View Full Version : Whom would you thank?

11-30-2007, 12:59 AM
So, brethren and sisters of the knifemaking fraternity? Whom would you thank for their influence upon you and where you are in knifemaking; be it a maker, a collector, a purveyor, or whatever?

You probably know most of the answer as far as I'm concerned. I'll list just a few tonight, chronologically, more to follow, it's pretty late:

Gil Hibben. He took me in, offered to let me and helped me make my first knife, gave me confidence I didn't have in many ways. Lots of hunting, shooting karate, m'cycle trip to L.A. and back, wow! What a crazy ride! Wish I'd learned to play that guitar he suggested my Mom buy for Christmas, back in about 1967! Still have it, some of my kids learned on it. Thanks, Gil.

Harvey Draper, and Bart. We shot a lot of .357. .38. .45 and .22 rounds. Did a lot of flying in Harvey's J4 Piper Cub. Bow hunting, but mostly knifemaking, alongside two great artists, what natural talent!

Rod Chappel. Acted like I KNEW how to make a knife, what a kick! Treated me very well, room, board, a job in a far away land.....Spokane, Washington. Good memories, didn't appreciate him as I should have. Another great talent!

Bob Loveless. Treated me like a son. Respected my parents and even my grandparents, my beliefs - me! Not a better or more generous man ever made, as far as I'm concerned. What talent! What passion! What a privilege - to work alongside him!
All have helped me, but Bob actually put my name on the blade, alongside his. Forever thankful I'll be.

Buster...................had to be one of the very most talented men on the planet, and one of the nicest! I would constantly be amazed, whenever I'd visit his shop, and home, at the things that he was doing, and at he and his wife's hospitality and generosity. I'd even get sort of depressed to think that I'd never approach his genius. I can never say enough in appreciation for his friendship, his sharing and caring & his truly unbelievable talents! Treated me like a brother, really.

11-30-2007, 02:24 PM
Steve....... Great thread. I will start it off with ours.

First I would like to thank Allen Elishwitz for our 1st custom knife, and for introducting us to the knife world. Thru him I have met and talked to many people, in no order they are;
Phone calls to and from Bob Loveless, Bill Moran, Scott Slobidan, Tom Hasingler, Johnny Stout, Bud Lang, Mark Zalesky.
We have recieved many knives both custom and factory from the compassion of the knife community. CRKT, Benchmade,Schrade,Swiss Army Knife, all sent Clayton a small knife, along with countless others that provided him with a knife during his chemo treatments. All of which Clayton sent them a handwritten Thank You note. You yourself sent him a copy of your DVD.
I think the bigest influnce on us has been former ABS chairman Joe Keesler who has made and given both my sons a custom knife. Joe has also allowed myself to invade his home on multiple times to pursue our knifebuilding quest. He has taught us forging, grinding, sheaths, engraving, anything that we ask. I can honesty call him a mentor, but more importantly I can call him and his wife Suzanne friends.
This byfar has been a highlight and diversion during the past couple of years that we have endured. Clayton has had 7 surgeries in the past 4 years and we always come back to the knife world. It is something that with his limitations he is able to due and we will pursue it as long as he wants to.

Again, Thank You

William Johnston "beebee58"

I may add to this as I have more time.

Charles Vestal
11-30-2007, 02:30 PM
Who to thank,

First thanks would have to go to Mr. Harington Lowe Jr. for giving me a couple handmade knives back in the late 80s. These knives were the first handmade knives I had seen, and I thought how hard could it be to make one of these knives, little did I know.

Next a thanks too Bob Loveless for writing the book ?How to Make Knives? the first help I had in knifemaking.

Thanks to knifemaker Ed Van Hoy for looking at my knives a couple years ago and giving me some advice that I will always remember.

I would like to thank you Steve for all of your help on this forum and for the Sub-hilt video. The video showed me many ways to improve the way I made knives both to speed up the process and to improve the quality of the finished product.

Mike Lovett has answered many questions over the past year and is deserving of a big thank you.

I would like to thank Bob Loveless again for his willingness to let me make knives based on his designs.

Dave Ellis has encouraged me to start grinding some double edge knives and has been a big help getting some of my knives out to a wider audience. Thanks Dave

Thanks to everyone on all of the knife forums for all the knowledge they share every day.

Last but by no means least my wife and two daughters for there love and understanding, when I am in the shop doing what I like to do.

Take care,

11-30-2007, 03:02 PM
Bob Engnath and Scott Slobodian, whose work and writing on the web got me into this whole mess.

Alan Folts and the rest of the NCCKG for keeping me in it.

All the guys here on Knet, for giving me ideas, helping me out and, in many cases, becoming my friends.

cliff fendley
11-30-2007, 09:39 PM
Gil Hibben, he is my mentor. Alot like like Steve, I made my first two knives right in his shop with his help when needed. We are close friends and he is like a brother to me now. He gave me several years head start in knifemaking by sharing his knowledge.
Steve, did he teach you how to play the bones?

