Tag Archives: Malaga Briar pipes

Restemming another “Malaga” Billiard from Kathy’s Dad’s Pipes


Blog by Steve Laug

I have been working on a lot of different estate pipes and selling them for different families. This morning I was looking through the bag of pipes that I have left from George Koch’s estate. There are only three of them and all were in pretty rough shape. The rims were well knocked about and the stems were either chewed off or through and really would need to be carefully worked over and have new stems fit to them. The third of these three Malaga pipes that need a lot of attention was the next one I picked up this morning. It is a Billiard with a chewed through acrylic stem. Of the three was the least beat up of the three. The rim top had some damage on the flat surface and the inner edge. But sides of the bowl had great looking flame and mixed grain that was fascinating. It is the last of the three Malaga pipes needing restemming that came to my brother and me in several shipments of pipes from George’s daughter Kathy. Alex had gone through the bag and had passed on these three. Jeff unwrapped the pipes when they came to him and took the following photo to give an idea of the volume of the pipes that we purchased. In each of the previous blogs that I have written on the restoration of George’s pipes I have told his story. If you have followed the restorations you will have read the information and the background piece that Kathy did on her father. Here is a link to one of the previous blogs on his Malaga pipes where I included her tribute in full (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/01/26/back-to-kathys-dads-pipes-restoring-a-%c2%bc-bent-malaga-author/). You can also read the bio on her Dad, George Koch. It is an interesting read and one that shows just how far our pipe collecting passion can go when we find a brand of pipes that we enjoy. I am going to only include the portion on the Malagas at this point. If you wish to read the rest follow the link above.

Kathy writes…We lived in Livonia, and that’s where his love for Malaga pipes began. After a few years he returned to Allis Chalmers and we moved back to Springfield. I remember that when we went back to Michigan to visit friends, Dad had to go to the Malaga store and acquire a few new pipes. Many a year I wrote to Malaga and they picked out a pipe for me to purchase that I could give Dad for a Christmas or birthday present. He was always pleased. His favorites were the straight stemmed medium sized bowl pipes, but he liked them all. 

He had some other pipes, but the Malagas were his favorites. I remember him smoking them sitting in his easy chair after work, with feet up on the ledge by the fire burning in the fireplace.  Growing up it was my job to clean them and he liked the inner bowl and stem coated with Watkins vanilla, leaving a little of that liquid in the bowl to soak in when I put them back on the rack…I’m very happy they are being restored by you and your brother and hope they find homes who enjoy them as much as Dad did. Thank-you for your care and interest. — Kathy, the oldest daughter

