The Knife Center’s David C. Andersen joins Bob “The Knife Junkie” DeMarco to talk knives on episode 76 of The Knife Junkie Podcast.
Andersen is the face of the Knife Center on their YouTube channel and handles digital media for the “knife center of the internet.” He also founded his own company, Nordsmith Knives, that he runs on the side in addition to his full-time Knife Center duties.
It’s a cool conversation to not only hear more behind the scenes about what goes on when he’s reviewing and showing off the Knife Center’s knives that they have for sale, but also what went into the creation of his own knife company — and what’s ahead in the next five years. Hint: If you’ll listen to the full episode, you’ll get the joke!
Let us know what you thought about this episode, and please leave a rating and/or a review in whatever podcast player app you’re listening on. Your feedback is much appreciated.The Knife Center's David C. Andersen, also the founder of Nordsmith Knives, is featured on episode #76 of The Knife Junkie #Podcast. Listen at https://theknifejunkie.com/76 Click To Tweet
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David C. Andersen 0:00
I try not to let my some of my personal preferences color my presentation too much. But I will say if you want to know what I don't like about something listen to what I'm not saying about a knife
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 0:29
Hello Knife Junkie and welcome to episode number 76 of the Knife Junkie podcast. I'm Jim Person.
Bob DeMarco 0:35
And I'm Bob DeMarco. Welcome to the podcast.
Jim Person 0:38
The Knife Junkie podcast is the place for nice newbies like myself. And Knife Junkie is like bobbin you to learn more about knives and knife collecting and hear from knife designers, makers, manufacturers, reviewers, anybody who loves knives and is in the knife industry. We've got a great interview show coming up today Bob on our Sunday interview edition if you will
Bob DeMarco 1:00
That's right That's right. We're going to talk to David C Andersen of the knife Center today if anyone if you all out there watch night videos like I do you know who David Sanderson is he's the digital media marketing manager over there at knife center. And he's been putting out these amazing videos over the last I'd say year digging into the new knives of the week and they're there. They really give a not only a look into what's new and what's coming out, but also into the heart of a Knife Junkie, which David C. Andersen is, and I hate to speak for him, but i'm gonna i'm going to label him that right now.
Jim Person 1:32
Okay, all right. I'm sure you'll let us know but I'm sure you're right. All right, we're going to get into the interview with David C. Andersen. But first I want to remind you that if you like shopping and you like saving money then you need to hear about this. You can get cash back for your purchases using Ebates. now known as Rakuten. And because you're a loyal Knife Junkie listener, if you're not already a member, you'll get $10 for joining if you go to The Knife Junkie comm slash cash back, it's easy. If you happen to Google Chrome you can use their Chrome extension so whenever you go to eBay or an online knife merchant rackets and will pop up and ask if you want to use their link and save money so at easy just shop like you normally would and get cashback so go to The Knife Junkie dot com slash cashback, sign up after you spend $25 you'll get $10 The Knife junkie.com slash cash back
ever strope a knife again, even though it gets no real use, face up to what you are. You're a Knife Junkie.
Bob DeMarco 2:31
I'm here with David C. Andersen of the knife center of the internet or knife center as you know them. David is the digital marketing manager. And lately, I'd say over the past two years or so he's been putting out amazing videos on YouTube and and has really invigorated my my buying instinct.
David C. Andersen 2:52
Well, that's what I'm trying to do.
Bob DeMarco 2:54
Nicely done, sir. Mission accomplished.
David C. Andersen 2:56
Thanks for having me.
Bob DeMarco 2:57
It's a pleasure to have you David. I've You're like one of those guests that I kind of feel like I already know because I've watched so many hours, you know, but I just wanted to relate to you my first experience with the knife center. It was in 1998, I believe and I think the very first knife I got from there was the cold steel alone break the four inch buck hero. And then is the most interesting purchase still to date. From knife center. It was my 2000 Emerson commander. And it's interesting to me because I saw it and I lusted over it for about a year and then I mustered up the conus to spend 200 bucks on it, even then 200 bucks. I bought it. And I waited and I was expecting this was like probably my third purchase on the internet. My third like interaction with the purchasing on the internet and I was expecting it to show up the next day and it didn't end then it didn't and then it didn't end then I wasn't very good at email. Bye. Then it ends up the knife center sent me all these emails, okay, they're good. They're making it there right now they're tooled up for the CQ c seven, but they'll be on your commander next year and I didn't read that email and so I forgot about it. And then eventually, like, a year and a half later, knife center got it, send it along to me, I totally had forgotten about it showed up at my desk at work. And I was just praising you guys. Anyway, that's my long way of saying thank you for for being there and doing what you do.
David C. Andersen 4:28
Well, it was a little bit before my time there, but that's awesome. That's a great story. And you mustered up the courage to spend that much money on a knife and it was all downhill from there, wasn't it?
Bob DeMarco 4:37
Yeah. Oh, God.
Like, like, I don't call myself The Knife Junkie for no reason. And actually, the funny thing is, is my brother and I, I told him that I was going to be speaking with you, and he's like, because he always liked how the packages arrive, center of the internet. And, you know, it's very discreet for the wives and everything. And I was just I was just thinking I never signed up for the the frequent flyer miles on Life Center. What a fool.
David C. Andersen 5:06
Oh, you got to
Bob DeMarco 5:07
Yeah, I know. I know. I know I'd be I'd be. I'd be rolling around in hinderers on my bedroom
David C. Andersen 5:14
Bob DeMarco 5:15
Yes indeed. So David sorry for my long and gushing. But tell me how did you get to the knife center and how did you become such a knowledgeable knife person?
