Tag Archives: Ropp pipes France

Restoring a Ropp Standard Cherrywood Poker from Bob Kerr’s Estate


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen from Bob Kerr’s Estate is a Ropp Cherrywood Poker.Apple with a slender stem. (his photo is to the left). If you have not “met” the man and would like to read a bit of the history of the pipeman, his daughter has written a great tribute that is worth a read. Because I have included it in most of the restorations of the estate to date I thought that I would leave it out this time. Be sure to check out some of the recent Dunhill restoration blog (https://rebornpipes.com/2020/01/01/restoring-the-last-of-bob-kerrs-dunhills-a-1962-dunhill-bruyere-656-f-t-bent-billiard/).

This Cherrywood Poker is stamped Ropp in an oval [over] Standard [over] Made in France on the heel of the bowl. The tapered stem does not have the typical Ropp brass logo so I am not sure if it is an original. It is oxidized and has light tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. There is some calcification on the stem with damage to the button. The bark on the exterior of the bowl is grimy and dirty. There is a thick cake and lava overflow on the rim top. There is some damage on top & edges. Jeff took photos of the pipe to show its general condition before he did his cleanup. The bark on the pipe was very dirty – grime and grit from years of use and sitting. The rim top was covered with a coat of thick lava that overflowed the bowl. There was also some darkening on the rim top and inner edge of the bowl. The bowl itself had a thick cake with flecks of tobacco stuck in the cake on the sides.Jeff took photos of the sides and the heel of the bowl to give a better feel for the condition of the bark around the bowl.The next photo shows the stamping on the heel of the bowl and it is very readable. It reads as noted above. The stem was dirty and extremely oxidized. Once again the stem appeared to be a replacement as I have learned Bob was a chewer and his stems seemed to have been replaced often. This one at least fit well to the shank and did not yet have the chew marks that were a norm on Bob’s pipes.I wanted to refresh my memory on the brand so I turned for a short, quick summary to Pipephil (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-ropp.html). I have included the pertinent information from that site below:

Brand created by Eugène-Léon Ropp (1830 – 1907) and continued throughout 3 generations. “GBA Synergie” run by Bernard Amiel (†2008) bought back Ropp in 1988 and owned it until 1991. The company was taken over by Cuty-Fort Entreprises (Chacom, Vuillard, Jean Lacroix…) in 1994.

I also turned to Pipedia to see if there was any additional information that would be helpful (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Ropp). I quote the portion of the article on the Cherrywood pipes.

Eugène-Léon Ropp (1830 – 1907) had acquired a patent for a cherrywood pipe (wild cherry, lat.: Prunus avium) in 1869. In 1870 he established a workshop to manufacture such pipes in Büssingen (Bussang, Vosges mountains). Around 1893 the business moved into the former mill of Sicard (part of the community of Baume-les-Dames – Département Doubs, Upper Burgundy – from 1895 on)… Even though cherrywood pipes were the mainstay of Ropp until the company finally closed down in September 1991. The company was taken over by Cuty-Fort Entreprises (Chacom, Jeantet, Vuillard, Jean Lacroix…) in 1994.

The pipe thus was made in France sometime prior to the closure in 1991. It is made from wild cherry and was a specialty of Ropp. I have worked on quite a few over the years but I had forgotten all the dates and information. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

