Knives 2012 edited by Joe Kertzman


The 32nd annual edition of everyone’s favorite guide to handmade knives, their makers, suppliers and other aspects of the knife world. Softcover, 312 pp.



The 32nd annual edition of everyone’s favorite guide to handmade knives, their makers, suppliers and other aspects of the knife world.

KNIVES 2012 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

Knives 2012
Ladies of the Knife Don Guild
From Beach Sand to Blade Tim Zowada
Swords of Norse Warriors Vincent Evans
Tips for Carving Titanium Grips Matt Cucchiara
Soap, Strop and Shave Richard D. White
Zero Tolerance for Knives in School Louis P. Nappen
Finest Features of Loveless Knives Durwood Hollis
Honed for Hollywood Mike Haskew
The Runaway Tactical Train Pat Covert
Tactical Tuxedos Michael Burch

Reviewed by Mac Overton

The new edition of “The World’s Greatest Knife Book” is out, and, as always, it will bring smiles to anyone with more than a passing interest in knives and edged weapons. The features leading off the book delve into aspects of blades that one might not normally consider.

“Ladies of the Knife” shows that the fairer sex has established itself in what was once an exclusively male field. Four female knife makers or smiths are profiled, including Julie Warenski-Erickson, Harumi Hirayama, Elizabeth Loerchner and Dellana. Each brings a unique style and perspective to her creations.

Well-known smith Tim Zowada contributed an amazing story about how he and some others made knife blades from Lake Superior beach sand. Truly fascinating! I had never heard of a modern maker starting with the rawest of raw ingredients to make steel, and then fashioning it into blades. He used a technique called bloomery smelting, which he admits is “a time-, materials- and labor-consuming process.” Fellow knifemaker Kevin Cashen gave him the idea and the impetus. Cashen reminded Zowada that the Japanese had made sword blades from iron-bearing sand, and told him that he had found black sand containing the iron ores magnetite and hematite on the south shore of Lake Superior. The iron-bearing black sand proved to be elusive, but after a lot of hard work, he had gathered five buckets of it. He goes into detail about the process and the type of smelter used. He makes no claims about the resulting steel being better, sharper, or in any way superior to any other smelted or modern steel, but taking sand and transforming it into a knife gives “complete satisfaction.”

Norse swords, a topic that has always fascinated me, are well-covered in Vincent Evans’ “Swords of Norse Warriors Felt Alive.” Swedish swordsmith Peter Johnsson told Evans that most modern reproductions are “hopelessly clumsy and crude” compared to the original Viking and Anglo-Saxon swords they are modelled after. Michael “Tinker” Pearce became “hooked” on Nordic swords when a private collector let him hold one. “I never imagined a sword could feel like that,” he told Evans. “…It felt alive.” I had a similar experience handling an 1,100-year-old sword at Scarborough Faire at Waxahachie, Texas a few years ago. The sword felt like an extension of my arm. The color photos of some of the modern reproductions that accompany the feature almost look alive themselves.

Those wanting pointers on making modern state-of-the-art folders will find much of value in Matt Cucchiara’s “Tips for Carving Titanium Grips.” Some of the examples shown are simply unbelievable! The author says that “There is no end in sight for what can be done with knife carving.”

A growing field of interest to collectors is covered in Richard D. White’s “Soap, Strop and Shave,” an introduction to straight-razor collecting. Due to variations in handle color, this offers an almost-limitless field for amassing a collection.

Louis P. Nappen, an attorney specializing in knife rights, contributes a very disturbing article about a growing problem in our modern society: “Zero Tolerance for Knives in School.” Some truly horrific incidents of children being arrested and/or expelled, their lives damaged, because of accidental infractions are recounted. Read it and be warned! Thankfully, some states, including Texas, Florida and Georgia, are amending laws to put some reason into enforcing no-knife policies, instead of “one size fits all.”

Fresh from his new book, Knifemaking with Bob Loveless, Durwood Hollis further enhances the Loveless legend with “Finest Features of Loveless Knives.” Even if you think you know Loveless knives, you will probably learn something new here. For instance, did you know that Loveless sheaths featured a built-in leather cam to prevent a knife from jarring loose and being lost? I didn’t until I read this. “More than anything else, Loveless’ intellectual curiosity and ‘can do’ attitude carried him to the top of his profession,” Hollis writes.

“Honed for Hollywood” by Mike Haskew recounts some of the great knives of the silver screen, past and present. From the Tarzan knives, Jim Bowie’s Iron Mistress, and Native American blades to modern movie replica swords, they are all here.

Two features devoted to tacticals, Pat Covert’s “The Runaway Tactical Train” and Michael Burch’s “Tactical Tuxedos” round out the features.

Mini-features introduce the expected State of the Art, Trends and Factory Trends sections, all of which are profusely illustrated with eye-popping photos, all in color. Finally, the directories listing knifemakers, suppliers, sporting cutlers, importers, mail order dealers and knife services as well as knife organizations and publications round out the book, making it a must for any knife lover.

Softcover, 312 pp.


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