Collecting-Makers, and Knives, Random Thoughts

Kohai999

Second Degree Cutter
Joined
Jul 15, 2003
Messages
12,554
Happy Holidays All,

I've been collecting knives, custom, and factory for 20 years. I'll be 39 in January. I'm still as passionate about it now, maybe more, as I was in 1985 when I bought my first custom, a boot fighter from Larry Page, with "mountains and sunrise" cocobolo for $125.00, at the New York Custom Knife Show, at the Roosevelt Hotel. I thought all knife shows were going to be like that, boy, was I wrong!

Nick Wheeler gets a lot of stuff written about him on these forums. It is deserved. When I looked at his website a few weeks ago, and saw how clearly and cleanly he explained his philosophy on the craft of knifemaking, I was really moved. The kid is a gift to the community, and he is humble, and funny, and really listens.

Don Fogg recommended Nick to me as a maker last year. I like Don a lot, he has more talent in one hand than most do in their whole body. Don makes pretty much what he likes to make, and he doesn't give it away, but somehow, every piece that he makes lasts less than 24 hours on his "available work" section of his website. He recommended Vince Evans to make me a custom khukuri, and that worked out real well.

When Don recommended Nick, I looked for a website of his work, and found an old one, and basically was not real impressed, but just a little. This is when Nick was doing mostly stock removal, and he had the eye, and the skills were developing, but the confidence, and "voice" wasn't there yet. I called Nick to talk about Don's recommendation, and we arranged to meet at the OKCA show in April, this year. We chatted, and Nick said that he would send along some sketches of what he thought that I wanted, and we agreed on a delivery date, and the cost.

Nick got a little backed up, and I called him to bust his chops about my sketches. I got them, after a bit, and they were really good, we worked together on the final idea, and I am looking forward to getting the knives sometime in the spring of 2005. I call Nick from time to time to chat, and share ideas, and comaraderie, and I spoke to him today, to BS, and wish him a Merry X-Mas, and he said that I beat him to the punch, he had meant to call sometime this week, and do the same. Some makers that I talk to make me feel like they are watching the clock while we are speaking, limiting me to 5 minutes or less. I can appreciate that, time is money, especially when you are self employed, but Nick never does that. He is either busy, and can't talk, or he makes his time my time.

I am convinced from having gotten to know Nick, that the knives he makes me are going to be special, and will hold a place of honor in my collection, whether or not he ever becomes "famous"(which he should), does not matter one damn bit. Whatever I get from him will be from the heart, and soul, there is not one doubt about that. Take a look at his website, and you will see what I mean. Nick does no "hype", and he really makes knives because he loves them, not because he is otherwise unemployable. Looks real cute in a leather jacket, too :barf: :D Those of us that have gotten the chance to know him appreciate him for the person that he is, and the man that he will no doubt become.

I collect knives, but I collect makers, too. Phillip Baldwin, Bob Crowder, Matt Diskin(get me some freakin' knives, King Karl), Don Fogg, Grant and Gavin Hawk(beanpole just KICKED my ass at chess), J.P. Holmes, Mel Pardue, Jim Siska, J.D. Smith, J.W. Townsend, and Butch Vallotton, they are like family to me. People say stuff like that all the time, but I do whatever I can for these guys when I see them, and make sure that they know how I feel. They make time for me, and I make time for them, and if they stop making knives, or change careers, I will still feel the same way about them.

I have in the past, put it on the line for some of them, and will continue to do so in the future. Just because a friendship starts for one reason, doesn't mean that it won't continue if other reasons come up. The above mentioned guys give EVERYTHING to their craft, it is an example that I constantly strive to keep up with, and emulate. I try to use my talents with the same passion and focus.

Robert Crowder made me a custom recurve Bowie a few years ago, he has been one of my favorite makers and people for close to 10 years. We talked about the design, and I sent him a sketch. Over the course of 3 months Bob must have sent me 6 scans of the knife in progress, and he went over EVERY detail. That knife is the definition of class, art and hard work. I still love that knife, and I appreciated every bit of work that Bob did to make it for me. If I can only get him to up his prices to where they should be, I would be a very happy man.

My point in this rambling post is that during this Holiday Season, we should take time to appreciate the people in our lives that make our time here better, more fun, more challenging. That they make cool knives is just a bonus. I have a few gorgeous knives from some crusty assed, nasty f****ers that I appreciate for what they are, but I don't care for the people very much. It is the knives that I have gotten from my friends that I treasure the most.

I wish you all Happy Holidays, and hope that you have loved ones close by to share the time with, and maybe get some cool knives too.

Best Regards,

STeven Garsson
 
Joined
Jan 25, 2000
Messages
4,490
Well put Steve. The longer someone is collecting in this hobby, the more important lasting friendships become. Anymore it is not so much where the knife comes from, but who it comes from that is important. I travel to Atlanta every year as much for the people as for the knives. I have met some great people over the years and look forward to many more to come.

That Wheeler guy IS pretty good, and one I am certainly proud to call a friend. :)

Merry Christmas to all you knifeknuts, collectors and makers alike. We share a hobby and a passion, sometimes even a little more.
 
Joined
Dec 3, 1999
Messages
9,437
I am Spartacus!

:D Okay, somehow something that "smart" seemed to be an oddly appropiate follow-up.

First off, Steve and Jamie, your checks are in the mail. ;)

In complete seriousness Steve, your post really made my YEAR!

I feel extremely fortunate to not only call work that I love my "job" but to also be involved in such an extraordinary community... The knifemaking community is one of the strangest, yet one of the best I think somone could choose to be a part of.

When I was 14, none of that entered my mind...I just wanted to make knives. How lucky I was to be drawn to this field, for so many reasons.

