Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe on the worktable is another “Malaga” – this one is the first one I have seen that is stamped Malaga Second. It is also the first one that I have worked on that has visible fills around the bowl. It is an interesting full bent Oom Paul that has a mixture of rustication and smooth finishes around the bowl and shank. Jeff has picked up other pipes of this brand since we picked up the ones from Kathy’s Dad’s estate. They are of various shapes and finishes – rusticated, smooth and mixed finish. They are also various sizes from small to very large. They were all made by the Malaga Pipe Shop in Royal Oak, Michigan. They are all from various places around the US. It is interesting to see how far Malaga pipes traveled from one little pipe shop in Michigan. 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 wrote a blog to give a little history of the Malaga Brand if you are interested: https://rebornpipes.com/tag/malaga-pipes/. There are also links there to a catalogue and the maker George Khoubesser.)
The rusticated portion of the finish is on a spot on both sides of the shank near the shank/stem junction. The majority of the bowl is smooth but there is a heavy rustication beginning mid bowl on the left side and curving around the front of the bowl. There are some interesting unique divots carved into this part of the rustication. It goes down about one third of the bowl. The bottom half of the left side of the bowl also has a rusticated patch. On the front of the bowl there is a strip of rustication moving from the bottom of the rustication on the top third of the bowl flowing down to the bottom. On each side of the rusticated strip there was a circular rusticated spot with what almost looks like eyes. The right side of the bowl and the rim top and bottom of the bowl is smooth. There are two small fills on the back left side of the bowl and on the shank on the right side. The smooth rim top is clean and cross grained with a well done bevel on the inner edge of the bowl. The underside of the shank is stamped Malaga over Second. The combination of smooth and rusticated finishes around the bowl all work together to almost eclipse the small fills. It is really a beautiful pipe. The bowl had a thick cake but the previous owner kept the rim top free of lava. There was some dust and debris in the finish of the bowl and on the top of the rim. The vulcanite stem was lightly oxidized. The combination of medium and dark brown stain worked together to create a warm brown finish. For a pipe this size it is quite light in weight. This is yet another testimony to my belief that Malaga pipes were oil cured. The fills are the only thing that makes this one a second. Jeff took close up photos of the bowl and rim to show the condition of the pipe before he started to work his magic on it. The bowl had a cake and some overflow on the rim top. The beveled edge was quite dirty. The inner and outer edges of the bowl are in excellent condition. The bottom 1/3 of the bowl was still undarkened raw briar. The second photo shows the rim top from a different angle and you can see the tars and oils on the rim top.The next three photos show the unique rustication patterns on the sides of the bowl and shank as well as the smooth grain on various spots between and alongside of the rustication patterns. I have not seen this kind of pattern in the past. He took a photo of the underside of the shank to show the stamping. The stamping is readable but the Malaga stamp is fainter than the Second stamp. You can see the dust and grime on the finish of the shank. The next photos show that the stem was quite heavily oxidized. There was some light tooth chatter on both surfaces of the stem near the button and on the button edges itself. 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 bowl, rim and shank. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He soaked the stem in Before & After Stem Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation. I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work on it. I took a photo of the rim top to show the condition it was in after the cleanup. Jeff was able to remove the darkening and tars from the rim top and edges. The grain on the top is very nice and the top is clean. There are no dents in the surface of the briar. The inner and outer edge of the bowl is in good condition. It is a nice looking finish. The stem was clean and you can see the oxidation on both sides of the stem and some slight wear on the edges of the button. I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm to deep clean the rusticated briar and the smooth rim. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I hand rubbed it with my fingers and worked it into the rustication with cotton swabs. I wiped it off with a soft cloth. I buffed the bowl with a horsehair shoe brush to polish it. The briar really began to have a rich shine. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. The stem was quite clean after the soak in the Before & After Stem Deoxidizer so I did not need to sand it with sandpaper. I moved directly to polishing it 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 pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust. I used the Before & After Pipe Polish to remove the small minute scratches left in the vulcanite. I finished by wiping the stem down with a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I the polished stem and bowl with Blue Diamond to polish out the remaining small scratches. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem several coats of carnauba wax and 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 finished pipe is shown in the photos below. This “Malaga” is a light weight for its size and is a beauty that is well shaped and has another unique finish on the bowl. This is one will be added to the rebornpipes store shortly. If you are interested in adding it to your pipe rack this may way be your opportunity. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 3/8 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/2 inches, Chamber diameter: 1 inches. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this Malaga. I have quite a few more to work on in the days ahead.