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Steve Shackleford

Spectacles In Steel: A Look At Definitive Damascus Patterns

Modern makers’ takes on this age-old steel art.

When BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame® member Bill Moran reintroduced knives with damascus blades at the 1973 Knifemakers’ Guild Show, little did he know how much damascus would evolve, redefine itself, expand into new media, and no telling what other recreations and rebirthings it has experienced in the half-century since that fateful weekend in the Muehlebach Hotel in downtown Kansas City.

On this page are some of today’s reincarnations of the material in its various forms, methods, materials and more. What’s staggering to consider is there are so many more variations—not only now but also to come. It is a phenomenon that is truly unique to the custom knife industry and should be celebrated and promoted whenever possible.

David Lisch Templars Mosaic

David Lisch’s dagger
David Lisch’s spectacular art dagger features a 12-inch blade of his Templars Mosaic Damascus, a blackwood handle with gold wire wrap and a guard of pure iron covered in melted gold. Overall length: 17.75 inches. The knife comes with a stand that includes an embellished templars’ cross and one carved in the base as well. (SharpByCoop knife images)

Sporting a pattern ABS master smith David Lisch christened Templars Mosaic, the blade for his dagger is one he forged from 15N20 nickel-alloy and 1080 carbon steels and etched in ferric chloride.

“I was aiming for a bold, bright pattern that had a cross-like shape but wanted it to be a bit organic,” he wrote. The Templars’ cross also is represented on the guard and the finial, and there is one on the stand that holds the knife as well. “All these parts are pure iron covered in melted gold,” he noted. The dagger also has a domed gold spacer between the guard and Dragon Thunder damascus spacer that the fluted-blackwood-with-gold-wire-inlay handle butts up against.

“I made this dagger out of the love I have for creating art with no concern about how long it took or how much money I would make from it,” David stressed. “I did the handle twice and I did the big finial twice. I sold the piece for $10,000 and will not be making another one like this. You can be sure that the love I have for creating will take me to a new dagger, sword or bowie knife that tries to fill the void in me that can only be filled by creating art.”

Jeremy Yelle Jellyroll Mosaic Turkish Twist

jellyroll mosaic Turkish twist pattern damascus
The steels for the jellyroll mosaic Turkish twist pattern damascus of the collaborative bowie by Jeremy Yelle (right) and Alex Houle (left) is forged from 1080 carbon and 15N20 nickel-alloy steels. Blade and overall lengths: 10.25 and 15.5 inches. Their list price for a similar knife: $2,600. (Jocelyn Frasier knife image edit)

The blade damascus of ABS journeyman smith Jeremy Yelle’s and SBK Cutlery’s stag bowie is a positively electric jellyroll mosaic Turkish twist pattern Jeremy forged in a collaboration with his friend Alex Houle of SBK. Alex forged the collaborative damascus into a blade and Jeremy made the handle.

“We began by welding a billet of alternate layers,” Jeremy wrote of the forging process. The pair drew the billet into a bar and jelly rolled it. “Then we squared it up and welded a four-way incorporating some 1-inch-square 1080,” he continued. They welded the billet, drew it out to ¾-inch square, cut and twisted it, and made a Turkish-twist stack that Alex forged into a blade. “You can also see the ‘fish mouth*’ weld Alex did so the edge bar and the spine meet properly,” Jeremy wrote. “He did a wonderful job making the blade.” Jeremy showed Alex how to work with stag and they finished the parts. Alex revealed the beautiful pattern via a two-step etching process using a solution of ferric chloride and finishing the etch with a coffee-darkening soak and hot wax finish.

Zane Dvorak Multi-Bar

multi-bar damascus
The 4.25-inch blade of Zane Dvorak’s hunter is a multi-bar damascus of 1084 carbon and 15N20 nickel-alloy steels. Overall length: 9.25 inches. His price for a similar knife: $2,400. (SharpByCoop image)

The blade of Zane Dvorak’s hunter is a multi-bar damascus of 1084 carbon and 15N20 nickel-alloy steels. Zane forged the blade/tang of four twisted bars of a twisted-bar pattern, and forged welded the guards and bolsters on with the same pattern. He bird’s mouthed the blade tip and rewelded it back together to create flowing outer bars. For etchant he used Gator Piss Acid from Baker Forge & Tool.

Bird’s mouthing is a process done on multi-bar, mosaic or other types of damascus patterns. According to Zane, it involves cutting a triangle out of the end of the rectangular parent bar—the shape of which somewhat resembles a bird’s mouth—then bringing the steel of the edge and spine back together to form the point of the blade. By doing so the blade exhibits a better consistency and overall flow of the pattern.

Andrew Blomfield Alternate Pattern

mosaic damascus Andrew Blomfield’s sub-hilt fighter
The mosaic damascus for Andrew Blomfield’s sub-hilt fighter is a combo of two separate billets welded in an alternate pattern. Blade and overall lengths: 9.5 and 14.5 inches. Blade grind: flat. Andrew’s price for a similar knife: $3,000. (SharpByCoop image)

The material mid-blade of Andrew Blomfield’s sub-hilt fighter is a combination of two separate billets of mosaic damascus welded in an alternate pattern. The edge is a straight feather pattern forge welded around the edge. The blade is a combination of pieces from three separate billets. The steels are 1084 carbon and 15N20 nickel alloy etched with ferric chloride.

The integral sub-hilt is 1020 low-carbon steel hot salt blued to a deep black finish. The handle is desert ironwood. The knife is of a full takedown construction.