David C. Andersen 5:29
Well, I mean we all kind of have our journey, don't we? I'd say mine started. Definitely in the Boy Scouts as a kid. I'm sure I share that in common with a lot of folks out there. My first good knife that I ever had was actually my father bought it for me. I don't have it. Unfortunately still. I have the replacement for it the first ones at the bottom of a latrine at a campground but it's a camillus three bladed BSA whittler it's very, very similar to a Stockman still Have the replacement for it and yeah man when you're a kid there's nothing more fascinating than you know let's be honest weapons of any sort. Yes. And the for a lot of us a knife is the closest we're going to get to any kind of weapon but quickly it became more than that all the way leading today now its total mystic thing that we all carry and can't be without feel naked without but that that kind of lit the spark initially. And then after I got out of college, you know when you factor in the the internet and all the information you can find there. It kind of re sparked that and it was kind of just picking up everything I could learn. After that point. Just absorbing information, trying things out, buying knives from knife center, actually back in the day. I was living in Maryland knife center was still in Maryland, right point. I still remember the first time I I was looking for a benchmate I wanted to the fixed blade grip to Yeah, was what I was looking for, huh? Yeah, they made up remember that one, they made a fixed blade version of it. I was a big fan of Doug Ritter still am to this day and he has his had his collaborations with benchmade. There was a fixed blade version of it. I couldn't afford the Doug Ritter version, but I could afford the standard benchmade fixed blade version. So I looked up their website found a list of dealers found a knife sender's address, drove over.
Bob DeMarco 7:26
Oh, I'm sorry. That's aweseom.
Unknown Speaker 7:29
So I get there not realizing it's an internet based company. You know, I just found their address on benchmade website. And they're like, Well, do you have a exact change and like no, like, it was a whole debacle. The job I was working at the time or a little bit later than that. It was it was problematic because I could place an order and drive over on my lunch break and pick up a knife.
Bob DeMarco 7:54
That is a problem.
David C. Andersen 7:55
It is. And it was kind of neat. This wind sounded good on my resume when I came in interviewed for my job when I started working at the knife center, but every time I went over there, they were a little bit bigger, they expanded a little bit out, they moved to a different side of the building had more room they created every time it was a little bit little bit bigger. And now I get to contribute to their continued growth. It's pretty neat.
Bob DeMarco 8:19
That is amazing. So you are the digital marketing manager.
Unknown Speaker 8:23
Bob DeMarco 8:24
So I watch your I love your weekly nice updates. Think for a number of reasons. First of all, you get to see everything that's new, or a lot of what's new, the hot stuff,
Unknown Speaker 8:33
and I'm just as excited by that as you guys watch believe me
Bob DeMarco 8:36
Well, that's exactly what I was gonna get it you can tell you can really feel your love for what you're talking about. In those videos. I also like I think the way you produce it is good. It's like it's kind of off the cuff. It's not too formal. And you're just it's like a dispatch you're just getting the news out and but your your love for what you're doing is apparent and if you also Love that you you like to have a commiserating force and that's what you are I love I love those those videos how much in terms of like researching what's out there and seeking How much do you have to do with bringing in new material, like stuff that knife center sells?
David C. Andersen 9:17
Honestly it's I go through our list of new items every week and I pull a bunch of stuff I take a look at them. A lot of times we've got pretty good descriptions on our website a lot of my research and initially comes from from those. We have other people who are adding them adding the products to the website and doing some of that research. But a lot of it honestly, I've used so many knives these days. I've written about knives for so long. Actually, that was my kind of entry into the into the whole knife world was writing about knives yesterday about knives blog. Yes. And that actually going back to your previous question, that opportunity and the number of people I met doing that really really brought a lot of knowledge and a lot of learning that I was able to pick up. And a lot of these these new knives OF THE WEEK videos, I, I'm just applying my years of knowledge and experience using and writing about these things to kind of scrutinize, see what's going on and just try to give a pretty honest impression to our viewers.
Bob DeMarco 10:20
A thing I like about those videos is that I think you walk a very fine line you're there to sell every night, but you obviously have your opinions,
David C. Andersen 10:28
Bob DeMarco 10:29
But when I can tell that you're expressing an opinion, you're never harsh, and it's never but it doesn't seem like I'm just trying to sell this to you. So I'm going to ignore the fact that this hurts my thumb. You know, you seem very honest. But at the same time, you know, you're you're there to get eyes on that product.
David C. Andersen 10:45
Absolutely. Yeah, that's my job. That's you know how I put food on the table. That's my paycheck. But I try to maintain the same ethos I did when I was writing for the truth about knives and with a title like that truth. It's right up right there front and center. So I'm not going to get up there on camera and say something I don't think is right or I don't think it's true. I obviously do have things I like and things I don't like. But then I have to remind myself, there's people out there that may be different, you know, certain people like certain things more differently. So I try not to let my some of my personal preferences color my presentation too much. But I will say if you want to know what I don't like about something, listen to what I'm not saying about a nice, interesting, elaborate. If you're reading between the lines, you can kind of tell by what I'm not talking about the way things might fall. A quick example, let's say, a cold steel, ak 47 fixed blade. If you're familiar, it's got a blocky handle. A lot of you know heavy g 10. traction. If I tell you this handle is designed for aggressive grip, and it's never going to fall out of your hand. I'm not saying that it's comfortable and free of hotspots. Am I
Bob DeMarco 11:58
right? No, you're saying it hurts. It's like hell, but if you get
David C. Andersen 12:03
that that's, you know, just a little example right there of what I mean by that,
Bob DeMarco 12:07
you know, I caught a little bit of that in your last video that at the very first knives they were there from Spain their lock backs and there are three versions The US Yes. Well, when you got to the last one, the Nevada it has just a more appealing blade just I don't care who you are, it's a more appealing looking blade. And you kind of said that. But you didn't say that, you know, because you don't you don't want to turn off the person who really likes that super traditional spearpoint plate. Yeah.
David C. Andersen 12:38
And that's the thing. I'm putting the information out there for everyone else to take and apply their preferences to exactly yeah.
Bob DeMarco 12:46
And and at the end of that video, you show off a 1900 page paper catalog I do from knife center, and I'm like, Oh my god, every bathroom in my house needs that.
I'm sorry, I don't mean that as an insult. You know what I mean? Right?
David C. Andersen 13:01
Oh no absolutelyit works right next to a toilet or on a coffee table.
