Tag Archives: Malaga Pipe Shop Michigan

Restoring a Malaga Hand Made Freehand Sitter


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 Hand Made Malaga Freehand Sitter with plateau on the rim top and shank end. The entire pipe had been sandblasted but some beautiful straight grain around the bowl and birdseye grain on bottom showed through the blast.The pipe has a dark under coat of stain in the blast and a top coat of brown that really makes the grain shine through the blast. The carver did a great job utilizing the block of briar to maximize the grain. The pipe is stamped on the underside of the shank. It reads “MALAGA” (over) Hand Made. The saddle stem is fancy, turned 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 a thick cake in the bowl and some lava overflowing onto the plateau rim top. The exterior of the briar was dusty with grime in the crevices of the blast. The stem is dirty and there were tooth marks on both sides of the stem at the button edge and some wear on the button edge itself. 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. There was a lava on the rim and the cake in the bowl. The inner and outer edges of the bowl appeared to be in excellent condition. The plateau top had a lot of grime in the crevices. The stem was in decent condition. There was some light oxidation and there was wear on the button surfaces on both sides of the stem. There were tooth marks and chatter on the underside of the stem but otherwise it was not too bad.I also took a photo of the underside of the shank to show the sandblast and the stamping on the smooth panel on the end. The stamping is readable in the photo below – MALAGA over Hand Made.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 process of the restoration by cleaning out the grooves in the plateau with a brass bristle tire brush. Once I finished 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. I reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the remnants of cake. I sanded the inside of the walls with a dowel wrapped with 220 grit sandpaper. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar and the plateau 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. I buffed the rim top with a shoe brush to make sure that the nooks and crannies had the conditioner deep in them. The following photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. The bowl and the rim top look very good with rich contrasting stains. 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. With the bowl finished I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I filled in the deep tooth marks and dents on the both the top and underside of the stem and on the edges of the button on both sides with clear super glue. When the repairs had cured I used a needle file to flatten the repaired spots in preparation for sanding. I sanded the stem surface with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the repairs 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 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 sandblast finish and the grain came alive with the buffing. The rich contrasting colour 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: 6 inches, Height: 2 1/2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 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 this uniquely carved Malaga Hand Made Freehand Sitter.

Giving New Life to a “Malaga” Custom Carved Acorn


Blog by Steve Laug

I am working through a lot of the queue of pipes that are sitting in my repair bin in the evenings this week. Next on the table is another Malaga from Alex that he dropped off for a restoration. It is what Malaga called a Custom Carved pipe. It is an Acorn or Strawberry shaped pipe with a smooth finish. The top is slightly crowned with a flat rim top. The pipe has an unstained natural oil finish. The pipe had been lightly reamed and cleaned according to the seller. The bowl and shank were dirty but there was a light cake that was heavier in the bottom half. The rim top had a thick lava coat and some damage on the top surface. There was a deeper burn mark on the front inner edge. The pipe is stamped on the right side of the shank and reads “MALAGA” over Custom Carved. The finish on the pipe is spotty with a lot of grime and dust ground into the finish. The stem was very deeply oxidized and polished over the oxidation. There was tooth damage on the button itself and on both sides of the stem. The photos give a pretty clear picture of the shape of the pipe and its general condition when I received it. I took a close up photo of the bowl and rim to capture the condition of the pipe before I started my restoration of the pipe. The rim top had some tars and lava build up but the edges were fairly clean. There was a light burned are on the right front inner edge of the bowl. The stem itself was an interesting mess. It had been shinned and polished but there was still some very deep oxidation that is visible – with the shine is a cloudy brown colour. There are also tooth marks on both sides of the stem and on the button surface. I took a photo to capture the stamping on the right side of the shank and one of the underside of the shank. The first photo shows stamping as noted above. The stamping on this pipe is clear and readable. This time it includes the quotation marks that show up on various Malaga pipes. There was also the letter C was stamped on the underside of the shank at the stem/shank junction. I believe this refers to the fact that the pipe has the Malaga Carved finish. 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, than I invite you to follow the link to get a feel for the brand and the pipemaker.

I reamed the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to clean up the remaining cake and to scrape away the tars and lava on the rim top.I scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. I rinsed the bowl under running water and dried it off with a soft cloth. I took photos of the bowl at this point in the cleanup process. I started my work on the pipe topping the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I wanted to remove as much of the damage to the rim top as possible and minimize the burn damage on the front edge of the bowl. Once I had the bowl topped I repaired a damaged spot on the front of the bowl with clear super glue and briar dust. While the repair dried I used a folded piece of sandpaper to smooth out the inner edge of the bowl. Once the repair cured I sanded it smooth. I polished the bowl, shank and the freshly sanded rim top with 2400-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the rim top down with a damp cloth after each pad. I found that with each successive grit of micromesh the grain stood out more and gave a shine to the pipe. I liked what I saw when I looked at it. 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 really good and the darkening is gone. The finish looks very good with the rich oil finish on the bowl and rim. I am very happy with the results. I cleaned out the airway in the shank and wiped out the bowl to clean out the tars and oils. I used a dental spatula to scrape out the hard tars that coated the walls of the mortise. I scrubbed it with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. 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 lighter to raise the deep tooth marks. Heat can raise dents and level out the surface of the stem. Even though I was not able to remove all of them I was able to remove the majority.I filled in the remaining two tooth dents on each side of the stem with clear super glue and set the stem aside to let the repairs cure.Once the repairs cured, I sanded the stem surface with 220 grit sandpaper to blend in the repairs with the surface of the stem and to remove the oxidation. 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 cleaned out the airway in the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners until all of the tars and oils were removed.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. Now with both parts of the pipe finished, I polished 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 grain came alive with the buffing. The rich oil 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 3/4 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/2 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 of an inch. This one will be going back to Alex with the rest of his pipes that I am working on. Thanks for walking through the restoration on this Custom Carved “Malaga” Acorn.

