Dirk Pinkerton, Custom Knife Maker & Knife Designer – The Knife Junkie Podcast (Episode 362)

Custom knife maker and knife designer Dirk Pinkerton joins Bob “The Knife Junkie” DeMarco on episode 362 of The Knife Junkie Podcast.

Pinkerton began making knives seriously in 2005 after a lifetime interest in knives. His design philosophy comes from observing his father’s knife usage. Dirk makes and designs straight forward, purpose driven knives.

Dirk’s experience in the private security world, training with LEOs and SWAT gave him an understanding of how knives were looked upon as tools and weapons. And his mentor, Darrel Ralph, taught him the strict discipline and the freedom of expression of knife making.

Aside from a thriving custom knife making career, Pinkerton’s folder designs, as well as fixed blade designs, are in production with companies like Kizer, Kansept, Assymetric and more.

Find Dirk online at www.pinkertonknives.com as well as on Instagram at www.instagram.com/pinkerton_knives.

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Custom knife maker and knife designer Dirk Pinkerton is my featured guest this week on episode 361 of #theknifejunkie #podcast. Dirk makes and designs straight forward, purpose driven knives. I think you'll like this one. Click To Tweet
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Dirk Pinkerton, Custom Knife Maker & Knife Designer
The Knife Junkie Podcast (Episode 362)

Welcome to the Knife Junkie podcast, your weekly dose of knife news and information about knives and knife collecting.
Here's your host, Bob the knife Junkie DeMarco.
Welcome to the Knife Junkie podcast.
I'm Bob DeMarco.
On this edition of the show, I'm speaking with custom Knife maker and designer Dirk Pinkerton.
You probably know Dirk's design work.
He's very prolific, from Kaiser to concept to beyond DC's asymmetric line.

He's designed many folders for some of the finest manufacturers in the world, developing a signature utilitarian style, and, I got to say, making the most of the Warren Cliff blade shape.
But you may not know that he is also a custom maker of fixed blades, beautiful purpose driven knives that tend towards the ethnographic and exotic, garnering massive respect from both collectors and fellow makers.
I own a few Pinkerton designs and one custom that is definitely a highlight of my collection, and I hope to see those ranks swell of my Pinkerton subcollection.
We'll see how that goes, and we'll find out about what Dirk has cooking for us in the offing.
But first, like, comment, subscribe and hit the.
Application bill, download the show to your favorite podcast app so you can listen on the go.
And as always, join us on Patreon and see what we have to offer you.

We got extras of interviews, we've got knife giveaways and oh so much more.
So check us out on the knife junkie.com/patreon.
Again, that is the knife junkie.com/patreon.
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You're listening to the Knife Junkie podcast.
Welcome back to the knife junkie.
Good to have you back, Sir.
Thanks for having me.

I appreciate it.
Well, it's my pleasure and I feel like congratulations are in order, but maybe not in any on any specific front because you have a lot of fronts, but one of them, this asymmetric line from beyond EDC, this contact your newest or one of your newest.
I mean, like I said in the intro, you're very prolific, you have a lot of designs, different companies, but this asymmetric contact is so sweet.
You really to me have the Warren Cliff on lock but but this one in particular is firing on all cylinders for me.
So congratulations on all of this design success.
Thank you very much.
I appreciate it.

It, it doesn't feel like it's a lot of success, but you know, I guess that's.
I guess that's just that weird perception on being on this side of it and.
Knowing what all you put into it and.
It, you know, like I said, it's just kind of weird.
It doesn't, it doesn't feel.
Like, it's that big of a deal.

Well, you know, I could see, I could see how it's sort of like a you work at a pizza shop, you come home, you make amazing pizza, but you don't feel like eating it.
It's might be a similar sort of thing.
I mean, you're, you know, the hard work that goes into designing all these knives and and making them unique, you know, same but different and and making them Pinkerton.
Well, how would you define your style?
I haven't defined my style yet, I'm still kind of searching, just looking to see what what fits me.
Just kind of growing and going with the with what suits my fancy.

So yeah, I don't personally feel.
That I have a defined style.
Other people say I do, but I I personally don't think I do.
Well I think that maybe the style you have a different looks, you have a number of Warren Cliff designs and then you have some clip point designs and this new navaja that you have coming out in from beyond DC is really cool and and and a departure from some of of your work unless you start looking
at your fixed blade knives which we'll talk about but let me please allow me to define your style.
As I see it, I I see your work as being very utilitarian, but definitely with a with a tactical mind to it.
And, and yes, that is the filter through which I see things, the lens.

But, but I look at this knife and it has the utility of a warn Cliff, but a little bit more with that forward angle.
I've been talking a lot about the forward angle on this blade.
Tell me what went into designing this knife in particular, and you know what you were.
What you're hoping to get out of this, this one actually started.
In a conversation with David Son with beyond DC looking for.
A nice gentleman style knife that would be.
Easy to carry tactical but not over the top tactical and.

Kind of what you were saying with with something of my my design style or where I my head is at the time and.
It actually started the.
The idea started with the.
Or I should say Tangram, Orion.
That basic silhouette is what I was looking at initially to get that design.
And it just kind of flowed from there, started drawing influence.

Looking at the Indo Persian pest cabs, some of those knives, I've always been intrigued by them and I saw an opportunity to.
Some of that attitude, if not exact design into this knife.
And that's kind of where the the upswept.
Wardcliff came from was that idea of trying to to get that that pesh cabs T back.
Penetrating blade and then.
Not wanting it to be completely limited to just that.

