Tag Archives: Ropp Pipes

Bringing Back a Ropp Cherrywood


Bog by Kenneth Lieblich

Next on the chopping block is a Ropp Cherrywood Churchwarden, commissioned by a friend. As you may know, Ropp is possibly best known for their cherrywood pipes, this is one of the more attractive cherrywoods I’ve seen in a while. The key here is that they’ve kept the design simple: a solid, handsome stummel and an elegant, lithe stem. They nailed this one. I’m glad that my friend picked this one out; he made a good choice! Of course, this pipe was made by the venerable French pipe company, Ropp. The markings on this pipe were on the underside of the bowl and read Ropp (encircled in an oval) [over] De Luxe [over] Made in France [over] 919. This number is the shape number, and it was somewhat. From Pipedia, here is a very brief history of the Ropp company:

Eugène-Léon Ropp (1830–1907) acquired a patent for the cherrywood pipe in 1869. In 1870, he established a workshop to manufacture such pipes in Bussang, in the Vosges mountains. Around 1893, his business moved into the former mill of Sicard (part of the community of Baume-les-Dames in Upper Burgundy. The pipes were a big success in export as well. Shortly before 1914, Ropp designated A. Frankau & Co. (BBB) to be the exclusive distributor in the UK and its colonies. Probably in 1917, a workshop in Saint-Claude in the rue du Plan du Moulin was acquired to start the fabrication of briar pipes. In 1923, another small building in Saint-Claude, serving as a workshop for polishing, was added. 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 in 1994. The pipe was in very nice condition. The stummel had been lightly smoked add the bowl and shank were a bit dirty, but nothing extraordinary. There was a sticky substance on the underside, possibly the remnants of a price sticker. Similarly, the stem was relatively clean – not much oxidation to speak of, and only a few tooth marks on the bit. Time to get cracking. The stem was first on my list. I wiped the outside down with Murphy’s Oil Soap on some cotton pads. I cleaned out the insides with lemon-infused isopropyl alcohol and some long pipe cleaners.I also took a BIC lighter and ‘painted’ the stem with its flame to lift the few bite marks and dents. This was quite successful in raising the damage. This technique doesn’t always work, but it did here.Fortunately, the stem was in good enough shape that it didn’t need a soak in the Pipe Stem Oxidation Remover. I simply scrubbed and scrubbed with SoftScrub on some cotton pads.  I built up the remaining marks on the stem with black cyanoacrylate adhesive and then cured it with the aid of some CA glue accelerator. I then carefully sanded the adhesive down with 220-, 400-, and 600-grit sandpapers to meld seamlessly into the stem. I then used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to bring out the lovely black lustre on the stem. I also used Obsidian Pipe Stem Oil in between each pad scrubbing (from 3,600 onward).Now for the stummel. It was in nice condition, with very few nicks or scratches, which was a relief!  However, I decided to ream out the bowl. I used the KleenReem to remove the built-up cake and followed that with 220-grit sandpaper taped to a dowel to eliminate as much as I could. I took the chamber down to bare briar, as I wanted to ensure there were no hidden flaws in the wall. Fortunately, there were none. I then proceeded to clean out the insides of the shank with Q-tips, pipe cleaners, and lemon-infused isopropyl alcohol. There was a bit of filth inside this stummel and it took a fair amount of cotton to get it clean. I followed that up by cleaning the insides with some dish soap and tube brushes. I used cotton rounds and some Murphy’s Oil Soap to scrub the outside of the stummel. Next, I decided to de-ghost the pipe in order to remove any lingering smells of the past. I thrust cotton balls into the bowl and the shank and saturated them with 99% isopropyl alcohol. I let the stummel sit overnight. This caused any remaining oils, tars and smells to leach out into the cotton. The bowl was nice and clean after this. Following that, I took a solid wooden sphere, wrapped a piece of 220-grit sandpaper around it, and sanded the inner side of the chamber. The circular shape and motion of the sphere gradually returned the edge to a perfect circle. This takes time and patience, but it is quite effective. As you can see, the outside of the bowl still has the original cherrywood bark and I definitely didn’t want to risk damaging it. Although I used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) on the top and bottom, I used only 4,000 through 12,000 on the sides. I performed a similar operation on the shank. Finally, I applied some Before & After Restoration Balm and buffed it with a microfiber cloth. Again, to preserve the bark, I didn’t use the bench buffer on the sides of the bowl and shank, though I did apply Clapham’s Beeswax Salad Bowl Finish. However, I did buff the top and bottom with White Diamond and carnauba wax on the bench buffer. All shiny and lovely, I know that the new owner will enjoy smoking it for many years to come. I hope you enjoyed reading the story of this pipe as much I as I did restoring it. The approximate dimensions of the pipe are as follows: length 11 in. (280 mm); height 1⅞ in. (48 mm); bowl diameter 1½ in. (38 mm); chamber diameter ¾ in. (19 mm). The weight of the pipe is 2 oz. (58 g). If you are interested in more of my work, please follow me here on Steve’s website or email me directly at kenneth@knightsofthepipe.com. Thank you very much for reading and, as always, I welcome and encourage your comments.