Bob DeMarco 13:04
Yeah, or at the desk at work. It's like good stolen time reading material.
Unknown Speaker 13:09
It's great to just just leaf through it kind of take a look at stuff. I mean, I remember looking through catalogs and looking through magazines and heck newspaper advertisements every week when I was a kid, you know, pre internet days, but yeah, man. Something kind of cool just about turning the page and finding something new that you weren't expecting.
Bob DeMarco 13:27
Oh, yeah. I mean, like, you won't catch me reading a book on Kindle. Uh, you know, I still like the paper and paper catalog is is awesome. I grew up in the bug k days and and you know, when Rei didn't have storefronts, and it came in, and you know, like a mimeograph paper like, so I'm old. I'm of a different generation, but I love that paper catalog. And the fact that it spans all of the brands that no Center has. And you said that it might even have knives that aren't even on the website which to me is astounding, like that's. Yeah, absolutely. Well, kudos to you, sir, for bringing that to us.
David C. Andersen 14:09
I didn't have anything to do with making it.
Bob DeMarco 14:12
Well, something you do have a hand in making are Nordsmith knives which I wanted to talk to you about?
David C. Andersen 14:18
Bob DeMarco 14:19
Yeah. So I, you know, I've been watching you for, I guess two years since you've been making videos similar to that. Yeah. And only maybe three videos back. You showed a Nordsmith knife, and I didn't know this guy, also designed, made and produce themselves knives. That's amazing. I want you to tell me about them. And then I want to I want to read from you Actually, I'll do this first. If you don't mind. To me, this is very interesting. The story of Nordsmith knives is the story of taking control of my life, and not just letting events happen to me. I choose to control my destiny. The only way to find what you seek is to take matters in into your own hands. The same has been true for generations past and will continue to hold sway for generations to come. And you're you're kind of tying together your, your ancestry, your grandparents come to this this country from Norway, and then and then how you've continued on kind of their self reliance by making knives and, and
to me that is like a very compelling background story. Tell me what led to this.
Unknown Speaker 15:25
So I guess I had been writing for the blog for a couple of years. And I think I had just been to my first blade show a few weeks prior, and it was a Friday afternoon, getting ready to leave and my boss calls. This is not the knife center is pretty nice dinner days. My boss calls me into the conference room at the end of the end of the Friday and go What's going on? turned out it was sort of like an impromptu evaluation and I didn't see it coming. But he asked me that that question. Where do you see yourself Five years, which neither at that point or any point in my life, have I ever been able to answer that question? a hard one. I'm a little better about it now I think but at the time, not knowing not having an answer and being taken completely by surprise by the question, My mind went blank. And this one thing came crashing in I telling you, I was still riding high off of the my first blade show. And all I knew for certain was that I wanted to be more involved in the knife industry as a creative force, not just a writer. And it would be cliche, but also true to call it this moment of clarity that I didn't know what it was going to look like yet, but I knew it was something I had to do. And I guess you asked a little more specifics. So I spoke to my girlfriend at the time is not now my lovely wife. And I knew I just had to do something and I've met lt right through my writing at the blog. Fantastic, man. And an even better human being. He was the second person to know that I wanted to do something. He was working at a gun show in Chantilly, Virginia that same weekend. And that's where I went and met him initially at the in the blog days. And so I came up to him the next day is like, hey, lt, I got to do something. And before I could say anything extra, he's like, let's make you a prototype. That was that. That was the beginning. I had some I started working on some sketches. And I had some ideas I knew I wanted to approach basically, it's another kind of cliche there was something out there that I or there was something that I wanted in a certain knife that I could not find anyone doing. So I had to make my own.
Bob DeMarco 17:45
What was that?
Unknown Speaker 17:46
That is what turned into the canteen knife.
Bob DeMarco 17:49
It looks like a nice smoke, right kind of like a big butcher knife ness smoke.
David C. Andersen 17:53
Yep, I'm a big fan. But I wanted a what I'd always been looking for was Something that was a camp night first, but could do rockin cuts on a cutting board and pull off some convincing, if not, you know 10 out of 10 but some convincing food prep work like shy. Yes. Still to this day No one's doing it. You know, I may be showing my bias here, but no one's doing it as well as the canteen knife does it and I've been looking Believe me. Let me just put a little parentheses here. What do you think of the tops? chef's knives? I've been looking at him I'm like, is that just a giant is that is that a Prater war buoy except shaped like too thick? I love tops that you can't say anything to turn me off. So I see this is where I have to walk a fine line.
Bob DeMarco 18:42
Unknown Speaker 18:44
I'm not personally a huge fan of their of their kitchen line they came out with I think the the chef's knife doesn't quite have the balance that I'm looking for. But the dicer dicer 3.5. I think they call it the Small one that their marketing as a paring knife. Yeah, man throw a sheath on that that would be a phenomenal hunting knife. And I really think that's that's my favorite knife out of their kitchen lineup for that reason.
Bob DeMarco 19:12
I'm not surprised by that answer. You know, they're not a kitchen knife maker. You can't expect to knock it out of the park your first first time out without it being pure luck. And you know, they're so, so excellent at outdoor and tactical, you know, military and combat knives. Give them two more seasons and maybe they'll they'll be grinding it thinner. I will say their frog market special kitchen knife is pretty darn cool. Here's a little sidebar I made a larger frog market special for a friend of mine. And because I've made a few have dabbled, you know around here had to heat treated somewhere else but that was he wanted a chef's knife. I made it for him. He loved it and then he couldn't cut onions with it and then I took it back I made it a lot thinner. And it's not easy to do to make chef's knife
David C. Andersen 20:04
no the the grinds are even more precise than anything else out there that you have to do.