So we kept the the Warren Cliff intact instead of trying to make it more of a that dagger style or piercing style or Rondell rondel dagger style blade that the the pesh cops kind of has that very narrowly focused blade.
And yeah it just it evolved from there and it just so happened that the the tangram handle the Orion handle was the perfect home for that blade.
Oh interesting I had the I had the Orion and I believe I gave that one to my brother.
Another regret, you know I have a lot of them when it comes to my knife collection but so that's no longer with me but I can see the spirit of it especially and and you mentioned that the handle design.
Definitely there, but also in the blade.
Um, you make a lot of, well, two of the fixed blades I have in front of me.
One of this one is mine.

You made this The Cave bear.
It is a Pacal style knife.
You you've made the you did the Kaiser inversion, a folding piccolo style knife, which I think is really cool and beautiful.
And I love, I love this carry and it's way, way more of a utility knife than people actually.
Give it credit for very true but with the with the just getting back to the contact real quick I noticed immediately with the upswept Warren Cliff there are a few knives that have that sort of upswept.
I think Hinderer makes one that has kind of an up sweep to the Warren Cliff one of the smaller ones.
But what what that results in especially with that with that neutral handle shape is if you if you do need to put this gentlemen's knife.

I mean to me it's a you know it's a classy sculpted nicely milled anodized handle everything.
About it is so sweet and and gentlemanly, but if you have to get ungentlemanly with it and you put it in a reverse grip it it does make for a great pick call because the upsweep of that blade equals the reaching out angle that you need in a Pacal style knife.
So exactly yeah I I see a lot in this design in particular that.
That is something that I've found that happens a lot of times.
There are designs that come together.
And allow for.
A multifunctional use gives you multi purpose where you can.

Use it in any grip, any angle that you need to.
So in this case, as I said, it was a the idea originated through the pesh Cobbs.
But as as it developed with that warm Cliff and that angle it, it almost matches exactly the call style blades.
And yeah, just with that neutral handle it just fits pretty much any way you use it.
I sometimes why I I've been told a few times that it's.
Wanna design as well thought out, especially if you're going for a multi use knife that it lends itself to literally multiple functions.

Not just what you think of as a day-to-day multi use knife.
I mean literally put, call, self-defense utility.
You name it it, it'll give you what you want if it's a a well thought out design.
So I like to think that the I. Put forward a well thought out design there.
I mean I would say you did.

I mean to me I always come back to and I I I berate myself as being kind of shallow about this but I love the way if a knife doesn't look good to me it's it's it's probably going to get left behind like I love the PM 2 for its utility but to me it's just not the looker you know.
So I'm not I'm not going for that.
I'm going for that when I'm painting you know painting the bedroom.
You know that's that's a good great utility knife but.
It looks so.
So you got all of that stuff you were talking about, plus the looks.
And that is important as you did with the inversion with this sort of terrorist titanium.

That handle is really cool.
That and you're expecting the blade to be oriented in the opposite way.
That's just what our eyes are used to when we see that familiar choil set up exactly.
But what you get is a Piccolo style knife that you can wave out of your pocket.
But what a great utility knife this is cutting.
Straps, using opening boxes, everything like that.
This isn't a straight tactical knife.

Tell me about coming up with this particular design, this folder, and how this worked and how you got it.
Into the hands of Kaiser and got them to say yes.
Well, Kaiser was fortunately worked out pretty easy because this started when David was still there.
So he was eager to see something new and different come into Kaiser, so.
That part was kind of easy.
I pitched the idea to him, he said, OK, let's see it.
And it took me a while to work out.

Getting the blade upside down, getting it to function correctly, getting it to lock correctly.
Getting the flipper to work without being in the way.
All that fun stuff.
And once I gave him the basic silhouette, he's like, alright, finish it off, let's, you know, let's dress it up a little bit.
And that's where I drew a complete blank.
And it took me a while and I finally.
Thought back.

You know, like, what have I seen in the past that would look good on this and?
Brian I believe it was Brian Ty, one of his folders from early 2000s.
He did if I remember correctly.
I think it was Brian Tye did a stepped or terrorist handle and.
You know, that's where it popped out.
And I was like, yeah, let's, let's borrow from that and we'll do a, we'll do that terrorist handle that way.
It gives it A3 dimensional feel, gives it a little bit of a look and.

You know, looking back, if I had thought about it a little further, I probably put some micro milling in in the steps just to give it a little extra grip.
But yeah, I think it it turned out pretty nice.
That's interesting because the micro milling on the champers of the contact are great.
Are there are amazing for grip that work well, titanium, especially if it's polished or you're, you know, smooth titanium isn't necessarily the grumpiest material.
And that that's what I was going to mention about this.
About the terracing of the inversion, for instance, you know this is if you think about the real use of this, the ghastly use of this.
If it's if you're going there, you know your hands might be getting wet, so to speak, and so to have something that your fingers are gripping onto other than just the contours and the contours work well, but the handle itself has to be small to make the whole thing work, because you got to have your

thumb up there.
So to have that terracing is kind of essential because your hands might be sweaty, you might be nervous if you're using this, they might get, you know, wet, whatever.
So yeah, that that's sort of.
Um, solution ended up working well, I think.
I yeah, I think so too.
I've gotten a few reports from people who have used it.
In various applications without the gory details and they say it has functioned very well.