A Decorated Veteran


Blog by Kenneth Lieblich

Next on the chopping block is this superb Ropp Six. It comes from a group of pipes I purchased from France. I love this pipe. I have a particular interest in French pipes and pipeworks, and I grabbed this one to restore for my collection. This is an old, old pipe with a few wounds (i.e. a veteran pipe with decorations) and needs just a little help to come back to life. This pipe was made by the venerable French pipe company, Ropp. Ropp has been around for a long time and their early pipes are really quite wonderful (the less said about their modern pipes, the better). The markings on the left-hand side of the shank read Ropp [over] Six. The right-hand side of the shank reads 886, presumably the shape number. Also, on the stem, there is the Ropp logo: Ropp, encircled in an oval.This pipe shape is a Rhodesian – a variation of the classic Bulldog. A Rhodesian will have a cylindrical shaped shank, not a diamond shank like the Bulldog. This is a really pretty pipe and feels very comfortable in the hand.

From Pipedia, here is a very brief history of the Ropp company:

Eugène-Léon Ropp (1830–1907) acquired a patent for the cherrywood pipe in 1869. In 1870, he established a workshop to manufacture such pipes in Bussang, in the Vosges mountains. Around 1893, his business moved into the former mill of Sicard (part of the community of Baume-les-Dames in Upper Burgundy. The pipes were a big success in export as well. Shortly before 1914, Ropp designated A. Frankau & Co. (BBB) to be the exclusive distributor in the UK and its colonies. Probably in 1917, a workshop in Saint-Claude in the rue du Plan du Moulin was acquired to start the fabrication of briar pipes. In 1923, another small building in Saint-Claude, serving as a workshop for polishing, was added. 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 in 1994. On to the pipe: it was in decent shape, but it had a few issues. The stem had a bit of oxidation and calcification, but – mostly notably – it had substantial bite marks, top and bottom. The stummel also had a few issues. The outside of the bowl had some scratches and a couple of fills that needed to be addressed. These are the “decorations” I referred to in the title of this article. There was lava and debris on the rim, and a few burn marks too. The inside was pretty dirty too – it would need a thorough cleaning. The stem was first on my list. This stem has a stinger in it – and it was being quite stubborn about coming out of the tenon! I opted to warm the stem and stinger with my heat gun and this provided just enough softening of the internal goo to allow me to pull it out. The stinger then went for a soak in some lemon-infused isopropyl alcohol. I let it set for several hours and then cleaned it off and it looked much improved. I then finished it with some metal polish and moved on. I wiped down the outside of the stem with Murphy’s Oil Soap on some cotton pads. I also took a BIC lighter and ‘painted’ the stem with its flame in order to lift the bite marks and dents. This was not successful at all in raising the damage. More work would need to be done. Then, I cleaned out the insides with pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. Even the bore was clogged with debris! It took an awful lot of work to get this clean! Once this process was done, the stem went for an overnight soak in the Pipe Stem Oxidation Remover. The following day, I cleaned all of the de-oxidizing mess off with alcohol, pipe cleaners, et cetera. The oxidation had migrated to the surface and would be fairly straightforward to remove. I scrubbed with SoftScrub on some cotton pads to remove the leftover oxidation. After this, I used some nail polish to restore the Ropp logo on the stem. I painted the area carefully and let it fully set before proceeding. I built up the dents on the stem with cyanoacrylate adhesive and let them fully cure. On this occasion, I actually built up several layers of the glue over a few days. I must admit, it was an annoying and frustrating process because, at this stage, it never looked quite right. I then sanded the adhesive down – first with a small file – then with 220-, 400-, and 600-grit sandpapers to meld seamlessly into the stem. I then used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to bring out the lovely black lustre on the stem. I also used Obsidian Pipe Stem Oil in between each pad scrubbing. On to the stummel, and the usual cleaning procedures were in order for this pipe. This stummel was a bit of a mess inside, so I first decided to ream out the bowl. I used both the PipNet Reamer and the KleenReem to remove the built-up cake and followed that with 220-grit sandpaper to eliminate as much as I could. I took the bowl down to bare briar, as I wanted to ensure there were no hidden flaws in the walls of the bowl. There were some very thin craze lines inside the bowl, but they were small enough that I elected to leave them as they were. I then proceeded to clean out the insides of the shank with Q-tips, pipe cleaners, and isopropyl alcohol. There was considerable filth inside this stummel and it took a lot of cotton to get it clean. I followed that up by cleaning the insides with some dish soap and tube brushes.

