Bob Cargill Knifemaker, Company Founder And NKCA BOD President Passes

Bob Cargill Knifemaker, Company Founder And NKCA BOD President Passes

Cargill’s impacted the knife industry in nearly every facet.

Bobby Lynn “Bob” Cargill, custom knifemaker, a president of the National Knife Collectors Association board of directors, and founder of Cargill Knives and Cripple Creek Cutlery, passed away January 3. Of Old Fort, Tennessee, he was 81.

Using old car springs for material, Cargill made his first knife when he was 10. He went full time in his mid-30’s circa 1975 making knives via the stock removal method, including folders, some fancy, lockbacks and multi-blades. He used 440C, 154CM, D2 and other steels for blades, and mother-of-pearl, stag, bone, Micarta®, ivory and wood for handles.

He joined the Guild in 1979. “What I enjoy most is the completed knife,” he was quoted as saying in Knifemakers: An Official Directory of the Knifemakers Guild, “because it is rewarding to see a design on paper developed … If I can’t deliver a knife that I’m proud of and make you a little bit happier and proud to collect my knives, then I don’t want your money.”

Cargill had his right leg amputated below the knee as a result of a car accident. However, instead of letting it hold him back, he used it as inspiration for the name of Cripple Creek Cutlery. Founded in 1981 in Lockport, Illinois, Cripple Creek specialized in slipjoints in classic patterns and natural handle materials.

Consisting mostly of slipjoints—they were called pocketknives back then—club knives were big in the late 1970s and throughout the ’80s, and Cripple Creek was among a number of companies that provided knives for knife clubs nationwide, companies that included Case, Queen, Hen & Rooster, A.G. Russell, Fight’n Rooster, KA-BAR, Boker, Schrade and others. Among the knife clubs Cripple Creek made club knives for included the Western Reserve Cutlery Association, Allegheny Mountain Knife Collectors Association, Central Kentucky Knife Club, Badger Knife Club, the Northeast Cutlery Collectors Association and others. He was active in the American Edge Collectors Association. Cripple Creek also made limited-edition slipjoints for Knife World in the early 1980s when BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame® member Houston Price owned the magazine. Knife World is now known as Knife Magazine. Bob also made club knives under the Cargill Knives mark for such knife clubs as the Soy Knife Collectors Club.

Bob sold Cripple Creek in 1993 and it operated under Blackjack Knives in Effingham, Illinois, until 1995. He was on the Guild’s “knifemaker emeritus” list at the time of his passing. He is survived by his three children, nine grandchildren, several great grandchildren, two sisters and a brother.

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