Frank Edwards Palm Leaf Mosaic Pattern

 Palm Leaf mosaic damascus by Frank Edwards i
The Palm Leaf mosaic damascus by Frank Edwards is an interweaving river system of straight lines. The handle inlay is black-lip mother-of-pearl. Blade and closed lengths: 3 and 4.25 inches. His price for a similar knife: $1,900. (SharpByCoop knife image)

The multi-bar damascus of Frank Edwards’s folding dagger blade is in a Palm Leaf mosaic pattern. Starting with a billet of straight lines, he reduced it all into a square and then biased the squares, four-waying the billet into a 1.5-inch square.

As Frank explained his recipe, “Forge weld another billet of straight lines, keeping them straight as possible to .5 inch by 1.5 inches. Add that to the previous billet and forge weld and reduce to a 1×1-inch square. Then four-way it again. This will give you the frame around the palm leaves. Keep repeating that until you achieve the size of pattern for the knife you’re building.

“The key to getting good mosaics is a slower reduction [of the steel]. We have presses and power hammers that help but they can move too much metal too fast, which will destroy a mosaic in a hurry. The slower reduction allows the billet to stay uniform throughout the length of the bar.” 
To expose the pattern he etched the blade with a four-to-one mixture of water/ferric chloride in 10-minute cycles, using 2,000-grit sandpaper between cycles.

Jackson Rumble Stunning Pattern

unnamed damascus pattern
The 8-inch blade of an integral chef’s knife by Jackson Rumble boasts a mesmerizing and at press time unnamed damascus pattern forged from 1084 carbon and 15N20 nickel-alloy steels. The handle is African blackwood. Overall length: 13 inches. The maker’s price for a similar knife would start at $2,500. (SharpByCoop knife image)

The technique for the stunning pattern on newly named ABS master smith Jackson Rumble’s chef’s knife is what he calls a “pretty standard process” of four-way welding and re-square cycles. Not bad for “pretty standard,” eh (page 28, top left)? The initial stack has large sections of both light and dark steels interspersed through the alternating layers, and Jackson added extra-light steel to the billet in the later stages of the forging process.

“Finally, I used the Filicietti Flip method to transfer the pattern to the face of the billet,” he wrote. “For the etching process I used ferric chloride followed by coffee.”
OK, Jackson, so what’s the “Filicietti Flip method”?

“I’ve heard the Filicietti Flip called other names like the Ferry Flip, or just tile welding,” he explained. “Basically, after you’ve finished building the pattern in the end grain of the billet, you take it to a bandsaw and cut slices off the end at a 35-degree angle. This makes a bunch of pieces in the shape of parallelograms or tiles. The tiles can then be rotated and forge welded back together to form a new billet. Instead of having the pattern showing on the end of the billet, the pattern will repeat itself along the face of the billet.”

We’re glad we asked.

*Also called fish lips, fish mouth is when the tip of the billet begins to curl up on either side during rough forging to resemble a fish’s mouth or lips, thus the name. It is an easy fix for knowledgeable bladesmiths such as Alex Houle.

Check Out More Cool Custom Knives:

Cutlery Hall Of Fame Ushers In Thomas, Terzuola And Schwarzer

Cutlery Hall Of Fame ushers in a Hall Of Fame class at the 2023 BLADE Show.

There was much joy tempered by a tear or three as Devin Thomas, Bob Terzuola and Steve Schwarzer took monumental steps in their monumental knife careers with their formal inductions into the BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall Of Fame® during BLADE Show ’23.

Celebrated with a combination breakfast/induction ceremony, the new inductees were saluted by an appreciative crowd of just over 100 that included family, friends, sitting Hall-Of-Famers, world-renowned knifemakers, knife collectors and various combinations thereof in the Kennesaw Room of the show’s host hotel, the Renaissance Waverly.

Providing induction speeches were those handpicked by the new inductees: Cutlery Hall-Of-Famers Bill Ruple and Ken Onion for Thomas and Terzuola, respectively, and award-winning bladesmith Neil Kamimura for Schwarzer. All, including the acceptance speeches, were genuine, entertaining and memorable.

Devin Thomas

While best known for his damascus steel, Devin’s first love was making knives. “The best kept secret about Devin is how good a knifemaker he is,” Bill Ruple said. “He’s known for his wonderful damascus steel, some of the best in the world, but he’s a heckuva knifemaker.”

Devin Thomas blade
A Devin Thomas blade of Devin’s stainless damascus. (image courtesy of Devin Thomas)

Using a set of instructions his uncle gave him, Devin made his first knife at 13. At 16 he worked the whole summer making knives with long-time maker Bob Lofgren in Arizona. Devin did so without pay but didn’t care because of his affinity for knives. At 18 he won most impressive knife by a new maker at the California Custom Knife Show. At 21 he married Jackie. “She knew me in high school and knew I made knives, so when we got married she knew about the knife thing, so I didn’t surprise her or anything,” he recalled. “And I told her at the time I’m going to be a world famous knifemaker one day.” Devin and Jackie recently celebrated their 37th anniversary.

One of Devin’s inspirations was Cutlery Hall-Of-Famer Wayne Goddard. Devin read Wayne’s story on cable damascus in KNIVES ’86 and a career was born. “I thought I could forge-weld cable damascus, so I bought me some cable. I didn’t have any idea what I was doing, and I heated up the forge and got [the cable] to stick together,” Devin said. “That started my damascus career.”

His next great inspiration was Cutlery Hall-Of-Famer Buster Warenski. “I kept trying to get him to try some of my steel,” Devin related. “Buster said, ‘I’m not trying any of your steel unless you try to make stainless damascus.’ I started making stainless damascus and Buster used a piece in one of his art pieces and I thought, ‘I can quit today!’”