I used a small butter knife to gently chip away at the lava on the rim. I then used more Murphy’s with a scrub brush to remove any remainder. This actually worked quite well. I then moved on to cleaning the outside of the stummel with Murphy’s Oil Soap and some cotton pads. That removed any latent dirt that blighted the wood.

In order to remove the remaining burns and nicks on the rim, I “topped” the pipe – that is to say, I gently and evenly sanded down the rim on a piece of 220-grit sandpaper. This effectively removed the damage, without altering the look of the pipe.Having completed that, I was able to address the small nicks on the stummel. I dug out my iron and a damp cloth to try and raise the nicks. The hot and moist steam can often cause the wood to swell slightly and return to shape. There was some movement – not a lot, but it was better than doing nothing. The repair was not perfect, but the remaining scratches would be improved by sanding.I lined the fills with cyanoacrylate adhesive and briar dust. After letting them cure, I sanded the fill repairs down with 200-, 400-, and 600-grit sandpaper. I then used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) on the stummel to finish it off. After that, a light application of Before & After Restoration Balm brought out the best in the stummel’s grain. There is some beautiful wood after all. It is a very handsome, decorated veteran. In order to accentuate the external beauty of this pipe, I opted for aniline dye. I applied some of Fiebing’s Medium Brown Leather Dye. As usual, I applied flame from a BIC lighter in order to set the colour. I then added a second coat – just to make sure. What a difference that made! It looked so much better with a fresh coat of stain. I applied some more Before & After Restoration Balm and then it was off for a trip to the buffer. A dose of White Diamond and a few coats of carnauba wax were just what this pipe needed. The lovely shine made the wood very attractive. This is a very handsome pipe and will provide many years of smoking pleasure. This is a wonderfully crafted pipe and has a very elegant feel to it. It took some work, but I am proud of it and the final product suits me to a T. It retains some wounds from battle, but, as Steve would say, they are part of this pipe’s story. This is one pipe that I am keeping for myself and adding to my collection. I am sure that I will be enjoying this one for many years to come. I hope you enjoyed reading the story of this pipe as much I as I did restoring it. If you are interested in more of my work, please follow me here on Steve’s website or email me directly at kenneth@knightsofthepipe.com. Thank you very much for reading and, as always, I welcome and encourage your comments.

A Ropp De Luxe Cherrywood and My Mojo Reborn


by Robert M. Boughton

https://www.facebook.com/roadrunnerpipes

Ever tried.  Ever failed.  No matter.  Try again.  Fail again.  Fail better.
— Samuel Beckett

Try not.  Do, or do not.  There is no try.
— Yoda

A series of unfortunate events during the past two years led me to an unaccustomed crisis of confidence.  There was the COVID-19 stay at home order from the governor here, followed by the temporary suspension of my pipe sales, as I now choose to think of it.  A brief time later, five thugs surrounded me outside of a convenience store on my way home from a friend’s, and a fight ensued.  Although I fended off four of them, the boss punk got in multiple blows with a steel-balled sap to my head and the rest of my body before I could retreat to my car and point the gun that I should have kept on me through the window at the young man with the sap.  He and his followers fled, and I drove to the university hospital ER.

Eleven hours later, the doctor told me I had suffered a coup-contrecoup concussion, and there was blood on my brain.  I had passed the night in the waiting room except for the MRI and CT scans, the latter with and without contrast, and never even saw him before then.  After that, unable to do the things that made me happiest – and I had always taken for granted – I gave up pipe restoring, my website, blogging and more or less everything else.  The worst part was that I could not even smoke my pipes because of the exponential sharpening the nicotine added to the already crushing, blinding, paralyzing headaches the good ER doctor told me I could expect, but that there was nothing he could give me to alleviate my misery other than Gabapentin and the max dose of Ibuprofen.