With over 125 pipes to clean from Bob’s estate I took a batch of them to the states with me when I visited and left them with Jeff so he could help me out. Jeff cleaned the pipes with his usual penchant for thoroughness that I really appreciate. Once he finished he shipped them back to me. This one was a real mess and I did not know what to expect when I unwrapped it from his box. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. The finish looks very good with good looking grain around the bowl and shank. Jeff scrubbed it with Soft Scrub and soaked it in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked a lot better. I took photos before I started my part of the work. I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show what cleaned bowl and rim top looked like. The rim top shows damage and charring on the inner edge of the bowl. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the light tooth marks and the remaining oxidation on the stem surface.I took a photo of the stamping on the heel of the bowl and it is clear and readable. It is stamped as noted above. Now, on to my part of the restoration of this Ropp Standard Cherrywood. I decided to start by dealing with the damage to the inner edge of the rim. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the edge and give it a slight bevel to remove the damaged area and bring the bowl back into round.I polished the top of the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping the briar down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bark on the bowl sides and shank as well as the smooth heel and rim top 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 and shoe brush to raise the shine. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I polished the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after the last sanding pad. The shine was perfect. This Ropp Standard Cherrywood French made pipe from Bob Kerr’s estate turned out to be a great looking pipe. The natural bark finish and the polished smooth Cherry top and heel of the bowl look very good. The finish on the pipe is in excellent condition and works well with the polished vulcanite 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 cherrywood. I gave the bowl and 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 Standard Cherrywood 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 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. If you are interested in carrying on Bob’s legacy with this pipe send me a message or an email. I have more to work on of various brands. Perhaps one of those will catch your attention. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. This is an interesting estate to bring back to life.

 

Restoring a Ropp Deluxe 803 Cherrywood Bent Octagonal Poker


Blog by Steve Laug

Not too long ago I received an email from a fellow in Kitchener, Ontario regarding some pipes he needed cleaned up. He had been referred to me by my local pipe and cigar shop. While I am not currently adding more pipes to my queue of repairs I have made a commitment to the shop to work on pipes for their customers. Generally they have one or two pipes that need a bit of work. This fellow sent me the following email:

I just came across my smoking pipes that I’ve had in storage for about 40 years. I’m wondering what you’d charge to have them refurbished. There are 17 in total (11 are Brighams and 6 are various).

It turns out he said he had 17 pipes. That was certainly more than I expected but I communicated that there was a large queue ahead of him and I would have to fit them in as I could. He was fine with whatever time it took. He sent me the following photos of his collection that he wanted restored. The first photo shows his eleven Brigham pipes – all very interesting shapes. The second photo shows the six various pipes in the collection – A Republic Era Peterson’s System 1312 (Canadian Import), A Bjarne Hand Carved Freehand, a Comoy’s Everyman London smooth billiard, a GBD Popular Dublin 12, an English made Kaywoodie Rustica 72B, a Kriswill Bernadotte 60 with a broken tenon. When the box arrived there were two additional pipes included for a total of 19 – a Ropp 803 Deluxe Cherrywood Poker and a Comoy’s Sandblast Everyman Canadian 296. It was a lot of pipes! I decided to start with the first pipe I pulled out of his box – when I unwrapped it the pipe was the Ropp Cherrywood. It was stamped on the heel and read ROPP in an oval over DeLuxe over France with a shape number 803. It was dirty. The exterior of the octagonal pipe was dirty with grime and dust. The rim top had some lava overflow and darkening on the smooth bevel. The bowl had a thick cake that was crumbling. The bark on the shank and bowl was in excellent condition. The end of the threaded portion of the shank that screwed into the bowl had a metal insert as did the area around the side of the bowl where the shank screwed in. The stem had an inlaid Ropp emblem on the left side of the taper stem. It was a push stem and was stuck in the Cherrywood shank. It was oxidized and had tooth chatter and marks on both sides just ahead of the button. I took close up photos of the bowl and rim top to show the condition of the bowl and rim as well as the cake. I also took close up photos of the stem to show its condition as mentioned above. I took a photo of the stamping on the heel of the bowl to show what I was speaking about above. It is very clear and readable. The 803 is clearly the shape number for the octoganal Cherrywood.I carefully took the pipe apart. The shank and stem unscrewed as a single unit from the bowl. I checked the fit of the stem in the shank and from my memory of other Ropp pipes I was pretty certain it was a push stem. I held the shank firmly as close to the shank end as possible to prevent inadvertently cracking it when I twisted the stem. I carefully applied pressure to the stem and sure enough it came loose. There was some bits of wood stuck on the tenon but otherwise everything looked good both inside the mortise and on the tenon.I wanted to refresh my memory on the brand so I turned for a short, quick summary to Pipephil (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-ropp.html). I have included the pertinent information from that site below:

Brand created by Eugène-Léon Ropp (1830 – 1907) and continued throughout 3 generations. “GBA Synergie” run by Bernard Amiel (†2008) bought back Ropp in 1988 and owned it until 1991. The company was taken over by Cuty-Fort Entreprises (Chacom, Vuillard, Jean Lacroix…) in 1994.