No issues with grip.
Deployed easily and performed as advertised.
Yeah, so this is a gentleman's version of like, say, the.
The Elvia or something, it's it's the it's the gentleman's version of a very, very purpose driven weapon tool type thing.
But again, like I said, it isn't.
It's kind of like a piece of kinetic art that can make an excellent weapon, but is also a very good EDC for disutility.
This inversion kinetic art.

I like that.
I'm I'm still, I still get the taken aback a little bit when people talk about my designs as art.
Um, it just never enters my mind that it's in that category.
So you know, when you when you say that, it just kind of like, OK, well, this in particular, that's what I'll say to the police if they ever say, what the hell is this?
It's kinetic art, Sir.
That might not work.
No, they'll say thank you.

This is my kinetic art now and they'll walk off with it now.
Now, just to be clear, this is kinetic art.
But but I think that art by definition cannot have a use other than being appreciated.
So yours are are the the height of design, but they can be definitely used.
And now now I'm thinking the the work of yours that is the most artful to me are your fixed blades.
You know, I'm just looking at this.
I'm looking at the these, the incredibly precise grinds you put in your blades.

I'm talking about the overall profiles of them, and then I'm talking about the ethnographic inspiration in your knives.
You just posted one just today as as we're recording this.
I saw it like an hour ago and it was this curvy, double edged blade, mummia.
I can't remember what it was called.
Haha, yeah, that is basically it means with honor.
And yeah it's it's based on the the jambia.

So it's just a a small version of it.
So it's just one of my takes on that knife.
I have a larger version and a small version.
And it's.
Through through my exploration of a lot of these designs.
It strikes me that as I'm putting my own interpretation on it, and then I start really looking back at the original design, I sometimes look at what I did and think I actually messed up the original design.
Because those designs have been around for.

Hundreds if not thousands of years though.
Hundreds of years in this case.
And yeah they they probably got it right because they use it every day and but in this case.
I think it actually turns out turned out quite nice.
I think the the lines flow very well.
I think it's to me personally, it's very striking.
I every time I make one I want to keep it so.

One of these days I might indulge myself and make one for myself.
But yeah, it's this is one that I've I'm really liking a lot and it's slowly starting to catch on.
People are starting to pick it up and really get into the look.
When you do a Persian upswept blade and you try and go to the original look of the the Comm jar or the the jambia.
People don't always get into it.
They like the more Western trailing point version that's a little more narrow and a lot less.
I don't know the right word for it.

It just leaves a little bit less to the imagination in my mind when I see some of the modern interpretations of Persian blades.
So I'm hoping that as I make some more, get those out there, it'll start gaining a little traction and more people will appreciate that look or that style, that broader blade and that more abrupt upturn trailing point, what benefit in.
Self-defense or tactical applications, do you think that sort of Persian style of blade has the primarily I think it's the.
It's gonna be the, the, the upswept blade, or if you flip it over the Hawk bill, or if it's not that of sweat, then you have a, you know, slightly curved worn Cliff.
That's where I think most of the the tactical.
Function comes from it.
Because you're going to use that for, you know, the self-defense aspect, the more aggressive cuts that you need to make and then the the curved or the belly of the blade on the opposite side is going to be more for your day-to-day chores because a lot of these knives were carried.

As as tools, as you know, as a day-to-day tool, a lot of the tribesmen would carry them and and that's what they had with them, kind of like a sax.
For the Norsemen, you know, that was their day-to-day tool that they carried that did every everything they needed to do.
So it it's kind of their version of that.
So that's that's how I see it and that's my understanding of the overall design of it.
And it is very effective in that I've tested it out on some inert media and it cuts very, very well.
Yeah, that just the Hawk bill portion in a slash is just you know, horrifying even even with an unsharpened.
Wedge on a Bowie you can you can get some pretty, you know, substantial damage.

And now you talk about adding an edge to it and making it as keen as, say, that inner edge.
But that's interesting.
I I I never knew that about the jambia or or those Persian knives.
That the one edge, the curved edge was used for daily chores and such, but the other edge for fighting just because it makes more sense in a in a slash.
Where did your love or interest in the world's knives come from?
Exotic knives and ethnographic knives?
It just slowly developed as I just started.

Looking into as I was getting into knife making and looking into various knives that I would see, you know, started with bowies primarily.
And um.
The Bowie, you know, kind of led into where did the Bowie come from?
What were the origins of the Bowie?
And that took me to the navaja and it took me to the.

The con jar and the jambia.
And then after that I started really looking around at all the different blades in the in the world, different countries, different areas of the world throughout history.
And yeah, just kind of evolved from that original interest in the Bowie.
I love it because that's an ethnographic weapon too.
It's just our you know, it's our it's where we're from exactly.
And you talk about the navaja, that is one of my all time favorite knives.

I don't own one.
I really want a nicely made Spanish navaja by Miguel Barbudo if I'm going to be specific about it.
Yeah, yeah, I I love.
That's OK. So wait, I I'm going to put that.
On pause for a second.
Hey Jim, stop scrolling for just a second.

And the one on the top left was the one we were just talking about this.
No, the one up from there.
Well that's cool too.
That's a sax.
Just like what you were talking about.
Look at those O the one right there.

Look at that.
So is that GL Hanson and Sons G Carta?
It is, yeah, it is.
This thing is beautiful and you've got that incredible ceracoat on there, like on my cave bear.
And both edges there are sharp.
Yes, that is correct.
Yes, absolutely.

