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Coping with what we do


Jesse Frank

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This is an interesting subject and discussion, but it is one that is difficult to frame because of the automatic, negative association of knives with violence. No sane person would condone violence and so if we can set that aspect aside perhaps we can dig a bit deeper into the topic.

 

The knife or sword is clearly an object of power. It is apparent the second that one picks up a sharp knife that it must be handled carefully. You must be mindful around it at all times and if you aren't you quickly learn respect. The power is benign, neither good nor bad, it just is.

 

I see my role as bladesmith is in large part to create objects of power. All of the skills that must be acquired are directed to this end. Mastery is, at its core, the development of your personal power and the ability to transfer that into the objects that you make. My responsibility is to produced the best knife that I am capable of producing.

 

If you are unable to resolve the internal conflict, then seek out that which feels right. Trust your own guide.

Don Fogg

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Jimmy- the yard hole must go!!! How many more people must be maimed or killed by the hole in the yard?! I present that it is the yard hole that is the cause of the fall of Western Civilization!!! Your friend, may he rest in peace, is just another vicitm...... :(

 

I suppose I'd only be concerned if somehow, the authorities saw fit to blame ME as a maker for something someone else did with one of my creations.

and I as a maker have to select to whom I'll actually sell or give a weapon to. To date I've been lucky and the wife hasn't stabbed me... but we've got a lot of time left together :D

 

daniel's right: cheaper, as effective weapons are readily available. We have our own "5 day waiting period" like the handgun folks do- but in most of our cases it's "uh.... well... I'm a little backed up and I'm gonna need probably a couple months before I can get started on this one... and I'm gonna need a deposit" that would prevent a would-be murderer from approacing us for custom work. And for that matter, a ready-made for sale blade is, again, probably more than they're willing to spend.

 

I understand weapons. I see a weapon in every object I pick up- except maybe unused toilet paper- but give it a minute and then it'll be lethal. In my office: pen- check. coffee cup- eh, if I had to. This stupid report- you bet. Magazine- check. Scissors, letter opener- uh-huh....

 

 

It's not like we're being asked to make an Iron Maiden, or a rack.... now THOSE are devices that I've wondered about for a while. What kind of person makes something like that? A psychotic blacksmith who agrees with the politics of the person who will be using them? Some poor schlub who can't sleep at night anymore, knowing that his creation has only one purpose- but it's either make it, or have someone else make it and then be the first victim for refusing to have a hand in a torture device? ... at least we don't have that on our consciences.

 

I make tools. And I'm only concerned that in the creation of that tool I don't get maimed. If during the forging of the tool, I'm able to hammer away soem of my own imperfections, then that much the better.

 

Forge on!!

 

EDIT: that typo there ^^ "soem" was just a typo, but kind of funny in a sentence that talks about removing imperfections :lol:

Edited by engineerboy

Kristopher Skelton, M.A.

"There was never a good knife made from bad steel"

A quiet person will perish ~ Basotho Proverb

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(quoting Don) "If you are unable to resolve the internal conflict, then seek out that which feels right. Trust your own guide."

 

That May be the most important advice of all. Well put.

 

My intuition and "Own guide" has a long long track record of helping Me when all else fails on any path I take... I'm NOT about to start doubting it, now.

 

Though I have to ask THIS now...To Me, it seems like My "internal conflict" is honestly what helps keep Me going... I've tried to be on BOTH sides of the conflict at different times in My past..and I found both of those methods only made things worse for Me.. Now I enjoy the tightrope walk between the two..if I fell into either side again, I might just be dead.. Anyone else ever feel that way?

 

Of course, it might just be because I'm a gemini :huh:

 

Jesse, I should have said another GREAT way I've found of dealing with "this" -- is having a sick, twisted sense of humor... Without it, I *would* be gone -- Why let the horrors of life get you down all the time, when you can find a way to make them help you laugh? My sense of humor is probably My most vital spiritual survival tool ...Works for me. :-) andI gotta thank you for starting this thread, It has been a very good cleansing process to talk about this stuff....

I have suffered for My arts... Now it's your turn.

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1) Social connection

 

I would guess that if we looked into the past of this craft we would find a much stronger social connection between the maker and user of the blade. We would also probably find that the maker was not in much of a position of parity with the user. The thing that most worries me is that if I was selling combat tools, I would have no idea of how they were being used, or what the bona fides of the end user was. If I did have that comfort, then I would automatically feel great about supplying them. But, if anything, a lot of the martial arts types I see around strike me as disturbed personalities, including quite of few of those that make tapes.

 

One option would therefore be to only sell to a qualified group. people you really know, or as with Gunsite, insist on references, which include organizations like police and military. I have absolutely no problem with people having weapons, but whether I should devote significant energy to creating highly superior weapons and then provide them to anyone with enough money, is another mater.