I also turned to Pipedia to see if there was any additional information that would be helpful (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Ropp). I quote the portion of the article on the Cherrywood pipes.

Eugène-Léon Ropp (1830 – 1907) had acquired a patent for a cherrywood pipe (wild cherry, lat.: Prunus avium) in 1869. In 1870 he established a workshop to manufacture such pipes in Büssingen (Bussang, Vosges mountains). Around 1893 the business moved into the former mill of Sicard (part of the community of Baume-les-Dames – Département Doubs, Upper Burgundy – from 1895 on)… Even though cherrywood pipes were the mainstay of Ropp until the company finally closed down in September 1991. The company was taken over by Cuty-Fort Entreprises (Chacom, Jeantet, Vuillard, Jean Lacroix…) in 1994.

The pipe thus was made in France sometime prior to the closure in 1991. It is made from wild cherry and was a specialty of Ropp. I have worked on quite a few over the years but I had forgotten all the dates and information. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

I reamed the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife, scraping the cake back to bare wood so that I could check on the integrity of the bowl walls. After scraping the cake out of the bow I used the edge to also scrape off the inner beveled edge of the rim top. I sanded the bowl walls with 220 grit sandpaper on a piece of dowel to smooth them out and further examine them. I was happy that the walls looked very good. I cleaned up the rim edge further with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I cleaned out the threaded mortise area on the bowl and the interior of the shank and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. With the bowl and shank cleaned it was time to put those parts back together. I have learned that the threaded tenons on the Cherrywood work better when lubricated with some Vaseline Petroleum Jelly. It makes it easy to turn them together without damaging or cracking the shank or bowl.I wet sanded the rim top and the smooth portions on the bowl sides with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl surface down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad to remove the sanding dust. Once I finished the bowl looked good. I rubbed the Cherrywood bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the gourd 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. Mark Hoover’s Balm is a product that I have come to appreciate and one I use on every pipe I have been working on. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth chatter, marks and oxidation with 220 grit sandpaper and started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.  I rubbed down the stem with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish and a cotton pad to remove the remnants of oxidation and to blend in the sanding. The stem is starting to show promise at this point in the process. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I polished it further with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both fine and extra fine. I finished by wiping it down with Briarville’s No Oxy Oil and buffing it to a shine.  I always look forward to this part of the restoration when all the pieces are put back together. I put the pipe back together and buffed the stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservators Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the smooth Cherrywood set off by the strips of bark contrasting well and finally the black vulcanite stem almost glowing. This Ropp Cherrywood is nice looking and feels great in my hand. It is one that could be clenched and smoked while doing other things as it is very light weight and well balanced. It must have been a fine smoking pipe judging from the condition it was when I received it. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This is the first of the pipes sent to me from Eastern Canada for restoration. I am looking forward to what the pipeman who sent it thinks of this first restoration. Lots more to do in this lot! Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next pipeman or woman.

