Oiling Chips Done Right

Stibnite

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I won't profess to know everything about anything or anything about everything; but what I do know is I often research and test subject matter to the fullest extent possible to find the best results.

Using a combination of advices from numerous poker minds, I set myself up to test oiling of chips in a variety of ways--from wipe n dry, to dip n drip and oil and water dont mix except with chip tricks. Yada yada.

Well, with a number of mixed results, I discovered that most methods left the chips looking great--at first--then left them lacking thereafter (usually within 1-5 days). A number of factors playing--oil type, drying method, application method, etc.

Well, after much testing using just basic Milano China Clays (which aren't supposed to take oil as well as CPC or Paulsons), I believe I have discovered the best way to oil those chips and keep them that way afterward. I named this method: Compression Oiling. A mix of common methods with a touch of my own strategical experimentation and creativity.

Hopefully my step by step tutorial on Compression Oiling will help others who keep having trouble with their oiling, and it seeming like a waste of time. Yes, your oil and chips will dry out--unless you follow the instructions I'm about to present.

Without further delay, let's jump right in!

First, I am assuming by this point you have already removed the factory dust by wiping off your chips with warm water and a little Dawn dishwashing liquid--I used the pink hand lotion version as it helped tone down the clay smell also.

Here is the difference between factory shipped dust-covered chips next to unoiled cleaned chips with 2 oiled chips hiding within.
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Bear in mind, most of the tests I conducted for oiling made the chips shine for about a day and then they returned to the "clean" matte color on the right. That suggests that most people who oil all their chips collectively probably won't notice the dullness a day later as the chips will still look clean compared to factory dust-covered. Be not deceived. Unless done right, the oil is probably gone a couple days later (as all my tests proved)--you just can't tell without a comparison. There is a significant difference beyond clean chips and clean oiled chips retaining their sheen.

Here is an example of clean chips next to oiled chips done right and still holding their shine nearly a week later and showing no signs of fading.
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So, what do you need to get started after cleaning your chips?

You need a microfiber cloth, pure mineral oil (fragrance free), and chips! A flat surface covered with plain colorless paper towels is essential.
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Some will agrue here and say to use a shoe polish applicator or water/oil dip, etc. for speed and ease. To each their own. I tried every method I could find and none of them worked better than what I am going to share, so more on that further in. Meanwhile, I will point out that if you want something done right the first time, and not having to do it over, then effort and time is required to make it so.

A wise man once told me, "Adam, how come there is never enough time to first do something right, but there is always enough time to do it over?"

Let's do this right, folks!

First thing I am going to tell you is the oil does not hurt your adhesive stickers on Milanos. I can't speak for other chip stickers or inlays yet (I'd be cautious if the sticker is paper made), but to test, I left a Milano chip submerged in oil for a week and there is no discoloration of the plastic label or loosening of its adhesive seal. Myth busted.

Next, oil can be a little liberal if you're using microfiber cloth. I start by filling the oil cap and then massaging it into the cloth to form an oil spread 3 times the chip size. Do not use the baby oil--it is filled with evaporative agents. Do not use wax--it is petroleum-based. Use pure mineral oil. Walgreens has an excellent version shown above.
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The next step is something you wont read anywhere, and I had to learn it the hard way. I think it is the single most critical reason why everyone's oil keeps drying out. I will quickly trademark this rule as mine. We will call it the "Stibnite Seal n Shine©", all rights reserved 2016.

Working with polymers, seals, impregnators, densifiers, urethanes and other forms of coverants in my business, I am highly experienced when it comes to sealing off the microscopic pores of surfaces. One thing is for sure--in order to seal something with non-water based substances like oil, it requires compression. Wooden cutting boards, for example, must be press-oiled 2-5 times before they are sealed tight and ready to use.

