Hey everybody. It is a new week and time for a new edition of KNIFE Magazine’s quick-format interview series – 5 from the Grinder. Today’s featured maker is ABS Journeyman Smith Allen Newberry. I am not sure if I have met him personally, though it is quite possible, but he maintains a robust online presence and I feel like I have been looking at his work for years. Because I have.
Now, without further ado, I bring you Allen Newberry.
Please introduce yourself and let us know what led you to making/designing knives
As a kid I was a big fan of knives and sometimes we would visit Silver Dollar City which had a Bladesmith (Ray Johnson at the time). I always enjoyed watching him forge and later when I was in college I made a couple of knife shaped objects. Several years later Tom Krien and Dan Koster help me make my first functional knives.
What knifemaker(s) or designer(s) have had the biggest influence on you? Do you have any mentors?
Since they got me Started Tom Krien and Dan Koster are definitely high on that list. Jim Crowell M.S. has be very helpful and Lin Rhea M.S. has also been very generous with his time. And, I definitely couldn’t forget to mention Joe Keeslar M.S. who got me started in silver wire inlay.
What is your favorite knife pattern or style from history?
I really like James Black’s Carrigan knife. Having seen it several times at the Historic Arkansas Museum and having held other similar knives I just find it beautiful and fascinating. When I made a knife with the same basic profile I found it to be very handy and comfortable. Plus, the original has a lot of design features that make it a tricky knife to aspire to build.
What is the next big thing in knifemaking? / What direction do you see the industry going?
Society seems to be headed in a more computer assisted direction. So, I imagine that technology will make it easier to design and create knives. This will bring in a lot of new faces as well as designs. I think it will likely also lead some folks to push in the other direction. With some placing more value on knives that are made with a more handmade and less technological creation.
Is there a knife from your lineup that you feel best exhibits who you are as a knifemaker/designer in terms of design elements, aesthetic or techniques used?
Probably the chef’s knife in clay hardened W2 with a curly maple handle featuring a silver wire inlayed star. I enjoy doing the hamons which this knife features. Also, I have been teaching silver wire inlay the last few years and have been including it on several of my own knives.
What is your EDC and why?
Many years ago I designed a small knife to fit in survival kits made from mint tins. It was also a pretty fun neck knife. But, what really got me to carry the knife all the time was when I made a back pocket sheath for it. Now I carry one opposite my wallet in the other back pocket. It has a tiny blade, but it works well for most common tasks and is so small I forget it is there.
If you would like to find out more about Allen, or to see more of his work, check out the links below: