Tag Archives: restaining a bowl and rim

Restemming & Restoring a “Malaga” Canadian from Kathy’s Dad’s Pipes


Blog by Steve Laug

I have been working on a lot of different estate pipes and selling them for different families. This morning I was looking through the bag of pipes that I have left from George Koch’s estate. There are only three of them and all were in pretty rough shape. The rims were well knocked about and the stems were either chewed off or through and really would need to be carefully worked over and have new stems fit to them. The first of these three Malaga pipes that need a lot of attention was the one I picked up this morning. It is a Canadian with a broken or chewed off stem. The rim top was used as a hammer or at least spent a lot of time being knocked against hard surface. But sides of the bowl had a mix of grain styles that was fascinating. It is one of the last three Malaga pipes that came to my brother and me in several shipments of pipes from George’s daughter Kathy. Alex had gone through the bag in essence had passed on these three. Jeff unwrapped the pipes when they came to him and took the following photo to give an idea of the volume of the pipes that we purchased. This Malaga is actually shown in the photo of the box of pipes below. I have drawn a red box around it so you can see it clearly.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” Canadian on the table is in rough condition. But even under the damage and dirt I can see that the carver did a great job of shaping the pipe to follow the grain on the briar. The large bowl, oval shank and short broken stem give a clear picture of what the pipe must have looked like when George bought it at the shop. I did not bother Jeff for the pre-cleanup photos because really it was obvious what the pipe must have looked like. From the condition of the bowl and rim post cleanup I could see that it originally had a thick cake that overflowed with lava onto the rim so that there was damage on the inner edges. The rim top had been knocked hard against rough surfaces to knock out the dottle and left damage. The sides of the bowl and shank are very dirty with grime and oils from prolonged use. The stamping on the left side of the shank read “MALAGA”. On the right side it read Imported Briar. There was a burn mark on the underside of the shank near the stem/shank junction that looked like the pipe had been set down in an ashtray. The acrylic stem had been broken or gnawed off leaving a useless stem that would need to be replaced. Since Paresh is not here in Canada it will be replaced rather than rebuilt! 😉 I took photos of the pipe before I started my work. Somehow the rest of the before photos of the pipe as a whole were out of focus. The condition of the pipe will be shown in the remaining photos however.I took a photo of the  rim top and bowl to show the condition of the pipe. You can see why I said it was used as a hammer. The surface of the rim is very rough. The outer and inner edges fo the rim are  also in very bad condition. There is some darkening on the back edge and surface of the rim top. I think that this pipe must have been kind of shop pipe or knock about pipe for George as it was very well smoked! I took photos of the stem to show the broken and chewed condition it was in. Remember this is hard acrylic so it took some real gnawing to do this to it!I took a photo of the burn mark on the underside of the shank. It was not a deep mark and the wood was still solid so it was not badly damaged.I took a photo to capture the stamping on each side of the shank. The photos show the stamping “MALAGA” on the left side of the shank and Imported Briar on the right side. The stamping is faint but still readable. I am also including the link to a blog that I wrote that gives some of the history of the Malaga brand and the Malaga Pipe Shop in Royal Oak, Michigan in the USA. I have written an earlier blog to give a little history of the Malaga Brand and the pipemaker, George Khoubesser. Here is the link – https://rebornpipes.com/tag/malaga-pipes/.That blog also includes links to a catalogue and the history of the pipemaker George Khoubesser. Follow the link to get a feel for the brand and the pipemaker.

Jeff had gone to the trouble to ream the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. All of his work gave me a clean pipe to work on to say the least. I decided to start with the new stem. I went through my collection of stems to find one that was the same dimensions as the broken stem. I found one in my can that would fit the bill. I set up my cordless drill with the PIMO Tenon Turning Tool in the chuck and started turning the tenon on the new stem back to match the broken one. I usually do the turning in several passes, adjusting the depth of the blade between each cut. In this case I did it in three passes. I got it close and finished the fit with my Dremel and sanding drum.I sanded off the castings on the sides and slot end of the stem with the Dremel and sanding drum and did a few turns on the tenon with the sanding drum. You can see from the first photo below that it was very close. I took it back to the Dremel and did a few more passes on the tenon and cleaned it up with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. You can see the fit in the second photo. There was some gap where it did not sit flush against the shank. The issue was not the fit of the tenon but rather the shank end. I could see that it was uneven and rough so I would need to make a few decisions on how to address that issue.I decided that the best way to address the fit and give the pipe a little pizzazz would be to use a nickel band. They come from the maker quite thick – ½ of an inch and I wanted something about ¼ of an inch thick. I used the topping board and the Dremel to thin down the height of the band. It took a bit of time but I like the way it looks once it is finished. Once I had the band done I set it aside and cleaned the briar. The third photo shows the finished band glued in place on the shank using Weldbond all-purpose glue. The ¼ of an inch thick band works for me!I topped the bowl on a new piece of 220 grit sandpaper on the topping board. Once I had the top smooth I filled in the deeper nicks and chips in the outer edge of the rim with clear Krazy Glue. Once the repairs cured I sanded them smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and retopped the bowl to remove the excess glue. I used a folded piece of sandpaper to sand out some of the burn damage on the underside of the shank. 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 polished the bowl with micromesh sanding pads to smooth out the rim top repairs and the nicks in the bowl sides. I wet sanded with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad. The photos show the progress. I used an Oak Stain Pen to blend in a few of the spots on the rim top and edges that were lighter than the bowl. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad. You can see from the photo below that I was able to blend it into the rest of the bowl.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The following photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I am very happy with the results. I turned to the stem and started by sanding the surface. I wanted to smooth out the surface of the vulcanite to remove the castings and the sanding marks. I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper and 400 grit sandpaper to clean up the stem.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad Obsidian Oil. I finished by polishing it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish both Fine and Extra Fine and then wiped it down with a final coat of Obsidian Oil. This is a restemmed and restored “Malaga” Canadian with a vulcanite tapered stem. The nickel band adds a touch of class that truly makes the pipe stand out from the other Malaga pipes that I have worked on. It has a great look and feel. The shape of the bowl, the reshaped and repaired rim top and the cut of the briar work well to highlight the grain around the bowl sides. I polished stem and the bowl with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The grain took on life with the buffing. The rich oil cured colour works well with the polished vulcanite stem. The finished pipe has a rich look that is quite catching. Have a look at it with the photos below. The shape, finish and flow of the pipe and stem are very well done. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 7/8 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. I will be adding the pipe to the finished Malaga pipes that I have completed. I am looking forward to a new pipeman picking up this pipe and will carry on the trust for George Koch. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another one of Kathy’s Dad’s Pipes.

