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Rod Chappel? Davis Knives?

Discussion in 'Custom Knife Forum Archive' started by MacHete, Apr 11, 2000.

  1. MacHete

    MacHete Hair Cropper & Chipmunk Wrangler

    Apr 7, 2000
    When I was young and even more hopelessly impoverished than I am now, I dreamed of one day owning a Chappel knife. I have seen no sign of him or his in years. Anyone know what he's up to?

    Be Worthy
  2. lifter4Him


    Sep 30, 1999
    I beleive I heard that Rod died a few years ago. His knives were awesome. Best advice is to email AG Russell at his website and ask. He sometimes has a Chappel for sale in his catalog.

    Edit-Obviously I was wrong. Mr Chappel is very much alive :)
    Dave (Phil.4:13)
    I Can Do All Things Through Him Who Strengthens Me
  3. namvet67


    Jun 25, 1999
    Last I heard, Rod "Caribou" Chappel was living in Spokane, WA. Last time I saw him was at the Bay Area Show (I think it was '96 or '97).

  4. TAH

    TAH Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 3, 2001
    Rod Chappel may be dead, but you can still call him at 425-673-9336. By the way, I'm a huge Chappel fan. Good luck!
  5. lifter4Him


    Sep 30, 1999
    Ok, looks like I killed off another guy who isn't dead yet :D
    Sorry about that Rod. Mr Chappel made some of the most awesome knives ever seen when I first got involved in collecting. He really is a great maker and I apologize for posting apparently wrong info.

  6. Les Robertson

    Les Robertson Banned BANNED

    Oct 10, 1998

    What do you have a huge Chappel collection and your trying to increase their worth?

    I have 8 Chappel Knives (and am always looking for more). I have several prototypes. Two of my favorites that I have are the
    Hunting Leopard Bowie and the Hunting Panther Bowie!

    Rod makes some great knives. However, never give him a deposit and as he is a Native American he is allowed to use fresh Walrus Ivory. Not the best material to put on a knife.
  7. TAH

    TAH Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 3, 2001

    Why do you say that natural walrus ivory isn't the best for handle material? I have own mine since 1984 and have not had any problems with it. I was always under the impression that it was more stable than elephant ivory. Is that true?

    Thanks, Tom

    P.S. do you have any chappels for sale?
  8. yitz


    Mar 5, 2000
    I've always admired Chappel knives. They were ahead of their time. Bill Claussen had a couple of nice ones for sale recently at Northwest Knives. I've also heard the remark before about "not giving him a deposit." As nice as they are, I don't think I'd like to own a knife by someone who I couldn't trust.
  9. Jim Hammond

    Jim Hammond

    Jan 7, 1999
    When I first started making knives in 1977, Rod was one of my strongest influences design-wise. His designs were masterful and he still remains my all-time favorite designer. The conversations I had with him on creativity, inspiration and the dynamics of design were awesome.

    However, having said that, it concerns me that today's generation of knife collectors and enthusiasts may not be fully aware of the other side of Rod's dealings. Having been kicked out of the Knifemakers Guild in the 1976-77 timeframe, he became famous (or rather, infamous) for taking deposits and never delivering those knives. In my case he took sizeable deposits plus large sections of walrus ivory for my knives and never delivered with anything but excuses. During those years it was an ongoing mantra among other collectors of the same story. Les wasn't kidding with his comments regarding deposits. I only have two of his knives (purchased at shows and not ordered), would liked to have had more, but these were the results of my business dealings with him.

    My appreciation for the man's talents have in no way lessened over the years, but what disappoints me concerns his character, honesty and honor.

    For those just discovering this maker and his knives, my advise would be, "Enjoy his knives, but beware of the maker!"

    Jim Hammond
  10. TAH

    TAH Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 3, 2001
    In defense of Rod, I had the opportunity to deal with him over the phone in December 1999. He had just completed a knife that I was interested in purchasing. I had heard about the "deposit thing" so I asked him to send the knife (unpaid) to a dealer that he was familiar with in New Castle, Indiana. He agreed and in two days the knife arrived. To my disappointment, the walrus ivory was cracked. I sent the knife back and in one week he had put on a new piece of ivory and sent the knife back to the dealer. I then mailed him a check. Throughout the transaction, he was very dependable, professional and timely. In further discussions with him, he seemed to be very apologetic and embarrassed about his poor business ethics of the past. He said he as trying to clean up his act because his son was trying to enter the business. He even sent me a Christmas card that year.

    The point is.......I'm not sure what the point is......I just wanted to voice my one experience with him. However, I would probably agree with Mr. Hammond and not send Rod a deposit. On the other hand, if you can buy one of his knives from a third party, do it. You will not be disappointed! There is nothing like the feel of a Rod Chappel knife in the hand.
  11. fandorin


    Jan 9, 2001
  12. TAH

    TAH Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 3, 2001
    Just found out Northwest Knives has two Chappels for sale.

    1) Hunting Leopard Combat Bowie - African blackwood - $1495
    2) Freedom Fighter - African blackwood - $995
  13. Jerry Hossom

    Jerry Hossom Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 1, 1999
    If you like Chappel's work, you ought to check out David Darpinian's. David worked for Rod for some years and is today making knives that have a lot of the same appeal. He has that same arced plunge line down pat. Dave's also a great guy and completely trustworthy.


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