Blog by Steve Laug
I looked through my box of bowls and came across this older Ropp Panel Rhodesian that caught my eye. The shape was really nicely done – a Rhodesian with a thick shank. The bowl was a paneled hexagon. The rim cap was smooth and the bowl top was smooth. The inner edge was nicked like it had been reamed with a knife. The outer edge of the bowl was in good shape. The rim top had some scratches. There were some dents on the bowl but the finish looked good. It appeared to have been cleaned up by Jeff somewhere along the way. The bowl had been reamed and scrubbed. The shank was clean and was lined with a metal shank tube. On the left side of the shank it was stamped ROPP in an oval. On the right it was stamped 062. I took some photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank and they read as noted above. They were clear and readable. I also took a photo of the shank end to show the metal tube that lines the mortise.I went through my can of stems and found a stem that I thought would probably work with the bowl. It had a metal tenon and a metal tube. There were some deep tooth marks on the top and underside near the button. In the third photo below you can see a stamping on the left side of the stem. Under a light with a lens I believe it reads ROPP. I am pretty certain that I have reunited the bowl with its original stem. I took some photos of the bowl and stem together to get a sense of how the pipe looked.I put the stem on the bowl and the fit in the shank was really good. The thickness of the shank and the stem match perfectly. Everything about it looked right. The stem is hard rubber and has an orific hole in the button end. I decided to start my clean up of the pipe by address the damage on the rim top and inner edge. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the edge and to polish out the scratches in the rim top. It worked quite well and I was happy with the results.I wiped the bowl down with alcohol to remove the shiny spots of the previous varnish coat on the bowl. It came off very well and the grain began to stand out nicely! I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each sanding pad to remove the debris. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 10 minutes then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The grain really came alive. It looks better than when I began. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the stem surface with the flame of a Bic lighter to try to lift them. I was able to raise them quite a bit. I filled in the remaining marks and the nicks in the hard rubber stem surface with clear super glue. I used a small file to flatten out the repairs on the top and underside of the stem at the button. I also flattened out the repairs round the rest of the stem. I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth it out. I started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I tried to touch up the ROPP stamp on the left side of the stem. I rubbed it into the stamp with a tooth pick and rubbed it off with a soft cloth. Much of the stamping was not deep enough to hold the Antique Gold Rub’n Buff. The amount of gold in the stamp was not too much but it is still slightly readable.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. This older style Ropp Panel 062 Rhodesian is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored and reunited with its stem. The finish around the bowl is quite beautiful and highlights the grain and works well with the polished taper stem. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Ropp Panel Rhodesian fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.94 oz./55 gr. I will probably be putting it on the rebornpipes store shortly. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.