Advertisements

A Nightmare Resurrecting from ‘Pipe Dreamers ONLY!’ – Comoy’s The Lumberman Special Canadian


Blog by Dal Stanton

There is no other way to describe this Canadian – a Nightmare.  I created the ‘For “Pipe Dreamers” ONLY!’ section on ThePipeSteward site to encourage people to see the hidden potential of a sad, neglected pipe BEFORE the restoration process.  So much of life and relationships we have are shaped by our ability to see what people can become and treat them in this manner.  Jim saw The Lumberman and commissioned him along with a very attractive Butz Choquin Supermate Panel.  In corresponding with Jim, I learned that he’s from Pennsylvania and an engineer by trade working at Pennsylvania State University as a research staff assistant writing software for all kinds of research efforts.  What interested me also was that he, like me, enjoys working with his hands – models, woodworking and Jim has his own shop where he works.  He also builds dioramas – models representing a scene with three-dimensional figures, usually in miniature or as a large-scale museum exhibit (had to look this up!).  In his initial email, Jim assessed The Lumberman that he said he wanted me to restore:

I realize that restoring the Canadian is going to be quite a tall order — it’s former owner seeming to have smoked it hard and hung it up wet — but I can’t help but look at the hints of cross-grain on the shank and think that there is still a solid pipe left underneath all of that dirty exterior.

My response to Jim was a bit more realistic and, let me be honest, skeptical(!):

Oh my.  The Lumberman is in bad shape.  I showed my wife the pipe and that someone had requested to restore it and her response was, ‘Why?’  Your description is an understatement.  He needs a lot of TLC.  The shank chip will probably need to be planed off to reseat the stem/tenon – losing about 1/16 inch of the shank length – doable.  The rim is an ICU inhabitant.  There’s no pretty way to deal with this.  I would clean the chamber to make sure all the briar is exposed.  I would then build up the rim as much as possible with briar dust putty and then sand/top it down until it looked acceptable.  Honestly, Jim, I can’t say how much top I’ll need to remove from the bowl – as little as possible, but he’s not in good shape.  I understand what you see in the grain underneath the years of dirt and grime.  Without a doubt, you are awarded the Pipe Dreamer of the Year award!  It’s difficult for me to put an estimate on it at this point because it will definitely qualify as a resurrection and not a restoration.  I’m game if you are game.  I love the challenge and with this guy, I’m not sure how I’ll value him, but the same applies.  If you’re not satisfied, you’re not obligated to purchase.  As I said before, the sale of these pipes benefit the Daughters of Bulgaria and I appreciate your desire to support that.

