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Roderick "Caribou" Chappel

Discussion in 'Custom & Handmade Knives' started by TAH, Jan 1, 2014.

  1. TAH

    TAH Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 3, 2001
    Here's a knife from one of the old timers. It has Chappel's signature style written all over it. Rod is an Alaskan Native American Indian and through his cultural subsistence rights, it is legal for him to use natural walrus ivory tusk (not fossil) for handle material. To my knowledge, he is the only high quality, custom knifemaker that can use this material.


    "Lady Diana" model, 440-C, 4.25" blade, rolled edge, 416 SS fittings, circa 1984.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. P. McKinley

    P. McKinley KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jan 27, 2008
    The curves!!

    It looks like you couldn't shake that loose from your grip if you tried.
    And, stunning legal walrus ivory to boot.
    What a package!!

    -Peter
     
  3. stereo.pete

    stereo.pete

    600
    Apr 7, 2013
    That knife is straight sexy, beautiful!
     
  4. Kohai999

    Kohai999 Second Degree Cutter Platinum Member

    Jul 15, 2003
    I knew Rod very well.

    That is an extremely nice example of both his blade grinding style as well as his mastery of ergonomic handle sculpting.

    It also illustrates his penchant for oversized and heavy furniture, which some like, and some do not.

    Best Regards,

    STeven Garsson
     
  5. Kevin Jones

    Kevin Jones Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Oct 28, 2006
    What a fine and classic example of a custom knife.
    Thank for sharing it with us. :thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:
     
  6. Bigjohn

    Bigjohn KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Sep 30, 2002
    Fantastic example....thanks
     
  7. TAH

    TAH Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 3, 2001
    Thanks for the comments, everyone. I spoke with Rod on the phone back in '99. He was very nice. He can be somewhat elusive. Here is a more recent photo of him.

    [​IMG]

    Steven, what makes you think Rod likes the oversize style? :D
     
  8. Kohai999

    Kohai999 Second Degree Cutter Platinum Member

    Jul 15, 2003
    My business partner studied knifemaking with Rod for over a year, and picked up the largest Hunting Leopard that Rod had ever made.....the guard itself weighed over two lbs.:eek:

    We sold it...at a profit....and the buyer promptly cut the heck out of himself on the sharpened "false" edge on the back of the knife. Rod would roll those edges so much you couldn't even feel it cut until it was too late.

    I have three of Rod's knives; a Loveless Chute in some sort of Walnut species, a Mini Mag Bowie in stag, and a ParaMedic in ivory micarta.

    Best Regards,

    STeven Garsson
     
  9. TAH

    TAH Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 3, 2001
    I know what you mean. The edge on my knife is ridiculously sharp. Do you know of any other makers (past or present) who regularly use/used a rolled edge?


    Would love to see a photo if you have one.

    Thanks!
     
  10. SharpByCoop

    SharpByCoop Enjoying the discussions Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 8, 2001
    Man, he's giving a lesson on curves and sturdy.

    What's a 'rolled edge'? Educate me.

    Coop
     
  11. TAH

    TAH Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 3, 2001
    From Chappel's catalog...

    "To ensure the finest cutting edge, each blade is hollow ground, which is started high so that the blade can be sharpened over a lifetime of use without losing efficiency of this type of grind. I use only a rolled edge, as opposed to the common flat, 20 degree V-edge which is easier to make. This means that even after the knife has lost its razor sharpness in the field, it will still cut and do its job with only a little more effort without resharpening."


    From Blade Magazine, May 1973, pp. 38...

    "I am one, if not the only person, that supplies a rolled edge on every knife I produce. On a 5 1/2" knife it will take me as long as 40 to 50 minutes to put the kind of edge that I consider field worthy."


    Found this on the internet...

    "Q: What is the difference between a Beveled Edge and a Rolled Edge?

    The Beveled Edge is the most widely used edge configuration. It consists of a final grind along the very edge of the primary grind. This final grind forms the sharp edge of the knife. One of the main reasons for its popularity is that the beveled edge is fairly simple to apply by hand or machine.

    The Rolled Edge has been in existence for over 1,000 years and has been used by bladesmiths all around the world. But today it is quite rare in the knife industry. Some of the finest examples of this edge can be found on early Japanese Katanas. It consists of a continuous curve from the primary grind right to the edge of the knife. There is no "bevel" at the edge visible to the naked eye. A rolled edge is quite difficult to produce in custom quantities and practically impossible in full scale production. The reason for this is that it must be applied by hand, using a "slack belt". The honer must constantly monitor his progress very carefully to develop a perfect rolled edge. However, the result is a cutting edge that will easily outperform a standard beveled edge, because it offers almost no friction during a cutting stroke. It slips effortlessly through the cutting medium."



    One might think a rolled edge is simply a convex grind, but Chappel's grind is different. The blade has a hollow grind and only the very edge is rolled, which makes the edge thinner (for slicing) than a traditional convex grind.