Breathing new life into a Malaga Carved Canadian


Blog by Steve Laug

I am working through a lot of the queue of pipes that are sitting in my repair bin this weekend. Next on the table is another Malaga from Alex that he dropped off for a restoration. It is what Malaga would have called one of their carved finishes. It is a Canadian with a double rusticated finish. The underfinish is almost Custombilt like in the deep worm trail grooves on the bowl and shank. The top finish is a wire rustication that covers the bowl sides and shank over the top of the previous finish. The rim top and a band on the shank end are smooth and stained with a contrasting lighter stain. It is an interestingly piece with a very unique finish that has grown on me as I worked on it.

The pipe had been reamed and cleaned according to the seller. The bowl and shank were pretty clean bowl. The rim top had some damage on the top surface and a deeper burn mark on the right front inner edge. The pipe is stamped on the topside of the shank horizontally and reads MALAGA. The finish on the pipe is very in good condition with a lot of grime and dust in the finish. The stem was very deeply oxidized and polished over the oxidation. There were waves and marks on the surface of both sides at the button and tooth damage on the button itself. The photos give a pretty clear picture of the shape of the pipe and its general condition when I received it. I took a close up photo of the bowl and rim to capture the condition of the pipe before he started my restoration of the pipe. The rim top was clean but had some darkening and chipping on the surface at the back of the bowl. The right front inner edge and bowl top had some burn damage that was quite extensive. The stem itself was an interesting mess. It had been shinned and polished but there was still some very deep oxidation that is visible – with the shine is a cloudy red colour. There are also tooth marks on the button surface of the topside (shown in the second photo) as well as some general waviness to the stem just ahead of the button that spoke of some one trying to buff out the tooth marks. Also note the stamped C on the shank underside in the third photo. I believe this refers to the fact that the pipe has the Malaga Carved finish.I took a photo to capture the stamping on the topside of the shank. The photo shows stamping as noted above. The stamping on this pipe is clear and readable. Once again it does not include the quotation marks that show up on various Malaga pipes.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 bowl had been reamed and the pipe appeared to be clean I left the cleanup work until after I had reworked the shank and stem. I started my work on the pipe by working on the rim top and inner edge of the bowl. I started by topping the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I wanted to remove as much of the damage to the rim top as possible and minimize the burn damage on the front edge of the bowl. What limited the topping was the smooth band around the top of the bowl. Even though it was thin I could safely remove some of the damage without compromising the band. Once I had it topped I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to give the inner edge a slight bevel to further hide the burn damage. I polished the freshly sanded briar with 2400-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the rim top down with a damp cloth after each pad. I found that with each successive grit of micromesh the grain stood out more and gave a shine to the pipe. I liked what I saw when I looked at it. While it was a close match to the smooth band on the shank and around the rim top it would need to be stained to give a more perfect match. I used an Oak Stain pen to touch up the rim top and the light spots on the band around the shank end. 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 really good and the darkening is gone. The finish looks very good with the rich oil finish on the bowl and rim. I am very happy with the results. I cleaned out the airway in the shank and wiped out the bowl to make sure there was no debris left behind. The pipe had been well cleaned on the inside by the seller. Because of that most of what I got was the sanding debris that had drifted in the bowl and shank when I had topped the rim. 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 smooth out the waves, remove the oxidation and smooth out the tooth marks on the surface of the button. The oxidation and waviness of the stem surface was hardest to deal with in order to not accentuate the waves instead of removing them. I sanded with long strokes on the surface to blend in the high and low spots. 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 cleaned out the debris from the airway and slot in the stem after the sanding was completed. I used alcohol and pipe cleaners.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. Now with both parts of the pipe finished, I polished stem 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 grain under the double rustication came alive with the buffing. The rich oil finish on the briar works well with the new, 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: 6 inches, Height: 1 3/4 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/4 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 of an inch. This one will be going back to Alex with the rest of his pipes that I am working on. Thanks for walking through the restoration and restemming with me on this uniquely carved Malaga Canadian.

