Twelve and a quarter fascinating inches, from baleen to tail fluke, this laureate leviathan is not only a Calabash, but an outcome of intense hand ergonomic research, as it relates to pipe shaping. To digress a tick, Kovalev's shaping is already some of the most advanced in the world, and his foot has never left off the accelerator. Having said, he also knew that pushing the limits of what can be achieved in three dimensional art - and still maintain a perfection in smoking quality - didn't mean a thing, if it wasn't totally comfortable in the hand. "Looks great, but how on earth do you hold it" has always been an anathema to Roman's method of thinking, and he employed hand molds as well as months of time to ensure that your Doctor's pipe felt as easy in the paw as it was easy in the draw.
The cap of this Whale Calabash, as well as the mount, is fashioned from Kuri (Japanese chestnut wood); a symbol of mastery and strength, and so treasured in Japan that it was being cultivated before rice. The wood of the lower bowl, shank and fluke is strawberry, a wood of light weight and highly absorbent characteristics which seem made-to-order for a Calabash. As far as the relentlessly superlative grain? That's simply the natural outcome of a combination of Kovalev's ability to read grain, and a singular blasting process/machine - that isn't "etching". Another superlative presentation from Doc Kovalev.
R. 'Bear' Graves