So this is a this is a dream knife for me.
I have a some behind me, but I have yeah, I have a jambia that my dad got me with a belt that's an old one on a on the opposite wall.
I love exotic weapons also.
I say also in addition to these kind of things.
So I think I need to get maybe more of these sort of modern ethnographic custom crossovers that you're making.
And I'm saying.

So that'll be.
I'll have to do well, there you go.
Well, yeah.
Tell you what.
Come up with something that you really want and, you know, out of history, and I'll see if I can put my spin on it for you.
Oh, oh, yeah.

OK. So I'm gonna be coming at you from the Philippines.
Those are my favorite places.
O the ethnographic weapons and and and then the Pachall style, how did your interest develop in that because that's not really any particular culture that's that's a style of fighting that you know we see coming out of Mexico and South America and such, but but also as filtered through the states.
How did your interest in this development and how did you get a foothold in this growing market early on?
I saw.
Keatings draw point videos.
I thought that was really interesting.

The very first time I saw it, it made a lot of sense.
It felt very intuitive.
I explain.
Explain what that is.
Draw point is basically the the idea of.
Any fixed blade that you have, instead of using it in the conventional forward grip or Saber grip as you would for self-defense, you just draw in the reverse grip edge in and the idea was for quick strikes.
You know, not so much the Bacall style where you're going in and ripping out, but just quick strikes, quick penetration as fast as you can and.

It made more sense to me when I started looking at it from his perspective and thinking about those strikes.
And then we had Spyderco about that same time, popped up with the picol from South Mark and then it really started to click as they started, you know, I started investigating what that was about and it felt very, very intuitive.
And at that time I was working on a neck knife called the the variable broadhead.
That was a variation.
It it got started as a la Griff, Fred Perrin McGriff, friend of mine, is a police officer in Columbus, OH, and at the time he was on the street.
And he always carried a la Griff in a neck sheath.

And he asked me, he's like, you know.
This thing always gets twisted around.
I can never get the handle oriented the way I wanted.
You know?
I love the knife, but as the neck knife it just it moves around too much.
I need to come up with something that is.
When I grab it, I know I'm going to have something usable regardless, and that's kind of where the Broadhead came from.

That centrally oriented handle and then the triangular dagger blade.
And um, so.
Once I started seeing the draw point in the call, I started thinking about how the the Broadhead would work perfectly for that because of the the very nature of what it is, very small blade angle, perfect for penetration and either a quick withdrawal or ripping motion to withdraw.
And then I developed that my claw.
Variable claw after that specifically with that in mind.
And then it just kind of snowballed.
After that I every time I would have a piece of scrap line around, I would see what I could do to make a vocal style blade.

I have a bunch of old scrap I I'll have to dig up those pictures sometime.
I have a bunch of things that look like.
All kinds of.
You know, dungeon style, torture devices, tools.
Just weird angles, weird grips.
You know if it looked like I could put a call style blade on it turn it into something that would be good for ripping.
I did it.

Some of them looked really good.
Some of them not so much.
But you know that's that's how you learn.
You go and play with those things and you you experiment and.
You come up with some good ideas out out of all that exploration.
Yeah, in and you refine along the way.
It's interesting to have a, a requirement, you know, like when the government puts out a requirement for a new fighter plane, they'll say it's gotta be stealthy, it's gotta be gotta go mock 2, it's gotta be able to hold missiles and this and that, and then the companies all start to work.

Well, it's kind of a similar concept.
This gentleman who's a police officer, he wants something that he can grab and always have it oriented in the right way.
It's it's kind of great to start designing or working on something.
Creative when you have a lot of limitations put on you, do you do you find that that's true?
Yeah, a lot of times I do.
Because it's it's one of those things where.
I go through periods and, you know, it's like writing or any kind of creative process where you'll have you just this flood of ideas that you, you know, like you don't have enough time in the day to to develop those ideas or get them on paper or get them in the computer.

And then you'll go through long spells where no matter what you do you, you can't make 2 lines intersect and you have no idea how to make a knife anymore on in drawing you just looking, you know like what am I doing.
So when someone comes to me, especially when I'm in that drought and they say this, you know this is what I need.
It gives me a good starting point to work from.
And a lot of times that it's it's a, it's an inspiration because I'll I'll think.
Away from the direction they're going.
So I'll develop, you know, what they want, but it also gives me, it starts that creative juice flowing and I'll develop something in, in the opposite direction of where they originally wanted for another project or another idea.
It helps like unblock you.

Yeah, exactly.
You, you know, you have a lot of designs and in production and you make a number of different designs in your custom work.
So presumably there are a lot of them that ended up on the cutting.
The floor or that are just still in sketchbooks waiting to come out.
What's your, what's your process like?
Do you sit down every day and draw or how does how does the process work?
Um, it's usually whenever I have an idea, just something pops into my head.

So if I if I get an A thought or an idea then I will sit down at the computer.
I usually work in old old bobcad 2D drawing.
And I'll get the the basic design started and.
Once that design gets started, I will have.
Multiple variations of that.
So I will have probably 10 or 12 different files of the same design where I've made little variations.
And tweaks and sometimes it's massive variations depending on where my head is at the time.

And then I just picked the one that I think is going to be the best choice, and I start working on that, developing it and doing prototypes.
And going from there.
So yeah, to your point, I have a lot of stuff in the computer on file that I have not touched.
I don't have one.
I I don't know if I have enough time to get to 1/10 of what I have in the computer.
I would love to because some of them are really, really think I like, but I. Not sure how well received they'll be so.
That's always the guesswork, too, is trying to figure out what the you know, just because I like it doesn't mean everybody else is gonna like it.