 

Restoring another Malaga – A Billiard with a Twist from Bowl to Button


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe in the queue is another interesting pipe from the Michigan lot – a Twisted Billiard with a twist going from the rim to the button. It is a totally unique pipe and different from any of the other Malaga pipes that I have worked on. It is not a large pipe – probably a Group 4 sized bowl. The twist is carved in around what appears to have been originally a panel bowl but I am not even sure of that as it has a round rim top. The finish is smooth and well finished in the oil cured style of other pipes from the brand. On the underside is a small flat panel running parallel to the shank that is stamped “MALAGA” with the quotation marks. The stem is vulcanite and carries on the twist of the shank and bowl. This is another nice looking piece much like the rest of those in this 21 pipe Michigan pipe lot. This Malaga joins the rusticated billiard that I worked on earlier and a freehand that also has a very interesting Malaga shape. The Malaga I am working on now is on the mat in front of the rack. It is the third pipe on the left and I have circled it in red to make it easy to identify. Jeff took some photos of the pipe when he received them to show the general condition of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. Like the rest of the pipes from the Michigan collection this pipe was dirty and well used. There was a thick cake in the bowl and lava overflowing onto the rim top. The inner edge of the bowl was damaged with nicks and cuts from a previous reaming job with a knife. The twisted carving in the bowl sides and shanks fit comfortably in the hand as it was wrapped around the bowl sides. The carving on the bowl, shank and stem make the pipe very interesting. It is another pipe that is unlike any of the Malaga pipes that I have worked on. It is grooves/twists are quite deep and are parallel on the right and left side and the front and the back. The vulcanite stem is carved in the same manner as the bowl and carries on the twist. There are deep tooth marks on both sides of the stem at the button edge and some wear on the button edge itself. The photos below tell the story and give a glimpse of the carved twisted billiard. Jeff took a close up photo of the bowl and rim to capture the condition of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. The rim top had a thick lava overflow and some darkening. There were some nicks and cuts around the rim. There also appeared to be a burn mark on the right inner edge of the rim at mid bowl and possibly on the left inner edge toward the read of the bowl . There is also a general accumulation of dust and grime in the carving of the bowl and shank.He also took photo of the right side and the bottom of the bowl and shank to show the interesting twisted carving that covers the pipe. The carving is unique and gives the pipe a rugged and tactile look and feel in the hand. It should be interesting as the pipe warms up when smoked. The finish is very dirty but this is another beautiful pipe. Jeff took a photo to capture the stamping on the underside of the shank. The photo shows stamping “MALAGA”. The stamping has the quotation marks that I have seen on some of the pipes. I have yet to figure out what the quotation marks mean as they are not on all of the pipes. Perhaps some of you might know. How about a note about this?The next three photos show the stem surface. The first shows the twist in the stem flowing out of the shank. There is some light oxidation on the stem surface. The next two show the tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. There are also some marks on the sharp edge of the button. The surface of the blade in front of the button also has some scratches from whoever attempted to clean it up. Once again 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. 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 you could see the damage to the flat surface of the rim and the inner edge on the right side and toward the front of the bowl. I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work on it. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the darkening on the surface of the rim toward the back of the bowl. There were also some burn marks on the right side toward the middle and the ledge side toward the rear of the rim top. The inner edge of the bowl had some damage from burns and reaming but the outside edge looks really good. The stem photos show the tooth marks and the wear on the button surface on both sides. The final close up photos shows the “MALAGA” stamping on the underside of the shank.To remove the damage to the top of the rim I topped it on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I worked on it to remove the burned areas and the damage to the inner edge of the rim as much as possible. I am happy with how it turned out.I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the inner edge of the round rim top. I was able to remove the majority of the damage, leaving behind a dark spot on the right side of the rim top at the inner edge. I wiped the rim top down with a damp cotton pad to remove the dust. I polished the bowl and the rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the rim down after each pad with a damp cloth. I touched up the stain on the rim with a Maple stain pen and blended it into the grain. Once it dried I buffed it with Blue Diamond to spread it out. With the rim top and bowl polished, 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 really good and the darkening and lava are gone. The finish looks very good with the swirling carving on the sides of the bowl and shank. The Maple stain on the rim matched the rest of the bowl perfectly. I am very happy with the results. With the bowl finished I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I cleaned out the tooth marks on both sides of the stem with a cotton swab and alcohol. Once the repairs had cured I used a needle file to flatten out the repaired areas. I filed it until the patches were smooth with the surface of the stem. 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 Obsidian Oil after each pad. I further polished it with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I polished 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 contrasting grain came alive with the buffing. The rich browns work 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: 6 inches, Height: 2 1/4 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/2 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/16 of an inch. This pipe will be going on the rebornpipes store. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me on this twisted Malaga billiard.

Restemming and Restoring a Malaga Scoop


Blog by Steve Laug

Since I am already working on restemming pipes I figure I might as well fit a stem to a MALAGA bowl that Alex dropped by a while ago. It is an interestingly shaped piece and I really like the looks of it. MALAGA called this shape a scoop. The grain swirls around the bowl sides and shows some great cross grain on the rim top. It is a pretty clean bowl with a bit of darkening on the rim top and cake build up at the bottom of the bowl. The pipe is stamped on the underside of the shank horizontally with the stem shank junction and reads MALAGA. The finish on the pipe is very in great condition with a few dings and pits in the briar on the right front near the rim. It has the classic Malaga oil cured look and is a rich, natural brown colour. The stem was missing so I would need to fit and shape a new one for it. I went through my can of stems to find an oval stem that would work with this shape pipe. I picked a new stem blank that I thought showed some promise. I took photos of the pipe and the potential stem before working on it. The photos give a pretty clear picture of the shape of the pipe and its general condition when I received it.

