All of Satou's pipes are finished with urushi,a specialized natural Japanese lacquer from the plant (Toxicodendron vernicifluum) of the same name in Japanese. Japanese lacquer-ware is a traditional process used on wood plates, boxes, vases, bowls and the like to create a largely water impermeable coating that nonetheless allows for gas transfer. It's enormously labor intensive. One of Satou's pipes might get six or eight coats of the lacquer, since each coat is extremely thin, and the curing time between coats can range from a day or two in the right sort of humid climate to weeks during a colder, dryer part of the year.
The finish never needs buffing, with the surface becoming more lustrous with use, developing a patina. Indeed, it should never be buffed as that can damage the finish. A dry, or at most a slightly damp, cloth is all that's required to clean it.
Most of Satou's pipes bear clear lacquer, though that process alone does color the pipe very slightly. On occasion, he's employed colored lacquers on special compositions. Such as with the combination of black urushi and gold used to finish the crane depicted to the right and below.
Sykes Wilford: Founder/President