View Full Version : Robert W. Loveless, True Legend

09-02-2010, 09:31 PM
Bob Loveless passed away this morning at 11:30 a.m., peacefully, according to Jim Merritt, at home in Riverside, California. He had been quite ill for a few months and things were not getting better. He is now at rest, if he will rest, even where he is now, and out of pain. I need not relate what Bob means to me and how he affected my life and my thinking regarding knives. He treated me like a son, which says it all, regarding our relationship when I was working with him. I do what I do because of him, certainly not discounting the affect of Gil Hibben and Harvey Draper, Rod Chappel, Buster Warenski and A.G. Russell. All were of great influence on me, but the Loveless Knife and the man, Bob Loveless, set me on the path that I still follow, at least as far as knife designs go. I'm basically a "Loveless-style" knifemaker.

Rarely do we meet someone who lived his life as he desired, doing whatever he wanted and accomplishing as much as Bob did. He will forever be the one we speak of when we talk of the modern "Benchmade" knife. Not many have had a greater influence on the handmade, and even factory knife industry. I don't mean to take away anything from Bo Randall, Scagel, Morseth, Ruana, Buck and many others, but the word "Loveless" means what it means and no one can dispute that. A great man, a great mind, a good man, a man with whom it was certainly an honor to work beside. I'm sure that will become even more of an honor, as time goes by and as I consider what a blessing that time was for me. Jim Merrit said that Bob passed peaceably, for which I am thankful. Thank you, Mr. Loveless! My prayers and love go out to his daughters and families and his wife, Yoshi.

09-02-2010, 09:52 PM
Blessed be. He has laid his mark on all of us.

-Alan R.

09-02-2010, 10:49 PM
My condolence to you Steve..I know this must be a very sad time for I am too...RIP Bob I will miss you.

09-03-2010, 12:49 AM
Thank you. I can't put much into words at the moment, too much going through my head, all day.....
Guess we all need to process just what feelings we have about Bob and how to express them, some more than others. Thank you, again.

09-03-2010, 02:25 AM
My condolences to you Steve, and Bob's family.

09-03-2010, 05:19 AM
Sad news!
A true legend...will live forever!

Robert Washburn
09-03-2010, 01:11 PM
Steve, Iam so sorry to hear this.My condolances to you and his family. Robert

09-03-2010, 08:04 PM
My condolences to you Steve, I am sorry.
I would like a lot of knowing Mr. Bob Loveless.
I also want my condolences for the family of Loveless.

Charles Vestal
09-04-2010, 09:37 AM
Steve, I would like to express my condolences to you for the loss of your dear friend.

Prayers also for the Loveless family.


09-05-2010, 12:44 AM
Thanks, everyone, for your kind comments and remembrances of Bob. I think, someday, I might just sit down and write a little memory or two, now and then, of that time I spent in L.A. and Riverside. When it feels right and if it wouldn't be out of line. I'll have to think about it.......

Charles Vestal
09-05-2010, 07:41 AM
Steve, I don't think it would be out of line at all.

I would enjoy reading about your time spent with Mr. Loveless and I'm sure others feel the same.

One of the lessons I know you learned from Mr. Loveless is the sharing of techniques and the way you make your knives, for this I am grateful.

All the best to you


09-06-2010, 10:33 PM

I'll guarantee that Mr. Loveless was proud when he looked at your knives, too!

Ditto on the stories... I'd love to hear them too!!


09-09-2010, 12:38 PM
With deepest sympathy my condolences to you Steve, Bob's family and everyone else that looked up to Loveless as a knife legend.
In my book he was the greatest knife designer of the last century and probably all times. He took knifemaking out of the stone age and brought it to life.
Steve, I often think of the time when you worked in the loveless shop as the 'Golden Age". It is the Age of Enlightenment where the light started shinning.
He was to knifemaking what Gretzky was to hockey.

09-10-2010, 11:34 AM
Yes, I remember the early 70's & the " Golden Age "; when Bob took a group of
knifemakers from the wilderness & led them singlehandedly into the promise land
with his designs & execution. He showed everyone else what was possible. The world wobbled on its axis; I swear it did, at least from a knifemakers stand point. Bob was the best who ever lived, knifemaking included.

What a Loss.....

I have been struggling for words ever since Sept 2. I really thought he was immortal.
or at the very least, should have been.

I am very sorry Steve & for his family. I know Bob was like a second Father to you
and you were like a son to him.

What a Hole this leaves in all of us .....especially you.

09-13-2010, 01:12 PM
Thanks for all the kind words, everyone. Bob is a one of a kind and anyone who was privileged to know him had a great opportunity.
I called him in the spring of 1971, upon the suggestion of A. G. Russell and after a little visit on the phone, he asked me to send him some samples of my work. I sent him a little ivory-handled Draper skinner (Subsequently stolen from the table at the Houston Show in 1972?) and another knife, I don't recall exactly which one, maybe my first knife, made at the Hibben shop, not sure. He soon called back and said something like, "Well, son, (He called me "son" often, even early on) if you really did make these knives, come on down and we'll talk," or " me what you can do." Or something like that. I flew down to L.A., he picked me up at LAX, quite an experience in and of itself for this country boy! He then drove us to 4319 W 156 St. in Lawndale, pointed out some bars of steel, he called 154-CM, lying there in the driveway and put me up in a little motel a few blocks from his home fed me and I worked with him for a couple of days. He then said, "Go get your things and come on back." (Realize that I'm paraphrasing here, that was 39 years ago!) I was a bit nervous and excited, but didn't really know the this was the start of me getting to know a fellow who would soon become one of the greatest men in the custom knife world.

09-13-2010, 01:35 PM
Bob was still giving everyday, he allowed our Southern Calfornia Knifemakers Assoc. to meet in his shop every January. He would be sitting on a stool next to his workbench with a gruff look on his face while we were all waiting to see who would break the ice with the legand. Once the first question was aired he gave all and answered all questions and told all secrets, nothing held back. Truly a wonderful person and a will have a continueing effect on custom knifes for many, many years.

09-14-2010, 03:28 PM

Just a suggestion, maybe you are already doing it, but I would,
a little at a time, start cataloging these memories maybe before
you even went to the Davis shop in Washington St even when you were
knocking around in Utah with Draper, Hibben & Warenski. Sounds like
a good book ! I am sure there is someone in the knife world that could
hook you up with a biographer & even a publisher. Kinda like your
outstanding video, only in written form. A story that would be worth
reading for sure.

Thad Buchanan
09-15-2010, 09:27 AM
Steve, I think it would honor Bob if you shared what you could with the world. He will definitely live on in the knife world for generations and any window into his life will help document not just his accomplishments, but who he was and show people that Bob Loveless was a giant in a very ordinary world. You're one of the few people who could do it justice.

I too would like to hear more about that Golden Age and your experiences as you lived it.

Please do it....


09-15-2010, 05:03 PM
Whenever we needed to cut out blade blanks, we'd scribe about a hundred (?) or so and take them down to a friends "knife manufacturing company" where they made a commercial knife for some specific use and use their punch press. We'd cut along the back of the blade, make a cut with a cut-off saw for the curve at the bottom rear of the handle and then make a cut along the bottom of the blade, cut the two angles for the pommel and it'd be done, took a minute, or two. Then, in another minute, or two, we'd grind that blank to outline and it'd be ready to grind the blade and taper the tang. Pretty efficient! There was always the risk of losing a finger, I never got very comfortable with that punch press. I don't know how Bob and Jim cut out their blanks. It took an hr. or two, I guess and then we'd have a stock of blade blanks for quite a while to work from.

Charles Vestal
09-15-2010, 08:42 PM
Sounds like you and Bob had the blade profiling figured out.

Thank you for sharing your memories of your time spent with Mr. Loveless.

I will be looking forward to future installments.

Take care


09-17-2010, 02:46 PM
Can you imagine what went through my mind when I first hit Los Angeles, California, having driven down from Manti, Utah (Pop. 1500) to begin working with R. W. Loveless?
I finally got to Lawndale, pulled off this big street and asked a gas station attendant if he could tell me where Hawthorne Boulevard is? He pointed behind me and said, "Right there!" All I really knew for sure was that 156th was right off of Hawthorne Blvd. Me? Embarrassed? I got to his house and met Bob and his family and he took me back across Hawthorn to the Paradise Apartments and I rented my first studio apt. where I lived until we moved to Riverside, about 2 1/2 yrs. later, more, or less. I was certainly out of my element, but Bob drove most of the time, anyway, when we went on the road and in time I got to be pretty comfortable driving in one of the largest cities in the world. (This apt. was where I was living when my neighbor was found, having been killed elsewhere, in Carson, or somewhere and dropped back in her apt. I had noticed something suspicious about the place just before she was found. It was a bit troubling for this young man! Bob was concerned for me and kind of "watched over me" for a while, a little more than usual. I must have been a bit troubled, for when I called home to report it, collect, the operator connecting the call asked me if I was alright. My voice must have been a bit shaky).