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 changed my habitual pattern of working on pipes with this one as the bowl was pretty clean. I would do the reaming later. I set up my cordless drill and drilled the airway in the tenon so that the guide on the tenon turner would fit. I put the PIMO tenon turner in the chuck and turned the tenon until it was the right diameter for the shank. I know many use a micrometer to set the tenon turner correctly but the way the tool is configured that has never worked for me. I always eyeball it and turn it in degrees. After each turning I check it in the shank. When I get close I stop and finish with sandpaper and files. Probably a bit of a troglodyte but hey, it works for me.Once I had the diameter so that the tenon was snug I put the stem in the shank and took photos of the pipe at this point. It is way for me to see if I like the proportion of the length of the shank and bowl with the length of the stem. I have gotten to this point on other pipes and pitched the stem in the can and turned a different stem. In this case I thought it would work very well. I would need to reduce the diameter of the saddle, remove the casting marks on the stem and give it a slight bend when I was finished. What do you think? I took some close up photos of the rim top and the fit of the stem to the shank to give you a clearer picture of where things stood at this point in the process. Incidentally, in the last photo below you can see the MALAGA stamping on the underside of the shank.I used the Dremel and sanding drum to take off the casting marks on the sides and button end of the stem. I also used the sanding drum to remove the majority of the excess stem material on the saddle. I hand sanded it with a file and 220 grit sandpaper to get the fit close to a smooth transition. I little a tea light candle and heated the stem to bend it to the angle I wanted to work with the bowl. I took photos of the stem after the bending to show what the pipe looked like at this point in the process. There was still a lot of fine tuning and shaping to do but the pipe was beginning to look complete. I liked the look of the new stem. Some of you may wonder why I sand the shank the bit that I do. My experience is that I can smooth out the transition this way. I know that others do it differently but this is my process. I continued to sand and shape the stem and fit it to the shank end. I beveled the mortise end a bit more than it was originally using a small half circle needle file. Once that was done I sanded the stem to smooth out the transition with the shank. The photos below show that it is getting closer to a fit. I took some close up photos of the fit of the stem to the shank at this point. It is getting better and better. I still need to do a few adjustments to the tenon to get a snug fit to the shank.I sanded the stem with 400 grit wet dry sand paper to polish out the scratches left behind by the files and 220 grit sandpaper.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each of the pads using Obsidian Oil. I polished it further with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine grits. I gave it another coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside. With the stem fit and finished I set it aside to work on the bowl. The bowl was in decent condition other than some darkening on the top and two small pits on the right front of the bowl. There was also a little bit of cake in the bottom one third of the bowl. Whoever had reamed it did not take the conical bowl into their thoughts. The rest of the bowl was well reamed but the bottom portion was not. I reamed the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to clean up the bottom part of the bowl. I filled in the two small pits with clear super glue and when the patches cured sanded them smooth with 400 grit sandpaper. Unfortunately I did not take a photo of that part. Ah well. It is easy to get caught up in the process and forget the photos… I apologize for that.I polished the briar with 2400-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad. I found that with each successive grit of micromesh the grain stood out more and gave a shine to the pipe. I liked what I saw when I looked at it. 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 really good and the darkening is gone. The finish looks very good with the rich oil finish on the bowl and rim. I am very happy with the results. Now with both parts of the pipe finished, I polished stem with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and 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 contrasting grain came alive with the buffing. The rich oil finish on the briar works well with the new, 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 1/2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: 9/16 of an inch. This one will be going back to Alex with the rest of his pipes that I am working on. Thanks for walking through the restoration and restemming with me on this nicely shaped MALAGA Scoop.