I very much want to be considered one of the best "in the biz" someday...and originally I thought that just meant long hours in the shop and trying to make great knives. But I've made so many friends in my quest to get there, that I've come to realize--- it's the ride...or the journey if you will, and all those you encounter and embrace along the way...that makes it all worth so much.

I feel as though I could ramble on forever here, but think it would be in better taste to simply say, THANK YOU!!!

Merry Christmas to you all, and Happy New Year!!! Have fun, and be safe! :) :D :)

-Nick-
 
Joined
Sep 16, 2003
Messages
171
As a fellow Bladesmith and an admirer of Nicks work, and talent, and eye, and forging ability, and the fact that you can't walk by his table without stoping to drool over his knives....OK I hate him. Hahahaha Truly, Nick is a fine man and a very talented asset to the knife world and every good comment heard is a comment earned. You will LOVE your knife when he is finished. Knife Magazines sometimes overlook some of the best Bladesmith's, Nick is a fine example of one, and would earn a spot in each issue of the year for sure.

Dale Baxter
www.baxterknives.com
 

SharpByCoop

Enjoying the discussions
Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
Joined
Oct 8, 2001
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12,293
Great thread, Steve. The Nick that I know deserves every mention you gave. :)

But mostly thanks for the prompting. I can think of a half dozen folks that I can call this weekend--to wish upon them the same thing--or simply to say hi. Isn't it the same?

Cool.

Coop
 
Joined
Aug 8, 2003
Messages
1,050
To start off, Great write-up Steven.

I have had the extreme pleasure in dealings with some of the makers you have listed, by the way Nick, your next.

I agree with your thoughts on Bob Crowder, he does one hell of a bang up job of keeping you posted on the knife being made.

Some of the friendliest people that I have met in my 34 years on this planet have been knifemakers, knife collectors and purveyors.

With that being said, may everyone have a Joyous and Merry Christmas.

Steven
 
Joined
Feb 28, 2002
Messages
13,337
Great post Steven - I could not agree more about the makers discussed and the sentiments expressed. I must correct one very misleading aspect of your post however. While it is technically correct that Don Fogg's available knives sell within 24 hours of his posting them, the actual selling time is often closer to 24 seconds. :p

Roger
 

Danbo

Platinum Member
Joined
Nov 28, 1999
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14,979
See my thread recently started, to see how I feel about this Wheeler guy. :)
 
Joined
Dec 15, 2004
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1,204
I agree with most of what you say but collecting in my opinion has to have alife to it like just case knives like trappers only i know guys that collect just trappers he buys case along with custom makers we forget guys like lile bo randall and others that pioneerd the industry some custom makers so called are not custom makers they have some of the most modern shops around in my opinion custom makers are like loveless randall i have had others and their knives are no different than production knives.
 

Danbo

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Joined
Nov 28, 1999
Messages
14,979
georgegilstrap said:
I agree with most of what you say but collecting in my opinion has to have alife to it like just case knives like trappers only i know guys that collect just trappers he buys case along with custom makers we forget guys like lile bo randall and others that pioneerd the industry some custom makers so called are not custom makers they have some of the most modern shops around in my opinion custom makers are like loveless randall i have had others and their knives are no different than production knives.

Umm, excuse me. Punctuate much?
 

Kohai999

Second Degree Cutter
Joined
Jul 15, 2003
Messages
12,554
ROTFLMFAO :p !!!!!...""

Just for clarification. Although 1/2 the post was about Nick, he is just the MOST recent person in the knife making community who I have come to know, that has work ethics and skills that amaze me. The other guys are just as impressive, if not more so, in thier own ways. No insults intended to anyone.

Best Regards,

Steven Garsson
 
Joined
Nov 20, 2001
Messages
7,350
I think that the collectors are much better educated now than a while back. There are a lot of fairly new makers of outstanding quality. Nick's work is on par with what comes out of the workshop of the top 25% ABS MS, IMHO.

For me, his humility isn't what's interest me. I'm much more interested in the pride he takes in making a flawless knife. Plus, he's a friend, of course. :D
 

Kohai999

Second Degree Cutter
Joined
Jul 15, 2003
Messages
12,554
Makers have better access to machinery, materials and techniques, either recently created, or re-discovered.

Best Regards,

STeven Garsson
 
Joined
May 9, 2000
Messages
29,205
Sometimes the personality of the maker is such that they seem to be standoffish. They don't like to talk much and can seem rude at times. These makers are quite often very hard to build any kind of a relationship with. This is just the way they are and it doesn't bother me. As long as they are not self centered jerks that don't know the meaning of the word communication, I don't have a problem working with these less outgoing individuals. I enjoy the realtionships that I have built with many of the makers who's knives I own, but it is not a necessary part of my purchasing decision.

Fellas like Nick deserve to do well. Awhile back I contacted him and let him know that I was interested in his work. He spent a lot of time just discussing knives, steel and whatever with me. He has always been affable and enthusiastic in his communications with me. He is his own best advertising.
 
Joined
Jun 29, 2002
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4,131
Owning a custom knife should be more than just a purchase, it should be a friendship with the maker.

That is the biggest part of shows I think, interacting with the makers. When a maker stands at his table like a tree stump, I'm not too inclined to buy. When they are friendly and willing to answer questions, I'm far more interested.
 

SharpByCoop

Enjoying the discussions
Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
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12,293
...we collector's also make each other happy to be doing what we are. Steven Garsson called me out of the blue, just to say howdy and wish me well. Thank you.

My favorite maker (if I have to choose one) is a fellow who has stopped making knives: Hill Pearce.

I gave him a call last night for about 45 mins and we had a great conversation. (He's starting to get antsy and is working on building some handguns. That's one step closer to knives....!)

Anyway, I took the time with Steven's prompting to give him a shout.

I agree with everyone here.

Coop
 
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