And you have to sort of have your ear to the ground and be able to predict what people are going to want in a year when they're actually made or a year and a half or whatever.
And and not like you want to alter and you know you you want to stay true to you yourself and your designs.
But at the same time, yeah, you you got to make what the people want.
Yeah, that's that's very true.
If you're doing it as a business as as your source of income, you you are kind of beholden to the demands of the your customer base.

You know, you can put your ideas out there and if they don't sell, you kind of have to go in the direction that they want to go in.
If it's purely just being an artist and you really don't care whether it sells or not, then you know that's a luxury that you can just go and do what you want to do and if it sells, great.
If not, you really don't care.
Good for you.
That would be a great you know, good good problem to have but in a way, you know to keep the fire stoked in the belly you kind of need some of that fear of failure.

You know and and also that you know that goal to be reaching for if there if there's no, if there are no stakes, then.
You got to have that, that sense of impending doom looming over your shoulder.
I feel that all the time.
I think it's called being human.
You, you were talking about having all of these designs in your computer and then the design process and what really got me, I'm, I've always been a pen and paper guy, went to art school.
I love to draw and all this, and I love drawing knives.

I've notebooks full of them.
But what really just got me is when you said that you'll start a design and then you'll do a whole bunch of variations on that design, because I'll do the same thing in my sketchbook.
But it's such a pain.
To OK, I'm gonna do the same handle all the way through, but just very, you know, variations.
Slight variations on the Bowie blade I'm putting on it and just to redo the handle over and over.
And I I work in a creative field where I'm using a computer all the time to edit video, and if something doesn't work, I control Z and I go back, you know?
Or I can just duplicate it and do it again.

And sometimes when I'm switching gears and I'm going into the sketchbook with a pencil, I'm still thinking in that mode of video editing where I can just undo, you know?
Oh, I hated what I just did.
Let's go back to what I had.
Oh, I can't, you know, I erased it and now I have to try and redraw it.
No, I know what you mean.

That's that's how I started pen and paper.
Yeah, I have used to have a notebook full of drawings.
I have no idea where that ended up.
It disappeared.
There were some drawings in there that I would desperately like to have and get made because those those are some early ideas that were actually, I think, pretty good.
But yeah, I know exactly what you mean.
Pen and paper.

You you go to make that adjustment.
And you.
I'm terrible at drawing.
Absolutely hideous at drawing.
My handwriting stinks.
I'm no good with that.

So when I. Get something drawn on on paper and I get it looking halfway decent.
I am.
I I refused to to do any adjustments or erasing to it.
I tried it too many times and it it never.
Yeah, it never turns out nice.
So once I learned how to use the the bobcat and start doing the computer drawing, yeah, I just put all the the drawing pen and paper behind and stayed on the computer.
Much safer for me.

No looking back, I I I I admire that one of these days I'm going to get my hands on some CAD noodle around.
But I I wanted to ask you about you had your mentor was Darrell Ralph.
May he rest in peace.
Tell me a little bit about working with Darrell Ralph and what what you learned from him.
I know I think we touched on this earlier but I just wanted to bring him up because he he passed this past year.

May he rest in peace.
He was he was definitely a character.
There are no two ways about it.
He's a. Working with him and, you know, being friends with him was an adventure.
He had his personality.
I I don't think he was bipolar, but sometimes you thought he was bipolar because he would.

He had this huge, huge personality when he was, you know, on a, on a tangent, doing something.
I mean, he was just all this energy to get this thing going and get it done.
And he, you know, it was just like this flurry of activity around doing something.
And then once he got to a certain point in that process that you, you could see him just put on the brakes and stop and calm down.
And he would switch gears and he'd forget all about it.
And all that energy was, you know, like, OK, I'm done with that.
You know, it's time to, you know, take a little rest and.

Not everybody works like that.
So as I'm going along for a ride and we're talking about things and I'm like OK, let's you know, let's, let's, let's talk about the you know how the the blades gonna do this and you, you just look and he's like that's alright you know we'll we'll get back to that.
I want to go and let's go talk about this.
Let's do something else.
I'm like I I can't, I can't.
I want to stay on on this topic.
You got me in there.

And you know that also.
Would translate into.
Sometimes when he was on those tangents, he would get.
He would come across as a little Moody, so some people would always would take that as him being just a. Sometimes being a I don't wanna say mean that just a little surly.
Maybe they wouldn't know how to take him.
So he's a little off putting when he's in those in those modes.

So if you didn't know didn't know him, he.
He could, yeah, be a little off putting.
And I think that's kind of where some of that character aspect comes from where some people didn't know how to take him, people that knew him, loved him, still love him, no issues.
You know, the people that didn't quite getting kind of like don't know about him.
But yeah, he was, regardless of that.
That aspect of it, even the people that weren't too sure about him.
Huge respect because of.

What he did in the industry, he was a guy that did a lot of things behind the scenes.
He was a guy that could.
Think and see in three dimensions.
So a lot of knife makers would go to him with problems trying to get something to work, you know, a new type of automatic or a new type of a lock.
And you know, they they're all, you know, we're doing this, this is what's going on.
Like, you know, I'm running into this problem.
It's not connecting correctly or it's not seating properly.

And he would think about it for a few minutes and.
Come up with a solution just because he had that thing create crazy ability to to think and see in 3D where most people, you know they have to be on a computer or draw it to think to do that.
Because I never had his permission to say who, I would say you would be amazed at the list of people in the industry today.
That O Darrell some level of.
Thanks for what he did to help him out.
It was amazing.