This second “Malaga” Billiard on the table is the least damaged of the three. Under the damage and dirt I can see the great grain on the briar. There were some scratches and nicks in surface of the rim top. The large bowl, round shank and chewed through acrylic stem give a clear picture of what the pipe must have looked like when George bought it at the shop. Again, I did not bother Jeff for the pre-cleanup photos because really it was obvious what the pipe must have looked like. From the condition of the bowl and rim post cleanup I could see that it originally had a thick cake that overflowed with lava onto the rim so that there was damage on the inner edges. The rim top had been knocked hard against rough surfaces to knock out the dottle and left damage. The sides of the bowl and shank are very dirty with grime and oils from prolonged use. The stamping on the left side of the shank read MALAGA. The acrylic stem had been gnawed through leaving a useless stem that would need to be replaced. Since Paresh is not here in Canada this is another that will be replaced rather than rebuilt! 😉 I took photos of the pipe before I started my work. The condition of the pipe will be shown in the photos below. I took a photo of the  rim top and bowl to show the condition of the pipe. You can see why I said it was used as a hammer – though less than the others. The surface of the rim is very rough. The inner and the outer edge have some damage. There is some darkening on the back inner edge, bevel and surface of the rim top. I think that this pipe must have been another shop pipe or knock about pipe for George as it was very well smoked! I took photos of the stem to show the broken and chewed condition it was in. Remember this is hard acrylic so it took some real gnawing to do this to it!I took a photo to capture the stamping on left side of the shank. The photo shows the stamping MALAGA and is very readable.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 gone to the trouble to ream 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. All of his work gave me a clean pipe to work on to say the least. I decided to start with the new stem. I went through my collection of stems to find one that was the same dimensions as the ruined stem. I found one in my can that would fit the bill.I set up my cordless drill with the PIMO Tenon Turning Tool in the chuck and started turning the tenon on the new stem back to match the broken one. I usually do the turning in several passes, adjusting the depth of the blade between each cut. In this case I did it in three passes. I got it close and finished the fit with my Dremel and sanding drum.I sanded off the castings on the sides and slot end of the stem with the Dremel and sanding drum and did a few turns on the tenon with the sanding drum. You can see from the first photo below that it was a good snug fit. The diameter of the stem was larger than the shank do I would need to remove the excess material to get a solid fit.I used a Dremel and sanding drum to remove the excess material from the stem and get it close to the diameter of the shank. I worked over the diameter with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the stem. It still has a ways to go before it was finished but it was getting pretty close. I set the stem aside and turned my attention to the bowl. I topped the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper on a topping board. I removed the damaged areas on the rim top. I did not need to remove too much to bring it back to smooth condition and the outer edge was still clean.I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the inner bevel of the bowl. I worked it at an angle to clean up the edge and to give it a smooth bevel.I scrubbed the briar with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. 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 used an Oak Stain Pen to stain the carvings on the rim top to blend all of the darkening together and make it stand out. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad. You can see from the photo below that I was able to blend it into the rest of the bowl.I polished the bowl with micromesh sanding pads to smooth out the rim edge repairs and the nicks in the bowl sides. I wet sanded with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad. The photos show the progress. 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. I am very happy with the results. I turned to the stem and started by sanding the surface. I wanted to smooth out the surface of the vulcanite to remove the castings and the sanding marks. I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper and 400 grit sandpaper to clean up the stem.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad Obsidian Oil. I finished by polishing it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish both Fine and Extra Fine and then wiped it down with a final coat of Obsidian Oil. This is a restemmed and restored Malaga Billiard with a vulcanite tapered stem. The new black vulcanite stem looks good in place of the black chewed acrylic stem. It has a great look and feel. The shape of the bowl, the reshaped and repaired rim top and the cut of the briar work well to highlight the grain around the bowl sides. 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 grain took on life with the buffing. The rich oil cured colour 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: 5 ¼ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. I will be adding the pipe to the finished Malaga pipes that I have completed. I am looking forward to a new pipeman picking up this pipe and will carry on the trust for George Koch. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another one of Kathy’s Dad’s Pipes.

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New Life for a Malaga Rusticated Canadian for Alex


Blog by Steve Laug

I have been working on a lot of different estate pipes and selling them for different families. Once in a while it is good to change things up a bit. Alex came by and went through the Malaga pipes I have awaiting 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 oval shank Rusticated Canadian that has a very tight pattern of rustication. It also has a long striated grey/silver/black acrylic stem. The Malaga Canadian that Alex picked up from EBay. It had been mislabeled a Hungarian and the price was right. The pipe was dirty and caked when arrived. The rusticated rim top has a little lava filled but otherwise looked good. 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 left side of the shank was in a smooth band on the thin shank. It read MALAGA. There was a thin band of smooth briar around the shank end. The acrylic stem was had tooth chatter on the top and the underside of the stem. 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 embedded in the rusticated finish and was heavier on the back side. The outer and inner edges of the bowl were not too bad. The inside edge was clean and the outside looked very good. Other than being so dirty that it was in great condition. The stem was dirty and there was tooth chatter on the top and underside near the button and on the flat surfaces of the stem.I took a photo to capture the stamping on a smooth panel on the left side of the shank near the stem/shank joint. The photo shows the stamping MALAGA on the left side 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 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 scraped out the dried tars and oils with a pen knife and then scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners.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 touched up the edges of the rim with a walnut stain pen to take care of the damage there. Then 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. The stem was in excellent condition but there was some light tooth chatter and no deep marks. It was well cut stem and had a great look and feel. I sanded out the tooth chatter with 220 grit sand paper and polished it with 400 wet dry sand paper. 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 Rusticated Canadian with a variegated grey/black/silver acrylic stem. It has a great look and feel. The rustication is very tactile but also the pattern is well done and a tight pattern. It is a beauty. I polished stem and the bowl with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax 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 rustication took on life with the buffing. The rich brown colours work well with the polished acrylic 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: 7 inches, Height: 1 7/8 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/8 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.