I had fallen off the grid and into a hell of my own inner space.  As Austin Powers said, “Crikey!  I’ve lost my mojo!!”  Little white tablets zap the chronic migraines I have suffered since early childhood.  The only cure for the more recent variety of explosive agony was time for my traumatized brainpan to begin healing, as it continues to do.  I am fortunate that my skull turned out to be as thick as my dad always said it was.

Pipes had piled up, waiting to be reborn.  I saw them now and then when I pawed through the mess on a worktable for something else.  As the excruciation ebbed and made clearer thinking possible, more and more I pondered what could be done with them.  The best plan seemed to be giving them to someone like Steve who could make them whole again.  Just the thought made me feel awful.  (No offense, Steve!) Taking another look, the synapses fired in my brain and provided a memory of both of the quotes I cited at the beginning, which I heard in the pilot to Criminal Minds.  There were six pipes in the eBay lot below, the other two being the Ropp in this blog and an Imported Sterling Briar that’s finished also and coming up next.  Below, top to bottom: no-name, Made in London, England; no-name; King, and a stemless GBD New Standard #1451.  I’m quite sure the GBD was the only reason I bought the lot.

There are more from my roommate, who is trying to cut back on his tobacco bonging (from 12000 grams per month!)  and gave me some of his pipes to do with as I wish, and a few of my own that need work.

What follows is the old college try.

RESTORATION
The cherrywood wasn’t in bad shape except for the nomenclature on the bottom, which was fuzzy from wear and tear and a rough area just below the rim that I attribute to shoddy work by Ropp. I gave the stummel an alcohol soak and the stem, which is a permanent part of the shank, an OxiClean bath. The chamber was tiny enough without the accumulated cake, so I cleaned it up with my Senior Reamer and Peterson scraper and gave the pipe a retort. By definition, a cherrywood natural is supposed to be rough, but this was a little much. I used 320, 400 and 600 paper. It needed more work, such as smoothing and staining the area under the rim with Feibing’s brown leather dye, and micro meshing the whole thing.  I seem to have lost track of that part as far as pictures go.

The stem was easy, needing only 400 and 600 paper and dry and wet micro mesh.Decatur Pipe Polish is great for sandblasted, carved and natural finishes, so that’s what I did.All that was left was a spin on the wheels with red Tripoli and carnauba for the stem. The best thing about this project was that I did it – and got my mojo back!  After that, I really enjoyed bringing back the clarity of the nomenclature. It went from illegible to clear enough that I had to correct the folder name in my PC to reflect the actual shape number.

 

Reuniting an older Ropp Panel 062 Rhodesian with its original stem


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.

New Life for an older Ropp Supreme 9 Cherrywood Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

For a guy who has never really liked Ropp Cherrywood pipes I have had a lot of them over the years. I have had full bents, half bents, billiards but never one quite like this one. Jeff picked this pipe up at an antique store in Idaho Falls, Idaho, USA. It is kind of a 1/8 bent billiard with a smooth shank and a smooth oval shaped panel on the front and rear of the bowl. The right and left side, top and bottom of the bowl were left with the bark in place. You can see the knot holes in the bowl where branches were snipped off. The bark around the bowl sides is in decent condition as is the bottom of the bowl. The rim top has some damage on the inner edge of the rim on both the front and the back. There was a cake in the top half of the bowl and the bottom half was pristine and still not blackened. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Ropp in an oval [over] Supreme [over] Made in France. On the left side it bears the shape number 9. The stem is vulcanite with the silver Ropp oval on the left side of the saddle. It is oxidized and has light tooth chatter  and marks on both sides near the button. Jeff took these photos before he started his clean up work. Jeff took photos of the rim edges and top to show the damage that was there. It would take a bit of work to smooth out the edge and clean it up but it was not to bad. He took photos of the stem surface as well to show the condition as noted above. Jeff took photos of the bowl sides, heel and front  of the bowl and the shank to give a sense of the condition of the bark around the sides of the pipe. It is a unique one. You can see where the branches had been lopped off on both sides. He took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank and the inset Ropp oval logo on the left side of the stem. Both are readable and clear as noted above.I turned to Pipephil (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-ropp.html) to get a bit more background on the brand before I did my work on the pipe. No matter how many I have worked on I seem to forget the history of the cherrywood pipes. I quote:

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 have also included a screen capture of a Cherry wood pipe. The one I am working on is significantly different that this but it has he bark left on the pipe as noted below.I turned to Pipedia for a bit more detailed history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Ropp). I quote below.