The ’Nightmare’ Canadian that Jim commissioned will be a challenge!  Here are pictures of The Lumberman before he reached my worktable as I took pictures to post in the ‘For “Pipe Dreamers” ONLY!’ online collection: The nomenclature found on the left flank of the long Canadian shank is THE [over an arched] LUMBERMAN.  Not until later, after starting the research, did I discover that on the shank’s right side is stamped, SPECIAL.I acquired The Lumberman in what I have called, ‘The Lot of 66’ which has produced many pipes for new stewards benefiting the Daughters of Bulgaria.  Honestly, in every ‘lot’ purchase, there are always pipes that are considered ‘throw aways’ and this pipe was included in that category!  Doing a quick search in Pipephil.eu, I find The Lumberman Special listed as a Comoy’s second.  Here is the panel:The ‘The Lumberman’ lettering is identical to the Canadian on my worktable.  What is distinctly different is that the SPECIAL stamping is not joined as in the example above.  The pipe on my table has the stamping separated on the right shank side.  Another difference is the COM – the example is stamped ‘Made in London England’.  I find no COM on our pipe, nor do I find the same three bar stem logo shown, which is also on other Comoy’s second brands.  A quick look at Pipedia’s Comoy’s article confirms that The Lumberman Special is a Comoy’s second.  Also included is a picture (Second examples, details, and nomenclature, courtesy Doug Valitchka) of a pristine example – a very attractive pipe.  This example of The Lumberman also seems to be without the three bar stem logo.Looking at the example of this pipe in pristine condition above and then gazing at the ‘Nightmare’ version on my table now, lets me know that this will be a grand challenge!  Yet, there’s absolutely nothing to lose.  This pipe was done.  He was no longer the object of anyone’s love or attention.  Now, with the challenge to see what it can become with some TLC (OK, LOTS of TLC) makes me thankful for the challenge Jim has made possible.  My approach generally will be to clean, patch and sand.  The chamber and the rim are the most daunting challenges.  I’ll be surprised if I don’t find heating issues in the chamber after clearing away the thick cake.  The rim is a total mess – charring has deteriorated most of the rim.  The chamber wall has eroded, and the rim plane is wobbled and uneven.  The outer edge of the rim is chipped and gouged.  The bowl is full of scratches and a few fills here and there with pitting as well.  A huge chip has taken almost a quarter of the shank facing.  The good news is that the Canadian short stem has heavy oxidation and nominal tooth and clamping compressions on the upper and lower bit.  I add a few more pictures now from my worktable complimenting the pictures above. To begin the restoration (or, resurrection?) of this Comoy’s The Lumberman Special, after cleaning the airway with a pipe cleaner wetted with isopropyl 95%, the stem joins other stems in the queue for a soak in Mark Hoover’s product (ibepen.com) Before & After Deoxidizer to address the thick, scaly oxidation. I just communicated with Mark to order more Deoxidizer and Restoration Balm which I’ll pick up on a trip to the US I will be leaving for soon.  I leave the stem in the soak for a few hours.  I include pictures from above to mark the starting point. After soaking for a few hours, I fish the stem out and run a pipe cleaner through the airway to remove the liquid.  I then wipe the oxidation off the stem using a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95%.  The B&A Deoxidizer has done a good job removing oxidation. Paraffin oil is then applied to the stem to revitalize and hydrate the vulcanite.  I put the stem on the side to absorb the oil.The starting point for working on the hurting stummel is simple cleaning to unmask as much as possible the plethora of issues underneath the cake in the chamber and the grime on the stummel surface.  To clear the chamber of cake, the Pipnet Reaming kit is used.  I take a picture of the chamber to mark the starting point. Not a happy view!After putting paper towel down to save on clean up, using the smallest of the Pipnet blade heads I go to work.  I use 2 of the 4 blade heads available to me and then transition to using the Savinelli Fitsall Tool to scrape the chamber walls further.  Finally, I finish by sanding the chamber with 240 grade paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen and then wipe the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol to clear the carbon dust. The inspection of the now cleaned chamber shows the chamber wall proper to be in great condition!  This indeed was good news.  The briar is healthy and now it has a fresh start.Next, using undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap the rim and external briar surface is cleaned using a cotton pad. A brass wire brush also proves useful in cleaning the charred rim.  After cleaning the surface, the stummel is transferred to the kitchen sink where it is rinsed in warm water and using wired shank brushes and anti-oil dish soap, I clean the internal mortise and airway. After rinsing thoroughly, I bring the stummel back to the worktable and clean the internals further using pipe cleaners and cotton buds dipped in isopropyl 95%.  I use a dental spoon to scrape the sides of the mortise as well as using shank brushes to work on the long Canadian shank. After a good bit of effort, progress has been made and since the hour is late, I will continue the cleaning using kosher salt and isopropyl 95% to soak through the night.  This methodology not only continues the internal cleaning but freshens the pipe for a new steward.  First, a cotton ball is pulled and twisted to form a wick that is used to push down the mortise and airway to serve as a ‘wick’ to draw out the residual tars and oils.  Using a stiff wire, the cotton wick is guided down the airway and after the stummel is placed in an egg carton to provide stability.  I then fill the bowl with kosher salt, which leaves no aftertaste unlike iodized salt.  Using a large eyedropper, I fill the bowl with isopropyl 95% until it surfaces over the salt.  With the longer Canadian shank, it takes longer for the alcohol to seep into the longer airway.  After topping it off with alcohol one last time, I turn out the lights and call it a day. The next morning, the salt is mildly soiled showing that it did its job through the night.  When I tug on the cotton wick, unfortunately, it doesn’t come out whole.  I must employ the use of a dental probe and tweezers to pull the remainder out.  Finally, I was able to push the rest through to the bowl with the help of the pointed needle file. To be sure the internals are finally cleaned, I deploy a few more pipe cleaners and cotton buds wetted with isopropyl 95% to clean up any residue.  After a short time, it is apparent that things look good and I move on.With the internal cleaning completed, my attention shifts now to the primary issue – the rim re-build.  From the picture below looking down on the rim, the remnants of the rim top are at 4 to 5 o’clock and at 9 to 1 o’clock.  These surfaces give me an idea of where the rim was and provide a target for a re-built rim – at least in an ideal world.  The inner rim edge is out of round from charring and…, who knows.  One thing for sure, this Canadian was loved and used, but rode into the ground! Looking now from the side, from both directions, the uneven plane is evident.  The challenge is how to save as much briar as possible off the top of the bowl to have a flat plane?  To top it until this happens will turn the Canadian into a long shank Pot! My path forward, after considering the options, is to start with a very minimal topping to even out the remaining rim plane to see more clearly the areas that will be targeted for patching.  The default option is to lose briar through topping, but I will seek to build the rim up with the patch material – briar dust putty, and top, shape and sand the rebuilt rim until it has a semblance of normality!  At least, this is the hope.  I take out the chopping board which becomes my topping board after placing a sheet of 240 grade paper on it.  The goal is to lightly top to establish the boundaries.Instead of rotating the first round, I drag the stummel across the board.  I do this because I want to stay on top of the remnant rim surface and not dip down into the damaged areas which will be softer.  Keeping the pressure on the high wood was easier this way.  The result shows the emerging boundaries.Next, this time, after rotating the stummel a few more times on the board, I come to the place of diminishing returns for topping.  I’ll apply briar dust putty to the damaged areas – on the rim and along the internal and external edges to fill in the gaps.  It will require a lot of patching, but the patch areas will provide the excess for sanding and shaping.The next area to prep for briar dust patch material is the large chip of the shank facing.  I insert a drill bit into the mortise which forms the boundary for the patch.  I’ll apply a bit of petroleum jelly to the bit to assure the briar putty patch will not stick to the bit.  Earlier, when communicating with Jim, my thinking was that I would simply plane the facing to remove the damage.  With this always being an option, my thinking now is to start with a patch, sand and shape – go from this point with the value on keeping as much briar as possible.The final prep area is a few small pits on the stummel surface that have old fill material in them.  I dig the old material out with a dental probe which will be refilled with briar putty.I clean all the patch areas with a cotton pad and alcohol in preparation for applying the briar putty.Using BSI Maxi Cure Extra Thick CA glue, I mix it with briar dust to form the putty.  I use a plastic disc as a mixing palette and place Scotch Tape on that simply to aid in cleaning.  I’m not sure if I can apply patch to the 3 areas in one batch, but I’ll start with the rim – the largest project.  I place a pile of briar dust on the palette and then a larger dollop of Extra Thick CA glue next to it.Using a toothpick, I gradually mix the briar dust into the glue until it thickens.  When it reaches the viscosity of molasses, I use the toothpick to apply the putty to the rim allowing for excess to be sanded and shaped later. What the following pictures show is that I was only able to address the rim patching with the first batch of briar dust putty.  