Frustrating Search for Unknown Knifemaker

Joined
Oct 17, 2004
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I've been searching for quite some time now via the internet for some information concerning a knifemaker of days gone by, and have been unable to find anything. Perhaps someone in this forum could aid me. Here goes:
A LONG time ago (perhaps 20 years back), I remember seeing a "Ripleys Believe It Or Not" segment in a book which featured a knifemaker who ostensibly had an amazing ability to obtain the utmost performance from the steels he employed in his knifemaking. I'm uncertain as to whether he was a stock-removal man or a hand-forger; memory seems to favour the latter. Anyhow, the photo and ensuing description showed this fellow at an anvil with one of his knives, which would best be described as being of the "butcher knife" style, if memory serves. He also had, laying on the anvil, a wagon axle, you know, the old square axles (made of mild steel, I suppose) with the wheel hubs on the ends. I'd say approximately 1" square. He would place his knife, cutting edge down, on the axle, forthwith proceeding to beat on the back of the knife with mallet or hammer, until he had cut most of the way through the axle. Then he would move the knife over , perhaps 3/4", and do it again. This was continued, until eventually there were MANY cuts in the axle, resulting in its' bowing towards the ground over the edge of the anvil. Now this doesn't seem too fantastical, but doing this with a kitchen knife, and here's the rub, a knife that seemed not to suffer injury, and would cut normally after such abuse, is something which bears further scrutiny, I feel.

Before anyone ridicules this as so much hooey, bear in mind that throughout the ages, there is a reason that things of an esoteric and mysterious nature, whether in reference to matter or life or God, were often referred to as "The Great Mystery", and for good reason. We don't know very much about anything (Anyone that has forged blades knows that every blade is as unique and unpredictable as can be imagined).

There was a fellow in Saskatchewan, Canada, who took it upon himself to build a sailing ship, and he found that certain of the large iron hardware that required forging was impossible for him to create until the "cosmos" or planets or astrological influences were "right on". May sound crazy, but hey, they said Copernicus was crazy too, and he was forced to recant his conjecture that the Sun was at the center of our solar system, a fact which we obviously know and accept today.

At any rate, I'm just curious as to whether anyone has heard anything about this mysterious, seemingly forgotten knifemaker. It seems to me that he was from Nebraska, or perhaps even Iowa. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. :confused:
 
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Oct 3, 2002
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Sid Suedeirer, a good friend and owner of Little Giant power hammer Co. has a large collection of Richtig's. He can probably answer any and all questions about Richtig and his knives. I'm pretty sure Sid supplied the Richtig knife that Ed fowler tested. Sid's website is below.

Little giant site

Don Hanson lll sunfishforge.com
 
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Dec 7, 2000
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You guys are my heros with good reason. :D Thanks for the link Dan. Anywhere in NE isn't too far from here and I may just follow up on this myself.
 

Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

ilmarinen - MODERATOR
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Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
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Aug 20, 2004
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As already said,"Frank Richtig".The photo you want and an article about him are in Ed fowlers Knife talk (vol 1)page 75.
 
Joined
Nov 27, 1999
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There was a fellow in Saskatchewan, Canada, who took it upon himself to build a sailing ship, and he found that certain of the large iron hardware that required forging was impossible for him to create until the "cosmos" or planets or astrological influences were "right on". May sound crazy

Doesn't sound silly to me. I have discovered bt accident that my very best Damascus blades come after burning a sock.....with my foot in it! :rolleyes:
 
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Sep 7, 2004
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Hey I'm from Saskatchewan myself, and there's not a lot of places to sail a ship, though I always thought it would be fun to build one.
 
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Nov 27, 1999
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He's sort of an icon Ivan. He was even featured on Ripley's believe it or not if I'm not mistaken. If you have ever seen the logo on Buck knives with the blade being hammered through a bolt, I think they took it from him. From what I've read, he did that trick on a regular basis and it didn't seem to hurt the edge.

On a down note....his knives could win an "ugly Knife Contest" easy. Most that I've seen pictures of were butcher style blades with a metal handle. He did make some fighters that were prized by the military.
 
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Oct 17, 2004
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Greetings from snowy Alberta. Just wanted to extend a much-appreciated thank you to all who responded to my question, thus solving this six-month mystery for me. I'll be sure to utilise this newly-discovered knife venue before anything else, should the need arise in the future (as I'm sure it will). A fabulous wealth of information. Thanks again.
 
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Oct 22, 2004
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The maker was indeed, Richtig. Louis Chow at Subhilt6 Is a collector and dealer in Richtig, Moran, Loveless, and Lovett. The Bolt cutting scene on the Buck knives is legend in the knife world. Seems that dealer or advertizing Exec. (sorry many years), while visiting the Randal Shop in Fia, observed Bo lightly tapping a heat treated and course sharpned blade through a bolt, Turns out that Bo Randal used stove bolts--very soft mostly iron, to test his temper for brittlness, from time to time, Buck ended up using this as a logo. Al Buck sated year's later that it was the best and worst marketing idea in history. It sold a lot of knives and established the buck legend as a hell-bent for strong knife. Unfortunatly so many customers tried it, that they almost went broke in the early years. Seems that customers thought they could take a harned bolt and give the back of the blade a good whack. It was pictured on the knife right! Pling!!!!! And the rest as they say is history
 
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