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).

The pipes were a big success in the export as well. Shortly before 1914 Ropp designated A. Frankau & Co. (BBB) in to be the exclusive distributor in the UK and it’s colonies.

Probably in 1917 a workshop in Saint-Claude in the Rue du Plan du Moulin 8 was acquired to start the fabrication of briar pipes. In 1923 a small building in the environment of Saint-Claude, serving as a workshop for polishing, was added.

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.

There was also a photo of the Ropp Supreme pipe that was remarkably like the one that I was working on. I have included that  photo as well as the photo of the stamping below.Reminded about the background on the Ropp Family and their Cherrywood pipe it was now time to turn to the pipe itself and do my part of the work. As usual Jeff had done a thorough cleanup on the pipe. He 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 cleaned the internals and externals of the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. He scrubbed the exterior of the stem with Soft Scrub and a cotton pad. Once finished he soaked the stem in Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water and cleaned out the airway in the stem with alcohol. Other than the damaged rim top the pipe looked good. I took a photo of the rim top and stem to show the condition. The rim top and the inner edge of the bowl had some damage and darkening on the front and the back of the bowl. The vulcanite saddle stem had light tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button.The stamping on the side of the shank is clear and readable as noted above.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. It is a nice looking billiard with a slight bend in great condition. I started working on the pipe by addressing the damage to the rim edges and top with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I gave it a very slight bevel to smooth out the edges and give it a clean look.I polished the bark and clean cherrywood with micromesh sanding pads, dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads and wiping it down with an damp cloth after each sanding pad. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank both (smooth and bark covered) with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for about 10 minutes then buffed it with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Balm did its magic and the grain stood out.    I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem. I “painted” the stem surface with the flame of a lighter to lift the tooth marks. I worked very well. I used a small file to sharpen the edge of the button and remove the light chatter on the edge. I sanded out the remnants of tooth marks with 220 grit sandpaper and started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the vulcanite 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. The photo below shows the polished stem. This nice Cherrywood finished ROPP Supreme Made in France 9 Billiard with a black vulcanite saddle stem is a great looking pipe. The rugged bark finish on the sides highlights the grain on the cherrywood bowl front and back side and shank. The black saddle stem works really well with the pipe as a whole. The wood is clean and really came alive. The rich medium brown of the wood gave the grain a sense of depth with the polishing and waxing. The grain really popped. 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. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished ROPP Supreme Cherrywood is a beauty and feels great in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches wide by 1 ¾ inches long, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 2.29 ounces/65 grams Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Working on the Second of Two Ropp Pipes – A Ropp Au Sommet Mini Churchwarden


Blog by Steve Laug

It seems like just a few weeks ago I was contacted by an older gentleman about purchasing his pipe collection. He sent me the photos and I was amazed at what I saw. He had Dunhill pipes, BBB pipes, a Barling’s Make “Ye Olde Wood” Fossil, Orlik pipes, Barclay Rex Pipes, a couple of Meerschaums and a whole lot of other pipes. All I could say as I looked at the pipes was what a collection it was. We negotiated a deal and I think we both walked away quite happy with the exchange.

You have seen the work we have done on the Dunhills, Hardcastles, H. Simmons all briar billiard and BBB pipes from the lot but there are still more. The above photo shows the two Ropp pipes.

I have worked on several Ropp pipes in the past but this one was unique in many ways that will become evident in the photos below. This second Ropp pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads ROPP in an oval [over] AU SOMMET, which translates as AT THE TOP. The stamping is clear and readable and there is no shape number evident. The shank end is rounded and countersunk to give the stem a tight fit against it. The long, taper stem has a gold ROPP oval stamp on the left side.

Jeff took some photos of the Ropp Au Sommet Mini Churchwarden before he worked his magic in cleaning up the pipe. It is a an interesting pipe with a lot of potential and what appears to be some great grain under the grime and debris of the years.Jeff took photos of the bowl, rim top to show the thickness of the cake in the bowl and the thick lava on the rim top. I was hoping that the thick cake and lava had protected the edge from the kind of damage that I had to work on with the other Ropp pipe. He took photos of the top and underside of the vulcanite stem showing the oxidation, tooth marks,chatter and wear on the stem and button. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the briar. You can see the beautiful shape and the grain on the bowl even through the dirt and debris of many years. Jeff took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. The ROPP Oval on the stem is also visible. You can see that the stamping  on the shank and stem is clear and readable as noted above.Jeff removed the stem from the shank to give an idea of the way the rounded shank end had been beveled to accommodate the stem.I turned to Pipephil’s site to see what I could learn about the Ropp brand and particularly the Ropp Au Sommet Line that I was working on (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-ropp.html). I quote from the introduction to the brand on the site and include a screen capture of a poster that was on the site.