Thanks Steve and all the others I have met at shows and on the forums willing to share their experiences. Knifemakers as a whole are always willing to share, I was speaking to Trace Mickley about this just the other day when he shared some methods of cork belt buffing to me.

11-30-2007, 10:11 PM
Gil Hibbens work that was replicated by factories caught my attention from an early age so I have to thank him for his original designs that got me into buying knives.

Next was some of Tai Goo's work that was featured in a magazine around 1993 or so. I think it was a piece called Worshiping Venus (I could be wrong about the name, I have a horrid memory) that really made me appreciate knives as works of art. His work continues to inspire me.

Next are Michigan knifemakers I met at local shows including Bob Garbe, Mike Leach, Mike Sakmar, Frank Dilluvio, and Ed Kalfayan. These guys were nice enough to give tons and tons of good advice to a young knifemaker that really needed the advice.

Ed Kalfayan went on to really help me. He started heat treating my knives along his in his oven and would invite me to his shop to show me different processes. I picked up loads of info and he would often send me home with free supplies since he was kind enough to realize how hard it was for a teenager to try and put together a shop on his own. He's one of the nicest people I have ever met.

Mick Koval from Koval Knives gave me great deals on supplies at local shows and would even send customers to my table. He was fun to talk to and I spent a fair bit of time soaking up knife culture from him. I was sad to hear of his passing but I will always remember his generosity.

Last but not least are all the members of the online knife community and TKN in specific. Lots of great info from great guys! I'm a pretty withdrawn/introverted person so I don;t make many personal connections with other makers (or people in general) but I do really appreciate the community and all the help that we give eachother. I know it sounds trite but I think of you guys as my extended family.

Thanks all!

11-30-2007, 11:03 PM

There are three people who have greatly influnced my knifemaking efforts. The knowledge these men have so eagerly shared is appreciated far more than words can say.

First would have be the fine gentleman whose name titles this forum. My first exposure to you, Steve, was in an article in one of the knife magazines (not sure which one) quite a few years back. The beauty of your work hit a cord with in me that is resonating to this day. Simply gorgeous work!

In the article you described your use of cork belts for finishing of your blades. This little bit of info solved a major headache for me.
The thread you had going a while back on the same subject, and the exceptional sub-hilt video have all have made a huge difference in my work. Thank you, Steve, for taking the time to share your knowledge and amazing talent with us!
Some day I hope to be so blessed as to own one of your fine knives!

Next would be Bob Loveless. While I have not personally met the man I learned much from his video on knife grinding. I also would have to thank him for the time he spent with a total stranger on the phone answering a few 'simple' questions on tapering tangs that I felt the video left in my feeble mind. Thank you Bob!

And last, but certainly not least would be my friend Nick Wheeler from whom I have learned a great deel on fit and finish (especially hand sanded satin finishing) as well as forging and forge building. Thank you Nick!

It never ceases to amaze me that men of this caliber, haveing spent years perfecting their art, will so eagerly (and freely) share it with all who seek.

Again, gentelmen, THANK YOU!


11-30-2007, 11:20 PM
Thanks, everyone for your reports. We all are indebted to someone who has helped us along the way. All we can do now is pass it on, I feel. Thanks for all the kind remarks.

12-01-2007, 04:43 PM
I would like to do a public gratitude to my friend Steve Johnson, that a lot help me, answering any doubt that I have.
Steve, I am a big one fortunate for being his friend, their knives and his work, are my influence since 1995.
Thank you for the friendship.
Ricardo Romano

Curt Erickson
12-01-2007, 11:05 PM
Great post I have been very fortunate to have spent time with legends in the knife world. I still use MANY techniques you have shared today in my knifemaking. My biggest influence was Buster Warenski. The time I spent with him is irreplaceable. He was a defiantly a great person and one hell of a knifemaker. I still learning things from him through my wife, Julie. She often shares great wisdom and knifemaking skills she also has learned from Buster. I am truly blessed to have had spent time with two great people and artist in one life time.
Curt Erickson

04-24-2009, 09:25 PM
Never can enough be siad about Buster Warenski. Got to see the King Tut Dagger again last week end in Santa Barbara............IMPOSSIBLE! A greater man, maker, or greater friend would be hard to find.

04-26-2009, 10:01 AM
I never met the man Steve, but I've seen some of his knives in person. If I could accomplish one knife of the workmanship and beauty of his, I'd probably hang it up for fear that I'd never be able to one better.

04-27-2009, 06:31 AM
My GranMuddy's wisdoms: "If you can't do it with 2" of sharp steel.....get and axe!" "The sharp edge is for cutting, don't put your finger on it if you don't want to get cut!" "A dull knife is a sorry tool that will most likely get you hurt." "Quiet little one and listen to the earth!" My Grandmuddy was full blood Oglala, a wonder and treasure to be with (even though she taught with a stick, NA style).
My Dad - taught me I could do anything I wanted or needed to do. He also tried to teach me to forge/smith, but you know kids and dads. Only wish he was here now to see that some of his efforts did take. "TNTD - tain't nuthin to it, do it!"
My Mom encouraged my artistic side and did get to see my work and style mature. Always the constructive critic. "Lord, that just hurts my eyes!" "Try this, it will look much better." "Make the good Lord proud, everything else will fall in place."