 

2) Few knives qualify for concern

 

Having said the above, I think most knives do not fall into a category of concern. Cost is a huge factor. If you are selling at art level prices, there are few situations where such knives would really fascilitate anything. Chidren's stories aside, where are we really going to find a nexus between blade and user where the high end knife creates enhanced capabilities. Even in the tactical area, much of the stuff being sold is fantasy crap, and I am talking Strider and ABS test knives, as much as anything else. Any time there isn't a real advantage being confered then I don't see the problem even gets to the starting line as far as discussions are concerned.

 

The same goes for any knife that isn't a serious tactical advantage over say a chef's knife

 

While I think the question is serious, I find it hard to think of many knives where it really plays out. Swords, killing knives, and bowies come to mind, and then only in very limited cases.

 

3) Psycho killers (not like Bundy)

 

It's not just the capability of the product, it has to do with the image. After Kill Bill came out, or the Lord of the Rings series came out, a ton of kids showed up at their local knife store to buy things like the blades in those movies. This is an area in which the fantasy the blade projects is being matched with the fantasy consuming the child's mind. This is a dangerous area, but I doubt most of us sell to young adults.

 

4) Our greatest power

 

The biggest thing we do is sharpen knives, not make them. The next is guarantee durability. Everything else is a distant third.

 

Design is almost totaly a non-issue, any idiot can design a practical knife. If I grabbed two groups and gave one the task of designing the F/S dagger, and the other a machetee, just giving each a list of characteristics needed, I think they would both come out with good designs, most people have handled enough knives to have a pretty good idea.

 

It takes a Don Fogg to design a knife that is a work of art, but it doesn't take the same level of skill to design practical tools.

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Engineerboy,

 

The hole in the yard, which I named Mack's Untimely Demise, is filled in and tamped down. The armadillo that dug the hole that finished off poor old Mack is now pinned to the shop wall right next to his victim. The sign hanging round the pest reads, "Guess I won't be digging any more holes in Jimmy's yard".

 

Damned armadillo. :angry:

 

Jimmy

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It isn't always wrong to harm people.  I have a black belt.  I know how to fight in the hope that I will never have to.  Knowing is half the battle.  I have avoided confrontations by demonstrating confidence I might not have had without the training, but if someone physically attacked me or a loved one I would unquestionably harm them.  I would be remiss if I did not.  Weapons are tools.  Tools for harming people.  You're much more likely to be harmed by weapons if you don't have one yourself.

 

A prevalence of weapons prevent, or at least complicate, tyranny.

 

An armed society is a polite society.

 

Knives are largely useless in the practical sense of self-defense.  Get a gun.  But the *symbolism* of the blade as a weapon reminds us of the responsibility that comes with the ability to harm others.  When using a blade to do harm one must directly confront the reality of what one is actually doing.

 

I am philosophically proud to make them.

25223[/snapback]

 

Black belt rule #1...

 

... never tell anybody you have one. ;)

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Hey Jesse.

I'm not sure, but I've probably been directly involved with more instruments specifically designed for taking life, that actually have, than anyone here.

 

I worked for a few years at the Naval weapons center. The main R&D facility for the Navy. This was the Reagan era, no expense was spared. The best people, the best weapons.

I mainly worked on air launched missiles, designed to bring down a high tech threat, so no problem with the conscience there. I was involved on a small part of a nuke delivery system, but very small. Something like designing a bracket or some such. I'll have to admit, I thought about that one a while.

 

I remember drawing about 90% of the mechanical drawings of a missile, designed to take out radar installations. HARM, AGM 88A. It was fired in anger for the first time, about 2 years after I left. It took out all of Kadaffi's coastal radar installations.

 

It's kind of morbid, but I remember watching the news report, and the only thing I was thinking was, "I hope it got 100%, I hope it got 100%" , not thinking of the poor schmucks that died for a nut job. It sort of bothered me for a while, but got over it.

After that, making knives and swords don't bother me a bit.

Just my 2 pence, Jerry

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Black belt rule #1...

 

... never tell anybody you have one.  ;)

25366[/snapback]

 

Crap. Now I have to kill you. <_<

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Guest Perkins
After Kill Bill came out, or the Lord of the Rings series came out, a ton of kids showed up at their local knife store to buy things like the blades in those movies.  This is an area in which the fantasy the blade projects is being matched with the fantasy consuming the child's mind.  This is a dangerous area, but I doubt most of us sell to young adults.

25351[/snapback]

 

 

If that's the case, I guess I won't mention that I'm a "young adult" and those two movies are specifically what persuaded me to start bladesmithing ;)

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I worry of the legality of some things I have made in the past (double edge, auto) more than if someone will use one on another person. I live in a very well armed ccw state, and you don't carry a knife to a gun fight. There are so many cheap import knives and swords out there, anyone can buy without having to give there identity. They would be foolish to use something so easily tracked as a "one of" custom.