Bob more than once mentioned that living in L.A. gives you quick access to any supplier of any item that you need, generally. We spent a lot of time on the L.A. freeways picking up leather, belts, grinders, Compound at RCH Supply, Micarta? at Angus-Campbell, (Where Ken had every Rose Bowl ticket stub for many, many years stapled to the front of the service counter) tools of all kinds, delivering blades and picking them up for heat treat at Downey Steel Treating, eating at the Golden Phoenix Chinese Restaurant in Hawthorne, I believe, Bob always ordered pork-fired rice and bok choi, it was a great restaurant, photographic equipment, gun-related items at Cole's Sporting Goods in Inglewood, King's Gun Works - did Jim Hoag work there? - Armand Swenson's, Brass Rail Gun Shop in Hollywood, where I met Dave Crosby once, he had already visited Bob's shop in Lawndale, 2-3 times. Anyway, we'd be gone for hours, sometimes and Bob always listened to KNX News Radio. I hated it! He did listen to some elevator music station at times, never western music! Now, whenever we hit southern California, I long to hear KNX 1070 FM! We'd go to work at about 10 a.m. and quit at 10 p.m., or later, but sometimes those hours were filled by running around to get this or that. Am I rambling? If so, I apologize.

Thad Buchanan
09-18-2010, 04:58 AM
Steve, you're not rambling in my opinion. It's fun to hear these stories about Bob. It must have been thrilling for you to do those things with him.

It's my understanding that he had a fondness for Chinese food and a favorite place to get it right up to the end.

Keep 'em coming.

09-18-2010, 10:23 AM
Rambling???.....I am hanging on to every word! Extremely interesting.

09-18-2010, 01:29 PM
Steve, back when I with Jimmy Lile, I sat and talked with Bob at the Guild show at the hotel in Kansas City. YOu were there as I recall and all I can say is what you have said, A true legend in custom knives, now gone, was a gift in so many ways. My deepest condolences.

09-18-2010, 03:32 PM
Thanks, all.
I don't think Bob, Yoshi, or his daughters, Alison, Robin and Mary, would mind if I put this quote, from Alison in here: "His memorial celebration is this coming Saturday, 9/18 at 3:00 at Yoshiko's daughter's home, in Riverside." Maybe around 3:00 p.m. PDT today we can all just pause for a moment and remember, perhaps say a prayer for the family and this great knifemaker. I'm surely sorry that I can't attend. (Posted on USN, also).

09-22-2010, 10:07 AM
Bob and I were doing our laundry one night in Lawndale and we, mostly he, came up with what I call the "Johnson Handle." It evolved from a small ivory-handled skinner that Bart Draper and I designed one night by the camp fire on the bow hunt east of Ephraim, UT. The original design had a lot of curve to the back of the handle, which I straightened out in the early '80's, I believe, to make it a little more comfortable to use with the edge up. The first knife made with that handle shape is called the Short Hunter. It had a short 3" blade and a little serrated bump toward the point where one could rest one's finger to help with the "feel" in keeping track of the edge and point when dressing out a deer and your hands were out of sight inside the body cavity, cutting out the diaphragm and internal organs. I cut my thumb badly on my first deer, when I wasn't aware of the location of the 5" blade on that old Wester hunting knife, was while doing the above. This little knife and the later 3 5/8" Deer Hunter solved that problem. Bob was just a wonderful designer, which is an obvious observation if there ever was one!

I was saddened when the little Draper skinner was stolen off of our table in Houston, in 1972, I believe, when Bob and I drove his new bright yellow Chevy Blazer from Lawndale to Houston for the Guild Show. I recall that we hit Indio, California at about 1:00 a.m. and it was still over 100?F! He later gave me a S & W M-39 pistol to compensate for the loss. He really felt badly about me losing that knife! I still do. Someday, I'll run across it and get the story of who took it, I hope. On the trip we visited El Paso and the S. D. Myers leather shop, a customer in Del Rio, the Y.O. Ranch, where we shot at some rabbits, they surely were nice to us. We also stopped at Langtry and toured Judge Roy Bean's Jersey Lilly Saloon. I believe, after that trip, the little hidden tang utility knife that is etched "Bad Bob's" came about because of and had something to do with Judge Roy Bean. Can't remember for sure, sorry to say. Of course, I may be wrong.....

One highlight of that trip included our stopping now and then, out there in the Texas desert and shooting Bob's 44 Auto Mag, which was serialized with his initials and a number, which he got from the President of Auto Mag, Harry Sanford. They probably traded a knife for the gun. Quite a handgun! Recoil was not nearly as apparent as a 44 Mag. S & W.

Thad Buchanan
09-22-2010, 09:32 PM
That's a great story. I get the impression Bob was a boy trapped in a man's body when it came to having fun.

09-23-2010, 12:24 AM
True, Thad. Bob was that way, just like most of us, when it comes right down to it!

09-23-2010, 10:36 AM
That was an excellant story Steve. Keep them coming. I also get the
impression that Bob had quite a gun collection too.

09-24-2010, 01:56 AM
Bob really appreciated a fine firearm, though he never really kept an inordinate number around, as I recall. He especially liked the S&W "Triple lock" and a well-built .45. Loved a great camera and watch, too. I'm sure his tastes may have changed over the years, but I'd bet the 1911 was still a favorite.

Bob and I, as I mentioned above, visited Armand Swenson and King's Gun Works, mostly to look at the .45's and get some work done at King's on the two 1911's that we had customized. While visiting with Mr. Swensen, he handed me a rifle that he was working on and I immediately swung the muzzle upwards, right smack into the metal band that used to run along the bottom of those old swing-up the garage doors. Talk about feeling like a fool! Bob was a bit disgusted with me, I think, though he didn't say anything.

At the risk of straying off subject a bit; that reminds me of one of the first times that I met Harvey Draper out at the airport, between Manti and Ephraim. He was shooting his .45 and let my brother-in-law, a pilot too, take a look at it. Then it was handed to me and I immediately pushed the magazine release button, allowing the mag to fall out onto the blacktop. This gruff sounding guy by the name of "Harve" said, "Now you know what that button's for!" I was perhaps barely in high school and had not handled a pistol much before and it was pretty embarrassing. My brother-in-law was probably pretty disgusted, also! Harvey Draper is quite a story, too. For more info. on him, just go here: Bob and Harve each had a lot of respect for each other, I believe.

The first Loveless knife and the first time I ever heard of Loveless was in the Draper shop, perhaps along about 1967-68 when someone sent Harve and Bart a Loveless hunter with rhinoceros hide (not horn) handle slabs that needed some work, I think they were a bit warped, or something. The one and only rhino hide handle I ever saw. I thought it was kind of cool. I was always amazed at how they both could grind, sculpt a handle on the grinder and always come up with exactly what they wanted. Bob flew a Starduster II, bi-plane, I believe, at least in the mid-70's. Harvey flew a Piper Cub, J-4, the one with side-by side seating. That reminds me: Harve flew me up over the mtns. one day, turned off the engine and we glided around for a while, then he nosed it over into a dive and eventually the prop got turning fast enough to start the engine. No electric start on that old plane! Harve was famous around here for flying under power lines, etc.

09-24-2010, 11:44 AM
Also reading Harvey Draper's website, It sounds like Bob & Harvey were alot
alike. Both from the " old school ". Living life on their terms; they lived as they
chose, went where they wanted, did what they wanted- "the old breed".

Did Bob ever take you up in his Bi-Plane?


09-28-2010, 11:17 AM
Bob used to do virtually all of the soldering, when I was there. The old "special melt" tool steel soldered like a dream, never any problem with the guards, or even the brass inserts in the tang, everything just stuck. There was, however, really a lot of trouble getting 154-CM to solder, even with N.S. and brass fittings when we first started using that steel that was in the driveway when I arrived. The representative from Eutectic came to the shop and after he suggested Eutectic 157 with the appropriate flux, things were a little better, but not "easy." He came back and then suggested that we use Eutectic 682, "For difficult to wet alloys." Things were a lot easier then, though soldering that steel is not what you'd call, "easy," still, at least for me. I may have soldered 5-10 knives, most of which would have been those I made for myself, but I do remember soldering a knife or two to show a guy who wanted to make knives, who'd visit the shop now and then. I did a pretty good job, as I recall, but it was because I'd watched Bob do about a million soldering jobs. Bob would also shape all of the handles. Bob and I would cut, grind to outline and rough grind the blades, and I'd generally re-grind after heat treat, then polish and fit guards. Then Bob would rough shape the handles and while I'd finish the handles, Bob would get going with the sheaths. By the time I'd have some of the handles done, he'd be ready to fit the sheaths, then he pretty much would etch the blades with the old KMER etching process and I'd sharpen the knives. That etching had to start after dark, as the KMER process involved darkroom work and the one way to get the room dark was to wait until dark. We worked late most of the time, anyway, so it worked fine. In Riverside, we had a room that we could just shut the door and do the stencil work, as I recall. For sharpening, it seems like Bob would put the initial bevel on the edge and then I'd generally finish them up on the stone. Got lots of practice sharpening knives on a stone, I tell ya!

Eldon Talley
09-29-2010, 04:37 PM
Thanks for sharing your memories.

