Chris Moss and Zach Thull of Dauntless Manufacturing Solutions — The Knife Junkie Podcast (Episode #78)

Chris Moss and Zach Thull of Dauntless Manufacturing Solutions (DMS), Asheboro, NC, join Bob “The Knife Junkie” DeMarco for a conversation about their company — being an OEM doing contract manufacturing, as well as consulting, engineering support and licensing products — and oh yeah, making knives such as the UB-K and the Modular Knife.

What started as online acquaintances trading motorcycle parts for a knife developed into a friendship and a business partnership as the machinists joined forces with a purchase of a CNC mill off of Craigslist to get their company started.

From the Medium Camp Knife to the Hiker, to collaborations with Matt Helm (two of them) to Ben Tendick, Dauntless Manufacturing is definitely a company to keep your eyes on.

Had a fun conversation with Chris Moss and Zach Thull of Dauntless Manufacturing Solutions of Asheboro, NC. You gotta listen to hear how a trade of motorcycle parts for a knife and Craigslist started their company. Click To Tweet

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Show Notes

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Zach Thull 0:00
Little did you know we had a 20 something year old CNC machine from Craigslist making all those knives

Bob DeMarco 0:06
you got while you're looking for a stroller and whatever else you get while you're on Craigslist

Zach Thull 0:11
right we're just happy we didn't get robbed

Announcer 0:17
Welcome to the knife junkie podcast your weekly dose of knife news and information about knives and knife collecting. Here's your hosts Jim Person and Bob The Knife Junkie DeMarco

Jim Person 0:31
Hello Knife Junkie and welcome to episode number 78 of the Knife Junkie podcast I'm Jim Person

Bob DeMarco 0:38
and I'm Bob The Knife Junkie DeMarco Welcome to the show.

Jim Person 0:40
The Knife Junkie podcast is the place for knife newbies and Knife Junkie to learn about knives and knife collecting and hear from knife designers, makers, manufacturers reviewers, and anyone who loves knives. That's what we're all about here on our weekend interview show. And Bob the interviews never cease to amaze me just just lots of great talent in the knife world that you get a chance to talk to each and every week.

Bob DeMarco 1:06
Well that's right and through the magic of social media I feel like I'm constantly exposed to to new talent and and to also names that have been around a while that I just wasn't wise to. So yeah, I love love the Instagram for that it's a big broad Wide World of of knife makers but also knife reviewers knife lovers, manufacturers of different pieces and parts of knives I mean it's a it's a huge industry there's a lot of folks I don't think we'll ever run out of anybody to talk to no no me too and also martial artists and people in the law enforcement world we've spoken to a number of people users on that and and yeah the the width and breadth of experience and and opinions on on these tools that we love so much. It's valuable to me anyway, it's a learning experience for sure.

Jim Person 1:56
Yeah, it's fun for me to listen to as well and we've got a good interview. For you coming up today, partners with the company down in asheboro, North Carolina, who are we going to hear from? That's right, we're going to talk to

Bob DeMarco 2:07
Zach and Chris from dauntless manufacturing. dauntless. They're a new OEM and manufacturing consultant company. And they have been these two partners you know, I, I keep having these interviews with partners, Father, Son, brothers, lots of brothers, even significant others and it's just really interesting to to see the dynamic between two people as they partner up and create a business and these two guys, Zach and Chris have a very interesting dynamic in in tackling the challenge of starting an affiliate well they've already started it's a it's a humming along business to manufacturer of knives and other things. These guys have backgrounds and motorcycles and and guns, all things manly and fun and now they are Making aside from other things that they don't just do knives, but what really caught my eye, actually on Instagram or the knives they're putting out. So that's what we talked about primarily but just really interesting to hear from an up and comer, an OEM knife company, there's so many OEMs right now making high quality work. It's interesting to hear things from their perspective.

Jim Person 3:20
Going to get into that interview coming up next, but first I want to remind you that our podcast today is brought to you by G Suite. If you are a business or in business for yourself, or have a company or even a large enterprise, you need to get G Suite you're familiar with Gmail. Well, G Suite lets you make that Gmail business mail. Instead of having an address like happy Hippo 348 at Well make it your name at your domain or knife sales at your domain not only do you get the customizable domain email, but you can work faster and smarter by clarity Writing on files and real time with anybody you like also security is built right in. So if you are running a business, start running it like a business and look like a business with a professional business email address and a whole lot more start using G Suite for free for 14 days and you can start that free trial by going to The Knife Junkie dot com slash G Suite and then if you want to sign up for G Suite and why wouldn't you just email Jim at The Knife Junkie dot com and I'll email you a special code that will save you 20% off your first year of G Suite. So again, go to The Knife Junkie dot com slash G Suite to get started.

Announcer 4:40
Got a question or comment call The Knife Junkie is a listener line at 724-466-4487.