 

You could make your customers sign a disclamer. :(

 

csc

abs journeyman

www.carrollknives.com

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Perkins -

 

Good for you! I don't know about you, but I always end up identifying with the craftsman in a movie.

 

When I was a teen, we could (and I did) buy a rifle in the local hardware and bring it to school for show and tell. I'm all for armed and sensible, whatever age.

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**and you don't carry a knife to a gun fight. ** -- Incorrect... Always, ALWAYS bring a knife to a gunfight...just....don't forget the gun :-)

I have suffered for My arts... Now it's your turn.

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I have been struggling lately with the fact that someone at some point may use one of my pieces to do harm to someone. I have struggled with it in the past, I specialized in kerambits at one point, and decided not to make them any more. Too vicious, too easy to conceal. Unfortunately, very easy to sell.

 

I have reconciled swords with myself somewhat, even though they are purely weapons, they are not easy to conceal, more expensive, and so less likely to be used for the purpose they were historically intended.

 

I have been fooling around with jewelry, I like the idea of it.... less physical labor, wider market, higher profit margin. I just can't get away from the love of making blades..........

 

How do you all deal with it?

25216[/snapback]

 

i make a most effecient killing knife

i call it a battle bowie

its not a camp knife not a survival knive

its ment to kill stufffffff

effecientely

 

the only bout i have w my self is am i getn paid enough:)!!!!!!!

and

can i make it more effecient

harley

makem dead possum

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i make a most effecient killing knife

i call it a battle bowie

its not a camp knife not a survival knive

its ment to kill stufffffff

effecientely

 

the only bout i have w my self is am i getn paid enough:)!!!!!!!

and

can i make it more effecient

harley

makem dead possum

25497[/snapback]

 

Harley, all my knives are survival knives...

If I sell them, I get to survive... :D

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Well, this is a neat thread and there has been quite a few decent points made. I make weapons. I have not yet made anything that is not tactical in nature or that does not have the "weapon" profile. How would I feel if one of mine were used to kill or maim? I have spent quite a bit of time trying to form a mindset that it's not important. I make awesome weapons and while I don't think they *have* to be used against humans I can deal with the fact (emotionally/spiritually) that they might be, at some time, employed in this way. Not my fault if they are.

 

My prime personal use of edged weapons is as a training tool. I go to the dojo and study/teach swordsmanship 2 - 3 times a week and we swing live steel (sharp swords) as well as bokken (wooden swords every bit as capable of killing as live steel...maybe more so in the wrong hands) and I "work out" with my knives and with my Balisong as well as with throwing knives and random objects like screwdrivers, rocks, and spikes on my own time. Why? I'm not a violent guy. I'm not even considered to be mean or a "tough guy" by folks who know me.

 

I find that training with edged weapons and with the tools of combat (the human mind is the weapon...the knife is a tool) makes me more aware. Mentally, physically, and spiritually. The guy most likely to be hurt when I am running kata with live steel, test cutting, or throwing spikes is me. Like Schwarzenneger says in his book about body building, it is impossible to worry about the kids, the bills, the silly stuff in life when you are laying under a 400lb bench press. If you don't give that barbell every bit of your attention or you have not learned to focus and stay focused it will crush you and kill you. So, performing potentially dangerous acts repeatedly with the proper mindset is a great way to train a human to function under stress and to focus intently at all times. I use this mindset when I run drawing and cutting exercises with katana and knives.

 

I *do not* advocate that a novice go out and strap on a katana and start swinging it around. No more than I'd advocate going out and riding your motorcycle at 130 mph or jumping under a 400lb bench press tonight. But sincerely training in these arts (after instruction and experience have been gained) will make your mind, your body, and your spirit grow. Same with training with edged steel. So, my reason for specializing in making weapons is that I envision them as training tools. They would all make dandy tools for killing but then again an automobile is even better and faster and easier to use and the risk is much less to the user than a knife, sword, or firearm would be when used against soft human targets.

 

For most guys that forge and are adept with a hammer consider this: how much trouble would a guy be in if he attacked you and you had one in your hand? I'll tell ya the truth, I'd never attack any of the smiths that I know with a katana when they were holding a hammer. I'd never attack a smith at close range with a pistol/revolver. I might shoot him and he might die tomorrow. But I would not be likely to survive the hammer long enough to fire again if the distance was within 6' or so. So I believe that the hammer might actually be even a better weapon than the knife would be in the hands of someone determined to use it and skilled in its use.

 

So, how would you feel if your hammer were used to kill or maim? Most likely the same way you would feel if one of your knives were used to kill or maim.