Bob DeMarco 20:09
Let me get back to Nordsmith while we're here, you have four models currently, yes. Currently, my personal favorite if you don't mind my telling you is the lapwing. My proclivity is more towards weapony knives I just it just is what it is done a lot of martial arts But not only that, I you know, I grew up, I was a child of the 70s and all the TV shows. Every man had a knife on him. There was a lot and then and then when I was a teen in the 80s all the Stallone and shorts and Hagar movies, that's just how I tend and I look at the lapwing, and I'm like that would make an outstanding EDC because it's if you need it to be weapony you could you know, but it looks like it's got an extremely versatile sort of utility blade to it. So it's got both of those things I like it's got It's got a sort of an aggressive spirit but you know, it's it's about taking care of business. It's not like an assassin's knife.
David C. Andersen 21:08
Yes, it's a thin narrow blade which has worked well for centuries. I mean there's a reason the paring knife still looks like a paring knife you know and that that was a knife that that was the third release and if your canteen knife like in terms of my tool usage of my lineup if your canteen knife is your outdoor slash chef knife, then your lapwing is the burden trout slash paring knife that goes perfectly with the canteen knife but it makes it does make a great etc with that that thin narrow blade I actually do have a customer who made an inside the waistband kydex sheath for use as a self defense carry and as well
Bob DeMarco 21:47
that's how I carry fixed blades and kind of the small my back inside the waist and kydex and that's exactly what I was thinking when I saw who makes these do you make them or do you have lt right make them
David C. Andersen 21:59
so I work on all the prototypes myself very early on. Before I kind of knew what I was doing. I actually trained with lt to work. You know, he showed me their process. He actually does classes that anyone can take. And I've I'm actually one of three folks that have gone through the entire catalog of courses he offers Wow. Which was incredibly helpful one, it helps me in my design process and to I use lt to produce the knives that I sell on my website, North North Smith knives calm. He's does a better job more quickly than than I'll ever be able to do, I think. So he handles the production side of things for me. I've got a great relationship with him. But all the prototyping I do in my shop here I get things buttoned down, ironed out so that they're perfect. I sent him a drawing and my prototype and we're off to the races from there and on the last couple of the last three releases that not only canteen knife but on every other one. I've been in the shop on the day that the first one gets finished. Cool. It's really it's awesome lt and I have the knife in our hands and like he takes a little off here he hands it to me I look at it. I take a little bit off here. And we're kind of shaping the final thing together. It's It's great. It's great.
Bob DeMarco 23:19
That is really cool. And and if I mean may be so bold, it might be encouraging for a customer to say I love the design of this. But who's David C. Andersen? I'm not sure about his knife making cake. Oh, made by LT. Wright. Holy mackerel. It's mine. You know what I'm saying? Like?
Unknown Speaker 23:34
Yeah, absolutely. Knowing lt has opened so many doors for me just in terms of meeting people, and just reassuring people that, you know, people who know who else he knows that he only hooks up with people he believes in, right. So I've got that kind of built into my product, which is I it's never been on my website. You can tell it's not something I shout about, but it's not something I either.
Bob DeMarco 24:01
Alright, so David. Norway, I'm a big fan of the show, Vikings. And my mom was reading a book right now called, I can't remember it's something like death is what we strive for. But basically it's it's, it's a it's a book about the Vikings and they talked about how it was actually more glorious to die in battle than to be victorious in battle because in your death, you could show what you're made of. And I thought that was an interesting concept. It's, it's, it's not what I have in my blood, but I think it's cool. Have you ever considered making a Seax?
David C. Andersen 24:36
I can't say specifically I have. I've been working on a few prototypes of some cleaver type of things however. So my my background, like I my dad cooked a lot when I was growing up. So I picked up a lot of stuff from him and I continue to cook a lot myself. And the if you drew a Venn diagram of my influences, you've got the outdoor knives on One side and all of that stuff, the bushcraft, the camping, the survival, oh, camping and survival, the wilderness survival merit badge and Boy Scouts, the best thing ever, but then you've got my whole kitchen side of things. And if you move that Venn diagram over that little intersection where the two of them overlap, that's where I really like to be. That's, it's what I can speak to. with authority. It's what I know. I don't have to pretend I know something that I don't to work in that arena. Right. That's what does it for me. And that's what I'm keen to explore.
Bob DeMarco 25:36
Yeah, I see what you mean there. It's like, yeah, you could you could do a sax because it's part of your cultural heritage, or something like that, because it might fit in the Nord Smith line, in terms of its aesthetics and theory, or whatever background, but if it's not, if it's not something you would use, and if it's not something that you truly, you know, You're thinking more about outdoors knives than weapon knives, sx might not be the first thing that comes to comes to mind
Unknown Speaker 26:06
You've got my mind working though. I'm wondering.
Bob DeMarco 26:10
I'm wondering if there's sort of a kitchen pattern that could be seax inspired a lot? I
think there is.
Unknown Speaker 26:16
But you're right. No, I try to stay authentic with my designs and unfortunate in a way because this is a side project that I've been able to continue working on. I don't rely on it for income. In fact, I've never paid myself any money out of the out of the company at all. Which I started with opened a checking account with the $200 or $300 in it and everything's come out of that, which is pretty cool. So sort of paid for itself. Self perpetuate. Yeah, yeah. So a lot of everything goes back into the company except, you know, working on more things. I guess you could say I paid myself by buying some knife making equipment with the money again, right. But like I said, I try to stay authentic to what I know. And because this is a side project that I do, I don't need to rely on for my main source of income. I don't have any pressure to release a new knife at any time, if I don't think it's perfectly 100% ready,
Bob DeMarco 27:09
so you don't have a titanium frame lock flipper
Unknown Speaker 27:11
I don't have a titanium frame lock flipper in the works. But that's actually where the my skipjack knife came from. Because as soon as you tell anyone you have a knife company, they'll make a folder and pocket knife. Yeah. I don't know why, but I've got no interest in designing a folder. I got into designing fixed blades because there was something I wanted. I couldn't find. I've always been very happy with the folders I've carried. So like, I never got inspired to work on that sort of thing. But the skipjack pocket knife which the blade shapes kind of inspired by by smaller chef's knives, just scaled down to a much smaller blade, but it comes with a leather sheath with a pocket clip on it. That's my pocket knife.
