Sometimes They Fight Back. A Lee 3-star

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OK...being coy isn't working so I'll be blunt. Stain will not fill a pore/pit. I will challenge anyone to show me that it will.
I have a Gold Coast that I covered a pit in it by applying stain. The stain I used dried into and over the pit. The next application of stain covered in a manner - similar to covering a defect on a wall with paint. This wouldn’t have worked with a larger pit. But for the a small flaw that wasn’t too deep, it worked.
 
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Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
1,093
2,243
Humansville Missouri
OK...being coy isn't working so I'll be blunt. Stain will not fill a pore/pit. I will challenge anyone to show me that it will.

The OP took a really nice old Lee, which if he’d cleaned it instead of stripping off the stain with a Dremel might have looked appropriately like this old Briar Lee and Lee Three Star:

D13D0A50-F36E-4F32-A3A2-A52800523282.jpeg4BC4CE62-5F4D-4510-8FC3-7445B4E8DEA3.jpegLee somehow could make beautiful pipes from some really sorry looking briar blocks.

I’ve never claimed Lees have beautiful, to die for gorgeous grain. They usually are merely very pretty pipes, one anybody would be proud to own.

It took sanding one down below the stain to convince me that Lee must have been a briar wizard, able to make a $10 pipe from a cheap block of briar.

Amd now I know why a Lee Star Grade pipe will give off a high dollar glow, but never be as glossy as a cheap pair of patent leather shoes.

How the heck did Lee do that using stain?
 
I'd call that a pinhole at most, not a pit.
Kinda of, but it had a few minor crevices associated with it. I didn't want to get carried away sanding it as that would change the shape of the bowl, it is a Billiard. I removed much of the stain and then used a thick stain from a touch up marker that blended in well with the pipe - a fortuitous omen for me - and after two applications, the pit was gone.

But otherwise, I agree, stain is not used to "fill" pits. That's why we have stucco.
 
The OP took a really nice old Lee, which if he’d cleaned it instead of stripping off the stain with a Dremel might have looked appropriately like this old Briar Lee and Lee Three Star:

View attachment 161136View attachment 161138Lee somehow could make beautiful pipes from some really sorry looking briar blocks.

I’ve never claimed Lees have beautiful, to die for gorgeous grain. They usually are merely very pretty pipes, one anybody would be proud to own.

It took sanding one down below the stain to convince me that Lee must have been a briar wizard, able to make a $10 pipe from a cheap block of briar.

Amd now I know why a Lee Star Grade pipe will give off a high dollar glow, but never be as glossy as a cheap pair of patent leather shoes.

How the heck did Lee do that using stain?
So... we have gone from touting Lee's as some of the best oil cured briar that a briar selector could grade to cheap briar with a heavy stain to hide the defects.

It's not sounding good for Mr. Lee. It feels like he's loosing his case.

"The courtroom was adjourned
No verdict was returned"

Or has it?
 
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Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
1,093
2,243
Humansville Missouri
So... we have gone from touting Lee's as some of the best oil cured briar that a briar selector could grade to cheap briar with a heavy stain to hide the defects.

It's not sounding good for Mr. Lee. It feels like he's loosing his case.

"The courtroom was adjourned
No verdict was returned"

Or has it?
I have more faith than before, that Lee cashed in his chips and sold his factory and then lived happily ever after.

Since a dollar could turn a large profit on a Gold Coast, the game was to oil cure huge bags of briar blocks.

What a money machine Lee started.

The man could make a smokable pipe from scrap.

The very best blocks were left unstained.

The worst were all stained, as dark as they needed to be to sell.
 

anotherbob

Lifer
Mar 30, 2019
11,749
22,099
44
In the semi-rural NorthEastern USA
I have more faith than before, that Lee cashed in his chips and sold his factory and then lived happily ever after.

Since a dollar could turn a large profit on a Gold Coast, the game was to oil cure huge bags of briar blocks.

What a money machine Lee started.

The man could make a smokable pipe from scrap.

The very best blocks were left unstained.

The worst were all stained, as dark as they needed to be to sell.
man if you haven't thought about it, going to law school might work out really well for you. You can always find an angle to make your point. :)
 

Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
1,093
2,243
Humansville Missouri
man if you haven't thought about it, going to law school might work out really well for you. You can always find an angle to make your point. :)
Anybody with an open mind can see, that of all the $5 and $10 pipes in 1946 that Lee was the only new brand, it had an improved screw stem, it was oil cured, and it had beautiful inlaid gold stars. Those extra features cost hardly anything extra on an assembly line.

A Dr Grabow grade pipe in 1946 was a dollar.

What the OP proves, quite by accident, is that Lee could take a huge bag of briar and his workers at some point early in the month could turn out enough Gold Coast dollar pipes to pay for the entire month.

Lee was a genius like my old dead philosopher, pilot, machinist, inventor, manufacturer buddy Jack. who used to sit with a yellow legal pad in his factory and at some point early in the month exclaim:

I’ve cracked the nut!

For the rest of that month Jack made a pure 100 profit on every wire marker ball sold.

In the case of Lee, the Gold Coast line paid for all the briar, the overhead, the mailing cost, and labor cost.

Every Lee Star Grade was pure profit.
 

Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
1,093
2,243
Humansville Missouri
I can find little to no information regarding the maker of Lee pipes nor the process of how they were cured and made. The talk from older smokers from other forums is that they were just cheap fill laden drugstore pipes.
Here’s how I think Lee did it.

He was an expert pipe maker, with 20 years experience. The key was Lee outbid or maybe he had corrupt friends but somehow Lee won a container ship’s worth of old briar blocks.

