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Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
1,683
3,583
Humansville Missouri
I've never gotten a pipe too hot to hold.... On the stem....
Neither have I.:)

I’m sitting here in a glorious summer evening on my back porch (deck) smoking a Beckler carved meerschaum my mother gave me for my 30th birthday in April 1988. The strangest thing is that 34 years ago, that pipe would often bite my tounge, gurgle; go out, and for years I only smoked it trying to color it.

3C9EA355-015C-42AC-B78D-3577D06F4584.jpegThen the more years I smoked a pipe, I noticed the less my Beckler got hot, gurgled, or bit me. Nowadays it’s very well behaved no matter what blend I smoke in it, and it never gurgles or gets hot, yet it still hasn’t started delivering the sweet briar taste only a well broken in, all the way to the bottom briar pipe can.

I’ve not broken that meerschaum in, it’s broken me in on how to smoke it.

A brand new briar must be broken in all the way down.

It smokes better, and much cooler, afterwards.
 
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HawkeyeLinus

Lifer
Oct 16, 2020
2,523
15,863
Iowa
Just before dinner I dumped the SVH I thought I’d christen a new pipe with (after it cooled down) because mostly it was bland and because the bowl was getting hotter than I thought it should be. So I guess I didn’t get all the way down. Now with a different and more enjoyable blend (and dried crispy) I’m having a nice time on the deck. Maybe the first one was too damp, maybe I was a little aggressive, don’t know. But …. I’ll enjoy this until I feel like going in and I doubt I’ll get all the way down, but I’m not much of a cake builder. I assume it will “cure” or whatever the proper term is, as I use it and guessing it gets plenty warm in there.
 

HawkeyeLinus

Lifer
Oct 16, 2020
2,523
15,863
Iowa
Just before dinner I dumped the SVH I thought I’d christen a new pipe with (after it cooled down) because mostly it was bland and because the bowl was getting hotter than I thought it should be. So I guess I didn’t get all the way down. Now with a different and more enjoyable blend (and dried crispy) I’m having a nice time on the deck. Maybe the first one was too damp, maybe I was a little aggressive, don’t know. But …. I’ll enjoy this until I feel like going in and I doubt I’ll get all the way down, but I’m not much of a cake builder. I assume it will “cure” or whatever the proper term is, as I use it and guessing it gets plenty warm in there.
Edit: Yep, sipping nicely now. I thought the first bowl was too wet but I think it was too tightly packed. This crispier bowl I crumbled a bit and just did a nice gravity feed with a little bowl tapping on the way. Big difference.
 
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didimauw

Moderator
Staff member
Jul 28, 2013
7,054
16,454
33
Burlington WI
Most, if not all, of my pipes are not broken in. You have to realize that sometimes most of these pipe will smoke to the bottom. If you use your pipes often enough it will get broken in if you want it to or not. Why bother? Load 'em up and smoke 'em anyway you want to and enjoy.
Yes and most of the time u just trim the cake that's formed untill the bottom equals out. That's how all my cobs are. perfectly smooth solid chambers now. Cake all the way to the draft hole.
 

bbqpiper

Starting to Get Obsessed
Feb 27, 2019
103
139
Arizona
Unfortunately I do not break in my pipes all the way down in the methods discussed. I do plan on doing this for my next new pipe but most of mine are estates and well broken in to begin with.
 
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Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
1,683
3,583
Humansville Missouri
Good luck finding one. I'm convinced that OP is hoarding all the Lee pipes for himself.
I’m convinced Lee pipes are severely undervalued on the market, and here’s why:

1. Most pipe smokers either haven’t heard of the brand, or if they have dismiss them as cheap American factory pipes.

2. There is no date stamp on Lee pipes, no shape numbers, and only the gold inlaid 7 and 5 pointed star and stamped era pipes differentiate Lee pipes. How can you collect those? You can’t. Instead you can only accumulate them.

3. The new Lee customer could choose any shape and size from the Lee catalog for the same price per grade. They chose pipes smaller than in style today. Men’s watches of the late forties and fifties suffer the same fate in the used market.

