As I write this, hunting season is over and the New Year has begun. As it is every year, this is my time for reflection. Instead of racing out to a deer stand, sunrise will find me sitting on my deck savoring my morning coffee. These peaceful moments are my chance to contemplate what outdoor gear has worked right this past year—and what needs to be replaced. Don’t ask me why, but knives are often the subjects of these thoughts. Like most men, I would have a hard time explaining my attraction to knives. I could offer several explanations or excuses, but I’m content to just accept it as a primal trait. Man is a fragile being and only our ability to make tools has put us at the top of the food chain. Knives were and will always be one of man’s most basic tools, and buried deep inside all of us is a “knife gene.” It is this gene driving our quest for the perfect blade. Besides, I’m a grown man! Who do I have to answer to? (That is my way of saying I have a forgiving wife… who will just shake her head and chuckle at the sight of a new knife.)
Recently, Justin King and I had a long talk about his knives. During the conversation, I learned that his opinions of what a knife should be coincide with mine in many ways. Justin, a resident of Flagstaff, Arizona, is 38 years-old and has earned his living in the construction and metalworking field—that is until about six months ago. It was then that he took his knifemaking hobby and turned it into a full-time occupation. When I asked what got him interested in knives, he was at a loss to explain it. Must be another victim of that “knife gene.” The interest had been there since childhood, and at 19, he read the Complete Bladesmith. This led him to try forging knives, and for several years most of his work was reproducing historical daggers.
Flared tubing is used to hold the handle scales in place, and the holes in the smaller knives control weight. Both can be used as lashing points if needed, but it will take a little extra effort to keep these areas clean. I think it is worth the effort, if for nothing else, the aesthetic value.