The Largest Malaga Rusticated Billiard I have ever seen


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe in the queue is a rusticated Malaga Billiard that is the largest Malaga I have worked on. It is like a war club in my hands which are not tiny! The rustication is rough and chipped glass like. There is a smooth band around the shank end and on the underside it is a little wider to accommodate the MALAGA stamp in the briar. The stem is a marbled brown Lucite saddle bit that is quite nice with the reddish brown stain on the bowl and shank. This is another nice looking piece much like the rest of those in this 21 pipe Michigan pipe lot. Along with this Malaga there were two others that are very interesting Malaga shapes. The Malaga I am working on now is on the mat in front of the rack. It is the first pipe on the right and I have circled it in red to make it easy to identify. Jeff took some photos of the pipe when he received them to show the general condition of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. Like the rest of the pipes from the Michigan collection this pipe was dirty and well used. There was a thick cake in the bowl and lava overflowing onto the outer edge of the rim filling in the rustication. The inner edge of the bowl was hidden under the grime and lava coat so it was hard to know what was underneath in terms of damage. The rustication was like broken glass and the tactile feel is really interesting. It is not like any of the Malaga pipes that I have worked on. It is quite deep and rugged and the medium brown and red stains give the rustication depth and dimension. The stem is pearlized Lucite with swirling browns and copper hues that is quite interesting. There are deep tooth marks on both sides of the stem at the button edge and some wear on the button edge itself. The photos below tell the story and give a glimpse of the large, saddle stemmed billiard. Jeff took a close up photo 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 some darkening. Some of the rustication is filled in with lava toward the back of the bowl. There is also a general accumulation of dust and grime in the rustication. He also took a photo of the right side and bottom of the bowl and shank to show the interesting rough rustication that covers the pipe. The rugged rustication gives the pipe a tactile sense when held in the hand and should be interesting as the pipe warms up when smoked. The finish is very dirty but this is another beautiful pipe.Jeff took a photo to capture the stamping on the underside of the shank. The photo shows stamping MALAGA. The stamping does not have the quotation marks that I have seen on some of the pipes. The next two photos show the stem surface. There are tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. There are also some marks on the sharp edge of the button.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 you could see the damage to the flat surface of the rim and the inner edge on the right side and toward the front of the bowl. 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 leaving behind a little darkening on the back side of the rim top. The inner and outer edge of the bowl was in excellent condition with no damage. The Lucite stem had tooth chatter and some tooth marks on the top and underside of the stem near and on the button surface.I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank to show how good the condition is. The stamp is deep and legible. It clearly reads MALAGA without the quotation marks that are sometimes used around the stamp.I decided to address the darkening on the backside of the rim top first. I used a brass bristle wire brush to work over the rustication on the rim top. I was able to remove much of the darkening with the wire brush. The rim top looks significantly better after the brushing.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the rusticated surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. It took some time to really get it into the grooves and valleys of the rustication but I was able to work it in. I let the balm sit for a little wall 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 reworked rim top looks really good and matches the colour of the rest of the pipe. I am very happy with the results. I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem. There were some tooth marks on the top and underside at the button that needed to be addressed. I also needed to do some work on the surface of the button on both sides. I filled the damaged areas in and build up the surface with clear super glue and set the stem aside until the repairs cured.When the repairs were cured, 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 polished the acrylic stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit sanding pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish and buffed it with a microfiber cloth. This is the first fully rusticated or “carved” finishes as Malaga called them, that I have worked on. I have worked on partially rusticated but never one with this kind of very cut glass like finish. It is extremely well done and it is a large pipe. The combination of stained rustication with the swirled Lucite stem is stunning. I polished stem 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 oil cured briar is very light weight and the red and brown stain colour works well with the polished variegated copper and brown 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: 2 3/8 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/4 inches, Chamber diameter: 15/16 of an inch. I will be putting this newly finished Malaga pipe on the rebornpipes store shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection and trying out this brand. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me it was an interesting pipe to restore.

A Hard Ridden “Malaga” Billiard Made New


Blog by Steve Laug

I have mentioned several times in the blogs I have done on the Malaga pipes that I have restored for Alex that he is now collecting them in a focused manner. He has found some beautiful pieces that come from the Malaga Pipe Shop in Royal Oak, Michigan in the USA. The more I work on the brand the more I am impressed by the quality of the craftsmanship and beauty of the pipes that came from the shop. I have written an earlier blog to give a little history of the Malaga Brand if you are interested: 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. If the pipes Alex has found have been beautiful, this one was not! It was a bleached and varnished mess. The stem did not fit in the shank and the feel of the pipe when I ran my fingers over it was ridged and bubbled. It was a strange feeling pipe. It is stamped on the left side of the shank with “MALAGA” and on the heel of the bowl with a 0. I have not seen the 0 stamp before so I am unclear of the meaning. All I know is that this pipe was going to be a hard one to make beautiful again. Here are some photos of it before I started. The varnish coat had protected the bowl from scratches and dents but it was rough feeling with its ridges – almost like it had been painted on with a brush. The rim top was dirty with some darkening around the surface and the inner edges of the bowl. The outer edge was clean. The bowl had a thick cake. The finish had some dark stains along the left side of the shank around the Malaga stamping. There were also some stains on the underside of the shank. It really was an odd pipe in many ways. The stem was quite oxidized and there were deep tooth marks on both sides near the button. The button surface was also marked. The stem did not seat in the shank. That led me to believe that the shank was lined with tars and oils.The stamping was hard to capture because of the painted on varnish but is clear and readable. It is stamped “MALAGA” on the left side. The 0 on the heel of the bowl is very clear.The varnish coat was so hard and impervious I decided to throw the bowl into an alcohol bath to soak overnight. I did not think it would work but thought it was worth a try. I closed up the container and called it a night.In the morning I removed the bowl from the bath. It had not done any damage to the thick coat of varnish or whatever… it was a hopeless endeavour so I decided to wait and deal with it later. I reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer using three of the four cutting heads. I took the cake back to bare briar. I followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to scrape away the remnants of cake and clean up the walls of the bowl. I finished the reaming with a piece of dowel wrapped in 220 grit sandpaper and sanded the walls of the bowl. To remove the damage to the rim and the varnish coat I used a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper and worked the rim against the surface of the board in a circular motion to remove the damage. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the inner edge of the rim and to remove the darkening present there. I decided to go back to stripping off the painted coat on the bowl. I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to break the shiny surface of the topping. I wiped it down with acetone on a cotton pad and sanded more and repeated the process until the finish was gone. With the varnish/plastic coat removed I polished the bowl with micromesh sanding pads.  Wet sanded with 1500-24000 grit pads and dry sanded with 3200-12000 grit pipes. I wiped the briar down after each pad with a damp cotton pad to remove the sanding dust. The colour of the briar was uneven and the area around the stamping had some dark streaks that I could not remove. I worked on them with a corner of micromesh but I was thinking I would need to stain the bowl to take care of the issues. Before I went that far I decided to rub the bowl down with some Before & After Restoration Balm. I rubbed it into the briar and buffed it to see what showed up. I like the grain but I wanted to go for a darker brown to cover the stains on the shank. I was not happy with the overall look yet but decided to clean out the shank and the mortise. I scraped the mortise walls with a dental spatula to loosen the build up in the shank. I used cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and alcohol to remove the tars and oils that had built up in the  shank and kept the stem from seating against the shank end.  With the inside and outside clean it was time to stain the bowl. I heated the briar and then applied some Fiebing’s Light Brown stain to the briar. I flamed it and repeated the process until I was happy with the coverage on the bowl.I let the stain cure for several hours and worked on another pipe. Once the stain had set I wiped it down with isopropyl alcohol on cotton pads to remove the excess and make the stain more transparent. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust. I worked some Restoration Balm into the newly stained surface of the briar and it came alive. The following photos show the new look of the pipe. I buffed the pipe on the buffing wheel using Blue Diamond polish. It removed a little more of the darker stain and the grain really began to shine through more clearly. I set the bowl aside and addressed the issues with the stem. I sanded the surface of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove as much of the oxidation as I could. I wiped down the surface of the stem with a damp cloth and cleaned out the tooth marks with cotton swabs. I filled in the tooth marks with black super glue and laid the stem aside to let the repairs cure. I turned to work on another pipe while the repair cured.Once the repairs had hardened and cured I used a needle file to sharpen the edge of the button and smooth out the repair on the stem. I sanded the stem repairs with 220 and 400 grit sand paper to blend the repair into the surface of the stem. It took a lot of sanding to smooth it out but the finished product looked a lot better than when I started. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil and then cleaned the airway in the airway with pipe cleaners and alcohol. I was quite surprised by the lack of debris and grime in the airway.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Polish – Fine and Extra Fine. When I had finished it I wiped it down a final time and set it aside to dry. This Malaga Billiard came alive with the buffing. 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 various styles of grain shining through the finish on the bowl. The rich contrasting brown colour 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 3/4 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/4 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 inch. I will be putting this I have a few more of Alex’s pipes to finish then this one will be heading back to him. I look forward to hearing what he thinks of the new look Thanks for walking through the restoration with me on this Malaga.