10-04-2010, 09:37 PM
I remember the autos that Bob bought that we'd tool around L.A. in: His little Honda Civic that he bought not long after I arrived. Got great mileage and would carry us and most anything a knifemaker had to haul around town. Of course heavy machines were shipped in, but we didn't really get a lot of new equipment, a grinder, a buffer, saw, maybe a lathe, not sure. He had a little Clausing Mill that worked fine for all we used it for, and which worked as well for working on the S&W M41 conversions that he'd do now and then. He let me drive that Civic to Utah for Christmas in 1972, probalby and it ran very well, even in the snow up above our farm, looking for jackrabbits. (I stayed on the road!)

The yellow Chevy Blazer which we drove to Houston and to Idaho, that winter and visited Bernie Sparks and family. They fed us well and I took the Blazer over to Montpelier, I believe, and visited a high school friend. On the way back, I slipped it into 4wd and ran off into the barpit and back onto the road in about 2' of snow. Bob happened to see me out the window of the Sparks' house and it miffed him a bit, but no problem. It was snowing so hard when we left that we probably wouldn't have made it back to Logan, UT if we hadn't had a 4wd vehicle.

He also bought that '69, or so - I'm just guessing, Barracuda with the push-button gear shift which he'd wanted for a long time. Pure nostalgia! Then, of course,in 1972-3(?) Honda came out with it's 4 cylinder motorcycle and we got two of the first 350cc/fours in L.A., at least we thought so. They were some of the first at that dealer's place, I know. We rode those around until 1974 when I went back home to Utah. I took my M'cycle. driver's test when I got back to riding in probably 1975 and the DL examiner said, when I handed him my old license, "You drove around L.A., huh? You probably don't even need to take this test!"

Bob loved to fly and we, or he, got his Private Pilot License at Rose Aviation at the Hawthorne Airport. Scott, his instructor said, after his first solo, "He is probably the best student I've ever had." It was great running down to the airport and putting in a little solo time flying out and back to various areas of L.A., up and down the Pacific Coastline and circling the holding pattern over Alondra Park, just a few blocks from the old Loveless Shop in Lawndale. He later picked up the Starduster II bi-plane, which he seemed to really enjoy, until he got landed on while on approach at the Riverside Airport. I don't know anything about that occurrence.

As you can see, Bob was very generous. Who on earth would let a "kid" (I was barely 21 at this time) drive an almost new car from Calif. to Utah, in the winter and then take another, almost new 4x4, out in the snowy winter in Idaho? Really?

I can't remember any more vehicles, at the moment, but if I do, I'll add to this, as I just did to the one above dated 09/17/2010, which is the 21st entry.

Charles Vestal
10-06-2010, 05:31 AM

I am really enjoying reading your memories of your time spent with Mr. Loveless.

If you don't mind me asking, how long did you work in the Loveless shop?

Take care


10-06-2010, 11:40 AM
I think everyone is enjoying reading about the Life & Times of Bob,
and the time you spent with him. Keep "Jogging" that memory Steve.:)

10-06-2010, 01:01 PM
Although I've spent too much time reading this thread, I'd happily spend a few more hours.

Steve, you're not only a "pretty" good knifemaker but a great writer as well. Please keep it coming.


10-06-2010, 04:40 PM

I am really enjoying reading your memories of your time spent with Mr. Loveless.

If you don't mind me asking, how long did you work in the Loveless shop?

Take care


Thank you, Charles. I'm enjoying it, too, but it's.........I don't know......

According to the Loveless Catalogue: "In May of 1971, a young man called me from Spokane, to talk about working in this shop. A week later, I picked him up at the airport, and in the next four days watched how he handled the work I laid our for him. His name is Steven R. Johnson, and he comes from Sanpete County, Utah, where he first began learning the trade of knifemaking under Gil Hibben. Later work with Harvey Draper and then in the Davis Shop in Spokane gave him a good basic foundation in knifemaking."

I wrecked my pickup in Nevada in October of 1974, on the way home for the deer hunt, so it was probably close to October 17th. That makes it 3 years and 4 months. That's nothing, compared to Jim Merritt's time with Bob.

10-08-2010, 03:03 AM
One day, checking out the progress of the twin .45 Autos (Two National Match frames with Commander slides, using the N.M. target sights) that King's Gun Works was working on I remember Bob discussing the welding of the rear of the frame with, I think, Jim Hogue, when Jim started telling us about the robber who came into the store and accosted the salesperson at the front. Jim heard what was going on and crashed through the office door with a shotgun and blasted a round at the intruder, just as he was rounding the corner of the doorway, narrowly missing him.

Another time, Bob went out with some deputies (There were deputies in the shop every now and then) to act as a drug buyer in order to nab some local drug dealers, maybe it had to do with a car theft, not sure.... All I remember is that when they came back to the shop, Bob was very quiet and didn't have anything to say about what happened. He was obviously concerned, I wouldn't say, "shook-up" but he was not his usual talkative self. He never did tell me exactly what happened that night, but I could tell it wasn't fun, maybe exciting in one way or another, but not fun!

10-08-2010, 10:27 PM
Hi, Steve:

I've been reading this thread with interest. I've been wanting to post a few things, but I'm just not ready yet. I know Bob had just a few days left when I last talked to him. He sounded so tired and weak. I knew it was coming, but I still wasn't ready for it.

I still catch myself picking up the phone to call him before I realize what I'm doing. I'm just a little slow on the up-take I guess.
Thank God for Jim. He has had so much to take care of.

The Loveless Connection Knives

10-10-2010, 02:46 PM
Steve, I've been away from the computer for a few days and just now read about Mr. Bob (that's what Clay called him). I'm so sorry to hear about this.

My only memories of Bob Loveless are the 2 times that he called to talk to Clayton (each one at least 20 minutes) and I about knives. We found out from him that we only live 20 minutes away from his birth place here in Ohio. Bob even sent Clay a book about his knives and asked which one he liked the best. We never got that knife, but we cherish the memories of our conversations. We even kept the box that the autographed book came in.

The knife world lost a true pioneer of custom made knives.

William "BB" Johnston and Clayton

10-11-2010, 11:17 AM
The word is getting around and more are saddened daily, it seems. I got two emails last week from people who'd, "Just heard" and wanted to comment about the loss that we all feel. There are so many stories out there about Bob. Thanks for commenting. I saw Bob hand over a new Horn folder in a Guild business meeting to someone who had been recognized for doing something good for the Guild, just reached in his pocket, handed him the knife and said, Thanks!"

10-11-2010, 01:56 PM
Bob always had some coffee cans with holes in their lids sitting around on the floor of the shop, perhaps under the bench, that had "MT 45," or "MT 9mm," or "MT 38" on the plastic lids. These were for collecting "empty" brass from times out at the range, or on the desert whenever he'd go shooting. An older fellow by the name of Johnnie Gillespie, who lived a ways up north, would drop by, once or twice a year and pick them up and leave a bunch of loaded ammo in brown paper bags, folded over and sealed with his label. I bought some of these and finally fired the last ones a couple of years ago. They were getting a little sluggish, but they were at least 20-30 year old reloads. Didn't want to make my 45 function very snappily!" I think Mr. Gillespie was having a kind of hard time and Bob enjoyed buying his ammo and helping him out a bit, plus they were good reloads. As mentioned, the 45 and the old S&W Triple Lock were two of his favorites, but most any pistol held an interest for him. He liked the S&W Bodyguard, also, as I recall. We visited the Auto Mag facility a couple of times, maybe and on he second visit, I think, he and Mr. Sanford made the trade of a knife (Fighter or Boot?) for the pistol. It surely would be great to see that pistol again, with the serial number that includes, either "RWL" or "RL" as part of the number. I can't remember exactly what the ser.# was.

10-11-2010, 06:28 PM
Always did like the looks of the Auto Mag.

The Loveless Connection Knives

10-20-2010, 06:22 PM
One time, for a while, in Lawndale, Bob had an acquaintance who lived in Elko, Nevada who was encouraging him to move the business up there. He even went up there to check it out. In a little while, we drove up there to have a look. We took the long deserted highway from Tonopah to Elko and I do mean deserted! It wasn't the famous "Loneliest road in the U.S.," Highway 50, but it must have been at least Highway "49 1/2!" We drove to Las Vegas, then on to the north after staying the night in Tonopah, to Battle Mountain and finally Elko. It took the whole day and, though the scenery was interesting, but a bit boring at times, we only saw one car - and one airplane that seemed to be following along the highway. (He was looking for signs of life, too, perhaps!)

We spent a couple of days in Elko looking around, even visited the manufacturer of a camp saw that was made for hunters, that had a blade that was about a foot long, with a "T" handle of cast aluminum, that Bob thought was pretty neat. The owner was an older fellow and Bob was considering buying the rights to make the saw, thought it'd be a great addition to the Loveless line. We both got pretty excited about living in that area.

