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The S.R. "Steve" Johnson Forum Specialized knife making tips, technique and training for "ultra precision" design work enthusiasts.

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  #16  
Old 09-13-2010, 02:35 PM
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PatrickKnives PatrickKnives is offline
 
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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.

Last edited by Steve; 04-20-2011 at 07:17 PM.
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  #17  
Old 09-14-2010, 04:28 PM
jayers3673 jayers3673 is offline
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R w Loveless

Steve,

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.
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  #18  
Old 09-15-2010, 10:27 AM
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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....

Thanks,
Thad


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  #19  
Old 09-15-2010, 06:03 PM
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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.


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  #20  
Old 09-15-2010, 09:42 PM
Charles Vestal Charles Vestal is offline
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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

Charles
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  #21  
Old 09-17-2010, 03:46 PM
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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.


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Last edited by Steve; 10-18-2010 at 09:18 PM.
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  #22  
Old 09-18-2010, 05:58 AM
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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.


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  #23  
Old 09-18-2010, 11:23 AM
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R. W. Loveless

Rambling???.....I am hanging on to every word! Extremely interesting.
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  #24  
Old 09-18-2010, 02:29 PM
DaveL DaveL is offline
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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.
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  #25  
Old 09-18-2010, 04:32 PM
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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).


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  #26  
Old 09-22-2010, 11:07 AM
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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.


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Last edited by Steve; 09-22-2010 at 07:55 PM. Reason: typo, additions
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  #27  
Old 09-22-2010, 10:32 PM
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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.


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  #28  
Old 09-23-2010, 01:24 AM
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True, Thad. Bob was that way, just like most of us, when it comes right down to it!


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  #29  
Old 09-23-2010, 11:36 AM
jayers3673 jayers3673 is offline
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Bob Loveless

That was an excellant story Steve. Keep them coming. I also get the
impression that Bob had quite a gun collection too.
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  #30  
Old 09-24-2010, 02:56 AM
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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:http://www.harveydraper.com/ 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.


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Last edited by Steve; 10-07-2010 at 05:59 PM. Reason: editing, changes, correcting of typos, etc.
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