 

A Unique Malaga from Kathy’s Dad’s Pipes –a ¼ Bent Bulldog


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table is also from George Koch’s estate. It is another one of George’s Malaga pipes – this time a ¼ bent Bulldog with a golden acrylic stem. It is quite a stunning pipe and caught my eye when I was going through the bag of Malaga pipes that I still have to work on. The Bulldog was just 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. The next 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 the last Malaga where that is included 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 ¼ Bent Bulldog with a variegated gold/yellow acrylic stem is next on the table. The carver combined rustication with a smooth stripe of cross grain up the right underside of the diamond shank and a portion of the right side of the bowl. There is a band of smooth briar around the shank end and the bowl top as well as a smooth rim top. There are no rings around the cap of the bowl. It is a well-shaped pipe that captures the cross grain in the stripe and adds the tactile feature of the rustication. The top of the bowl has some damage on the top and inner edge. The bowl had a very thick cake and cobwebs in the bowl. There was an overflow of lava onto the thin rim top. The stamping on the smooth underside of the diamond shank read MALAGA. The gold/yellow swirled acrylic stem had tooth dents and 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 two close up photos of the bowl and rim with different lighting to capture the condition of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. The rim top had some lava overflow and some darkening. There appeared to be some rim damage on the inner edge at the front of the bowl. You can see the wear on the rim top, the cake and cobwebs in the bowl. The pipe is dirty. He also took photos of the sides and bottom of the bowl and shank to show the beautiful cross grain on the stripe, around the rim and the rim itself. The photos also show the rugged rustication that gives the pipe a tactile sense as well.The finish is very dirty but this is another beautiful pipe. Jeff took a photo to capture the stamping on the top left side of the diamond shank. The photo shows stamping MALAGA. The stamping does not have the quotation marks that I have seen on some of the pipes.The next two photos show the stem surface. There are tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. There is also some wear on the sharp edge of the button.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.

It has become a habitual pattern now for both Jeff and I when we work on pipes to follow the same procedure. I include it here so you have a sense of that pattern. 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 you could see the damage to the flat surface of the rim and the inner edge on the right side and toward the front of the bowl. 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 damaged areas on the surface clearly. There are damaged spots all around the top surface and on the right side and front of the inner edge of the bowl. The acrylic/Lucite stem had tooth chatter and some tooth marks on the top and underside of the stem near and on the button surface.I took a photo of the stamping on the shank to show how good the condition is. The stamp is deep and legible on the lower right side.I decided to address the damage to the rim top first. I topped the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper on a topping board to remove the damage to the flat surface of the rim top and also to try and minimize the damage to the inner edge of the rim.I worked over the inner edge of the rim with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the damage. I gave it a slight bevel to hide the burn damage on the front edge of the rim. The photos tell the story. The damage to the rim top is gone and the inner edge looks far better with the light bevel. The damage to the front edge is quite hidden.I polished the rim top and edge with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the rim off after each sanding pad to remove the dust. The damage on the rim is pretty much invisible after polishing and the rim top really looked good. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the rusticated and the smooth surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. It took some time to really get it into the grooves and valleys of the rustication but I was able to work it in. I let the balm sit for a little wall 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 reworked rim top looks really good and matches the colour of the rest of the pipe. I am very happy with the results. I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem. There were some tooth marks on the top and underside at the button that needed to be addressed. I also needed to do some work on the surface of the button on both sides. I filled the damaged areas in and build up the surface with clear super glue and set the stem aside until the repairs cured. 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 polished the acrylic stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit sanding pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish and wiped it down with a last coat of Obsidian Oil. This is one of the more unique Malaga pipes that I have worked from George’s collection. The combination of rustication and smooth is really nicely done and the shape flows with the grain. 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 cross grain and the rustication took on life with the buffing. The rich oil cured colour works well with the polished variegated gold/yellow 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: 5 1/2 inches, Height: 1 5/8 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 of an inch. I will be putting this newly finished Malaga pipe on the rebornpipes store shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection and carrying on the trust. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another one of Kathy’s Dad’s Pipes.