After we left for home and got back to Lawndale we proceeded to work on how we were going to move. I loved the idea, it was basically like we'd be moving back to territory that was a lot like where I'd grown up, high semi-arid desert and the Ruby Mountains weren't far away. We'd be able to ride motorcycles, shoot, hunt, fish, whatever! See the stars in the night sky! Well, about a month later, more or less, Bob said one morning, immediately as I stepped through the door of the shop, "Steve, come here, I need to talk to you. I walked to the back end of the shop by the little heater in the right-hand corner and he said, "Son, I just can't see how we can move to Elko, I know you want to go, but it just isn't going to work." (Or something along those lines, I don't recall the exact words, but I do vividly recall his sincerity and concern that this was going to be a difficult dream to give up, maybe more on my part than his.) I was quite sad about this turn of events, but suspecting from what I'd heard from this comment and that, of late, what the situation was going to be like in Elko, and how things were in L. A., I understood. I appreciated the fact that he found it hard to do what he did and for the concern he had for me and what I'd been planning on for quite a while. I think, within the year, we started looking at Riverside, for a new location. Smoggy old Riverside! Why would anyone want to move to Riverside!!?? But then, Riverside was the "country" compared to L.A.!

10-21-2010, 05:28 PM

Excellant story !...On the road up to Tonopah, did you & Bob stop in at "Area 51"
& pay the Aliens a visit? That plane was probaby a UFO !!! Great story tho.

10-21-2010, 11:46 PM

Excellant story !...On the road up to Tonopah, did you & Bob stop in at "Area 51"
& pay the Aliens a visit? That plane was probaby a UFO !!! Great story tho.

I guess we were in the area, but neither one of us mentioned it, or aliens, on the whole trip.

10-22-2010, 12:24 PM
I received this from Bob's daughter, Alison this morning and we thought it might be nice to post.

"I have a recording of him on my voice
mail I will never erase, telling me to "call Papa." He always had some
politics he wanted to discuss with me when he was bothered about the
world--and I would always tell him that God had been running the world for a
long time, and not to worry. One of my oldest friends told me that my
father is in Heaven now, making his best knives for God, to arm the Angels
for the final battle between good and evil--perhaps so. Maybe you could
share that with your brother knife makers on the list--it will bring them
some peace, knowing Papa is with God now where he belongs (and my mom is
probably chasing him around with a rolling pin!! Lol)"

10-27-2010, 11:10 AM
This election season would be making Bob pretty upset, I think. He was always troubled by those who were supposed to be doing what was best for the state, country, etc. It really bothered him that elected officials were so crooked at times. Of course some leaders were doing a good job and he'd acknowledge that, but many times the lack of integrity really got to him. He really supported the law enforcement community and not many weeks would go by without a police officer dropping by to say hello. This didn't happen so much in Riverside, while I was there, but from what he said, later, it seemed like it was pretty common within a few years after I left. Bob always had an opinion on most things and they weren't radical or out of line, they were based on his checking out the subject/situation and making an informed decision. The mess we and California are in now would probably be a daily subject of conversation for him. Alison, after reading this says, "Of course, you've softened it up a little
bit! Papa could use some very colorful language to describe the people in politics!" Very true!

Charles Vestal
10-30-2010, 03:39 PM
Politicians seem to have that effect on a lot of people.

If you don't mind taking a question Steve, what types of grinders did the Loveless shop use while you were there?

Take care


10-30-2010, 04:38 PM
One Square Wheel and one Burr King. Both, 2" x 72'. We may have picked up another Square Wheel, once we got to Riverside. We liked them both for certain reasons, I seem to recall, but I can't remember why. The BK was quieter, but the SW was a single speed and it was pretty loud.

10-31-2010, 09:06 PM
I have another question> I know you made the move to Riverside with
Bob. How did that go and what was it like there? Also, did you perfer Lawndale
over Riverside?

11-01-2010, 09:41 AM
No time to elaborate right now, but it was a great place, great people, close to the desert and mtns. and much less traffic, though the smog was, as advertised!" But........ did I mention what a rush it was to get on those Honda 350/Fours and tool around town and down the Magnolia Avenue and out amongst the groves when the orange blossoms were blooming? I could stand living in Riverside for that alone, if it's still possible to do that. Probably not many orange groves left, I'd guess!

When we moved to Riverside, a local Dr. who developed an interest in knives and for whom the "Dixon Fighter" was named, owned a small bungalow not far off of the 91, or Riverside Freeway on Tyler St. that Bob thought would have great possibilities as there were outbuildings in the back and parking space and room for both of us in the house. It still looks pretty much the same, I believe, at least it did the last time I was there.

There was the house, with two bedrooms, a bath,kitchen and living room, surrounded by chain-link fence, continuing around the back yard, and then a long shop in back that we were able to modify to fit just the way we wanted ("we," being Bob, as you can probably guess, since he had some definite ideas of what a shop had to be like, I wasn't much into shop layout at the time....) and it turned out very well.

There was room for the office, room to make a dark room for etching and Bob's photography work, (I think we ended up just continuing to do the logo etching out in the work room where the sheaths were made after dark, like we did in Lawndale). In between was the work room where the tooling-type machines were located, mill, lathe, drill presses, along with benches and vises, a table for the sharpening stone, acetylene tanks, etc.

The grinders and band saw were in he grinding room, which was further toward the back, adjacent to the small last room which was for storage.

I lived there with Bob for a while, but eventually moved back toward the fwy., into a mobile home, owned by a wonderful older lady by the name of Anna DeBilt, who was leaving for Bend, Oregon to live with her children and wanting to rent out the trailer. I convinced her, somehow, (Bob vouched for me, I believe) that I wasn't a risk and moved in. I lived there until October 1974. It was great. She had a strawberry patch out back that yielded a cup or two of strawberries every day. HEAVEN! Interestingly, when I left for Utah that October for the deer hunt, I turned up the heat for some reason, just before departing in the hustle and bustle of getting ready to go, walked out and left it on high! A few week's later, while still in Utah, I got a call from the mobile home park manager telling me that I had a very high gas bill (He had used his pass key to go in and adjust the thermostat) and wondering if I knew what was going on and, of course, if I planned to pay the extra amount, which I did.

11-19-2010, 02:35 PM
If anyone has a question about Bob or the shop, or whatever that I may be able to answer, if appropriate, feel free. It was a long time ago and my memory might get jogged by this or that topic.

11-20-2010, 05:20 PM

Do you have any recollections regarding the surrounding time frame when you had to
leave the Loveless shop and move back to Utah? I believe I read somewhere
it was due to a car accident, however I could be wrong about that.

11-22-2010, 09:54 AM
That accident was in October of 1974. After the 3 week hospital stay, I was flown by air ambulance back home and just stayed in Utah and got back in school, which I'd been wanting to do for the previous year, or so. By the time I graduated, we had about a year's worth of orders, so decided to try going on our own and we're still here.

Charles Vestal
11-23-2010, 09:47 AM

How many knives left the Loveless Shop with the Loveless/Johnson logo?

I read somewhere that there was a difference of opinion on the number of knives with this mark.



11-23-2010, 12:42 PM
What did you hear? I really can't remember at the moment. Seems like we were doing that for a somewhat less than a year, but I can't really recall, for sure.

11-23-2010, 02:55 PM
94 Loveless-Johnson Knives

Charles Vestal
11-23-2010, 03:27 PM

I finally found where I had read this.

From the "Living On The Edge" book.

Al Williams wrote

"The exact number of Loveless-Johnson knives made may never be known, Loveless estimates fewer than forty; while Johnson feels the number was closer to one hundred."

Jim, If you don't mind me asking; where did you hear the 94.


11-23-2010, 03:29 PM
I'd guess around a hundred, but that's a guess.

11-24-2010, 12:01 PM
Did you and Bob ever go on any memorable Hunting trips that you
might recall and tell us about?

11-29-2010, 10:35 AM
We made a trip to Indio, CA for a Mourning Dove hunt one time. It was a great hunt, just like in the hunting movies. The birds just kept coming, and we did a lot of shooting. It was a long drive, but I've never shot any kind of bird in a situation like that. They weren't like South America, by the thousands, but they did keep flying in very regularly. We stopped at one of the party's home for a BBQ and were out by the pool. I stepped onto the surf board, thinking I could ride it and it scooted out from under me and crashed into the other side of the pool, crushing the point of the board. I felt like a fool!

We also went up to the Solemint Canyon (?) area, north of L.A. once or twice shooting a t a range up there. Bob was on heck of a pistol shot! I never came very close to shooting a pistol as well as he did!

One time in Italy we went to Val Trompia and visited the Rizzini Shotgun shop and got to shoot a $20,000, or so, shotgun in the shooting tunnel under the shop. That was quite an experience for me.

12-07-2010, 12:13 PM
While milling some guards last night, I grabbed the collet and, changing from a 1/4 carbide end mill to a 3/16", habitually wiped it off with my hand before inserting it into the spindle and then thought, "Bob taught me that, over 30 years ago." He made it an obvious practice, every time he changed collets for that little old Clausing mill. He taught me a lot!

Every time I tap the back of a blade on my vise, to dislodge dust and filings from the handle that I'm working on, I think of Bob. That always bothered him, as he initially thought that I was banging the edge against the vise, which wouldn't do the knife edge any good! I tried to minimize that practice after that, but probably inadvertently still did it now and then, which probably bugged him, but I don't think that he said anything else about it, ever.

He also let me put the final edge on most of the knives using the old Norton stone cradle in which was mounted a soft Arkansas stone. I appreciate being able to sharpen a knife on a stone, as it is not a simple thing to do, especially with some of the steel that we use today and I haven't tried them all, either. Lots of practice is required and I got lots of practice!