In layman's terms, that means if you want this china clay chip sealed right with oil, then you must add pressure to seal and lock it in. Sorry shoe polish applicators and oil-water dips--your oiling method won't stand the test of time on China Clays. Plus, water/oil mixtures apply unevenly and leave a splotchy appearance on the chip faces. That said, however, because the higher end clays are more porous, those methods are more effective overall than they are on china clays, but compression oiling WILL still be far better and provide a uniform and lasting covering and seal.

What is compression oiling? Well, it is quite simple. It means you add pressure while oiling. Using one hand, hold the oiled microfiber cloth with three fingers and using the other hand, spin a single chip between your thumb, index and middle finger firmly--applying surrounding pressure to both faces and edge at the same time. You WILL feel the chalky substance peeling off (yes, AFTER having washed the chips already), and once the edge feels smoothened from both pressure and oil, it is done. Set it on the paper towel.
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Now, you've done this rack of 100 chips and the hard part is next. You must wait 24-48 hours. Air drying is the only way to let these seal and cure. Do NOT disturb them during the air dry process.

Now, to show you why compression is important during oiling, take a look at how much rough surface came off onto the microfiber rag during compression oiling AFTER these chips had been soap washed and dryed from the factory dust.
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Compression oiling smoothens the surface and edges and forces the oil deep into the pores of the clay that oil layering or dipping cannot achieve. It also makes them much better for shuffling, etc.

The next step is another factor you wont see in the instruction manuals of chip oiling. If you use plastic trays, then you should know that they, too, are porous microscopically. Yes, get that rag out and oil the inside of your trays also, and let them air dry for 1-2 days along side of your chips. You'll be glad you did, as the charge from the plastic can withdraw active oils from within the clay. Oops! Who'd thought their plastic trays were drying out their chips? Just seal them the same way.
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Now, after waiting a day or two, your anticipation is getting the best of you. Time to get those chips off of the paper towels and dry off the adhesive sticker. Do not wipe the edge and face of chips dry with the microfiber towel as this just needlessly dulls the chip and sucks out the oil--defeating the whole purpose for air drying. Just grab the chip and quickly swipe the sticker dry and clean only. I hold the chip on the edges and make a small central swirling motion with a pinch of the thumb and index finger to clean the sticker on both sides, and done. Then start putting your chips in stacks of 10. The oil should be properly air dried by this point anyhow. The oil on the sticker, however, will still be moist enough to wipe away since the sticker on Milanos is non-porous.
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Adhesive sticker is clean and intact!

Now, you have many oiled chips in stacks of 10 sitting there. Grab a stack and place it on your oiled microfiber cloth within your hand. Hold them evenly and firmly in place and roll the edges only--avoiding faces and stickers. The edges are far more porous and truly require this second coat, but the second coat does not require compression. During this step I did not re-oil the rag, but used the leftover, nearly dried oil from the day prior. No need to make this coating heavier than a simple brisk.
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Now, place the chip stacks right into the rack, as is, to air dry for another 12-24 hours. After air drying, take them out one last time and there will be a line of settlement oil that didn't absorb left on two sides of the chips where the rack made contact on the edges. Just use your fingers and wipe it away or massage it into the chip. Do not wipe them off with the microfiber. The trace amount is so insignificant that your skin will absorb it even if you just bust them out and play them at this point.
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Congratulations. Your chips are ready to play. Place them back into the racks and call your friends and enemies over.

After nearly a week, you can see clearly that these chips are holding their shine both in play and out of play.
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Unplayed compression oiled reds 6 days old next to clean unoiled reds.

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Oiled blacks oiled and played for 6 days and holding their shine without any signs of wear.


In conclusion, Compression Oiling is the way to go in my book. I am currently applying this method to the 1000 lot and looking forward to the difference it makes to these Milanos.

I hope you found this information and guide helpful to your oiling process.

Oiling Chips Done Right!


Update: September 5, 2016 (Two week mark)


After two weeks of rigorous play, these racks which were finished back on the 21st of August still look amazing. No chips have dried out or lost sheen. I used a more natural lighting and opposing background to capture the real look so they don't appear "too" shiney.