Bob DeMarco 4:47
I'm here with Zach Thull and Chris Moss of dauntless manufacturing and OEM out of asheboro North Carolina it's a company that caught my eye a couple of years back on Instagram with a Few really unique knives that really seemed to put a lot of attention on engineering and, and machining and one of them was called the ebk. And it it looks like the cross between a carpet knife and a karambit. And the other was called the modular knife and it was also sort of a skeletonized frame Qur'an, but but it had interchangeable blades that fit on with, I think, three little screws and it, it all seemed to fit so tightly together, and it was also sort of innovative that they caught my eye. Kristen, Zach, thank you for coming on The Knife Junkie podcast, of course. So tell me about dauntless manufacturing. What What is it that you do I? I see, you have a lot of collaborative projects, but you both have some pretty deep history in machining and working with these kind of materials and these kinds of tools. How did you become dauntless manufacturing? Oh,

Zach Thull 5:57
well, that's a long story.

Chris and I both took the rather unconventional these days path in the trades. We both became machinists. I started out in engineering college and figured out what I wanted to do, which was make stuff. More specifically I wanted to make guns and started going down that path. I wanted to make the cool stuff and really got into machining and manufacturing and the science side of manufacturing, took up the trade of machining and just stuck to it was 15 years ago, I guess. 2003 actually. So a little bit more than that. And Chris and I met through internet forum. I'm trying to think what year that was 2007 or 2008. I think about motorcycles. We we talk shop about motorcycles, and we both machined a lot of stuff. And so really hit it off. But what really brought us together, believe it or not was knives. I had some motorcycle parts that I had made. And Chris was working on a bike that they would fit and I was selling some stuff. And his his screen name was knife maker at seven. And I said, Could we trade some motorcycle parts for a knife. And sure enough, we lived a couple hours apart. Chris and I exchanged numbers and traded a beautiful, beautiful Tonto knife that he made for me for some motorcycle parts. And then from that, it just kind of snowballed. We we always stayed in touch and we became really good friends. Couple years after that, he came to work for me. And, you know, long story short. We've worked together or collaborated for quite a few years now. One point in time, we were getting a bit discouraged with how manufacturing can be which is A lot of hours and not a lot of payoff sometimes when you're the tradesman. And we talked about starting our own business over beers, and

eventually we bought a little bit of machinery.

Found a found a CNC mill on Craigslist, and we're talking over a beer and I was like, I want to buy this right. I don't quite have enough money. And Chris was like, well, I want in Chris and I pulled our money and we went and bought literally the cheapest CNC mill that you've ever seen. off of Craigslist off of an ad in Charlotte. We were both in North Carolina at the time, and had a rigger, bring it in and drop it in my garage and asheboro had to cut a hole in the ceiling so that it didn't hit the ceiling. It didn't work. So it kind of sat dormant. And somewhere along the way, we were started talking about names businesses were both working full time. And just really fed up with how the manufacturing and the thing treats people and machinists and we didn't want to work for everyone else for the rest of our lives and jobs change. I moved up and down the East Coast a couple times. We moved the mill over into his garage, got it running. All the while we were both working a lot of jobs and are a lot of hours I guess at our jobs. I moved up to Philly, and I managed machine shop for guys really making triggers and ar 15 stuff. And and then I took an engineering position for Hudson manufacturing, which is a was a short lived pistol manufacturer. And all the while we kept on trying to buy more equipment and trying to push into it and took the jump Whenever when it was a really good time, or when it was the only time really. And Chris went full time. We started with Matt Helm collaboration, and then the ebk and a few others, but all that to say, I'm still working full time in manufacturing. I managed a shop, medium sized machine shop. Chris works full time. For dauntless, we do manufacturing consultation, for small to medium sized manufacturers that want to get into machining their own stuff, we present provide the expertise in that, then we miss machine or own knives. We make our own knives and a few other products that we've worked on or had hand in. So that's really the the long and the short of it.

Bob DeMarco 10:48
was so so You said you're interested in the science side of manufacturing. What exactly what exactly do you mean by that?

Zach Thull 10:55
So there's a lot of people that really understand machining as some of that something of an art, which I don't disagree with. But what they forget is for the most part, machining is just numbers. You look at the science of quality, it's it's all how capable is your process and building a process that is perfectly usable or quantifiably usable. And so we started all through our careers, Chris and I have built processes for manufacturing, and we've been successful in that regard. And so we really looked at boiling that process and that lean manufacturing mentality down to its least common denominators, and applying it to what we had, which at the time was literally a cheap 20 something year old CNC mill from Craigslist and building the most capable processes and products and projects that we could on that.

Bob DeMarco 11:55
So Chris, you were you are a knife maker. For knives and and maker and that's a sort of process that I imagine you know, it has its it has its regular steps, but there's a lot of finesse and art to it. Does it all come down to numbers for you? Or or is it? How does that translate?

Chris Moss 12:21
For me it's actually a lot more about the art. Zach is very functional. The processes that we design are, are based on a quantifiable achievement. Are we achieving what we want? Are we getting there in the best way possible? And then once we get there, how do we make it better? For me, I've been making knives since I was about 16 years old. I've always had a fascination with knives and you know, I started out with making my own forges and, and and starting their Harbor Freight grinder pretty much self taught other than influence from well blade forum was a big influence for me a lot of the guys they're sharing their expertise and experience. My philosophy is it's not the tradecraft the secrets. It's the ability today to actually be able to create something.

