Dunhill 488 Root Briar Restoration (1977)


By Al Jones

I’ve had several Dunhill pipes in my collection and on my work bench, but this is my first Root Briar. This one was offered by an eBay seller in Indonesia and it didn’t get much attention, and it was won for a modest final bid.

Pipedia says this about the Root Briar finish:

Root Briar
1940, Shape #48 saddle bulldog in Root finish, G.L. Pease collection[12]
1932 T113 Billiard in Root Finish, showing “Bowling Ball” stem and Vernon tenon
. Introduced in 1931 and highly prized because the grain is more pronounced in this finish. The Root Briar finish required a perfectly clean bowl with excellent graining. Therefore, it is the most expensive of the Dunhill pipes. Corsican briar was most often used for the Root finish, since it was generally more finely grained. This is a rare finish, due to the scarcity of briar suitable to achieve it. These pipes are normally only available at Company stores, or Principle Pipe Dealers.

The seller had posted many good pictures of the pipe and it appeared to only require a mild clean up.

Three weeks later, the pipe was delivered and I finished it this evening. Below is the pipe as it was received. The pipe weighs 46 grams. It does not have a size stamp, but I would say it is a size 4.

Dunhill_488_RB_Before (1)

Dunhill_488_RB_Before (4)

Dunhill_488_RB_Before (3)

Dunhill_488_RB_Before (2)

The pipe was used with the metal filter tube and it was interesting to find that there was little or no tar build-up in the shank. I assume the tube tranferred the smoked tobacco directly up the stem. The tube was a bit bent, so it was discarded. Today, most Dunhill pipe enthusiasts do not use the filter tube. There was some mild cake in the bowl and the stem had some light oxidation. There was a little rim darkening.

I removed the mild cake and soaked the bowl with alcohol and sea salt. The stem was soaked in a mild Oxy-clean solution.

The briar was shined with White Diamond followed by several coats of carnuba wax. The stem was shined with 800 grit wet paper followed by 1500 and 2000 grades, then 8000 grade micromesh. This was done with the stem mounted on the bowl. The stem was then buffed with White Diamond and Meguiars Plastic Polish.

Below is the finished pipe.

Dunhill_488_RB_Finish (1)

Dunhill_488_RB_Finish (5)

Dunhill_488_RB_Finish (4)

Dunhill_488_RB_Finish (2)

Dunhill_488_RB_Finish (6)

Dunhill_488_RB_Finish (3)

Dunhill_488_RB_Finish (7)

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Dunhill_488_RB_Finish (9)

Dunhill_488_RB_Finish (1)

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