On the contrary, Devin was on his way.

“At one time I think I was making more steel than the entire ABS put together, not certain, but I could really pump it out,” he said. “I was doing 50 bars of steel a day on a regular basis. That hammer was wide open all the time.”

Family, friends and customers—that’s what it’s all about for Devin. “My oldest son [Larrin] is developing new steel so fast the industry can’t keep up,” he noted. “He developed MagnaCut— which some like but a few don’t—but the industry can’t absorb his new developments fast enough.”

Better designs, better manufacturing, an upcoming generation of makers that has him very optimistic—Devin sees a rosy future for the industry.

“We have more talent than we’ve ever had before, and younger talent, and more excitement,” he opined. “We’ve got a lot of bad designs and bad knifemaking too, but we’ve got to tolerate the good and the bad. We need more domestic manufacturing and we need better abrasives—they’re not keeping up with the steel we’re producing. My only regret? I don’t know, maybe I shoulda bought a truckload of stag scales when they were only two or three dollars a pair.”

Devin Thomas at a power hammer
Devin Thomas at the helm. (image courtesy of Devin Thomas)

Ruple said he and Devin have a mutual respect based both on friendship and a shared desire to make the best the knife industry has to offer.

“Devin was always my go-to guy when it came to knowing anything about steel,” Bill said. “Anything I needed to know I’d call Devin. I learned a lot from the guy.”

Devin is nicknamed “Hoss” for his resemblance to the most endearing member of the Cartwright family on the long-running 1960s-’70s TV show, Bonanza. And, not unlike the TV Hoss, the new Hall-Of-Famer Hoss has never been beyond pulling a rabbit out of his 10-gallon hat. Bill recalled such a time at a long past BLADE Show.

“We were sitting at my table and this guy from Japan comes up and he’s trying to buy a knife from me and communication is not going well, and all of a sudden Devin’s talking Japanese to this guy and I’m thinking, ‘Hoss Cartwright speaks Japanese?’” Bill laughed at the memory.

Of course, the fact Devin is multilingual simply adds to his Hall-Of-Fame pedigree.

“Devin’s the guy who brought damascus steel to the masses,” Bill observed. “There were guys who made damascus steel but Devin aimed his steel at folder makers. He got it out there in dimensions that guys like me could use. There’s probably more of his steel in high-end collections around the world than anybody else’s. He’s been doing this a long time and he’s one of the best ever.”

Bob Terzuola

Bob Terzuola made his first knife in 1979, joined the Knifemakers’ Guild in 1981 and along the way served on the Guild’s board of directors for nine years. His relentless search for ways to improve his knives in terms of design, materials, mechanisms and more helped establish his place as one of the greatest knifemakers of his or any era, with his tactical folding knives at the summit.

Michael Walker and Bob Terzuola
BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame® members Michael Walker and Bob Terzuola enjoy the 2019 Art Knife Invitational. (image courtesy of Bob Terzuola)

“In 1984 Bob moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and started making folding knives,” Ken Onion said. “Searching for a hard-use folder that could be used discreetly, Bob developed a model featuring Micarta® scales and bead-blasted titanium bolsters for which he coined the term tactical folding knife, which later evolved into his most popular model, the ATCF … which opened the market for the new category of folding knife, which arguably remains the largest and most popular category of knives in the industry.”

As Ken noted, Bob wanted to design a “robust knife as tough as he could,” so he set out to use G-10, carbon fiber, titanium and other advanced materials at a time when few if any were using them. He was a pioneer of the circular thumb disc for ambidextrous one-hand blade opening, multiple double grinds on folder blades, knives with laser-cut CNC parts and fine-tuned other areas that have molded the modern folding knife.

“Bob also focused a lot on the linerlock and did a lot of engineering advancements through a lot of trial and error, and then what does he do? He writes a book about it—The Tactical Folding Knife: A Study of the Anatomy and Construction of the Liner-Locked Folder—to teach the rest of us how to compete with him. How many of us have a copy of that book in their shop?” Ken asked the attentive audience. “How many have a dog-eared, highlighted copy, how many of us reference it regularly, and how many of us have read it more than once? It’s kind of like an important thing for all of us to have. All these contributions and advancements have earned him the affection of us all and title of the Godfather of the Tactical Knife.”

Bob Terzuola’s landmark book
The Tactical Folding Knife is Bob Terzuola’s landmark book of which Ken Onion said to an audience of over 100, “How many have a dog-eared, highlighted copy, how many of us reference it regularly, and how many of us have read it more than once?”

Bob reiterated Devin Thomas’s comment about the importance of the human element. “I’ve seen a lot of changes and met a lot of people and made a lot of really good friends, and had to say goodbye to some of them,” he said. “There were friends who meant a lot to me over the years, people like Bob Loveless, Carolyn Tinker, Howard Viele, Frank Centofante, Wayne Goddard, Bob Lum, Alex Collins. A lot of these names don’t mean anything to a lot of younger makers, but they all helped build the structure that we all rely on to take care of our families.”

He also addressed some in the audience in particular, including Cutlery Hall-Of-Famer Michael Walker. “He introduced me to the alchemy of the linerlock and working with titanium, which back in the mid-1980s was virtually unknown to knifemakers and now is so important not only to tactical folders but all sorts of pocketknives,” Bob noted of Michael. “And Ken Onion, who’s been a long-time friend and a guiding light … and I want to thank my children … but most of all I want to thank my wife, Susan, who has taken care of me over many years and … has been a powerhouse of the artistic critiquing of my knives, additions to design and so forth. And thanks to all of you for this honor and gathering here at the greatest knife show there is. Keep up the good work and let’s see where this winding, crazy, twisting road of surprises takes us in the craft of knifemaking.”

