Tag Archives: Malaga Cutty

Restoring and Reshaping a stem on a beautiful “Malaga” Imported Briar 3 Cutty


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I chose to work on from my box of pipes to be restored is a lovely “Malaga” Cutty with a poorly fit stem. We bought the pipe off eBay back in January, 2017 from Gilroy, California, USA. The stamping on the pipe was clear and readable. On the left side it read “MALAGA” and on the right side it read IMPORTED BRIAR. On the heel of the bowl it was stamped with the number 3. It was an interesting looking Cutty shaped pipe. The grain around the sides was quite nice and a mix of cross grain and birdseye grain. There was a thick cake in the bowl and a thick lava coat on the rim top. The inner edge of the bowl was so caked it was hard to know what the edge looked like underneath. The stem was oxidized, calcified and had a lot of deep tooth mark and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. It was a bit of a mess. Jeff took some photos of the bowl before he started to work on it. Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the lava coat on the top and on the inner beveled edge of the bowl. I am hoping that it protected the edge from damage. He also took photos of the stem to show the deep tooth marks and chatter on the oxidized stem. He took photos of the bowl and heel to show the condition of the finish. Though the finish is dirty and grimy you can see some nice grain showing on the bowl sides. Jeff took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank and the heel of the bowl. It read as noted above and was readable. I have worked on a lot of Malaga pipes in the past so I am not a stranger to the brand. I have blogged their restorations, so rather than repeat previous blogs, I am including the link to one that gives some of the history of the Malaga brand and the Malaga Pipe Shop in Royal Oak, Michigan in the USA from a catalogue. It gives a sense of the brand and the history in their own words. Follow the link to get a feel for the brand and the pipemaker – https://rebornpipes.com/2013/02/09/george-khoubesser-and-malaga-pipes/.

I took some photos of the pipe as I took it out of the box. Here is what I saw. I could see that Jeff had cleaned it well. The bowl had been reamed with a PipNet reamer and Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He had scrubbed the exterior with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap. He rinsed it with warm water. He cleaned out the internals with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. The stem was twisted and tweaked to the right as can be seen in the photos of the top and underside of the pipe. The grain on the bowl is quite nice with just a few small fills that are solid and well blended in with the surrounding briar. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. The rim top had cleaned up very well and you can see the damage to the inner edge of the bowl at the back as well as some darkening on the rim top and outer edges. The stem cleaned up well but the tooth damage is quite deep and messy. I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank and heel of the bowl. The stamping is clear and readable as noted above.I took the stem off the shank and took a photo of the pipe. I really like the look of the Cutty shape and the grain on the bowl. It is a beauty. The stem will look good once it has gone through some surgery on the diameter and the shank and the chomping on the button end.I started my work on the pipe by cleaning up the damaged inner edge and top of the rim with a folded piece of 220 sandpaper. Once it was finished it definitely is an improvement.I polished the bowl and rim top with micromesh sanding pads – dry 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 sides 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 decided to address the fit of the stem to the shank. They were significantly different in diameter. I wanted to address that first while at the same time dealing with the deep tooth marks. I took photos of the fit of the stem to the shank. I think you can see the variation in diameter in the photos. The stem is bigger on the top an don the right side. If I turn it over it is the reverse but the fit is better against the shank face in the way it is in the photos below.I sanded the shank end of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to reduce diameter to a close fit. I got I close then decided to deal with the tooth marks on the stem surface so that I could sand the entire stem to shape and it to the shank. I “painted” the tooth marked area with the flame of a lighter and was able to lift many of them significantly. Those that remained I filled in with clear CA glue and set aside to cure. Once the repair had cured I used a small file to flatten it out and to redefine the button area and edges. It looked much better. I followed that by sanding the repaired area with 220 grit sandpaper to further blend in the repairs to the surrounding vulcanite. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. With that work down on the button end I could go back to fine tuning the stem to shank fit.I went back to fitting the stem to the shank with 220 grit sandpaper and after some more adjustments the fit works well with the shank and I am pleased with the smooth transition to the shank.I polished it with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads (somehow the photo of the 1500-2400 grit pads was inadvertently lost). 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. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. Once I finished refitting and repairing the stem, this “Malaga” Imported Briar 3 Cutty was another beautiful pipe. The briar around the bowl is clean and really came alive. The rim top looks much better than when I began. The rich brown stains gave the grain a sense of depth with the polishing and waxing. The grain really popped. I put the vulcanite stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. 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 “Malaga” Cutty is a beauty and feels great 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 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of pipe is 1.34 ounces /38 grams. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store soon. Look for it in the American Pipe Makers section. If you would like to add it to your collection let me know. This is another pipe that has the possibility of transporting the pipe man or woman back to a slower paced time in history where you can enjoy a respite. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

Restoring a “Malaga” Pencil Shank Cutty 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. Last week Alex came by and went through the Malaga pipes I have awaiting restoration. I have a box of pipes from Alex that I am always working away at he added a few more Malaga pipes to his box. There are quite a few of them to work on so I decided work on a few of them. The fourth of these was another Malaga pipe. It  is a beautiful pencil shank Cutty shaped with a long vulcanite stem. The smooth rim, tall narrow bowl, and thin shank combined with the stem make it a stunning pipe. It has mixed grain around the sides of the bowl and shank. The “Malaga” Cutty shaped was a pipe Jeff picked up from EBay that originally came from Michigan. We were both surprised that he picked it up as it is getting harder and harder to pick these up at a good price.

This long narrow shank Cutty is next on the table. The carver did a great job of shaping the pipe to follow the grain on the briar. The pipe was in very good condition when arrived. The rim top has a little lava and darkening 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 read “MALAGA” with the quotation marks and the right side read Imported Briar. The vulcanite stem was lightly oxidized and had tooth chatter on the top and the underside of the stem. Jeff took these photos before he started the cleanup work on the pipe. Jeff took close up photos of the bowl and rim to capture the condition of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. The rim top had some very light spots of lava and a little darkening on the back of the bowl. The edges of the bowl were not too bad. The inside edge was clean and the outside had a few small dents and nicks. Other than being so dirty that it was in great condition.He also took photos of the sides and bottom of the bowl and shank to show the beautiful mixed grain around the bowl. The photos show the general condition of the bowl and wear on the finish. It is dirty but this is another beautiful pipe. Jeff took a photo to capture the stamping on the top side of the shank. The photos show the stamping “MALAGA” on the left side of the shank and on the right it is stamped Imported Briar in caps. The stamping is very readable.The next two photos show the stem surface. There are light tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. There is also some wear on the sharp edge of the button.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.

Jeff followed his regular regimen for cleaning estates. 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 was able to remove the light lava build up on the rim top and you could see the darkening toward the back of the rim top. I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work on it. I took close up photos of the bowl and rim top as well as the stem. You can see the condition of the rim top and bowl in the first photo. Jeff was able to remove all of the tar and oils but you can now see the darkened area on the back of the rim top. The vulcanite stem had tooth chatter on the top and underside of the stem near and on the button surface.I took photos of the stamping on both sides of the shank to show the condition. The first one shows the “MALAGA” stamp on the left side of the shank. The second photo shows the stamping on the right side of the shank. It reads Imported Briar.I polished the rim top and the exterior of the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each sanding pad to remove the dust. Each grit of micromesh gave it more of a shine. 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 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, without tooth chatter or tooth marks. It was well cut stem and had a great look and feel. It was lightly oxidized so it did not take a lot of work to bring back a 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. This is a beautiful Pencil Shank Malaga Cutty with a black vulcanite stem. It has a great look and feel. The thin shank flowing into a tall bowl works well to highlight the birdseye and cross 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 black 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 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: 5/8 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.