The Exile Files

Raging Against the Outrageous. Laughter and Insanity Abound.

Archive for January, 2008

Wax Job

Posted by Exile on January 20, 2008

No. It’s not what you think. This has nothing to do with removing hair. It has to do with one of my favourite passions. My pipes. Or, to put it correctly, the care of my pipes.

When one buys a new pipe it is highly polished, unless it is of the rustic finish variety, In which case it never needs polishing, merely wiping over with a waxed cloth to keep a slight shine on the finish and remove dust. Polished pipes however, lose their shine with use and handling. Every now and then one has to get them repolished to keep them looking nice.
Well, it won’t be long before all my pipes look like they did when they were brand new.

After years of searching, I have finally acquired a polishing machine. Actually, it is a grinding machine with an etended shaft to accomodate polishing wheels. The wheels are of cloth and need to be primed with waxes to achieve the desired result. All this paraphanalia doesn’t normally come cheap, but I have friends and I know how to bargain!

The long and the short is, that I was given an arc welding kit that I didn’t need and couldn’t use, and traded it for the grinder. My pal had the grinder and was about to buy a bigger, more professional one. He is a self employed entrepreneur. He needed the welding kit, I needed the grinder. He is also the guy who has the connections to get the polishing kit and the wax.
It took a while and a lot of tobacco and chit chat, but the deal is done now and I am going to have to spend a few hours polishing the sixty or so pipes I have in my collection. Actually, I am looking forward to it.

One has to be a bit careful at the start. The grinder runs at high speed, so one has to get a firm grip on the pipe or you can kiss it goodbye, as it flies either skyward or downward, if you allow the wheel to tear the thing from your hands. You have to use the right wax, you have to find the right pressure against the wheel and you have to be careful not to overwax the cloth. Too much wax and it becomes impossible to hold the pipe and to polish the pipe up is almost impossible. Too little and one merely wears the surface of the pipe.

finish_lille.jpgI have polished pipes before, under the watchful eye of a retired pipemaker. He gave me a quick course in the do’s and don’ts of the polishing wheel. Unfortunately, the old guy died a few years ago, but the wisdom he imparted so generously to me has stayed with me. I probably won’t polish one pipe without remembering dear old Kaj.

My only worry now is, that once the word gets out, all my pipe smoking pals will be knocking on my door and asking to use the machine. Not that that could be a problem. They can use it of course, it’s just that all the stout and tobacco that will follow these pleasant episodes will cost me a fortune.
After all, you can’t expect to put two pipe smokers together without they fill a pipe or two and get round to a good long yarn and then just passing the time of day with pleasant conversation over a pipe becomes thirsty work!

I’m looking forward to that too.

Who said smoking is bad for you?


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