Misc. Estates: Grechukhin Smooth Blowfish (2014)

Product Number: 004-008-25560

Vladimir Grechukhin is arguably the greatest living pipe maker in Russia, and perhaps the greatest of all of Russia's artisans, apprenticing at the age of 18 to Alexei Fyodorov, one of the best pipe makers in the USSR. His journey began by carving cigarette holders, as he was not allowed to touch the precious, scarce briar reserved for pipes until he was absolutely ready for it, imbuing within him the highest respect for the burl and for the art of pipe carving. After departing from Fyodorov's tutelage, he continued in his craft, and, aided by his formal education in the arts and his background in wood carving as a child, honing his skills and his eye for design with each piece. His ability became such that, near the end of his life, his old mentor Fyodorov publicly stated that Grechukhin's talent had surpassed even his, and, looking at this Blowfish, it's plain to see why Alexei felt this way.

This is the second time that Vladimir has confounded me with a Blowfish design, though, instead of making me question the nature of reality, this pipe alters the form in more subtle fashion. Rather than featuring the disc-like panels on either flank of the bowl, it instead is possessed of a singular ridgeline that flows from the underside of the shank end, wraps around the top of the bowl, frames the left side of it, and curves back to the shank end, all uninterrupted. This addition would be enough to make someone stare with both longing and puzzlement, as this element most readily demonstrates the St. Petersburg-based artisan's immense talent with its fluidity, a feat of incredible difficulty to achieve. Not only this, but the piece is oriented to showcase flame grain on the sides as opposed to cross grain like most other renditions of the shape do, and it does so in a way that emphasizes the profile, as the tendrils of flame run from the shank end on both sides and wrap around the top of the bowl in a way that brings out birdseye on its lower portions. The shank is possessed of a gradual flare from the transition to the end, with the bowl growing out of it urging forward and resting on a lifted heel, the aerial perspective showcasing its large, teardrop shape.

-John McElheny
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Measurements & Other Details

Minor Rim Darkening

  • Length: 5.69 in./144.53 mm.
  • Weight: 3.14 oz./88.90 g.
  • Bowl Height: 2.14 in./54.36 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.59 in./40.39 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.76 in./19.30 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 2.06 in./52.32 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Blowfish
  • Finish: Smooth
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: Russia
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