Alex Florov: Sandblasted Ryukin

Product Number: 002-354-0223

We have seen this signature Ryukin shape from Alex Florov a couple of times before, and this rendition is no less unique than the first two. A variation of the Blowfish and a quiet nod to Kei-ichi Gotoh's organic style, the Ryukin comprises two disks evocative of smooth river stones, one forming the bowl and a second smaller one the shank, the two joined by a pinched transition. In this iteration, the disks are inclined in a more forward-and-aft configuration, like wheels rolling, offering visual momentum and and several comfortable, natural hand positions. An elongated expansion disk on the stem joins the pattern as a third stone, appearing from some angles to be joined to the first two.

Alex has fashioned this piece as a cross grain, with broad fields of blasted birdseye on both flanks and subtle inclusions of natural plateau adding deeper texture. It's wearing an ink-black stain, reminding me again of river stones, with a chamfered rim left smooth and ruby-stained for contrast. A thin brass band is inlaid in the shank face, following the ridgelines of the mini-Blowfish shape perfectly and setting a nice stage for the emergence of the jet-black vulcanite stem. Alex has taken his time with the lip button here, meticulously funneling the airway by hand to offer an excellent draw and a comfortable perch between the lips.

Alex Florov never fails to impress, the American carver bringing both a background of museum furniture restoration and a prior career in industrial design to bear on pipe making. His style is remarkably sculptural, perhaps to be expected as he carves most of his pipes completely by hand with chisels to achieve perfection, with some of his designs seeming to approach the impossible. This Ryukin, then, is not to be passed up, as it will quickly become a treasured centerpiece in one lucky collector's rotation.

- Joel Balyeat
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 6.94 in./176.28 mm.
  • Weight: 3.70 oz./104.89 g.
  • Bowl Height: 2.44 in./61.98 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.50 in./38.10 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.81 in./20.57 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.77 in./44.96 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Freehand
  • Finish: Sandblast
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: United States
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