New Life for a Dark “Malaga” Canadian


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe in the queue is yet another pipe from the batch of pipes I am cleaning up for Alex – this one is another “Malaga” –a Canadian it is a stained version of the pipe and has some interesting grain around the 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 pipes Alex is picking up. The bowl had a light cake in the chamber and the rim top and edges were in rough condition. There were dents and nicks and some darkening on the rim top. The outer edges had nicks and there was a chip in the back side of the bowl. The exterior of the briar was dusty with grime and dust. The stem has a lot of tooth marks and some very deep dents in the surface of the stem and button.. The photos below tell the story and give a glimpse of the pipe before clean up. I took a photo of the bowl and rim to capture the condition of the pipe before I started my cleanup work. The bowl had a thin cake and the rim top significant damage to the top and edges of the bowl. The inner edge of the rim seemed to be slightly out of round and showed some burn damage. The outer edge had chips and dents and was rounded. The stem was a mess. There was some deep tooth marks on the stem and the button on both sides.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.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 – https://rebornpipes.com/tag/malaga-pipes/. 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.

The bowl had a thin cake so I reamed it with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to get rid of remnants of cake. I finished by sanding the bowl with a dowel wrapped with 220 grit sandpaper until the inside of the bowl was smooth.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 filled in the damaged around rim and the bowl with clear super glue. The photos below show the extent of the damaged areas.When the repairs had cured I sanded the briar with a folded piece of 220 followed by 400 grit sandpaper. I used the sandpaper to blend the repairs into the surface of the briar and to smooth out the inner edge of the bowl at the same time.I scrubbed the bowl with a cotton pad and undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap. I rinsed the bowl under running water to wash off the soap and the grime that had been loosened. I cleaned up the inside of the shank and mortise with a dental spatula to remove the tar build up. I ran some cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and alcohol through the shank to remove the tars and oils. I also cleaned out the airway in the stem using pipe cleaners and alcohol. I polished the rim and the outside of the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding debris. I started the process of matching the stain on the bowl to the repaired and sanded areas I had worked on. I used a Walnut and a Cherry stain to begin the match.I polished the bowl further, wet sanding it with 3200-4000 grit micromesh sanding pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth. I wiped the bowl down with alcohol on a cotton pad to further blend the stain into the surrounding finish on the rest of the bowl and shank. I used Black stain pen to further blend the stain into the surface of the surrounding briar. I wiped it off with the alcohol dampened cotton pad. The photos below tell the story. I finished polishing the bowl and shank with 6000-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads and wiped the bowl and shank down after each pad with a damp cloth. The photos show the stain blend on the newly repaired areas. I am pretty happy with the results. 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. I buffed the bowl with a microfiber cloth to polish the briar. I took photos of the pipe at this point to show what it looked like. With the bowl finished I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I filled in the deep tooth marks and rebuilt the surface of the button with clear super glue. Once the repair had cured I used a needle file to smooth out the repairs to the surface of the vulcanite. I sanded the repairs on the stem surface with 220 grit sandpaper to blend the repairs 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 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. This Malaga Canadian will be going back to Alex to add to his rack of Malaga pipes that are in his collection. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me on another of Alex’s Malaga collection.

Breathing Life into a “Malaga” Carved Ball


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe in the queue is another pipe from the batch of pipes I am cleaning up for Alex – this one is another “Malaga” –a Ball or Apple with some interesting grain around the oil cured bowl and shank and some carved “feathers” around the bowl bottom. There is some beautiful grain around the bowl – almost a flame grain pattern. The pipe has not been stained but sports the usual Malaga oil cured look. The carver did a great job utilizing the block of briar to maximize the grain. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank. It reads “MALAGA”. The tapered stem is vulcanite and has no marking or stamping. This is the first Malaga Ball/Apple that I have worked on. It is a nice looking piece much like many of the pipes Alex is picking up. The bowl had a light cake in the chamber but the edges appeared to be in good condition. There was some lava on the rim top and some darkening on the rim top. The exterior of the briar and the carved areas were dusty with grime and dust. The stem is lightly oxidized and there was some tooth chatter on the top and underside near the button. The stem was in good condition under the grime. The photos below tell the story and give a glimpse of the pipe before clean up. I took a photo of the bowl and rim to capture the condition of the pipe before I started my cleanup work. The bowl had a thin cake and the rim top had a lava overflow on the front and back side. The inner edge of the rim seemed to be undamaged but the lava made it hard to know for sure. The stem was in decent condition. There was some light pitting and deep oxidation on the stem. There was also some light tooth chatter on the top and underside of the stem at the button. I also took a photo of left side of the shank to show the stamping. The stamping is readable in the photo below and is as noted above – “MALAGA”.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 – https://rebornpipes.com/tag/malaga-pipes/. 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 reamed bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer using the third cutting head. I  took the cake back to bare briar so I could check out the walls of the chamber. I cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to get rid of remnants of cake. I finished by sanding the bowl with a dowel wrapped with 220 grit sandpaper until the inside of the bowl was smooth. I scrubbed the bowl with a cotton pad and undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap. I rinsed the bowl under running water to wash off the soap and the grime that had been loosened. I then turned to address the damage to the inner edge and top of the rim by carefully sanding it with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I was able to remove the darkening to the rim top. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the inner edge of the bowl.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 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 little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. I had forgotten to clean up the inside of the shank and mortise. So I went back to clean up the internals. I scraped the mortise with a dental spatula to remove the tar build up. I ran some cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and alcohol through the shank to remove the tars and oils. I also cleaned out the airway in the stem using pipe cleaners and alcohol. With the bowl finished I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded the stem surface with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the oxidation and the tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. 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 dark feather/leaf like carvings stand out dark against the grain providing a rich contrast. The rich finish on the briar works well with the polished black vulcanite stem. The finished pipe is a well-proportioned, nicely grained Apple. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 1/2 inches, Height: 1 1/2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/4 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. This apple shaped Malaga with its unique carved surface is a new shape and carving design for me. The Apple/Ball will be going back to Alex to add to his rack of Malaga pipes that are in his collection. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me on another of Alex’s Malaga collection.

