Alex Florov: Smooth Blowfish (Slonim) Tobacco Pipe

Product Number: 002-354-0240

Alex Florov, before immigrating to the United States, restored furniture for a museum in his native country of Russia. That job gave him experience working with tools and handing delicate materials, and unknowingly primed him for his future career as a pipe maker. After settling in Chicago, Florov worked as an industrial designer for a number of years until, in 2004, his father-in-law challenged him to make a pipe. Since then, Florov has committed himself to the craft, and he produces stylized shapes such as this Blowfish.

A notoriously difficult shape to craft, the Blowfish requires a keen eye for detail and exacting precision, but judging by this particular rendition, Florov was more than up for the task. Though over five and a half inches long, this piece retains a rather compact profile, mostly due to how closely related the bowl and shank are to one another, with the former seemingly emerging from the latter. Traditionally, a Blowfish is defined by its unevenly bifurcated bowl and lopsided appearance, which this piece possesses, though in a distinctive way that's quite singular. The ridgeline here descends from the rim before wrapping quickly to one side of the heel and extending into the shank. As the ridgeline traverse the stummel, it creates a looped outcropping of briar that feeds into the wide shank face. This looped outcropping possesses a subtle hole of negative space that further emphasizes the shape's asymmetrical appearance.

In addition to its stellar shaping, this piece boasts a truly breathtaking smooth finish, one that highlights extraordinary flame grain around the spherical bowl's flanks, and a wealth of birdseye across the rim and shank. The finish's rich auburn stain lends lush detail and vibrant contrast to the grain, all while keeping the pipe's palette traditional and reserved. Taking in this piece, it's no wonder Florov awarded it his Slonim grade, the highest grade in his portfolio.

--Davin Hylton
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 5.59 in./141.99 mm.
  • Weight: 3.50 oz./99.22 g.
  • Bowl Height: 2.04 in./51.82 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.64 in./41.66 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.81 in./20.57 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 2.58 in./65.53 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Blowfish
  • Finish: Smooth
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: United States
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