The 31st annual edition of everyone’s favorite guide to handmade knives, their makers, suppliers and other aspects of the knife world. Softcover, 312 pp.
KNIVES 2010 is the source for photos, addresses, and information on your favorite custom and factory knives, as well as a selection of articles from the best writers in the business. Includes a complete directory of custom knifemakers, supply houses, knife manufacturers and importers, and other knife related businesses such as photographers and engravers.
Returning this year: over 800 FULL COLOR photos
A Fondness for San Francisco Knives Roger Pinnock
Besh Wedge in the Business Michael Janich
Leave it to Cleaver Roderick T. Halvorsen
Trip the Knife Fantastic James Morgan Ayres
Scrim that Drives Men Crazy! Don Guild
Feel the Frictional Heat Durwood Hollis
Giving Back to the World of Knives Mike Haskew
Swordplay Renaissance Style Jordan Clary
Why Do We Love Knives? William Hovey Smith
Discover Classic Villager’s Blade Art Keith Spencer
Includes a ** BONUS COMPUTER DVD ** containing 10 years of Blade magazine (1997-2007).
Reviewed by Mac Overton
As fall approaches, one of the most exciting events in the world of knives occurs, as it has for 31 years now: the release of a new edition of the Knives annual. This year’s Knives 2011, the flagship book for those interested in the many forms of man’s most-useful basic tool, is simply put, an outstanding addition to the annual collection.
There are 48 pages of features, as usual. This year, they include:
“A Fondness for San Francisco Knives” by Roger Pinnock, about collector Phil Lobred and Lobred’s Art Knife International, held every other year in San Diego, California. I had not known much about San Francisco knives before reading this article. These knives were beautiful arty pieces made during the boom years of the mid-1800s Gold Rush. Lobred is somewhat of a specialist in collecting this type of knife, especially those made by the legendary Michael Price, and states in the article that “there are probably less than 100 fine San Francisco knives known to exist.” The author says “the end result of his specialization over such a lengthy period of time is a collection that stands apart as a preservation – and celebration – of a unique and vibrant chapter in the history of American knifemaking.”
“Besh Wedge in the Business,” by Michael Janich, is next up. It details knifemaker Brent Beshara’s development of a truly new blade profile, the Besh Wedge. The Besh Wedge (a name which has been trademarked) is basically a new, reinforced point adapted to many different blade shapes. Several companies, including TOPS, Mil-Tac, Buck, and BlackHawk / Masters of Defense have licensed the Besh Wedge for some of their high-performance models. Janich says “Something truly new is something really special. Beshara’s revolutionary Besh Wedge is one of the few knives to come along in recent years and qualify on both counts.”
“Leave it to Cleaver,” by Roderick T. Halvorsen, is a fascinating story about one man’s search for the ultimate meat cleaver. To get it, he had to make his own out of a chain-saw bar. The article well describes the process of making it, and shows the heavy-duty chopper in action.
“Trip the Knife Fantastic” by James Morgan Ayres describes a search for carbon steel blades around the cobblestone streets of Europe. Among other adventures, Ayres and his wife had to jimmy the lock on a chateau to which they had been given inaccurate security codes to get shelter for the night. The story proves that, if you can avoid it, you should never be without a knife. Also pictured is one of their finds, a French truffle knife with a brush on the handle to brush dirt off the delicate and prized fungus without breaking it.
“Scrim That Drives Men Crazy” by Don Guild is about the scrimshaw art of Dr. Peter Jensen. The many pictures accompanying the article just have to be seen to be believed.
“Feel the Frictional Heat,” by well known knife writer Durwood Hollis is an in-depth story about Charles Allen’s development of Friction Forging. Allen is president of Knives of Alaska, and with the help of scientists at Brigham Young University, developed a new process for making high-performance steel blades. The result was the upscale DiamondBlade series from Knives of Alaska, which all start with D2 blades. After Friction Forging, Hollis writes, the edge zone of the blade reaches an incredible Rockwell C hardness of 65 to 68, without the usual accompanying blade brittleness at that hardness.
In “Giving Back to the World of Knives,” Mike Haskew shares the treasure trove that is the collection of Paul Lansingh, accumulated over 65 years of collecting.
“Swordplay Renaissance Style” by Jordan Clary talks about the use of swords, knives and period costumes to lend excitement to Renaissance Fairs.
William Hovey Smith writes about “Why Do We Love Knives?” He draws his own conclusions. Read the article and come up with your own.
“Discover Classic Villager’s Blade Art” by Keith Spencer gives an interesting, in-depth look at goloks, parangs and klewangs, different types of machetes favored in Southeast Asia. This is a fascinating look at blades often overlooked in the West.
The rest of the book is comprised of over 800 beautiful color photos of some of the finest handmade knives you’ll ever see, in the “Trends,” ”State of the Art” and ”Factory Trends” sections. There is also a bonus article by Dexter Ewing, entitled “Blue Collar Blades.” The book concludes with 119 pages’ worth of directories listing knifemakers, knife suppliers, manufacturers, photographers, mail order dealers, etc… an invaluable and eminently convenient resource.
Finally, there is a fantastic bonus in the form of a computer DVD which contains all the issues of Blade magazine from 1997 to 2008 – all the photos, all the text, and everything is searchable and printable. A similar two-disc set was offered last year for $39.99 – but with the purchase of Knives 2011, you get it for free. Now that’s what I call a nice bonus!