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 quote from the sidebar on the site below as it gives a good summary of information.

Brand created in 1910. The shop was situated on Maiden Lane. Three addresses now (2010): 75 Broad Street, 70 East 42nd Street, 570 Lexington Avenue. See also: André

I turned to Pipedia to try and place this pipe in the timeline of the brand and was able find some helpful information which I have included below (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Ropp). I quote the information below. Ropp is well known for its Cherrywood pipes which were patented in1869. Besides that Eugene Ropp also made beautiful briar 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).

The pipes were a big success in the export as well. Shortly before 1914 Ropp designated A. Frankau & Co. (BBB) in to be the exclusive distributor in the UK and it’s colonies.

Probably in 1917 a workshop in Saint-Claude in the Rue du Plan du Moulin 8 was acquired to start the fabrication of briar pipes. In 1923 a small building in the environment of Saint-Claude, serving as a workshop for polishing, was added.

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.

With the information from Pipedia (thought there was nothing specific on this line) I knew that I was working on an older pipe from the Eugene Ropp Workshop. It is a great piece of briar with chunky nicely made shape. The fellow we bought them from said that he had had this pipe for a very long time. I could not set a date for certain but my guess was early 30s or 40s like some of the earlier pipes. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff carefully cleaned the pipe. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and then cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals of the shank, stem and shank extension 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 lava on the rim top. The finish looks much better and has a deep richness in the colour that highlights grain of the briar. The rim top looked good with some darkening on the top and light damage to the inner edge of the bowl. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver I was amazed it looked so good. Here are some photos of what I saw.   I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem surface. The inner edge of the rim was rough and nicked and the rim top had some damage. It appears that there are grooves on the top on the right side. I took close up photos of the stem to show the condition of the surface and button. I took a picture of the stamping on the side of the shank and it was clear and readable as noted above.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the parts of the pipe. It is a unique looking pipe.I started my work on the pipe by addressing the darkening on the rim top and the damage on the inner edge of the bowl. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to work over the inner edge to smooth out the damage and to remove the darkening on the rim top as well.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad. It really began to take on a shine. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the bowl and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes 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 polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. I used some Rub’n Buff Antique Gold to touch up the Ropp logo on the left side of the stem. The stamp was worn so though it is better it is not perfect.With the bowl and the stem finished I put the beautiful Eugene Ropp Au Sommet Mini Churchwarden back together and buffed it on the wheel using Blue Diamond to give it a shine. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. It really is a great looking mini churchwarden. The dimensions of the pipe are – Length: 7 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of this large pipe is 1.52 ounces /43 grams. This older Ropp Mini Churchwarden is another great find in this collection. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store soon. If you would like to add it to your collection let me know. This is another pipe that has the possibility of transporting the pipe man or woman back to a slower paced time in history where you can enjoy a respite. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

Working on the First of Two Ropp Pipes – A Ropp Make S Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

It seems like just a few weeks ago I was contacted by an older gentleman about purchasing his pipe collection. He sent me the photos and I was amazed at what I saw. He had Dunhill pipes, BBB pipes, a Barling’s Make “Ye Olde Wood” Fossil, Orlik pipes, Barclay Rex Pipes, a couple of Meerschaums and a whole lot of other pipes. All I could say as I looked at the pipes was what a collection it was. We negotiated a deal and I think we both walked away quite happy with the exchange.

You have seen the work we have done on the Dunhills, Hardcastles, H. Simmons all briar billiard and BBB pipes from the lot but there are still more. The above photo shows the two Ropp pipes. I am working the smaller one first – the bent billiard.

I have worked on several Ropp pipes in the past but this one was unique in many ways that will become evident in the photos below. This pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads ROPP in an oval [over] MAKE and above the oval is an upper case ‘S. The stamping is clear and readable and there is no shape number evident. There is a silver plated band on the shank that is stamped the same was as the shank. It also has an EP in a Diamond (electroplated) and an E and an R each in a circle over three hallmarks. I spent time looking up hallmarks on French sites and was not able to clearly identify them as they were blurry.

