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Stephan Fowler — A Knifemaker to Watch

June 17, 2011

By Les Robertson

A Stephen Fowler Bowie with a distinctive drop to the point. Sharp by Coop photo

Stephan Fowler

As a custom knife dealer who sells more than my fair share of forged knives, I was surprised when I received an e-mail about eight months ago from a client in England asking me about knives from an ABS Apprentice Smith named Stephan Fowler. The knife in question was the model that Fowler calls the Stag Handled Slim Fighter (featured in this article). I found Fowler’s contact information and discovered he only lives two hours from me.

One problem I run into time and again, as do many makers, is the issue of pricing. Many makers left to their own devices will overprice a knife. This is not the case with Fowler. In addition to making a knife that is already Journeyman Smith quality, Fowler seems to understand value pricing. 

At the time this was written, Fowler had passed his performance test for Journeyman Smith. There is no doubt that Fowler could have asked more than $475 for the stag-handled Slim Fighter and gotten it.

This knife features a 9 1/4-inch 1084 carbon-steel blade, stainless steel guard and pommel, fileworked spacer, and a stag handle. However, he understands that, as a new maker (especially in the very competitive field of forged blades), his number-one goal with regards to the marketing/selling of his knives is to get as many of his knives into the hands of as many collectors as possible.

This concept provides segue into the C2 Wicked Mistress. Fowler built this knife for competing in cutting competitions. He enjoys the competitions and views them as a “testing ground” for his knives. While he feels the competitions will help the maker build a better overall knife, he is quick to point out that he feels his knife handles benefit the most from the competitions.

This knife features a 9 1/2-inch 1095 carbon-steel blade, a stainless steel double guard, and a black, micarta handle. The Wicked Mistress is an extremely well built knife with great handle ergonomics, priced at what most Journeyman Smith hunters would be priced at $375. Given the distressed finish, the blade features, this knife begs to be used. If you prefer the exceptional finish that comes on most of Fowler’s knives, he can “upgrade” your C2 Wicked Mistress.

A combination of old and new—Stephan Fowler combined a rustic look to the blade with a contemporary dark-micarta handle. Sharp by Coop photo

Fowler builds Bowies and hunters. However, given his martial-arts background, he occasionally feels the tug to build a traditional-style Japanese knife.

He uses a lot of 1084 and 1095 carbon steels as well as W-1 and W-2. His favorites are W-2 because of the wonderful Hamons (temper lines) he can get on the blades and 1084 because of its reliability and toughness. His favorite handle material is Green Canvas Micarta because of its stability and grip. He is quick to point out of if a better selection of “popcorn” Stag was available, he would use that on a lot more of his knives.

Fowler’s full-time job is as a project manager for a commercial construction company. As such, he has access to some job-related items on which to test his blades. Fowler likes to shave curly cues off of MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard), which is exceptionally abrasive. He also likes to chop framing nails to ensure the edges won’t chip, and to shave off pieces of mild steel. Rest assured that whatever you would normally use a knife for, Fowler’s blades have already been tested well beyond that.

At this point, Fowler epitomizes the phrase “up and comer.” Whether you are looking for a user or a collectible custom knife, Fowler’s knives will fill the bill. Fowler’s price ranges for his knives are: Hunters $250 to $400 and Bowies $300 to $500. Currently, Fowler’s delivery time is 12 months, and he does attend the Blade Show. Check out his Web site at: www.fowlerblades.com. Additionally, you can contact Fowler by phone at (770) 726-9706; stephan@fowlerblades.com.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Wes Harmon permalink
    December 16, 2012 7:13 pm

    After demoing one fowler knife, I ordered three, one Damascus, one stag and one traditional Japanese tanto. I used the first two everyday for almost a year and a half, from skinning up bucks, to trout fishing in north ga. I displayed the third piece on display and the compliments and envy I get from fellow collectors is both outstanding and competitive. Noone has produced a better piece of true artwork and grit then fowler has in his knives. I highly recommend them to both users and collectors.

    Wes Harmon

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