Cleaning and restoring a Ropp Cherrywood De Luxe 805


Blog by Steve Laug

Not long ago I got an email from Mark, who had been reading the rebornpipes blog. He said that he had seven pipes that had belonged to his uncle that he was wondering if I would be interested in restoring. He said that the pipe were in good condition in terms of the bowls (though in looking at them they were in need of a good cleaning). The finishes were in decent shape – just dirty. He said that the stems all had issues and he was right with that. Some were worn with tooth marks on the stem on both the top and underside at the button. Some had been chewed off. All were oxidized to varying degrees. He sent me the following photos of the pipes for me to have a look at and we talked back and forth via email. About a week ago or so they arrived here in Canada. He had done an amazing job packing the lot. Each one was packaged in its own baggy with the stem separated for shipping. They were nicely wrapped in bubble wrap and boxed with the return mailing address inside! Very nicely done package. I opened the box and unpacked each pipe. I went over them carefully to assess what was needed in terms of repair. I chose to work on the Cherrywood pipe at the top of the first photo and on the far left of the second photo. It is a nice looking Cherrywood pipe with panels. The high points on the bowl all had bark on them with stripes without the bark. The shank also had bark on it. The bowl had a light cake in it. The rim top had a thick overflow of lava on it that had overflow from the bowl. There were also some light nicks in the rim top. The underside of the bowl was dirty but it was stamped ROPP over De Luxe over Made in France. Underneath that what the shape number 805. The stem had tooth marks and tooth chatter on the top side of the stem with some deep marks on the underside. The stem surface was oxidized. It had the ROPP oval on the left side of the stem. I took the following photos before I started to clean up the pipe. I took a close up of the rim top to show the lava build up and the cake in the bowl. It appeared that the bowl had been reamed before I received it but there were some remnants of the cake in the bowl. I took some close up photos of the stem to show the condition of both sides.I chose four of the pipes to work on first and put the stems in the Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer. I pushed them under the solution and left them to soak overnight.While the stems were all soaking I turned my attention to the bowl. I scrubbed the surface of the Cherrywood with Murphy’s Oil Soap to clean off the dust and grime that sat on the surface. There were also some paint flecks that needed to be addressed as well. I scrubbed the surface with a tooth brush and rinsed it off with running water. I dried the bowl and shank off with a soft cotton towel to make sure I did not damage the bark. I took photos of the cleaned Cherrywood bowl. It actually looked really good. The rim top still needed work but it looked better. I cleaned up the inside of the bowl to remove the remaining bits of cake on the walls and the bottom of the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to sand off the remaining thick lava on the rim top and the damaged areas as well. I worked on it to smooth out the surface and then polished it with 1500-4000 grit micromesh sanding pads. I cleaned up the inner edge of the rim with a folded piece of sandpaper and removed the damaged areas there as well.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the Cherrywood and the bark with my finger tips to deep clean the finish, enliven and protect the wood. I let it sit for a few minutes and then buffed it with a cotton cloth. The wood came alive and really had begun to show through at this point and there was a rich shine to the bark as well. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. I set the bowl aside and called it a night. The bowl was ready other than touching up the cleaning of the shank. In the morning. In the morning I removed the stem from the Before & After Stem Deoxidizer and wiped it off with a paper towel to remove the remaining oxidation and bath. I cleaned out the airway with pipe cleaners and alcohol until it was clean. I cleaned out the shank with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs at the same time  to remove any debris that remained inside. The stamping on the stem looked good. The stem was clean and black with the scratching, tooth marks and an odd red tint in the vulcanite visible on the left side. It was ready for repairs to the tooth marks and polishing. I lightly sanded the stem to remove the scratching and tooth chatter. I heated the stem with a Bic lighter to lift some of the tooth marks. Once that was done I built up the edge of the button on the underside and filled in the two remaining tooth marks on the underside of the stem with clear super glue. Once the repair had dried I sanded the repaired areas with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface of the stem. I sanded the rest of the stem as well working on getting rid of the red tint on the left side. I worked over the stem with micromesh sanding pads. I polished out the sanding scratches and marks in the vulcanite – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads and wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each one. When I finished with the 12000 grit pad I gave it a final coat of oil and let it dry. Once it had dried, I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish Fine and Extra Fine. I rubbed it down with final coat Obsidian Oil and took the following picture. I put the stem back on the bowl and took the pipe to the buffing wheel to work it over. I carefully buffed the bowl and shank with Blue Diamond. I did not want to damage the bark on the bowl or shank so I used a very light touch. I worked on the stem with Blue Diamond to polish it. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and hand buffed it with a shoe brush. I gave the stem multiple coats carnauba wax. I buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The bark now has a rich glow to it and the peeled areas of the Cherrywood bowl look rich as well. The shank looks good. The hard rubber/vulcanite stem came out quite nice with a shine to the ROPP oval on the left side. The pipe came out really well. Now I have six more of the uncle’s pipes to finish up and then I will pack these back in their well packed box and send them back to the US to carry on life for the nephew of the pipe man who left them to him. Thanks for looking.