The phone calls he would get, you know be hanging out at the shop and he'd get a phone call.
Hey what's going on?
Like who is that?
Yeah yeah.

So he chat for a few minutes like it was you know old times talk through the problem hanging out and like.
What does he call you?
He goes, yeah, he calls me all the time.
Like I didn't know you guys were friends.
He goes ohh yeah, huh.
Just nonstop like that and.

Even with some of the production companies would call him and talk through some issues on the design development and again.
You'd be surprised.
So he was, he was well connected, just behind the scenes.
You know, I I got a sense that that.
Maybe there was a vibe that that's I don't know that there was some friction or something.
But he was so cool on our podcast in my conversation with him was great and he was such a warm welcoming kind of guy and we had such a great conversation and and I was definitely you know a little bit starstruck over The Expendables knife and you know his work is he actually said this is on my desk
all the time.

I write with this thing all the time.
One of his pens, you just you know thanks.
Thanks for talking to me.
Let me send you $150.00 pen.
Yeah, that's that was Darrell.
Yeah, he was.
He was more than generous.

I watched him do that on on a number of occasions.
He that was my first introduction.
The very first time I went over to shop, I think I mentioned I was picking up a custom because I finally convinced him that it seemed ridiculous to pay.
I don't know what $1015.00 to have UPS deliver a. Package when I was 10 minutes away.
So I finally convinced him.
And then that first visit after spending an entire Saturday with him.
Before walking out the door, he just loaded me up with all kinds of stuff.

The designs he did, what he was doing with Camillus at the time.
The Ethan Becker had a bunch of stuff that bunch of knife knives that he was doing with K bar and Camillus was actually making him at the time, so I probably left with.
Darn close to $500 worth of production.
So sweet.
He just kept handing them to me.
Here, take this.
You know, you hear here, you're gonna want this one.

It's like, it's like visiting mom and dad, you know, like, yeah, it was just blew me away that he did that because I I was just amazed that he spent the whole day with me.
And we talked, you know, talked through his stuff and he showed me around the shop and we started talking about how things were.
And then yeah, just all of a sudden.
Here, take this.
Here take this.
Hold on.

I gotta go get something.
He opens up this box and you know, hands me another knife.
Just like wow.
Just blew me away.
He was one of the most generous guys I think I've ever known.

Well, he will be missed.
You know, I I'm glad I got one chance to speak with him.
I always wanted to have him back on.
Never quite worked out.
But I'm glad I got a chance to talk to him.
That one time you mentioned on your website.
I was.

I was just reading your about me page on your website and you're talking about how your dad.
Always carried a folder.
And I remembered this from our past conversation, but it struck me, you know, you, you sort of describe how you got the utility aspect from your dad.
It's a tool.
You carry it on you all the time.
You use it for as much as you can.
So I see where the utility side comes from.

Where does your interest in the tactical come from?
Yeah, I know you have some background in security.
Is it that?
Actually that is primarily where that came from.
When I was in the security.
Working at nationwide insurance and I started out in uniform security.

I was collecting knives at the time just because I thought they were kind of cool and they were cheaper than buying guns because I was in the competition shooting.
So it was like I can't afford to buy a new gun, so I'll buy a knife.
But as I was, we were going through some of the training.
And contrary to what you would see on TV, the training we did at nationwide was substantially more advanced than the the rent a cop stuff.
We actually worked with the local police swat, we did some, we did training with.
We had the military come in for a couple of training sessions.
FBI, the director of our security at the time was a retired FBI, so he had connections.

So we were constantly getting trained very well and by some pretty reputable.
Establishments that, to say the least.
And um.
We also had CPD officers, Columbus police officers that would be available to us that were.
Would do escorts in the evening for employees, take them out to their car because the parking lots were all surface lots very far away.
So they would walk them out and.
In all that area we also had a homeless population that was.

Not massive at the time, but they were very colorful individuals.
And they were known to cause trouble, and it was through the interaction, working with the Columbus police when they were doing their escorts and interacting with the homeless and seeing how the homeless lived.
How they.
Carried their life with them and what they did to protect themselves.
And there was the one thing that really.
Brought my focus and attention on this tactical aspect of knives was there was a. Young lady that was homeless.
Very tiny.

She was maybe 4 foot 10 tiny little thing.
But she frequently caused trouble and CPD would frequently pick her up.
And one time they picked her up and they went to search her, and when they searched her, they pulled off of her.
Almost say 6 knives, two butcher knives.
One of them was almost a 10 inch blade, the other one was a smaller blade, and then various pairing knives and stuff like that that were just all output all over the place on her so she could get to them.
And when I saw how she was able to hide those things.
Being as small as she was and you just it didn't print, it didn't show.

And I I just, I became fascinated.
Like, how did she do that?
How how did that happen?
And it it's from those kind of interactions where I I started to really get focused on the tactical application, the self-defense application of blades.
The kitchen knife aspect is is one that comes up a bit in conversation here.
Just the fact that.
The kitchen knives are are are you know far and away the most responsible for violent crime with knives and cheap kitchen you know dollar store kitchen knives and and then when we think about we were talking about the because style knives that whole pick Hall.

