Harry Archer is no stranger to fans of BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame® members Bob Loveless and A.G. Russell, as well as followers of Steve Johnson, Bob Dozier and other inhabitants of the custom knife scene. A larger-than life “operator” for the CIA, among others, Archer designed the chute knife, a fixed blade that got its name for use when a parachutist landed in a tree or in some other sticky situation and needed to cut the shroud lines to free himself.
Archer fell in love with Loveless knives and designed a chute knife that Bob made. In the process, Archer and Loveless became close friends and the chute one of Bob’s best-known knives, one reproduced today by scores of custom makers.
A.G. and Loveless had a special relationship, so it should come as no surprise that A.G. became friends with Archer as well—and neither should it come as a revelation that A.G. saw the potential for reproducing a chute knife. In fact, as it turns out, A.G. Russell Knives wound up ordering three different chute repros.
There are great similarities between A.G.’s chute knives and those by Loveless, but also differences. For one, A.G. included a hole in each end of the double guard. Loveless did not. A.G.’s early A.G. Russell and Morseth chutes used narrow-tang construction with distinctly shaped, solid handles. Loveless’s were full tang with applied scales.
Dozier was the maker behind the first A.G. Russell and Morseth chute knives. Aside from a few changes, the Dozier design is much like the Loveless, including no holes in the guard, full-tang construction and the Loveless signature green Micarta® scales.
As A.G. wrote, “In the beginning, Loveless probably would have used A2 tool steel for the blade, and later 154CM and/or ATS-34 stainless. Dozier’s design uses Dozier’s signature D2 tool steel.” It also features one of Dozier’s solidly built leather sheaths.
From 2003-2007, A.G. offered a chute knife designed in collaboration with award-winning German knifemaker Dietmar Kressler.
Russell took Archer’s basic chute and “added as much elegance” as he could manage, “using the talents of that most talented maker [i.e., Kressler]. Dietmar is the master of integral hilt-and-butt [aka hilt-and-cap] hunting and combat knives,” A.G. wrote. “He has taken my design and executed it beautifully.”
Just 75 were made and the last one sold for $2,195. They are available today on the secondary market only.
After that, A.G. began work on a more economical drop-forged version of the chute. It took 10 years to get the tooling finished in Taiwan and the knives made. From the blade tip to the end of the pommel, the entire knife is drop forged of 440C stainless steel and has a “very tapered” tang.
“The standard model has ebony Rucarta® scales. Blade and overall lengths: 5.5 and 9.5 inches. MSRP: $245. With ironwood scales the MSRP is $295.
As Russell wrote, “Harry Archer could well have been the pattern for Mr. Clark, the ubiquitous CIA problem solver in Tom Clancy’s novels … He spent a lot of time in the jungle teaching jungle combat and survival to American soldiers and soldiers of other countries as well … He loved knives, well made knives. In his lifetime he was probably Loveless’s #2 or #3 customer. He was a strong influence on the design of custom combat knives and his design for the chute knife is classic.”