Back to Kathy’s Dad’s Pipes – Restoring a Malaga Straight Bulldog


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table is also from George Koch’s estate. It is another one of George’s Malaga pipes – a straight Bulldog with an acrylic stem. The pipe was one of many 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. The next 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. It has been awhile since I worked on one of his pipes so I want to remind you of his story. To me it is important to keep the story attached to the pipes that came from his collection. Each pipe I work on I remind myself of the man and in the work give a remembrance to the pipeman who owned these pipes. Having held a large number of his pipes in my hand and having a pretty good feel for the shapes, colour and stems that he liked, I can almost imagine George picking out each pipe in his collection at the Malaga shop in Michigan. I am including Kathy’s brief bio of her father and a photo of her Dad enjoying his “Malagas”. Here is George’s bio written by his daughter.

Dad was born in 1926 and lived almost all his life in Springfield, Illinois. He was the youngest son of German immigrants and started grade school knowing no English. His father was a coal miner who died when Dad was about seven and his sixteen year old brother quit school to go to work to support the family. There was not much money, but that doesn’t ruin a good childhood, and dad had a good one, working many odd jobs, as a newspaper carrier, at a dairy, and at the newspaper printing press among others.

He learned to fly even before he got his automobile driver’s license and carried his love of flying with him through life, recertifying his license in retirement and getting his instrumental license in his seventies and flying until he was grounded by the FAA in his early eighties due to their strict health requirements. (He was never happy with them about that.) He was in the Army Air Corps during World War II, trained to be a bomber, but the war ended before he was sent overseas. He ended service with them as a photographer and then earned his engineering degree from University of Illinois. He worked for Allis Chalmers manufacturing in Springfield until the early sixties, when he took a job at Massey Ferguson in Detroit, Michigan.

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. Dad quit smoking later in life and so they’ve sat on the racks for many years unattended, a part of his area by his easy chair and fireplace. Dad passed when he was 89 years old and it finally is time for the pipes to move on. 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

Thank you Kathy for providing this beautiful tribute to your Dad. Jeff and I appreciate your trust in allowing us to clean and restore these pipes. We are also trusting that those of you who are reading this might carry on the legacy of her Dad’s pipes as they will be added to the rebornpipes store once they are finished.

The next the pipe is a nicely shaped Malaga Bulldog with a variegated grey acrylic stem. It has beautiful grain all around the bowl – cross grain and birdseye grain that is highlighted by the natural oil finish on the pipe. The top of the bowl is had some damage on the top and inner and outer edges. The bowl had a very thick cake that had overflowed in lava onto the rim top. The stamping on the top left side of the shank read MALAGA. On the underside of the shank (both right and left) has a carved leaf pattern. The grey and silver, swirled, pearlized acrylic stem had tooth dents and 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 a close up photo of the bowl and rim to show the condition of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. The rim top had some lava overflow and some darkening. There appeared to be some rim damage on the inner edge toward the front of the bowl. You can see the wear on the rim top, the cake and remnants of tobacco in the bowl. The pipe is dirty but in good condition. He also took photos of the sides and bottom of the bowl and shank from the side to show the grain and the carved leaf patterns on this pipe. The finish is very dirty but this is a beautiful pipe. Jeff took some photos to capture the stamping on the top left side of the diamond shank. The photo shows stamping MALAGA. The stamping does not have the quotation marks that I have seen on some of the pipes. The next two photos show the stem surface. There are tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. There is also some wear on the sharp edge of the button.

Jeff has picked up quite pipes of this brand over the past year along with the ones from Kathy’s Dad’s estate. All of the pipes were made by the Malaga Pipe Shop in Royal Oak, Michigan in the USA. The more I work on the brand the more I am impressed by the quality of the craftsmanship and beauty of the pipes that came from the shop. I have written an earlier blog to give a little history of the Malaga Brand if you are interested: 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 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. The rim was thoroughly cleaned and the damage was very clear. Without the grime the finish looked really good. The bowl looked very clean and was unchecked or damaged. The acrylic saddle stem would need to be worked on but I really like the profile it cast. I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work on it. profile it cast. 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 damaged areas on the surface clearly. There are damaged spots on the front inner edge and the back inner edge. There are also some deep dents and nicks in the flat surface of the rim. The acrylic/Lucite stem had tooth chatter and some light tooth marks on the top and underside of the stem just ahead of the button. There were deeper tooth marks on both the top and underside near the button. I decided to address the damage to the rim top first. I topped the bowl on a topping board using 220 grit sandpaper. I removed the damaged surface of the rim and made it smooth once again. I cleaned up the inner edge of the rim with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper.I polished the rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the rim off after each sanding pad to remove the dust. The rim really shone once it was polished. I rubbed down the briar with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the smooth surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little wall 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 rim matches well but still needs to be polished and buffed to raise a shine on it. I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem. There were some deep tooth marks on the top and underside of the acrylic stem at the button. I cleaned off the surface of the stem with alcohol and filled in the deep tooth mark with clear super glue.Once it cured, 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. When it was sanded it was smooth and the marks were gone. I polished the acrylic stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit sanding pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth. 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 really came alive in both the carved leaves on the shank sides and the rest of the smooth briar with the buffing. The rich oil cured colour works well with the polished variegated grey/silver acrylic stem. Together the pipe looks much better than when I began and has a rich look. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The shape, finish and flow of the pipe and stem are very well done. The dimensions are Length: 5 1/2 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 of an inch. I will be putting this newly finished Malaga pipe on the rebornpipes store shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection and carrying on the trust. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another one of Kathy’s Dad’s Pipes.

