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Knifemakers in Their Own Words: Jim and Joyce Minnick

October 15, 2011

This Husband-and-Wife Team Describe a Different Style of Folder 

This Jim and Joyce Minnick knife was inspired by the movie, The Book of Eli. (Photo: PointSeven)

By Joyce Minnick

I was inspired after seeing the movie, The Book of Eli. The whole ambiance of the movie contributed to the design elements. About that same time, we found a set of dinosaur-tooth handle material we had bought in Italy the year before, and forgotten that we had it packed away; it was the perfect handle for the piece.

The knife, concept and design became one entity at that point. Jim worked on the blade design so it would flow with all the other elements. It was quite a challenge for both us. The handle material just barely fit, and could never have been replaced had it broken. Ron Skaggs was the first to see the design in our shop, and after studying the design, Skaggs told Jim that it was very rare when someone comes up with a new, original design concept in this business.

Jim and I were both thrilled, as we consider Skagg’s artistry innovative and top-of-the-line. We both enjoyed the challenge of this piece as well as the rewards of knowing that the two of us had combined our efforts in creating it. Jim likes to refer to the style as “Future Tech.”

This locking-liner folder resides in the collection of Ron Stagnari. Doug Ponzio made the Damascus. Its blade length is 3 inches with an overall length of 7 1/2 inches. The bolsters are high-carbon steel, treated by black oxide with a mirror-polished, contrasting hammering in the metal, which includes 24K gold inlays.


The Fantastic Tactical Folders of Dustin Turpin

October 13, 2011

By Les Robertson

Three Dustin Turpin Knives. (Top) His “Repentance” folding dagger features green micarta scales and a flipper opening, his “Big Chief folder and Rogue model on the bottom are handled in carbon fiber. (Voyles photo)

Dustin Turpin builds a fantastic tactical folder.  He offers his knives at a price that will appeal to the entry level buyer; while at the same time will have the seasoned collector shaking his head in disbelief.  The head shaking will be the direct result of the quality and attention to detail that Dustin offers.  Arguably Dustin builds the best sub-$400 Tactical folder being offered today!

Dustin’s primary focus is tactical folders. He has always been a big fan of the classic tactical locking liner folders and this was what he offered. Read more…

The Wilson Tactical Neck Knife Works!

October 6, 2011

A Sturdy User Design

The Wilson tactical neck knife comes with skull fob and Kydex neck sheath.

By Abe Elias

Neck knives are a hard category to pin down. If you wanted to hang a machete off your neck you can say you just got yourself a very large neck knife.

I tend to look at neck knives as something versatile it can either hang from your neck or act as a small pocket fixed blade or  be used as a small belt knife. When you decide to carry a neck knife you have to be real about what you want. If you are looking at a small carry you are looking at a blade with not enough leverage or grip to really put the boots to it, and use it safely. If you are looking at a large knife then you compromise weight and concealment. The Wilson Tactical neck knife falls into the larger size of neck knives. Read more…

Second Generation Knifemaker Frank Fischer

September 28, 2011

Text by Les Robertson

The Fischer LS2 boasts a recurve blade and “orange peeled” titanium frames. The handles are carbon fiber. The knife weighs 4.5 ounces. All stainless hardware is spun and polished.

There has been confusion on what a “Tactical” knife is since the term was coined.  A tactical knife is a marketing term utilized to separate this genre from other custom folders genres.  First there is the “look”.  The basic look is a non-Damascus non-reflective blade, titanium frames and/or bolsters and synthetic handle materials.   Next is what separates the wanna-be’s from the gonna-be’s — the “flow”.  The flow is a combination of an aggressive look combined with fit, finish and function.

It is the flow that incorporates the artistic with the mechanical/technical aspects of creating a folder.  Frank Fischer knives are a perfect example of that rare combination of look and flow.  Possibly it is in the DNA, as well-known folder maker Todd Fischer is Frank’s father.  Perhaps it is growing up around knifemaking.  More than likely it is a combination of both.  Read more…

In His Own Words: Knifemaker Thomas Haslinger

September 15, 2011

Text By Thomas Haslinger

Mike Norris stainless ladder Damascus is used on this knife called the Ruby Folder, so named thanks to a 2.27-carat ruby on the gold thumb stud.

Here are some of the knives I’ve been working on: The first has a solid-gold guard and pommel that make the gold-fluted dagger a hefty piece. A total of 10.2 ounces of gold has been used. The blade was forged of 1084 and 15N20 in a modified ladder pattern with a 15N20 banding layer. The fully fluted, solid-Damascus handle has been sculpted and inlaid with mother-of-pearl, not only on the flat face, but also on the side. As the sides have a round contour, inlaying was a challenge. All inlay work was done by hand. The pommel has a full-color spectrum AAA-grade ammonite inset into it. Engraving is by D. Reeves. The overall length is 12 1/2 inches overall with a 6 1/2-inch blade.  Read more…


September 12, 2011

by J. Bruce Voyles

There’s an old joke about a man going to heaven and being guided by St. Peter by various rooms in which the different religions are assigned. When they get to one particular room, St. Peter instructs the man to tiptoe by that door. He does, and then asks St. Peter why. St. Peter responded, “Well, they are [naming a rather dogmatic Protestant branch]. They think they are the only ones up here.”

The knife business is a lot like that. The custom makers segment themselves into forged and stock removal. The tactical guys shy away from art knife people. Vintage knife sections in knife shows have been referred to as the “rusty blade” section, despite knives being bought and sold in that section for comparable prices with the finest handmades. Some modern knife enthusiasts obsess over this steel, or that handle material, and marvel at a new design—when that design was produced in the 18th century, but they have not studied the older knives, so they don’t know that. Read more…

Rule #5 of Investing in Custom Knives

August 31, 2011

Changing of the Guard 

Daniel Winkler and Karen Shook’s knife and sheath combinations own their market segment. (SharpbyCoop photo)

Text by Les Robertson

Over the course of makers’ careers, some will emerge as the market leaders. As demand increases, so does the delivery time and, deservedly so, the price of the knife. Collectors, by their very nature, collect. If they cannot collect a maker or their work, they will look for a suitable substitute. While getting a knife directly from the market leader will provide the buyer with an opportunity to sell the knife for a profit in a very short period of time. This demand by so many buyers will decrease your opportunity to obtain one of these knives.

As one door closes, another opens. Such is the case with ABS Mastersmith Russ Andrews. He is known for his exact, clean work. Having been a Mastersmith for only two years, Russ has moved into the top 10 of desirable ABS Mastersmiths. The same holds true for fellow ABS Mastersmith, John White. John’s work has always been top-shelf.  Read more…