12-15-2010, 04:20 PM
When I arrived in California, I had about 4 yrs. of duty in the Utah and Washington National Guard under my belt. This time consisted of 3 years in the Field Artillery, with the 105 mm, 155 mm and 8" SP Howitzers in Utah and about a year in the Infantry in Washington. I signed up for a Supply Unit in Long Beach for my last year or so. When I had to go to summer camp, Bob was very supportive and paid me for my time gone out of the shop. He was always supportive of me in most anything I did, or had to do with the Guard, monthly drills and a parade, or whatever now and then. I had a key to the shop and had free run of it and the equipment. One morning I stopped in at the shop to pick up a postage stamp at 0700 while on my way back to summer camp and hear me heard me drive up, I guess. He probably wondered what the heck I was doing in the shop so early and came rushing in to see, but all he did was say hi and to wish me a good day. Pretty early for a guy who habitually worked until 11pm - midnight almost every day/night! I was allowed to go home each night since my summer camp was at an old missile base near the coast down by the old Marineland resort. I had arrived in California too late in the year, June, to go to Camp Roberts for Summer Camp so they assigned me to this little place down by the ocean to, ".....serve my time" basically mowing lawns and doing grounds mtnse. It did beat going out to Dugway in Utah with those old 8" SP's grinding the dirt into fine, fine dust and then having a foot of mud when it rained. Quite the military career, huh? Bob totally supported our military forces.

01-01-2011, 01:33 AM
Happy New Year, 2011. About 40 year's later, I seem to recall a couple of the fellows (Who will remain nameless) in the immediate vicinity going out on the lawn near the Loveless shop, right about this time of night, and capping off a couple of rounds from one of the guy's Ruger .41 Magnum (A trade from Rod Chappel) and probably a favorite .44 Spl. S & W Triple-lock. This is in one of the most populated areas in the world! I hope those guys didn't hurt anyone! Bob loved handguns, not all, mostly just the great ones, anything from the 1911 to the little PPK and TPH .22 and the double action six guns. I think he had a couple of old Colt .45's at one time, but mostly double actions and autos. Of course the M 41 S& W .22 was always around, either in the factory version that hadn't been worked on yet, or his little "Plinker" that he made out of the M 41. I was in line for one, but something happened to it and I ended up with a H & K P7, 9 mm, instead, which I treasure.
That little pistol can be seen here, along with other Loveless pistol modifications and a great article about him and his gun thinking:

Charles Vestal
01-01-2011, 08:17 AM
Happy New Year to you Steve.

Great looking pistol, and as you said an extra $3500 would come in handy.

Thank you for your help over the last year and I hope you and yours have a great 2011.

Take care


01-01-2011, 09:59 AM
Thanks, Charles. We are all in this together and ought to help each other out. Thank you for your help, too. Remember that sandpaper you sent me? I hope 2011 is a wonderful year for you, and all readers of this forum, despite the challenges of the times we are in.

01-01-2011, 05:31 PM
Happy New Year 2011 to both Steve & Charles. May you both have a very prosperous year!! Btw either one of you guys have an extra $ 3500.00 I could borrow, I am a little
short right now - lol :)

Charles Vestal
01-01-2011, 08:40 PM
Happy New Year to you also Jim.

We all seem to be in the same boat, when it comes to gun money.

Take care


01-01-2011, 09:10 PM
Happy New Year to you also Jim.

We all seem to be in the same boat, when it comes to gun money.

Take care


Maybe.......... if I could sell a knife...........hmmmmmmmmm?

01-05-2011, 09:43 PM
One day we went down to Cole's Sporting Goods, in Inglewood and and came home with a brand new 20 ga. Browning Superlight. I so loved that shotgun, but had to sell it when I got to Manti. We needed a finished basement more, as I recall. Never regretted it, but I do miss that beautiful little firearm. Bob was looking out for me, most of the time. I'm sure I earned it, we did work very hard a lot of the time, turning out 20-30 knives in a month at times. bI got a Ruger Red Label, in pert trade for the Browning, which I loved, too, but traded that off to a best friend. Now we have two Rem. 870's, a 12 and a 20 for me and the boys to shoot when we go out shooting clays, which isn't often enough. Just an incident that I had come to mind.

01-06-2011, 05:41 PM
One day we went down to Cole's Sporting Goods, in Inglewood and and came home with a brand new 20 ga. Browning Superlight. I so loved that shotgun, but had to sell it when I got to Manti. We needed a finished basement more, as I recall. Never regretted it, but I do miss that beautiful little firearm. Bob was looking out for me, most of the time. I'm sure I earned it, we did work very hard a lot of the time, turning out 20-30 knives in a month at times. bI got a Ruger Red Label, in pert trade for the Browning, which I loved, too, but traded that off to a best friend. Now we have two Rem. 870's, a 12 and a 20 for me and the boys to shoot when we go out shooting clays, which isn't often enough. Just an incident that I had come to mind.

That story puts me in mind on how I got my sweetheart. Also back in the mid 70's, I was in downtown Dallas at Buckhorn trading post. A local gun shop back in those days ( not there anymore) that a friend of mine worked at. I strolled in one day & he said I got a hot deal for you. He went in the back & came back with a Beretta box. He pulled out a Beretta BL-6 o/u 28 ga shotgun with the most beautiful stock that I had ever seen. He snapped it together & handed it to me. It weighed 5 lbs on the button and melted in my hands. He said it was the last one & he would make me a special price.. I took it as fast as I could grap my checkbook. I already had a 20 ga A-5 browning auto that I loved, but this BL-6 was something special. It still is. I would put a for sale sign on my wife before that gun got away from me!!:flame:

01-07-2011, 09:44 AM
That's a neat story, Jim. Most guns, it seems, have some meaningful history attached to them, such as my first shotgun, a Win. Mod. 59 fiberglas barreled upland game bird auto that I still just enjoy shooting, even though it's basically 50 yrs. of age, then there is the Pre-64 Mod. 70 featherweight that is a direct result of reading Jack O'Connor's Outdoor Life hunting stories. Both gifts from my parents to a youth who loved guns and hunting. Bob loved guns, as I've mentioned and would turn them over fairly regularly, always at a fair price, once he got to shoot them for a while. Didn't seem "hoard" anything, except for maybe books! Now I'm feeling badly about giving up the Superlight!

01-07-2011, 10:32 AM
That's a neat story, Jim. Most guns, it seems, have some meaningful history attached to them, such as my first shotgun, a Win. Mod. 59 fiberglas barreled upland game bird auto that I still just enjoy shooting, even though it's basically 50 yrs. of age, then there is the Pre-64 Mod. 70 featherweight .270 Win. that is a direct result of reading Jack O'Connor's Outdoor Life hunting stories. Both gifts from my parents to a youth who loved guns and hunting. Bob loved guns, as I've mentioned and would turn them over fairly regularly, always at a fair price, once got to shoot them for a while. Didn't seem "hoard" anything, except for maybe books! Now I'm feeling badly about giving up the Superlight!

You grew up reading Jack O'Connor stories too? He was my hero. I read every Outdoor Life story that he ever wrote plus all his books. Which I still have by the way. His style of writing made the reader feel like he was right there with him. Ever read "Game in the Desert" ? A classic outdoor book of hunting in old time Arizona amd Mexico in the 20's & 30's I know Bob loved handguns as you related, but did you & him ever take any Deer hunting trips ( or other big game hunts) ? Do you still have that pre-64 Model 70 ?

01-07-2011, 11:07 AM
We went dove hunting once in Indio, CA, as reported above. It was great. He went deer hunting with a friend in northern California once, I recall, but we mostly only went shooting a couple of times. The closest I came to a deer hunt with Bob was on the YO Ranch in Texas, described above, when we drove to Houston for the show and when his best pal, Raymond Randall came home with me for the hunt and we missed getting a nice little three-point when Ray, or I clicked off the safety and spooked him. It was a great hunt, on the mountains west of Manti and the weather, everything was pretty much perfect, except that we missed out on that shot. I still have the .270, Pre-64 Mod. 70, yes, and the M59. I have never read "Game in the Desert." I pretty much worshipped O'Connor, too, until a year or so ago when I red in the Rifleman that he was pretty stuck on himself and not very nice to people, generally. I hated t read that! Went to the Engraver's and Gunmaker's Guild show in Reno last year and drooled over all the custom rifles, many of which were still being made ala O'Connor's ideas, as nice, light little mountain rifles. I met Al Biesen and saw some of his rifles when I was in Spokane at a gun show at the fairgrounds. Those rifles were the definition of perfection in my eyes. Most were O'Connor-types.

01-07-2011, 11:30 AM
Yeah I read that too about O'Conner. It was either " His way or the highway" lolol.
He was very standoffish & had a stoic appearance until he got comfortable with someone.
I think most of his "demons" resulted with people who disagreed with him: especially when it came to calibers & rifles. Guys like Elmer Keith & some others. I think he has rolled over
in his grave several times now days with all the Magnum hype. But he could still make you feel like you were along side him when writing about his hunting trips. I really admired Elmer Keith too & enjoy reading his books which just happens to be opposite of O'Conner's views.