Bob DeMarco 27:53
Yes. Okay. I was just looking at it just right now. Yes. And that handle shape who Looks like it will fit in the pocket nicely. How do you carry it? Do you have some sort of special pocket shaped leather sheet that you put it into or?
Unknown Speaker 28:10
Yeah, so, all my sheath work is done by JRE industries. Spen Seltzer, one man shop out of Illinois making really great work and it's it's one of the standard patterns actually, just with the top lopped off and we attached a pocket clip to it, so you can carry it right inside the pocket, just like anything else.
Bob DeMarco 28:28
All right well you got my mind going now. I frequently carry a fixed blade and I frequently carry multiple knives. Okay. And we all do, okay.
We're swimming in the same waters here. Indeed.
Sometimes, well, I'd like to carry fixed blades, surreptitiously, you know, if you will. Nothing egregious, but I think that it's something that makes people freak out a little bit. So you got to be very careful about But I think that if people start introducing the idea of fixed blade, etc, especially if they're in your pocket and not like I have it stashed in the back, I think if you just have an EDC pocket knife that's fixed pull it out it gets people Oh interesting for a while I was carrying this bark river many sacks you know in my front pocket and it it fit beautifully and it it did the work great and I carried it for you know, three weeks while I was really into it and the you know how it is move on to a different life. And now that just occupies my desk for the mail, I don't open but I really liked the idea of the fixed blade, etc. Anyway, I hope that people start. You know, people carry that skipjack
Unknown Speaker 29:46
for that purpose. And that was the the genesis of the name of that knife. Well, being a Maryland guy, of course there are state boat. The name is essentially skip the Jackknife, put a fixed blade in your pocket.
Bob DeMarco 29:57
I didn't think of that. Yeah, I was just thinking of the tonight You know, let's talk about the times now the knife industry. And I first want to ask you not what were the most popular knives from the knife center but what to you were the best knives of 2019 or not even the best but the ones that resonated with you the most?
Unknown Speaker 30:20
Well it's funny because we've just finished wrapping up a bunch of our 2019 wrap up videos on our on our YouTube channel. So you can certainly see some of my thoughts there. But, man, one of my favorite things from last year is so unassuming. It was actually my pick for my favorite thing from SHOT Show last year, the Old Hickory hunting knife. Interesting. I love this little thing. You know, people have been taking their butcher knives for years. They've got 1095 steel, they'll shorten it up, make a bushcraft knife out of it, knock the handles off, do something fancy with it. Ontario is leaving money on the table. They're like let's get a piece of this. So the five and a half inch bladed version with the regular handle scales, leather, she 20 bucks. Come on.
Bob DeMarco 31:06
Okay. You said it's 1095 right?
David C. Andersen 31:09
Bob DeMarco 31:09
I was at home home being Ohio visiting my parents over Christmas and I was checking in with my, my dear old friend and his wife and his wife is she's a master at everything food related and she's great at the the big green at you know smoking giant pieces of meat. She's like, oh, you're a nice guy. What should I get? I really have my eye on and she showed me that knife and she's and she even comes with the sheath now. And I was like, why are you asking me I think you have your answer that is it's so cool. And it's kind of bill the butcher to you can you you can put it in your vest and look menacing name time because it has that upswept clip point kind of shape, which to me is kind of piratey and
David C. Andersen 31:58
yeah, I love it. It's a great little knife and lace it for an American made $20 outdoor fixed blade. It's pretty good deal.
Bob DeMarco 32:07
Okay, so I think I'm I think I'm talking about something in the same line but a little bit larger. So the one that you're talking about you said 20 bucks.
David C. Andersen 32:16
Yeah, the one that comes with a leather sheath is 20 bucks with a five and a half inch, five and a half.
Bob DeMarco 32:21
Okay. Yeah, but yeah, we are talking about the same thing. Yeah. Okay, so that's your pick. So what about 2020? What are you excited about?
David C. Andersen 32:29
More fixed blades.
Unknown Speaker 32:33
the things that really get me going like I'm a fixed blade guy, always excited to see new kitchen stuff as well. I'm probably more more critical of of a chef knife than I am of anything else out there. So it's really hard to please me in that regard. So I'm just excited to see what's going to come up there. And as far as companies to watch in 2020 SOG. Interesting there.
Bob DeMarco 32:56
They're primed for a bit of a comeback. I think I've talked to some of the folks behind the scenes. I like what they've been saying to me. And we're starting to see the fruit of some of their their projects, which I'm excited about. I just mentioned SOG and we do a interview podcast on Sunday and then we do kind of a, where I get to talk about knives podcast on Wednesday and I was talking about the the SOG 2020 releases at least as illustrated by night news, everything I saw there was an improvement. The Pentagon looks cool the way they the way they kind of redid the Pentagon. First of all, a major deal with SOG people bristle at at their billboarding as as people like to say, but you know, for a while they got into putting their name into a lot of different places on the knife and and I can see like it's a fine line. Kershaw was doing that that k texture pattern for a while in their grn and that was like that was okay. On certain knives, but I feel like song kind of just took it Turn for the for the, for the great. And I've always been a huge fan of their fixed blades especially their more traditional kind of leather stacked handled fixed blades like the Mac v SOG. And the fighter in the in the Pentagon, Pentagon or whatever the others are called. I've always liked those knives I've never been to into their folders, but the flash they just redid the flash. Looks great.
David C. Andersen 34:25
Yeah, they're updating all of their stuff that eventually I believe they're going to run through everything in their lineup, and they're using their new xR lock all over the place, which feels really good. That Terminus xR with the D two blade, xR lock for 50 bucks. Give me a break. That's fantastic.
Bob DeMarco 34:42
Oh I'm sorry, Terminus. Yes, that is cool. But I was thinking of the big one that just
David C. Andersen 34:47
feel like sorry. Awesome. Awesome. Awesome.
Bob DeMarco 34:50
That is so cool. So that xR lock is that actuated only from the thumbs or the from one side, like the side of your
David C. Andersen 34:58
no it runs through It's you know, obviously they can't call it an access lock, because benchmade still has the rights to that name, but it's a similar, it's a similar style we've been trying to actually been kicking around at the knife center. What do you call that kind of lock without calling it an access lock? And we've settled on crossbar?