Jeff took some photos of the Ropp Make S Bent Billiard before he worked his magic in cleaning up the pipe. It is a an interesting pipe with a lot of potential and what appears to be some great grain under the grime and debris of the years. Jeff took photos of the bowl, rim top to show the thickness of the cake in the bowl and the thick lava on the rim top. There were also large chips or nicks on the front of the bowl on the outer edge. He took photos of the top and underside of the vulcanite stem showing the oxidation, tooth marks,chatter and wear on the stem and button. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the briar. You can see the beautiful shape and the grain on the bowl even through the dirt and debris of many years. Jeff took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. You can see that it is clear and readable as noted above.I turned to Pipephil’s site to see what I could learn about the Ropp brand and particularly the Ropp Make S line that I was working on (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-ropp.html). I quote from the introduction to the brand on the site and include a screen capture of a poster that was on the site.

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 quote from the sidebar on the site below as it gives a good summary of information.

Brand created in 1910. The shop was situated on Maiden Lane. Three addresses now (2010): 75 Broad Street, 70 East 42nd Street, 570 Lexington Avenue. See also: André
I turned to Pipedia to try and place this pipe in the timeline of the brand and was able find some helpful information which I have included below (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Ropp). I quote the information below. Ropp is well known for its Cherrywood pipes which were patented in1869. Besides that Eugene Ropp also made beautiful briar 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).

The pipes were a big success in the export as well. Shortly before 1914 Ropp designated A. Frankau & Co. (BBB) in to be the exclusive distributor in the UK and it’s colonies.

Probably in 1917 a workshop in Saint-Claude in the Rue du Plan du Moulin 8 was acquired to start the fabrication of briar pipes. In 1923 a small building in the environment of Saint-Claude, serving as a workshop for polishing, was added.

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.

I have included three photos from the site of a pipe that was stamped exactly like the one that I am working on. It is stamped with Ropp in an oval with Make stamped below that. Like the one that I am working it also has an S above and to the right of the oval logo. The silver band is stamped the same way. The stepped down tenon on the stem is the same. With the information from Pipedia I knew that I was working on an older pipe from the Eugene Ropp Workshop. It is a great piece of briar with chunky nicely made shape. The fellow we bought them from said that he had had this pipe for a very long time. I could not set a date for certain but my guess was early 30s or 40s like some of the earlier pipes. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff carefully cleaned the pipe. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and then cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals of the shank, stem and shank extension 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 lava on the rim top. The finish looks much better and has a deep richness in the colour that highlights grain of the briar. The rim top looked good with some darkening on the top and light damage to the inner edge of the bowl. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver I was amazed it looked so good. Here are some photos of what I saw.   I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem surface. The inner edge of the rim was in rough condition, the outer edge was damaged on the front and the right side and the rim top had a lot of damage all around. I took close up photos of the stem to show the condition of the surface and button. I took a picture of the stamping on the side of the shank and it was clear and readable as noted above.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the parts of the pipe. I started my work on the pipe by addressing the darkening on the rim top and the damage on the inner and outer edges of the bowl. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to work over the inner and outer edge to smooth out the damage and to remove the darkening on the rim top as well.Jeff sent a photo of a crack in the shank on the underside under the band. After he had cleaned it up it was hard to see clearly but it was still present. I decided to drill a small pin hole at the end of the crack. This was one of those cases where I was certain I had it pinned down and drilled a hole with a microdrill bit. Once would have been horrible but it took 4 tries to finally hit the hidden hairline crack! The two to the right of the photo hit the crack. The first was too low and the second nailed the end of it. The two on the left totally missed. Arggh…I finally got it. I filled in the small holes with CA glue and briar dust. Once the repairs cured I sanded the repair smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and wiped it off with a damp cloth. Other than the new freckles the shank is fixed! Sheesh I feel like a real amateur! I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad. It really began to take on a shine. I stained the repairs on the bottom of the shank with an oak stain pen to blend them into the finish.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the bowl and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes 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 “painted” it with the flame of a Bic lighter to lift the tooth dents in the surface of the vulcanite. I was able to lift the majority of them. I filled in the remaining marks with clear CA glue. Once the repairs cured I used a file to flatten out the repairs and recut the sharp edge of the button. I sanded them smooth with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to blend them in the rest of the stem surface. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I used some Rub’n Buff Antique Gold to touch up the Ropp logo on the left side of the stem. The stamp was worn so though it is better it is not perfect.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. With the bowl and the stem finished I put the beautiful Eugene Ropp Make Bent Billiard back together and buffed it on the wheel using Blue Diamond to give it a shine. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. It really is a great looking pipe. The dimensions of the pipe are – Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of this large pipe is 1.66 ounces /47 grams. This older Ropp Bent Billiard is another great find in this collection. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store soon. If you would like to add it to your collection let me know. This is another pipe that has the possibility of transporting the pipe man or woman back to a slower paced time in history where you can enjoy a respite. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