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Also, the shuffling ability of these chips after proper oiling is pretty solid. I can smack two stacks of 20 with both hands at the same time. I can't achieve this with most casino chips consistently.

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Psypher1000

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Nice post & pron, @Stibnite. I'm glad you're happy with the results. The only thing that really gives me pause is the photo of those hundos. Many of them still look not just oiled, but wet. Those redbirds look pretty good, though.


I achieved similar results with the "give my players cheeseburgers" method.
Did you have them compress the cheeseburgers into the chips?
 

CraigT78

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Nice post & pron, @Stibnite. I'm glad you're happy with the results. The only thing that really gives me pause is the photo of those hundos. Many of them still look not just oiled, but wet. Those redbirds look pretty good, though.



Did you have them compress the cheeseburgers into the chips?
No. The compression occurs in the hand. This adequately applies the oil (grease) to the hand, which then warm transfers onto the chip. It's science and I'm not sure I fully understand it.
 

Stibnite

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Nice post & pron, @Stibnite. I'm glad you're happy with the results. The only thing that really gives me pause is the photo of those hundos. Many of them still look not just oiled, but wet. Those redbirds look pretty good, though.

They definitely aren't wet. Some of it could be the lighting of the photo, but they certainly have a shine holding strong. We wanted those blacks to pop, and boy do they.

Lol @ the cheeseburgers. I might have to give that one a try also. Can I use double cheeseburgers, or must I buy them Big Macs with extra mayo?
 

Stibnite

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I oiled my CPC set with the same method. Worked great for me. I could've done it a quicker way, but with a brand new set I wanted to touch every single chip.

I truly, seriously, hoped a quicker method would have been equally effective; but alas, not even close.

Like you, I wanted the best and am glad this is it. Definitely takes time, but it's worth it.

I get to experiment on these until I choose my future CPC set. :D Very glad to hear this worked so well on yours.
 

CraigT78

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They definitely aren't wet. Some of it could be the lighting of the photo, but they certainly have a shine holding strong. We wanted those blacks to pop, and boy do they.

Lol @ the cheeseburgers. I might have to give that one a try also. Can I use double cheeseburgers, or must I buy them Big Macs with extra mayo?
Double bacon cheeseburgers. The bacon it the key!
 

mummel

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Great review thanks. For me, I would still be hesitant to get oil near the inlay. Let's see how your chips hold up over 6 months.

I have an untouched barrel I will oil up again in a couple of months and I look forward to comparing the results.
 

Stibnite

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Great review thanks. For me, I would still be hesitant to get oil near the inlay. Let's see how your chips hold up over 6 months.

I have an untouched barrel I will oil up again in a couple of months and I look forward to comparing the results.


One thing you should do while cleaning the chips for the first time with soap and water to remove the factory dust is press down on every inlay.

I'd say more than 5% of mine made a tiny "pop" sound. That sound is from the inlay not being completely on and the air getting forced out. In some cases also, the inlays were slightly laying over the edges and had to be readjusted.

Outside of that, once on, the inlay is quite secure from water and oils. Keep in mind, water beads right off of the chip and inlay, and oil dries out long before it can cause damage to the inlay adhesive--which is fairly air tight.

The chip I left submerged for a week shows no signs of a weakened inlay. Like you, I'm looking forward to updating that result later. I'd like to know the answer also. I think many times people either guess logically and spread untested advice, or just repeat what they heard a trusted source say without knowing whether or not that source's information was tried and tested.

That's where I come in. I'm a tester and base my conclusions on results through trial and error.

This project has been a fun one. :)
 

SemiNumerical

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One thing you should do while cleaning the chips for the first time with soap and water to remove the factory dust is press down on every inlay.

I'd say more than 5% of mine made a tiny "pop" sound. That sound is from the inlay not being completely on and the air getting forced out. In some cases also, the inlays were slightly laying over the edges and had to be readjusted.