Bob DeMarco 35:16
Oh, perfect. I was gonna say bar lock.
David C. Andersen 35:18
Yeah, it's, it's a, it's a cross bar lock. They're doing that really nicely. And what's nice about the way SOG is doing is as soon as you pull the bar back, the blade kicks out just a little bit.
Bob DeMarco 35:29
What do you mean kicks out,
David C. Andersen 35:31
so the the blade starts to open just a little bit, they've essentially ramped the Tang of the knife so that when you pull the bar back, it starts the rotation so it's already in motion basically, if you go to do the little centripetal Okay, so
Bob DeMarco 35:45
when it's closed and you're opening it with the lock and you pull the thing and you pull the the lever back, it kicks it out a little bit and started on its way,
David C. Andersen 35:54
just a couple degrees. It's not going to open it all the way. But it gets the job started for you which awesome just That's part of why they've been able to get the the flipping action to feel good with that style of lock which is you know, traditionally been a bit of a problem area for that style of lock.
Bob DeMarco 36:08
The SOG knife company story is a very interesting and cool one nothing fancy a few years ago did an interview with I'm sorry, I forget his name, but the chairman of that company, and he was talking about the the genesis of SOG knives and how he discovered the Mac v SOG. knife from Vietnam and, you know, had a couple produced in Japan and brought it to a knife show and then you know, everything just sort of tumbled and tumbled from there. And I don't know to me those kind of stories are compelling kind of like your story because what I want to circle back a little bit to Nord Smith, what you say in your biography on your on your website, or your sort of inspiration resonates with me, because, you know, I'm at a stage where I kind of feel like that to, you know, my need to take more control over my destiny. And you know, I'm happy but I'm not doing exactly what I want to be doing you know, and I have always kind of wanted to be more involved in the knife world also and so that that stuff resonates with me with Nord Smith knives, how much like time do you work on the like, do you design on paper? And then start working on the on the prototypes? Or do you design on CAD and then and then feed it into a machine? How does that work?
Unknown Speaker 37:31
So I'm a pencil and paper guy to start things out. With all of the all I do, do kind of some random sketching of just some some knives and I oftentimes will make some of them in my shop here, knowing full well I have no intention of it being a Nord Smith in particular, but for for everything that I've done so far with Nord Smith. It all starts with a purpose driven idea or I'm trying to design a knife. Till a certain niche or to do something I want it to do and I start to work from there and in my head I have an idea of sort of what I want it to do and I start sketching around that parameter until I have something that looks good. From there I'll typically cut it out of cardboard and see how it actually fits in the hand. And I'm not done when I draw it it's not just what looks good I'm applying my kind of experience to it and what I know works and once I get a cardboard piece that orients the blade in the direction I want it to be going that I think is going to feel well then I'll proceed to do a steel prototype.
Bob DeMarco 38:41
yeah, that's kind of the where it comes from there and I will say this designing a blade is super easy. Designing a handle is not okay. All right. So I need to jump in here you you mentioned this a lot in your in your knife center videos about how to handle orients the blade and I think that is so cool because No one ever talks about that. I love Filipino knives and Filipino blades and, and they take, you know special attention at how that oftentimes in Filipino blades the the the angle is almost a little arresting when you look at it the angle the
blade ratio, but it's because it accelerates what they're trying to do there it accelerates the cutting that they're trying to do. And I've always thought about that because when you thrust with the Filipino knife, you need to do very little in terms of your wrists. So you say it's much harder to design a handle, do you mean to design a handle in the context of the entire night or just to design it to feel good in the hand,
Unknown Speaker 39:43
you want it to feel good in the hand, but even more than well not more than that, I should say cup handle comfort is especially on a fixed blade is utmost importance. But does the handle allow you to do what you want to do or allow you to do with the blade What you want the knife to do? does it support the mission of the knife? does it support the uses of the knife? That's what I mean by that, essentially, you know, it's real. And technically it's easy you know, you've got the cap hardstyle handles out there, you know, that's easy, right, quote, unquote, but the, the canteen knife is a case in point, the first prototype to that knife I was actually cut out of an Old Hickory cleaver, so it had a straight handle on it, which I knew the blade was exceptionally versatile, but how am I going to design a handle that unlocks every last ounce of capability and versatility in that blade shape, right, which is why you have the angle of it where it joins the steel part or the winner joins the sharpen part of the blade is so important. The the handle on that knife allows you to choke back which then not only are you adding extra leverage, it's also altering the angle of the blade when it makes contact with what you're cutting. So there's a lot of every little curve on a handle changes the way the user manipulates the blade when they're using it. And it's a lot harder to do that then draw another drop point blade.
Bob DeMarco 41:13
yeah, yeah. Yeah. And, and I see I'm looking at it right now. And you've got those little thumb scoops, you know, for when you're holding it sideways. And I would imagine you have to design those or create those in such a way that they don't chase when you're using the knife and other ways and you're choked up and you're carving or, I'm not much of an outdoorsman, though I would love to be it's just not how it is. But I would imagine if you're carving sticks, you know, I do that for our firepit. I'll make little feather sticks. I've watched enough, nothing fancy. But I would imagine after doing that, after a while the contours of the handle really start to matter. You said especially in a fixed blade, especially in a fixed blade designed for actual use, right because presumably you're using that for much longer for harder choices. Then you are with a folder. So a folder will be comfortable for a while. But you're not going to be using it for that long that hard. So when you're actually designing that handle, I mean, I feel like when I'm drawing handles out, because I like to draw knives, you know, like, we probably all do. I feel like I know what looks comfortable. And then when I've actually taken the steps to actually make them, I discover something else. Maybe that's what you're talking about with you and lt right kind of passing the knife back and forth. How does it feel?