 

Changing things up – a Ropp Grand Luxe 55 Horn Stem Apple


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table is one that Jeff picked up from a friend in St. Leonard, Maryland, USA back in April of 2018 so it has been sitting here for a long time. It is a nice looking apple shaped pipe with a horn stem. The stamping on the left side of the shank read Ropp in an oval with Grand Luxe underneath. On the right side of the shank the shape number 55 is stamped next to the bowl/shank junction. It was a great looking piece of briar with a mix of grain around the bowl and shank. There was a small nick on the left middle of the bowl and grime and grit ground into the finish of the bowl. There was a heavy cake in the bowl  and a heavy overflow of lava on the inwardly beveled rim top. The fit of the stem in the shank was smooth and flawless. There was the silver ROPP metal oval logo inlaid on the left side of the taper. The stem was horn and it had some wear on both sides near the button and on the button surface.  Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl. The smooth rim top showed thick coat of lava that filled in the rim top and hopefully protected the edges from damage. He took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the tooth chatter, scratching and oxidation on the stem surface and wear on the edges of the button. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the finish. You can see the well done shape and he amazing grain around the bowl and shank. Even under the dirt and debris of the years it looked very good.The stamping is clear and readable as noted above. The honey coloured finish even looks good under the grime and the pipe really is a Grand Luxe! I turned first to Pipephil to get a quick review of the brand (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-ropp.html). I always remember Ropp as the maker of the Cherrywood pipes that they are famous for but I forget all of the other beautiful pipes that they made. I quote:

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 then turned to Pipedia as I remembered that they had some more information on the brand and some interesting old advertising (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Ropp). I quote the information below and include a few flyers advertising the Grand Luxe line of 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).

The pipes were a big success in the export as well. Shortly before 1914 Ropp designated A. Frankau & Co. (BBB) in to be the exclusive distributor in the UK and it’s colonies.

Probably in 1917 a workshop in Saint-Claude in the Rue du Plan du Moulin 8 was acquired to start the fabrication of briar pipes. In 1923 a small building in the environment of Saint-Claude, serving as a workshop for polishing, was added.

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.

With the information I learned in the above articles I had the background on the pipe. My guess is that it is was made either just before or after WWII because of the horn stem instead of rubber. The metal tenon system makes me also think that this is the case as other pipes from the war itself went back to horn tenons. It is a neat old pipe. Now it was time to work on it.

I am really happy to have Jeff’s help on cleaning up the pipes that we pick up along the way. He reamed the bowl 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 much better and the rim top was actually very visible and it looked good. Jeff scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub All Purpose Cleaner to remove the majority of the grime. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver it looked very good. I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem surface. The rim top looked very good but there some darkening on the rim top surface toward the back of the bowl. I took close up photos of the stem to show the condition of the surface and button. I was really glad to see that the spots on the button surface and the stem ahead of the button was worn but did not have tooth marks or chatter. I took photos of the stamping on the left side of the shank and the right side near the bowl. You can see that it is stamped as noted above. It is clear and readable.  I took the pipe apart and took a photo of the pipe. It is a good looking pipe and has some great grain on the bowl and shank. Note the stepped down aluminum tenon.I decided to start my restoration work on this one by polishing the top and sides of the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. After each pad I wiped the briar down with a damp cloth.   I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process.     With that done the bowl was finished other than the final buffing. I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I looked at the worn areas on the stem and decided to sand them out with 220 grit sandpaper and start polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I polished the stem with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine.   It is fun to come to end of the restoration of the Ropp Grand Luxe 55 Straight Apple. It turned out to be a nice looking straight Apple. The finish came alive with the work I had done on it. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl 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 grain popping through and the polished horn taper stem. It really was beautiful. This older French made Ropp Straight Apple is nice looking and the pipe feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 inch, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 34grams/1.20ounces. It is a beautiful pipe that I will soon put on the rebornpipes store in the French Pipe Makers section. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. 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.

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.