As I applied the briar dust putty to the rim, I went in stages using an accelerator to quicken the curing and to hold the putty in place. I mix another batch of briar dust putty on the palette and again apply the putty to the shank facing and the pits.  As before, the use of an accelerator quickens the curing and holds the patch material in place. With a little nudge and twist the bit comes out easily with the help of some petroleum jelly.  The mortise circumference looks good though the patch needs to be sanded and shaped.The obvious next step is a lot of filing and sanding.  I start with filing.  I use both a flat and half circle pointed needle files to work on the excess putty.  I start with the rim by first filing down on the rim top to flatten the plane.  The pictures chronicle the progress. With the top rough filing completed, I move to the outer edge of the rim.The repairs are starting to show some promise!  Now to the inner rim edge.  This is critical in seeking to establish an even circumference.  I start with the slow approach of filing to get it right.  I finish up by loading a sanding drum onto the Dremel and fine-tune the edge and to smooth the transitions in the chamber from the patch material to the chamber wall.  I don’t want to leave ridges. Wow!  I showed this finished rough of the rim to my wife and she said with lessening skepticism that this pipe might just come back to life!Next, I quickly dispatch the two small fills under one glob of putty patch with the flat needle file.Finally, the filing is almost finished.  The flat needle file also goes to work on the shank facing and on the outer edge.  I’m very careful with filing the shank facing because too much removed can offset the proper seating of the tenon and create gaps between shank and stem. I also use the half-rounded needle file to create the sharp bevel on the edge of the mortise which accommodates the tenon’s base. After filing, I join the stem with the stummel to see how well the stem seats.  With some gaps, I do a bit more filing and finally I have the fit as good as I can get it.  It looks good!Now, back to the rim.  To even the rim, I take the stummel back to the topping board with 240 grade paper and give the stummel a few more rotations.  This helps blend the filing.The speckling of the putty patches is expected.  I’ll address this later when applying stain to the stummel which should take care of the contrast.  I want to smooth the inner and outer edges of the rim by applying a bevel. For the internal bevel, a hard bevel is the aim so a hard surface is used behind the 240 grade paper to provide a uniform edge.The internal bevel looks great.In addition to the internal bevel, I do a light sanding of the external rim edge simply to soften the edge and to remove any nicks and cuts.Next, I take the stummel back to the topping board covered now with 600 grade paper and rotate the stummel several times.Using both 240 and 600 grade papers, I sand both patches – the two fills and the shank facing.Now, to address the cuts, nicks and small pits of the very worn stummel surface, I’m hopeful that sanding sponges will be adequate to clean and smooth the briar surface so that I won’t need to employ more coarse sanding papers. I take the first 2 pictures to mark the start for comparison. I use first the coarse grade sponge followed by medium and light grades.  I’m careful throughout to guard the nomenclature on both sides of the shank.  Wow!  The grain underneath the old dark finish starts to make an appearance! On a roll, I continue the stummel sanding with the full regimen of 9 micromesh pads.  To begin, using pads 1500 to 2400, wet sanding is employed.  Following this, I dry sand using pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  I’m amazed at the emergence of very nice grain – a horizontal grain on the fore of the bowl with large swirls of bird’s eye grain occupying the flanks.  Nice! There is no question regarding the next step.  Applying Fiebing’s Dark Brown Leather Dye to the stummel should do a good job of masking the rather large patches on the rim and shank facing.  Another benefit of using dye is to utilize the technique I’ve developed with the use of the Dremel using felt cloth buffing wheels to bring out the grain in striking ways.  I assemble the desktop staining station.After wiping the stummel down with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol to clean the surface, I heat the stummel with the use of a hot air gun.  This step is important as it expands the briar grain as the bowl heats, and this helps the wood to be more receptive to the dye.After the stummel is warmed, I use a folded over pipe cleaner to apply the dye which I’ve poured into a shot glass.  As I paint sections of the stummel with the dye-saturated pipe cleaner, I immediately ‘flame’ the dye with the lit candle.  This immediately combusts the alcohol in the aniline dye leaving behind the hue.  I work over the entire stummel thoroughly by applying dye and firing until the surface is fully covered.  I then put the stummel aside to ‘rest’ for several hours – till tomorrow in this case.  This ‘resting’ helps the dye to set more securely in the briar with less chance of the dye coming off on the hands of the new steward who fires the pipe up for the inauguration.With the newly stained bowl ‘resting’ I turn to the stem.  I take a closer look at the upper and lower bit.  There are bite compressions on both sides that need to be addressed.I first use the heating method.  Using a Bic lighter, I paint the upper and lower bit with flame to heat the vulcanite.  As the vulcanite heats it expands and hopefully the compressions will expand to the original condition – or closer to it.  The flame method did help but the compressions are still visible but lessened.Next, I utilize a flat needle file to freshen the button and with 240 paper sand out the compressions.Following the 240 sanding, with the help of a plastic disk to prevent shouldering, I wet sand the entire stem with 600 grade paper and follow with 000 grade steel wool.Next, the full set of nine micromesh pads are used.  With pads 1500 to 2400, wet sanding is applied.  Then dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  Between each set of 3 pads, Obsidian Oil is applied to rejuvenate the vulcanite.  I like the pop of newly micromeshed stems! The morning has come, and the dye has set in the grain of the Comoy’s The Lumberman.  Time to ‘unwrap’ the crusted shell that now encases the pipe.  To do this, a felt cloth buffing wheel is mounted on the Dremel with the speed reduced to the lowest.  The decreases the heating factor of the rougher felt material. To unwrap I use Tripoli compound applying it with the felt wheel methodically over the stummel surface. The felt buffing wheel needs purging often to remove the ‘crust’ buildup.  I take a picture to show the unwrapping process which reveals a beautiful grain underneath! – and yes, during the staining and unwrapping process I wear surgical gloves! After completing the stummel proper with the felt wheel, I briefly change to a cotton cloth wheel to reach into the crook of the bowl and shank junction with Tripoli which the felt wheel was not able to reach.After the unwrapping process is completed, a very light wipe with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol helps to blend the newly stained surface.  With the aniline dye, if I wanted to lighten the finish, I could have applied more wiping.  This I do not do because I’m liking the dark brown finish very much and how well it is masking the repairs!With the Tripoli completed, another cotton cloth buffing wheel is mounted onto the Dremel, the speed is increased to about 40% full power, and after reuniting the Canadian stem and stummel, Blue Diamond compound is applied to the entire pipe.To clean the surface of leftover compound dust, which tends to cake up, I give the pipe a buffing with a felt cloth preparing the surface for the application of wax.After replacing the cotton buffing wheel used for applying Blue Diamond, another is mounted dedicated to the application of carnauba wax.  With the speed remaining the same at about 40% full power, carnauba wax is applied to both stem and stummel.  After completed, using a microfiber cloth, the shine is raised through a rigorous buffing.One more step and this Comoy’s The Lumberman Special will be completed.  To provide a ‘cake-starter’ for the new chamber and to provide a buffer for the patch repair work, which is on the upper rim level, a layer of a mixture of natural, non-flavored Bulgarian yogurt and charcoal dust does the job.  This mixture hardens like a rock providing a surface to start a new protective layer of carbon cake.  The thickness of this cake should be no more than the thickness of a US dime to provide optimal performance.  After placing a dollop of yogurt in a small Chinese rice cup, some charcoal dust is added until it thickens somewhat – not running off the pipe nail.  After pushing a pipe cleaner through the draft hole to protect it from being blocked, using the pipe nail as a trowel, I very carefully apply the mixture evenly over the chamber walls – avoiding drippage on the freshly waxed external surface!  It looks good! I am amazed.  I initially described this sorry pipe as a Nightmare without any expectations that it could again be described as hedging on pristine.  Yet, that is exactly what I am seeing – a very attractive Comoy’s The Lumberman Special Canadian.  What are also amazing to witness, even if I’m watching the work of my own hands, are the step by step logical, mechanical and artistic processes woven together toward certain micro outcomes resulting in a restored pipe.  Yet, this pipe wasn’t restored, but resurrected to be sure.  The rim repair, both with the fills and the reconstruction of a round presentation, is satisfying to behold. The grain now revealed from underneath the grime and years of use is striking.  Jim commissioned the ‘Nightmare’ from the ‘For “Pipe Dreamers” ONLY! collection and that itself was pretty amazing that he could see the potential.  As the commissioner, Jim will have the first opportunity to claim the Comoy’s The Lumberman Special from The Pipe Steward Store benefiting the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Lest we forget, I start with a few ‘before’ pictures. Thanks for joining me!