Steve Schwarzer

An ABS master smith, Steve Schwarzer and the ABS were meant for each other. The ABS is all about teaching and promoting the art of the forged blade, and so is Steve. “I want to say thank you to Billy Ray Hughes and the ABS that really helped me build a foundation,” he said. “They have a set of standards to follow and it really helped drive my business,” a business that includes a pioneering career in canister damascus, award-winning knives and teaching as many bladesmiths as he can how to forge blades

Steve Schwarzer speaking
Steve Schwarzer speaks of “knife-shaped objects,” his teachers, students and other sharp things.

Like Devin Thomas, Steve got a taste of what would become his life’s work in junior high school when he forged his first hot steel. Not long after high school in the late 1960s, he went to work in the aircraft industry and started making “knife-shaped objects.” He called them knife-shaped objects “because we took a piece of stainless steel we found on the job somewhere with no idea how to heat treat it or what kind of steel it was, and we’d grind it to what looked like a knife and put a handle on it.”

In 1972, he moved to Florida and bought a book by Alex Bealer that had a page-and-a-half on forging knives. “When I turned that page and read it, it lit a fire that never went out,” Steve said. He made knives as a hobby and sold them to his fellow shop workers for $15 and $20 apiece. “They told me I was wonderful and I believed them,” Steve said to a chuckling audience. It was then he learned of Bobby Tyson. “He was my original teacher,” Steve said. “I loved the guy. He could make two beautiful pocketknives in a day that walked and talked. Tony Bose would’ve been proud of them.”

Tyson actually had books on making knives, a novel concept at the time. Steve visited Tyson and learned all he could. “He put me ahead five years in one weekend and that’s what I try to do with Neil Kamimura and these guys here,” Steve said, pointing to some of his students in the audience. “I surround myself with people doing great things.” It is an approach that inspires Neil.

“Steve says surround your yourself with people that know your value,” he observed. “He has helped a tremendous amount of people and everybody wants to know his tricks because he’s the wizard of steel. But for me it wasn’t his tricks of welding steel but it was the lessons I wanted to learn, such as how does he keep his passion for that many years? How did he keep his willingness to want to keep on wanting to learn?” To absorb those things from Steve, Neil noted, “is to listen to his struggles, his hardships and the balance he took to maintain such longevity in this industry.”

Meanwhile, Steve the teacher remains, and always has remained, Steve the student.

Steve Schwarzer folding dagger
A Steve Schwarzer folding dagger sports a chevron damascus blade, canister damascus furniture and mother-of-pearl scales. (PointSeven image)

“At 75 I’m hurrying, I promise you,” he stressed. “I wake up in the morning and it’s, ‘Man, I’ve got another day. Let’s go do something!’ And that’s what I do and then [my students] explore and come back with information. So everyone you teach in this business doubles your life in the business is the way I look at it. And that’s why I love what I do.”

Neil brought it all into full focus.

“How many careers were started because of him and how many lives he’s touched, many in this room,” he mused.

“Steve Schwarzer has truly changed bladesmithing forever and I believe that … A lot of these young makers and a lot of these Instagram people, we’re nothing without people like Steve and people that have been inducted [today]. So if you don’t know Steve, you should get to know him, and if you do know Steve, you should treasure him like I do.”

Read More On BLADE Magazine And Show:

Schwarzer, Terzuola, Thomas Inducted To Cutlery Hall Of Fame®

The BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall Of Fame® is proud to announce three most-deserving inductees for 2023: Steve Schwarzer, Bob Terzuola and Devin “Hoss” Thomas.

Steve Schwarzer, Bob Terzuola and Devin “Hoss” Thomas are the newest members of the BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall Of Fame®. All three will be formally inducted Saturday morning, June 3, of the BLADE Show at the Cobb Galleria Centre in Atlanta in a special ceremony in the Kennesaw Room of the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly, the show’s host hotel. The ceremony will be a combination breakfast/triple induction and will start at 8:00 a.m. Tickets are required and seating is limited, so the tickets will go fast. For ticket information, email blade@bladeshow.com.

Steve Schwarzer

Steve Schwarzer mugshot

A veteran ABS master smith, Schwarzer is probably best known for his pioneering work in the canister method of forging mosaic damascus. His hunter and dog scene in mosaic damascus on the blade of one of his hunting knives forged circa the early 1990s was a defining moment for the genre. He is considered one of the finest instructors and ambassadors of the forged blade and of mosaic damascus, teaching at seminars and hammer-ins on the subjects for decades in Europe, South Africa, all over the USA and elsewhere.

Bob Terzuola

Bob Terzuola mugshot

Known as a pioneer of tactical knives, especially his ATCF (Advanced Technology Combat Folder), Terzuola started out making fixed-blade combat knives for the CIA, soldiers and security personnel in Central America. In 1984 he began making folders of titanium and Micarta®, which helped set the stage for the tactical folders that dominated the American custom knife scene for decades beginning in the mid-1990s. Aka “Bob T,” he wrote the how-to book, The Tactical Folding Knife, originally published in 2000.

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Devin “Hoss” Thomas

Devin "Hoss" Thomas mugshot

While a fine knifemaker in his own right, Thomas is best known for his pioneering work in forging stainless and carbon damascus, and supplying thousands of knifemakers industry-wide with the material from the 1990s forward. He was one of the first to make quality damascus available for sale to the “average” knifemaker. The damascus patterns he offers are among the most recognizable in the industry and include but are not limited to Raindrop, Spirograph, Basketweave, Herringbone and others.

