Paul Ehlers Sets Record Straight


Editor’s note: Long-time knife designer Paul Ehlers wrote the following letter to BLADE® concerning our oversight of Mr. Ehlers’ copious design contributions to the works of Paul Fox and Blade Magazine Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame© member Gil Hibben, one of which by the latter, the Alien, is reproduced above via the photography of Mike Carter. We reprint Mr. Ehlers’ letter here in its entirety.


      My name is Paul Ehlers. I am a knife designer; I believe you know my work. I have been a reader of BLADE® since 1983. It was that year I forged a creative alliance and friendship with Blade Magazine Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame© member Gil Hibben, and later with knifemaker Paul Fox. Our knife journeys have been both challenging and artistically rewarding, and we always have endeavored to push the envelope. Often the envelope would push back, but we never let that stop us!

      Looking back, the majority of Gil’s one-of-a-kind custom fantasy knives were of my design, from our beginnings in ’83 with our “Dragonfly” up until the present day. In fact, we have done over 50 collaborations. That is a lot of grinding! It is no wonder Gil has often said “Paul’s dreams are my nightmares!”

      The first fantasy knife I designed for Paul Fox we named the “Soulseeker.” It went on to win the coveted W.W. Cronk Award at the 1986 Knifemakers’ Guild Show. That was a great honor. Of the many knives I have designed over 25 years, it is one of our best achievements.

      But alas, my name is nowhere to be seen in “Raise A Glass To The W.W. Cronk Award” on page 78 of the April 2009 BLADE. The ’85 winners are listed as collaborators, so I am sure you will take this opportunity to correct this piece of our knife family history. I, and posterity, will be eternally grateful!

Paul W. Ehlers

P.S.: I can recall at the first shows I attended, the “Father of American Knife Photographers,” Cutlery Hall-Of-Famer Jim Weyer, would take me around to the tables and introduce me as “the next Bud Cronk.” This was 1983. The only thing was, I had never met Mr. Cronk and had not seen any  of his work until Jim published his first Knives: Points of Interest book. When I asked about Cronk, Jim said, “Don’t worry kid, you’re in good company!” I never forgot that. Of course, over time I came to know what a true genius Cronk was and is. This is one of many reasons why this award means so much to me.

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