Thursday, May 27, 2010

A knife project comes together.

I enjoy working with various custom knife makers and engravers on projects, it is in fact one of my greatest enjoyments within the hobby of knife collecting.   The fruits of a recent labor have now all come together in a project I present for your enjoyment.  But first some background.

John Young is a very talented, in demand, knifemaker. John's wait list on orders is around five years and at shows a drawing is held for the privilege of buying one of his knives.  Over the years John and I have spent much time talking knives and as a result of many conversations we decided to do a project together.  John and I agreed that one of his knife models, in particular, was a prime candidate for engraving, his push dagger.  Together we discussed handle materials and engraving themes and engravers.  The result of our first project together was this beautiful push dagger engraved by Lee Griffiths.
After completion this piece was presented by John at the 2009 Blade Show in Atlanta.  John and I decided we enjoyed working together on the project and wanted to do more.

For our new project I came up with a theme; game animals with horns that are used for handle material.  Use the horn for the handles and have the animals engraved on the bolsters.  Next John and I came up with a knife design, a new  model, a Modified Chute.  Ray Cover Jr. was brought into the project before the knives were designed for his input on space requirements for engraving.  I also had a custom case made by Huey Gun Cases known for their work building custom cases for high end guns.  I am very excited about this project, three knives with handle materials made from the horns of animals depicted in the engraving.  The set will be on display for the first time at the 2010 Blade Show.

Here is the set in the custom Huey Case;

Close ups of the engraving;

Hope you have enjoyed this blog.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

J W (John) Smith

The first custom knife I ever commissioned/ordered was from John Smith.  I saw a picture of one of his knives on the cover of the old NKCA (National Knife Collectors Association) magazine back when it was printed in color on high quality paper.  I was mesmerized. Well, John made me a knife like that one, it was wonderful, a little gentleman's pocket knife with fluted Mother-of-Pearl handles and gold pins.  This was 20 or so years ago.  I was living in Atlanta at the time and John was in northern Kentucky.  That year, when the family went to Cincinnati for the holiday's to visit with my wife's family, John and I met at a bar across the Ohio river in Covington KY.  He delivered the knife and I paid him, we then shared a few beers and thus began a long friendship.  John and I have shared many beers since then.  This is but one example of why I enjoy this hobby, knife people and the custom knife community have brought me many treasured friendships.

Anyway, back to knives.  I believe John is one of the most skilled makers on the custom knife scene today.  His fit and finish is second to none.  John makes his own Damascus and does his own engraving.  John produces Art Knives as well as Tactical Knives.  He is a member of the prestigious AKI (Art Knife Invitational) group of makers. Here are some examples of John's work;

Near or at the top end of the models John makes, I would say his signature piece, are his Sunburst mosaic pearl daggers.

This was the first of this model that I acquired and probably still my favorite.

Check out the details.

Here is a more simple (relatively) high end piece

John's tactical pieces are made with the same fit and finish as his Art pieces.  These next few are made with a 50+ year old Micarta of which there is little left.  The first is his F5 Flipper.

Utility Daggers, large & small

RG1 folder

John is a top notch maker and I highly recommend you check out his work if you are not already familiar with it.