The paper I read spoke of mineral, and or vegatable oil used to "steep" the briar in. Dunhill spoke of leaving the briar slightly rough to only "slightly" polished. It says how he believes this brings out the grain, or "acentuating"--or allows a stand out in relief thus giving it an elegant appearance. All without interfeing with the smoking qualities of the pipe. He then goes onto say he stored the blocks for a month, or so to allow the oil to be absorbed into the "fibers" of the wood. He spoke of "steeping" the blocks in olive oil for several weeks. He then applies heat(patent#2157 of 1918). He goes onto describe plugging, and heating, and such. I guess over all I wonder just how long this effect remains with the pipe after say smoking it for years----lets say you pick up an old estate from the 1940's---been laying around unkept in a old box in an attic---a person finds it--and says---lets clean this beast up, and smoke it. I just wonder if the oil curing verses a fella boiling, and such is any better than one chosen method. I printed out that patent application, but for the life of me cannot relocate the darn thing on the web to save my life.