Outside of that, once on, the inlay is quite secure from water and oils. Keep in mind, water beads right off of the chip and inlay, and oil dries out long before it can cause damage to the inlay adhesive--which is fairly air tight.

The chip I left submerged for a week shows no signs of a weakened inlay. Like you, I'm looking forward to updating that result later. I'd like to know the answer also. I think many times people either guess logically and spread untested advice, or just repeat what they heard a trusted source say without knowing whether or not that source's information was tried and tested.

That's where I come in. I'm a tester and base my conclusions on results through trial and error.

This project has been a fun one. :)
Thank you for all the effort and work that went in to testing and writing up the results.

Makes me want to try this on a small set of milanos and pharaohs.
 

mummel

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I think many times people either guess logically and spread untested advice, or just repeat what they heard a trusted source say without knowing whether or not that source's information was tried and tested.

+1
 

justsomedude

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Nice post & pron, @Stibnite. I'm glad you're happy with the results. The only thing that really gives me pause is the photo of those hundos. Many of them still look not just oiled, but wet.

I have to agree with Psypher; I think you used a bit too much Mineral Oil... and a full cap worth seems like a lot to me. I don't think oiled chips should "shine," but that's just my opinion. If you're happy with the results... run with it!! It's all about personal preference.

Overall it's a great write-up. Thanks for taking the time to do it and for snapping the pics!
 

Stibnite

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I have to agree with Psypher; I think you used a bit too much Mineral Oil... and a full cap worth seems like a lot to me. I don't think oiled chips should "shine," but that's just my opinion. If you're happy with the results... run with it!! It's all about personal preference.

Overall it's a great write-up. Thanks for taking the time to do it and for snapping the pics!

The issue was with them drying out after every test and having no difference between oiled and unoiled. I anticipate the curremt shine will decline over time and not be so bright, but it is holding so far.

The amount of oil makes no difference. I even compared dipped methods, and unless the oil is pressed in and air dryed, it dissipates quickly--on China Clay.

The catch here is most people are happy enough with the clean appearance. We want them to have some appearance over clean matte, however, and the popping colors works for us.

The other thing to consider is these are Milanos--not Paulsons. So, I'm not sure Paulsons would get this high of a shine being more porous.

That said, I am up for more testing. I should get samples of other sets and see what happens.

:)
 

AWenger

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as the charge from the plastic can withdraw active oils from within the clay. Oops! Who'd thought their plastic trays were drying out their chips? Just seal them the same way.
I once had some blue paulson chips where, after drying the chips flat for a day before being racked, the oil seemed to have leeched out, dried out, and built up on the plastic rack below them. It was much more pronounced with the medium blue color chips than any other color. But maybe it was just the particular rack that was the cause.

Reading this above is the first time I ever had an good explanation for what happened. I'm gonna try sealing the racks as well as using a rag with pressure to oil chips.

Great post.
 

72o

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Nice write-up man.

And I second the advice on not worrying too much about getting oil around the labels. I oiled over 1000 CC Pharaohs by just taking oil and rubbing the whole chip. I did however dry them within a few minutes and let them air dry on a towel till fully dry. But not one single label got effected by the oil.
 

Zuan

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Great post, thank you for the effort! Would you recommend this for Paulsons or T.R. King clay chips as well?
 

MegaTon44

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Excellent write-up. Many of us have never oiled china clays, so it's fascinating to see an effective method.

One thing you will notice is that many of your fellow chippers will skew towards time sensitivity when it comes to oiling chips.This is why you will see so many shortcuts like the oil/water method. Is it as effective as touching every chip individually? No. It all depends on whether you prefer to oil 1200-1500 chips in an hour to look 75% decent as opposed to oiling 60-100 chips in an hour to look 100% decent. No wrong answer, just personal preference.
 

mummel

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Excellent write-up. Many of us have never oiled china clays, so it's fascinating to see an effective method.