4. Kaywoodie produced millions of pipes a year and spent a fortune on advertising. They had thousands of dealers peddling pipes. Lee to my knowledge had no dealers, and he didn’t spend much on advertising, and it’s a safe bet Lee only sold a fraction of high dollar (cheapest Lees were $5 in 1946 and then $10 not long after 1950) pipes compared to huge Kaywoodie, Weber, Mastercraft, Marxman, and Custombuilt.

5. When a pipe smoker gets his first Lee he wonders what the fuss is about. Other expensive American brands had gorgeously grained, flashy looking briar.
No Lee was ever varnished, and none were glossy polished. None I’ve seen were sandblasted and few were carved. The vast majority are cross grained, and while a Three Star has better grain than a Two Star (One and Four Star Lees are unicorns and Five Stars are rare) it’s by slight degrees.

But after a few Lees, you’ll realize that each Lee was utterly perfect, the absolute best any pipe could be made. The only flaws you can find with a jeweler’s loupe will be the extreme points of the gold filled star era pipes might not have been perfectly inlaid. They hang right, feel substantial in the hand, they’ll never have cracked tenons or shanks, and are all excellent smokers from the first bowl.

And instead of the flashy shine of other pipes, they emit the warm glow of quality.

89318CB7-436B-4991-A556-781A1BBE2F21.jpeg
CF787ADB-EB4C-4FA6-AE0D-9564C643487A.jpeg

The above Large Pot Three Star stamped star era Star Grade cost $30 on eBay and it’s being delivered today. It’s been neglected but not abused, and ought to easily clean up to as new.

Anybody can buy a Lee, that can afford a new Dr. Grabow.

They would, if they knew the righteousness of Pipes by Lee.
 
Good luck finding one. I'm convinced that OP is hoarding all the Lee pipes for himself.
They are available but generally in shoddy condition. But not always. Personally, I do find them overpriced because they almost all need some severe cleaning due to the way people use to keep pipes. Third generation Lees have stars that rub away. That’s no fun, is it. However, as I have stated, they do smoke well as a rule. Mr. Lee , by stoking the product, has single handedly driven up the market price in the last few years. I wish he would be quiet so I could affordably purchase one or two “clean“ ones without a bidding war by someone who thinks they have struck gold.
 
I’m convinced Lee pipes are severely undervalued on the market, and here’s why:

1. Most pipe smokers either haven’t heard of the brand, or if they have dismiss them as cheap American factory pipes.

2. There is no date stamp on Lee pipes, no shape numbers, and only the gold inlaid 7 and 5 pointed star and stamped era pipes differentiate Lee pipes. How can you collect those? You can’t. Instead you can only accumulate them.

3. The new Lee customer could choose any shape and size from the Lee catalog for the same price per grade. They chose pipes smaller than in style today. Men’s watches of the late forties and fifties suffer the same fate in the used market.

4. Kaywoodie produced millions of pipes a year and spent a fortune on advertising. They had thousands of dealers peddling pipes. Lee to my knowledge had no dealers, and he didn’t spend much on advertising, and it’s a safe bet Lee only sold a fraction of high dollar (cheapest Lees were $5 in 1946 and then $10 not long after 1950) pipes compared to huge Kaywoodie, Weber, Mastercraft, Marxman, and Custombuilt.

5. When a pipe smoker gets his first Lee he wonders what the fuss is about. Other expensive American brands had gorgeously grained, flashy looking briar.
No Lee was ever varnished, and none were glossy polished. None I’ve seen were sandblasted and few were carved. The vast majority are cross grained, and while a Three Star has better grain than a Two Star (One and Four Star Lees are unicorns and Five Stars are rare) it’s by slight degrees.

But after a few Lees, you’ll realize that each Lee was utterly perfect, the absolute best any pipe could be made. The only flaws you can find with a jeweler’s loupe will be the extreme points of the gold filled star era pipes might not have been perfectly inlaid. They hang right, feel substantial in the hand, they’ll never have cracked tenons or shanks, and are all excellent smokers from the first bowl.

And instead of the flashy shine of other pipes, they emit the warm glow of quality.