Unknown Speaker 42:32
Yep. And yeah, it's not until you actually get that 3d piece in your hand that you know the whole truth. The drawing is just the start of it. Yeah, yeah, I've drawn things out that I think look awesome, I think are going to feel good. I do a pretty good build on it looks great. I hold it. My hand is like swells in the wrong place. It's too far forward. Well, gotta change that.
Bob DeMarco 42:56
Right. Well, so Okay, so where do you see Nordsmith knives In five years
Unknown Speaker 43:02
You had to do it, I really like what I've been able to do with it as a side project, but honestly, I don't see because at the same time I really like what I've been able to accomplish and been able to the opportunities I've been able to execute it knife center as well. North Smith is likely going to continue to be a side project that I continue to work on new models, I need to get a few more pieces out there for review to get some more interest going. But I've had a lot of good luck in that arena with some of my the contacts I've made in the print industry, especially the canteen knife, in fact, was on the cover of knives illustrated last year, which was really amazing. I've said before, there's a lot of people who've worked longer hours and much harder than I ever have who haven't gotten that opportunity, which I'm forever grateful for. Yeah. So I've got more designs. I've got one in particular I think I'm really close to have a nail down and I got it Kind of cool things that I've been working on. Unfortunately, the knife center gig is taken a bit more of a front burner seat for a lot of my knife energy. But I am looking to change that this year and ramp a few things back up along that arena.
Bob DeMarco 44:15
Cool. Well, I think it will be good for your future for Nord Smith's future that you have that you're so adept at this digital marketing. I know knife center is benefiting greatly from the stuff you're doing because I have to be 100% honest, and for a while I was like, you know, I was watching the blade HQ videos I'm like, Where the hell and and also GP knives and a couple of others. I'm Where's knife center? They're the first ones man. I've been with them forever. And then you popped up. I'm like, there we go.
Unknown Speaker 44:41
It was kind of a match made in heaven. came at a time where I realized that my old job was I needed to make a change. And they kind of clicked things clicked into place. I came over there and yeah, we didn't know exactly what I was going to do. When I interviewed But we're we just had to get me in the door. And it's kind of evolved from there with me taking over the, the front of the camera stuff and which man I actually find really funny for because for so long I've been a print guy, I've been a written word guy. And now I'm the, for better or worse, I'm the digital face of knife center.
Bob DeMarco 45:22
I think it's for better I and I relate to that too because I've been in production for a long time producing you know, videos and producing podcasts and such for work. And now I'm doing this for, you know, my own interest and fun.
And I'm like, wow, here I am in front of the mic.
But, but you know what, when you have like a true passion and you just like to talk, the way I see it is it's better that I sit in front of this mic and talk about knives then talk about knives with everyone at work and with my wife and I ready they all know we can have those conversations to
David C. Andersen 45:58
my wife definitely has A lot easier now that I have someone else a camera to talk to you.
Bob DeMarco 46:04
Is your wife into knives Have you gotten her anything? Hopefully not in candled
Unknown Speaker 46:09
she's not super into knives. No. The first gift I ever got her was a knife Actually, my man but it was one of those little CRKT turtle knives little Ashworth turtle versions that they did. It was it was so stupid. When I gave it to her I was kind of I'm not sure if you're going to want this or not but here in
Bob DeMarco 46:31
she's like well because it's from you David.
Unknown Speaker 46:34
But yeah, no she's got a lot of use out of that. But I will tell you she she knows what it is to appreciate. A good well designed knife. If you should see what I've got on my my knife magnet in the kitchen. I've got an under some some amazing customs on there that I just love. We will talk to about how expensive some of them are. But my favorite one by far is a Cook's knife that it was made for me by big Chris big Chris custom knives. Who went you may have seen him he went viral a year or so ago doing the blade sports cutting. Oh the the big large guy in the orange t shirt. Yes. Yeah. Great guy Heart of Gold and it was funny to me when he went viral for the blade sports things which is a big, chunky cleaver blade when he loves a super thin slicing blade. Yeah, but I've got a kitchen knife from him. It's 10 v steel.
Bob DeMarco 47:32
What the hell is envy steel even
Unknown Speaker 47:35
seven more than three 3vOkay.
Bob DeMarco 47:38
Unknown Speaker 47:38
It's nice and thin. It cuts like nothing else I've ever felt really cool handle on it bone linen, McCarter with red liners. perfect balance. It's amazing. I loved it. I spent a good good amount of coin on it waited over a year for him to get on it and it was worth every day and worth every dollar and the first time My wife cut something with it. This never would have happened before with anything else. She cuts her an onion or something just slice. Wow. She says I was like yes.
Bob DeMarco 48:15
That's okay. Let me let me just ask you. What do you think of Michael Zeva knives? The the kitchen knives Have you ever held one of those? Do you guys sell those?
Unknown Speaker 48:23
We do occasionally when we are able to get them in. I don't have any or I haven't had any opportunity to actually use one. Okay, the ones I've held the balance is quite good. However, we're actually the I forget the name of it now but it's got this large ones about a 10 inch blade I want to say and one of the things I look for on a lot of kitchen knives is that area right back by the heel.
Bob DeMarco 48:46
Yeah, a lot of cutting there.
David C. Andersen 48:48
There's a lot of cutting that goes on there and I prefer a knife that doesn't have a completely straight edge at the back of that heel. Because I find it's it's less comfortable when you're cutting on a cutting board, it tends to clump down when you're doing rocking cuts interesting. But if it's too rounded over, you've got no control over it. So there's a fine line where with just the right radius at the heel of the the chef's knife blade right there, you can come down on a cutting board and there's a definite point where it stops but it's the soft rock one it's easier on the risks but to it's just that extra bit of luxury feeling and I remember his those larger chef's knives of his we had in had that and we're felt really good. But my favorite Knife of his actually is the MS. Three, the small flipper. He's got whichever Yeah, yeah, I love that knife. That's really cool.
Bob DeMarco 49:40
Do you know? Do you know Alex Tissot? So Alex is knife box. I don't know how much YouTube you watch.
David C. Andersen 49:46
Oddly enough, being on YouTube so much very little. Yeah.
