently destroyed. It’s illegal to grow your own tobacco. So, I guess you’d have to think that the authorities are trying to tell us something.

So, back to the point. I didn’t have anything left to do to the stem until I used the buffing wheels. Back to the stummel.

As I mentioned above, the stummel was in good order on the outside so I started on it with the micro mesh pads. By the time I got through all the grits it had a nice lustre to it. I did discover a few small fills, but I wasn’t going to worry about them. And by the time I’d buffed it you couldn’t really see them. I was really pleased with the way it came together and it is now one of my favourite pipes to smoke. It’s light to use and the bowl isn’t so big that you can’t fill it to the top. Which I do. It’s not a fussy pipe, it’s happy with any tobacco. I find it’s great for Burley flakes in particular. I hope you enjoyed my small account of this particular pipe. Thanks for reading if you did. Ciao, Kevin.