I was really bummed in the beginning of 2012. Greg & I are couriers and the tranny on our cargo van blew just before Christmas; $2.400.00! Then my computer got a virus and crashed. I had been working on another Hen & Rooster polished stag knife I call the “Bear Knife” during this time. Sometimes, I see pictures in the grain of the material I working on, like seeing pictures in clouds, and on this knife I saw bears. I had been longing to carve a bear. I also wanted to try a diamond pattern on the pommel and guard. Then I colored it in. Personally, I feel it makes the carvings look “cartoon-ish” and more like scrimshaw. But, I already painted it, so I left it. It can’t be left white, too hard to photograph. People still think that this is scrimshaw, not carving, because it’s so hard to see the detail in pictures. On the back of the pommel, Greg suggested that I stipple a bear paw print. (Look in the gallery at the top of the page for a picture)

“Bear Knife” Painted (FOR SALE!)

“Bear Knife” before Paint

“Bear Knife” painted

“Bear Knife” Unpainted

So, around this time, I get a message from Gary, who bought my “Wolf-Pack” knife, asking me what I’ve been up to. I showed him pictures of the “Nautical Knife” and the “Bear Knife” and he asks me what my favorite material to carve is. I tell him that I really like carving polished stag, and he tells me that he has a knife that he wants me to carve. He wants wolves carved into a custom made knife that he has and sends me some pictures of what he’s looking for. I love wolves and wanted to do this project, because I wasn’t happy with the wolves I carved on my “Wolf-Pack” knife, which was now in Gary’s  collection.

Wolves for Gary’s knife

He sent me a custom made nessmuk knife  by Dirk Potgieter, which was made from an Ontario butcher blade, smooth stag, purpleheart, maple and wenge.  I asked Gary if he would like to see pictures as I worked and he suggested doing a WIP that he would post on several different knife forums that he belonged to. You can find the WIP for this knife on jeerzedevil.com, britishblades.com & bladeforums.com. Here is the finished knife. This is a good example of what I mean by not using color. I used a stain on this knife to bring out the carving. On the blade, I stippled a paw print.

Carved Nessmuk Wolf Knife

Carved Nessmuk

Carved Nessmuk Knife

Carved Nessmuk Knife

I finished this knife just before a trip (work)  to Florida. On the way back we get to stop in North Carolina to see my Mom and Dad. I asked Gary if he could wait for his knife till we got back, so I could show it to my folks. Then we could drop it off to him in person on our way home, seeing as how we practically go by his house. He was anxious to see his knife but said he could wait.

One of the things I like about belonging to the knife forums, is that I’ve had the opportunity to meet many of the people I talk to online. I learned a lot from talking to knifemakers, reading articles and posts from the artists that inspire me. I learned about many of those artists by viewing Gary’s impressive collection online. Now I get to see it up close and personal. I’m honored to have my work in his collection. Before we left, Gary handed me a Buck 112 Auto with brass bolsters and Mammoth Ivory scales. “I want something that will wrap around the screws, I’ll leave it up to you”.

Buck 112 – Uncarved

Buck 112 Auto – Uncarved

Carved Buck 112 – Mammoth Ivory (COMMISSIONED PIECE)

Carved Buck 112 – Mammoth Ivory (COMMISSIONED PIECE)

        I was working on another knife, my German Bull “Lion Knife” when Gary gave me his Buck 112 to work on. I needed to finish it before I could start the Buck because I wanted to have enough work together to get a table at the up coming, NCCA show in Mystic, CT. This is a two day event at the Hilton Hotel in Mystic. I went in 2011 as an observer, this year I wanted to have a table. I managed to finish the “Lion Knife” & the Buck 112 in time for the show.  Gary, volunteered to let me hold onto the Buck for the show and sent me the other two wolf knives I did, so I could have them on my table, too! See what I mean about knife people.

I had never carved ivory,  so before I touched the Buck, I tried carving a small piece of elephant ivory that I had laying around. I carved a picture of Gary’s dog, Casper,  into it and sent this to him when I sent him the Buck. Ivory is very smooth and slippery but softer than bone. It was a challenge to keep my tools from whizzing off in every direction. I really liked the shell design on the “Nautical Knife”. I wanted a masculine design for the Buck but it had to flow around the screws and into the bolsters, like the Delta pattern on my bathroom faucet, my inspiration for Gary’s knife.

Carved Ivory – Gary’s Casper (Gift)

My Lion knife is a German Bull Skinner with bone scales that I carved a lion into. The idea was to look at one side and see the front of the lion, turn the knife and see the same lion from behind.

I didn’t sell any knives at the Mystic Show. I made a few trades and sold a pendant, but the wealth of information that I gained, the experience and the contacts I made were well worth the price.

Detail of “Lion Knife” (FOR SALE!)

Detail of “Lion Knife” (FOR SALE!)

The KnifeCarver at the NCCA Mystic Knife Show