Grabow Golden Duke With Lee Type Joint

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Briar Lee

Sep 4, 2021
Humansville Missouri
I have a couple of old Grabow Golden Dukes that have a Lee type hidden, recessed screw tenon and mortise joint.

Except for the Grabow accepting Medico type 6mm filters it works the same as a Lee Star Grade.


The Lee system debuted in 1946, and the Kaywoodie type about 17 years earlier. The Kaywoodie has a one piece stinger tenon difficult to adjust, and a mortise with an aluminum disc visible to the user.


The best I can date the Grabows is the 1950s or 1960s. They came varnished. Some of the Golden Duke pipes had spectacular grain. This has the 1956 patent Adjustomatic stem.


I think any of these are superior to a push stem. Push stems break the tenon or crack the shank, or get loose or too tight or get stuck on occasion. A push stem needs cooled to remove the stem.

A screw stem lasts the life of the pipe, and gives no trouble.

It must cost more, especially the Adjustomatic, to make a screw stem pipe or more makers would use the system.

Briar Lee

Sep 4, 2021
Humansville Missouri
@Briar Lee , I enjoy your posts immensely, but you’re shoveling so much bullshit on this one that I’m concerned about your back.

There are two traditional ways to join a stem to a briar pipe.

Ebonite against wood. (Push stem)

Metal to metal. (Spigot)

Spigots cost more.

The Lee and Kaywoodie systems are screw spigots.
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Oct 6, 2021
NE Wisconsin
An alternative to the recessed mortise metal which likewise avoided the hideous visible mortise plate, was a complete shank cap, as in this Golden Duke:



Ahi Ka

Feb 25, 2020
Aotearoa (New Zealand)
First up, that grain on the golden duke is outstanding.

Secondly, here are some pre-ww2 linkman’s grabow. They all have hardware, and they don’t all have the visible metal on the shank.


Thirdly, if we are are talking traditional stem connections. Don’t forget about bone.

Fourthly, they are not spigots. If they were, the kaywoodie would be closer as you can still see the metal on the shank side.


Briar Lee

Sep 4, 2021
Humansville Missouri
Let’s make a butt load of pipes, on a commercial scale.

We will need aged Mediterranean briar and vulcanite and lots and lots of it.

And no matter if we call our pipes hand made, bench made, or whatever, we are going to use as much labor savings as we can get away with by utilizing machines.

The cheapest briar pipes many years ago used a push stem. They’d figured a way to drill the mortise using machines just a few thousands of an inch smaller than the tenons. If there was any hand labor in finishing the joint there wasn’t much.

This cost extra, for both materials and labor, and the rejection rate increased. This Three Star Lee cost ten dollars in the forties.


This twenties era KB&B Borlum cost a dollar. The push stem is so loose I’m using fingernail polish to build it up.