I guess the biggest influences in my work these days (besides my loving and supportive better half) would be my good friends in the Georgia Custom Knifemakers' Guild and several other close friends in the knifemakers' world. These guys make me want to do better through example with their own high standards, encouraging and sharing what they know.
I do not want to leave out my students - their egar desire to learn and develope skills to make quality knives has forced me to review and analyze what I do, why I do it and how I can improve.
Thank you one and all.

I wish these forums had been around years ago. Great stuff here to benefit anyone.

04-27-2009, 08:50 AM
Buster's work is amazing, Cap. Thanks.

Thanks, also, Carl. Those are some great words of counsel from your friends and parents.
The "TNTD" is great. How often do we hesitate in doing something, or taking the next step out of lack of confidence in ourselves. Thank you!

Andrew Garrett
04-27-2009, 08:59 PM
Nice to see this old thread dug out of mothballs.

David Boye made it all seem possible for me when I read his book 25 years ago.

I didn't get started until 4 years ago, and the crowd around here taught me everything I know, right here in these forums.

Ray Rogers for his tireless attendence to the same questions asked a hundred times, and the late Roc Ellis for his early friendship and sage advice. As a fellow tattooist, he knew how to communicate with me.

05-05-2009, 07:38 AM
For me, it was the Koval family that got me started in making knives from kits. When I first moved to Columbus I was out getting to know the area, got lost, and decided to turn around in the parking lot of a small business complex. I looked up and the sign in the window read Koval knives. I parked the truck, walked in, and got hooked.

Years later I went into the store to pick up some supplies and Troy Koval told me his parents had passed away earlier in the year and that they had closed the week before and were merging with Jantz.

I was making knives and letter openers for the groomsmen in my wedding, and ended up searching online for the parts I needed. I found the TKS site, and the link to the Knife Network and all the helpful folks here.

George Stoba
06-14-2009, 03:53 AM
I doubt anyone would know his name, but a man named Mel Ferris, who owned a custom knife shop in Corte Madera California, took time to encourage my knife making and show me work by custom knife makers.
He was running a business and actually had the patience to explain custom knives to me, and even introduce me to other knife makers.
He has long since passed away, but, his kindness and willingness to share his knowledge are not forgotten.

07-09-2009, 07:32 PM
I don't know that I had a single or few mentors at first. I got online looking for a custom knife to buy and found this website first. I found a website on knifemaking, before I found a knife for sale. I looked at all the knives on this site and couldn't get over how they looked. But I would defintely thank all those here who helped me start this journey. I emailed Dwayne Dushane when I first found this site because I loved his knives and noticed he was just a few miles from home. If I had known better, I honestly would have been too embarrassed to email him. I loved looking at Dwayne's and Frank Niro's knives.
Funny thing is Mr. Niro sold me a book I had been searching for high and low a few years ago (I can't believe it's been that long ago) Recently he's been a HUGE help and on helping me with liner locks. We've gotten to be friends. Also Jerry McClure has had me in his shop, and helped me start looking at my knives differently. I was always afraid to try different things and he's got me to trying it. All three make extremely classy folding knives. I consider these guys at the top of their game, and thank them for their inspiration and help wether directly or indirectly by answering questions for EVERYONE on here.

07-09-2009, 10:31 PM
Another student of Gil's here. Like AUBE, I got into collecting knives when I discovered Gil's factory line. Later I met Gil, took one of his knifemaking classes and he hasn't been able to get rid me since.

Steve, you have offered me tips and advice and even signed my application to the Knifemakers Guild. The Guild and it's members have been an incredible source of information and education about knifemaking.

Buster set an incredibly high bar for us all but it is a great goal to shoot for. The simple elegance of Scagel's knives keep me mindful of form and function. The amazing integrals of Ron Best remind me that even the relative newcomers can teach us a lot. The meticulous attention to detail in Gray Taylor's folders demonstrate patience and remind me that even great old knives can be improved.

The others that have influenced, inspired and helped me are too numerous to list. I almost never come away from talking with a knifemaker without learning something.

The generosity and brotherhood among knifemakers is simply amazing and I enjoy that as much as making the knives.

07-10-2009, 01:22 AM
I doubt anyone would know his name, but a man named Mel Ferris, who owned a custom knife shop in Corte Madera California, took time to encourage my knife making and show me work by custom knife makers.
He was running a business and actually had the patience to explain custom knives to me, and even introduce me to other knife makers.
He has long since passed away, but, his kindness and willingness to share his knowledge are not forgotten.

Mel was certainly a great guy who did a lot to further the cause of custom knifemaking. He deserves our thanks! We all have had great and kind and generous support from many along the way.