Giving New Life to a “Malaga” Cherrywood Sitter


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe in the queue is another pipe from the batch of pipes I am cleaning up for Alex – this one is another “Malaga” –a Cherrywood with some interesting grain around the oil cured bowl and shank. There was a “bald” spot on the left side of the bowl but otherwise there was great grain around the rest of the bowl. There is some beautiful birdseye grain around the bowl and cross grain on the shank. The pipe has not been stained but sports the usual Malaga oil cured look. The carver did a great job utilizing the block of briar to maximize the grain. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank. It reads “MALAGA”. The saddle stem is vulcanite and has no marking or stamping. This is the first Cherrywood Malaga that I have been working on. It is a nice looking piece much like many of the pipes Alex is picking up. The bowl had been reamed and was in decent condition. There were some burn marks on the front outer edge of the bowl and some darkening on the rim top toward the back. The exterior of the briar was dusty with grime on the shank and bowl. The stem is lightly oxidized and there was some tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the button. The stem was in good condition under the grime. The photos below tell the story and give a glimpse of the pipe before clean up. I took a photo of the bowl and rim to capture the condition of the pipe before I started my cleanup work. The rim top was clean but there was burn damage on the front outer edge of the rim. There was some darkening on the back topside of the rim. The inner edge of the rim was damaged at the back side and had been poorly beveled inward to mask it. The stem was in decent condition. There was some light oxidation on the stem. There was also some tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside of the stem at the button.I also took a photo of left side of the shank to show the stamping. The stamping is readable in the photo below and is as noted above – “MALAGA”.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 – https://rebornpipes.com/tag/malaga-pipes/. 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.

Since the pipe had been cleaned and reamed by the pipe shop that sold the pipe to Alex I decided to check out the clean up. The bowl had been well reamed. I used a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to scrape out the slight cake remnants that remained. I then turned to address the damage to the outer and inner edge of the rim by topping it on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I was able to remove the damage and the burned areas. I also sanded to remove the darkening and burn marks on the rim top. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the inner edge of the bowl. I decided to check on the cleanup work on the inside of the shank and mortise. I scraped the mortise with a dental spatula to check on tar build up and it was clean. I then ran some cotton swabs through the shank and found that it was filthy. Upon that discovery I scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I also cleaned out the airway in the stem using pipe cleaners and alcohol. I scrubbed out the airway in the stem in the same manner.I scrubbed the bowl with a cotton pad and undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap. I rinsed the bowl under running water to wash off the soap and the grime that had been loosened. I polished the outside of the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad 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 little while 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 sanded the stem surface with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the oxidation and the tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. 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. With both parts of the pipe finished, I polished 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 rich finish on the briar works well with the polished black vulcanite stem. The finished pipe is a well-proportioned, nicely grained classic Cherrywood Sitter. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 1/2 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 of an inch. This unique shaped Malaga, one I had not seen before. The Cherrywood Sitter will be going back to Alex to add to his rack of Malaga pipes that are in his collection. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me on another of Alex’s Malaga collection.

