Vladimir Grechukhin

In the beginning, there was Alexei Borisovitch Fyodorov.

Well, not *the* beginning, nor even the beginning of Russian pipe making, but there are few that would argue that Fyodorov was the finest briar artisan within the decades that surrounded his career, as well as the first Russian legend who’s prowess was so well known, that his name was recognized outside of the Iron Curtain of the Cold War era.

Russia has no heath resources of its own, and importation was limited to the state owned Yava factory. A Yava briar was a sad affair, and could be purchased for three to six rubles. Fyodorov had to make use of hard woods, such as maple, and a Fyodorov hardwood pipe usually ran for thirty to fifty rubles. Briar, when it could be obtained, had to be smuggled in, and the cost of an Alexei’s briar increased considerably. It was in the mid 1970’s, when 19 year old Vladimir Grechukhin became an apprentice to the 75 year old Legend. While Vladimir only stayed with Fyodorov three years, toward the end of his years, the latter publicly acknowledged that Grechukhin’s work had surpassed the master.

Today, much like in the rest of the pipe making countries, a pipe design revolution is underway in Russia, and the best of her artisans are starting to make big splashes in the West (much as the Japanese did beginning in the nineties). Of course, most of the rising stars would be considered ‘young lions’, but many a collector holds that the best pipe maker in Russia is the one who began his career when his home city was still called ‘Leningrad’, not ‘St. Petersburg’.

Vladimir Grechukhin works in his shop alone; there are never any cameras, no one making a video for You Tube, His reasons for these decisions are two-fold; 1. He works with a file, and any distraction could result in a potential masterpiece becoming a door stop. 2. He feels there is nothing photogenic in his work process, only the final product itself. A relentless perfectionist, Grechukhin crafts his stems from the highest grade ebonite stock (yes, that includes the tenon), and loves to design the chubby, compact pipes of spherical bent that have recently captured the hearts of the pipe collecting community. Though having practiced his art for over three and a half decades, there is nothing old fashioned or staid about a Grechukhin pipe. Quite the contrary, on the matters of cutting edge design, this is one older lion who has many of the cubs chasing him.

Vladimir Grechukhin VG16 (SOLD)
Price:  $0.00
Vladimir Grechukhin VG15 (SOLD)
Price:  $0.00

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