American Estates: J. Alan Smooth Long Shank Bent Egg with Silver (1149) (2016)
Product Number: 004-149-0136
If you take a look at the pipe making greats, you will usually find one of a couple of paths into their craft. Either they were born into a home where there were pipe makers, Lars and Nanna Ivarsson come to mind of course, but so do many others, or they played with it for a bit over a long period of time, then finally put their all into the briar; Peter Matzhold comes to mind. Then we have Jeff Gracik.
J. Alan pipes are made by Jeffrey A. Burt-Gracik in San Diego, California. Born in Meadville, Pennsylvania, Princeton educated, Jeff has never done anything by half measure, and his pipes are no exception. He didn't want to create a product that was merely "acceptable" but one that exceeded expectation. To this end he made the pilgrimage to learn side by side with his friend and mentor, American master Todd Johnson. Pipe makers to follow included Danish carver Tonni Nielsen and the American Jody Davis.
Jeff's early shaping aesthetic, showed obvious influences from the likes of Todd, Jody, and Tonni, though these days show a more direct connection to the Danish school. All J. Alan pipes are shaped from exquisite blocks of top-grade briar cured and aged to make the best pieces possible, with attention to detail and a mind to engineering completing each piece. Each stem is expertly hand-cut and slotted from ebonite, cumberland, or vintage Bakelite. Finishing only smooth or blasted pieces, each J. Alan is a full extension of the maker. Being an avid surfer, Jeff's highest grade (and rarely produced) is the "Wave." Other pieces aren't graded, but easily fit on a timeline as each is stamped with the number of production and the year. Hence, 1404/18 would be his one thousand, four hundred and fourth pipe in existence and it was made in 2018.