Smooth Smoking Pipes
Briar is a root of a tree, and as any other root it may contain different flaws. The smallest flaws — sandpits — are quite acceptable for smooth pipe, but bigger flaws on a surface make pipe maker to choose other finish or even to trow the block out.
I use to plan almost every pipe to be smooth. But about one third of briar blocks become sandblasted or rusticated, and one third are thrown out because of too large flaws. Not every pipe maker has the same statistics. Some use to try to change the shape, if there are some flaws on a pipe. So they have more smooth pipes but more briar burning in a fire place. Some pipe makers rusticate or sandblast pipes even without any flaws.
How smooth pipes are made?
To make a smooth finish pipe makers sand it with more and more thin sandpapers up to 1000 grit. Then they color the pipe with a stain, then polish it with different polishing pastes.
Sometimes pipemakers color the pipe after every sandpaper. The stain is almost sanded out, but it stays in less hard grains, where it soaks deeper. So the pipe gets a contrast finish.