I have a Browning Safari 270 on a FN action made in '62 & a Husquarva 7x 57 that dates back to 1956 which just happens to be his favorite calibers I might add, whereas you probaby know. He always ascribed to the theory that " any gun good, shoot'um good ".

Sorry Steve, you got me rambling about the old days. I had much rather hear about Bob & his times.

01-07-2011, 12:31 PM
I never met Jack. Maybe that's a good thing........ I stopped in at Elmer Keith's home in Salmon one day on my way home from Spokane, when I was working with Davis Knives, and he was more than hospitable. Took me back to his trophy room, a bldg. at the back of his house about the size of a garage and showed me his trophy animals. And there were a lot of them! He later said, "I'm sorry, son, but I promised to take my wife out to dinner for Mother's Day." That statement said a lot, about his kindness to others and also his role as a husband. After a little while, we said good by and I had a good trip to Utah, feeling lucky to have met this icon. I was surprised at his kindness. It didn't hurt that I'd dropped the Draper name, who'd done a few knives for him. Can one believe in the gospel of O'Connor AND Keith? I think so. Maybe Bob Loveless had a little of both of these fellows in him? I know he loved the 44 Special. He bought/traded for a Ruger Model 77, 6mm, once, also.

01-07-2011, 04:33 PM
I think you can believe in the " Gospel " of both Keith & O'Conner, as you say. I know I can. Can you visualize Bob up there with Keith & O'Conner ? I would love to be a fly on the wallpaper listening to that consversation. One could write a whole new dictionary!!

01-11-2011, 02:31 AM
Since we started this thread, we have had 5998 visitors. That's quite a tribute to Bob. Thank you all. I wonder who will break the 6000 mark?
Thanks again for your interest in this great knifemaker, no one will take his place in the annals of custom knifemaking.
WOW! Last night it was 6000, today we are at over 6100!

01-14-2011, 02:50 PM
A young man dropped in the other day and I showed him how to grind a Loveless Fighter grind, you know, with that cool, slight "S-curve" in the center line. I was reminded of when I first got to the Loveless shop and Bob took the time to show me how to make that happen and then...........LEFT TOWN! Talk about frustration for a little while the next day! It took a lot of concentration and quite a few grimaces to be successful in grinding those 3 or 4 Boot knife blades, but when Bob got back he seemed happy with them. Either that, or he just let them go and somewhere out there are those few Boot Knives with pretty poor grind jobs! He gave me my lead and let me do my best and rarely actually criticized, he'd just tune this or that up to the way he liked it and show me the difference.

The only time he really cussed me, other than for tapping the knives on the vise, as mentioned above and when I sort of offended his friend, was when I appeared pretty grumpy in a photo that one of the guys took, out in Riverside, either Andy Mercado or Richard Barney, or maybe someone else. Anyway, we stood against the wall and his cigarette was in his left hand and the smoke was wafting up straight into my face and it showed on the look on my face. He was disgusted that I'd pull that kind of a face in the photo with him, it was only one of an assortment, until we discussed the smoke, then he understood. At least I think that's how it went! Maybe he'll be correct my memory, someday, if he remembers it differently. Generally his smoking didn't bother me, my dad smoked for 30 yrs. or so, but that day, and I do remember that day, it was really getting to me. Maybe I was in a bad mood, who knows? He generally didn't smoke around me in a way that bothered me.

01-15-2011, 09:59 AM
Do you have a copy of that picture you can post? I would love to see that shot !;)

01-15-2011, 11:21 AM
No, I don't know what happened to it, or any of those photos. Seemed like it was for a magazine article, or something. It would be fun to see.

01-16-2011, 09:41 AM
He was to the knife making world what Stratavarius was to the violin world...

01-17-2011, 10:50 AM
Very well put, Gene. In the end, Loveless' name will be one of the few that really made a difference. Not discounting all of the contributions of countless others, but the name Loveless will stand out.

01-17-2011, 11:44 AM
Well, as you said before, " The name Loveless means what it means " and that is a fact, and it is indisputable !

01-22-2011, 10:47 PM
Bob would definitely be interested in this celebration:

A list of his inventions:

Anyone who's ever fired a Colt 1911 45, Browning High Power, Auto 5, Win. Model 94, BAR, 50 Cal. BMG, etc., etc., etc. would be interested!
I don't know if Bob would drive to Utah to take part, but he'd certainly be interested!

01-24-2011, 02:46 PM
I am sure Bob would have been most interested in the Browning Celebration. As "gunmen", we all should be. John Browning was a amazing talent with the number
of guns he invented -Rifles, shotguns, Pistols, guns for the Military, ect. My own array of Browning guns include a A-5, a 9 mm hi-power, Browning safari, Browning 81 & a 94.
BTW, did Bob ever make a trip to Utah that you know of?

01-24-2011, 05:11 PM
I put Bob and John in kind of the same category as to their influence on their respective areas of expertise. Bot contributed so very much!

Bob made at least on, maybe two trips to Utah. One was on the way to Idaho to see Bernie Sparks, when we almost ran off the road in a snow storm going home through Logan Canyon and I believe another time, but can't remember for sure. He met my parents once or twice, this trip being one of them, another in Las Vegas at a show.

02-08-2011, 07:03 PM
I was grinding and polishing some knives today, all but one a Loveless design, from the patterns that he gave me back in 1974, after my accident, heck, maybe it was 1975 by the time I got back to Riverside. He also handed me a bunch of stag, Micarta?, handle screws and counterbore, 154-CM blade steel, enough to get me going - and his blessing. At any rate, it just struck me how lucky I am to have all these patterns in my shop and have had all that time to work with Bob and get to know him, when so many knifemakers, even collectors, would have thought that they were so lucky if they had had the chance to meet him! My career has been truly blessed by all the great makers that I've been able to work with. I didn't know that day when I finally found my way and drove into Bob's driveway that I would be one of the very, very few who'd have the privilege of working right alongside him and get to know him like I did. He is a one-of-a-kind and I'm just feeling thankful for having that wonderful opportunity. I told him thanks many times and he told me thanks back, just like he did in that old green Guild Directory, when he said that he appreciated being able to wear a different hat, because I was there to keep the knives going. He was good to me.

03-08-2011, 05:10 PM
Having just returned form the East Coast Custom Knife Show, for the first time held in Jersey City, N. J., I was struck by the number of times Mr. Loveless' name was brought up by many with whom I visited, while there. While Bob was here and going to shows, though long ago, he always had someone around his table discussing the intricacies of design, handles material, read Green Canvas Micarta, and blade steel. He was the "go to guy" then and is being missed, it seems, by many folks in the knife world. I got to see an old numbered Delaware Maid on John Denton's table that he had purchased from a lady who's husband had bought it from the original bunch made for A & F. It was a sweet little leather handled drop point. Of course it was a hidden tang, as most were at that time, with leather spacers and an aluminum butt cap, as I recall. I'm not sure, but I think it was stamped with the number "6." I saw a lot of Loveless knives in that room, it was great!

03-09-2011, 06:14 PM
Bob will always be the " Go to Guy". Always was & always will be.

It would be interesting to hear of Bob's exploits at the many shows
he attended over the years.

03-15-2011, 02:29 PM
Bob was great at shows. Hw would generally be great with the people, many of whom worshipped him and were a bit hesitant to even approach him. The once-in-a-while know-it-all would bug him and Bob usually told him what he thought of him. The ones that you hear about, of course, were those whom he answered in a gruff manner. Bob was, to put it mildly, a bit short on patience in those situations. He was great when he was teaching others, including me in the shop, but if someone offended him or his good sense, he let them know about it. He often had a lot to say in Knifemakers' Guild Business Meetings and would not shrink from controversy, often would cause controversy, actually! Between him and some of the other strong-willed members there would be some pretty exciting "discussions," as anyone who was in those meeting could attest to. But, as I mentioned once, I believe, I saw him pull our a Horn folder and hand it to a man whom had done a lot for the Guild and for whom Bob wanted to say, "Thanks." We'd spread out the knives and sell them, as a rule. Sometimes we'd bring a couple home, but not usually. It was generally a pleasure to attend shows and sit at the table with him. One night in our hotel room with a certain publisher it got a bit heavy and I felt like leaving and once when our first born was crying in a restaurant, this was after Bob and I had separated, he gave us a "look" and commented about, "Some people and their kids!" I've felt the same way about other peoples' crying children in restaurants, airplanes, etc., myself. The trip to Houston in about '73 was a long one, but we got on fine and it was fun meeting B. R. Hughes for the first time, I think, going to John Wooter's home, the YO Ranch, visiting a collector in Del Rio and Judge Roy Bean's store in Langtry on the Rio Grande.
In one of these spots a refreshment called "moonshine" was served to Bob. I wasn't even asked.

03-16-2011, 12:07 PM
A great post ! I think everyone who has kids has been on both ends of that rope.
Did you say you had a "moonshine" still up in Manti? lol.

I think I read someplace that Bob was buddies with the late D E Henry- Did you
ever meet him? I understand he could have his moments too! lol

03-16-2011, 12:48 PM
I remember of hearing about a meth lab in, or near Manti, but never moonshine. Not to say it hasn't happened!
D.E. Henry was a lot like Bob. If you asked what he may have thought to be a dumb question, he didn't have much patience for that. He was a master at Bowie Knives and many other types of knives. He was never anything but kind to me and I talked with him at any show that we both attended. I don't know that they were "buddies" but they seemed to get along OK. There was certainly mutual respect between them.

