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Bryan Bondurant

D.E. Henry

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If anyone knows anything of websites, articles, and or pictures of D.E. "Ed" Henry or his knives please put the links here. Any personal stories would be great too!

 

 

9780873414036.jpg

 

This is a chapter from Henry's book on Collins Machetes and Bowie's

 

 

http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0873414039...418#reader-link

 

 

 

 

Not The V-44, an introduction to one argument

 

http://www.usmilitaryknives.com/cr_commentaries_3.htm

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This is an excellent book especially if you are interested in the history of an American knife making institution.

 

What I'm rally looking for is pictures of his Bowie knives, Ive found a few on the net but not much at all when you figure how well known and sought after his knives are.

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Here's a link to a couple knives of his. About 10 years ago there was a great article on his work in one of the magazines but I dont remember which one. I use to cut out articles from magazines on different makers in seperate folders and followed thier work but Ive moved so many times since then and been through a house fire and two floods that Ive lost all of those collections. Let us know what you find. I like looking at his work. He had a very clean eye for design.

 

http://www.sanfranciscoknives.com/artists/henry_2.html

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Tim, Do you know anything about his method of working? Say what he was using as a forge or did he grind and forge? What about his evolution of steel for his blades and his heat treats? Anything would be of value as there is little info I have found so far.

 

heres a hot link to the pics

 

 

DE1534-EL.jpg

 

DE2191-EL.jpg

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I recall reading in an article that he did not forge his blades, and was quite critical of the whole forging thing. I believe he helped popularise 440c for blades back in the 50s. He may have been the first modern maker to hand finish his blades, and had a dislike of a machine finish. He also may have been the first to really study the old bowies and reproduce them. His design work is second to none...

 

Thanks for posting those images.

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I know the guy was known to be critical but he sure created some fantastic Bowie lines. I'm more interested from the perspective of his completed projects but I have nothing against Grinders in general, most of the people I know who make knives both forge and grind depending on the steel available and the project. I have yet to find a website with any further information on Henry but will keep looking, any other comments are welcomed.

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Little late here, but I do like Henry bowies!

 

Henry was one of the best bowie makers of all times. Unfortunately he didn't make it to the internet age, so not much on the net about him. Best to keep an eye on all the custom knife dealer sites, his knives do show up from time to time. He was in the knife mags a lot, through out the 80's and early 90's

 

He ground his blades from 440C and D2 and didn't have much good to say about forging or pattern welded steel. As said above, he was the first to start using a hand rubbed finish and his Sheffield pattern bowie are still the best out there. When he got popular and his prices went through the roof, he would not honor the prices for his many old orders. Made many folks mad but his demand just continued to climb.

 

He was a grouchy old fart but one hell of a knife maker :)

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There are 4 generations of Henry bowies. The one you have is either a 2nd or 3rd gen. All of the 4th gen bowies that I have seen pics of had frame handles. Back in the day, I preferred the look of the 3rd gen knives, but now, I pretty much like them all...lol

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Little late here, but I do like Henry bowies!

 

Henry was one of the best bowie makers of all times. Unfortunately he didn't make it to the internet age, so not much on the net about him. Best to keep an eye on all the custom knife dealer sites, his knives do show up from time to time. He was in the knife mags a lot, through out the 80's and early 90's

 

He ground his blades from 440C and D2 and didn't have much good to say about forging or pattern welded steel. As said above, he was the first to start using a hand rubbed finish and his Sheffield pattern bowie are still the best out there. When he got popular and his prices went through the roof, he would not honor the prices for his many old orders. Made many folks mad but his demand just continued to climb.

 

He was a grouchy old fart but one hell of a knife maker :)

 

 

Don, thanks for the reply, I was beginning to wonder why nobody seemed interested in his stuff so glad I'm not alone. He seemed to get under a few people skin but his knives speak for themselves. Last year I found myself taking a second look at the Bowie and relearning it in design and use, Henry was one of the Bladesmiths I looked at again. The ABS Guys, Arkansas Knife Makers, This forum, Rhea, Fogg, and Batson were also used as source for what is now my Bowie Renaissance.

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Guest bg7m

I have an old Gun Digest Book of Knives, by B.R. Hughes and Jack Lewis (1973 or 1974?) that has a very good article by Richard Barney about Henry and his knives. The book was publishes by Follett Publishing, Chicago. I don't know if there is some available but it may be worth checking into. The covers are worn off of this one from years of looking through it. It has many of the early "greats" featured in it like A.G.Russell, Bill Moran, Corbit Sigman, ect. Thanks, Buddy

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I wonder how much his 'tude towards pattern-welded stuff was sour grapes, as his shop was set up exclusively for doing stock removal work and you can't forge-weld with a grinder. When the big pattern-welding thing started, he was not able to learn the new set of skills nor redo his shop and I doubt he'd trust billets made up by anyone else.

I love his lines, but to me all stainless has a "sterile" look that I just can't get into. I've got a 100 year old carving knife set with a sheffield carbon steel blade that's black with time , but still holds a fine edge and slices turkey like nothing else, and I hope it's still doing it a hundred years from now...

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In all fairness to Henry, his work speaks for itself. He was not the kind of knife maker that lacked skills, his personal choices are a separate matter. Who knows why anyone chooses a paticular style of knife or why they do or do not like Damascus. For me I'm a little bored with Damascus at this point as its just everywhere but there are certain makers like Don Hanson who I could never look away from their creations no matter what the materials were, style and finish, that's what gives steel class.

 

Henry was ahead of his time, was he a pain in the buttocks? By most accounts he was but I for one am a huge fan of his work. I was thinking about recreating a old t-shirt he made and wore if anyone is interested. The shirt would be a fitting tribute to the man, his knives, and the time period and a bit of trivia for those in the know.

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In all fairness to Henry, his work speaks for itself. He was not the kind of knife maker that lacked skills, his personal choices are a separate matter. Who knows why anyone chooses a paticular style of knife or why they do or do not like Damascus. For me I'm a little bored with Damascus at this point as its just everywhere but there are certain makers like Don Hanson who I could never look away from their creations no matter what the materials were, style and finish, that's what gives steel class.

 

I never implied that Henry was not a skilled knifemaker. But I do not believe he had learned the craft of forging or patternwelding, which is a distinct set of skills in itself. Without a solid background (and the tools) in forgework, doing your own patternwelded stuff is just not possible, and I think that may have bothered him more than he let on. The words I remember him saying on the stuff I detected a good deal of "protesting too much" behind.

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One quote Henry made that stands out to me is; "who would want a damascus bumper on a car" Not sure what that has to do with knives but I found it interesting :)

 

Al's probably pretty close to Henry's mind set. He did come across as resentful in the interviews I read.

 

I can't stand stainless blade steels, don't like it at all and I much prefer forged carbon. With that said, Henry was a hell of a maker, fit / finish, design and lines were over the top. Great stuff! He did the Shefield style better than Shefield :D I rarely see a bowie these days that grabs me like a Henry does.

 

Bryan, thanks for the good words!

Edited by Don Hanson

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I noted with interest the latest Blade issue discussing the merits of D E Henry being voted into the Hall of Fame.

 

I am new to this game, so I bow to the expertise of those who've been around a lot longer than I have..but this fellow sure knew how to build a knife in the style he liked. His clean lines and careful attention to detail are to be admired, at least from my newbie perspective. His other attributes or character flaws or whatever- are another matter and again, I wasn't around at that time.

 

He wasn't taking steroids, or robbing people, or stealing pension fund money or putting people out of work..and from what I read in the article he certainly was a "future shaper" of his day.Time has a way of clarifying some things, and clouding others. I suspect like most things in life your perspective on him will be clouded by personal experience as much as anything.

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i would like a damascus bumper on my car but it has plastic bumpers and have plans to build a damascus shift knob at some point thought about a steering wheel but realized it would get to hot

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In all fairness to Henry, his work speaks for itself. He was not the kind of knife maker that lacked skills, his personal choices are a separate matter. Who knows why anyone chooses a paticular style of knife or why they do or do not like Damascus. For me I'm a little bored with Damascus at this point as its just everywhere but there are certain makers like Don Hanson who I could never look away from their creations no matter what the materials were, style and finish, that's what gives steel class.

 

Henry was ahead of his time, was he a pain in the buttocks? By most accounts he was but I for one am a huge fan of his work. I was thinking about recreating a old t-shirt he made and wore if anyone is interested. The shirt would be a fitting tribute to the man, his knives, and the time period and a bit of trivia for those in the know.

Nobody can get into another person's head, but I would venture that he was a product of his times in the sense that, like Bob Loveless, using the (then) newly developed stainless steels was (pardon the pun) cutting edge technology. By nature 440C or 154CM or those types of metals would theoretically last forever, hereby creating a sense of immortality in the maker, his name and his work. He was a talent whose lines flowed from front to back perfectly IMHO.

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Howdy,

 

I sat with Henry at his table at the Vegas show In 83 or 84 for about an hour.....It was in the old Sahara when they had the Gun show in one room and the Knife show in another.....At the time, I was about one year into an aprenticeship with a rather notorious knifemaker from the Pacific Northwest.....

 

Henry was not social by any means, but if you hit upon a topic of interest, he would talk freely.....I think that part of the problem back in those days was the lack of information out there.....There were not alot of knifemakers around, and the free-flow of information just didn't happen....I remember asking a wellknown maker about the pattern he used for the sawteeth on a survival knife......He said "Oh no, you go drive your machinist crazy"......Henry overheard this and said "The guy's just being a prick".....

 

That got us started talking.....I listened to him fielding the questions as people came and went from his table.....For his reputation, he showed a great deal of paitience.....With little info about custom knives and very few serious collectors, there were alot of silly questions.....Such as, "Where do you buy the blades?" "Who does the chrome plating?" ""Oh my God, why is it so expensive?" I even watched a guy ofeer Henry $100 for one of his bowies.....

 

I think at that time, Joe Drouin had a list of about 110 knifemakers....The last time I saw Joe, he told me he quit counting at around 1400.....The internet age has done wonders for both knifemaking and collecting.....The overall quality of the custom knife has gone way up....You now have new makers turning out incredible work in a short period of time.....

 

I remember Ron Lake telling me that he caught alot of crap from other makers when the book "How to make folding knives" was published in 88.....Things sure have changed for the better....

 

Well thats about all the rant for now....I will say that Henry was not the only maker who could be difficult.....Loveless had his moments as well.....

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D.E.Henry was a big loss.The late Bob Engnath introduced him to me at a CA. knife show back in the late 80's when i lived in San Diego.

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