 

They are tools, the knives and swords I make and I see them as nothing more. I might be sad that someone used one of my blades against an innocent but I'd be elated if one were used against a hostile. A sharp edge can give life by protecting innocents or it can take life...the same sword that will cut another can cut me as well. It's all in how it is employed and it is all about the intent of the user.

 

Brian

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"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

 

http://home.mchsi.com/~hermits/BrianRVanSp..._Edged_Art.html

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The frame of mind behind a question like this, is the direct result of alot of mass media and liberal teachers in our school system. All the way up through the ed. chain.

The weapon, wether it is a blunt object or man-made instrument, is not the cause of the violence. The perpetrater(sp), of such violence should have been taught at an early age to control his temper and to respect other people and their property.

 

If kids today could still defend themselves and the bullys knew they were going to have a fight on their hands They would think twice before they jumped on someone.

The rule of no knife in possession in the school systems, simply states that every child or adult has not got enough sense to keep their cool and respect others. The bad kids will still have a knife, or HARD soled boots. A metal ball-point pin is a lethal weapon.

 

It is against these Liberal laws, to discipline your own children and it is sure against the law for the school teachers to teach these kids, to respect them and their classmates.

 

I weapon is what ever is handy, when the need arises. The man at the saw-mill better have liability ins. for the two by fours that he sells.

 

I can understand a younger person in todays world, having second thoughts about making weapons. He has been taught this all of his life. He also has not had to defend his life. ;)

 

Chuck

Edited by CBENNETT
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Harley, all my knives are survival knives...

If I sell them, I get to survive... :D

25521[/snapback]

 

 

hiz honor spoke of this to me once

his words were

" we have an awsome responsibility"

if we make a weapon it had better be RIGHT

in some social circles a weapon is what u use to save your life

"we have an awsome responsibility"

if we make a weapon it had better be right!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

harley

creator and user of weapons

and sleeps soundly at night

possum

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Most everyone replying to this thread, this is something I find myself doing as well, has automatically referred to knives/swords as "weapons". As if to mean that these knives/swords are all at fault for killing or doing harm to another person. IMHO they are just things. It is only when someone picks them up and uses them to inflict harm or kill another person that they become "weapons".

Anything can be used as a weapon. It's the person wielding that thing that makes it a weapon.

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From the first shadow seen in your closet, to your first glare from a bully on the playground to the shadowy figure walking behind us on a dark street or parking lot, our fight or flight instict has been in constant evolution. everyone, e v e r y o n e! plots plans and plays senerios in their mind on what they will do if attacked. The instinct to survive and use any means nesessary is a very strong one. The ability to plan for such a future event is a very human trait. Hopefully the time never comes, but if it does will you duck and cover and beg for your life? Or bite, scratch, claw and gouge with anything at hand to survive? It would help if you had the "edge" in the situation.

 

It begs the question, "What would Bowie Do?

Many are chosen, but few are Pict!

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I think that Don has put it best, once again. Getting to the base of it, they are objects of power. Perhaps that is why I feel so drawn to them. More so than to knives or other tools. Maybe it is the result of some sort of alpha male thing, or some wierd Fruedian thing, or just a typical feeling of inadequecy that a long pointy object helps with :unsure:

 

I shy away from political ramblings, meaningless labels such as liberals or conservatives(take a good look at the meaning of the words and see if they really apply to the groups given them), problems with with mass media(holy cow, lets not get on THAT subject), or the like. While I own a television, I do not recieve any stations. I tend not to rely on the media for my veiwpoints, I have several friends that work in the media, and have at least a reasonable idea of how it works :o .

 

To understand the frame of mind behind the question, one must understand the person framing it. Which, in all honesty, you don't.

 

To name an object a weapon does not necessarily mean that it is responsible for volence. A weapon is merely a tool designed to be used against another human. Like Don said, it is, in and of itself, benign. Like Brian mentioned, it is the mind of the user that dictates how it will be used. That falls into one reason why I stopped dealing with kerambits. The mindset and techniques that were being taught regarding the employment of the weapon were completely off base from what I consider reasonable use of force. As anyone who has trained in anything knows, you play like you practice, and if you practice mutiliating unarmed assailents as a general rule, you do a disservice to the art, and to the general armed populace as a rule, because if you are put into a situation where you are forced to action, your training takes over and you will end up with a very dead, very mutilated person who may not have warranted that type of response. Just think about what will ensue with all the media coverage, lawyers and politicians knocking on our doorstep, and trying to restrict what we do, it could wreak havok .

 

Thanks, everybody for all the mind opening contributions :)

Rósta að, maðr!

 

http://jfmetalsmith.com/

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someone said that knives don't kill people, people do. very true, in fact most times when one person kills another, they use a weapon of opportunity and that may be a knife but is equally likely to be a rock, some lumber, or some tool that is lying around. make the best product that you can and trust that peple use it wisely and correctly.

 

just a thought

Dean

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