If you give everybody the same

knowledge, they're still going to be people who are going to rise to the front who are going to have that passion and that precision and that desire to do things just so. So for me, nights have been a passion for a long, long time. I actually started making knives because my parents didn't want me buying knives. Yeah, they said knives are dangerous. We want you we want buy any, we don't want you to buy any. But they never said I couldn't make them. So, you know, that's always been my workaround is manufacturing for me has been a way to get things that I could never afford or things that I couldn't. I couldn't purchase. So, you know, that's been a real experience with doing all these knives. But it's just been it's been a real experience going from being custom knife maker to a production knife maker, you know, pooling a long term passion with a career.

Bob DeMarco 14:34
Explain the contrast in your mindset as a knife maker, going between custom knife making and then walking into a shop with CNC Mills kind of producing them.

Chris Moss 14:48
Well for me, you know, I've always handmade all of my stuff, I forge it, I grind it, I hand finished it, I hand fit everything. So for me it's a beautiful transition because I can Get a level of precision through the CNC manufacturing, that's very, very difficult to achieve. by hand, you know, you can, you can do the work and you can get that fit and finish. But one of the things that we can get with the CNC is you can achieve that level of fit and finish and perfection straight off of the machine. And that's something that we want to offer to people in a in a way that people can afford it, but also in a way that you can you can produce something that's going to be even better than something that's handmade

Bob DeMarco 15:38
well, so Zach, what's the process like now? I mean, what's what's it like collaborating with Chris and not to put you know, but I mean, it seems like you know, there's there's a yin and yang here there's a there's a left brained engineering side and a right brained artistic side and, and not that not that you don't veer into others. side but it seems like there's an in most partnerships with people I've spoken with each partner brings something unique and that and that sort of differences. What makes it work? Yeah. What's your process? Like?

Zach Thull 16:12
Yeah, so uh, it's, it's really interesting. I love working with Chris, aside from being my business partner is also one of my best friends. His kids call me uncle. So if you look through our social media page, you'll see a whole bunch of different designs, you'll see some, you'll see the one from Ben 10 dick and you'll be see the two from Matt helm. And then anything that's dauntless if it's a beautiful knife by itself. Chris design that if it's blocky and square, generally, I did the work on the or the design work.

Bob DeMarco 16:52
So let me guess Chris designed the camp knife.

Zach Thull 16:54
Yeah, yeah.

Isn't it gorgeous? Holy cow. Beautiful.

I think I was in the garage when he sketchrf that out in about two seconds. And I was like, I felt a little bit hopeless.

Bob DeMarco 17:14
As if you are just the facilitator,

Zach Thull 17:16
right? I'm like, Okay, give me that sketch. I'll go turn it into a CAD drawings.

Thanks, you do more beautiful work.

Chris Moss 17:27
Now Now the thing that you have to remember is that Zach is coming at it from the okay, but we have to make sure that it's functional. And then I say, Yeah, but can we make it look? So, you know, the big the thing that we come back to is dauntless is about function. We're about making tools that people can use, and, and I tend to go too far. You know, I'll go to the, to the extreme of Yeah, but it looks great. And he's like, Yeah, but it just doesn't work

Unknown Speaker 17:59
We had a couple of those didn't quite work, sometimes mine sometimes his, but collaborating. I think one of the things that really, really works well, when we collaborate and when we work together is if you're just listening to this and you don't have any other context or history on Chris or myself, Chris is a journey journeyman machinist. So he's a great machinist. He had his journey mins papers at NASA, and just an exceptional machinist. So when I say something about how something should be machine, it's not lost in any sort or context or anything like that. But whenever it comes to designing something that's designed beautifully, he does an exceptional job at that as well.

Chris Moss 18:45
One of the things that I keep coming back to with the two of us working together is that we have complementing strengths and weaknesses. You know, that there that we can play off of each other, you know, the kind of the kind of team where You're working on something and you're underneath the sink and, and you're reaching for that wrench that you just can't reach, you know, having that kind of teamwork that the other person is handing me the wrench, whether that's a design, whether that's in manufacturing, I can't tell you how many times it's like, Hey, what do you think about this? And, and Zach says, Well, I think that, you know, you could chip should change the step over the 50 thousands and go with the perpendicular to the edge, you know, surfacing pattern. It's like, well, that's great, because I already changed to that.

You know,

Bob DeMarco 19:34
well, that's, it's those collaborative, collaborative arts are collaborative processes. And, you know, you build up a shorthand with those people that you work with over and over and Oh, yeah. And, and you get to know, you know, what the other's strengths are and what the idea is going to be and, and you know how you're both going to approach it. I gotta say, Man, I love that you put a recurve on the camp. people shy away. From the recurve because they assume that everyone's sharpening their knives with big giant, you know, Arkansas stones that are you know, but it's not true. There are a million ways to sharpen a region and and I love them and I think it, it adds to the grace and definitely adds to the utility. So I just thought I'd add that. Chris, did you also design the Harris?