 

 

Restoring my Inherited Huge KBB Yello-bole “Imperial” # 68c


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

The next pipe on my work table had all the traits/ signs of it being used by my grand old man; it was huge, it was solid with a nice hand fill, it was heavily caked with severe signs of being knocked around the rim edges, blocked shank and stem airways and the likes!! From the number of pipes that I have inherited from him, it appears that regular pipe cleaning and maintenance was an alien concept to him and whence a pipe fouled up, he just chucked it and got a new one- a very simple concept, to say the least!

The pipe that I decided to work on is a large full bent billiards with a P-lip stem. It is stamped on the left side of the shank as “YELLO-BOLE” over “REG. U.S. PAT. OFF” (Registered U.S. Patent Office) in block capital letters over “Imperial” in cursive script over “CURED WITH REAL HONEY”. To the left of these stampings towards the bowl, KBB is stamped in the clover leaf. The right of the shank bears the stamp of “ALGERIAN BRUYERE” over shape code “68C”. The shank end is adorned with a ferrule that bears the stamping of K B & B in a clover leaf over “NICKLE PLATED”. The stem bears the Yello-Bole logo in bright yellow circle. All the stampings are crisp and clear and is definitely surprising that it has survived over all these years!! Researching a pipe is always an enriching learning and I look forward to the same on every pipe that I work. Having worked on a few Kaywoodies and also on Yello-Bole, I knew about the connection between the two. However, what intrigued me during the research is that both the brands also have shared the shape codes along the way, albeit at different points in time. Given below are extracts of the most relevant details from pipedia.com, specifically pertaining to this pipe on my work table, wherein I have highlighted information which merits attention:-

Tips for Dating Yello-Bole Pipes (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Yello-Bole#Tips_for_Dating_Yello-Bole_Pipes)

  • KBB stamped in the clover leaf indicates it was made in 1955 or earlier as they stopped this stamping after being acquired by M. Frank.
  • Pipes from 1933-1936 they were stamped “Honey Cured Briar”
  • Post 1936 pipes were stamped “Cured with Real Honey”
  • Pipe stems stamped with the propeller logo were made in the 1930’s or 1940’s – no propellers were used after the 1940’s.
  • Yello-Bole used a 4 digit code stamped on the pipe in the 1930’s.
  • Pipes with the Yello-Bole circle stamped on the shank it were made in the 1930’s, this stopped after 1939.
  • Pipes stamped BRUYERE rather than BRIAR it was made in the 1930’s.

Thus, from the above tips it is evident that I am dealing with a pipe from the 1930s. However, when I visited the pipedia.com page on Collector’s Guide on Kaywoodie (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Collector%27s_Guide_to_Kaywoodie_Pipes#HINTS_ON_COLLECTING.2C_DATING_AND_PRICING_KAYWOODIES), under the heading 1947 Kaywoodie Shape Numbers and Descriptions”, I found the shape # 68C with the description as Extra Large Billiard, Full Bent which perfectly matched with the size and shape of the pipe on my work table.

Also on the same page, there is a picture of an advertisement flyer for CHESTERFIELD KAYWOODIE from 1947. The similarities between this Kaywoodie (read P-lip stem, large sump, massive size and shape) and the Yello-Bole that I am working on is striking.

Thus, the pipe that I am working on is from 1930s, specifically after 1936 as per the stampings seen on the pipe, however, the shape number and description matches with the Kaywoodie catalogue from 1947. Thus it is an interesting conflict as Yello- Bole was designed as an outlet for lower grade briars not used in Kaywoodie production, but the shape code and Chesterfield similarities were incorporated in Yello-Bole earlier than its introduction in Kaywoodie pipes!! I would be happy if anyone reader can clarify this conflict.

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
The chamber is heavily caked with lava overflow on the rim top surface. The inner edge of the rim is severely damaged. Nicks and dings are also seen along the outer rim edge and chamber appears out of round. Chamber has strong odors of sweet smelling tobaccos. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber can be commented upon once the cake has been reamed down to the bare briar, but going by the solid feel of the external surface, I do not foresee any serious issues/ surprises with the chamber walls. The stummel surface is covered in dust, dirt and grime of years of use and uncared for storage for the last 45 years when my grandfather quit smoking in the late 1970s. Oils and tars have overflowed over the stummel and have attracted dust giving a dull and lackluster appearance to the stummel. A number of minor dents and scratches are seen over the stummel, notably towards the front, foot and the bottom of the shank. Through all the dirt, some really stunning straight and bird’s eye grains are waiting to be exposed. The mortise is, well mildly put, clogged to hell and back!! That the sump is overflowing and overfilled with accumulated gunk is a fact that could be seen with the naked eyes. Believe you me readers, the pipe smells are too strong. The large bent vulcanite stem exudes high quality and is heavily oxidized. The tenon is covered in a very thick coat of dried gunk and blobs of accumulated dried tars are seen inside the wide tenon opening. This also indicates the extreme clogging that can be expected in the expanded portion of the stem and in the stem air way. The lower button edge has a deep tooth indentation and tooth chatter in the bite zone. The button edge on the upper surface has worn down and would need to be sharpened. The lower end of the stem at the tenon end which enters the mortise shows severe scratch marks and chipped surface, the result of rubbing against the sharp edges of the ferrule at the shank end. INITIAL CLEANING BY ABHA…
The initial cleaning on this pipe was done by Abha, my wife (she has cleaned up around 40-50 pipes and these have now reached me for further restoration). She reamed out the complete cake and further smoothed out the chamber walls with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. She further cleaned out the internals of the shank with pipe cleaners and alcohol and cotton buds. She followed the internal cleaning of the shank with external cleaning of the stummel using Murphy’s Oil soap and hard bristled tooth brush and dried it with paper napkins and cotton cloth.

Unfortunately, this time around, she could not clean the stem as it was too large to fit in to the container of the stem deoxidizer solution.