Bob DeMarco 49:50
It's like the pizza maker who doesn't want to eat pizza.
David C. Andersen 49:52
It's either a blessing or a curse because I get to I kind of not that I put blinders on but I'm able to get up there and do My thing without being colored as much by what other people are doing,
Bob DeMarco 50:03
that is what we want from you, David actually, you know, speaking for myself as someone who who patronizes the knife center a bit, you know, I want to know, you know, I don't want too much of that. But what I was going to say is that little that little flipper he's got like this this Backspacer these little skulls piled up as a Backspacer and that Michaels evil flipper, and I'm not a skull guy. I don't like skulls, like as a motif, it's just not my thing. But on that note, I'm Sam, it's hard to resist. Anyway, so tell everyone where they can find Nordsmith knives, how they can find your work. And well, everyone knows where to find the knife center.
David C. Andersen 50:44
Everyone knows the knife center.
There the guys
Unknown Speaker 50:49
knives center of course we've got the YouTube channel, or Instagram, Facebook, all of that you can find links to all those at the bottom of the knife center page. As far as Nord Smith I'm at Nord Smith knives calm. On Instagram as Nord Smith knives and we actually have a private Facebook group going called the Nord Haven, one word and I encourage anyone who's interested to go check us out there request to join and we'll get you approved right away. And there's stuff that shows up in the north haven that never makes it to the website.
Bob DeMarco 51:20
Stuff, you mean stuff to buy?
Unknown Speaker 51:22
stuff to buy some Nordsmith stuff, some some one off handle materials where we do something a little cool with something. Stuff like that will go up in the north haven before it goes anywhere else. Now that we're wrapping up, if you make a sax in the future, you're really angling for this aren't you.
Bob DeMarco 51:40
I really am
Would you make it with a stag
handle? Have you ever used stag Do you stag at all?
David C. Andersen 51:46
I haven't used stag because I want to be able to offer a good warranty and because yeah, there's a bit of the added expense me being if anything comes back for warranty. There's certain things I can do here in my shop but a lot of times I may have to send something back to LTE I haven't had to actually do that at all in with any of my knives yet and I've got knives from Alaska to Australia to the UK wow worldwide at this point which is very humbling to me in fact so I tried it I tend to stick with the you know McCarthyism Gita and the stuff that I know is going to hold up very well. Yeah, there are a couple of would handle black wings out there or not. Not straight wood but some hybrid would like some shock wood stuff that's gone out. And the first run of the skipjack actually came with green jigged bone,
Bob DeMarco 52:33
oh my god,
David C. Andersen 52:35
which was sick.
Bob DeMarco 52:36
I love that and on a fixed blade
Unknown Speaker 52:38
on the little fixed blade green and yellow has been the signature colors all the first run knives get a first stamp and green and yellow. Typically green McCarter and yellow liners, but for that skipjack fixed blade, it's this bright, brilliant green jig bone with a yellow liner looks phenomenal. So there's there's a few bone skipjack out there.
Bob DeMarco 52:57
That's class. I mean, that's true. class you pull you pull a sweet fixed blade out of your out of your pocket Scott green jig bone and then healing arts man. What's that?
David C. Andersen 53:09
It's like a little piece of pocket jewelry that also cuts stuff
Bob DeMarco 53:12
David see Andersen thank you so much for coming on The Knife Junkie podcast it's been a pleasure talking with you. Like I said before I felt before before we started talking that I know you and now I know you a little bit better. keep pumping out those awesome videos on YouTube and I love what you're doing for the knife center but I also really love what you're doing with Nordsmith knives.
David C. Andersen 53:33
Thank you so much, man. And again, appreciate it so much.
Thanks for having me on.
Have a knife you want featured or reviewed? Call The Knife Junkie? 24 seven the listener line at 724-466-4487 and let us know.
Jim Person 53:47
And welcome back to the Knife Junkie podcast great interview with David C. Andersen of the knife Center, the original and largest online catalog of cutlery and as they like to say the best place to Buy knives online and I know Bob, I think you said that was your your first foray into the purchase of knives was it was my first or
Bob DeMarco 54:08
yes it was it was my first foray into purchasing anything online. So they are in my digital DNA if you will. It was really great talking to him. I've he's another one of these people that I meet and I feel like I already know because I've watched them so much online. It's kind of stalkery Actually, I know you, but it was great to to meet him and to really, you know, I like talking about his heritage. I like that his heritage please so much into his love of knives and I really appreciate David's connection to the past his Norwegian heritage and looking back to the generations that brought him to where he is and the sort of self reliance they practiced and the strength they they embodied to come over here and allow opportunity. I just like that that that is what feeds into his Knife design and you know what else Jim I think I may have convinced him that a sax is a valuable pursuit I think he might make one you know he is Norwegian
Jim Person 55:09
but only time will tell I guess
Bob DeMarco 55:12
I guess so in which case if he does come out with one I will be obligated and delighted to to find one and purchase it right
Jim Person 55:19
well I found that interesting. I personally did not know about Norddmith knives when you guys started talking so I found that really interesting not only heavily involved at the knife center of course, but then you know, having his his own knife company on the side if you will. So definitely definitely a busy man.
Bob DeMarco 55:36
Yes, indeed. Yes, indeed. And, and truly an inspired knife enthusiast.
Jim Person 55:42
I want to remind you that we've got our supplemental edition coming out on Wednesday and also Thursday night knives, our live video show on Thursday. So if you want to find out how to listen or watch both of those, just go to The Knife Junkie dot com. We'll have links to The podcast, links for you to be able to subscribe, a link to Thursday night knives that live video show all of that can be found at The Knife Junkie dot com. so for Bob The Knife Junkie DeMarco I'm Jim Person want to saying thank you for listening to the Knife Junkie podcast
thanks for listening to the Knife Junkie podcast If you enjoyed the show please rate and review it 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 The Knife junkie.com slash Instagram and join our Facebook group but The Knife Junkie calm slash Facebook and if you have a question or comment email them to Bob at The Knife Junkie calm or call our 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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