    Certainly, more than you wanted to know, but interesting never-the-less.
     
  12. Kohai999

    Kohai999 Second Degree Cutter Platinum Member

    Jul 15, 2003
    [​IMG]

    I examined 100's of Chappel knives and what I really like about the top two is the relative restraint that Rod used in making them. He loved to be flamboyant in his creativity, but when he dialed it down to the practical and austere, he really could make an insanely useable and attractive knife. The blade length on the Chute is right around 5".


    Hey Coop,

    Rod Chappel is nuts.

    His is the first grinder that I ever saw in action where I paid attention. I don't know where he got it, but it uses 4" x 96" belts, I might be wrong with the length.

    This grinder runs off of a 5 FIVE horsepower motor. Keep in mind that your average knifemaker works with a 1 1/2 hp 2" x 72" belt grinder.

    I watched Rod put his considerable bulk behind this thing and bear down with a 60 grit belt, and the shower of sparks was immense.

    Rod hollow grinds, but the primary bevel is fairly thick, well over 20 thou......TAH is correct about the way he accomplishes the edge, which is a blade up convex grind.....but....he polishes the living hell out of it...and it doesn't even look or feel sharp....it isn't really "grabby".....but it cuts like a scalpel.....really deep and scary....cuts with these knives don't close very easily.....that is personal experience as well.

    Best Regards,

    STeven Garsson
     
  13. TAH

    TAH Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 3, 2001
    Thanks for the photo, Steven. Great looking knives, especially the Chute. Being partial to single guard knives, I really like that Mini Mag Bowie. Rod loves those forward slant guards. Did your knives come with sheaths? Rod wasn't the best at supplying them. I ended up making my sheath - wet formed, pouch style, suede lined - and a belt to go with it. :D
     
  14. SharpByCoop

    SharpByCoop Enjoying the discussions Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 8, 2001
    Thanks guys! There was more to learn here than I imagined. :confused: :thumbup: Silent lazer cuts = YIKES!

    I'm now that much more in tune with his rarely seen work. Time to add his name into my daily search terms on eBay. (Pearce, Loerchner, Ogg are some.)

    Thank you!

    Coop
     
  15. Kohai999

    Kohai999 Second Degree Cutter Platinum Member

    Jul 15, 2003
    Of course they did NOT come with sheaths.....the Chute was an inlay model done by TreeStump Leather, the Mini Mag by Bob Schrap and the ParaMedic was a kydex version by Tim Wegner of BladeTech.

    I have everything made by Paul Long now. There is not a better sheathmaker alive.

    Best Regards,

    STeven Garsson
     
  16. TAH

    TAH Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 3, 2001
    I hear ya! Have you ever had a desire to have sheaths made by Rod's sheath maker Jesse Smith? I did, but couldn't bring myself to send my knife to him. I was too worried about the knife being lost, scratched, or the ivory cracking.

    [​IMG]
    http://www.jessesmithsaddlery.com/index.html
     
  17. TAH

    TAH Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 3, 2001
    While we're discussing Chappel, this has got to be one of the most impressive pieces I have ever seen and it's not even a knife...

    Well worth clicking on the link and scrolling to the bottom: http://www.iqknives.com/gallery.html
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2014
  18. Kohai999

    Kohai999 Second Degree Cutter Platinum Member

    Jul 15, 2003
    No desire, the sheaths that I have now are great. If I was going to have a different sheath made, it would be by Paul Long.

    The sheaths made by Jesse Smith look great.

    Best Regards,

    STeven Garsson
     
  19. TAH

    TAH Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 3, 2001
    Steven or anyone,

    Do you know if this is the only catalog Chappel offered over the years?

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Dawkind

    Dawkind Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Apr 3, 2000
    I met Ron in 2006 at the 'Vegas Classic Show wandering around with my friend, the late and great, Jody Samson, the first show he'd been to since 1993 when he left BM and moved to New Glarius and Albion Armory.

    Jody stopped in front of his table, Ron looked up and said, "I heard you were dead....where ya been?!?". Jody said, "On Mars..". They were longtime friends and, needless to say, had the same deeply hollow-ground and mirror-polished style; Jody mentored a lot of makers.... :)

    This could be a one-of....SN 001....and gotten from one of my heros here on BF and I'm sure he'll see this. 'Roderrick Caribou Chappel Defense Spike', 'SS 440C', 'October 4th, 2002 (I cannot read the rest)", 'Ser. No. 01'.

    It's got a blood lettin' hole through it, is a tactile wonder for orientation, and has STephen's rolled and polished edge. Even though a 90' included angle, albeit DEEPLY hollow-ground, it is scalpel-sharp, needle-pointed and a very lethal....and messy....weapon. Just make sure the outlets pointed away from ya when ya stick 'em! :eek:
    View attachment 405366 View attachment 405367 View attachment 405368 View attachment 405369 View attachment 405370
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2014

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