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Old 09-13-2005, 09:48 AM
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RogerP RogerP is offline
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Simple elegance - a forged integral by Russ Andrews, JS

I have always had a soft spot for forged integrals. They have a look and feel that is distinctive, and to me, very appealing. Whether it be a Mediterranean dirk or an Argentine Gaucho knife ? these most elemental of knife designs are also steeped in the history of man and blade.

This past June, at the wonderfully wretched excess that is the Blade Show, I was having dinner with Danbo and about 30 other knife nuts and enjoying all the knife talk as well as the endless show and tell. I hadn?t brought any knives of my own to the show, but I happened to have a few photos on hand and showed one to Danbo of the big ?Rampart? Bowie that Russ Andrews had recently made for me, which prompted much discussion about the tremendous quality of work produced by this talented bladesmith. Somewhere in the middle of the chatter Steve Freund (of Tomway Knife Cases) mentioned that he had a Russ Andrews integral back at his place.

I thought that he surely must be mistaken ? I was VERY familiar with Russ? work and had never seen an integral among his excellent array of bowies, fighters and hunters. But I did make a point of asking Steve to bring it to his table so that I might have a peek.

When I finally found Steve on the Saturday morning I was both shell-shocked from the abundance of fabulous knives I had seen and handled, and very nearly broke for the same reason. When he unzipped the padded case and slipped out this little jewel, I can scarcely recall being happier about being completely wrong:

This knife is forged from ?? round 52100 steel. The blade is a shade over 5 ?? with an overall length of approximately 10 ??. The handle is crafted from a particularly vibrant piece of bubinga. The contoured butt cap and ferrule are of stainless steel.

The knife features Russ? signature combination of a flawless fine-grit hand rubbed finish on the blade flats, set off by a bright mirror polish on the spine, integral bolster and fittings. A number of things struck me about this knife upon first taking it in hand. The satin finish seems to transform any ambient light into a soft, ethereal glow. The transition from bolster to blade has an almost liquid flow. The feel in hand is one of absolute surgical precision. The photos regrettably do scant justice to this wonderful little knife.

I contacted Russ after the show to get some more info on the knife, and it turns out that this was one of the 5 test knives he submitted for his Journeyman Smith test. (Russ would take the prestigious Peck Award that year for the best knife submitted by a JS applicant, though not for this particular knife). As it further happens, this was the first integral that Russ had forged (a bold move for a test knife) and the only one he has done to date. As Russ describes it ?That type of design is deceptively simple in it's appearance, and extremely easy to screw up!? Russ had to fabricate a handy little gadget (a leather sleeve) to finish the inside curves where the plunge cuts would otherwise be.

I am grateful to Steve for making this available to me ? I am sure he recognized love at first sight and was most gracious in all respects.

I will leave you with one final look at the knife:

Roger Pinnock
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Old 09-13-2005, 11:06 AM
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Buddy Thomason Buddy Thomason is offline
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Roger - Beautiful! "Simply Elegant" as they say. Thanks for all the details, the story and the great pictures. Your posts are always enjoyable and informative.


Avatar ~ custom crank case cover from 1969 Harley shovelhead chopper
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Old 09-13-2005, 01:51 PM
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Don Cowles Don Cowles is offline
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Superb, Roger- you did well!


Don Cowles Custom Knives

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Old 09-13-2005, 10:22 PM
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hammerdownnow hammerdownnow is offline
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Thanks for sharing! Very, very nice.

"Many are chosen, but few are Pict"
"The doer alone, learneth" NT Neo-Devo
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Old 09-13-2005, 10:31 PM
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Andrew Garrett Andrew Garrett is offline
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Andy Garrett
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"Drawing your knife from its sheath and using it in the presence of others should be an event complete with oos, ahhs, and questions."
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Old 09-15-2005, 05:12 AM
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RogerP RogerP is offline
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Thanks for the comments gents!

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