I don't want to call it crazy the whole there's a there's a huge element of the call uh thing that you know Ed Calderone brought out with Ed's manifesto with the using the the the cheap kitchen fruit knives bending the handle with the heat and and you just no matter where you go you can go find one
of those store pretty easily and just make a a take a a water bottle and make a little sheep just melt the water you know he shows how you can do that and.
You got something that could drop and not print at all?
Drop in your pocket.
You can pull it out and pull the sheath right off and.
And that's the reality.

Not so much.
Um, you know all the weapons I have around me.
At least not in our society these days.
Now that's very true.
That's absolutely true.
It is.
I like to think that what I make, if it is used, it's used.

Correctly by the good guy, so to speak.
Doing, you know, self-defense, defending himself or someone else, not being used for any nefarious deeds but.
Yeah, it's, you know, when I really think about it, I I realized that most everything I make.
99.9% of it is in ultimately pocket jewelry or, you know, some cool toy for people to go look at what I got.
And you know, the reality is that the the real tools, good or bad, are gonna be those those knives that you said, the cheap ones that you can pick up at the dollar store.
You can lose them.
You don't care about them.

The box cutter or the pairing knife, all that stuff is.
Yeah, I mean, that's that's what's really used.
And even by the the people, the pros, the the people, the good guys still do that.
A buddy of mine that I used to work with that nationwide he.
He was became special forces.
Uh spent some time over in Bosnia in that area and he would talk about.
The stuff that he carried and it always, you know, I he always talked about wanting to have a Randall, I think it was Model 7 and then some other really nice knives and.

Once he actually got into operating overseas and really doing that stuff, you left all that stuff at home.
His utility knife, the knife he carried with him all the time was a cold steel SRK.
And the stuff that he had with him as backup were a lot of times the kitchen knives that he would.
He didn't take him with him wherever he went and operated, wherever there was a town, he would go through and find something locally and pick that up.
And that was his, you know.
That kind of stuff.
So because it's cheap, you lose it.

He goes, I'm not going to carry that ramble out in the field.
He goes.
That's that's not happening.
Yeah, I'm going to carry the cheap stuff.
If I lose it, great.
So what?
I don't care.

And I don't have to worry about it.
And he said the SRK at the time we were he was in it was $89.00.
Out of the Carbon V steel.
And he, he bought I think he said he had six or seven of them because he would lose them frequently and yeah that that's the reality.
The expensive stuff is nice to have.
It's great.
It's functional.

I love making it.
I love when people buy it.
I think it's it it's fantastic.
But it's not the reality.
Now just so you know I do carry this knife.
I carry this, not, this is not my most frequently carried fixed blade but I I do carry this one because it fits my parameters.
It it goes in the waistband nicely, and now that I've lost a little bit of my my spare tire, this this is this is a little bit better on me, but this this knife makes for a great stowaway knife in the waistband and so.

I carry this as a collector who likes to carry his knives, as many of them as I can, you know, legally and or or or at least discreetly.
But I do know it's there and and I you know I've done quite you know some a lot of training in the past and in Cali and I currently do.
So I I feel like I can carry something like that as much as most guys and and not be walking around with something I don't understand that's why I don't carry a gun.
Not that I don't understand guns but I haven't trained with them like I have with knives.
So I feel like I can carry knives and I've carried gun a few times I have a I have a permit to do so but.
I don't know.
I'm just this I get.

I understand what you're saying, and I do equate custom knives.
A lot to to handguns when you look at the various guns on the market.
A wide range of some beautiful stuff out there.
Some you know.
Incredibly well engineered stuff that seemed just.
Grown by leaps and bounds over the years when I was shooting.
You know, when the clocks first came out, they were the pinnacle of indestructible ultimate tactical handgun.

And now you look across the board and the clock is just, you know, one of the guys up there, he's the grandpa.
But, you know, no longer is the thing that is catching everybody's attention.
But you look at other guns out there that are cheaper, they'll do the same function, they'll do the same thing.
And I kind of look at it the same way.
Those nicer guns are kind of like the custom knives.
You carry it, they do the job better.
There are better tools, but they're not.

It's nice to have you know it's going to function exactly the way you want it, you have the confidence in it.
You know it's not likely to break.
And you know, same with the custom knife.
It's gonna function, it's going to do what you want.
It's specifically made to do what you want.
It's not likely to fail you, but if you go down a step and you go to the cheaper throwaway stuff, it works.

It gets the job done.
Most people do it because it's affordable if it breaks.
It might leave you in a bad spot, or it might not.
Same with a gun.
With a gun, I think if you're relying on the gun and it breaks your, you're a little bit more of a hard spot.
But that's kind of the equivalent I have.
When I look at that and think about that, you know, it's it's still trying to keep a perspective on what I do and what's really going on in the world.

Yeah, well, you're making Ferraris for people who can buy Ferraris.
You know, my my Honda gets me to and from work.
I love that car.
But man, it'd be you give me there a lot quicker in a Ferrari.
It's just not necessary.
But man, if you can get it.

And and you like it, it's it enriches your life.
You know what I also think, and this is a this is partly the justifier in me because you have to be a a ranked justifier to accumulate so many knives without without the requisite guilt.
But to me, I think of them as post apocalyptic currency.
You know, I need a bag of rice.
Here's a folder.
You know you need a knife.

You need to cut that open.
Here, you take this.
I'll take the rice.
And so that's why honey I can't get rid of any of these knives.
I'm looking for forward to our future here.
I I think that's a good justification.