View attachment 153621
View attachment 153622

The above Large Pot Three Star stamped star era Star Grade cost $30 on eBay and it’s being delivered today. It’s been neglected but not abused, and ought to easily clean up to as new.

Anybody can buy a Lee, that can afford a new Dr. Grabow.

They would, if they knew the righteousness of Pipes by Lee.
Stop it. LOL. This obsession of yours is …. Driving up the market.
 

didimauw

Moderator
Staff member
Jul 28, 2013
7,054
16,454
33
Burlington WI
They are available but generally in shoddy condition. But not always. Personally, I do find them overpriced because they almost all need some severe cleaning due to the way people use to keep pipes. Third generation Lees have stars that rub away. That’s no fun, is it. However, as I have stated, they do smoke well as a rule. Mr. Lee , by stoking the product, has single handedly driven up the market price in the last few years. I wish he would be quiet so I could affordably purchase one or two “clean“ ones without a bidding war by someone who thinks they have struck gold.
Unfortunately that's how the forums work. Someone starts talking, and everyone starts buying. Think... Esoterica. That's why I keep the big secrets to myself. We have lots of people watching us, that aren't even members too. So they see what we are saying, and can go snag everything before anyone else.
 
F
Unfortunately that's how the forums work. Someone starts talking, and everyone starts buying. Think... Esoterica. That's why I keep the big secrets to myself. We have lots of people watching us, that aren't even members too. So they see what we are saying, and can go snag everything before anyone else.
Fortunately, it appears many discount the rambling endorsements of our good solicitor from Mayberry, I mean Humansville as the toothless wisdom of an Arkansas Hillbilly in the Ozarks who has made himself a house of discarded soda bottles and caked mud. But like a Yokum silver dollar, there is some truth behind the stories.

I bought a few on a lark. He is somewhat correct about the truth in how they smoke and the quality of the briar. They tend to be dense wood that allows for a careless smoke without getting hot or delivering a sour taste once cleaned properly. The first and second generation stars shine up nicely and the Vulcanite resists sun damage better than a Charatan. A fair market price would be $40. But given his advertising of these pipes, sellers are expecting much more for pipes in poor condition.
 
Last edited:

Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
1,683
3,583
Humansville Missouri
F

Fortunately, it appears many discount the rambling endorsements of our good solicitor from Mayberry, I mean Humansville as the toothless wisdom of an Arkansas Hillbilly in the Ozarks who has made himself a house of discarded soda bottles and caked mud. But like a Yokum silver dollar, there is some truth behind the stories.

I bought a few on a lark. He is somewhat correct about the truth in how they smoke and the quality of the briar. They tend to be dense wood that allows for a careless smoke without getting hot or delivering a sour taste once cleaned properly. The first and second generation stars shine up nicely and the Vulcanite resists sun damage better than a Charatan. A fair market price would be $40. But given his advertising of these pipes, sellers are expecting much more for pipes in poor condition.
I just won this auction for a nearly perfect 7 pointed star era Large Billiard for $41. I lost the other auction the seller had for it’s twin, new and unsmoked, that sold for $64.

25D7FBDA-E70A-4C9B-BEEE-29E538CE732E.jpeg86EC2F15-38D1-4A45-BD83-7FC57FDE74C1.jpegThis is what I bought, one of maybe a half dozen I own just like it.

D116DB06-36DD-47E4-AE85-0218E759839C.jpeg

A brand new Grabow made Royalton, now sells for about $45 and is worth every penny.

676A9CAA-1B4C-4128-8F6F-E71A5F0DF338.pngIf you want the best post war factory pipe on earth, then money shouldn’t stop you.
 
I just won this auction for a nearly perfect 7 pointed star era Large Billiard for $41. I lost the other auction the seller had for it’s twin, new and unsmoked, that sold for $64.

View attachment 153696View attachment 153697This is what I bought, one of maybe a half dozen I own just like it.

View attachment 153698

A brand new Grabow made Royalton, now sells for about $45 and is worth every penny.

View attachment 153701If you want the best post war factory pipe on earth, then money shouldn’t stop you.
Yes, you got it because my wife distracted me at the time of end of bidding. Not happy.