Renewing a “Malaga” Algerian Briar Apple


Blog by Steve Laug

I seem to have passed on my love of Malaga pipes to my friend Alex here in Vancouver. He is moving out a lot of his previous rotation and adding more Malagas to his pipe rack. He has been scouring eBay and has found some real beauties. The fun part of his hunts is that I get to see them and restore many of them. On the work table today is a beautifully grained Malaga Apple with a straight shank. (Here is a link to some history of the Malaga Brand for those of you who may be interested in learning more: https://rebornpipes.com/tag/malaga-pipes/ and another link to the maker George Khoubesser and an old catalogue that I have scanned: https://rebornpipes.com/2013/02/09/george-khoubesser-and-malaga-pipes/.)

Malaga Briar Pipe Company was in Royal Oak, Michigan, USA. They billed themselves as “devoted to the greater and true enjoyment of pipe smoking”. There pipes have a unique curing process that makes them a sweet smoking, light weight smoking machine. They are beautifully carved and shaped and quite unique as an American made pipe. They were made in both classic and freehand shapes. I am including a couple of photos of George Khoubesser the pipe maker to give some colour to the pipe that I am working on.  

With the image of George puffing his pipe and standing at his lathe crafting a Malaga pipe I turned my attention to this interesting Malaga Apple shaped pipe. It is stamped on the left side of the shank “MALAGA” and on the right side of the shank Algerian Briar. The grain on the pipe is quite stunning and is a mix of straight, flame and birdseye. The round shank flows into a vulcanite tapered stem that is oxidized and has light tooth marks and chatter near the button. The stem is spotted and speckled from sitting in a display case or on a pipe rack somewhere. The smooth finished briar is dirty but even under the grime there is something quite beautiful about the pipe. There is grime and tars on the surface of the bowl and shank. The bowl had a thick cake part way down the bowl and some lava overflowed onto the back of the rim top. The bottom part of the bowl still showed raw briar so it had not been smoked too much. I took pictures of the pipe before I started working on it. I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem to show what I was dealing with. This Malaga Apple was in decent shape all things considered. The cake in the bowl was thick on the top half of the bowl while the bottom of the bowl was raw briar. There was lava on backside of the rim top. You can see the cake in the bowl in the first photo below. The stem was dirty, oxidized, almost mottled looking. There was some light tooth chatter on the top and underside for about an inch ahead of the button.I took a photo of the stamping on the left and right side of the shank. It was very sharp and readable. The photos also show some of the dark spots of sticky grime on the shank and bowl.I reamed the bowl to remove the cake on the walls and the debris that still remained in the bowl. I used a PipNet pipe reamer to start the process. I followed that with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to clean up the remaining cake in the conical bottom of the bowl. I sanded the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel. It smooths out the walls and also helps bring the inner edges back to round. I cleaned up the rim top and removed the thick lava coat on the back top side of the rim. I used the Savinelli Fitsall knife to scrape away the high spots of lava and sanded it lightly with a well-used piece of 220 grit sandpaper.I polished the rim top and the rest of the bowl and shank with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. The pictures tell the story and show the increasing shine of the briar after each set of pads. I cleaned out the internals of the bowl, shank and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until they came out clean. It was dirtier than I expected in the shank and stem but now it not only looks clean but smells clean.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the smooth finish of the bowl, rim top and shank. I worked it into the surface with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the wood. I let the balm sit for about 20 minutes and buffed it off with a soft cotton cloth to polish the bowl. I took photos of the pipe at this point in the process to show what the bowl looked like at this point. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth marks and chatter on the surface of the vulcanite with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I followed the 220 grit sandpaper with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to minimize the scratching. The two papers combined did a pretty decent job of getting rid of the tooth marks and chatter as well as the oxidation.I polished the stem with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish to take out the oxidation at the button edge and on the end of the mouthpiece. I also worked hard to scrub it from the surface of the stem at the tenon end.  I polished out the scratches with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. Once I had finished the polishing I gave it a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. I put the bowl and stem back together. I polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the briar and the vulcanite. 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 really stands out on this beautiful Malaga. The contrast of swirling grain looked good with the polished black vulcanite. This Malaga Apple is one of three pipes that I am working on for Alex. Once I am finished with the other two it go back to him to enjoy. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 3/4 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 of an inch. Alex, I am looking forward to your thoughts on this one! Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.