The new inductees were determined by a combined vote of sitting Hall Of Famers and, for the first time this year, a Panel of Industry Authorities, the latter chosen by the BLADE® staff. The latest inductions bring the total number of members in the Cutlery Hall Of Fame to 71.

See Past BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall Of Fame® Inductees:

Warenski King Tut Dagger For Sale

Perhaps the most iconic handmade knife ever can be yours for the right price

It may be the most iconic custom knife ever and it was made by perhaps the best knifemaker ever. The King Tut Dagger reproduction by BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame® member Buster Warenski is available for sale through Exquisite Knives.

Buster Warenski’s reproduction of the King Tut Dagger took over five years to complete and, including the sheath, contains over 32 ounces of gold. (SharpByCoop image)
Buster Warenski’s reproduction of the King Tut Dagger took over five years to complete and, including the sheath, contains over 32 ounces of gold. (SharpByCoop image)

Commissioned by Cutlery Hall-Of-Famer Phil Lobred in 1982, the knife took Warenski over five years to complete. A pioneering collector of custom knives and 19th-century dress bowies and founder/creator/coordinator of the Art Knife Invitational, Phil had kept the dagger in a safe ever since, displaying it on rare occasions at select knife shows or for private viewings. He passed away in 2016. On Aug. 1, his widow, Judy, contacted Dave Ellis of Exquisite Knives and asked him to handle the sale of the famous piece.

Buster Warenski is widely recognized as one of the best knifemakers if not the best ever. He passed away in 2005.
Buster Warenski is widely recognized as one of the best knifemakers if not the best ever. He passed away in 2005.

Once valued at over $1 million, “the most famous contemporary handmade knife ever,” according to Ellis, has an asking price of $500,000.


The first of Warenski’s three “Legacy Knives”—the other two being the Gem of the Orient and Fire and Ice—the King Tut Dagger is a reproduction of the knife from the tomb of the Egyptian boy king, Tutankhamun, uncovered by archaeologist Howard Carter in 1922. It contains over 32 ounces of gold and took Warenski, widely recognized as one of the best knifemakers if not the best ever, over half a decade to build.

During that span he suffered through the trial and challenges of recreating the iconic dagger. Among them was the cold forging and fullering of the knife’s gold blade, learning such ancient techniques as cloisonné—a highly technical enameling process—and the granulation of the handle. The solid gold scabbard rivals the knife in terms of beauty and the many hours it took to make. A special handmade display stand comes with the dagger, both of which are in mint condition.

The King Tut Dagger repro was the cover for the February 1988 BLADE®.
The King Tut Dagger repro was the cover for the February 1988 BLADE®.


The current sale will be the second time Ellis has had a go at moving the Tut dagger repro.

“A few years before he passed, Phil Lobred asked if I would find a buyer for the Tut. His asking price at the time was $1 million. I had a number of interested parties but Phil was set on his price and I could not swing the sale,” Dave wrote. “Now, over six years since Phil passed, Judy contacted me about selling the King Tut Dagger. After deciding on a more realistic price—not that a million was unreasonable but few if any contemporary knives have attained that lofty status—I am marketing the piece on my Instagram and Facebook pages and on my website.”

An ABS master smith now retired from bladesmithing, Dave is a top collector and dealer of fine custom knives. He stated that to be able to offer his clientele such a special piece is indeed an honor.

Phil Lobred commissioned Buster Warenski to make the King Tut dagger repro in 1982 and Buster completed it in 1987. Phil, here on a dock in San Diego, created/founded the Art Knife Invitational in 1983. He passed away in 2016.
Phil Lobred commissioned Buster Warenski to make the King Tut dagger repro in 1982 and Buster completed it in 1987. Phil, here on a dock in San Diego, created/founded the Art Knife Invitational in 1983. He passed away in 2016.

Perhaps the only things better would be to a) sell it and b) own it.

For more information on the sale of the King Tut Dagger repro, visit exquisiteknives.com and click on ‘art knives’ on the home page.

Read More On Knife Collecting:

A Labor of Love: Lorenzi Foundation And Museum

The Lorenzi Foundation and Museum showcases one of the finest collections of rare and historical knives in the world.

One of the most extensive collections of ultra-rare modern custom and historical knives, cutting implements and many other items connected with the cutler’s art is displayed magnificently in a new museum in Milan, Italy.

A labor of love by Aldo and Edda Lorenzi, the museum is under the auspices of the aptly named Aldo and Edda Lorenzi Foundation (established July, 2020). The museum showcases the Lorenzi Collection consisting of about 2,000 pieces in all, catalogued and accompanied by specific information: era, origin, artisan (if known), function, material, construction and more.

Aldo & Edda Lorenzi
Aldo & Edda Lorenzi

It gathers cutting utensils and related items dating from the Etruscan period (approximately 900-27 B.C.) to today. It is complemented by a series of specialized publications, testimony to the incessant research that was necessary to bring the operation  of the Lorenzis’ internationally recognized G. Lorenzi retail knife store in Milan to exceptional levels, and to which Mr. and Mrs. Lorenzi devoted their efforts and creativity for many years. It is all housed in a state-of-the-art edifice containing many of the displays and other historical examples of the cutler’s art from the original G. Lorenzi shop and elsewhere.