ONCE THE PIPE IS ON MY WORK TABLE…
The chamber is massive, that is what I noticed first when I got the cleaned up pipe on my work table. The wall of the chamber shows insignificant beginnings of heat fissure on the left and back of the chamber walls. Though insignificant now, if not addressed at this stage, these heat fissures may further lead to burn outs. I need to address this issue. The rim top surface is uneven and pock marked with dents and dings. The inner edge is severely damaged with dents and dings, some of them quite large. The chamber is significantly out of round, most notably on the left side in 10 o’clock direction. The rim repairs required are extensive.The nicely cleaned stummel looks exciting with beautiful transverse flowing straight grains on the sides of the stummel and shank and bird’s eye on the front of the stummel and extending to the bottom of the shank. Patches of old lacquer coat can still be seen in the fold between the bowl and shank and also along the bottom of the stummel. The dents and scratches to the front and at the foot of the stummel are now clearly visible. I intend to let them be as they are part of the pipe’s past and also since I wish to preserve the patina. Abha has painstakingly cleaned out the mortise and the sump. However, I could still see remnants of the gunk in the sump and the still strong odor is a pointer to the requirement of further sanitizing the internals of the stummel. The ferrule at the end of the shank end came loose as I was inspecting the stummel. This gave me an opportunity to closely inspect the shank end for cracks or any damage. Lucky me, there are no such hidden gremlins here!! I did notice a fill at the base where the ferrule sat on the shank end (circled in yellow) that would need to be refreshed. The edges of the ferrule at the shank end have become very sharp (I did manage a nick during inspection) that had caused the damage observed on the tenon end of the stem. I need to address this issue. The unclean stem that came to me shows heavy scratches to the tenon end which seats in to the mortise and caused due to the sharp edges of the ferrule. I will address this issue by sanding the surface followed by a fill, if required. The upper surface and button edge of the P-lip shows damage and will have to sharpen the button while sanding and filling the surface. Similarly, the lower button edge has a deep tooth indentation and will need a fill to repair. The heavy oxidation will be a bear to get rid off given the size of the stem. The tenon is covered in a thick coat of dried gunk, not to mention the clogged the stem air way. THE PROCESS
As is my norm, I started the process with stem cleaning and repairs. I cleaned the accumulated dried gunk from the insides of the tenon by scrapping it out with my dental tools followed by q-tips, pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. I soon realized that no matter how many pipe cleaners and q-tips I used, the insides of the wide tenon will still keep throwing out dirty pipe cleaners. I would need to use a more invasive method. Using a shank brush and dish washing soap, I thoroughly cleaned out the gunk. I rinsed it under running warm water. Once satisfied with the internal cleaning, with my fabricated knife I scrapped off the dried oils and tars from the tenon surface. I wiped the tenon end with cotton swab and alcohol till clean. I also cleaned the stem air way and the slot end with pipe cleaners and alcohol.While I was working on the stem, a colleague had come visiting and was amazed at the patience and care being exhibited, traits which I am usually not associated with. He did crack a joke on this and clicked a couple of pictures which I have included here for posterity.I cleaned the stem surface with isopropyl alcohol on a cotton swab and followed it with a scrub using Murphy’s Oil soap and cotton swab. I also smooth the sharp edges of the ferrule with a folded piece of 150 grit sand paper. I mix clear superglue and activated charcoal and paint the damaged tenon end surface and also applied it over the both button edges, upper P-lip surface and lower surface of the P-lip. I set the stem aside for the fills to cure. I cleaned the stummel surface with acetone on a cotton swab to remove the patches of old lacquer. This cleaning further highlighted the beautiful grains on this pipe. This is sure going to be beautiful pipe in my collection. Next I decided to address the issue of strong odor in the chamber. To eliminate the ghost smells from the pipe, I decided to treat it with salt and alcohol. I do not use Kosher salt as it is not readily available here and if available, it’s very expensive. I use cotton balls which is an at par substitute as I have realized over a period of time. I pack the sump with cotton and draw out a wick from the cotton and along with a folded regular pipe cleaner; insert it in to the mortise and through the draught hole in the chamber. I pack cotton balls in to the remaining portion of the mortise. Thereafter, I pack the chamber with cotton balls to about quarter of an inch below the rim inner edge. I soak the cotton balls with isopropyl alcohol up to the brim. About half an hour later, the level of alcohol has gone down, having being absorbed by the cotton. I top it up once again and set it aside overnight. By next afternoon, the cotton and alcohol has drawn out all the remaining oils and tars from the chamber, sump and mortise and the cotton and alcohol had fulfilled its intended task. I removed the cotton balls and the dirt can be gauged by the appearance and coloration of the cotton balls. With my fabricated knife and dental tools, I spent the next hour scrapping out the entire loosened gunk. I ran pipe cleaners through the mortise to clean out all the loosened tars and gunk that had lodged when I cleaned the sump and mortise. The chamber now smells clean, fresh and looks it too. I set the stummel to dry out naturally. By this time the stem fills had cured and with a flat head needle file, I sand these fills to achieve a rough match. I further fine tuned the match by sanding the filled area with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and forefinger. I followed it up by sanding the entire stem surface using 400, 600, 800 grit sand papers and finally with a piece of 0000 grade steel wool. This serves to remove the deep seated oxidation and also reduces the sanding marks of the more abrasive sand papers. I also sharpened the button edges while sanding. I wiped the stem with a cotton swab and alcohol to remove all the oxidation and sanding dust from the surface. I applied a little Extra Virgin Olive oil over the stem and set it aside to be absorbed by the vulcanite.The next stummel issue to be addressed was that of the rim top surface damage. I topped the rim on a piece of 220 grit sand paper, checking frequently till I was satisfied that the charred surface was addressed to a great extent and the rim top surface is nice, smooth and even. The inner edge is still uneven, though much better than before topping, and shall be addressed next. With a folded piece of a 220 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and forefinger, I created a slight bevel on the inner edge of the rim top surface. This helped to mask the out of round chamber and address the sever dents that had remained on the inner rim edge. It can never be perfect, it’s a repair after all, but the repairs sure looks great. I know I have scrapped the shank end while topping the rim, I should have been careful, but I noticed it early and will be under the ferrule, so no sweat!! The one fill which was seen and readied for a fresh fill was patched up with a mix of briar dust and superglue and set aside to cure. Once the fill had hardened, and it was very quick indeed, I matched the fill with the rest of the stummel surface by sanding the fill with a flat head needle file followed by sanding the fill with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper.To preserve the patina and bring a deeper shine, I polished the stummel with micromesh pads, dry sanding with 1500 to 12000 pads. I wiped the surface with a soft cloth at the end of the micromesh cycle. The stummel looks amazing with a deep shine and beautiful grains popping over the stummel surface. The massive size of the stummel helps accentuate these grains further. The result of all the topping and subsequent micromesh polishing was that the rim top surface had a lighter hue as compared to the rest of the stummel surface. I matched the rim top surface with the rest of the stummel by staining the surface with a dark brown stain pen. I set it aside for the stain to cure.Turning my attention back to the stem, I decided to polish and shine up the stem surface. I wet sand the stem with 1500 to 12000 girt micromesh pads. Next I rub a small quantity of extra fine stem polish that I had got from Mark and set it aside to let the balm work its magic. After about 10 minutes, I hand buffed the stem with a microfiber cloth to a nice shine. I rub a small quantity of olive oil in to the stem surface to hydrate it and set it aside. After the rim top surface stain had cured for about 6 hours, I rub a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to the briar with my finger tips and let it rest for a few minutes. I applied the balm over the rim top surface also. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful darkened grain patterns on full display. I further buff it with a horse hair shoe brush. I wiped it with a microfiber cloth. The rim top is now perfectly matched with the rest of the stummel dark coloration. I am very pleased with the blend. I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and apply a coat of Blue Diamond to the stummel and the stem to polish out the minor scratches. It was at this point in the process of restoration that I realized that I am yet to attach the ferrule at the shank end. I rub a small quantity of ‘Colgate’ toothpowder over the ferrule surface. Those who have not tried out this trick, you must try it out at least once, it works like magic and imparts a nice shine to the nickel plated (it works even better on Sterling Silver) ferrule. I apply superglue over the shank end, align the ferrule stamp with that on the shank and attach the ferrule over it. I press it down firmly for a couple of minutes to let the glue set. After the glue had completely cured, I tried the seating of the stem in to the mortise and realized that the stem surface still brushed against the sharp ferrule edge. With a needle file I sand the edges, frequently feeling for the sharpness with my fingers and checking the seating of the stem in to the mortise. Once the edges and seating were smooth, I applied a little petroleum jelly on the walls of the mortise as this reduces friction and moisturizes the briar and moved on to the home stretch.With a cotton buffing wheel that I use for carnauba wax, I apply a coat of carnauba wax and continue to work on it till the complete coat of wax had been polished out. I mount a clean cotton cloth buffing wheel and give the entire pipe a once over buff. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The finished pipe looks beautiful. Having addressed the cosmetic aspect of this pipe, I move on to address the functionality aspect by addressing the ridges and re-entrant formed at the draught hole as well as the minor/ insignificant heat fissures. I insert a petroleum jelly coated pipe cleaner in to the draught hole. I mix a small quantity of the contents from the two tubes of J B Weld in equal proportions and apply it evenly only over the damaged area near the draught hole with my fingers. I had to work deftly and fast as the compound starts to harden within 4 minutes. I set the stummel aside for the JB Weld coat to completely harden.The next day, the compound had completely hardened. With a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper, I sanded the fill to as thin a layer as I thought would be just sufficient to protect the heel and ensure a smooth even surface for the pipe mud coating.Next I mixed activated charcoal and yogurt to a thick consistency and evenly applied it over the chamber walls and set it aside to dry out naturally. Once the coating had dried I buffed the pipe again with a microfiber cloth to a nice deep shine. P.S. This was a fun project and I absolutely loved and enjoyed working on it. It has some stunning grains and beats me that even though Yello-Bole was designed as an outlet for lower grade briars not used in Kaywoodie production, this beauty is anything but lower grade!! This would be joining my collection and I shall get to admire the beauty whenever I so desire.

