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R.I.P. Phill Hartsfield

Mike Ruslander

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Sad to hear this. I only met him once but he was so personable and sincere I could not help but like him. I told him my swordsmanship Sensei was Obata Toshishiro and he and I were instant friends. He gave me (as in gratis...free) a video tape of Obata Sensei test cutting with one of his swords.


I still have it.


Obata Sensei has owned and owns swords of the highest caliber. True Nihonto treasures. But when visiting Sensei's house he always showed us his Hartsfield blade and told us it was the sharpest sword he ever held or used. It was the only sword I ever heard Sensei describe as "Scary Sharp" and I was always impressed.


Rest in Peace, Phill.



"Imagination is more important than knowledge" - Albert Einstein


"The innovator is not an opponent of the old. He is a proponent of the new."

- Lyle E. Schaller



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  • 3 weeks later...

Phil Hartsfield was a big inspiration to me as I was forming my own style. What he showed me, was how to distill a form down to almost pure function devoid of visual frills of any kind. I loved his work.

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  • 2 months later...

Phill was the man who started me in knifemaking


I read an article on one of his kaiken with black cotton and epoxy handles, in a 1986 custom knife special of GUNG HO


Now I still make cord wrapped and epoxy impreganted handles.


I use A2 a lot, he was a real inspiration





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