Shop Talk - May 2007

 As we are halfway through my 50th year as a custom knifemaker, I am as busy as ever and it has been an exciting year so far. I still spend as much time as possible working in my shop making knives for custom orders and to show and sell at knife shows. I have recently been working on some new designs. I find that I have a renewed interest in folding knives lately and I have made several models from Damascus and 440C stainless steel. I recently made a folding version of my Elmer Keith Skinner with rams horn handles. It was a big folder that I originally designed many years ago but never got around to making one until now.

 We had a great time at the Solvang Custom Knife Show in Solvang California last month. It’s always a treat to get out to the west coast occasionally and see some of our good friends and collectors that we don’t get to see very often. It was a good show. The demand for handmade custom knives is strong and there are several outstanding craftsmen creating fantastic works to meet the demand.

 Now I am busy getting some knives made for the upcoming Blade Show in Atlanta Georgia and preparing for our annual Knifemakers Guild Show in Orlando Florida. As current president of the Knifemakers Guild I am working hard to make this years show the best ever. I encourage all knifemakers to consider joining the Guild and supporting the custom knife community.

 We have been traveling a lot this month between preparing for the Guild show and meeting with the new owners of United Cutlery. For those of you who did not know, United Cutlery was purchased early this year by a new owner and they have relocated their headquarters to Thomasville, Georgia. They intend to continue and expand the line of United Cutlery products and I am excited about their enthusiasm. I signed hundreds of sheaths and Certificates of Authenticity for the United Cutlery 2007 “Immortal” knife that I designed and we were treated as honored guests at a party to introduce us to the great staff that United has assembled. I see an exciting future for the “new” United Cutlery and watch for some of my new designs that are in the works. All of this has been happening while we are also preparing for my son’s wedding next month. What a month!

 Besides our upcoming knife shows, we have four more week-long knifemaking classes scheduled this year in June, August, September and October. Our classes are limited to five students per class and they are filling up fast so if you are interested in attending, please register soon.

 What about Rambo IV? A preview of the new Rambo movie, titled “John Rambo”, was recently released and has created quite a buzz. The movie is tentatively scheduled for release in May 2008. This has prompted a lot of inquiries about the knife that will be used in the movie and whether or not I am involved. I’m sorry but I really can’t say anything about it at this time. My knives have been used in dozens of movies and TV shows and there are always a lot of concerns about releasing information prematurely. Aside from legal and contractual aspects, there is the fact that things can change quite a bit during the production phases of a movie. Scenes that you see in pre-release “trailers” may be edited out completely in the final release. Be patient. I’m sure you will be hearing and seeing a lot more about the movie in the coming months.


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