Unknown Speaker 20:27
No, that was that was a that was a true collaboration between myself doing the drawing Zach doing the prototyping actually. And then with will Harris who was saying giving us basically the laundry list of you know, it has to be able to be strong enough to do this. It has to be narrow enough to do this. It has to be sharp enough to do this. You know, it needs to be robust enough that I can break us dear starting with a knife and a rock And we went through that. So I did the actual drawing, but it was it was a collaboration going back and forth between all of us, and that needs to be shorter or wider, give that part a curve. So I did the drawing Zach did the drafting, prototyping. It was it was a true collaboration.

Bob DeMarco 21:21
Well, so how do you? How do you arrive at what your collab who you're going to collaborate with? Or what kind of projects you're interested in? Does it have to do with you and and sort of your agenda as as knife makers and manufacturers? Or is it you know, how do you decide on collaborating?

Unknown Speaker 21:39
At one point in time in the history of dauntless, we thought that this was a very simple quantifiable process, OEM work someone brings you something, you bid it, they go, great, that's a good price. And then you manufactured according to the timeline, and if all goes well deliver on time and under budget. So that's cool for OEM work. And then what we always thought was going to happen with collaborations is we look around we see a knife makers, knife designers that match with our, our process or at least have nice designs that would fit well within our manufacturing process. Maybe we reach out to them, and then you go from there and it's never ever worked out to be that smooth or simple. with Matt, Matt helm, our first collaboration. I've purchased a few knives from Matt, which is, I guess somewhat of an accomplishment. He's a math a really great guy, but he makes about 20 knives a year and all of those go to the who's who of the gun industry in the tactical industry and they end up on magazine covers and All sorts of cool stuff. So, Matt and I. All right, I got a knife from him years ago, we became really good friends and we were talking about his knife availability and civil knife. Matt, you should do a you should do a factory knife. He's like nobody wants a factory Macklemore Matt Helm knife. I was like, I think lots of people do actually. And I so which one would you have us do if we were going to do it? And then we didn't even have the name dauntless at the time. I think it was

Zach Thull 23:33
TNM precision Thull and Moxx. Which ever so original, there's about 20 of those companies out there.

Bob DeMarco 23:41
So anyways, we're cooler. Yeah, so

Zach Thull 23:45
we went through a whole bunch of different names. And

Unknown Speaker 23:48
Chris and I both have a little bit of fascination with Greek and Roman and Latin mythology and dauntless kind of ended up there. Anyways. So we talked to Matt and we ended up at you know, he wanted to know if we'd be interested in doing Persian. Sure. And it turned into a really successful knife design. But then the other, we've talked to a few other knife makers, or designers who've wanted to do collaborations and our straightforward approach, or what we thought was the easy, quantifiable approach didn't always work. People said, we want to design a knife specific for this collaboration, which isn't really what we wanted, or they price their knives at a place that wasn't really tenable for us to license the design from them. And both of us make money or they're already doing stuff very similar in a mid tech fashion or something like that. So the collaboration process hasn't been as simple and straightforward as we thought it was going to be. But it's worked out well. The first collaboration was with Matt the Persian and then the second one was his work knife and the third one was with Ben Tendick and we've got a couple others that we might go into but we haven't quite arrived there yet.

Bob DeMarco 25:13
So my, my personal taste veered towards the tactical traditionally and so I love the Persian the mat Helm person like my pics if I were if I were to pick three right now it would be the Persian it would be the the M three V to the Ben 10 dig banach ground double edge sweet little knife and and I get the camp knife too. I mean like if I were to go in right now and you said okay

Zach Thull 25:44
i mean thankfully that's about half our lineup so

Bob DeMarco 25:49
I'll take the others. Yeah. So tell me about that mad Helm knife. That's one that's that's been kind of hot off the presses recently. Right That's, you've been? I like how I mean from from what I see you offer a lot of different ways to get the knife. Yeah. ways for it to look different coatings you do different coatings on the blade, right? Yeah, yep. Yeah. And and I know you have a number of different really cool handle materials. I love the the burlap the burlap micarta Yeah, yeah, that's my taste but tell me a little bit about making that knife and and what it's inspired by.

Zach Thull 26:29
So the Persian Are you wanting to talk about the Persian or the world

Bob DeMarco 26:33
talking about the non right now I'm talking about the Ben Tendic though the Ben Tendick.

Zach Thull 26:37
Okay. So, uh, Ben is really great knife maker. I've owned at least one of his knives. I don't own it right now. And I have absolutely loved him. I've followed his work. His Japanese wrap ups are just gorgeous. His grades are always perfect. His eye for details. Perfect. And we like I said earlier we had talked to him about a couple different designs just really preliminary stuff. And he sends me a message out of out of the blue one day and says, Hey, what about this one? We had kind of stopped talking or it just stagnated nothing negative. Just a matter of, you know, we were doing other things at the time he sends me messages. What about the trench knife? Oh my god, I love the trench knife. And automatically I start thinking about all the cool things you can do with that design. Because the the design cues from the original knife are so obvious. Right? You have a lot of

you have enough leeway but still retain the the

the inspiration of the blue Yeah, this and so I just I sent Chris a text. I was like, hey, Ben wants to know about the trench night Chris was on board. Right, Chris?

