Mike Butera Antique Sandblasted Dublin Briar Pipe, Unsmoked


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It is safe to say that Mike Butera is one of the most important figures in American pipe-making, or even in pipe-making, period. Butera emerged during the 1970s and 80s as a major figure in the new American artisan scene, having honed his craft in no small part due to his travels across Europe to meet with the 20th century masters, such as Italy’s Baldo Baldi and Carlo Scotti. Upon returning, Butera also provided training for up and coming pipe-makers such as Michael Frey, Steve Weiner, Larry Roush and Premal Chheda. Thanks to his perfectionist approach and the teaching he provided to to today’s most accomplished American artisans, Butera is referred to as America’s greatest pipe-makers.

In 2017, Mike Butera’s workshop was destroyed during flooding in his native Houston, Texas. This was, understandably, a tragedy, both for Butera and for those who treasure his pipes. This, coupled with Butera’s already limited yearly production prior to the disaster, makes his pipes extremely scarce. Imagine my surprise, then, when this completely unsmoked Butera, complete with its original box and sock, landed on my desk. There’s a name for such things in the pipe world – “unicorns.”

This particular pipe is a classic Butera: it’s a tall, muscular Dublin with something of a Danish look to it, with deep and craggy sandblasting that masterfully brings out the briar’s natural ring grain. Dressed in a dark brown stain and with a decorative ring (of what, forgive me, I do not know, but I imagine it is something exotic) inlaid in the stem, it’s a fairly simple design, but one masterfully executed by a true American great.

The nomenclature reads as follows:


90 4 (in a circle)



Length: 5.3″

Bowl Width: 22.7mm

Bowl Depth: 1.8″

Weight: 2.0oz / 58g

Additional information

Weight 15 oz


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