Restoration is a great hobby that makes someone elses junk into your most pleasing showpiece. There are many easy things you can do to make a bad LOOKING pipe - I mean disgusting - look good. A lot of the tricks and methods are discussed here and there but this would be a good place to put down the things that work for you. And, perhaps more important, there are plenty of things you can do that can turn a poor SMOKER into a pip of a pipe. Tell those things you've acutally done to your own pipe with good effect. No second hand mumbo-jumbo hearsay. If you are compelled to mention some CW (conventional wisdom) then call it what it is and be prepared to defend poppycock. I'd value a discussion heavy with "I have done..." rather than, "I have heard..." or, "Everyone knows....". I know there are guys here with shops and lotsa gear as well as hobbiests with a few bristle pipecleaners, some Everclear and a mouthful of spit - it all counts. Things you've tried that didn't work out as well as expected are also open for discussion. I'll start with one of each. It works: Micro Mesh fabric is the stuff. I use fineness from 1.200 to 12.000 to sand wood, remove surface stains and rim burns, take out scratches and polish wood, vulcanite or lucite to glassy finish. Because it is on fabric backing it makes excellent wet-sanding material; it can be washed after use. Find it at woodworker specialty places or online. Beware Micro Mesh on hard foam backing - it can cut into detail that the more flexible fabric-backed stuff won't. I think a patient guy could do a pipe from start to finish with this stuff. It isn't cheap but it is the real deal and a piece lasts a long time. It isn't so hot: A conventional buffer with a 6" or 8" wheel, even with lowest speed of 1750rpm; loose ends of flannel will eat vulcanite and vanish nomenclature (if you care). Yeah - they work but, "...they'll also bite you in the butt given half-a-second of inattention," (he said, thinking about a recently scarred piece of vulcanite). I thought I could be careful and save a lot of time with a conventional buffer. Maybe I did for a while but, then again, I also launched one piece of briar halfway to Jupiter and, another time, blinked long enough to chew up some prized vulcanite. I gotta say that, in each case, the Micro Mesh miracle ultimately saved the day. But the bench grinder/buffer didn't save any time when it was all said and done. Also, I've been blasting away on my own pipes; if I had launched someone elses prized, irreplaceable briar into orbit I would've felt like a real rookie.