New Life for a Very English Looking “Malaga” Imported Briar Canadian

Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe in the queue is yet another Malaga pipe from boxes of pipes I have awaiting restoration in my every expanding queue. This “Malaga” Canadian has some interesting grain around the darker stained oil cured bowl and shank. The classic Canadian shape is carved to highlight the grain around the bowl. The pipe is stamped on the top side of the shank. It reads “MALAGA”. On the underside it is stamped IMPORTED BRIAR. The tapered stem is vulcanite and has no marking or stamping. It is a nice looking piece much like many of the other Malaga pipes I have worked on. Jeff had cleaned and reamed the pipe quite some time ago and it has been sitting here for a very long time. The briar is very clean and the shank and stem also clean. The bowl is clean and the rim top and edges are in perfect condition. The stem is clean and has some small tooth marks on both sides ahead of the button. I took the following photos to tell the story and give a glimpse of the pipe before I started the next part of the restoration work. I took a photo of the bowl and rim to capture the condition of the pipe. The bowl, rim top and edges all look very good. There is some roughness on the inner edge that should clean up quite easily. The stem had tooth marks on both sides ahead of the button.I also took a photo of top side of the shank to show the stamping. The stamping is readable in the photo below and is as noted above – “MALAGA”. The stamping on the underside reads IMPORTED BRIAR very visible in the second photo below.I took the stem off the shank and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the proportion. It is a great looking, very English style pipe.For those of you who are unfamiliar with the brand, 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. Here is the link – That blog also includes links to a catalogue and the history of the pipemaker George Khoubesser. If you are interested to learn more then I invite you to follow the link to get a feel for the brand and the pipemaker.

I decided to address the damage to the rim top and edges first. I topped the bowl on a topping board using 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damaged portions of the rim surface. I polished the rim and the outside of the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding debris. 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 10-15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. With the bowl finished I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the surface of the stem with the flame of a Bic lighter to lift the tooth marks. I was able to lift all of them.I sanded the stem surface with 220 grit sandpaper to blend tooth chatter into the surface of the stem. I am happy with the stem surface once that was done. I started the polishing of the surface with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 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 put the pipe back together and polished both the bowl and the 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 oil cured finish and the grain came alive with the buffing. The grain really stands out against the dark finish providing a rich contrast. The two small fills on the bowl (one on the left top front and back toward the top) blended in quite well. The finish on the briar works well with the polished black vulcanite stem. The finished pipe is a well-proportioned, nicely grained Canadian. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 3/4 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 of an inch. I will be putting this Malaga Canadian on the rebornpipes store in the American Pipemakers Section. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me on another Malaga. Remember we are but trustees of our pipes until the next pipe man or woman takes on the trust. Smoke in health!

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