Briar blocks were unobtainable in early 1946. His competitors were using the very dregs of old supply, or substitutes like “mission briar”.

And they were turning large profits at $1, and up.

I will always be convinced Lee sold Pipe Maker brand pipes to some source that resold them. If the pipe retailed at $1 then Lee got 75 cents. His cost may have been 15-20 cents. We know he made the Gold Coast line.

Lee had a certain bank payment, overhead and labor cost every month.

Once he sold maybe a few thousand 75 cent pipes he was clear. He’d “cracked the nut” as my friend Jack used to say.

What that means, is that every $5, $10, $15, or $25 Lee Star Grade order that arrived was nearly pure profit.

An example:

25 or so years ago my friend Jack had a catalog of wire marker balls, in lots of sizes, with lots of types of clamps to fasten them to wires.

About half the production was for the standard 20 inch ball that cost $60 and Jack had $15 labor and materials in the 20” ball.

Once Jack sold enough 20 inch $60 balls to “crack the nut” then the other half of production which were custom orders exactly like every Lee Star Grade was, and at prices up to $500, most customs being $150 or so,,,,,,was pure profit for Jack.

Jack adored his wife, who was 23 years younger.

She was excellent at spending money, but Jack died a multimillionaire with a big smile on his face at almost 90, in 2009.

I hope Lee made as much loot as Jack.:)
 

PipeIT

Lifer
Nov 14, 2020
2,064
9,383
The Aloha State!
@Briar Lee If you really know facts about Pipe by Lee, you should really take the time and help write up the Pipedia, because there is absolutely nothing.


I’ve looked around a bit, and I don’t know where you are getting the information from about Lee? 🤔

I can’t find much out there.

A few pipes listed here is about all.

 

Chasing Embers

Captain of the Black Frigate
Nov 12, 2014
35,725
70,963
The fact that there is so little written information about Lee Pipes means there is little that one can use to rebut his assertions
That's the best part, even horse shit has smell to back it up. Without empirical data, Lee pipes history isn't substantial enough to be fertilizer. Talk is cheap without documentation.
 

Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
1,093
2,243
Humansville Missouri
@Briar Lee If you really know facts about Pipe by Lee, you should really take the time and help write up the Pipedia, because there is absolutely nothing.


I’ve looked around a bit, and I don’t know where you are getting the information from about Lee? 🤔

I can’t find much out there.

A few pipes listed here is about all.

There just isn’t much published information about Piles by Lee.

But Lee’s story is one of an unknown raconteur who brazenly marketed a $25 pipe that was a regularly cataloged factory production pipe in a world chock full of one dollar “drug store” pipes and $3.50, $5, and $10 Kaywoodies and $15 Dunhills.

And he started from scratch in 1946, and could use a dime’s worth of briar to make a ten dollar pipe.
 
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Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
1,093
2,243
Humansville Missouri
That's the best part, even horse shit has smell to back it up. Without empirical data, Lee pipes history isn't substantial enough to be fertilizer. Talk is cheap without documentation.
Some random guy sanded down a Lee from the late forties, and revealed Lee could use a dollar grade Dr Grabow grade hunk of briar to make ten dollar Star Grade Three Stars.

Before this I argued Lee used the best briar available, and I was dead wrong.

Lee used any briar that was available.

Under the stain is a POS grade cheap hunk of briar.

9E3EF75E-C6ED-4265-9CA9-C52E0B329EFD.jpeg
Since it was oil cured it smokes like a Dunhill, too.
 
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Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
1,093
2,243
Humansville Missouri
This morning while the cock crows to herald a new Missouri morning there are four large Dublins on my table to chose from.

15D2A7CB-3240-49BA-B3EB-54CCE1A104AE.jpegAren’t they pretty?

You can tell all four were stained dark.

All four were ten dollar grade pipes in a world full of dollar pipes in the drug stores.

Two are legendary 4 hole stinger Kaywoodie Flame Grains, and one of them Pre War.

One is a post 1950 5 point star Two Star Lee, and the other a stamped star era Three Star Lee.

The Flame Grain Kaywoodies were advertised as one extremely rare plateaux piece of flame grained briar was selected out of thousands by skilled artisans, sometimes using X ray machines, to make the world’s only true flame grained, perfect pipe.

Lee said Reach for the Stars the Symbol of the World’s Finest Pipe.

Who was the fraud?

I you sent Lee $25 he could only send you a natural pipe.

If you sent Lee $10 you could choose a natural pipe, tan, or dark.
 
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Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
1,093
2,243
Humansville Missouri
Once upon a time nearly fifty years ago I was debating the advantages of an oil pressure gauge versus an idiot light with Kenneth Ireland of Ireland’s Car Clinic.

I was a car crazy 16 year old kid and Kenneth Ireland was the most famous mechanic in the four county area where Polk, Cedar, St. Clair and Hickory counties join, and had been for two or three generations. Kenneth remembered how to work on Model As and there were often Model A club cars there to service arriving on trailers.

I was explaining to Kennth that an oil pressure gauge was very useful to determine the condition of your engine, and the exact oil pressure.

Kenneth replied the average car owner has no damned business knowing anything about his oil pressure except if he doesn’t have enough. If there’s a gauge he won’t read it, but if an oil light goes off even an idiot should know to shit it off.

Kenneth smoked Lucky Strikes for maybe over 80 years until he died, almost a hundred.

But what is it any business of mine how many hidden fills a beautiful pipe has, if you must sand off all the stain to see them?

7691B1C4-E581-4D99-9E21-9613C2895BAE.jpeg
 
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