The Foundation’s premises include a library where visitors and specialists may view the bibliographic materials. A special fit-out of the space enables visitors to relive the shop’s atmosphere. Thanks to an attentive recovery, a number of the original furnishings have been reinstalled on site. This includes an exterior window from G. Lorenzi, one of six “eyes” that communicated with window shoppers in one of Milan’s most exclusive retail store districts, and the display counters on which, over the years, over 18,000 types of sales items were placed. The space also features oak display cases in which the items were shown, as well as the copper-paneled room that featured the small entrance door opening onto the larger shop.

Historic Excellence

The collected items demonstrate, by starting from an artisanal craft as ancient and humble as that of the knife grinder, how it is possible to evolve and then achieve historic excellence. As further informational support, there are over 700 books, about 1,000 magazines and 150 prints, which for the most part depict traveling knife grinders. In fact, Aldo’s father, Giovanni Lorenzi, started his career as a professional knife grinder. Giovanni

Edda Lorenzi examines and arranges some of the many cutlery items from the Lorenzi Collection. (Lorenzi image)
Edda Lorenzi examines and arranges some of the many cutlery items from the Lorenzi Collection. (Lorenzi image)

founded  Coltelleria G. Lorenzi—a small shop at the time—at the address of via Montenapoleone 9, Milan, a shop later operated by his sons Aldo, the sole administrator, and Franco. (Regrettably, Franco passed away a few years ago.)

In the course of over 60 years, the Lorenzis collected and kept the pieces which best represented their profession until the closure of G. Lorenzi in 2014. Their selection of the most recent items from their collection was made possible thanks to the close, precious relationship with the artisans—many Europeans, a number of Americans and Japanese—whom Aldo and Edda visited periodically at their shops. It was in such shops that the artisans created their unique pieces, full-fledged artworks that stand the test of time and which enabled G. Lorenzi to become renowned and appreciated at the international level.

Custom Gems

Included in the collection are 150 custom knives by American makers, knives that are particularly near and dear to Mr. and Mrs. Lorenzi. Having collected such knives since the mid-1970s, the Lorenzis traveled the USA, not only visiting the makers in their shops but also attending most every major knife show, meeting just about every maker worth his or her steel along the way.

Among the Lorenzis’ honors are The Knifemakers’ Guild’s Nate Posner Award (1995); the BLADE Magazine Industry Achievement Award (2014); the American Bladesmith Society Special Achievement Award (2014); and the Gold Star Award of Recognition from the William Moran Jr. Museum and Foundation (2014). Three of the Lorenzis’ favorites among their favorite custom knives in their collection are:

  • The number one of an art piece by W.W. “Bud” Cronk, the maker some consider the father of the modern art knife. Aldo ordered a copy of the knife for one of the Lorenzis’ best customers, but Cronk passed away before he could finish it. It would’ve been a coup for the Lorenzis if they could have gotten the copy too, as Cronk never made duplicates of his work. The copy was used later as the model for the logo of the W.W. Cronk Award, a private honor Don Henderson sponsored for 25 years for the Guild Show’s best art knife
  • A Bob Loveless/Barry Wood folder Loveless gave to Aldo when the Lorenzis visited the Loveless shop in 1977. Unaware at the time that U.S. knifemakers’ shops were not retail knife stores, the Lorenzis knocked on the Loveless shop door unannounced. Loveless answered the door and, unsure at first what to make of the couple from Italy, soon hit it

    Loveless/Wood Folder
    Loveless/Wood Folder

    off with Aldo—so much so that he gave the Lorenzis the Loveless/Wood folder. Before the Lorenzis left, they asked Loveless why he had trusted them so much at first sight that he gave them a knife (at the time, Aldo and Edda had no idea what Loveless knives were worth). “He replied that we ‘had our history written on our foreheads,’ a phrase that we have never forgotten!” Edda wrote. “These are the kinds of bonds that have made us love American knives and knifemakers even more!” 

  • A Multilock folder by Ray Appleton. Edda recounted a memorable trip the Lorenzis shared with Appleton from Georgia to Chicago, including visits to an Atlanta racing museum and Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave in the process, the latter where the 6-foot-8-inch Appleton bumped his noggin on a cave overhead. Recounted Edda: “Since Aldo wanted to stop at every cutler shop he knew along the way, Ray generously offered to make the phone calls for him to warn the shops of our arrival. ‘I’m Aldo Lorenzi’s secretary, Hot Pants,’ he announced himself on the telephone, making us laugh a lot!”

These are but three of the many American custom knives and their stories among the scads of other custom and assorted knives and cutting implements in the museum. Meanwhile, a 300-to-400 page catalog of museum items is due for completion by early 2022 at the latest.

If you ever get Milan way, a visit to the Aldo and Edda Lorenzi Foundation and Museum is a bucket-list must. 

Read more about the Lorenzis

Lorenzis, Ruple Join Cutlery Hall Of Fame

The BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall Of Fame® is proud to announce three most-deserving inductees for 2022: the husband-and-wife team of Mr. and Mrs. Aldo and Edda Lorenzi and Bill Ruple.

All will be formally inducted in a special Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame ceremony and breakfast during BLADE Show 2022 June 3-5 at the Cobb Galleria Centre in Atlanta.

One of the most prolific, long-running supporters of custom knives in modern cutlery history, the Lorenzis forged a name known in knife circles far and wide while operating their G. Lorenzi retail knife store in Milan, Italy, where they sold knives of some of the greatest knifemakers of all time, including Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame members Buster Warenski, Bob Loveless, Michael Walker, Jimmy Lile, Gil Hibben, Ron Lake, Frank Centofante and many more.

