Alexey Florov was born and raised in Moscow, Russia, and has a background in working with fine materials. His attention to even the slightest details of craftsmanship accompanied with his skill for problem solving and hand tooling made him a valuable asset to the Russian antiquities market, where he focused on repairing and restoring museum-quality furniture. After moving to the Chicago area in 1992, Alex found work in the industrial design industry as a model maker for various market products. Working in many different materials, he was challenged by his father-in-law to make a pipe in 2004, which is what started his secondary career as one of the highest-skilled pipe artisans in the world. Few others equal his enthusiasm and charisma for the art.
Each Florov pipe usually begins with a sketch, which Alex finds himself doing constantly at work, on napkins, or any other time an idea pops into his head for a shape or engineering detail. Primarily using a milling machine to drill precision holes in excellent briar, Alex is one of the few artisans in the world who carves most of the pipe with razor-sharp hand chisels. By working with such hand tools, Alex is able to create very detailed edges and concaved areas on a pipe that a sanding disk would not allow. His pipes are each graced with hand-cut vulcanite stems that have hand-turned vulcanite tenons and are either sandblasted or smooth (the Slonim being his highest grade). Some accents favored by Alex include bamboo, boxwood, horn, and any other material the pipe maker falls in love with.