Editor’s Note: This piece originally appeared at The Truth About Knives as part of the “5 from the Grinder” series. Used with permission of the author (David C. Andersen). If you would like to be featured on KNIFEMagazine.com in a future 5ftG post, visit https://www.knifemagazine.com/5-from-the-grinder-form/ (password “grinder”).
Readers of Knife Magazine were first introduced to Dan Eastland of Dogwood Custom Knives in the context of the Kephart Knife cover article from the February 2019 issue. I have known Dan for most of my time in the industry, and have become good friends over the years. He participated in the TTAK 5ftG series, and here is his submission.
Question 1: What knifemaker(s) or designer(s) have had the biggest influence on you? Do you have any mentors?
First would be Andy Roy at Fiddleback Forge as that he was my literal mentor when I did an apprenticeship with him. Dylan Fletcher also took a personal interest in my work at that time. I am often inspired by Bob Loveless’ commonsense approach to stock removal and knife design. I have had the chance to sit down with Ethan Becker from time to time as well and his advice has been priceless.
Question 2: What is your favorite knife pattern or style from history?
I have spent a lot of time studying trade knife patterns of the late 1700s, to early 1800, both long knives and patch knives. There is a beautiful balance to those knives between men needing a knife that they could literally bet their lives on but with the price of steel the smiths had to be very efficient with their materials. The evolution of kitchen knives has also fascinated me. I like to see tools that are designed with fewer aesthetic restrictions and the kitchen is one of the places that has happened.
Question 3: What is the next big thing in knifemaking? / What direction do you see the industry going?
I think we are going to see a shift to thinner blades. I think as both the skill sets of knife enthusiasts increases and with newer steel like the CPM steels, we are expanding the limits of what a blade can do. I think blade makers are going to start pushing the limit of performance with faster, lighter, thinner spines, and higher grinds. We as an industry are only an idea or two away from the light saber and I am excited to see it happen.
Question 4: 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?
This is like trying to pick a favorite kid, each of my patterns are different but each one has a part of me in it. The most successful pattern is the Echo-5, it has simple clean lines and is highly functional. The Piranha uses curves and leverage to pack a lot of performance in a small package.
I think the new Camp Hawk (which will premier at BLADE Show 2016) is the best example of my style in that I went back to find a proven historical design, applied my engineering background to find what worked and why, and then found ways to apply modern steels and manufacturing to improve on the foundation our forefathers laid.
Question 5: What is your EDC and why?
I carry a Dogwood three finger EDC. It has a 3/32” blade that is 3-1/8” long with a full height grind. It’s curved handle makes it very compact to carry and nimble in the hand with lots of control. I carry it horizontal cross draw so I can get to it with either hand. It has done everything from opening mail and peeling fruit to dressing large game. If my shirt is untucked nobody even knows I am carrying it until it is in my hand and I do not have to dig dirty hands in to my clean pockets to get to my knife.