Blog by Steve Laug
Yesterday afternoon I received and email from a reader of the rebornpipes blog who was on the hunt for a Malaga pipe or two for a colleague of hers. What made it interesting was that the colleague’s grandfather and family were the original owners of Malaga Pipes. Here is her message to me:
I work with Lisa Holloway formerly Saraynian and her grandfather and consecutive family were the original owner of Malaga Pipes
Id love to be able to purchase one for her for Christmas this year but since they went out of business in 1999 I have no idea where to get one or how much they are
Would you be able to help me find one and purchase it for her.
Please let me know thanks so much
I read her email at work and when I got home I went through the Malaga pipes from George Koch’s estate. I picked two of them that I thought might interest her and sent her the pictures of the pipes that I had available. The two I chose needed to be restored before I could send them to her but they showed some promise. The first of them was a long shank Canadian that had some mixed grain and a vulcanite stem. The mix of grain styles around the bowl and shank combined with the stem make it a stunning pipe. It is one of the many Malaga pipes that came to my brother and me in several shipments of pipes from George’s daughter Kathy. When Jeff got each box the pipes were well wrapped and packed. Jeff unwrapped them and took the following photo to give an idea of the volume of the pipes that we purchased. This Malaga came in mixed in a box of pipes much like the one below. 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
The “Malaga” Long Shank Canadian is next pipe on the table. The carver did a great job of shaping the pipe to follow the grain on the briar. The bowl, oval shank and straight tapered stem look very good. The bowl had a thick cake that overflowed with lava onto the rim so that it was impossible to see if there was damage on the inner edges. The sides of the bowl and shank are very dirty with grime and oils from prolonged use. The stamping on the top of the shank read “MALAGA”. On the underside it is stamped IMPORTED BRIAR. The stem had tooth dents and chatter on the top and the underside of the stem. There was some thick calcification and also some oxidation deep in the vulcanite of the stem surface. 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 lava overflow and darkening on the back of the bowl. There appeared to be deep gouges in the inner edge of the grimy pipe. The outer edge looked to be in decent condition with perhaps some burn marks on the front.He also took a photo of the side and bottom of the bowl and shank to show the beautiful grain around the bowl. The photos show the general condition of the bowl and dirt and wear on the rich oil finish. It is very 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 topside of the shank and IMPORTED BRIAR on the underside. The stamping is very readable. The next photos show the stem surface. There are tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button and wear on the button surface and edges. You can also see the calcification and the oxidation on the stem.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 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 lava build up on the rim top and the flat surface of the rim top and the inner edge ha some serious burn damage on the front and back side. The outer edge looked very good. I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work on it. The stem also looked better. 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 damage on the top and inside rim edge. The edge is out of round. There is a burn mark that extends across back and front edge of the rim top at that point. The stem had tooth marks and chatter on both sides near and on the button surface on both sides.I took a photo of the stamping on the shank to show how good the condition is. It shows the “MALAGA”and the IMPORTED BRIAR stamp and they are very legible.I decided to address the rim top first. I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I wanted to minimize the damage on the top, remove the darkening and clean up the damage on the inner edges of the bowl. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the damage on the right rear inner edge of the bowl. I gave the inner edge a slight bevel to repair the damage. I polished the edge with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. The rim top and edges really looked better.I polished the bowl and rim with a medium and a fine sanding sponge to begin the process of removing the scratches and blending the restored rim top into the rest of the bowl. The photos tell the story. I polished the rim top and the briar with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded the bowl with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust. I scrubbed the briar with Before & After Briar Cleaner 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 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 to address the issues on the surface of both sides at the button. I painted the surface of the stem with the flame of a lighter to lift the indentations. Since vulcanite has “memory” it often will return to its original condition when heated. It worked pretty well leaving behind light chatter and one small tooth mark that will need to be repaired.I used a needle file to redefine the sharp edge and the surface of the button. It had been worn down and lost its definition.I filled in the one remaining tooth dent with a drop of clear super glue and set it aside for a few moments to cure.I sanded both sides smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and 400 grit sandpaper to blend the tooth chatter and the repair into the surface of the stem. As I sanded and reshaped the button and stem surface the repaired areas and the tooth chatter disappeared.I used some Denicare Mouthpiece Polish that I have in my kit to start polishing out some of the scratches and remaining oxidation on the stem. I rubbed it in with a cotton pad and my finger tip and buffed it off with a cotton pad.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 Malaga Long Shank Canadian with a vulcanite tapered stem. It has a great look and feel. The shape of the bowl, the beveled 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: 6 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. When the second Malaga is finished I will mail it off to Diane. I can’t wait to hear what her colleague thinks when she opens her Christmas present! I am glad that she is carrying on both the trust for George Koch and her family. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another one of Kathy’s Dad’s Pipes.