04-20-2011, 06:13 PM
One night, Friday, probably, Bob had a bunch of friends over for something to eat and, perhaps more so, something to drink. It was early-on in Riverside, and I was rooming in the south bedroom, just off the living room. It went VERY late and got VERY loud and I got very tired of it. I had to get up early for something the next day, so it got to me. I spent half the night wondering what I could do to get things to quiet down. I didn't want to spoil their party, though. I didn't do anything, but I was surely wanting to get some sleep. I never told Bob about it, things were OK by morning, I suspect, since I haven't thought much of it since - until just lately, trying to come up with something of interest for this thread. Poor me, I thought.

04-22-2011, 04:05 PM
You just should have come out of your south bedroom like gang busters, threw them all out in the yard and then screamed at the top of your lungs- QUIET !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ..some of us have to work for a living around here ! lolol...wouldn't have gone over too well???

Any way...Do you have any recollections of Bob & Lynton Mckenzie? I was recently looking at some old Knive Digests from the 70's, and Bob and Lynton apparently are at some shows together in the same booth. Then it looks like Bob is at New Orleans Arms with Lynton on a Knive collaberation. Maybe this was before your time or after. Not sure about the exact timeline. But it was in the early to mid 70's I believe.


04-26-2011, 09:17 AM
Lynton and Bob would visit, but I don't remember any collaborations. Lynton was surely a nice fellow, he is missed by this guy in Manti. I was blessed to know him. They may have had something going with knives and engraving, but, again, I'm not aware of anything. Does anyone out there remember?

04-28-2011, 05:50 PM
In answering a question about 'Chute knives and a thought about how nice it would be to have all Bob's designs available, I said the following, which may be of interest here:

There was a web site, once a few yrs. ago that had a lot of Loveless patterns on it, I believe it was an old one of a great scrimmshander/knifemaker. I can't think of his name at the moment. It is no longer up, sad to say. That would be great, though! Most all knives were ground with an 8" wheel and a 3" wheel, depending on whether they were a double edge, or not. Single edges got ground with an 8" wheel. The Wilderness was ground with the 8", also. Again, I can't say what the latest sizes are. On this post, page five of #1, you can see the large wheel on the grinder. It almost looks to me like that one is a 10", but I can't tell for sure. There is an assortment of wheels on the wall to the left, with basically only 5-6 different sizes, as far as I can see, maybe 3", 4" 6" 8" 10" and 12"? Perhaps he was using the larger wheels on hunter-types.

rick c
04-28-2011, 07:22 PM
It was Bob Engnath.There is a site that has drawings and knifemaking info.I hope this helps.

04-28-2011, 07:57 PM
That's it, but are those drawings still there? I can't find them.....

rick c
04-28-2011, 08:11 PM
On the main page there is a book image laying on its side with the pages facing you.If you move your mouse on it drawings will come up.Click on that and you will have the drawings.

04-28-2011, 10:32 PM
Hey, I did it! Thanks!

05-02-2011, 12:22 PM
I've had two makers comment that these designs on Mr. Engnath's site will come in very handy. I, at one time, couldn't find the site and was concerned, but I'm surely happy that it's back, or at least that it's accessible, whether it disappeared or not!

05-16-2011, 02:42 PM
Bob and went to the Guild show one time and for some reason, I came back after him, with a suitcase full of knives, yes, we didn't sell-out all the time, maybe 8-12, I'm not sure. When I hit the Ontario airport, the suitcase didn't arrive, I was pretty upset, this was the first time I'd ever lost any luggage and this suit case was not the one to be broken in on! I met Bob and he didn't fret, just said we'd report it and see what happened. Not a problem and Bob and we discussed the situation and he handled it very calmly. I was impressed and very relieved when the knives arrived with the suitcase intact. He could get upset at times, but was certainly able to, and did, handle most situations with a cool head.

06-01-2011, 12:48 AM
We used to love riding down Magnolia Avenue and out through the orange groves at night on our Honda 350-Fours. Those blossoms would almost overpower you at times. I'm sure it used to be better, in the earlier days when the whole area was covered with groves and not so much "civilization" had covered many of them up! I can still smell them and feel that cool air on my face. Cool air was a lot easier to find at night than during the smoggy, hot days. I sure did love Riverside! What a special year or so! There was a little Chinese restaurant up the street where we'd eat now and then, mostly, it seemed, though, that Bob would cook. His Ragu spaghetti was great, he always put a nice chunk of butter in the sauce. Along about 1976-77, I brought him a bottle of my wife's spaghetti sauce at a show. I'm sure he liked it!

Sitting on the curb, outside the Muehlbach hotel in K.C. Mo. one time, Frank Centofante and Don Zaccagnino and I were talking. I mentioned how well I liked Bob's spaghetti. When I said he used Ragu sauce, they about laughed themselves right off the curb (It was really a brick facia on the front of the hotel, or an establishment near by there) and couldn't get over my non-Italian pronunciation of "Ragu!" Ticked me off! Not really, but they got a laugh out of it.

06-14-2011, 04:31 AM
I haven't been on your forum since probably back in September...decided to do a visit today and stumbled across this...What a great read it has been...Thanks for sharing your memories. I enjoyed them all.

06-14-2011, 10:45 PM
Amen Bernie,

Personally I have been trying to organize all of Steve's posts about Bob into a journal of sorts. A lot of gaps due to recalling and remembering almost 40 years past. Would be great if others could kick in some memories during those times. I can't remember what happened last week ! So its a job I am sure.

06-15-2011, 06:52 PM
Yes. Pop in with your recollections, everyone, it'll add a lot to the report. I'm glad you like it. Thank you, very much, Jim for the organizing efforts, Jim. It'd be great to have it all in a better format.

06-15-2011, 10:59 PM
Years ago, I placed an order with Bob for a knive after reading his catalog ( about 20 times) The catalog was the one that had Steve as a partner. A few years later I got a call--
It was from the man himself. I was in complete awe and kinda stampered around, uh uh, lol. I thought I just received a call from the burning bush!
Finally Bob said " Jim, what kind of knife did you have in mind, and I replied that I would like a knive that He would make for himself ". To me, it was the only way to get a real Loveless knive- if that makes any sense. Bob simply replied " I know what to do then"
He asked me a few questions about what I did and so forth, and the call ended. Bob made me feel so at ease. I was in my middle 20's, but I remember the call and his voice like it was yesterday. Sadly to say I never met Bob, but I was able to talk to him 4 or 5 times
over the years; times that I will always treasure, not to mention the two " Real Loveless "
knives that He made for "Himself" and I just happen to pay him for them!!


07-05-2011, 10:03 PM
Hope you still have those knives, Jim. Photos, perhaps?

Bob was in the Merchant Marine and always spoke highly of our men and women in uniform. This Independence Day reminds me of how he would talk respectfully of our soldiers and was more than happy to pay me to go to summer camp while I was serving in the Guard. He didn't begrudge my leaving him alone in the shop that summer and was happy to support our Armed Forces any time he had the opportunity. He loved flying and I wonder if he didn't have a little envy for pilots in the Services.

07-09-2011, 01:08 PM
Absolutely I have them Steve ! Rather, I have the 4" semi skinner & my son, who was a Army Ranger years ago, has the 5" Boot knife. I would be glad to post them if I knew how to post pics on the forum.

(You know, Jim; I can't seem to post a pic here, either, but I'm sure we'll get a volunteer, if you can email them a photo. That would be so cool. Thanks, Steve).

Charles Vestal
07-13-2011, 09:16 PM

If you can email the photos to me, I will post post them up so everyone can have a look.

cvestal65 at

Take care


07-14-2011, 02:13 AM
Thank you, Charles. Glad we have a techie onboard! It was great to see you at the AKCA Banquet and show in Atlanta.

07-14-2011, 09:12 PM

Thanks Charles. I am in Naples Florida for a couple weeks deep sea fishing, but
as soon as I get back to Texas, I'll email them to you. You might include the procedure
for posting pics; sent a copy to Steve too !...lolol

take care,


Charles Vestal
07-14-2011, 09:32 PM
Sounds good Jim.

Have a good time on the water.


07-21-2011, 11:02 PM
Bob's Mom came to visit out to Riverside, probably 1974 and she was so nice to me. She was the cook, it seems, while she was there. I would help her do the dishes now and then (At lest I think that's true) and one time, as she was wiping off the counter and draining out the wash water, she said, "Steve; use cold water to wash these soapy bubbles down the drain, then they don't multiply, like they do with hot water." Every single time I rinse bubbles out of a sink (using cold water of course) 37 year's later, I think of Bob's Mom. She was a sweetheart. She and Bob's Dad died not many years after that visit, sadly. Funny how some little things stick with you. That memory is a good warm one, almost daily. (Of course I still do the dishes, sometimes!)

08-19-2011, 01:11 PM

Just email the Loveless Semi-Skinner pic to Charles to post. Waiting on my son to send a pic of the boot knive. Just returned from Florida/ fishing trip.

