Cleaning of all Go Material!

Kim Ouweleen


For the upcoming 25 Years EGCC Anniversary Go Tournament, Justyna Klęczar, Michał Łukasiewicz and Kim Ouweleen started a project to clean all the go equipment in the centre! This includes about 55 Katsura and Kaya go boards of 5.5 cm thick and around 20.000 Slate and Shell go stones.

There are many stages to the process. The endresult, however, will be worth the effort; we are excited to offer all participants of the tournament freshly cleaned go sets to play on!

Please have a look at the following a photo reportage of the first cleaning session, which took place on Sunday 1 October 2017.


Early in the morning: first some coffee!

Most equipment has been put into place. We are ready for take-off!

The boards are cleaned on all sides and are waxed afterwards.

The shininess is created by the new layer of wax.

To work efficiently, one person cleans the filth from the boards and the next person puts on a protective layer of wax.

The shell stones are ready for their long overdue bath. Tubs have been prepared with washing liquid, in which the stones will soak for an hour or two.

It has begun!

Three tubs have been filled with white (shell) stones and three with the black (slate) stones. After two hours of waiting, they will be rinsed and put to dry.

The black stones.

The white stones.

The bowls where the stones came from are very dirty as well.

They too deserve a cleaning.

After and before.

Left = clean bowl.
Right = dirty bowl.

Starting to look nice and clean.

The water is becoming cloudy from the dirt. A good sign!

The stones have been soaking for a while, time to remove the dirty water and make sure the soapy stuff is washed off.

The stones will now have to dry.

Making some space for the stones to dry.

So many beautiful stones! And all made from shell...
Or at least 99%. Of course we also found some stray stones from other sets (glass), but strangely enough mostly amongst the black stones and not so much the white.

After the stones dry, they have to be counted. We made clusters of 10 in order to make this process easier. Each set needs 180 stones.

Clean stones! Still need to dry a bit.

Justyna and Michal are counting the stones and putting them back in the clean bowls.

Our little working station.

Methodical and ruthless! 10.000 stones to go...

Getting there, slowly but steadily.

Justyna is enjoying the process.

Creating order from chaos.

And...there we go again. All six tubs have been emptied, stones are drying and being placed back in their clean bowls. Time for the second batch.

So many stones. But we're making progress!

Justyna and Kim are counting the second batch.

Tadaaaaa! The result of our efforts. 28 clean sets at the end of the day. However, this was only half of all the stones. Another cleaning session will have to follow.

In order to thoroughly clean the white stones made of shell, we are doing a testride of three sets in 3% hydrogenperoxide.

The stones feel clean, however, after 25 years of usage, the oil and grease of many go players' fingers has gone into the shell: you can see this on some of the stones by their yellowish coloration. The 3% hydrogenperoxide is supposed to clean this. After 48 hours of soaking in the solution, we should have heavenly white stones again. However, this testride failed and the yellow spots are still visible. We will probably need a 35% solution instead. More testing and cleaning will follow!

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