Rebirthing a “Malaga” Large Chubby Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe in the queue is from the batch of pipes I am cleaning up for Alex – this one is a “Malaga” large, chubby Billiard with some heft and some beautiful grain around the oil cured bowl and shank. The entire pipe has some beautiful birdseye grain around the bowl and cross grain on the front and back of the bowl. The pipe has not been stained but sports the usual Malaga oil cured look. The carver did a great job utilizing the block of briar to maximize the grain. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank. It reads “MALAGA”. On the right side of the shank it is stamped with an upside down Imported Briar. The tapered stem is vulcanite and has no marking or stamping. This is another nice looking piece much like many of the pipes Alex is picking up. There was cake in the bowl and some darkening on the rim top. The exterior of the briar was dusty with grime and sticky spots on the shank and bowl. The stem is oxidized and there were light tooth marks on both sides of the stem at the button edge and some wear on the button edge itself. The entire pipe reeked of the licorice odor that remains when a pipe has been used to smoke Half and Half tobacco. This one is pungent with the odor. The photos below tell the story and give a glimpse of the pipe before clean up. I took a photo of the bowl and rim to capture the condition of the pipe before I started my cleanup work. Other than the darkening at the back side of the rim top the rim was in good condition. The was a light cake in the bowl. The inner edge has some nicks but not to bad. The outer edge of the bowl appeared to be in excellent condition. The biggest issue was the heavy stench of aromatic tobacco. In this case the smell of Half and Half as noted above. The stem was in decent condition. There was some oxidation and wear on the button surfaces on both sides of the stem. There were light tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the stem but otherwise it was not too bad.I also took a photo of both the left and right side of the shank to show the stamping on them. The stamping is readable in the photos below.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 – https://rebornpipes.com/tag/malaga-pipes/. 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 started the restoration by reaming the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer followed by a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the remnants of the cake on the walls in the heel. I sanded the inside of the walls with a dowel wrapped with 220 grit sandpaper. I worked on the slight damage to the inner edge of the rim by sanding it with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I was able to remove the damage and the burned areas.I scraped the mortise with a dental spatula to remove the hardened tars and oils on the walls. I then scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I used a lot of pipe cleaners and cotton swabs but I was not beating the stink in the bowl. I knew that I would need to do something a bit more intrusive if I was going to beat it. It was getting late and I was ready to call it a day. I stuffed the bowl with cotton balls and put a folded pipe cleaner in the shank to wick out the tars and oils in the shank. I used an ear syringe to fill the bowl with isopropyl alcohol. It would sit overnight and I would see what came out of the briar. It would also tell me where the issue was.In the morning when I got up I took a photo of the bowl. The cotton balls and alcohol had definitely pulled some oils out of the bowl but not too much. The interesting thing to me was the amount of oils and tars that the pipe cleaner had wicked out of the shank and mortise. This meant a lot more cleaning for me. I took out the cotton balls and pipe cleaner and had a look. I scrubbed the shank and mortise once more with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol until it was clean. Finally I had beaten the stench radiating from the shank of the pipe.Once I finished cleaning out the inside of the pipe, I scrubbed the bowl with a tooth brush and undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap. I rinsed the bowl under running water to wash off the soap and the grime that the tooth brush had loosened. At this point in the process of restoration I decided to top the bowl to remove the damage to the rim top and the darkening. I topped it on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper until the rim top was smooth and the darkening was reduced.I polished the outside of the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad to remove the sanding debris. I worked on the darkened area on the rear right side of the outer edge of the rim. I was able to remove much of the damage with the sanding. The photos tell the story. 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 very good with rich grain patterns. With the bowl finished I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded the stem surface with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the oxidation and smooth out the tooth marks on the surface of the button. 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 1500-2400 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. With both parts of the pipe finished, I polished 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 rich finish on the briar works well with the polished black vulcanite stem. The finished pipe is a chubby billiard that is a nice handful. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. This one will be going back to Alex to add to his rack of Malaga pipes that are in his collection. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me on another of Alex’s Malaga collection.