Thank you all for sparing your valuable time in reading thus far and I would be happy to hear comments on the conflict that I find between Yello-Bole and Kaywoodie.

Redeeming an English Made Flumed Block Meerschaum Zulu


Blog by Steve Laug

Over the past two weeks I was traveling in Alberta with my brother Jeff and his wife, Sherry. In between work appointments and presentations we took some time to visit local antique shops and malls. We found quite a few pipes. In a small Antique Shop in Lethbridge we found a few interesting pipes. The second of the ones that I am working from that find is an oval shank meerschaum Zulu. It has a flumed top and some colouring happening around the bowl and the shank. The saddle stem has a ribbon shaped/bookmark stamped logo on the top of the saddle. The pipe was dirty and caked when we picked it up. The rim top had a little lava and some small scratches in the edges of the bowl. The bowl had a thin cake in it that was hard and dense. The exterior of the bowl and shank are very dirty with grime and oils from prolonged use. The stamping on the underside of the shank below the shank/stem junction was faint but readable and read Genuine Block Meerschaum with an arched Gt. Britain at the stem shank joint. On the right side of the shank it is stamped JAMBO. The vulcanite stem was had tooth chatter on the top and the underside of the stem. There were tooth marks on both sides and on the button. I took photos of the pipe before I started the cleanup. I took close up photos of the bowl and rim to capture the condition of the pipe before I started my cleanup work. The rim top had some lava build up on the edge and there were some small nicks on the inner edge. Other than being so dirty it appeared to be in great condition. The stem was dirty and there was tooth chatter on the top and underside near the button and on the button surface itself. The stem was lightly oxidized.I took a photo to capture the stamping on the underside of the shank near the stem/shank joint. The photo shows the stamping Genuine Block over Meerschaum. Next to that there was an arched stamp that read GT BRITAIN. There was a small nick in the underside of the meerschaum next to the vulcanite stem. I also noted that there was a stamping on the left side of the shank – it read Jambo.While we were traveling I decided to do a bit of work on some of the pipes that we had found. This was the second one that I worked on. I scraped the inside of the bowl with a sharp knife. I scraped the tars and lava off the top of the rim with the same knife. I took the stem off and you can see the metal tenon set in the shank of the pipe. It is anchored firmly and the stem pressure fit over the top of the tenon.I scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with warm water and some Dawn Dish Soap to remove the buildup of grime around the bowl and on the rim top. I rinsed it well and wiped the bowl down with a clean paper towel to polish the finish on the bowl. I decided to follow up on my initial cleaning of the bowl and shank. I reamed the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the remnants of the cake in the bowl. I sanded the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel to smooth out the inside walls of the bowl.I scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank, the metal mortise and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners.I polished the meerschaum with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding the bowl walls and rim top with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth to wipe of the dust. I touched up the top of the rim and the edges of the bowl with a black stain pen to restored the colour to the edges and the top. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the meerschaum with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I know that it was designed for briar but I used it for meerschaum and it works well. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth chatter with 220 grit sand paper and started to polish it with a folded piece of 400 wet dry sandpaper. Once it was finished it began to shine.     I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and buffed it off with a cotton cloth. This is a beautiful Flumed top Block Meerschaum Oval Shank Zulu with a black saddle vulcanite stem. It has a great look and feel. The shape is very tactile and is a beauty. 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 meerschaum had already begun to take on a patina and it came alive with the buffing. The rich mottled browns of the meerschaum colour works well with the polished vulcanite stem. The finished pipe has a rich look that is quite catching. Have a look at it with the photos below. The shape, finish and flow of the pipe and stem are very well done. The dimensions are Length: 5 ¼ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. I will be adding the pipe to the rebornpipes store shortly. If you are interested in adding this Block Meerschaum, English made Zulu to your collection let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over the first of the finds of Jeff and my Alberta pipe hunt.

Redeeming a Malaga Bent Volcano from Kathy’s Dad’s Pipes


Blog by Steve Laug

I have been working on a lot of different estate pipes and selling them for different families. Once in a while it is good to change things up a bit. Not long ago Alex came by and went through the Malaga pipes from George Koch’s estate. Alex added the newly chosen pipes to the box that I have of pipes for him. There are quite a few of them to work on so I decided to continue to work on them. The next of these Malaga pipes is a shape I would define as a volcano. It has some mixed grain and a Lucite 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 Bent Volcano with a rounded bottom and carving around the bowl is next on the table. The carver did a great job of shaping the pipe to follow the grain on the briar. The large bowl, chubby shank and bent tapered acrylic 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 left side of the shank read MALAGA. The 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 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 outer edge on the right of the grimy pipe.He also took photos of the sides and bottom of the bowl and shank to show the beautiful grain and unique carvings around the bowl. The photos show the general condition of the bowl and wear on the 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 left side of the shank. 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.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 looked very good. The inner edge of the rim has some serious burn damage on the front right side. The outer edge looked very good. 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 damage on the inside rim edge. The edge is out of round. There is a burn mark that extends across back edge of the rim top at that point. The acrylic stem had tooth chatter on both sides near and on the button surface there was also a large deep bite mark on the underside of the stem.I took photos of the grain and carving around the bowl. The pipe looked really good. Just some work to do on the rim top and edges. I took a photo of the stamping on the shank to show how good the condition is. It shows the MALAGA stamp and it is very legible.I decided to address the rim top first. The first photo shows the rim top before I cleaned it up and reworked the damage. I lightly 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 front outer edge 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 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 restained the rim top and edges with an Oak Stain Pen. I was able to blend it into the rest of the bowl.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 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 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 Bent Volcano with a Lucite/acrylic 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. The carved streaks and boxes look very good around the sides and bottom of the bowl. 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 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: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. I will be adding the pipe to the finished Malaga pipes that I have set aside for Alex. I am glad that he is carrying on the trust for George Koch. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another one of Kathy’s Dad’s Pipes.