All the best,


08-19-2011, 03:55 PM
Great, Jim. Thanks a million! Hope the fishing went well. Can't wait for the photos.

08-19-2011, 04:43 PM
Oh the fishing was great......I caught every fish under 1 1/2 lbs in the gulf of
mexico...lolol. Every one over that size was on vacation too I guess.

Charles Vestal
08-19-2011, 08:34 PM
Here ya go guys,

Charles Vestal
08-19-2011, 09:07 PM
Finally Bob said " Jim, what kind of knife did you have in mind, and I replied that I would like a knive that He would make for himself ". To me, it was the only way to get a real Loveless knive- if that makes any sense. Bob simply replied " I know what to do then"



I think you got a real Loveless knife, a true working knife that looks so good you want to look at it for hours.

Thank you for letting us have a look at this classic.


08-19-2011, 11:03 PM
That is a jewel, Jim. Thanks for the photo. It's so cool!
And thank you, Charles, for posting it for us.
"Bob simply replied " I know what to do then." A Semi-skinner would
naturally be his choice.

Have you ever used it? If so, I'll bet it was great!
Hope the fishin' was good!

08-20-2011, 10:42 AM
Never used it in the field, but I do unlease it when I am sitting
in my easy chair, stroke and fondle it for a couple hours from
time to time, and think about about the things I should have done
or shouldn't have done. ( same service I give my wife, lolol):D

Actually, that is wrong; I did take it out on a deer hunt shortly after
I received it. The whole time I had it on me, I was worrying about
losing it somehow. Kept looking or feeling if it was still there, not
looking for deer trails or sign as I should have been. Got back to
camp that evening, took it off & locked it in my truck & set the

Next morning, I put on a Sigman knife, went out & got a nice 6
point. lolol. I'm telling you guys that this Loveless semi-
skinner has almost taken on Religous implications for me. That
knife is almost sacred to me, I swear it. But equally important to
me are the treasured phone calls I had with Bob back in the 70's
and 80's.

I am not a collecter ( I detest that word for some odd reason), but
a outdoors guy that first was into guns then went into knives back
in the early 70"s & 80"s. After about 20 years of thought I came to
the conclusion that I have 3 huge regrets.

The first & foremost regret was not ordering a Loveless " Wilderness "
model back when I could have in the late 70's. It was only around
$ 250- 300 bucks in those days ( in those days that was alot,,hahah).

The second regret was not getting a Jess Horn model IGBK intergal
boot knive when I had the chance ( although I did get a Horn folder
model PF ) a few years later.

The third was selling a Herron model 2 semi skinner & model 3
" Little Dude " to a close friend that made me a offer that I thought
I couldn't refuse ( times was tough at that time & I needed the
money). #### ! I have only bought new knives from makers
and I think I paid George $ 95 & 65 bucks for those 2 knives !!!

Only if we were blessed with hindsight ! ;)

09-20-2011, 10:33 PM
John Denton, son of J.W. Denton, the two of which were and are "The Authority" on Loveless and his knives, sent me this link to his new Bob Loveless Knives web site. It's brand new and already has some interesting information that you will enjoy perusing:
What a great family they are and what a wealth of knowledge and stories John has about Bob!

09-23-2011, 10:30 AM

Going back to your Lawndale/Riverside days, do you remember if Bob & you knew
a northern Ca. knifemaker by the name of Robert Hayes? He made some knives in the early to mid 70's. Supposely was very good and then kinda disappeared. Same question
for Richard Barney. I know that Bob & Barney wrote a book together - "How to make knives". Just curious about the story behind those guys and Bob, if there was one that is.


09-23-2011, 01:01 PM
Sure, Hayes was quite well known, but I don't know of any association, or relationship between him and Bob. He made some great folders with very innovative locks. Here are links to two of his knives, you see that they are very different, even from each other. Very talented!:

Richard Barney would visit now and then but stayed in the area for a while, it seems, while the book was being compiled. He made a few knives, I don't know how many, or for how long. I think he lived in northern California. He was/is quite knowledgeable about knife making and is a great writer/editor in my opinion. A very nice guy.
FYI, Here is a link to the Loveless/Barney book: How to Make Knives (9780873413893): Richard W. Barney, Robert W. Loveless: Books

10-18-2011, 03:24 PM
The Art Knife Invitational is coming up next week, October 29, 2011. I'm truly honored to be able to participate in this show, with all of the truly outstanding artisans that are members of AKI. I stand in awe of the beautiful works of art created each year!
Bob flabbergasted me one year, when he brought nothing but a bunch of Semi-skinners and Dropped Hunters....priced at $3450.00 each!! I could not believe that anyone, even he, could dare ask that much for a hunting knife. (I knew better, down deep, though) Of course he sold them all immediately, as I recall. Bob was really something! Most, if not all, had long guards and hidden bolt handle attachments; perhaps it was 2003, not sure. What a guy! What a blessing for me to have had the opportunity to work with and know him! I'll be thinking of him next week end. Maybe the fact that all but one of the knives I'm taking are of the Loveless-style, says something......
Actually, about all that Bob ever brought to AKI were Semi-skinners and Drop Points. 1999 saw Bob's table full of the same styles, priced at $2450.00. Bargains! Makes me wish, a little bit, that we were driving, so that we could go past the shop on the way to San Diego.......

07-14-2012, 12:27 AM
While in Lawndale, Bob and I would zip over to Carson, CA (I believe) now and then to a camera shop where Bob would check out the latest cameras as well as leave some film to be developed, or pick up a pack, or packs that had been printed and visit with the gentleman from India, I believe for a while who either owned the shop, or worked there. Bob would usually suport that little store with a purchase of some kind. One day the proprietor had a bank of photographs that he'd taken in Yosemite National Park. Bob and I both were very impressed with the pictures, to the point that he purchased 3-4 and I bought one for myself. They were quite expensive, I thought, but worth it. I felt that Bob may not have loved the photos as much as he just wanted to support his "camera store friend," who always had his photos ready and was knowledgeable enough about photography to carry on a nice discussion about cameras, photography, etc. Bob was that way, he tried to give others a lift at times. one thing I remember about shooting pictures was Bob saying, "Film is cheap, shoot a lot of pictures, one of them might even be worth keeping!" (Something along that line, anyway. Of course I cannot give you the exact words, it was, after all, 40 years ago, or so!) It made sense, still does. Applies even more so these days, I guess, what with digital cameras and all. Bob loved guns (handguns) and he loved cameras! And...the reason for this post is to let you know that Bob supported most anyone who was trying to make it, doing a good job and caring about the work that they did. He gave a lot of support to a lot of people, and not just knife folks.

s mcfall
10-15-2012, 11:03 AM
John Denton is a facebook friend of mine, he and my wife went to collage together and she told him that i used to make knives (i'm actually going to start again after i get my shop setup) i would love to see a loveless knife in person!!

10-16-2012, 01:11 AM
s mcfall: John is the best! It looks like Jersey City, NJ is 4-4.5 hrs. drive from you. If you want to run down to the ECCKS Knife Show, the first of March and you can see John Denton, who will be showing plenty of Loveless knives. Not to mention more ot them in the show and hundreds of other knives!

10-23-2012, 08:13 PM
I just recently got my first Loveless viedo and can only imagine what it must have been like to have worked for the man. If you subscribe to the idea that we will all be judged out of the book of life, than we need to make sure that we put as much information into those books as possible. I have a freind who lives in Utah who is a writer, I met Blaine when I was a young man much like you were when you met Bob. Blaine encouraged me in writing down all of the experiences of life.

What better way to keep the memory of and the teachings of Bob Loveless alive than by writing as much down as you can. What a wonderful journey the two of you shared and what joy you would give to the knife world by sharing that journey.

Otherly abled Sportsman

10-24-2012, 01:55 AM
Lots of info. here, Brian.

10-24-2012, 09:24 AM
Somewhere back in my younger days, I came across some pictures of some Loveless fighters, esp. the sub hilt fighters, and they struck a chord with me. I think it was the desire not to own, but to be the hand that made, knives as close to as beautiful as his that started my fever for knifemaking.

It was that desire to make beautiful things out of steel that gave me the confidence to apply for my job at Randall knives, and to continue to try and make knives after I left the company.

For that, I will be forever grateful to Bob Loveless for that inspiration, even though I've never met the man.

One of these days, I want to make a sub hilt in his style as a tribute to the man.

06-18-2013, 08:05 PM
Just received notice today that a great knife set that Bob and I made back in 1972 will be in the new David Darom book. It was a great set and you will be surprised to see it. Once the book is published, I'll post a photo here. I was just taken back 30+ yrs. when the notice came in, made me think about and appreciate, again, the marvelous opportunity I had to work with Bob. And - all the great knifemakers with whom I was blessed to associate. "Some guys have all the luck!"

06-19-2013, 09:02 PM
I'm a huge fan, cant wait to see it !!

10-24-2013, 09:27 PM
I have his books and Knife making video. Seemed like a really cool guy

10-24-2013, 09:50 PM
"Cool" is a relative term, I guess, but in the way you are using it and in the world of the custom knife, "cool" describes R.W. Loveless as much as it does anyone, maybe more, IMO. (Perhaps there should be a numerical ranking on the cools scale.....?)