Getting back in the saddle – AJ Verstraten


It is a pleasure to post another article by AJ Verstraten aka Bananabox-Ninja. It has been a while since he has been able to do any refurbs do to some health issues he had to deal with. It is great to know he is back and feeling much better. Glad to hear from you AJ and glad to hear you are healing. Thank you for taking the time to record your work for us to read and enjoy.

Greetings, it’s been a while since I was able to get behind my workstation and get some work done on the huge lot of pipes that are patiently waiting for a fix.
Some of you might remember my earlier piece in which I explained that I was home bound due to a motorcycle accident. Turns out I needed an operation to fix my cruciate ligament in my knee, this left me with a long recovery time but last week I was able to sit down and do four pipes that only needed some minor work to ‘flex my muscles’ so to speak.

A note about the pictures, as I did it outside in the nice spring weather there were still a lot of clouds and this makes some of the pictures quite dark.

These are the pipes I chose for cleaning:

Winsløw Grade E bought on ‘Marktplaats’ the Dutch version of Ebay
001 Winslow E group a
Chacom Silhouette a gift from a family friend who quit smoking years ago.
002 Chacom Silhouette a
Vibro Woodart acquired from a fellow forum-goer at the PRF.
003 Vibro Woodart a
Georg Jensen straight grain from the same friend as the Chacom.
004 Georg Jensen a
The procedure for all was the same.
Firstly I used hard bristled pipe cleaners dipped in 96%-proof alcohol. Afterwards the kettle would be inspected and cleared if necessary. After this I would set them aside and buff them one after the other.

The Winsløw is remarkable as it has only one dot on its mouthpiece instead of the two, I reached out to the Winsløw company about this but they didn’t reply. The pipe rather dull to clean as it was very well kept. I only cleaned the inside with the alcohol and that was it, the rest was nice and clean so I set it aside.
005 Winslow
The Chacom Silhouette was heavily used as was evident from the mouthpiece. It is made from swirling acrylic and you can see through it as they used clear acrylic in it. The black tar buildup took a lot of cleaners and the use of a new tool I acquired at a flea market.
006 Cleaning
The brown of the tar build up sits in the small cracks on the inside of the acrylic. These were formed by the precious owner who bit rather hard on his mouthpieces. I tried the ultrasonic cleaner but it wouldn’t budge. So I decided to keep it as is. (If anyone has a tip for me on that one I would be much obliged.)
007 Mouthpiece
Then it was time for the bowl, it had seen better days but there was no damage on the wood itself. So with the help of spit, a sock and the tool as shown earlier the coal layer was removed and the bowl was reamed with the reamer tool.
008 CS bowl
The Vibro Woodart pipe was the first one with an ebonite mouthpiece, so I set up the motor and abrasive wheel and let loose. It came out nice and black in the end.
009 Mouthpiece and motor
I noticed the mark in the mouthpiece was still visible so I used a correction fluid pen to fill it up and used the abrasive pads (8000 grit) to remove it gently.
010 colouring the letter
(The end result will follow)

I don’t have any pictures of the Jensen pipe as the pictures were all too dark. But I did the same as the Vibro pipe. Using the abrasive wheel and the correction fluid pen to get the logo back out again.

Then it was time for the buffing. Buffing with brown (1), white (2) and then with carnauba wax (3).
011 Buffing
Here are the final results, you can see the W on the Vibro pipe quite clearly and on the group shot the result on the Jensen.
012

013

014

015

016
In the end it was good to sit in the sun and once again get my hands into cleaning a nice pipe.
I always feel quite happy when a dull pipe with a heavily caked bowl turns into a nice shiny one that can be once again hopefully be used for many years to come.

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3 thoughts on “Getting back in the saddle – AJ Verstraten

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