Meanwhile, hailing from Pleasonton, Texas, Ruple is one of the most successful slip-joint makers of the 21st century, winning many awards for his traditional pocketknives, and also serving as a teacher and mentor to an entire generation of award-winning slip-joint makers from Texas and elsewhere.

Aldo and Edda Lorenzi (Francesco Pachi image)
Aldo and Edda Lorenzi (Francesco Pachi image)

Aldo And Edda Lorenzi

Aldo and Edda Lorenzi operated G. Lorenzi retail cutlery store in Milan from 1959 until its close in February 2014. The Lorenzis regularly attended the world’s most important knife shows, buying scores of knives for sale in their shop. They bought so many knives at shows, in fact, that the Lorenzis’ presence often determined a show’s success or failure. The support and exposure they gave to American makers in particular by selling their knives in their store in one of the most exclusive shopping areas in Milan was pivotal in introducing American custom knives to Europe.

In 1995 they won The Knifemakers’ Guild’s prestigious Nate Posner Award “in recognition for outstanding service in the promotion of handcrafted cutlery.” They also won the BLADE Magazine 2014 Industry Achievement Award for their decades of supporting the custom knife industry. For five years ending in 2019, they sponsored the Aldo and Edda Lorenzi Award for the Guild Show and the BLADE Show, with each event’s award-winning maker receiving $1,000 cash and a plaque—10 awards and $10,000 in all. The Lorenzis also are most supportive of the William F. Moran Foundation and are one of the Foundation’s first chartered member couples.

An exterior display window (shown here in the background) from the original G. Lorenzi shop is a centerpiece of the Lorenzis’ new museum. It was one of the store’s six “eyes” that communicated with window shoppers in one of Milan’s most exclusive retail districts, the counters of which, over the years, displayed more than 18,000 types of items. In the foreground is a display case of some of the Lorenzis’ favorite custom knives. (Francesco Pachi image)
An exterior display window (shown here in the background) from the original G. Lorenzi shop is a centerpiece of the Lorenzis’ new museum. It was one of the store’s six “eyes” that communicated with window shoppers in one of Milan’s most exclusive retail districts, the counters of which, over the years, displayed more than 18,000 types of items. In the foreground is a display case of some of the Lorenzis’ favorite custom knives. (Francesco Pachi image)

“More loyal ambassadors of the art cannot be found,” one sitting Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame member noted of the Lorenzis. “Their store was like a museum, always welcoming visitors and ready to educate them on fine cutlery and custom knives. Several prominent collectors got their start by buying a custom knife at the Lorenzis’ store.”

In fact, the Lorenzis have assembled their massive collection of over 2,000 knives (including 150 custom knives by the world’s best makers spanning the past half century), 700 books, 1,000 magazines and prints, and related items in a new state-of-the-art museum in Milan (December BLADE®, page 60). The museum contains the knives in elegant oak display cases, a recreation of the copper-paneled room that featured the small entrance door to the G. Lorenzi store in Milan, a wooden portable knife grinder used by Aldo’s father and the store’s namesake, Giovanni Lorenzi, almost a century ago, and much more.

Bill Ruple
Bill Ruple

Bill Ruple

In the eyes of one sitting member of the Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame, Bill Ruple, an award-winning custom knifemaker specializing in traditional pocketknives/slip joints and multi-blades, has done as much as anyone to promote the knife business. Bill served on the board of the Texas Knifemakers Association, taught many how to make traditional knives and is very free with his knowledge. In recognition of this fact, he was presented with the BLADE Show 2019 Aldo and Edda Lorenzi Award. The award went to a knifemaker who excels in terms of teaching and mentoring his or her fellow makers in the art of knifemaking.

Having built knives for 34 years, Ruple is a premier maker of slip joints and possesses a selfless willingness to teach others how to do it, usually in his shop in Pleasanton, Texas, and also at BLADE University, the BLADE Show, BLADE Show West and other venues. He has helped many get started with the slip joint, one of the oldest yet most challenging folders to make. His kindness and patience validates something other makers know all too well—that he is most willing to share knowledge with and encourage, critique and mentor makers everywhere.

A selection of Bill Ruple’s slip joints in an array of open, closed and spine images show Bill’s awesome talent and versatility as a knifemaker. (SharpByCoop image)
A selection of Bill Ruple’s slip joints in an array of open, closed and spine images show Bill’s awesome talent and versatility as a knifemaker. (SharpByCoop image)

Bill has taught quite a few who have become award-winning makers in their own right, including Rusty Preston, Luke Swenson, Tom Ploppert, Phil Jacob, Bubba Crouch, Toby Hill, Enrique Pena and others. A number have gone on to teach also, spreading Ruple’s knowledge to others who no doubt do the same as well. Bill does not limit his shared knowledge to just stock removal makers, receiving the American Bladesmith Society’s President’s Award for teaching ABS members how to make slip joints. Finally, Bill has donated some of his knives to knife shows and other cutlery organizations to raise funds for their various needs.

Hall Of Fame Criteria

Selected by a vote of sitting Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame members, the inductees are selected based on the following criteria: demonstrated extraordinary service to the knife industry; displayed honesty, character and integrity; advanced the industry by the creativity and originality of their works or contributions; as ambassadors or outstanding contributors, have furthered the positive impact of the knife industry on the world at large, and, in summary, have demonstrated a worthiness to be a member of this prestigious group.

The latest inductees exhibit all these qualities and more and represent a most worthy Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame induction class of 2022.