I like that you.
You just never know.
Yeah I'm with you.
So we mentioned, I mentioned earlier the navaja that I saw at the beyond EDC table and as we're wrapping up I I want to talk about that design and some of the other designs that you have that are just just percolating.
Up and are going to be out on the market sometime soon.
But first I want to start with that navaja since I love that the source material you're working with tell me about the design there.

That design actually is, there's an old design for me, the the blade style obviously very traditional.
I made a fixed blade about 2010, 2011 that had that exact blade and the handle was very similar.
Have a little less drop to it was straighter, a little more true to the to the original folding of AHA, and.
I always liked that knife, I always liked that design and I always wanted to make it into a folder and I worked at it.
Over the years, off and on, trying to get it to work just the way that I want, never quite getting it right.
And then?
I guess it was an epiphany.

Not a couple years ago, and I wasn't even thinking about that knife just popped in my head like, oh, that's what I got to do.
Sat down, changed it, made the adjustments.
It did what I wanted it to do.
Everything functioned correctly.
I got it where I wanted it.
And then I needed to find a home for it.
You know, at that time David was just starting beyond DC.

And I showed it to him.
He's like, oh, it's really cool.
It's really great.
But I can't do that right now.
It doesn't, you know, it doesn't fit with what I'm doing directly and then.
Josh at the Smoky Mountain knife works.
We had a conversation because he was doing all kinds of the variations of the proponent that artisan was making.

And we started talking about doing different things and I showed him that knife and he immediately said, yeah, we're doing that.
We want to to David and David said, yeah we can you know since we have someone that that wants to to do this initial run we'll do it and we developed it from there and beyond DC's making it for Smoky Mountains.
So they'll have the the the runs when they first come.
They should be shipping right now, so they should be getting them in their hands anytime they'll have the G10 and titanium.
And then beyond DC themselves have.
Their own variation of a smaller one.
I think the blade ended up being about 3.5. Look substantially different.

Let me still in the haha, but I changed some angles and the opening method so there would be no confusion.
And David actually had the prototype out at Blade Show West.
So I'm hoping that once he gets home, he gets settled, he'll send me one of the the samples so I can play with it because it I think it looks really nice and I think it's it is a departure for me.
It's a it's definitely a different look.
I didn't intend for it to be a different look.
It was just trying to differentiate it for beyond DC from from what is going to be called the night Horse for Smoky Mountain.
And yeah, I'm very very excited to see both of them because I I love those knives.

And my biggest hope is that they sell out very quickly for Smoky Mountain because if they do then I can talk him into making a bigger version.
Ohh yes, yes, yes, yes.
And a navaja deserves a big version.
That's that's where they shine.
Right that they were replacing swords.

Before we close, I I I forgot to mention you.
Are working on an inversion.
And I'm not sure if that's what you're calling it, but you're you're coming out with another version of this under your own shingle.
Tell us about that.
Yeah, Kaiser has.
Well, like I can't say 100% they've said that they're, they've stopped production of the inversion.

And I'm still waiting to hear a final 100%.
Yeah, we're we're done.
If they are 100% done, then this new knife, I'm gonna continue the name on my knife as the inversion.
But what it is, it's basically the same knife I've changed.
Some of the blade shape a little bit.
But I've also changed the handle shape a little bit to give it more of a true.

Utility field.
So when you hold it in a edge, down edge, point, forward orientation to do you know some of your normal cutting like that, your hand will fall naturally into the handle a little bit better, so it won't look quite so awkward.
Even though it's not awkward when you actually put it in your hand, it doesn't look intuitive like it's going to work.
So this new design has changed a little bit so your hand, it looks like your hand will fit in there and it'll function in that in that way.
Still gonna maintain all the other aspects of it.
It's gonna open with the flipper.

There's going to be a wave opening or can't use that term.
I'm sorry, Poppet opener attachment.
For it, and it's also going to have an adjustable pocket clip so you can adjust the height of the pocket.
But that's so that's always been one of my things about deep carry pocket clips is it's, you know, for, in my opinion, for true tactical knife if you're going to use it in an emergency.
A deep carry pocket clip doesn't.
When you draw, it doesn't put your hand in the optimum position in the knife.
It needs to ride a little higher and so on.

This design I've given people that option.
They want to mount the clip lower.
They'll be able to mount it lower or higher depending on what their preference is.
Well, great.
I'm so glad that you're going to be carrying on the inversion if, if and when Kaiser stops production on it because it's such a such a cool knife and it's got so much potential across a lot of different realms.
Dirk Pinkerton, thank you so much for coming back on the Knife Junkie podcast.

Really great to catch up with you and I can't wait to see the stuff you have coming out of.
For me, especially the navaja.
I I definitely appreciate being back on.
I really enjoy it.
And yeah, I definitely hope I can come on again sometime.
Alright, cool.

Sounds good.
Talk to you later, Sir.
Take care.
Do you use terms like handle the blade ratio, walk and talk, hair pop and sharp or tank like than you are a dork and a knife junkie.
There he goes.
Ladies and gentlemen, Dirk Pinkerton.
Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for his latest designs from your favorite manufacturers.

Especially this navalha as I keep saying, but also do yourself a favor and check out his custom work.
Go to his website and or go to get him on Instagram because the fixed blades he's making are incredible and he's got massive respect from his peers.
Definitely, definitely worth a look and also worth the money.
Do yourself a favor also and check back in with us next Sunday for another great interview, Wednesday for the midweek supplemental and Thursday for Thursday Night Knives right here on YouTube.
Alright for Jim working his magic behind the Switcher, I'm Bob DeMarco saying until next time, don't take dull for an answer.
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