Chris Moss 28:03
That was the one of the first knives I ever bought. Yeah. Was the was actually an old world war two trench knife.

Zach Thull 28:09
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So we talked about it. And sometimes we're fortunate enough to get prototypes in hand, and Ben's made these before made them for years now. But we, this wasn't one of those times I asked him if he had one on on hand, and he did, I said, we'll take a picture of it beside a tape measure so I can get scale. And which isn't the best way to do drafting and design 3d work, but I figured we should probably jump on this. I don't know if this is real or not. Because I'm geeking out I'm a nice guy too. And so he took a picture of it. And we started doing the drafting right away. We went back and forth with a couple different small design cues and kicked it off and started working on the prototypes. And away we went. It's a it's done pretty well. So public response has been good to that. Yeah, it's been good. It's been a little bit of more of a slow burner than the Matt Helms. The Mad Helm collaboration have been really explosive and sold out the first run of work knives sold out in

22 hours I want to say and

Bob DeMarco 29:28
might be the double edged a lot of people can't Yeah, yeah, man. Is that where they live legally?

Unknown Speaker 29:33
Yeah. So that's one thing we did is we thought of that. And since trench knives don't always have the top edge sharpened. We offer it as a service so that you can order it with just one and sharpen that. So yeah

Bob DeMarco 29:47
So Chris, how do you what are your inspirations for designing knives where do you reach in history or in in the current knife world, to get inspiration for your designs.

Chris Moss 30:01
A lot of it is just

some of it, it's stuff that I've seen and just thought was really cool. I was I was really influenced by dawn fog, as I was starting to make knives. I it was in the early days of the Internet, and I came across his website, first knife I ever saw with a hormone on it, and it blew my mind. And and I just said that's, I want to do that. So in some ways, it's it's finding something that I think is cool. Looking back at very traditional designs, I like traditional ethnic designs, whether it's Japanese, whether it's Filipino, doing some Parang is doing doing some bigger blades. I really like recurves I like a kukri I like Parang I like I like big nice I've always been a fan of Don Hanson the third. And he's had he's had a big influence on my knife design as far as drop points and recurves and, and things like that.

Bob DeMarco 31:13
Well, I was telling Zack before you signed on, yes, you should do a kukri. I saw a post on Instagram recently. Should we do a kukri about Yes, I think I responded that way to like, if you have to

ask. I'll tell you, yes!

Unknown Speaker 31:28
And we actually I've actually gotten to use a couple genuine to Greece. A couple of them actually in Nepal. That it's just it's a phenomenal design. You know, like you were saying with the with the recurve a lot of people are scared of them because they're worried that they won't be able to resharpen them but man the benefit of that recurve and getting that that that that cutting point in their exact right place, which again harkens back to our function of the tool and being able to quantify Is this a better tool because of the way we design it? And we try and say yes to everything that we make, you know, like with the Harris it is quantifiably, one of the best designed general purpose hunting deer hunting knives on the market in my opinion. You know, the the camp knife is a great medium size chopper to be able to do a multitude of things. You know, we were will function driven but I have a passion for for those designs.

Bob DeMarco 32:30
Yeah, that I mean that camp knife it looks like it could definitely flex into a lot of good. It looks like it could be a great combat knife. Not that I've been in combat, but it does. It looks like it could go in a lot of different directions. In terms of its utility, you know,

Chris Moss 32:48
it was it was actually designed originally on we had a guy who reached out and said hey, do you have anything that's you know, in the niche for, you know, a sniper building a sniper hide? Got a knife that's got to be big enough to do, you know, to clear brush to build a high to be able to do everything but also be small enough that it's manageable that he can pack it in. And we said, No, we don't but we have it in the works. And by that we met by that was like, we were texting me furiously. I think we were actually

Zach Thull 33:21
I think we were standing around in the garage drinking a glass of bourbon. And yeah, he It was no we came into the garage like two days later. We turned that project around from the initial Hey, do you guys have something like this to sending him a finished prototype? in nine days? That's bad. And it was

Bob DeMarco 33:43
That's awesome.

Zach Thull 33:46
I can't remember.

I think we bought the steel the 5164 or something else.

Chris Moss 33:53
I had it in stock because I had made a couple big chompers. Yeah, the big bolo. chomper

Zach Thull 33:58
were like, Oh, we have This quarter inch thick 5160 we should definitely make it out of that.

Bob DeMarco 34:04
I love how you leave the some of the mill marks on the on the bevels of the blades. I know that's that's a that's an aesthetic detail. But to me it's a it adds something

it adds to it.

Chris Moss 34:19
It's It's It's actually partially a functional choice. Some of it is a manufacturing choice in being able to get complex curves more like a recurve or a really wide profile on something. But it actually reduces cutting drag, because you're getting a less surface that's touching the edge like on a sand to where you have the relief cuts in it. You actually get less drag on the blade, but there's a lot of people that leave those middle surface lines in but they're parallel to the edge, which means that you get are kind of defeats the purpose.

Yeah, it looks nice though.