Read About Past Hall Of Fame Inductees:

Jerry Hossom makes a Navy-themed set for Capt. Ryan Heilman of the USS Nevada

Submariner Steel

Jerry Hossom makes a Navy-themed set for Capt. Ryan Heilman of the USS Nevada

Jerry Hossom had that twinkle in his eye again and this time it was by his table at BLADE Show in Atlanta, where he was all fired up about the latest set he had made for Capt. Ryan Heilman, USN, of the USS Nevada (SSBN-733).

Sporting Navy blue Micarta handles, the set consists of Jerry’s USN Mark I Boarding Hawk-Submariner Model, a Retribution fighter and one of his small Dog Tag knives. However, as with many edged sets, it was a project that wound up a bit larger than when it first started.

In addition to the Submariner Boarding Hawk, the Retribution fighter and smaller Dog Tag knife complete the set and are contained in a red-velvet-lined briefcase. A sign with the set’s and owner’s names appears on the underside of the briefcase lid.

“Ryan’s wife Karen wanted something for him and I made the Boarding Hawk. I dyed the handle blue and I wanted it to look like the sleeve of a captain’s uniform. Captain Heilman has four gold stripes on his uniform sleeve and this would normally be a star, but I can’t do stars,” he laughed, pointing to the brass pin above the four brass stripes on the handle. “And so I made this and sent it to him.”

The USN Mark I Boarding Hawk-Submariner Model by Jerry Hossom is part of a three-piece set Jerry made for Capt. Ryan Heilman of the USS Nevada SSBN-733), a ballistic missile submarine in the United States Navy.

Soon after that Karen texted Jerry with an additional request. “She said what Ryan really wanted was one of my Retribution fighters, and so I did that,” Jerry smiled. “And then Karen said maybe you can complete the set with one of your little Dog Tag knives.” Pointing to the Dog Tag knife, Jerry said, “So this was the last one I did last week just before the show.”

One of Hossom’s most recognizable knife models is his Retribution fighter. According to Capt. Heilman’s wife Karen it was the Hossom knife the Captain really wanted. Blade steel: Carpenter PSF-27 stainless. Handle: Navy blue Micarta® with bronze captain stripes and pin. Overall length: 13 inches.

Of course, Jerry outfitted both the Retribution and Dog Tag models with the same Navy blue Micarta handles and the brass stripes and pins to match the Submariner Boarding Hawk. In-between the stripes are thin layers of Navy blue G-10 that match the balance of the handles’ Navy blue Micarta. The handles of both the Submariner Boarding Hawk and Dog Tag knife have Jerry’s trademark palm cutouts that extend across the bronze pin and just north of the bronze stripes. The Retribution fighter, meanwhile, features a cradle handle style with the bird’s beak pommel on one end and the single guard on the other combining to form the cradle. The captain’s sleeve effect on all three is equal parts unmistakable and tastefully understated.

Hossom’s Dog Tag knife rounds out the three-piece set. As with the other three pieces, note the handle configured to resemble a captain’s sleeve with the four bronze stripes and pin. All the materials are the same for it as the Submariner Boarding Hawk and Retribution, including the blue G-10 in-between the stripes. Hossom would have made a regulation Navy star instead of the pin but, as he laughed, “I can’t do stars.”

From left, Jerry Hossom and Karen and Ryan Heilman enjoy themselves at BLADE Show In between Jerry and Karen in the background knifemaker Grace Horne interacts with a customer at her table.

Blade steel for all three pieces is Carpenter PSF 27 stainless, one of Jerry’s favorites. Respective lengths for the Submariner Boarding Hawk, Retribution and Dog Tag are 14, 13 and 7 inches. All are contained in a red-velvet-lined briefcase with a sign inside the lid that reads “USN Mark I Boarding Hawk-Submariner Model” over “Captain Ryan Heilman SSBN Nevada.”


For more information contact Jerry Hossom, Dept. BL10, 3585 Schilling Ridge, Duluth, GA 30096 770-449-7809 jerry@hossom.com, hossom.com.

The USS Nevada

The USS Nevada (SSBN-733) is a United States Navy Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine that has been in commission since 1986. Its homeport is Bangor, Washington, and its motto is Silent Sentry. This nuclear-powered craft is 560 feet long, has a speed greater than 25 knots (29 mph) and a test depth greater than 800 feet. It boasts a complement of 15 officers and 140 enlisted men, and its armament consists of 24 Trident II D-5 ballistic missiles, MK-48 torpedoes and four 21-inch torpedo tubes.

Capt. Ryan J. Heilman, USN

Capt. Ryan J. Heilman, 

Capt. Ryan J. Heilman is commanding officer of the Blue Crew and captain of the USS Nevada (SSBN-73). He enlisted in the Navy as a machinist mate, nuclear option, and was selected for the Nuclear Enlisted Commissioning Program in 1991 and was commissioned from Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, Florida, in 1994.

Heilman was assigned to the PCU Wyoming (SSBN 742) in 1996, where he served as Navigation Division Officer and in several other positions. In 2002 he reported as Navigator/Operations Officer to the USS Nevada. He reported to Trident Training Facility, Bangor, Washington, in 2005 as the Engineering Training Department Director. In March 2008 he became Executive Officer of the USS Nebraska (SSBN 739). In 2011, after graduating from the U.S. Naval War College with a Master of Arts degree in National Security Studies, he was assigned as a Military Professor in the Joint Military Operations Department at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. In 2013, he reported to Submarine Squadron Seventeen in Bangor, Washington, as Deputy Commander for Readiness.

Capt. Heilman is a graduate of the U.S. Army’s Command and General Staff College, the Navy’s Naval War College and is a qualified Joint Service Officer. His awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, the Joint Commendation Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal (four awards) and the Navy Achievement Medal (two awards).


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