We are going to take a break from the 2021 new product announcements and bring you all another edition of 5 from the Grinder. This time it is KNIFE Magazine’s own staff correspondent Del Corsi.
Del is an effusively friendly guy, as one would expect from a Canadian maker. His enthusiasm for knives, knifemaking, and knifemakers shows in his creations, both those he grinds, and those he writes.
If you are new to our series and would like to be featured yourself, you can find out more about 5 from the Grinder here.
Without further ado, we give you our friend Del Corsi…
Please introduce yourself and let us know what led you to making/designing knives
Knifemaker, staff correspondent for Knife Magazine, knife lover! While dragging a deer up a hillside by myself years ago I lost my favorite hunting knife. No snow to backtrack, had already dressed the deer so never searched too long. A friend told me about a local custom knifemaker named Steve Price. When I saw what he was making the hook was set! I was logging then, Steve wanted to trade firewood for a knife. A year or so later I had a back surgery, knowing I wanted to make a knife Steve brought me a 3 inch by 21 inch belt sander, some files, along with a profiled drop-point knife. He said “rehabilitate.” And I did! Steve took me under his wing and taught me how to make knives, his specialty was a mirror finish which became my “carrot.”
What knifemaker(s) or designer(s) have had the biggest influence on you? Do you have any mentors?
In addition to collector grade working knives Steve Price made some incredible San Francisco art daggers in the style of Michael Price, I love reaching above my skillset tackling work of this type. A local collector and friend had knives made by Bob Loveless, Charlie Dake, Buster Warenski, and SRJ (Steve Johnson). This friend would let me pick a knife to take home and study in exchange for doing some finishing work on some knives with minor damage. One particular mirror polished knife made by SRJ featured pearl scales, Julie Warenski engrave a mermaid in gold on the bolsters. Legendary bladesmith Brian Lyttle was a great friend and mentor as well, spending time in his shop in High River, Alberta, was always a mind boggling experience.
What is your favorite knife pattern or style from history?
The San Francisco style of knives made by Michael Price and others of that era are my favorite of all. The combination of elegance and artwork in these lethal looking designs are the highest bar of craftsmanship for me. A close second is the bowie knife, which I now pronounce properly!
What is the next big thing in knifemaking? / What direction do you see the industry going?
In my opinion the next big thing in knifemaking will likely be folding knives and their mechanisms. The advent of 3-D printers is allowing makers to go from CAD designs to an actual working model in no time at all. It would previously take days or weeks to produce a working folder prototype out of steel , now it happens in minutes! Custom knives will continue to push the envelope in terms of design and quality as they always do. Knifemaking is extremely popular right now due in part to social media, this has resulted in a plethora of mediums to learn techniques, and share knifemaking methods right at our fingertips! Production knives appear to be trending toward high quality and well made products, consumers have increased their knowledge and expectations. The days of cheap knives being dumped on the market are gone for good – I hope!
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?
A mirror finished drop-point with a soldered guard is my signature knife. The fit and finish for this knife always challenges me, it is also the most rewarding. A soldered guard with no gaps whatsoever is a beautiful thing, so too is a mirror finished blade with no orange peeling, ripples, or even the smallest scratch! I also make a collector grade folder that is very popular.
What is your EDC and why?
I always have a folder on my belt, for the last twenty years it has been one given to me by knifemaker Terry Roberts. The scales are jasper from Biggs Canyon in Oregon that I gave to Terry, in return this surprise gift arrived. Almost lost this at an airport once, forgot it was on my belt. I was so fortunate that they allowed me to go back through Customs into the baggage area, the helpful attendants there retrieved my suitcase and let me store it. My other regular “companion” is a Spyderco Salt H1 model that clips nicely inside my pocket. Extremely welcome addition, I walk my dog in an area frequented by bears and the odd cougar. Those serrations on the H1 mean business!