Bob DeMarco 34:59
Yeah, it looks But it might grab on to material. Whereas when you have them perpendicular to that, yeah, it slides up. It's like a santoku, you were saying santoku or a Japanese chef's knife that has that scallops on the side. And you cut into something like a cucumber and it falls away because there's not so much surface tension. there that is I didn't even think of that. I was thinking of course, I'm always thinking about looks first, you know, just look so cool. And yeah, but I see I see how that has a real worlds slice. Okay, so Chris, I can't help but I can't. I would be remiss if I didn't stop at you're mentioned of Filipino knives in your and your appreciation of ethnographic knives and weapons. But to me I have a special love for Filipino blades. Have you thought about doing anything in that realm? For dauntless?

Chris Moss 35:54
Honestly, right now, it's it's definitely in in the realm of possible. Right now we're really trying to flesh out our lineup. We're kind of keeping the bills paid with between the OEM work and our production line. Really trying to offer a range of things, I would love to see a Filipino blade. That's a tool in people's hands. I mean, those blades were originally designed as tools. But the big thing is, you know, as much as I would love to go out there and make swords every day, he very few people are going to strap a sword of their back and take him to work. Which is where the Persian and the word nice and the Harris and things like that come in where you've got to kind of have that bread and butter to be able to have stuff that people are actually getting us through. Right, right. Tell me, I would love to.

Bob DeMarco 36:49
Well, when you do

Zach Thull 36:55
I want to say I'm completely supportive of this, by the way.

Bob DeMarco 36:58
Well, okay, all right. So My idea would be you could split the difference between sword and and work knife and make a small tally bond. Because Because to me, those are the those those are the most like knife like swords that they that they have. And you get you get that great angle of the handle of the blade to me that just a sucker for that. But I wanted to ask you what was the inspiration for the UB k describe that for listeners if they don't know? And and tell me how that came about. It's so cool.

Zach Thull 37:33
So I'll take this one.

Unknown Speaker 37:37
I'm pretty sure that went something like this. Hey, Chris, what would happen if we put a utility knife and occur ambit and he's like what would it look like? And about an hour later I sent him a rendering. And he said that's awesome. Let's do it and I sent it to a couple other friends and they were all like Obi Wan and we We're a little bit light on projects at the time.

Zach Thull 38:04
We, we jumped into it we made 100 of them they are

Bob DeMarco 38:08
so cool. They're so cool.

So are they are they right now in the in warehouses across the nation, like I literally slashing open boxes.

Zach Thull 38:18
You know, I we get a really wide range of, of feedback on what they are and where they're doing. A good friend of mine he gave one to his 10 year old and his 10 year old carries it religiously in place of Swiss Army knife. I have one of our customers installs carpeting and flooring on military bases and you can't carry anything that's remotely close to looking like a weapon carries you BK all the time. They're in warehouses. It's a it's a really for the tradesmen at which obviously Chris and I being machinists, we we have that understanding of what tradesmen go through every day, we're looking for something that's just as at home on his tool belt as it is, you know, hanging off a chest rig somewhere. And for the most part, those have ended up in all of those places and and more.

Bob DeMarco 39:17
So And what about the modular knife and describe that to that was also an interesting project that thing.

Zach Thull 39:22
So that one was, see what was it? We were making something

Chris Moss 39:29
we were making the Persian and we had an odd drop.

Zach Thull 39:31
Oh yeah, we had we had a chunk of D two that was quarter inch thick, and it was triangular shape like two and a half inches long and inch and a half wide. And, and we talked about what we were going to do with 100 or 120 of these pieces of D two. And so we just sat there and we sketched, what's going to fit inside that. And we said well, we can't make a full tang knife out of it. It's just not and we're not into making It's going to take a lot for you to ever see a bottle opener on our website for that way, and so, or at least not one that's designed first as that. And so we went around and around and around about what's going to fit inside that drop. And the first, the Caribbean style blade is what we figured out fit. And I made some prototypes, and we actually made a bunch of prototypes, probably too many. And Chris designed a bunch of handles, I designed a couple different handles the idea being, you know, a small, small blade that you could have recurve or a straight edge or a scalpel style or Korean but style. And then you could interchange a handle from a protocol to a kurama to a utility knife to you know, a more curved bulb style protocol. So we we drew up a whole bunch of those, what we quite quickly figured out as well, it's a really neat concept, you're gonna have to develop the whole ecosystem all at once. And so we put it on the back burner because of the amount of the amount of time investment that it's going to take to get there. So it's still there. We haven't sold any Much to the chagrin of a bunch of people who have said they want all of them.

Bob DeMarco 41:21
I'm one of those people now.

Zach Thull 41:23
But the whole point was, you know, we want to make

Unknown Speaker 41:28
because we're in manufacturing, we want to make tools that if you took one of our work knives from the very first run, or one of the very first Harris's it would fit perfectly in the sheath of the one that came off the line, you know, a few weeks ago, and you could interchange handles. Yeah, all of our handles in which interchange, everything goes from one knife to another's. There's very few. I think we have some of our early Persian sheets or early work knife sheets. That might not work because We change the plans or something like that, but for the most part everything interchanges and that's the same concept with with the modular knife is we wanted all the blades to go with all the handles, you know, we wanted all the sheets to work with each other and so on and so far

Bob DeMarco 42:15
see to me when I was just tuning into you guys then when you were putting those up on Instagram kind of proof of concept or whatever and to me I I saw those as

what I want to say like showing off your prowess basically, your design and engineering prowess is kind of like check this out. We can do this or you can put this down or and you know, obviously it fits all snugly and perfectly together. I was like okay, these guys are these guys are showing the world what they're made of and let's and literally

Unknown Speaker 42:44
you know, we had a 20 something year old CNC machine from Craigslist, making all those parts

Bob DeMarco 42:50
that you got while you're looking for a stroller and

whatever else you get on Craigslist

Zach Thull 42:56
Right. We're just happy we didn't get robbed

Bob DeMarco 43:01
So what do you have coming up in the future? Like what's what do you see as the future of dauntless? Where Where does this company go from here?

Zach Thull 43:09
So I know it might not sound like this but we're we're not strictly a knife company where we are a manufacturing and a development company. And to some people, we're a consulting company we've we have some really good relationships with people that we've helped buy their first CNC machine, install it, we've helped them through their programming and their effects, fixture development and all these other cool things. So we we continue to do consulting, you'll see a lot more varied product projects from us. So over the next couple months, it looks like our our dauntless branded knives are going to take a backseat to some OEM projects. We're doing the sea monkey knife for bush monkey knives. So we'll be making that First run in the next six weeks and a couple other ones, where we're making people's knives and products for them. So over the next couple of months, it's going to be a whole bunch of OEM work. You won't see a whole lot of whole lot of hardware coming through our shop. But we've got some r&d projects in line outside of the knife industry. And then a whole bunch more collaborations. We've got another Helm that we're hoping to kick off soon. And this is the first I've said this out loud in public so so we're working on another home design. We've talked to Ben 10 dick about another one of his designs, I would love to do a modern take on one of his tantos I think it would just be gorgeous with interchangeable handles and you know, a peel ply handles on a traditional line Tonto would be awesome to me. Yeah, that's just me talking. Yeah. And it's

Bob DeMarco 45:03
hard to get. It's hard to get enough tanto in my life,

I love them

and I, I love you know, I love all of their variations and such.

Zach Thull 45:15
Chris has made me a few knives. One big chopper. It's absolutely gorgeous. And two, beautiful Toronto's that are like, my favorite thing in the entire world.

So, every time someone's like, we should do a Tonto I'm like, Yes, we should. Yes. So

Bob DeMarco 45:34
we should. So Chris, what about you coming up like how, what's as a knife maker? What do you have in the offing that you want to work on? You know, even if it's a fantasy and you can't get to it to it for another year because of, of your responsibilities.

Chris Moss 45:51
Well, honestly, the biggest push for me right now is is is getting the OEM workout so we can get Zach on full time. For me, that's, that's my goal for this year. And I want to see I want to see that. Let's be a duo again. For me a lot of it's just daily grind, you know, I go out I program I quote, I draft. I set up machines, run machines, you know, some fun stuff. Did a you know a non metallic design today? That was, you know, turned out really fun. Got to stab a bunch of boxes. So there's there's

Bob DeMarco 46:31
non metallic don't just don't just breeze over that.

Chris Moss 46:38
It's actually a design we worked with with Minuteman Defense,

Unknown Speaker 46:43
yeah, Skyler. Skyler from Minuteman defense, awesome holsters. If anyone out there needs that's holsters or custom sheets. Talk to Skyler. If you guys ever look at our Instagram, you'll see that we take a lot of pride in our in our card Kydex, our vacuum performing that we do all there's only one exception we have our our Harris sheets made by Skylar, and which, for people that pride themselves on making their own stuff. I hope that's a big enough compliment for Skylar and the level of work that he does. So yeah, he had non metallic, the G 10. You can explain a little bit better Chris you made it.

Chris Moss 47:25
It's it's a kind of a cross between

a standard dagger and a push dagger, but it's made out of 10. So it's non metallic. It's not corrosive. It's kind of a last ditch situation but it's again surface like we do. So you end up getting a kind of a scallop serrated edge on the whole it's it's really nasty. I mean, it's nasty. So you know, some of that stuff is you know, your daily grind you get into fun stuff where I'm getting first products off the line and being able to see new products for the First time testing,

I still do some custom work, you know, one of my time off on the weekends, when I'm not taking care of my health and my wife take care of the kids.

But for me, honestly, the big thing is is pushing. I really trying to push to be able to get Zach some room to be able to express his creativity and be able to push some non knife products. I love working on knives. But again, like Zack said, we didn't really start the business as a knife company. We started it as a development company. And you know, our first job was with Matt helm. And then after people saw that, they said, Hey, can you do that for me? So it's really just pushed off into the knife realm, but we'd like to be able to experiment out in some segments fashion.

Zach is designing a lot of neckties. Oh lovely.

Unknown Speaker 49:01
We'd like to be able to get into some, some some, some much finer development, we'd like to be able to get back into firearms. And honestly, we just absolutely love working with other passionate people in the industry to be able to help them achieve their dreams. There is nobody who cares about your product more than you do. And there's a lot of people out there who have the desire to be able to, to bring that stuff in house to be able to say, you know what, no one's going to do this better than I do. But I don't know the difference between a narco or, or a hos or in a coma, I don't know where to start. So being able to work with people like that and be able to say, okay, you need this is the machine you need to get will do the programming will do the fixturing. Working with people who are not machinist to need a system to be able to, to get their product that where they want it to be and let them just absolutely expand. So I'm really I'm hoping for some some some work like that. And oh yeah. this keeps the doors Oh.

Bob DeMarco 50:06
So how do people find you? How do people find dauntless? manufacturing your products and everything else the company has to offer.

Chris Moss 50:15
My number is

Bob DeMarco 50:17
better, best best place to find your work Instagram?

Unknown Speaker 50:22
Instagrams where you'll see the most visual. That's that's been a really good way of communicating with our customer base. And our and our business partners. It's worked really well. We have a Facebook page but as a lot of people in this industry are finding out the algorithms for both Instagram and Facebook aren't very friendly. So the the Facebook page hasn't been super, super helpful for us. And then our website is dauntless MFG dot com,

Chris Moss 50:52
which we're, we're working on expanding out. It's it's pretty slim right now. So if you type in dauntless MFG, and you're like Where is it? You're there?

Bob DeMarco 51:02
There's enough there to bite into.

Zach Thull 51:04
And if you've ever wanted to see what a website looks like when it's built by two machinists who have never built a website before, that's exactly what you'll find there.

Bob DeMarco 51:16
Well, Zach and Chris of dauntless manufacturing thanks so much for coming on The Knife Junkie podcast. It's a pleasure talking about your manufacturing company, your backgrounds and your love of knives. Thanks for coming on, guys.

Zach Thull 51:26
Absolutely, absolutely.

Chris Moss 51:27
Thank you very much for having us.

Bob DeMarco 51:29
All right. Take care.

Chris Moss 51:30
Take care.

Announcer 51:31
Have a knife you want featured or reviewed cold The Knife Junkie is 24 seven the listener line. It's 724-466-4487 and let us know.

Jim Person 51:41
All right, we're back on the Knife Junkie podcast dauntless manufacturing. Chris and Zack, good interview there. Bob. What was your your one takeaway? When did you leave that interview thinking?

Bob DeMarco 51:51
You know, it made me think actually it made me think of something. My wife and I talk about it's like, together we are one sane individual for the family. Apart we're lacking and these two guys I'm not going to say apart they're lacking but they really seem to bring complimentary instincts to this enterprise you know you have Zack who's got a real hardcore engineers and machine is mine and you have Chris who also has a serious background in machining but has more of a right brained artistic bent. So they're like a brain a left and a right side and and i think i keep finding over and over that kind of contrast is maybe not essential but magic when, when coming up with a creative creative product

Jim Person 52:40
just makes the partnership so much better when you have complementary skills, or you know, if both of you are the skilled at the same thing, you know, you're not as strong but if if you, you know, bring three skills and the other guy brings three skills, you know, you've got six so yeah, it makes it a much stronger partnership and a better better And in a better collaboration, if you want to find dauntless manufacturing there at dauntless MFG calm. And they're down in asheboro, North Carolina so that's dauntless MFG comm also find them on Instagram. I think they said that's kind of the best place to find them and maybe even some extra special stuff goes on Instagram that you don't find anywhere else.

Bob DeMarco 53:21
Yeah, it's really cool watching them. prototyping, you can, you can watch this all through Instagram and watch them prototyping a product. And then going into the small batch production modes. And just seeing multiples of knives that I love is just It is such a cool site. I really look forward to seeing what they what they do in the future, and I love what they're doing right now.

Jim Person 53:42
As we wrap up, I want to ask you a favor if you please, if you wouldn't mind. We would love for you to rate and review the podcast. Whatever podcast app you're listening on right now just you know, click the heart the thumbs up. If you're so inclined to leave a review. Give us some feedback. Back let us know what you like what you don't like constructive criticism is always welcome but we really want you to rate the podcast and so you can do that on any of your favorite podcast apps or if you want to go to review the review the and you can do so right there thanks for listening to this episode of the Knife Junkie podcast and for The Knife Junkie himself Mr. Bob DeMarco m Jim Person saying thanks for listening.

Announcer 54:27
Thanks for listening to the Knife Junkie podcast If you enjoyed the show, please rate review and review the podcast calm for show notes for today's episode additional resources and to listen to past episodes visit our website The Knife Junkie calm you can also watch our latest videos on YouTube at The Knife Junkie comm slash YouTube check out some great night photos on Knife Junkie comm slash Instagram and join our Facebook group that's The Knife Junkie comm slash Facebook and if you have a question or comment, email them to Bob at The Knife Junkie calm or call Are 24 seven listener line at 724-466-4487? And you may hear your comment or question answered on an upcoming episode of the Knife Junkie podcast.


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