One thing you will notice is that many of your fellow chippers will skew towards time sensitivity when it comes to oiling chips.This is why you will see so many shortcuts like the oil/water method. Is it as effective as touching every chip individually? No. It all depends on whether you prefer to oil 1200-1500 chips in an hour to look 75% decent as opposed to oiling 60-100 chips in an hour to look 100% decent. No wrong answer, just personal preference.

I did ~1,100 and it really didtn take long at all. I just put on a TV show and killed time on the side. Its the anticipation of wanting to play with the chips that makes it feel like a tedious activity!
 

Stibnite

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I did ~1,100 and it really didtn take long at all. I just put on a TV show and killed time on the side. Its the anticipation of wanting to play with the chips that makes it feel like a tedious activity!

I agree. After doing the process, I do not find 1000 chips to take that long. It did at first because I was testing many methods and taking my time writing down results.

If you have a set of 5000+ chips, just start with the ones you'll use first to help the anticipation, or line up some friends and family to help while watching a movie. Goes a lot quicker.

Some employees would probably do it for $10/hr too. ;)
 

mummel

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I agree. After doing the process, I do not find 1000 chips to take that long. It did at first because I was testing many methods and taking my time writing down results.

If you have a set of 5000+ chips, just start with the ones you'll use first to help the anticipation, or line up some friends and family to help while watching a movie. Goes a lot quicker.

Some employees would probably do it for $10/hr too. ;)

I enjoyed inspecting each chip. Not sure I could outsource the task! We need this thread updated in 6months. Set an outlook reminder!
 

Stibnite

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So far, I was gone for just under week since these photos, came back, and still look just as good. I'm thoroughly happy with the results.

Great post, thank you for the effort! Would you recommend this for Paulsons or T.R. King clay chips as well?

I have not tried my method on Paulsons or TRK, but since others oil theirs then I imagine this would make them look incredible.

I am going to collect samples of other chips and perhaps update with additional results so I can answer this question.
 

DJ Mack

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It's a beautiful day outside. 75 degrees, low humidity with a nice but not gusty breeze. My patio is shaded this time of day. I just did a barrel of CPC extras from my tournament set and one barrel of the rack. If things go horribly awry I'm out 20 chips across three denominations, no biggie. In a couple of hours I'm going to have to violate the do not disturb bit to bring the whole towel in but there shouldn't be too much fondling on the short trip.

I snagged a couple photos and will report back tomorrow on progress.
 

BGinGA

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@Stibnite :

Good write-up, clear and concise. I used a similar method when oiling my china clay Pharaoh's Club chips -- the only difference being that I used the shoe polish applicator method for applying the oil, and the compression was applied afterwards with cloth when the excess oil was removed..... generating the same end results.

However, I strongly encourage you to correct a mistake in terminology that appears throughout your posts in this thread: china clay chips do not have inlays. All china clays use adhesive-backed labels (stickers). Only high-end compression-molded chips have inlays.
 

mummel

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I found when applying pressure that some of the colors of my Milanos ended up on the rag, particularly the $10s & $500s. Chips look fine. Wonder what that is?
 

Stibnite

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@BGinGA

I've read many threads in multiple forums, and videos, where people called the sticker's placement an inlay. So, I just assumed it meant the same thing.

Care to elaborate further? I'd like to know the specific difference.
 

Stibnite

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I found when applying pressure that some of the colors of my Milanos ended up on the rag, particularly the $10s & $500s. Chips look fine. Wonder what that is?

That is the excess rough areas along the surface of the chip.

Removing that is a good thing. You'll notice in my writeup that I cover this.

Think of it like scales on a fish. You can't really flavor or oil a fish with scales, so you first scale the fish and leave it bare skinned. So, this process removes the rough scaly portions of the china clay chip that were present from processing, and allows you to press the oil right into the smooth active surface.

The same would happen overtime with use, so this expedites the process and makes for a smoother, softer and more easily shuffled chip.

So far, everyone who's handled these has been blown away. They feel and play amazing.
 
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