 

New Life for a Malaga Egg Shaped Oom Paul for Alex


Blog by Steve Laug

I have been working on a lot of different estate pipes and selling them for different families. I am continuing to work on the Malaga pipes that Alex put aside for restoration. He also brought other pipes to add to his box. I have a box of pipes from Alex that I am always working away at. He periodically drops more Malaga pipes into his box. There are quite a few of them to work on so I decided work on a few of them. The next one of these was another Malaga pipe. It is a beautiful Egg shaped Oom Paul that has a very tight grain pattern. It also has a fancy turned vulcanite stem. The pipe was dirty and caked when arrived. The rim top has a little lava and some small nicks on the left and front of the outer edge of the bowl. The bowl had a thin cake in it that was hard and dense. The exterior of the bowl and shank are very dirty with grime and oils from prolonged use. The stamping on the underside of the shank below the shank/stem junction was faint but readable and read MALAGA. The vulcanite stem was had tooth chatter on the top and the underside of the stem. There were tooth marks on both sides as well and the button was worn. I took photos of the pipe before I started the cleanup work. I took close up photos of the bowl and rim to capture the condition of the pipe before I started my cleanup work. The rim top had some lava and a few nicks on the outer front and left edge. The inner edge was slightly worn on the right inner edge where the rest of the inner edges was smooth and unbeveled. Other than being so dirty it was in great condition. The stem was dirty and there was tooth chatter on the top and underside near the button. There were tooth marks on the topside and underside ahead of the button and the sharp edge of the button was worn and damaged. The stem was also lightly oxidized.I took a photo to capture the stamping on a smooth panel on the underside of the shank near the stem/shank joint. The photo shows the stamping MALAGA on the underside of the shank is very readable.If this is the first of the Malaga restorations that you have read about then you should know the backstory of the brand. I am including the link to a blog that I wrote that gives some of the history of the Malaga brand and the Malaga Pipe Shop in Royal Oak, Michigan in the USA. I have written an earlier blog to give a little history of the Malaga Brand and the pipemaker, George Khoubesser. Here is the link – https://rebornpipes.com/tag/malaga-pipes/.That blog also includes links to a catalogue and the history of the pipemaker George Khoubesser. Follow the link to get a feel for the brand and the pipemaker.

I decided to start with the issues with the rim top first. I wiped down the rim top of the bowl with a damp cloth to remove the tars and lava. I topped the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper on a topping board to remove the damaged areas. Once the top was smoothed out I filled in the holes on the front and left outer edge with clear super glue. Once the repairs cured I sanded the top and edge smooth with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper and 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I followed our regular regimen for cleaning estates. I reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. I sanded the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel to smooth out the inside walls of the bowl. I scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I restained the top of the rim and inner edge with an oak coloured stain pen to match the colour of the rest of the bowl. Once it had dried the match was very good.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth to wipe of the dust. I scrubbed the briar with Before & After Briar Cleaner. I rubbed it into the surface of the briar with my finger tips and let it sit for about 10 minutes then rinsed it off with running water. I dried it off with a soft cloth. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I wiped down the stem with alcohol and cleaned out the tooth marks and deep dents in the vulcanite. I filled them in with clear super glue and also built up the surface of the button on the top and underside. I set it aside and let the repair cure.Once the repairs had cured I used a needle file to cut button edge, reshape the button and also smooth out the repaired areas. I sanded out the tooth chatter with 220 grit sand paper and started to polish it with a folded piece of 400 wet dry sandpaper. Once it was finished it began to shine.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and buffed it off with a cotton cloth. This is a beautiful Malaga Egg shaped Oom Paul with a fancy black vulcanite turned stem. It has a great look and feel. The shape is very tactile and is a beauty. 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 rich oil cured briar took on life with the buffing. The rich brown colour of the briar 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: 2 1/8 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 of an inch. I will be adding the pipe to the finished Malaga pipes that I have set aside for Alex. This will be a great addition to his collection of Malaga pipe. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another Malaga.

New Life for a Malaga Rusticated Canadian for Alex


Blog by Steve Laug

I have been working on a lot of different estate pipes and selling them for different families. Once in a while it is good to change things up a bit. Alex came by and went through the Malaga pipes I have awaiting restoration. He also brought other pipes to add to his box. I have a box of pipes from Alex that I am always working away at. He periodically drops more Malaga pipes into his box. There are quite a few of them to work on so I decided work on a few of them. The next one of these was another Malaga pipe. It is a beautiful oval shank Rusticated Canadian that has a very tight pattern of rustication. It also has a long striated grey/silver/black acrylic stem. The Malaga Canadian that Alex picked up from EBay. It had been mislabeled a Hungarian and the price was right. The pipe was dirty and caked when arrived. The rusticated rim top has a little lava filled but otherwise looked good. The bowl had a thin cake in it that was hard and dense. The exterior of the bowl and shank are very dirty with grime and oils from prolonged use. The stamping on the left side of the shank was in a smooth band on the thin shank. It read MALAGA. There was a thin band of smooth briar around the shank end. The acrylic stem was had tooth chatter on the top and the underside of the stem. I took photos of the pipe before I started the cleanup work. I took close up photos of the bowl and rim to capture the condition of the pipe before I started my cleanup work. The rim top had some lava embedded in the rusticated finish and was heavier on the back side. The outer and inner edges of the bowl were not too bad. The inside edge was clean and the outside looked very good. Other than being so dirty that it was in great condition. The stem was dirty and there was tooth chatter on the top and underside near the button and on the flat surfaces of the stem.I took a photo to capture the stamping on a smooth panel on the left side of the shank near the stem/shank joint. The photo shows the stamping MALAGA on the left side of the shank is very readable. If this is the first of the Malaga restorations that you have read about then you should know the backstory of the brand. I am including the link to a blog that I wrote that gives some of the history of the Malaga brand and the Malaga Pipe Shop in Royal Oak, Michigan in the USA. I have written an earlier blog to give a little history of the Malaga Brand and the pipemaker, George Khoubesser. Here is the link – https://rebornpipes.com/tag/malaga-pipes/.That blog also includes links to a catalogue and the history of the pipemaker George Khoubesser. Follow the link to get a feel for the brand and the pipemaker.

I followed our regular regimen for cleaning estates. I reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. I scraped out the dried tars and oils with a pen knife and then scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners.I scrubbed the briar with Before & After Briar Cleaner. I rubbed it into the surface of the briar with my finger tips and let it sit for about 10 minutes then rinsed it off with running water. I dried it off with a soft cloth. I touched up the edges of the rim with a walnut stain pen to take care of the damage there. Then I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. The stem was in excellent condition but there was some light tooth chatter and no deep marks. It was well cut stem and had a great look and feel. I sanded out the tooth chatter with 220 grit sand paper and polished it with 400 wet dry sand paper. Once it was finished it began to shine.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and buffed it off with a cotton cloth. This is a beautiful Malaga Rusticated Canadian with a variegated grey/black/silver acrylic stem. It has a great look and feel. The rustication is very tactile but also the pattern is well done and a tight pattern. It is a beauty. I polished stem and the bowl with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The rustication took on life with the buffing. The rich brown colours work well with the polished acrylic stem. The finished pipe has a rich look that is quite catching. Have a look at it with the photos below. The shape, finish and flow of the pipe and stem are very well done. The dimensions are Length: 7 inches, Height: 1 7/8 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 of an inch. I will be adding the pipe to the finished Malaga pipes that I have set aside for Alex. This will be a great addition to his collection of Malaga pipe. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another Malaga.