Getting Rid of a Foul Smell in a third pipe – a Malaga Pot


Blog by Steve Laug

I have a box of some 25 pipes that I am working through for a friend here in Vancouver. The next group of four pipes that I am working on came to me in a sour, stinky condition. Alex had smoked them and found that as he smoked them each one became fouler. From my experience this happens when a pipe has not been thoroughly cleaned in the process of restoration. Sometimes even if it has been cleaned, the first few smokes draw out a foul taste and in this case an odor that made me put the four pipes in a zip lock bad to keep the odor contained. They really stunk! On Sunday evening I decided to give the foursome a cotton ball and alcohol treatment to draw out the oils and tars in the briar. I pushed cotton balls into the bowl and a folded pipe cleaner in the shank and used an ear syringe to fill the bowl with isopropyl alcohol. I set the pipes aside to let the alcohol do its work overnight. I know many of you use kosher salt and alcohol and that certainly is your choice. For me however the cotton balls work just as effectively in providing a medium for the foul juices drawn out of a pipe to be deposited. They are also easier to clean up and they do not leave residual salts in the briar. In the morning I took a photo of the finished work. You can see the effectiveness of the treatment.I took the cotton out of the bowls of the pipes and wiped the bowl down with pipe cleaners and cotton swabs to dry them out. The pipe I decided to work on is the beautifully grained straight pot, the third pipe from the right in the photo above. It is stamped on the left side of the shank “MALAGA” and on the right side of the shank is stamped Imported Briar. Alex has grown to love Malaga pipes and continues to pick them up on eBay and other places on his journey. It was another pipe that the seller said was clean but after several smokes Alex deemed it unsmokable. It was now up to me to figure out what was going on. I examined the pipe when I took out the cotton balls and alcohol and I learned a few things about it that would need to be addressed. The rim top and inner and outer edges of the rim were in rough condition. It looked like the pipe had been used for a hammer. The finish was spotty with nicks and marks. The bowl had some cake inside and it too would need to be reamed out. The stem was the best of the lot. It was clean and was free of tooth marks or chatter. I wondered what the airway was like but that is an easy clean up. I took some photos of the pipe at this point. I took a close up photo of the bowl and rim to capture the damage to the rim top and light cake in the bowl. The rim top was in bad condition with nicks and cuts. The inner and outer edges were rough. The bowl was out of round. It needed some more work to clean it up but at least the cotton ball alcohol treatment had rid the pipe of the rank smell. The stem was in the best condition of the four pipes. It did not have tooth chatter or marks and was not oxidized.I took a photo to capture the stamping on the right and left side of the shank. The first photo shows “MALAGA” on the left side of the shank. The second photo shows the stamping on the right side it reads Imported Briar. The stamping on this pipe is readable.Now that the stink was gone I did not even think of cleaning the shank and airway I just immediately went to the most irritating part of this pipe – the beat up rim top and edges. I topped it on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage to the rimtop and to try to minimize the damage to the inner and outer edges. The rim top looked significantly better as can be seen in the second photo below. I cleaned up the outer edge with some sandpaper and wiped it down. I filled in the deep nicks in the edge with briar dust and super glue.I sanded the edge repairs with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface of the briar. I would polish out the scratches later but for now the edge was at least smooth. Once the outer edge was cleaned up I worked on the inner edge. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper and smoothed out the edge. I gave the edge a slight bevel to take care of the rim damage and darkening that was present.I polished the rim top and the rest of the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I used the wet sanding on the first three pads to give me the traction to remove the scratches in the briar and the dry sanding to polish the briar. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth. At this point in the process the finish looked very uneven to me – even spotty. I decided to wipe down the bowl and shank with isopropyl alcohol to remove the uneven finish. I was able to even out the look of the finish to a point where I was happy with the look.  I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the bowl and shank 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 damage is gone. I am very happy with the results. It was at this point that I realized that I had not reamed the bowl or done any cleaning of the internals after the cotton ball and alcohol treatment. I had been so intent on cleaning up the damaged rim that I totally skipped my normal pattern of work. So I went back to ream the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I sanded the inside of the bowl with a piece of dowel wrapped with 220 grit sandpaper to remove all remnants of the cake. When I was finished the bowl walls were smooth and clean.I cleaned out the airway in the shank and stem with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. I cleaned out the mortise in the shank with cotton swabs and alcohol until the mortise walls were clean and looked bare. I stopped and checked out the smell of the pipe and it was clean and fresh smelling.The stem on this Malaga was flawless. There were no tooth marks and no chatter. The stem absolutely glow it was so clean so there was nothing to be done with it. I wiped it down with some Obsidian Oil to protect and deepen the shine but otherwise it was perfect.

I put the stem back on the bowl and polished the pipe 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 grain came alive with the buffing. The rich brown finish on the briar works well with the polished black vulcanite 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: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 3/4 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 9/16 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. This one will be going back to Alex with the other two previously foul pipes that I worked on. Thanks for walking through the restoration on this now great looking “Malaga”. It is really a beauty. I think Alex should get a better smoke from it now.