Today in 5 from the Grinder we bring you Ed Clarke, an ABS Journeyman Smith, and Director of the William F. Moran Jr. Museum and Foundation. I don’t want to steal too much of his thunder, so we will jump right in, but if you are a maker who is new to our series and would like to be featured yourself, you can find out more about 5 from the Grinder here.
Please introduce yourself and let us know what led you to making/designing knives
I am an ABS Journeyman Smith, being a member of the ABS since 2008, as well as being Shop Manager, Instructor, and a Director at the William F. Moran, Jr. Museum & Foundation. I found myself fascinated with knives at a young age, and they have always been a big part of my life- from fishing, hunting, farm work, and as an auto Technician, I have always had a knife handy. As a martial artist my love for edged tools grew exponentially. It was after seeing a particularly intricate blade in a knife magazine that I knew I needed to learn the craft, and if I was going to do it, I was going to forge my blades.
What knifemaker(s) or designer(s) have had the biggest influence on you? Do you have any mentors?
Well, there are so many that have influenced me, many of them ABS Masters and JS Smiths, but if I had to pick one knife maker it would be Karl B. Andersen. Karl has been a huge help to me over the years, an inspiration in design and technique, a true mentor, and good friend. There are others, but it’s a large list. The knife Smith community has been one of the best experiences of my life as it is made up of many exceptional people.
What is your favorite knife pattern or style from history?
I don’t want to be boring here, but I’d have to say the Bowie knife. It was purpose built, functional, and handsome. But who doesn’t like a great hunter, right? Knives don’t get much more useful in design than a classic hunter, for sure.
What is the next big thing in knifemaking? / What direction do you see the industry going?
As far as custom knives go, there are so many attractive concepts and designs showing up almost daily, but most do not stay around long. Things always seem to go back to the simple designs that work well. My own clients tend to request Bowies and Hunters of classic design, but with some subtle special details added, such as Take-Down construction, meteorite damascus, or a particular damascus pattern. However, there’s really no telling what the future will bring because the possibilities are endless.
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?
Yes, absolutely- my Black Water Bowie. It really does embody where I am and where I’m heading. The Black Water Bowie is a San Mai Meteorite Damascus blade with Take-Down construction, and it’s what I would carry if traversing through the Allegheny Mountains.
What is your EDC and why?
Well that’s a great question! I carry two knives at all times. One is a decent production folding knife, and the other is my Edo Hunter. That Edo Hunter goes everywhere with me. I made it on a whim one day, and everything about it was improvised. Karl picked it up off my table at SOFA, said how much he liked it, and it hasn’t left my side since.
I would like to thank Ed for participating in our 5 from the Grinder series.
If you would like to be featured in your own 5 from the Grinder post, you can learn more below: