Trever Talbert on Finishing

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From Creating, Briar, by Trever Talbert, from his website, and used by permission.


Finishing a pipe is sometimes as laborious a process as the rest of creating it! Sanding to a smooth shine is a big part of it, as the better a natural sheen to the wood, the better it will hold its gloss from waxing later. I use sandpaper from 80 grit to 8000 grit, as well as fine grade steel wool.

My Sandpaper Collection

My highly-sophisticated sandpaper storage system. The amount of work depends on what finish I'm after. Ironically, the highest grade pipes have the easiest finishes, because I don't stain them at all. Instead, I leave them in their natural golden-brown coloring and simply wax them and polish them.

Waxing Setup

The lathe is set up for waxing, with a solid block of carnuba shown.

If the pipe is going to be stained, there's quite a process involved. I will generally stain in repeating stages, where one dark understain will be applied, sanded and buffed, and then another applied over it. Eventually I'll finish with the surface color, which is chosen to look its best with the various tints of under-colors showing through it. The pipe will then be waxed and stamped with its year of creation, its grade, any special stampings, and finally the Talbert Pipes logo. On Signature grades and Minaria grades, I sign each by hand with a scriber rather than using the standard logo stamp.

Waxing Action!

I'm putting the final coat of carnuba onto one of the 1999 Yule pipes.

Once the pipe is buffed and hand-polished, it's ready for smoking!

A Finished Pipe